The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
With all of the pitching additions brought in this winter and the anointment of Luis Castillo as the the Opening Day starter for the Cincinnati Reds, it’s easy to forget that Anthony DeSclafani finally, finally exited spring training healthy for the first time in years. In part due to those injury issues, it’s also easy to forget that when he’s been healthy and in the groove, Disco has actually been a damn good pitcher for the Reds at times.
Good Disco was rolling in his earliest April start in years tonight, too.
He was pulled after just 89 pitches on this relatively chilly April night, but he left having allowed just 1 ER in his 5 IP, allowing 3 hits and 3 walks in that time. Of course, he also fanned 8, using what appears to be a much improved breaking ball to put away the potent Milwaukee Brewers hitters early and often on the night.
If that’s what the Reds can get out of him on a rather routine basis this year, the depth of this revamped rotation just might be pretty damn reasonable after all.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Eugenio Suarez, who dingered, doubled, and drove in a pair; Joey Votto, who walked twice and scored twice; Yasiel Puig, who had a pair of singles; and Robert Stephenson, who fired a fairly impressive pair of scoreless innings from the ‘pen.
- Walks, as they say, oh so often haunt. That’s what bit Disco in the Top of the 3rd, though a bit of an #UmpShow regarding the strikezone sure didn’t help. That there screencap came in the 2-out PA against Travis Shaw, who eventually walked to bring up Jesus Aguilar to the plate. Aguilar then managed to dump a single into RF that brought in Lorenzo Cain who - if you’ll believe it - had walked earlier in the inning (and swiped 2B). Reds trailed, 1-0.
- The Reds elbowed back in the Bottom of the 4th, however. Joey Votto coaxed a walk - because Joey Votto coaxes walks - and he moved up to 2B on a laser of a single into CF by Yasiel Puig. That, for the record, was the first Reds hit of the game. Suarez immediately drove in Joey with a double into shallow LF that was a ricochet off Milwaukee 3B Travis Shaw, and the game was squared, 1-1.
- The Top of the 6th was a large bag of farts, really. Disco was pulled after 89 pitches and 5 IP, and Zach Duke was brought in to face...mostly righties. That resulted in a walk and a loud single off the RF wall off the bat of Yasmani Grandal, who eventually swiped 2B to put runners on 2B and 3B. David Bell turned to Michael Lorenzen to face light-hitting Milwaukee SS Orlando Arcia - who hadn’t had a hit all season - and Arcia promptly swatted a meatball over the wall in RF for a 3-run dinger that broke this thing open. All that with pitcher Jhoulys Chacin on deck - who eventually took a walk of his own and stayed in the game. Reds trailed, 4-1.
- I noted that Chacin stayed in the game. Well, he exited early the next inning after a walk (Votto), single (Puig), and walk (Suarez) loaded the bags for the Reds with 1-out, but some active bullpenning from Brewers managed Craig Counsell resulted in just a lone run for the Reds, as Votto scored on a Scott Schebler ground-out. Reds trailed, 4-2.
- Suarez squared up a Junior Guerra pitch in the Bottom of the 8th, clubbing it into the LF seats for a solo blast that brought the Reds closer at 4-3.
- Bob Steve powered through a pair of scoreless innings to keep the Reds within striking distance late, but unfortunately Josh Hader again slammed the door to send the Reds home with a loss. I said loss. That was a 4-3 loss, for the record.
- The entire what is he, what isn’t he discussion surrounding Lorenzen this year has certainly caught eyes, but the reality is that he’s a primary pitcher already in his second year of arbitration who has been continually leaned upon despite very, very iffy peripherals. In fact, 47 pitchers have thrown at least 180 innings as relievers since the start of the 2016 season, and Lorenzen’s 3.97 FIP in that time ranks 7th worst. Up that to 200 IP, and his FIP ranks worst among the 19 relievers that qualify for that threshold, meaning it’s rather odd that the Reds still seem to be committed to depending on him in big spots. (And yeah, that doesn’t even get into his 2015 season spent as a starter.)
- That said, there is the new provision within the expanded 26 man rosters that are coming in 2020 that allows for two-way players once pitchers/position player limits are instituted, and it sure seems like the Reds are grooming Lorenzen to be just that player. At least that will provide some flexibility, and there’s certainly enough stuff in Lorenzen’s powerful biceps to think that maybe if he was used in a bit less of a quantity-driven role, he could still provide much better production than the average 8th man in a bullpen.
- The Reds and Beers will wrap this game - and the Reds early homestand - with a matinee tomorrow. First pitch is set for 12:35 PM ET, with Luis Castillo and Freddy Peralta set to face off as their teams’ respective starters. It’s still on TV, though, so be sure to tune in before the Reds head East to Pittsburgh to take on the Pirates for a four-game weekend series.