Reds fans were part of a fascinating and exciting weekend of baseball in Cincinnati as rookies Robert Stephenson, Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle squared off against Pittsburgh. Overall, the Reds young arms held their own against the Pirates’ somewhat-featherweight offense.
But for the second day in a row, the Reds offense struggled. They did walk seven times (five by Joey Votto) but only managed six hits, one for extra bases.
The Pirates won the series, but the Reds still lead over the season 9-4 and have outscored Pittsburgh 65-44.
The Reds have tomorrow off, then host the New York Mets for three games. After that, the Reds travel to Pittsburgh for another series against the Pirates.
Tyler Mahle made his much-awaited debut. One of the Reds top prospects, the 22 year old was drafted in 2013 in the 7th round. Since then, Mahle has rocketed through the organization, splitting 2017 in AA and AAA. He threw a no-hitter for Daytona in 2016 and a perfect game for Pensacola this year.
The young right-hander got off to a good start, spotting a 94-95 mph fastball and retiring the Pirates in the 1st on 10 pitches. A bit of wildness surfaced in the 2nd inning when Mahle walked two, hit a batter and gave up a double for two runs.
Overall, Mahle threw 92 pitches over 5 innings. He struck out five and walked four. All three runs against him were knocked in on ground balls.
The Reds bullpen handled the final four. Some innings were easy, others not so much. Kevin Shackleford and Drew Storen pitched clean innings. Michael Lorenzen allowed runners to reach second and third (walk, double) before retiring the side with help of a double play. Raisel Iglesias came in to pitch the 9th. The first three Pirates got hits, adding two big runs.
Joey Votto saw 22 pitches in walking his first two times at the plate. Votto walked three more times, for a total of 40 pitches seen.
The Reds missed a big opportunity in the 2nd inning when they loaded the bases with no outs. But Adam Duvall, Scooter Gennett and Jose Peraza couldn’t get a run in.
Chad Wallach, 25-year-old catcher, made his first major league start. Wallach came to the Reds from the Marlins in 2013 in the Mat Latos-for-Anthony DeSclafani heist. Wallach is the 14th player – 9 pitchers – to debut with the Reds this year. He has been catching for Louisville and was called up with Devin Mesoraco on the DL and Stuart Turner on paternity leave. Wallach was 0-for-4 at the plate.
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.