The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
A lot of you probably forgot that Phil Ervin, the 1st round pick of the Cincinnati Reds from the 2013 MLB Draft, was even back with the team. Hell, I had to check twice. That’s the case, however, as he was called up after Devin Mesoraco was placed back on the 10-day DL with a broken foot earlier this week.
Well, Ervin’s back, and after a late game switch brought him into the game, the rookie smashed a solo homer for both his first career hit and first career dinger, which is certainly worthy of a bit of dap.
Welcome back to the bigs, Phil, and have yourself a trophy.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Adam Duvall, who clubbed a late 2-run homer to tie the game; Zack Cozart, who mauled a late 2-run dinger to provide the platform for Duvall’s game-tying dinger; Billy Hamilton, who singled, doubled, walked, and scored twice; and Kevin Shackleford, who fired 1.1 IP of scoreless, hitless relief late in the game through the Chicago Cubs’ heart of the order.
- The Reds loaded the bases off John Lackey in the Top of the 1st with nobody out. They scored 1 run, as Eugenio Suarez lifted a sac fly to the wall in left-center.
- The Cubs loaded the bases off Homer Bailey in the Bottom of the 1st with nobody out. They scored 4 runs, as Anthony Rizzo clubbed a grand slam over the wall in left-center. Reds trailed, 4-1.
- It took the Reds until 2-out in the Top of the 2nd to load the bases again, but they eventually did after some TOOTBLANing (more on that below). No runs, however despite Lackey throwing the ball all over the place.
- Anthony Rizzo legged out a hustle double to put a runner in scoring position with 2-outs in the Bottom of the 3rd, and that proved vital when Alex Avila cracked an oppo single off the LF wall that brought in the runner. (I say ‘single’ because he hit it so hard that’s all it could’ve been.) Reds trailed, 5-1.
- Bailey’s 109th pitch of the game was a Tommy La Stella double off the wall in right-center, which was unfortunate because Jason Heyward was on base and able to score on the play. It was his final pitch of the night, and the Reds trailed 6-1.
- Ervin got another Reds run on the board in the Top of the 7th, however, knocking a Hector Rondon meatball completely out of the park over the LF wall. Then, after Billy Hamilton reached on an infield single to 2B, Cozart clubbed a 2-run dinger deep into the LF bleachers to cut the lead to 6-4.
- The Top of the 8th saw Suarez reach on a double that clipped off the top of Jason Heyward’s glove in RF, and that eventually led to Chicago lefty Brian Duensing being chased when Adam Duvall was announced as a pinch hitter. That brought in righty Carl Edwards, Jr., who Duvall promptly greeted with a 2-run tater into the LF seats to tie the game, 6-6.
- Unfortunately, Javier Baez led off the Bottom of the 9th with a double, which put Wandy Peralta (in his 2nd inning of work) in a bit of a bind. Jon Jay was then brought on to attempt to bunt, but pitches way away from allowing him to do so resulted in a walk. Peralta then appeared to hit Ben Zobrist, though since it was a bunt attempt it was later overruled as a HBP, which resulted in Joe Maddon getting both irate and ejected from the game. A swinging bunt moved the runners up to 2B and 3B with an out at 1B, which chased Peralta in favor of Blake Wood. Wood managed a K of Albert Almora, but that brought last year’s MVP Kris Bryant to the plate, and Wood immediately threw a clunker into the dirt that skipped away and allowed Baez to scoot home from 3B. Reds lost, 7-6.
- Joey Votto singled in his first trip to the plate in this one, but failed to reach base after that point. That ended his 20 game streak of reaching base at least twice, which falls one shy of the 21 game MLB record held by Ted Williams.
- That bases loaded Top of the 1st ended with Cozart being thrown out at home trying to tag on a fly out to LF Kyle Schwarber. That marks the second guy Schwarber has nailed at the plate this series, as Tucker Barnhart was previously nailed there trying to score from 2B on a shallow single immediately after entering the game when Devin Mesoraco broke his foot. So, that’s a cold-off-the-bench lumbering catcher and the shortstop with one functioning leg at the moment. Maybe, maybe don’t send them.
- An inning later, Jesse Winker was nailed at home by feet on an infield grounder just seconds after tHom gave us a lecture about how much better of an athlete Scott Schebler is than Winker. Guh.
- Homer Bailey was far from good on the night, but if you chalk his 2017 up as merely “rehab” for the guy who has missed much of the last three years, there were some positives. He routinely sat at 95 mph, and his breaking ball has a big pile of movement on it. And, at least he threw 109 pitches. His final line wasn’t quite so pretty, though: 5.2 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 5 BB, 10 K. Some good swing and miss stuff in there, though.
- Thursday’s series finale between these two clubs will feature a veteran matchup on the mound, as Scott Feldman will toe the rubber for the Reds opposite Jon Lester. First pitch is scheduled for 2:20 PM ET.