The Reds failed to extend their 3-game winning streak, falling to the Pirates in the struggle for 4th place in the NL Central. Joey Votto missed a game-tying extra-base hit by one foot with two outs in the 9th.
Cincinnati Reds 2 (25-44) • Pittsburgh Pirates 3 (34-35)
Matt Harvey was OK. He gave up four hits, two walks and struck out two in 5+ innings. His ERA is 5.92 and FIP 5.33. He got pulled after giving up singles to the first two batters of the 6th inning. The Pirates made a couple loud fly ball outs to end the 5th. His fastball was around 95 mph, which is good. But his ability to induce swinging strikes, as Matt Wilkes pointed out in the game preview, is lagging. He got just 8 whiffs in his 100 pitches, which is right on his season average and 14th worst among starters in the major leagues. The Reds might be able to squeeze a tiny bit of trade value out of Harvey, but it sure doesn’t seem worth the starts he’s soaking up at the expense of Robert Stephenson, Cody Reed, Amir Garrett or Michael Lorenzen. Take your pick.
Wandy Peralta was brought in to face a single left-handed batter with runners on first and second in the 6th. He threw two pitches. The first was a ball well out of the strike zone. The second was a HBP, loading the bases. Peralta has more walks than strikeouts this year. As we’ve said many times, it’s hard to fathom why the Reds keep using Peralta in important spots.
Michael Lorenzen got the last 9 outs for the Reds, allowing two hits and a walk while striking out two. If he can pitch three innings, he can pitch five. If he can pitch five, he can pitch seven. Rinse, repeat.
The Reds scored their first run on a single by Scott Schebler, a 401-foot double by Joey Votto and a sacrifice fly by Scooter Gennett. That sequence is a pretty good example why RBIs are a pretty lousy measurement for offensive production. Votto’s double contributed four bases of offense, Gennett hit a routine fly ball that gained one base. Votto’s hit obviously contributed more to the run than Gennett’s fly ball. But Gennett got the RBI. Measures like wOBA and wRC+ do a much better job of isolating the hitter’s contribution. Votto’s double would have been a home run in any other major league ball park.
Scott Schebler made a nice catch against the centerfield fence, jumping to take away a Pirates extra-base hit. In fact, he made all the plays tonight. The Reds didn’t miss Billy Hamilton in CF. Schebler was 1-for-5 with a run scored. Billy Hamilton entered the game as a pinch runner in the 9th after Tucker Barnhart singled. He stole second with two strikes. That’s the best way of using Billy.
I still don’t like Eugenio Suarez batting 5th. He’s too productive a hitter to bat that low in the lineup. The #5 hitter gets 54 fewer at bats than the #2 hitter over the course of a season. Suarez and Votto each had a walk and a hit. Jose Peraza had two hits and drew an intentional walk.
Batting with Runners in Scoring Position (2018):
- Reds: .246/.340/.371
- MLB: .246/.332/.400
Nick Senzel had his sixth consecutive multi-hit game for Louisville tonight. He’s ready. Of course, the Reds roster management is such there’s nowhere for him to play without changing either the position he’s been playing or one of the current regulars. The Reds are right not to call Senzel up until they are ready to play him every day. That makes this all the more frustrating. The Reds haven’t had positions ready for either of their top two position players (Jesse Winker and Senzel). They need to get this sorted out in the next couple weeks somehow. Sub-optimal rebuilding.
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.