Your Cincinnati Reds lost to the Milwaukee Brewers today by a score of 6-3. Adam Duvall hit a two-run home run, Jose Peraza tripled, and Tyler Mahle pitched two more very impressive innings in his quest to win a spot in the Reds Opening Day rotation. A couple of young guys (Jackson Stephens and Jimmy Herget) surrendered three runs apiece, and Billy Hamilton is still leading off and still batting 0-for-the-spring.
Forget all that. None of it matters. Only one thing that happened today really matters, in terms of Cincinnati’s potential to improve significantly on last season’s performance:
Anthony DeSclafani pitched. And he pitched well: two innings pitched, no runs allowed on two bloop hits, two strikeouts. And he felt good afterward.
Disco is healthy, and this is great news. Because it’s been a long time:
Tuesday marked a huge day for Reds starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani. He last faced Major League hitters on Sept. 28, 2016, throwing six innings of one-run ball in a 2-1 win over the Cardinals.
Since then, DeSclafani, 27, missed all of 2017 with a strained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He threw three games of Minor League ball for a total of 6 2/3 innings in July and August.
So two innings of scoreless Cactus League ball in a 6-3 loss to the Brewers was a long time coming.
“It felt good to be in a big league Spring Training environment and just to throw my pitches and compete,” DeSclafani said. “It’s definitely been a while. There’s a few balls I threw today that I was like, ‘Dang, those look like good pitches,’ but I guess I’m back with the big league strike zone instead of the instructional league strike zone.”
“It warms all of our hearts that he was back on the mound in competition,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “He picked up right where he left off before his elbow got sore. That was a great day for all of us — certainly no more than Anthony himself. I know he was fired up to be out there.”
Sure, there’s a long way to go before we can be certain that DeSclafani is fully back and ready to claim his spot in the top half of the Reds rotation. But today was certainly encouraging. What if Disco can be the pitcher he was in 2016, when he was 26 years old and went 9-5 with a 3.28 ERA (130 ERA+) in 123.1 innings? Or the year before, when DeSclafani tossed 184.2 league-average innings as a rookie for the Redlegs?
What if he’s even better? Having a full season of Luis Castillo and a fully healthy Anthony DeSclafani at the top of the starting rotation suddenly makes the starting corps look a lot better, eh?
I know, I know, it’s spring and I’m dreaming. But DeSclafani gave me some hope today. After the last couple of seasons, I’ll take all the hope I can get.