What a difference a night makes. Yesterday, Reds hitters saw a grand total of 76 pitches in seven innings against Rockies starter Jordan Lyles. Tonight, the Reds offense chased Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa before he could record an out in the third inning. Reds hitters saw 63 pitches in 2.0 innings against De La Rosa.

The Reds offense got rolling in the second inning. Billy Hamilton drove in two runs with a double down the left-field line. That gave the Reds a 2-1 lead. Zack Cozart then had a brilliant ten pitch at-bat, and extended his hitting streak to ten games. His single up the middle gave the Reds a 3-1 lead.

That would be more than enough for Robert Stephenson. The Reds number two prospect was called up earlier in the day to make a start after Alfredo Simon couldn’t go. Stephenson showed much of his great promise tonight, shutting down the lethal Rockies offense over seven innings.

J.J. Hoover made things interesting in the ninth inning. He gave up a two-run homer to Mark Reynolds, which cut the lead to 4-3. Ben Paulsen hit a ball to the warning track, but Jay Bruce was able to get to it and secure a Reds win. The Reds are back to .500 at 7-7 on the season.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (7-7) 4 9 0
Colorado Rockies (8-6) 3 5 1
W: Stephenson (2-0) L: De La Rosa (1-2)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score | Game Thread

Reds Rockies WPA

Biggest Play of the Game

According to Fangraphs WPA statistic (winning percentage added), the most important play of the game was Billy Hamilton’s 2-RBI double with 2 outs in the 2nd inning, giving the Reds a 2-1 lead. That play increased the Reds chances of winning by 18.0%.

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

  • +10.2% – 2nd inning: Mesoraco single. Runners on 1st & 3rd, 0 outs (Rockies lead 1-0)
  • +6.9% – 2nd inning: Cozart RBI single with 2 outs (Reds lead 4-1)
  • -9.5% – 2nd inning: Stephenson allows a RBI single to Paulsen with 2 outs (Rockies lead 1-0)
  • -8.0% – 2nd innning: Stephenson strikes out with runners on 2nd & 3rd. 2 outs (Rockies lead 1-0)

Player of the Game

Robert Stephenson: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 3.12 FIP, 0.21 WPA

StephensonTwitter

Stephenson was terrific in his second start in the big leagues. His curveball was absolutely nasty, and he was still hitting 96 MPH on his fastball in the 7th inning. He didn’t get a lot of strikeouts, but he kept the Rockies hitters off-balance all night. He has struggled at times in the minors with control, but overall it was good tonight. He only walked two batters in 7.0 innings.

Positives

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Zack Cozart extended his hitting streak to 10-games with an amazing 10-pitch AB in the 2nd inning. Cozart fouled off pitch after pitch, until he finally ripped a single up the middle to give the Reds a 4-1 lead.

The Reds stole five bases (!) in the second inning. Jorge De La Rosa apparently doesn’t know how to hold runners on base.

Billy

Billy Hamilton came through with a huge hit in the second inning. His 2-RBI double with 2 outs in the 2nd inning kept the Reds rally alive, and was crucial toward chasing De La Rosa early.

Caleb Cotham has been the one bright spot in the Reds dreadful bullpen. Cotham has yet to allow an earned run in 8.0 innings this year.

BP

Brandon Phillips went 4 for 4, and was a home run away from the cycle. Don’t look now, but Phillips is hitting .333/.367/.511 on the season.

Negatives

Joey Votto is struggling. Votto went 0 for 4 with 2 strikeouts. Votto is now hitting .196/.288/.275 on the season.

J.J. Hoover gave up another two run bomb tonight. He now has a 15.19 ERA on the season. Yikes.

Not so random thoughts…….

I was skeptical about Zack Cozart actually turning a corner offensively after his hot start last year. I’m starting to believe he just might have. Cozart entered play having hit .286/.329/.480 with a 114 wRC+ in 250 PA since the start of 2015. Only 1 of the 20 qualifying MLB SS in 2015 had a better wRC+ (Brandon Crawford – 117). I don’t think Cozart can keep up a 114 wRC+ over an entire season, but if he can hang around 100, then he is easily a top 5 MLB SS with his elite defense.

Bryan Price decided to not go with J.J. Hoover to start the 9th inning. He started the inning with Cingrani against the lefty Carlos Gonzalez. He then went to Hoover to face the right-handed hitter Arenado. It was smart managing by Bryan Price letting both pitchers pitch in the 9th, even though Hoover gave up another bomb. He set his players up for success, and didn’t let the ridiculous closer role completely dictate his decision making.

Around the NL Central

The Brewers beat the Twins 6-5 this afternoon. Scooter Gennett had a go-ahead RBI single in the 9th inning. The Cubs lead the Cardinals 2-1 in the 6th inning. The Pirates begin a 10-game west coast trip tonight in San Diego at 10:10.

Chicago Cubs 10-3 –
St. Louis Cardinals 7-6 3.0 GB
Pittsburgh Pirates 7-6 3.0 GB
Cincinnati Reds 7-7 3.5 GB
Milwaukee Brewers 6-8 4.5 GB

Up Next: 

Rockies at Reds
Wednesday, 12:35 PM
TV: MLB Network (select areas); Radio: 700 WLW
Raisel Iglesias (3 GS, 3.24 ERA, 3.72 FIP) vs Chad Bettis (3 GS, 2.95 ERA, 4.16 FIP)