Big De All A's

After a frustrating series in St. Louis where the Reds were swept they came back to open up their first series in Milwaukee this season with an impressive 6-1 win over the Brewers. The offense blasted a couple of homers while Anothony DeSclafani continued an impressive start by tossing eight shutout innings.

Cincinnati ended a four game skid in the opener of a four game set at Milwaukee by cruising to a 6-1 victory. It was the easiest win of the year thus far for the Reds and continued the Brewers skid to a 2-13 record. Brayan Pena broke a scoreless tie with a sacrifice fly in the sixth before the next batter, Zach Cozart, padded the lead with a three-run home run. Joey Votto added on the next frame with a two-run dinger, his fifth of the season. Those three led the Reds offensively with Cozart stroking three hits to improve his batting average to .326, Votto adding two, and Pena reaching three times on a hit and two walks.

However, the big man of the night was rookie Anthony DeSclafani who threw eight innings of two-hit, shutout baseball. 67 of his 91 pitches went for strikes while he walked only one against five strikeouts and extended his scoreless inning streak to fifteen. Burke Badenhop entered in the ninth and allowed a home run before finishing the game.

Though early in the season, Cincinnati has already had its share of ups and downs after following up a 4-0 start by going 1-7. Along the way one consistency has been DeSclafani who turned in his third solid outing in as many starts. The 25-year old right-hander has allowed only one run and is now sitting on a 2-0 record with a 0.43 ERA. Though not considered a power pitcher, he’s struck out almost seven per nine innings with an impressive K/BB ratio of four. It’s still early, but thus far he’s making the offseason trade with Miami look like a real coupe. The Reds got DeSclafani and catching prospect Chad Wallach for Mat Latos who took his $9.4 million salary home to South Florida where he’s started out 0-3 with a double digit ernie.

Of course it’s early in the season and a given that the new Reds pitcher won’t finish with an ERA under one or probably under two either. Though it’s really unrelated, the veteran Latos is a legitimate top-rotation pitcher and it would be no surprise for him to get back on track and finish with a strong season for the Marlins. However, it’s fun to watch for now and Reds fans have good reason to look forward to the rookie’s next turn on the mound.

As good as he’s been there’s no need to reserve a place for him in Cooperstown just yet. It’s a long season and will no doubt get tougher, especially after opponents gain experience hitting against him. However, he’s been working to expand his pitch repertoire to give him more options as the year progresses and shown a mound presence more advanced than his MLB experience. Besides, Latos should have been in high demand in the trade market and Cincinnati must have seen something in DeSclafani to make them pull the trigger on him over other options. Now there’s good reason to believe that “something” is materializing on the field.

The rotation has been the strength of the Reds for a few years now, but there were some concerns coming into this season after turnover. Some speculated that DeSclafani would compete for the fifth spot, but instead Tony Cingrani was moved to the bullpen and he’s started the season in the middle of the rotation. The end result is Cingrani providing a much-needed southpaw for set-up duty with DeSclafani combining with holdovers Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey, and Mike Leake to maintain the reliable starting pitching to which the Reds have become accustomed. Cincinnati has also had a player finish in the top three vote recipients for NL Rookie of the Year in two of the past three seasons and though it’s too early to start those discussions for 2015, it appears DeSclafani will put his name atop the list whenever it begins.

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