The Cincinnati Reds came into Thursday’s matinee with the St. Louis Cardinals with a chance to take 3 of 4 from the Red Birds. With the way the offense had hit the ball this series, all they needed was a strong start from Luke Weaver to get the job done. Luke Weaver more than delivered, putting up his best outing of the season and throwing 6.1 solid innings, allowing no runs on only 3 hits with a walk and 6 strikeouts. That was a performance worthy enough for today’s Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game. Hopefully he can build on today’s outing and string a couple together.
You might be thinking, “Wow, Luke Weaver threw 6.1 shutout innings against the Cardinals! Surely the Reds won today, right?” They did not. The offense was equally fooled by Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas, who threw 7 shutout innings of his own, and couldn’t back up Weaver this afternoon. Neither team could get on the board until the 8th inning, until the Cardinals were able to put together a little 2-out rally to take the lead. Lars Nootbaar got things started with a single on a grounder to right field off reliever Lucas Sims. Nolan Gorman would come up and smack a line drive down the line in right for a RBI double. After a couple walks would load the bases, a wild pitch by Sims would bring home Gorman to give the Cardinals a 2-0 lead.
Despite the score line, it’s not as if the Reds didn’t have their chances today. They were 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position and had plenty of opportunities to score throughout the game. Their last effort came in the 9th when they tried to mount a 9th inning comeback. With one out, Spencer Steer doubled to center. After a Nick Senzel struck out, Stuart Fairchild would bring in Steer to cut the deficit to 2-1. Unfortunately, Luke Maile would strike out to end the game and give the Cardinals a 2-1 victory.
It was a disappointing end to a series where the Reds had plenty of chances to take 3 of 4 and get themselves out of the cellar. The loss also has them tied for the worst record in the National League. Surely there aren’t any players in the farm system who could help this team out. Ah, well. Nevertheless. The Reds head on the road to the North Side to take on the Chicago Cubs this weekend. First pitch on Friday from Wrigley Field is at 2:20 PM EDT. Hunter Greene (0-4, 4.68 ERA) will get the start for the Reds. He’ll be opposed by the vaunted TBD of the Cubs. Go Reds.
[Link to interactive WPA chart and box score, via FanGraphs]