by Steve Mancuso

RC+ Recap: Reds blow 3-run lead, come back to win opener 4-3

In his first start of the season, Anthony DeSclafani showed no ill effects from the mild teres muscle (shoulder) strain that had landed him on the 10-day IL. Through four innings, DeSclafani was great, needing just 40 pitches. He finished with a solid 5th, working around trouble. DeSclafani shut out the Tigers and limited them to three hits and no walks. He struck out two, throwing 64 pitches. 

DeSclafani’s outstanding start followed up a sterling second-half to his 2019 season. His fastball averaged 95 mph which was even a bit above his 2019 average of 94.7 mph. More importantly, that represents a 2-mph jump over what DeSclafani had thrown for his career until last season. From Statcast: 

Lucas Sims relieved DeSclafani to face the top of the Tigers lineup in the 6th. After Sims retired the first two batters the Tigers loaded the bases. Miguel Cabrera singled, CJ Cron walked and Sims hit Christin Stewart. Victor Reyes then shot the ball 391 feet to deep right-center field. It kept drifting toward CF but Nick Senzel let Nick Castellanos play it. The ball deflected off the end of Castellanos’ glove for a 3-run error, tying the game. The misplay was due to Castellanos not being a good defender and Senzel being too inexperienced to call off the veteran.

Raisel Iglesias entered the game and recorded the final out of the 6th. He then retired the Tigers 1-2-3 in the 7th, with two strikeouts. He also contributed a terrific defensive play covering first on a ball deflected off Josh VanMeter, who was playing 1B, to Kyle Farmer at 2B.

After blowing the 3-0 lead, the Reds struck back right away in the 7th. Freddy Galvis doubled to center. Tucker Barnhart followed up with a sharp single to right, Barnhart’s second hit of the game. Shogo Akiyama grounded a ball through a pulled-in infield for a single and go-ahead run.

The 3-0 lead had come courtesy of Nick Castellanos who had hit two home runs in his old ball park. The first (410 feet) was to left field. The second (376 feet) was opposite field. Here’s the second one. 

Both of Castellanos’ homers were on inside pitches.  

Akiyama doubled the value of the first Castellanos blast by walking ahead of him. 

Too Small Sample Size Speculation Freddy Galvis has shown more plate discipline so far. Galvis’ walk rate coming into the game was 10.7% compared to a career number of 5.5%. His chase rate (O-Swing%) was 21% or about half his career rate of 38%. Galvis walked in his first PA today.

It is way too early to draw firm conclusions, but if Galvis can sustain it, the walks would add considerably to his offense. Worth noting Galvis becomes a free agent next year. Building up his OBP would boost Galvis’ market value. Related fond memory: The 2013 season when Shin-Soo Choo racked up 26 hit-by-pitches with the Reds, boosting his OBP to .423 and setting Choo up for a 7-year, $130 million contract. 

Strategy Note: The Reds attempted 118 stolen bases last year with 80 successes. That’s a success rate of 68%. It’s well established by run expectancy charts based on base running over decades, that 75% is the threshold for an SB attempt to adding value in run scoring. Caught stealing means the loss of an out and base runner. With Travis Jankowski being thrown out today, the Reds are now 4/7 this year or 57%.

Most Valuable Players
  • Anthony DeSclafani .276 Win Probability Added
  • Nick Castellanos .106 WPA
  • Freddy Galvis .102 WPA
  • Tucker Barnhart .098 WPA
Hardest-Hit Balls
  • Nick Castellanos 105.4 mph | home run, 1st inning
  • Freddy Galvis 102.6 | double
  • Nick Senzel 102.2 mph | single
  • Nick Castellanos 101.3 mph | home run, 3rd inning
Highest Velocities by Pitcher
  • Raisel Iglesais 98 mph
  • Anthony DeSclafani 96.4 mph
  • Lucas Sims 95.1 mph
What’s Next?

Let’s play two! The Reds and Tigers face off in another game in at 5:25 pm. Trevor Bauer takes the mound for the Reds and lefty Daniel Norris for the Tigers. 

[Photo Credit: Erik Drost]

Steve Mancuso is a lifelong Reds fan who grew up during the Big Red Machine era. He’s been writing about the Reds for more than ten years. Steve’s fondest memories about the Reds include attending a couple 1975 World Series games, being at Homer Bailey’s second no-hitter and going nuts for Jay Bruce at Clinchmas. Steve was also at all three games of the 2012 NLDS, but it’s too soon to talk about that.

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3 months ago

So far this season, Galvis has looked good in his approach at the plate.
Bell often tries to steal a base with a low pct. base stealer. Jankowski has the speed and skill to be a high pct. base stealer, but was picked off today. It looked like he got his hand on 2nd before the tag, but didn’t remain in contact with the base.