The Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals just wrapped their second doubleheader in two days. For the mathematically inclined, that means they played 4 games total between Saturday and Sunday, which is exhausting just thinking about.
They blew one on Sunday afternoon, giving up another lead in a walk-off 4-3 loss. They managed to salvage a game on Sunday evening, however, meaning they won’t have to walk away completely deflated. That one was a 5-3 victory that included the bullpen really, actually holding down a lead for a win. Progress!
In lieu of breaking down all the procedural details, here’s an overlook at what went right, what didn’t, and what’s up next for these Reds.
Eugenio Suarez belted his 40th homer of the season, becoming the first Cincinnati Red since Adam Dunn in 2007 to reach that mark. In the process, he became the franchise’s single-season leader for number of dingers hit by a 3B, eclipsing the great Tony Perez.
Tyler Mahle was simply brilliant in his return to the Reds, too. Starting the opener on Sunday, he allowed just 2 runs (1 earned) in 6.1 IP, yielding just 2 hits and nary a walk in the process. He’s had some ups and downs over the last pair of seasons, but I think so often we forget he’s still just 24 years old and younger than Luis Castillo was when Castillo made his big league debut.
Nick Senzel bonked a dinger in the second game of the day. It was a healthy one, too, traveling some 422 feet. Speaking of which, Phil Ervin bonked a big one, too, and came up just a triple shy of the cycle in the series finale.
Raisel Iglesias picked up a 3-out save in a perfect inning of work. Imagine that!
Alex Blandino pinch-ran in the 9th inning, getting back on a big league field for the first time since shredding his knee in late July of last year. Being that it’s September 1st and rosters have expanded, Blandino was among the many players called-up, along with Mahle, Matt Bowman, Wandy Peralta, and Sal Romano, for now. Jose Peraza will be a likely addition as soon as he’s spent the minimum 10 days in the minors after being optioned, unless there’s an injury to a similarly positioned player that necessitates an earlier recall. More on that in a few paragraphs, unfortunately...
After watching the Reds blow leads in both games on Saturday, the last thing any of us wanted to watch was the Reds blow another one on Sunday. So, of course we watched the Reds blow one on Sunday, as Mahle’s excellent start was squelched by the Cardinals courtesy of both Amir Garrett and Michael Lorenzen, the latter of whom was tagged with the blown save and loss. Of course, those guys get put in those kinds of situation when the guy who’s supposed to be pitching in those kinds of scenarios falls flat on his face, too.
The defense was rather oofish, too. The Reds committed a trio of errors in the opener on Sunday, and 2 of the 4 runs scored against them were unearned.
While Suarez reaching the 40 dinger mark was an amazing start to the day, watching him exit the second game immediately after getting hit on the hand with a pitch was not. Of course, you’ll remember he missed nearly 3 weeks with a busted thumb last year after being plunked, and the dude certainly knows when he’s hurt. Not bueno, not bueno at all.
Finally, somehow hitting coach Turner Ward got ejected prior to the Bottom of the 9th in the final game of the day. It came immediately after Michael Lorenzen - who was on 3B as a pinch-runner - was thrown out trying to score on a sac fly. Maybe Ward just really had to pee.
The good news is that the Reds will get to end this torrid weekend of baseball by sleeping in their own beds at some point later tonight. The bad news, though, is that not only do they not have an off-day on Monday, they’ve got a scheduled day game.
The Philadelphia Phillies - who, to their credit, are also playing an evening game tonight in not-Cincinnati - will be in town for a 4 game series, and will be doing so with their playoff hopes on life support. First pitch Monday is set for 2:10 PM ET for some matinee Labor Day soiree, and will feature Anthony DeSclafani and Drew Smyly as the starting pitchers.