Reds Review/Preview: Week 22




Results: 12-5 win over Tigers; 5-1 loss to Dodgers; 7-4 loss to Dodgers; 1-0 loss to Dodgers; 5-0 loss to Brewers; 12-9 win over Brewers; 4-1 loss to Brewers.

Record // Run differential // Place in NL Central: 53-76 // minus-69 // fifth, 30.5 games back of the first-place Cardinals and 1.5 games behind the fourth-place Brewers.

Notable performances/trends: Last Monday evening, I ventured down to Great American Ball Park to witness the Lost Summer in person. After the home team fell behind, I’ll admit that I contemplated leaving as soon as Tigers starter Buck Farmer allowed his first hit. But even after Jason Bourgeois singled to break up the no-no in the fifth, I decided to stick around. I’m glad I showed some patience, because the Reds’ bats came to life in the sixth inning: four walks, seven hits, and 10 runs, the first time Cincinnati had racked up double digit runs in a single frame in over a decade. Brandon Phillips became the first major leaguer to triple and homer in the same inning since former Red Edwin Encarnacion did it for the Blue Jays in May of 2014. … Read up on how top Reds hitting prospect Jesse Winker righted the ship on his 2015 season by getting the ball off the ground. In 91 August at-bats, the 22-year-old Winker is slashing .352/.464/.615 with a Barry Bonds-esque on-base plus slugging percentage of 1.079. … Brandon Finnegan and Keury Mella, the crown jewels of the Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake trades with the Royals (Finnegan) and Giants (Mella), delivered distinguished performances last Monday. Pitching for Triple-A Louisville, the 22-year-old Finnegan struck out five, walked two, and allowed one earned over four innings, while Mella fired seven shutout innings for High-A Dayton. The 22-year-old Mella also struck out six and unitentionally walked three. … The Reds infield turned five double plays Thursday. … After performing decently through his first three starts (16 innings, 12 hits, six earned runs, six walks, seven strikeouts), Keyvius Sampson has really struggled in his past three outings (11 innings, 25 hits, 14 earned runs, six walks, 10 strikeouts.) … Sunday, Sam LeCure (one inning, three hits, two runs) allowed his first runs since making his 2015 Reds debut on Aug. 19, snapping a 5.2-inning scoreless stretch. … In past seasons, the Reds have been around or above average taking the extra base. Not so much in 2015. … Since the All-Star Break, Joey Votto is tops in the majors in FanGraphs WAR, park-adjusted run creation (wRC+), walk rate, on-base percentage (.571!!!), and ranks third in slugging percentage and runs scored. Votto is walking 29 percent of the time post-All Star Break; the Nationals’ Bryce Harper is second at 18 percent. Votto’s on-base percentage post-Break is more than 100 points higher than the Indians’ Michael Brantley, who is second at .470.

Roster notes: Sounds like Billy Hamilton (shoulder) won’t be back anytime soon. … Manager Bryan Price’s job appears to be safe through the rest of the season. (What would be the point of firing Price now anyway?) … Michael Lorenzen will start tonight in place of David Holmberg. After his demotion to Louisville, Lorenzen yielded just three earned runs over 24 innings, though the young righty struck out only seven. Holmberg (10.2 innings, 23 hits, 18 earned runs) was a disaster over his last three starts and was sent to Louisville.

Notable quote: “Youngsters Juan Francisco and Yonder Alonso look like the next David Ortiz and Pablo Sandoval.” — said yours truly on Opening Day 2010. I stumbled across some of the columns I wrote for The Lantern, Ohio State’s student newspaper, last week. It’s safe to say I regret that sentence.

Reason for optimism/PESSIMISM: The Reds failed to win any of the eight multi-game series they played in August.

Rant of the week/Random movie scene of the week: Today is the final edition of Review/Preview for this season, as I’ll be moving over to Bengals coverage for Cincinnati Magazine next week. Hopefully this column was slightly educational and occasionally humorous in what’s been a really trying season for the Reds. As far as the Reds and their future goes, I’ll leave you with the ever-relevant words of Andy Dufresne: “… Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

Who’s next?: The Reds are in Chicago for the first of three against the Cubs today. Following an off-day Thursday, the club begins its second 10-game homestand in a month’s time with three games opposite the Brewers Friday.

Relevant Reds video clip: An Aroldis Chapman fastball had the Dodgers’ Kike Hernandez feeling a little weak in the knees Thursday.

Random Reds video clip: With September just a day away, how about a fun memory from 1999: the Reds setting a National League record with nine home runs (by eight different players) in a 22-3 thrashing of the Phillies at the now-demolished Veterans Stadium.

Notes from around the National League Central: The Pirates are doing two things really well right now: winning and having fun. … Thursday, the Cubs acquired reliever Fernando Rodney from the Mariners. … Brewers outfielder Khris Davis enjoyed a power surge in August. … Cubs starter Jake Arrieta no-hit the Dodgers Sunday, striking out 12 and walking one.

Notes from around Major League Baseball: In a move that could allow their young outfield of Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, and Rusney Castillo to flourish, normal Red Sox left fielder Hanley Ramirez—who, by one measure, is the majors’ worst defensive outfielder—has begun working out at first base and plans to play first in 2016. … Commissioner Rob Manfred will have a decision on Pete Rose’s reinstatement bid by the end of the calendar year. … Tigers starter Justin Verlander one-hit the Angels in a complete-game effort Monday, losing his no-hit bid when Chris Iannetta led off the ninth with a double. … Former Reds farmhand Yasmani Grandal grounded into three double plays Thursday against Anthony DeSclafani. … This 1-3-1 putout by Carlos Torres and Daniel Murphy of the Mets defies explanation. … The Mets’ seven-game win streak was snapped Friday. … Longtime Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully announced that 2016 will be his final season, his 67th with the franchise. … The Indians have won five straight and eight of their last 10 games to creep within five games of the second Wild Card spot in the American League. … On his 38th birthday Sunday, Red-turned-Giant Marlon Byrd went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles to go along with a triple and four RBI. … Indians president Mark Shapiro is leaving Cleveland to take the same position with the Blue Jays. Shapiro spent nine years as the Indians general manager, and was club president for the last five years.

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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