You may know that Jason Linden and I do a little moonlighting over at Cincinnati Magazine. We’ve written a few pieces over there in the last week that I think you might be interested in reading. Go check them out, share them on your various social media accounts, then come back and tell us how dumb we are. It’s fun for everyone!
First, here’s my deep dive into Tyler Mahle, which I enjoyed writing, and which begins with this narrative:
One warm afternoon late in spring training, just before the Reds packed up and headed home from Goodyear, Arizona, pitcher Tyler Mahle reclined in front of his locker, holding forth on a number of topics. Crowded around the 23-year old hurler was an odd assortment of reporters, fellow players, well-wishers, and hangers-on, all eager to soak in the latest bon mot from the California wunderkind.
After some discussion of his most recent outing, and where he planned to eat that eveningÃ¢â‚¬â€RudyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Country Store and Bar-B-Q, as might be expectedÃ¢â‚¬â€Mahle was asked to comment on the fact that he had just been named to the RedsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Opening Day starting rotation, even though he had been number eight on the eight-man list of pitchers in the competition when spring training began.
Mahle took a deep breath and shook his head slowly, almost imperceptibly. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Well, I look at it like this. I get no respect at all. Never have.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Heck,Ã¢â‚¬Â he continued. Ã¢â‚¬Å“When I was a kid, I lost my parents at the beach. I found a lifeguard, and frantically asked him to help me find my parents. The lifeguard looked at me and said Ã¢â‚¬ËœI dunno kid. There are so many places they could hide.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ I tell you, I get no respect.Ã¢â‚¬Â
You may need to go check out the rest of the story.
Next, Jason says that the Reds really need to start doing the little things right:
For one…the roster included both Cliff Pennington and Phil Gosselin who are both: 1. The same player, 2. Old, and 3. Not as good as several younger options in the minors. That Alex Blandino was called up was much more a function of Eugenio Suarez being hurt than anything else. But he should have been on the roster from the start and he should absolutely have played every day while Geno was down.
And then thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Yovani Gallardo. Remember him? What could the front office possibly have been thinking? Sure, Bryan Price used him in ways he shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have (which is to say ever pitching at a time when the Reds werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t down by 10 runs), but Dick Williams signed him. Oh, and letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not forget Amir Garrett not even getting a chance to start.
Finally, here’s my look at Luis Castillo, and why I don’t think he’s going to have a sophomore slump (and last night’s start helped provide a data point after this piece was published):
WhatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s wrong with Luis Castillo?
Last year, at age 24, the right-handed Castillo looked like a potential ace-in-waiting for the Cincinnati Reds. His record was an abysmal 3-7Ã¢â‚¬â€unnecessary reminder: wins are a dumb way to evaluate pitchersÃ¢â‚¬â€but he posted a 3.12 ERA, 141 ERA+, and 2.6 WAR in just 15 starts. At times, he looked completely dominant, and Castillo always looked unflappable on the mound, supremely confident in his ability to make big league hitters look silly.
So far in 2018Ã¢â‚¬Â¦well, not so much. Sure, Castillo is still unflappable, but the results have been a far cry from what we came to expect based on his 2017 results. After five starts, Castillo is 1-3 with a 6.51 ERA and a 62 ERA+. Disastrous, right?
Well, it hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t been good, as Castillo would likely concede. But things arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t nearly as dire as they seem on the surface.
Seriously, Jason and I would be very interested to hear your take on these pieces. Thanks, Nation.