The Cincinnati Reds have now won four consecutive baseball games. They have won back to back games in LA against the Dodgers for the first time since 2011. The Matt Harvey era is officially underway for the Reds, and it is off to a roaring start. Harvey pitched four shutout innings on a limited pitch count. Scooter Gennett lead the Reds offense by homering in a fourth consecutive game. For as bad as the Reds have been in 2018, they only have four less wins than the defending NL champs.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (12-27) 6 10 0
Los Angeles Dodgers (16-22) 2 5 0
W: Brice (1-2) L: Maeda (2-3) S: Iglesias (6)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

Biggest Play of the Game

According to Fangraphs WPA statistic (winning percentage added), the most important play of the game was Tucker Barnhart’s RBI single off Kenta Maeda with 2 outs in the 3rd inning, giving the Reds a 3-0 lead. That play increased the Reds chances of winning by 8.0% (from 72.4% to 80.3%).

Player of the Game

Matt Harvey: 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K

The Dark Knight’s Reds debut could not have gone much better. If not for an outfield gaffe by Schebler/Hamilton, Harvey would have pitched four perfect innings. He was on a strict limited pitch count due to being transitioned from the Mets bullpen. The most impressive part of his start was that he didn’t walk a batter. Statcast said that Harvey averaged 93.6 MPH on his fastball, and twice reached 95.8 MPH (which is his season high). The only concerning thing with Harvey’s start was that he did have 3 balls hit 103.5+ MPH, but overall it was a very encouraging start.

Positives

Scooter Gennett has now homered in four consecutive games. Scooter had a four hit night. Here is an interesting stat on Gennett (regression, huh?):

2017: 124 wRC+
2018: 141 wRC+


Joey Votto and Jesse Winker both reached base twice. Tucker Barnhart had two hits.

The Reds bullpen was nails after the four inning start from Harvey. Austin Brice did allow a run in 1.2 innings, but he struck out 4 batters.

Negatives

The Reds fourth straight win didn’t come along without some gaffes along the way: Jesse Winker starred down a ball hit off the wall and it cost him a base in the first inning. Hamilton and Schebler let a ball fall right in between them. Riggleman somehow screwed up a double switch, and I honestly do not even know how to explain that to you.

Not so random thoughts………..

I really just don’t understand why so many folks just want to get rid of Scooter Gennett. All the guy does is hit, and he is on a team friendly contract through next season. If you are expecting the Reds to compete in 2019 (and for all purposes they better compete in 2019) then you want Gennett on the roster playing vs RHP. This notion that the Reds need to get rid of him to open a spot up for Senzel is silly. Many good teams have deep benches, and are creative to get guys consistent playing time.

Up Next:

Reds at Dodgers
Saturday, 9:10 PM
TV: FOX Sports Ohio
Homer Bailey (5.61 ERA/6.28 FIP) vs Ross Stripling (1.93 ERA/3.38 FIP)

Nick is a lifelong Reds fan who was born and raised in Cincinnati. He acquired his love of baseball from his late grandfather. Nick moved to the Cleveland area in 2014 with his wife, and his currently fighting to convert his beautiful baby daughter Emma to Reds fandom. Nick has been writing for Redleg Nation since 2013. Follow Nick on Twitter @nicholaspkirby.

Join the conversation! 58 Comments

  1. Only had radio tonight. How comfortable did Harvey look? How was his countenance? Sounds like his fastball was a solid speed.

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  2. Harvey looked good. A few more starts like this one and I would see if he’ll bite on a team friendly 2 year deal. Scooter needs to stay put in cincy, period

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  3. When everybody was citing regression as a possible reason for trading Gennett I didn’t believe that Scooter would regress and spoke to keeping him and putting Senzel at Short. People will still call for him to be traded for several reasons 1) Bcuz he IS doing well 2) Bcuz they believe he’s not a future piece of the next contending Reds team/no room for him when Senzel does come up (deep bench or not) 3) Bcuz his defense sux 4) They still believe regression will happen with him. The season is still young so I guess there’s always the possibility that he could regress. But he’s shown no signs of it so far in his second season with Cincinnati.

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  4. Dodgers look like a club that might want an upgrade at second base come trade deadline. Scooter could be auditioning for such a roll right now.

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  5. Reasons for trade Gennet are that he is not a long term piece of the team. If he is doing well then he becomes a valuable trade piece. If he regresses then he is just blocking someone at 2B. I don’t think he is going to regress. All this was based on the idea that Senzel was ready, but with his vertigo trading Scooter might not be a good idea

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  6. Didn’t see the game but was shocked to see the box score and Harvey’s performance. It was just a few innings of work but if the change of scenery turns him around it would be huge for this team.

