The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Joey Votto is a ridiculously good baseball player, one that will go down in history as one of the greatest offensive players the Cincinnati Reds franchise has ever had on payroll. On Sunday, he had one of his better outings of the 2018 season, clubbing a 2-run dinger, doubling in another run, and adding another pair of singles for good measure.
Honestly, he should’ve had a walk to his ledger, too, as his strikeout came on a called strike three that was damn near a foot off the plate.
Thank heck for Joey Votto. I can’t imagine watching this team without him.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Billy Hamilton, who walked twice, doubled, and scored twice; Tucker Barnhart, who singled twice; Scooter Gennett, who walked and doubled; and David Hernandez, who fanned 4 in 2 scoreless IP.
- Brandon Finnegan walked the game’s initial batter on just four pitches, which was a pretty clear omen for how this one was going to go. In fact, the Top of the 1st opened with walk-error-walk-single-walk, the single coming from Starlin Castro and driving in a pair. Castro later scored on an RBI single by Cameron Maybin, and Brian Anderson - who had walked behind Castro - eventually came home on a productive groundout. Reds trailed immediately - as they are wont to do - by a score of 4-0.
- Miami scored again in the Top of the 2nd, as J.T. Realmuto led off with a double and later scored on a sac fly. Reds trailed, 5-0.
- The Reds finally woke up at the plate against former mate Dan Straily in the Bottom of the 3rd, as Winker coaxed a walk and Votto followed with a 2-run honker over the RF wall on a first pitch breaking ball. Reds trailed, 5-2.
- Then came the rains, which mercifully put a halt to this one for over an hour.
- ‘round about 7:30 ET, Kevin Shackelford took over to pitch the Top of the 7th. He allowed a run and was pulled in favor of Amir Garrett, and Garrett managed to wriggle out of any further damage despite inheriting a pair of baserunners. Maybe he should pitch more often. Reds trailed, 6-2.
- The Reds have Joey Votto, though, and he came through in the Bottom of the 7th with what he could. Hamilton had doubled to lead off the inning, and he scooted home on Votto’s double to the wall in RF. Reds trailed, 6-3.
- Wandy Peralta has taken quite fondly to walking people in 2018. He walked the leadoff batter in the Top of the 9th, and whoever the heck that batter-turned-runner was came in to score later to put the Reds behind 7-3. A later infield single and booted ball at 3B by Eugenio Suarez brought in another run, and the Reds trailed 8-3.
- Hamilton walked to begin the Bottom of the 9th, and after Jose Peraza’s slicing liner was dropped in RF, he scooted home on an RBI groundout from Jesse Winker. Votto then singled into RF to score Peraza, but Brad Ziegler - who was brought on to replace Junichi Tazawa - eventually got out of the jam, and the Reds lost, 8-5.
- It occurred to me during the rain delay that the Reds just so happen to be playing quite possibly the worst baseball in franchise history while perhaps the single greatest class of free agents is set to hit the market - and that the Reds likely aren’t going to sign a single one of them. Never in my life have I seen the gap between what this franchise is and where I hoped it could be any larger.
- Speaking of the rain delay, you might look at the box score and assume it was the rain that ended Finnegan’s day early. That, though, was far from the case, as he needed 39 pitches to get out of the Top of the 1st and was yanked after 3.1 IP before the rains came. His final line - 3.1 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 2 K on 63 pitches - was just all around bad. His stranglehold on a spot in the starting rotation has to be loosening, or at least it damn well should be.
- They’re going to keep playing regardless, though, and on Monday they welcome Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, and the New York Mets to town for the first of a three game series. With Jacob deGrom on the DL with a hyperextended elbow, P.J. Conlon is set to start in his MLB debut opposite Homer Bailey. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.