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Aristides Aquino breaks Statcast, Cubs break Reds 12-5 in series opener

Kyle Farmer caught...and pitched.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

It’s hard to overstate exactly what Aristides Aquino has done since returning to the Cincinnati Reds roster and the big leagues this year. Frankly, the dude is simply destroying baseballs, which you can read more about down yonder in the Other Notes.

The fact is, The Punisher has been punishing. Tonight, he destroyed a homer, doubled, drove in a trio of runs, and not only looks like the Reds haven’t skipped a beat since trading away Yasiel Puig, he fits right the heck in as a guy who can be a cleanup hitter for anyone.

Let’s just hope that ride continues.

Honorable Mentions are due to: not the pitching; Brian O’Grady, who made his big league debut by taking over in CF in the 8th inning (and later popped out in his lone PA); Kyle Farmer, who had 2 singles...and pitched; and Phil Ervin, who went 4 for 5 with another pair of doubles.

Key Plays

  • The Cubs jumped ahead in the Top of the 1st, and it came in a somewhat predictable fashion. Alex Wood walked Kris Bryant with 2-out, and it haunted when Anthony Rizzo laced a double down the RF line to plate the run. Reds trailed early, 1-0.
  • Cincinnati poked right back, however. Eugenio Suarez smacked a 2-out double down the LF line off Cubs starter Cole Hamels, and he scored a batter later when Aquino hit a rocket of a double into the gap in right-center. Game tied, 1-1.
  • Nick Castellanos untied the game with a solo blast into the LF seats in the Top of the 3rd, tagging a hanging breaking ball to put the Reds behind, 2-1. Later, Bryant reached on an error at 2B by Jose Peraza, and he moved to 3B on a single by Rizzo. Bryant then scored on Javier Baez’s double, and Ian Happ later cleared the bags with a 2-run single to put the Reds and Alex Wood in a 5-1 hole.
  • Fortunately, the Reds have Aquino, and he’s in the midst of doing very Aquino things. After Suarez coaxed a 1-out walk off Hamels in the Bottom of the 3rd, Aquino absolutely obliterated a, 84 mph Hamels meatball for a 445 foot 2-run dinger. Later, the bottom of the order staged a rally, as both Jose Iglesias and Peraza singled, with Iglesias later scoring on an RBI single into RF by Kyle Farmer. That prompted David Bell to pinch-hit for Wood with Jesse Winker, who took a walk to load the bases before Senzel put a tying run on the board thanks to catcher’s interference on his swing by Jonathan Lucroy. Game tied, 5-5.
  • Kevin Gausman took over for the Reds in the Top of the 4th for his Reds debut, and Castellanos promptly greeted him with another solo dinger, this time into the RF seats. Reds trailed, 6-5.
  • Ian Happ legged his way to 1B in the Top of the 5th to prevent what could have been an inning-ending double play, and that proved large a batter later, as Lucroy dumped a double into LF corner to plate Happ, and the Reds trailed, 7-5.
  • The Reds turned to David Hernand...well, the Reds trailed the Cubs 11-5 after the Top of the 7th.
  • Same pitcher, 8th inning...the Reds trailed, 12-5.
  • New pitcher: Kyle Farmer, who finished the 8th, pitched a scoreless 9th, and...well, the Reds lost, 12-5.

Tony Graphanino

Source: FanGraphs

Other Notes

  • As’s David Adler noted, Aquino’s 118.3 exit velocity on that gargantuan dinger tied him for the hardest-hit ball in the majors all season (with some pretty damn decent company). And yes, it’s the hardest-hit ball by any Cincinnati Red in Statcast history.
  • Not to be outdone, one of Aquino’s throws back to the infield from RF was the hardest throw by any OF in any big league game this year, too. Good lord, what have the Reds uncovered?
  • Alex Wood was pulled for a pinch-hitter as the Reds were trying to rally in the Bottom of the 3rd. The Jose Peraza error certainly didn’t help his cause - well, technically it did by making a trio of his runs allowed unearned - but he wasn’t fooling anyone in this start, really. His final line: 3 IP, 7 H, 5 R (2 ER), BB, 2 K on 66 pitches.
  • Friday’s tussle between these two clubs will again feature some pretty heady names as the starting pitchers, as the Reds will send Trevor Bauer to the mound opposite Chicago starter Yu Darvish. First pitch is set for 7:10 PM ET, and GABP should be rockin’.
  • Tunes.