Reds Review/Preview: Week 8

 

 

Results: 3-0 loss to Royals; 7-1 loss to Royals; 7-3 loss to Indians; 2-1 loss to Indians; 5-2 loss to Indians; 5-4 loss to Rockies.

Record // Run differential // Place in NL Central: 18-26 // minus-36 // fourth, 10.5 games back of the first-place Cardinals.

Notable performances/trends: The Reds are nearing rock bottom, having lost nine in a row, the longest losing streak for the club since 1998. … Even Aroldis Chapman has grabbed a seat on the Reds Struggle Bus, allowing three hits, two (earned) runs and three walks over his last two one-inning appearances. … Joey Votto’s power outage continues—the first baseman has not homered since April 28, though Votto does have an extra-base hit in each of Cincinnati’s last three contests. … Jay Bruce is rising with the summer heat, raising his batting average 57 points to .224 over his last 10 games. Bruce’s walk rate of 12.4 percent is a career-best and ranks eighth in the National League. (Right behind Votto’s 13 percent). … Todd Frazier is sixth in FanGraphs’ National League Wins Above Replacement rankings. … Anthony DeSclafani’s so-so May took a turn for the better Saturday, as he yielded one run on three hits over seven innings. … J.J. Hoover has allowed zero earned runs over his last 13 innings, continuing his rebound season thanks to a renewed emphasis on inducing ground balls.

Roster notes: Seven weeks after his initial injury, Devin Mesoraco was placed on the disabled list Monday (retroactive to Thursday) because of his ongoing battle with a left hip impingement. While the team has done a noble job of painting a somewhat rosy picture around Mesoraco, the reality is the catcher will likely undergo surgery soon to repair his hip. Manny Parra was activated from Triple-A Louisville to replace Mesoraco on the roster. … Johnny Cueto missed his scheduled start over the weekend with right elbow stiffness and had not seen any improvement as of Monday. Raisel Iglesias started in Cueto’s stead and was “meh” (three innings, four hits, two (earned) runs, six strikeouts). … Michael Lorenzen makes his return to the Reds rotation tonight. The young right-hander’s last two appearances came out of the bullpen. … Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said Triple-A starter Jon Moscot is “very close” to reaching the majors. Moscot, a fourth-round selection in 2012, has an ERA of 3.35 in 48.1 innings this year. Moscot’s ERA was 2.06 before he allowed 11 hits and eight earned runs over 4.2 innings Sunday—the first time the 23-year-old had surrendered more than three earned runs in a start this year.

Notable Reds quote: “I had a lot of thoughts in my head. I just wanted to make sure I could throw batting practice to my kid later in life. So when I got the news that I could have a possible comeback way sooner than later, that’s a huge breath of fresh air.” — Reds reliever Sean Marshall to reporters prior to Monday’s game. Marshall—who went into a recent procedure on his throwing shoulder not expecting to throw for six months—may be able to throw in six weeks after doctors removed scar tissue from his left shoulder. Marshall underwent major shoulder surgery last June, and has not pitched for the Reds since June 10 of last season.

Movie scene that sums up last week: While viewing this infamous ambush of Billy Batts in Goodfellas, I can’t help but relate the brutal thrashing of Batts with the beating the Reds have taken recently by the Joe Pescis and Robert De Niros of the baseball world. (Let’s face it, we’re in a dark place with the 2015 Reds right now.)

As the (Reds Lineup) World Turns: Monday, Price went all-in on lineup experimentation. First, the Reds manager slotted Votto second for the first time since April 26, which is strange because Votto is slashing .338/.458/.676 in 83 plate appearances batting second this year while slashing .250/.317/.337 in 101 plate appearances hitting third. Also on Monday, Jason Marquis hit eighth—which in turn moved Billy Hamilton to the No. 9 hole—making Marquis the first Reds pitcher to begin a game batting somewhere other than ninth since Red Lucas hit seventh for the Reds on Sept. 7, 1933, per the Elias Sports Bureau.

Reason for optimism/PESSIMISM: This section is self-explanatory, right?

Who’s next?: The Reds play their second game in a three-game foray with the Rockies tonight. After an off-day Thursday, the Bryce Harper-led Nationals arrive in the Queen City for a three-game weekend series.

Movie scene to sum up the week ahead: I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the Reds snap their losing skid tonight after they re-create the halftime scene from The Waterboy prior to the game. (Remember when Bobby Boucher showed up at halftime and the Mud Dogs won the Bourbon Bowl, do ya?!)

Somewhat-relevant Reds video clip: Since the Reds recent series against the Indians failed to go as planned, let’s re-live a happier Battle of Ohio moment for Cincinnati fans: Adam Dunn’s walk-off grand slam against Cleveland in June of 2006.

Notes from around the National League Central: This Redleg Nation article does a good job revealing the flaws behind using Batting Average with Runners in Scoring Position as a “clutch” stat and how it relates to the Reds. … Cubs starter Tsuyoshi Wada found a credit card on the field at San Diego’s Petco Park while walking to Chicago’s dugout Wednesday night. … As a former baseball player, I couldn’t agree more with Pirates infielder/outfielder Josh Harrison’s thoughts on losing extra-inning games. … Brewers reliever Will Smith was the first of two relievers ejected last week for using a “foreign substance.” … Brewers starter Wily Peralta is out 4-6 weeks with an oblique injury. … The Cardinals own the National League’s best record (29-16) and run differential (plus-56). … The Pirates have won four straight to get back to .500 at 22-22.

Notes from around Major League Baseball: Former Reds starter Mat Latos has a pitch in his arsenal named “The Critter.” (That’s one of those things that’s too absurd NOT to be true.) … In a move that could have long-term ramifications in the AL Central race, the Tigers placed designated hitter Victor Martinez on the disabled list Tuesday with inflammation in the same knee he had surgery on in February. The 36-year-old Martinez is slashing .216/.308/.270 this year. … After apparently pitching with a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder for two years, Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu needs shoulder surgery, which will likely end his season and further increases the need for Los Angeles to find a solid starter—paging Johnny Cueto or Mike Leake—behind Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. … Rangers manager Jeff Banister has wise words for parents of youth athletes. … The MLB draft is fast approaching, and MLB.com’s latest mock draft had the Reds selecting Florida high school outfielder Kyle Tucker with their first round pick. … In a matchup of pitching titans on Thursday, Madison Bumgarner clubbed a home run off Clayton Kershaw, the first time a pitcher has hit a round-tripper off Kershaw. … Kansas City starter Jeremy Guthrie was Royal-y bad (sorry) Monday, allowing 11 runs on nine hits and recording just three outs. Guthrie blanked the Reds over six innings five days earlier. … Josh Hamilton went hitless in his return to the Rangers Monday. Hamilton, who played in Texas from 2008-12, was traded to the Rangers from the Angels in late April. … The Padres walked Mike Trout in order to face Albert Pujols with the game on the line Monday. The decision backfired.

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

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