Bauer with 12 K’s, Castellanos with three RBI’s in 8-3 win
MILWAUKEE – August 7, 2020 – Ayson Footer (Mlb.com)
A few hours before the Reds took the field Friday at Miller Park, manager David Bell cautioned against putting too much emphasis on how poorly the Reds had been hitting of late.
“It’s going to come back around,” he said.
The warning turned out to be prophetic. The Reds batted around in the second, scoring six runs while ending a scoreless streak that had extended to 24 innings. They rolled to an 8-3 win over the Brewers, enjoying a rare night when everything worked.
It was a night of big numbers: Stellar production from the lineup and a strikeout performance by Trevor Bauer that set a new standard for Reds pitching.
“It’s nice to see the work pay off and have guys stick with it and keep going and get the results and get some runs and get some breathing room for our pitching,” Bell said. “Trevor was outstanding again, and our bullpen, as well. It’s nice to have runs for that, too, just giving them some space.”
Breakout second inning
With Joey Votto getting a day off against Brewers lefty Eric Lauer, Matt Davidson made the most of his start at first base. He capped the Reds’ big second frame with a 408-foot three-run homer, his first long-ball in the big leagues since 2018. It was also the 50th homer of his career.
The Reds recorded three extra-base hits that inning, including doubles by Nick Castellanos and Kyle Farmer. Castellanos added a two-run drive in the sixth, tying the Yankees’ Aaron Judge for the MLB lead with seven homers.
“It’s great to get the results when guys are working and staying with it,” Bell said. “Some balls fell in. Some big at-bats from guys that haven’t been getting a lot of starts, which is always great to see, just to have contributions from everyone.”
Most Reds hitters have struggled at some point in the early stages of the season, with some slumps more pronounced than others. One of the few exceptions is Castellanos, who leads the Major Leagues in slugging (.840) and OPS (1.251).
“He’s just added so much to our team,” Bell said. “Obviously, he’s gotten off to a hot start, but what’s exciting is that he just keeps getting better. We’re seeing it happen each night. He’s on a fast pace right now, but just the way he’s determined to keep getting better as a player.”
Here’s another person who is unsurprised at the hot start: Castellanos.
“This is what I wanted: To be here with this group of guys, to be here in Cincinnati, because I know the team that we have,” he said. “So yeah, I would say — not that I expected it — but if you would have told me before the season starts like, ‘Hey are you going to get off to a good start?’ I would say, ‘[Heck] yeah.’”
Bauer’s power hour
While the bats broke out, Bauer dazzled. In his first career appearance vs. the Brewers, Bauer logged 12 strikeouts over six innings. He struck out the side in the first, second and fourth innings. His start to the season has been so strong that his ERA actually rose to 0.93 with Friday’s start. Bauer also became the first Reds pitcher to log 30 or more strikeouts through his first three starts.
A Logan Morrison solo homer on a hanging breaking ball with two outs in the fourth was Bauer’s only hiccup.
Did the early lead help him relax?
“Anytime you can jump out to a lead like that, it’s super helpful for me,” Bauer said. “The game plan becomes really simple: Throw strike one and then keep throwing strikes and force them to beat you. It reduces the high-stress pitches and all that. It allowed me to settle under a nice groove early on.”
“He threw a lot of fastballs tonight,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “You can tell that it’s just a four-seam fastball. It’s not huge velocity, but it’s that low release, high-spin fastball that guys just have trouble squaring up, and it just gets on you. I don’t think he was dotting up corners or anything like that; it was just a ball we were having trouble squaring up.”
Bauer has allowed two earned runs across three starts, spanning 19 1/3 innings, and he has a 0.57 WHIP — numbers that resemble what the Reds had in mind when they traded for him at the Trade Deadline last year.
“He’s here with a purpose to win a game, to be the absolute best pitcher he can be,” Bell said. “We’re seeing what he’s capable of. Part of that is all the work he’s done and preparation during the time in between the two training camps and keeping himself ready and just being a professional in every way. And it’s paying off for him, which is great to see.”