The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
It’s been a while since we’ve seen peak Joey Votto.
Between back injuries, age, underperformance, an IL stint, a swing change, and general what-have-you, it’s undeniable that the Cincinnati Reds stalwart hasn’t been up to snuff so far in the 2019 season. That said, since tweaking his swing and abandoning the choked-up squat that had been so damn successful for him at one point, he’s been significantly better, and that was finally back on healthy display against Michael Wacha and the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday.
Votto singled and later bashed a big homer over the CF wall, a run that at one point looked to eventually be the difference in this tightly-contested tail-end of today’s double-header (screw you, AP stylebook). It was a welcome display from the Reds 1B, one that hopefully will continue to show up more often than not down the stretch this season and give us a big, warm, fuzzy feeling about his potential again heading into 2020.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Sonny Gray, who allowed nary an earned run (and just 1 total run) in his 6.2 IP, scattering 5 hits and 2 walks against his 4 Ks on 101 pitches in yet another brilliant start; Josh VanMeter, who honked a dinger; Amir Garrett, who got a big K to bail out a would-be Cards rally; Michael Lorenzen, who fired a perfect 8th; and Nick Senzel, who made a brilliant catch in CF and later walked.
- Cards starter Michael Wacha is a big fan of appetizers, apparently. Before anything official had happened in this game, he served up a meatball, and leadoff man Josh VanMeter destroyed it, sending the game’s first pitch over the RF wall for a solo dinger. Reds led immediately, 1-0.
- Votto played longball in the Top of the 3rd off wacha, belting a 407 foot blast over the wall in CF for a solo shot, too. Reds led, 2-0.
- Gray was still on the mound in the Bottom of the 7th, and it was once again Tommy freaking Edman that ended up a thorn in the Reds side. Edman singled to begin the inning, and after Gray’s defense failed him - a VanMeter error - and then saved him - a brilliant wall-slamming catch by Nick Senzel - the Cards used their 4th out to plate a run, as Dexter Fowler poked a bloop single into LF to drive Edman in on Gray’s final pitch of the game. Reds led, 2-1.
- Unfortunately, Raisel Iglesias is functioning about as well as a 45 year old ice chest in the Arizona desert at this point. He took over in the save situation in the Bottom of the 9th and promptly allowed a leadoff single to Edman, plunked Yadier Molina, and allowed an RBI single to Harrison Bader that leveled the score. In a pretty telling turn of events, manager David Bell then pulled Iggy in favor of Kevin Gausman with 2-on and none out and pinch hitter Matt Carpenter at the plate, but that failed equally when Carp smacked a walk-off single to sink the Reds, 3-2.
- These teams just won’t quit, and tomorrow they’ll be back at it again with yet another doubleheader. Tyler Mahle is slated to start the opener on Sunday, which is scheduled to start at 1:05 PM ET. He’ll do so opposite Miles Mikolas, with another contest at 7:05 PM ET set to follow.