A series sweep would not be complete without some great pitching. The Reds have constructed one of the best starting rotations in the Majors over the past few weeks – a staff that has driven the team’s rise to compete with the best teams in the National League Central.
As he continued the stretch of dominant Cincinnati pitching, right-hander Tyler Mahle made a career outing in the Reds’ 2-1 victory over the Brewers at American Family Field on Wednesday with a career-high-tieing 12 strikes.
Mahle overpowered the breweries and led Cincinnati to a celebration of its divisional competitor. Much of his success in the final of the matinee series can be attributed to his use of the fastball, which accounted for nine strikes, but the outing was a slow burn to success.
“We have seen it a lot from Tyler. He has been hitting well for a while now, but you see him getting stronger as the game goes on, ”said manager David Bell. “Sometimes he grinds it out early, and many times he really wants to pick it up and just get better when it goes. It just says so much about him and who he is like a pitcher. ”
Mahle had to work through a lack of command in the first inning, which eventually led to a base-loaded situation. He issued a walk, a single and a hit from pitch among the first four batsmen he faced. With the pressure on, Mahle was able to sit down the next two hitters with a lineout by Manny Piña and a strike out by Jace Peterson.
Right-handed fights continued into the second and third, especially with Christian Yelich̵
“I just kept at it,” Mahle said of his ability to find his command. “I made good courses and they hit some balls well. But I knew it wasn’t making bad pitches, so I just had to stick to it, and that was what we were doing.
“I know I have decent things and if I just trust it, things will work out for me. I think it’s always been just like that, where you get more locked in when the game continues and gets into a little rhythm. That is exactly what happened today. ”
Milwaukee has been a concern for Mahle in the past. Entering this start, Mahle owned an ERA of 6.16 in four career starts against the Brewers. But this version of the right hand has grown too late for a potential ace. In his previous four starts, Mahle was 4-0 with a 2.31 ERA and an average of six strokes. His six innings of one-run ball made him the first Reds pitcher to record a winning decision in five consecutive starts since 2014, when All-Star and NL Cy Young Award runner-up Johnny Cueto finished the performance.
“They hit well. Tyler Mahle, he’s having a really good year. I thought he hit really well today,” said Brewers manager Craig Counsell. “His fastball was really good, really well placed, threw it up consistently and never made mistakes down the zone. So the guy hit well today.”
The offense helped Mahle pick up his seventh win of the season with Tyler Naquins game-binding double in the fourth and Tucker Barnharts clear-double in the seventh. The two runs drove Cincinnati to secure its sixth straight win and cap-to-back series sweeps.
The Reds have gone head-to-head against playoff-caliber teams and have come up successful in these duels, a testament that veterans Joey Votto and Barnhart said shows Cincinnati can compete and win at the highest levels. The Reds’ next chance to further prove their talent will come against the Padres in Southern California for a four-game series.
“With every season comes challenges and ups and downs. We just hit a bit of a rough patch there early in the year, ”Barnhart said. “It will not be the last rough patch we have this season, [but] we are all prepared for it. But as it looks now, we play really good baseball. Playing pure baseball in all parts of the game, and it’s fun to be a part of. I think we just need to keep building on what we do. ”