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Diamondbacks Pitchers Struggle in Loss to the Reds

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Slade Cecconi pitches against the Cincinnati Reds at Chase Field.
May 14, 2024; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Slade Cecconi (43) pitches in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Diamondbacks followed one of their most emotional wins of the year with a clunker. In a 6-2 loss, Arizona pitchers surrendered 13 hits to a struggling Cincinnati Reds lineup. On the flip side, flamethrowing right-hander Hunter Greene and the Reds bullpen shut down the offense.

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The game started off well for the Diamondbacks, as Slade Cecconi put up zeros in the first three innings of his start. However, the tables turned on the right-hander in the fourth inning. Facing the Reds lineup a second and third time through, Cincinnati scored two runs on Cecconi in each of the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings. Cincinnati was 7-for-15 with a double, home run, and sacrifice fly in their final 16 plate appearances against the young starter. It’s been a recurring problem, as he learns how to handle facing a major league lineup multiple times.

For Cecconi, the problem was location mistakes. Too often he missed over the heart of the plate in hitters counts, with the Reds punishing those mistakes. Nine of the 21 balls (43%) put into play against Cecconi were at least 95 MPH. He finished with six runs allowed in 5 2/3 innings, with six hits, one walk, and three strikeouts. Two of those runs scored after he departed the game, with his bequeathed runners coming around to score off Logan Allen.

“The thing I’ve noticed myself that needs to change, and it will change moving forward, is when I find myself getting hit is when I find myself looking to place the ball,” said Cecconi. “I’ll usually maybe take a mile per hour or two off a pitch to try to execute it and I’m learning it can’t happen. That’s not going to play at this level. The better thing to do is to throw my best stuff and trust that me throwing my best stuff is better than me trying to place the baseball.”

Offensively, the Diamondbacks broke through for a couple of runs against Greene in the third inning. Another bottom-of-the-order rally set up a chance for Blaze Alexander with two outs, who singled through the right side of the infield to plate two runs. However, Greene turned up the intensity on the Diamondbacks hitters, allowing just two hits in his final four innings. His velocity, down three MPH in the previous matchup vs. Arizona, was back to its normal upper 90s range.

The Diamondbacks will play the rubber match against the Reds on Wednesday afternoon. Right-hander Brandon Pfaadt will take the mound for Arizona while left-hander Andrew Abbott will go for Cincinnati. First pitch at Chase Field will be at 12:40 PM MST.

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Michael McDermott covers the Arizona Diamondbacks and Arizona Cardinals for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on X via @MichaelMcDMLB

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