That aforementioned early scoring barrage allowed starter Mike Clevinger pitch free and easy basically from the outset. Outside of serving up a fourth-inning solo shot to Alex Gordon, the 27-year-old righty was lights out, pitching six innings of three-hit, one-run baseball, walking just a single batter and striking out 10 – one shy of his career high. It was his fifth double-digit strikeout game of the season.
In particular, Clevinger’s fastball was working extremely well. Half of his Ks came via the fastball and his average fastball velocity was hovering around 94.6 mph, with a max speed of 96.8 on the night. Francona said afterward that it looks like Clevinger is catching a second wind, but the righty himself credited his more lively fastball to some changes he made in his delivery a few weeks back.
“It was about a month ago we kind of made some drastic changes [to my delivery] – that Reds start – and I had like six walks cause I had a whole new release point,” Clevinger explained. “It slowly started getting better and better and more in-sync and now it’s almost like second nature and what we were trying to do, now we’re accomplishing it.”