The ledger of positives for the Cincinnati Reds from Friday’s epic 7-5 victory over the San Diego Padres is protracted.
- Graham Ashcraft turned in his best performance in months, firing 6.2 IP of lone ER ball reminiscent of his jet-fueled start of the season
- Tyler Stephenson hit a big go-ahead homer in the 7th inning
- Elly De La Cruz had a 2-hit night (including a double) and did not K
- Lucas Sims looked devilish again
- Matt McLain homered, because Matt McLain does everything
It took the perfect combination of those events to even get to Spencer Steer’s 2-run walk-off homer in the Bottom of the 11th inning, in part because Alexis Diaz stumbled in a save situation for the first time all season in the Top of the 9th and Ian Gibaut, then tasked with the Top of the 10th, stumbled a bit, too. It all came together, however, as McLain’s blast in the 10th set the stage for Steer in the 11th, and the rookie combo rescued the Reds for yet another come from behind victory.
Steer’s season line now sits at .283/.374/.497 with 13 homers and 48 runs driven in, good for a 130 wRC+ and 128 OPS+. The .374 OBP is tied with Paul Goldschmidt for 14th best in all of baseball, his .375 wOBA standing alone in 15th. He’s proving to not only be one of the best offensive players on this potent Reds team, but in all of baseball, and is playing his way into being a deserving All Star, too.
The 7-5 win on Friday also means that today, when the Reds and Padres tussle starting at 1:40 PM ET, the Reds will have the opportunity for yet another series victory. I should add that it’s the First Place Reds once again given that the Pittsburgh Pirates rallied late to take home an 8-7 win over the Milwaukee Brewers last night.
To get said win, though, the Reds are going to need a solid outing from starter Brandon Williamson, something that’s been hard to come by for the rookie lefty. In the 7 starts he’s made since his brilliant debut in Coors Field, he’s been shelled for 24 ER in 33.0 IP, a 6.55 ERA and 6.10 FIP stretch that’s seen him yield an .873 OPS to his opponents. Remember that blurb about how good Spencer Steer has been all year? Do the math on his OPS, for reference.
The Padres, meanwhile, will roll out Michael Wacha, an age-old NL Central foe. He’s having a revelatory year on a cheap salary before reaching free agency, the precise kind of guy that wouldn’t cost a ton to acquire at the trade deadline for a team that’s playing well and needs starting pitching help. Just saying.