KSReds: Cincinnati Reds Sweep the Los Angeles Angels

Brandon Ramseyby:Brandon Ramsey04/21/24

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Ultimately, if you can win two-thirds of your games you will have a chance to be the best team in baseball. The Cincinnati Reds have done exactly that over their last nine games, but it has came in unique fashion. It all stated with a dominant sweep of the Chicago White Sox outscoring them 27-5 in three games. Then, the Reds headed west and were on the receiving end of a sweep against the Seattle Mariners. Finally, the brooms were out once again with a sweep of the Los Angeles Angels upon return to Great American Ball Park.

Elly De La Cruz is red hot at the plate, Tyler Stephenson connected on his first career grand slam, and the Reds bullpen banded together for some excellent work. Those were highlights in Cincinnati over the weekend that led to three wins. However, fans held their collective breath on Sunday afternoon after starter Frankie Montas was hit in his right arm with a hard-hit line drive up the middle. He would have to leave the game, but early reports are he may miss just one start. That would be a small price to pay for an injury that could have been much worse.

There is no rest on the horizon for the Reds right now. They are right back in action on Monday night with Hunter Greene taking the mound against the Philadelphia Phillies at 6:40 p.m. Eastern Time. Andrew Abbott, Nick Lodolo, and Graham Ashcraft are also scheduled to start during the four-game series. The Reds are now 12-9 on the season and two and a half games out of first place in the National League Central. The Milwaukee Brewers sit in first while the Chicago Cubs are also a half game up on the Reds.

Timely Hitting Leads to Series Opening Win

It isn’t often you can get out hit seven to five and still win the game in blowout fashion. However, that is what the Cincinnati Reds did on Friday evening as they took advantage of every mistake the Los Angeles Angels made.

Elly De La Cruz scored in the most Elly De La Cruz fashion in the bottom of the second inning. After singling with two outs, De La Cruz stole both second and third base. Then, while stealing third, the ball was thrown into left field allowing him to score. It only took him getting on base to allow him to run all the way around and score. Los Angeles tied the game in the fifth inning, but Tyler Stephenson answered in the bottom of the sixth with a solo home run. That 2-1 advantage would hold until the eighth inning.

Once again, the Reds manufactured a couple of scoring opportunities. Jonathan India walked to lead off the inning and was moved to second on a Spencer Steer single. The runners were moved up by a Stuart Fairchild sacrifice bunt and Tyler Stephenson walked to load the bases with one out. Cincinnati would then plate two runs without even having to make contact. Nick Martini was hit by a pitch to make it 3-1. Then, Steer scored on a wild pitch to take the lead up to 4-1. That is when De La Cruz stepped to the plate and drove the nail into the proverbial coffin. The Reds star shortstop parked a three-run home run into the left field seats to ballon the lead to 7-1. That would go on to become the final score as Cincinnati took the series opener from Los Angeles to remain above .500.

Nick Lodolo was excellent on the mound once again. Making his second start of the season, the young left-hander went six and one-third innings allowing just one run on seven hits while striking out six. Behind him, Fernando Cruz, Lucas Sims, and Buck Farmer were excellent in relief. Lodolo is 2-0 in his two starts having allowed just one run. He also has 16 strikeouts compared to only one walk. It is obviously early in the season, but he is looking like a potential ace through two starts.

Tyler Stephenson Grand Slam Powers Reds

Saturday night’s first inning was full of fireworks. The Los Angeles Angels got on the board first scoring a pair of runs in the top half of the opening frame. However, the Cincinnati Reds wasted no time answering right back. Spencer Steer reached on an infield single and advanced to second on a throwing error. Stuart Fairchild was up next and plated Steer with a double. Then, Jeimer Candelario and Elly De La Cruz both walked to load the bases. That brought Tyler Stephenson to the plate and he squeaked one over the right field wall for his first career grand slam. What had been a quick 2-0 deficit turned into a 5-2 lead before the first inning ended.

Miguel Sano launched a two-run home run in the sixth and the Angeles would push another one across to get within two at 7-5. However, that would prove to be as close as they would get. Nick Martinez was excellent once again in a long relief role turning in three shutout innings. Alexis Diaz was then able to come in and slam the door shut for his third save of the season as the Cincinnati Reds clinched the series with a 7-5 win.

Graham Ashcraft wasn’t his sharpest, but moved to 3-1 on the young season. He allowed five runs on five hits in five innings of work. The Reds bats and relief pitching really stepped up in timely fashion on Saturday.

Get the Brooms Out in Cincinnati

The brooms have been busy lately. A week ago, the Cincinnati Reds finished off a sweep of the Chicago White Sox before heading out west and getting swept by the Seattle Mariners. Now, after returning to Great American Ball Park, the brooms are out once again. The Reds completed a three-game series sweep of the Los Angeles Angels to move to 12-9 on the season.

Sunday’s contest didn’t appear to get off to a great start. Frankie Montas was hit in the right arm by a blistering line drive that forced him to leave the game after recording just two outs. That left the burden on Brent Suter to eat some innings in long relief. Luckily, he did exactly that. Suter pitched three and one-third shutout inning to get through the fourth. He then turned the ball over to Emilio Pagan who got through two more shutout innings. Pagan would ultimately earn the win. Fernando Cruz, Lucas Sims, and Alexis Diaz were all solid in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings respectively. It was the second save in as many games for Diaz to cap off the combined shutout.

At the plate, the Cincinnati Reds did all of their work in the bottom half of the sixth inning. After threatening the pervious two innings, Christian Encarnacion-Strand doubled to deep centerfield to score Nick Martini and Elly De La Cruz. Jeimer Candelario added one more with a triple to set the eventual final score of 3-0. The sweep moved the Reds to 12-9 on the season.

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2024-05-21