Vladimir Gutierrez overcame a rocky first inning to deliver another solid performance, and the Reds offense pushed four runs across to bounce back after a rough game and a rainout earlier this week. Tonight was a good team win, with Tejay Antone and Lucas Sims blanking the Cardinals in four innings of relief supported by a solid defensive performance as the Reds take game one in a very important series.
The Reds got going early in the first inning when Jesse Winker lined a single to center. Nick Castellanos followed, reaching out and poking a single to right-center to extend his hit streak to 19 games. Adam Wainwright displayed some struggles with his control, hitting Tyler Stephenson to load the bases and then hitting Tyler Naquin to plate Winker. Unfortunately, one run was all the Reds could push across after a groundball to Matt Carpenter at first led to a fielder’s choice at home, followed by a fly-out that ended the inning.
Jonathan India started the second with a single off an Adam Wainwright curveball. After a strikeout, Eugenio Suarez grounded to third but hustled to beat the double-play relay. Winker stepped to the plate with one on and two outs and sent another Wainwright curveball to the tunnel in right field (105.7 mph 425 feet) to retake the lead 3-2.
— MLB (@MLB) June 4, 2021
India led off the fourth with a 109.2 mph line-drive double over the right fielder into the gap. However, Gutierrez could not sacrifice India over to third, and Suarez’s 382-foot fly ball only moved India from second before a Winker groundout ended the inning.
The Reds continued to threaten without drawing blood in the fifth after Stephenson singled to put a man on with one out. Naquin smashed a 108.6 mph double over Dylan Carlson’s head in center field. Carlson fielded and hit the cutoff man, who completed a near-perfect relay, nailing Stephenson at home trying to score from first.
The Reds finally added on some insurance in the eighth when Mike Freeman drew a four-pitch walk with one out. After going down 1-2, Tucker Barnhart worked an impressive nine-pitch at-bat that ended with a double down the right-field line. Freeman scored all the way from first to extend the lead to 4-2, where it would ultimately stay.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) June 4, 2021
Vladimir Gutierrez followed up his great debut with another solid outing, throwing five innings and leaving the Reds with a lead. Unlike last week, Gutierrez’s first inning was a little rocky. Tommy Edman started with a hard-hit ball through the infield for a single. After stealing second, Dylan Carlson moved him to third with a fielder’s choice to India. Tyler O’Neill rocked a 108.2 mph line drive to left field to even the score at 1-1. O’Neill moved to second after another fielder’s choice, and Yadier Molina singled to bring him home. Matt Carpenter then worked a nine-pitch walk as Gutierrez could not find the pitch to put him away, but Edmundo Sosa flew out to end the inning.
After the trouble in the first, Gutierrez settled in and retired the next nine batters he faced, striking out three along the way and not surrendering a hit through the fifth. Gutierrez repeated what had worked well for him in his first start, pounding the zone primarily with his fastball, which he threw over half the time. The most significant difference between the first inning and the rest of the outing was Gutierrez’s ability to spot his pitches, as seen below in his heat map for the game.
However, two walks in the fifth and the beginning of the third trip through the lineup led to Tejay Antone entering relief in the sixth. Antone cruised through his two innings of relief, only allowing a walk in the sixth and a two-out single in the seventh. Of his 22 breaking balls thrown, only three had spin rates under 2,900 rpm, with ten eclipsing 3,000+ rpm.
Lucas Sims entered in the eighth, sitting the Cardinals down in order, including a Tyler O’Neill strikeout. His two-inning save had a little drama as Matt Carpenter singled to start the ninth. Edmundo Sosa followed with a perfectly placed bunt down the third-base line to put runners on first and second with no outs. Jose Rondon attempted to bunt the runners over, but the ball dropped right in front of home plate. Barnhart scooped the ball and threw to Suarez at third, who still had time to double up Rondon at first. After a Paul Goldschmidt walk, Sims struck out Edman to end the game.
Most Valuable Players
- Tejay Antone: .194 WPA (Win Probability Added)
- Jesse Winker: .186 WPA
- Lucas Sims: .172 WPA
- Jonathan India: 109.2 mph | Double in 4th inning
- Tyler Naquin: 108.6 mph | Double in 5th inning
- Jesse Winker: 105.7 mph | Home run in 2nd inning
Unluckiest Out of the Day
- Shogo Akiyama: .570 xBA | Lineout in 6th inning
Highest Velocities By Pitcher
- Vladimir Gutierrez: 95.1 mph
- Tejay Antone: 97.8 mph
- Lucas Sims: 96.6 mph
Highest Pitch Spins
- Lucas Sims: 3,514 rpm | Curveball
Most Pitch Movement
- Vladimir Gutierrez: 61 inches vertical movement | Curveball
- Tejay Antone: 18 inches horizontal movement | Curveball
Team Expected Batting Averages (xBA)
- Reds: .275
- Cardinals: .171
The Reds will take on the Cardinals for game two of the four-game set at Busch Stadium. First pitch is at 8:15 p.m. EST as Luis Castillo faces off against Kwang Hyun Kim.
Featured Image: Rick Ulreich/Icon Sportswire
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