CINCINNATI -- As the Reds are looking for any of their younger pitchers to establish themselves as potential rotation options for 2019, left-hander Cody Reed was given his latest chance. In past opportunities, Reed was unable to seize the moment, but that was definitely not the case this time vs.
CINCINNATI -- As the Reds are looking for any of their younger pitchers to establish themselves as potential rotation options for 2019, left-hander Cody Reed was given his latest chance. In past opportunities, Reed was unable to seize the moment, but that was definitely not the case this time vs. the Brewers.
During a 2-1 Reds loss in 11 innings at Great American Ball Park on Lorenzo Cain's home run, Reed received a no-decision after firing 4 2/3 solid innings with one earned run, four hits, three walks and three strikeouts. After being a bullpen arm the majority of this month, he knew he was on a limited pitch count and made the most of his 73 pitches.
"He threw the ball well," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "That's a very tough lineup and they are swinging the bat very well. He really did a nice job. Next time, hopefully he pitches that way and then we can let him get out there 90-100 [pitches] maybe. We were going to be pretty short with him today."
On an afternoon that was the polar opposite of the back-to-back slugfests that defined the first two games, Thursday's rubber game of the series was a pitchers' duel between Reed and veteran Brewers lefty Wade Miley.
Reed opened the day with a Cain walk, but did not allow another baserunner until the first two batters reached in the third inning. A big 5-4-3 double play by Cain blunted the rally. It ended when Christian Yelich hit a screamer that ricocheted off Reed's rear end. He was able to recover and throw Yelich out at first base.
To begin the fourth inning, Reed defensively saved himself by catching a Jesus Aguilar screamer hit right back to him.
"As soon as came in after the one I caught of Aguilar, all the pitching coaches grabbed my back pocket," Reed said. "'You got a magnet in there.' I guess I've got to take it out. It was good. Luckily, I caught that one, and the first one [from Yelich] hit me in the sweet spot. It was all good. Got them out."
Of the 14 outs Reed recorded, nine came via ground balls.
"This ballpark, when I'm out there, I can feel the wind out there," said Reed, who was making his first big league start since April 9. "I've got to keep the ball down. I don't want it to get up in the air and get out of here. Just working to keep it down. [Catcher] Curt Casali really worked with me there. I think I shook [him off] one time."
Milwaukee opened the fifth inning with back-to-back singles before Reed picked up two strikeouts. He appeared poised to escape the inning when Cain chopped a ball to the left of the mound. Reed tried to field it, but the ball skipped off of his glove for a single that loaded the bases.
Against Yelich, who came in 8-for-11 in the series -- including six hits on Wednesday while hitting for the cycle -- Reed needed to be careful. But he was too careful and walked Yelich on four pitches for force home the game's first run. Riggleman showed the quick hook and summoned Michael Lorenzen, who got Aguilar to fly out to center field.
"I've got him out twice. I was pitching around him a little bit," Reed said of Yelich. "I think I got too, too fine. It could have been worse. I could have given up a hit or homer. The damage was taken down a little bit. Michael came in and got the next guy."
Along with Brandon Finnegan and John Lamb, Reed was acquired in the 2015 trade that sent Johnny Cueto to the Royals. The Reds had high hopes all would emerge as successful big league starters, but it hasn't worked out so far. Finnegan is struggling as a reliever at Triple-A Louisville and Lamb is out of the organization.
Over his previous 12 big league starts from 2016-18, Reed was 0-8 with an 8.37 ERA. But he showed progress at Louisville and posted a 3.92 ERA in 17 starts, including 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA over his final four starts. Since his Aug. 13 recall while working out of the bullpen, he had a 2.79 ERA and impressed during some high-leverage moments.
The Reds saw the promotion of Robert Stephenson backfire this month, and he was placed on the disabled list earlier on Thursday with shoulder tendinitis. Earlier this month, Tyler Mahle was optioned to Louisville after he struggled following a stretch of success. Sal Romano was recently moved into the bullpen for the rest of the season. That makes the path clear for Reed.
Thursday's game continued Reed's trending in the right direction.
"It's something to build off, for sure," Reed said.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Brice experiences irregular heartbeat after homer: Recalled earlier in the day from Louisville for his fourth big league stint of the season, reliever Austin Brice's first pitch of the day was lifted by Cain into the first row of seats to break the 1-1 deadlock in the 11th. It gave the Brewers 22 consecutive games with a home run at Great American Ball Park, the longest current streak for any club in a Major League stadium.
Brice got Yelich to fly out two pitches later, but appeared to be in some distress behind the mound. After taking one warmup pitch, Riggleman removed the right-hander from the game. Brice was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat.
"Just in the moment, my heart rate went kind of crazy, lost my breath, got real light-headed," Brice said. "I was able to get behind the mound, kind of catch my breath and kind of settle down a little bit. But I went out there and threw another pitch after that and they decided to pull me, they didn't want to mess around with it."
Brice has experienced similar symptoms in the past, he said, but chalked up Thursday's moment to fatigue.
"I've had it checked out. It always comes back negative, it comes up as an electrolyte imbalance or something like that," Brice said. "I think last night I was probably told around 1 in the morning that I was coming up here, didn't really get much sleep having to drive here from Columbus. I was pretty jacked up in the moment and the situation, it kind of sped up on me a little bit and the heart rate went through the roof."
Brice didn't have a chance to go over the fastball to Cain that lost the game.
"You have to live with that right there. You can 'shoulda, coulda, woulda' anything, he got a hold of it," Brice said. "When it comes down to the first pitch, all you're looking to do there is execute it. And if he gets a hold of it, he gets a hold of it."
HE SAID IT
"I didn't know he just came up today. I was going up there looking for a fastball and he ended up throwing me one, I pulled my hands in and snuck it over the wall. I'll take it." -- Cain, on his game-winner
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Miley took a shutout into the bottom of the seventh when Phillip Ervin hit a one-out single to left field. With two outs, Dilson Herrera hit a double to the left-field corner. Chugging around third base, Ervin was waved home. Ryan Braun's throw was relayed by shortstop Hernan Perez and it beat Ervin to the plate. But it did not appear that catcher Erik Kratz applied the tag before Ervin touched home and was called safe with the tying run. The Brewers challenged the call, but replay officials determined that it stands.
"I just slid in. It was kind of a reaction to just get there," Ervin said. "His leg was right in front of the plate, initially."
"I guess once they called him safe, I wasn't very optimistic," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "I wouldn't have called him safe as the play happened live, though. It didn't look like a 'safe' call as the play happened live. That's what I was surprised about. But once you get a safe call, you're not surprised by the outcome."
A six-game road trip opens at 8:15 p.m. ET on Friday when the Reds visit the Cardinals at Busch Stadium to open a three-game series. Homer Bailey, who is 1-12 with a 6.17 ERA and winless since May 12, will be on the mound vs. Austin Gomber. Cincinnati has lost 17 of the 18 games Bailey has started this season. He has a 3.72 ERA vs. St. Louis this season.
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.