The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
It’s been a blistering run for Jesse Winker of late, and to the smiles of so many in Cincinnati Reds land, a lot of it has even come against left-handed pitching.
Such was the case again on Tuesday, as Winker got the start in LF with lefty Kris Bubic on the mound for the Kansas City Royals, and Winker’s terrific run didn’t skip a beat. Winker homered, Winker singled, Winker walked and scored, and upped his overall season line to a steamy .310/.442/.500 for the season.
His struggles were obvious though the first week or so of the year, but since then he’s returned to being the kind of offensive force in the middle of this lineup that the Reds will need to go anywhere this season. He was pulled after the 6th inning tonight as the Reds held a lead, but thanks to the bullpen’s implosion - DRINK! - that became a precarious decision later on.
Fortunately, we had Joseph Daniel Votto to rescue us all from the bullpen purgatory, as his double off the CF wall in the Bottom of the 10th won things for the Reds.
Congrats to both the OBP-lovin’ Reds on their big nights.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Luis Castillo, who was let down by his defense repeatedly but still managed to fire 6 IP of 1 ER ball; Matt Davidson, who bonked a 2-run homer (and added a walk); Kyle Farmer, who singled, drove in a pair of runs on a double, and was behind a huge 6-4 double play to bail out the bullpen late; and Raisel Iglesias, who retired all four batters he faced in another impressive outing.
- The back-end of the Cincinnati lineup got to Royals starter Kris Bubic in the Bottom of the 2nd. Matt Davidson coaxed a leadoff walk, and he moved up a batter later on a Winker single up the middle. The Reds got a bit of luck when a grounder hit by Curt Casali hit Davidson, as it looked like a pretty clear double-play ball that only resulted in a lone out, and they later cashed it in when Farmer bonked his 2-out, 2-run double off the RF wall. Reds led, 2-0.
- Defense stunk in the Top of the 3rd, unfortunately, as errors from Eugenio Suarez and Joey Votto sandwiched a Castillo walk that loaded the bases, and the Royals managed to plate a run on a 1-out single into the LF corner. Fortunately, that was all the damage at the time, however, and the Reds led 2-1.
- The Reds struck back in the Bottom of the 3rd, however, as Davidson’s meaty big-fly cleared the wall in right-center with Castellanos, who had tripled, standing on 3B at the time. That gave the Reds a 4-1 lead, one that was added-to when Winker backed it up with a solo dong over the LF wall, too. Reds led, 5-1.
- Defense borked the Reds again in the Top of the 4th, at least a bit. Nick Lopez doubled, and he later scored on a Whit Merrifield single that Nick Senzel tried, and failed, to bare-hand in CF. Reds led, 5-2.
- Salvador Perez dumped a leadoff single into CF to begin the Top of the 5th, and after a pair of producting Royals-y groundouts moved him to 3B, he scored on an infield single legged out by Adalberto Mondesi. Reds led, 5-3.
- Bullpen is, unfortunately. Why bullpen is, though, is the ultimate painful question. While Nate Jones escaped by the skin of his teeth in the Top of the 7th, the same could not be said for Amir Garrett in the Top of the 8th. Ryan McBroom swatted a big ol’ honker off Garrett, a 2-run blast thanks to the presence of Maikel Franco on 1B. Game tied, 5-5.
- The game eventually ended up in extra innings, and that’s where things got saucy. Nick Senzel started on 2B, per the new rule, and after Castellanos walked to put a pair of runners on, Votto bonked a blast off the CF wall that plated Senzel to win the game for the Reds, 6-5.
- It was another tire-fire outing from the Cincinnati bullpen, and we’ve reached the point just 17 games into the season where absolutely every single reliever in the ‘pen is susceptible. I can’t imagine trying to manage and make decisions with that, especially when you factor in Robert Stephenson being on the IL and...
- Earlier on Tuesday, the Reds placed RHP Pedro Strop on the 10-day IL thanks to the groin injury he picked up over the weekend. It’s backdated to Saturday, but he’ll still be out until at least the middle of next week, and likely a bit longer, unfortunately. Taking his spot on the roster is infielder Josh VanMeter (at least for now, since Wade Miley will need a roster spot tomorrow...)
- Castillo’s final line was skewed by the errors behind him (and his need to pitch from the stretch with runners on because of it), but he battled effectively. His final line: 6 IP, 7 H, 3 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 5 K on 96 pitches.
- Speaking of Miley, he’s scheduled to return to the starting rotation and take the bump tomorrow against Kansas City. He’ll be opposed by Royals starter Brad Keller, who is neither Mitch Keller nor Kyle Keller. First pitch Wednesday is set for 6:40 PM ET.