A milestone night for Lamb, rotation
Left-hander earns first MLB win as Reds tie modern record for rookie starts
CINCINNATI -- There will likely be little to no fanfare on Friday vs. the Cardinals when the Reds break a 113-year-old Major League record by having a rookie pitcher -- Michael Lorenzen -- start in a 42nd consecutive game.
The pitcher who helped the Cincinnati tie the record set by the 1902 Cardinals, John Lamb, was able to defeat the 2015 version of the St. Louis club for his first big league win during an 11-0 blowout victory on Thursday at Great American Ball Park.
As has been the case over several of the 41 starts from an all-rookie Reds rotation since veterans Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake were traded in late July, Lamb's outing was hardly a smooth affair. Over his five scoreless innings, the left-hander gave up only three hits but also allowed six walks. He picked himself up with six strikeouts and induced two double plays.
"I certainly feel like I got away with something tonight," said Lamb, who came over in the July 26 trade that sent Cueto to the Royals. "Obviously, it helps that we had offense that was swinging the sticks like they were tonight. It was just a crazy game."
Lamb was 0-3 with a 6.11 ERA coming in and the Reds were 0-5 in the previous five games he started. His record does not convey a complete story as Lamb had some potentially nice starts derailed by one bad inning, as is wont to happen to many a rookie.
Entering the game, Lamb had only seven walks, compared to 33 strikeouts.
"He was all over the place," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "We haven't seen him like this. It's not something we anticipate seeing very often. It happens from time to time. … It was very impressive in an ugly way."
Lamb started the first inning with back-to-back walks before escaping. He also loaded the bases with two outs and escaped by getting Mark Reynolds to strike out on a full-count fastball.
"Personally, frustrated, just battling and trying to establish that strike zone, get those hitters swinging," Lamb said. "It's disappointing walking six guys. At the same time, the bittersweet side is today I got away with it. I certainly don't see myself getting away with it moving forward."
Eight rookies have made 87 starts for the Reds overall, burying the previous club record of 77 by the 2001 club. Leake's July 28 start vs. the Cardinals was the last non-rookie to pitch for Cincinnati.
Since then, the Reds rotation has posted a 5.28 ERA, and a 10-21 record. Anthony DeSclafani and Raisel Iglesias would seem to be locks for the 2016 rotation while Lamb, Lorenzen, Jon Moscot and others will be vying for spots next spring.
"These rookies, next year we're going to ask a lot out of them," Reds third baseman Todd Frazier said. "Because who knows if Homer [Bailey] will be healthy. Who knows who we have coming back. We're looking for a strong pitching staff."