PITTSBURGH — Through seven starts in the big leagues, Reds top prospect Hunter Greene has provided a wide spectrum in his efforts. We’ve seen no-hit type stuff like on Sunday during a crushing 1-0 loss to the Pirates. Greene has also been roughed up badly and has had some middling type of outings too.
“What has stood out to me is how well he handled it all,” Reds manager David Bell said. “He’s a quick learner who makes quick adjustments. He doesn’t get down on himself. He’s very competitive, but he approaches it exactly how you’d want somebody to.
“He’s built on the good ones and learned from the ones that’ve been tough. It’s really impressive.”
Greene threw a career-high 118 pitches during his 7 1/3 no-hit innings vs. Pittsburgh. It was the highest pitch total in the Major Leagues this season, surpassing the Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks’ 116 on May 9, at San Diego. Greene admitted to being fatigued near the end.
“That’s the most pitches I’ve thrown. Then again, the mental part of like, ‘I’m fine. I’m not tired,’” the 22-year-old said. “And it’s just continuing to lock myself in between those innings and keeping my mindset there. It was definitely a thought that came in, but you have to flush that out and continue to stay locked in to go out there again.”
Greene’s four-seam fastball averaged 98.9 mph on Sunday. In his third start, it dipped from 100.2 to 95.8, followed by 96.6, 98.1 and 98.4.
The total number of sliders that Greene has thrown this season, according to Statcast. In his debut, 25 percent of his pitches were sliders. On May 10 vs. the Brewers, he threw one more slider (48) than he did fastballs (47). On Sunday, 65 pitches (55 percent) were sliders that averaged 88.1 mph.
It’s become a crucial pitch for Greene to keep hitters from sitting on his fastball.
“I think the biggest thing was my slider and being really happy with that,” Greene said on Sunday. “I think it was just continuing to get better and better for me.”
One of the sliders caught Pirates second baseman Josh VanMeter looking at strike three to end the seventh inning.
“His breaking ball has come a long way,” said VanMeter, a former Red who was at the 2020 alternate site with Greene. “Him throwing the breaking ball for strikes made the heater even better. The heater is electric already. The ability for him to throw strikes with the breaking ball kind of in any count made it difficult today, to be honest.”
The number of homers Greene gave up in his May 5 start at Milwaukee, tying a club record. He lasted only 2 2/3 innings during the 10-5 loss and allowed eight earned runs and nine hits.
The number of homers Greene has allowed over his last two starts since. It came against the same Brewers lineup at Great American Ball Park on May 10.
“He’s very mature. He’s up here for a reason,” said reliever Art Warren, who replaced Greene in the eighth inning on Sunday. “He’s definitely got the stuff. From every outing, he’s improving more and more. He’s learning and catching on pretty quick with how to do this thing. He’s going to be great.”
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, 7 1/3 innings is the furthest a Reds pitcher has gone in a game without giving up a hit before being removed. On May 26, 1956, Johnny Klippstein pitched seven hitless innings with one run allowed and seven walks during a 2-1 loss in 11 innings to the Milwaukee Braves.
Owners of the Major Leagues’ worst record at 9-26, the Reds took another painful sting – maybe the worst of the season. The clubhouse was unhappy but also noted Greene has a chance to throw no-hitters in the future with a much happier outcome.
“Hunter is electric, man,” Reds center fielder Albert Almora Jr. said. “He’s definitely a threat for these kinds of things every time he steps on that mound. Hitters know that and they have to be on to compete against him.”