After dropping two out of three games to begin the season against the Detroit Tigers, the Reds were slated to host the Chicago Cubs in a 4-game series beginning tonight at 6:40 p.m. Eastern Time. However, Mother Nature had other ideas. About 30 minutes prior to the first pitch the Great American Ball Park grounds crew put the tarp on the field and we were officially under a weather delay.
Finally, after a one hour and forty-three minute rain relay veteran left-hander Wade Miley took the mound to begin the game. Once things were underway it quickly went south for the Reds. In his Cincinnati debut, Miley gave up four runs in the top of the 1st inning and two more in the 2nd before being pulled after just 1 2/3 innings of work.
The Reds started to make things interesting in the bottom of the 7th inning when Tyler Stephenson hit a Home Run in his first Major League at-bat to dead Center Field and Castellanos singled to drive in Joey Votto. Then, Josh VanMeter came to the plate with the bases loaded but was struck out by Ryan Tepera and the Cubs lead remained 8-3.
The game got even tighter in the bottom of the 8th inning when, with two outs, Stephenson singled and Phillip Ervin walked before they advanced via a wild pitch. Then, Joey Votto drove them in with a single to Right Field to cut the deficit to 8-5. However, the game would still get more exciting from there.
In the bottom of the 9th inning, veteran Closer Craig Kimbrel entered for the Cubs and proceeded to walk four, and hit a batter, while only securing one out. The Reds had the bases loaded when the Cubs finally pulled Kimbrel and trailed just 8-7. However, while both facing full-counts, Ervin struck out swinging and Votto lined out to Center Field to fall just short of a miraculous comeback.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) July 28, 2020
Due to the rain delay, and the late heroics from the Reds, this game is ended about 12:20 a.m. so I will keep this short and sweet. When games end late like this I will run with a Good, Bad, and Ugly format to keep things simple. However, to always end things on a positive note it will be the Good, Bad, Ugly, and Awesome. Maybe that is silly, but it is late as I write this so bear with me.
The Good: Tejay Antone’s Major League Debut
— FOX Sports Cincinnati (@FOXSportsCincy) July 28, 2020
After Wade Miley lasted only 1 2/3 innings, David Bell turned to 26 year old right-hander Tejay Antone to eat up some bullpen work. Showcasing a live arm and some tight action on his breaking ball, Antone ended up going 4 1/3 innings while striking out 5 and giving up a Home Run to Anthony Rizzo as the lone hit allowed. A starter during his Minor League career, Antone showcased good enough stuff to potentially earn at least a spot-start at some point this season.
Tejay Antone’s 5 K's are the most by #Reds reliever in his debut since Ariel Hernandez had 5 strikeouts on 4/24/17 at Mil.
— Lance McAlister (@LanceMcAlister) July 28, 2020
The Bad: At-Bats vs. Jon Lester
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 28, 2020
Jon Lester exited the game with a no-hitter after 5 innings of work in his season debut. The left-hander only struck out one batter, but the Reds really didn’t hit a ball hard besides Phillip Ervin’s leadoff line drive at the Left Fielder. The bats woke up against the Cubs bullpen later in the game, but it still ended up being too little, too late. Furthermore, Eugenio Suarez is now 0-13 at the plate through the first four games of the season.
The Ugly: Wade Miley’s Reds’ Debut
The bar was set impossibly high after the back-to-back-to-back starts from Sonny Gray, Luis Castillo, and Trevor Bauer to begin the season. That trio combined for 18 1/3 innings and 33 strikeouts while giving up just 3 runs on 11 hits. Unfortunately, the streak of outstanding starting pitching performances ended at three. Miley exited after just 1 2/3 innings giving up six runs, five of them earned.
The Awesome: Tyler Stephenson’s Major League Debut
First MLB AB, first MLB dinger!
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) July 28, 2020
Teammate Tejay Antone stole the show in his debut performance out of the bullpen, but it was Tyler Stephenson that made the biggest splash by the end of the night. After entering the game defensively in the 7th inning, Stephenson parked a Home Run onto the grassy knoll in Center Field in his first MLB at-bat. He followed it up with a hard hit single in his second plate appearance. It was a heck of a welcome to the big leagues for the former First Round pick Catcher.