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DeSclafani wraps up first full season in Majors

CINCINNATI -- In the moments soon after a rough conclusion to his 2015 season, it was difficult for Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani to see the positives from his rookie year. But from the club's perspective, it was a year in which it saw a lot to like.

After he retired his first eight batters in a row Wednesday night, with six strikeouts, DeSclafani was touched up for five earned runs and eight hits over five-plus innings in the Reds' 10-3 loss to the Cubs.

"I guess it's a good season overall. I'm definitely disappointed with the way I ended," said DeSclafani, who walked two and struck out eight. "It's not the ending I had in mind. I had a couple of goals I wanted to reach this year that I hadn't reached. It's definitely going to leave a sour taste in my mouth going into the offseason. It's just going to make me work harder and come back next year and accomplish some goals I'll set for myself."

DeSclafani's goals had included more wins and more innings. Over a team-high 31 starts and 184 1/3 innings pitched, DeSclafani was 9-13 with a 4.05 ERA, 55 walks and 131 strikeouts. He was the first Reds rookie pitcher with 30 starts since Johnny Cueto in 2008. Seventeen of his starts were quality outings.

The final three starts were not strong performances. DeSclafani went 0-3 with an 8.04 ERA, as he allowed 14 earned runs in only 15 2/3 innings. It raised his overall ERA by nearly half a point, from 3.67.

Once Cueto and Mike Leake were traded in July, the 25-year-old DeSclafani found himself the unlikely senior member of an all-rookie rotation that has made 102 starts this season. A rookie has started a Major League-record 60 straight games for Cincinnati.

"What am I going to say about this kid? He's kind of been a saving grace for this staff," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "It certainly wasn't the type of game he wanted to finish the season. In the end, the kid topped the 180-innings mark, went all the way through, made all of his starts, and we think the world of this guy. He's going to have a terrific career in Cincinnati. He finally really did pitch a full Major League season, and it will pay dividends down the road."

DeSclafani will be one of the locks for the 2016 rotation, along with veteran Homer Bailey and fellow rookie Raisel Iglesias. The rest of the starting five will be up for grabs, with a myriad of possibilities.

With a 1-0 lead in the third inning, Wednesday's outing got away from DeSclafani against, of all hitters, Cubs pitcher Jon Lester. Following an 0-2 count to Lester, four straight balls were thrown for a two-out walk. Kyle Schwarber was next with a single, and Austin Jackson hit a two-run double that put the Cubs ahead for good.

"I was feeling good up until that point there. I think maybe I was trying to get a little greedy and go for the punchout," DeSclafani said. "I ended up falling behind the guy, and all of a sudden, I'm walking him. Things kind of spiraled there, and I kind of hit a wall going into the next inning. I just wasn't able to finish the game the way I wanted to."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.
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