And here we go! In one corner, we have the 6’ 6”, 245 lb hurler from Alexandria, Virginia – former Red Mat Latos. In the other corner we have a poor son of a gun who was rendered two-dimensional from the body slam Latos put on him. Mad Mat has come a long way from the friendly confines of Great American Ballpark.
Since being traded for Anthony DeSclafani, Latos pitched for the Marlins, Dodgers, Angels, White Sox, Nationals, and Blue Jays (all in the span of two seasons) before finding himself out of Major League Baseball and playing for the Independent New Jersey Jackals.
That viral video got me to thinking, how are those former fan favorites that were dealt away? Let’s take a look.
The New York Reds
For whatever reason, a good handful of former Reds are currently playing in the Big Apple. Keeping it limited to the ones who fans bought jerseys for, Todd Frazier, Jay Bruce, and Devin Mesoraco are currently New York Mets while Aroldis Chapman saves games for the Yankees now.
Frazier – The Toddfather really made Reds fans miss him in 2016, smashing 40 homers for the White Sox. Since then, though, he has cooled down a bit. He had a postseason appearance with the return of the Yankees to October baseball, but otherwise hit a cool .222 after being traded midseason away from Chicago. This year he is hitting .239 in 37 games played with seven home runs and 24 ribeye steaks.
He’s currently on pace to have his best season since he left Cincinnati.
Bruce – Despite being mired in, possibly, his slowest start to a season, Bruce has had an interesting ride since leaving Cincinnati. Upon being dealt to the Mets in 2016, he accompanied them to a Wild Card exit at the hands of the San Francisco Giants (he’s got to have a special kind of distaste for that team) while contributing just eight homers and a .219 batting average.
2017 saw a more Brucian-like 29 homers and 75 RBI up until August 9th, when he was dealt to the Indians for a low-A pitching prospect. With the Indians, Bruce was a vital part of the record-setting 22-game winning streak that Cleveland put together. Bruce hit the 3-run homer that put the Indians ahead in their 21st straight win and hit the walk-off RBI double to win the 22nd in a row.
Mesoraco – He hasn’t been gone long, but he’s still worth mentioning. After receiving a bit more regular playing time, Mes has five homers and 10 RBI in 22 games. He is still batting just .209, though, and has 15 strikeouts in 67 at-bats.
Chapman – This former Reds closer is not a Met but a Yankee. After being dealt to the Bombers for what seemed like 20 cents on the dollar, Brian Cashman flipped him for his current starting shortstop and then signed him in free agency a year later. Must be nice to have all that money. As most of you probably remember, Chapman helped the Cubs break their championship drought in 2016, so I’d say he’s ok with having been traded.
Chappy has 76 saves in his three seasons away from Cincinnati. For what it’s worth, the Cuban Missile hasn’t eclipsed 100 strike outs in a season since pitching for the Reds (Man, I miss seeing that guy in a Reds uniform).
The Rest of ‘Em
Just want to look at a few more who play in other places besides New York.
Mike Leake – Currently a Seattle Mariner, Leake has also pitched for the Giants and Cardinals. Mike has not topped his 2013 season in Cincinnati when he went 14-7 and had an ERA of 3.37 in 31 starts. So far into 2018, Leake is averaging 6 innings a start and an ERA just above four. In his last three starts, Leake has pitched 23 innings, given up five runs, and added two wins to his season total.
If you’re like me, you’re looking at those stats and thinking “How on earth did we think Adam Duvall was worth Mike Leake? The Reds could totally use his arm!” Then I looked at his contract…he’s currently on year three of a five year $80 million deal. He’d be the Reds third-highest paid player. Objectively: $16 million a year is overpaying for a 4.00+ ERA.
Johnny Cueto – Johnny has spent three years in San Francisco after winning the World Series with the Royals in 2015. Cueto was the first domino to fall in the Reds rebuild and, at the time, the trade was deemed a good deal for both sides. As of today, the Royals got a ring and the Reds got one pitcher who is no longer with the team, one pitcher who is wallowing in the minors struggling with his control, and one pitcher who has gone from injury-prone to a reclamation project in Louisville.
This season Johnny is 3-0 in five starts with a sub-one ERA. Sabermetrics show that he is getting a little lucky, stranding over 90% of the baserunners he faces (career average is 76%).
Zack Cozart – We’ll wrap this “Where are they now” segment up with a player who wasn’t traded away. Zack left via free agency last season, as you may remember, to the Angels. He hasn’t quite taken to his new digs, though, as he currently batting .226 with five homers and a .299 on-base percentage. Uncharacteristically for him, Cozart is sporting a negative defensive war. Statistics show the Angels plan to move him to third base has not worked out, to this point, as he has a .957 fielding percentage there, the lowest of the three positions he’s played in LA.
Cozart has bat leadoff in 26 games this season for the Angels and gets on-base one out of every three plate appearances. He has been displaced as of late, though, given his low batting average.
The Reds wont face anyone on this list until August 6th when they travel play the Mets. As far as in Cincinnati, Johnny Cueto may pitch in Great American Ballpark again, when the Giants come to town August 17th, 18th, and 19th.
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.
Reds Toss Batting Practice to Indians
The Cincinnati Reds (52-67) had a case of the Mondays as the Cleveland Indians (67-51) put up double digit runs on the scoreboard and won 10 to 3.
Every single Indian batter who started the game got a hit, seven of which got multi-hit games, three of them putting together a three-hit night. The top three Cleveland hitters (Francisco Lindor, Michael Brantley, and Jose Ramirez) feasted on Cincinnati pitching to the tune of eight hits, six runs scored, three walks, and four RBIs.
Homer Bailey (1-10) has a stat line that will make it look like he got shelled, but the bad stuff didn’t happen til the sixth, a point in time after the gloves and bats behind him proved they would not be much help. In the fourth inning, alone, while Homer was on the mound, the defense gave the Indians, the third best run-scoring team in the AL, two extra outs. Homer managed to get out of it, but it was an inning that inflated his pitch count by close to 20.
Offensively, the Reds stranded eight runners before Bailey had his inning of doom. In fact, as is a constant problem in the history of Cincinnati baseball (it feels like, anyway), the bases were left loaded at the end of the third and fourth innings. Not saying it’s the bats’ fault that Bailey didn’t pitch well in the sixth, but his mindset would have been totally different had some of those runners crossed home plate.
Yes, I am sympathetic for a professional pitcher that blamed his last bad start on the advance scouting department. But every day is a new day, and it really feels like there is some sort of crazy rain cloud following Homer around.
Notes from Monday’s Game:
Curt Casali hit a solo homer in the eighth inning that gave the Reds three home runs, as a team, on Monday night. Tucker Barnhart and Scooter Gennett were the other two. The Reds hadn’t hit any homers in the previous three games.
Speaking of Casali, in 69 AB this year, he is hitting .304 with an OPS of .915.
Amir Garrett endured his worst relief appearance of his career. He allowed four runs in 2/3 of an inning. Cleveland knocked him around for four hits and a walk, all in the vaunted sixth inning on Monday.
Joey Votto reached base twice (single, walk) and looked hobbled, running the bases. It’s not something he is keen to do, because he is awesome, but it may be prudent of the Reds to consider resting him. Whether the Reds will do the prudent thing, well…
The Reds and Indians look to break the season-series tie tonight at 7:10 pm as Sal Romano will go up against Corey Kluber. Follow @LockedOnReds and my account, @jefffcarr for your Reds content, in-game and out.