Left-hander Brandon Finnegan earned his second win Friday night for the Cincinnati Reds. The former Southwest High School star and TCU alumnus made his 12th start of the season but was still looking for his second win.
The losing streak was more about the futility of the Reds than anything Finnegan has been doing on the mound. He has pitched well in a team-high 69 1/3 innings through the first two months of the season, his first as a full-time starter in the big leagues. His one and only win, however, was on April 16.
Against the Nationals on Friday, Finnegan allowed a run on five hits and three walks in 6 1/3 innings. He only struck out two batters and had to battle from behind in the count much of the night.
“He’s learning how to pitch, really learning how to pitch,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “As a reliever, you learn, but he limited himself to fastball, slider. Here, it’s both sides of the plate. It’s the breaking ball, throwing a breaking ball for a strike behind in the count. It’s being able to utilize that changeup.”
Finnegan (2-4), who was drafted in the first round and quickly became a reliever for the title-contending Royals in 2014, is having to get used to pitching for a last-place Reds team that is rebuilding. He also knows that his primary job is to give his team a chance to win each of the games he starts, whether they provide enough offense or the bullpen lets it slip away late. Six of his outings have been quality starts. He has gone at least five innings in all but two starts. He’s still working on his command with 34 walks compared to 46 strikeouts.
“You’re not going to win every game,” Finnegan said. “As long as the team wins, that’s all that matters to me. As long as I can go out there and keep us in the game for as long as I can, that’s what’s important, really. Wins and losses, they’re going to happen, they’ll come.”
▪ Hunter Pence (Arlington, UT Arlington) was placed on the disabled list Friday morning with a right hamstring injury. Pence missed time in May with hamstring issues. He was unable to run out a grounder Wednesday night after aggravating it. He had an MRI on the hamstring and could miss significant time.
▪ White Sox left-hander Matt Purke (TCU) allowed four runs on three hits and three walks in the eighth inning Friday against the Tigers. He hadn’t allowed any runs in his first 5 2/3 innings of relief since being called up from Triple A in mid-May.