by Steffen Taudal

Mahle Brilliant in 2-1 Win Over Brewers

Behind a phenomenal start from Tyler Mahle, the Reds were able to capture a series sweep over the Brewers in Milwaukee. The offense produced just enough to get the 2-1 win. A clutch two-out RBI triple by Tucker Barnhart in the seventh inning was the difference in the game. Meanwhile, the Reds’ bullpen hasn’t blown a lead in almost a week. What a time to be alive. With the win, the Reds improve to 35-31, but remain in third place in the NL Central, 2.5 games back from the first place Cubs.

Offense

The Reds’ offense got off to another slow start as they failed to reach base the first time through the order. It wasn’t all bad, however, as the Reds only struck out twice, one of these being the pitcher Mahle, while a couple of well-hit balls gave the team a collective xBA of .297. Reasons for optimism.

In the fourth inning, now down 1-0, the Reds finally notched a base hit when Nick Castellanos hit a ground ball to third that he legged out for an infield single. Tyler Naquin would then hit a line drive double into left field that scored Castellanos from first, tying the game at 1-1.

Joey Votto would strike out to end the inning.

Through five innings, the Reds still only had the two hits, but Brewers starter Freddy Peralta had a whiff% of just 11% (4 whiffs on 25 swings). Not bad for the Reds, considering Peralta, on the season, is 94th percentile in this stat.

The Reds got another hit in the sixth, when Jesse Winker hit a chopper toward the unmanned third base, but was thrown at second. It looked for a moment like Winker injured himself on the play, but he remained in the game.

The hits finally came in the seventh. With two outs, Votto singled into center field, before Tucker Barnhart ripped a line drive triple down the right field line, scoring Votto from first, giving the Reds a 2-1 lead. Votto was visibly fired up after scoring, yelling cheers at Barnhart. Great to see the Reds this way.

Kyle Farmer would ground out to end the inning.

Facing the Brewers bullpen in the eighth, third baseman Mike Freeman hit a lead-off single into left field. Pinch hitter Shogo Akiyama would advance him to second on a groundout. After another groundout, Winker was intentionally walked, giving Castellanos a chance to add on an insurance run or two. The MVP candidate would strike out, however, to end the inning.

The Reds went down quietly in the ninth.

Pitching

Taking the mound for the Reds was right-hander Tyler Mahle. Mahle was coming off one of his rougher starts of the season when he went six innings, allowing four runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out six in a win over Colorado.

Mahle got himself in some trouble immediately as he gave up a lead-off walk to Luis Urías before Dan Vogelbach ripped a line drive single into center field, advancing Urías to third. With two on and nobody out, though, Mahle struck out Christian Yelich on a rising fastball above the zone, but then hit Avisaíl García to load the bases. Next, Mahle got a little lucky as Manny Piña crushed a hanging slider (.540 xBA) right into the glove of Freeman for the second out. A strikeout of Jace Peterson would get Mahle out of the inning.

The second inning started considerably better for Mahle, as he got Tim Lopes to pop out, but then walked Daniel Robertson who Freddy Peralta advanced to second on a sac bunt. But Mahle struck out Urías on another fastball to end the inning.

It was another discouraging start to the third inning for Mahle, as Vogelbach hit a lead-off double into left center field. Yelich then hit a single into right field to score Vogelbach. Mahle then hit García again to give the Brewers runners on first and second with nobody out. The strikeouts kept coming for Mahle, though, as he got Piña and Peterson swinging and Lopes looking to end the inning. Through three innings, Mahle’s stuff looked electric as he had a whiff% of 44 and six strikeouts, but had already thrown 63 pitches.

Needing a quick inning, Mahle retired the side in the fourth inning on fourteen pitches, striking out two more batters.

Mahle continued his phenomenal day in the fifth inning, striking out two more batters in another perfect inning. His pitch total now sat at 91 pitches.

Mahle’s final inning of work was among his most dominant, as he sat down the side in order with another two strikeouts. Amazingly, Mahle, having thrown over 100 pitches, threw his hardest fastball (97.4 mph) and slider (90.1 mph) of the game in that inning.

Just an overall great day for the right-hander who went six innings, allowed three hits and two walks, while striking out a career-high twelve batters.

Everything was working for Mahle today, his fastball being especially effective with a whiff% of 43 on 61 pitches, while notching nine strikeouts. Below are all of Mahle’s strikeouts.

Taking over for Mahle in the seventh was right-hander Brad Brach. Brach delivered with a quick one-two-three inning, taking a 2-1 Reds lead into the eighth. In June, Brach has a FIP of 2.95 while striking out 36.4% of batters faced.

Left-hander Sean Doolittle was tasked with pitching the eighth inning for the Reds. After two quick outs, including a strikout of Yelich, Doolittle gave up a bloop single to García, which led Bell to pull him from the game.

Taking over was right-hander Lucas Sims. The Brewers presented Sims with a tough challenge, as they had their best hitter catcher Omar Narváez (147 wRC+) pinch hit for Piña. Sims struck him out on an absolutely wicked slider to end the inning.

After a quick strikeout of Peterson, Sims got himself into some trouble in the ninth as he gave up a ground rule double to Willy Adames. But Sims was once again able to pitch out of it as he struck out the last two batters to give the Reds the win.

Stats

Most Valuable Players

  • Lucas Sims: .267 WPA  (Win Probability Added)
  • Tyler Mahle: .227 WPA
  • Tucker Barnhart: .171 WPA

Hardest-Hit Balls

  • Kyle Farmer: 102.7 mph | Line out in 3rd Inning
  • Mike Freeman: 100.3 mph | Line out in 3rd Inning
  • Tucker Barnhart: 99.5 mph | Double in 7th Inning

Unluckiest Out of the Day

  • Mike Freeman: .830 xBA | Line out in 3rd Inning

Highest Velocities By Pitcher

  • Tyler Mahle: 97.4 mph
  • Brad Brach: 95.4 mph
  • Sean Doolittle: 94.5 mph
  • Lucas Sims: 96.4 mph

Highest Pitch Spins

  • Lucas Sims: 3271 rpm | Slider

Most Pitch Movement

  • Lucas Sims: 50 Inches Vertical Movement | Curveball
  • Brad Brach: 21 Inches Horizontal Movement | Changeup

Team Expected Batting Averages (xBA)

  • Brewers: .130
  • Reds: .225
What’s Next?

The Reds travel to the West Coast to take on the San Diego Padres in a four game series. On the mound tomorrow for the Reds will be Wade Miley and for the Padres it will be right-hander Joe Musgrove. First pitch will be at 8:40 PM EDT.

[Featured Image: https://twitter.com/Reds/status/1299520262640197635]

Steffen has been a huge Reds fan since watching his very first baseball game during the 2018 season. Despite the Reds finishing 5th in the NL Central for the fourth season in a row, he found himself drawn to the team's storied past and infinitely likable players such as Eugenio Suárez and Joey Votto. Since then, his love of baseball has led to a deep interest in the game's analytics and advanced statistics. Steffen is from Denmark and recently graduated from Aarhus University. You can follow him on twitter @TaudalSteffen