Cincinnati Reds: Finnegan happy with progress in fourth start

Two home runs hurt Reds starter in loss to Brewers

Brandon Finnegan didn’t want to leave the game after the fifth inning Monday. He wanted to return for the sixth. That’s not his call, he said. He and Cincinnati interim manager Jim Riggleman disagreed about just how tough the first five innings were for him.

“I felt fine,” Finnegan said. “I didn’t really have any taxing innings besides the first, and I got through it easy after the first couple batters.”

» RELATED: Photos of Reds vs. Brewers

“I felt like he was getting into that 90-pitch range,” Riggleman said. “Ninety pitches isn’t much, but five innings is a lot. The word that’s used nowadays is stress innings, and it was kind of a stressful 90 pitches. (Pitching coach) Danny Darwin and I felt he was a little gassed. I very much considered sending him back out there, and (Darwin) said I think he’s had enough. It was a good decision. (Austin) Brice went out and put up a zero for us.”

Finnegan (0-2, 7.27) threw 89 pitches in a 6-5 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers at Great American Ball Park. He allowed three runs on five hits. He made two big mistakes, giving up a home run to Manny Pina in the fourth inning and a two-run home run to Lorenzo Cain in the fifth. The second home run came after Brewers starter Jhoulys Chacin singled to lead off the inning.

A hit by the pitcher bothered Finnegan more than anything. Otherwise, he felt he made progress. He said he’s been “grinding” since he returned from the disabled list and was happy with this start and his previous one.

“I’ve just got to keep pushing forward and keep working on pounding the zone and keep working on my pitches,” Finnegan said. “They aren’t sharp like they were last year to start the season, but this is still kind of my spring training.”

History made: Brewers reliever Josh Hader struck out eight of the nine batters he faced after entering the game with one out in the seventh inning. He’s the first pitcher in the modern era to strike out eight batters in fewer than three innings of work.

» RELATED: Riggleman praises team’s recent play | Seven reasons the offense has improved

Weekly honor: Reds first baseman Joey Votto was named National League Player of the Week on Monday. It’s the fifth time in his career he has won the award. He hit .360 (9-for-25) with seven runs scored, a double, four home runs, eight RBIs and nine walks last week.

Bullpen depth: Reliever David Hernandez made his Reds debut Friday in Minnesota on the same day he returned from the disabled list. He made two appearances in the three-game series and allowed one earned run in 2 1/3 innings.

“You like having that veteran there, him and (Jared) Hughes,” Riggleman said. “I thought those were great acquisitions this winter, two veteran relievers. Unfortunately, David wasn’t with us until the last couple of days, but that’s huge.”

Looking ahead: Friday is Star Wars Night at Great American Ball Park. More than 20 characters from the film will greet fans around the stadium, and a fireworks show set to the Star Wars soundtrack will start approximately 10 minutes after the game. The Reds play the Marlins at 7:10 p.m.

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