Cincinnati Reds rookie Graham Ashcraft earned his first career win against the San Francisco Giants in his home debut at Great American Ball Park. Ashcraft allowed just four hits over the span of 6.1 scoreless innings. The Reds emerged victorious with a final score of 5-1.
After a delayed start to Friday's series opener, Ashcraft came out firing on all cylinders. He started the game with an athletic play of his own to record the first out of the inning, and retired the side in order on eight pitches. He painted the edges of the plate, hitting 101 mph with ease.
The Giants started the second inning with back-to-back singles but Ashcraft managed to escape the jam unscathed. It was back to business for Ashcraft in the third, retiring the side in order yet again.
Reds RHP Graham Ashcraft was impressive in his GABP debut.
The Reds took a 1-0 lead in the third inning and didn't look back as Ashcraft held the Giants scoreless before reliever Alexis Díaz entered with one out in the seventh inning. Graham Ashcraft's final line was 6.1 innings pitched, four hits allowed, two walks, and a strikeout.
Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell certainly believes in Ashcraft's ability to help this team in big ways. After the game, via MLB.com, Bell made his feelings known that Ashcraft's success was no fluke.
"That’s how we really believe he’s going to be able to stay here for a long time. It’s one step at a time. Tonight was definitely a big one going against a good team, a good lineup, a lot of left-handed hitters. He pitched exactly how he wanted to and showed what he’s capable of."- David Bell, Reds manager
Here's a bold, but maybe not so bold prediction; Graham Ashcraft will thrive, assuming he's given the chance to play through his rookie season, in the big leagues. He's had great success in the minors, but has flown under the radar in comparision to the likes of Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo.
Ashcraft certainly has a bright future ahead of him if he can stay healthy. His ability to hit triple digits with ease, paired with his filthy off-speed instantly makes him a candidate to be one of the top pitchers of this Cincinnati Reds rotation.