Were it not for improbable ninth-inning heroics on Friday night, the Reds would have been swept by the woeful Atlanta Braves at home. Atlanta was 22-29 at the start of this series and without their all-world first baseman Freddie Freeman. The virtue of this outcome is that it should provide a clear reminder to certain decision-makers that 2017 is a rebuilding year.
More on the imperative for said clarity in a post later tonight.
Amir Garrett made his first start since May 23; his ninth of the season. After the first couple batters, Jeff Brantley said that Garrett looked “free and easy” throwing. Garrett had given up 13 earned runs in his two starts after his “innings-limit demotion” to AAA. Today, Garrett was the victim of bad luck and bad performance. He gave up an unearned run, a run on a pop-up, a home run on a ball at the hitter’s neck, and a home run after the batter should have been called out on strikes. But there were two home runs in that sentence plus a raft of other hits and walks. Garrett seemed to lose steam after a long at bat against Reds nemesis Matt Adams.
Zack Cozart overthrew Joey Votto on a routine ground ball for an error in the first inning, allowing the Braves to get on the scoreboard. The Reds shortstop didn’t wait long to atone, drilling a Julio Teheran fastball into the left field seats for a two-run homer. Cozart later hit a tw0-run triple and added another home run. He even walked. #VoteZack
Another Reds hero today was relief pitcher Jake Buchanan. The Reds picked up Buchanan off waivers from the Cubs ten days ago when the club put Amir Garrett on the DL. Buchanan came in for Garrett and acquitted himself well, pitching 5.1 innings and giving up just two runs. He also got a hit, the first in his major league career, driving in a run. Even more improbable, he got Matt Adams out.
Joey Votto had two hits and a walk. Tucker Barnhart had two doubles. Eugenio Suarez got a hit and a walk.
Blake Wood might be (slooowly) pitching himself off the staff as healthy pitchers return to the roster. He had the 9th inning.
The Reverse Nuxhall One of the great things about Joe Nuxhall broadcasting a game was when he cheered in the background of the play-by-play call. “Get out of here!” was a wonderful thing to hear Nuxhall shout on a long fly ball. Today, Jim Day said “uh-oh” audibly as Jeff Brantley called yet another Matt Adams’ home run. Day did a nice job in the radio booth this series. More Jim Day in the radio booth, please.
Good News on Pitching Homer Bailey threw three innings in an extended spring training game in Arizona yesterday. His next game will be June 9 with a minor league affiliate. It will be his first official rehab assignment. (Zach Buchanan)
More Good News on Pitching AAA-Louisville will regain the services of Sal Romano, who was activated from the minor-league disabled list Saturday. Romano will start on Tuesday. (Buchanan)
Today’s Votto Greatness Of 379 batters with 50+ PA, only 5 have a better walk rate than Joey Votto (17.2%). Only 34 have a lower strikeout rate (13.0%). Votto has the third-best BB/K ratio (1.32). (Matt Wilkes)
New Take on FIP The stat Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) attempts to measure outcomes over which the pitcher has control. The formula incorporates walks, strikeouts and home runs. FIP has proven to be a better predictor of future ERA than past ERA. Today, Casey Boguslaw (RO Baseball) published a tweak to FIP where he substitutes “barrels” for home runs. Barrels are now officially defined by MLBAM as high quality contact and are more neutral to park factors than home runs. Casey posted his Best 25 starters and Worst 25 starters in terms of “Barrel FIP” (BFIP?) today. Bronson Arroyo came in at 7th worst. Braves starter Julio Teheran was 4th worst. No Reds starters appeared in the top 25. Arroyo is also the fourth worst in real ERA and worst in traditional FIP.
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.