Turns out the Cincinnati Reds can win baseball games against first-place teams with a starting lineup that includes Dilson Herrera, Phillip Ervin, Brandon Dixon and Curt Casali. The Reds have won the series against the Arizona Diamondbacks and go for the sweep tomorrow, with Luis Castillo on the mound, at 1:10 p.m. before hosting Cleveland for three games.
Cincinnati Reds 6 (52-65) • Arizona Diamondbacks 3 (64-54)
Matt Harvey pitched seven innings for the first time in 34 starts, dating back to April 27, 2017. Harvey hasn’t gone more than 7 innings since July 2015. His fastball tonight hit 96-97 mph and Harvey’s breaking pitches were effective. He gave up a 2-run homer in the 4th inning. Harvey struck out seven and walked one. It was a nice start, but doesn’t change the dynamic of Harvey’s trade value. I agree with Matt Wilkes’ assessment in the game preview: “… based on the recent returns the Padres got for Tyson Ross and Jordan Lyles (which were nonexistent), the Reds are likely not going to get any more for Harvey than they would’ve on July 31. At this point, his starts should be going to young pitcher like Cody Reed or Lucas Sims.” I’d add Michael Lorenzen to the list.
David Hernandez gave up a home run and double in the 8th inning. Hernandez entered the game with a low 1.84 ERA, but his peripheral stats tell a different story. His xFIP (based on strikeouts and walks) was 4.17. Relievers are inconsistent. Almost all of them. Reds should have shopped Hernandez aggressively at the trade deadline instead of assuming his recent ERA success would continue. Hernandez was released/not-resigned by the Diamondbacks at the end of 2015, by the Phillies at the end of 2016, by the Giants after spring training in 2017 and the Diamondbacks again last year.
The Reds scored in the fourth on a Phillip Ervin double down the left field line, scoring Eugenio Suarez who was on after a HBP. With two outs and two strikes, Matt Harvey recorded his first hit as a Reds, dumping a single into right field.
The Reds took the lead in the bottom of the 8th on a pinch hit double by Tucker Barnhart, scoring Eugenio Suarez, who had been HBP again, and Curt Casali, who had walked. Barnhart drilled a two out, full-count, 96-mph fastball into the left-center gap. Billy Hamilton followed with a line drive single to center, scoring Barnhart. The Diamondbacks were silly enough to intentionally walk Jose Peraza to face Joey Votto. Votto, of course, singled on the first pitch, driving in Hamilton.
Per the TV broadcast, it was the first time since his rookie season in 2008 that an opposing team had intentionally walked a batter to face Joey Votto. Presumably it will also be the last.
Curt Casali Credit Due The Reds front office deserves kudos for finding Curt Casali on the Tampa Bay Rays AAA roster to be the back-up catcher. The Reds acquired Casali for “cash considerations.” Casali may well stick with the Reds and deserve to do so. He has at least three more years of team control. He’s proven a worthy backstop in terms of hitting and defense. Casali had a single and walk tonight. He’s batting .294/.400/.456.
Hamilton Moves Up Stolen Base List Billy swiped one in the seventh inning, 28th of the season. Passed ED on the Reds’ all-time list.
That was Hamilton's 271st career stolen base, moving alone into fifth place on the team's all-time list. He had been tied with Eric Davis. Votto's 138th intentional walk extends his club record.
— Reds Media Relations (@RedsPR) August 12, 2018
Billy also made a terrific defensive play in the first inning on a long drive by Paul Goldschmidt to deep left center. According to Statcast, Hamilton traveled 123 feet to make the catch.
Votto’s Knee Joey Votto didn’t start. Still having knee issues from being hit by a pitch by Ryan Madson in the Nationals series. He did pinch hit in the 7th inning and entered the game after that.
Less Than Great Planning Dilson Herrera made his first start in LF. It was good to see the Reds trying position switches to get Herrera more at bats. But the move also exposed the Reds had never had Herrera play the OF before, at any level. This tweet represents the pure distillation of the Reds rebuild.
Dilson Herrera is borrowing Brandon Dixon's outfield glove tonight. Herrera, making his 1st OF start, doesn't own a bigger glove. #Reds
— Bobby Nightengale (@nightengalejr) August 11, 2018
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.