He’s been the best player on the Reds this season. He’s currently got the 6th best WAR (Wins Above Replacement) in the National League. The Reds are giving away his bobblehead on Saturday. He is Scooter Gennett.
I’m not going to talk about trades or extensions in this post. I just want to take a moment to give Reds fans a reason to smile today, because Gennett has given fans plenty of reasons to smile since he arrived in Cincinnati.
First, look at how he got here. Was it through a crazy trade where the Reds has to give up some talented pie es? No! He was a waiver-wire pickup late in Spring Training 2017. Those guys don’t tend to be the sort of spark that Scooter has become.
So he came over on the waiver wire and proceeded to have the best year of his career. In 141 games, Gennett hit 13 more homers than his previous career-high and hit just five points under .300. In fact, Scooter had a better slugging percentage (.531) than at any point in his career.
“It’s kind of ironic,” Gennett told C. Trent Rosecrans after he signed with Cincinnati. “Being born there and being a big Reds fan growing up. So it’s a little surreal. But it’s a big league ball club and there’s a job to do, so that stuff’s cool, but it’s, ‘how can I help the team?’ All that stuff is pretty cool. It will probably make a good story for you guys.”
As fans from a blue-collar town like Cincinnati, how can we not love that? He had no idea what his role would be. Heck, he was thought to be a bench bat and possibly a backup to third base and left field, but he was just happy to have a job and he was ready to go to work – boy has he worked.
I had the privilege of living in Huntsville, Alabama at a time when the Brewers Double-A team played there. I got to see Gennett cut his teeth for the Huntsville Stars. There was one particular series where Pensacola and a young Billy Hamilton came to town. At that time, Hamilton was playing second base and it was almost as if Scooter stepped it up a notch to compete with the kid people knew. Gennett was a 16th round pick in 2009. I saw him play in 2012, so he had a pretty big chip on his shoulder. It’s not just for the sake of this article, but other than Hamilton beating out a ground ball that went straight at Scooter, I thought Gennett looked like the better player, but I digress.
Let’s fast forward to last season – Scooter surprised everyone with four home runs in one game. He’s been playing well since that night. I’m starting to believe that was the tipping point and not an anomaly. Gennett morphed into a mainstay for a franchise. Maybe not the centerpiece, but definitely a strong add-on. His last two years of hitting speak for themselves:
He’s tied with Jose Abreu and in the top ten of all sluggers in baseball!
So maybe he is a trade chip. Maybe he is a candidate for an extension. Whatever the Reds decide, he’s been one of only a handful of reasons to smile about Reds baseball over the last two seasons.
Phil Ervin Lifts Reds to Victory
A monster shot from one Phillip Ervin gave the Cincinnati Reds (53-69) a walk-off, extra-innings win over the San Francisco Giants (61-62) by a score of 2-1.
The winning run for the Redlegs, Ervin’s third home run of the year came in his second at-bat of the night.
WALK. IT. OFF. ⚾️🎇
— FOX Sports Ohio (@FOXSportsOH) August 18, 2018
Phil pinch-hit for Preston Tucker in the eighth inning. He grounded out in his first at-bat and then remained in the game in left field.
Coming into tonight, Ervin was 0-for-1 in extra-inning at-bats, reaching base once via walk and once via hit-by-pitch. It is his second career homer with the game tied, but the first time he hit a round-tripper leading off an inning. Despite only batting .238 against right-handed pitchers, this is his fifth career homer off one.
A Few Notes From Friday’s Game:
Ervin’s walk-off homer on Friday was the first of his career.
This is the 23rd game in which Phil has played that he did not strike out in.
Ervin is now batting .287 on the year with an OPS of .808
Phil and the Reds will face Madison Bumgarner and the Giants tomorrow night. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m.
Reds set for Three Against the Giants
Reeling from being swept at home by their in-state rivals, the Cincinnati Reds (52-69) welcome the San Francisco Giants (61-61) to Great American Ballpark.
The Reds will be glad to see the schedule move past the Indians. In the six games against their in-state rivals, Cincinnati allowed 50 runs. Yup…rub your eyes, shake your head, and check the numbers. The Cincinnati Reds allowed 50 runs in six games to the Cleveland Indians. See also, roller coaster season.
This is the time to really figure out what kind of depth the organization has. Yeah, Scott Schebler and Jesse Winker are on the DL. Yeah, Joey Votto is playing on one leg (don’t get me started on that). So now you find out what guys like Dilson Herrera, Brandon Dixon, Mason Williams, and my guy, Phil Ervin, got.
The problem is, they have an interim manager whose posture is one of auditioning for a job in 2019. That’s not an indictment, by the way. I mean, the man wants to get a paycheck past this season, it’s understandable, but figuring out what’s in the tank and winning games are not the same thing.
Both Sal Romano and Robert Stephenson threw 1.2 innings, apiece, in their last outings. Sure, they were pitching pretty terribly, but they need to learn what it is to fight through days when you don’t have it. Now, I hear you, and I agree with you, it was painful to watch, both days, but Sal said it himself “There’s nothing for me to take away from this outing.” That wasn’t him lashing out at Riggsy for pulling him so quick, he was just honest about the fact he didn’t have anything that day.
My point with all this is, even when things are tough, when the score is more of a hyperbole, leave the young guys in there to figure it out.
Anyway, enough ranting, let’s preview this weekend’s pitching matchups.
Anthony DeSclafani toes the rubber against Casey Kelly. Disco is coming off a superb outing against the Diamondbacks in which he struck out nine in seven innings of shutout ball. In fact, his last three starts look like this: two wins, 18.1 innings pitched, four earned runs allowed, and 16 strikeouts. These are the kind of numbers Reds fans want to see from Disco!
