The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star(s) of the Game
The Cincinnati Reds bullpen entered Friday's contest with the Milwaukee Brewers having allowed a run in 23 consecutive games, a stretch that set a Major League record. Those 23 outings were rarely tough-luck, as the team's pitching staff has sat at the top of the MLB standings in BB/9 for much of the year, and many saw the Reds go from surprising leaders to predictable losers in short order.
That changed on Friday, however, as the team's relief core finally buckled down to keep a team off the scoreboard, and for that they deserve ample, long awaited dap.
Caleb Cotham threw a pair of scoreless innings, Blake Wood & Tony Cingrani combined to chase a bases-loaded rally attempt in the Top of the 8th, and Cingrani came back out to shut things down in the Top of the 9th. The streak from hell ended, confidence may have been built, arbitrary roles may have become more determined, and I'm sure we'll hear all about it in interviews in the days to come. Regardless of sarcasm, it's damn nice to see a lead handed over and converted for once, and for that we dote a trophy.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Tim Adleman, who held the Brewers to a lone run in his 5 IP; Joey Votto, who walked twice, dingered, scored twice, and looked very vintage Votto-y for yet another improved evening; and Brandon Phillips, who honked a healthy 3-run dinger.
- Votto worked the count in the Bottom of the 1st against Tyler Cravy, eventually reaching peak choked-up-bat while hitting with two strikes. Sap his power it did not, as he stroked a hanging meatball over the 404 ft mark in CF for a solo dinger to open the scoring. Reds led, 1-0.
- The Reds pushed another run across the plate in the Bottom of the 2nd, as Jay Bruce scored from 1B after singling when Adam Duvall honked a double off the wall in CF. Reds led, 2-0.
- The Bottom of the 3rd was the icing on the Cincinnati cake for the evening, as the Reds channeled their peak offense to score a trio of runs. Zack Cozart led off with a double, because of course. Votto walked two batters later, because of course. Then, RBI guy extraordinaire Brandon Phillips tucked a very cleanupy 3-run dinger inside the LF foul pole to clear the bases and stake Adleman to a 5-0 lead.
- Alex Presley got the Brewers on the board in the Top of the 5th with a solo honker off of Adleman, but that was just a blip on the radar. Reds led, 5-1.
- From that point on, the Reds' bullpen got nothing but outs. Outs, outs, outs. The Reds' bullpen retired batters, kept runners from scoring, did not watch the away team's side of the scoreboard tally a run, or allow an opposing dinger of any kind. They held a lead, the Reds won 5-1, and it was startlingly glorious.
FanGraph that's relaxing-sigh worthy
- It was announced earlier on Friday that Devin Mesoraco will, in fact, undergo surgery on the torn labrum in his left shoulder. Things could go great, stem cells could absorb through his Golemness through osmosis, and Hermione could conjure up some spell to make things accelerate, but I'm pretty sure this is an injury/surgery/recovery that's going to end Devin's 2016 season. Dang, Volume II.
- Homer Bailey is still "not close" to throwing off a mound yet, in case you didn't finish your bottle while reading the previous last note.
- Brandon Finnegan will get the ball for the start tomorrow, with first pitch set for 7:10 PM ET. He'll be opposed by Jimmy Nelson.