|San Francisco Giants (27-16)||4||9||0|
|Cincinnati Reds (19-22)
|W: Gausman (4-0) L: Miley (4-4)
|Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread|
Every pitcher who goes through the early years of his major league career on an average to below-average effectiveness path wants to have a story like Kevin Gausman can tell after he beat the Cincinnati Reds, 4-0, for the San Francisco Giants Wednesday evening.
In late 2019, Gausman came to the Reds from Atlanta as a pitcher with a below-.500 career record and a career ERA around the 4.50 mark. We typically expect pitchers like that to drift from team to team, showing enough glimmers of effectiveness to keep other teams’ eyes on them. But after a few weeks under the watchful eye of Reds pitching coach Derek Johnson, he finished his Cincinnati portion of the season with 29 strikeouts in 22.1 innings. He opened a lot of eyes in Redleg Nation with his season-ending relief work, before the season ended with his contract expiring.
He signed with the Giants, who told him he would be considered as a starter. Since then, he’s added a splitter that just might be the toughest pitch to hit in baseball, has gone 7-3, and has become arguably the best starting pitcher in the National League West, a division full of star hurlers.
He had the benefit of facing a Cincinnati lineup tonight without Joey Votto, Mike Moustakas and Nick Senzel, but he still looked like a big one that got away.
In the bottom of the fifth, Tucker Barnhart led off with the Reds’ first hit, a double to left-center. After Kyle Farmer struck out (was literally robbed when the home plate umpire called two clear balls as strikes), Shogo Akiyama walked to put runners at first and second with one out. Jonathan India battled Kevin Gausman through an eight-pitch at-bat but ended up grounding into a 5-3 double play.
In the ninth, Jesse Winker walked and Nick Castellanos singled, but nothing materialized. Winker, Castellanos and maybe Tyler Stephenson are the only consistent offensive threats for Cincinnati at the moment.
Fantastic until the ninth inning. Newcomer Michael Feliz was electric, striking out three of the four batters he faced. Why David Bell went with Carson Fulmer in the ninth instead of Heath Hembree or Tejay Antone is a great question that hopefully the manager will address.
I’m really warming up to a core bullpen of Amir Garrett, Lucas Sims, Antone, Hembree and Feliz for close-game situations. That being said, I still would like Antone in the rotation. Even without him, it looks at the moment that David Bell has four bullpen arms he can call upon with some degree of confidence. The next pitcher they need to find is a replacement for Fulmer, who has shown no signs that he will overcome the control problems that have plagued him so far in his career. He’s the non-Gausman version of a pitcher with a good arm who keeps attracting other teams’ interest but can’t find a way to reverse his fortunes.
Notes Worth Noting
The Reds failed in their quest to avoid falling three games below .500 for the first time since they were 9-12 on April 25.
Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds
San Francisco Giants at Cincinnati Reds
Thursday, May 20, 12:35 p.m. ET
Johnny Cueto (2-1, 3.62 ERA) vs Tyler Mahle (2-1, 2.93 ERA)