The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Eugenio Suarez had cooled off mightily after his red hot start to the 2017 season. The Cincinnati Reds 3B sported a pristine 1.200 OPS on April 23rd, but watched that slip all the way down to .785 after July 16th’s 0 for 4 outing against the Washington Nationals, a 71 game stretch in which he hit just .221/.331/.348 in 287 PAs.
Of course, he’d still managed an impressive walk rate during that span, and entered play on Thursday still sporting a solid .356 OBP for the year. And since he’s made a habit of crushing LHP for much of his career, it was nice to finally see him hit 2nd in the batting order with regular #2 hitter Zack Cozart getting a scheduled day off.
Suarez responded in a big way, cracking a pair of solo homers to go along with a walk, his 2nd and 3rd dingers in his last 4 games played. Hopefully, he’s about to go on the kind of late season tear he went on just last season, as this appears to be a damn fine start to such a thing.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Luis Castillo, who settled in after a rough beginning to fire 6 innings of 4 H, 4 ER, BB, 7 K ball on an even 100 pitches, striking out the side in his final half inning (and adding his first career hit at the plate, too); Drew Storen, for fanning a pair in his perfect inning of relief; and Devin Mesoraco, for actually getting back into the lineup after yet another stint on the DL.
- Arizona jumped on Castillo to begin the game, scoring 3 runs - all on Jake Lamb’s dinger off the batter’s eye in CF - before the young righty could record an out in the Top of the 1st. Reds trailed early, 3-0.
- It took until the Bottom of the 4th for the Reds to get on the board, but they did so on Suarez’s mammoth solo homer off the face of the second deck in LF. The Reds later loaded the bases with nobody out against Patrick Corbin, but couldn’t manage to plate another run that inning. Dern. Reds trailed, 3-1.
- The DBacks got that run back immediately, however, as Gregor Blanco cracked a leadoff triple off the wall in RF and scored on Daniel Descalso’s sac-fly into CF. Reds trailed, 4-1.
- Blanco struck again in the Top of the 7th, this time with an opposite-field homer off Tony Cingrani after Cingrani had walked Ketel Marte. Reds trailed, 6-1.
- Suarez did his best to dig Cincinnati out of that hole, clubbing his 2nd solo homer of the game in the Bottom of the 8th, this time off former teammate JJ Hoover. However, Ketel Marte turned around an Ariel Hernandez meatball in the Top of the 9th for a 2-run shot, putting Arizona ahead, 8-2. A walk and a single then followed off Hernandez, and another run came in to score when A.J. Pollock crushed a run-scoring double off the wall in CF. Later, Lamb pummeled an opposite-field dinger of his own, another 3-run blast that gave Arizona a dozen runs on the day.
- After that, the Reds schlepped their way through an empty 9th, and lost, 12-2.
- FOX Video’s Ken Rosenthal had some bummerrific information for Reds fans on Thursday afternoon: it appears they might be running out of options for cashing in on Zack Cozart. While their SS keeps on crushing through his career season, there just aren’t many teams out there that are in need of upgrades at the position, especially if they’re similarly worried about the potential regression from Cozart offensively. Dang.
- In fact, our own Charlie Scrabbles explored Cozart’s situation, noting that for the same reasons there’s very little market for him right now, there may well be a limited market for him if he reaches free agency this winter, too.
- The Reds will welcome the Miami Marlins to town on Friday for a 3 game series to wrap their 10 game homestand. Jose Urena will toe the rubber in Friday’s series opener, and the Reds will counter by sending Homer Bailey back to the mound. First pitch is set for 7:10 PM ET.
- Potential NL MVP front-runner Paul Goldschmidt went 0 for 5 with 4 Ks on the day, and the Reds still allowed a dozen runs. Not good, Bob.
- The Reds are on-pace to allow some 280 homers this year. That would be a record.