You might recall the Reds sweeping a 4-game series from the Dodgers earlier this season. It kicked off the Era of Good Feels that lasted just long enough to undermine the Reds’ resolve to do what they needed to at the trade deadline. Raisel Iglesais had three saves in that series, the same number he’s had in the last month.
So you can imagine more than just competition for the second Wild Card slot was motivating the Dodgers tonight. But the Reds were the ones who dispensed payback, scoring three runs off arch-villain Ryan Madson. Madson was last seen intentionally hitting Joey Votto with a pitch for the Washington Nationals, costing the Reds first baseman more than a month of full effectiveness.
The Reds are 5-0 against the Los Angeles Dodgers and their $200 million payroll.
Cincinnati Reds 10 (62-83) • Los Angeles Dodgers 6 (78-66)
Cody Reed went four innings, allowing three runs. Reed gave up three walks and struck out five. He threw 83 pitches. While Reed wasn’t great, he’d have made it through at least one more inning if the defense had been better behind him. More on that in a minute. Jim Riggleman’s quick hook likely cost Reed a win tonight as the Reds scored two runs in the fourth inning for a 7-3 lead. That only matters because the likes of Thom Brennaman will continue to prattle on about Reed and pitcher wins.
Michael Lorenzen took over for Reed and pitched 2.1 innings. Lorenzen struck out three and walked one, pumping 97-mph fastballs. But he gave up a solo homer and got in trouble in the 7th. Riggleman then called on Wandy Peralta who allowed all three batters he faced to reach base. The Reds still use Peralta like he’s good, when he hasn’t been good since April 2017.
Peralta’s departure with the bases loaded set up a dramatic 11-pitch at bat by Yasiel Puig vs. Jared Hughes with one out in the 7th. Puig quickly got Hughes’ favorite sinker ball pitch timed up and continued to foul it down the third baseline, several times on hard hit balls that were just foul. Finally, Puig hit a rocket fair down the third baseline that luckily for the Reds was a leather-seeking missile tracking Eugenio Suarez’s glove. It resulted in a line-out double play.
Hughes retired the Dodgers in order in the 8th. Raisel Iglesias pitched a shutout 9th.
Joey Votto turned 35 today and his bat got the Reds on the board in the first inning. After a walk by Billy Hamilton and a single by Jose Peraza, Votto doubled off the literal top of the right-field wall, missing a third consecutive game with a home run by an inch or maybe two. Scooter Gennett followed with a single off the right field wall scoring Votto. After a single by Phillip Ervin, an error by Manny Machado plated Gennett, making the score 4-0.
Eugenio Suarez led off the bottom of the 3rd inning with his 32nd home run of the season. Suarez had 26 last year. His ISO (isolated power) is way up.
The Reds added a lucky run in the 4th. After Hamilton softly doubled down the left field line, Jose Peraza lined a single to left. With just one out, Reds third base coach Billy Hatcher waved Hamilton home where he would have been out by 15 feet with an average throw and catch. It took a throw way up the third baseline PLUS a dropped ball to avoid the out at the plate. Bad base coaching, there. Scooter Gennett later drove in the Reds seventh run with a single.
Scooter Gennett had a big night with four hits. Phil Ervin had a single, double and just missed a home run. Jose Peraza had two hits and couple stolen bases.
Joey Votto walked on his birthday. Of course he did.
Jose Peraza’s offense has been one of the bright spots for the organization. He had another two hits tonight, raising his batting line to .292/.332/.410. He still doesn’t walk enough, but Peraza’s hit tool has been excellent and power decent. But Peraza has surely flunked his test at defense this year. He committed another error tonight — he leads the NL in that category by quite a bit. This one was a routine double play ball that went between his legs in the first inning. Cody Reed miraculously worked out of the inning, but he had to throw 31 pitches to do it. Peraza makes too many fundamental mistakes in the field and it hurts the Reds. You can point to Peraza’s age and Eugenio Suarez as reasons to hope for improvement. Keep in mind the Reds had to move Suarez out of SS.
Michael Lorenzen doubled in his only at bat. I hope the Reds are open-minded enough to give Lorenzen a serious look as a possible bridge in CF between this year and the next wave of minor leaguers due to arrive in a year or two. I’m encouraged about this because the Reds have always been good about not wasting great athletes in the bullpen.
The Reds were facing a LH starting pitcher tonight. If you stack up all the team’s hitters this year based on run creation against left handed pitchers, the second best is Scott Schebler (wRC+ 136). The worst has been Billy Hamilton (wRC+ 63). So guess who led off and guess who sat the bench.
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.