The Reds’ hitting struggles continue as the Reds drop Game 2 of the series to the Cubs 8-5. The Reds hitting has been sparse other than late in games and will need to improve as the Reds stumble to a record of 1-4. The Reds’ relievers also struggled mightily, yet again, as they accounted for a line of 5 IP, 6 ER, 6 hits, 3 HR, 2 BB, 4 K; and 4 of the 5 relievers gave up at least one run.
The Reds’ Tyler Mahle made his season debut tonight against the Cubs as the fifth man in the Reds rotation. It was an important start for Mahle – he was originally bumped from the five-man rotation after the off-season signing of Wade Miley but stepped in for Anthony Desclafani who is on the 10-Day Injury List. Mahle looked solid battling through 4 innings with 69 pitches giving up 2 earned runs. Mahle did allow six hits but showed he could get out of jams and stop the bleeding – something he struggled with at times last season.
Tyler Mahle’s slider also looked impressive – particularly here where he made Anthony Rizzo “bend the knee” striking him out in the Top of the 3rd.
Tyler Mahle, Wicked 85mph Slider…and Rizzo bends the knee. pic.twitter.com/325cZi7uoq
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 28, 2020
Cody Reed in his season debut came into the game in the 5th inning finishing only one inning. Reed looked solid but was responsible for 2 earned runs and 1 K. His first run came off of a bloop single from Kyle Schwarber in the 5th and his second in the 6th, a walked runner who scored after he left the game.
Pedro Strop took over in the 6th after Cody Reed had walked the first batter of the inning, Jason Heyward. Strop then walked the next batter, David Bote, to allow runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs. Strop was not able to escape the trouble as he allowed Heyward to score off of a sac fly by Hoerner.
Garrett replaced Strop and jammed Rizzo to end the 6th inning. Garrett appeared to be rolling through the Cubs’ order until he gave up a homer to Javier Baez that just barely crossed the RF wall. Garrett went 1 1/3 innings, 2 Ks, and 1 ER.
Amir Garrett, Wicked 83mph Slider…and K Strut. pic.twitter.com/BJuIMreWjY
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 29, 2020
Nate Jones relieved Garrett and pitched the 8th inning giving up a solo HR to David Bote. Despite giving up the solo HR, Jones did not allow another base runner and more importantly his velocity was terrific. Many coming into the season were concerned with the aging Jones, 34 years old, who is returning from multiple injuries over the past few seasons.
Michael Lorenzen finished off the game in the 9th, but his struggles continued. Lorenzen gave up 2 earned runs, 1 HR, and had 2 K. It is obvious that Lorenzen is still having issues controlling his fastball – which reached only 98.7 mph tonight. He may be trying to lay off of his FB some (has reached upwards of 101-102), but Lorenzen has given a HR in three consecutive appearances now. Lorenzen will need to continue to work on his control as he is needed as a key part of the Reds bullpen.
After waiting all afternoon for David Bell to release the lineup, they decided playing without a lineup wasn’t the best idea. Bell had actually been waiting to see if Senzel was able to play and there were roster changes as well – Barnhart was reinstated with Robert Stephenson being sent to the IL for a mild back strain. Bell went with a LH-dominant lineup against the righty Mills.
Oh, were you looking for this? #TakeTheCentral
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) July 28, 2020
The Cubs took an early lead when Nico Hoerner singled in the 3rd inning allowing Jason Kipnis to score who reached on a triple after CF Shogo Akiyama lost the ball in the sun. Kipnis then followed it up in the 4th inning with an RBI single to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead. The lead did not last for long as Nicholas Castellanos hit an opposite field 2-run homer in the bottom of the 4th – his first homerun of the season.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) July 28, 2020
Curt Casali was able to end the Reds’ 3-inning hitting drought in the 8th inning with a solo-HR to cut the Cubs’ lead to 6-3. The Cubs had scored one run a piece for 6 straight innings (3rd-8th). Casali has provided steady offense for the Reds’ 9th batting position with 2 HR, 2 RBI, 0.214 AVG, 1.032 OPS.
Crushin' Curt! pic.twitter.com/qA1ddmseHI
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) July 29, 2020
Eugenio Suarez got his first hit of the season finally getting the monkey off his back. He hit a ground-rule double that just barely stayed foul inside the RF line (0.090 xBA). The Reds were unable to get Suarez home though – again, not capitalizing on runners in scoring position.
The Reds, of course, tried to make things interesting again in the 9th inning when Freddy Galvis hit a 2-run HR with 2 outs to make the game 8-5. However, that was the beginning and end of the Reds’ rally as Casali struck out the next at-bat.
Most Valuable Players
- Nicholas Castellanos: 0.23 Win Probability Added
- Phillip Ervin: 0.05 WPA
- Curt Casali: 0.01 WPA
Play of the Game
- Nicholas Castellanos: o.226 WPA | 2-run HR, 4th inning
- Nick Castellanos: 101.3 mph | 2-run HR, 4th inning
- Jesse Winker: 99.9 mph | Groundout, 2nd inning
Highest Velocities by Pitcher
- Michael Lorenzen: 98.7 mph
- Nate Jones: 96.5 mph
- Tyler Mahle: 96.3 mph
- Cody Reed: 94.8 mph
- Amir Garrett: 94.5 mph
- Pedro Strop: 92.9 mph4
Luckiest Hit of the Day
- Eugenio Suarez: 0.090, Double in 8th inning
Unluckiest Out of the Day
- Curt Casali: 0.510, Groundout in 5th inning
The Reds will take on the Cubs in Game 3 of the four-game series @ 6:10 pm at GABP trying to salvage the remainder of the series.
The match-up is set for Sonny Gray versus Kyle Hendricks. Gray will try to repeat his Opening Day performance where he went 6 innings giving up only 1 run and striking out 9. Hendricks had an even more impressive opening start where he had threw a complete game shutout striking out nine batters while allowing only three hits. Despite the Reds’ recent poor performance, the pitching duel tomorrow should be well worth the watch.