The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Eugenio Suarez has had quite the up and down 2016. He torched Cactus League pitching, and that carried over to the start of the big league season for the newly minted Cincinnati Reds 3B. That, though, faded quickly, and he has struggled both at the plate and with the glove for much of the last month and change.
Give him a LHP to face, though, and those struggles go largely out the window.
Suarez, who entered the night with a .944 OPS against lefties this season, poked a single off Texas Rangers ace Cole Hamels, and later followed with a large 3-run dinger off lefty Jake Diekman. He's still young enough to work out the issues he has faced as a full-time regular this season - and is also still talented enough for the Reds to provide him with that chance. Flaws and all, I'm still excited that he'll find his niche and consistency to be a big part of this Cincinnati reboot. Heck, he even stole a base in this one.
Have a trophy, Eugenio.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Jay Bruce, who went 2 for 4 with a pair of doubles and 2 runs scored; and Adam Duvall, who singled, scored, and walked twice (!!).
- Both Straily and Cole Hamels cruised through the first trio of innings in this one, but the Rangers finally burst out in the Bottom of the 4th. Shin-Soo Choo took a very 2013-ish leadoff walk, and Straily then loaded the bases by hitting Rougned Odor and walking Nomar Mazara. That brought up the established thump of the Rangers' order, and Adrian Beltre (RBI single) and Price Fielder (2-RBI single) lived up to their reputations. A later throwing error by Ivan De Jesus, Jr. added another run, and the Reds trailed, 4-0.
- Cincinnati got a run back in the Top of the 6th, and once again Bruce and Duvall were behind it. Bruce doubled to RF with 1-out, and Duvall dumped a single into CF to place the Reds' RF. Reds trailed, 4-1.
- The Rangers got that run back in a big way in the Bottom of the 7th, however, as Ian Desmond whacked a JJ Hoover meatball way, way over the wall in CF for a solo homer. Reds trailed, 5-1.
- The Reds mounted an oh-so-close rally in the Top of the 8th. Bruce doubled again with 1-out to get things started, and after Duvall walked against Jake Diekman, Eugenio Suarez - noted LHP masher - belted a 3-run dinger way into the LF stands. Reds trailed, 5-4.
- Choo teed off on a Tony Cingrani meatball to lead off the Bottom of the 8th, though, and that wrapped the scoring. Reds lost, 6-4.
- Joey Votto was out tonight for a second consecutive game, a stomach bug still keeping him on the shelf and/or toilet for the evening. Get well soon, Joey.
- Brandon Phillips now owns a .687 OPS on the season. Entering today, the entirety of MLB teams had an average OPS of .703 out of their #7 hitters. Phillips hasn't hit anywhere other than 3rd or 4th for the Reds so far this season. Hmm.
- The Reds will travel home after this one, and they'll take on the San Diego Padres in a four game set at GABP beginning tomorrow. John Lamb will toe the rubber for the Reds in an all-lefty matchup, as he'll be opposed by Eastern Kentucky University product (and former Colorado Rockies draftee) Christian Friedrich. First pitch is set for 7:10 PM ET.