The Cincinnati Reds broke out their big bats against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday, in the process allowing the few fans in the stadium to bust out their brooms.
Respective 2-run blasts by Jonathan India, Tyler Stephenson, and Mike Moustakas fueled a 7-run Bottom of the 3rd against Tampa starter Shane Baz, the big inning in what evolved into a forceful 10-5 victory - and a series sweep. The homer for Moose, today’s Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game because I don’t remember ever having given him one, was the 200th of his career. Congrats, Moose.
That half-frame explosion staked rookie Nick Lodolo to a 7-0 lead, and while he labored initially to hold up his end of the bargain - Tampa plated 3 in the Top of the 4th and later had the bases loaded - the long lefty managed to escape further damage. He finished those 5 frames with 9 H and 3 ER allowed, though his ability to hammer the strike zone was still on full display with 6 K against a lone walk. Dauri Moreta backed him up with a pair of scoreless frames, and the rest of the Cincinnati bullpen managed to tread enough water to hold on for the 10-5 win.
I should note that while the big flies were big flies, they were far from the only thumps on the day. The Reds pounded out 14 hits, with each of Stephenson and Donovan Solano picking up a trio on the day. Tommy Pham had two - one a triple - while Matt Reynolds chipped in with a pair, too.
Not a single Reds took a walk in this offensive outburst, either. That’ll show you, Joey Votto!
That’s a series sweep, at home, of a team who entered play with a winning record. Given how godawful the homestands were earlier in the summer, that’s just about as delightful to finally witness as can be.
Tony Graphanino (link)
- Joey Votto missed yet another game with his sore back, while each of Kyle Farmer and Nick Senzel got days off.
- In a more unfortunate note, it appears that Vladimir Gutierrez’s setback resulted in him needing Tommy John surgery, something that will knock him out of not just the remainder of this season but also for the bulk of next season, too. At least it happened while he was on the big league roster, though, so at least he’ll get paid the big league minimum while rehabbing as opposed to the minor league rate.
- Joel Kuhnel served up several homers in the 8th inning, which made me edit this article several times.
- The Reds are off on Monday, and on Tuesday will begin their final road trip before the All Star break. In doing so, they’ll visit the two franchises with the most World Series titles to their name, with a three-game set in the Bronx against the Yankees followed by a trip to St. Louis on the docket. Tuesday will feature Graham Ashcraft on the bump opposite Gerrit Cole in a matchup of fireballing right-handers who have roughly a difference of $323 million guaranteed to them at the moment. First pitch in the opener is set for 7:05 PM ET.