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Reds' road woes inescapable in final away game

Lorenzen allows 9 hits in 2nd start; Cincy blanked for 5th time in 10-game trip
Special to MLB.com

MIAMI -- The final road trip of the season was a trying one for the Reds, which concluded their 10-game swing with a 6-0 loss to the Marlins on Sunday afternoon and dropping three of four to the Fish at Marlins Park.

The Reds went 3-7 and were shut out five times -- scoring a total of 12 runs -- in the culmination of a road schedule that produced just eight wins over the last 33 games away from Great American Ball Park.

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MIAMI -- The final road trip of the season was a trying one for the Reds, which concluded their 10-game swing with a 6-0 loss to the Marlins on Sunday afternoon and dropping three of four to the Fish at Marlins Park.

The Reds went 3-7 and were shut out five times -- scoring a total of 12 runs -- in the culmination of a road schedule that produced just eight wins over the last 33 games away from Great American Ball Park.

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"We've certainly got to do better than that," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "We've got to play better at home, also. But the road situation has really hurt us."

Video: CIN@MIA: Riggleman on Reds lack of offense in loss

The Reds wrap up the season with a five-game homestand vs. the Royals and Pirates.

"It'll be good to get home," said Riggleman prior to the loss. "It's been a long trip. Hopefully we'll be a little energized when we get home and start swinging the bats a little better."

Cincinnati lost five of seven games this year to the Marlins and last won a season series from them in 2014.

Reds right-hander Michael Lorenzen (3-2) was hoping to impress in his second consecutive start after beginning the season with 42 relief appearances. But the 26-year-old was in trouble throughout all four innings he pitched.

Lorenzen was touched up for four runs on nine hits, including a three-run homer by Chad Wallach. He walked two and did not record a strikeout.

Prior to his Tuesday start in Milwaukee, Lorenzen hadn't started a game since Sept. 16, 2015. He gave up just one hit and one unearned run over four innings against the Brewers, but he could not recreate that effort on Sunday at Marlins Park, where he is 0-2 lifetime in four appearances, including two starts.

"Looking back, I threw too much of a reliever's mix at these guys," he said. "My changeup, I didn't rely on it enough. My curveball, I didn't rely on it enough. I didn't get it over for a strike for the first couple, but I think I gave up on it a little too soon. That's a learning experience for me.

"You can't just go out there with a reliever's mix. You have to have different pitches and different speeds. Yeah, if I could do it all over again, that's definitely what I learned from [the start]."

The latest scuffle left Lorenzen's role with the club uncertain heading into 2019.

"Whether he's a starter or reliever in the future is to be determined, based on what other starters we have in the rotation next year and where he best fits," Riggleman said of Lorenzen's future role with the club. "He's been an integral part of the pitching staff."

Marlins starter Trevor Richards (4-9) earned his first win since July 14 and limited the Reds to three singles while striking out nine over seven innings after posting an 11.12 ERA in his first three starts of September.

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
With the game still in doubt and runners on first and second, Lorenzen was looking to escape the third-inning jam. With two outs, he made the wrong pitch to Wallach and the Marlins' catcher belted a three-run homer. Wallach caught Lorenzen when the two played at Cal State Fullerton together, and in his time with the Reds in 2017.

Video: CIN@MIA: Wallach clobbers a 3-run home run in the 3rd

"Wallach kind of threw the knockout punch and got me with it," Lorenzen said. "It was just a cutter. I was trying to go away with it and it just stayed elevated. Chad's caught me for a while, I'm sure he kind of knew that I was throwing a cutter there. I just kind of gave it to him right where he was looking for it."

SOUND SMART
Scooter Gennett went 1-for-4 as his batting average dipped to .314 as he battles Milwaukee's Christian Yelich for the National League batting title. Yelich went 2-for-3 on Sunday to increase his league-leading average to .322. Gennett's first-inning single was his 180th hit for the season, extending his single-season career high. He is the first Reds player to reach 180 hits since Joey Votto had 181 hits in 2016.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Billy Hamilton had the day off, but the defense in center field remained stellar. September callup Gabriel Guerrero got the start in center and made a pair of sliding grabs to save hits. He came in hard and robbed Peter O'Brien with a sliding grab with one out in the third inning.
Video: CIN@MIA: Guerrero makes sliding snag in the 3rd

Guerrero slightly overran a fly ball by Brian Anderson in the sixth inning, but he made a last-second adjustment to save another hit.

Video: CIN@MIA: Guerrero makes smooth sliding grab in 6th

HE SAID IT
"Today was just a bad ballgame. It's a shame to end a road trip on a bad note. But we didn't play good. None of it worked today." -- Riggleman

UP NEXT
The Reds are off on Monday before opening up a five-game homestand at Great American Ball Park to close the 2018 season. Matt Harvey gets the nod on Tuesday in the first game of a two-game Interleague set with the Royals. He is 0-1 lifetime against Kansas City, having dropped a 4-3 game to the Royals while pitching with the Mets in 2016. The Royals counter with left-hander Erik Skoglund, who will be making his first appearance against Cincinnati. Skoglund is 1-5 and hasn't won since April 28 against the White Sox.

Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami.

Cincinnati Reds, Michael Lorenzen

Riggleman hopes Reds lift interim tag

Special to MLB.com

MIAMI -- It is still to be determined whether or not the Reds take the interim tag off of manager Jim Riggleman's title. The baseball veteran certainly hopes they do. Heading into the final road game of the season on Sunday, Cincinnati was 63-75 since Riggleman took over on April 19, after the Reds started the season 3-15.

"I'm really happy to have been able to do this," Riggleman said of his opportunity with the Reds. "I hope I continue to do it. Just really respect whatever decision the ownership comes with, but certainly, I want to continue.

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MIAMI -- It is still to be determined whether or not the Reds take the interim tag off of manager Jim Riggleman's title. The baseball veteran certainly hopes they do. Heading into the final road game of the season on Sunday, Cincinnati was 63-75 since Riggleman took over on April 19, after the Reds started the season 3-15.

"I'm really happy to have been able to do this," Riggleman said of his opportunity with the Reds. "I hope I continue to do it. Just really respect whatever decision the ownership comes with, but certainly, I want to continue.

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"I would prefer to be here. You can't take it for granted. I have some great friends in baseball who have been in the game for as long as I have who are now out of the game. All these jobs are precious, whether you're managing or coaching, whether you're in the Minor Leagues managing, coaching, roving instructors -- all these jobs you can't take for granted."

Not only that, but being a good fit for whatever job becomes available is key as well.

"There might be someone interested in you to work for them, but the position that you're most qualified for, they have somebody in that position," Riggleman said. "So there might be some opening that you're not qualified for. So it's got to be a match somewhere."

It's a volatile business, to be sure. Riggleman signed as an infielder with the Dodgers organization in 1974, and he spent five seasons in the Cardinals' Minor League system and then managed in the St. Louis organization from 1983-90. Riggleman said he thought he'd be a Cardinal for life. He is in his 45th season in baseball, and 23rd as a manager. 

"I thought my whole career would be in St. Louis," said Riggleman. "All of us on that coaching staff in 1990 got let go. They made a managerial change and we were all gone."

Since then, Riggleman has been with 10 different organizations, including managerial stints with the Padres (1992-94), Cubs (1995-99), Seattle Mariners (2008), and Washington Nationals (2009-11).

"Some of those years, I was scrambling to get a job," said Riggleman, who compiled a record of 662-824, including an 0-3 postseason record with the Cubs, prior to taking over this season with the Reds. "Some of those years, I had my choice of jobs. You don't know which way it's going to fall."

