The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Joey Votto's march to hitting .400 or better in the 2nd half of this Cincinnati Reds season has become the single most watchable portion of this franchise of late. If you'd care to argue it's the single reason at all to watch this team play at all, I wouldn't argue that point, either.
Votto continued to climb closer to that vaunted mark against the Chicago Cubs on Monday, posting a 2 for 3 night that featured both a ribbie and an additional walk, and his batting average has now reached a season high of .321. Watching him swing the bat is something you should all be telling your grandkids about decades from now, since what he's managed to put on display has been nothing short of spectacular.
Trophy's yours again, Joey. Congrats.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Tim Adleman, who held the Cubs to just 2 ER in 6.1 IP, striking out 5 against nary a walk; Jose Peraza, who chipped in with yet another 2 for 4 game; Brandon Phillips, who dingered; and Hernan Iribarren, who continued his terrific rate of tripling with - you guessed it - another triple.
- BP got the Reds on the board in the Top of the 2nd, launching a solo dinger into CF off Jason Hammell - the 197th of his illustrious career. Reds led, 1-0.
- The Reds tacked on another run in the Top of the 6th when Votto singled to drive in Hernan Iribarren, who had tripled in front of him. That left the Reds ahead, 2-0.
- Adleman had completely cruised prior to the Bottom of the 7th, but he was then roughed up repeatedly. I'm guessing that the expected bullpen game tomorrow - more on that in Other Notes - may have led to Bryan Price sticking with him for a 3rd time through a potent batting order, though the efficiency in which Adleman had retired Chicago hitters to that point surely factored into his decision. Ultimately, soolo dingers from both Addison Russell and Wellington Castillo leveled the score and chased Adleman, and a double by Chris Coghlan off reliever Blake Wood later proved costly that inning when Dexter Fowler poked a 2-out single into CF to give the Cubs the lead, 3-2.
- The fan was then welcomed with the turd when Blake Wood was asked to go a 2nd inning in the Bottom of the 8th, however. He retired the first pair of Cubs he faced to begin the inning, but a double by Russell preceded a monster 2-run dinger to CF off the bat of the struggling Jason Heyward, and that left the Reds behind, 5-2.
- That, of course, left a save situation for Chicago Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman, which was his first career appearance against his former team. Chapman issued a 1-out walk to Scott Schebler - who later took 2B on defensive indifference - but that spelled the end of the positives for Cincinnati, as Chapman ultimately K'd Tucker Barnhart to end the game. Reds lost, 5-2.
- The second dinger allowed by Adleman in the Bottom of the 7th was the 241st of the season from the Cincinnati pitching staff, which marks the most ever allowed in a single season in MLB history. That a Reds pitching staff owns that record isn't terribly surprising given GABP, the lack of a dominant career starter in the team record books, Eric Milton, and The Bowden Years existing, but it's still somewhat jarring to know they know own that record - especially with 12 more games yet to be played.
- Prior to the start of today's game, the Reds announced that Josh Smith would start Tuesday's game against Chicago. It had been roundly presumed that swingman Keyvius Sampson would pick up another start after throwing just 1.2 innings on Saturday in a relief role, but apparently it's going to be Smith that gets the 1st inning role. I still expect Sampson to get a few innings in what looks to be a bullpen game, however.
- Tunes in the Key of Life.