Mike Leake pitched eight scoreless innings, and the Reds hit four solo home runs in a 5-1 win in Atlanta on Thursday night. The Reds missed some opportunities at the plate early in the game, but an RBI double by Joey Votto in the 6th inning broke a scoreless tie. The Reds then got back-to-back solo home runs by Tucker Barnhart and Mike Leake in the 7th inning, and then got two more solo home runs in the 8th and 9th innings by Todd Frazier and Billy Hamilton. The Reds finished April with a .500 record at 11-11.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (11-11) 5 9 0
 Atlanta Braves (10-12) 1 4 0
W: Leake (1-1) L: Miller (3-1)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score | Game Thread

Biggest Play of the Game

According to Fangraphs WPA statistic (winning percentage added), the most important play of the game was Joey Votto’s RBI double in the 6th inning. That gave the Reds a 1-0 lead, and increased the Reds chances of winning by 19.6% (from 63.9% to 80.4%).

Other important plays (+/- indicates how much each play increased or decreased the Reds chances of winning):

  • +14.1%: 4th inning – Votto doubled. Runners on 2nd & 3rd, 0 outs. 0-0.
  • +12.4%: 7th inning – Barnhart solo home run. Reds lead 2-0.
  • -17.3%: 4th inning – Bruce lined into an inning ending double play. Reds had runners on 2nd & 3rd. 0-0.

Player of the Game

Mike Leake: 8.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K (also hit a solo home run)

Leake was outstanding on the mound, and at the plate. Leake dominated the Braves lineup, not allowing a runner to reach second base in eight innings. Leake also hit a solo home run to give the Reds a 3-0 lead in the 7th inning. Leake now has a cool 3.03 ERA and 0.90 WHIP on the season.

Positives

Joey Votto had a really good night. Votto went 2 for 5, with two doubles. One of those doubles brought the Reds their first run of the game, and Votto really had a tremendous at bat. He battled back from 0-2 in the count, fouling off tough pitch after tough pitch. The pitch that Votto finally took the other way for an RBI double was way out of the strike zone too. We should all thank Marty Brennaman and Paul Daughtery for their criticism of Votto, or he never would have came through in the clutch tonight.

Votto foul Votto RBI

MARLON BYRD WALKED! HE REALLY DID! IT ACTUALLY HAPPENED! Marlon Byrd finally walked for the first time in his Reds career in the 5th inning. He did however revert back to his old ways, as he struck out with the bases loaded and one out in the 6th inning. But hey, he walked, right? You can’t ask for much more than one walk in 22 games.

Tucker Barnhart homered for a second consecutive day. Barnhart only has 13 career minor league home runs in over 1400 at-bats. It is pretty amazing that he has 2 in 4 games in the big leagues this year.

Todd Frazier hit his 7th home run of the season. He did strike out twice with no outs, and runners on second and third base. We will forgive mighty Todd for those however. He also made a really nice diving catch.

Billy Hamilton hit his second home run of the season as well.

Negatives

The Reds missed a golden opportunity in the fourth inning. After a Cozart walk and a Votto double, the Reds had runners on second and third with no outs. Frazier then struck out. Bruce then drilled a ball, but it was right at Freddie Freeman, who doubled up Votto. Now, before everyone freaks out about the Reds not hitting in the clutch, here is a stat for you: the Reds entered play on Thursday with a 55% success rate of scoring a run with a runner on third base and less than two outs. The NL average for that in 2015 is 54%, and the mighty Cardinals are at 53%.

Not so random thoughts………

Brandon Phillips was scratched from the lineup because of an unknown illness.

It didn’t bite the Reds tonight, but playing Skip Schumaker at second base is not a good idea. Schumaker has -48 career Defensive Runs Saved at second base. He isn’t completely terrible at defense in the outfield, but he is at second base. Kristopher Negron should always play at 2B over him if possible.

Around the NL Central

Cardinals beat the Phillies 9-3. Cardinals won despite their SP (Tim Cooney, who was making his MLB debut) only pitching 2.1 innings. The Cardinals first four hitters in their lineup (Jay, Carpenter, Holliday, and Adams) combined for 9 hits.

Cubs, Pirates, and Brewers were all off today.

Up Next:

Reds at Braves

Friday, 7:35 PM

FSN-Ohio

Anthony DeSclafani (2-1, 1.04 ERA) vs Mike Foltynewicz (0-3, 2.08 at AAA-Gwinnett)

 

Photos are courtesy of the Cincinnati Enquirer, and are used by permission. 

All statistics are used courtesy of Fangraphs, ESPN Stats and Info, and Baseball-Reference (including Baseball-Reference Play Index).