Bye Bye Brewers
For the final time of 2018, the Cincinnati Reds faced off against the Milwaukee Brewers. In the three-game series, there were some positives, matched by many negatives. Ultimately, the Reds dropped two of three games to their division rival.
In the two games the Reds lost, they were clearly outmatched by the Brewers, their lone win, however, was the game that meant the most. Anthony DeSclafani, Michael Lorenzen and Matt Harvey got the call during the midweek series.
DeSclafani, who has often been thought of as the Reds future ace, took the hill on Monday night. He faced a potent Brewers’ lineup that was hungry with their playoff hopes on the line. The result of the first game in Milwaukee was one that would not please fans in Cincinnati.
DeSclafani felt pressure right off the bat, allowing two hits in the first before he was able to escape, followed by a perfect second inning. Unfortunately, that would be the last inning that went in favor of the Reds.
After a walk and a double, Lorenzo Cain hit a ball far enough allowing Curtis Granderson to score. DeSclafani was able to work his way out of the jam, stranding two Brewers on base. Two innings later, the Brewers broke the game open on a pair of home runs. Domingo Santana sent a ball deep to center followed by MVP candidate Christian Yelich hitting a two-run shot of his own.
DeSclafani would be replaced at the start of the sixth inning by Wandy Peralta. Peralta lasted a mere three batters, recording just one out before being replaced by Jesus Reyes. Reyes allowed a run to the first batter he faced due to Eugenio Suarez’s 19th error in 2018. The most notable moment of Reyes relief appearance came at the hands of Yelich.
Christian Yelich vs. The Reds
Yelich has hit for the cycle once in his career. To remember his first cycle, one would have to go all the way back to August 29, less than one month ago, against who else but the Reds. It is only the third time in MLB history a player has hit two cycles in one season, and the first time a player has done it twice against the same team.
As far as the Reds offensive output, there was none. Wade Miley threw five innings of five-hit baseball. Josh Hader relieved him in the sixth and did the only thing he knows how to do and struck out all three Reds that stepped into the batter’s box. Brandon Woodruff pitched the final three innings and only ran into trouble in the ninth, but following Blake Trahan’s leadoff single, a double play made the game all but over.
In game two of the series, Lorenzen got the call, making his first start since his rookie season in 2015. Lorenzen had been with the club for the entire season but only made appearances out of the bullpen.
It was expected that he would have a short leash, due to it being his first start, and that is exactly what happened. Sal Romano relieved Lorenzen after just four innings, but what he did in those four innings gave the team hope for a second chance at him starting.
Lorenzen allowed just three baserunners in his four innings, two of which received a free pass. The third Brewer to reach base produced the only run he surrendered in his start. Aside from the hit by pitch and single, he never faced any other pressure.
The bullpen continued its surprising season, throwing five near-perfect innings, with just two hits and one walk. The dominant pitching performance helped the Reds game two, despite a mediocre offensive output.
The Reds shot out the gate, taking a two-run lead in the first inning when the NL hits leader among shortstops, Jose Peraza, hit a two-run home run. The only other run in the ballgame came when Scott Schebler hit a double past Yelich, scoring Brandon Dixon.
After the fourth inning, the only offensive output came in the form of singles spread out throughout the innings and a lone walk. Raisel Iglesias closed the door for his 28th save of the season, setting up the rubber match on Wednesday.
The Rubber Match
In the tie-breaking game, Harvey looked to lead the Reds to victory, while increasing his value for his upcoming free agency. That was not the case Wednesday. Harvey was unable to make it past the sixth inning, giving up seven runs on seven hits and two walks.
The runs came early, as Jesus Aguilar drove in Yelich in the first inning. Aguilar decided to do a little more damage in his second at-bat, with a three-run home run in the third inning. Manny Pina put an end to Harvey’s outing when he hit a three-run home run of his own in the sixth inning.
The bullpen duo of Matt Wisler and Jackson Stephens combined for 2 2/3 innings of near-perfect baseball. The only baserunner allowed was on a Stephens walk. As for the offense, see game one of the series for a reference. The Reds were shutout for the second time in the three-game set. Aside from game two, it was a series to forget in Milwaukee.
Meeting in Miami
The Reds play in a basically meaningless four-game series against the Miami Marlins, who boast the worst record in the National League. The series with Miami will be played to help see where the two teams will be drafted.
The players to watch in the upcoming series will be Luis Castillo facing his former team and Lorenzen getting another chance to start to end the season. The Reds are well aware of what the offense is capable of, but if Castillo can continue to improve and Lorenzen shows he may very well be a starter, the Reds may be just a starter away from contending in a tough NL Central division.