Sonny Strong in Close Loss to Braves

Sonny Strong in Close Loss to Braves

We’re in an exciting stretch of the season. Reds fans aren’t used to having a winning record, let alone a possible playoff berth, this late in the season. With the Brewers having a fairly dominant lead in the NL Central, each loss feels so much more disappointing. It’s tough to lose close games like this, especially when your team gets a two-run lead in the second inning.

But that’s baseball, I guess.


The Reds’ bats were mostly quiet throughout tonight’s game, with both runs coming in the 2nd inning. After going down in order in the first, Joey Votto led off with a stand up double to left field. Aristides Aquino then hit a 404 foot home run into deep left center.

The next three Reds went down in order with a pop out from Kyle Farmer and strikeouts from Eugenio Suarez and Shogo Akiyama.

After the second inning, the Reds struggled to get runners on base. While a Votto, Suarez and Stephenson were able to reach via walks and a throwing error, Drew Smyly and the Braves bullpen did an excellent job silencing the talented Reds bats tonight.

The bats started to come to life in the 8th inning as well. Pinch hitting for Luis Cessa, Jesse Winker reached first after being hit on the foot by a pitch. With two outs, Nick Castellanos singled opposite way-the first Reds hit since the second inning.  Unfortunately, the possible run was silenced when Votto struck out looking.

The Reds had another good opportunity to score during the 9th. With one out, Kyle Farmer doubled to right center. Braves closer Will Smith then issued a walk to Eugenio Suarez. With the go ahead run at first, Mike Moustakas came to the plate and grounded into a double play to end the game.


Reds fans can be excited about the performance from Sonny Gray tonight. After a few uncharacteristic outings, it was nice to see him dominating such a strong lineup. Over five innings of work, he struck out 8 hitters, giving up 3 hits and walking 3. He allowed two runs when our old friend, Adam Duvall, smashed a baseball into deep left field for a two run home run.

Overall, Gray had a very good outing. His go-to pitches were the four-seam fastball, the sinker and the curve. These pitches worked well off each other, with the curveball being his primary put away pitch.

Heath Hembree relieved Sonny Gray at the beginning of the sixth inning, and it was apparent that he did not have his best stuff. After giving up a center field single to Austin Riley, he walked Dansby Swanson. After Hembree struck out Duvall, David Bell called for Amir Garrett to enter the game.

The self-proclaimed closer did not look good. After walking LHH Joc Pederson, he allowed Dansby Swanson to score when he issued another walk. After inducing a groundout from Guillermo Heredia, Garrett was relieved by Luis Cessa. With the bases loaded, Ozzie Albies grounded out to Joey Votto to end the inning.

There’s no way to sugar coat it. Amir Garrett’s control was absolutely terrible tonight. The majority of his pitches came nowhere near the strike zone as he threw only 7 of 18 pitches for strikes. These control issues have plagued Garrett all season, and if the Reds want to rely on him as they make a playoff push, he’ll have to figure out how to have better command. Until then, let’s hope he’s not going to be used in high-leverage spots.

Cessa continued in the 7th inning with good results. After giving up a leadoff double to Jorge Soler, Cessa retired the next three Braves hitters, including reigning NL MVP Freddie Freeman, to end the inning.

With one run separating the Reds and the Braves, Sean Doolittle took the mound in the 8th. He retired the Braves in order, with three lineouts in a row.


  • Joey Votto | 104.4 MPH Double

Unluckiest Out of the Day

  • Tyler Stephenson: .770 xBA | Lineout in 8th inning

Highest Velocities by Pitcher

  • Sonny Gray: 93 MPH
  • Heath Hembree: 96.8 MPH
  • Amir Garrett: 96.1 MPH
  • Luis Cessa: 94.9 MPH
  • Sean Doolittle: 96.2 MPH

Highest Pitch Spin:

  • Heath Hembree | 3018 RPM Slider

Most Pitch Movement

  • Sonny Gray | 63 inches vertical break l Curveball
  • Sonny Gray | 19 inches horizontal break l Slider

Team Expected Batting Averages (xBA)

  • Braves: .230
  • Reds: .140

What’s Next?

Tomorrow, the Reds continue their journey to pass by the Brewers and win the NL Central. Crafty veteran, Wade Miley, is set to take the mound against the young and extremely talented Touki Toussaint. First pitch is at 7:20 PM EST.

(Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire)

Mike Perry

Mike is a lifelong Reds fan who grew up watching games at Cinergy Field with his family. A recent MBA graduate, Mike has always had a passion for data analytics and uses his understanding of big data to better understand and appreciate what is happening on the baseball diamond and in the front office. When he's not watching baseball, you can find Mike and his wife frequenting different restaurants and coffee shops in the area. For questions and inquiries, please reach out to [email protected].

8 Responses

  1. pinson343 says:

    The self-proclaimed closer has always had problems with throwing a strike when he needs to.
    Tomorrow Miley faces an inexperienced starter who has trouble throwing strikes, the Reds need to take advantage.

  2. pinson343 says:

    At first I thought Akiyama’s deep fly was going out of the park. What a way to win that would have been. Sigh.

  3. Pat Conrad says:

    I am so sick of seeing this bullpen come in and give up walks and leads. We need every game we play and dropping them due to walks is totally unacceptable. Release Amir Garrett and make everybody’s day and send Heath Hembree to Louisville.

    • Steve Mancuso says:

      Bullpen walks drive me crazy. Especially when they have been such a problem all year. I would be fine with releasing Garrett. Hembree did convert 7-8 saves last month. I’d keep him around although for lower leverage situations.

    • Micah Greenhill says:

      I’m good with releasing Garrett, but I just don’t trust the Front Office to replace him with an upgrade.