Greene showcases 'electric arm' in Reds' loss

Rookie throws 38 pitches above 100 mph, strikes out 6 vs. Marlins

July 27th, 2022

CINCINNATI -- Fresh from an extended layoff after the All-Star break, Reds rookie pitcher Hunter Greene displayed some of the best stuff he's had all season on Tuesday night at Great American Ball Park. Unfortunately for Greene, opposing pitcher Pablo López was even more effective during the Reds' 2-1 loss to the Marlins, as he and two Miami relievers limited Cincinnati to two hits.

The Marlins still came away impressed by Greene's effort as he approached the record for throwing pitches at triple-digit velocity.

"He's obviously got the electric fastball, and for a righty, it's really hard with that fastball playing up at 102 [mph], and then he's got the 90 mph slider," Miami catcher Jacob Stallings said. "I think as he learns to pitch and gets some innings under his belt, he's going to be a really good pitcher in this league for a long time."

Over 6 1/3 innings in his first start since July 15, Greene gave up two earned runs and tied a season high with nine hits while walking one and striking out six. López struck out 11 over seven innings with two hits and no walks. His only run allowed came on Mike Moustakas' leadoff home run in the fifth inning.

“I just simply challenged them, kept going after them," Greene said. "If they get a little hit here, a hit there, I kept going after them and just competed. That’s my biggest takeaway from tonight."

Here's a breakdown of Greene's performance, via Statcast:

• Greene's fastball, thrown 56 times overall, averaged 100.3 mph and topped at 101.9 mph. It garnered 30 swings, seven whiffs and seven called strikes.

• Greene threw 38 fastballs that registered at 100 mph or higher. He finished one shy of his own record, which was set on April 16, vs. the Dodgers in his second big league start. (Pitch-velocity tracking began in 2008.) Greene also threw 38 100-plus mph pitches on July 9 vs. the Rays.

• Greene's slider was very effective: He used it 46 times, getting 27 swings and 11 misses. Opponents entered Tuesday night batting .172 against his slider this season.

• Greene used his changeup just three times.

"I thought it was a great start," Reds manager David Bell said. "He had a bit more of an extended break and he did come out throwing really hard, strong and mentally just fresh. Good start to the second half so he can finish strong the rest of the way."

There were only two innings when Greene had to battle through with runners in scoring position. In the top of the second, a wild pitch to Jesús Sánchez put runners on second and third base with one out. Greene got Sánchez for a called third strike on a 91 mph slider before Luke Williams grounded back to the mound to end the threat.

"Really, really good stuff. Electric arm," Marlins shortstop Joey Wendle said of Greene. "I thought he did a really good job locating the ball as well tonight. He's a special arm for sure."

Trouble returned in the fifth inning, and this time Greene was not as fortunate. With one out, Sánchez hit a double to left field. A single from Williams, who then stole second base, put two runners in scoring position. Greene struck out Stallings before Wendle drove in both runners with a two-out single to right-center field, giving the Marlins the 2-0 lead.

"Missed executing a pitch there," Greene said. "It was a little lower and he put the barrel to it. It’s a great feeling to be able to get out of a jam like that. But trying to limit the ones where I do put myself in that situation and give up those two runs … that’s just continuing to execute and work on those pitches and being in those situations, it’s just more reps like that to be able to finish strong and get out of those.”

Greene was given a chance to return for the seventh inning but departed after a pair of one-out singles. Buck Farmer got out of the jam with back-to-back pop-ups.

Now 3-12 with a 5.59 ERA in 19 starts overall, Greene is 0-5 with a 6.38 ERA over his last seven games.

López debuted as a 22-year-old for Miami and was 7-12 with a 4.76 over his first 31 starts in 2018-19. In 51 starts from 2020-22, the right-hander is 18-14 with a 3.16 ERA.

Greene's style of pitching differs from López, who lacks the same velocity and throws sinkers, changeups and curveballs. But there is a clear path for the 22-year-old Greene as he continues to develop.

"We’re in the sausage-making industry. The process isn’t beautiful but the finished product -- as long as you work hard -- is a pretty good outcome, it’s sexy," Greene said. "That’s my focus. Being able to do that is going to take time."