The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Joey Votto had one of the more odd stat lines of his career on Tuesday night, especially given his batting profile through the first three months of the 2016 season. He labored through an 0 for 6 evening, yet even though his strikeout rate is at a career worst for a single season at this point, he didn't strike out at all, instead putting 6 balls in play and watching none fall in for hits. For a guy with a career BABIP of .354 sporting a career best 43.2% hard-hit percentage this year, it was just plain strange.
Votto rebounded on Wednesday against the Chicago Cubs, however, posting exactly the kind of signature line we've come to expect from the Cincinnati Reds 1B. Joey singled, walked three times, stole a base that wasn't actually a stolen base due to defensive indifference, and clearly hasn't shaved in almost a week. That's the Joey we know and love, and for that he gets a deserved trophy while the Reds got once again demolished by the hot dang Cubs.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Adam Duvall, who dingered, singled, and walked; and Jay Bruce, who went 2 for 4 with a double.
- Things immediately got wacky in the Top of the 1st, and it all began with a leadoff bunt single by Ben Zobrist. Then, following a single to CF by Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo lifted a fly ball to left-center that had all appearances of being tracked down by Billy Hamilton. Unfortunately, he and Adam Duvall never seemed to realize the other was also tracking the ball, and Duvall crossed right in front of Hamilton as the ball was about to land. Apparently, it clipped off the edge of Duvall's glove and ricocheted off Hamilton's face to the wall in LF, and by the time the Reds' OF had tracked it down, Rizzo had circled the bases for an inside the park "home run." Hamilton stayed down for several minutes before exiting, replaced by Tyler Holt. Reds trailed, 3-0.
- Zobrist scored again in the Top of the 3rd, motoring all the way home from 1B when Wilson Contreras later smacked a 2-out double to CF. Contreras himself then scored on a single to CF by Javier Baez. Reds trailed, 5-0.
- The Reds nearly plated a run in the Bottom of the 3rd only to have Votto thrown out at home by several strides on a great throw from Zobrist in RF. Just about a blink later, the Cubs were up 7-0 after homers by Addison Russell and Albert Almora, Jr.
- Remember when Votto was doinked at the plate to end the 3rd? Well, if he'd have held up, the bases would've been loaded for Duvall. Instead, Duvall got to lead off the Bottom of the 4th, and he did so by blasting his league-leading 22nd dinger into the LF stands. Shrug emoji. Eugenio Suarez then singled, moved to 3B on a ground-rule double by Barnhart, and scored on a productive grounder by pinch-hitter Zack Cozart. Reds trailed, 7-2.
- The Cubs tacked on another pair of runs in the Top of the 7th off Keyvius Sampson, and all the Reds had left in store was a mooted rally in the Bottom of the 8th that was snuffed out by Duvall trying to steal 2B with 2-outs and Bruce sitting on 3B. Why? The Aristocrats! Reds lost, 9-2.
- As C. Trent Rosecrans of The Enquirer reminded us shortly after Hamilton's exit, the Reds' CF has already spent time on the 7-day concussion DL this year, though we're certainly hoping that today's injury won't be that serious.
- Prior to the start of this one, the Reds recalled Keyvius Sampson from AAA Louisville and optioned JJ Hoover in a corresponding move. Early reports indicate Hoover stopped by Denny's for breakfast before leaving town.
- Cody Reed got little help from the luck gods early, and then got smacked around thoroughly from that point forward. His final line: 4 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 5 K, 0 BB, with a trio of dingers allowed.
- The competition won't get much easier for the Reds after today, as they'll board a plane bound for Washington to take on the Nationals in a four game tussle over the weekend. Thursday's contest will begin at 7:05 PM ET, with lefties Brandon Finnegan and Gio Gonzalez slated to start.