Manager David Bell’s desire to have more bench flexibility and his confidence in his starting pitchers was reflected when the Reds revealed their 28-man roster for the National League Wild Card Series against the Braves on Wednesday ahead of Game 1.
“Three-game series at the most and we have three starters. So we have the ability to still carry nine relievers, which is more than you would typically carry,” Bell said. “That only adds up to 12, so we have the ability to carry 16 position players.”
Davidson was designated for assignment on Sept. 8 after being used sparingly, but he cleared waivers, went to the Reds’ alternate training site and was part of the 40-man postseason player pool. Before being sent out, he was 1-for-his-last-23, hitless in his last 12 at-bats and batting .163 with three home runs overall.
But the right-handed power Davidson has could come in handy in the Wild Card Series. After not getting into a game for 10 days, Davidson came off the bench on Aug. 21 and delivered a 449-foot pinch-hit grand slam in the sixth inning of a 4-2 victory over the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. It was one of only two hits in the game for Cincinnati.
“We saw him become a big part of our team earlier on,” Bell said. “He started out the year swinging the bat really well. We actually saw that he continued to swing the bat really well the whole time he was here. The results weren’t there the last week, 10 days or so, but he continued to hit the ball hard. He has a history of being able to hit for power and do damage, particularly against left-handed pitching. So, there’s a role there for Matt in this series.”
Like Davidson, Jankowski made the Opening Day roster but rarely played and was optioned to the alternate training site on Aug. 26. He was 1-for-15 in 16 games with only three starts amid a crowded outfield picture. He could be a factor, however, in the late innings.
“We saw what he could do for our team earlier in the year when we had the ability to carry him,” Bell said. “Even though he may not start a game, he may not potentially get an at-bat in this series, he still has the ability to impact the game as a pinch-runner or defender. In a playoff, when you have extra spots, it’s great to be able to carry a player like that.”
A member of the Reds’ rotation since 2015, DeSclafani wasn’t needed with a three-man rotation, and he has limited bullpen experience. He was 1-2 with a 7.22 ERA in nine games, including seven starts.
“We’re going to find ways to continue to keep him built up,” Bell said. “In a longer series, we know what he’s capable of, obviously, and he could factor in as a starter again down the road.”
Romano threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings over two games this season after his Sept. 13 return to the big leagues. He won his first game back the following the day, retiring his only batter with a popup when two runners were on base during a comeback victory over the Pirates.
Here is the Reds' full Wild Card Series roster:
Pitchers (12): Tejay Antone, Trevor Bauer, Archie Bradley, Luis Castillo, Amir Garrett, Sonny Gray, Raisel Iglesias, Michael Lorenzen, Tyler Mahle, Wade Miley, Lucas Sims, Robert Stephenson
Catchers (2): Tucker Barnhart, Curt Casali
Infielders (6): Matt Davidson, Freddy Galvis, José Garcia, Mike Moustakas, Eugenio Suárez, Joey Votto
Utility (1): Kyle Farmer
Outfielders (7): Shogo Akiyama, Aristides Aquino, Nick Castellanos, Brian Goodwin, Travis Jankowski, Nick Senzel, Jesse Winker