Don’t look now (or maybe, yes, do look) the Cincinnati Reds went 5-2 on the dreaded West coast road trip. That’s good for any team, but great for one that limped out of April with a 7-22 record. The good guys have won 7 of the last 9. 

The team has an off day on Thursday then looks to keep the fun rolling over a 6-day, 7-game home stand that begins Friday. They play a 4-game series with the Cubs, including a day-night double-header on Saturday. The extra game is a make-up for the rain out on April 3. Then they play a 3-game series against the first place Pirates. 

San Francisco Giants 3 (22-22) • Cincinnati Reds 6 (15-29)

Box Score || Win % || Reds Pitcher Statcast || Reds Hitter Statcast

The Dark Knight of Gotham pitched like Harvey Dent’s Two-Face today. After being spotted a 4-run lead, Matt Harvey allowed two runs in the bottom of the 1st and it could have been worse. Harvey struggled again in the 2nd, but managed to work around a leadoff single and double. But the Giants were squaring him up. When Harvey surrendered up a long leadoff home run to Brandon Belt in the 3rd, manager Jim Riggleman sent Jackson Stephens to get warmed up in the Reds bullpen.

But just like that, Harvey flipped his coin, settled down, and retired the next six Giants batters, five of them on strikeouts. Harvey made great use of his slider, particularly against left handed batters.

Harvey threw 77 pitches over 4 innings. He recorded 8 swing-and-miss pitches, five on sliders, compared to just 2 in 55 pitches in his previous game. The Reds are taking things slow with their new acquisition. Unless Matt Harvey completely collapses in the next month or so, the Reds will trade him. The open question is how much they’ll get in return. Odds are, it won’t be much. If Harvey pitches like he did in the first two innings today, it won’t be anything. 

Wandy Peralta gave up two walks and two hits in two innings of work. Peralta has now walked 18 batters and struck out 17 in 21.1 innings. He’s been lucky to have worked around all those base runners so far, as evidenced by his xFIP of 5.53. Peralta has been nothing more than mediocre since his scintillating month of April 2017 (xFIP of 1.66).

Jared Hughes and Raisel Iglesias pitched the final three innings. 

The Reds bats jumped all over Giants lefty starter Andrew Suarez in the 1st. Jose Peraza lined a single to center. Scooter Gennett lofted (6% hit probability) a double down the left field line. Joey Votto followed with a single to left. Adam Duvall blasted (106.2 mph, 386 ft.) a long far one deep into the left field bleachers. The Reds were up 4-0 and Suarez hadn’t recorded an out. Duvall leads the team in home runs (8) and isolated power (.227). Duvall is one of the six Reds regulars (Votto, Barnhart, Hamilton, Suarez, Winker, Duvall) with a walk-rate above 10%. He also made a nice defensive play in the 1st inning to save a couple runs. 

The Reds fifth run came via a series of improbable events. After apparently grounding out to first base to end the 5th inning, Joey Votto got new life at the plate when his hit was ruled a foul ball. Votto worked an 11-pitch at bat and walked. Adam Duvall lifted a pop-up to the right side of the infield. Batted balls like that have just a 9% hit probability. Duvall benefitted from the defenders being pulled to the left side of the infield on a shift and Pablo Sandoval’s limited mobility. Duvall’s ball landed about two feet into the outfield. Joey Votto, with some heads up running, made it all the way to third base. From there he scored on a passed ball. 

The Reds sixth run came in a simpler fashion in the 7th inning. Scooter Gennett hit a ball 377 feet over the right field seats. 

Gennett made a huge defensive play to end the bottom of the 6th. With bases loaded, Gorkys Hernandez hit a pop-up down the right field line that appeared destined to drop (it was a little unclear if it would have been fair or foul, but probably fair) between the three converging fielders. At the last second, Gennett reached out and caught it, just as he was undercut by a sliding Scott Schebler. 

Eugenio Suarez  Was scratched a couple hours before the game due to a sore right ankle that he jammed in the first inning of last night’s game (Mark Sheldon). Alex Blandino played third. Blandino is proving to be quite a useful utility player. He can start at second, third and short and play solid defense. He has hit well (wRC+ of 93) for someone who doesn’t play every day. And he’s a deft bunter, both of the suicide and sacrifice variety. Blandino went 2 for 4 today. 

Michael Lorenzen  Sounds like he’s getting close. Like maybe around a week or so?  Lorenzen is on the 40-man roster. Guessing that Jackson Stephens will get sent back to Louisville when Lorenzen is activated. 

Nick Senzel  Return to baseball activity is a great sign. He hasn’t played since May 3. Still need to monitor Senzel’s wellness.

Robert Stephenson  Reactions (280-character format) to the Louisville Courier Journal interview with Robert Stephenson, particularly where Stephenson said: 

“Obviously, I’d like to limit the walk numbers, but at the same time, I don’t think that they are the most important things ever. If you can get guys out without them getting hits, then I don’t think that walks should be as big of a deal.”

Matt Wilkes: Walks are pretty much THE reason Robert Stephenson isn’t in the big leagues right now, and he doesn’t think they’re a big deal? What?

Grant Freking: Stephenson would have at least 50 MLB starts by now if free passes and general LaLoosh-ness wasn’t his main issue.

Doug Gray: No one can consistently work around baserunners. The best pitchers alive just have less baserunners to work around.

Shifty Shift New data from MLB.com’s Mike Petriello on the impact of the shift. It’s a little more complicated than commonly believed.

