The Cincinnati Reds picked up a doubleheader sweep behind strong starts from Anthony DeSclafani and Trevor Bauer against the Detroit Tigers on Sunday afternoon and evening.

Game 1 Recap

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (3-5)
4 7 1
Detroit Tigers (5-4)
3 4 0
W: Iglesias (1-1) L: Jimenez (0-1)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

If game one today didn’t perfectly encompass 2020 for the Cincinnati Reds then I don’t know what does. Anthony DeSclafani had an outstanding start, then the late innings saw an implosion. But things turned out well in the end as a run in the top of the 7th and final inning set things up for Raisel Iglesias for shut the Tigers down to seal the victory.

The Offense

Nick Castellanos is usually referred to as a doubles machine, but in the first game of today’s scheduled doubleheader it was Castellanos participating in a different kind of double – homering twice and driving in three runs. One of the Reds big offseason acquisitions has been making his presence felt all year and now has four homers on the season.

But once starting pitcher Rony Garcia was pulled, the offense went silent as reliever Tyler Alexander struck out nine straight batters – tying the American League record for consecutive strikeouts in a game. The streak ended when he hit Mike Moustakas in the forearm in the 6th inning, leading to the second baseman leaving the game for a pinch runner.

After a fiasco in the bottom of the 6th inning that tied the game up at 3-3, Freddy Galvis led off off with a double to deep center field. Tucker Barnhart then  singled to right, but Galvis was held at third to put runners on the corners with no outs for the top of the lineup. Holding Galvis worked out as Shogo Akiyama came through with a single to put Cincinnati ahead. That was the only run they’d get. It was the only one they needed because…..

The Pitching

Anthony DeSclafani was making his season debut in this one and he must have really wanted to get on the mound. A leadoff triple in the 3rd inning was the first time he faced some trouble, but he locked down and left the runner stranded as he held onto a 3-0 lead. The Reds right-hander was sitting at 64 pitches through 5.0 innings and allowed just three hits on the day before David Bell went to Lucas Sims for the 6th. After a lazy fly out to left and a strikeout came quickly, a single by Miguel Cabrera and a walk to C.J Cron brought the tying run to the plate for the Tigers. Sims then hit Christin Stewart to load the bases and put the tying run on.

Then 2020 showed it’s ugly face once again. Lucas Sims seemingly was out of it. A well hit ball into right-center looked to be caught as Nick Castellanos called off Nick Senzel, but then Castellanos had the ball go off of his glove and all three runners scored to tie the game up. That brought manager David Bell to the mound to call on Raisel Iglesias, who at one point seemed to balk in the go-ahead run, but the call was reversed and it never happened. He would then get a weak fly ball to shallow left field to end the inning and keep the game tied. Iglesias came back out for the 7th and made quick work of the Tigers, but not before partaking in an incredible play in the field himself. After a ball deflected off of Josh VanMeter, Iglesias scrambled to cover the bag as Kyle Farmer barehanded the ball and fired to a stretched out Iglesias to record the 2nd out of the inning.

Game 2 Recap

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (4-5)
4 11 0
Detroit Tigers (5-5)
0 2 0
W: Bauer (1-0) L: Norris (0-1)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

Trevor Bauer seemed to be holding a grudge against the entire city of Detroit after the debacle that was the rain-delay issue yesterday, and he took it out on the Tigers hitters as he fired a 2-hit shutout as the Cincinnati Reds (4-5) swept the doubleheader over the Detroit Tigers (5-5) on Sunday.

The Offense

The Reds didn’t waste much time getting on the board as Eugenio Suarez hit a ground-rule double and scored on a Matt Davidson single in the 1st inning to put Cincinnati on top. In the 2nd inning they would play add on after Christian Colon doubled down the line and scored on a single by Aristides Aquino. The offense ran starting pitcher Daniel Norris, who was making his 2020 debut, before the inning was over, but didn’t extend their lead.

In the 3rd inning Nick Senzel lined the ball to center and he used his speed to turn a single into a double, but hit the bag hard and was in clear pain with his left hand. The trainer came out to look at him and after checking him out, Senzel remained in the game. He was stranded on the bases.

The offense went rather quiet after that, but with strong pitching by Trevor Bauer the Reds didn’t need it for the most part. In the top of the 7th, though, they gave the pitching staff a bit more breathing room. Curt Casali was hit by a pitch with 1 out. Nick Senzel followed with another double to put runners on 2nd and third for Christian Colon. The Reds starting second baseman for the game came through with a single past a drawn in infield to make it 4-0.

The Pitching

Trevor Bauer, who was supposed to start on Saturday, took the mound for game two on Sunday with something to prove. He was frustrated at the timing of the announcement of the delayed start on Saturday, to which he had already began warming up for and thus making today’s start questionable for him.

After getting handed a 1-0 lead in the top of the 1st he worked around a 1-out walk. A similar fate was there in the 2nd as he worked around a 1-out single to hold onto what was then a 2-0 lead having thrown 35 pitches in the first two frames. It was more of the same in the 3rd, almost. This time Bauer had to work around a 2-out single that was followed by a walk, but he did just that – but it took 23 more pitches to get through the inning. Things went quickly in the 4th as Bauer went 1-2-3 and needed just 13 pitches to do so. The 5th inning would see the righty throw 18 pitches, but ultimately get two pop ups and a strikeout in the inning – holding onto a 2-0 lead and pushing his pitch count up to 90. The 6th inning was another quick one as Bauer needed just 13 pitches as he held onto the lead once again. David Bell gave Bauer a shot to pick up the complete game and he came through with a 10-pitch inning to pick up the win, complete game, and shutout.

Notes Worth Noting

Tyler Alexander set a new Major League record for consecutive strikeouts by a reliever with nine straight. That also tied the American League record for any pitcher, set by Doug Fister in 2012 (and led to one of the worst typos in the history of sports tweets). The Major League record remains safe for now, with Tom Seaver’s 10 straight.

In his first start of the season, Trevor Bauer averaged 94.6 MPH on his fastball in his first start of the season. But today he averaged 93.1 – likely due to the fact that he began to warm up yesterday and probably wasn’t quite at full strength on the day.

This was the first ever 7-inning doubleheader in Major League Baseball history. Embrace the weird in 2020 continues.

Nick Castellanos is hitting .387/.472/.871 on the year. Not a bad start to the season at the plate.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Cleveland vs Cincinnati

Monday August 3rd, 6:40pm ET

Zach Plesac (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs Sonny Gray (2-0, 0.71 ERA)