The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
There were many things missing from the Cincinnati Reds offense in the early going of this 2020 season. Full disclosure, we’re still pretty much kinda-sorta in the early going, even if it’s already getting late. Anyhoo, the Reds have seen Mike Moustakas and Nick Senzel both miss big chunks, for various reasons, while Shogo Akiyama has sputtered for much of the year. Joey Votto hit the skids for a time, and the catcher combo hasn’t exactly mashed despite the on-paper perfect platoon.
The big gulf in the middle of the order was also exacerbated by Eugenio Suarez, the masher who hit 49 dingers in a record-breaking 2019 season. Geno had shoulder surgery back in the O.G. spring training, and went just 4 for 44 though the first 13 games of the season.
Since hitting his first dinger of the season on August 4th, however, Suarez has begun to gradually look more like the slugger we know, and he entered Saturday’s game having posted an .881 OPS in the 28 games since that first dinger. It’s safe to say that Geno’s Saturday exploits will continue to help erase that slow start, as the Reds 3B bashed a trio of homers in the win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Geno had a pair of solo-dongs sandwiched around a 3-run tater, driving in 5 runs on a night we won’t soon forget. In the process, he raised his season SLG% up to .515, which is just in-line with the .521 mark he’s posted over the three previous seasons combined.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Tucker Barnhart, who konked a solo smash; Shogo Akiyama, who walked twice and swiped a bag; Brian Goodwin, who singled, swiped a pair of bases, and made a seriously nifty full-spring catch in CF; Amir Garrett, who fired a perfect 1.1 IP (with 3 K); Archie Bradley, who fired a scoreless 9th; and Joey Votto, who doubled and scored.
- Both teams stranded runners on the bags in the opening pair of frames, but the Reds finally got on the board in the Top of the 3rd. First came Barnhart’s blast, a solo poke over the CF wall to begin the scoring. Votto followed with a laser of a double into the RF corner, and Jesse Winker later walked to put a pair of on Geno, who honked a healthy 3-run dinger down the LF line to put the Reds up 4-0.
- Erik Gonzalez legged out an infield single to begin the Bottom of the 3rd, and he moved to the other corner when Adam Frazier followed with a single. A walk to Colin Moran eventually loaded the bags, and Gonzalez scored on a Gregory Polanco sac-fly that was much less ‘fly’ and much more ‘frozen rope laser that Brian Goodwin snagged in a full sprint to save 2 more runs from scoring.’ Disco got some help from his infield defense later, and escaped with the Reds up 4-1.
- Disco left a meatball over the plate for Jacob Stallings in the Bottom of the 4th, and the Pirates catcher mauled it over the LF wall for a solo yank. Reds led, 4-2.
- Suarez tagged Williams again in the Top of the 6th, and did so in a completely different manner than his 3rd inning blast. That one was a pulled laser, whereas his latter blast was a solo shot lifted over the RF wall, an oppo-blast that put the Reds up 5-2.
- As you know from reading the opening salvo of this recap, Geno Bambino went yard a trio of times this evening. His final blast came in the Top of the 8th off lefty Derek Holland, yet another oppo-blast that put the Reds up, 6-2, which wrapped the scoring.
- On Barnhart’s homer, Pirates CF Anthony Alford slammed into the wall attempting to track it down, and exited immediately. It was later revealed that he fractured his elbow on the play. Best wishes for a speedy recovery to Anthony.
- Speaking of Anthonys, Tony DeSclafani was much better than his previous trio of outings, but still not as good as his brilliant pair of starts to open the season. David Bell opted to go to the bullpen before he could spin through the heart of the lineup a third time, ending Disco’s night after 83 pitches. His final line: 4 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K.
- The Reds haven’t yet announced who will start Sunday’s series finale, though all signs certainly point towards Tejay Antone getting the nod. That, of course, is due to their decision to give Sonny Gray a bit of extra rest after his rough outing earlier this week. Chad Kuhl will go for the Pirates, with first pitch set for 1:35 PM ET.