Sometimes, when the pitching is outstanding, a single run holds up. That’s what happened this afternoon at the Great American Ball Park as our Cincinnati Reds busted into the win column with a victory over the stupid Chicago Cubs. The Reds go for a series sweep tomorrow.

Chicago Cubs 0 • Cincinnati Reds 1 || Box Score || Win % || Exit Velocities

Featuring pinpoint control and a 95-mph fastball, Tyler Mahle dominated the Cubs lineup in his first start of the season. The Cubs managed just one hit off Mahle in six innings, a triple to right field that sliced sharply away from left fielder Jesse Winker. The 23-year-old Mahle struck out seven and walked two in 86 pitches. He put down a nice sacrifice bunt, too. We’ll worry about Tyler Mahle’s service time later.

Photo: Kareem Elgazzar/Cincinnati Enquirer

Jared Hughes pitched the 7th inning, giving up a walk but nothing else. Wandy Peralta retired two batters in the 8th then walked Ben Zobrist and gave up a sharp single to Ian Happ. Bryan Price lifted Peralta to bring in Raisel Iglesias to face Kris Bryant. Kudos to Price for not holding Iglesias until the 9th. Iglesias walked Bryant on four pitches to load the bases and bring up Anthony Rizzo.

The Iglesias vs. Rizzo matchup was a true moment of drama. After Iglesias pulled the first pitch inside (you have to wonder if Rizzo regretted not taking one for the team instead of jumping out of the way), Iglesias fired two fastball strikes inside. After wasting a pitch, Iglesias challenged Rizzo with a 95-mph fastball and the Cubs slugger swung through it for strike three. Iglesias retired the Cubs in order in the 9th to clinch the win.

Tucker Barnhart had a nice game, with two singles, a double and throwing out Kyle Schwarber on an attempted steal. Backup shortstop Cliff Pennington drew two walks and made a nice play in the field to start an important double play. Eugenio Suarez had a triple to deep centerfield and scored the game’s only run.

Jesse Winker also walked twice in his four at bats. Reds director of media relations Jamey Ramsey pointed out that if Winker walked a third time, it would be the first time a Reds leadoff hitter had drawn three walks in a game since early April of 2014. Billy Hamilton has hit first in 369 of those games since then. Hamilton did draw a walk in four plate appearances today. He was hitless and is batting .083/.154/.167.

LHP Brandon Finnegan will travel with the team and throw a bullpen session on Monday in Philadelphia. Then he’ll pitch in a simulated game on Wednesday in Louisville.

Whether you believe Cody Reed or Amir Garrett should start tomorrow’s series finale, it appears neither is in line for the rotation. Bryan Price said on WLW yesterday that Garrett is “transitioning to the bullpen” and when you add that with Garrett having out-pitched Reed in spring training, it’s clear that either would just be holding Brandon Finnegan’s spot. I’m not sold that Finnegan is a major league starter (2016: 5.19 FIP, 4.92 SIERA). I’d have seriously considered moving him to the bullpen for now and had Garrett, with his re-discovered velocity, try it as a starter. But Price has said all spring that Finnegan has a near-claim on a rotation slot.

This game was the first matchup in the history of baseball of two starting pitchers named Tyler (credit: Joel Luckhaupt, of course).

Scott Schebler was a late scratch with a sore elbow. He was hit there by a pitch late in yesterday’s game. Schebler said his hand was still tingling this morning. Doesn’t sound like it’s anything serious.

The Reds announced that Hunter Greene would debut for the Dayton Dragons on Monday, April 9.

41 Responses

  1. Matthew Habel

    Shutting out the Cubs is the best birthday present I could ask for

  2. Indy Red Man

    Trying to compare Mahle to someone….how bout Roy (Lee Harvey vs the Reds) Oswalt? Oswalt was a shorter guy but both power pitchers that don’t throw 98 mph, but just have command and a knowledge of how to pitch! It was a joy to watch him last year in Indy!

    • wizeman

      Indy.. I like your stuff. Think you are a great part of the discussion.. but sorry.. the Lee Harvey Oswalt thing gave me the creeps.

    • Chad Dotson

      I’m just going to go with Greg Maddux until he proves me wrong.

      • Ernest Howerton

        A lot of pitchers could take notice on how he painted corners all game.I thought his start was fantastic and Winker should have caught the triple,it wasn’t a easy catch but should have been caught.Mahle pitched like a veteran.He reminded me of Carpenter for the Cardinals

  3. Dave Roemerman

    Good win and, as much as I’ve been saying they have to play the service time game, maybe they just give him a deal with Votto years and call it a wrap?

