Reds Review/Preview: Week 12




Results: 6-0 loss to Tigers; 5-2 win over Tigers; 8-4 win over Tigers (13 innings); 5-0 win over Marlins; 5-0 loss to Marlins; 5-2 win over Marlins.

Record // Run differential // Place in NL Central: 32-36 // minus-13 // fourth, 12.5 games back of the first-place Cardinals.

Movie scene to sum up the Cardinals’ dominance: Much like Paul Walker and Vin Diesel racing away from the Ferrari Bro in The Fast and the Furious, the Cardinals—owners of the majors’ top home record (26-7), winning percentage (.652), and run differential (plus-77)—are separating themselves as baseball’s top team…for now.

Notable performances/trends: Switch-hitter Billy Hamilton admitted he has thought about just batting from the right side of the plate. … Eugenio Suarez executed the Reds’ second successful suicide squeeze of the season to score Jay Bruce in the home half of the second inning Wednesday night. … Donovan Hand made his Reds debut Wednesday and threw three scoreless innings. … Todd Frazier—who expressed some frustration at the increased likelihood that he won’t start in the All-Star Game—vented Tuesday and Wednesday by hitting a pair of home runs in each contest. Frazier has 23 home runs on the year and is on pace for 54 dingers, which would break the club record of 52 set by George Foster in 1977. … Jay Bruce logged his first career five-hit game Wednesday. … Brandon Phillips, who could still be dealing with the lingering effects of a groin injury, has just four hits in his last 28 at-bats. … The Marlins loaded the bases on Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning Sunday before the Missile flipped the switch and fanned three consecutive three batters, punctuating each punch-out with a 102, 101, and 103 mph heater, respectively.

Roster notes: The Reds went through a major Case of the Mondays last week: lefty reliever Tony Cingrani was disabled with a shoulder issue; starter Jon Moscot dislocated his left shoulder and was later ruled out for the year; 2012 first-round pick Nick Travieso had to leave his start for High-A Daytona after being hit with a liner; and catcher Tucker Barnhart was hit in the chest by a Suarez foul ball. Mother of God, right? … Pedro Villarreal—who must have the stretch of interstate between Cincinnati and Louisville memorized by now—was called up to take Cingrani’s place on the roster and replaced the injured Moscot Monday, throwing 3.2 innings and allowing an unearned run. … When Moscot hit the DL Tuesday, Hand and Carlos Contreras were summoned from Louisville, Zack Cozart was moved to the 60-day DL (to open up a spot for Hand on the 40-man roster), and outfielder Brennan Boesch (.125/.169/.143 slash in 59 plate appearances) was optioned out. … Reds icons Tony Perez (World Team) and Ken Griffey Sr. (U.S. Team) will be the managers in the Futures Game during All-Star Weekend. … Marlon Byrd returned to the lineup Friday after suffering a fracture in his left wrist on June 2. Hand was sent back to Louisville in a corresponding roster move. … Devin Mesoraco will have season-ending hip surgery next Monday. Author’s note: I wish this section weren’t so damn long each week.

Notable Reds quote, Part I: “It’s like a hurricane of injuries.” — Reds catcher Brayan Pena said after Monday’s game, reflecting on the wave of maladies afflicting the club.

Notable Reds quote, Part II: “I knew it was gone. I looked in the dugout while I was running and everyone was on the edge and I was like, ‘No, that’s gone, guys.’ ” — Frazier, after his walk-off grand slam terminated the Tigers-Reds tilt that began around 7:10 p.m. Wednesday night and ended around 1:19 a.m. Thursday morning. (Frazier’s post-homer bat flip was reminiscent of the one he did after his go-ahead home run on Opening Day.)

Notable Reds quote, Part III: “He left when I was really young. There was a lot of trouble in the family. He ended up going up north. He hasn’t been able to come down to California and see me. I came down once when I was 16 in the area-code games. That’s it.” — Reds starter Michael Lorenzen to reporters post-game Sunday, explaining why Father’s Day was just the second time his father had seen him pitch since the 23-year-old Lorenzen was nine. Lorenzen threw seven innings of two-run ball, striking out five, walking one, and recording a run-scoring single (see below).

Reason for OPTIMISM/pessimism: A 4-2 week is cause for celebration. Simple as that.

