The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
There’s a dual award for the Cincinnati Reds tonight, and I think that’s easily warranted.
At the plate, Derek Dietrich continued his absolute ownage of the Pittsburgh Pirates this season, clubbing a trio of homers in a game where most every fan out there was wondering whether Hit King Clint Hurdle was going to throw at him for having watched a mauled homer just yesterday. Dietrich eschewed any fear and just kept right on mashing, driving in 6 and raising his season slugging percentage to .720. Good lord.
Equally as impressive was Lucas Sims, who was brought up from AAA for a spot-start tonight and pitched absolutely fabulous baseball. He held the Pirates scoreless through his first 7 IP, fanning 9 in the process, and as he approached 100 pitches it was the obvious scenario that David Bell was going to let him pitch until he completely fell apart instead of using his usual quick hook on the established starters. That became even more obvious when he hit a batter on an 0-2 pitch to load the bases in the Top of the 8th with 1-out and was still left in the game, and that burned his eventual bottom line when Kevin Newman cleared the bags with a grand slam on Sims’ 100th pitch of the night. Regardless, the kid pitched his ass off and looked the part of a capable starter for this club both now and down the road, and that was a brilliant, brilliant outing.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Jose Iglesias, who tripled, doubled, and scored twice; Tucker Barnhart, who singled and drove in 3; Jose Peraza, who blasted a homer; and Eugenio Suarez, who singled, walked twice, and scored twice.
- Jose Iglesias just continues to amaze, and on Tuesday that came initially with his bat. He bonked a triple down the LF line to open the Bottom of the 2nd, and he later came in to score on a productive groundout off the bat of Tucker. Reds led, 1-0.
- The heart of the Reds order kept right on bonking Jordan Lyles in the Bottom of the 4th, and it was the usual suspects at work. Eugenio Suarez blasted a double into the LF corner, and Dietrich followed with yet another mashed dinger against Pirate pitching, a 2-run yank job well into the RF seats. Reds led, 3-0.
- Geoff Hartlieb took over for the Pirates after Lyles exited, and the Reds scalded a few balls off him in the Bottom of the 5th, too. Senzel doubled with 1-out to get into scoring position, clubbing a meatball some 105.9 mph for a ground-rule vintage that bounced over the CF wall. He scored a batter later on Winker’s RBI double into RF, which left a runner on-base for Dietrich’s second mauling of the game, a 2-run shot into the seats beyond the RF wall. Yasiel Puig then smoked a single, Iglesias followed with a double to put a pair of runners in scoring position, and both then scored on an RBI single by Barnhart. Reds led, 8-0.
- The Reds were on cruise control at that point, both offensively and defensively. Sims was mowing down the Pirate bats, while Dietrich was busy taking it to the Pirate arms. He socked his 3rd dinger of his huge night in the Bottom of the 7th, plating Suarez again to put the Reds up 10-0.
- The Pirates fucked around and hit a grand slam in the Top of the 8th because the Reds were willing to let Lucas Sims run himself into the ground given his inevitable option tomorrow and the bullpen’s doubleheader work yesterday. Whatever. The Reds were still up 10-4.
- Peraza uncorked a solo blast in the Bottom of the 8th to put the Reds ahead 11-4. That was fun.
- What was not fun was watching Robert Stephenson in the Top of the 9th, as he chucked a few meatballs alongside walking a guy, and Elias Diaz made him bay with a 2-run double with 1-out to make the score 11-6. That, though, was fortunately how things ended.
- Prior to the start of this one, the Reds announced they’d optioned lefty Wandy Peralta to AAA to make room for Sims’ call-up. Unfortunately, it was also revealed that lefty Cody Reed suffered an MCL injury during yesterday’s appearance and will be sidelined for a few weeks. What that means for the bullpen when Sims is inevitably optioned back to AAA after today remains to be seen, though it sure does appear Zach Duke will likely be activated to be a second lefty in the bullpen. Great, grand, groovy.
- Speaking of great, grand, groovy, Yasiel Puig was pulled after running the bases in the Bottom of the 5th after he was seen rubbing the back of his right calf. Add that to the news that Joey Votto is dealing with a slight hamstring issue, and Thursday’s off-day can’t come soon enough.
- The Reds and Pirates will wrap their series on Wednesday afternoon, matinee style. Anthony DeSclafani will toe the rubber for the Reds looking to right his ship, and he’ll be opposed by Pittsburgh starter Steven Brault. First pitch is scheduled for an early 12:35 PM.