Since I was six years old, I have been able to count on one hand the number of winning seasons the Reds have had. So far, the 2021 Reds are not only on pace to have a winning season, but they also have a good chance of making the playoffs. The only team ahead of them is the Brewers and Cincinnati is in the middle of a 7-game series against them. I’m not one for hyperbole, but this might be the most important series of the 2021 season for the Reds.
And so far, we’ve won two out of three.
There’s a long way to go. There are plenty of games to play against the Brewers, but for today, let’s count our blessings. The Reds just moved a bit closer to claiming first place for the division.
While the Reds may have been able to escape with the win today, that doesn’t necessarily mean their hitting was very good. In fact, up until the 6th inning, Freddy Peralta was throwing a no hitter. Six Reds hitters struck out over the first four innings.
Three runs were plated during the 6th inning. Jonathan India led off the inning being plunked by All-Star Peralta. This was followed up by an opposite field ground ball single from Jesse Winker. With two runners on and no outs, Nick Castellanos hit a home run over the left field fence to bring the score to 3-1 Reds. The 100.7 MPH fly ball was actually a bit of a lucky hit, registering as having a .300xBA. Baseball is a funny game.
Rumor has it that if you buy a flip phone, you'll hit dingers like this. pic.twitter.com/U8wQhtA74i
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) July 11, 2021
With the game tied in the 9th inning, Josh Hader took the mound. I’ve got to be honest. Hader is an incredibly intimidating pitcher. He’s talented and is one of the reasons why the Brewers are in first place. As good as Hader is, he was no match for Eugenio Suarez, who hit a 108.2 MPH fly ball into the seats to claim the lead. I guess a Hader is no match for good vibes (I know, I know. It’s cheesy. Give me a break).
EVERYBODY SAY SÁCALA❗️ pic.twitter.com/THvMEEy3fM
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) July 11, 2021
Going into today’s game, I did not feel good about our chances of a win. The Reds were sending a rookie with poor pitching peripherals against a literal All-Star. However, baseball is truly a funny game and Gutierrez benefited from some good luck to limit the damage to one run.
That first run came in the first inning. Gutierrez began the inning by hitting leadoff Brewers hitter, Luis Urias. This was followed up by flyouts from Christian Yelich and Willy Adames (whom the Reds did not trade for). Urias advanced on a swinging bunt single from Omar Narvaez and was brought home on an RBI single from Avisail Garcia.
Over the course of 6 innings, Gutierrez threw four primary pitches. HE kept his fastball mostly located on the high right hand side of the strike zone. These pitches were typically put in play, but resulted in outs through a variety of weak contact and good luck. His remaining three pitches did an excellent job setting up his below average fastball, contributing to his success against the Brew Crew today.
Amir Garrett came in relief during the 7th inning. I’m typically nervous when he takes the mound, as we don’t know which Garrett will show up. Thankfully for Cincinnati, the dominating AG took the mound today, striking out the side in order.
With a two run lead, Brad Brach took the rubber in the 8th inning. While he managed to get his first hitter out, Brach surrendered a two run home run to Tyrone Taylor that tied the game. Up until this point, the Reds had above an 80% chance of victory. Unfortunately, Castellini’s bullpen struck again. After inducing a fly out from Willy Adames (whom the Reds did not trade for), Brach surrendered a double to Omar Narvaez. Narvaez’s hit measured almost 98 MPH off the bat and was only a few feet away from clearing the outfield wall.
This brought Josh Osich to the mound. He managed to limit the damage by striking out Jace Peterson to end the 8th.
Heath Hembree came in to save the game in the 9th. It was a nail biter for Reds fans, with the Reds bullpen protecting a one run lead. He began the inning by striking out Keston Hiura and inducing a groundout from Jackie Bradley Jr. Hembree then walked Pablo Reyes. With the tying run at first and the winning run at home, Luis Urias came to bat. Fortunately for the Reds, Urias flew out to Jesse Winker to end the game.
- Eugenio Suarez: 108.2 MPH Home Run in 9th inning
Unluckiest Out of the Day
- Nick Castellanos: .730 xBA l Flyout in 1st inning
Highest Velocities by Pitcher
- Vladimir Gutierrez: 95 MPH
- Amir Garrett: 97.3 MPH
- Brad Brach: 94.5 MPH
- Josh Osich: 86.3 MPH
- Heath Hembree: 96.4 MPH
Highest Pitch Spin:
- Heath Hembree: 2862 RPM Slider
Most Pitch Movement
- Vladimir Gutierrez: 57 inches vertical break l Curveball
- Brad Brach: 19 inches horizontal break l Changeup
Team Expected Batting Averages (xBA)
- Reds: .157
- Brewers: .166
The Reds need to keep winning. As we move closer to the trade deadline, Cincinnati needs as many data points as possible to make the case for improving the team. Right now, the Brewers stand in our way. Every win against them makes it a bit easier to make the case to make a trade to improve the roster. Hopefully, the Reds add another data point tomorrow in the duel of aces. Luis Castillo is set to face off against Brandon Woodruff. First pitch is at 2:10 EST. Let’s cross our fingers and hope the Redlegs continue moving up in the standings.
(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire)