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Danny Espinosa homers twice to lead Nationals past Reds 13-4

Espinosa is largely why Trea Turner is still in the minors. I guess now we know why.

Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

Joey Votto entered Thursday's contest with the Washington Nationals the owner of a very Votto-like .960 OPS in the month of June, and he proceeded to make sure the last game of the month made that rise, not fall.  The Cincinnati Reds 1B blasted his 5th homer of the month, added a double, and was one of very few bright spots in a game where the Reds got their butts handed to them in almost every way imaginable.

His season OPS is up to .832, and with 9 games left before the All Star break, it's fathomable a continued resurgence can get him close to the .876 mark he carried into the same break just last year.  That, of course, preceded the single best second half in modern Reds bloghole history, and anything akin to that again this year would virtually erase all memory of his slow start to the season altogether.  Hell, as is, he's on pace for 28 dingers, 81 ribbies, 105 walks, and infinite middle fingers to those who think he's not good anymore, and any continued improvement on that is worthy of a standing ovation from all of you.

The Reds are not good right now.  Joey Votto, though, is, and he gets yet another trophy tonight.

Honorable Mentions are due to:  Michael Lorenzen, who tossed a trio of relief innings that showed his great potential, featuring just a lone hit allowed against 3 Ks (and no walks); Brandon Phillips, who went 2 for 3 with a run scored; and Billy Hamilton, who walked twice, which is dang nice to see from a guy whose fearsome baserunning is tied at the hip with getting on base at all costs.

Key Plays

  • Cincinnati loaded the bases with nobody out in the Top of the 1st, yet netted just a lone run - one that came courtesy of a 4-6-3 off the bat of Jay Bruce.  That proved to be painful...
  • ...when Washington immediately teed-off on Brandon Finnegan in the Bottom of the 1st.  Jayson Werth chomped a meatball that nearly left the yard for a 2-run dinger - instead settling for a double off the wall in LF that left a pair of runners on - and several batters later Ryan Zimmerman mauled another meatball for a 3-run dinger over the wall in CF.  All told, 4 Nationals crossed the plate in an inning where Brandon Finnegan needed 37 pitches to escape, and the Reds trailed, 4-1.
  • Unfortunately for the Reds, then Danny Espinosa happened.  He blasted a grand slam in the Bottom of the 3rd to finally chase Finnegan after he had issued a pair of walks and allowed a single to load the bases, and later smoked his second homer of the game in the Bottom of the 4th - a 3-run blast off Josh Smith that put the Reds in the hole 13-1.
  • Yes, 13-1.
  • Yes, I omitted a few other runs scoring in that stretch.  I'm not sorry.
  • Votto finally dented the Reds' side of the scoreboard again in the Top of the 6th, taking a Gio Gonzalez fastball the other way for a vintage oppo-dinger.  A single by Brandon Phillips, double by Jay Bruce, and productive grounder by Adam Duvall then followed to drive in another run, and Tucker Barnhart's subsequent RBI single cut the Nationals' lead to single digits.  Still, the Reds trailed, 13-4, and that's how the scoring would eventually wrap.

Tony Graphanino

Source: FanGraphs

Other Notes

  • I'd be really frustrated by the outcome of this one, but I've watched almost every game so far this season.
  • Reds pitching issued 7 walks and allowed 3 dingers which, well, yeah.
  • Dusty Baker has caught endless flack for being the lone reason why top prospect Trea Turner toils in the minors while Danny Espinosa gets everyday time as the Nationals' SS.  I'm not saying it's the right decision, but I am saying I just watched Espinosa beat the hell out of the Reds tonight.
  • But yeah, I am absolutely saying that Dusty Baker has caught a boatload of flack in his managerial career that isn't warranted, so get the F of his back, for fuck's sake.
  • I miss the Dusty Baker Reds.  Those were the kind of years you'll tell your kids about in another decade or so while complaining at that point about whichever poor soul is running the franchise at that point.
  • Tomorrow's start is a bit earlier than normal, with first pitch set for 6:05 PM ET.  Anthony DeSclafani will toe the rubber for the Reds in an attempt to replicate his stellar previous outing, and he'll be opposed by Nats starter Tanner Roark.  Turn on, tune in, and drop comments in the game thread.
  • Charlie Scrabbletunes.