by Steffen Taudal

Reds Complete Sweep of Cubs with 3-2 Win

It wasn’t always pretty, but the Reds were able to squeeze out a 3-2 win behind a good start from Wade Miley. The Reds’ offense looked lost for most of the game against Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks but saw more success against the bullpen, and took a late lead in the 8th, after which the Reds’ bullpen shut the door, securing a series sweep over the rival Cubs. With the win, the Reds are now 43-40 and in sole possession of second place in the NL Central.

Offense

1st inning

The 2nd inning started with an Eugenio Suárez groundout, after which Kyle Farmer was hit by a pitch. With Farmer on first, Tucker Barnhart then rocked a pitch into left field that went over the head of Ian Happ for a double and allowed Farmer to score from first. Barnhart is coming off his first month as a below average hitter, with a wRC+ of just 83 in June. Getting Barnhart going again would be great for this lineup.

That would be all for the Reds in the 2nd, however, as Miley flied out and Jonathan India struck out.

After two innings in which the Reds failed to reach base even once, the offense finally showed signs of life again in the 5th inning.

After a Barnhart groundout, Miley poked a ball over the head of Patrick Wisdom at third for a single. Next, India singled through the left side of the infield, giving Jesse Winker a chance to give the Reds their first lead. Instead, Winker grounded into an inning ending double play.

With the exception of Joey Votto almost hitting a game-tying home run, very little of note happened in the 6th inning for the Reds’ offense.

In the 7th, now facing the Cubs’ bullpen, the offense finally woke up. After a Suárez lead-off single, Farmer was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game, and Barnhart singled to load the bases. Pinch hitter Tyler Stephenson then hit a groundball to Wisdom at third, who went home for the forceout.

With the bases reloaded, India was hit by a pitch forcing home a run and tying the game at 2-2. Next, Winker was able to give the Reds a late 3-2 lead with a groundball fielder’s choice that allowed pinch runner Mike Freeman to score from third. Nick Castellanos would strike out to end the inning.

Pitching

Starting the game for the Reds was Wade Miley, who was coming off an excellent month of June. Across 5 starts, Miley had an ERA of just 2.81 and a FIP of 3.40.

Things got off to a bit of a rocky start for Miley, as he allowed three straight one-out singles in the 1st inning, giving the Reds an early 1-0 deficit. But when the Reds needed it most, Miley was able to induce a groundball to third, that Suárez made a nice play on, for a 5-4-3 inning-ending double play.

Trouble found Miley again in the 2nd inning, as Jake Marisnick launched a 4-seamer into center field, that was just out of the reach of Tyler Naquin, for a one-out triple. Miley was able to strike out Ian Happ getting the pitcher Hendricks up to bat with two outs. What looked like an easy out turned into a Hendricks bouncer up the middle for an RBI single, giving the Cubs a 2-0 lead. Willson Contreras then grounded out to end the inning.

In the 3rd, it was more one-out trouble for Miley. After a Kris Bryant lineout, Anthony Rizzo hit a ball into center field that was misplayed by Naquin, allowing Rizzo to reach second. Miley was able to pitch out of it, though, as Javier Báez and Patrick Wisdom both grounded out to end the inning.

Over the next 3.2 innings, Miley retired 9 of the 14 Cubs batters, before departing in the 7th inning. On the day, Miley went 6.2 innings, allowing 2 runs on 10 hits, while walking 2 batters and striking out 3.

Miley relied almost exclusively on a combination of cutter and changeup. His changeup was working especially well with a Whiff% of 47%. As usual (Miley ranks in the 96th percentile in avg EV), Miley was able to rely on soft contact for success today, with an avg EV of just 83.9 mph on 24 balls in play.

Taking over for Miley was right-hander Art Warren. With a runner on first, Warren was able to get Bryant to ground out and get out of the 7th inning.

In to get three outs in the 8th inning was right-hander Brad Brach. Things got off to a fine start as Rizzo quickly flied out to Castellanos in right field. Next, though, Báez hit a groundball to Suárez who bobbled it allowing Báez to reach base safely. Pinch hitter Joc Pederson then golfed a ball into right center field that was fielded by Naquin for the second out, with Báez tagging up at first and advancing to second. But Nico Hoerner would ground out to end the inning.

Brach would come out again for the 9th inning, getting Marisnick to line out before departing in favor of Amir Garrett. Garrett looked erratic to begin with, walking Happ on these four pitches:

Garrett then fell behind the next batter 2-0, prompting pitching coach Derek Johnson to pay him a visit on the mound. After this, the left-hander found the strikezone again, but ultimately gave up a single to Eric Sogard. With runners at first and second and just one out, Garrett was able to get Contreras to ground into a 5-4-3 game-ending double play.

Stats

Most Valuable Players

  • Tucker Barnhart: .221 WPA (Win Probability Added)
  • Brad Brach: .197 WPA
  • Jonathan India: .167 WPA

Hardest-Hit Balls

  • Joey Votto: 104.9 mph | Flyout in 6th inning
  • Nick Castellanos: 98.7 mph | Groundout in 6th inning
  • Jonathan India: 98.3 mph | Single in 5th inning

Unluckiest Out of the Day

  • Wade Miley: .820 xBA | Lineout in 2nd inning

Highest Velocities By Pitcher

  • Wade Miley: 92 mph
  • Art Warren: 95.9 mph
  • Brad Brach: 94 mph
  • Amir Garrett: 96.4 mph

Highest Pitch Spins

  • Art Warren: 2674 rpm | Slider

Most Pitch Movement

  • Wade Miley: 52 inches vertical movement | Curveball
  • Wade Miley: 18 inches horizontal movement | Changeup

Team Expected Batting Averages (xBA)

  • Reds: .269
  • Cubs: .234
What’s Next?

The Reds will be traveling to Kansas City, to take on the Royals in a 3-game series. On the mound for Cincinnati will be right-hander Vladimir Gutierrez, and toeing the rubber for the Royals, will be left-hander Mike Minor. First pitch will be at 8:10 PM EDT.

[Featured Image: https://twitter.com/Reds/status/1293621837201637377/photo/1]

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

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John Palm Nielsen
John Palm Nielsen
2 months ago

But there’s an important game today and we miss your presence