| Cincinnati Reds (11-13)
| Atlanta Braves (16-7)
|W: Hale (1-0) L: Leake (2-2, 3.82 ERA, 3.68 xFIP)|
|Box Score | Play-by-Play | Photos | Depth Chart | FanGraphs Win Probability|
The Reds had a couple excellent defensive plays. Ryan Ludwick’s leaping catch of Freddie Freeman’s fly ball prevented Mike Leake from suffering the indignity of back-to-back-to-back home runs. And Joey Votto ranged deep into the 1B/2B hole to rob BJ Upton of a hit in the fifth inning. That particular play looked like one where an aggressive defensive shift paid off.
Jay Bruce (.235/.364/.420) had two walks.
The Reds had scratched their way to a .500 record when they arrived in Atlanta. They are now 2 games below even, needing a win tomorrow against Braves ace Julio Teheran, to avoid a sweep. On the bright side, they aren’t far behind St. Louis and are ahead of Pittsburgh.
Mike Leake pitched well enough to win a lot of games. Add a shutout inning from Manny Parra and Nick Christiani, and the Reds pitchers held Atlanta to four runs total. Prior to tonight’s game, the Reds offense had been averaging 4.1 runs/game (and 4.3 r/g in 2013).
David Hale and Craig Kimbrel shut the Reds down over the final eight innings. In fact, the Reds didn’t have a hit after Ryan Ludwick’s oh-so-close double in the first innings. You have to wonder how the game would have turned out if Ludwick’s ball would have been two feet higher and out of the park.
The return of Cold Stove, the ennui puppy.
Stat of the night
This isn’t a new fangled stat. It’s the ratio of two extremely old stats: walks and strikeouts. Bases on balls are a good thing for a hitter, strikeouts are a bad thing. So it’s better to have a higher BB/K than a low one. 194 hitters in major league baseball have enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title.
Going into tonight’s game, of those 194 hitters, the Cincinnati Reds have three players in the bottom 20 in BB/K: Billy Hamilton #179, Zack Cozart #180 and Brandon Phillips #184. Two of those players bat in the top three of the Reds line-up every single night. Not sure what you’d call that sandwich with Joey Votto in the middle. If you come up with something clever, I guess we could put it on a t-shirt that would remind us how dysfunctional this lineup is.
Add in Neftali Soto, who has 1 hit and 0 walks (of course) in 24 Major League at bats (yay organizational depth!), and Brayan Peña, who has a career wRC+ of 74 (average is 100) and you have the recipe for pretty much what happened tonight.
Top game thread comments
doublenohitter: Difference between the 2 teams. When the Reds hang a pitch, the Braves hit it out. When the Braves hang a pitch, the Reds foul it off or take it. [Or swing through it. – SPM]
ToddAlmighty: I like this new more patient Bruce. Even though his bat is not hot right now, he still has 17 walks on the season (only two behind Votto), so he’s still providing some value in his slump with a high OBP.
Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.