The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Joey Votto has been on quite the roll of late. Well, not even really of late, since you can go all the way back to May 6th and see that he entered play on Friday evening with an .817 OPS over those 40 games played. Elite? Not necessarily, but that’s just the tip of the Vottoberg.
Push things forward a bit, and the numbers get much better.
Since May 16th: .866 OPS in 32 games.
Since May 25th: .943 OPS in 25 games.
Anyhoo, Votto went full Votto against the Chicago Cubs on Friday night, too, going 4 for 4 with a walk, 2 runs scored, a ribbie, and a stolen base for good measure, continuing to show that even if he isn’t ever going to be peak Votto again, he’s still a hitting maestro with the ability to adapt and adjust to the way he’s being pitched, a player capable of getting hot for the bulk of a season and putting up monster numbers.
Heck, that’s a storyline we’ve seen play out with him in recent years too, no?
Honorable Mentions are due to: Sonny Gray, who allowed just 2 ER in 6.1 IP, with just 4 hits and a lone walk allowed next to his 6 K; Phillip Ervin, who dingered, doubled, and scored twice; Nick Senzel, who doubled, walked, swiped a bag, scored, and drove in a pair (even after not scoring on a play when he should have because of not being aware of the 2-out scenario); and Michael Lorenzen, who bailed out Amir Garrett by getting a pair of outs when taking over in the Top of the 8th with a pair of runners on and the heart of the Cubs order due up, and later added a trio of outs in the Top of the 9th for the save.
- The Reds struck first in this one, loading the bases in the Bottom of the 1st off Chicago starter Cole Hamels via singles from Votto & Yasiel Puig sandwiched around an Eugenio Suarez walk. Jose Iglesias later plated Votto on a productive groundout - one that saw Puig kill any chance of a double-play on with a great slide into 2B - and the Reds led early, 1-0.
- Though Hamels started this one, he left the game after ending his warm-up session prior to the Bottom of the 2nd. Despite the fact that the Reds had stacked their lineup with a LHP in-mind, Cubs manager opted to go with longman Mike Montgomery as his emergency replacement - also a LHP - and his first pitch was promptly smashed into the LF seats by lefty-smasher Phil Ervin for a solo dinger, giving the Reds a 2-0 lead.
- With Montgomery still on the mound in the Bottom of the 4th, the Reds played a bit of add-on. Ervin smashed a double to the wall in left-center, and he moved up to 3B on a nice lil bunt by Gray. Curt Casali then walked, which proved pertinent when Senzel smacked a double down the LF line that scored a pair. Votto then followed with his 3rd hit of the game, a single into RF that brought in the speedy Senzel, and after a Suarez walk and Puig single, Iglesias brought in another run with a sac-fly into CF. Reds led, 6-0.
- Gray cruised, breezed even into the Top of the 7th, having allowed nary a run to that point, but an infield single to Javy Baez followed by a tatered meatball off the bat of Jason Heyward - of the 2-run dinger variety - chased the Reds starter at that juncture. Later, Addison Russell - screw that guy - tripled into the RF corner off David Hernandez, and he then scored on a sac-fly. Reds led, 6-3, and that’s how things ended.
- According to early reports, Cole Hamels exited after feeling something in his left side. He’s reportedly been dealing with minor lat issues of late, FWIW.
- Scooter Gennett’s return to the lineup was largely uneventful. He managed a single - but was then picked off 1B - as part of his 1 for 4 night.
- The Reds announced earlier today that top prospect Taylor Trammell will represent the Reds in the MLB All-Star Futures Game again this year, one year removed from winning the MVP of said game in 2018.
- Saturday’s matchup between these two is scheduled for a 4:10 PM ET start, and will feature Luis Castillo on the mound for the Reds opposite Jose Quintana.