|Cincinnati Reds (58-77)||7||9||0|
|Pittsburgh Pirates (63-72)||3||7||1|
|W: Asher Wojciechowski (4-3) L: Gerrit Cole (11-9)|
|FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score | Game Thread | Statcast|
Last Saturday, Gerrit Cole almost single-handedly beat the Reds by throwing seven shutout innings and hitting a solo homer for the only run of the game. That was his first career win against the Reds, who — for whatever reason — have owned him during his five-year big-league career.
He was not able to pick up his second victory against them on Friday night. The Cincinnati offense went back to their old ways against Cole, scoring five runs in six innings against him en route to a 7-3 win, their 10th victory in 14 games against the Pirates this year.
Here’s how today’s game went down:
The three, four, and five hitters in the Reds lineup punished Pirates pitchers tonight, racking up a combined seven hits, three runs, and four runs batted in. Joey Votto (2-for-4, 2B, RBI), Adam Duvall (2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R), and Scooter Gennett (3-for-4, 3B, RBI, 2 R) were the catalysts in the Reds’ offensive charge. Eugenio Suarez also knocked in a pair of runs.
The Cincinnati offense wasted little time before jumping on the scoreboard against Cole. The first four hitters of the game got on base for the Reds, and the team didn’t look back from there. A single by Billy Hamilton, a walk to Zack Cozart, an RBI double by Votto, and a two-run double by Duvall quickly put the Reds up 3-0.
With two outs in the third, the Reds got to Cole for another run, as Duvall singled, moved to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a single by Gennett. Scooter tripled to lead off the fifth inning and scored on a sacrifice fly by Suarez. The Reds tacked on two more in the eighth.
As he did two starts ago, Luis Castillo struggled with his pitch efficiency. He lasted only four innings, exiting the game after throwing 89 pitches. While his pitch count was low enough that he probably could’ve pitched a fifth inning, he’s approaching his innings limit and the Reds are being cautious with him.
Despite the short outing, Castillo struck out five and allowed only two runs on three hits and a walk. All of the damage against him came in the second inning, as the young right-hander threw 38 pitches in the frame. But, as he has all season long, he showed tremendous poise and didn’t let that inning rattle him. He retired all six Pirates batters in the third and fourth innings, four of them via strikeout.
Asher Wojciechowski, as he has been all season, was rock solid in relief, allowing one hit and one walk in two scoreless innings. The former first-round pick is making a compelling case for a bullpen spot next season; his ERA as a reliever now sits at 1.74.
Wandy Peralta fired a perfect seventh inning. There’s little doubt he’ll be a part of the Reds’ relief corps in 2018.
The second-half slump continued for Drew Storen in the eighth, as he gave up a run on three hits. He has a 7.45 ERA since the all-star break.
Kevin Shackelford finished the game with a perfect ninth inning. His ERA (6.87) isn’t pretty, but the peripherals (4.30 xFIP) are a bit more promising thanks to his above-average strikeout (23.9 K%) and ground-ball rate (57.1%). The 28-year-old has nibbled a bit at times, which has gotten him into some trouble (10.2 BB%), but if he improves his command of the strike zone, he has a shot to be in the bullpen next year.
— George Grande and Chris Welsh talked a lot about Cozart and whether to extend a qualifying offer to the shortstop after the season. Others have written on this subject at Redleg Nation, but I’ll offer my two cents, as well. I believe I’m in the majority in that I don’t think that would be a wise move. I’m not sure he would turn down an approximate $18 million deal. And paying that kind of money to a 32-year-old, injury-prone shortstop, even for one year, doesn’t seem like a good idea.
— We all know running on Tucker Barnhart is a bad idea, but Stuart Turner showed you shouldn’t underestimate his arm, either. The catcher fired a missile right on the second base bag to throw out Starling Marte — one of the league’s best base stealers — and end the fifth inning.
— Zach Vincej made his big-league debut as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning. The former 37th-round draft pick grounded out to shortstop.
— Fun fact: Vincej is the first Reds player to wear No. 12 since Edwin Encarnacion in 2007.
— Suarez isn’t going to beat out Nolan Arenado or Anthony Rendon for the Gold Glove at third base, but he could be one of the top-three finalists. He ranks fourth in defensive runs saved (8) and third in UZR/150 (5.4).
— This happened:
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) September 2, 2017
It’s Tyler Mahle time. Following a solid debut on Sunday, Mahle (5.40 ERA, 5.21 xFIP) will make his second big-league start on Saturday evening, once again facing off against Jameson Taillon (4.75 ERA, 3.90 xFIP). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. ET.
Growing up just north of Cincinnati, Matt has been a Reds fan for as long as he can remember. As a kid, he was often found leading the Reds to 162-0 seasons in MVP Baseball 2005 and imitating his favorite players (Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, Sean Casey, and Austin Kearns) in the backyard. One of his earliest baseball memories is attending the final night game at Cinergy Field. Matt is also a graduate of The Ohio State University and currently lives in the Dayton area. Follow him on Twitter at @_MattWilkes.