The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
The Cincinnati Reds bonked multiple dingers and banged out 15 hits against the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night. Unfortunately, they also got outdingered, outhit, outscored, and got their baseball brains thoroughly thumped, as well. Welcome to 2016.
Hidden in that gigantic pile of awfulsauce, however, was another sound performance by the team's offense, a unit which our own Eric Roseberry noticed has been absolutely on fire for the past two weeks. The star among stars on the evening was Tucker Barnhart, I suppose, as the Cincinnati backstop had a three hit evening that included a dinger, a pair of runs scored, and zero throwing errors despite a veritable army of Cardinals on the bases all night long.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Billy Hamilton, who went 2 for 4 with a sterling outing with the glove in CF; Zack Cozart, who went 2 for 4 with a dinger and an RBI single; Joey Votto, who doubled, singled, scored, and drove in a run; and Jay Bruce, who had a 2 for 4 night that included another ribbie.
- Alfredo Simon walked the first two batters of the game, because of course he did. Alfredo Simon then allowed a 3-run dinger to the third batter of the game, Matt Adams, because of course of course he did. Reds trailed immediately, 3-0.
- The Cincinnati offense is starting to look pretty damn good, though, and that was on display in the Bottom of the 1st. Votto hit a 1-out double into the gap in right-center, and he motored around to score two batters later when a jam-shot single off Jay Bruce's bat fell in between the 2B and RF. Reds trailed, 3-1.
- The Top of the 2nd saw Yadier Molina double to the wall in left-center on meatball number two, and meatball number three was blasted to the corner in RF by Matt Carpenter to score Molina. Well, at least meatballs number two and three - I suppose I could've missed a few non-contact meatballs while sticking my head in a blender with Simon on the mound. Reds trailed, 4-1.
- The back-end of the Cincinnati lineup went to work in the Bottom of the 2nd against Jaime Garcia, however, and it set the table for the Reds to get back into this one. Hamilton led off with a single to LF, and he took 2B when Barnhart singled, too. Hamilton then stole 3B before Garcia walked Simon to load the bases, and Billy trotted home when Cozart singled past a pulled-in SS, and Tucker then did the same when Votto poked a single into CF. That left the bases loaded again with nobody out, but the Cards nabbed Simon at home on BP's soft dribbler, and back to back laser line-drives by Bruce and Duvall went right at St. Louis defenders for tough-luck outs. Reds trailed, 4-3.
- Cozart leveled things for the Reds in the Bottom of the 4th, as he turned around a Garcia pitch for a homer to LF that bounced off the top of the wall. Game tied, 4-4.
- Simon, though, was unfazed by the concept of the Reds being back in this one, so he chunked meatball number four right down the gut to Brandon Moss in the Top of the 5th, and he proceeded to damn near hit it over the RF seats and into the Ohio River. One fun aspect of that: Jhonny Peralta hhad shingled ihn fhront of Mhoss, so it was a 2-run blast. Reds trailed, 6-4.
- Barnhart inched the Reds closer with his solo shot in the Bottom of the 5th, a line drive that cleared the wall in LF. It'd have been seriously cool if Hamilton hadn't been caught stealing immediately beforehand, though. Reds trailed, 6-5.
- Moss struck again in the Top of the 7th, dingering again to RF - although this one just cleared the RF wall, meaning it was roughly two to three hundred feet shorter than his previous long ball. Josh Smith was the culprit this time, since Simon had mercifully been removed by that point, and Smith was later charged with another earned run when JC Ramirez took over with a pair of inherited runners on and allowed a pinch-hit single to Greg Garcia that drove one in. Reds trailed, 8-5.
- Oh god, the bullpen. Hide. Duck. Flee. Bury yourself. Ramirez came back out for the Top of the 8th and got knocked around to the tune of single, single, RBI single, 3-run dhinger bhy Jhonny, and after he walked Moss the Reds turned to AJ Morris. That rally finally ended with the Reds behind, 12-5.
- Cincinnati scraped across a pair of runs in the Bottom of the 9th on a BP ground-rule double and his subsequent run scored, but that was ultimately the end of things. Reds lost, 12-7.
- The only derogatory descriptor of the current Reds bullpen that I don't think has yet been used is "2016 candidate for President of the United States of America."
- The MLB Draft begins tomorrow (Thursday), and the Reds own the 2nd overall pick as I'm sure you're well aware. The Enquirer's Zach Buchanan has a great draft primer up regarding the team's options and overall strategy, and it's a great read to get you familiar with the entire process. We'll be covering the funny ha-ha heck out of it here at Red Reporter dot com tomorrow, so join us early and often. The actual drafting begins at 7 PM ET.
- If you're an everyday Reds fan who was stuck trying to find a way to root for Alfredo Simon tonight, rest assured that things on the pitching end will get brighter, and soon. Brandon Finnegan will look to continue his recent decent streak tomorrow opposite Adam Wainwright, with first pitch set for 7:10 PM ET. Then, of course, we'll get to watch Anthony DeSclafani's season debut on Friday against the Oakland A's and their ace, Sonny Gray.