CINCINNATI -- The Reds already had three left-handed relievers, and eight overall, in their bullpen. But they felt they needed another lefty and summoned Cody Reed from Triple-A Louisville on Friday. To make room, utility player Josh Van Meter was optioned to Louisville, leaving Cincinnati with a three-man bench.
“We hated to see Josh go, what a great story he is. I think he showed he can be a big part of this moving forward. It was a decision that we felt like we had to make,” Reds manager David Bell said. “Cody, the way he pitched last time, and the way he’s doing at Triple-A, it makes sense. It helps that he’s a left-handed arm. I know we already have three, but just looking at the first series that he’s going to be here for [against the Dodgers], there’s a lot of left-handed hitters in that lineup.”
In his past 10 appearances for Louisville, Reed has a 0.75 ERA with one earned run allowed over 12 innings. He’s 1-2 with a 3.06 ERA in 15 Triple-A games overall in 2019 with 13 hits, seven walks and 23 strikeouts over 17 2/3 innings.
“I just try to get a quick inning and put up a zero,” Reed said. “I haven’t changed much. I get out there and try to throw strikes and get groundballs. I know I’m going to come in sometimes with guys on base and groundballs are big. That’s all I’m trying to do.”
Reed pitched against Syracuse and threw only seven pitches over one scoreless inning. A starter when he first came to the big leagues, he’s grown to like the bullpen role.
“I think it’s pretty cool that you never know when you’re pitching. You always have to be ready,” Reed said. “You have to do your routine every time, even if you threw the night before because there’s a chance you’ll pitch again the next day. I have my routine set now, and I’ve gotten used to it. It took me a while, especially up here [in the Majors], because the first time I ever pitched in the bullpen was in the big leagues. I had to get used to it. It took me a while to get warm.
“When I started, I had my 30-minute routine, and now I’ve got like three hitters to get going. I definitely jumped into that role where I can get ready quick and be ready to go right away.”
Reed, 26, is also trying to get used to the back-and-forth of the big leagues and Triple-A. He’s had multiple stints with the Reds, including three last season.
“Yeah, it sucks for sure. I’ve done it for four seasons now,” Reed said. “I wouldn’t say it’s the best-case scenario, but everything is out of my control. I just come up here whenever they say, and I really can’t say anything.”
During Thursday’s 4-2 win over the Cubs, Garrett pitched the seventh inning and struck out the side while throwing 14 pitches. His past six appearances entering Friday have been scoreless, with three hits, three walks and nine strikeouts over five innings. Overall, he has a 1.47 ERA in 23 games with 12 of 18 inherited runners left stranded.
According to Statcast, Garrett’s average fastball velocity has only nominally increased this season to 95.3 mph while his slider has jumped slightly from 83.6 mph to 85.2 mph. But hitters that batted .306 against his four-seam fastball last season are hitting .143 this season. The opposition batting average against Garrett’s slider is .034 after it was .111 in 2018.
“I can throw the ball harder with less effort now,” Garrett said. “It’s from a mechanical tweak we did with my lower body a little bit. I’m adding a little bit more turn and staying closed more, so everything is on time. It feels like the ball is coming out nice and easy.”
Senzel on top of things
Bell appears to have found a leadoff man he’s comfortable using more consistently in rookie center fielder and No. 1 prospect Nick Senzel, who batted first for Cincinnati on Friday for the ninth straight game.
“At the top of the order, he adds the ability to get on base,” Bell said. “He’s having good at-bats. He’s really acclimated well to his first time in the Major Leagues. He brings an element of speed. He’s played well all around. It allows us to slot guys into the rest of the lineup, have Joey [Votto] in the second spot. It just has made sense. We played around with it a little bit and settled in with Nick at the top for now.”