The Reds jumped on board in the top of the first inning after Yu Darvish gave up a three-run Home Run to Mike Moustakas to put Cincinnati on top 3-0. Darvish walked both Nick Castellanos and Jesse Winker before the long ball from Moustakas. Entering tonight’s game, Darvish had won each of his last seven starts with an Earned Run Average under one at 0.98.
Mike Moustakas, the new guy. pic.twitter.com/zd2pJrNP8B
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) September 10, 2020
From that point on the offense was absolutely silent for both teams. The Cubs didn’t see a ball leave the infield until a base hit by Victor Caratini broke up Bauer’s no-hitter to begin the fifth inning. Bauer went on to throw 7 2/3 of shutout baseball before Lucas Sims and Raisel Iglesias slammed the door shut on the Cubbies. The Cincinnati pitching staff allowed just three hits and didn’t walk a batter (one hit by pitch).
Likewise, the Reds only managed four hits all game long even with the big first inning. Despite the lackluster offensive performance, the three early runs would be all the Reds would need to earn the 3-0 victory. It was the Cubs first shutout of the 2020 season.
The rubber match of the three-game series will take place tomorrow night at Wrigley Field at 8:15 p.m. Eastern Time. Sonny Gray (5-2, 3.19) will take the mound for the Reds versus Adbert Alzolay (0-1, 2.08) of the Cubs.
Trevor Bauer Returns to Dominance
After losing his last three outings, Bauer was back to his dominant self this evening throwing 7 2/3 spectacular innings of shutout baseball. Bauer allowed just three hits and struck out 10 batters in his time on the mound to earn his fourth victory of the season. It was Trevor’s third double-digit strikeout performance of the 2020 season and the 30th of his career.
Bauer also set a Cincinnati Reds club record for most strikeouts in the first eight appearances of a season. Now sitting at 71 strikeouts in 2020, he passed Johnny Cueto’s performance of 68 K’s through his first eight starts in 2014.
Trevor Bauer, Savage 3 Pitch K…and Side-Eye. pic.twitter.com/CCdVKdI01d
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 10, 2020
Now sitting at an Earned Run Average of 1.74, the third lowest in Major League Baseball, Bauer has reentered the Cy Young discussion if he can close the season out strong. One to never shy away from a good media opportunity, Bauer embraced the chance to throw against another NL Cy Young candidate in Yu Darvish saying postgame about his start “it demanded dominance, right?”
The Moose is Loose
After some inconsistent playing time due to a couple of different physical alignments, Mike Moustakas has started to hit the ball very well for the Reds. Moustakas is now 6 for his last 19 at the plate including tonight’s three-run Home Run that provided all of the Reds offense.
The consistent playing time seems to be serving Moose very well as he is finding his footing at the plate. He has an OPS well over .900 in the month of September now that he is back to playing every day.
Castellanos, Winker Continue to Struggle
Two of the Reds hottest hitters at one time have really fallen off the wagon of late. Nick Castellanos, who won the National League Player of the Week honors to begin the season, is now 3 for his last 33. His season batting average is down to .232.
Similarly, Jesse Winker, who was one of the best hitters in baseball just a month ago, is now 4-34 in his last 11 games. Winker’s batting average has dropped to .279 after being in the .340’s.
It is getting pretty late in the season to talk about the Reds making any sort of a run, but if there is to be any semblance of hope going forward both of Castellanos and Winker will need to get hot once again and consistently be reliable hitters for the rest of the season.
Shogo is Getting Hot
Over his last 10 games, including tonight and dating back to 8/30, Shogo is 8-for-23 .348 with a .483 on-base pct and 2 strikeouts in 29 plate apps.
— Jamie Ramsey (@Jamieblog) September 10, 2020
It may have taken the longtime Japanese Pacific League great a while to adjust to Major League pitching, but whatever adjustments Shogo Akiyama have made lately seem to be working.
Akiyama is hitting a team-leading .348 over the last 10 games with an On-Base Percentage of .483. The Reds still very much need guys like Castellanos, Winker, and Eugenio Suarez to get hot down the stretch, but some consistent play from Shogo Akiyama could help transform the offense as well.