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Amir Garrett knocked around, Ariel Hernandez shines as Reds lose to Eric Thames, 11-7

Holy fastballs, Batman!

Cincinnati Enquirer-USA TODAY Sports

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

No, the scoreboard in this one wasn’t one that should excite fans of the Cincinnati Reds. What should excite them, though, was the major league debut of one Ariel Hernandez.

Called up on Sunday to replace Lisalverto Bonilla, Hernandez finally took the mound tonight for Cincinnati, and did so in dazzling fashion. He routinely hit 99 mph with his fastball - only when he wasn’t busy hitting 100 mph with it, which he also did - and he ended up firing 2.2 innings of scoreless, hitless, perfect ball that also featured 5 strikeouts.

Despite not really featuring prominently on Cincinnati’s prospect lists, Hernandez hasn’t gone unnoticed in his minor league travails. Baseball America’s JJ Cooper was watching him tonight, and has watched him impress for quite awhile now, and it’ll be interesting to see where he fits in the team’s plans going forward after such an electric debut.

Honorable Mentions are due to: Joey Votto, who doubled, scored, and walked twice; Scott Schebler, who honked a 3-run dinger; Zack Cozart, who tripled, walked twice, and scored twice; and Stuart Turner, who drove in Cozart both times - both times on doubles - and also walked.

Key Plays

  • After the Reds’ offense put a few runners on in the Top of the 1st but failed to score, the Brewers jumped right on rookie Amir Garrett. Eric Thames hit is 2,498th dinger of the season with 1-out - a solo shot - and later that inning Hernan Perez spanked a 2-out, 3-run homer off the batter’s eye in CF. Reds trailed, 4-0.
  • The Reds got a run back in the Top of the 2nd after Cozart’s triple and an RBI double from Stuart Turner, but Thames donked the Reds (again) in the Bottom of the 2nd after Garrett walked Jonathan Villar in front of the Milwaukee slugger with 2-outs and then watched an opposite field shot put the Reds behind, 6-1.
  • Thing is, Matt Garza isn’t really a very good pitcher, and the Reds finally exploited that in the Top of the 3rd - with some help. Votto walked with 1-out, and Eugenio Suarez later reached on a rare error by Orlando Arcia at SS to put a pair of runners on with 2-outs. Schebler stepped in after the inning should’ve been over, worked the count, and then launched a 3-run blast the other way to bring the Reds back into the game down 6-4.
  • All vestiges of Garrett’s initial three starts went out the window after that, and it wasn’t just Thames cranking more and more dingers. Doubles, singles, and even an RBI single from Garza himself got to Garrett in the Bottoms of the 3rd and 4th, and the Reds quickly found themselves in a 10-4 hole.
  • Turner, to his credit, kept right on whacking, smacking another double in the Top of the 6th to again score Cozart (who this time had been hit by a pitch). Reds trailed, 10-5.
  • The Reds loaded the bases in the Top of the 8th and got a run off a Jose Peraza single up the middle, but a well-placed shift nabbed Votto's would-be single up the middle to end the rally with Cincinnati still down, 10-6.
  • The Brewers knocked around enough to score an add-on run in the Bottom of the 8th, which Cincinnati matched on a Schebler RBI double (after Eugenio Suarez reached on an error) in the Top of the 9th. That wrapped the rally attempt, however, and the Reds lost 11-7.

Tony Graphanino

Source: FanGraphs

Other Notes

  • Batting Billy Hamilton and Jose Peraza both atop the batting order isn’t working. It’s no longer too early in the season to suggest that, especially given their longstanding profiles as hitters. The Cincinnati offense has chugged along OK with them there, but that’s been more in spite of their production than because of it.
  • Amir Garrett got hit incredibly hard tonight, and there’s no two ways around that fact. His final line: 3.1 IP, 8 H, 10 R (9 ER), 4 BB, 1 K. Oof.
  • After pitching to Tucker Barnhart in each of his first 3 starts to the season, Garrett had Stuart Turner catching him today. Correlation does not always imply causation, however.
  • Prior to the game, the Reds announced that Rookie Davis would return from his hit-by-pitch DL stint to make Wednesday’s start in the series finale against Milwaukee. That’ll bump Tim Adleman to Friday, though that does mean Timmy’s going to stick in the rotation while Cody Reed moves back to the bullpen for the time being.
  • Just a hunch, but I’m guessing that activating Davis will likely end Phil Ervin’s initial cup of coffee with the big league Reds. If not, that may come on Friday, since all reports point to Devin Mesoraco being activated on Friday.
  • Scott Feldman will start for Cincinnati in Tuesday’s outing against the Brewers, and he’ll be opposed by 110 lb Zach Davies. First pitch is set for 7:40 PM ET.
  • Tunes.