by Matt Wilkes

RC+ Recap: Reds on wrong side of history in loss to D’Backs

With each passing game, the Reds continue to leave little doubt that the offense needs to be the point of concern in the offseason.

The group played a part in a dubious record on Saturday night, getting shut out 1-0 against Merrill Kelly, who had a 4.68 ERA, 4.72 FIP, and 4.68 xFIP coming into the game. But that wasn’t the worst part. The Reds’ pitching staff allowed one baserunner the entire game. One. Only one other team since 1908 has lost a game when allowing only one baserunner. It happened to the Royals against the Orioles in 1971. The caveat: the game lasted only five innings.

Anthony DeSclafani spun a one-hitter across seven innings. That hit was a triple by Nick Ahmed in the third inning with an .070 expected batting average. The ball left the bat at only 89.7 mph and had a -27° launch angle — hardly the recipe for a triple. The ball was hit straight into the ground, but it bounced over the head of third baseman Eugenio Suarez. It ultimately kept the Reds from a perfect game because it’s been that kind of year. Ahmed scored on a sacrifice fly.

Offensively, the Reds scratched across three hits and two walks. Two of those hits came in the first inning — singles by Joey Votto and Suarez — but Aristides Aquino and Tucker Barnhart couldn’t drive them home. The Reds didn’t get a runner to second base the rest of the game.

DeSclafani needed only 78 pitches to get through his seven innings. He wasn’t getting many swings and misses (3), but he induced a boatload of weak contact (85.6 mph average exit velocity) and ground balls (76.5%). The fastball-slider approach had worked well for Disco in recent games, but the curveball was his breaking ball of choice on Saturday (16 curves vs. 14 sliders).

Joel Kuhnel fired a perfect inning in relief, touching 99 mph with his fastball while primarily attacking D’backs hitters up in the zone.

But a historically bad loss is what will stick in the minds of Reds fans moving forward. Let’s hope it sticks in the minds of the front office, too.

Reds Most Valuable Players

  • Anthony DeSclafani: .212 WPA (Win Probability Added) | 2.0 IP, 1 H, 2 K
  • Freddy Galvis: .042 WPA | 1.0 IP, H, SV
  • Joel Kuhnel: .031 WPA | 1-for-2, HR, 2 RBI, BB, 2 R

Reds Least Valuable Players

  • Tucker Barnhart: -.207 WPA | 0-for-4, K
  • Josh VanMeter: -.150 WPA | 0-for-4, K
  • Jose Peraza: -.131 WPA | 0-for-3

Play of the Game

  • Aristides Aquino: .070 WPA | Single in 7th inning

Hardest-Hit Balls

  • Aristides Aquino: 111.7 mph single in 7th inning
  • Tucker Barnhart: 107.5 mph groundout in 1st inning
  • Josh VanMeter: 102.4 mph flyout in 9th inning

Unluckiest Out of the Day

  • Jose Peraza: .690 xBA, 84.4 mph, 12° LA; Lineout in 2nd inning

Highest Pitch Velocities by Pitcher

  • Joel Kuhnel: 99.1 mph two-seam fastball
  • Anthony DeSclafani: 96.0 mph four-seam fastball


Matt Wilkes got hooked on Reds baseball after attending his first game in Cinergy Field at 6 years old, and he hasn’t looked back. As a kid, he was often found imitating his favorite players — Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, Sean Casey, and Austin Kearns — in the backyard. When he finally went inside, he was leading the Reds to 162-0 seasons in MVP Baseball 2005 or keeping stats for whatever game was on TV. He started writing about baseball in 2014 and has become fascinated by analytics and all the new data in the game. Matt is also a graduate of The Ohio State University and currently lives in Columbus. Follow him on Twitter at @_MattWilkes.