Get this. After tonight’s win, our Cincinnati Reds have a 31-30 record at Great American Ball Park. That’s a winning record, folks. The winning streak of five games is the longest of the season – all against teams with winning records. The Reds have outscored the $250-million-Dodgers 20-3.
Most important, with the victory tonight, the Reds are just FIVE games out from being listed on the Baseball-Reference standings for the Wild Card slots.
Strong Start Brandon Finnegan pitched seven strong innings giving up just one hit – a line drive single to Adrian Gonzalez in the seventh. He walked two and struck out eight. That’s a good K/BB but Finnegan does have the second-highest number of walks in the major leagues.
Innings Limit? Finnegan has thrown 141.2 innings this year, an increase of 36 over 1o5.1 last season. He’s mentioned a tired arm. Kind of hard to believe the Reds would let him throw more than 150. You want to get him up high enough so he can get to 180 next year. But that’s a huge jump for a 23-year-old. They could give him one more starts then shut him down. Or provide a soft landing in the bullpen. Timing either of those moves with September call-ups makes sense. But it’s still a hefty one-year jump.
Big First Like last night, the Reds jumped on LA in the 1st inning. After Billy Hamilton singled to center, Jose Peraza singled to left and Joey Votto followed with an infield hit. Then Adam Duvall drilled a 3-run homer to left center capping off a 4-run inning. It was the first pitch Duvall had seen since Monday and his 28th homer of the season. Duvall had fouled a ball off his foot, leading to missing a few games.
More Offense Hamilton later walked with bases loaded. Eugenio Suarez had three hits and a walk. Brandon Finnegan contributed his second double of the season and a walk. Duvall had another hit in the 8th. Scott Schebler nailed his old mates with a 2-run homer to center in the 8th.
Peraza Freed Speaking of successful returns, Peraza, who had been called up earlier in the day, lined singles in each of his first two at bats. He then hit a home run to deep (406 ft.) left center in the fourth inning. Peraza hit a homer in his previous game with the Reds, 21 days ago. Not sitting the bench suits him.
Negative A nit pick – two bad base running outs – Jose Peraza picked off first and Scott Schebler out by 10 feet stretching a short single into a double.
Fair Fight The Dodgers had the largest 2016 Opening Day payroll in the major leagues, at $250 million. Their starting 8 position players tonight earn only $43.5 million. In contrast, the Reds had an Opening Day payroll of $89 million (which included Jay Bruce). Their starting 8 tonight earn $36 million.
Cool Outcome C. Trent Rosecrans has the story of how Michael Lorenzen was presented with the baseball he hit for a home run yesterday. Lorenzen had thought about hitting it out before the at bat.
“When they told me I’d come up fifth in that inning, I knew I was hitting a home run,” Lorenzen said the day after his home run. “It was 100 percent in my heart, no doubt in my mind.”
Down and Out on the Farm Robert Stephenson did not have one of his better games for Louisville tonight. He gave up 6 earned runs in 2 innings, with four walks and two strikeouts. He thew 71 pitches.
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.