The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
On a day when the Los Angeles Dodgers had the upper hand on the Cincinnati Reds early and throughout, it’s a bit difficult to find too many individual performances to highlight. Frankly, when Hyun-Jin Ryu is pitching as good as he is (and has been), that’s a pretty common thread.
That said, Nick Senzel continues to not only look the part of the player we all hoped he could be, he’s taking to the leadoff spot about as well as one could have imagined at this early juncture of his career. He singled twice - both times going with the pitch and smacking it into right-center - and swiped yet another bag on a well-timed jump. That’s the kind of combination of offensive prowess and baserunning proficiency the Reds haven’t really had since Shin-Soo Choo’s lone season, and if the bats behind him in the order ever, ever begin to wake up, it could make for a damn dynamic offense for the foreseeable future.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Tanner Roark, who allowed 2 ER in 5 IP, with 2 H and 3 BB allowed against 7 K; Jose Peraza, who donked a late 2-run dinger to make this recap a few words longer; Derek Dietrich, who followed with a solo blast of his own to add a few dozen words; Kyle Farmer, who doubled in his lone PA against his former club; and Phil Ervin, who singled in a pinch-hit appearance in his first PA back in the bigs.
- Haunt, walks will often do. That was certainly the case in the Top of the 2nd, as the Dodgers got on the board thanks to a Corey Seager walk and a subsequent Alex Verdugo double to the wall in left-center. Reds trailed, 1-0.
- That ‘haunting walks’ thing? Yeah, it happened again in the Top of the 3rd. Roark walked Joc Pederson with 1-out, and the Dodgers CF went to 3B on a later single by Max Muncy. Then, the Reds gave the Dodgers a run as Justin Turner hit a would-be 4-6-3 inning-ending double play ball right at 2B Jose Peraza, but it went through Peraza’s legs to allow another run to score and keep the inning alive. Fortunately, the Reds escaped further damage, though it sure did cost Roark extra pitches. Reds trailed, 2-0.
- Michael Lorenzen opened the Top of the 7th by allowing a single to Joc Pederson, but he later retired Muncy and Turner via K. The Reds turned to lefty Wandy Peralta to face Cody Bellinger, which seemed a wise enough idea, but Bellinger still managed to bash a 2-run dinger that just cleared the wall in CF. Dang. Reds trailed, 4-0.
- Peralta was still on the mound in the Top of the 8th, and this time a righty - Russell Martin - clubbed a dinger off him, a solo shot over the CF wall to put the Reds in a 5-0 hole.
- Robert Stephenson took the mound for the Top of the 9th in the middle of a cascading rain. He also walked the bases loaded and let the first one score on a wild pitch. The rain then lightened up a bit, but the Dodgers did not, as Verdugo later cracked another double that drove in another pair of runs, and the Reds were sunk in an 8-0 hole.
- Farmer doubled off Yimi Garcia in the Bottom of the 9th, and he later scored on Peraza’s 2-run blast over the LF wall. Dietrich then followed with a solo blast of his own onto the grass behind the CF wall, but that’s all the Reds could muster in an 8-3 loss.
- Yasiel Puig has struggled mightily at the plate so far in 2019, but he continues to make excellent defensive plays in RF. That was on full display when he flew into the wall along the RF line to snag a foul ball with the bases loaded in the Top of the 6th, slamming into it while reaching into the stands to make the inning-ending catch. He immediately grabbed his left elbow in pain and stayed in to bat the next half-inning, but clearly was wincing when swinging the bat. He later left the game prior to the Top of the 8th.
- Zach Duke faced three batters and walked two of them. Wandy Peralta allowed a pair of dingers. Cody Reed is back in AAA, again.
- Meanwhile, Hyun-Jin Ryu’s 7 scoreless IP against the Reds today stretched his consecutive scoreless innings streak to a remarkable 31. As our friends at True Blue LA noted, he’s also sporting an absurd 59/4 K/BB ratio. Yeesh.
- All told, a 3-3 homestand against these Dodgers and Chicago Cubs is far from the worst thing that could have happened. Sure doesn’t help the Reds climb out of the basement yet, though.
- It’s a getaway-day start time for the Reds, but with an off-day Monday I’m guessing they’ll get some time to rest up at home in Cincinnati for the evening. Either way, they’ll be back to baseballing again on Tuesday in Milwaukee against the Brewers, and it’ll be Sonny Gray on the mound in the series opener. He’ll be opposed by veteran lefty Gio Gonzalez, with first pitch scheduled for 7:40 PM ET.
- It’s a good thing the Brewers have a stadium with a roof, too, as the forecast for mid-week there looks rather moist.