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    • Sometimes a DFA/trade is a wake up call.
      I hope that happened here.
      If it he pitches will over the next month and a half, might be able to pick up a nice prospect.
      But 1 4 inning start does not a cy young candidate make.

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      • New pitching coach, maybe just a positive feel (hey, Reds wanted him, coaches and teammates excited to have him, etc).

        It’s early, but I don’t see anything wrong with Harvey physically. if anything I expect they’ll find an arm angle a bit lower than he used to have (or higher, dunno) which may cause control issues or lack of fastball movement, etc. His stuff is still there, just the lack of command, leaving pitches in all sorts of unintended locations, getting him burned with HR and walks.

        The key will be, is he pretty close to the catchers target most pitches, if catcher sets up inside and he throws one several inches outside, and does that kindo f thing regularly, then he is probably still broke and a blowup (3in, 8er) is inevitable.

        We have to hope he puts it together. Either for the Reds or being Boras candidate, the off chance they can trade him for a top prospect in two months to an SP starved contender.

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  7. Strike while the iron is hot. Trade Harvey Now!
    Really though, happy he did well. Hope he keeps it up.

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  8. That was schebler’s ball/call. After he muffed it He gave Billy Hamilton an earful And a look that said “that’s on you – not me”

    It surprised me. That’s not what a good teammate does.

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    • I caught that too. All Scheb needed to do is say “My bad.” or “Let’s do better next time.” But for him to straight up accuse Billy of missing it, when Scheb’s body language would lead anyone to believe that he had the ball, was a bit of a low blow.

      Although, in Scheb’s defense, Billy DID stop tracking the ball. Even if Scheb was acting like he had it, Billy should have kept his eye on the ball and gotten in position to back Scheb up in case he dropped it.

      So all in all, it was both of their faults, but it was bad form for Scheb to try to pin it all on Billy.

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      • They apparently both lost it in the sun. Schebler said he was trying to track it, couldn’t see it and saw that Billy couldn’t, either.

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    • I didn’t see that at all. The so called earful was: I never saw the ball. He wasn’t saying that’s on you. Go back and watch it.

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  9. There’s no pressure to trade Gennett. If anything, I’d play him against every RHP and use him off the bench on days lefties start. I have been under the assumption the Reds should be opportunistic and sell high on Gennett coming off his career year. There is some inherent risk in hanging onto a guy who had a career year in a year when everyone agrees the ball was juiced. But even before his offensive outburst last season he was still pretty solid regular at 2B, which is fine until we have a ready replacement. We didn’t trade Straily because of a fear of regression, but because the Marlins offered us Castillo and Brice for him. Straily wasn’t going to be around for much, if at all, on the next good Reds team. I’m hopeful both Brice and Castillo will contribute to those teams. If someone offers us a similar deal for players that will be likely to contribute to winning baseball beyond 2019, it would shortsighted for the Reds to not entertain that proposal.

    The guy I really wanted to see the Reds trade this past offseason was Duvall. That didn’t happen and now I believe we are seeing the regression we all feared was lurking around the corner. The numbers don’t lie, sometimes it just takes a while for their truth to be evident.

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  10. Scooter is basically Bryce Harper against right handles and 90% of pitchers are right handed… why trade him? Find a manager who knows how to protect a lefty who mashes righties and move on to the next problem to solve.

    Scooter is not the problem.

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    • He is not the problem, but the question in my mind is how do you improve the team beyond this year. If the Reds intend to compete next year keep him. If the Reds don’t intend to make major FA acquisitions he won’t be around when the team is competing.

      If they think Scooter is part of the future and plan to extend him then find Senzel a new position. The Reds can’t afford to hold on to guys like Iglesias and Scooter while in last place just to let them leave as free agents.

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  11. It sure is comforting to watch a ballgame w/o having the worst bullpen in baseball. Actually, they’re not bad. Stephens gave up 3 hits & a run in the 5th. Other than that the pitching 1 hit the Dodgers over 8 innings (a solo HR off Brice.). It is almost mind numbing to watch Riggelman replace Schebler in rf with Winker & then replace Winker with Blandino & then switch Blandino to ss & Peraza to rf. I suppose somebodies parents were complaining about not all of the players getting to participate.

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  12. The Reds have to decide now if they want to keep him or trade him. They will get better value for him now because he has 1 more year left on his contract. They won’t get much if they wait until next summer. Then we will get a bunch of people commenting on how the Reds screwed it up.

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  13. We held on to Bailey, Cueto & Bruce and what have we got? But I agree we have to be very sure of what we get in return if we trade Gennet.

