I have a secret to confess. Soft of heart, be warned. This might shock you, and I am prepared to change my name and seek a new identity after this is published.
The truth is, while the Reds will ALWAYS be my favorite team of all time, I also kinda like the Braves…
*dives under a rock and changes name to Michael RedsHill*
For real, though, the Braves are a really exciting team, and they have a lot of entertaining players. I was cheering for the Reds on every pitch, but this was a fun game to watch. Fans who tuned in today were treated to great pitching, exciting defensive plays and stolen bases. Unfortunately for Reds fans, though, as fun as the game was, they were not treated to a win as the Braves came out on top, 3-2.
It was an interesting story for the Redleg bats tonight. Showing aggressiveness at the plate, they put the ball in play early and often. The good news is that during the first six innings, only three Reds batters struck out. The bad news is that those batted balls weren’t resulting in runs. From the view on my couch, it looked like there was a lot of wind blowing into the stadium, resulting in a lot of fly balls landing at the warning track, rather than in the seats.
The Reds’ first good opportunity to score came in the first inning. Jonathan India led off by singling on a line drive to center field. After a flyout that was almost a home run from Winker, Castellanos hit a 100.9 MPH line drive over the shortstop to reach first. After Tyler Stephenson grounded into a fielder’s choice and Votto flew out to right center (also came close to the fence), the inning was over.
The Reds had another good opportunity to score in the 4th inning. Nick Castellanos led off a with a 102.3 MPH standup double to left center. Unfortunately, this was followed by three straight flyouts from Tyler Stephenson, Joey Votto and Eugenio Suarez.
The Reds managed to score their first run during the 6th inning. Jonathan India reached first on a scorched ground ball that took a weird hop past Ozzie Albies. After a flyout from Jesse Winker (that I thought was a home run off the bat) and a popout from Nick Castellanos, Tyler Stephenson hit a hard shot down the left field line, bringing home India, who had stolen third base.
The second run of the game came from Eugenio Suarez, who hit a 106.4 MPH shot into the left field seats in the seventh inning. With all his offensive struggles this year, it’s incredible that he’s already hit 16 home runs.
The Reds put up a solid outing during the 8th inning as well. Jesse Winker led off with yet another flyout that almost ended up being a home run. For those of you keeping track at home, that’s three. Three *almost* home runs. I started him in my fantasy league tonight. As the meme goes, “My disappointment is immeasurable, and my day is ruined.” The Reds got two base runners in Castellanos and Stephenson, but the inning ended when Votto grounded into a double play.
During his last outing against the Padres, Vladimir Gutierrez did not have the same level of success as his first three starts. Going into tonight’s game, I was nervous about him. The Braves offense is really solid. Fortunately for Reds fans, he did a decent job holding his own against them. Over the course of six innings, he gave up three earned runs on six hits. He issued two walks and struck out four.
Over his six innings of work, Gutierrez threw four primary pitches. What impressed me the most was his command, particularly of his 4-seam fastball. He was successfully painting the corners all evening, getting many called strikes on close pitches. His fastball was set up nicely by his curveball and slider. He’s an interesting pitcher in that he uses secondary pitches to set up a fastball, rather than the other way around.
After Gutierrez surrendered a 7th inning home run to Guillermo Heredia, he was relieved by Ryan Hendrix. Following a single to Ender Inciarte, Hendrix struck out Ronald Acuña Jr. on a 97 MPH fastball, dotting the outside corner. He also struck out reigning NL MVP Freddie Freeman swinging on an 87 MPH inside slider.
Art Warren came in to relieve during the 8th inning. He struck out Abraham Almonte looking and induced a groundout from Dansby Swanson. With two outs, William Contreras hit an 87 MPH slider to Kyle Farmer, who promptly threw him out to end the inning.
With the Reds being short one run, Josh Osich came in to pitch in the 9th. His first matchup was Heredia, who doubled to left field. After inducing a groundout from Ehire Adrianza, Osich struck out Ronald Acuna Jr on a 79 MPH slider. The inning ended after Freeman flew out to deep center.
- Eugenio Suarez: 106.4 MPH l Home run in 7th inning
Unluckiest Out of the Day
- Joey Votto: .690 xBA l Groundout in 6th inning
Highest Velocities by Pitcher
- Vladimir Gutierrez: 95 MPH
- Ryan Hendrix: 97.1 MPH
- Art Warren: 96.1 MPH
- Josh Osich: 87.2 MPH
Highest Pitch Spin:
- Art Warren: 2721 RPM l Slider
Most Pitch Movement
- Vladimir Gutierrez: 59 inches vertical break l Curveball
- Vladimir Gutierrez 17 inches horizontal break l Curveball
Team Expected Batting Averages (xBA)
- Reds: .292
- Braves: .297
Hopefully, the Reds luck will turn around tomorrow, and they will stay above .500. Luis Castillo will face off against Ian Anderson. Game time is 4:10 PM EST.
(Photo by Rick Ulreich/Icon Sportswire)