Riggleman complimented the job Marlins manager Don Mattingly has done with the rebuilding project currently going on in Miami.

"I think Don does a great job," Riggleman said. "He's one of the guys I respect most in the game. Just comments I've heard him make and the way he runs the game and all that, to me, they've got a great manager there."

Riggleman said that when he left Washington in 2011, he thought he'd probably never manage again.

"It wasn't like I walked in one day and said, 'I'm done.' I thought about that for quite a while and realized the consequences, what they could be, which could be that I might not manage again in the Major Leagues, or work for anybody," he said. "I did not want that to be my last experience, and seven years later, I am managing again."

Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami.

Cincinnati Reds

Reds' scoring frustrations linger in Miami

MLB.com

MIAMI -- Lately, for Cincinnati, winning games has almost become secondary to just scoring runs. One night after being shut out for the fourth time in their last seven games, the Reds narrowly avoided being blanked again on Saturday, falling 5-1 to the Marlins in the third of a four-game set at Marlins Park.

It's become a real conundrum for manager Jim Riggleman.

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MIAMI -- Lately, for Cincinnati, winning games has almost become secondary to just scoring runs. One night after being shut out for the fourth time in their last seven games, the Reds narrowly avoided being blanked again on Saturday, falling 5-1 to the Marlins in the third of a four-game set at Marlins Park.

It's become a real conundrum for manager Jim Riggleman.

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"There's really not much to do," Riggleman said. "Guys are working hard, doing everything they can do to prepare for the ballgame. We've been a pretty good offensive ballclub most of the year. Here lately it's been a real struggle, this road trip in particular.

"We can hit, we're just going through one of those periods where collectively we're not putting a lot of hits together; not rallying to do much."

Pinch-hitter Gabriel Guerrero belted hisfirst career home run to lead off the eighth inning for Cincinnati's lone run.

Video: CIN@MIA: DeSclafani ties career high with 10 K's

Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani was coasting along against his former team through the first three innings, at one point striking out five Marlins in succession. But his own error with one out in the fourth opened the door for Miami to take a 2-0 lead. He misplayed a chopper back to the mound and then with two outs walked Brian Anderson before yielding back-to-back RBI singles.

"For some reason we see pitchers have trouble with those balls quite often," Riggleman said. "Two runs resulted from that. He was throwing the ball so good.

DeSclafani tied his career-high for strikeouts (10) in a game one batter into the fifth inning, fanning Marlins starter Jose Urena for his final strikeout of the game.

"Everything just kind of fell apart [from there]," DeSclafani said. "Velo was there, slider was there for the most part, I think the one difference with the strikeouts was just that I kind of had that comeback two-seamer. I know it's a big part of my game, so I feel like if it's on then I make things a little bit easier on myself."

But he didn't make it out of the sixth inning after giving up a run-scoring single to Anderson and a two-run homer to Austin Dean.

Video: CIN@MIA: Dean belts a 2-run homer to left field

"We've seen it too many times we give up runs in the sixth inning," Riggleman said. "That [third] time through the lineup, and shame on me for not making the adjustment quicker. I like the matchup with him on Dean there, but Dean homered. We've had that happen numerous times. That one was on me."

Only three of the five runs were earned off DeSclafani who, in addition to striking out 10, yielded six hits and walked one.

"I don't really care about the strikeouts to be honest," DeSclafani said. "I just care about getting outs and getting through lineups and getting through innings and keeping zeros on the board. I'll take 20 balls smoked right at people if it means zeros."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Later innings have been a problem for DeSclafani this year and Saturday was no exception. He struck out 10 batters over four innings but gave up a double, single and home run in a three-run sixth inning that proved to be his undoing once again.

Video: CIN@MIA: Anderson rips an RBI single into left field

"It's definitely frustrating," DeSclafani said. "I'm just going to leave it at that. I really don't know what to say about it. It just seems to be the normal and it's frustrating. Wish it was different but it's just not. So I've got to figure out a way to get over the hump."

SOUND SMART
Jose Peraza's sixth-inning single extended his hitting streak vs. Miami to nine games. That was after he was hit by a pitch in the fourth inning, setting a single-season career high for HBP with eight.

HE SAID IT
"He's a great kid. Comes to work with a smile on his face, he's thrilled to be here. It's a great achievement for him. I'm sure his family will really enjoy that moment." -- Riggleman, on Guerrero's first Major League home run

UP NEXT
The Reds close out their final road trip of the season with a 1:10 p.m. ET start on Sunday. Right-hander Michael Lorenzen gets the call for Cincinnati, looking for his first career win at Marlins Park. In his most recent start on Tuesday, Lorenzen went four innings, striking out three and allowing one unearned run on one hit. The Marlins send Trevor Richards to the mound seeking his first win since July. It's also his first career appearance against Cincinnati.

Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami.

Cincinnati Reds, Anthony DeSclafani, Gabriel Guerrero

Vlad's nephew connects for 1st MLB HR

MLB.com

MIAMI -- Gabriel Guerrero saved the Reds from yet another shutout in Saturday's 5-1 loss to the Marlins. In an eighth-inning pinch-hit role, just his 10th Major League at-bat, Guerrero hit the first pitch he saw from Marlins reliever Nick Wittgren for his first home run in the bigs.

Guerrero crushed an 86-mph slider from Wittgren for just his second Major League hit. Statcast™ measured it at 415 feet with an exit velocity of 106.4 mph. It somewhat softened the Reds' blow of losing for the 24th time in their last 32 road games this season.

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MIAMI -- Gabriel Guerrero saved the Reds from yet another shutout in Saturday's 5-1 loss to the Marlins. In an eighth-inning pinch-hit role, just his 10th Major League at-bat, Guerrero hit the first pitch he saw from Marlins reliever Nick Wittgren for his first home run in the bigs.

Guerrero crushed an 86-mph slider from Wittgren for just his second Major League hit. Statcast™ measured it at 415 feet with an exit velocity of 106.4 mph. It somewhat softened the Reds' blow of losing for the 24th time in their last 32 road games this season.

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"It's an awesome moment," said Guerrero, nephew of Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero. "Everybody dreams of a moment like that."

Having belted 80 homers in nine Minor League seasons, Guerrero knows what it feels like to get a hold of one. He said he felt it off the bat that he had just hit his first one in the big leagues.

"Yes, I felt like I got it right away," he said. "I hit it pretty good."

Rounding the bases, he could hardly believe what he had just accomplished.

"I was like floating out there. It feels amazing," said Guerrero, who was working on retrieving the baseball, saying it would go into his trophy case. "Yes, it's going to my house."

Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami.

Cincinnati Reds, Gabriel Guerrero

Reds arms focus on their duty over run support

MLB.com

MIAMI -- It's baffling how good the Reds starting pitching has been lately in a time when the team has struggled so mightily with scoring runs.

Over the last eight games, Reds starters have turned in scoreless outings in five of those games, and they have allowed one run in another. But in that span the Reds are only 3-5. That's because they've been shut out themselves in four of the last seven games.

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MIAMI -- It's baffling how good the Reds starting pitching has been lately in a time when the team has struggled so mightily with scoring runs.

Over the last eight games, Reds starters have turned in scoreless outings in five of those games, and they have allowed one run in another. But in that span the Reds are only 3-5. That's because they've been shut out themselves in four of the last seven games.

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That would seem to be enough to drive a pitching staff up a clubhouse wall, and yet it hasn't, nor has it given manager Jim Riggleman cause for concern.

