Off Day Thoughts – Volume 2

As the Reds embark on another West Coast road trip, they will visit Seattle for the first time since 2010, a series in which they were swept and shut out in two of three against the Mariners. While we wait for them to take the field again tomorrow night, I wanted to pass the time by giving you another volume of Off Day Thoughts to chew on!

Eugenio Suarez is having a career season, and it’s not happening in a playoff race.

Suarez is having an amazing year, as he currently has a .914 OPS and has 44 bombs, 95 RBI and 3.6 WAR. He’s been even hotter since July, posting a 1.072 OPS with 27 dingers and 47 RBI. All of this success has come, though, while the Reds have gone 28-32 in that same stretch and will not make the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season. Now, there’s no reason to believe that Suarez cannot sustain this level of power. His power numbers have improved every year since he came to Cincinnati in a flip for Alfredo Simon (thank you Dave Dombrowski!), and he’s going to be a Red for a long time. It just stinks that his best year to date has come while the team has been poor.

Trevor Bauer has been a different pitcher at Great American Ball Park this year.

In one start with Cleveland and three with the Reds, Bauer has posted a 2.77 ERA with 37 strikeouts and a 1 WHIP at Great American Ball Park. We all know what he’s been like on the road so far in a Reds uniform, and the only hope we have for him is to stay healthy through the end of the season, fix his injuries and other problems in the offseason, and get better for 2020. It is impressive, though, that he’s done better at a hitters’ park like GABP this year, and should be encouraging for next season.

Michael “Biceps” Lorenzen needs more at-bats.

While Biceps is a great option out of the bullpen, his recent hot streak at the plate isn’t a fluke. In 21 at-bats this year, he is hitting .333/.417/.571 and has two game winning hits in the past week. He was the first pitcher to play in the outfield, hit a homer and earn the W since George Herman Ruth in 1921. Yes, you read that correctly. Babe Ruth. The Sultan of Swat. The King of Crash. The Colossus of Clout. The Great Bambino! He’s a five tool player, and definitely needs a few more at-bats in a lineup that is begging for offense. Maybe he shouldn’t be the starting center fielder, but there should be some sort of schedule for him to be a defensive replacement or pinch hitter every day he isn’t needed to pitch. He’s 27 years old and has appeared in 35 games this year in a position other than on the mound, and has an opportunity to become even better next year with more at-bats. Hereos get remembered, legends never die.

Kevin Gausman has been a revelation out of the bullpen.

While his fastball/splitter combo may not have worked in the Braves’ rotation this year, Gausman has seemed to figure it out from the Reds’ bullpen with Derek Johnson helping him. While his total pitch values from this year are -6.3 for his fastball (bad) and 4.7 for his splitter (good), his pitch values in ten games with the Reds are -0.7 for his fastball and 2 for his splitter, which are both good. He already has an immaculate inning as a Red, and he struck out the side with the bases loaded in the top of the ninth on Saturday. Hopefully he will be in the bullpen next year and continue to put up great numbers for the Reds.

Cody Reed will be incredibly useful for the Reds next year.

With Wandy Peralta receiving a DFA on Saturday, Amir Garrett and Cody Reed are currently the only lefthanders on the 40-man roster for 2020. We know how great Garrett can be, and Reed showed flashes of brilliance in May before getting injured, giving up only one walk and one run in 6.1 innings and earning 7 strikeouts. While still rehabbing in Louisville, he had a 2.61 ERA in 18 games, striking out 25 batters. Reed probably won’t make it back to Cincinnati this season, but headed into his 27-year-old season, the Reds will look to use him even more next year as a lefty specialist.

Is Alex Wood’s time as a Red over?

Wood made 7 starts for the Reds in 2019, with his season being bookended by a nagging back injury. In those 7 starts, Wood was less than stellar, going 1-3 with a 5.80 ERA and picking up 30 strikeouts in 35.2 innings. His best start was his only win back on August 2nd in Atlanta, where he went 6.2 innings and allowed 2 runs and 1 walk while striking out 5 Braves. Due to those numbers, his inability to stay healthy and his contract only lasting until the end of this season, the 28-year-old most likely will not be with the club next year. Either way, he was part of the historic deal that got Homer Bailey off the books. Wood, Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp and Kyle Farmer combined to play in only 217 games this year for the club. While Josiah Gray and Jeter Downs have both prospered in the Dodgers organization, I would make that trade again just for the hype that Yasiel Puig brought and the removal of Homer Bailey’s massive contract from the Reds’ payroll.

Let’s take a look at the Reds jersey records!

Chris Creamer at sportslogos.net has a great MLB uniform tracker in which he tracks team records by each uniform they wear. Because it’s an off day, I wanted to go over the Reds’ records by the jerseys they’ve worn this year! Here’s the list:

  • White home jerseys: 26-17
  • Red jerseys, home games: 8-6
  • Gray road jerseys: 24-27
  • Red jerseys, road games: 4-12
  • Throwback uniforms: 4-10
  • Players’ Weekend: 0-3
  • Military Appreciation home jerseys: 1-1
  • Los Rojos jerseys: 0-1

Because the Reds are wearing so many throwback jerseys this year, they have opted to wear their red alternate jerseys on the road more often. It looks good, but has the worst record overall other than the “Abominable Snowman” Players’ Weekend uniforms. Also, the throwback uniforms have not helped the Reds win more games this year, which is a damn shame considering how good the threads have looked on the field.

Jesse Winker will unfortunately finish the season on the IL again.

It currently looks as if Da Wink will finish the season injured for a second straight year. The outfielder improved on his homer count, but was down from 2018 in almost every other category. The club had probably hoped to use September as a trial period for the platoon between him and Phillip Ervin, but will most likely have to wait until spring training to see if that is a viable option. If Winker can somehow figure out hitting against lefties, he will be a stalwart in the Reds lineup for years to come. But for now, the trio of Ervin, Nick Senzel (when healthy) and Aristides Aquino will have to finish out the string of games in the outfield.

What do you want to see over the next two weeks?

While it’s completely understandable for Reds fans to have checked out, there are still some important battles going on within the team as the season winds down. There is a quagmire in the middle infield between Freddy Galvis, Josh VanMeter, Jose Iglesias and Derek Dietrich, a war in the bullpen between the homegrown talent and the guys signed off waivers, and Tyler Mahle will have to earn a spot on the rotation next year by his last few starts. Dick Williams, Nick Krall and David Bell have most likely been using the month of September as a live tryout for next season’s roster, and to use in their evaluations of trades and free agency. Any of the guys listed above can make or break their Reds future over the next 18 games. Or management could have made up their minds already and the end of the season is only for pride. Either way, these guys are still going to compete every day, and we only have so much time left to watch them in a Cincinnati Reds uniform in 2019. We should enjoy that as much as we can. Watching the playoffs without the Reds being involved is much less heart-breaking, but it still sucks to not have them there. By the way, the team can still go 15-3 to secure a winning season. If not that, the goal should be to finish in fourth place in the Central above the Pirates, as God intended it to be.

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