The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star(s) of the Game
There’s a pretty tried and trusted method behind picking the JNMHSotG that says this - if they sock a 3-run dinger, they’re gonna win it. Fortunately for the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday, that meant there were two players worthy of such dap.
First came Nick Castellanos, whose tater continued his torrid start to his second season in Cincinnati. He added a triple to that tally, too, because he’s going to put up 100 extra-base hits this year, folks.
Backing Castellanos was Tyler Naquin, who similarly poked a 3-run homer, giving him 5 total ribbies in this season-opening series. He was in the lineup for Jesse Winker, who is apparently still not feeling well after exiting early yesterday, and picked right up as a potent lefty hitting leadoff for the Reds again.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Jeff Hoffman, who had an excellent Reds debut (5 IP, 3 H, ER, 0 BB, 6 K on 77 pitches); Tyler Stephenson, who had a trio of hits, a ribbie, and two runs scored; Jonathan India, who singled, drove in a run, and scored; Alex Blandino, who bonked a 2-run double; Carson Fulmer, who fired 1.1 IP of scoreless relief, and Sal Romano, who did, too.
- Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez was perfect in his first trip through the Reds lineup on Sunday, but the heart of the Cincinnati lineup finally got to him in the Bottom of the 4th. Castellanos tripled off the top of the wall in straightaway CF, and he scored a batter later on Votto’s RBI banger of a single into RF - 113.6 mph! Reds led, 1-0.
- Hoffman’s similar excellence through the Cardinals order the first trip stumbled eventually, too. Tyler O’Neill belted a double to the CF wall to begin the Top of the 5th, and he scored a batter later on Yadier Molina’s 75 mph dinker of an RBI single. Game tied, 1-1.
- The Bottom of the 5th saw the Reds take command, and it came with some help from the Cardinals. Tyler Stephenson reached on an infield single (that probably should have been an error on 1B Paul Goldschmidt), and Martinez later walked pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer make it a pair of baserunners on. That meant the ball Castellanos later belted into the seats was a 3-run dinger, and the Reds led, 4-1.
- Ryan Helsley took the mound for St. Louis in the Bottom of the 6th, and the Reds played some welcome add-on. Walks to Eugenio Suarez and Nick Senzel got the party started, while Jonathan India drove in Geno with a single through the right side of the infield. A wild pitch allowed Senzel to cruise home, while India later trotted home on Stephenson’s single up the middle. Later, after lefty Tyler Webb took the mound, the lefty-swinging Naquin pounded a 3-run homer into the sun deck beyond the RF wall, and the Reds held a commanding 10-1 lead.
- It was Genesis Cabrera on the mound for St. Louis in the Bottom of the 7th, and after he walked Mike Moustakas, Stephenson poked a single into RF to put two runners on. Blandino had earlier taken over for Votto at 1B, and he stepped right into the position of arby-eye guy with a double to the wall in CF that scored both. Reds led, 12-1, and that’s how this series wrapped.
- Baseball is awesome in general. Fun baseball is awesome as all hell, and this weekend was some of the best of it we’ve seen in quite sometime.
- As the Cardinals depart Cincinnati on Sunday, the Pittsburgh Pirates will roll into town to start a three-game series at GABP beginning Monday. Unfortunately, they’ll be doing so without burgeoning star Ke’Bryan Hayes, who was placed on the 10-day IL on Sunday with wrist inflammation. Springfield, Ohio native JT Brubaker will be on the bump for them in Monday’s series opener, however, and he’ll be countered by Reds starter Jose De Leon. First pitch for that one is scheduled for 6:40 PM ET.