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The Scooter question and who’s pulling the strings for the Reds

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Will Scooter Gennett be a cornerstone of the Reds for the next several years? Or will the Reds send him away for pitching?

When Scooter Gennett said Friday he senses the Reds want to keep him around for a few years, there was a lot of reaction if Twitter is an indicator. Scooter said Reds CEO Bob Castellini wants him to stay. Many jumped to the conclusion that Castellini is telling Dick Williams and Nick Krall what to do.

There is a reported history of ownership making demands about Brandon Phillips and Billy Hamilton. Is that still the M.O.? Who knows. Perhaps, Williams and Krall feel the same way as Castellini does about Scooter, talked to their boss and he supports the idea. We don’t have proof of anything more.

If I’m Scooter, and Williams or Krall start contract discussions with my agent, I tell my agent to find out if the owners are on board. He wants to be a Red, he wants all the Reds to want him and it gives him more negotiating leverage. The evidence is too thin to assume ownership made an ultimatum. You may think I’m naive, but I’m just looking at the evidence we have.

The Scooter Gennett options:

  1. Trade him now or in the offseason and get an established starting pitcher as part of the deal.
  2. Sign him to an extension this month or in the offseason.
  3. Do nothing now and make a long-term decision about him next July or after the 2019 season.

There are no wrong answers unless a trade is one-sided against the Reds or the Reds give him too many years (like more than three or four). I favor option No. 3. Why do something before you have to? More will be known a year from now about Gennett, Nick Senzel and the viability of the starting rotation.

Many of us have gone back and forth on the Scooter question. The real answer is that the Reds have a surplus in the middle infield. They will trade someone and get something promising from a team starved for second-base help.

Scooter’s positives:

  • He gets on base.
  • He hits for power.
  • He runs the bases well.
  • Leadership.
  • Enthusiasm.
  • He wants to be a Red.

Scooter’s negative:

  • Defense. But doesn’t it seem like he’s better than he used to be? Don’t get the Gold Glove ready, but he seems more dependable than a year ago.

As Krall said, you make moves if it makes the team better. Is there a price another team would pay for Scooter that would make this team better? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe Williams and Krall already know based on conversations they’ve had with other teams. We’ll never have the opportunity to completely judge their decision about Scooter unless they trade him. Or if a true offer is leaked that they turn down.

In the meantime, enjoy Scooter. And don’t get hung up on the idea that Castellini is a dictator.

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Cincinnati Reds

Phil Ervin Lifts Reds to Victory

Jeffery Carr

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© David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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.

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Cincinnati Reds

Reds set for Three Against the Giants

Jeffery Carr

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© David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Friday at 7:10 p.m.

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.

Saturday at 7:10 p.m.

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.

Sunday at 1:10 p.m.

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.

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Cincinnati Reds

Reds Swept by Indians at Home

Jeffery Carr

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© David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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