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DeSclafani delivers best start of season in win

Reds right-hander throws eight innings without allowing a runner to reach second base
MLB.com @m_sheldon

CINCINNATI -- Anthony DeSclafani is just four starts into his second full Major League season for the Reds, but that's tough to remember sometimes, because he carries himself like a detail-oriented veteran. It was something a young and inexperienced rotation lacked while he and Homer Bailey have been on the disabled list.

Other Cincinnati starters would be wise to have paid attention to DeSclafani's eight-inning performance during a 3-0 blanking of the Padres on Sunday, ending the Reds' four-game losing streak. It was his fourth start since returning from a left oblique strain suffered late in Spring Training.

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CINCINNATI -- Anthony DeSclafani is just four starts into his second full Major League season for the Reds, but that's tough to remember sometimes, because he carries himself like a detail-oriented veteran. It was something a young and inexperienced rotation lacked while he and Homer Bailey have been on the disabled list.

Other Cincinnati starters would be wise to have paid attention to DeSclafani's eight-inning performance during a 3-0 blanking of the Padres on Sunday, ending the Reds' four-game losing streak. It was his fourth start since returning from a left oblique strain suffered late in Spring Training.

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"That was as good as I've seen Disco since I've caught him," Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart said. "This year I know he's only had a few starts, but last year, too. He had command of absolutely everything."

Video: SD@CIN:DeSclafani picks off Upton Jr. at first base

That included the running game, as no San Diego player reached second base all day. DeSclafani stepped off the rubber and helped throw out Alexei Ramirez trying to steal in the first inning and had a straight pickoff of Melvin Upton Jr. at first base in the fifth inning. Barnhart also threw out Upton trying to steal in the top of the second.

Manager Bryan Price talked to Bailey in the dugout Sunday about how he used to not hold runners and be susceptible to steals when he was a young pitcher. Now the Reds have a whole fleet of younger pitchers.

"When you kind of talk about rebuilding a franchise, if you're going to do it with young players, they're going to learn here what they can and can't do," Price said. "We learned how deliberate our starters were at second base. They were running like crazy stealing third base. The league will tell you what you need to improve upon. We've had to have the patience and the work ethic to continue to extract the most out of these guys. They're going to get better, but sometimes, it's the growing pains in the early stages when those little detail pieces aren't there yet and they're exploited."

On the mound, DeSclafani gave up five hits with no walks, one hit batter and struck out five while throwing 117 pitches. The 26-year-old has a 1.52 ERA in four starts.

"It's not going to be every game you get eight shutout innings," DeSclafani said. "I'll take it, and hopefully I can stay in a rhythm, keep attacking hitters and just be able to provide innings for this club."

It was the first Reds' shutout win of the season, the second eight-inning start from the rotation and the third time that a starter has gone at least seven innings in back-to-back starts -- joining Dan Straily and John Lamb.

Another key on a hot afternoon with temperatures in the 90s was that DeSclafani kept the game moving. He had one 20-pitch inning the whole day, which came in the eighth.

"He was amazing. That was the Disco we saw glimpses of in the past, and I hope everybody here in Reds country can see for a long time," Reds right fielder Jay Bruce said.

Bruce told young lefties like Brandon Finnegan and Cody Reed to watch how DeSclafani handles himself.

"These are guys that need somebody to watch and Disco's one of those guys," Bruce said. "He's going out there and taking care of business. He understands how to pitch, he understands what it means to have a rhythm and a tempo and play ball."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cincinnati Reds, Anthony DeSclafani