The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Zack Cozart has always been Zack “MVP/GG” Cozart. Them’s just the rules.
However, during the 2017 season, he’s actually been worthy of both MVP votes and his typical Gold Glove caliber praise, and on Tuesday against the Toronto Blue Jays, that was again on full display.
Cozart blasted a pair of solo homers, added two walks, and raised his season OPS to an absurd 1.039 in the process. That’s absurd, really, even when you factor in how solid he’s been when healthy over the past few seasons.
Congrats, Cozy, and here’s to Reds’ pitching finally catching up to your surge at some point soon.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Joey Votto, who dingered and walked; Michael Lorenzen, who fired 3 innings of scoreless relief; Jose Peraza, who went 2 for 4 with a pair of stolen bases; and Eugenio Suarez, who walked twice.
- The Reds brought out their lumber immediately against Jays starter J.A. Happ, who was making his first start since April 16th after dealing with elbow inflammation. Cozart crushed a solo homer off the batter’s eye with 1-out in the Top of the 1st, and Votto followed by cranking the first pitch he saw to almost the same spot to give the Reds an early 2-0 lead.
- Asher Wojciechowski was nails from the start, and that maintained through the batting order the first time through. The Bottom of the 4th, however, went much differently, as Josh Donaldson clubbed a 2-run homer into the 93rd deck in LF, Jose Bautista followed him with a solo shot that also went a country mile, and Russell Martin later homered in the inning, too, to leave Cincinnati behind, 4-2.
- Cozart wasn’t yet done, however, as he helped the Reds strike back immediately with another solo shot, this one out to LF off reliever Danny Barnes with 1-out in the Top of the 5th. Reds trailed, 4-3.
- Cincinnati equalized with its speed in the Top of the 7th, as Peraza singled to start the inning off Ryan Tepera, stole 2B, and moved up to 3B when Martin’s attempt to nail him stealing 2B went awry. Hamilton then singled to drive him in, but was thrown out stealing 3B for the first out of the inning after Cozart had walked to put a pair on with Votto at-bat. That loomed large after Votto walked and Adam Duvall had a would-be hit into LF robbed by a diving Ezequiel Carrera and Eugenio Suarez K’d, as what could’ve been a huge inning was limited to a lone run. Still, the game was tied, 4-4.
- Blake Wood took over the tie game in the Bottom of the 8th and, well, vomitface. The Reds had several chances to put this one away, but got burned for their failures when Wood served up a leadoff single to Bautista and a 2-run tater to Kendrys Morales. That wrapped the scoring, unfortunately, and the Blue Jays won this tater salad, 6-4.
- Asher Wojciechowski was really good until he really wasn’t, but showed at least an ability to consistently throw strikes, something so damn many of his Reds pitching peers have yet to do this year. He allowed 4 ER in his 4 IP, but walked none against 4 Ks, and as far as I’m concerned, he didn’t do anything to suggest he shouldn’t get another start in this makeshift, beleaguered rotation.
- The Reds will play a matinee in the series finale on Wednesday, with first pitch set for an early 12:37 PM ET. Tim Adleman will get the starting nod for Cincinnati, and he’ll be opposed by Mike Bolsinger.