The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Josh Smith was an unlikely hero for the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday, but after Cody Reed exited after another short outing, Smith chipped in in a pair of positive ways.
Smith was tasked not only with taking over on the mound, but with the Reds dealing with a short bench in the wake of Zack Cozart's bruised finger, he was asked to lead off the Bottom of the 5th, as well. He responded with his first career double, and he then proceeded to toss a pair of hitless innings in which he struck out three against just a lone walk.
For a guy who started 7 games for the Reds last year, was kept in the organization, and wasn't even asked to join big league camp in Spring Training this year - which I still don't understand in the slightest - Smith has responded to the job he's been asked to do this season about as well as anyone could have possibly hoped. So, congrats Josh, and here's to keeping it up for the rest of the year.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Brandon Phillips, who had a nice 2 for 4, 2 ribbie evening; Michael Lorenzen, who tossed a pair of scoreless innings in relief; Tyler Holt, who singled and walked; and Adam Duvall, who tripled and walked.
- Cody Reed is going to be a solid major league pitcher at some point. In the Top of the 1st, however, he was anything but. The Cardinals started him off with a single and a double, with the game's 1st out coming on a fielder's choice at home to nail the lead runner, Tommy Pham, with a pair of runners aboard. Brandon Moss then smoked a double to deep CF to clear the bases, and after another fielder's choice and a Yadier Molina walk, Greg Garcia single in another pair of runs, and the Reds trailed early, 4-0.
- There's some fight in this current iteration of Reds, and they put it to work in the Bottom of the 1st to begin to close the gap. A trio of singles by Holt, Eugenio Suarez, and Votto opened the home half of the inning, the last of which scored Holt and left Suarez at 3B. An eventual RBI grounder (read: near double play that wasn't quite turned) off the bat of Phillips scored Suarez, and the Reds trailed just 4-2.
- Stephen Piscotty tagged Reed for a solo homer to CF in the Top of the 5th, the final inning of Reed's evening, and it left the Reds behind, 5-2.
- Duvall dinked a bloop down the RF line to begin the Bottom of the 6th, and it bounced off Piscotty's glove as he tried awkwardly to make a sliding catch, and when the throw from the Cardinals RF skipped past 3B and into the stand, Duvall scored - we thought. Replay confirmed a fan (in a "Go Cards" shirt) actually interfered with it while it was still in play, so Duvall was sent back to 3B. That didn't last long, though, as he scored a batter later on a single into LF by BP. Phillips then ended up safe at 2B the next batter when a would-be double play was deemed by another replay to have not occurred - the relay man was not on the bag - and that proved large when Ivan De Jesus, Jr. singled to drive BP in. Reds trailed, 5-4.
- From that point forward, the game took an opposite turn from the previous one, as there were no fireworks nor bullpen meltdowns. It ended as it was, 5-4 Cardinals, as the Reds lost.
- Reed's final line: 5 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, BB, K, on 98 pitches. Another one filed in the "Dang" column.
- Jay Bruce walked in his first plate appearance of tonight's game against the New York Yankees after going 0 for 4 with a pair of Ks for the Mets in his team debut last night. Obviously wearing #19 is wearing off on him.
- Joey Votto's 1st inning single extended his hit streak to 17 games.
- Former t-shirt connoisseur Mike Leake will make a start in GABP on Thursday for the opposing Cardinals, and he'll be opposed by Brandon Finnegan. It's a day game, so tune in for first pitch, which is set for 12:35 PM ET.