The Cincinnati Reds gave their top two pitching prospects a taste of facing major league hitters Wednesday against the Cleveland Indians and though it was only a snack – two innings each — it tasted fairly good.
Robert Stephenson, the team’s right handed No. 1 prospect started the game and Cody Reed, the left handed No. 2 prospect, followed him to the mound in the third.
The Reds scored a run in the bottom of the ninth to tie, but left runners on third and first with no outs and the game was called, a 4-4 tie.
WHILE THE TWO 22-year-old prospects weren’t picture-perfect, they acquitted themselves well in a display of the team’s future pitching.
Because of all the space available on the Reds pitching staff, it isn’t unlikely that either one might make the team out of camp, but it is more likely they’ll start the season at Class AAA Louisville.
Stephenson displayed a sharp breaking ball and an evolving change-up to go with his mid- to high-90s fastball. He gave up no runs, one hit, one walk and struck out two.
Reed gave up two runs (one earned), two hits no walks and struck out two.
STEPHENSON, THE TEAM’S No. 1 draft pick in 2011 (No. 27 overall), was not efficient in the first inning, needing 24 pitches to get through. He faced four batters and went to full counts on three.
His second inning was much quicker, only nine pitches, but he gave up a two-out triple. He was bailed out of trouble when new third baseman Eugenio Suarez made a top-shelf play at third base to end the inning.
Whiile Stephenson’s feature pitch is his high-velocity fastball, his two strikeouts came on a knee-buckling curveball and a perfectly placed changeup.
Reed, one of three lefthanders (Reed,Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb) from the Kansas City Royals in the Johnny Cueto trade last July, pitched a one-two-three first inning on eight pitches, seven of them strikes, and struck out the third batter.
He ran into difficulty in his second ining a one-out single and a run-scoring double, then a second run scored on an error by second baseman Jose Peraza during a 31-pitch day.
OFFENSIVELY? Not so good. Not much happened for the Reds.
Suarez was the only projected starter on the field and Billy Hamilton served as a designated hitter because he is not ready to play afield after his off-season shoulder surgery.
The Reds ran into Indians right hander Cody Anderson, who was 5-and-0 with a 1.38 earned run average in six September starts after a call-up from Triple-A.
Anderson retired all six Reds he faced on only 16 pitches and struck out Hamilton leading off the first inning. Hamilton grounded out to first base in his second at-bat.
The Reds didn’t have a base runner until two outs in the fourth inning when Suarez doubled, his third hit in two games. He scored on a double by Brandon Allen.
THE REDS ARE looking for a closer to replace traded Aroldis Chapman and the group of candidates includes J.J. Hoover, Michael Lorenzen , Jumbo Diaz and any other volunteers.
Diaz made his debut in the fifth inning and gave up a home run to Jose Ramirez and a single before a double play got Jumbo out of dismay.
The Reds scored a run in the bottom of the ninth to tie it and had runners on first-and-third with no outs and didn’t score. Jake Cave took a called third strike without taking the bat off his shoulder on a single pitch and Alex Blandino flied out on a full count.
And where have Reds fans seen that before?
With neither side having any more pitchers available the game was called, left as a tie, something one never sees during the regular season.