After a rain delay of a little less than two-hours, the Cubs produced a downpour of runs in a little less than two innings. The Reds fought back, had chances, but lost the first game of the 4-game series.
The Cincinnati debut of Wade Miley didn’t go as the 33-year-old lefty or the Reds had planned. The new free agent acquisition gave up 4 hits, 2 walks and 2 HBP in just 1.2 innings of work. Three of the Cubs hits were doubles. In total, Miley gave up 6 runs. Tejay Antone relieved Miley and made it out of the 2nd inning with no further damage. Wade Miley has a low strikeout rate. In 2018, his 14.8% K-rate would have been the lowest in MLB for qualified starters. His success depends on inducing soft contact and he didn’t do that tonight.
The pitching bright spot for the Reds was Tejay Antone, who made his major league debut and pitched 4.1 innings. Antone is a 26-year-old starter who the Reds drafted out of Mansfield, TX in the 5th round in 2014. He was called up from the Prasco Park roster when the Reds put Matt Davidson on the COVID IL and Tucker Barnhart on paternity leave. Mixing 96-97 mph fastballs with a sharp breaking ball he shut down the Cubs before giving up a solo homer to Anthony Rizzo in the 6th.
Brooks Raley pitched two innings and gave up a run. Lucas Sims pitched a clean 9th.
David Bell put Tyler Stephenson in for Curt Casali in the 7th inning. In his first major league plate appearance, Stephenson blasted a solo home tun 415 feet to deep left-center field. As an encore Stephenson singled into left field in his second at bat.
First MLB AB, first MLB dinger!
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) July 28, 2020
Tyler Stephenson is only the third Reds batter to homer in his first Major League plate appearance (Tappe & Clyde Vollmer, May 31, 1942 vs Pittsburgh, game 2 of DH). Courtesy @EliasSports
— Reds Media Relations (@RedsPR) July 28, 2020
— Taylor Trammell (@Taytram24) July 28, 2020
It took a while for the offense to get going. A pinch-hit single by Jesse Winker, driving in Joey Votto who had walked was the Reds first hit of the game and took place in the 6th inning. Nick Castellanos blooped a single to center that drove in Votto from second. Votto singled in the 8th with two outs and drove in two to make the score 8-5. With Votto’s two hits and walk his OBP is .474. Eugenio Suarez still doesn’t have a hit but he did walk three times tonight.
The Reds rallied in the 9th, starting with walks by Nick Castellanos, Josh VanMeter and Shogo Akiyama. With one out, Freddy Galvis took a HBP to drive in the Reds sixth run. Tyler Stephenson took a walk on a full-count scoring the 7th run. David Ross pulled his closer Craig Kimbrell. Philip Ervin faced Jeremy Jeffress and struck out on a full count on a pitch out of the strike zone. On a full count, Votto hit a ball right on the line but right at the centerfielder for the third out and the rally fell short.
- Tyler Stephenson (100.4 mph)
- Kyle Farmer (99.9 mph)
- Curt Casali (99.0 mph)
- Tyler Stephenson (98.9 mph)
Highest Pitch Velocities by Pitcher
- Tejay Antone (97.8 mph)
- Lucas Sims (94.7 mph)
- Brooks Raley (91.8 mph)
- Wade Miley (90.7 mph)f
The Reds play the Cubs again tomorrow at 6:40 pm at Great American Ball Park. The pitching matchup is Tyler Mahle vs. Alec Mills.
Tyler Mahle made 25 starts for the Reds in 2019. He’s taking the rotation spot of Anthony DeSclafani who is on the 10-day DL with a mild teres major strain. The Reds are still saying they expect DeSclafani to only miss one start.
Last September, Nick Carrington analyzed Mahle in 2019 and made that case that the young right-hander was on track. Mahle features a good fastball that he throws for more than half his pitches.
Alec Mills has thrown in parts of three major league seasons. He was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in 2012 and traded to the Cubs in 2017. Mills throws a bunch of pitches including a sub-90 mph fastball.
These numbers for Mills shouldn’t be taken too seriously since they are for just 36 innings. The two pitchers had almost identical xFIP and Mahle had an edge on xERA – expected ERA. (Here’s a refresher on xERA, which takes the batted balls given up and assigning an earned run value assuming neutral defense and luck.)