Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (1-5) 0 6 0
Pittsburgh Pirates (2-3) 2 10 0
W: Nick Kingham (1-0) L: David Hernandez (0-1) SV: Felipe Vazquez (1)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score | Game Thread | Statcast

Tyler Mahle had it all working. The Reds offense had it all, uh, not working.

For the second straight day, the Reds were shut out and wasted a gem from their starting pitcher. The offense hasn’t scored a run since the eighth inning of Tuesday’s game against the Brewers when Eugenio Suarez hit a solo home run. Are we having fun yet?

The Hitters

*crickets*

Once again, there’s very little to talk about in this department. The offense scrounged together only three hits against Pirates starter Jordan Lyles, who has bounced around from team to team for many years as a No. 5 starter. To their credit, the Reds made some solid contact and got little to show for it. The team hit 10 total balls of at least 95 mph. Only four of them fell for a hit.

Tucker Barnhart was the only Reds hitter with multiple hits, picking up a 104-mph double and a single.

The only real threat the Reds posed was in the ninth, and it only started due to a wild pitch on a third strike to Matt Kemp. Jose Iglesias followed with a double on a misplay by right fielder Pablo Reyes, but Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez fanned pinch hitters Curt Casali and Kyle Farmer to end it.

If there are any positives, Jesse Winker and Scott Schebler both broke their hitless streaks to start the season. Winker’s 0-for-15 skid ended in the fifth inning with a ground-ball single up the middle. Schebler snapped his 0-for-18 funk with a double in the sixth.

The Hurlers

The good news is the starting pitching continues to impress. Tyler Mahle had it all working in his 2019 debut. He got through the first inning in six pitches, all strikes, which set the tone for the game. Painting the corners with his fastball and mixing in his revamped slider and changeup/splitter to keep hitters off balance, Mahle pumped strikes all night long. Of his 78 pitches, 53 were thrown for strikes and those that missed the zone were right on the periphery.

Most notably, he didn’t walk a batter — the first Reds starter to accomplish that feat this season — in his six innings. While he didn’t miss a ton of bats (6) as he leaned heavily on his fastball, he still struck out five batters. Mahle allowed only five hits on the night as the Pirates barely threatened against him.

The most trouble he got in was in the fourth inning. Mahle gave up a one-out single to Josh Bell and a two-out single to Melky Cabrera. Winker, the left fielder, threw a perfect strike to the cutoff man, Jose Iglesias, who fired the ball to second base for the third out as he caught Cabrera trying to take an extra base.

In desperate need of offense, David Bell sent Derek Dietrich to the plate as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning, ending Mahle’s night despite a low pitch count. David Hernandez was the first man out of the bullpen. He allowed a pair of singles, one of them a weak grounder that snuck through the infield on a hit-and-run play, to put runners on the corners with one out. The first run of the game came home on a fielder’s choice. It was the only one the Pirates needed.

Wandy Peralta came in to get the last out of the seventh and the first of the eighth. Michael Lorenzen was next in line and fell victim to some tough luck. He gave up a pair of weakly hit singles to Starling Marte and Francisco Cervelli followed by an RBI single to Josh Bell with the infield drawn in.

Notes & Random Thoughts

  • It was good to see Schebler get off the schneid after taking a lot of grief on social media for his rough start. He does, however, need to start laying off fastballs high and out of the zone or pitchers are going to keep throwing him there.
  • Yasiel Puig came ever so close to hitting his first home run as a Red in the third inning, but Marte made a leaping catch against the center field wall for a 400-foot out.
  • Losing is stupid.

Stat of the Game

As bad as the offense has been through six games, the complete opposite is true for the pitchers. Over the last three games, the combination of Anthony DeSclafani, Luis Castillo, and Mahle has allowed only two runs and nine hits in 18 innings. Reds starters now have a 2.34 ERA through six games. Nobody would’ve guessed the team would be 1-5 with that kind of performance from the rotation.

BONUS STAT:

Paging Nick Senzel and Scooter Gennett: Get healthy soon.

Up Next

Cincinnati and Pittsburgh will meet for game two of the four-game series on Friday evening at the same start time of 7:05 p.m. Sonny Gray (6.75 ERA, 9.15 xFIP; 4.90 ERA, 4.10 xFIP in 2018) will look to bounce back after a rough first outing, while Joe Musgrove will make his first start of the year. Musgrove (0.00 ERA, 1.93 xFIP; 4.06 ERA, 3.92 xFIP in 2018) appeared in relief against the Reds on Sunday after getting skipped in the rotation following the rainout on Saturday. Will the bats wake up?

19 Responses

  1. Scott Gennett

    I hope Gennett, Senzel and Ervin will join the team soon. Very tough situation with Kemp, once Senzel is up he should be the odd man out.

    • David

      Gennett is likely two months away. A groin pull is one of those weird injuries that is tough to recover from.

