CINCINNATI -- Before Wednesday's game against the Dodgers, Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman discussed the early removals of his younger starting pitchers and the data the club has about their difficulties when facing opponents' batting orders the third time around.During Cincinnati's 8-1 loss at Great American Ball Park, veteran Anthony
CINCINNATI -- Before Wednesday's game against the Dodgers, Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman discussed the early removals of his younger starting pitchers and the data the club has about their difficulties when facing opponents' batting orders the third time around.
During Cincinnati's 8-1 loss at Great American Ball Park, veteran Anthony DeSclafani's trouble wasn't and hasn't been the third time through the order but the second time. DeSclafani retired his first nine batters, then struggled to negotiate Los Angeles hitters in the fourth and fifth innings. He finished with six runs (five earned), five hits and three walks (one intentional) allowed over 4 2/3 frames with five strikeouts.
"Anthony was especially good the first three innings," Riggleman said. "You know things happen. He gives us a great effort. We've got to figure it out. We've got to be better. He's doing everything he can. He's a great competitor. I know he's frustrated with it."
Jose Peraza's first-inning homer gave the Reds a 1-0 lead, but the Dodgers scored eight unanswered runs after that. Joc Pederson opened the fourth by hitting a 3-2 pitch to center field for a home run. With two outs, Player Page for Max Muncy singled and scored on Yasmani Grandal's double.
"I felt good today," said DeSclafani, who is 7-5 with a 4.80 ERA in 18 starts this season. "I was rolling, and then I gave up that leadoff bomb to Joc and they ended up putting up one more that inning. It seemed like every time I got on, I wasn't able to get that big pitch or that big out to take care of that inning and put a stop to it."
A leadoff walk from DeSclafani to Yasiel Puig was the catalyst to a four-run fifth inning. A one-out double to short left field by Pederson set up Justin Turner's two-run single to center field. A two-out walk to Muncy brought Riggleman out to get DeSclafani. Muncy would score an unearned run when Cody Bellinger reached on a fielding error by second baseman Scooter Gennett.
This season when facing lineups for the first time, DeSclafani's opponents' batting average is .211 with six home runs and 13 runs. But it goes up to .306 with nine homers and 24 runs the second time around.
"I don't really care what, where the lineup is -- whether it's the first, second or third -- I'm just a believer that if you make your pitches, you're going to get your outs," DeSclafani said. "It can be the fourth time or the fifth time, it's irrelevant. But these past three outings, I haven't gotten through that second time or past that third time, and it's definitely frustrating to say the least. I've just got to figure out a way to get through these lineups, whether it's being more efficient or whatnot, I'm not sure."
DeSclafani opened August with an 0.83 ERA over the month's first three starts -- all seven innings or more. Although he pitched at least six frames the next two times out, his numbers since mid-August have not sparkled. Over his last five starts, he is 1-2 with a 6.84 ERA. He hasn't completed five innings in any of his last three outings.
"It seems like I have a good stretch of outings and then a bad stretch," DeSclafani said. "I've just got to keep those bad stretches to a minimum and I'd be better off."
It took until the final game of their season series, but the Dodgers notched their first win against the Reds after dropping the first six contests.
"It's been happening -- not with Anthony -- but with a lot of guys who as hitters are making it tough," Riggleman said. "Hitters are making it tough to go through three times, sometimes even two times. It's the progress that they've made. Hitters have made great adjustments; now pitchers have to make adjustments."
HE SAID IT
"There's not really a lull in that lineup. It seems like every guy that comes up can potentially be a three or four guy on every other team. It's definitely an impressive lineup, to say the least. I feel if you execute pitches and mix in and out, you at least give yourself a chance to succeed, and I'm just not making pitches at times." -- DeSclafani, on the Dodgers' lineup.
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
When Grandal hit a fourth-inning drive towards the top of the right-field wall, a young fan with a glove reached over the fence and caught the ball. It was ruled fan interference, and Grandal was awarded a double. Because there were two outs and Muncy was on the move from first base, umpire discretion allowed him to score. The Reds challenged the placement of the runners, but replay officials determined that the call stands.
Following a day off on Thursday, the final Reds road trip begins at 2:20 p.m. ET Friday against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Coming off of a strong performance, Matt Harvey will be on the mound to start against Cole Hamels. Harvey struck out 10 over six innings in Saturday's 7-2 win over the Padres. It marked the first time he recorded double-digit strikeouts in a game since May 8, 2016, while with the Mets.
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.