Your Reds just put a big ol’ bow on dominant four-game series against the NL East-leading Phillies, winning three of them. Considering that they remain firmly encamped in the basement of the NL Central and that the bitter taste of April is still tattooed on our collective tongue, it still surprises me to see just how well these Reds have been playing for a good long while now. Over the last six weeks or so they have played a fair number of series against some of the best teams in baseball this season. Against the Phillies, Indians, Cubs, Brewers, and Braves they are a demonstrably fantastic 14 wins against just seven losses. I don’t know about you, but it is crystal clear to me that they will have a few things to say come next season. I feel good about that.
The Reds won’t take the field again until after the non-waiver trade deadline is past, and nothing substantive has really changed over the week. Matt Harvey threw a typical (for his brief stint here in Cincinnati, anyway) Matt Harvey game on Saturday, clearing five innings and allowing just two hits. It did nothing to move the needle either way as I remain fully confident that he will be traded by tomorrow afternoon and the return will be mildly interesting but not much more than that.
As for the remainder of the Reds’ roster, I’m less confident but still pretty confident that nobody else will be traded. There have been a few rumors here and there involving Raisel Iglesias and his bullpen mates Jared Hughes and David Hernandez, but I’d be shocked if anything happened to them. And though I’m firmly resigned to it, I’m still gonna be kinda pissy when they do not trade Scooter Gennett. They have their reasons and they aren’t patently ridiculous, so whatever. But still.
David Laurila at FanGraphs talked a bit with Atlas himself, Eugenio Suarez. He leads the NL in RBIs and is among the leaders in wRC+, wOBA, and SLG. In short, he is really, really good and I love him and just like fellow heartthrob Joey Votto it seems his career will be defined as one of those small-market under-the-radar amazing ballplayers about whom everyone perpetually asks “why is no one talking about him?” Baseball internet is really weird like that.
Everyone’s favorite interim manager Jim Riggleman had some obvious-if-a-bit-oblivious things to say about the bullpen the other day.
“The bottom line is eventually we have to get our starters going deeper into games, take more of the load off our relievers,” Riggleman said. “But they’ve held up very well and done a great job.”
“I certainly don’t want to be responsible for overdoing it and hurting somebody,” Riggleman said. “But I do feel that the last several years we’ve lowered the bar so much as to what we expect from players. They can give us more than what we’ve been asking of them in the last several years.”
I could tell you exactly what I think of all this right now, but honestly I don’t have the energy. Suffice to say I think he’s kinda dumb.
Anyway, let’s cleanse the palate.
Here is a big ol’ heapin’ helpin’ of really, really good stuff. Be sure to click through and read CTrent’s recap of yesterday afternoon’s shutout of the Phillies. I know I’ve said it plenty over the last few years, but we here in the Reds baseball internet universe are really damn lucky to have a writer like him writing about our favorite team. There’s nothing innovative or shocking or whatever about this here recap. It is just done really well.
Of course, it helps to have such an amazing subject about which one must write. Luis Castillo tossed his best game of the season yesterday, striking out nine against just one walk in seven shutout innings. His changeup is fantastic in general, but when it is at its best it can move mountains. Check this out from the Pitching Ninja (a must-follow if you are into the twitter):
Luis Castillo, 96mph Fastball and 86mph Changeup, Overlay.@lindseyadler pic.twitter.com/EFoTg3Wuje— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 29, 2018
Trent talks to Castillo and his catcher Curt Casali in the article so I’m not going to be redundant here (you seriously need to get you an Athletic sub if you haven’t already), but take a solid minute and watch this gif a few dozen times. Here is the clearest and most animated evidence of how the fastball-changeup combo can reduce even the greatest hitters on this entire planet to fluffy impotent little kitty cats searching for mama’s teat. Castillo made plenty of hitters look awful milkthirsty yesterday.