The Cincinnati Reds completed a two-game sweep of the Royals this evening, and have now won three consecutive games. Reds pitchers were dominant in Kansas City, allowing just one run in 19 innings. It was Tyler Mahle’s turn tonight, pitching 6.1 shutout innings. It appears as if Mahle has turned a corner in 2018. The Reds offense didn’t score until the seventh inning, but they quickly made up for lost time. Adam Duvall provided a night cap with a grand slam to give the Reds a 7-0 lead.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (25-43) 7 9 0
Kansas City Royals (22-46) 0 5 3
W: Mahle (5-6) L: Hammel (2-7)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

Biggest Play of the Game

According to Fangraphs WPA statistic (winning percentage added), the most important play of the game was Jose Peraza’s leadoff double in the 7th inning with the score tied 0-0. That play increased the Reds chances of winning by 10.6% (from 50.0% to 60.6%).

Player of the Game

Tyler Mahle: 6.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K, 3.73 FIP, 0.36 WPA

Mahle had his third consecutive good start for the Reds (1.12 ERA over his last 3 starts). Mahle only had 1 strikeout tonight (he had 11 in his last two starts), but he limited the Royals to just 3 hits and 2 walks. The Royals average exit velocity off Mahle’s fastball was 82.0 MPH. The average exit velocity in the MLB vs fastballs is around 88 MPH. The biggest thing for Mahle is that he has now gone 4 starts (21.1 IP) without allowing a home run.

Positives

Adam Duvall blew the game open with a grand salami in the 9th inning. He got every ounce of it too (107.3 exit velocity).

Jose Peraza had two hits tonight, including the biggest hit of the night (see above). Peraza’s OBP has crawled to .300.

Scooter Gennett had another two hit night. He is now hitting .341/.378/.550. LOL.

Curt Casali had another hit tonight, and he is 6 for 14 as a member of the Reds. Casali can hit a little bit. He had a 122 wRC+ in 28 games at AAA for the Rays, and had a career .775 OPS in the minors.

Negatives

There was something up here about Adam Duvall going 0 for 3. But then he had to go and hit a grand slam. Jerk.

Not so random thoughts………..

Just another fun night in the booth with Thom Brennaman. Thom said “this is brutal” when the Reds loaded the bases in the 9th inning, and one of his many tangents of the night included berating Jared Hughes (the Reds’ best pitcher in terms of not walking batters) for walking a batter.

Up Next:

Reds at Pirates
Friday, 7:05 PM
TV: FOX Sports Ohio
Matt Harvey (5.97 ERA) vs Chad Kuhl (3.95 ERA)

Nick is a lifelong Reds fan who was born and raised in Cincinnati. He acquired his love of baseball from his late grandfather. Nick moved to the Cleveland area in 2014 with his wife, and his currently fighting to convert his beautiful baby daughter Emma to Reds fandom. Nick has been writing for Redleg Nation since 2013. Follow Nick on Twitter @nicholaspkirby.

Join the conversation! 40 Comments

  1. What are peoples opinion on Casili’s defense?

    That Casey shortstop look at his glove as though it had a hole in it?

    Is it just me or did anybody else think umpires were very chatty with the players on the base paths ?

    Lastly, If we win 18 more games we’ll be st .500

  2. Not to be a downer, but Mahle’s xFIP was on the night was 6.29 so not sure it is fair to say he turned a corner. Lots of fly balls that did not leave the park and might have in a different venue.

    Good result for sure though, maybe he was just pitching to the situation. Would not put it past him.

    • Thanks for looking that up, Matt. I had wondered after looking at his peripheral stats. This seems to more of a result of pitching against an offense-less team. Still, glad to see that Mahle did not victimize himself by give up lots of walks.

    • Yeah, Mahle’s SIERA was over 6 too. Remember when Homer Bailey had good results in his first three starts but didn’t strike out hardly anybody? That’s what we just saw from Mahle and Romano.

      The Royals had a BABIP of .120 against Romano and .158 against Mahle. That’s awfully fortunate.

      But these starts might bring them some confidence. It’s part of the learning process.

      • I was also wondering, as I drifted off to sleep, if Romano and Mahle’s outings had more to do with the Reds playing a team that is as bad, or worse, than they are vs. them actually turning a corner. I’m still very high on Mahle being a decent-to-good Major League pitcher, less convinced on Romano, at least as a starter.

        • Impossible to tell, Jazzman, but positive results are positive results. The key for the rest of this year is for all of the starting pitchers to create a trend line moving in the positive direction instead of negative.

