by Steve Mancuso

Aquino HR #4 – The (First) One Off Yu Darvish

Aristides Aquino’s Timeline of Punishment

 

  1. First Major League Homer
  2. Obliteration
  3. Hardest Hit
  4. The (First) One Off Yu Darvish
  5. Start of a Huge Day
  6. Kyle Hendricks Tried Another Sinker
  7. Farthest Hit
  8. “A Loud Sound”
  9. Out of the Strike Zone
  10. Adam Wainwright Turned to Look Way Up
  11. “You Can’t Stop This Kid!”

[The fourth in a daily series looking at Aristides Aquino’s historic home run streak. Yes, we understand the series goes on as long as Aquino keeps hitting home runs and that might be a while. We’re prepared (and hopeful) for this to last through the end of the season.]

Home Run #4

The day after Aristides Aquino had homered off lefty Cole Hamels, David Bell had the Reds right fielder batting 5th against right-handed Cubs starter Yu Darvish. Bell had Josh VanMeter in the #4 spot.

Darvish is a 4-time All-Star and runner up for the A.L. Cy Young Award in 2013 when he pitched for Texas. He led the A.L. in strikeouts that year with 277.

Darvish has not quite been the same pitcher since returning from Tommy John surgery in 2016. But about half-way through this season, something clicked for Darvish and he’s back to his old self. In the nine games leading up to facing the Reds, he had 68 strikeouts and just seven walks. In fact, on this day against the Reds, he ended up with 9 Ks and 0 BBs. He followed that with a 7 inning shutout against the Phillies, with 10 Ks and 0 BBs. So Darvish is pitching the best of his life.

Aristides Aquino homered off Yu Darvish in his first at bat.

Here is the graphic display.

[Graphic: Baseball Savant]

The Pitch

Darvish started Aquino off with a cutter that sailed out of the strike zone and Aquino laid off of it. The second pitch was an identical 87.7 mph cutter, although this time Darvish left it right smack in the strike zone, just a bit below the middle. That’s been the danger zone for Aquino’s bat.

Aquino recognized the cutter just a little late. Darvish throws a bunch of pitches, including a tough 94-mph fastball, so Aquino had to guard against that. He was behind on the cutter just a bit. But only a bit.

Aquino launched Yu Darvish’s pitch into the short GABP right field porch.

The Hit

Aquino’s homer off Darvish traveled 373 feet. It wasn’t as long as his second and third homers. His fourth had the highest launch angle of any of Aquino’s first 11 home runs at 33º and was the second-shortest in distance.

The ball was a classic GABP homer, landing in the first row of the right-center field bleachers. Actually, it landed on a guy’s face who was standing in the front row. (Click on the picture to watch the video.)

This was Aristides Aquino’s fourth major league home run. At 99.6 mph exit velocity, Aquino had the third-hardest hit home run for the Reds that day. Eugenio Suarez (105.8 mph) and Joey Votto (105 mph) both exceeded the 100 mph threshold.

[Photo: https://twitter.com/Reds/status/1161290089420472320]

The Game

RC+ Preview | RC+ Recap

Aquino’s homer produced .150 WPA (win probability added).

This was Trevor Bauer’s debut game at GABP. The Reds won 5-2 behind his pitching, the relieving of Amir Garrett and Raisel Iglesias. The bats of Aquino, Eugenio Suarez and Joey Votto got to Yu Darvish for four runs. The Reds evened the series against the Cubs 1-1.

Steve Mancuso is a lifelong Reds fan who grew up during the Big Red Machine era. He’s been writing about the Reds for more than ten years. Steve’s fondest memories about the Reds include attending a couple 1975 World Series games, being at Homer Bailey’s second no-hitter and going nuts for Jay Bruce at Clinchmas. Steve was also at all three games of the 2012 NLDS, but it’s too soon to talk about that.