An early 438 foot homer by Spencer Steer set the Cincinnati Reds on a winning course Saturday against the Philadelphia Phillies, as that solo shot was gave Nick Lodolo and his brilliant left arm the boost he’d need to pitch with a lead for his afternoon of work.
The second-year starter for the Reds (and Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game) was in peak form on the day, fanning 12 in 7.0 IP while keeping the Phillies completely off the board. He yielded just a trio of hits and a pair of walks - one intentional - while making quick work of one of the best on-paper offenses in the sport today.
It was clinical. It was mechanical. It was tactical, practical, and efficient. And when the Reds added a late insurance run in the Top of the 9th on a Jake Fraley sac-fly, that was enough for even the Cincinnati bullpen to make work...
...so we thought.
Alexis Díaz struck out the side in a dizzyingly good Bottom of the 8th that required only 14 pitches. That left him with enough in the tank to return for the Bottom of the 9th, though he quickly lost the zone and put a pair of runners on to bring the potential winning run to the plate with still nobody out. An RBI-single into RF by Brandon Marsh then followed and left runners on the corners with still nobody out, chased the Cincinnati closer to the showers, and left Ian Gibaut with the unenviable task of getting the Reds out of said jam.
Philadelphia tied things up on a sac-fly to CF on the first pitch Gibaut threw, naturally. After Marsh stole 2B a few pitches later, he scored the game’s winning run on a single into RF by Bryson Stott, and a 3-2 loss was on the ledger henceforth and forever more.
[Link to interactive FanGraphs WPA chart & box score]
- TJ Friedl had a pair of bunt singles. That’s cool!
- It appears that Graham Ashcraft has been bumped back by the Reds to give him an additional day of rest, and Connor Overton will start tomorrow for them against the Phillies in the series finale. First pitch in that Sunday matinee is set for 1:05 PM ET, with Taijuan Walker set to toe the rubber for the Phils.