The Reds are 8-5 in the past 13 games. This was a good win against a contending team.
Reds 7 – Atlanta 6 | Game 22 of 162
Sonny Gray threw five strong innings before being victimized by shoddy defense. He struck out 9 and walked none in 5.1 innings. Atlanta got to Gray the third time through their lineup, although to be fair, they didn’t hit the ball particularly hard against him even then.
Robert Stephenson was brought in for a super-high leverage situation to relieve Gray — one out in the 6th and a runner on third with the Reds trailing 4-3. Stephenson threw 8 consecutive sliders to strike out the two batters he faced, preventing the run from scoring. In 12 innings, Stephenson has struck out 18 and walked only two.
The Reds defense left a lot to be desired. Eugenio Suarez bobbled a routine ground ball. Scott Schebler dropped an exchange on a fly ball, allowing a run to score. Jesse Winker had a rough night in LF, including playing a high fly ball down the line into a double. Winker had a long way to go because of the OF shift. Gray himself threw a wild pitch that led to a run.
Joey Votto made a nice play on an errant throw by Suarez in the 8th inning, preventing the leadoff runner from getting on base. Michael Lorenzen came in to play CF in the 9th and made a nice play ranging far into left-center to record a crucial out.
Wandy Peralta started the 7th inning and gave up two hits, with Atlanta cutting the lead to 7-5. Peralta has pitched 8 innings with 5 strikeouts and 3 walks. He did retire one batter before being lifted for David Hernandez. Hernandez struck out Josh Donaldson and Freddie Freeman to end the Atlanta threat.
Jared Hughes pitched the 8th. After a career year in 2018, Hughes has struggled in 2019. Relievers. He gave up a walk and a double, making the score 7-6. He then let Dansby Swanson steal third without a throw, representing the tying run. Hughes then struck out Tyler Flowers. Amir Garrett came in with 2 outs in the 8th and a runner on third to face fellow lefty Ender Inciarte. On the first pitch, Inciarte hit a routine ground ball to second for the third out.
Raisel Iglesais came on for the 9th. Matt Joyce doubled on Iglesias’ first pitch. The Reds then got a gift from Atlanta leadoff hitter Ozzie Albies who popped up a bunt for the first out. Josh Donaldson flew out to deep, deep left-center field. And Freddie Freeman grounded out to Joey Votto to end the game.
Yasiel Puig got the Reds on the board in the first inning, blasting the first pitch he saw from Kevin Gausman 432 feet into the upper deck in left-center. It was Puig’s third homer of the year. Jesse Winker, who had singled, scored on the play. Puig had the hardest-hit ball of the night for the Reds (111 mph EV), a ground ball out in the 5th inning. Puig’s homer EV was 105.7 mph.
— MLB (@MLB) April 23, 2019
Tucker Barnhart put the Reds ahead 3-0 in the bottom of the fourth with his second homer of the year.
Sonny Gray contributed two perfect sacrifice bunts to the offense, both on first pitches.
After the Reds had given up the lead in the top of the sixth, they put together a big bottom of the inning. Jose Iglesias singled, Derek Dietrich bunted for a single down the third baseline against the shift. Jose Peraza got ahead of a slider and pulled the ball down the third baseline for a double, scoring two runs and giving the Reds a 5-4 lead. Joey Votto walked and Eugenio Suarez was intentionally walked to load the bases. Manager David Bell lifted Jesse Winker against a LHP for pinch hitter Phillip Ervin. Ervin, who was called up today to take injured Matt Kemp’s place in the lineup, took a walk that forced in a run. Yasiel Puig followed with a sacrifice fly giving the Reds a 7-4 lead.
Joey Votto returned to David Bell’s lineup tonight after sitting out the last two games of the road trip with a stiff back. He walked three times and singled. Iglesias had two hits and reached on an error. Winker had a walk and a single.
The Reds, who were last in MLB in walks coming into the game, drew 8 unintentional free passes.
Power plus plate discipline is a winning formula.
The Reds announced they were flipping the starting pitchers on Thursday and Friday. Luis Castillo will pitch Thursday and Anthony DeSclafani will handle the first game against the Cardinals. Interesting choice to take Castillo out of the Cardinals series.
Senzel Debut in Louisville
Nick Senzel returned to regular game action tonight in Louisville after rehabbing his ankle in Goodyear. Senzel sprained his ankle sliding into 2B on March 25. Early estimates were that he would miss 6-8 weeks, but it’s only been four. Doug was at Senzel’s pre-game interview this afternoon. Watch the video of that interview here.
Senzel hit leadoff and played CF for the Bats. He singled in his first at bat.
— Louisville Bats (@LouisvilleBats) April 23, 2019
Senzel struck out three times at the plate and finished 1-for-5.
The Reds (9-13) play Atlanta (11-11) tomorrow in game two of the three game series at 6:40 p.m. at GABP. The starting pitchers are Tanner Roark and Mike Soroka (21, RH). I’m looking forward to attending my first game of the 2019 season.