The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Aristides Aquino has long had the kind of toolsy upside that has made some scouts drool. Unfortunately for him, he failed to put things all together in his first handful of years in the minors, flashing elite power and arm strength while not quite being able to connect the dots.
2019, though, has been different, perhaps unsurprising given that the Cincinnati Reds knocked him off the 40-man roster prior to this year. He’s changed his stance, his swing, and fortunately his production, too, and finally earned a call-up to the bigs again after the trade deadline.
Tonight, he not only logged his first big league hit, he belted a 3-run dinger that was the bulk of the offense against Dallas Keuchel and the Atlanta Braves, and showed the kind of polish you’d hope would stick around for 2019 and beyond.
Congrats, Aristides, and here’s to a flurry of a finish to 2019.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Lucas Sims, who stepped in against his old team and fired 1.1 innings of perfect relief - with 3 K; and Eugenio Suarez, who went 2 for 4 with a run scored;
- Ozzie Albies got the Braves on the board initially in this one, coaxing a leadoff walk in the Bottom of the 3rd off Trevor Bauer that, as you might guess, haunted. Albies swiped 2B and moved up to 3B on a productive groundout by Josh Donaldson, and the speedy Atlanta 2B then scored on a wild pitch, as Bauer tugged a bit too hard on a breaking ball that missed badly with Adam Duvall at the plate. Reds trailed, 1-0.
- Albies was again behind things for Atlanta’s next run, tripling off the RF wall in the Bottom of the 5th before scoring on a double down the RF line by Freddie Freeman. Later, Freeman scored on a laser of a double down the LF line by Adam Duvall off Bauer, which ended the new Red’s evening. Fortunately, former Brave Lucas Sims relieved him and pitched out of the jam, but the Reds trailed, 3-0.
- Fortunately for the Reds, they’ve got Aquino. The Reds rookie followed singles by Eugenio Suarez and Jose Iglesias in the Top of the 7th with a 3-run donk into the LF seats off Dallas Keuchel, and the game was tied, 3-3.
- The Bottom of the 8th, though, bit the Reds right in the ass, with a little #umpshow there to help. Amir Garrett walked the leadoff hitter after his initial pitch - this one - was somehow ruled a ball despite Barnhart being set up exactly in that spot, and after Michael Lorenzen took over and pooped the bed, that loomed large. By large, I mean that Lorenzen walked three batters to force in a run, and the Reds trailed, 4-3.
- The Top of the 9th featured newly minted Atlanta closer Shane Greene on the mound, fresh off his trade to the Braves from the Detroit Tigers. Fortunately for the Reds, he looked much more like the Greene from 2018 than 2019, though, as singles from both Jose Iglesias and Jesse Winker began the inning, and Barnhart later sliced a strategically placed pop-up single into shallow LF that allowed the tying run to score. Winker, though, tried to score, too, which ended in the second epically poor TOOTBLAN of his series, and effectively muted the Reds rally. Still, the game was tied, 4-4, and to extras they went.
- Unfortunately, the walks continued into extras, as Jared Hughes walked the first pair of dudes he faced in the Top of the 10th. And while Robert Stephenson managed to get a would-be key K, Ronald Acuna later rolled a double just down the LF line to score the walk-off run and sink the Reds. Reds lost, 5-4.
- Trevor Bauer’s stuff was moving all over the place on the night, but it seemed that both a) he was having a bit of trouble harnessing it and b) he and catcher Tucker Barnhart had a bit of trouble getting into a consistent rhythm, with multiple shake-offs early. Bauer was also bit by a few hits that just simply found holes despite not being hit especially hard, but that’s just how things break at times. His final line: 4.2 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K on 107 pitches.
- San Francisco Giants slugger and superstar Scooter Gennett hit a dinger tonight, a 2-run dong against the Rockies in #Coors.
- Sunday’s series finale will determine who wins this four-game series, because math. The Reds will have Sonny Gray on the mound to help attempt to salvage a split, as he’ll get the start for Cincinnati. Atlanta, meanwhile, will counter with Julio Teheran, who is one one of his runs of absolutely electric pitching. After struggling in April, he owns a tidy 2.50 ERA over his last 16 starts, though a .247 BABIP and a less-than-stellar K/BB in that span suggest he might, might have a blow-up waiting to happen. First pitch is set for 1:20 PM ET.