Cingrani Gets Call

Phillips Was Moved to Leadoff Last Night

Tony Cingrani has made a rapid ascent through the Cincinnati organization. Just one year ago the Reds drafted the Rice closer in the third round. They converted him to a starter and were cautious with his innings in 2011. This year he started at high-A Bakersfield and eventually got the call to join the Reds expanded roster for the remainder of the season.

One year ago Tony Cingrani was pitching for the Billings Mustangs. Now he will be wearing the uniform of the Cincinnati Reds. The left-hander began the season at high-A Bakersfield where he dominated batters in the hitter-friendly California League and put up 1.11 ERA and sub-one WHIP in ten starts. After a midseason promotion he finished with a 2.12 ERA over sixteen appearances at AA Pensacola. Overall he was 10-4/1.73/1.027 WHIP. His K/BB was 172/52 in 146 innings.

Cingrani was a closer at Rice University when he pitched collegiately. He came to the Reds from a third round selection in last year's draft. That is normally an early pick for a reliever, but the Reds must have seen something that made them belief he was a candidate for an MLB rotation. This season his ERA was the second lowest of all minor leaguers with 100 innings pitched.

Because of the conversion the Reds were careful to limit his innings early and he averaged only four innings per start at Billings. That was done for precaution more than anything and this year that has gone up to 5.6 IP/appearance. He doesn't figure to have any long outings with the Reds this year after being one of the last call-ups after roster expansion and will likely see his first MLB action out of the bullpen.

In other news Joey Votto returned to action with the Reds after missing 50 games for a knee surgery. He knocked a couple of singles, but it wasn't enough as the Reds lost at home 6-2 to Roy Halladay and Philadelphia. Mike Leake allowed a couple of homers and took the loss when he was charged with six runs after pitching only two plus innings. Jay Bruce kept swinging a hot bat with three hits while driving in both runs. One of them came on a solo shot in the ninth making the fourth game in a row he's homered. Chris Heisey and Dioner Navarro added two hits each.

A home loss by the Cardinals to the Mets kept the Reds division lead at 8.5 games. Their magic number for a division championship is seventeen with twenty-four games left to play.

There was a shakeup in the lineup last night. Votto's return moved Brandon Phillips back to the leadoff spot. One must give the second baseman credit for flexibility as he's been in multiple spots throughout the season. He started off batting first before manager Dusty Baker moved him to cleanup in April to provide a right-handed bat to drive in runs behind Joey Votto. He's been hitting third since the slugger's knee injury removed him from that spot. The Reds have a combined .206/.248 AVG/OB% from the leadoff spot which is the worst in MLB and only .012' higher than their average from the ninth spot which is primarily occupied by pitchers. Phillips is hitting .294/.330 on the season. He hit .350/.417 in 177 plate appearances from the leadoff spot in 2011. Last night he went 0-4 with a couple of strikeouts.

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