The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Joey Votto still hasn't been "Joey Votto," yet. His 2016 season still features a strikeout rate wholly beyond anything he had displayed in his illustrious career to this point, and a BABIP well below his career average has done serious work to keep his overall batting average below where we'd all expect it to be.
Still, Votto has gradually begun to emerge from the shell he spent most of April encased within, and after Monday's 2 for 3, 2 BB, 2 run evening, his season OPS now sits at a pretty damn respectable .805. Considering where it was just over six weeks ago, that's a damn positive development, one which I think will continue to trend upwards for the rest of the year. So, congrats Joey, and here's to continued replication.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Blake Wood, for a pair of cromulently scoreless innings out of the bullpen; Jay Bruce, who walked twice, tripled, and drove in a pair; Adam Duvall, who dingered & smacked a sac fly; Kyle Waldrop, who singled as a pinch hitter (and picked up his first career big league ribbie in the process); and Zack Cozart, who singled, walked, and scored twice.
- The Reds offense wasted little time getting to Aaron Blair, plating a trio of runs in the Top of the 1st. Zack Cozart's walk led off the game, and he scored three batters later when Bruce bonked his MLB leading 6th triple of the season to the wall in RF. Duvall then followed with a moonball 2-run dinger that hit almost all the way up the LF foul pole. Reds led, 3-0.
- The Reds pitching wasted little time in letting the Braves offense back into this one, as Atlanta put a pair of runs on the board against Daniel Wright in the Bottom of the 1st. Mallex Smith walked to leadoff the inning, and he moved to 3B on a successful hit and run when Ender Inciarte poked a single past Cozart as Cozy was breaking to cover 2B. Smith then scored on Freddie Freeman's RBI single, and Inciarte later scored when the Reds opted for a double play instead of a chance at home on a grounder by Nick Markakis. Reds were ahead, 3-2.
- Atlanta tied things up in the Bottom of the 2nd when Jace Peterson - who had singled up the middle - scored a batter later when Erick Aybar doubled to the corner in RF. Bruce and Brandon Phillips made a great relay combo to nail Aybar's attempt at a triple, though, so at least there was that. Game tied, 3-3.
- Errant Blair was still on the mound for the Braves in the Top of the 3rd, which was good for the Reds offense while bad for the keys on my keyboard. Cozart singled to begin things, and both Joey Votto and Phillips walked behind him to load the bases. Bruce then walked to plate a run before Duvall lifted a deep sac fly to CF that scored Votto and moved BP to 3B, and Eugenio Suarez then booped a sac fly to bring in Phillips. Reds led, 6-3.
- A Votto gaffe at 1B led to a pair of Atlanta runs in the Bottom of the 3rd, and it ultimately helped end an already rough start for Wright. Votto let a grounder get by him with a runner on 2B, and a subsequent double after the inning should've already been over allowed the runner that shouldn't have been on in the first place to score, too. J.C. Ramirez then took over, and after he kept the Braves off the board in the Bottom of the 4th, Freeman then hit just the third or twelfth dinger of the Atlanta season in the Bottom of the 5th to put the Braves in front. Reds trailed, 7-6.
- The Braves are bad. Really, really bad. Single after single after single from Suarez, Tyler Holt, and pinch-hitter Kyle Waldrop got the Reds level in the Top of the 6th off reliever Ryan Weber, and Holt then scored on a wild pitch. Hooray, bad baseball! Reds led, 8-7.
- Wood's two inning stint of stinginess gave way to Ross Ohlendorf in the Bottom of the 8th, at which point Adonis Garcia bonked a solo dinger to tie things up, 8-8. Yay bullpen, yayy.
- Arodys Vizcaino was tasked with the Top of the 9th for the Braves' bullpen, and that went about as well for Atlanta as a fart in an elevator. Votto doubled on a bloop down the LF line to leadoff, and Bruce was eventually intentionally walked to put a pair of runners on. Suarez then coaxed a natural walk to load the bases, as did Holt to drive in Votto. After that, Tony Cingrani locked down the save, and the Reds escaped with a 9-8 victory!
- The newsiest news in the world of the Reds on Monday was all related to this past weekend's draft. Early in the day we learned the Reds had signed 2nd overall pick Nick Senzel, and news broke during this game that both of their next two picks - high school OF Taylor Trammell and Clemson C Chris Okey - had signed, too. Undoubtedly, the Cincinnati farm is now officially a boatload more talented than it was last Wednesday.
- The most exciting news in the world of the Reds, though, was Tyler Mahle's no-hitter, as the talented 21 year old spun a gem for the Daytona Tortugas on Monday night. The 7th round pick from the 2013 draft owns impressive career marks of 4.71 K/BB, 1.14 WHIP, and 2.84 ERA, and it's only because of the mass of pitching talent in the higher levels of the organization that you haven't heard more about him to date.
- Entering this one, the Reds had won seven road games all season while the Braves had won just seven home games in 2016. It just hit me that putting any statistical significance on this particular affair - one that featured a Ross Ohlendorf v. Jeff Francoeur matchup - is dumber than a bag of bricks.
- Brandon Finnegan will take the mound for the Reds tomorrow opposite Julio Teheran in a matchup of talented young starters, with first pitch set for 7:10 PM ET.