What to make of Lisalverto Bonilla’s 8-inning start?
First, let’s not confuse Bonilla with the Reds’ high-upside pitching prospects. As Jim Walker pointed out in his excellent introduction, Bonilla was picked up off waivers from the Pirates. The Dodgers had allowed Bonilla to become a free agent before that. Bonilla’s resumé is closer to Blake Wood than Luis Castillo.
Contrary to what you might have heard on the radio broadcast though, Bonilla doesn’t have a history of wildness. He’s just a guy who hasn’t been quite good enough to make a major league roster.
Bonilla (26, almost 27) doesn’t have an extra-big arm. He mainly has two pitches, so his best future might be in the bullpen. That’s the way he’s been used through most of his minor league career.
But Bonilla’s fastball moved a lot today and his changeup had the Giants off stride four times through the lineup. C. Trent Rosecrans said on the radio broadcast that Bonilla is scheduled to stay in the rotation for now as the fifth starter even after Amir Garrett returns. If that’s right, this stretch of a handful of starts may be his best and last chance to make it as a major league starter.
Caveats about anemic Giants offense and massive AT&T ballpark apply, but Lisalverto Bonilla pitched quite well and earned another start.
After grooving a pitch that he paid for in each of the first two innings, Bonilla settled down, at one point retiring 11 Giants in a row. The third run scored against him should have been unearned (see below). Bonilla finished with 5 strikeouts and 2 walks in 8 innings, striking out two on nasty changeups in the 7th.
It’s still early, but Scott Schebler is starting to look like an established major league baseball player. Schebler hit his 10th home run and also doubled, his isolated power standing at .269, which is huge. Schebler’s overall offensive contribution to runs scored (wRC+) of 128. He also did a nice job roaming the expansive center field of AT&T Park.
The Reds had another good day in the field, turning in several nice defensive plays. The exception: Jose Peraza’s bobble of a fairly routine ground ball in the 6th inning with two outs allowing the Giants to score their third run. The ground ball was ruled a hit. Generous home cooked scoring is generous and home cooked. Important reminder that all Hispanic middle infielders are not plus defenders.
Devin Mesoraco barreled up a Matt Moore pitch, whacking it to the left field corner warning track. Mesoraco also stole a base and made a nice throw to second base on a SB attempt. He’s still got a ways to go on his hitting timing. But Mesoraco seems healthy and not fragile.
Jose Peraza had a single and not one, but two walks. That doubled his total for the entire season. Devin Mesoraco had a double and a walk. Bench players Patrick Kivlehan and Arismendy Alcantara (batting 2nd) went a combined 0-for-9. The Reds had 8 hits and 4 walks in the game.
A bit of good news on Homer Bailey’s progress: