CINCINNATI — When most starting pitchers average around 96 mph with their fastball in a game, few would look at it twice. When the Reds’ top prospect, Hunter Greene, who many would agree he’s not most starting pitchers, does that, he’s downright alarming.
Making his Great American Ball Park debut and his third major league start on Friday against the Cardinals, Greene didn’t give the home crowd what they expected. Although he often fought well, he was far from enough to help the Reds find a win. Cincinnati was handed a 4–2 loss to extend the club’s losing streak to 10 games.
Greene, 22, lasted 3 1/3 innings and was charged with three earned runs on four hits with four walks, three strikeouts and one hit batsman. After an April 16 start against the Dodgers in which his fastball averaged 100.2 mph and set a record with 39 pitches over 100 mph, Greene was nowhere near that level with his speed.
• Of his 66 pitches, Greene used his four-seam fastball 42 times. He averaged just 95.8 mph and topped out at 97.2 mph, according to Statcast.
• Of 22 swings at fastball by Cardinals hitters, five were missed. Last time in Los Angeles, Greene took 13 puffs on 28 swings.
• Greene’s slider, used 19 times, averaged 83.9 mph, down from last time’s average of 87.9.
• In a positive sign, Cardinals hitters did not face Greene. His average exit speed was 82.5 mph and he maxed out at 98.6 mph.
Some mishap burned Greene in the top of the first inning. Leadoff batter Dylan Carlson led off with a soft single to left field. The next batter, Paul Goldschmidt, singled to left field, where Tommy Pham let the ball bounce under his glove on an error Carlson scored.
Greene, who walked two batters in his previous two starts, walked Nolan Arenado with one out and walked Tommy Edman with two out to load the bases. But he escaped when Lars Nootbaar looked at a 95 mph fastball for a called third strike.
Aside from a four-pitch walk to Carlson with two out in the next inning, Greene pitched a clean second. In the third, Arenado singled with one out and was stranded.
Greene, the 22nd-ranked prospect in MLB Pipeline baseball, was unable to finish a fourth inning that began with a walk to Nootbaar and Edmundo Sosa being hit by a pitch. Following a one-out single off the glove of first baseman Joey Votto that loaded the bases, manager David Bell lifted the rookie for reliever Jeff Hoffman. Two more runs, charged to Greene, crossed with Goldschmidt’s single to left field that made it 3-0.
Now trailing an MLB-worst 2-12 record, the Reds are enduring their longest losing streak since losing 11 in a row from May 16-27, 2016.