His opponent was supposed to be a sensational young pitcher named Dereck Rodriguez, but he was hurt in a benches clearing altercation with the Dodgers on Tuesday. In his place will be Kelly, the son of Reds bench coach, Pat Kelly.
A former first round pick of the Boston Red Sox, Casey Kelly has pitched in a pair of games this year for the Giants. He’s allowed one earned run on 6.1 IP while striking out three. He’s a straight-laced pitcher, serving hitters a steady diet of fastballs and curveballs, and has a sinker he mixes in, on occasion. His fastball velocity averages right around 93 with his curveball countering at around 82.
Game two will see Matt Harvey square off against Madison Bumgarner. Harvey’s season is a fitting parallel to the Reds season, as a whole. After putting together an abysmal stretch of starts following the All Star Break, the Dark Knight turned in an impressive performance against Arizona. In seven innings of work, he allowed a pair of earned runs, five hits, one walk all while striking out seven. There are precious few days before the end of the waiver-trade deadline, so if he is traded away, this may be the last start Harvey has in a Reds uniform.
Facing him will be a Giant, both in terms of the team he plays for and his position amongst professional pitchers. Bumgarner hasn’t pitched a lot this year, due to injury, but he has been his normal self. He currently has a 2.71 ERA in 79.2 IP with 67 K’s. He’s doing a good job of keeping the ball in the park, having allowed just six homers this year.
The finale will feature Luis Castillo pitching against Andrew Suarez. Castillo had a rough outing against the D-Backs, last time. He was saddled with the loss after allowing five earned runs on 5.2 innings of work. Castillo’s sophomore season has had lots of ups and downs, but his season ERA is inching toward the good, slowly as it currently sits at 5.04.
Suarez has put together a solid rookie year for the Giants. The 25-year old 4.40 ERA in 21 starts and has fanned 100 batters in 116.2 innings. He pitched six shutout innings at Dodger Stadium his last time out, but received a no-decision for his efforts. The Reds beat Suarez and the Giants back on May 16th when they scored five runs (four earned), on eight hits and a walk. Former Red Adam Duvall hit a three-run jack off Suarez in that game.
The Reds won one and lost a pair in that May series with the Giants. These will be the last three games they play against San Fran for the 2018 season.
As of this posting, Joey Votto had just been placed on the disabled list. Here’s hoping a speedy and full recovery for Joseph Daniel.
Keep tuned to Locked on Reds for your daily Reds fix and follow @JamesRapien and @jefffcarr on Twitter.
Reds Swept by Indians at Home
Despite making it dramatic in the ninth, the Cincinnati Reds (52-69) lost to the Cleveland Indians (69-51) 4 to 3. The Indians took the Ohio Cup 4 to 2.
The Rollercoaster Reds had runners on second and third but failed to score. The ninth inning saw Billy Hamilton make an interesting choice to run for home on a soft grounder to the first baseman for the first out, Scooter Gennett walk, Eugenio Suarez strike out (more on that later), and Curt Casali fly out.
The game was a struggle from the beginning.
Robert Stephenson didn’t get any better from his first start, he may have actually gotten worse. Dude had zero control of any of his pitches, erratically spraying the ball everywhere but the strike zone. Given a three-run lead from the first inning, Stephenson proceeded to come out in the second and throw first-pitch balls to the first four hitters, allowing two runs, and getting pulled before the end of the second.
Remember when he walked a Mets pitcher on four pitches? Yeah, he walked Indians pitcher Shane Bieber on four pitches, as well. Bieber had exactly three career at-bats before this game.
Cody reed, however, came into the game in the second and proceeded to insert his name into the discussion for pitching in the rotation the rest of the year. The box score will show a loss and two earned runs in 3.2 innings, but his night looked much better than that. He retired eight in a row before allowing a walk and a homer, consecutively, that gave the Indians a 4-3 lead. He worked quickly and confidently, the exact opposite of BobSteve.
Interesting Notes from Wednesday’s Game:
Despite being talked about in this space a bit, Jose Peraza is having a quietly good season. He had another multi-hit night on Wednesday, bringing his total to 33 multi-hit games. His average is now at .285. He’s hitting .288 from the leadoff spot with 57 hits and 31 runs scored.
Jared Hughes tossed an inning and 2/3 of perfect baseball. He struck out a pair in this appearance and managed to lower his ERA to 1.31. He has the second-best ERA among relievers with at least 50 IP, behind Milwaukee’s Jeremy Jeffress (1.29).
The Reds bench, as managed by one Jim Riggleman, was very active. In the bottom of the seventh inning Dilson Herrera pinch-hit for Hughes. This move left just Curt Casali on the bench…and there were still two innings left in regulation play. In fact, in the top of the sixth, Mason Williams was brought in as part of a double-switch when Hughes came in to pitch. He played for all of one out before Riggsy pinch-hit Brandon Dixon for him in the bottom of the sixth. Confused yet?
Eugenio Suarez had a night he’d just as soon forget. He struck out five times, twice on pitches that were, according to the Fox Sports Ohio strike zone, outside the zone. The fifth strikeout left Geno walking back to the dugout with a purely blank look on his face. Watch out for him on Thursday, man may hit 12 homers.
The Reds will get some rest on Thursday and be back at Great American for the weekend against the Giants of San Francisco.
Keep your eye on @lockedonReds and @jefffcarr on Twitter for all your Reds content.