|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 that were ill-advised.
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.
Even worse, Marty’s comments about Finnegan are demonstrably wrong. 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! (Even worse, those numbers were available to Marty, in the game notes provided to the press before the game.)
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 were really unfair to the kids like Brandon Finnegan, and Marty (along with Jim Kelch) doubled down on his criticism in the post-game show, saying that Finnegan isn’t showing any improvement. I just don’t understand it.
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?