The Kansas City Royals present a dystopic Ghost of Baseball Future for the Reds. Arguably, the Reds new front office used the 2014-2015 Royals as a template for the early phase of the team’s rebuild, assembling a roster around speed and contact hitting.
With tonight’s win, the Reds staved off being tied with the Royals for the next-to-worst record in baseball. /waves tiny Reds pennant/
Cincinnati Reds 5 (24-43) • Kansas City Royals 1 (22-45)
Sal Romano had his best start of the year and made the longest appearance for a Reds pitcher this year – eight innings. He’s just the second Reds pitcher to go at least seven innings this year. Homer Bailey was the other. Romano gave up four hits and one run – a solo home run to Hunter Dozier. Romano struck out just two Royals but held his walks down to one. He threw 106 pitches.
It was Romano’s 14th start. 100 major league pitchers have thrown 60 innings or more. Before the game, Romano ranked #91 in strikeout rate and #84 in walk rate. So it’s no surprise his ERA is still 5.75 and FIP is 5.35. It’s hard to know how much importance to put on tonight’s game for Romano as the Royals offense is 26th in the majors in runs scored and next-to-last in power.
After the Reds tied the game in the top of the 9th, David Hernandez hit the first Royals batter. After a strikeout, Jesse Winker tracked down a long fly ball in front of the wall in left-center for a nice defensive play. Amir Garrett retired the Royals in order in the 10th.
The Royals Ian Kennedy handcuffed the Reds over 8 innings. He gave up three hits and three walks and struck out five. Kennedy’s won-loss record and ERA are a bit misleading. His xFIP was less than 4.5 coming into the game.
Tucker Barnhart greeted a 88-mph change-up by Royals closer Kelvin Herrera with a game-tying home run leading off the 9th inning. Herrera then gave up his first two walks of the year. Joey Votto and Jesse Winker were stranded. It was Winker’s second BB of the night.
The Reds blew the game open against the hapless Royals in the 10th. Jose Peraza led off with a high-chopped ground ball that the Royals third basemen threw ten feet over the first baseman’s head. Peraza got to second. But Peraza was thrown out easily at third when Billy Hamilton’s attempt at a sacrifice bunt stayed too close to the catcher. With Hamilton on first, Scott Schebler lined a single to right. Tucker Barnhart then lined back to the pitcher. Billy Hamilton got caught in a run-down, but not to be outdone, the Royals couldn’t execute it. Hamilton was safe back at third, loading the bases. Joey Votto, who never gets clutch hits, tripled to right center, driving in three runs. One batter later, Eugenio Suarez singled home Votto.
Stuff to Read Doug Gray has an interesting post at his site about the signing bonuses and potential salary penalties for the Reds recent top-ten draft picks. I like the idea floated in this post at Red Reporter for the Reds to offer Anthony DeSclafani a contract extension. But I wouldn’t go more than the four years proposed in it.
Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.