|Cincinnati Reds (29-51)||4||9||0|
|Washington Nationals (48-32)||13||11||0|
|W: Gonzalez (4-7) L: Finnegan (3-7)|
|FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score|
–Joey Votto had a double and a homer. Brandon Phillips was 2-3. None of that mattered, since the Reds were never in this game.
–Brandon Finnegan was just miserably bad. Eight runs allowed on 5 hits and 5 walks in 2.1 IP.
–Josh Smith was just as bad: 1.2 IP, five runs allowed on four hits and a walk. By the end of the fourth inning, the Reds were losing 13-1.
–Four losses in a row. Eight of their last nine. The ol’ Redlegs have given up 40 runs in the last four games. Fun!
–Listen, I’m the last person to criticize Marty Brennaman. I love the guy, always have, and always will. His voice was the soundtrack to my childhood and, to me, only Vin Scully is better than Marty at describing a game.
But he made a couple of comments tonight about Finnegan and the Reds’ other young pitchers with which I disagree.
“Frankly, we’ve seen very little improvement in these young pitchers, and in some cases, none at all.”
— Redleg Nation (@redlegnation) June 30, 2016
“This kid has made 17 starts now, and he’s no better than he was when the season began.”
— Redleg Nation (@redlegnation) July 1, 2016
It’s not just Marty; he’s just the most prominent voice. You hear this stuff on twitter all the time.
Listen: the kids are 23 years old and younger. Go take a look at the early careers of Greg Maddux and Johnny Cueto. Young pitchers — even talented young pitchers — can struggle in their first taste of the big leagues. I can’t imagine why so many people think these young pitchers should have emerged onto the major league scene as fully-formed masters of the pitching craft. That’s not the way this works.
As our buddy Joel Luckhaupt noted, in Finnegan’s previous seven starts, he averaged 6.5 innings per game with a 3.18 ERA. In the 9 starts before that, Finnegan averaged 5.4 IP and a 4.44 ERA. So he has been improving!
I really don’t like to criticize Marty, and I never do it publicly. He’s a legend for a reason. I’ll defend him until long after he has retired. But those comments tonight seemed to be a little unfair to the kids like Brandon Finnegan.
Let’s give these young pitchers some time, shall we? They may turn out to be great, or they may not. But why the rush to draw long-term conclusions at this point? Let them develop. Aren’t we glad the Reds didn’t rush to judgment on Cueto, after all?
Blame Chad for creating this mess.
Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.
You can email Chad at firstname.lastname@example.org.