The Cincinnati Reds pitching staff is, and has been quite good this year. New pitching coach Derek Johnson along with the quick-hook of manager David Bell have seemingly found a way to connect to the pitchers, with imports like Tanner Roark and Sonny Gray settling in nicely alongside the emergence of Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle, and Amir Garrett, among others.
Really, the lone real blemish on the pitching staff to date has been lefty Zach Duke, the 36 year old in his second tour with the Reds. He’s the owner of an ugly 5.01 ERA, 6.46 FIP, and 1.67 WHIP so far this season, but as of Monday that’ll be the end of his work while wearing a Reds uniform. The team announced they’d designated the veteran for assignment Monday afternoon, promoting herky-jerky righty Jimmy Herget to take his place in the ‘pen for now.
The #Reds today recalled from the Triple-A @LouisvilleBats RHP Jimmy Herget and designated for assignment LHP Zach Duke.— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) July 1, 2019
When he first enters a game, Herget will be making his major league debut. pic.twitter.com/dIYofVRGLC
With Cody Reed, Wandy Peralta, and Alex Wood still out injured, that leaves Amir Garrett as the lone lefty in the bullpen for the time being. Considering the Reds are about to host the Milwaukee Brewers for four games - the team of lefty bashers Christian Yelich, Mike Moustakas, and Eric Thames - that’s going to be quite the interesting subplot.
As for Herget, he’s been on the 40-man roster since last winter, and his 2019 season has gone relatively to plan for AAA Louisville. He boasts a 3.58 ERA and 10.5 K/9, which are nice, but his 5.7 BB/9 and 1.2 HR/9 are both career worsts for the now 25 year old. Of course, he allowed 8 ER in a 3 appearance stretch back in late April, and in 29 IP since then he’s pitched to a 2.17 ERA with a more palatable 32/11 K/BB, so it sure seems like he’s settled in after his rough start.
With 6 key home games before the All Star break, it’s interesting to see the Reds make this move now. Hopefully, the lack of lefties in the bullpen won’t burn them in the short term.