DeSclafani goes six strong, weathers delay in debut
Righty tosses four scoreless before rain, fans six in first Reds outing
CINCINNATI -- Gone are the days for starting pitchers to wait out rain delays playing cards or watching television. The Reds knew on Thursday that if their latest of three straight games with a delay was short enough, Anthony DeSclafani would be able to continue against the Pirates.
On Monday, a 35-minute rain delay interrupted ace Johnny Cueto's day before he returned. On Thursday, DeSclafani waited out a one-hour, 14-minute delay after he worked the top of the fourth inning and then idled some additional time as his team batted in the bottom of the fourth.
"It wasn't that tough, because we kept [DeSclafani] active," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "We didn't sit him for an hour and then say, 'Hey, let's crank it back up.' We had some protocols in place -- I think most teams do, to keep their starter fresh -- to make sure he's moving around and throwing. He threw a simulated inning underground in our batting cages."
DeSclafani did not figure in the final decision, a 3-2 walk-off victory for the Reds over the Pirates that came in the bottom of the ninth. He had a respectable outing with two earned runs and five hits over six innings, with one walk and six strikeouts in his debut for Cincinnati. It was also the first time he had ever faced Pittsburgh.
The Reds acquired DeSclafani in the December trade that sent pitcher Mat Latos to the Marlins.
"It's obviously good to get the first one out of the way and throw well the first time out there," said DeSclafani, who threw 73 pitches in the game and more inside during the delay. "Hopefully I will just build off of that."
DeSclafani worked four scoreless innings before the delay, but he hit some trouble in the fifth after he returned. Back-to-back singles started the inning, and the bases were loaded after Josh Harrison was hit by a pitch with two outs. The first run scored on an infield hit by Gregory Polanco. In the sixth, Pedro Alvarez made it a 2-0 game with a two-out homer to left field.
"To his credit, I thought [DeSclafani] actually came back with better stuff," Price said. "I thought he did a terrific job after six innings."
"I was able to use my changeup a lot more today and get some outs," DeSclafani said. "That was really good to see. I'm glad we were able to get the first three games and win them all, especially for the fans here and as a team. It's going to help us moving forward."