by Spenser Brown

Gray leaves injured as Reds drop opener vs Brewers

Coming off arguably their most impressive stretch since the opening week of the season, the Reds faced another team riding a hot streak. The Brewers came to Cincinnati winning nine of their previous ten, and they continued their winning ways with some help from the Reds woes.

Sonny Gray’s start had the Reds on track for a victory before it was derailed by injury, and an offense getting Joey Votto back couldn’t muster enough to overcome Adrian Houser and the stout Milwaukee bullpen. The #ReOpeningDay vibes were ruined by the visiting Brewers, as the injury and bullpen bugs stung the Reds once again in a 5-1 loss.


Offense

Jonathan India was handed another start in the leadoff spot Tuesday, but was unable to reach opening the game against Adrian Houser. Jesse Winker followed with a 107 MPH single to left field and would reach second on a passed ball. After a questionable called third strike against Nick Castellanos, Joey Votto returned to the lineup with a 99.8 MPH flyout to center field.

Houser struggled with the latter portion of the Reds lineup in the second inning, walking Tucker Barnhart with one out and giving up a double to Kyle Farmer. With the two runners in scoring position, Shogo Akiyama delivered the clutch hit, an 89.9 MPH single to center field, plating Barnhart and giving the Reds a 1-0 lead. Sonny Gray had an opportunity to give the Reds a 2-0 lead, but on what looked like a botched safety squeeze, Gray missed a bunt attempt and Farmer was picked off third. Gray would later ground out, ending the second.

The fourth inning was a major missed opportunity. With two outs, Castellanos laced a 104.6 MPH double to right center field, beating the throw to second. Votto drew a walk, checking his swing on a 3-2 pitch, but both runners would be stranded on a flyout from Suarez.

With the pitcher’s spot leading off the fifth, Tyler Naquin was given a pinch hit chance. He would reach on a 96.3 chopper over the head of Houser, beating the throw from Adames. India attempted a push bunt that went straight back to Houser, moving Naquin to second but also conceding an out. Winker also moved Naquin up a base, but his 101.1 MPH groundout was the second out of the inning. The opportunity came to Castellanos with two outs, but Houser fooled him with an 80.8 MPH curveball, getting a clutch strikeout to maintain a 2-1 lead.

The sixth inning would be Houser’s final frame, as Craig Counsell removed him following a one out walk to Suarez. Brent Suter was brought in to face Barnhart, and David Bell countered by bringing Tyler Stephenson to the plate. Suter struck out Stephenson looking before getting a great defensive play from Travis Shaw, who robbed Farmer of a hit with a diving play at third.

Former Reds prospect Brad Boxberger was brought on to pitch the seventh inning, and he got two quick outs from pinch hitter Mike Freeman and Tyler Naquin. After a two out walk to India, the Reds had Winker at the plate as the tying run. Boxberger got out of the inning as Winker grounded out, and India became the seventh Red left on base.

Despite walking Votto and Stephenson in the eighth inning, Devin Williams struck out the other three Reds he faced. He has still not allowed a Reds batter to reach via hit since the beginning of the 2020 season.

With the lead pushed to 5-1, the Brewers sat down Josh Hader and brought in Hoby Milner, who worked a quick ninth inning. Mark Payton reached on a 101.8 MPH single, but Winker struck out to end the game.

Pitching

The Brewers offense entered Tuesday averaging 5 runs per game throughout their 9-1 stretch against the Padres, Nationals, Tigers, and Diamondbacks. Just prior to the start of their run of wins, they touched up Sonny Gray for three runs in an eventual 4-3 win in Cincinnati on May 22.

Gray worked through some trouble in the first, as Dan Vogelbach reached on a single and Avisail Garcia was hit by a curveball that slipped out of his hand. Omar Narvaez ultimately popped out to Joey Votto, ending the top half of the inning.

The second inning and third innings were quick work for Gray. He disposed of the Brewers in order, needing just 14 pitches to get two strikeouts and a flyout in the second. There were a couple hard hit balls in the third inning, including a 96.2 MPH single from Luis Urias and a 100.4 MPH line out from Vogelbach. He struck out Christian Yelich for the second time to end the inning, on what would ultimately be his final pitch of the night.

As Gray took the mound to warm up for the fourth inning, he seemed to tweak something in his lower body. David Bell, Derek Johnson, and athletic trainer Tomas Vera chatted briefly with Gray before removing him from the game. He ended his night striking out five Brewers over three scoreless frames. It was announced after the game he had some groin tightness, and he’ll have an MRI on Wednesday.

