The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Whenever a member of the Cincinnati Reds hits a walk-off dinger, they get a Gatorade bath, presumably a slice or two of pizza, and top billing here as the JNMHSotG. Today, that lucky man was Phillip Ervin, whose 11th inning blast ended this series on a high note, as the Reds scrambled back to get a series split against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Well done, Phlerv. Well done.
On another Star note, Sonny Gray missed out on the National League Pitcher of the Month Award for the month of August despite being completely brilliant last month, pitching to a 0.74 ERA and holding his opponents to just a .502 OPS in 36.2 IP. As a result, you might think he’d have a letdown as the calendar turned to September.
Gray held the Philadelphia Phillies to a lone run in his 6 IP, scattering 4 hits and not walking a soul in the process. He fanned 7, and in the process the Cincinnati Reds ace lowered his season ERA to a brilliant 2.75. Considering he entered play today with 4.9 bWAR to his name already, it’s safe to say he crossed the 5 bWAR threshold after his rock-solid outing.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Jose Iglesias, who bashed a big 2-run homer; Eugenio Suarez, who bashed a slightly less-big 1-run dinger in his return to the starting lineup (and later singled twice); Alex Blandino, who singled, doubled, and scored a run; Raisel Iglesias, who fired a scoreless inning in a non-save situation; and Joel Kuhnel, who also fired another scoreless inning of relief.
- Gray was spotless his initial time against the Phillies lineup, but finally got tagged for a run the next time they rolled around. That came in the Top of the 4th, when J.T. Realmuto smacked a triple off the wall in LF and later scored on an RBI double by Rhys Hoskins. Reds trailed, 1-0.
- Jason Vargas and his 22 mph fastball kept the Reds completely befuddled through 5 IP, but that mercifully ended in the Bottom of the 6th. Blandino doubled with 1-out, and Iglesias then followed with a 2-run blast into the LF seats to end the veteran LHP’s day. That brought in former Red Jared Hughes, whose initial pitch in relief was smoked by Suarez to the tune of 110.2 mph, a laser that just cleared the wall in right-center for a solo blast. Reds led, 3-1.
- Kevin Gausman had looked rock-solid in his last few outings, but that wasn’t the case on Thursday. He entered in the Top of the 7th, and Scott Kingery greeted him with a single and a steal of 2B. Gausman then walked Cesar Hernandez to put a pair of runners on, and Kingery scored when Adam Haseley poked a single into RF that was temporarily booted by Aristides Aquino to allow the run to come home. Gausman later retired Corey Dickerson to escape further damage, but the Reds lead was down to 3-2.
- Blandino’s single in the Bottom of the 7th appeared to have loaded the bases against the Phillies bullpen, but after a review Jose Peraza - who had walked - was deemed to have been tagged out after rounding 2B, ending a threat that immediately came back to haunt. That immediacy came in the form of a solo dinger by Realmuto off Robert Stephenson to open the Top of the 8th, a dinger that tied the game at 3-3.
- It took until the Bottom of the 11th, but the Reds finally, finally found a way to win it, as Ervin belted a ball that just barely cleared the RF fence for a walk-off round-tripper. Reds won, 4-3!
- Michael Lorenzen got the start in CF today, his first career start out there (though he has, of course, subbed in to play the OF numerous times). Much to the chagrin of tHom Brennaman, he did not go 8 for 3 with 9 dingers. He did take a walk, however.
- Speaking of CF, Nick Senzel did not start yet again, presumably due to his still-sore right shoulder. He did get a pinch-hit appearance, however.
- The Reds tried and failed to land J.T. Realmuto from the Miami Marlins this past winter. The Philadelphia Phillies tried and succeeded in landing J.T. Realmuto from the Miami Marlins this past winter. In this series, J.T. Realmuto went 5 for 11 with 2 homers, a triple, a double, a walk, 4 runs scored, and 4 ribbies.
- Robbie Ray and the Raising Arizona Diamondbacks roll into town later tonight, and on Friday they’ll begin a weekend series against the Reds in GABP. Ray will start the opener opposite Tyler Mahle, with first pitch set for 7:10 PM ET.