Holmberg Getting Hot

After a rocky start to the season lefty David Holmberg has put together a couple of solid outings at Louisville as he awaits another call to join the Reds. He showed improvement over last season and was effective at the MLB level after roster expansion.

Louisville ended a three game losing streak Saturday with a 10-5 win over visiting Rochester. The Bats fell behind early when the Red Wings scored in the first inning, but came right back to tie the game in the bottom of the frame when Irving Falu walked, advanced on an Ivan DeJesus single and scored on a sac fly from Joseph Satin. The game was blown open in the fourth when the home team rallied for seven runs. The first seven batters of the inning got base hits before Yorman Rodriguez capped it off with a three-run homer. They weren’t done then because in the next frame when Chris Dominguez plated two with a bases-loaded single.

DeJesus led Louisville with three hits and also drew a walk while Falu also reached safely four times with a couple of hits and two walks. Satin, Dominguez, and Rodriguez added two hits each to the Bat attack which tallied fourteen. The Bats finished the game with each of the first three batters in the lineup, DeJesus, Falu, and Hernan Iribarren all hitting .310 or higher.

On the mound David Holmberg got his first win of the season by allowing only one run on seven hits/three walks in six-plus innings. Drew Hayes followed him with one-plus frames of shutout pitching and if Nick Christiani had to get knocked around for four runs in one inning, he picked a good time to go through it when he pitched the ninth after entering with a nine-run lead.

Thus far in 2015 Holmberg has made six starts, three good ones and three bad. He recently missed a chance for a call-up to the Reds when Michael Lorenzen replaced injured Homer Bailey and if the way the rookie looked in his last outing is any indication he may stay with the parent team for a while. Meanwhile Holmberg has allowed only one run in over twelve innings across his last two starts.

After coming into the Cincinnati system via a trade before last season some may consider his 2014 campaign disappointing when he finished with a mid-four ERA. In his defense, he was only 22 years old in AAA and only 25 of the plate appearances against him last year were made by younger players. Besides, minor leagues are for development and develop he did, which earned an expansion call-up. He responded to that with a sub-two September ernie while making five appearances and finished with three quality MLB starts and a 5 2/3 IP scoreless outing.

Now he must continue to develop his command. It’s not that his control is bad, it’s just that his velocity is sitting in the high-80’s and against hitters close to the MLB level he’ll have to make a living off of locating the ball on the corners. Should he succeed there should be opportunity for him to get back with the Reds again this season, probably before September.

As it is now Holmberg is providing good organizational pitching depth. Obviously he aspires for more and it would help his case to keep his body in good shape. Times are a-changing in the Cincinnati rotation: Bailey had Tommy John surgery this week, Jason Marquis has run hot and cold trying to resurrect his career after the same, and though they would love to keep Johnny Cueto he’s still unsigned after this season. In addition, Tony Cingrani is now in the bullpen and though Lorenzen’s last appearance was impressive it’s hard to forget that just two years ago he was a collegiate outfielder. Where Holmberg fits into the equation is uncertain, but if he was once projected as a lefty innings-eater at the MLB level. Whether he’s able to overcome his lack of velocity to do that remains to be seen and Cincinnati should have a clearer idea after another season at Louisville.

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