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). 

66 Responses

  1. jdx19

    Good write-up, Nick! Votto sure loves him some WPA! (Note: He was 2-5 tonight, not 2-4! 😉 )

  2. Whoa Bundy!

    PDoc and Marty thank you for the criticism. I sure they’ll write and announce on the radio awesome tomorrow.

  3. docmike

    Just a quick correction. Trevor Cahill and his 9.42 ERA will not be making the start for the Braves tomorrow. Instead, they will call up a rookie, Mike Foltynewicz, to make his ML debut. I didn’t know this until I read the game recap on mlb.com.

    Still think the matchup favors the Reds, but I was looking forward to seeing our team tee off on Cahill. Oh well, let’s get to the rookie and make his debut one to forget. Go Reds!

    • Nick Kirby

      Good catch, fixed. I wrote that part before the game even started, and that was what was listed on MLB.com.

      • docmike

        Yeah, Cahill had been listed as the starter all week. I only found out because I read the mlb.com recap.

        The full story on the Braves’ mlb.com site says that he came over from Houston in the Gattis deal.. It says he is a hard thrower, with a 2.08 ERA and a lot of strikeouts. It also notes that did not reach 5 innings in 2 of his 4 starts, so maybe the Reds can run his pitch count up if they are patient. Wait a minute, what am I talking about? This is the Reds, after all.

    • jdx19

      Interesting. Book on Foltynewicz says he sits 95-97 and touches triple digits with late movement. Struggles with command, at times.

      Hopefully the Reds see “struggles with command” and decide to be selective tomorrow.

    • jdx19

      Also, he pitched out of the ‘pen for Houston last year. This will be his first start, but not ML debut.

      • docmike

        You’re right. The recap actually said his first ML start, I just misread it.

  4. jdx19

    Our old friend Alfredo Simon has his first bad outing of the year tonight. 4.1 IP, 9H, 2BB, 6ER.

    • charlottencredsfan

      KC can flat rake. Moose is killing the ball this year – hitting the ball to all fields.

      • jdx19

        Yeah, Moose finally looking like the hyped prospect he was.

      • jdx19

        Just saw an analysis of him on MLB Network. Apparently he’s laying down bunts (and getting hits!) against the shift and he learned to take the ball the other way. He’s got 17 hits to left, 4 to center, 9 to right. That’s an amazing adjustment from someone who was formerly known as a dead pull hitter.

  5. PETEROSE_HOF_NOW

    After Brantley lauded Votto for great AB in the 6th, Marty quickly reminded all of Votto’s RBI total (in complimentary fashion)…..then Marty said that this team was brutal with RISP after Byrd K. YTD stats may say otherwise, but of late (past 10 games) the HOF is right (what most of us are thinking!). You knew Shelby would load the bases, avoiding, then IBB’ng Bruce to get to Byrd

  6. tct

    This was the second game I’ve listened to on the radio this year, and Marty has gone past the point of annoying and become flat out embarrassing. All he does is whine and complain about the players when they don’t get the job done. I thought he was gonna start crying like a little baby when Cingrani allowed the first two runners to reach in the ninth.

    You would think someone who has been around baseball as long as he has would know that it is a long season and whining when you got a five run lead in an April game is dumb. You would hope that a HOF broadcaster would show at least an iota of professionalism and objectivity. But, nope. Not Marty. It blows my mind that he is as popular as he is in Cincinnati.

    • Nick Kirby

      Exactly how I feel TCT. It blows my mind that people not just tolerate but worship the man.

      • Kurt Frost

        He makes a lot of mistakes too.

  7. jdx19

    Mike Leake first pitcher to hit a HR and pitch 8 scoreless since Pete Harnisch in 1999.

      • jdx19

        I think… I just caught it on the bottom line of MLB Network’s crawl. I’ll catch it next time it comes around and make sure.

      • jdx19

        Yeah you were right. Just Reds. Not nearly as impressive considering how infrequently pitchers hit homers.

    • docmike

      I loved Pete Harnisch. Still remember him winning that Sunday game to get us into the play-in game in ’99.

      Would rather forget sending Steve Parris to the mound to try to get us to the promised land, though.

  8. cfd3000

    I was at the game. Some first hand observations:
    1. I love MLB in person, especially when it’s a Reds game, and especially when they win.
    2. Joey Votto is a professional hitter. I won’t recap the 6th inning double – it was an excellent at bat as Nick describes – but I will mention that he scorched the double in the 4th. It was easily hit hard enough to go out, just didn’t have the air under it.
    3. Votto leads the Reds in almost everything. Average, OBP, OPS, Hits, RBI, Home Runs… Not Runs (that’s Frazier), not stolen bases (Hamilton of course), and amazingly not slugging. That would be – wait for it – Tucker Barnhart. You read that right. Tucker leads the Reds in slugging. Votto a close second.
    4. Leake looked great tonight. Please resign him Mr. Jocketty. I know not all here agree, but the man is a ball player.
    5. When Byrd walked I told my buddies that it would be a big deal on the RLN recap. Thank you Nick for backing me up. But his swinging strike three on ball four with the bases loaded was brutal. From my perspective it looked like ball four at his eyes. Dang.
    6. Just before Leake’s bomb I called it – told my guys he was about to get his first hit of the year. Man was I right. Sadly, now Mike Leake with his ONE HIT has a higher slugging percentage than Marlon Byrd. You read that right too.
    7. The Reds were really solid pitching, hitting and with the glove (except Schumaker at 2nd) tonight except with runners on third and less than two out. Fix that and stay out of the bullpen and they look good to me. Small sample size nod of course.
    8. Reds win! Happy night.
    – Chris DeBlois reporting from the ATL

    • Nick Kirby

      Great stuff Chris! Thanks for sharing! Glad the Redlegs were able to bring you a win.

