CINCINNATI — Because the rules say so, even though the Cincinnati Reds are National League Central bottom-feeders, the Reds have to be represented on the All-Star team by at least one player.
Which one? None will be voted in by the fans, so National League/New York Mets manager Terry Collins must make the pick.
Jay Bruce? Adam Duvall? Zack Cozart? Bruce may not be wearing a Reds uniform by the time the mid-July All-Stare game arrives.
DUVALL, WITH HIS 21 home runs and 51 runs batted in might be the logical choice. Does manager Bryan Price believe it?
“Absolutely,” he said. “We all look at the numbers and one thing we know in Cincinnati is he is really good. He has run the bases really good, played terrific defense and been good at throwing baserunners out — doing some dynamics things defensively for us (things that do show up in the numbers).
“We see him every day so it is easy to define our own players,” Price added. “We know Jay Bruce is having a terrific year and so is Zack Cozart. And Adam for sure. I look at the stats and I know this guy is deserving of All-Star consideration. He has been so good for the first three months that he is special to me, but certainly unexpected to the degree that he has performed.”
IT WAS A CURIOUS TURN-OF-EVENTS just after Sunday’s game between the Reds and San Diego Padres began. An announcement was made in the press box: “Pitcher J.C. Ramirez was claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Angels.”
Really? There was stunned silence. It hadn’t even been announced that Ramirez was placed on waivers.
“We found out just before the first pitch of the game,” said manager Bryan Price. That, of course, meant Price and the Reds were one man short in the bullpen. Anthony DeSclafani solved that issue by pitching eight shutout innings.
And at least one member of the Reds inner sanctum was not happy about it and said, “How can we place an arm that throws 98 miles an hour on the waiver wire? I guess they thought he’d pass through. But he didn’t and we lost a strong arm for nothing.”
ANOTHER REASON WHY Anthony DeSclafani is on his way to becoming a premier pitcher: After pitching eight innings of 119-pitch shutout baseball Sunday on a sun-beaten mound that was close to 100 degrees, DeSclafani was running the stadium aisles Monday afternoon in 92-degree heat, up and down, up and down, up and down.
HOMER BAILEY was scheduled to pitch two innings Monday night for Class AAA Louisville on his rehab start. He only made it through one innings and gave up two runs and three hits, both runs coming on a pair of solo home runs against Buffalo.
A LOT WAS MADE of the combined shutout thrown Sunday by Anthony DeSclafani and Tony Cingrani, the first shutout of the season thrown by the Reds.
Was it such a big deal? Well, note the Colorado Rockies are the only team without one and the lowly Philadelphia Phillies have eight. So maybe it is.
Complete games are another matter. The Reds have only one and that was Brandon Finnegan’s eight-inning complete game when he lost, 1-0, to Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
But consider this. As good as the New York Mets’ rotation is, they don’t have a complete game. Neither does Maimi, San Diego, Milwaukee or Colorado.
MANAGER BRYAN PRICE keeps finding ways to get young speedster Jose Peraza into the lineup and fortunately he can play four positions.
Peraza has played left field to give Adam Duvall a day off, he has played left field while Duvall switched to first to give Joey Votto and day off and he has played shortstop to give Zack Cozart a day off. And on Monday Price gave second baseman Brandon Phillips a day off and installed Peraza at second base.
Price knows this can’t continue, that it will be difficult to find the 22-year-old Venezuelan rookie enough playing time.
“It’s working right now (spotting him at different positions), but we’ll have to see how long that lasts,” said Price. “He should be playing regularly. If he plays regularly here, that’s great. If not, then he’ll probably have to spend some more time in Triple-A.”