The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Brandon Phillips is over the proverbial baseball hill for a middle infielder, has watched the Cincinnati Reds attempt to trade him multiple times, and can visibly see both Jose Peraza and Dilson Herrera, among others, as his on-paper heir apparents already in the organization. That doesn't mean he's about to fade into the sunset lightly, however, and though he's been banged up with multiple knocks over the previous few weeks, he once again posted a helluva night on Wednesday.
Phillips made a pair of spectacular plays at 2B on Wednesday, which is more or less the given we've all come to expect from him over the years. That aside, he doubled twice, scored, drove in a pair of runs, and added a stolen base in his return to the lineup after two games off, and once again showed why he's been one of the better Reds to don the jersey over the last few generations.
Great night, Brandon, and have another JNMHSotG trophy for your vault.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Homer Bailey, who allowed just 2 runs (1 earned) in 5 IP of 6 H, 6 K, 1 BB ball; Josh Smith, for tossing a pair of scoreless innings in relief; Eugenio Suarez, who doubled twice, walked, and drove in a run; Blake Wood, who hurled a perfect 8th inning (with a K); and Joey Votto, who went 1 for 3 with a walk and a run scored.
- Marcell Ozuna clobbered a Bailey offering in the Top of the 4th, launching a solo dinger into the left-center to open the scoring with the Marlins ahead, 1-0.
- The Reds struck back quickly, however, as Phillips laced a leadoff double into CF in the Bottom half of the 4th, and he scored a batter later when Suarez doubled to LF. Game tied, 1-1.
- Unfortunately, Homer's defense let him down in the Top of the 5th, and it led to another Marlins run. Christian Yelich singled with 2-out, stole 2B, and then scored when Suarez erred on a ball off the bat of Ozuna. Marlins led, 2-1.
- Trailing by a run in the Bottom of the 7th, the Reds sent Billy Hamilton to the plate to pinch-hit. He singled, which was awesome, but then the Reds opted to drop a bunt down with Tony Renda at the plate to presumably give Zack Cozart a shot at driving him in from 2B. Of course, it gave away an out late in the game, and after Cozart popped out, it left 1B open for the Marlins to take the bat out of Votto's hands by intentionally walking him. No, Billy's not 100% yet, so simply hoping he'd steal is a false hope, but setting up any scenario that takes the bat out of Votto's hands is dumb on ever single non "draft as high as possible in 2017" level that exists. Fortunately, Bryan Price was bailed out when Phillips doubled to RF and cleared the bases, which put the Reds ahead, 3-2.
- From that point forward, Wood and Tony Cingrani combined to keep the Marlins off the board, and the Reds wrapped up the win, 3-2.
- Votto's 5th inning single means, I believe, that he's hit safely in 29 of the 30 games since the All Star break. That's just patently absurd, especially when you factor in the 25 walks he's accrued in that time frame, too.
- Dan Straily will take the mound for Thursday's series finale against Miami, and he'll be opposed by the fireballin' Jose Fernandez. First pitch is set for 7:10 PM ET.