23 Responses

  1. james garrett

    Bob doesn’t get it and we know that but the Reds won’t trade him or release him.Nobody wins do the?The pen with 5 shut out inning athough there were some moments

  2. Joel

    My prediction for Robert Stephenson is that by the time the Reds are ready to contend, he’ll be traded with other prospects to a rebuilding team in exchange for a contender. He’s been in the minors since 2012 and in AAA since 2015. Right now, we have Mahle and Romano that look only about 100 innings away from becoming very good starters. Castillo seems to be good enough to be a full time starter. Essentially, at that point we’d need one or two arms that we need to pick up via trade or free agency to have a pitching staff that could make the team a viable contender. Then if Hunter Greene becomes a real ML pitcher in a couple of years, the rebuild is over. Walk ’em Stephenson gets traded in that scenario.

    And let’s face it, because I posted it on the internet, the above is guaranteed to happen. You’re welcome.

    • David

      I think Tony Santillian will be ready before Hunter Greene as an ML pitcher.

      And there are several other arms out there too. Hunter Greene? Maybe in 4 years. He really hasn’t shown much this year, besides he can throw hard. Not much control or anything else.

  3. Keith

    Funny what happens when Suarez is healthy and Votto is hitting.

  4. bouwills

    OK, so Romano, Mahle, & Harvey were slightly less than spectacular in the SF series. On the other hand, the bullpen threw 15.1 innings of 15 hit, 5 run (4 ER) baseball ; striking out 15 batters & walking 4 while allowing only 1 HR. Not too shabby in support of 3 lousy starts. Maybe the Reds can’t find 5 reliable, consistent sps. Nice to have 8 guys who can pick up the pieces & play baseball.

  5. Den

    Why is it assumed Harvey will be traded at some point prior to the desdline?

    • Keith

      He’s a free agent this fall. No reason to keep him.

      • Den

        Or try to sign him to a performance based extension over the coming months.

      • Streamer88

        Boras’ Client was just DFA’ed the spring after the worst offseason for free agents since free agency was established.

        Boras’ team knows this. Do not be shocked to see Harvey strongly contemplating extension offers from the Reds this fall.

      • Streamer88

        Fair point. Discounts will probably not be handed out by Scott Boras. But I maintain that the reds will get a special opportunity to sign Harvey sooner than anyone else— at any point when they suspect he “still has it” and before he actually “gets it back” completely. Perhaps there’s a threshold that his recovery will cross where we can swoop in and tempt them with an offer. I dunno.

    • Phil

      2019 Bailey or Harvey as 5th starter? Pretty easy decision…..FOR NOW.

  6. Sabr Chris

    It’s going to take getting traded maybe even flat out released for Bob Steve to finally get it.

  7. Indy Red Man

    What if Harvey is decent but not worthy of a big contract somewhere ? Perhaps something like a 4.15 era with the Reds? I wonder if that happened if they could/would sign him to something like Mikolas got w/the Cards which was 15 mil/2 years. Maybe something like 25 mil/3 years? They could keep Harvey to handle the role that they were hoping Bailey could pull off.

    In other news…RLNs favorite whipping boy Adam Duvall is 8-25 in their last 9 games with 3 HRs and 4 walks (.414 obp). I can’t say much either because despite being one of his biggest supporters on here, I was about ready to trade him for a bag of beans too. Great catch today too….always underrated defensively imo!

  8. GreatRedLegsFan

    I’d tag Duvall’s defensive play in the first inning as “outstanding” instead of “nice”. Commenter said that only a handful of LF’ers could do it, I believe less than that could do it in AT&T.

  9. sezwhom

    I was at the game yesterday. After 70 pitches, Harvey had throw 50 strikes! Not too shabby. The radar gun stats showed 93 mph in the 1st inning, 94 in the 2nd then 95 a couple of times in the 3rd and 4th. He had a mechanical flaw in the 1st but I guess Barnhart saw it and afterwards, Harvey looked pretty good to me. Some loud outs but I’d like to see him go 5+ next time. He definitely has a mound presence. Other items: Duvall had a nice series and I know it’s already crowded but we have to find a spot for Blandino.

  10. james garrett

    Harvey has some left but it will be with another team I’m afraid.He was good the last 6 or 7 hitters with 5 K’s and we do need a couple of vets to perform well to help these young guys and not getting that from Homer,Disco and Finny probably is why he is here.Hopefully that changes and somebody steps up but for now we go on and lets see what happens.Duvall is showing some life at the plate with the homers and Blandino does everything well and needs to start 3 times a week somewhere as Sezwhom said.

  11. lost11found

    I second that. An excellent offensive inning by Votto. Proof that you don’t have to be fast to run the bases well.

  12. SoCal Reds fan

    When Lorenzen comes back, Wandy should be the one to go down. It seems like he walks every leadoff hitter he faces. It’s only a matter of time before his luck runs out and he starts giving up crooked numbers on the scoreboard. Maybe some time in AAA will give him a chance to iron out some mechanical issues that will improve his control.

    • Jack

      Agree on that. It seems like he nibbles on every pitch. He had to trust his stuff and just throw it for a strike.

  13. Jack

    Exactly. Winker at this moment in time makes Sean Casey look like Hank Aaron. Can’t have 2 outfielders that are bad defensively and who knows Scooter could become average. But right now Scooter blows Winker away in comparisons. I would rather extend Scooter and trade Winker. Winker doesn’t impress me at all so far.

  14. Jack

    That’s what I’m saying. Scooter can’t be any worse than Winker . He provides a ton more offensively as well. Why get rid of a guy who is 27 and raking it. Winker is what 25. He will never provide thst offense .