by Steffen Taudal

Gray, India keep Reds in playoff position with 5-1 win over Brewers

Behind Sonny Gray’s excellent six innings of work, and Jonathan India’s 3-RBI day, the Reds were able to avoid the sweep against their division rival Milwaukee Brewers. The offense looked lost at times against Brewers starter Brett Anderson, but India delivered a big two-out hit in the fifth, to give the Reds a 5-0 lead. Gray’s stuff was untouchable and despite a few hickups, the bullpen was able to shut the door. With the win, the Reds improve to 70-59, and remain in sole possession of the second Wild Card spot.

Offense

The offense threatened early against Brewers’ starter Brett Anderson. In the 1st inning, Jonathan India led off the inning by ripping a single into left center field. Tyler Stephenson then worked a walk before Nick Castellanos hit into a forceout at second. Now, with runners on the corners and just one out, Joey Votto hit a sac fly into center field, scoring India. That would be all, however, as Aristides Aquino grounded out to end the inning.

The offense then fell asleep, only producing a walk and a single in the next three innings, while grounding into two double plays.

In the 5th inning, the offense finally woke up. After Eugenio Suárez lined a single into left field, Tyler Naquin hit a squibler down towards first base that landed him an infield hit. Anderson, in his attempt throw out Naquin hit him on the thigh, resulting in the ball getting away from Rowdy Tellez at first, and letting Suárez advance all the way to third. The Reds now had runners on the corners with nobody out.

Things looked a little grim, however, after Jose Barrero struck out and Gray popped out. But rookie of the year front-runner India was able to muscle a 3-1 fastball into the Reds’ bullpen for a 3-run homer (106.9 mph EV, 397ft.). It was now 4-0 Reds.

Stephenson would strikeout to end the inning.

In the 6th inning, the Reds added to their lead with a missile from Castellanos over the left field wall (105 mph EV, 374ft.), that made it 5-0 Reds.

A flyout, a pop out and a groundout would end the inning, though.

The last three innings were very uneventful for the Reds as they could muster only a walk and a single while striking out six times.

Pitching

Gray got off to a great start today. After hitting Kolten Wong, he struck out Omar Narváez. He then got Christian Yelich to pop out, before a great throw from Stephenson caught Wong trying to steal second.

The 2nd and 3rd innings were just as impressive with Gray picking up two more strikeout while only allowing a single baserunner. Gray’s stuff looked absolutely electric to start this game. Through three innings, Gray’s CSW%, which calculates the percentage of pitches that are a called strike or a whiff, was at 45%, while his hardest allowed ball in play was at 93 mph.

Gray just kept right on going in the next three innings. The Brewers didn’t get their second hit of the day until the 6th inning, when Narváez ripped a two-out double into right field. But that hit seemed to open the flood gates as Yelich walked and Avisaíl Garcia singled into left field to load the bases. But Gray got Tellez to ground out to get out of the inning.

Overall, this was as good as we have seen Gray this season. His stuff was excellent and his command was great as he struck out six batters and walked only two. He was especially pin-point with his curveball as he got these ten called strikes, all against lefties:

Entering the game in the 7th inning was Tony Santillan and the rookie immediately gave up a bomb to Luis Urías to make it 5-1, before walking Jace Peterson. He would strike out Jackie Bradley Jr. but then walked Pablo Reyes before David Bell had seen enough.

Justin Wilson entered the game in a tough situation with runners on first and second with just one out. Wilson did his job to perfection, though, getting a groundball up the middle that Barrero turned into an easy 6-3 double play.

Michael Lorenzen took over for the Reds in the 8th inning, and after a quick groundout from Narváez, Yelich lined a ball into the right center field gap for a double. But Lorenzen was able to induce back-to-back groundouts to end the inning.

Tasked with getting three outs in the 9th was Mychal Givens who gave up a one-out single to Peterson. Peterson then stole second, before Bradley Jr. hit a blooper straight to Barrero who caught it an then tried to tag Peterson, who was off the bag. The second base umpire ruled Peterson out of the basepath, ending the inning and the game.

Stats

Hardest-Hit-Balls

  • Eugenio Suárez: 103.8 mph | Single in 5th inning
  • Jonathan India: 101 mph | Single in 1st inning

Unluckiest Out of the Day

  • Aristides Aquino: .380 xBA | Forceout in 5th inning

Highest Velocities by Pitcher

  • Sonny Gray: 93.7 mph
  • Tony Santillan: 96.6 mph
  • Justin Wilson: 94.7 mph
  • Michael Lorenzen: 97.8 mph
  • Mychal Givens: 98.1 mph

Highest Pitch Spin:

  • Sonny Gray: 2968 RPM | Curveball

Most Pitch Movement

  • Sonny Gray: 64 inches vertical break | Curveball
  • Sonny Gray: 20 inches horizontal break | Sinker

Team Expected Batting Averages (xBA)

  • Reds: .200
  • Brewers: .243
What’s Next?

The Reds continue their road trip when they travel to Miami tomorrow to take on the Marlins in a three-game series. On the mound for the Reds will be Wade Miley, and the Marlins will start right-hander Zach Thompson. First pitch will be at 7:10 PM ET.

[Featured image: https://twitter.com/Reds/status/1280898740757442560/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