The reason why the Reds are still 11.5 games behind the Wild Card leader and 13 games below .500 is certainly not because of the hitting. For the First Half of the season, the hitting for the Reds has been very solid. Collectively the Reds have a slash line of .258/.338/.401. As far as Batting Average and On-Base Percentage go , they are well above league average, only trailing the Cubs and by a few points in both categories for the NL lead. Much of the team’s hitting success is thanks to Joey Votto , Scooter Gennett and Eugenio Suarez , the Reds threeAll-Star selections. Joey Votto is the leader of the ball club and he sports a .418 OBP, which is currently leading the NL. Scooter Gennett is tied for 3rd in the NL in BA (.318), and Eugenio Suarez is 4th in the NL in OPS+ (156) and Offensive WAR (3.5). Aside from the three All-Stars, other players have found success as well. Jose Peraza is hitting .292, and Scott Schebler was finding success, before he was placed on the DL. The brightest spot in the lineup currently is Jesse Winker. The rookie is hitting over .299 and his ability to get on base is unparalleled for a rookie, 2nd in the NL (.405) only trailing his teammate Joey Votto. There certainly is a great deal to look forward to for a Reds fan, when it comes to hitting.
On the negative side, there are some hitters in the lineup who just need a boost in the 2nd Half. The two biggest names that are struggling at he plate this season are Billy Hamilton and Adam Duvall . Hamilton is just hitting .221 this year and his stolen base numbers have fallen off slightly in comparison to his last few years. Hamilton still provides value in the field, however, making great plays and is a perennial favorite to be a Gold Glove winner, even though he has not won the award in his career yet.
The bright spot for the Reds is the hitting, but that still does not disguise the fact that Cincinnati Reds pitching is among the worst in baseball. The Reds have been among the worst in baseball for the past few years, so this is nothing new. At the conclusion of last season, there looked to be a lot of promise in Luis Castillo. He has had decent starts, but not very many. He is not the same pitcher that the Reds fans were hoping for. The most consistent starting pitcher this year for the club has been rookie, Tyler Mahle. However, the player with the most buzz surrounding him is Matt Harvey , who the Reds acquired on May 8th. Harvey’s last start was his worst as a member of the Reds, but other than that, he has been a solid pitching presence for the club. Sal Romano has had a couple serviceable games, but has been far from impressive. They finally have Anthony DeSclafani back, after missing all of 2017, but has not been the pitcher, so far, that he was prior to the injury. It is safe to say that the biggest disappointment, in the pitching department, has been the hefty contract of Homer Bailey. His contract has been weighing the club down and the Reds are in a situation where they know he’s not that caliber of a pitcher, but have no option but to let him pitch because of his guaranteed money.
As far as the bullpen goes, it has seen improvement in the last year, but is still below league average. Raisel Iglesias , Jared Hughes, and David Hernandez have been very solid arms all year for the Reds, all with an ERA below 2.50. Michael Lorenzen has been good this year, but what has caught the attention of everyone in the baseball world is his hitting ability. He already has 3 home runs this year and is an occasional pinch hitter. There have also been rumors that he may get a shot in the outfield in the future. For the most part of the 1st half, Amir Garrett was lights out, but lately has been in a rut.
At this point, with one more week until the trade deadline, I think that the Reds will be soft sellers. They will not move their biggest trade chips, but i think theu will move a player or two. With discussion of a possible extension for Scooter Gennett, it is safe to say he will not be dealt at the deadline, but the player with the highest chance to be moved will be Matt Harvey. Harvey has been a totally different pitcher in Cincinnati and the change of scenery has given him a new outlook for his career. Raisel Iglesias has been another possibility to be traded, but it looks unlikely that will happen now.
The deficit for a Wild Card berth is not insurmountable, but it is highly unlikely that the Reds will reach that point. As it stands, they are currently 11.5 games out of the Wild Card and 14.5 out of the NL Central, again not impossible, but highly unlikely. The best thing for the Reds to do for the rest of the season is to just have fun and give the fans a reason to believe in their future.
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Featured Photo: Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez, and Scooter Gennett were all chosen to represent the Reds in the 2018 MLB All-Star Game. Photo Credit: Victor Decolongon