CINCINNATI — Cody Reed’s home debut Friday night against the San Diego Padres was enough to make him leave home and never return.
Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price, though, was not overly disturbed over the 23-year-old left hander’s struggles during a 13-4 loss.
“He had a fair number of runners on base and had to compete with runners on base the entire time,” said Price. The Padres scored one run in each of the five innings Reed pitched, forcing him to pitch out of the stretch all night long.
“Everybody knows how much I like this kid,” said Price. “I like his makeup and I like his stuff. I don’t think he is throwing the ball as well as he will as we move forward. It is just getting acclimated, getting comfortable to pitching every fifth day.
“I saw him throw a lot of sliders for strikes but a lot of them were one-plane sliders, not his best slider,” Price added. “His fastball command has room to improve. I’ve seen this kid really good, both on video and in Triple-A and all spring. I know there is more in there as far as overall command and pitch quality.”
NO MATTER HOW POISED and mature one might be, Reed certainly had to feel as if his stomach was filled with mutant butterflies. It was Pete Rose Weekend and 40,000 were in the stands to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1976 Big Red Machine.
“We can say whatever we want about makeup and maturity, but there is no way around that fact,” said Price. “I’ll be the last person too make excuses for these guys because he is ready to pitch here and I think he is ready to be a really good pitcher. But he has to go through that transition to the big leagues — being comfortable and ready to compete in the big leagues.”
MICHAEL LORENZEN made his 2016 debut Friday night, one inning out of the bullpen during which he hit the high 90s consistently with his fastball, including one pitch at 100 miles an hour. He also gave up a double and a home run.
“I saw him show that kind of velocity in the Arizona Fall League and last year when he transitioned at the end of last year a couple of times to the bullpen and showed the big arm,” said Price.
“This is what we’ve been seeing from his minor-league reports during his rehab,” Price added. “We’ve been seeing the bigger velocity and the attack mode. He attacked (Friday) the strike zone and showed good velocity.”
PRICE, THOUGH, KNOWS that unless you are Aroldis Chapman throwing 104 miles an hour, a fastball can’t be the only thing on your menu.
“You have to have the ability to use your other pitches and not just rely on velocity that he shows coming out of the bullpen,” said Price. “When Chapman is throwing 100 miles an hour he has wriggle room to miss because he has the above-the-zone chase pitch. But if you are just spraying pitches around the zone with velocity, big league hitters get to them.
“We’re seeing this bulk velocity throughout the game, hard throwers every where, but the thing that has to be married to that is pitch ability. It is an art form, a craft. It has been ever so even back when they were throwing a bean bag for a baseball,” said Price. “It is change of location, change of speeds and guile. That’s never going to change because nobody is ever going to be able to throw a baseball hard enough where big league hitters aren’t going to hit it.”
JOEY VOTTO IS experiencing a major power outage right now that has nothing to do the thunderstorms. Entering Saturday’s game Votto has only one extra base hit, a double, in his last 61 plate appearances. One wonders how much of it can be attributed to how much he is choking up on the bat and slapping at pitches in recent games?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: Dayton native and MLB.com writer Alyson Footer asked Pete Rose if the mid-1970s Reds team was the best ever and he said, “The best ever? I don’t know. I don’t know if we’d beat last year’s Kansas City Royals or not. We’re all in our 70s. Maybe we’d struggle. I know we’d beat the ’27 Yankees, because they’re all dead.”