The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Keyvius Sampson has ridden the bus to Louisville from Cincinnati, ridden it from Louisville back to Cincinnati, and repeated both rides again in 2016. As the 2016 season nears an end - and as pending 40-man roster decisions put his future with the Cincinnati Reds in check - the chances to make tangible impact at the big league level and earn a spot with the 2017 Reds are dwindling.
That didn't stop the team from giving Sampson another spot start, however, and on Monday he responded with a dang fine performance.
Sampson struck out seven Milwaukee Brewers in his abbreviated 4.2 inning start, allowing nary a run in the process. He yielded just 4 hits and 2 walks, and generally looked completely in charge in the process despite not being stretched out enough to carry the load late into the game. His usage has been a mixed bag since he was plucked off waivers from the San Diego Padres last year, but he's got a live arm that's bound to be useful in a particular role given the right scenario. Whether or not that role fits with the 2017 Reds, I do not know, but it's clear that Monday's outing was a good step in that direction.
So, have a trophy, Keyvius.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Scott Schebler, who had a two hit night (and drove in a pair); Brandon Phillips, who similarly had a two hit night (and scored a run); Blake Wood, who fired 1.1 innings of hitless, scoreless ball (including taking over for Sampson with the bases loaded & getting out of the jam); and Raisel Iglesias, who fired a pair of scoreless, hitless innings to notch a save, striking out 3 Beers in the process.
- The Reds smawl-bawled their way to a 3-0 lead in the Bottom of the 1st off Milwaukee starter Wily Peralta, stringing together a pile of dinked and dunked 2-out hits to jump in front early. Eugenio Suarez started things with a 1-out walk, and he moved up a bag when Adam Duvall later singled. A single from Phillips then loaded the bases, and both Suarez and Duvall motored home when Schebler then slammed a single into RF. A blooped single into RF from Tyler Holt then scored BP, and Cincinnati was up a field goal.
- Three hours later, that was still the storyline, as both offenses fell into a funk and the early scoring proved to be the difference. Reds won, 3-0!
- Brandon Phillips is hitting .291 with a 30 double season. In fact, I believe he's got the most XBHs he's had in any season since 2013, which wasn't something I thought I'd say just two months ago.
- Dan Straily will toe the rubber for the Reds in Tuesday's tussle with the Brewers, and his pitching opposition will come in the form of Matt Garza and, presumably, Matt Garza's awful facial hair. First pitch is set for 7:10 PM ET, unless Garza decides to schedule "learning how to grow a proper beard" for that exact time, in which case I'd gladly help stop the baseball world to provide that opportunity.