|St. Louis Cardinals (79-72)||9||11||0|
|Cincinnati Reds (66-86)||2||6||0|
|W: Luke Weaver (7-1) L: Rookie Davis (1-3)|
|FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score | Game Thread | Statcast|
On Tuesday, rookie Jackson Stephens hit a wall when facing the St. Louis Cardinals lineup for the second time. It was déjà vu on Wednesday night. Rookie Davis, another rookie pitcher, allowed five runs in only three innings of work as the Reds were clobbered by the Cardinals, 9-2.
Here’s how tonight’s contest went down:
There wasn’t much action from the Reds’ side of things tonight, as they notched only six hits and didn’t draw a single walk. Cardinals starter Luke Weaver allowed only two runs and five hits in five innings, striking out seven, while the St. Louis bullpen threw four near-perfect innings.
The only scoring of the game for the Reds came in the fifth inning. Patrick Kivlehan knocked in the first run, roping a double into the left-center field gap to score Jose Peraza from first. (Side note: Peraza is really fast.)
Jesse Winker knocked in Kivlehan two batters later. That was the Reds’ final hit and baserunner of the game until there were two outs in the bottom of the ninth, when Chad Wallach picked up his first career hit on a screaming line drive up the middle.
The aforementioned Davis made his return to the starting rotation tonight, and it did not go well. The right-hander gave up a home run to the first batter of the game, Matt Carpenter, and that set the tone for the evening. His night was over after only three innings of five-run, five-hit baseball. He struck out three and walked no one.
After the Carpenter homer, Davis retired the next six hitters, but the third inning was not kind to the rookie. He gave up a lead-off double to Stephen Piscotty and had a chance to get out of the inning when he retired the next two hitters, but he gave up a two-out, RBI double to Tommy Pham followed by back-to-back home runs by Dexter Fowler and Paul DeJong.
Keury Mella became the 31st pitcher and 18th rookie to toe the rubber for the Reds this season when he made his major-league debut in the fourth inning. His first inning in The Show couldn’t have gone much better, as he retired the side on nine pitches and brought mid-90s heat with his fastball. His second inning, however, wasn’t quite as successful, giving up two walks (one intentional) and two doubles to allow two more Cardinal runs.
The keys were turned over to Luke Farrell in the sixth, but he couldn’t slow down the Cardinals either, allowing a run on two hits and two walks.
St. Louis hitters finally met their match once Deck “Shaggy” McGuire entered the game. The right-hander, who had a really nice season in Double-A Pensacola, allowed only one baserunner (a hit batter) in two shutout innings.
The ninth inning belonged to Alejandro Chacin, who gave up a run on two hits and a walk.
— Joey Votto’s first-inning single marked his 300th time on base this season, the third time he’s accomplished that feat in his career. To no one’s surprise, that leads the majors by a large margin; Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon is the next closest player at 270. This year will go down as Votto’s fifth time leading baseball in that category.
— One way or another, the Reds need to make sure Winker is batting in the leadoff spot every day next year. I have my doubts that will happen if Billy Hamilton is healthy and Bryan Price is still the manager (plus, something will have to give with Adam Duvall and Scott Schebler), but Winker is the obvious best choice for the role. Big-league pitching hasn’t fazed him whatsoever, as he’s now hitting .282/.368/.495 with a 126 wRC+ through 118 plate appearances. That’s a small sample size, to be sure, but the hit tool and plate discipline are very real, making for an ideal hitter at the top of the lineup to set the table for Votto.
Winker just looks so comfortable every plate appearance. Guy can hit.
— Nick Carrington (@ncarrington14) September 21, 2017
— Phillip Ervin made his first appearance in a game since Sept. 14 as a late-inning replacement. He struck out in an eight-pitch plate appearance during his only trip to the batter’s box. As Doug Gray wrote about today, it’s really puzzling that Ervin hasn’t received more playing time with Hamilton on the disabled list, especially with Duvall struggling so mightily in the second half.
Homer Bailey (6.86 ERA, 4.91 xFIP) will look to follow up a solid performance last Friday as he takes the mound for the series finale against the Cardinals on Thursday night at 7:10 p.m. ET. The winner of the game will take the season series, which is currently locked up at nine games apiece. St. Louis will have its ace on the mound in Carlos Martinez (3.57 ERA, 3.59 xFIP).
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.