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Nobody has pitched more innings since June 30th than Cincinnati’s Graham Ashcraft

The Reds workhorse led them to a series-opening win in Los Angeles last night.

Cincinnati Reds v Los Angeles Angels Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

Is it cherry-picking to highlight the work of a starting pitcher immediately after another great start, fully well knowing that starters only work once every fifth day?


Are we going to do that with Graham Ashcraft anyway?


Dating back to June 30th, not a single pitcher in the game has logged more than the 65.O IP that Ashcraft has, and that’s a testament to his ability to work efficiently and induce grounders with proclivity. His 2.35 ERA in that span is tied for the 7th best among all qualified pitchers (with Justin Verlander), his 51.6% grounder rate ranking 10th. And while he’s not normally a big strikeout guy - inducing weak contact gets hitters out with fewer pitches, in theory - Ashcraft showed on Tuesday evening that he could still very well breeze by batters if need be.

Ashcraft fanned a career-best 10 across 7.0 IP in Tuesday’s win over the Los Angeles Angels, giving the Cincinnati Reds enough time to dig themselves out of an early deficit and claim the first game of the west coast trip. Matt McLain homered, Spencer Steer picked up a key RBI double, and the Reds offense benefitted greatly from a key error by Angels 1B Nolan Schanuel to take down Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani by the score of 4-3.

Alexis Diaz put together yet another dominant 9th inning for his league-best 34th save, giving the Reds a win that kept pace with the Milwaukee Brewers (who toppled Minnesota to move to 12 games over .500). The Reds remain 4 games behind Milwaukee in the National League Central division, a half-game back of the Chicago Cubs (who lost to Detroit last night).

I suppose we should mention that former Reds Brandon Drury and Mike Moustakas hit back to back homers off Ashcraft early last night, but we should also probably move right the heck on from that. They were both solo homers - one of them, by design, had to be - and Graham settled down immediately afterwards.

Wednesday will see the Reds and Angels play a doubleheader to make up Monday’s postponement. First pitch in the first of the two games is slated for 4:07 PM ET, with the second game penciled-in for the usual 9:38 PM ET start.