The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
The Cincinnati Reds built their ballclub this year with starting pitching set to be their driver. Sure, they invested heavily to augment the struggling offense, but this team was always going to go as far as their starting arms would take them, and getting one of their key cogs back with the season on the line was simply vital.
Welcome back, Sonny Gray.
Sonny returned to the bump for the first time in 12 days on Tuesday against the Milwaukee Brewers, and immediately looked like the guy who picked up Cy Young Award votes last year and started on Opening Day. He was eased back in a bit - he threw just 80 pitches in his 5 innings of work - but the gas, the break, and the spin looked vintage. He allowed just a lone run on a pair of hits, struck out 8, and allowed a lone walk, exactly what we all hoped he’d return to after struggling in a pair of early September starts before his IL stint.
Unfortunately, the offense couldn’t muster enough this night.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Nick Castellanos, who socked a 2-run dinger; Mike Moustakas, who socked a pair of doubles; and Amir Garrett, who fired a scorless IP in relief.
- The Reds got a bit of help from shoddy Brewer defense en route to their opening lead. Aristides Aquino motored to 2B when a poor throw by Orlando Arcia after a grounder went awry to open the Bottom of the 1st, and that put a runner on for Castellanos, who pelted a Brett Anderson pea-shot over the wall in CF for a 2-run tater. Reds led early, 2-0.
- Sonny’s lone blemish came in the Top of the 5th, when he left a 92 mph heater out over the plate to Tyrone Taylor, who parked it over the CF wall for a solo homer. Reds led, 2-1.
- A single by Dan Vogelbach was followed by a Jedd Gyorko double to open the Top of the 7th, and Orlando Arcia then lifted a fly-ball deep enough into CF for Vogelbach to tag and score to tie the game. Eric Sogard then continued to onslaught against Tejay Antone with a laser into the LF corner, scoring Gyorko to give Milwaukee the 3-2 lead. Thanks to the frustrating brilliance at the back-end of Milwaukee’s bullpen, that’s how this one wrapped.
- Having seemingly been passed on the starting pecking order, Anthony DeSclafani was used in relief for the first time in six years this evening (and for the first time in his Reds career). He tossed a perfect 1-2-3 9th inning for the Reds, and looked dang good in the process.
- Wednesday’s series finale between these division rivals will again get started at the usual 6:40 PM ET time. Trevor Bauer will be on the bump opposite Adrian Houser with first pitch scheduled for the time I included in the previous sentence. Apologies to those reading this with short-term memory loss.