|Cincinnati Reds (1-4)||2||5||1|
|Pittsburgh Pirates (5-1)||5||9||0|
|W: Steven Brault (2-0) L: Homer Bailey (0-2) SV: Felipe Rivero (3)|
|FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score | Game Thread | Statcast|
If you didn’t catch tonight’s game, you didn’t miss much. The Reds briefly had a 1-0 lead, but that was about the only moment of excitement on Thursday night in the first road game of the season against the Pirates.
Here’s how it went down:
Against a pitcher with a 4.56 career ERA and 5.11 xFIP, the Reds could get nothing going on offense. While they did manage five walks on the night — three from Tucker Barnhart — the club managed just five hits. Only one of those knocks, an Adam Duvall solo home run in the eighth, was an extra-base hit. Their first run came courtesy of two wild pitches from Pirates starter Steven Brault.
Other than that, not much action from the Reds’ bats tonight.
Jose Peraza picked up his first hit of the season on what amounted to a swinging bunt down the third-base line, so that’s something I guess. Take ’em how you can get ’em.
The line for Homer Bailey wasn’t quite as pretty tonight as it was on Opening Day. The right-hander allowed only one run through the first four innings but ran into trouble the third time through the Pirates batting order, allowing three runs in the fifth. An unearned run on a Peraza error ended Bailey’s night after 4 2/3 innings. All told, he allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits and three walks (one intentional), and he struck out just two.
While Bailey did a decent job of painting the corners, the overall quality of his pitches was noticeably down. His fastball averaged only 91.2 mph and he got just five swings and misses on the night (four on his splitter). The inability to miss bats really hurt him once Pittsburgh hitters saw him a couple times, as he had a lot of trouble putting hitters away late in his outing. This is a development worth watching his next time out, but perhaps the freezing temperatures played a role in the diminished stuff.
Kevin Quackenbush pitched a clean two-thirds of an inning, giving up only a single.
Amir Garrett was next in line and continued to throw the ball well. The lefty got the Reds through the next 1 2/3 frames unscathed, allowing only a double while striking out two. He did get the benefit of this nice play from Phillip Ervin in right field to save a run:
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) April 6, 2018
Let’s hope Garrett sees some time in the rotation at some point this year.
Austin Brice pitched the eighth inning. He issued a leadoff walk but retired the next three hitters in order.
- The Reds pulled off the rare one-game sweep of the Cubs this week, so we still have that, guys.
- You have to wonder if Joey Votto will ever figure it out. He’s hitting just .158/.238/.158 this season. Might be time to write him off as a bust, y’all.
- Bear with me for a moment because I’m going to beat a dead horse some more. Batting Billy Hamilton in the leadoff spot defies logic in general, but particularly against left-handers. He’s a career .235/.266/.334 hitter with a 59 wRC+ against southpaws in his career. He was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts tonight. That won’t get it done anywhere in the lineup, but it looks a lot worse at leadoff.
- In non-Reds news, this was probably the best moment of the day in baseball:
— Mariners (@Mariners) April 5, 2018
Here’s some fun with small sample sizes: Luis Castillo (10.80 ERA, 2.99 xFIP) will take the mound for his second time this season on Friday against Trevor Williams (0.00 ERA, 5.29 xFIP) for the Pirates. Castillo is looking to rebound after a rough first outing, while Williams is hoping to build on a six-inning, no-hit performance his first time out. First pitch at PNC Park is again 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.