The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
The damage that Curt Casali has been able to provide since coming over to the Cincinnati Reds has been legitimate, even if he hasn’t been able to hoist the rest of the club onto his back and carry them to tens of victories.
Casali dingered against the Chicago Cubs on Saturday, doubled, and drove in 4 while getting a fill-in start for the injured Joey Votto, and now sports a tidy .333/.410/.552 line on the season, which is all the Reds could’ve possibly fathomed - and more.
On a day when the outcome of this game was pretty well determined long before the finish, Casali’s 3-run blast at least made those of us who were still watching through half of one sleepy eye blink a few times, and for that we thank him.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Preston Tucker, who bonked a solo dinger in a pinch-hit spot; Phil Ervin, who singled, walked twice, and scored; David Hernandez, who fired another perfect inning of relief; and Eugenio Suarez, who had a pair of singles and scored twice.
- The Chicago Cubs put some stripes on the scoreboard off Luis Castillo in the Bottom of the 2nd. Willson Contreras was hit by a pitch to open things, though he was replaced on the bases by Kyle Schwarber on a force-play a batter later. Schwarber moved up on a productive groundout by pitcher Jose Quintana before a passed ball by Tucker Barnhart moved him to 3B, where he then scored easily on a single by Ian Happ. Happ then cruised home when Daniel Murphy clubbed a 2-run dinger, and the Reds trailed, 3-0.
- Eugenio Suarez scored on a Curt Casali sac-fly in the Top of the 4th after the Cincinnati Reds loaded the bases with nobody out on Geno’s single, a Phil Ervin walk, and a Barnhart single into RF. After Dilson Herrera struck out to bring Castillo to the plate, the Cincinnati starting pitcher worked a 3-2 count before smacking an RBI single into CF to plate Ervin. Reds trailed, 3-2.
- Castillo immediately gave those runs back in the Bottom of the 4th, however, as he hummed an 87 mph meatball to Schwarber, who crushed it for a 2-run dinger after Contreras had doubled in front of him. Reds trailed, 5-2.
- Dingers, man. Amir Garrett was on the mound in the Bottom of the 5th when Javy Baez took a fastball up in the zone and swatted it over the RF wall for an opposite-field solo jack. Reds trailed, 6-2.
- Sal Romano got some relief work in on the day, and allowed a double to Tommy La Stella in the Bottom of the 6th. A productive grounder moved him to 3B, and after Baez walked, Jim Riggleman turned to Wandy Peralta to face the lefty-swinging Anthony Rizzo. Three pitches later, Rizzo singled into LF to drive in a run and put the Reds behind, 7-2.
- The Cubs plated another run in the Bottom of the 7th off Peralta, and did so initially without a single hit. Peralta walked both Schwarber and Albert Almora before Scott Schebler booted a ball in RF off the bat of Ian Happ to load the bases, and a Murphy grounder that was booted by Jose Peraza at SS brought in a run. A single did finally happen to plate another two runs when Baez laced one into CF, and the Reds exited the inning down 10-2.
- Cincinnati’s offense finally got a few things going against Brandon Kintzler in the Top of the 8th. Suarez and Ervin singled to get things going, and both scored on Casali’s 3-run blast into the seats in left-center. Tucker then followed with his solo shot, and the Reds had shaved the deficit to 10-6. That, though was as close as they’d get.
- Luis Castillo’s final line was, how do you say, not good. He retired just 10 batters, allowing 5 ER on 5 H with a HBP and BB against 2 K. He threw 64 pitches in his 3.1 IP, and saw his season ERA again rise over 5 (5.07).
- Scott Schebler was activated from the 10-day DL prior to this one. He started in RF, had a single, made an error, and looked like he wished he was chomping on a mouthguard for most of the afternoon. Aristides Aquino was optioned to make room for Schebs on the roster.
- Homer Bailey and his 6.21 ERA will start again for the Reds on Sunday in the series finale, and he’ll be opposed by Kyle Hendricks. First pitch is again set for 2:20 PM ET.