Make that a 4-3 home stand with a series win over the lowly Chicago White Sox. The Reds offense carried the load again, tonight slam-free with a bunch of singles and walks. The bullpen wasn’t dominant, but the end result was four shutout innings. The defense rebounded from a dreadful night yesterday. Reds are now 8-2 in inter-league games. The Pirates are losing, so the Reds may finish the night just 2.5 games out of fourth place. Good stuff.
The Reds have a day off tomorrow then play a challenging 9-game road trip against the Cubs, Cleveland and St. Louis leading up to the All-Star Game. The first three are day games in Chicago.
Cincinnati Reds 7 (38-49) • Chicago White Sox 4 (30-56)
Not a great start for Sal Romano. Romano began the game pitching down in the strike zone, but as the game moved to the third and fourth inning, he started getting his fastball up. The White Sox punished high pitches. Jeff Brantley, who warned that Romano was getting his pitches up before the White Sox first home run: “There’s a reason before the pitch the catcher puts his mitt low in the strike zone.” Romano made it through five innings, giving up four runs. The good: He struck out six and walked none.
Amir Garrett gave up a lead-off double, but retired the next three batters in the sixth. Michael Lorenzen pitched 1.1 innings, striking out two (good to see the Ks from Lorenzen), but allowed a walk and hit. Jared Hughes was summoned to pitch next and — while also notching the free pizza strikeout — walked the first batter he faced and gave up a single. [If you have stock in Hughes, you might want to consider selling now.] Hughes retired the White Sox in order in the 9th, earning his 6th save of the season.
The Reds scored six runs in the fourth inning. After being retired in order the first time through the lineup, Scott Schebler’s leadoff walk was followed by singles from Joey Votto, Scooter Gennett, Eugenio Suarez, Adam Duvall, Jesse Winker and Jose Peraza, accounting for five runs. Romano laid down a perfect squeeze bunt, scoring Duvall. The Reds last run came in the 8th when the White Sox “cubbed” an easy force play at the plate.
Jesse Winker got a second hit, doubling off the yellow line at the top of the left field fence. Joey Votto and Eugenio Suarez had two hits. Peraza walked twice. He’s still not walking at league average, but since May, he’s about doubled his own career rate. If Peraza could hold on to that momentum and sustain a league-average walk rate it would represent a huge increase in his value and production.
As pointed out to me by @kouragekundahl, Jose Peraza just matched his walk total of 2017 with his 20th in 362 plate appearances this season. He had 20 last year in 518 plate appearances
— C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) July 5, 2018
Billy Hamilton made a good throw to the plate retiring the lumbering Jose Abreu and ending the White Sox 8th inning threat.
Dylan, We Hardly Knew Ya The Reds traded Dylan Floro to the Dodgers this afternoon for two young right handed pitchers, James Marinan and Aneurys Zabala. Marinan (19) was the Dodgers’ fourth round draft pick last year. He started 6 games in rookie league in 2017 and three more so far this year. Marinan has a big frame and big arm. You’ll read he’s the #21 or #24 prospect in the Dodgers’ system, depending on who’s ranking. Every team has a #21 prospect and they are far from equal. The Dodgers have a good system, so that’s worth more than saying he’s the #21 prospect in the Giants system. Here’s a Dodgers Blog scouting report and another on Marinan. Video on Marinan from last year’s rookie league. Raw, long way to go.
Zabala (21) throws 100-mph but can’t find the plate. In 37 IP this year, he’s got 30 Ks (kinda low for that velocity) and 25 BB. That’s a really high walk rate and that’s been a consistent problem for Zabala for 4+ seasons. Spring training video on Zabala.
Trade Bottom Line A low-stakes but good trade. Dylan Floro had a nice half year. His odds of repeating a 2.72 ERA the second half are slim. The Reds were smart to trade him when they did. Floro’s value could move to zero or below quickly. The trade opens up a 40-man and 25-man roster spot. It lets the Reds take a look at a new young arm at the major league level. The 40-man roster spot may pave the way for Dilson Herrera’s arrival. See below. The Reds added a couple big arms to the organization. Always, always be trading relief pitchers.
Roster Moves The Reds called up Cody Reed and Tanner Rainey and demoted Brandon Dixon to AAA. My interpretation: Reed was up for a day in case they need long relief for Romano. He’ll head back to AAA tomorrow. Rainey replaces Floro in the bullpen. Dixon’s spot on the bench as a pinch hitter was expendable for a day because they knew Michael Lorenzen wasn’t going to pitch, so he’s the bat on the bench. (As it turned out, Lorenzen did pitch, and also had an at bat of the rare non-home-run variety.) The Reds will call up the replacement for Dixon for the road trip tomorrow. Maybe Dilson Herrera.
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.