Reds left-handed starter Tony Cingrani seemed to lack a step and his fastball velocity was a few digits below normal.
Cingrani did not figure in the final decision, a 9-4 loss to Cubs on Wednesday, but his night set the tone for a blah peformance all around.
In only four innings, Cingrani threw 79 pitches before he was lifted. He allowed three runs and six hits with two walks and two strikeouts. In his fourth and final inning, Cingrani’s normally low-to-mid 90s mph fastball was topping out at 89 mph.
“I was just a little fatigued,” Cingrani said. “I was just laboring. That was it.”
“Other than the St. Louis game [April 2], when he was really on top of his game and really electric, I think he’s been finding his way,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “Especially early in the games of the other starts. We just want to make sure that he’s strong and really able to command his fastball. When push comes to shove, we’ve talked a lot about his fastball, but when he’s got his velocity and his command, there’s not as much need for the off-speed stuff.”
“You’re always thinking you’re in the game,” Todd Frazier said. “We just couldn’t figure it out with the bats. We had a couple of good innings, but not that dominating inning that we’re looking for.”
Cingrani did not allow any runs in the fourth inning, even with a slowing fastball, but Price turned to reliever Nick Christiani for the fifth. It’s the second time this season that Cingrani has only pitched four innings. He hasn’t completed seven innings since his 2014 debut vs. the Cardinals.
“He wasn’t real sharp and his velocity started to back down a little bit that last inning,” Price said. “He wanted to go back out and pitch. I felt it was the right decision to get him out of there. It just didn’t seem like it was working for him tonight. It didn’t seem like we should keep running him out there expecting a different result.”
Cingrani, who is 2-2 with a 3.34 ERA this season, wasn’t worried about feeling fatigued.
“It’s just part of the season. I’ll make some minor adjustments and see where it goes,” he said.