          • Yes Tom, I agree that positive results are good, regardless who they come against. Hoping this is the start of a trend with our young starters. The optimist in me wants to believe that anyway.

      • A one game sample means absolutely nothing for SIERA and xFIP purposes.

        More importantly, KC as a team strikes out the fewest amount in the majors by a decent margin, and they have the third fewest amount of HRs. It’s like he’s pitched against a squad consisting of Jose Perazas. Yeah, your xFIP is going to look ugly against that squad because you aren’t striking him out very often, and the statistic normalizes his power stats when the power isn’t normal.

        Both sides, including the guys saying he has turned a corner should acknowledge that this game was likely a simple aberration. Mahle’s 4.23 xFIP is a much better representation of who he is, and who he is looks like a promising young pitcher who gives up a little too much hard contact fly balls. .

        • Yeah, of course. I didn’t mean to suggest that one game of SIERA is predictive. Just that if they are letting up that much reasonably hard contact to other teams, the result probably looks different.

          Great information about KC not striking out. Romano doesn’t strike out many people, but when Mahle didnt, I wondered if KC just made a lot of contact.

  3. Negative:
    Garrett pitches 0.1 inning, further solidifying his role as the under utilized, archaic bullpen position – the Loogy.

    Perhaps the best competition for starting pitching to help this team in ‘19 has 2 players pitching once or twice a week at 1-2 innings each (Garrett, Lorenzen).
    Shame.

    • Chill Broseph.

    • I don’t think Lorenzen is a starter, and don’t think Garrett is going to go back to starting. If the Reds trade Iglesias and Hughes these two will become the “closers”, although that title needs to be thrown out. I will agree facing one batter is a waste of talent. Both should be used for multi innings.

      If the Reds have any hope of a decent rotation next year. They need Disco healthy, Castillo and Mahle improving, one of the guys in AAA finally figuring it out, and an acquisition. Garrett could be thrown into that mix as well, but it seems once you are a reliever for the Reds you never go back

      • How do you know Lorenzen can’t start? Everyone wants to point to 2015 as proof, but he was obviously rushed to the big leagues. He barely pitched in college or the minors. Castillo has regressed. He desperately needs an adequate 3rd pitch. I see nothing in Romano except one 94 mph fastball after another? They can’t count on Disco either. They need to get rid of Harvey and eventually Romano and then give Stephenson one last shot along with Lorenzen! I don’t see where they have any choice?

        • I agree. I’d love to see Lorenzen get a chance to start again. He wants to start and he’s looked damn good the few times he’s actually gotten in to relieve lately.What does it take for the FO to open it’s mind? Nevermind that question. I’d just like to see what he can do over an extended period of time – like July through September of 2018, as a starter.

        • I never said he can’t start, I said I don’t think he is a starter. My opinion is based on he previous results and the fact that he struggled as a reliever last year. I don’t think Romano is a starter long term either. Stephenson definitely has the talent to be a starter, as does Castillo. The Reds can count on Disco as much as they can count on anyone else you want to be given a shot. How do you know the Reds can’t count on Disco? He has the talent, maybe the arm won’t hold up, but I am going to assume your not a doctor with inside knowledge of his medical records.

        • Really important to note that Lorenzen didn’t use his two best pitches in 2015 as a starter: his Sinker and cutter. He learned them late and after that season. He has never started with his current pitch repertoire.

          It’s reasonable for people to not view Lorenzen as a starter for several reasons:

          1. Health — He’s had several injuries that are concerning.
          2. Command — He’s been inconsistent in throwing strikes.
          3. Put-away pitch — He doesn’t have a slider like Garrett or changeup like Castillo to put hitters away.

          All of these are legitimate, but he’s been on the disabled list less than Finnegan or Disco. He showed great command in 2016 and in a short sample, has returned to that in 2018. He also got over 40% whiffs per swing last year with his curveball and roughly 37% with his slider. Teams hit .105 against the slider. That’s not Garrett slider good; he gets over 54% whiffs per swing with his slider, but it might be good enough.

          Anyway, all that to say that there are good arguments for and against Lorenzen starting, but I think they should give it a shot if he’s going to command the fastball like he has this season. He’s throwing a lower percentage of balls with his fastball so far than he did in 2016 when he posted a 2.75 SIERA and 2.88 ERA.

          I’d start Garrett first but also give Lorenzen a shot.

