Need a cannon at the dish? Better call Tucker

August 4th, 2020

CINCINNATI -- Sonny Gray may have provided a good start and Joey Votto may have hit the game-winning home run in the Reds' 3-2 win over Cleveland on Monday, but catcher also came through big time with his arm, throwing out two baserunners trying to advance in key moments.

“There’s a lot of things that Tucker does that don’t get seen, that don’t get noticed,” Votto said. “That’s the case for a lot of players, but there’s a reason that those players have jobs and get paid so well.”

The night didn’t start auspiciously for the Barnhart. Gray threw a pair of wild pitches in the dirt in the second inning, with the second one getting past the catcher and to the backstop. That allowed Oscar Mercado to score and make it a 2-0 game.

“I’m an emotional guy. But there’s nothing that gets to me more than messing up behind the plate,” said Barnhart, who won the National League's Gold Glove Award for catchers in 2017. “That’s about as frustrated as I can get on a baseball field is when I let something like that happen.”

In the top of the sixth, Francisco Lindor hit a single that snapped Gray’s streak of 12 consecutive retired batters. As Carlos Santana batted, Lindor broke for second base, and Barnhart made a perfect throw for the second out.

Runners were on first and second base for reliever Nate Jones when his slider to José Ramírez was blocked in the dirt by Barnhart. As Greg Allen took third base, the ball kicked off Barnhart’s shoulder, collarbone and jaw, but he recovered it and fired his throw to Freddy Galvis at second base. It nabbed César Hernández for the second out.

“It was just a really tough pitch to block,” Barnhart said. “They don’t usually lend themselves to putting you into a very good throwing position or a position where you can make a throw because you’re in such an awkward spot, or a guy gets such a good jump that there is just no throw to be made. For me, I was able to awkwardly knock it down. … I saw the guy at second get a late jump and I was lucky to first of all keep it front, and then secondly that I had a play to make after the fact.”

Reds manager David Bell felt both defensive stops changed the complexion of the game.

“Early in the game, he let one slip by. He’s the best we’ve ever seen at blocking balls. He’s human and that happens,” Bell said. “What’s most impressive is how he responded to that. That’s why he’s here. That’s why he’s the player he is.”

Votto, Votto, Votto (x100?)
Continuing a trend that’s been seen around Major League Baseball as it’s played this season inside empty stadiums, the Reds unveiled fan cutouts during Monday’s win over Cleveland at Great American Ball Park.

The cutouts cost $75 each, with proceeds going to the Reds Community Fund. Reds first baseman appeared to want in on the action.

“Oh, tremendous,” Votto said after Monday’s game. “So how about I buy an entire section, and it’s just my face? It’ll be 100 pictures of me. Is that a good idea? Would that be weird? Let’s get Charley Frank [from the RCF] on the horn.”

Barnhart and his wife, Sierra, bought three -- one for her and one for each of their two sons.

“It sounds like a lot of guys want their families here, which is really cool,” Barnhart said. “Maybe they’ll put them in the family section that we normally have during the games. It’d be kind of nice to wave up to your fake family.”

Lorenzen bounces back
Reliever allowed a home run in each of his first three appearances this season, with one blown save and one loss. But on Monday, the two-way favorite delivered a perfect top of the seventh inning with two strikeouts immediately following Gray’s departure.

Bell realized that Lorenzen could have given him a second inning but instead went with Jones, who worked a scoreless eighth.

“I do think if he hadn't had a couple tough outings, there was a chance that he would have gone back last night,” Bell said of Lorenzen. “But to get one solid ending under his belt, even though he's done this a lot as far as having success, there is something to be said for getting a good inning under your belt and taking them to the next outing, just for your confidence. That was part of the decision last night too.”