The Reds had their chances to score more tonight. Marlins pitchers gave up a fistful of walks and they were sloppy in the field. But the Reds were playing shorthanded without Brandon Phillips and Zack Cozart. Billy Hamilton left in the middle of the game. Too many terrible at bats were fatal.
Brandon Finnegan (Johnny Cueto trade) ran out of gas in the 6th inning after throwing 84 pitches in the first five. He recorded three walks and three strikeouts, not exactly a formula for success. Unfortunately, that’s not out of line with his season long numbers – 6.55 K/9 and 4.54 BB/9. That’s how you get an FIP of 5.80 and xFIP of 5.21. I’d move Finnegan to the bullpen now. He’s at 135 innings pitched after throwing 105.1 in 2015. Another 15-20 innings out of the pen would be just about right. Needed perspective: Finnegan is just 23 and this is his first full season as a major league starter. I wouldn’t give up on him in that role yet.
Scott Schebler (Todd Frazier trade) ended his 0-for-28 streak with a solo home run to center field. It was only Schebler’s third hit since August 2 when he blasted a 3-run walk-off home run against the St. Louis Cardinals. That was the day after Jay Bruce had been traded and rumor has it that Bruce’s spirit hung around GABP and played a role in the dramatic homer by the player who had replaced him. In the bottom of the 6th, Schebler drew a bases-loaded walk. That’s another way to drive in a run.
Billy Hamilton left the game in the top of the fifth inning after suffering an apparent shoulder injury (the Reds later announced it was a knee bruise) playing a line drive over his head in the third inning. Hamilton had already made a spectacular, run-saving play in the top of the first. He’d also drawn a walk. Brandon Phillips and Zack Cozart were already sitting out with injuries.
Michael Lorenzen induced 4 easy ground balls in the 7th. His fastball was 95-97 mph. Lorenzen has become a superstar in the bullpen. xFIP of 2.92.
Chances for a comeback were diminished severely in the top of the 8th. Blake Wood retired the first two batters before walking the next batter. An infield hit and another walk (ugh) loaded the bases. Dee Gordon chopped a ball to Joey Votto, who backed up and played it deep behind first base. Instead of throwing it hard to Wood who was covering first, Votto’s underhand throw went high in the air and Gordon beat Wood to first. Wood was a little late to the bag, but the problem was Votto’s toss, which should have been harder. Two runs scored on the play.
Probably worth reiterating that the Reds were already behind at the time.
Amir Garrett pitched for Louisville tonight. He threw 7 shutout innings, with 2 walks and 5 strikeouts on 109 pitches. No, you aren’t the only one who noticed Garrett pitches on Finnegan’s night in the rotation.
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.