The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
The only possible way to describe what we’ve seen from Joey Votto this season prior to Tuesday as disappointing. Scary, even, since he’s looked every bit as uncomfortable at the plate as his numbers would suggest.
It was so rough for so long that we even wrote about it. Hopefully, that was just the jinx the entire scenario needed, as Votto finally looked like the Votto of old at the plate on Tuesday.
Votto bonked a 425 foot homer, and while that was the only hit of his evening, keep in mind it came against Chicago Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks on a night where he was completely dominant. Votto also lined out to both LF and CF with perhaps the only other two balls hit by the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday with any sort of authority, and he finally looked as if he was seeing the ball well enough to do some damage to them.
Here’s to this being the start of his 2019 resurgence, since the Reds sure as hell need one at this point.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Tanner Roark, who allowed 3 ER in 5 IP, scattering 8 H and a BB against 6 K; Jared Hughes, who fired a pair of scoreless innings of relief (with 2 K); and Wandy Peralta, who struck out the side in his lone inning of work.
- Kyle Hendricks is a pitcher. He hits like a pitcher, too, at least most of the time. A moment in our existence that does not qualify as ‘most of the time’ occurred in the Top of the 2nd, unfortunately, as he walloped a Tanner Roark meatball for a double to the wall in CF. What’s most unfortunate about that is that there were a pair of runners on base - Daniel DesCalso, who reached on a dink against the shift, and Albert Almora, who reached on a smash that went just under the glove of Jose Iglesias. Both came in to score on the 2-out knock, and this series was immediately off to a frustrating start. Reds trailed, 2-0.
- Hendricks was perfect through 3.1 IP, but that changed in a hurry when Votto mashed a 425 cranker off of him, a solo shot that left the Reds down just 2-1.
- The Cubs struck right back in the Top of the 5th, though, as Kris Bryant began the inning with a double into LF and scored two batters later on a Willson Contreras sac fly. That made it 3-1 Cubs, and thanks mostly to Hendricks’ brilliance, that was how things finished.
- In case you needed any evidence of just how confused Reds hitters were by Kyle Hendricks on the night, Kyle Farmer had a pinch-hit appearance in the Bottom of the 8th and was hit by a pitch...on a pitch he put a full swing on. It plunked him in the shoulder as he just whiffed completely. He later struck out, because of course.
- Oh...Hendricks had a 3-hit night, too, because of course. He exited after a walk to Nick Senzel to begin the Bottom of the 9th, but his final line shows just how good he was on the evening: 8 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 7 K on 97 pitches (and the 3 hits & 2 ribbies at the plate).
- It’s this kind of frustrating loss against a should-be dominant Cubs team that makes blowing lead after lead after lead to the San Francisco Giants over the last two weeks and getting no-hit by Mike Fiers that much more punishing.
- Yu Darvish and his 5.40 ERA will toe the rubber for the Cubs in Wednesday’s matchup against the Reds, and hopefully the Cincinnati bats will be able to continue to thump him as others have this year. The Reds will turn to Sonny Gray, who’ll be looking to bounce back after struggling a bit in his return to Oakland last week. First pitch is set for 6:40 PM ET yet again, which has become an increasingly annoying start time for this particular Mountain Timer.
- Screw tunes, here’s Lee Elia (NSFW).