Following yesterdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fifth straight win over the Cubs, our Nick Kirby put the words out into the Twitterverse that certainly have crossed my mind in recent weeks:
THE REBUILD IS OVER https://t.co/PH08I2FUHY
Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã‰Â´Ã‰ÂªÃ¡Â´â€žÃ¡Â´â€¹ Ã¡Â´â€¹Ã‰ÂªÃŠâ‚¬ÃŠâ„¢y (@Nicholaspkirby) July 7, 2018
In recent days, more than one Reds player has been quoted as saying that they now expect to win, which certainly has not been the case for Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ years? The feeling as a fan and observer is Ã¢â‚¬â€œ with the current possible exception of Sal Romano Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the Reds are putting a starting pitcher on the mound that gives the team a solid chance of winning that day. It certainly doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t feel like the open auditions/development starting rotation of recent years. (And by the way, that particular stage is a necessary evil in a rebuild such as this.)
Dick Williams was on an ESPN podcast with Buster Olney yesterday and shared some interesting thoughts from the perspective of the man who is steering the personnel ship.
Some of the key points:
The increase in on-base percentage among most of the position players is no accident. They have studied Joey VottoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s approach to hitting and have learned to be more selective.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It feels like a dangerous lineup right now, top to bottom. You just feel as though you have a chance to score most every inning, and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s because of the way those guys are taking confident at-bats Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ When they take pitches, they look confident, and thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s something thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not easy to measure. You just have to see it by watching the guys. Suarez and Peraza are two guys in my mind who look a lot more comfortable waiting for their pitch instead of trying to force something to happen.Ã¢â‚¬Â
On the question of where Williams thinks the Reds are in the process of rebuilding:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“In April, I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think we were making much progress. Then the calendar turned to May and June and you started to see things falling into place much better, and you feel like you have much better visibility of the light at the end of the tunnel. I really feel good about the young pitchers. Their ERAs probably arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t as low as they deserve, and we think theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re pitching better than their ERAs, but Romano, Castillo and Mahle have done a nice job. Stephenson and Reed down in Triple A are getting close. TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been performing in Triple A, and theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re going to get their opportunities. DiscoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s still has a few years of control and has been pitching pretty well. When you get that starting pitching starting to fall into place, the rebuild starts to feel a lot more tangible. We really have most of our team under control, except for a guy like Matt Harvey who we traded for in-season. Most of the team is under control for the next few seasons, and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m highly confident based on our internal conversations that this off-season weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll have the money to go out and add to the team. I know we have the farm system to make deals to add to the team. So I think weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be in a real good position to plug holes. If the offense keeps doing what itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s doing and the bullpen keeps it up, I think we can jump up into contention in relatively short order.Ã¢â‚¬Â
You can listen to the full podcast here.
Confidence is beginning to build throughout the organization, top to bottom, and throughout Redleg Nation that we are getting much closer to Nick KirbyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s tweet premise above.
The Reds go for their sixth consecutive win against the Cubs today in a 2:20 p.m. Eastern time start at Wrigley Field.
In his last three starts, Harvey is 3-0 with a 1.47 earned run average. He is beginning to look like the pre-Tommy-John-surgery and pre-Thoracic-Outlet-Syndrome-surgery version of Matt Harvey. Currently, if Jim Riggleman had to name a starting pitcher for a sudden-death playoff game, he would likely name either Harvey or Tyler Mahle.
Reds fans hope Harvey continues to look like an ace for two reasons: He gives the team a great chance to win each time he pitches, and he potentially raises his value for opposing teams who might like to acquire him in a trade. Before Harvey is traded, hopefully the Reds front office will give HarveyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s agent, Scott Boras, a call and see if he might be interested in a short-term deal. If not, well, we sure appreciate what your client has done for us. It never hurts to ask. At this point in time, he looks like one of the better starting pitchers who will be available in free agency after this season, so why not see if heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s interested in staying in Cincinnati a little longer?
Chatwood has been a disappointment so far for the Cubs after signing as a free agent. Previously with the Rockies, the Cubs liked the fact that his road splits were much better than when he pitched at Coors Field. But so far in his Cubs career, Chatwood has had serious control problems.
Raisel Iglesias pitched a five-out save Friday and threw 35 pitches in the process. He may not be available for a more-than-one-inning opportunity today. Everybody else should be available.
|RF Scott Schebler||RF Ben Zobrist|
|C Tucker Barnhart||CF Jason Heyward|
|1B Joey Votto||2B Javier Baez|
|2B Scooter Gennett||1B Anthony Rizzo|
|3B Eugenio Suarez||3B Ian Happ|
|LF Jesse Winker||LF Kyle Schwarber|
|SS Jose Peraza||C Victor Caratini|
|P Matt Harvey||SS Addison Russell|
|CF Billy Hamilton||P Tyler Chatwood|
News and Notes
Tom BrowningÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s walkabout Ã¢â‚¬Â¦
25 years ago today: Tom Browning leaves the #Reds‘ dugout at Wrigley Field in uniform, walks across the street and sits with a group of Cubs fans on the roof of an apartment building behind the right field bleachers. He is seen on camera and fined $500 by manager Davey Johnson. pic.twitter.com/26ilZzDCOy
Ã¢â‚¬â€ Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) July 7, 2018
Could you please empty your pockets? Ã¢â‚¬Â¦
Ã¢â‚¬â€ Curtis Wetzel (@curtiswetzel) July 6, 2018