Reds Review/Preview: Week 10




Results: 5-4 loss to Phillies; 5-4 loss to Phillies (11 innings); 6-4 win over Phillies; 6-2 loss to Padres; 9-7 loss to Padres; 4-0 win over Padres.

Record // Run differential // Place in NL Central: 24-31 // minus-27 // fourth, 13 games back of the first-place Cardinals.

Notable performances/trends: Before Jumbo Diaz yielded a game-tying two-run home run Tuesday night in Philly, the Reds bullpen had gone five straight games without allowing a run. … Tuesday and Wednesday were the Reds’ 10th and 11th walk-off defeats at their House of Horrors/Citizens Bank Park since the stadium opened in 2004. … The Reds were rather rude to old friend Aaron Harang Thursday, racking up six hits, six runs (five earned), and five walks against the former workhorse of Cincinnati’s rotation. (From 2004-09, Harang logged over 1,000 innings for the Reds.) … Reds relievers own the second-highest walk rate in the majors—a black eye that cost Cincinnati three games last week. … On the bright side, the Reds rank as one of the better base-running and defensive teams in the bigs.

Roster notes: Sixteen years after he was drafted by the Phillies, Marlon Byrd suffered a fractured wrist after he was hit by Philadelphia starter Sean O’Sullivan on Tuesday. Byrd’s wrist has been placed in a soft brace for now and he will be reevaluated sometime this week. To replace Byrd—whose unique contract situation means that this injury could cost him a nice chunk of change—on the roster, Ivan De Jesus Jr. was promoted from Triple-A Louisville, where he was hitting .303/.378/.384. … To make room for De Jesus Jr. on the 40-man roster, outfielder Donald Lutz was released. Lutz, 26, had stints with the Reds in 2013 and 2014, and underwent Tommy John surgery on May 1. Given that he was out of options after 2015, Lutz’s release was probably inevitable. … Devin Mesoraco is putting off hip surgery in hopes of contributing to the Reds this season in left field. As long as Mesoraco gets his hip fixed by September or so, he should be able to complete his rehab and get enough baseball-related work in prior to spring training to ensure that he’s not behind schedule in March. (I’m skeptical. Reds fans should keep a very close eye on this situation.) Given Mesoraco’s injury history—he’s also had concussion issues—I do support the club seeing if he can play another position, however. The 26-year-old will suit up for Louisville today. … With Raisel Iglesias (oblique) hitting the disabled list and Jason Marquis getting the (overdue) designated-for-assignment treatment, Jon Moscot—who has pitched well at Triple-A—was called up to start Friday, with Pedro Villarreal also getting promoted from Louisville. Moscot became the fourth rookie to start for the Reds this year, joining Iglesias, Anthony DeSclafani, and Michael Lorenzen. … Diaz (4.68 FIP) was shipped to Louisville Sunday, with reliever Nate Adcock (2.80 FIP) getting the call from Triple-A. In order to clear a spot for Adcock on the 40-man roster, pitcher Matt Magill—the hurler the Reds acquired in the Chris Heisey trade with the Dodgers in December—was released. Magill is out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Notable Reds quote, Part I: “Damn lights, man. It’s unbelievable to have to say again. It felt like déjà vu. I hung in there as long as I could. It was a line drive in the lights.” — Reds right fielder Jay Bruce to reporters post-game Tuesday, referencing the liner off the bat of Ryan Howard that he lost in the third-base line lights at Citizens Bank. The next batter was Maikel Franco, who hit a two-run home run to tie the game. During Game 2 of the 2010 National League Division Series in Philly, the Reds led 4-3 with one out in the seventh when Bruce lost a ball in the same lights off the bat of Jimmy Rollins. Two runners scored—the last aided by Cincinnati muffing the relay throw—and the Reds eventually fell 7-4. In both games the Reds blew a 4-0 advantage.

Notable Reds quote, Part II: “We let up. We let off the gas and it cost us the ball game. That will never be acceptable.” Reds manager Bryan Price to reporters after Cincinnati fumbled away a 7-3 lead to San Diego Saturday. Price was visibly perturbed with reliever Tony Cingrani on the mound after the left-hander yielded a game-tying grand slam to former Reds player Yonder Alonso. Diaz, Cingrani, and Ryan Mattheus combined to allow five walks and six runs in the seventh and eighth innings Saturday.

Notable Reds quote, Part III: “I don’t know whether or not to wear a cup out there. That’s something I’ve been debating about. I’ll see. That may cut down on speed.” Mesoraco to reporters Sunday, openly weighing the dilemmas presented to new outfielders.

