The 3-13 Pirates came into Great American Ball Park in last or tied for last in a variety of offensive statistics, from wOBA and wRC+ to on-base percentage. Naturally, they teed off against a pitcher who’d allowed no earned runs coming into the game en route to a 9-6 win.
After allowing no runs in his first two outings, Anthony DeSclafani had the worst start of his career. The right-hander allowed nine runs in only two innings, including home runs by Adam Frazier, Colin Moran, and Gregory Polanco. The first two long balls were solo shots in the first inning, and the third a solo homer to lead off the second. Things continued to snowball for DeSclafani, as he allowed seven runs on seven hits and two walks as the Pirates sent 12 batters to the plate in the second inning.
Pittsburgh simply wasn’t fooled by anything DeSclafani threw tonight. Pirates hitters racked up seven batted balls of 100+ mph in the first two frames, leading to natural curiosity over whether DeSclafani was tipping pitches. DeSclafani typically thrives throwing up in the zone, but the Pirates had no problems handling the high fastball. His slider suffered as a result, getting bashed for a 95.1 mph average exit velocity.
The Reds, to their credit, chipped away at the nine-run deficit but came up three runs short.
Jesse Winker remains absolutely unconscious at the plate. He picked up two more hits tonight, and both were scalded. Winker smashed a single at 111.9 mph — the hardest-hit ball by a Red this season — and added a double at 109.0 mph. Once again, he’s our leader in the Hardest-Hit Balls category below. Winker came into the game ranked 14th in baseball in average exit velocity and will surely move up the leaderboard after tonight.
Nick Senzel had a big night at the plate as well, with an RBI single in the second inning, a two-run home run in the fourth inning (99.1 mph, 372 feet), and a run-scoring double in the eighth.
Freddy Galvis also homered for the second time in as many nights, smacking a solo shot in the sixth inning (98.5 mph, 397 feet). Tucker Barnhart broke out of a 0-for-22 skid with a solo home run in the ninth that just squeaked over the right-field wall (92.9 mph, 345 feet).
In more good news, the bullpen threw seven shutout innings — perhaps further fueling the notion that DeSclafani was tipping his pitches. Two relievers who were a part of the effort really needed the confidence boost, too.
Cody Reed was the first reliever to get mop-up duty. He gave the Reds 2.2 innings of shutout baseball, striking out three and allowing only two baserunners (one walk, one double). The southpaw did an excellent job of commanding his slider on both sides of the plate tonight, getting a called strike or whiff half of the 20 times he threw it.
Michael Lorenzen followed Reed’s strong appearance with 3.1 innings of shutout baseball, striking out two and walking none.
Command — though far from perfect — was better tonight for Lorenzen, who largely stayed away from the middle of the plate and didn’t miss his spots wildly as often he has in other outings this season. This was a undoubtedly a huge step in the right direction for the right-hander.
Lorenzen got some help from left-fielder Shogo Akiyama, who made two marvelous catches, including this web gem:
Sho off that glove! 😳 pic.twitter.com/8SsNVbSKxG
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) August 13, 2020
Akiyama won the equivalent of the Gold Glove in Japan multiple times.
Lucas Sims pitched a perfect ninth inning, striking out two to lower his ERA to 0.96 and his xFIP to 3.72 on the year. As Steve Mancuso wrote yesterday, Sims is one of the four reliable relievers the Reds have had this season.
- Jesse Winker: 111.9 mph | Single in 2nd inning
- Jesse Winker: 109.0 mph | Double in 4th inning
- Phillip Ervin: 104.1 mph | Single in 9th inning
- Josh VanMeter: 100.3 mph | Flyout in 2nd inning
- Nick Senzel: 99.1 mph | Home run in 4th inning
Highest Velocities By Pitcher
- Michael Lorenzen: 97.5 mph
- Anthony DeSclafani: 97.0 mph
- Cody Reed: 95.7 mph
- Lucas Sims: 95.6 mph
Luckiest Hit of the Day
- Tucker Barnhart: 2% hit probability | Home run in 9th inning
Unluckiest Out of the Day
- Tucker Barnhart: 82% hit probability | Groundout in 3rd inning
The Reds will try to shake this one off on Friday night when they send their ace to the mound. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. EST.