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  14. Little by little things are happening with the Reds. There’s no reason to bring up Senzel this season before making sure his physical condition is stable. It’s not an easy decision to give up a hitter like Gennett. I would like to see if he could handle an outfield position. Working with Danny Darwin could be the key for Harvey.

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  15. I was more interested in this game than any game since the first series of the year, because I was very curious as to how Harvey would do. I watched the first four innings he pitched and then went to bed feeling impressed. My feeling was for the first time in a very long time that the Reds had a veteran pitcher on the mound who was in control of the game. That was a very good feeling.

    For the first time in a long time for a west coast game, I got up overnight to check the final score and box score. We at Redleg Nation follow the team daily because we are passionate about it, but when they are losing so often, it at times feels like merely observation and monitoring. For maybe the first time this year, I had the feeling of joy and fun while watching. Not saying that will last, but a winning streak and a promising outing by a former all-star pitcher elicited some reason for watching other than just monitoring the status of things. I had the feeling of hope for the first time this season.

    When I woke up overnight, I noted that both Blandino and Peraza played right field. I checked here to see if there was an explanation for that. 🙂

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    • The idea had merit, which was to make a pitching change as well as put Duvall in LF. The pitcher would bat in Schebler’s spot, Duvall would bat in the pitchers spot, & Winker would move from LF to RF.I never got the exact explanation, but Winker had to leave the game & Blandino replaced him in RF. The next inning, Blandino & Peraza switched spots defensively. On a side note, I don’t think Winker would have caught the last out of the game. Dodgers would have scored a run & perhaps Iglesias could have qualified for a save.

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      • They gave Iglesias a save but he only faced 2 batters with a 4 run lead. Garrett had walked a batter, hit a batter & got 1 out. I didn’t think that would have qualified Iglesias for a save – but he got save #6 in the boxscore.

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      • The explanation was that Riggleman did not replace Schebler, but Schebler thought he was being taken out (having made the last out in the top of the inning). That started a weird chain reaction. Still, why did Riggleman want to replace Winker with Duvall?
        Looks like Riggleman is using defensive substitutes near the end of the game. Looked like he did so the other night, replacing Gennett with Blandino (who went on the make 2 nice plays in the last two innings.) A little bit of management there…which we’ve all been clamoring for.

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      • Schebler was never supposed to come out of the game. Formalities of roster manipulation and double switches aside, it was essentially supposed to be Duvall for Winker

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    • I wonder if Harvey will be the swizzle stick this team needs-was fun to watch

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    • Agreed – I woke up at 6 AM to see if the streak was still alive… and it was!
      Some encouraging things;
      1. getting Duvall in for Defense paid off with a nice sliding catch to end the game
      2. bullpen looking solid (as Bouwillis said)
      3. twilight in Dodger stadium is rough to track a sky-high flyball – that happens!
      4. Peraza – another solid ballgame
      5. Winker is a knucklehead – he thought that ball was gone & admired it hit the wall!
      6. Joseph, Scooter, Tucker with some clutch hits
      7. Harvey pitching well – could be icing on the cake!

      Regarding Duvy – I first thought he was trying to pull everything. But then he went oppo against the Mets, and I thought “Look out – he’s starting to use all fields”. But after the past two nights, I don’t believe he is seeing the ball. He just looks over-matched & late on good fastballs.

      But, look at Bellinger, he also looks overmatched here in 2018. Hitting ML pitching is hard!

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      • Hitting a baseball at any level can be described as “hard”. Hitting a baseball against an MLB pitcher is might near impossible. These guys are all good… I’m thinking Duvall is struggling to see the ball well and he also seems to have developed a little loop in his swing that is making him a little less direct to the ball.

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    • I second that emotion. It was a nice feeling for a change.

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  16. Jim Day indicated before the game that Lorenzen and Disco were starting rehab stints at AA.
    Its the first time I’ve heard definitively that Lorenzen is coming back to the bullpen and Day suggested if all goes well he will be back this month. He wont need to build innings like Disco will. If he can regain his 2016 second half form, this bullpen suddenly becomes very solid and very deep.

    Iglesias has been flat out dominant and Scooter clearly had a shoulder issue and is now hitting very well. Both could have big time trade value in 2 months as a shutdown late multi-inning reliever and a power lefty bat.

    Harvey really hit his spots well,. even when he missed he was missing in the right spots. His 4th inning K with a slider on the low outside corner was unhittable. I did notice those 3 balls at 103 mph. He got high fly balls in the middle of the outfield but you wonder in June at GABP how that goes, but overall a great outing.