"I never believe in that," Riggleman said. "I hear it all the time, it's more pressure on the starters. This game is so individually driven statistically. Guys are out there trying to minimize runs as much as they can. Hitters are trying to get hits as much as they can.

"It's a team effort, but that pitcher vs. hitter battle is very individualistic and I don't think pitchers are making their pitches in the third or fourth inning going, 'Well, we're not scoring many runs, I can't make a mistake here.'"

Riggleman said in his opinion, pitchers are much more forward-thinking than that.

"They feel like, 'I've got to get these guys out. I've got to impress the organization that I belong here, that I'm making progress. I always think there's that pressure. But I don't think it falls into the category of, 'We're going to lose this game if I give up a run here because we haven't been scoring much.'"

Reds starter Cody Reed, who has thrown consecutive scoreless outings, concurred. His focus does not drift away from the job he has to do on the mound.

"When I go out there, I just try to put up zeros," Reed said. "Runs will come. I think we have a really, really good hitting team. We have Joey Votto on our team. And we have Scooter Gennett and Eugenio Suarez. Those guys are up in the league leadings in a lot of things. Runs will come.

"I think for pitchers, especially starters, we just want to put up zeros as long as we're out there. I know relievers want to do the same thing."

This is a team that Reed said would more times than not, produce plenty of offense.

"I think we're going to be just fine," Reed said. "We've got the guys on the team to score some runs. Jose Peraza is swinging the bat really well. Everyone is, really, so all in all I think we're going to be just fine."

Besides, wins and losses have become secondary to other pitching stats.

"You look at [Luis Castillo], he has a losing record [10-12], which is crazy," Reed noted. "When he's throwing in the 90s all the way to the ninth inning, people probably wonder how he has a losing record.

"Stuff like that happens. Sometimes we get shut out; sometimes we've scored double digit runs. I don't worry about it. I just go out and do my job. And I think everyone else is trying to do theirs. Once it all comes together, I think the wins will come."

Riggleman isn't on board, however, with discarding a pitcher's win-loss record.

"It's an indictment on the game, that wins and losses for pitchers, they don't value [that]," Riggleman said. "Pitchers are much more interested in a lot of other numbers other than what's in the W column.

"Now they're good teammates. They want to pitch well and win this game. But when they go to the contract table, they know that it's going to be a lot of other things affect their contract more so than the win and loss [record]."

It's just how the game has evolved, Riggleman said.

"I get it, the win and loss is out of the pitcher's hand a lot, but it's still to me has a lot of meaning -- how many games you win as a pitcher," he said. "It's just a different era."

Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami.

Cincinnati Reds, Luis Castillo, Cody Reed

Reds outlasted by Fish after Castillo dominates

Right-hander spins 8 1/3 scoreless frames vs. former organization
Special to MLB.com

MIAMI -- Luis Castillo was up against it on Friday night. The Reds' right-handed starter did all he could do, turning in his team-high 11th quality start, while throwing scoreless ball over a career-high 8 1/3 innings. But for the fourth time in their last seven games, and 13th time this season, the Reds were shut out.

The Marlins walked off in the 10th inning on a one-out RBI double by Isaac Galloway off reliever David Hernandez (5-2) for a 1-0 win at Marlins Park that evened this four-game series.

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MIAMI -- Luis Castillo was up against it on Friday night. The Reds' right-handed starter did all he could do, turning in his team-high 11th quality start, while throwing scoreless ball over a career-high 8 1/3 innings. But for the fourth time in their last seven games, and 13th time this season, the Reds were shut out.

The Marlins walked off in the 10th inning on a one-out RBI double by Isaac Galloway off reliever David Hernandez (5-2) for a 1-0 win at Marlins Park that evened this four-game series.

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"It was just a great professional pitching effort out there," said Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman. "[Both starters] were really good, and both bullpens were good. Everything was plus-plus on the pitching side. We just couldn't push a run across."

Video: CIN@MIA: Riggleman on Castillo's start in 1-0 loss

Marlins left-handed starter Wei-Yin Chen has been nearly unhittable at home this season. Chen went seven scoreless, allowing just three hits. He struck out eight and did not walk a batter, while dropping his ERA at Marlins Park to 1.62 (9.29 on the road).

Castillo, who came to the Reds from the Marlins in the Dan Straily trade (January 2017), departed with one out and two runners on in the ninth after issuing his only walk of the game. He gave up five hits and struck out five, throwing 73 of his 102 pitches for strikes.

"He's really been strong and dominating with his stuff, great changeup, throwing hard," Riggleman said. "Just going at hitters. He's becoming a really fine pitcher. It was a great move on our part a couple of years ago to obtain him."

It was Castillo's third career start of at least eight innings.

"It's the best game of my career," Castillo said through an interpreter. "I was attacking the hitters and I was making outs, and I was able to go deep in the game. I was throwing all of my pitches the way I wanted to throw them, and I felt really good tonight."

The Reds mustered just three hits, and were held to three hits or fewer for the 11th time this season. Their best scoring opportunity came in the fifth inning, when Phillip Ervin led off with a double. But the Reds' right fielder moved to third on a flyout and was thrown out at the plate on Blake Trahan's infield grounder for the second out before Castillo flied out to end the inning.

Video: CIN@MIA: Riddle nabs Ervin at the dish in the 5th

"We've got to run the contact play there," Riggleman said. "We can't stand there and wait for our pitcher to drive that run in. Their shortstop [JT Riddle] made a pretty good play. He went to his left and picked it a little bit and made an accurate throw, and he got us."

Trahan, hitting in the No. 8 hole, was a late replacement for Jose Peraza, who fell ill just before game time.

"[Peraza] was just sick," Riggleman said. "He's got some kind of stomach ailment going on that got bad enough before the game that we scratched him. We'll just have to see how he feels overnight."

Scooter Gennett went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and saw his batting average dip to .316 in his chase for the National League batting title.

SOUND SMART
Curt Casali hit his 10th double of the season, tying his single-season career high originally set in 2016, when he had 10 doubles in 84 games. He's tied that mark this year in just 47 games.

The Reds are now 8-23 in their last 31 road games.

HE SAID IT
"Nothing special, it's another team. Sometimes I have that in the back of my mind -- this was a team that I played for." -- Castillo, who was a prospect in the Marlins' system

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Reds won a key challenge in the eighth inning. Riggleman challenged the play at second base where Galloway, who was pinch-running, slid past the bag and into Trahan, whose relay throw to first on a double-play attempt was late. After a replay review, the call was overturned and both runners were ruled out because of Galloway's interference at second base.

Video: CIN@MIA: Castillo starts double play in the 8th

Riggleman credits Bo Thompson for being on top of the play. Thompson runs the replay reviews for the Reds from the clubhouse.

"That was definitely Bo," Riggleman said. "That play was so normal back in the day, and until Bo called down there, I didn't think about it. They made a good call for us."

UP NEXT
Reds right-hander Anthony DeSclafani makes his fifth career start at Marlins Park in a 7:10 p.m. ET Saturday game against his former team. All four previous starts, and a total of seven appearances, occurred during the 2014 season, when DeSclafani went 2-2 with a 6.27 ERA in his rookie season -- and only year -- with the Marlins. He will be opposed by Marlins starter Jose Urena, who is on a roll, allowing just three runs over his last three starts, equaling the best three-start stretch of his career in terms of runs allowed.

Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami.

