Being described as adequate doesn’t sound very sexy, but in yet another year where the Reds have gone through pitchers like tissue, Tim Adleman’s adequacy has been a breath – or at least a modest gasp – of fresh air. Much like last year, when he filled in and acquitted himself admirably during a season of starting pitcher musical chairs with a 4-4 record and a 4.00 ERA over 13 starts, Adleman wasn’t expected to play a major role in the Reds’ rotation, but on a 113-degree night in Phoenix, he took the mound as a starter for the 15th and final time in the first half.
As his 5-5 record coming into tonight’s game implied, those starts went about as adequately as possible. Indeed, Adleman hadn’t gone less than five innings since May 20, which is why Matt Wilkes wrote in his game preview that “the Reds can typically count on him for at least five innings of three-run baseball.” That’s essentially what Adleman did tonight, which on some nights, and especially some nights on the road against one of the top teams in the league, would be more than adequate – but tonight, adequate just wasn’t enough.
Although he got off to somewhat of a rocky start in a 25-pitch first inning in which he issued his only walk of the evening, Adleman displayed a strong command of the strike zone against a formidable Diamondbacks lineup. Overall, 62 of his 91 pitches were strikes, but on four key occasions when he was ahead in the count, he couldn’t quite seal the deal. In the second – when he yielded three of the six hits he gave up on the night – he gave up two two-strike RBI doubles. Two innings later, Zack Greinke smacked a belt-high 1-2 fastball for an RBI single. In the fifth, Adleman threw an 0-2 meatball that Paul Goldschmidt crushed into the right field bleachers.
Meanwhile, Greinke – who, coming into tonight’s game, was 8-0 in 10 starts at Chase Field this season – gave the Reds little to work with. Over seven shutout innings, he gave up just four hits and didn’t allow a runner past second base until the 7th inning. Notably, he seemed to pick up momentum as the game progressed, as he retired nine in a row before issuing his only walk of the evening with two outs in the 7th.
On a day when an already-injured Reds pitcher sustained a bizarre second injury and the team’s first-round draft pick was signed with mere seconds to spare, and in a year when we celebrate starting pitchers lasting five innings, there’s something to be said for reliability, consistency and, yes, adequacy. Of course, there’s also something to be said for scoring more runs than the other guys. Here’s hoping we’ll get to have that conversation tomorrow.
- Despite Tucker Barnhart giving up a passed ball that led to a run in the 4th and airmailing a throw well past third (and yielding another run in the process) when trying to throw out a runner in the 7th, the Reds made several nifty plays on defense. In the 1st, Billy Hamilton made what Statcast called a four-star catch before slamming into the wall in right-center field, after which he fired a strike to first base to nearly double up the Arizona runner. In the 3rd, Votto made a bare-hand grab of a ground ball that hit first base and ricocheted skyward. In the 7th, Adam Duvall – who had two hits on the night, including his league-leading 48th extra-base hit – made a nice diving catch to end the inning.
- Coming into the game, Joey Votto was hitting .414 against Greinke over his career. He went 0-3 against him tonight, but blasted a two-run homer in the 9th to get the Reds on the board and prevent the team from getting shut out for just the second time this season. Votto now leads the NL with 25 homers. Three batters later, Scott Schebler homered with two outs to make it a three-run game, but following a Jose Peraza infield single, Barnhart grounded to second to end the game.
- Fresh from Louisville, Jesse Winker pinch-hit for Adleman in the sixth. He struck out.
- Blake Wood is the relief pitching equivalent of waving the white flag. In two innings, he gave up two runs (one earned) and allowed both leadoff batters to reach base.