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Iglesias, Galvis spark Reds to series win 

Middle infielders (4 hits, 2 RBIs) make case to keep pairing intact
@m_sheldon
August 21, 2019

CINCINNATI -- The slick Reds' middle-infield duo of shortstop José Iglesias and second baseman Freddy Galvis was only formed on Aug. 12, when Galvis was claimed off waivers. Iglesias wasn’t in the team plans at all in the offseason, until he was signed during Spring Training. Cincinnati already realizes that

CINCINNATI -- The slick Reds' middle-infield duo of shortstop José Iglesias and second baseman Freddy Galvis was only formed on Aug. 12, when Galvis was claimed off waivers. Iglesias wasn’t in the team plans at all in the offseason, until he was signed during Spring Training.

Cincinnati already realizes that Iglesias and Galvis are important cogs to the club -- defensively and offensively. Both had a hand in the Reds’ 4-2 victory over the Padres at Great American Ball Park on Wednesday that gave them two of three games in the series. Iglesias had a sacrifice bunt that set up a three-run rally in the third inning and a solo home run in the fourth. Galvis had two hits and a bases-loaded walk in the third.

Box score

What’s yet to be known is whether the pairing will remain intact for 2020.

“When you have someone that you can rely on behind you, whether it’s a ground ball or just defense-wise, it’s been amazing,” Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo said via translator Julio Morillo. “I hope those guys can stay here for a long period of time.”

Iglesias, who was initially signed to a Minor League contract after Spring Training already opened, is making $2.5 million this season and can be a free agent this offseason. But when asked on Aug. 14 if he’d like to extend his stay, he told MLB.com, “This is where I belong.”

Galvis, claimed off waivers from the Blue Jays on Aug. 12, has a $5.5 club option for next season with a $1 million buyout. Before his addition, the Reds traded veteran Scooter Gennett to the Giants on July 31, to give Josh VanMeter and José Peraza an opportunity to show more of what they can do. But the opportunity to claim Galvis after he became expendable in the Blue Jays' rebuild was too hard to pass on.

It makes for an interesting decision for the front office. President of baseball operations Dick Williams expressed interest in having both Iglesias and Galvis back, along with the arbitration-eligible infielder Peraza. But if Iglesias departs, Galvis could shift to the shortstop position he’s manned for the majority of his big league career.

“They've just kind of risen to the top because of the kinds of players they are,” Reds manager David Bell said. “They’re both at the very top all-time at shortstop in fielding percentage. To be able to have one of them playing second base, it’s a great foundation for an infield defense and makes everyone around them better.”

Entering the day, Iglesias was tied with Omar Vizquel for first all-time in fielding percentage while Galvis was third, tied with Troy Tulowitzki. On Wednesday after Wil Myers hit a leadoff single, Castillo got Ty France to ground to Iglesias and start a 6-4-3 double play with Galvis.

Iglesias feels he and Galvis have worked well together.

"Each and every day, we’ve still got a lot of work to do. We'll make adjustments,” Iglesias said. “The good thing is, it feels pretty good to have that middle-of-the-field combination. We need the repetition over and over again and understanding each other every day.”

Rare is the time the Reds dugout will ask a non-pitcher to sacrifice bunt. It’s only happened once all season with Tucker Barnhart executing it. So when Nick Senzel led off the third against reliever Eric Yardley by reaching on a two-base error by Josh Naylor in left field, Iglesias’ sacrifice bunt towards third base to move Senzel was surprising.

Senzel scored easily on Eugenio Suárez’s RBI single to right field. It turned out that the choice to sacrifice wasn’t from Bell.

“That was my call,” Iglesias said. “I figured [Yardley] was a submarine kind of guy that I haven’t faced. Geno and Aquino coming next. Basically, I did my part and set the table for them. It paid off. It was a huge inning. When you play the game the right way, good things happen."

Later in the inning with the bases loaded against Trey Wingenter, Galvis walked to force home a run. A four-pitch, two-out walk of VanMeter gave Cincinnati a 3-1 lead.

In the fourth inning with one out, Iglesias slugged a first pitch slider from Luis Perdomo for a solo homer to left field. That extended his career high to nine homers for the season. Among Cincinnati hitters with at least 300 at-bats, Iglesias leads the team with a .295 batting average.

Galvis hit a second-inning single and added a double in the eighth inning. In nine games since joining the Reds, he is batting .438 with a 1.191 OPS and three home runs. Two of those homers came on Monday and Tuesday to give him a career-high 21 for the season overall with Toronto and Cincinnati.

“They’re fun to watch defensively. I think they’re making each other better,” Bell said. “Offensively as well, they’re driving each other. They’re similar players in a way, but they’re both just good players that love to play the game. Hopefully they’re making our team better for a long time.”

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook.