The Reds have beaten the Chicago Cubs in three games. They are 5-0 on the home stand, outscoring opponents 37-17. They’ve won 9 of their last 11 games and a mere 14 games out of first place. They go for the 4-game series sweep and perfect home stand tomorrow afternoon. Scott Schebler will return from his bereavement time off.
Cincinnati Reds 11 (31-45) • Stupid* Cubs 2 (42-32)
Anthony DeSclafani, making his fourth start of the season, pitched into the 7th inning. He gave up three hits (including two solo first-row home runs) and four walks. He struck out three.
Michael Lorenzen relieved DeSclafani in the 7th inning with one out and a runner at first. Lorenzen gave up a line drive by Javy Baez that found Alex Blandino’s glove. Blandino, who was playing SS for Jose Peraza today, snagged it and made a strong throw to first to double off Ian Happ, ending the inning. Blandino made a super play in the 9th inning on a ground ball into the gap with third base. Dude can make the plays at SS. It was the second start in as many days for #FreeBlandino. He played yesterday at 2B for Scooter Gennett. Classic utility guy who can play across the infield.
Tucker Barnhart spotted the Reds to an early 2-0 lead with a 421-foot bomb to right field. He drove in Blandino who had led off the Reds first with a walk. It was Barnhart’s fifth homer of the season.
The Reds 6-run 3rd inning started with a 2-out walk by Joey Votto. In the “walks will haunt” category, that’s a Hall of Famer. The rally ended five batters later with a full-count grand slam by Anthony DeSclafani. It was the first slam by a Reds pitcher since 1959. The one before that was in the 19th century. If it seems just the other day that Jesse Winker hit one against against the Cubs, well it was. Or a few days before that when Joey Votto hit a grand slam against the Tigers. Or a couple days earlier when Adam Duvall hit one against the Royals, well, check and check.
Jesse Winker singled and walked three times, including once intentionally. Winker’s batting average is up to .260 and more importantly, his on-base percentage is an outstanding .375. Remember a couple weeks ago when he was a bust? Eugenio Suarez had 3 hits, including a triple. His wRC+ of 164 (run creation 64 percent above average) is 6th best in the major leagues. Joey Votto hit a 3-run homer in the 8th off the Cubs third-string catcher. You read that right.
Garrett Dominates Rizzo, Part Deux Amir Garrett came in to face Anthony Rizzo with two runners on and one out in the 8th inning. Garrett had struck out Rizzo on three pitches with bases loaded a couple nights ago. Tonight, Rizzo lasted only to Garrett’s second pitch (both fastballs), grounding into an inning-ending double play.
Lifetime Braggin’ Rights Reds radio broadcaster Jeff Brantley says Anthony DeSclafani’s hitting heroics earned him a lifetime of trash talking in the batting cage with the pitchers. “Hey, do you have a grand slam?” Later in the game, Jim Day, tongue planted firmly in cheek, noted “the dangerous hitting Anthony DeSclafani is on deck.”
Reds at Trade Deadline John Fay (Enquirer) has a story with an important interview with Dick Williams discussing the Reds expectations for the trade deadline. Williams: “For the first time in a while — and I’m not saying something will definitely happen by the deadline — but we are open to adding. We’re going to start moving into the building mode at the deadline and this offseason.” Read the entire article here. For the record, I hope several of John Fay’s predictions are wrong.
Rosecrans on Votto If you have a subscription to The Athletic, please go read C. Trent Rosecrans’ interview with Joey Votto. It’s one of the most revealing interviews with a baseball player I’ve ever read. Rosecrans talks to the Reds first baseman in detail about his power decline so far in 2018. Votto feels good about the way he’s hitting this year: “Yeah, if you look at a lot of my other statistics, I’m hitting the ball hard as much as I’ve ever done in my career. I have, if I’m not mistaken, I’m in the top few in hard-hit outs. For me, I’ve felt like I’ve done a good job. I feel like I should be hitting better than I am. Without complaining about luck, that’s what the six months are for, right? I do feel like it’s going to come and it’s going to come and be very, very good and look very much like any other year in my career.”
Updated xwOBA This measures quality of actual contact, accounting for walks, before today’s game, out of 205 major league hitters with at least 200 PA: Joey Votto .437 (#4), Eugenio Suarez .414 (.10), Scott Schebler .365 (#68), Jesse Winker .364 (.71); Adam Duvall .359 (#80), Tucker Barnhart .342 (#116), Scooter Gennett .335 (.123), Jose Peraza .292 (.180), Billy Hamilton .251 (#205). From: Baseball Savant
*historic term now deployed semi-ironically
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.