It wasn’t a duel in the desert, but it had the feel of a heavyweight fight. The Reds eventually lost their eighth straight game. The Los Angeles Dodgers survived the night with a 1-0 victory over Cincinnati. The Reds got the pitching effort they wanted. But the end result was another story.
Before the Reds embarked on the current 10-game road trip, manager Bryan Price was expecting big things from the starting pitchers. The staff was on the verge of a breakthrough. He alluded to Brandon Finnegan having a good game against the Dodgers, as reported by the Inquisitr.
“You certainly want to face the best, but you’d also like to get on a roll facing the worst. You’d like to go out there and beat the crud out of some guys who have mediocre stuff, but you know what? Sometimes to turn things around, you have to go out there and beat somebody’s ace.”
The Reds’ skipper may not have been sending a direct message to Finnegan, but it definitely gave him a spark. The lefty pitched a gem against the Dodgers. He still came out on the losing end. After working eight innings of stellar baseball, he was relegated to leaving the mound with an L. The Reds were handed a season high eighth consecutive loss and beatdown number 30 on the year.
Although the Reds lost, the sparkling performance by Finnegan was proof that the pitching staff has a chance to turn things around. Price was impressed and spoke about the duel, via Cincinnati Reds.
“I was really proud of the way that Finnegan ran the table and threw those eight innings. Head to head, he didn’t have any room for error at all going against Kershaw, who had it going pretty well. Tough loss, but a heck of a well-pitched game by a young kid.”
The effort by Finnegan was indeed impressive. If the Reds had faced any other pitcher, they may have been able to supply the youngster with a victory. But facing Clayton Kershaw is never an easy feat. The Dodgers’ ace was in a zone and tossed his third shutout of May. Kershaw has been dominant over the month. He’s 5-0 and is touting an ERA of 0.64 per game.
The mound work by Finnegan is a silver lining for Reds faithful. It shows that the team is moving in the right direction. The talent has to be handled correctly and funneled through the system when it’s needed. Rushing young players to the majors could do more damage than good.
“We talk about how we’re building our team, The first thing we’ve got to do is get the building blocks here,” Price explained. “Got to get guys off the DL and get these kids from Double-A to Triple-A and Triple-A to the big leagues. That’ll be a good thing as that begins to take place later in the season.”
The Reds were able to breathe a sigh of relief. Finnegan’s start could hopefully signal the beginning of a trend. In getting the complete game, the southpaw became the first Reds pitcher to go past the seventh inning. He knows the battle with Kershaw was something special.
“Going toe-to-toe with Kershaw like that, it was fun. It’s something I’ll remember for a long time.”
After the Reds got a leadoff walk from Joey Votto in the fourth frame, Kershaw retired 18 consecutive outs. He was masterful.
The offense and defense let the young Finnegan down. The Reds committed three errors, one of which allowed the Dodgers to score an unearned run. Outside of the walk by Votto and a double by Zack Cozart, the Reds’ bats were quiet. Hopefully, the Redlegs will rally for a Game 2 comeback.
[Photo by Mark Terrill/AP]