After winning the first game of the 2022 campaign and then dropping the next two by a single run each, the Reds turned to 22 year old Hunter Greene with a chance to leave Atlanta with a 2-2 series split.
And in his MLB debut, he was good enough to do just that.
It was never perfect for the Reds’ number 1 prospect (although he did retire the first 4 Braves hitters). Nonetheless, Sunday’s trip to the mound was about as good as you can expect from a guy who has dealt with multiple injuries in recent years including Tommy John surgery.
Greene set the tone early on, striking out the second and third batters of the game with different pitches. First, he flashed that 100mph effortless fastball right by Matt Olson. Then, he showed off a slider that fooled Austin Riley twice in a 3 pitch strikeout.
The Reds struggled to get any type of offense going on Saturday, but they seemed to have a sense of urgency Sunday. Tyler Naquin started the scoring when he laced an RBI double down the right field line, bringing the reigning NL ROTY home to score. Nick Senzel looked to bounce into an inning ending double play, but his hustle down the first base line rewarded the Reds with another run. The top of the 3rd inning saw Cincinnati score 5 runs and bounce Ian Anderson from the game.
Hunter Greene finished with a 5 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K line. Oh, and a win against the defending World Series Champs. But he certainly has things to work on, especially the placement of his fastball. In his final inning, he allowed two solo home runs on pitches that looked to be in the exact same spot. High in the zone and inside on lefties. If any pitching coach will be able to fix a problem like that, it’s Derek Johnson.
Loads of potential and flashes of dominance ooze out of Greene’s game. The question is – can he adjust to the league before the league adjusts to him?