Reds pitcher steals show in the broadcast booth with wild Fernando Cruz prediction

Tejay Antone has become a prognosticator.
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Fernando Cruz
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Fernando Cruz / Emilee Chinn/Cincinnati Reds/GettyImages
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The Bally Sports broadcast team had a guest in the booth for Tuesday's game against the Philadelphia Phillies. Injured Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tejay Antone joined John Sadak and Barry Larkin on the broadcast. Antone is recovering from elbow surgery and was making a guest appearance much like Tyler Stephenson and Joey Votto did following their season-ending injuries in 2022.

Antone is, of course, part of the Reds bullpen and is quite familiar with Fernando Cruz. The Reds reliever has become well known throughout baseball for his virtually un-hittable splitter. Cruz, who calls the pitch a gift from God, has a 75.7% whiff rate and 81.8% strikeout rate when throwing his split-finger fastball. The expected batting average on Cruz's splitter is .025.

During the fifth inning, Reds manager David Bell yanked started Andrew Abbott in favor of Cruz with the bases loaded, one out, and Trea Turner up to bat. Antone was sitting in the broadcast booth and gave a prognostication that was spot on.

Reds pitcher Tejay Antone steals show with wild Fernando Cruz prediction

With Turner down 1-2, Sadak asked Antone, "Does he set him up for the split now?" Antone playfully laughed, knowing exactly what was coming next.

"It's a given," Antone said, "Trea Turner knows it's coming right here, and he'll still swing at it." A few seconds later, Cruz delivered the splitter, Turner swung and missed, and Antone became the new version of Nostradamus. Antone later joked that he felt like NFL analyst Tony Romo who famously calls out the plays ahead of time during his broadcasts.

Cruz then induced a fly out to J.T. Realmuto and left the bases loaded in the top of the fifth inning. At the time, the Reds led 5-1. A blast off the bat of Turner or Realmuto would have been problematic for the Reds in that situation.

Cruz has become, arguably, the best reliever in the Reds bullpen. Alexis Diaz may close out ballgames, but when Bell needs a strikeout, he's going to Cruz. The reliever, who made his major league debut at age 32, is in his second full season in the big leagues and doesn't become a free agent until 2029. The Reds have something very special in Fernando Cruz.

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