The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
After being tagged for 27 runs in a three game sweep at the hands of the Pittsburgh Pirates over the weekend, the Cincinnati Reds needed some good starting pitching in their series against the St. Louis Cardinals in the biggest of ways. Luis Castillo and Homer Bailey did their jobs in the first pair of games of the series, and during Wednesday’s matinee, Sal Romano sure did, too.
The big righty allowed just 2 ER in his 6 IP, twice pitching out of jams that the defense behind him helped create. He scattered 7 hits and struck out 5 in his time, but perhaps most importantly he only walked a lone Card - who scored, of course. Still, his 99 pitch outing was perfectly cromulent, and helped the Reds to another series win over St. Louis.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Eugenio Suarez, who homered for the third straight game; Adam Duvall, who homered, too, doubled, and walked; Tucker Barnhart, who similarly belted a homer - and walked; Scooter Gennett, who had his first three hits of the second half - one being a double; Joey Votto, who walked three times and scored twice; and Phil Ervin, who singled, doubled, and drove in a pair.
- Votto coaxing a walk only to be followed immediately by an Suarez dinger is a thing of both beauty and, we hope, longevity, as those two figure to find themselves in the heart of the Cincinnati Reds order for years to come. That scenario played out in picture perfect fashion in the Bottom of the 1st off Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty, and the Reds jumped out to an early 2-0 lead.
- Paul DeJong caught a Romano meatball in the Top of the 3rd and turned it around for a dinger of his own, a solo shot into the seats beyond the wall in left-center. Reds led, 2-1.
- Duvall got that run back for the Reds in the Bottom of the 4th off Flaherty, poking a Flaherty pitch the other way into the Moon Deck seats for a solo shot of his own. Reds led, 3-2.
- Romano came out for the Top of the 6th with ~85 pitches on his ledger, and immediately walked Dexter Fowler. That haunted when Yairo Munoz belted a double to the wall in left-center to score Fowler, and Munoz took 3B on an errant throw home. Jim Riggleman opted to stick with Romano in that situation at 5.1 IP and 93 pitches - unlike when he pulled Luis Castillo two days ago in a nearly identical situation - and Romano rewarded him by fanning Harrison Bader and making a wicked bare-hand grab on a comebacker to escape the inning without further damage. Reds led, 3-2.
- John Gant walked Votto in the Bottom of the 6th after taking over for Flaherty, and that later burned when he served up a meatball to Tucker, who belted it over the bullpen behind the RF wall for a 2-run blast. Reds led, 5-2.
- David Hernandez took over for Romano for the Top of the 7th, and on the fourth pitch he threw he left a fastball over the plate to Yadier Molina, who clubbed it well over the LF wall for a solo homer. Reds led, 5-3.
- After Jared Hughes got Molina to fly out with the bases loaded in the Bottom of the 7th, the Cincinnati offense took that out on Cards reliever Luke Gregerson and his 85 mph cheeseballs. Tucker walked to lead off, and he motored to 3B on Duvall’s double to the wall in LF. Both then scored on Ervin’s double to the wall in CF, and the Reds held a 7-3 lead. Fortunately, Austin Brice made that hold up in the Top of the 9th, and the Reds took home a W and another series victory.
- Scott Schebler will DH for the AAA Louisville Bats tonight as he begins his rehab assignment, as MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon relayed earlier today.
- Tucker Barnhart’s homer will hopefully get him kick-started once again. He entered play today having hit just .154/.241/.173 in July and just .229/.313/.292 over his previous 40 games.
- The Tampa Bay Rays traded oft-injured rental starter Nathan Eovaldi to the Boston Red Sox earlier today, who sent rookie LHP Jalen Beeks to Tampa in return. Beeks was the #6 prospect in a weakened Boston system, but is a 25 year old who posted excellent numbers in AAA this year. If that’s anything akin to the return the Reds can expect for trading Matt Harvey, I’d consider the entire Harvey/Mesoraco/Harvey-flip series of transactions quite the danged success for the Cincinnati front office. Stay tuned...
- The Philadelphia Phillies will enter GABP tomorrow to begin a four game weekend series, with rookie LHP Ranger Suarez set to make his big league debut as their starter on Thursday. Yes, that’ll be the third pitcher to make his first career big league start against the Reds this week, and hopefully this time the Reds will pick up a few more hits than they did against the other two. Tyler Mahle will go for Cincinnati with hopes that he can right himself from the mini-funk he’s been in for a pair of starts. First pitch is set for 7:10 PM ET.