by Matt Wilkes

Reds waste another strong start by Trevor Bauer, drop series to Tigers

Sunday started on a bleak note for the Reds, as Mike Moustakas and Nick Senzel were both scratched from the starting lineup before the game. Things didn’t get much better once the game began at 1:10 p.m., as the Reds fell 3-2 to the Tigers despite the pitching staff allowing only three hits.

The Reds wasted another strong outing by a starting pitcher, scoring only one run in support of a brilliant start by Trevor Bauer before the bullpen once again let the game get away late. C.J. Cron hit a go-ahead two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning off of Michael Lorenzen to put the Reds behind 3-1. Cincinnati threatened to come back in the ninth, scoring a run on back-to-back doubles by Freddy Galvis and Aristides Aquino, but Joey Votto grounded into a double play to end it.

Bauer, who struggled after being traded to Cincinnati last July, looked like his 2018 self on Sunday. The righty struck out 13 batters in 6.1 innings, allowing only one run (a solo homer by Niko Goodrum) on two hits and a walk. Bauer pumped in fastball after fastball, hitting 98 mph and routinely sitting around 95, and his secondary pitches — a cutter, slider, and curveball — were on point as well. He walked only one batter and gave up two hits.

Bauer racked up 21 swings and misses, his highest total in a Reds uniform and four shy of his career best. He went to the cutter and high four-seamer early and often, capitalizing on his elite spin rate, before mixing in more breaking pitches later in the game.

Bauer really got his slider and curveball working later in the game, keeping Tigers hitters totally off balance with changes in velocity.

Reds starting pitchers struck out 33 batters in the first three games of the season, tied for the MLB record. Here’s hoping that’s a sign of things to come.

Prior to Lorenzen’s performance in the ninth inning, the bullpen looked strong. Relieving Bauer in the seventh inning, Amir Garrett struck out one and walked one in two-thirds of an inning. Pedro Strop worked around a two-out walk with two strikeouts in the eighth.

Lorenzen drew some virtual oohs and aahs against the first batter of the ninth inning, Miguel Cabrera, hitting 100 mph on three different pitches and topping out at 100.5 mph. Cabrera battled and took a walk in a 10-pitch at-bat, setting the stage for Cron’s game-winning home run when Lorenzen hung a cutter over the heart of the plate.

Tigers starter Spencer Turnbull matched Bauer pitch for pitch through four innings before the Reds broke through in the fifth. After Travis Jankowski walked on four pitches, Curt Casali blistered a fly ball to center field with an expected batting average of .690. But baseball can be a cruel sport — center fielder JaCoby Jones made a leaping catch at the wall to rob Casali. Baseball can also be a sport of luck. The next two batters, Jesse Winker and Joey Votto, hit bloop singles at exit velocities of 62.2 and 69.6 mph, respectively, to bring home Jankowski.

The fifth inning aside, however, the Reds struggled to get anything going on offense. They managed six hits, drew three walks, and were hit by two pitches on the day. Cincinnati batters managed only four balls that were considered “hard” contact by Statcast (95+ mph exit velocity).

Most Valuable Players
  • Trevor Bauer: .276 Win Probability Added
  • Aristides Aquino: .210 WPA
  • Pedro Strop: .113 WPA
Play of the Game
  • Aristides Aquino: .247 WPA | RBI double in 9th inning
Hardest-Hit Balls
  • Josh VanMeter: 102.6 mph fielder’s choice
  • Curt Casali: 100.5 mph flyout
  • Josh VanMeter: 99.0 mph flyout
Highest Velocities by Pitcher
  • Michael Lorenzen: 100.5 mph
  • Trevor Bauer: 97.7 mph
  • Amir Garrett: 96.2 mph
  • Pedro Strop: 92.6 mph
Luckiest Hit of the Day
  • Freddy Galvis: .490 xBA, double in ninth inning
Unluckiest Out of the Day
  • Joey Votto: .730 xBA, flyout in first inning

What’s Next?

The Reds will welcome the Cubs to Great American Ball Park on Monday for their first inter-division series of the season. First pitch is set for 6:40 p.m. ET as Wade Miley makes his Reds debut against Jon Lester.

Wade Miley

Jon Lester

[Photo: R.J. Oriez]

Matt 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.

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7 months ago

Thanks for the summary Matt. I wish I did not care so much. I really like Lorenzen and when he does poorly it genuinely hurts. Both the home runs he has given up to start the season were horrible pitches. Hopefully he gets in a groove with better command.