Cincinnati Reds, Luis Castillo, Jose Peraza

Riggleman plans on shorter outings for starters

Peraza scratched with illness, Trahan fills in at shortstop
Special to MLB.com

MIAMI -- There's no question that starting pitchers are throwing fewer and fewer innings. It's a trend in baseball that Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman isn't necessarily opposed to.

Gone are the starters throwing 300-plus innings in a season. Steve Carlton was the last of that dying breed, tossing 304 innings back in 1980 for the Phillies. In the 2017 season, San Francisco's Jeff Samardzija led the National League with 207 2/3 innings pitched, barely surpassing the 200-inning mark. Only once in NL history has a starting pitcher led the league with fewer than 200 innings. That was the Dodgers' Fernando Valenzuela -- 192 1/3 innings in the strike-interrupted 1981.

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MIAMI -- There's no question that starting pitchers are throwing fewer and fewer innings. It's a trend in baseball that Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman isn't necessarily opposed to.

Gone are the starters throwing 300-plus innings in a season. Steve Carlton was the last of that dying breed, tossing 304 innings back in 1980 for the Phillies. In the 2017 season, San Francisco's Jeff Samardzija led the National League with 207 2/3 innings pitched, barely surpassing the 200-inning mark. Only once in NL history has a starting pitcher led the league with fewer than 200 innings. That was the Dodgers' Fernando Valenzuela -- 192 1/3 innings in the strike-interrupted 1981.

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Is that such a bad thing? That's up for debate. But the trend is to err on the side of caution with starting pitchers. Riggleman provided a good example of it on Thursday when he pulled starter Cody Reed after six innings and just 71 pitches of a scoreless outing.

"His pitch count was really low; I probably would have left him in, in the past," Riggleman said. "However, there was a little bit of a feeling that we wanted him to go home [Friday] night really feeling good about the outing."

Riggleman said he had serious thoughts about taking out Reed in the sixth inning after the left-hander gave up back-to-back singles to open the inning. But he stuck with Reed, who induced a double-play ball to get out of the jam.

"You could make a case that I could've taken him out then," said Riggleman, who also indicated that he intended to pull Reed before facing Marlins outfielder Lewis Brinson a third time through the lineup. "I don't know that the guy is going to hit into a double play. That's the difference from what we would do in the past."

Video: CIN@MIA: Reed induces key double play in the 6th

Riggleman brought up another example showcasing the opposite result when he allowed Matt Harvey to remain in Wednesday's game too long.

"I did not have a quick hook, Harvey gave up seven runs," Riggleman said. "I find most of the time, when I have gone further [with the starter], it hasn't gone well. When I've pulled them out, I've irritated some guys, but we're winning those games.

"It's a great point our front office makes. Couple guys in our front office bring it up that we've got to convince our pitchers that this is about the Cincinnati Reds winning this game. It's not about [the starter] going [a certain] amount of innings."

And that's totally contrary to the way these pitchers were brought up, Riggleman noted.

"Back in the day, when you talk about managing any of those good pitchers, [the attitude] was, 'This is my game,'" Riggleman said. "And you know what? It's not your game. It's the Cincinnati Reds' game.

"I really think we're in a transition period. We're just taking them out earlier. It comes off as we're showing less confidence in their ability, but what we're really doing is we're looking at all the data and it's telling us this."

Riggleman certainly isn't alone on an island in this approach.

"It's what the opposition is doing; it's what we're doing," Riggleman said. "[Brewers manager Craig Counsell] is doing a great job of it at Milwaukee. [Dodgers manager] David Roberts really utilizes it. Those are playoff teams.

"You've got to ask guys to be selfless and give us the best innings you have. If it's 3 2/3 or 6 1/3, whatever it is, it's about trying to win the game."

Peraza scratched with ilness

Reds shortstop Jose Peraza fell ill just prior to Friday's game with Miami at Marlins Park and was scratched from the lineup by Riggleman, who made a last-minute shuffle of the batting order.

Peraza was originally scheduled to hit in the No. 2 slot behind leadoff hitter Billy Hamilton. Instead, Riggleman moved up left fielder Dilson Herrera to that spot, with Blake Trahan inserted into the lineup at shortstop, batting in the No. 8 hole vacated by Herrera.

Glenn Sattell is a contributor for MLB.com based in Miami.

Cincinnati Reds

30 best games of '18 -- 1 player from each team

MLB.com @RichardJustice

We went in search of magic. That is, players rising up and doing something they may remember forever. Every team, all 30 of them, has moments like this.

From bunches of home runs to bunches of strikeouts, from household names to players you may not have heard of before, these are players that become part of the fabric of a season.

We went in search of magic. That is, players rising up and doing something they may remember forever. Every team, all 30 of them, has moments like this.

From bunches of home runs to bunches of strikeouts, from household names to players you may not have heard of before, these are players that become part of the fabric of a season.

Here we go: 30 special individual performances for 30 teams:

American League East

Blue Jays: Yangervis Solarte
Date: May 3 vs. CLE
The infielder collected five hits, including a decisive 11th-inning grand slam, in a 13-11 victory over the Indians at Progressive Field. He became the second player in the live-ball era with at least five hits, including an extra-inning grand slam. The other was Jim Rice in 1984.

Orioles: Manny Machado
Date: 
May 11 vs. TB
Machado hit two home runs, including a seventh-inning grand slam, and drove in six as the Orioles beat the Rays, 9-4, at Camden Yards. At 25, he became the youngest Orioles player to hit 150 home runs. "Words can't even describe how exciting that it is, reaching that milestone," he said.

Rays: Ji-Man Choi
Date: 
Sept. 10 vs. CLE
Choi's two-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning produced a 6-5 victory over the Indians. In one swing, he kept Tampa Bay's postseason hopes alive and extended its home winning streak to 12 games.

Video: NYY@BOS: Betts his slam, collects four hits vs. Yanks

Red Sox: Mookie Betts
Date: 
April 10 vs. NYY
Betts scored five runs and collected four hits, including two doubles and a grand slam, in a 14-1 victory over the Yankees at Fenway Park.

Yankees: Luis Severino
Date:
May 2 at HOU
Severino struck out 10 Astros in the first complete game of his career, a 4-0 victory at Minute Maid Park. "I wouldn't want to be in the box facing him," teammate Giancarlo Stanton said. "He's going to pound the zone at 100 mph, and if you look on time for that, you're going to get that 90-mph slider. It's exactly what we needed tonight and another par-for-the-course outing for him."

AL CENTRAL

Video: Must C Clutch: Lindor homers twice to hold off Twins

Indians: Francisco Lindor
Date:
May 31 at MIN
Lindor had two doubles, two homers and four RBIs in a 9-8 win over the Twins at Target Field. He joined Adrian Beltre, Jim Edmonds and Rafael Palmeiro as the only players since 1908 to have two such games in the same season.

Royals: Jorge Lopez
Date:
Sept. 8 at MIN
Lopez took a perfect game into the ninth inning in the seventh start of his career. The 25-year-old right-hander walked the leadoff hitter in the ninth, then allowed a hit before departing in what would be a 4-1 win over the Twins at Target Field.

Tigers: Nicholas Castellanos
Date:
Aug. 13 vs. CWS
Castellanos went 5-for-5 with two doubles, a home run and five RBIs in a 9-5 victory over the White Sox. Among the hits was a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh inning off Jeanmar Gomez.

Twins: Eddie Rosario
Date:
June 3 vs. CLE
With his father sitting a few feet from home plate, Eddie Rosario homered three times, including a two-run walk-off shot that gave the Twins a 7-5 victory over the Indians at Target Field. "It was Rosie's day," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I've seen a lot of good days in the big leagues. But I don't know if I've seen one that was more dramatic than that as far as the first inning all the way through the end."

