At one point in tonight’s match-up against the Reds, Trevor Richards threw a fastball slightly too high. The ump correctly called it a ball, Richards slapped himself in the chest, and from that point I knew the Marlins were going to win this game.
Richards looked relentless coming off of last night’s embarrassing blowout. Something about the way he drew up tonight’s formula looked almost poetic. Like it had a meter and rhythm to it. Top-to-bottom, the Reds struggled with Richards’ refrain of up-top fastballs and his signature, devastating changeup.
Unfortunately, all that would be for nothing thanks to a poor performance by Drew Steckenrider and some seriously silent bats.
Richards’ biggest struggle throughout his young career has been the first inning, and tonight looked like it would be no different. Dropping several early-count breaking balls in the dirt, he racked up 25 pitches and was only saved by a great defensive play courtesy of Lewis Brinson. That throw from Brinson, while impressive, was also aided by the fact that Joey Votto is now 35 and slower than a month of Sundays.
Tyler Mahle took the bump for the Reds tonight and overall had a strong outing. Over the course of five innings, he gave up two hits and four walks. Only Neil Walker’s third inning homerun marred his score sheet, but it wouldn’t make a difference by the end of the game. Despite the Redlegs throwing out a bullpen of guys I definitely had to Google, the Marlins managed a catatonic three hits and 14 strikeouts.
Gather round now, let’s chat about Lewis Brinson.
Just to get this off my chest, I’ve currently got on a Brinson shirt. While that doesn’t mean I’m taking off the shirt, I’ll not tolerate any slander...yet.
Tonight was Brinson’s career hat trick Golden Sombrero. If you aren’t well-versed in the legalese of what constitutes a G.S., Dear Reader it is definitely not the “fun vodka aunt on an overdue Tijuana vacation” head vessel that it sounds like it might be. It means he struck out four times in tonight’s game against the Cincinnati Reds. In the 2nd, 4th, 6th, and as the penultimate batter of this godforsaken game, he was painfully sent packing. Hopefully, tomorrow’s early start at the Great American Launching Pad will give him an opportunity to break out of his egregiously long power slump.
Jared Hughes entered in the top of the 6th inning for the Reds with a 4.59 ERA, and immediately utilized that characteristic sinking fastball that helped him such earn high praise towards the end of last season. It only took him four Fish to pass the torch to Amir Garrett.
Garrett took over and quickly accumulated what seemed to be a grim situation. With Curtis Granderson at the plate, Rosell Herrera managed to record only the fourth stolen base of the early season for the Marlins. Regardless of the minor success in getting a man in scoring position, Granderson would strike out on the next pitch to close out the inning.
Despite looking ready to close out the game and tie the series in Cincy, Drew Steckenrider was haunted from the specter of last night’s long ball. Ugh.
The Reds and Marlins will wrap things up tomorrow with a matinee finale. Kicking things off at 12:35 ET, Pablo López will be the first lefty starter that the Reds have faced so far this season. My favorite (only?) oxymoronic player, Sonny Gray, will take the bump for the Reds with a 2.89 ERA over 9.1 IP. Hopefully the Fish can salvage something out of this road trip before heading back to the safe, distant outfield walls of Marlins Park to meet up with the Philadelphia Phillies.
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