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Brewers 8, Reds 3 - Cincinnati bullpen disaster, volume eight

Well, yeah, you probably saw that one coming.

50 grade slider, 80 grade pitch face.
50 grade slider, 80 grade pitch face.
David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

Michael Lorenzen didn't have the best of debuts, but he nonetheless was solid enough to keep the Cincinnati Reds in the game both with his arm and his bat.  Lorenzen was tagged for a trio of solo dingers by the Milwaukee Brewers today, but he also managed to log 5 innings, strike out 5 Brewers, and walk just 1, and on top of that he laced a sharp single to RF after a well-worked count of Matt Garza.  While he did get hit hard, he flashed the kind of fastball that will certainly play in the big leagues, and he showed enough with his slider to suggest that a little bit more seasoning may make it a devastating second pitch.

All in all, not a bad effort from the rookie.  Have a trophy, Mike.

Honorable Mentions are due to:  Todd Frazier, who smacked a solo dinger; Brandon Phillips, who had a pair of hits (and also had a pair of hard line drives caught for outs); Marlon Byrd, who went 0 for 4 with another 3 Ks but has a 0.000002% chance of reading this and just might gain some sort of awkward pseudo-confidence in himself for some reason if he does; Jay Bruce, who walked and smacked a solo dinger (which serves as the first extra-base hit from the #4 spot in the Cincinnati lineup in 2015); Tucker Barnhart, who dingered and walked; and Carlos Contreras, who pitched a clean inning in relief in his 1st appearance in the big leagues this year.

Key Plays

  • With Joey Votto getting a scheduled day off, Frazier moved back up to 3rd in the lineup, and he responded by hitting a towering fly ball to LF off Matt Garza in the Bottom of the 1st that just cleared the LF fence for a solo dinger, his 6th overall dinger so far this season.  Reds led, 1-0.
  • That lead, at least, was unfortunately short lived.  Adam Lind stepped to the plate to leadoff the Top of the 2nd, and he promptly blasted his 4th dinger of the season just over the outstretched glove of Billy Hamilton in CF.  Two batters later, Khris Davis bhlasted his fhirst dhinger of the season, thoo, a 425 foot moonshot off the batter's eye in CF.
  • Lorenzen ran into a bit of trouble in the Top of the 4th, and it quickly boosted his already mounting pitch count.  A leadoff double to Aramis Ramirez began things, and a walk to Davis followed.  Hector Gomez then hit a soft single to RF to load the bases with just 1-out, but Lorenzen battled back to strike out Garza and get a tapper back to him from Jean Segura for the final out of the inning to escape damage.
  • Lorenzen came back out for the Top of the 5th despite having already thrown close to 90 pitches, and though he got a line out for the 1st out of the inning, Ryan Braun - who college-aged Lorenzen listed as his favorite player - smashed a solo dinger of his own well over the wall in RF.  Dang.  Reds trailed, 3-1.
  • Barnhart got the Reds back in action in the Bottom of the 5th, however, as he smacked another solo dinger - the game's 5th - over the wall in RF off Garza.  It was the 2nd dinger of Barnhart's career, with both having come against the Brewers.  Reds trailed, 3-2.
  • Jumbo Diaz took the mound for the Reds in the Top of the 8th, and things went decidedly "Reds bullpenny."  Martin Maldonado led things off with a single before back to back bunts netted zero outs thanks to infield confusion, bobbles, bats, bees, and things that go "bump" in the night.  Both, somehow, were scored as singles.  Diaz rebounded a bit to get Jean Segura to fly out shallow enough in RF for Bruce's arm to scare the Brewers into holding the runner at 3B.  Diaz then hit Logan Schafer on the foot with a breaking ball before serving up a back-breaking grand slam to Braun.  this.bullpen.  Reds trailed, 8-2.
  • Bruce smoked a solo dinger off Jeremy Jeffress in the Bottom of the 9th, but that was the last of the Reds scoring efforts.  Reds lose, 8-3.

Tony Graphanino

Source: FanGraphs

Other Notes
  • I root hard for Kris Negron, and I really want to see him succeed at even a fraction of how he did in 2014, but after today's 0 for 3 outing, he's got just 1 hit in 24 PA so far in 2015.
  • Ryan Braun now has 4 dingers on the season.  Each and every one of them has been against the Reds.
  • The Reds entered today with the worst bullpen ERA in baseball by a full half a run.  I suspect that margin will increase a tad after all of today's games are complete.
  • So, Brandon Phillips finally got that elusive extra base hit this week, and Bruce's dinger snapped a similar streak for Reds #4 hitters today.  That leaves Marlon Byrd's season-long lack of a walk as the only real "what the heck, really?" streak on the team ledger.  From what I've watched for 21 games, that could last quite awhile, however.
  • The Reds will pack up and head south to Atlanta this afternoon, and tomorrow they'll begin a 4 game series against the Braves.  Mike Leake will take the mound in Game 1, and he'll be opposed by former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Shelby Miller.  First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.
  • ATL Tunes.