The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
It certainly wasn’t the sole reason behind it, but you can certainly make a pretty solid case that the work Nick Castellanos did in limited action for the Chicago Cubs back in 2019 did a lot of the heavy lifting for his current contract with the Cincinnati Reds. He simply mashed in his half-season there before reaching free agency, and the Reds scooped him up in hopes he’d continue to return the favor in the NL Central for years down the road.
Today, he did just that, mashing a pair of dingers against the Cubs in a see-saw roller coaster of a game. Those were just part of a 5 hit day, one that saw him score 4 times and drive in 4, too. It was truly a day of absolute smashing on both sides, but it was Nick who swung the biggest bat of them all.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Eugenio Suarez, who also had a mammoth day (3 H, 3 ribbies, and a dinger); Mike Moustakas, who dingered, doubled, was plunked, and drove in a pair; Tucker Barnhart, who socked a dinger; Joey Votto, who had a ribbie-single and a walk; Nick Senzel, who singled, walked twice, and scored; Heath Hembree, who fired a scoreless 9th to continue his excellent run of form; and Jesse Winker, who singled, walked, was plunked, and scored four times - including the game winner.
- Two pitches into the game, and the Reds were down a run. Back to back doubles from Ian Happ and Kris Bryant did that damage early, and the Reds were down 1-0 in a blink.
- The Reds struck back immediately, however. Winker coaxed a leadoff walk and moved to 2B on a single up the middle by Castellanos, putting him in scoring position for Votto’s ribbie-single into CF. Castellanos moved over to 3B on the play, allowing him to score on a subsequent double-play, and the Reds were on top, 2-1.
- Back to back hits off Mahle in the Top of the 2nd allowed the Cubs to counter, too. Nico Hoerner and Tony Wolters were behind those, with Hoerner left on 3B with 1-out and pitcher Trevor Williams at the plate. Williams poked a broken-bat grounder slow enough towards 1B to allow Hoerner to score on the putout, and the game was again tied, 2-2. That wasn’t the end of the action in the inning, though, as Wolters, backup catcher, tried to sneakily steal home on the throwback to the pitcher, slid under the tag from Tucker Barnhart after clearly getting there well after the throw, but apparently missed home on the slide and was deemed out on the replay in truly dizzying series of events.
- The Top of the 3rd sucked in vintage fashion, with the same damn dudes who the Reds always let beat them doing the beating again. You know who. Reds trailed, 4-2.
- Fortunately, the Reds have some bashers of their own, and they showed up swinging in the Bottom of the 3rd. A single by Winker was followed by a thunderous 2-run dinger into the left-center bleachers by Castellanos, while both Moose and Geno later followed with solo taters of their own. Reds led, 6-4.
- One of those Cubs hit another meatball offered to him over the fence in the Top of the 5th. That shaved the Reds lead to just 6-5.
- Despite having struggled through 5 IP, Tyler Mahle was again on the mound to start the Top of the 6th, and his day ended after a leadoff double by Matt Duffy. Sean Doolittle was summoned to try to put out that fire, but an RBI-double down the LF line by Nico Hoerner leveled the score first at 6-6.
- The Reds reclaimed the lead in the Bottom of the 6th, however, and did so with a bit of help from the Cubs. Barnhart reached on a squibber of an infield single that Javy Baez couldn’t come up with, while Alec Mills later plunked Winker on the elbow. A single by Castellanos loaded the bags, and Mills later drove in a run with a plunking of Moose on the right hip. That brought Geno back to the plate, and he responded with a 2-run single into LF that gave the Reds a 9-6 lead.
- Lucas Sims was on the bump for the dinger-surrendering in the Top of the 7th, this time with Baez tagging him for a 2-run blast way over the CF wall to make it 9-8.
- Senzel legged out an infield single to begin the Bottom of the 7th, which put a runner on for Tucker’s blast, a 2-run tater into the RF seats that put the Reds up, 11-8, which grew to 12-8 on the second blast of the day by Castellanos.
- The Cubs scored on a non-homer in the Top of the 8th, which seems noteworthy in this blast-fest. Probably more noteworthy were the trio of subsequent runs they scored on Ian Happ’s 3-run blast off Tejay Antone later that inning, which tied the fucking game at 12-12.
- After Amir Garrett and Ryan Hendrix combined to get the Reds through the Top of the 10th unscathed despite a runner starting on 2B, the Reds put this one on ice in the Bottom half. Winker took 3B on a passed ball by Willson Contreras, and Castellanos bonked a single into CF to do the deed. Reds won a wild one, 13-12.
- Entering play today, Reds relievers had a strand-rate of just 65.6%, which was the third worst among all relief corps. The first runner they inherited today scored, too.
- 10 combined dingers in this one, which tied the record for most in a single game in GABP history.
- Tyler Mahle did not have a good day. His final line: 5+ IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, and a trio of dingers surrendered.
- The Reds have an off-day on Monday, which is good after this exhausting hullabaloo. On Tuesday, they’ll welcome the other potent club from Chicago to town for a quick mid-week, two-game series. First pitch Tuesday is set for 6:40 PM ET, with Dylan Cease and Jeff Hoffman scheduled to start.