Brandon Finnegan pitched a masterpiece, allowing just one hit over seven innings. He finished the evening retiring nineteen consecutive batters. The Reds offense was also held in check by Phillies starter Jerad Eickoff until the seventh inning. That is when Joey Votto hit a hanging curveball into the seats to give the Reds a 1-0 lead. They would tack on another run off a Zack Cozart single later in the inning.

The back-end of the Reds bullpen is drastically improved from Opening Day last season. Michael Lorenzen and Raisel Iglesias worked around several infield singles to shut the door for the Reds, and secure a 2-0 win for their first win of 2017.

The Reds are tied for first place in the NL Central.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (1-1) 2 5 0
Philadelphia Phillies (1-1) 0 4 0
W: Finnegan (1-0) L: Eickhoff (0-1) S: Iglesias (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 Joey Votto’s solo home run in the 7th inning with 0 outs, giving the Reds a 1-0 lead. That play increased the Reds chances of winning by 20.0% (from 58.9% to 78.9%).

Player of the Game

Brandon Finnegan: 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K, 0.84 FIP

Finnegan was absolutely incredible tonight. He finished the game retiring 19 consecutive batters. He is only 23 years old. I repeat, he is only 23 years old! Finnegan’s fastball was reported around 95 MPH tonight. He averaged 91.8 last year. I do have to mention that the Phillies were 29th out 30 MLB teams in wRC+ against LHP in 2016, but nonetheless, you can’t start much better than he did tonight. I am excited to see if Finnegan can have a breakout 2017. He just might.

Positives

For some reason, Jerad Eickhoff (who was lights out for the first six innings) decided to hang a breaking ball to Joey Votto. It was kindly deposited into the right field seats. Votto made his first hit of the season count. In 2016, it took Votto ten games to hit his first home run.

Michael Lorenzen got a very nice hold in the 8th inning. He gave up two extremely cheap singles to start the inning, and then proceeded to strike out the next two batters, and induce a weak groundout (81 MPH off the bat) to end the threat.

Raisel Iglesias also gave up a cheap infield single, but was able to pitch around it with two strikeouts for the save.

Zack Cozart had a two-hit evening, including a RBI single in the 7th inning.

Billy Hamilton walked (!) and stole a base in the third inning.

Negatives

There was an hour rain delay? That’s all I got. Nice game all around from the good guys.

Not so random thoughts……….

The early Reds story-line of 2017 is “will Joey Votto buy Zack Cozart a donkey?” According to Jim Day, Votto is bribing Cozart with a donkey if Cozart makes the All-Star team. Cozart apparently loves donkeys, and loves taking his son to see donkeys during spring training. Votto will even deliver the donkey to the clubhouse. So…..Reds fans if there is not a #VoteCozart campaign started by tomorrow morning, we all have failed at life.

One reason to have hope for the Reds in 2017 is the backend of the bullpen. They start 2017 with Michael Lorenzen and Raisel Iglesias. Last season, it was J.J. Hoover and Ross Ohlendorf. Better days are coming, nation.

Up Next:

Reds vs Phillies
Thursday, 12:35 PM
TV: FOX Sports Ohio
Rookie Davis vs Clay Buchholtz

 

All photos are used courtesy of the Cincinnati Enquirer, and are used by permission. All statistics are used courtesy of Fangraphs, Baseball-Reference, and ESPN Stats & Info.

22 Responses

  1. Geoff

    What a great game tonight! Finnegan looks like dare I say it… a future ace!

    • jeffversion1.0

      Great work by Finnegan tonight… but after all we’ve been through with Bailey and Disco, should we go ahead and schedule the TJ surgery now or wait until next spring?

  2. Steve

    Best performance I’ve seen to date from Finnegan. He was still hitting 95-96 in the 7th inning. Working all around the strikezone all night. Great confidence builder! Hope Rookie took notes from today’s outing by Finnegan. C’mon Rookie, give us a quality start tomorrow! Love Cozart and Barnhart solidifying the bottom of the lineup.

    • Scotly50

      He reminded me of Tom Glavine last night with his control. Best I have seen him pitch since he came over from the Royals.

  3. kelswhit77

    The lone run charged to the bullpen probably should have been unearned, as the triple hit by the Phillies pitcher (Hellickson??) should’ve been caught by Scott Schebler, and could easily have been scored an error.

