Reds and Cubbie fans got a look at the real Justin Lehr on Wednesday night. His ball was moving like a Solid Gold dancer after a handful of diet pills. Working ahead in the count to either 21 or 22 Cub batters, Lehr was nothing short of solid gold himself last night.
He shut down, shut up, and shutout the white hot North side boys, allowing only four hits and one walk in his complete game 4-0 victory.
To say that this cat has been around the block is on par with saying "Jimi Hendrix sorta knew how to play the guitar."
For the love of baseball and everything else holy, Lehr once had his contract sold to Korea. To go half-way around the world to pitch says, well, like... he may be just a little bit determined to make it back to the bigs.
Some (cough, cough: wife, kids) may say stubborn.
He was 31 years old when he made his forgettable first big league start last week. He turned 32 on Monday. So maybe 32 is his lucky number.
Doubtful a number has anything to do with it.
The California native will not blow you away with heat. However, while in Korea he worked on his split finger which has turned into his out pitch.
Wednesday night he also worked a huge bender. He was changing speeds which allowed him to throw his high-80's, low-90's fastball.
Hitting the corners and down in the zone, his location was pretty close to perfect all night. Nothing short of pure brilliance, and the best start by a Reds' pitcher this season.
Lehr was proving this start after start down in Louisville, Cincinnati's AAA affiliate. He was named the International League's Pitcher of the Week three times, and along with outfielder, Drew Stubbs were the Louisville Bats representatives in the International League All-Star game.
In 12 games (11 starts) with Louisville, he posted an 8-1 record, 2.51 ERA, a minuscule 0.89 WHIP. He walked only 10 batter in 75 and one-third innings pitched.
That says that his six walk, five inning debut as a starting pitcher on July 31 was nothing more than a case of serious jitterbugs.
Of course the guy is not going to pitch shutouts every time out.
But the Reds, who are in dire need of starting pitching, have just found themselves a diamond in the rough... or rather a piece of solid gold.