Marlon Byrd is on a serious roll. Byrd hit his sixth home run in the month of May in the 8th inning, which broke a 3-3 tie. Byrd finished the game with 3 RBI’s.

Johnny Cueto pitched well once again for the Reds, as he allowed just two runs in seven innings. After Tony Cingrani gave up the Reds 3-2 lead in the 8th inning, Aroldis Chapman didn’t allow the Reds new-found lead in the 9th inning to get away. He finished off the Giants 1-2-3 in the 9th inning, striking out two, as the Reds beat the Giants 4-3 on Thursday night. The Reds are now above .500 at 18-17.


Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (18-17) 4 7 0
San Francisco Giants (17-18) 3 7 0
W: Diaz (2-0) L: Romo (0-2) S: Chapman (7)
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 Marlon Byrd’s solo home run in the 8th inning, giving the Reds a 4-3 lead. That play increased the Reds chances of winning by 32.0% (from 55.3% to 87.3%)

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

  • +30.1% – 5th inning: Byrd’s 2 RBI single with 2 outs. Runners on 1st & 2nd. Reds lead 3-2.
  • +16.9% – 7th inning: Cueto got Aoki to ground into an inning ending double play. Reds lead 3-2.
  • +14.1% – 8th inning: Cingrani picked Susac off first base. 1 out, bases empty. Reds lead 3-2.
  • +12.9% – 4th inning: Pena RBI single with 1 out. Runners on 1st & 2nd. Giants lead 2-1.
  • -18.3% – 8th inning: Cingrani allows a triple to Panik. Runner on 3rd, 1 out. Reds lead 3-2.
  • -14.8% – 8th inning: Cingrani allowed an RBI single to Pagan. Runner on 1st, 1 out. 3-3.
  • -11.9% – 4th inning: Schumaker flies out with a runner on 2nd base. 2 outs. Giants lead 2-1.
  • -9.9% – 3rd inning: Cueto balks in a run (Blanco). Runner on 2nd base, 2 outs. Giants lead 2-0.
  • -9.0% – 8th inning: Cingrani walked Susac to lead off the inning. Reds lead 3-2.
  • -8.2% – 1st inning: Cueto allows an RBI single to Posey. Runners on 1st & 3rd, 1 out. Giants lead 1-0.
  • -8.0% – 1st inning: Bruce flies out to deep center with the bases loaded to end the inning. Giants lead 1-0.

Player of the Game

Marlon Byrd: 2 for 2, 2 BB, 1 HR, 3 RBI, .688 WPA

Byrd has suddenly become a patient hitter. Get this: Byrd didn’t walk once in his first 20 games of the season. Since then, Byrd has walked 14 times in his last 13 games. It is easy to see how being more patient has lead to success for Byrd. He is now hitting .342/.500/.895 with 6 HR and 14 RBI in 12 games in May.


Patient AB’s will go a long way for a team. The Reds got Tim Lincecum up to 99 pitches in just 4.2 innings, and chased him out of the game. The Reds forcing the Giants to go to their bullpen in the 5th inning of the first game of a four game series is huge.

Johnny Cueto got off to a tough start in the first inning, but boy did he ever recover. Cueto allowed a run in the first inning, after giving up two hits and a walk. Cueto balked in another run in the third inning, as the Reds fell behind 2-0. Cueto then struck out 7 of the next 10 Giants batters, and gave the Reds a chance to come back. His line on the evening: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 9 K.


Zack Cozart hit two rockets tonight. One was a loud out on an incredible play by Angel Pagan. The other one was a single in the 5th inning. I am still skeptical on Cozart now being a decent hitter (his BABIP is 57 points higher than his career), but everyday I start to believe a little bit more. If Cozart could put up an OPS north of .700, he would easily be one of the top five SS in the MLB with his incredible defense. Cozart currently has a OPS of .908, after posting a .568 OPS last season.


Poor Jay Bruce. The guy just can’t have anything go right for him. Nick Carrington did an excellent job covering Bruce’s poor luck here and here. It looked like Jay Bruce had a grand slam in the first inning, which would have done wonders for Bruce’s confidence, and probably given him some good will from Thom Brennaman for at least an inning. However, Bruce missed a grand slam by a few feet, despite hitting an absolute bomb to straight away CF. The poor guy got booed after two strikeouts later in the game too. Five more feet, and he is the hero of the night.


Billy Hamilton continues to struggle hitting leadoff. Hamilton went 0 for 4, and is now hitting .205/.259/.311 with a 55 wRC+. That just doesn’t cut it in the leadoff spot.

Not so random thoughts…………….

Tim Lincecum kept falling over on the mound all night. It was really weird. This literally happened three or four times. Bizarre.


The new commissioner should give the Reds some sort of award for this. Or a draft pick. I’ll take a draft pick. I must say, I love baseball as much as anyone, but I have really liked the quicker games. I definitely think this helps the casual fan.

Pace of play

Around the NL Central

Cardinals beat the Indians 2-1 this afternoon in Cleveland. Yours truly was in attendance for this one. Trevor Bauer pitched brilliantly for the Indians, holding the Cardinals scoreless into the 8th inning, while striking out 10. Bauer left in the 8th with a 1-0 lead, and with a runner on first base. Matt Carpenter then hit a cheap home run (literally out of the ballpark by a foot) off former teammate Marc Rzepczynski. The Cardinals won 2 of 3 against the Indians despite striking out 40 (!) times in the series.

Cubs beat the Mets 6-5. The Cubs trailed 5-1 entering the bottom of the 5th, but were able to rally to complete an impressive four game sweep of the Mets. Dexter Fowler homered, and then scored the go ahead run on a passed ball in the 7th inning for the Cubs.

Pirates lost to the Phillies 4-2. Aaron Harang pitched 8.0 scoreless innings against the Pirates today (5 H, 1 BB, 6 K). After taking the first two games of the four game series in the Philadelphia, the Pirates had to settle for a series split after they dropped the final two games. The Pirates fell below .500 at 17-18.

Brewers were off. They begin a three game series in New York against the Mets tomorrow.

Up Next:

Giants at Reds
Friday, 7:10 PM
Madison Bumgarner (3-2, 3.30 ERA) vs Jason Marquis (3-2, 5.66 ERA)

All statistics are used courtesy of Fangraphs, ESPN Stats and Info, and Baseball-Reference (including Baseball-Reference Play Index). All photos are used courtesy of the Cincinnati Enquirer, and are used by permission.