White Sox: Matt Davidson
Date: 
March 29 at KC
Davidson became the fourth player to hit three home runs on Opening Day as the White Sox rallied from a 4-0 deficit to beat the Royals, 14-7, at Kauffman Stadium. "What an incredible day he had," teammate James Shields said. "Really happy for him. He works his butt off every day, and to have a day like that is pretty special."

AL WEST

Video: LAA@NYY: Trout goes 5-for-5 with career-high 4 XBHs

Angels: Mike Trout
Date:
May 26 at NYY
Trout had a home run, three doubles and an infield single in an 11-4 victory at Yankee Stadium. "He's an unbelievable player and I think he showed that tonight," Yankees starter Sonny Gray said. "He put some good swings on the ball and in the fourth, he hit that homer. That was ultimately the icing on the cake for me."

Astros: Gerrit Cole
Date:
 May 4 at ARI
Cole struck out 16 D-backs in a one-hit complete game, an 8-0 victory at Chase Field. He finished it with a 99-mph fastball to strike out Jarrod Dyson. "Wow," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "It's hard to describe. It's an incredible display of pitching."

Athletics: Sean Manaea
Date:
April 21 vs. BOS
Manaea threw the seventh no-hitter in Oakland A's history in a 3-0 victory over the Red Sox at the Coliseum. "I've caught a lot of great pitchers in this game," A's catcher Jonathan Lucroy said, "and that was the most well-pitched, well-executed game I've ever had behind the plate."

Video: Paxton tosses sixth no-hitter in Mariners history

Mariners: James Paxton
Date:
May 8 at TOR
Paxton returned to his native Canada to no-hit the Blue Jays, 5-0, at Rogers Centre. It was the first complete game of his career. "To have it happen in Canada. What are the odds?" Paxton said. "Just very special."

Rangers: Rougned Odor
Date:
July 28 at HOU
Odor hit two home runs and had a double and two singles in a 7-3 victory at Minute Maid Park. "We talked about finding his swagger, getting his swagger back, getting that confidence back," then-Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Know that you're a really good player and just go show it and stay focused on every single pitch."

NL EAST

Video: Must C Classic: Acuna's 2 homers make history

Braves: Ronald Acuna Jr.
Date:
Aug. 14 vs. MIA
Acuna homered twice and added a single in a 10-6 victory over the Marlins at SunTrust Park. The 20-year-old hit the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the first inning to become the youngest player ever to homer in five consecutive games. "He's the best player I've ever seen," Braves center fielder Ender Inciarte said. "He's just unbelievable."

Marlins: Jose Urena
Date:
Aug. 19 at WSH
Urena retired the final 16 Nationals in a complete-game 12-1 victory at Nationals Park. "You can just see the fire in his eyes every time he's out there," Marlins shortstop JT Riddle said.

Video: NYM@CHC: deGrom K's 10, notches 2 hits vs. Cubs

Mets: Jacob deGrom
Date:
Aug. 28 at CHC
deGrom struck out 10 Cubs and allowed one run in an eight-inning masterpiece of a loss at Wrigley Field. "The guy is as advertised," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "That's different. That's another level of stuff."

Nationals: Max Scherzer
Date:
May 6 vs. PHI
Scherzer struck out 15 Phillies in 6 1/3 innings in a 5-4 victory at Nationals Park. He was the first pitcher in history to get 15 strikeouts in 6 1/3 (or fewer) innings. "He doesn't slow," Nationals manager Davey Martinez said. "I watch him in the gym. I watch him watch video. His mind is constantly going and constantly learning."

Phillies: Odubel Herrera
Date:
June 22 at WSH
Herrera scored four runs and had four hits, including a homer, in a 12-2 victory at Nationals Park. "It's simply incredible what he can do," teammate Zach Eflin said. "The thing with Odubel is that he can shake off anything at any given time. He can look like he's struggling and next pitch he sends it 440 feet."

NL CENTRAL

Video: MIL@CIN: Yelich records cycle with 6 hits, shows arm

Brewers: Christian Yelich
Date:
Aug. 29 at CIN
Yelich hit for the cycle -- the first of two Yelich cycles this season -- and had six hits in all in a 13-12, 10-inning victory over the Reds at Great American Ball Park. "I've never seen a game like that," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He's coming up there and you're thinking he can't do it again, and he does it again."

Cardinals: Matt Carpenter
Date:
July 20 at CHC
Carpenter became the second player in MLB history to hit three homers and two doubles in a game. He did it all in in six innings in an 18-5 victory at Wrigley Field. "I'm having a hard time coming up with words to describe a day like this," Carpenter said.

Cubs: David Bote
Date:
Aug. 12 vs. WSH
Bote delivered a pinch-hit grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning at Wrigley Field to turn a 3-0 loss into a 4-3, walk-off victory over the Nationals. He became the first Cubs player to hit a pinch-hit walk-off grand slam since Earl Averill in 1959.

Pirates: Jameson Taillon
Date:
April 8 vs. CIN
Taillon tossed a one-hitter and drove in Pittsburgh's first run in a 5-0 victory over over the Reds at PNC Park. It was Pittsburgh's first complete-game one-hitter since A.J. Burnett shut out the Cubs in 2012. "This guy, he's special," Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli said.

Reds: Scooter Gennett
Date:
May 26 at COL
Gennett collected five hits -- a first-inning home run and four singles -- and was part of a game-ending defensive play to close out a 6-5 victory over the Rockies at Coors Field.

NL WEST

D-Backs: A.J. Pollock
Date:
April 30 vs. LAD
Pollock hit three home runs in an 8-5 win at Chase Field. "I'm seeing the ball pretty well right now," he said. "I don't know. Some days it just works."

Video: Must C Classic: Puig crushes 3 homers vs. Cardinals

Dodgers: Yasiel Puig
Date:
Sept. 15 at STL
Puig launched three home runs and drove in seven runs in a 17-4 victory over the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Puig explained his power surge as only he can: He said the grasshoppers that have swarmed Busch Stadium have gotten him going. He said he considered eating one or two. Manager Dave Roberts had a better explanation. "He's focused and he understands the importance of every pitch," he said. "And when he does that, he's as good as anybody in baseball."

Giants: Andrew McCutchen
Date:
April 7 vs. LAD
McCutchen went 6-for-7 with four RBIs, including a walk-off home run, in a 14-inning, 7-5 victory over the Dodgers at AT&T Park. Giants manager Bruce Bochy called the victory "epic" and added, "It's one of those Giants-Dodgers games that will be talked about."

Padres: Christian Villanueva
Date:
April 3 vs. COL
Villanueva belted three home runs in his 14th career game in an 8-4 victory over the Rockies at Petco Park. "I have a lot of dreams, I have a lot of goals, and I think, little by little, I'm starting to reach them," Villanueva said.

Rockies: DJ LeMahieu
Date:
June 28 at SF
LeMahieu's go-ahead home run at AT&T Park probably did more than give the Rockies a 9-8 victory. It came at a time when they were in fourth place in the NL West and had fallen eight games off the pace. There was speculation they might sell at the Trade Deadline. The Rockies won 44 of their next 69 games. Only the Cubs did better in that time.

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.

