The Cincinnati Reds don’t play many games in spring training with pitch and hit tracking capabilities, but that’s exactly what they did on Saturday in their 7-5 come from behind win. Andrew Abbott reached his pitch count after facing the first batter of the 4th inning, which led to Braxton Roxby entering the game for the Reds.

There was a runner on first base when Roxby entered the game. That runner, Blaze Alexander, lived up to his first name and stole second base after a few pitches. It didn’t matter much as Roxby picked up a strikeout and then back-to-back ground outs to get through the inning.

This is the second game the Reds have played with the pitch tracking cameras running and it’s the second time Roxby has pitched in those games. The first time around he threw just three pitches – all cutters. On Saturday he logged 12 pitches, mixing in the fastball, cutter, and slider.

While it’s no surprise that Braxton Roxby was throwing hard, he threw the hardest pitch in the game, topping out at 98.5 MPH. He averaged 96.7 on the day with the pitch. Of the five fastballs that he threw, though, only one was a strike, and it resulted in a ground out off of the bat of Ketel Marte. Like the previous game, Roxby fired off three cutters and two of them went for strikes (averaged 87.2 MPH). There were four sliders thrown and all four of them went for strikes (averaged 83.6 MPH).

Roxby, who turns 25 in two days, spent all but the final 10 days of the 2023 season in High-A with Dayton where he posted a 2.96 ERA. He spent the last two weeks in Chattanooga where he threw 4.2 innings during the regular season (four earned runs). It was his second stint with the Lookouts after pitching six innings there back in 2021. It’s likely where he will begin his 2024 season.

While it was Roxby with the fastest pitch thrown in the game on Saturday, Connor Phillips had nine of the next ten. He threw 18 fastballs on the day, topping out at 97.8 MPH and averaging 96.8. Phillips also threw eight sweepers, averaging 83.9 MPH on the day.

For Phillips, it was his third appearance of the spring and all three of them have lasted 2.0 innings. He’s yet to allow a run in any of his outings, and on Saturday he didn’t walk anyone for the first time. He allowed just one hit on the day and now has given up three hits, walked three batters, and he’s struck out five in 6.0 innings.

Phillips, who made his big league debut last September, is probably on the outside looking in at a spot in the rotation. He’s still in big league camp, but it’s a safe assumption that he’s behind Hunter Greene, Frankie Montas, Andrew Abbott, Graham Ashcraft, Brandon Williamson, Nick Martinez, and Nick Lodolo at this point in time. There’s nearly three weeks remaining in the spring and things can happen (and sometimes they do). Phillips is doing what he can to stick around and make an argument for himself if a spot opens up for one reason or another in the rotation.

As noted above, the Reds had a come from behind win on Saturday. Several prospects played a big role in that. Trailing 5-4 and entering the top of the 9th inning, Miguel Hernandez picked up a 1-out single to start a rally. Quincy McAfee followed up with a single of his own to put runners on the corners and then Hector Rodriguez doubled in the game-tying run. Jack Rogers capped the inning off with a 2-run single to break the tie and put Cincinnati up 7-5. Tejay Antone took care of business in the bottom of the inning as the Reds picked up the win.

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6 Responses

  1. Doc

    One ‘roster lock’ also had a big hand in the win. Sims gave up the tying and go ahead runs in the eighth to set the stage for a comeback win. After reading the discussion about the inside the park home run that wasn’t, I find, though, that Sims got the wrong end of the stick. Interesting that an umpire who apparently never saw the ball, assuming it was in the glove all the time, could rule it in play.

    I don’t fault the outfielder for being concerned about his teammate after the collision. ST games mean nothing compared to an injured comrade. But it all worked out. Rogers stayed in the game, the rookies pulled it out, and the umpire has egg on his face.

  2. MBS

    He’s still in big league camp, but it’s a safe assumption that he’s behind Hunter Greene, Frankie Montas, Andrew Abbott, Graham Ashcraft, Brandon Williamson, Nick Martinez, and Nick Lodolo”

    Phillips as the 8th best option is awesome. I really want to see him and Richardson remain in AAA until they are just dominating over a long stretch of games.

    We were forced to start Greene, and Lodolo’s career a bit too early, I don’t want to make the same mistake with Phillips, Richardson, Petty, and Lowder.

    • Optimist

      +100 to this – Consider Phillips, Richardson, Petty, and Lowder this season as compared with Lively, Cessa, Overton and Kennedy as the callups last season. I still like Lively as a #9 rotation piece, but contrast him with Spiers and there’s no denying the improvement this season.

  3. Krozley

    Bryce Bonnin was released. There’s been more success with the undrafted signees from the 2020 class versus the six that were drafted.

    • Ptaylor2112

      That’s too bad. Shoulder injuries are almost as certain as Father Tine.