by Steffen Taudal

Mahle and bullpen excellent in 3-2 win over Pirates

In a rare instance of the Reds not blowing out the Pirates by about seven runs, the Reds instead had to rely on a good performance from Tyler Mahle and the bullpen, both of whom did not disappoint. The Reds got all their three runs in the bottom of the fourth, when some good hitting and a little luck gave the Reds a 3-1 lead that they would not relinquish. With the win the Redlegs complete their 4-game sweep of the Pirates and are now 61-51 and getting ever closer to catching up with the Padres for that second Wild Card spot.

Offense

The offense got off to a slow start against the Pirates’ starter Bryse Wilson.

The Reds didn’t put a man in scoring position until the 4th inning when Jesse Winker hit a blooper down the left field line that bounced into the stands for a ground rule double. Nick Castellanos then hit a flyball into center field that bounced off Bryan Reynold’s glove for a double. Winker had to wait for the ball to drop, so he was only able to advance to third. Next, Joey Votto crushed a ball (109.4 mph EV) into right center field, that looked like it was gone. The ball bounced off the wall, though, scoring Winker and giving the Reds runners on the corners. Tyler Stephenson brought in Castellanos on a groundball fielder’s choice. Now with one out and a man on first, Kyle Farmer lined a ball into the right center field gap for a double that scored Stephenson from first.

It was now 3-1 Reds. That would be all for the offense in the 4th. Eugenio Suárez flied out and after an intentional walk of Shogo Akiyama, Mahle grounded out.

Now just up by 3-2, the offense was threatening again in the bottom of the 6th. After a one-out double by Stephenson, Farmer would fly out on a great play from Reynolds, though, and Suárez struck out on a very questionable strike three call from home plate umpire Tom Hallion.

The offense was able to put a couple of men on base again in the bottom of the 7th, but Castellanos was unable to bring them home as he struck out to end the inning.

No men would reach in the 9th and the offense now had to hope for a good day from the bullpen.

Pitching

Tyler Mahle was on the mound for the Reds, and he was hoping for better results than his last outing against Minnesota. In the loss Mahle went five innings, and gave up four earned runs.

The 1st inning went rather well for Mahle as he struck out three of the four batters he faced. The only blemish was a Ke’Bryan Hayes bloop single into right.

Mahle’s hot start continued as he struck out another four batters before Bryan Reynolds gave the Pirates their second hit of the day with a double into left field. Reynolds would then score on a groundball that bounced off Suárez’ glove for an infield single. The ball had an EV of 66 mph and an xBA of just .100. Nevertheless, it was now 1-0 Pirates. Gregory Polanco would fly out to end the inning.

Suárez was a disaster at shortstop, but his defensive numbers at third base place him closer to league average, as his -1 Outs Above Average (OAA) ranks 23rd out of 41 third basemen this season.

The Pirates got another man in scoring position in the 5th inning. After a one-out single by Jacob Stallings, Wilson advanced him to second on a sacrifice bunt, but Mahle then struck out Hoy Park for his ninth strikeout in just five innings.

Mahle’s great day hit a little bump in the 6th when Hayes hit a lead-off home run to reduce the Reds’ lead to 3-2. Colin Moran would then rope a double past the first base bag that just stayed fair and dribbled into the right field corner. But Mahle got a flyout from Alford and a lineout from Polanco to end the inning.

Having thrown 94 pitches already, Mahle was sent out for the 7th inning. After inducing a groundball from Rodolfo Castro, Mahle struck out Stallings on a great slider, and finally got pinch hitter John Nogowski to fly out.

A really well-pitched game from Mahle. He relied mostly on his 4-seam fastball that he used to take advantage of a pretty large strikezone from the home plate umpire. These are his called strikes on his 4-seamer:

But his other pitches also worked well, as his strikeouts illustrate:

Taking over in the 8th was Michael Lorenzen, and it took him all of one pitch to get his first out as Park lined out. He then got Hayes to ground out before pitching way around Reynolds for a walk. That would be the extent of the damage, however, as Lorenzen was quick to field a Moran bunt for an easy third out at first.

Mychal Givens was given the opportunity for his second save as a Red in the 9th. In eleven pitches, Givens struck out a batter and got two groundouts to end the game and secure a series sweep for the Reds.

Stats

Most Valuable Players

  • Tyler Mahle: .212 Win Probability Added (WPA)
  • Mychal Givens: .169 WPA
  • Michael Lorenzen: .124 WPA

Hardest-Hit Balls

  • Joey Votto: 109.4 mph | Single in 4th inning
  • Tyler Stephenson: 103.2 mph | Double in 6th inning
  • Kyle Farmer: 102.3 mph | Double in 4th inning

Unluckiest Out of the Day

  • Joey Votto: .900 xBA | Lineout in 1st inning

Highest Velocities By Pitcher

  • Tyler Mahle: 97.1 mph
  • Michael Lorenzen: 96.7 mph
  • Mychal Givens: 96.3 mph

Highest Pitch Spins

  • Michael Lorenzen: 2673 rpm | Cutter

Most Pitch Movement

  • Michael Lorenzen: 48 inches vertical movement | Slider
  • Tyler Mahle: 16 inches horizontal movement | 4-Seam Fastball

Team Expected Batting Averages (xBA)

  • Pirates: .224
  • Reds: .214
What’s Next?

The Reds make a quick visit to Progressive Field in Cleveland to take on the Indians in a make-up game from 5/9. Luis Castillo will take the mound for the Reds, while the Indians have yet to name a starter. First pitch will be at 6:10 PM ET.

[Featured Image: https://twitter.com/Reds/status/1015291812678897664]

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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Derek Bryant
Derek Bryant
1 month ago

i don’t hear any complaints about the owner now