      Senzel is still a week or more from even showing up at AAA.

      Ervin should have been on the 25 man roster, but for some reason, the Reds management just doesn’t like him.

      This team is gonna bust out someday, but we don’t have a clue as to when that will be. The Great Votto will show up sooner or later. Won’t he?

      And I wonder if Winker’s shoulder is really ok.

      • Still a Red

        I thought Bell was high on Winker and saying at the end of spring training he was going to get his ABs…but he’s replaced him a number of times in the latter innings. That doesn’t sound like much confidence in him. I agree that Winker might have at least worked a walk from Vazquez…might have even left Lorenzen bat for himself instead of Casali…Lorenzen could have watched 4 pitches down the middle just as well.

  2. Vada

    Is it possible we put the blame on Price last year prematurely? Appears the blame for the losing trend has another cause. Reds have a SUPERIOR hitting coach and still zero results. Can’t blame the fans for leaving in droves. Solution could be they need to send the starting 8 down to AAA and bring the rookies to the Majors. They can’t do any worse.

    • RealisticMrRedLegs

      Sending your best 8 players to AAA after 6 games seems completely rational … good idea Vada

  3. joshtrum

    I am a colts fan, and so far this reminds of their 2018 season. The first couple of games, they let get away and they too started 1-5. They made it to the second round of the playoffs. There is too much talent on this team to remain so poor. It’s a young season. How many times has the reds started great, to finish with a losing record? I’m not optimistic, because Cincinnati sports have given me no reason to be so, but as a realist this team is much better than the way they are playing. Time will show.

  4. Indy Red Man

    Let Lorenzen start a game in CF and bat 6th or something? What difference does it make?

    On a good note…all the under 30 pitchers look pretty good except for Sonny and he’ll be ok.

  5. Ricky Spanish

    They’ve been playing games since February and have won all of 9 games. This start shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Without the very rare pinch hit game winning homerun and rainout this team would be 0-7.

    • David

      Yeah, I think that is true. Despite all the optimism about how much better the Reds would be in 2019, this is, quite frankly, not a very good team. I don’t think they are going to get much better. Sure, at some point, they will play well for a stretch.

      Another 90 loss season is looming. And sure, you can call me a Debbie Downer. Because I am. But I think in 3-4 weeks, when the Reds are buried in last place, 15 games behind the Brewers, then this might be more widely accepted.
      The Reds will lose 3 out of 4 to the Bucs this weekend.

  6. Steven Ross

    Schebler “needs to start laying off fastballs high and out of the zone or pitchers are going to keep throwing him there”.

    He’s never laid off high fastballs. No reason to think he’ll start now. Even Chris Welsh said: would you throw anything other than a high fastball here. Swing and miss.

    • Still a Red

      He doesn’t do well with breaking balls down and in either

  7. Reddawg12

    I’ll choose to focus on the positives for now. Yes, the 1-5 start has been terribly frustrating. But the pitching really has been good. Last season, through 6 games they had given up 40 runs. This season through 6 games, 19 runs. So at least it’s not exactly the same story as last year. They have been in all of these games.

    With that said, they really need to string together a few W’s soon, or I fear they won’t be able to catch up in a really tough division.

  8. TR

    I’m encouraged by the starting pitching which is the foundation for a winning team. I agree with comments that Bell should shakeup the offense in whatever way to get it started. Somebody has to step forward offensively and be the leader. Hopefully the Reds won’t fall 10 -15 games back because that’s a tough rut to escape.

  9. Still a Red

    Casali got four slider/change ups that ended up right down the middle of the plate. Yes they are sliders…yes you might be expecting 98 MPH fastballs from Vazquez…but still?! He only swung at one of them.

  10. lost11found

    Any further info on the Winker thing.

    Didn’t get to watch the whole game, but PH Farmer for him in the ninth stood out. I like Winkers chances to at least draw a walk there and bring Joey to the plate over Farmer’s chances.

  11. Doc

    I’ve always wondered about Votto’s splits between the first two months of the season versus the rest of the season. Seems to me, without researching the data, that his starts are always slow, then he hits like gangbusters after the Reds are out of contention. Hitting .400 in the second half of a season is spectacular, but not very useful for a team that is already 20 games behind on the ‘strength’ of hitting .220 during the first couple of months.

  12. streamer88

    For teams to outperform their season projections, they *almost* always have to skew results in low scoring, one-run games. I remember a couple years in the previous decade when the Diamondbacks had negative run differential for the year, but won 90+ games.

    The bats will wake up, but every 1-0 or 2-1 game they lose is just one less opportunity to outperform their true mean, which likely at or slightly below .500. Too bad.

  13. TR

    Things will get better, for me, if the Reds do not have another last place finish. I don’t listen to the commentary since I know the situation. I just watch the game as a great ballet that baseball and all sports are which are played by very athletic people. I’ve been a Reds fan too long to get too upset by the current offensive funk.