When the Reds signed Alfredo Simon to a one-year deal on March 17th, the general consensus was that they signed him to be an “innings eater.” The Reds needed another starter to eat innings at the major league level so the Reds talented young pitchers could take their time developing in the minors. The Reds didn’t need Simon to be great in 2016, they just needed him to eat innings.

Alfredo Simon didn’t make it out of the first inning tonight.

The wind was blowing in at an extreme rate tonight at Wrigley Field. Cubs broadcaster Jim Deshaies said early in the game the pitchers should challenge the hitters tonight. It would be extremely difficult to hit the ball out of the ballpark.

Alfredo Simon proceeded to walk three consecutive batters in the first inning. His 49th pitch of the inning would be his last one. Cubs pitcher John Lackey smacked it into right field to give the Cubs a 5-1 lead.

Bryan Price used Dan Straily, Keyvius Sampson, Blake Wood, Ross Ohlendorf, and Tony Cingrani. They along with Alfredo Simon combined to walk ten batters.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (5-3) 2 7 0
Chicago Cubs (7-1) 9 8 0
W: Lackey (2-0) L: Simon (0-1)
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 Alfredo Simon walking Kris Bryant with the bases loaded and 1 out in the 1st inning. Cubs tied the game at 1. That play decreased the Reds chances of winning by 9.7% (from 45.3% to 35.5%)

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

  • +6.7%: 1st inning – Suarez singles. Runners on 1st & 3rd, 0 outs. 0-0.
  • +6.1: 1st inning – Hamilton leadoff double. 0-0.
  • -8.8%: 3rd inning – Phillps grounded into a double play. Runner on 3rd, 2 outs. Cubs lead 5-1.
  • -8.8%: 1st inning – Simon allows RBI single to Montero. Bases loaded, 1 out. Cubs lead 2-1.
  • -7.5%: 1st inning – Simon allows RBI single to Russell. Runners on 1st & 2nd, 2 outs. Cubs lead 4-1.
  • -6.7%: 1st inning – Phillips strikes out. Bases loaded, 1 out. 0-0.

Player of the Game

Kris Bryant: 1 for 3, 1 HR, 1 BB, 2 RBI, 2 R, .106 WPA

Positives

Eugenio Suarez is a really good hitter. It will be fun to see what he can do over a full season. He had two hits and a walk tonight. Suarez is now hitting .400/.471/.800.

Joey Votto had a nice night. Votto had a walk and a hit.

Negatives

Alfredo Simon was really, really, really bad: 0.2 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 1 K.

The Reds pitchers combined to walk 10 batters tonight. That is the Reds most team walks in a non-extra inning game since 8/17/14.

Brandon Phillips had a rough night. He stuck out with the bases loaded and no outs in the first inning. He then grounded into a double play with runners on 1st & 2nd and no outs in the third inning.

Not so random thoughts……….

The first week of the season was much more fun. Let’s go back to that.

Cody Reed finally made his 2016 debut today for the Louisville Bats in Columbus. His first couple starts got rained/snowed out. Reed’s line: 4.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K (91 pitches, 51 strikes). The Bats played a doubleheader today. Jose Peraza went 4 for 7 with a walk in the two games, and Jesse Winker went 2 for 6 with a walk.

Amir Garrett also had a big night for the AA-Pensacola Blue Wahoos: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K (79 pitches, 55 strikes).

Around the NL Central

The Pirates lost 7-3 to the Tigers. Ryan Vogelsong pitched pretty well in his first start in a Pirates uniform since 2004 (5.0 IP, 1 ER), but the bullpen failed him. Arquimedes Caminero gave up a grand slam to Jarrod Saltalmacchia in the sixth inning.

The Brewers beat the Cardinals 6-4. Brandon Moss hit a solo home run in the 8th inning to tie the game for the Cardinals, but Domingo Santana hit a 2-run homer in the top of the 9th off Trevor Rosenthal to secure a 6-4 win for the Brewers.

Chicago Cubs 7-1
Cincinnati Reds 5-3 2.0 GB
Pittsburgh Pirates 5-4 2.5 GB
Milwaukee Brewers 4-4 3.0 GB
St. Louis Cardinals 4-4 3.0 GB

Up Next:

The Reds will try to avoid getting swept tomorrow. They have the right guy on the mound to stop that. Bryan Price has got to be hoping Iglesias will be his usual great self, and be able to pitch deep into the game.

Reds at Cubs
Thursday, 8:05 PM
TV: FOX Sports Ohio
Raisel Iglesias (2 GS, 2.31 ERA, 2.83 FIP) vs Jason Hammel (1 GS, 1.50 ERA, 2.76 FIP)