Movie scene that sums up last week: Chris Farley intensely revealing how he blows every sale opportunity in Tommy Boy correlates nicely with how the Reds coughed up late advantages on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday.

Reason for optimism/PESSIMISM: Tuesday, the Reds lost on a flared single. Wednesday, they lost on a dropped throw to a pitcher covering first base. (Baseball curmudgeons like me—the type of guy who watched a team like the Reds sweep a team like the Nationals and immediately knew that Cincinnati would relocate mediocrity soon enough—secretly relish these dark moments, but no one can prepare themselves for that sudden fall from grace.) Saturday, the Reds lost because a bullpen-wide strike-aversion epidemic broke out. Cincinnati’s embarrassment in 2015 is just about complete when factoring in that the predictably dreadful offseason signings of Marquis and Kevin Gregg have each resulted in DFAs.

Who’s next?: The Reds continue their homestand today by welcoming the Phillies for three games. Cincinnati will then spend Thursday through Sunday in Chicago against the Cubs.

Movie scene to sum up the week ahead: Let’s pretend that when the Reds arrive in Chicago later this week, they’ll immediately embark on a Ferris Bueller’s Day Off-inspired parade around the city?

Relevant Reds video clip: Though he’s mostly a singles hitter at this stage of his career at the plate, Brandon Phillips can still pick it with the best of ‘em in the field. Mercy.

Semi-relevant Reds video clip: The Reds travel to the Windy City later this week having experienced little success (1-4) against the Cubs this year, so perhaps it’s time to remember some of the better days Cincinnati enjoyed vs. the Cubbies. For example, in 2010 the Reds went 12-4 vs. the Cubs, outscoring Chicago by a total of 49 runs and plating 11-plus runs on the South Siders in four different games. The Reds enjoyed a particularly fine day in Chicago on July 2, 2010, blanking the Cubs 12-0 on the strength of a nine-run seventh inning that featured five (!!!) unintentional walks.

Notes from around the National League Central: Cubs starter Jason Hammel hurled 117 pitches and fanned 11 in a Chicago victory Monday evening. … Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday’s NL-record streak of reaching base in 45 consecutive games to start a season concluded Tuesday when he was ejected from St. Louis’ game against the Brewers. … Milwaukee outfielder Ryan Braun missed two games after undergoing a cryotherapy procedure on his right thumb. … Kyle Schwarber, the Cubs first-round pick in 2014, was named Chicago’s minor league player of the month for May. Schwarber, a Double-A catcher who is slashing .324/.445/.580 on the season with 12 home runs and an OPS of 1.024, is a product of (Cincinnati) Middletown High School and Indiana University. … Cubs outfielder Jorge Soler hit the disabled list Wednesday with a left ankle injury. … After slashing .194/.302/.333 through the first month of the year, Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen has been raking ever since, hitting .330/.419/.566 in May and .375/.370/.667 so far in June. … Pittsburgh starter Gerrit Cole is among NL leaders in WAR, home run and park-adjusted ERA, and strikeout minus walk rate. … Top Cubs prospect Javier Baez could miss two months with a broken finger. … The Cardinals’ cushion of 6.5 games over the Pirates is the largest for any division leader.

Notes from around Major League Baseball: Three-time National League Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw had three hits to aid the Dodgers in an 11-4 win Monday at Colorado. … Tuesday was the fifth anniversary of first-base umpire Jim Joyce costing Tigers starter Armando Galarraga a perfect game. (Watch the second video in that link. I dare not you to suddenly come down with the sniffles.) … The Indians’ bullpen is withholding Brandon Moss’ 100th home run ball unless Moss meets extravagant (and strange) demands. … Prized prospect Joey Gallo’s Ranger debut went absurdly well Tuesday evening. … The Diamondbacks traded slugger Mark Trumbo to the Mariners Wednesday in a six-player deal. … The Astros want to remove the elevated hill at Minute Maid Park. … Athletics reliever Pat Venditte made his MLB debut Friday and recorded outs while pitching with both arms. … Carlos Correa, the top pick in the 2012 draft, will join the Astros today. The touted shortstop slashed .313/.392/.491 in over 1,200 minor league plate appearances. … A woman who was struck by a piece of a broken bat over the weekend at Fenway Park remains in serious condition but is expected to survive. … The MLB draft begins tonight with the first 75 selections.

Grant Freking is a Nuxhall Way and Cincinnati Magazine contributor, and also writes for Redleg Nation and The Ohioan. You can follow him on Twitter at @GrantFreking.

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