Reed gets help from Gennett to earn 1st win

Righy spins 6 scoreless frames, with 6 K's; Scooter 2-for-3 with 4 RBIs
Special to MLB.com

MIAMI -- Cody Reed is making up for lost time. The Reds' left-handed starter turned in his second consecutive scoreless outing on Thursday night, and Scooter Gennett continued his quest for the National League batting crown with a homer, a double and four RBIs in Cincinnati's 4-2 win over the Marlins in the first of a four-game set at Marlins Park.

Building on a five-inning, two-hit scoreless stint on Saturday against the Cubs, which included a career-high 10 strikeouts, Reed earned his first win of the season (1-2) and continued to make his case for a spot in the 2019 Reds rotation. The 25-year-old, in his third Major League season, gave up five hits while striking out six in a season-high six innings of work. He did not issue a walk, but did hit a batter.

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MIAMI -- Cody Reed is making up for lost time. The Reds' left-handed starter turned in his second consecutive scoreless outing on Thursday night, and Scooter Gennett continued his quest for the National League batting crown with a homer, a double and four RBIs in Cincinnati's 4-2 win over the Marlins in the first of a four-game set at Marlins Park.

Building on a five-inning, two-hit scoreless stint on Saturday against the Cubs, which included a career-high 10 strikeouts, Reed earned his first win of the season (1-2) and continued to make his case for a spot in the 2019 Reds rotation. The 25-year-old, in his third Major League season, gave up five hits while striking out six in a season-high six innings of work. He did not issue a walk, but did hit a batter.

View Full Game Coverage

Reed threw 51 strikes in an outstanding 71-pitch performance.

"I was just throwing the ball over the plate and I got a couple of quick outs, and they were swinging at the first pitch," Reed said. "Getting those quick outs and getting the team off the field to swing the sticks, it was good."

His slider was extremely effective, throwing it 31 times (22 for strikes), while his two-seam fastball was just as nasty -- 21 of 29 went for strikes.

"The slider has always been the pitch," said catcher Tucker Barnhart. "I think his changeup, we don't talk about enough. I think his changeup is equally as good as his slider, especially when he's aggressive on the plate with his fastball. The arm speed of his fastball and his changeup are pretty much identical. And as a hitter, that's a tough thing to defend."

Starting for only the sixth time this season, Reed has rallied in his third stint this season with the Reds. He started one game for the Reds on April 9, and was then sent to the bullpen. He didn't make his second start until Aug. 30, and after a second stint in the Minors, was a September callup. He has made four starts since Sept. 4 and is improving with each outing.

Riggleman plans on playing regular lineup down the stretch

"Team got the win, obviously that's the most important thing," said Reed, who was particularly happy with his changeup. "I think I struck a guy out on a changeup, that might be the first time my Major League career I've struck a guy out on a changeup. So, Tucker trusted me with it, and I got to execute it and it was fun."

After drawing a base on balls in his first at-bat, Gennett clubbed a two-out, two-run double in the third to give the Reds a 2-0 lead. It was his 20th go-ahead RBI of the season and 30th double of the season -- one shy of his career-high of 31 (2014).

Video: CIN@MIA: Gennett drives a long 2-run double to left

He made it 4-0 in the seventh inning, smashing his 23rd home run of the season, a two-run blast into the upper deck in right field.

"I knew I got that one," Gennett said of the "no-doubter."

Video: CIN@MIA: Gennett hammers a 2-run homer to deep right

He went 2-for-3 and finished the night with a .318 batting average -- one point behind NL-leading Christian Yelich (.319), who was off.

The Marlins scratched across two runs in the eighth, but Raisel Iglesias closed it out with 1 1/3 innings of relief for his 29th save of the season. But not before Gennett made the defensive play of the game, sprawling out to snag a hard grounder off the bat of Miguel Rojas with the tying runners on base to seal the victory.

Video: CIN@MIA: Gennett makes great diving stop to seal win

"I was playing more straight up rather than pull," Gennett said of the crucial situation. "I was able to get a good jump on it, dove and the ball went in my glove. Things happen pretty fast out there, I don't try to dive and slam my head on the ground unless I feel like I have a chance at getting it."

He did, and the Reds took the first game of the final road series in the 2018 season.

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Reed sailed along until giving up back-to-back singles to start the sixth inning. But the Reds got out of trouble when Reed got Marlins cleanup hitter Peter O'Brien to ground into a 5-4-3 double play.

Video: CIN@MIA: Reed induces key double play in the 6th

"I got behind on that at-bat, and it was right after the mound visit, so that was perfect execution of the game plan and it turned out good," Reed said of his ability to refocus and get back on track.

SOUND SMART
Eugenio Suarez snapped an 0-for-14 skid with two hits. A third-inning single gave him 141 hits, a single-season career high.

HE SAID IT
"That play by Scooter was amazing. That ball's a hit on most days. Scooter made a great play." -- Interim manager Jim Riggleman, on Gennett's diving stop to end the game

Video: CIN@MIA: Riggleman on Reed's outing, bullpen in win

UP NEXT
The Reds will send out former Marlins prospect Luis Castillo at 7:10 p.m. ET Friday in the second game of this four-game set at Marlins Park. The 25-year-old will be making his 31st start of the season. He came to the Reds in the Dan Straily trade in January 2017. Against his former team, Castillo is 1-0 lifetime with a 1.13 ERA. He gave up just one run on three hits over eight innings in a July 30, 2017, start. The Marlins will counter with lefty Wei-Yin Chen. The Reds had success against Chen in his only appearance against Cincinnati, as he allowed four runs on five hits, including two homers, over four innings.

Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami.

Cincinnati Reds, Scooter Gennett, Cody Reed

Riggleman to play regular lineup for rest of '18

Gennett still in hunt for NL batting title; Mahle likely done for season
Special to MLB.com

MIAMI -- The Reds finish the 2018 season against Miami, Kansas City and Pittsburgh, with only the Pirates still hanging onto postseason hopes. But that's not going to change how interim manager Jim Riggleman goes about filling out his scorecard.

Riggleman doesn't anticipate doing anything any differently with his lineup over the final nine games of the season.

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MIAMI -- The Reds finish the 2018 season against Miami, Kansas City and Pittsburgh, with only the Pirates still hanging onto postseason hopes. But that's not going to change how interim manager Jim Riggleman goes about filling out his scorecard.

Riggleman doesn't anticipate doing anything any differently with his lineup over the final nine games of the season.

View Full Game Coverage

"I like putting our regular guys out there," Riggleman said. "Our position guys are pretty well set. It's not like we're saying, 'Let's have an audition for [next year].'

"I'll just keep running our guys out there. [Eugenio Suarez] had a day off two days ago, get [Jose Peraza] and [Tucker Barnhart] out of there, and [Joey Votto] out of there when we're losing games or if we're way up, and let somebody else finish those games."

Riggleman said he would give both Barnhart and Scott Schebler the day off tomorrow.

"[Barnhart] and [Curt Casali] have been both catching quite a bit anyway," Riggleman said. "[Mason Williams] is in there today, but we have [Blake Trahan], we have [Gabriel Guerrero], [Brandon Dixon], a lot of guys who haven't played as much. But I anticipate using them as I have to this point."

Don't look for Scooter Gennett to come out of the lineup anytime soon. The second baseman is trying to become the first Reds player to lead the National League in hits since Pete Rose collected 215 hits in 1976. He's also competing for the NL batting title as well. Gennett (.317) entered the Marlins series on Thursday just two points behind Milwaukee's Christian Yelich (.319).

"I'm trying to let Scooter play and compete for some personal stuff, as well as we love having him in the middle of our lineup," Riggleman said. "Joey Votto missed a number of games early. He doesn't want to take any days off.

