With six wins in their last eight games and a 21-21 record over the past 42, the Reds are playing the kind of baseball that fans with an optimistic outlook hoped for this year. The 7-24 start to the season can be attributed to the typical long injury list to start the season, particularly to pitchers, and the fact that the Reds played a Murderer’s Row schedule of opponents in the first month. With the exception of the Pittsburgh Pirates (currently 36-37), they didn’t play a single game against a team that is currently under .500 until Friday, May 4, against the Miami Marlins. Perhaps not coincidentally, that’s when the current streak with a 21-21 record began.
During the 6-2 streak in the past eight games, the starting pitching has given up 14 runs in eight games. Twice during that streak, the starters held the opponents scoreless. When you have a lights-out bullpen, that kind of starting pitching will get the job done. Four of the six wins in the streak came against sub-.500 teams, so the lesser quality of opponent certainly has to be considered a factor.
We learned what, in retrospect, was a painful yet valuable lesson during the first month of the season: The Reds are nowhere close to being able to compete on a daily basis with the cream of major league teams. Had the schedule been different and this current 21-21 streak occurred against lesser competition at the start of the season, there would be a widespread belief that the rebuild was over and it was time to compete. But those games against the Nationals, Phillies, Braves, Cardinals, Brewers, Diamondbacks, etc., etc., would have come at some point, and the results would likely have been very similar. Despite the recent turn in a positive direction, clearly the team has to locate some quality starting pitching to take the next step. If the starting pitchers currently on the staff make strides throughout the rest of the season, fine. What we’ve seen over the past few years would lead one to believe that it’s not something we should necessarily count on.
It’s back to reality for the Reds tonight in the opener of a four-game series against the first-place Cubs (by three percentage points), starting at 7:10 Eastern time at Great American Ball Park. Prior to the game, the Reds announced these roster moves:
- OF Scott Schebler placed on bereavement list
- OF Phillip Ervin recalled from Louisville
- LHP Wandy Peralta optioned to Louisville
- Contract of LHP Kyle Crockett selected from Louisville and added to major league roster
- C Tony Cruz released from Louisville to make room on 40-man roster for Crockett
Today’s matchup features a couple of pitchers who are prone to giving up the long ball. Righthander Hendricks has surrendered 14 in 83.2 innings, or one every six innings. Major league hitters have sent left Matt Harvey deliveries out of the yard 13 times in 62.1 innings, or one about every four and two-thirds innings.
Harvey’s trend has been to have one bad inning per start, with the remaining innings ranging from decent to pretty-darn-good-looking. If the goal of the Reds front office was to flip Harvey at the trade deadline for prospects, he really hasn’t shown enough yet to warrant any interest from a contending club that needs a starter.
Amir Garrett, Michael Lorenzen and Jared Hughes all recorded holds and Raisel Iglesias got the save in Thursday afternoon’s win against Detroit. That foursome is quite formidable out of the bullpen at the moment, and compares favorably to just about any other major league team’s bullpen. Also available are David Hernandez and Dylan Floro, both who have done terrific jobs. Crockett will take Peralta’s spot as a bullpen lefthander. Crockett has a 4.00 ERA in 27 relief innings for the Bats. It was past time for Peralta to go to Louisville and see if he can somehow regain the form he had at the beginning of 2017 but has largely eluded him since.
Many in Redleg Nation continue to call for Garrett and Lorenzen to move to the rotation, where they would be in a position to pitch more innings. This correspondent’s position is that those two have been largely unhittable in relief roles this year. Why mess with something that isn’t broken? Do you remember how horrific the bullpen was two years ago? (Yes, the Ross Ohlendorf / Jumbo Diaz / Blake Wood group.) Garrett and Lorenzen might help fill the closer role later if Iglesias is traded.
|3B Kris Bryant||SS Jose Peraza|
|RF Jason Heyward||C Tucker Barnhart|
|2B Javier Baez||1B Joey Votto|
|1B Anthony Rizzo||2B Scooter Gennett|
|SS Addison Russell||3B Eugenio Suarez|
|LF Kyle Schwarber||RF Jesse Winker|
|C Willson Contreras||LF Adam Duvall|
|CF Ian Happ||P Matt Harvey|
|P Kyle Hendricks||CF Billy Hamilton|
News and Notes
Check out some of Joey Votto’s peers …
Through 1,500 games:#Reds Joey Votto
— Hot Stove Stats (@HotStoveStats) June 19, 2018
and some of what he’s been up to recently …
Joey's been bringing it and he's ready for more. 💪
🔴 Batting .349/.481/.518 in his last 22 games with 12 RBI, 13 runs
🔴 Slashing .500/.692/.938 in 26 career PA vs. Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks#VoteVotto ☑️ https://t.co/HKf2mrrBht pic.twitter.com/tp2XE8p07i
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) June 21, 2018
The source of this tweet identifies himself as a Cubs staff writer for @WrigleyRapport and a contributor to @CubbiesCrib of @Fansided. Note that the author of the Tweet considers Hamilton as a bench piece for a contending team and not a starter …
Source: Several teams have been in contact with the #Reds regarding a potential trade for OF Billy Hamilton. He would be a great bench addition to a contending team.
— Matthew Aung (@MatthewS_Aung) June 21, 2018
The Reds announced some minor league promotions today …
No. 7️⃣: OF Jose Siri, A+ to AA
No. 🔟: OF Stuart Fairchild, A to A+
No. 1️⃣4️⃣: OF TJ Friedl, A+ to AA
No. 1️⃣8️⃣: OF Nick Longhi, AA to AAA pic.twitter.com/Pl7QUjyXDk
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) June 21, 2018
Tom Mitsoff is a lifelong Reds fan who grew up in the Dayton suburb of Beavercreek, Ohio. He lived a teenage life atypical of most his age by prioritizing following the Reds. At one point in the 1970s and early 1980s, Tom kept complete scorecards on more than 1,000 consecutive Reds games. Now that adult life has forced him to move on from his beloved Southwest Ohio, he follows the Reds daily through MLB.TV and other online media sources, including Redleg Nation.