The Milwaukee Brewers won 86 games in 2017, a 13-game improvement over 2016. They finished one win short of the N.L. wild card play-in game. Despite that progress — dare one say, a winning culture — the front office and ownership proceeded to acquire a new centerfielder, a new right fielder, a new third baseman, a new shortstop and a new first baseman. They benched last season’s starting second baseman. They have three new starting pitchers, a new closer and new primary set-up reliever. Some of the new acquisitions were long-term (Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain), some were rentals (Mike Moustakas, Jonathan Schoop). It’s yet to be seen whether this is a better team than last year’s and whether all those changes were worth it. They’re on pace to win 89-90. But it sure is hard to imagine the risk-averse, change-averse Reds front office and ownership doing anything remotely like it.
Cincinnati Reds 2 (55-70) • Milwaukee Brewers 5 (70-57)
Homer Bailey pitched six innings, giving up three runs – a solo home run to Christian Yelich and a 2-run shot by Travis Shaw. Bailey walked one and struck out five on 96 pitches. Since Bailey has returned from the DL he’s: (1) pitched into the 7th inning, score tied 2-2, (2) thrown a complete game loss 2-1, (3) pitched into the fifth inning, down 5-0, (4) pitched into the 6th inning, leaving with the score 3-2, (5) pitched six innings, losing 3-2. So the Reds have scored 2, 1, 0, 2 and 2 runs while he’s pitched. He’s struck out 26 and walked 6 in 29.1 innings.
Cody Reed and Jared Hughes combined to pitch a shutout 7th. Jared Hughes started the 8th inning and gave up two big insurance runs on a walk, a triple and a sacrifice fly. It was first time Hughes has given up two earned runs all season. He had gone since July 21 without giving up a single earned run. Hughes pitched a full season for the Brewers last year. Milwaukee non-tendered him this offseason.
The Reds scored on two solo home runs in the second. Eugenio Suarez hit his 28th of the season, blasting it 426 feet into left-center. Two batters later, Phillip Ervin followed with his 4th homer, to left. Ervin has 128 plate appearances and isolated power (ISO) of .191. That compares to Scooter Gennett (.180), Scott Schebler (.192) and Adam Duvall (.193). Dilson Herrera’s ISO is .243. Michael Lorenzen’s is .450.
After a couple nice games against the punchless, pitchless San Francisco Giants, the Reds offensive woes returned. They managed just two hits until the 9th when Mason Williams singled and Jose Peraza walked a batter later. The top three hitters (Billy Hamilton, Peraza and Scooter Gennett) went a quiet 0-for-11. It’s worth pointing out they are playing without Jesse Winker, Scott Schebler and Joey Votto.
Schebler Rehab Scott Schebler started in LEFT FIELD tonight for Pensacola and hit third. The Reds outfielder has been sidelined with a sprained AC shoulder joint since July 14 when a wall ran into him in St. Louis. Schebler could join the Reds as early as Thursday in Chicago. Schebler has hit .278/.351/.470 and wRC+ of 120 this year. In his 103 plate appearances leading off, Schebler hit .301/.376/.544 with a walk rate of 10.3% and wRC+ of 143. He was 1 for 4 tonight, with a single.
Better Late Than Never This move should have been made right after Joey Votto went on the DL to give Dilson Herrera a long stretch of games at 2B. If Tucker Barnhart (5’11”) can play 1B, Scooter Gennett (5’10”) can. At least Gennett is used to an infielder’s glove. Barnhart needs the rest when he has days off.
Riggleman said Gennett could see time at 1B this week before Votto returns. Would enable him to put Herrera at 2B. #reds
— Mark Sheldon (@m_sheldon) August 20, 2018
Checking in on the Duvall Trade Adam Duvall has 28 plate appearances for the Atlanta Braves with three singles and two walks to show for it. That’s a line of .115/.179/.115. Meanwhile Preston Tucker is hitting .207/.303/.345 for the Reds in 31 PA. Tucker has a homer and double. Pitcher Lucas Sims has started three games for Louisville. He has 19 strikeouts (30.2%) and 3 walks in 16.1 innings and an ERA of 3.31 and FIP of 3.08.
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.