The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Tucker Barnhart and his wife had their first child back in August, he put pen to paper on a four-year contract extension shortly thereafter, and took home his first career Gold Glove award at season’s end. It’s been a pretty good run for Tuck, so you’d be right to think he was geared up to get the 2018 season rolling - and quickly.
Barnhart belted a 2-run homer to get the Cincinnati Reds on the board and in the lead, later added a walk, and almost, almost picked off a runner by throwing behind him at 1B. It’s easy to see he’s becoming a leader on this roster (especially with the club now committed to him as the starter for years), and this was certainly a good way to back it up with play on the field.
Congrats, Tuck, and welcome back to baseballing.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Brandon Dixon, who launched a 2-run moonball dinger; Tyler Mahle, who fired a pair of scoreless innings with 2 Ks; Mason Williams, who doubled and scored; Phil Gosselin, who singled twice, swiped a bag, and scored; Rosell Herrera, who dingered and made you read the name ‘Rosell Herrera’ on Red Reporter dot com at least once in your life; Kevin Shackelford, who fired a clean inning of relief (with 2 Ks); and Jimmy Herget, who chewed up batters for the save.
- Yonder Alonso opened the scoring in this one with the first healthily-honked dinger off Cincinnati pitching, a solo shot off Sal Romano in the Bottom of the 2nd. Reds trailed, 1-0.
- The Reds know how to dinger though, too. It was Barnhart in the Top of the 3rd doing the damage to put the Reds ahead, as he dropped a 2-run blast into the RF seats after Peraza had singled in front of him. Reds led, 2-1.
- Dixon clobbered his homer in the Top of the 6th, a 2-run blast after Phil Gosselin had singled in front of him as the second unit took over for the Reds. Reds led, 4-1.
- Dublin, Ohio native Eric Stamets got one back for Cleveland in the Bottom of the 6th with a solo homer off Jackson Stephens. Reds led, 4-2.
- Mason Williams laced a double to the wall in CF to begin the Top of the 7th, and productive grounders by Cliff Pennington and Stuart Turner brought him in. Reds led, 5-2.
- Keury Mella took over to pitch the Bottom of the 9th with the wind blowing straight out to CF, and it went not well. A Stamets single and a later walk to Jack Murphy set up Richie Shaffer, and he responded with a deep fly ball off the wall in CF that scored a pair as a triple. Mella, though, got Michael Brantley to K, and the Reds led, 5-4.
- Herrera’s donk came in the Top of the 9th for an insurance run, as he lifted a solo shot up into the wind and over the CF wall. After that, Herget took care of business, and the Reds wrapped up the win, 6-4!
The best graph you are likely to see this week. pic.twitter.com/4YMUMRmOFP— Academia Obscura (@AcademiaObscura) February 23, 2018
- Prior to the game, Bryan Price spoke to The Enquirer’s John Fay about his desire to have a 5th man on the bench over an 8th man in the bullpen. Given how many MLB-ready hitters there are in the system at the moment, that sure makes sense.
- Speaking of The Enquirer, Zach Buchanan announced earlier today he’s leaving the Reds beat. Best of luck to Zach in his next endeavor, and many thanks to him for having been both a great writer and good friend of the blog over the years.
- Jose Siri banged into the wall attempting to catch Shaffer’s triple in the Bottom of the 8th, remained down for quite a while, and eventually left the game after the trainers checked out his left hand/wrist. Dang.
- Mahle looked damn fine in his innings today. If he continues to pitch like that, it’s going to be quite hard to leave him out of the rotation come Opening Day.
- Michael Lorenzen will begin his campaign for a spot in the rotation with a start on Saturday. He’ll toe the rubber when the Reds welcome the Colorado Rockies to Goodyear, with first pitch set for 3:05 PM ET. The game won’t be on FS-Ohio (and it doesn’t appear the Rockies will have their TV crew there), so you’ll have to tune in to 700 WLW for the action.