With Gray leaving injured, David Bell was presented with a difficult task – relying on his bullpen for the final 18 outs of the game. Sean Doolittle was given the first opportunity, and he was greeted by a 102.4 MPH solo home run from Garcia, tying the game at one. Narvaez followed with a 99 MPH single, and the bullpen woes seemed to be in full force. Travis Shaw attempted to bunt, but was robbed on a barehanded play from Suarez. Doolittle was able to get a soft flyout from Willy Adames before walking Jackie Bradley Jr.. He was able to get out of the inning with a strikeout of Houser, keeping the game tied 1-1.

Ryan Hendrix was the next reliever called upon, and he hurt himself with back-to-back walks to Urias and Vogelbach opening the inning. On ball four to Vogelbach, the ball skipped away from Barnhart, giving Urias third with nobody out. Yelich grounded into a 4-6-3 double play, but the Reds conceded the run. After a strikeout of Garcia to end the inning, the Reds trailed 2-1.

Facing a one run deficit, Bell turned to Amir Garrett. It was a swift inning for Garrett – maybe his best of the year. He struck out Narvaez and Shaw on sliders before getting a sharp groundout from Adames (97.2 MPH) on a diving stop from Suarez.

Garrett faced one more batter in the seventh, as Bradley Jr. laced a first pitch single to left field. The Brewers opted to pinch hit Pablo Reyes for Suter, and Bell removed Garrett for Brad Brach.

With Bradley Jr. leading off first, Brach attempted a pickoff throw that eluded Votto, and Bradley Jr. moved to second with nobody out. Brach rectified his earlier mistake, fielding his position on a high chopper back to the mound, but turning and throwing out Bradley Jr. at third base for the first out. Reyes stole second before a walk to Urias, and the Brewers were threatening with two on and one out. Vogelbach softly grounded out to Votto, but the chopper kept the Reds from turning two. Yelich was intentionally walked with two outs and runners on second and third, giving Garcia a chance with two outs and the bases loaded. Despite getting the soft ground ball needed (89.1 MPH), it glanced off India’s glove behind second and allowed a run to score. The inning ended with a flyout from Narvaez, but the Brewers got the insurance run they were seeking.

Ashton Goudeau made his second appearance for the Reds in the eighth inning. Despite walking two batters, he worked a scoreless inning, getting three groundouts. He worked the ninth as well, but did not have the same luck.

Tyrone Taylor worked a leadoff walk, and after recording a groundout and strikeout, the Reds intentionally walked Narvaez to face Shaw, who promptly plated both runners with a 104.9 MPH double to right center. With the Brewers leading 5-1, Adames grounded out to end the top of the ninth.

The final line for the Reds bullpen was: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 9 BB, 5 R.

Stats

Most Valuable Players

  • Sonny Gray: .158 WPA (Win Probability Added)
  • Shogo Akiyama: .060 WPA
  • Tyler Naquin: .021 WPA

Hardest-Hit Balls

  • Jesse Winker: 107 mph | Single in 1st inning
  • Nick Castellanos: 104.6 mph | Double in 3rd inning
  • Jesse Winker: 103.5 mph | Groundout in 3rd inning

Unluckiest Out of the Day

  • Eugenio Suarez: .420 xBA | Lineout in 2nd inning

Highest Velocities By Pitcher

  • Ryan Hendrix: 96.9 mph
  • Ryan Hendrix: 96.7 mph
  • Ryan Hendrix: 96.7 mph

Highest Pitch Spins

  • Sonny Gray: 2,916 rpm | Curveball

Most Pitch Movement

  • Ashton Goudeau: 65 inches vertical movement | Curveball

Team Expected Batting Averages (xBA)

  • Brewers: .196
  • Reds: .198
What’s Next?

The Reds and Brewers face off for game two of their divisional matchup. Vladimir Gutierrez takes on Brett Anderson at 7:10 EST at Great American Ball Park.

Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire


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Spenser Brown is a lifelong Reds fan born and raised in Cincinnati. He spent many days as a kid at Great American Ball Park with his parents and sister sitting in Section 119, where his Grandfather was the usher. He is a graduate of Ohio University and currently resides in Columbus, but returns to Cincinnati to attend games throughout the summer. You can follow him on Twitter at @spenserbrown_, where he is most commonly tweeting about the Reds or Ohio State Football.

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kmartin
kmartin
11 months ago

Even with my subscription to The Morning Spin I am having trouble keeping up with who the relief pitchers are. It seems like every day there is a new name from the junkyard. They had nine walks in six innings today.