The Cardinals decided to take the night off against the Reds tonight. Matt Carpenter got on four times tonight and the rest of the team got on base eight times, which sounds like a lot, but there were no extra base hits, one batter was thrown out trying to stretch it to a double, and two were removed from a double play ball. Not helping matters was the 2-5 hitters going 3-14 with a walk, and as mentioned, no extra base hits.
The Reds led this game pretty much from the get-go and at no point did it really feel like much of a game. Well, there was one moment where I let my guard down and had hope, but it was dashed away quickly. The second batter of the game, Eugenio Suarez, hit a solo home run off Miles Mikolas. He gave up another solo shot to Jesse Winker to begin the 4th and allowed a third run to score after a walk and two singles. Joey Votto hit a solo home run in the 5th and Mikolas left the game with a 4-0 deficit. He only threw 74 pitches, but coming off an off-day and against a Reds lineup who were clearly seeing him well, Shildt was proactive in taking him out. Unfortunately the bullpen wasn’t much better.
Although, Ryan Helsley, the pitcher who replaced Mikolas, did pitch two scoreless innings in the 6th and 7th. He struck out two and gave up a single for his only baserunner. Anthony DeSclafani, the Reds starter, shut the Cards down through six and I had a brief moment of hope where the Reds bullpen might blow it for him, like... well the Reds bullpen has been for the past few years seemingly.
Amir Garrett has been phenomenal this year, but he wasn’t sharp today. He fell behind Kolten Wong 3-0 and gave up a single to lead off the 7th. It was at this brief moment that I had hope and my hopes were not completely unfounded as Garrett allowed a hard hit grounder to the next batter. The thing about hard hit grounders with a man on first is that they are easy double plays balls if they aren’t hit in between fielders and this was certainly one, even with Tyler O’Neill’s speed. Garrett then walked Carpenter and his day was through. Michael Lorenzen replaced him and gave up back-to-back singles, but Marcell Ozuna weakly popped out.
Things fell apart in the next two innings as you can imagine. Tyler Webb walked the first lefty he faced and then gave up a two-run home run. Giovanny Gallegos replaced him and got two outs and in hindsight, I’m sure Shildt would have brought him back out for the 9th, not that it ultimately would have mattered with the score 6-1.
Dominic Leone came in and didn’t actually look that bad - at first. He gave up a BOMB to Jose Peraza of all people, so that was probably a warning sign, but in between the home run and then the single, he did strike out two hitters and looked good doing it. And then he just couldn’t get that third out. Single, single, walk, and then a particularly painful infield single that really looked like it would get him out of the inning, but it was a slow chopper and there was nothing DeJong could have done but what he did, but the batter was safe. After a double by backup catcher Curt Casali and 34 pitches, Leone’s day was through.
I feel bad for him, because it was very clear at a certain point, he was just out there so we didn’t have to use another pitcher and because of that, his ERA is getting TANKED. Like he’s probably out of the game when he walks the bases loaded after giving up just two runs, if not earlier. Instead he stayed in for another two batters and six earned runs. ERA for relievers is not a helpful stat and here’s one reason why.
BUT it did lead to the literal highlight of the game and I’m aware of how depressing it is that this is the highlight of the game, but well Jedd Gyorko came in to pitch. He got two swinging strikes on three pitches to strike out Phil Ervin, who should probably just give up at baseball now. He then lined a single and attempted to go for two, but was thrown out on the play. #PitchersWhoRake
- Miles Mikolas line: 5 IP, 4 ER, 6 H, 3 HR, 4 Ks, BB - Go figure that I’m worried about Mikolas’ strikeouts and on the day he finally strikes out a decent number of batters (for him anyway), he allows three homers and had his lowest GB% of the season. He’s already at half the home runs allowed for all of last year.
- Leone’s ERA went from 1.64 on the season to 6.17 if you were wondering. His FIP rose from 3.48 to 4.48 and his xFIP barely rose at all and in fact went down until he walked Scott Schebler to load the bases. Seriously, Leone, buddy, ouch.
- Matt Carpenter, having a slow start to the season - not like last year slow, but slow for Carpenter - went 2-2 with 2 BBs. Obviously no extra base hits, but you probably will score more than one run most days where your leadoff hitter gets on base four times. His wRC+ rose from 90 to 102 from the game.
- Maybe it’s goodwill from the Brewers sweep, maybe it’s the Blues, and maybe it’s that I know the Reds are a decent or better team this year, but I was strangely unaffected by this loss. There’s 162 of these and these games happen. Get ‘em tomorrow.
Tomorrow, it’s Dakota Hudson against Tyler Mahle and at least on paper and with the super small sample of this year, this matchup heavily favors the Reds. But as evidence by Leone’s numbers before and after this start, one game can really make a big difference and we can possibly reverse the two pitchers’ numbers tomorrow.