|Atlanta Braves (12-12)||2||11||0|
|Cincinnati Reds (10-14)||4||5||0|
|W: Castillo (3-1) L: Teheran (2-3)|
|FanGraphs Win Probability | Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread|
*Note: All text in italics written after rain delay. If it reads as a touch grumpier, know that the game should have been called and I do not apologize for silly decisions on the part of the umpiring crew.
Reds ace Luis Castillo looked shaky his first three innings, giving up plenty of hard contact but working around it thanks to some stellar defensive play. Dansby Swanson crushed a double in the second, and Nick Markakis hit the hardest ball of the game for a single in the third. A little bit more lift on either of those balls, and the Reds are looking at an early hole. Castillo settled down for innings four through six, setting the Braves down in order each time. He was pulled in the seventh after three straight singles to start the inning, but more on that later.
Castillo also collected his first hit of the season with a single in the third, so that’s nice for Luis.
Did this really happen? Luis Castillo, a hit? I’m unconvinced.
On the defensive note, Eugenio Suarez made the appetizer, Yasiel Puig gave us the main course, and Jose Iglesias sweetened it all with a little ice cream sundae in the fourth.
Oh, I long for the time, hours ago, when I felt enough joy to write such a sentence.
To end the first inning, Suarez made a lovely barehand on a slow Ronald Acuna groundball toward the third baseline, rifling it across the diamond to end the inning. Then in the fourth inning, Suarez made a backhanded grab on a grounder that Acuna absolutely toasted (98.3 mph exit velocity). Another strong throw to first and the Reds third bagger had frustrated the Braves wunderkind twice in the early goings.
There was no topping Mr. Puig’s defensive gem on this day though. After Freddie Freeman ripped a ball into the gap, Puig booted the ball initially but quickly collected it and unleashed a cannon to second base. Now, no one will call Freeman quick-footed, but Puig’s throw was money regardless. Right to the bag on the fly, getting the Reds out of the inning and out of danger.
Ah, the ol' "fake-bobble-make-it-look-like-he-missed-it-perfect-rocket-throw-off-his-back-leg-for-the-out" trick play pic.twitter.com/m0BC3XbD0h
— Joey Votto (@EvilJoeyVotto) April 25, 2019
And for the nightcap, Jose Iglesias, positioned perfectly up the middle, fielded Johan Carmago’s 104.6 mph daisycutter on a short hop and threw to first to end the inning. A Michelin-star performance by the Reds defense.
— Cincy Fan Zone (@CincyFanZone) April 26, 2019
Oh, I forgot to mention: The Reds scored some runs too. Or at least, Eugenio Suarez did. In the third, Suarez destroyed a pitch (99.8 exit velocity, 24 degree launch angle) for what looked like a sure home run, but settled for a run-scoring single instead. It would have been a double, but Acuna played the ball perfectly off the wall to throw Suarez out at second.
Then, with runners on the corners and two outs in the fifth, Suarez again mashed a ball to deep left center, doubling off the wall and bringing home both runners.
As for those aforementioned singles Castillo gave up to start the seventh? Well David Hernandez has some words for inherited runners scoring: “Not today.” Hernandez struck out the side, leaving the bases loaded and the shutout intact. In particular, his three-pitch strikeout of Ender Inciarte was a master class of pitching command and outdueling a hitter.
That could have been the end of it but no. The umpires are cruel gods to me and the other 13 people who stayed the game. “Why?!” I cried out, but heard nothing save the pitter-patter of rain on a tarp.
Jose Peraza walked in the first at-bat after the rain delay. I can only assume we entered a twilight zone and that it didn’t actually happen. I was teleported to a different reality where this Reds game continued while the rest of you got to live in the blissful world where it was called during the single-digit hours and everything felt normal and balanced.
Some baserunning notes:
- Jesse Winker taking second on a deep Yasiel Puig flyout: Smart.
- Jesse Winker thrown out at third after a Kyle Farmer sacrifice fly: Not Smart.
- Reds baserunning all season long: Priceless.
Raisel Iglesias converted a five-out save. It’s confirmed; this is the twilight zone. Or maybe the shadow realm. Regardless, it’s unexplored territory.
Joey Votto looked lost at the plate twice against Julio Teheran. In both his first and his third at-bat, Votto struck out on called strikes, seeming as if he couldn’t locate the ball out of Teheran’s hand. Votto did walk in his second at-bat so at least some things are constant.
Freedie Freeman crushed a baseball to center field off of Zach Duke, reaffirming my prior belief that this game should have been called during the rain delay. Also, poking a hole in the whole twilight zone theory. Freddie Freeman does tend to hit home runs after all.
Rain-delayed games are no fun, but this is my new favorite tweet. (Note: This tweet did not make up for the nearly three-hour long delay, during which I was forced to contemplate football, a sport which is simply not my forte.)
We've entered a rain delay in the middle of the 7th with the Reds leading 3-0. pic.twitter.com/8rV0GNvfiJ
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) April 26, 2019
Not So Random Thoughts
Jesse Winker is, and forever will be, the most delightful player on this Reds team. Puig claims the crown of most fun, Votto most entertaining, and Suarez most endearing, but Winker is just something else.
There's just something about those ballpark nachos… pic.twitter.com/SGYBqYXbuZ
— Cut4 (@Cut4) April 26, 2019
Kyler Murray was taken first overall in some draft tonight? But not the MLB draft where he was already taken ninth overall? And it was by a team named the Cardinals but not the St. Louis one? Somebody help me, I’m confused. At least his suit was fresh.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 26, 2019
More draft-related content: I watched the Vandy-Auburn game during the rain delay, reminding me that FanGraphs released its first mock draft yesterday. They forecast the Reds to take Vandy right fielder J.J. Bleday with the seventh overall pick. Having watched a lot of Bleday lately, I fully support that hypothetical. He’s a power lefty, with decent quickness in the outfield. Reminds me of Oregon State’s Trevor Larnach from last year, another power lefty outfielder who I was super high on. Point being: Bleday is a name to watch.
The Reds travel to St. Louis to play the Kyler Murray-less Cardinals. Game time at 7:15 CST.
Anthony Desclafani (0-1, 5.59 ERA) vs. Miles Mikolas (2-1, 4.97 ERA)
And now my watch has ended.