Mike Leake dominated the Cubs, leading the Reds to an easy win in the opening game. In the night game, Taylor Teagarden, a light-hitting (.154) catcher with 13 at bats this year,Ã‚Â managed a hit off Aroldis Chapman giving the Cubs a split on the day. I know the Reds didn’t face the Cubs’ two best starting pitchers (somehow, in a four-game series) but the Cubs sure didn’t look like a club ready to challenge the Pirates and Cardinals.
If today’s start was Mike Leake’s last for the Reds in GABP it was a sensational finale. Leake held the Cubs to 1 run on 4 hits in 8 innings. Leake struck out 6 and didn’t walk any. Leake’s first professional start came against the Cubs at GABP, which he also won. Leake should be a substantialÃ‚Â trade chip for Walt Jocketty and the 27-year-old will do well on the free agent market.
Tony Cingrani’s start in the second game was as disappointing as Mike Leake’s was wonderful. Cingrani was making his first start of the season after being used strictly in the bullpen through June 13. Cingrani was then sidelined with shoulder problems. He pitched 14 rehab innings at AAA Louisville without giving up a run.
Cingrani worked around a leadoff double in the first inning and registered a clean second inning before running into trouble in the third. Cingrani’s fastball was limited, in the 88-90 mph range. In the third, he lost command of that pitch and didn’t make it through the inning. His manager didn’t do him any favors with a questionable strategic decision (more on that later). One start is too early to reach any conclusions about Cingrani.
The Reds got off to big starts in both games. They scored four runs in the first inning of the first game and five runs in the second inning of the second game.
Joey Votto, who attributes his fast start after the All-Star game (he’s batting over .500 with several walks) to fixing a flaw in his swing, Votto reached safely nine times today, including five hits. The last Reds player to do that was Pete Rose in 1976 (Joel Luckhaupt).
Todd Frazier made a couple outstanding defensive playsÃ‚Â in the second game and went 3-for-5 in the first game. Marlon Byrd had two hits and two walks in the second game. He also contributed a strong throw to cut down Dexter Fowler at the plate in the top of the ninth inning. Ivan De Jesus had two hits and a walk. Billy Hamilton was 3-for-5.
In the third inning of the second game, with the Reds ahead 5-3, two outs and runners at second and third, Bryan Price chose to walk catcher David Ross (batting .171) to bring up the Cubs pitcher. To no one’s surprise, except apparently the Reds coaching staff, Cubs manager Joe Maddon sent All-Star phenom Kris Bryant to pinch hit for his starting pitcher, who had already given up five runs. Bryant lined a two-run single to tie the game. Price will probably say he didn’t think Maddon would dip into his bullpen so early in a double header, but Price needs to learn the lesson that not every manager lives in constant, terrifying fear of overusing his bullpen. Let’s check, did those two runs matter?
Pedro Villarreal relieved Cingrani and pitched 4.1 shutout innings with two strikeouts and no walks. Jumbo Diaz pitched a shutout 8th, with the highlight being striking out Kyle Schwarber. “Boy, Jumbo’s poppin’ the mitt.” – Chris Welsh.
Aroldis Chapman gave up three hits, a walk and the first intentional walk of his career in the ninth inning to surrender a run and the lead.
The Reds received good news today when they won the lottery for the first pick in the Competitive Balance round for the 2016 amateur draft. The pick takes place right after the first round.