Reds Review/Preview: Week 19




Results: 3-2 win over Cardinals; 4-3 loss to Cardinals (13 innings); 3-0 loss to Cardinals; 2-0 loss to Diamondbacks; 4-1 win over Diamondbacks; 4-3 loss to Diamondbacks (10 innings).

Record // Run differential // Place in NL Central: 49-60 // minus-45 // fourth, 21 games back of the first-place Cardinals and three games ahead of the last-place Brewers.

Notable performances/trends: This is a nice rundown on the Reds young starters and how innings limits will eventually enter the equation. Anthony DeSclafani may be able to pitch through the end of the year, but Michael Lorenzen and Raisel Iglesias are near-locks to be shut down. … DeSclafani fanned a career-best nine hitters Tuesday. … Cody Reed, one of the three lefties the Reds acquired from the Royals in the Johnny Cueto deal, is making quite the impression at Double-A Pensacola. After striking out 12 in eight scoreless innings Wednesday, the 22-year-old Reed has yielded just one run in 14 innings in two starts for Pensacola while walking four and striking out 18. … Brandon Phillips and Billy Hamilton have recorded roughly the same numbers batting first for the Reds this season. … Eugenio Suarez’s home run in the fourth frame of Saturday’s game curtailed a 30-inning scoreless streak for Reds hitters. … Over his last six starts covering 34.1 innings, Iglesias has tallied 36 strikeouts and 10 walks. … Phillips’ 27 steals are the most he’s logged in a season since 2009. … Separating fact from fiction re: Todd Frazier’s lengthy slump.

Roster notes: The rained-out Reds-Nationals tilt in Washington from July 8 will be made up on Sept. 28, which comes in the middle of a seven-game homestand for Cincinnati. … After slashing .294/.370/.438 at High-A Daytona and overcoming a fractured finger, 2014 Reds first round pick Alex Blandino was promoted to Double-A Pensacola Monday. Blandino, 22, has started at shortstop in over 95 percent of his minor league games to date and is slashing .288/.369/.462 in 651 career minor league plate appearances. … Tony Cingrani, who had been working on his endurance and secondary pitches at Triple-A Louisville with the idea of starting for the Reds again this season, has been placed on the disabled list with a strained right shoulder. Cingrani spent time on the shelf earlier in the summer with a strain in his left (throwing) shoulder. … Reliever Manny Parra was reinstated from the disabled list Tuesday, sending outfielder Kyle Waldrop back down to Louisville. … Nick Travieso, a first-round pick of the Reds in 2012, made his first appearance since June 15 on Thursday.

Notable quote, Part I: “They said I was flying like Superman.” — Hamilton said postgame Tuesday after the center fielder soared through the air with an ‘S’ on his chest for an acrobatic and timely grab in the eighth inning.

Notable quote, Part II: “Our plan at this point is that we realistically have a real good shot in 2017.” — Reds general manager Walt Jocketty on the subject of his club “contending” in 2016 during an appearance on MLB Network Radio last week. Jocketty’s answer falls in the line with the Reds’ plan to pursue a “reboot” rather than a rebuild.

Reason for optimism/PESSIMISM: Remember when some smart guy outlined a step-by-step plan for the 2015 Reds—who are on pace for 73 wins —to be in the thick of the NL Wild Card race by reaching 90 wins? Good times.

Baseball nerd observation of the week: In the fourth inning of Thursday’s game, the Cardinals had Jason Heyward at second base and Kolten Wong at first with two outs before Tony Cruz lifted a single to left field. As Marlon Byrd fielded the ball, Heyward, a savvy and quick base runner, was already two steps beyond third base. Byrd possessed very little chance of throwing Heyward out at home, yet Byrd let ‘er rip plateward anyway. Heyward beat the on-target throw easily, which permitted Wong to advance to third and allowed Cruz to move up to second. Lorenzen then had to intentionally walk Greg Garcia to get to pitcher Michael Wacha, who grounded out to end the threat. The point is that Byrd should’ve known better than to uncork a throw home with little chance of finding success at the expense of producing two extra bases for the Cardinals.

Who’s next?: The Reds begin the second leg of their three-city, 10-day road trip tonight with the first of three games in San Diego. After a day game Wednesday, Cincinnati will fly north to Los Angeles for four games opposite the first-place Dodgers.

Relevant Reds video clip: Billy Hamilton kinda-sorta leapt over Marlon Byrd? Billy Hamilton kinda-sorta leapt over Marlon Byrd.

Random Reds video clip: Ken Griffey Jr. was by far my favorite baseball player growing up. I was beyond giddy when the Reds traded for “The Kid” prior to the 2000 season. Junior’s career in Cincinnati was mostly unremarkable, but I’ll never forget that swing, which was equal parts grace and gusto.

Random movie scene of the week: The air is thick with desperate uneasiness (and F-bombs) during the “Funny how?” exchange in Goodfellas. (You really are a funny guy!)

Notes from around the National League Central: The Pirates received reassuring news last Monday when the club learned that starter A.J. Burnett will miss a month—and not the rest of the season—with an elbow injury. … Cardinals manager Mike Matheny came off as very sage discussing the role contracts play in bullpen usage and save situations. As much as baseball writers (including myself) constantly clamor for the deregulation of regimented bullpen specialization—specifically the antiquated role of a closer—the financial and human elements cannot be ignored. … The Brewers snapped a six-game losing streak Tuesday. … Aroldis Chapman is a hard-throwing human Rubik’s Cube the Cardinals can’t seem to solve. … Veteran starter Kyle Lohse was bumped to the Milwaukee bullpen last week. … The Pirates ended Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw’s 37-inning scoreless streak Friday. … Bolstered by the latest iteration of starter Jake Arrieta’s dominance, the Cubs won for the 10th time in 11 games Sunday. The post-game excitement was quelled somewhat as a bomb threat prompted a swift evacuation of Wrigley Field. … Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter has regained his stroke since moving back into the leadoff spot. … The Pirates polished off a sweep of the Dodgers Sunday thanks to a nine-run seventh inning.

Notes from around Major League Baseball: This article offers a concise explanation on how trades are completed after the non-waiver deadline on July 31. … Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre became only the fourth player ever to hit for the cycle three times last Monday night. It took Beltre just five innings to complete the feat. … Three prized pitching prospects made their debuts for the Rockies, Red Sox, and Yankees. … Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski left the organization Tuesday after 14 years. Under Dombrowski, Detroit reached the World Series twice, the American League Championship Series four times, and captured four AL Central crowns. … The Yankees cracked double digits for the fourth time in seven contests Tuesday. … Reds-turned-Giants starter Mike Leake (hamstring) hit the disabled list Friday for just the second time in his career. … Johnny Cueto’s numbers through two starts with the Royals: 13 innings, 12 hits, five earned runs, four walks, and nine strikeouts. … The Indians shipped the hefty contracts of Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher to the Braves Friday. … The Mets’ seven-game winning streak was halted Saturday. … The Blue Jays are winners of eight in a row, and have closed to within 1.5 games of the Yankees in the AL East. … There are eight weeks left in the regular season, so here are your division leaders (with leads) and the tentative Wild Card play-in matchups as of Monday morning: Mets, NL East, 1.5 games; Cardinals, NL Central, five games; Dodgers, NL West, three games; Cubs at Pirates, NL Wild Card; Yankees, AL East, 1.5 games; Royals, AL Central, 11.5 games; Astros, AL West, 0.5 games; Angels at Blue Jays, AL Wild Card.

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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