    An aside, I enjoyed the game, but Chris Welsh is now joining Thom with the negativity. Whether it be WInker and Votto base-running, or diatribes against national media types or skewering Garrett in the 9th for hitting a batter…..The Reds won. Guys are going to mistakes.

    Joey Votto is not a good base-runner. He’s not nor will he be. He’s better than Big papi or the Panda.

    WInker is better in LF than Kyle Schwarber or Adam Dunn. Make the late inning switch like Riggleman is doing. Duvall made a nice catch and hit a solo shot in extras off the bench to win a game earlier this week. Its working.

    Ill give Riggleman the benefit of the doubt on the double switch mistake. He’s allowed a gaffe too. He’s certainly changed the culture. Schebler lost a ball in the lights. Fix the communication with Hamilton but it happens.

    The roster is light years better. Even with the gaffe, the flexibility of Blandino and Peraza covered Riggleman. The bullpen has depth to give Garrett a shot to close the 9th pitching for a second inning. It didn’t work, but they won.

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    • Harvey never hit 103 mph on the gun last night:

      Harvey “required only 55 pitches to record 12 outs. Thirty-two of them were strikes and two of them reached a season-high velocity of 95.8 mph”….96 mph. “I hadn’t seen that in a while,” Harvey said. “It was good to know it’s still in there.”

      Not sure where you noticed he threw 103 mph three times.

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    • Another Thom/Welsh ludicrous diatribe. Peraza doubles with no out. Votto rolled over and grounded to 2b and Peraza got to third. Votto was visibly upset and irritated at himself for not executing whatever he was trying to do with that at pitch or at bat. Clearly it wasn’t a ground ball to 2b. He is a perfectionist, but his teammates saw he was yelling at himself and left him alone when he came to the dugout. Then Thom proceeds to say he’s never seen a team not congratulate a teammate for moving the runner over and Chris chimed in as well- the suggestion being the Reds aren’t good teammates?

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      • That was an awkward moment for me too but I thought they reasoned it out that Votto was too upset at that moment to take a high 5. Joey’s weird. I don’t blame them.

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  17. Nick,

    You are a good writer, but I hope you aren’t falling into the same habit as a couple of prominent RLN writers….implying the reader is crazy/foolish for not seeing it the way you do.

    The Reds don’t have to compete in 2019.

    If Gennett cannot be dealt, and I doubt he can, barring a 2B injury somewhere, next year the team needs his spot for youth and his 2019 salary for holes.

    The longer he is around, the more I think he will be foolishly signed for 2020 and beyond….maybe he is already is a Castellini favorite.

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  18. Votto reached base three times, not two. And Chris Welsh was more fair than negative. Winker and Votto both ended up at second early in the game when they should have been at third. Welsh pointed that out, with an entirely fair, negative assessment. But in the 9th Votto went first to third on Scooter’s bloop to right, reading the play well off the bat. Welsh pointed out, again rightly so, that it was good base running by Joey. Baseball is hard, and no one makes the right instinctive read every time. I think Chris Welsh does a nice job of making that clear, and commenting fairly either way based on the play on the field. Thom on the other hand is quick to share his own biases and not as focused on a fair reporting of the action in the game.

    On an unrelated note I really like what Alex Blandino brings to this team. He plays wherever, whenever he’s needed, is capable at every position, and has a positive energy without any deer in the headlights aspect. I hope he sticks. Nice win by the Reds!

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  19. Lots of positive stuff over the last 4 games but it usually starts and ends with pitching.Dodgers are reeling and the Reds have taken advantage of it which is what happens in major league ball.Long season and more fun to watch as the young starters take the mound but lets not look for or expect 1973 all over again.This is the same team it was coming out of the spring that the front office did nothing to improve and rolled the dice on.Holes on offense,young guys throwing and playing and vets like Homer,Disco and now Harvey seeing if they have anything left.Improvement by the young uns is what I am looking for.Trading guys that have value such as Iggy and maybe Scooter or maybe Harvey at the deadline to acquire young talent would be awesome.Can’t keep em or fall in love with them as in the past years or we end up well just right where we are today.Great win last night an lets hope Homer can get it done today.Go Reds.

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  20. The botched double-switch still doesn’t make sense to me. First they brought Duvall and Garrett into the game and removed Brice and Schebler. Then, after Garrett’s first pitch, they brought in Blandino for Winker. I understand what happened there — Riggleman meant to replace Winker but Schebler came out instead — but what I don’t understand is how Garrett ended up batting in Winker’s spot, which is where he hit the next inning. Riggleman may have intended to bring Garrett in for Winker, but if Winker was still in the game when Garrett threw a pitch, then obviously he didn’t come in for Winker, he came in for Schebler. So why was he allowed to bat in Winker’s spot? Either they hit out of order or they had Winker in the field for one pitch after he’d been officially removed from the game — which I would assume would mean something bad is supposed to happen. What’s the penalty for having a guy on the field for one pitch when the guy has been officially removed?