"I don't anticipate looking at too many different lineups."

Mahle's season likely over

Right-handed pitcher Tyler Mahle is not scheduled to make another start this season, and he is not likely to see the mound for the final nine games of the season.

Mahle has been hampered by right shoulder fatigue since making his first start after a September callup. It was just a three-inning stint against San Diego in which he yielded five hits and two runs over 74 pitches.

"He's feeling good, but if I had an update as to when he would pitch in a game, I would say so. But I don't," Riggleman said. "We don't even know if he'll pitch in a game before the end of the year.

"He feels fine, but we're just going to make the determination, 'Do we want to do it in a simulated, controlled situation, or put him in a game for two innings?' We don't feel like at this point it's going to be worth it to find two innings and then maybe he turns it up a notch more than he should be trying to and has a setback."

Mahle made the Reds' Opening Day roster, but struggled in 22 starts, posting a 7-9 record with a 4.95 ERA before being optioned to Louisville on Aug. 3.

Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami.

Cincinnati Reds, Scooter Gennett

Reds willing to look to FA to upgrade rotation

Williams says improving starting pitching will be priority during offseason
MLB.com @m_sheldon

MILWAUKEE -- The Reds went into 2018 hoping to turn the corner from rebuilding to being closer to contending without making any offseason upgrades to the starting rotation. Besides counting on returning veterans like Anthony DeSclafani and Homer Bailey, Cincinnati banked on its young pitchers taking big steps forward.

It was a direction that backfired. The Reds' starting rotation has the second-highest ERA in the National League and is third from the bottom in innings pitched, entering Wednesday night. Going into this offseason, president of baseball operations Dick Williams and ownership are prepared to spend for starters.

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MILWAUKEE -- The Reds went into 2018 hoping to turn the corner from rebuilding to being closer to contending without making any offseason upgrades to the starting rotation. Besides counting on returning veterans like Anthony DeSclafani and Homer Bailey, Cincinnati banked on its young pitchers taking big steps forward.

It was a direction that backfired. The Reds' starting rotation has the second-highest ERA in the National League and is third from the bottom in innings pitched, entering Wednesday night. Going into this offseason, president of baseball operations Dick Williams and ownership are prepared to spend for starters.

View Full Game Coverage

"I would say we are more outwardly focused this year due to where we sit from a budget standpoint," Williams told MLB.com. "Whether that's free agency or trades has yet to be determined. We will be prepared to pursue both. We do think that will be an area that's important to supplement."

The premier group of free-agent starters are headlined by Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel, and he would be eclipsed by Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, should he opt out of his current contract. It would be tough to imagine Cincinnati enters a bidding war for such pitchers. Other available free agents will also include Clay Buchholz, Gio Gonzalez, Lance Lynn, Wade Miley and the Reds' own Matt Harvey, who was acquired from the Mets on May 8 and has since regained some of his lost value.

The Reds opted not to trade Harvey after not liking the proposals they heard. He has liked pitching for Cincinnati and it could be a potential fit -- of course, if the price is right.

This doesn't mean the Reds have given up on their young arms. Luis Castillo has a 4.52 ERA in 29 starts but has had some very promising stretches. Others have struggled even more to find consistent success, like Sal Romano and Tyler Mahle. DeSclafani had a great August but has struggled in September. Cody Reed and reliever Michael Lorenzen are getting opportunities to start this month.

• Lorenzen dominates Brewers in win

Video: CIN@MIL: Lorenzen strikes out 3 over 4 strong innings

"We do think that some of the guys we control will have to continue to get better," Williams said. "We will find ways to continue to develop them better. We saw progress, but we didn't see enough. We need to do everything we can to get more out of our existing pitchers."

It's unclear what the Reds will do with Bailey, who is 1-14 with a 6.09 ERA in 20 starts and has been idled for the remainder of the season. He has one year and $28 million remaining on his six-year, $105 million contract. That includes the $5 million buyout of his 2020 mutual option.

The Reds could also invest in additional relievers able to work multiple innings. Lorenzen has pitched as much as 4 1/3 innings in relief and Jared Hughes and David Hernandez are reliable to work more than one inning an appearance.

It's become abundantly clear that the expectations for starting pitchers has changed. Gone are the days of 200-inning per season hurlers. There are currently four pitchers in the Majors that have crossed 200 innings and only nine have passed 190 innings.

Reds starters have averaged only 5.1 innings this season but the National League team with the most innings pitched by starters -- the D-backs -- have averaged 5.7 innings in 2018.

"We're frustrated by short starts but the whole industry is facing the problem," Williams said. "Not everybody has starters that are consistently going seven innings. So you're having to fill innings out of the bullpen. Guys that have had experience starting and high pitch counts in the past, they should be able to carry a workload from the bullpen. The goal is to just get quality innings. We are going to have to get creative for how that goes."

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 and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds

Youth is served: Reds' best rookie this season

MLB.com

Each year, a new group of rookies sets out to make a mark in the Major Leagues, and in 2018, many of these young players have made history with their performances. They're fueling clubs during postseason races, as well as giving fans a glimpse of what's to come in the years ahead.

With the aid of all 30 MLB.com beat writers, here's a look at each team's best rookie this season:

Each year, a new group of rookies sets out to make a mark in the Major Leagues, and in 2018, many of these young players have made history with their performances. They're fueling clubs during postseason races, as well as giving fans a glimpse of what's to come in the years ahead.

With the aid of all 30 MLB.com beat writers, here's a look at each team's best rookie this season:

Video: Callis looks at rookies' long-term futures

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Blue Jays: Ryan Borucki
Borucki has opened his Major League career with quality starts in 10 of his first 15 outings. Even though Borucki did not make his debut until the end of June, he has the third-most starts of at least six innings and two runs or fewer among Major League rookies. Only San Francisco's Dereck Rodriguez has registered more of those starts this season. Borucki appears to be a future cornerstone of the Blue Jays' rotation and his rookie campaign has been an overwhelming success with a 3.86 ERA.

Orioles: Cedric Mullins
It's been a tough year for Baltimore, but Mullins has given O's fans a glimmer of hope in the past two months. Since becoming the first Oriole to record three hits in his debut, the center fielder -- who moved Adam Jones over to right -- has showcased his range and speed and has become a table-setter for a lineup that sorely needs more dynamic players.

Rays: Joey Wendle
Tampa Bay acquired Wendle from Oakland during the Winter Meetings -- the same day the Yankees finalized their acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton. Many found humor in how the Rays "answered" their division foe's acquisition. Wendle has hardly been a joke, though. He's played second base, third base, shortstop, right field and left field. While Wendle's glove has been dazzling as billed, particularly at second, his bat has been equally so. He always seems to be in the middle of rallies. Wendle has above-average speed and runs out every ball, and he's shown decent power. He has been a big reason for Tampa Bay's marked improvement this season.

Red Sox: Brian Johnson
Out of options, Johnson had no option but to become a dependable contributor for the Red Sox this season, and that's exactly what he has done. Though he has unspectacular numbers (4-4, 4.24 ERA), Johnson has been one of the most important members of the pitching staff for manager Alex Cora because of his ability to move seamlessly between the bullpen and starting rotation, and often doing both roles within days of each other. In 12 starts, Johnson is 4-2 with a 4.06 ERA. He could have a few more wins, but he was taken out just shy of five innings numerous times.

