Iglesias may have pitched his way into rotation
Called up to make 2nd MLB start, Reds rookie takes no-no into 6th, shutout into 8th for 1st win
CINCINNATI -- As Raisel Iglesias started cruising through his second Major League start for the Reds on Wednesday, two questions probably came to mind to everyone watching.
Can Iglesias throw a no-hitter? Will the Reds actually send the Cuban back to Triple-A after a performance like this?
The no-hitter ended after five innings, but after a 5-1 victory over Atlanta in which he pitched brilliantly for eight innings with just two hits allowed to get his first big league win, Iglesias might not be going anywhere.
"Yeah, there is a scenario [where Iglesias stays], and we're discussing it," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "The one thing we have to be aware of with all of our young pitchers is the innings they're going to be able to tackle over the course of the year."
One of those young pitchers, Michael Lorenzen, will be skipped from his next start and available from the bullpen beginning on Thursday. The Reds have two off-days next week that allow them to tinker with the rotation. Lorenzen, as a rookie, isn't expected to make over 30 starts in his first year and will have an innings cap.
"It'll be very similar with Iggy. There's a chance he could spend periods of time in our bullpen when he's not starting," Price said. "We're definitely kicking the tires on that option."
Iglesias, who pitched five innings in his big league debut on April 12 vs. the Cardinals, was sent to Triple-A to get more experience starting. He was needed on Wednesday after a rainout last week forced the Reds to play a doubleheader vs. the White Sox on Saturday.
"I started working on staying deep in the game and having confidence in my pitches," Iglesias said through translator Tomas Vera. "That's what happened tonight. What gave me that confidence was going down and doing what I did in Triple-A."
Iglesias began Wednesday with a walk to Nick Markakis before he retired his next 12 in a row and 15 of his first 17 batters. Iglesias changed speeds, arm angles and locations throughout the night and kept Atlanta guessing.
"Technically, everything was working tonight. Everything was good," Iglesias said.
Meanwhile, the Reds' lineup staked him to a 4-0 lead after three innings and 5-0 edge after five. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez compared him to another Cuban, former Yankees pitcher Orlando Hernandez.
"He was a little bit like El Duque with that high leg kick and the ability to throw all his pitches from different angles," Gonzalez said. "We really only had him on the ropes that one inning and he got out of it."
The first hit didn't come until Eric Young Jr. led off the sixth with a single to center field that short-hopped a diving Billy Hamilton. A Markakis walk followed before Iglesias notched three flyouts. In the eighth, a one-out hit to right field by pinch-hitter Pedro Ciriaco was muffed in the corner by Jay Bruce and ruled a triple. Ciriaco then scored on a Markakis groundout.
After the third out on his 103rd pitch, Iglesias raised his cap to the 17,747 fans who cheered him loudly off the field.
"We're all proud of him," Price said. "He did a real nice job, his composure was excellent and hopefully it's a sign of things to come."