The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
It’s hard to imagine a better season debut than what the Cincinnati Reds got from Tyler Mahle on Thursday, especially when you consider he only really made the Opening Day roster due to Alex Wood having a balky back.
Mahle was in control from the get-go, and eventually fired 6 innings of scoreless ball, scattering 5 hits, issuing zero walks, and striking out 5 Pittsburgh Pirates on the night. He only needed 78 pitches to do it, too, and likely would’ve stayed in the game for another inning (at least) had the Reds not opted to use a pinch-hitter in the Top of the 7th in one of the very, very few scoring opportunities the game had seen to that point.
Props to Mahle on the excellent performance, one that included hitting spots routinely and having his breaking ball working perhaps as well as it has in his two-year tenure as a Red.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Scott Schebler, who doubled to end his season-opening 0-fer streak (and walked); Jesse Winker, who singled to end his season-opening 0-fer streak; and Tucker Barnhart, who singled and doubled.
- Mahle exited after 6 brilliant innings, and David Hernandez took over for the Bottom of the 7th. Honestly, he didn’t pitch too poorly, but the Pirates managed to small-ball their way into a run. Melky Cabrera singled into RF with 1-out to begin thinks, and the speedy Pablo Reyes pinch-ran for him at that juncture. That proved large, as he went 1st to 3rd on a JB Shuck ‘single’ through the right side that only went for a hit once 2B Jose Peraza broke to 2B to cover as Reyes had taken off early for a hit and run, and Shuck’s dribbler left runners on 1B and 3B. Hernandez then induced a jam-shot grounder off the bat of Kevin Newman, but it was so softly hit that the only play was an out at 1B, and Reyes scooted home for the game’s initial run. Reds trailed, 1-0.
- Michael Lorenzen then took over for the Bottom of the 8th, and he promptly allowed singles to each of Starling Marte, Francisco Cervelli, and Josh Bell, the last of which drove in another run that left the Reds in a 2-0 hole.
- The Reds did not dig themselves out of that hole. Reds lost, 2-0.
- The Reds entered play tonight dead last in all of MLB in runs scored. Then, they got shut out again.
- This is fun.
- This is going to be fun.
- This is all going to be so incredibly fun.
- The Reds actually hit a number of balls quite hard early in the game, but the ball simply was not carrying one iota in the cool April evening air in Pittsburgh. Dear god, I’m grasping at straws for this offense.
- Sonny Gray will attempt to boot the memory of his rough Reds debut to the curb on Friday night, as he’ll be the Reds starter in game two of this series. He’ll be opposed by Pirates starter Joe Musgrove, with first pitch set again for 7:05 PM ET.