    Seriously, though, the Garrett thing is really bothering me. I can handle giving Reed a chance for his confidence but Amir Garrett, when healthy, looks like another outright dominant pitcher. Castillo, Garrett, Mahle , Greene, and Romano/Stephenson/whatever could be a rotating for the ages around here. Why not let Garrett show he belongs like he did early last year?

    • Ghettotrout1

      I agree Garrett has such upside I just can’t understand why dw doesn’t step in and tell bp he is a starter.

  4. Dave Roemerman

    Btw, nice touch, bolstering the box score with win% data (even if it is a little overrated) and StatCast exit velocity data (kinda cool). That’s the sort of thing “obsessive fans” love! 🙂

  5. nicolecushing

    If this continues, we might just put an end to a gazillion fair weather Cubs fans showing up at GABP.

  6. JB WV

    Four games in and three solid starts: Bailey, Romano, and Mahle. Castillo will come around. I’m like you, Dave R., I thought Garrett showed plenty in ST to earn a spot in the rotation with Finnegan out. But this gives Reed a shot to start to turn last season around. First inning will be huge for him tomorrow.

  7. Indy Red Man

    I think Garrett deserves to start as well but he’ll get his chance. Good chance he could overtake Peralta and be the #1 lefty in the pen. Maybe he could blossom into a guy that get Price 4-6 outs if needed. Wainwright was a closer in the beginning for the Cards and he still had a good career as a starter. If Finnegan and Lorenzen come back….and Stephenson gets it together? A couple of guys somewhere are going to have to relieve or become trade bait.

    • james garrett

      Indy,first time anybody has talked about trading any of these guys.Its a great point and if the team had did the right thing last year they would know more about who is and who isn’t right now.That is essential to acquiring players to fill our holes on the field and most teams will give value for value but what do we really know.With such a small sample size on all of these young guys I doubt if anybody takes a chance.Finny,Disco and Lorenzen have pitched enough for us and other teams to know what they bring.Of course these 3 have been injury prone.Interesting times ahead for sure.Let the young guys pitch.

    • eric3287

      Wainwright was a closer for a competent organization in St. Louis. They temporarily had a hole to fill in the bullpen and filled it with the best arm available. The Reds designate certain players for certain roles and they are then stuck. Who was the last Red to start in the ‘pen and end up in the rotation? Danny Graves?

  8. Scotly50

    It is great to best the Cubbies. Mahle was getting good movement today. He should have had a few more SO’s but the ump did denied him some edge strikes.

  9. TomN

    Great game by Mahle. He looked to be always in command after the 1st inning. Sparkling play by Pennington on the double-play.

    Really wish we’d have gotten a hit with runners in scoring position a couple of innings early in the ballgame. That would have provided some breathing room.

    Finally, I HATE that Garrett has been ‘assigned’ to the bullpen. He’s been dominating both early last year and in the spring. Give him a chance to shine.

  10. sezwhom

    I’m not sold on Finnegan either. KC used him in the bullpen. Much rather see him there with Garrett starting. Reed in the wings.

  11. Jeff Reed

    The Reds have a keeper in Mahle. Nice motion, very smooth, well coordinated and a ground ball pitcher. Garrett, Reed, and Finnegan all deserve a try-out to be the fifth starter until if and when DeSclafani returns from the DL.

  12. wizeman

    I know we are 1-3… but I am really enjoying quality starts the first week.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      No kidding. And against top-caliber competition. The Cubs are in a team hitting slump, but Mahle looked outstanding!

  13. Tom

    I think Garrett is being saved for later in the season. At some point, these kids run out of innings.

    • big5ed

      I agree with this. Between some aches and pains to the staff, and some innings limits, Garrett will get his starts in eventually. If they optioned Garrett to AAA, he would just use up his own innings down there, instead of being able to go every 5th day in Cincinnati after the All-Star break.

      I would like to see him pitch some 2-inning stints as a reliever, such as pitching the 6th and 7th innings.

    • james garrett

      Would sound like a smart thing and I hope your right but personally the only way I see it happening is if somebody visits this site and sees what you wrote.

  14. Dewey Roberts

    Mahle has location. That stood out to me the times I saw him pitch in Pensacola. There is no comparison between him and Reed or Stephenson. I am not sure either of the lattter will ever learn to locate their pitches on a consistent basis to be winners in the major leagues. But Mahle has it and the Reds need to keep him for a long time.

