The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Boy, did the month of June really mess up Dan Straily. At one point holding a 3.15 ERA through 14 appearances, Straily hit a disappointing rough patch in which he was hit with an 0-4 record and 7.67 ERA over five starts entering the All-Star break. The skid hurt more than just Straily, as the notoriously awful Reds pitching staff seemed to have lost their dependable workhorse, and the front office seemed to have lost what was looking like a solid trade chip in a depleted market for buying pitching.
With his first start of the second half, however, Straily showed that the extra days off may have done some serious good. Straily tossed seven shutout innings against Milwaukee on Sunday, holding the opposition to just three hits while striking out four and walking one batter, his lowest total since May 25th. His losing streak didn't end, because the Reds' offense was butt, but he did lower his ERA 4.07 for the year. His opponents' batting average for the month of July is now .159, his lowest of any month this season and a sign that Straily's already well on his way out of the slump. He gets the trophy today.
Honorable mentions go to Billy Hamilton, who reached base twice and scored the winning run on a passed ball, Joey Votto, who also reached twice, and Michael Lorenzen and Tony Cingrani, who each pitched scoreless innings of relief.
- Not a damn thing happened through the first seven innings. Go on, go check the box score for yourself. I'll wait.
- Seriously, this was a quick one. Both Straily and Brewers starter Zach Davies were moving the ball all over the strike zone, and had hitters off balance all day. The two teams combined for just eight baserunners through the first seven innings, after which both starters were pulled.
- Lorenzen came in for the eighth inning, and for a second, the Brewers appeared to be threatening. The right-hander was able to work around a hit and a walk though, and kept the game scoreless.
- The bottom of the ninth inning looked like it was about to be more of the same after the Brewers' Tyler Thornberg retired Ivan DeJesus Jr. and Zack Cozart to begin the frame. Then he walked Billy Hamilton, and all hell broke loose. Will Smith was brought in to retire Joey Votto, but instead walked him to bring up Jay Bruce. On the second pitch of Bruce's at-bat, Hamilton stole third, setting up trouble for Smith if he missed his catcher badly enough. Sure enough, the next pitch he threw got past Jonathan Lucroy behind the plate, and Hamilton was off to the races, sliding in head-first for the winning run. Reds win, 1-0, and take the first series of the second half!
Check out that EKG-looking Fangraph:
- Hell yeah, the Reds won a series.
- Brandon Phillips sat out for the second straight game, with Jose Peraza again getting the start at second base. Peraza was caught stealing for the first time in his MLB career today, breaking what had been a 13-for-13 start.
- John Lamb was sent down to Louisville after getting smoked last night, with OF Kyle Waldrop getting called up to take his place on the major league roster. Bryan Price said the Reds are still evaluating their options for how they will fill in his next start, whether it be them skipping his spot in the rotation with an off-day coming up, or calling up Tim Adleman, who is currently rehabbing from an injury in Louisville. It will definitively not be Homer Bailey, and judging from Zach Buchanon's Twitter, it doesn't sound like it will be Robert Stephenson, either. Foo-ey.
- The Reds will welcome the Braves to town on Monday, with Brandon Finnegan (4-7, 4.71 ERA) looking to turn things around for himself opposite Atlanta's Matt Wisler (4-8, 4.47 ERA). Game time is set for 7:10 p.m.