While it was the offensive awakening in the 8th inning that won the game for the Cincinnati Reds last night, the pitching has been phenomenal to begin the 2019 season.
José Iglesias is the man of the hour after two, almost three, sensational defensive plays during last night’s come from behind win. Iglesias later homered in the 8th inning and Jesse Winker launched one of his own two batters later. But, as good as the defense was and while it’s nice to see the bats wake up, it’s been the Cincinnati Reds‘ pitching that’s led the charge so far in 2019.
It’s almost unfathomable to think that the Reds pitching could be the biggest strength of this year’s team, but it’s true. Perhaps more unlikely is the Reds’ offense being the reason for at least four of the team’s eight losses this season. The Reds have scored fewer than three runs in five contests so far this season.
The crazy thing is, despite the offensive ineptitude of this Cincinnati Reds team in the early going, they’ve been in almost every game until the last at-bat. With the exception of the 0-5 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates following a rainout, the Reds have been in every game heading into the ninth inning.
This is not due to the fantastic hitting that’s kept the team in ballgames, in fact, it’s far from it. It’s been the stellar pitching performance, not just from the starters, but from the entire pitching staff. Would you believe that the Cincinnati Reds are 6th in all of baseball and 2nd in the National League in team ERA?
Only the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Atlanta Braves have allowed fewer hits in the NL than the Reds early on this season and no one in the league has allowed fewer runs. The Cincinnati Reds are allowing just over 3 runs per game. When, not if, the offense finally finds a groove, this pitching staff will start accumulating wins not just quality starts.
Last night, Tyler Mahle looked shaky early on. He couldn’t seem to find the strike zone and walked 4 batters before settling down in the 3rd inning. Just when you thought Mahle was back on track, Neil Walker sent a big fly over the wall in right field to give the Miami Marlins a 1-0 lead.
Mahle then recorded eight consecutive outs before being pulled in favor of Jared Hughes to begin the 6th inning. Hughes went full on almost every batter he faced, but recorded 2 punch outs before being lifted in favor of Amir Garrett following a two-out walk.
Garrett took care of business in his 1.1 innings of work and maintained his flawless 0.00 ERA before giving way to Raisel Iglesias. Iglesias closed out the 9th with a 1-2-3 inning, all three strikeouts, and the Cincinnati Reds won their second consecutive game and their third on this young season.
While we’re all waiting for the Reds’ bats to wake up and maintain a certain level of productivity, this level of pitching is exactly what the Reds need if they hope to be competitive this season. So, while we hope to see the offense get going, let’s give credit where credit’s due. The Cincinnati Reds’ pitching staff has been lights out in the early going.