by Steve Mancuso

Reds pitching stars during the streak

From 9/13 – 9/25, the Reds won 10 of 12 games. That streak propelled them to the postseason. Here are our recaps from those ten games:

Yesterday, we threw a spotlight on the hitters who stood out most during the streak: Mike Moustakas, Joey Votto and The Catchers. Today, the pitchers take their turn under the lights. Again, many pitchers contributed to the Reds streak. These were the most exceptional.

Michael Lorenzen

What makes Michael Lorenzen’s star contribution to the streak so special is how he adapted to a new role. Lorenzen hadn’t started a game since late in the 2018 season, yet David Bell handed him the ball twice in this stretch. In addition to the starts on 9/15 and 9/20, Lorenzen entered the 9/25 clinching game after Bell pulled Tyler Mahle early and threw 3.1 innings. Lorenzen had been saddled with a low strikeout rate and extra-high walk rate prior to these three appearances. There was evidence, particularly early in the season, that he had sacrificed command for velocity. But during his 13 innings in the streak, he struck out 19 and walked just three.

You can see how well and how much better Lorenzen pitched from 9/15-9/25. The Reds won all three of his games.

Raisel Iglesias

Iglesias appeared in six of the 12 games. In 6.2 innings and faced 20 batters (do the math on that). He gave up no earned runs. Iglesias struck out 9 batters for a 45% strikeout rate. He walked one. The sole hit Iglesias gave up was the popup that fell between Shogo Akiyama and Eugenio Suarez Friday night.

  • 9/13 – Pitched the 8th and 9th, retired six of seven batters, giving up a walk (STL)
  • 9/14 – After Trevor Bauer had given up a home run and two singles in a 1-1 game, Iglesias came on and got two strikeouts, the Reds won in the bottom of the 7th on a walk0ff homer by Tyler Stephenson (PIT)
  • 9/16 – Retired the Pirates 1-2-3 to hold a 1-0 lead (PIT)
  • 9/20 – Retired the White Sox 1-2-3 to hold a 7-3 lead (CHW)
  • 9/21 – With the Reds up 2-1 in the 8th, Amir Garrett walked Christian Yelich. Iglesias came in and induced Ryan Braun to hit into a double play, throwing three pitches. The Reds got 4 runs in the 9th and Nate Jones finished the game. (MIL)
  • 9/25 – With the Reds up 4-2 in the 8th, Lucas Sims hit Byron Buxton and David Bell had to call Iglesias in on short notice. Iglesias got a strikeout, gave up the popup double, and with runners on second and third, got the last two outs on a strikeout and fly out. (MIN)
Trevor Bauer

The Reds NL Cy Young candidate made three starts during the streak, pitching a total of 21.1 innings. In Game 1 of the 9/14 doubleheader with the Pirates, Bauer pitched a scoreless six innings before giving up a tying solo home run to Colin Moran in the 7th. The Reds won that game in the bottom of the inning on a walk-off homer by Tyler Stephenson. Bauer returned on 9/19 to face the powerful Chicago White Sox offense and hold them to 2 earned runs over seven innings. His third start on the streak, on short rest, was a dominating, 8-inning performance over Milwaukee on 9/23.

In sum, in 21.1 innings Bauer struck out 29 batters (35.8 K%), walked just four (4.9 BB%) and put up an xFIP of 3.19.

Luis Castillo

Reds 2019 Opening Day starter Luis Castillo had two starts during the streak. On 9/16 he pitched the fourth and final game of the series against the Pirates. The Reds were trying to sweep it, but having trouble scoring runs on JT Brubaker. The game was scoreless heading into the bottom of the 5th when the Reds scratched across a single run on two-out singles by Jose Garcia, Curt Casali and Shogo Akiyama. That’s all the scoring the offense would manage that day, but fortunately for the Reds, Castillo, with help from Archie Bradley and Raisel Iglesias would  make it stand up. Castillo threw seven innings, allowing just three hits and giving up one walk. He struck out 10.

Five days later, Castillo pitched the first game of the pivotal Brewers series. He squared off with Milwaukee’s Brandon Woodruff who held the Reds without a run until the 6th inning. Castillo did give up a solo home run to Jedd Gyorko, but not much else. He held the Brewers to one run over 6.2 innings. The Reds finally got to Woodruff for two runs in the 6th and scored four more in the bottom of the 8th off the Brewers bullpen. Castillo handed off a 2-1 game to Amir Garrett. Garrett and Iglesias got the Reds through the 8th leading 2-1. The final score was 6-3. Castillo held the Brewers to four hits. He walked three and struck out nine.

Second-Level Pitching Stars

Sonny Gray, who was on the IL when the streak started, returned to make a start on 9/22 against the Brewers. Gray threw 80 pitches over five innings. He held the Brewers to one run. He struck out eight of the 18 batters face and gave up only a walk and two hits. Lucas Sims appeared in three games of the streak, facing the Pirates, White Sox and Twins, throwing 5.1 innings. Sims struck out seven, walked two and didn’t give up a run.

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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

I somehow missed Matt’s article on Lorenzen

I suspected that perhaps Lorenzen was trying to throw too hard early in the season. A well-placed fastball at 96 or 97 is better than a poorly located one at 100.

David Kelley
3 months ago
Reply to  kmartin

Lorenzen decreased his FB speed and it helped tremendously with his control, which in turn allowed for his other pitches to be more effective.
I wrote about the two different Lorenzen’s we’ve seen so far this year here:

3 months ago
Reply to  David Kelley

Thanks for the link David to your interesting post. It quantified what I suspected. Somehow I missed reading both your article and the one by Matt.