CLEVELAND, OHIO, UNITED STATES, EARTH, MILKY WAY - Jesse Winker singled and walked twice. Alex Blandino finally got a start, and had a single and a walk, too. On a night where Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer had largely everything working, that’s just about the most the Cincinnati Reds offense could muster - for a time.
Once the Reds got to relievers Cody Allen and Dan Otero in the Top of the 9th, however, the offense finally began to click, specifically when Adam Duvall’s pinch-hit 2-run double made the game 4-3. Cleveland then opted to walk Scott Schebler intentionally, and Dilson Herrera - making his first career start as a Red - later worked a pivotal walk to load the bases for one Joseph Daniel Votto.
Votto, as he is wont to do despite a certain media personality constantly questioning his ability in such situations, smacked a 3-run double to the wall in right-center, clearing the bases to lead the Reds to an incredible, unlikely, impressive come-from-behind victory. Hooo boy. #AllOfASudden.
Sal Romano deserves a hearty mention here, I suppose. He allowed a pair of dingers to both Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez in the Bottom of the 1st inning to immediately put the Reds in a hole, and while at the time that seemed like another bad development for a guy who entered with a 6.66 ERA over his last 10 starts, he settled down nicely after that. He’s certainly far from the only pitcher in the game today who’s been bitten by both Lindor and Ramirez. In fact, he pitched plenty well enough to keep the Reds within spittin’ distance hours later, which proved to be a vital development.
Bauer, an All Star, mowed through the lineup with precision, and it was only after he finally exited that things began to click for Cincinnati. He struck out 12 and allowed just 3 hits - all singles - in his scoreless 8 IP, with only 4 BB as his blemishes. He consistently got ahead in counts both with his 95 mph fastball and ~80 mph breaking ball, keeping the Cincinnati hitters as off-balance as they’ve looked in quite some time.
Romano, to his credit, remained rather pitch-efficient, and saved the bullpen by getting through the 7th inning. His final line: 7.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R (3 ER), 2 BB, K on an even 100 pitches. Obviously, his strikeout stuff wasn’t there, but the fact that he settled down certainly deserves worthwhile merit, with the comeback the icing on the cake.
Against the woeful Cleveland bullpen, the offense simply came alive, with Jose Peraza’s pinch-hit bloop single down the RF line with 2-out plating Scooter Gennett - who had earlier been hit by a pitch. Duvall’s double to the wall in left-center then scored both Peraza and Eugenio Suarez, who had singled in front of him. That set up the Schebler-Dilson-Votto exchange, with the double putting Cincinnati ahead 6-4, before Suarez followed with a single of his own to plate Joey and give Raisel Iglesias a 7-4 advantage to protect.
Protect it, he did, and the Reds stole a 7-4 win that should help assuage the pair of blown-lead losses to Chicago over the weekend.
Man, is this team fun right now.
- Since the beginning of the 2017 season, Cincinnati Reds position players have been worth the 7th most fWAR in all of baseball. That’s a pretty damn fine endorsement that those positions on the roster have been effectively ‘rebuilt,’ I’d say.
- On that same wavelength, Jesse Winker has a .397 OBP...and that’s just the third best OBP on the Reds roster. Man, that’s a delightful change from a few years ago.
- Tyler Mahle gets the start for the Reds in the series finale on Wednesday. He’ll be opposed by Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco. First pitch is again scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.