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Reds Hulk Out on Cardinals 7-0

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Improbable pitching and offensive production lifts Reds over Cardinals

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Leake took on his former team (his last start against them did not go so well: 6.1 IP, 6 ER, 10 hits).  Brandon Finnegan took the mound for the Reds.

Lineup:

I will be pleased when Matt Carpenter returns tomorrow.

Brandon Finnegan is not a particularly good pitcher.  He has had exactly one game this year allowing fewer than six baserunners.   He's averaging a walk every 2 innings.   His K/BB is 1.46.  Over his last 6 starts, he has allowed nearly an ER/inning.  But the narrative is that the Cardinals can't hit soft-tossing lefties (92 mph four seamer, borderline case, but I'll allow it), and the narrative MUST BE SERVED.

The Cardinals spent the first six innings against Finnegan impotently screaming liners directly into the mitts of astonished Reds players.  The BABIP troubles were so extreme that even Ricky Horton and John Rooney felt compelled to address it on the radio broadcast (although Ricky was quick to reassure listeners that "I don't necessarily believe in it".  For crying out loud, Rick, this isn't quantum entaglement.  Nobody cares what you believe.).   Finnegan allowed 1 hit (by Jhonny Peralta in the 5th) and only one other baserunner (Tommy Pham reached on an error as the first batter) over 6.0 IP.

The Reds' offense took it to Mike Leake. This is an offense ranking in the bottom three in baseball (by wRC+).  An offense whose third best hitter is what, maybe Tucker Barnhart and his .706 OPS?  (For an interesting digression on how much better the Reds have been with runners on this year, see this Fangraphs article.)  Well, despite Mike Leake giving up 7 runs (SEVEN) to this Island of Misfit Replacement Players ragtag bunch, I guess I can give him credit for one thing:  he got Joey Votto to go 0 for 3.  (NO, I DON'T WANT TO ARGUE THAT CALLED THIRD STRIKE IN THE FIRST.)  And that's about as positive as I can be about Mike Leake's performance today - final line 5 IP, 8 H, 7 ER, 1 BB, 2 K.

The Reds would score via the following improbable set of circumstances:  Ramon Cabrera singled in 2 runs in the second inning, Eugenio Suarez hit a sac fly in the fourth inning.  In the 6th, Brandon Phillips (who went 3-3 against Leake) doubled in a run, Suarez doubled in a run, Cabrera singled in a run.  Tyler Holt tried to stop the bleeding for us by GIDPing against Seth Maness after Leake had been lifted, and yet another run would score.  Final damage:  seven runs for a team that was beating us on the back of their backup catcher and what's left of Brandon Phillips.  Same as it ever was.

It took until the 8th inning for the Cardinals to get a runner to third as Alberto Rosario advanced on a Pham single.  However, two on would be the best they could do, as Rosario and Pham would be stranded on a Jedd Gyorko fly out to end the inning.

Other Notes:  Stephen Piscotty, who only has 3 hits since July 25th and has an OBP under .200 over the last two weeks, went 0-4.  Brandon Moss continues to hit since his return from the DL, going 1-4 today (and 6-13 since returning).

Bright Spots:  I don't know.  No one got injured, I guess?  Dean Kiekhefer and Jerome Williams pitched fairly adequately in relief.  Garcia had a nice defensive play in the 8th to get Tony Renda out.  Pretty weak sauce, I know.

Avert Your Eyes, It's the WPA Graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Cardinals return home against the Braves tomorrow.