The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Be it due to the nerves that come with making a debut with a new team, the bitter low-30’s cold, or the fact that his original start was postponed a day due to rain, Sonny Gray just never once looked right last Sunday in his first start with the Cincinnati Reds.
On Friday, though, we got to see the pitcher the Reds obviously thought they’d get when they traded for him from the New York Yankees and doled out what could amount to a 5-year, $50 million commitment to the former Oakland A’s ace.
Gray was largely brilliant against the Pittsburgh Pirates, allowing just a lone earned run in 6.2 IP, with 3 H, no walks, and 7 K in his 83 pitch outing. He was locating his fastball, his breaking ball was a complete wipeout pitch all night long, and he certainly looked the part of a starter hell-bent on getting back to the elite level at which he threw for several years prior to his Yankees meltdown.
Honorable Mentions are due to: nah. Just...just, nah.
- Gray absolutely breezed into the Bottom of the 7th, but it was at that juncture that he ran into the heart of the Pittsburgh lineup for the third time - and that burned, at least on the ‘Reds offense can’t do a damn thing at all’ scale. Starling Marte singled and took 2B on a wild pitch, and later moved up to 3B on a productive Francisco Cervelli groundout. Marte was then out at the plate on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Josh Bell, which was cool on the surface but left Bell at 1B with 2-out. Jung Ho Kang then followed with a double to the wall in LF, however, and that was enough to bring Bell all the way home and put the Reds behind, 1-0.
- The Reds bullpen gave up another run in the Bottom of the 8th. I was busy watching highlights of baseball teams actually scoring runs, though, and missed it. Apparently, it involved - shockingly - Matt Kemp turning what should’ve been a pretty ho-hum fly ball in LF into a double. Who could have possibly seen that coming? Reds trailed, 2-0, and that’s just how the mop flopped this evening.
- The Reds scored what, 5 runs on Opening Day, 3 of which came on a Derek Dietrich pinch-hit dinger? They’ve officially scored a grand total of 6 runs in the 6 games since then, with back to back to back shutouts on their ledger. It’s the single grossest offensive baseball I’ve watched in quite sometime, honestly.
- In fact, it’s the first time the Reds have been shutout in three consecutive games in 30 years.
- Tanner Roark will return to the mound for the Reds on Saturday for his second start with the new club, and he’ll do so hoping to pitch the way he closed his initial start more than the way his first inning blew up. The Pirates will counter with Trevor Williams, and first pitch is set for an early 1:35 PM ET.
- Tunes...or something similar.