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  21. Don’t trade Scooter until you can slide someone in immediately who’s better overall (i.e. offense + defense).

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  22. I wouldn’t be surprised if the FO decides to platoon Senzel with Scooter at the end of the season or next much like Joey was with Hatteburg

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  23. So far it looks like a good plan to bench Duvall and have him replacing Schebler/Winker in late innings. Also, Hamilton is looking more comfortable hitting from the 9th spot, cannot bench his defense/speed. Votto is not likely to improve his on-base skills now, but Winker is still very young and coaches should work hard with him on those matters.

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  24. How does Hamilton only have 5 stolen bases in mid May. Sample size is now starting to be significant.

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  25. I really just don’t understand why so many folks just want to get rid of Raisel Iglesias. All the guy does is get people out and he is on a team friendly contract through 2020. If you are expecting the Reds to compete in 2019 (and for all purposes they better compete in 2019) then you want Iglesias on the roster pitching as often as possible. This notion that the Reds need to get rid of him is silly. Many good teams have deep pitching staffs, and are creative to get guys consistent playing time.

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    • I clearly do not want to get rid of Iglesias. The Reds have several glaring weaknesses & trading Raisel is one of the very few ways the Reds can fully address more than one of them at a time. The only other possible ways are : #1) trade suarez, #2) keep tanking & drafting high for at least 2018 & 2019, or #3) spend about $500MM on free agent contracts this offseason. Trading Iglesias seems to be the lesser of several evils to me.

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    • The value he would have in a smart trade this year should far outweigh the meaningless innings he’d pitch in 2018 and the 75 or so innings he’d pitch in 2019 and 2020, even IF the Reds are competitive in those two years. The Reds could end up with someone’s #1 prospect in return. Or they could trade Iglesias and Hamilton for a center fielder who can hit and a highly regarded prospect. It would be great to have him for two more years, but the reality is he’s worth a lot more to other teams right now that he is to the Reds, and someone is likely to overpay for him.

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  26. A couple things:

    1. The reason you trade scooter is to clear room for a cheaper, younger player who happens to be one of the best prospects in all of baseball. Then you take the roughly $8 million you save on scooter’s contract next year and use it to sign a veteran (SP? CF? Closer after you trade Iggy?)

    2. Am I the only one who wasn’t impressed by Harvey’s start? I’m not trying to be negative, but I thought his command of everything except his slider was pretty bad. He seemed to be way off the plate or catching too much of the plate for a lot of those pitches. The Dodgers’ offense isn’t exactly killing it right now. Just ask Homer about the problems that not having fastball command can cause.

    That said, I’ll take Harvey’s overall line all day, and am especially excited about a Reds offense that’s clicking and a 4-game win streak, though!

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    • I wasn’t wowed by it, but I thought he looked pretty good for a guy whose numbers have been terrible. No matter how he looks, if he can keep his ERA under 4 I’m sure the Reds can trade him for someone decent. (Now, whether they’ll actually make that trade is an entirely different question. They may end up trading him for Arroyo or Gallardo or something like that.)

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  27. I trust that our new GM, Nick Krall, will not trade Harvey for a later-day-version of Arroyo or Gallardo.

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  28. The botched double-switch aside, let’s enjoy the great start by Matt Harvey. Good for him. I think he got a wake up call and will tend to business. We desperately need an “anchor” on the staff for the young guys and I hope he can provide that.

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  29. I’m behind in watching the games, so forgive the late comment. Two thoughts on the double switch: 1) I noticed when Riggelman went out to the umpire that he didn’t have his lineup card in his hand. I thought at the time “that’s very unusual on a double switch.” Hopefully next time he will. 2) How can there be no penalty for whatever the Reds did wrong? When the Mets batted out of order they were basically penalized an out and forced to live with the mistaken batting order. The Reds were forced to live with Garrett at leadoff, but otherwise weren’t penalized

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About Nick Kirby

Nick is a lifelong Reds fan who was born and raised in Cincinnati. He acquired his love of baseball from his late grandfather. Nick moved to the Cleveland area in 2014 with his wife, and his currently fighting to convert his beautiful baby daughter Emma to Reds fandom. Nick has been writing for Redleg Nation since 2013. Follow Nick on Twitter @nicholaspkirby.

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