        • I agree that Lorenzen should get a chance to start–an extended chance. Ditto for Stephenson. I’m not that ready to get rid of Harvey yet: He actually is young enough to be part of a good Reds’ team, and he shows hints of being good through the rust and rehab. People who know more than I do say Romano’s main problem is that he needs another quality pitch. Sounds reasonable. All of the young pitchers seem to stop throwing strikes after they’ve gotten two and run up their pitch counts and give the other team more looks at their stuff in the process. That’s it. I’m channeling the late Andy Rooney, and it is freaking me out.

    • I don’t think they’re going to use him as a LOOGY, they certainly haven’t so far. I would tend to think it has more to do with getting guys work in after an 8 inning performance, sandwiched between 2 off days. Riggleman spoke about that being the reason he pulled Mahle, said he’d normally like to have kept him in, but the guys ini the pen would be going too long without pitching.

  4. I wish the Reds would replace all of their announcers except Chris Welsh.

    • Can’t speak for the radio side, as nearly all of my coverage comes from FS-O. Thom is the only one who consistently puts me in a bad mood. George Grande has now become a breath of fresh air.

    • Even Jim Day? And The Cowboy doesn’t talk about food as much and has become bearable. Otherwise, I’m with you.

  5. Just watched the Grand Slam video. The pitcher knew it the instant it left the bat. He squatted and stayed squatted as if in extreme pain.

    A couple wins is good … even if the Royals are about as bad as our guys usually are.

  6. A two game “sweep” of a terrible team. I guess I should try to find some satisfaction in that incredible achievement and remind myself that a rebuild takes time….

  7. Tim, I agree and I don’t care for Welch that much either.

  8. You know how in a lot of rec sports leagues, there’s different levels of competition- an “A” league, “B” and “C”? I feel a little bit as though the Reds and Royals realized that they were good partners for the “C” league and have been asked to play out of their depth in the A league this season. “Uh, we don’t have enough teams to form a full schedule, so you’re just going to have to play up.”

    But hey, winning is winning is winning. Especially this season.

  9. Robert Stephenson Wednesday night for Louisville vs. Columbus: 7 innings, 4 hits, 1 run, 0 walks, 9 Ks. THAT is the kind of performance that should get some attention from the front office.

    • Five of his last seven Louisville starts fit the major league definition of “quality start:” 6 or more innings, 3 or fewer earned runs allowed.

    • Catchers and Robert Stephenson in his 12 starts. Six quality starts caught by: Hudson (3), and one each: Turner, Boulware and Tromp.

      Two “okay” (not QS, but good numbers) starts, caught by: Turner and Tromp.

      Four non-QS caught by: Cruz (3) and Turner.

      Hudson is Crash Davis! Why isn’t Hudson catching Stephenson more often? Is there really a Red’s Analytics Department?

  10. Zero walks should get some attention although l always felt there was something else besides the walks that ruffles the organization’s feathers. I know well everybody knows his stuff at times is unhittable because he gets a lot of swings and misses

  11. Man, some of you guys would complain if you woke up next to Scarlett Johannson and found her hair messed up.

    Yeah, some of those balls to the track in Kansas City would have been homers if they were hit in GABP. Uh, they weren’t playing in GABP. The pitchers can pitch a bit differently in Kansas City, taking advantage of the park. The Reds would likely have scored more, too, but for the KC pitchers doing the same thing. As it turns out, the object of the game in GABP, in Kaufman Stadium, in Fenway Park and at the College World Series, from a pitching standpoint, is to yield fewer runs than the other team’s pitchers do. Romano and Mahle both did that, very well.

    Does that turn them into Kershaw or Verlander? Negative, but give them both some credit for showing some sack and pitching better. Mahle threw 39 of his 52 fastballs for strikes, deep fence or no deep fence.

    • Yo Scarlett Johansson is the Billy Hamilton of Hollywood.
      Now if you want to make it Mrs. Justin Verlander , I am on board.
      DeSclafani has set a new tone for this rotation. Aside from his first inning rust of his first game he has looked pretty good.

    • Depends, what is Scarlett Johannson’s K/BB ratio?

      • There are just too many possible jokes here. But I am going to show the wisdom born of age and keep quiet except to say. Make your own joke.

    • Big5ed exactly. How none of them is in or has been in the big leagues is amazing.

    • I’d never complain about Scarlett’s hair.

Comments are closed.

About Nick Kirby

Nick is a lifelong Reds fan who was born and raised in Cincinnati. He acquired his love of baseball from his late grandfather. Nick moved to the Cleveland area in 2014 with his wife, and his currently fighting to convert his beautiful baby daughter Emma to Reds fandom. Nick has been writing for Redleg Nation since 2013. Follow Nick on Twitter @nicholaspkirby.

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