by Matt Wilkes

Reds make case for mercy rule in blowout loss to Cardinals

No way to sugarcoat this one. The Reds (15-21) took another ugly, ugly loss on Tuesday night, getting obliterated by the Cardinals 16-2. Lots of credit to the cardboard cutouts for sticking around to watch the full game.

Sonny Gray had arguably the worst start of his career and easily his worst start with the Reds. He didn’t make it out of the first inning, allowing six runs on five hits and three walks in only two-thirds of an inning. It was the shortest outing of his career. Simply put, Gray just couldn’t hit his spots tonight, particularly with his breaking pitches. The pitch map tells the story:

Lucas Sims entered the game quite a bit before he expected to and also got hit around, giving up three runs on five hits in 1.2 innings.

Archie Bradley made his first appearance as a Red in the third inning. He allowed two hits and struck out two in 1.2 scoreless innings.

Tyler Thornburg turned in his second consecutive dud, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk in the fifth inning. We’re seeing regression to the mean with Thornburg after four dominant outings to start his Reds career.

Raisel Iglesias gave up two singles, a walk, and an unearned run on a passed ball in the seventh inning.

Matt Davidson took over mop-up duty in the eighth and ninth. It went about as well as you’d expect when a position player pitches (2 ER in 2 IP).

Reds pitchers allowed 30 baserunners in the game (23 hits, six walks, one hit batter). Woof.

In better news, Joey Votto stayed hot. He reached base in all three plate appearances with a single, a walk, and a solo home run in the sixth inning (100.6 mph, 376 feet).

Votto is 8-for-15 with two doubles, three homers, and two walks since he was benched. Perhaps most encouragingly, he’s hitting the ball hard again. Before the benching, he had an average exit velocity of 85.9 mph and a 24.0% hard-hit rate. Since returning (small sample, obviously), he’s up to 89.7 and 50%, respectively.

Brian Goodwin also made his Reds debut, taking over for Nick Castellanos in right field after the game was well out of reach. He went 1-for-3 and doubled in his first plate appearance. Curt Casali had a pair of singles and an RBI double, raising his slash line to .250/.379/.604 with a 157 wRC+. It’s probably time for him to get more playing time over Tucker Barnhart if the Reds aren’t going to call up Tyler Stephenson.

Michael Lorenzen, who played center field in the final two innings, got his first at-bat of the year in the ninth inning and was hit by a pitch. He got to show off his speed, coming around to score from first on a double by Casali.

Most Valuable Reds

  • Joey Votto: .028 Win Probability Added

Hardest-Hit Balls

  • Mike Moustakas: 105.8 mph | Lineout in 6th inning
  • Matt Davidson: 104.6 mph | Groundout in 4th inning
  • Joey Votto: 100.6 mph | Home run in 6th inning

Highest Velocities By Pitcher

  • Raisel Iglesias: 98.7 mph
  • Nate Jones: 96.9 mph
  • Archie Bradley: 95.5 mph
  • Lucas Sims: 94.6 mph
  • Tyler Thornburg: 93.8 mph
  • Sonny Gray: 93.1 mph
  • Matt Davidson: 84.9 mph

Luckiest Hit of the Day

  • Joey Votto: 25% hit probability | Single in 3rd inning

Unluckiest Out of the Day

  • Matt Davidson: 62% hit probability | Lineout in 8th inning

What’s Next?

The Reds will try to salvage what they can from the three-game series on Wednesday night. First pitch is again at 6:40 p.m. EST.

Matt Wilkes 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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4 months ago

It’s well past time to give Curt Casali more playing time over Barnhart. Better yet, give playing time to him and Stephenson.

I didn’t watch the entire slaughter, just from when the score went from 9-0 to 13-1. The Cardinals were just hitting pitch after pitch up the middle to score those 4 runs. Brantley kept making the point that the way to stop that is to pitch inside, under the hands. We’ll have to see what Mahle does.

Moustakas torched a line drive right at the RFer in the 6th inning. I see it was 105.8 mph.
Hopefully that’s a good sign. During the few innings I was watching, the Reds were hitting line drives but right at somebody.