Yankees: Miguel Andujar
Nothing was handed to Andujar, who made the most of an early-season opportunity when Brandon Drury landed on the disabled list to grab hold of the third-base job. Andujar's calling card is his bat, and he quickly cemented a reputation as an extra-base hit machine, tallying the third-most extra-base hits by a rookie in Yankees history behind Joe DiMaggio (88) and Aaron Judge (79). The AL Rookie of the Month in June and August, Andujar has worked to polish his defense. With Gleyber Torres also enjoying a strong season, the Yanks have two legitimate choices to follow Judge as the AL Rookie of the Year Award winner.

Video: BOS@NYY: Andujar opens scoring with a solo HR in 2nd

AL CENTRAL

Indians: Shane Bieber
Indians manager Terry Francona jokes that Chris Antonetti, the team's president of baseball operations, did not bring Bieber to MLB camp in the spring because the manager would not have let the pitcher return to the Minors. Bieber, 23, cruised through Double-A and Triple-A, posting a 1.47 ERA with 77 strikeouts vs. seven walks in 79 2/3 innings. When the back of Cleveland's rotation ran into some issues, Bieber rose to the big leagues. He debuted in late May and returned for good in June. The rookie has enjoyed a promising campaign and figures to be a part of the Tribe's postseason pitching staff.

Royals: Brad Keller
Keller, a right-hander, was an absolute steal in the Rule 5 Draft. He started the season in the bullpen and eventually graduated to the rotation, where he has been arguably the Royals' best starter and certainly a top-of-the-rotation guy moving forward. Opposing hitters throughout the season have called facing Keller an "uncomfortable at-bat." His four-seam fastball, which hovers around 93-95 mph, moves like a cutter, and he has worked to develop an effective slider and changeup. During a recent six-game stretch, Keller went 4-1 with a 1.85 ERA, permitting just a .645 OPS. While Keller, 23, likely won't win the AL Rookie of the Year Award -- especially with Shohei Ohtani, Torres and Andujar in the running -- he at least deserves some consideration. Keller is a lock for the rotation in 2019.

Tigers: Niko Goodrum
The Tigers took a chance on the former Twins second-round pick, extending a Spring Training invite in the hopes that his versatility and athleticism would help him stick while learning on the job in the big leagues. Much to their surprise, Goodrum has become essentially an everyday player and a cog in Detroit's lineup, with a .741 OPS that ranks second on the team to Nicholas Castellanos. He has made a start at every defensive position except center field, catcher and pitcher.

Twins: Jake Cave
The Twins took a chance on Cave in March, acquiring him from the Yankees for Minor League right-hander Luis Gil, and Cave has responded with a strong rookie season. The 25-year-old wasn't expected to play much this season, but with center fielder Byron Buxton out most of the year because of injuries and offensive inconsistency, the left-handed-hitting Cave has filled in nicely. He's capable of playing all three outfield positions and has shown some power offensively, hitting .257/.300/.458 with 11 homers and 13 doubles through his first 82 career games.

White Sox: Daniel Palka
The White Sox picked up the left-handed slugger off waivers from the Twins on Nov. 3, 2017. While he didn't break camp with the team, Palka not only leads the White Sox in home runs, but also set a single-season franchise record for most homers from a left-handed-hitting rookie. Palka has a knack for the big hit, having knocked out six home runs in the ninth inning. Left-handed reliever Jace Fry made a solid late-inning rookie impression, but Palka provided the biggest power boost.

Video: CWS@CLE: Palka breaks scoreless tie with HR to center

AL WEST

Angels: Shohei Ohtani
A rocky Spring Training created some questions about how Ohtani's talent would translate to the Majors, but he quickly erased those doubts once the regular season began. For two months, he dazzled as a two-way phenom for the Angels, emerging as a dominant right-handed pitcher with a triple-digit fastball and devastating splitter and an impact left-handed bat with impressive raw power. An elbow injury derailed his magical season and led to a Tommy John surgery recommendation earlier this month, but it hasn't prevented Ohtani from continuing to hit. He is the first player to log 10 pitching appearances and hit 20 home runs in a season since Babe Ruth in 1919, making him a front-runner for the AL Rookie of the Year Award.

Video: SEA@LAA: Ohtani goes back-to-back with Trout for 20th

Astros: Max Stassi
Stassi made his Major League debut during the Astros' 111-loss season of 2013, and he has bounced between the big leagues and Triple-A each season since while maintaining his rookie status. He's spent most of this year as Houston's backup catcher to Brian McCann, and he is hitting .233 with eight homers and 27 RBIs through 85 games. Stassi was on pace to catch more games than McCann, who missed a chunk of time with knee surgery, and Martin Maldonado, who was acquired in a July trade and cost Stassi significant playing time down the stretch.

Athletics: Lou Trivino
Trivino has been an absolute godsend for what's become a deep and dangerous Oakland bullpen, arriving in late April and quickly taking over setup duties behind All-Star closer Blake Treinen with a high-90s fastball and a mid-90s cutter -- a devastating duo. The flamethrowing right-hander singlehandedly bridged the gap for much of the first half before the midseason arrivals of Jeurys Familia, Shawn Kelley and Fernando Rodney, working multiple innings more times than not. Center fielder Ramon Laureano, who has been superb on both sides of the ball since his August promotion, also deserves consideration.

Mariners: Daniel Vogelbach
The 25-year-old first baseman made the Opening Day roster after a huge spring, then was sent down when he struggled at the plate in April. But after putting up good numbers again in Triple-A, Vogelbach has flashed his power potential with a couple of big home runs this week as a September callup, including a game-winning pinch-hit grand slam to beat the Astros on Monday.

Rangers: Ronald Guzman
This is a tossup between Guzman and Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who did a terrific job in a utility role that included time at catcher. But Guzman has emerged as the Rangers' first baseman of the future by showing power, run production and superb defensive ability. There is still more improvement and development needed, but Guzman is among the AL rookie leaders in home runs and RBIs. His emergence also allowed Joey Gallo to take over in left field, which had been a troubled spot for Texas.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Video: STL@ATL: Acuna Jr. belts a solo smash for his 26th HR

Braves: Ronald Acuna Jr.
Acuna has lived up to his top prospect status, as he spent the season's second half producing numbers baseball has seldom seen from a player who has not yet turned 21 years old. He introduced himself to the Majors in April and then suffered a late-May knee injury that sidelined him for a month. But when Acuna was moved to the top of Atlanta's lineup immediately after the All-Star break, the 20-year-old outfielder suddenly became one of the game's top catalysts and power threats. He became a strong NL Rookie of the Year Award candidate and likely earned some down-ballot NL MVP Award consideration.

Marlins: Brian Anderson
Not only has Anderson been the Marlins' top rookie in 2018, he has established himself as one of the young faces of the franchise. He's also built a case to be a top-five finisher in the NL Rookie of the Year Award balloting. On the big league roster from wire to wire, Anderson has played third base and right field. He will lead all NL rookies in games played and hits.

Mets: Jeff McNeil
McNeil was never a top prospect, and when he arrived in the big leagues, he first drew attention for his unusual knobless bat. But since he took over at second base following the Asdrubal Cabrera trade, he's been a revelation at the plate, commanding attention for his outstanding contact ability and all-around hitting prowess. McNeil hasn't slowed down, either -- he leads all rookies in hitting since his July 24 debut, including 17 multihit games in 54 contests, and is second among all players in triples in that span, with five.

Nationals: Juan Soto
Soto wasn't even the Nats' most heralded prospect coming into the year -- that was Victor Robles. But he's hit at an almost unprecedented level for his age, putting himself on lists a