    • jdx19

      Totally get what you are saying, but neither Barnhart nor Leake are qualified hitters, so their SLGs aren’t really valid! 😉

      Jealous you got to go to a game (Colorado here) and see a win!

      • cfd3000

        Well of course they don’t qualify but that’s not really the point. Barnhart slugging more than Votto is just a small sample size fluke but it’s fun, and good for Tucker, at least for a little while. But as good a hitter as Mike Leake may be for a pitcher, he has ONE HIT and is slugging higher than the Reds’ big offseason pickup in left. Is Byrd at .273 somehow okay? And with ONE walk? I don’t think that’s okay – not happy with Byrd, not happy with Jocketty.

      • cfd3000

        And I’m not being critical of your comment JDX19, I know it was offered with a laugh. And I feel solidarity with all the Reds fans who aren’t living in Reds land. It is a treat to get to see them in person and doubly so when they win. Hopefully I’m headed to GABP for the Nationals series end of May. It will feel like coming home. Can’t wait.

    • CJ22

      I’m headed out tomorrow and will be there this weekend.

    • Big56dog

      I feel the hate that Byrd get is irrational, I felt the AB was strong battled after getting in an 0-2 hole, the swinging strike was in the top of the zone, I assume would have been called a strike since borderline pitches down low were not. Why does Frazier get a pass his 2 AB were horrible? and that has been the case a lot with runners on this season. The baserunning in the 4th was inexcusable, Cozart should have scored on Votto’s double, horrible base running by Votto to get double off

  9. jdx19

    The Astros are 15-7. Walk off by Altuve. Geez.

  10. Pooter

    Playing teams out of the division is so nice! Our division I would argue is the toughest in the Bigs. Bring on more out-of-division teams!

    • Big56dog

      Agree hard to judge how good you are when you play 11 out 15 against 2 of the elite teams. Really only played 3 bad games all year, but there were a few that a good team locks down so that kind of tells me they could be good but just are not there yet

  11. jessecuster44

    Nice win for the Redlegs! Maybe sign Leake and let Cueto go? I continue to be impressed by #44.

    • jdx19

      All depends on the $$$! If the Reds can get a good deal, sure. But overpaying for a guy like Leake would be a mistake.

      • jessecuster44

        Gonna have to “overpay.” Just don’t want to put another anchor on the payroll.

      • jdx19

        Something like 6yr $75 million would be the top of what I’d have a stomach for. I think the Reds might go to something like 6yr $90 million, which I’d consider an overpay.

      • jessecuster44

        Agree. Leake isn’t worth 15 MM per year, but some team will be willing to pay him that. Baseball Salaries are crrrrrazy.

      • aceistheplace2

        Well according to WAR being 1 WAR = $7.5mil, over the course of that contract he would have to be a 2.0 or so WAR player per season, which I think he can be.

      • jdx19

        Sure, but using those $$/WAR calculations should really only be a baseline, not the final authority for contract decision, in my opinion. Inherent in the numbers are several overpaid free-agents. So, usuing those numbers as the final authority will lead to overpayment. And rarely are players paid what they are worth, either high or low. Mike Trout would need to make $60 million a year to even be close to fair. While no middle reliever (with a few exceptions) should ever make more than maybe $1 mill per year.

      • charlottencredsfan

        6 years??? Oh, my. Say it ain’t so.

  12. jdx19

    Sometimes I hate Sportscentre/MLB Network recap shows. It’s all about showing the home runs and any quirky plays. They never dig in and show what makes baseball awesome, like, that Votto AB. It’s just lazy broadcasting.

    • Matt WI

      You’d think MLB Network would have the luxury of doing that a bit more.

  13. pedroborbon

    Barnhart-Leake became only the 12th battery in history to go back-to-back and the first since 2006.

    • cfd3000

      Great catch on that stat Pedro, I love that kind of stuff (and I’m pretty sure you could warm up and pitch tomorrow as well as most of the Reds current bullpen).

  14. mtkal

    Loved Pedro Borbon. Thanks for reminding me of him tonight guys. Dude could really pitch, and he once took a bite out of his baseball glove. Amazing teeth.

    • Dayton Ducks

      Now there’s a name that brings me back to my childhood. I think he also took a bite out of a Mets cap during a brawl in ’73…

  15. JMO

    Leake should be extended. No doubt. Going into 2016, we’d have:

    Bailey, Leake, Disco, Lorenzen and Iglesias

    • TomatoTovotto

      Agree. I love Cueto, obviously, but I think that, for the money and the risk, Leake would be a good investment. He’s Arroyo 2.0 (in large part because it seems like he apprenticed himself in the last few years), and that’s not a bad anchor for the rotation for the next 5+ years.

