What to make of Lisalverto Bonilla’s 8-inning start?

First, let’s not confuse Bonilla with the Reds’ high-upside pitching prospects. As Jim Walker pointed out in his excellent introduction, Bonilla was picked up off waivers from the Pirates. The Dodgers had allowed Bonilla to become a free agent before that. Bonilla’s resumé is closer to Blake Wood than Luis Castillo.

Contrary to what you might have heard on the radio broadcast though, Bonilla doesn’t have a history of wildness. He’s just a guy who hasn’t been quite good enough to make a major league roster.

Bonilla (26, almost 27) doesn’t have an extra-big arm. He mainly has two pitches, so his best future might be in the bullpen. That’s the way he’s been used through most of his minor league career.

But Bonilla’s fastball moved a lot today and his changeup had the Giants off stride four times through the lineup. C. Trent Rosecrans said on the radio broadcast that Bonilla is scheduled to stay in the rotation for now as the fifth starter even after Amir Garrett returns. If that’s right, this stretch of a handful of starts may be his best and last chance to make it as a major league starter.

Caveats about anemic Giants offense and massive AT&T ballpark apply, but Lisalverto Bonilla pitched quite well and earned another start.

Cincinnati Reds 1 • San Francisco Giants 3 || MLB || FG || Statcast

After grooving a pitch that he paid for in each of the first two innings, Bonilla settled down, at one point retiring 11 Giants in a row. The third run scored against him should have been unearned (see below). Bonilla finished with 5 strikeouts and 2 walks in 8 innings, striking out two on nasty changeups in the 7th.

It’s still early, but Scott Schebler is starting to look like an established major league baseball player. Schebler hit his 10th home run and also doubled, his isolated power standing at .269, which is huge. Schebler’s overall offensive contribution to runs scored (wRC+) of 128. He also did a nice job roaming the expansive center field of AT&T Park.

The Reds had another good day in the field, turning in several nice defensive plays. The exception: Jose Peraza’s bobble of a fairly routine ground ball in the 6th inning with two outs allowing the Giants to score their third run. The ground ball was ruled a hit. Generous home cooked scoring is generous and home cooked. Important reminder that all Hispanic middle infielders are not plus defenders.

Devin Mesoraco barreled up a Matt Moore pitch, whacking it to the left field corner warning track. Mesoraco also stole a base and made a nice throw to second base on a SB attempt. He’s still got a ways to go on his hitting timing. But Mesoraco seems healthy and not fragile.

Jose Peraza had a single and not one, but two walks. That doubled his total for the entire season. Devin Mesoraco had a double and a walk. Bench players Patrick Kivlehan and Arismendy Alcantara (batting 2nd) went a combined 0-for-9. The Reds had 8 hits and 4 walks in the game.

A bit of good news on Homer Bailey’s progress:

20 Responses

  1. Jack

    I think you just about summed it up. Fast game. I thought Peraza should have gotten the error as well.

  2. Geoff

    Such a frustrating game. This team is in a hitting slump the last three games. Time to get the split tmrw.

  3. Geoff

    Shows you the importance of Billy and Cozart in this lineup

    • Keith

      Because that worked really well on Friday night.

  4. Geoff

    Still 9-4 in their last 13 games. Big game tmrw.

  5. bouwills

    Should the Reds resume a 5 man rotation in the near future, that would mean Bonilla would face the Rockies at GABP on the 19th. I’m ok with it.

  6. Geoff

    Tough park to play at. I’ll take a split on the road.

  7. Geoff

    Several great points. Perazza is so young. Give him some more time in Louisville. We would be fine with Scooter.

  8. GreatRedLegsFan

    Time to shake up the line-up, Duvall and Suarez in a down slide.

  9. Hingle McCringleberry

    You just hope that minor leaguers come up and make a statement. To pitch a complete game is great whether it’s a win or loss.

    Congrats young man! Your time might be now.

  10. Hingle McCringleberry

    .340 is way to high for Scott. Lol. .340 obp? He’s a Jay Bruce clone. You can’t say Suarez is lucky, but Scott schebler is the real thing. Suarez has so much upside. He’ll be like encarnacion reaking havoc on MLB pitchers.

  11. VaRedsFan

    I’ve heard Brantly mention this twice about Suarez in the last 2 days. His bat is pointing at the pitcher while he is in the box. Previously he noted that it was more straight up when he took his stance.

    Can someone send a note down to the dugout to address this please?

  12. james garrett

    Great job by Bonilla but offense has taken all 3 games off this series.We should have won them all and we can’t waste good pitching from the starters because we are last in the league in ERA for a reason.Offense will come around I feel but it is still a work in process because of the young guys in the lineup.Schebler is the real deal because he hits it hard,can take it out to all fields,takes his walks and if does get his OBP up around 340 then he gets an extension right now if I am GM.I don’t see him as another Bruce because of two things.His swing is not loopy thus more line drives and he does cut down his swing with two strikes.It would interesting to look at his combines stats from when he came back up last year until now.As for Suarez he may become a monster at third because of his youth and his all round play of offense and defense.What a difference a full year has made at third base defensively.He makes all the plays.

  13. Scotly50

    The Reds let another good pitching performance go to waste. Great job by Bonilla.

    The Reds had more hits, and walks, than the Giants. The Reds could not get it done with runners on. Hope they turn it around Sunday.

  14. Kurt Frost

    After 17 innings and with just about everyone pitching the night before (or the same day) you aren’t giving Bonilla enough credit for going out there and pitching a complete game. I don’t care how old he is or if he is a prospect, that was huge.

  15. [email protected]

    Even when Schebler makes outs, he putting the ball in play. Giants broadcasters Duane Kuiper and especially, Mike Krukow waxed poetic about Schebler. Said this guy is a hitter and dangerous because even when fooled, he can hurt you. Liner to Tomlinson at 3rd with 2 on the example.

  16. Carl Sayre

    I think that Peraza is like my take on Suarez just not as talented! I was one of those send this no fielding bum to the minors and then as I watched him he had the ability but he looked “scared”! That assessment is a bit harsh he just wasn’t comfortable as we have moved forward he has confidence and he is becoming a plus defender albeit only slightly! The point is it took Suarez a while to get comfortable, maybe Peraza will surprise us! I was pleasantly surprised by Bonilla’s outing he was very efficient with his pitches and both gofer balls looked to be a lapse in concentration!

  17. James H.

    A little late to the party for this board, but Steve, I wish you would post an article everyday. Your articles are that good.