  15. Aaron Bradley

    Garrett is a very hard thrower, and has what two or 3 pitches but mainly relies on fastball slider. They may worry he can’t keep throwing that hard all year as a starter so his innings need to be limited. Also they need another lefty in the pen. Peralta was pretty good today hit 97mph. If Garrett does that too, its pretty nasty and we have some hammers to go along with Iglesias. Hughes had that sinker going good, looks good for GABP.

    • Jeff Reed

      Yes, finding out if Garrett, Reed, and Finnegan can get through the 5th. or 6th. innings as starting pitchers should be a paramount part of the later rebuild period. The bullpen is secondary.

  16. Lamora

    Agreed. So ready for the Brayn cramps to end.

  17. Matt

    I’m with you 100%. Price’s only redeeming value so far has been batting Winker leadoff. But even there if you look at Billy’s stats vs RHP and LHP his decision of when to sit Winker and have Billy lead off made no sense.

  18. james garrett

    Price just has to have a couple of guys to punish.I said it on another thread that these guys don’t even know if they are starters or relievers or are in Cincy or Louisville.No wonder some are deemed as head cases because all of us would be if we were treated in such a way.Garrett was need per Price because of all those lefties the Cubs and Nats throw out there and yet in 4 games he has pitched I believe 1 inning.Price has a reason for everything but then he forgets what he said.Just lip service and means he really really doesn’t get it.

  19. james garrett

    I missed it Eric but it could be because we are so used to seeing these kind of things that we just think its normal.I mean we don’t have a team full of guys with great baseball IQ and we know Price is clueless and there is no accountability starting with him.

  20. Ernest Howerton

    Garrett’s first few games last yr. should have earned him this starting nod today,Reed has yet to throw strikes consistently.This really bothers me.

  21. james garrett

    I will do something I don’t do much regarding Price and that’s defend him well sort of anyway.What do you do short of pinch hitting for Billy?You can’t hide him unless you set him.He just has no power to even drive a ball to the outfield and the infield and out field both play up close all the time.He is at best a late defensive replacement or pinch runner.He and Peraza and to some extent Tucker are the weak links offensively and the game will find them even if the other team’s pitcher doesn’t.

    • james garrett

      Your right his numbers were better last year but with only 7 homers.He had 93 hits and walked 42 times but only scored 19 runs when you take away the homers.The data is what it is but how much of is it because he hits 8th in the line up.You would think he would see few good pitches with men on base with the pitcher up next and with nobody on because of only 7 homers they could be saying here it is hit.The Reds may be better served by moving him up in the line up because of his high obp to see if he can maintain that.He is a solid player as you said and he may hit more homers.Lets hope so.

  22. Streamer88

    We’ve all known Mahle was going to be a good one. Reminds me of Kyle Hendricks maybe better. Once the scouting report comes out on him he’s in danger of succumbing to fastball only syndrome but I don’t think that’ll be the case. His control is too good and he’ll continue to refine / tinker with his offspeed stuff. Just remember Johnny Cueto was never our #1 prospect and then one day he was our ace. That’s Mahle.

    Also a quick monthly note on Price. He sets the lineup, manages the bullpen and has a say in personnel management. He does not promote, option, activate from DL, scout, trade or make large position assignments for the players. That’s DW. So Garrett in the pen is not Price. That’s DW. Price may agree with it or he may not. He may have suggested for it or against it. DW makes the call and then price has to sell it as the teams position. A thankless job. I’m not a price fan, but I try to remember what MLB managers actually do.

    • Streamer88

      A very reasonable take. I’d be very curious to know how much of the personnel bad decisions (ie Aroldis, Winker rotting in AAA, etc) were BP based decisions.

      Perhaps I’m giving price too much of a break.

  23. Timmy RedLeg

    Glad to get that 1st win. Concerning the rebuild; I truly believe that the Reds have at least 3 of the 5 starters for next yrs rotation in the organization right now. It’s time to address the SS. & CF positions. I would be ok if 1 of the 2 players was a defense first type player. But, I think whoever is at the other position needs to have a good bat. If Winker & Senzel become a part of the starting lineup throughout the course of this season, then I think 1 more good bat makes them a playoff lineup. That’s my opinion. Btw, could Senzel handle CF.???

  24. james garrett

    I agree Timmy because its so hard to hide 2 guys that have no power and don’t get on base.

  25. Streamer88

    It would appear to me that the quickest but more risky way to get back to that 82-88 win range (which I posit should be our goal every year as less teams are competing for that space) is to invest in starting pitching. You could end up the 1990s Braves, or the 2000s Mets who had Harvey, Noah, wheeler, those other two kids (escaping me) and due to injuries was just never able to put together a 5 year stretch.

    Here’s hoping we’re working towards the former with Castillo Mahle Romano and eventually Hunter Greene.