The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
So, I guess the good news here is that the Reds hit a lot. Like, a lot. They managed a whopping 13 of them on the night. But, as you can also see on the scoreboard, they managed only four runs.
Those four runs came on only two of those hits. One player was responsible for about 40% of the hits, and that player was Tucker Barnhart.
On the night, Barnhart tripled, singled three times, and then hit a two run jack in the bottom of the 9th. It was a spectacular game for the Reds catcher, who was in need of a spectacular game. Tucker, after a strong April, is settling in for his worst offensive season since his rookie season. Going into today, he had career lows in BA and OBP, which is a bit disappointing after his solid 2017 which convinced the Reds to ink him to a long term deal.
A night like this will go a long way. Of course, the not-mentioned nugget above is that he’s played a lot more this season than he ever has, already getting about 100 more PA than he has in previous seasons. As a catcher, it could explain a bit of the slump.
Still, it was a big night for the Brownsburg, Indiana native. Have a day and a trophy, Tucker.
Honorable mention to Eugenio Suarez, who hit 3 times, including two run dinger of his own that’ll help his OPS creep back up to .900 on the season. Joey Votto was only retired once, which is pretty great, because he’s pretty great. Matt Wisler did a pretty good job, allowing only two runs to score after coming on with 0 outs and the bases loaded in the 6th.
- Adam Frazier opened the game for the Pirates by smacking a double to LF, before DeSclafani walked Starling Marte. Josh Bell fell victim to the strikeout before Corey Dickerson hit his own double to left, scoring Frazier. Elias Diaz lifted a sac fly to center that scored Marte, before Colin Moran flew out to end the inning. Pirates up quickly, 2-0.
- With one out in the bottom of the 3rd, Joey Votto doubled to Frazier in RF, then moved to 3B on a Scooter ground out. In general, it didn’t end up matter what base he was standing on because Eugenio Suarez bopped a dinger with two outs in the inning. Tucker Barnhart tripled(!) before Nick Kingham intentionally walked Phil Ervin to get to Disco. It worked, as Kingham got DeSclafani to strike out swinging. Still, the Reds tie it up at 2.
- Pirates jumped back ahead on a one out dinger from Diaz. Might’ve been more, but Billy Hamilton done went and did Billy Hamilton things out in CF. Pirates, 3-2 after 4.5.
- Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Wandy Peralta relieved the starter to begin the top of the 6th, and immediately loaded the bases without retiring a batter. It was some hard luck; Marte singled on a line drive that deflected off of Jose Peraza’s glove, Josh Bell singled on a very soft grounder that Peralta had to field himself, but couldn’t make the throw in time, while Dickerson singled to Peraza, this time deflected by Peralta himself. Matt Wisler was then called upon to relieve Wandy. He struck out Diaz, but Moran lifted one high enough and deep enough to CF that scored Marte. Kevin Kramer then singled to RF to score one more before Kevin Newman popped out to end it. In all, the Pirates get 2 more, 5-2.
- Moran had a brain in this one, as he mashed a tater with one out in the 8th, off of Jesus Reyes. Kramer then singled to right and moved on over to second on a fielding error by Ervin, and then moved on home on a single from Newman, also to right field. Hey, Newman scored Kramer. Seinfeld! You get it? Baseball marketing is really on point right now. Anyway, Pirates lead by a lot.
- Raisel Iglesias came on in the 9th. He walked Marte before retiring Bell. Dickerson reached on a throwing error by Iglesias, Marte reached 3rd. Diaz struck out before Colin “Smart Brained” Moran singled to score Marte. Sigh. 8-2, Pirates.
- The Reds, finally, somehow, did some things in the bottom of the 9th. Suarez singled with one out and the Barnhart tucked him in with a fairly deep shot to right center. The home run was his fifth hit of the night. Still, the Reds couldn’t rally. They lost, 8-4.
- The Billy Hamilton highlight above randomly reminded me: assuming nothing goes sideways in the next two days, this will be the first season where we get a fully healthy end of a season from Hamilton. He hasn’t played a full slate of September games since 2014.
- Since everything sucks and nothing matters, let’s take a peak at the National League playoff hunt. The Cardinals lost to the Cubs earlier today, which means they’re almost toast. A Dodgers win tonight will all but seal it for them and another loss by them this weekend will definitively put the nail in the coffin. Should they miss the playoffs, it’ll make the third straight year the Cardinals haven’t participated. Let’s all take a second to feel really bad for them.
- As I type this, the Brewers lead the Tigers while the Rockies lead the Nationals. If these scores hold, the Beers will remain only one game back in the NL Central, while Colorado will momentarily hang a half game onto their lead. The Dodgers and Giants have just begun play in San Francisco.
- Jung Ho Kang played for the Pirates today, for the first time since 2016. Injury and personal issues have caused him to miss the better part of the last two seasons, in no small part due to a DUI he picked up in South Korea that left him unable to get a work visa to come back and play. The Pirates hold a team option for the coming season valued at $5.5 million.
- On this day, eight fuckin’ years ago, a thing happened.
- The Reds will play their penultimate game of the 2018 season tomorrow afternoon, against these same Pirates. Michael Lorenzen will face off against Jameson Tallion, with first pitch scheduled for 4:10 PM EDT.