Nick Castellanos was ejected in the Top of the 1st after some bullshit strike calls. Jesse Winker exited later after appearing to be in discomfort, his recent back issue likely the culprit. Jonathan India appeared to injure his left shoulder on a dive back into 1B and was clearly in pain for the rest of the day, though he gutted his way through this one. All that came on the same day that GM Nick Krall suggested Nick Senzel is no longer viewed as a starter and had been optioned to AAA in a surreal presser that also included a suggestion that we may not even see star prospect Jose Barrero up with the Cincinnati Red at all this year.
It’s almost like the Baseball Gods chose to laugh early at the operations of this franchise on Sunday, a day that otherwise went well enough as the Reds downed Aaron Nola and the Philadelphia Phillies to take a vital road series.
India blasted a solo homer and a pair of singles in yet another Rookie of the Year-caliber game, Shogo Akiyama came on as an early substitute after the bullshit Castellanos ejection and smacked a 2-run double, and these banged-up Reds kept simply found a way offensively to get enough of a job done. They did so despite Sonny Gray not having his best of days, either.
The Reds righty looked decent early, but a leadoff triple by JT Realmuto in the Bottom of the 4th ended up leading to Philadelphia’s initial run, with a bases-loaded scenario in the Bottom of the 5th plating a pair more while chasing Sonny to an early shower after just 78 pitches. Frankly, though, he pitched OK during that Phillies rally, too, with a bases loaded walk to Bryce Harper and a sac-fly the only way runs crossed the plate.
The Reds bench (not David Bell, who was ejected alongside Castellanos) turned to Lucas Sims first, and Sims responded by retiring 4 Phillies in his time. Michael Lorenzen followed with some nervy walks before getting his outs with zero further runs allowed, and that was greatly appreciated.
Similarly appreciated was the RBI-double by Tucker Barnhart in the Top of the 8th and the 2-run dinger from Tyler Stephenson that followed, as that gave the Reds some insurance runs.
What was not greatly appreciated was the trouble that Luis Cessa ran into with 2-out in the Bottom of the 8th, with an Alec Bohm RBI-double shaving the lead, bringing the tying run to the plate and chasing Cessa to the shower in favor of Mychal Givens. Givens escaped the 8th after just 2 pitches with no further damage, however, and that left them with a 7-4 lead that he made hold up thanks to effective-enough work in the Bottom of the 9th, too.
A win, a series victory, and a trip back home to beat up on the Cubs up next.
The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star(s) of the Game
India gutted it out all day despite being in some pretty clear discomfort, and added to his Rookie of the Year campaign with yet another 3-hit day (with a dinger).
Stephenson, meanwhile, homered in his third consecutive game, and the only question that remains now is if these two will split too many ballots in RoY voting to screw themselves both out of the 1st place finish. Man, the Reds have some good young talent around these days, even if they’re committed to not deploying all of it this season for whatever reason.
- The Senzel news coincided with his time on rehab assignment having expired, meaning the Reds were forced to make a roster decision. Instead of thinning the bullpen back to normal levels or making a decision on optionless players in the outfield, they took the ‘easy’ way out by optioning Nick to AAA. That decision in and of itself isn’t too terribly outlandish, especially with rosters due to expand enough to allow his return in two weeks, but the comments made by Krall in the wake of the decision seemed to paint a pretty WTF-inducing picture. The Enquirer’s Bobby Nightengale had details.
- Nick Senzel has bent over backwards to play basically every single position that exists, and this club has done him absolutely zero favors despite his immense talent and the great amount of money invested in him at the point of drafting. I will never not be confused with the hows and whys of him being jerked around, let alone while Eugenio Suarez and Tyler Naquin and Shogo Akiyama are still penciled in as regulars every single day. It’s a classic case of the Reds continuing to prioritize the 40-man roster over the 26-man roster, a prototypical move of risk-averse franchises.
- Joey Votto went hitless again, and is still 2 hits shy of the 2,000 mark. He was just waiting for the homestand, folks.
- Anyway, The Reds return home to host what remains of the Chicago Cubs next, with Wade Miley on the bump for tomorrow’s series opener. Justin Steele will toe the rubber for the Baby Bears, with first pitch set for 7:10 PM ET.