The Cincinnati Reds are 5-1, and are in first place in the NL Central. The Reds completed as fun of a week of baseball as anyone could have possibly imagined.

Today’s starting pitcher Tim Melville was making his MLB debut for the Reds. He got off to a rough start after he walked the bases loaded in the first inning. Melville was able to dance out of trouble, and put up a zero in the first inning. The inning however took a toll on him, as it took 37 pitches.

The 37 pitch first inning would limit Melville’s debut to just four innings. Melville only allowed one run on the day, despite allowing nine baserunners in the four innings.

Eugenio Suarez continued his torrid start to 2016 with a solo home run in the sixth inning to tie the score at one. Suarez already has four home runs through the first six games.

There was a huge play in the eighth inning. Adam Duvall threw out Josh Harrison at home to end the inning (Mesoraco made a great tag, and had great positioning). The play was reviewed, and Harrison was confirmed out. That kept the game tied at 1.

The Reds bullpen was huge. They pitched five shutout innings. That set up a chance for a walkoff in the ninth. Brandon Phillips lead off the inning with a single. Two batters later, Jay Bruce stepped to the plate. The guy who wasn’t even supposed to be a Red in 2016, delivered a walkoff double to give the Reds a 2-1 victory.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (5-1) 2 10 0
Pittsburgh Pirates (4-2) 1 9 0
W: Ohlendorf (2-0) L: Caminero (0-1)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score | Game Thread

RedsPiratesApril10

Biggest Play of the Game

According to Fangraphs WPA statistic (winning percentage added), the most important play of the game was Jay Bruce’s RBI walkoff triple in the 9th inning, scoring Brandon Phillips. Reds win 2-1. That play increased the Reds chances of winning by 36.7% (from 63.3% to 100.0%)

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

  • +18.5% – 6th inning: Suarez solo home run (1-1)
  • +11.3% – 9th inning: Ohlendorf gets Harrison to fly out to end the inning, stranding runners on 1st & 2nd (1-1)
  • -11.4% – 1st inning: Mesoraco ground into an inning ending DP (0-0)
  • -10.9% – 2nd inning: Melville allows solo home run to Stewart (Pirates lead 1-0)
  • -10.7% – 8th inning: Votto ground into an inning ending DP (1-1)

Player of the Game

Eugenio Suarez: 3 for 4, 1 HR, 0.21 WPA

Suarez has been incredible through the first six games. He already has four home runs, and is hitting .435/.500/.957. Todd who?

Positives

Jay Bruce was 2 for 4, including the walkoff triple. It’s so good to see Bruce off to a hot start in 2016. It has to feel good for him. Bruce is hitting .391/.417/.739 through the first six games of 2016.

Adam Duvall had two hits. The platoon of Duvall/Schebler has been good so far for the Reds. Duvall has a 141 wRC+ and Schebler has a 115 wRC+.

Brandon Phillips also had two hits. Phillips is hitting .385/.438/.615.

melville

Tim Melville was far from perfect, but he did a nice job after a shaky start. You won’t be very successful in the big leagues walking four batters and only lasting four innings, but he kept his composure and helped the Reds stay in the game. Melville got some very timely strikeouts. His final line: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 5 K.

The Reds bullpen was nails. They threw five shutout innings today. Dan Straily was especially impressive, as he didn’t even allow a hit in three innings (1 BB, 3 K). The Reds pen has been surprisingly good through the first week of the season.

The Reds had some very nice defensive plays today. Adam Duvall threw out a runner at home, and Jay Bruce made a great recovery on a ball hit off his glove in the 9th, and was able to hold David Freese to a single off the wall.

Negatives

Chris Stewart hit a solo home run in the second inning off Melville. Stewart hadn’t hit a home run since 2013. He played in 107 games in 2014-15. Baseball can be a brutal game.

Duvall

There was some really bad baserunning by Adam Duvall in the second inning that cost the Reds. Duvall smoked a ball off the wall in the second inning. Jay Bruce was on first base, and third base coach Billy Hatcher held Bruce at third. Duvall apparently didn’t see that Bruce was held and kept running past second base, and on to third as the ball was thrown home. Duvall couldn’t get back to second in time, and was thrown out. If Duvall had stopped at second, the Reds would have had 2nd & 3rd with 0 outs. The pitcher Tim Melville was up next, and he struck out. The Reds ended up not scoring in the inning. (Some might say it was on Billy Hatcher for putting up a late stop sign, but I don’t think it was on him).

Joey Votto is really struggling to start 2016. He grounded into two double plays today. Votto is hitting .174/.269/.174. I wouldn’t worry too much about our hero though. He’ll get it going soon, and when he does…watch out.

Not so random thoughts………….

The Reds could be 6-0 if not for that grand salami that Mr. Hoover gave up on Friday night. Could you even imagine?

Around the NL Central

That looks good……

Cincinnati Reds 5-1
Chicago Cubs 4-1 0.5 GB
Pittsburgh Pirates 4-2 1.0 GB
Milwaukee Brewers 2-3 2.5 GB
St. Louis Cardinals 2-3 2.5 GB

Up Next:

The Reds will head to Chicago for a three game (all night) series against the Cubs. Tomorrow will be the Cubs home opener. The two teams will take the day off Tuesday, and finish the series Wednesday and Thursday.

Reds at Cubs
Monday, 8:05 PM
TV: FOX Sports Ohio
Brandon Finnegan (1 GS, 3.00 ERA/3.02FIP) vs Jon Lester (1 GS, 1.29 ERA/2.21FIP)