The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
After finally belting his 5th dinger of the season earlier in this series against the Philadelphia Phillies, Joey Votto dumped a huge 2-RBI single into CF for the Cincinnati Reds in the series finale to claw them out of a deficit, the single biggest hit of the day.
Votto added a walk, too, and the .727 OPS he entered play today with - which is now .726 - is the highest it’s been since May 2nd, the day before he went 0 for 7 with 3 K against the San Francisco Giants in that 11 inning affair. He’s 23 for his last 60 over the last 13 games, too, and while we may never see the power display that he put on in 2017 again, at least we’re seeing some much, much improved play from the way his season began.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Sonny Gray, whose 5.2 IP really were much, much better than his final line - 4 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K on 98 pitches - would indicate; Amir Garrett, who retired all 3 batters he faced (with 2 K); Nick Senzel, who went 2 for 2 with a run scored (despite not starting the game); and Curt Casali, who singled, scored, and walked twice.
- The Reds, as they so often do, scored first in this one, as Derek Dietrich came in to score from 3B in the Top of the 2nd after he singled, Jose Iglesias singled behind him, and Jose Peraza produced a run-scoring groundout. Reds led, 1-0.
- The Reds, as they so often, do, then gave away the lead in epic-Reds fashion. Maikel Franco singled to begin the Bottom of the 3rd, and he later moved up a bag on a walk to Cesar Hernandez. Bryce Harper the made it to 1B on a force-out of Hernandez at 2B that left 2-out and runners on the corners, and though Harper did eventually swipe 2B, it sure appeared that when Gray got Rhys Hoskins to pop up on the infield the inning would be over. Unfortunately, it’s the Reds we’re talking about, so nothing is that easy. Both Joey Votto and Dietrich lost the ball in the sun, and it fell in for a single that - after review - allowed both baserunners to score. Reds trailed, 2-1.
- There was more great fortune for the not-Reds in the Bottom of the 5th. Hernandez walked with 1-out to bring Harper to the plate, and Gray sure as hell appeared to strike out Harper on a 3-1 pitch (number 6 in this screen-grab), but after that was ruled a ball for some godforsaken reason, Harper continued the inning by shooting a single into RF to put runners on the corners, because of course he did. A Jean Segura sac-fly later, and the Reds had again allowed a run that shouldn’t really have scored, and trailed 3-1.
- Aaron Nola’s shutdown of the Reds only lasted into the Top of the 7th, when Cincinnati finally, finally punched back. Casali opened things by beating out the throw on a sharp grounder down the 3B line, and Josh VanMeter then walked to force a pitching change to lefty Jose Alvarez with Jesse Winker on-deck. David Bell opted to send Senzel - sitting for the first time since his call-up - up to pinch hit, though, and the rook responded with an infield single to load the bags for Votto, who dumped a 2-run single into CF to tie the game. Righty Vince Velasquez was then summoned to face Eugenio Suarez, and the Cincinnati 3B spanked another RBI-single into LF to score Senzel and give the Reds a 4-3 lead. That, folks, held up.
- Home plate umpire Jordan Baker had an awful, awful day trying to determine which pitcher were, and were not, strikes.
- Love it or hate it, the Reds won’t play baseball at all tomorrow. On Tuesday, they’ll begin a quick 2-game series against Cleveland (before not playing at all on Thursday again too, which is a new schedule quirk I abhor). Tuesday’s contest will see Luis Castillo on the mound opposite Trevor Bauer in a game that sure would’ve meant a lot, lot more had the Reds not spent the last week falling all over their damn selves. First pitch in that one is set for 7:10 PM ET.