Movie scene that sums up last week: Former Reds starter turned Airer of Grievances Mat Latos was back in town with the Marlins over the weekend, but did not pitch. I’m guessing Latos’s stay at Great American Ball Park was only slightly less awkward than the poker scene in 40-Year-Old Virgin.

Who’s next?: Following an off-day today, the Reds will try to improve upon their miserable road record (12-22) this week by spending Tuesday through Thursday in Pittsburgh and Friday through Sunday in New York to play the Mets.

Relevant Reds video clip, Part I: Johnny Cueto struck out Miguel Cabrera and got the Tiger slugger to line out in their first two meetings Wednesday, but Cabrera got the last laugh, crushing a three-run bomb oppo taco to give Detroit a 3-2 lead.

Relevant Reds video clip, Part II: Plenty of hitters who gain regular playing time can’t/won’t do what Lorenzen did in the sixth inning Sunday with the Reds up 4-2—shorten their batting stroke and hit the ball hard to the opposite field. Lorenzen was rewarded with a run-scoring single for doing just that.

Notes from around the National League Central: Members of the Cardinals’ front office are under federal investigation for hacking the Astros. … Brewers broadcasting icon Bob Uecker was hit in the head by a foul ball during batting practice Monday and suffered a mild concussion. … (Cincinnati) Middletown High School product Kyle Schwarber picked up his first hit in the majors Wednesday evening with a run-scoring triple in the Cubs’ 17-0 pasting of the Indians. Schwarber—called up to primarily serve as a DH last week for Chicago—was sent down to Triple-A Sunday night after slashing .364/.391/.591 in 22 at-bats. … The Pirates’ pitching staff’s 35-inning scoreless streak culminated Wednesday evening, which prevented the club from notching its sixth shutout in seven contests. … Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia—who recorded just 16 starts from 2013-14—sports a 1.76 ERA through six turns in the rotation in 2015. … The Pirates’ eight-game winning streak ended over the weekend, as the club was swept by the Nationals. Pittsburgh was outscored 19-3 in the series; was no-hit on Saturday (see below); and starter Charlie Morton failed to make it out of the first inning Sunday, allowing nine (earned) runs on eight hits while recording two outs.

Notes from around Major League Baseball: Last Monday, the Padres fired longtime manager Bud Black after the club made major (presumed) offseason improvements but stumbled to a 32-33 start. … The Blue Jays’ 11-game win streak ended with a 4-3, 11-inning loss to the Mets Monday evening. … Marlins ace Jose Fernandez will make his first start since having Tommy John surgery on July 2. … Rays outfielder Steven Souza became the first player since Ivan Rodriguez in 2003 to walk unintentionally five times in five plate appearances during a single game. … Red Sox utility man Brock “Brock Star” Holt hit for the cycle Tuesday afternoon, making him the first Boston player to log a single, double, triple, and a home run in a single game since—drum roll, please—John Valentin in 1996. … Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos clubbed two home runs off of two different Rays position players during a 16-4 victory Tuesday. (The Nationals recorded 23 hits against Tampa pitching in that same game.) … The Orioles set a new franchise mark with eight home runs in a 19-3 romp of the Phillies on Tuesday. … Indians manager Terry Francona’s urinal story is just wunderbar. … Felix Hernandez out-aced Madison Bumgarner Wednesday. … In about as 21st-century a story as you’re ever going to read, Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval was benched Thursday for “liking” Instagram posts during Wednesday’s game. … Alex Rodriguez rocked a Justin Verlander offering to the right field stands at Yankee Stadium on Friday for his 3,000th hit. … Max Scherzer followed up his complete-game, 1-hit, 16-strikeout performance with a no-hitter Saturday opposite Pittsburgh, wrapping up a historically-dominant two-start stretch. With the Nationals up 6-0, Mad Max lost his perfect game when he hit Jose Tabata on a 2-2 count with two outs in the ninth inning. Tabata appeared to lean into the pitch, but later denied that he was trying to get plunked. (I’ll let Iceman from Top Gun illustrate my thoughts on Tabata’s explanation.) … Former Reds starter Bronson Arroyo was shipped from the Diamondbacks to the Braves over the weekend. … Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez became the fourth player this season to notch three homers in a single game Sunday, joining Joey Votto, Bryce Harper, and Adrian Gonzalez.

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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