The rookie righty was effective, composed, and – most importantly – gave his beleaguered bullpen a break.
The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
When 40% of the actual Opening Day rotation is injured and 60% of the would-be Opening Day rotation is injured, the idea of hosting the division leader who’s on a 11-wins-in-12-games heater would be daunting in its own right. With a loss in the initial game of the series and a rookie on the mound in just his third career big league start factored into the equation, it would’ve been easy to be very, very concerned heading into this one.
Fortunately, Vladimir Gutierrez eased all of our nerves with yet another rock solid performance.
The righty shrugged off an error-prone initial inning and settled in brilliantly thereafter, eventually logging 7 innings of 2 ER ball in a 102 pitch outing that was much needed after Sonny Gray’s injury-shortened outing yesterday sapped the bullpen. He scattered 6 hits and a trio of walks, struck out 7, and perhaps most importantly (given some of his struggles at the AAA level in recent seasons) kept hard contact at a minimum and the ball completely in the park.
Heck yeah, Vlad. Well done.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Tyler Stephenson, who bashed a pair of doubles and drove in a trio of runs; Nick Castellanos, who doubled, walked, scored twice and drove in a pair; Jesse Winker, who singled, walked, and scored twice; and Jonathan India, who singled, walked, scored, and drove in a run
- Vlad Gutierrez got off to an immediately rocky start, as he hit Luis Urias with the game’s initial pitch. A single later moved Urias into scoring position, and score he did when Vlad balked with him on 3B. Reds trailed early, 1-0.
- The Reds managed to doink their way into the lead in the Bottom of the 1st, however, and did so with some help from Brewers starter Brett Anderson. Jesse Winker legged out an infield single, while Nick Castellanos followed by reaching 1B on a throwing error by Anderson. That left Winker in scoring position on Stephenson’s ribbie double, and Nick later motored home on a productive ribbie-groundout by Joey Votto. Reds led, 2-1.
- The Reds played some add-on in the Bottom of the 2nd. Scott Heineman began things with a leadoff walk, and he scooted to 2B on the first career hit by Gutierrez – a legged out infield single. That put a runner in scoring position for Jonathan India, who smashed a single down the LF line off the glove of a diving Travis Shaw. Shaw unfortunately injured his left arm severely on the play and was forced to exit the game, and later that inning Castellanos socked a 2-run double into the LF corner to make it a 5-1 Reds lead.
- Speaking of add-on, the Reds did some more of that in the Bottom of the 4th, too, and again it was a Stephenson ribbie-double doing the job – this time against reliever Eric Lauer. He plated both Winker and Castellanos, who had each walked, and the Reds held a 7-1 lead.
- Gutierrez was dinked for a run in the Top of the 5th, with a double by Urias and a wild pitch putting the Milwaukee leadoff man in a spot to score on a sac-fly by Avisail Garcia, and the Reds lead was 7-2.
- Daniel Vogelbach tagged Heath Hembree for a solo bomb in the Top of the 9th, but that was the end of the damage on the night. Reds won, 7-3.
- It sure looked like it at the time, and it was later confirmed that Travis Shaw suffered a dislocated left shoulder. Best wishes to him on a thorough recovery.
- In other injury news, the Reds placed Sonny Gray on the IL today thanks to the groin pull he had last night. Art Warren has been recalled for now, though the Reds have not yet named publicly who will take Sonny’s spot in the rotation.
- Tomorrow’s series finale will be a matinee affair, so plan accordingly. It’s set for a 12:35 PM ET start, and with Freddy Peralta and Luis Castillo the scheduled starters, two pitchers with the filthiest ceilings in the game will be toeing the rubber. How they fare once there, of course, will be of utmost importance, specifically on the Reds side of things.