  4. Chuck Schick

    A mediocre team that may be good someday beat another mediocre team that may be good someday. There was no reason to hide in the Bomb shelter after Monday’s loss and no reason to name your kid Finnegan after tonight. The 94 loss Reds of 2016 were 2-0 at this point. The 113 win 1998 New York Yankees were 0-2 at this point.

  5. Simon Cowell

    Maybe not a reason to name my kid Finnegan but certainly a good enough performance to bust out a few pints of Guinness Stout in the nearest Irish Pub. A few more performances like that and I’ll be not only a huge fan but also a drunk.

  6. KJones

    Is Joey Votto clutch now?

    Great game. Love the Finnegan pitched, and was great to see the bullpen. While I may wish to see certain bullpen pitchers used differently, it’s fun to enjoy them pitching well in whatever role they are used in.

    I’m getting excited by Duvall as well. I think he may have a monster season.

  7. hallaudermilsmithsteen

    The over the top pro-Votto comments are just as enjoyable to read as are the over the top negative Votto comments. Keep them coming please! This Finnigan run of starts is very exciting, he often gets overlooked because of all the young guys but he just keeps getting it done. Love the increase in velo!

    • Mike Kalinoski

      The great thing is Finnigan IS a young guy. It’s easy to forget since he’s been in the world series and all, but he’s 23. Looking forward to his next start.

  8. Soapboxes

    I just wanted to point out that at this juncture into the season Billy Hamilton has more walks than Joey Votto (make sure to ignore small sample size).

    BB

    Joey Votto- 0
    Billy Hamilton- 1

    • Scotly50

      I love to see Votto swing that bat. He is good at it.

  9. bouwills

    BF is 23 years old, a lefty, under team control through 2021 and a pretty darned good pitcher. What’s not to like? By the way, I think it’s more likely that Finnegan is named the Opening Day starter for the Reds in 2018 than Bryan Price is the guy naming that starter.

  10. Tservo

    Wouldn’t it be great if after Cozart makes the All-Star team, he sees Joey Votto standing in front of his locker next to Adam “the Big Donkey” Dunn?

    Anyway, loved watching the game last night. Three of the four Philly hits never left the infield and the only hard hit ball was that hit in the first.

    Chris Welch made the point (when he could get a word in edgewise…) that the home plate umpire early on was not calling some of the borderline pitches down and away as strikes, but it seemed that once Finnegan kept hitting those spots, he started getting the calls. I wonder if there could have been an extra K or two if he had gotten them all.

    I also like Cozart and Barnhart at the bottom of the lineup; it looks like at least the 7-8 spots aren’t automatic outs anymore. Plus, when Lorenzen is pitching, maybe the 9 spot isn’t an easy out either. Anyway, optimism abounds!

    Go Reds.

  11. cfd3000

    A solid game. It’s easy to get excited about Finnegan’s start, but I’m more excited about the bullpen upgrade from last year. Hoping the Reds hitters will get past opening day / night anxiety and start to relax at the plate. A few more walks and a few less swings at awful pitches would be welcome – looking at you Jose Peraza. Still a fun Opening Night to start the season.

  12. David

    If you were able to watch the game on TV and see Finnegan pitch, the most impressive thing (I think) was his control, and location in the zone.
    Everything was down, moving inside and outside. Fooled several hitters with his change-up. Did not locate his curve very well (consistently) but did throw a few good ones.
    Had a good fastball, which seemed to range from 92 to 95 mph on the radar gun. I think that once he started to consistently throw strikes, he DID get start to get the calls on the outside corner.

    It’s easy to say something like “he will be the Reds best starter this year”, but he has looked consistently good since last August, when he started to use his change-up more (taught to him by Dan Strailly).
    Lorenzen was throwing smoke. Hit 99 mph on one pitch, with location.
    And Iglesias had very good command of his pitches, changing speeds.

    Yes, the bullpen will be much better this year.

  13. TR

    The pitching last night is a further indicator the Reds will be the surprise team of the NLC.

  14. big5ed

    As CP notes, Lorenzen had thrown 24 pitches, under some pressure, so he wasn’t going to pitch another inning. If he had got out of the 8th on 11 pitches, you may have seen him pitch the 9th.

    In fact, given that there is another game early this afternoon, I am sure that Price would have preferred not having to use both of them. Iglesias threw 21 pitches, so it is likely that neither is available today. They both did get a bit unlucky, giving up 3 infield hits between them, which was the major cause of the high pitch counts.

  15. The Duke

    My bold preseason prediction was that the Reds have a top 10 bullpen this year. I’m sticking with that prediction.