      • Eric the Red

        Mike Leake will not carry you through the playoffs. Cueto has the potential to do exactly that. Guys like that are extremely rare, which is why if you have one you shouldn’t let him go. I like Leake. I’d love to have him, and he can help us get to the playoffs. Cueto can help us WIN the playoffs, which is why I’d overpay for him.

    • CJ22

      What has happened to Robert Stephenson? IThe last few years I’d heard how he was going to be in the rotation by 2016. Now, I hardly hear about him at all.

      • jdx19

        He’s still around. Pitching in AA, but not setting the world on fire. He still has great stuff, but needs to learn to ‘pitch’ rather than ‘throw.’ That’s generally what I’ve read about him lately.

  16. Delta-X-Ray468

    My wife and I watched the game and the RBI double at-bat was as good as described. We’ve watched Bruce give an at-bat way so many times in similar situations. I’m amazed more Reds don’t follow Joey’s approached when batting with two strikes – guess they don’t want the heat from Marty and Doc. Votto simply won’t give away the at-bat.

    Regarding Byrd – at what point do the Reds need to consider other options. If Mesoraco can hit and field, but not catch, can he play left field? His bat is needed and so are Pena’s and, apparently, Barnhart’s.

  17. sezwhom

    FYI: Byrd WALKED after getting down 0-2. Now that is truly amazing. Everyone gives Schumaker crap but “he hit the ball real hard” last night.

  18. Redgoggles

    Another highlight in my book was that our 8th inning pitching was uneventful.

  19. Eric the Red

    1) Taking out Leake was nuts. Wasting Cingrani was nuts. Given the disaster that is our bullpen, anybody watching would have to conclude that the best options for the 8th inning setup “role” going forward are a) starting pitcher, b) Chapman, c) Cingrani. And it’s not typical (or wise) to waste your setup guy with a 5 run lead in the 9th. Cingrani, arguably the second best reliever in our pen, is probably not available tomorrow.

    2) How can anyone justify leaving Byrd in the outfield–especially a big outfield–in games we’re leading late? I know we have a short bench, but shouldn’t Negron or Boesch be out there? Byrd’s so bad I might take Schu out there, with Negron at 2nd. Mark my words: one of these days this habit of leaving Byrd in is going to bite us. (Not to mention, his bat is useless late since most relievers throw hard fastballs and he can’t hit them anymore.)

    3) We got 5 runs: A dropped 3rd strike puts the fastest man in baseball on to lead off an inning, and then 4 solo homeruns. Baseball is weird.

    • jessecuster44

      Lighten up, Francis. The Reds won in Reds fashion. 🙂

      • Eric the Red

        Yeah, I was going to put a “Go Reds!” Or congratulate Leake on a masterful performance. But I was in a hurry. And unfortunately, lately any attempt to provide analysis of what the Reds are up to almost inevitably leads to focus on the negatives. I wish I could point out “great call to hit and run in that situation” or “way to help out Frazier by having him squeeze bunt to get the runner in from 3rd” or “that was a great time to use Chapman for a four out save” or….well, you get the picture. Anyway, Go Reds! 🙂

    • greenmtred

      Cingrani may well be the 2nd best in the pen, as you say, and that does not bode well. It was pretty scary even with the 5 run lead. His fastball is hitting speed–usually 92 or 93, which isn’t much faster than Leake’s. His limited past success, by many accounts, has been the result of his deceptive delivery, and I wouldn’t trust that mlb hitters won’t adjust to that and murder his otherwise pedestrian main pitch. He seems to be working on breaking stuff, which is obviously a good thing, but given his command issues, he is far from lights out. I hope that changes.

      • jdx19

        I think the limited success you mention is due to hiding the ball, rather than deception. Hitters can’t adjust to hiding the ball because they can’t see it. I think he’ll continue to be exactly what he’s been. A guy who will have a lot of strikeouts and walks and sometimes blow a game, but sometimes look spectacular.

      • greenmtred

        I won’t quibble about whether hiding the ball constitutes deception (I confess that I didn’t remember that hiding it was what he did), and I hope you’re right about the hitters being unable to adjust to it, but I’m skeptical. He’s a long way from unhitable, which suggests that, maybe, some hitters have learned to look for the ball as it leaves his hand.

  20. Carl Sayre

    I have read numerous comments about signing Leake. I think that ship has sailed, the time to have signed him would have been last year. He has probably priced himself out of the market for the Reds. His value to teams that are just one part away from a play off team is higher than it is for the Reds, if by some miracle he is affordable it should be no more than 4 years. I tried to be upbeat about the Byrd trade and he has played down to everyones expectations. I didn’t think that Heisey was an everyday ball player but for half of the money we could have had a lot better defensive player and the way it is going a better hitter. Byrd does however fit in with this teams approach to hitting swing early and often who cares if it is a strike.