The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Man, was it ever nice to see 2017 Joey Votto show back up, if even for a game.
The stalwart Cincinnati Reds 1B has fought back issues of late, and that paired with a change in his patented swing mid-season has left us longing for anything resembling what we grew to love about the should-be Hall of Famer. On Wednesday against the Philadelphia Phillies, though, we got to see yet another great display.
Votto homered, doubled, singled, drove in a pair, and scored twice, bringing his career runs scored to 999 and career doubles to 399. We’ll soak up as much more of that as we can to wrap this season, Joey.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Jose Iglesias, who bonked a huge pinch-hit homer; Michael Lorenzen, who based a homer of his own; Brian O’Grady, who tripled, singled, and scored; Robert Stephenson, who fired another perfect inning of relief; Raisel Iglesias, who picked up a save on a 1-2-3 innin in the 9th; and Aristides Aquino, who smacked in another pair of ribbies.
- Votto went vintage in the Bottom of the 1st, as his solo blast off Nola traveled just a hair under 400 feet the other way into the LF stands. A classic, really, even with the newer stance. Reds led early, 1-0.
- The damage kept right on coming in the Bottom of the 2nd. O’Grady got it started with a triple off the wall in CF, and things got even juicier when Nola walked pitcher Trevor Bauer. Josh VanMeter then smacked a 2-out single into CF bring in a run, and Votto then followed with a double to the wall in RF to score another. That brought Aquino to the plate, and with more arby-eyes in sight he smacked a 2-run double down the LF line. That gave the Reds a 5-0 lead.
- Bauer cruised into the Top of the 5th, which was much needed for both he and the Reds. That was the good news. The ‘bad’ news, however, was that they’d tagged Nola effectively enough for him to be pulled for pinch-hitter Logan Morrison, and Morrison has absolutely owned Bauer throughout the course of their careers. That reared its ugly head quickly, as Morrison crushed a 2-run dinger over the bullpen beyond the RF wall to make it a 5-2 game. The damage wasn’t yet done, however, as Bauer then gave up a single to Corey Dickerson before hanging a meatball to J.T. Realmuto, that one being belted for another 2-run dinger. Reds led, 5-4.
- That lead, though, went poof immediately in the Top of the 7th when Jay Bruce dee-stroyed a Michael Lorenzen meatball some 425 feet over the CF wall. Fortunately, it was just a solo blast, but that tied things a 5-5.
- Iglesias stepped up as a pinch-hitter in the Bottom of the 7th against Phillies reliever Jose Alvarez and promptly smashed a solo homer just over the wall in CF, his first career pinch-hit dinger. Reds led, 6-5.
- Blake Parker took over on the mound for the Phillies in the Bottom of the 8th, and looked to have dodged a major threat when CF Adam Haseley went over the wall to rob Freddy Galvis of a would-be homer. Turns out that wasn’t the case, however, as Lorenzen later greeted him with a bomb of a 2-run blast over the wall in left-center, giving the Reds an 8-5 lead they would not relinquish.
- After having his breaking balls thumped rather routinely in his previous outings, Trevor Bauer threw almost exclusively fastballs and cutters early on. Former Reds closer and current broadcaster Danny Graves noted, Bauer didn’t throw a single breaking ball the entire 1st time through the Phillies lineup. His first breaking ball: a perfectly placed called strike 3 against Corey Dickerson in the Top of the 3rd. Of course, he later got tagged on breaking balls, so perhaps there’s more to this.
- Bauer’s final line: 5 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 K on 80 pitches. Gross (again).
- Nick Senzel was originally slated to be in the starting lineup, but was scratched shortly before the game. Some 3 hours later, it was finally announced that it was due to ‘right shoulder soreness,’ per The Athletic’s C. Trent Rosecrans. Considering he was seen on the broadcast putting on batting gloves, grabbing a bat, and heading down the tunnel to presumably take BP mid-game, hopefully it’s nothing serious.
- Speaking of nothing serious, Alex Blandino was hit by a Nick Pivetta pitch in the Bottom of the 8th that came up and in, hit Blandino’s shoulder, and appeared to just graze the edge of his nose. No bullshit, it came a fraction of an inch from just breaking his face. The two positives from that, though, were that Blandino appeared to be just fine (albeit dazed) and that Eugenio Suarez returned to both run for him and take over at 3B for the 9th. Welcome back, Geno!
- It’s an early one tomorrow, as these two will wrap their series with a 12:35 PM ET getaway-day start. Jason Vargas will toe the rubber for Philadelphia, while Sonny Gray will look to continue his excellent form for the Reds. Dear god, just don’t look at the Reds record in day games before tuning in...