CINCINNATI -- The last couple of months have not been kind to Reds right fielder Scott Schebler (known as "Scheb" for Players Weekend). His offensive numbers suffered and later, it was learned a sore left shoulder was partially to blame. While Schebler was away, outfield prospect Jesse Winker received ample
CINCINNATI -- The last couple of months have not been kind to Reds right fielder Scott Schebler (known as "Scheb" for Players Weekend). His offensive numbers suffered and later, it was learned a sore left shoulder was partially to blame. While Schebler was away, outfield prospect Jesse Winker received ample opportunity in his place.
On Friday -- the same day Winker went on the disabled list with a left hip flexor strain -- Schebler erupted at the plate. While reaching base all four times in the Reds' 9-5 victory over the Pirates, he was a double shy of hitting for the cycle.
In the second inning with Eugenio Suarez on second base, Schebler hit a drive to right field that pinballed along the wall as John Jaso struggled to keep up. Schebler appeared on his way to an inside-the-park homer before he was given a late stop sign by third-base coach Billy Hatcher.
Schebler singled in the fourth inning and in the fifth, with Suarez on first base, Schebler tattooed Ivan Nova's first pitch for a two-run homer to center field, his 25th of the season. According to Statcast™, it left the bat at 107 mph and traveled 419 feet.
In the seventh with a chance to complete the cycle, Schebler was hit by a pitch. Overall, he's batting .236/.312/.496.
"I don't know if he could hit the ball any better than he did to center, right-center with the home run," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "Just really good, comfortable, compact under-control swings that put the barrel of the bat on the ball. Having a guy like that hitting seventh in your lineup speaks a lot about the depth we have going."
Entering the night, Schebler was slashing .159/.224/.336 in 32 games since July 1. He was batting .077 from the start of the second half until he was placed on the disabled list with a shoulder strain Aug. 1. Following his Aug. 18 return, he was 5-for-24 and 1 for his last 13. But during the most recent stretch, he was hitting the ball to the opposite field with power and his outs were seemingly getting louder.
"It felt like a matter of time before I would bust out. I felt like my swings were good and the sample size was small," Schebler said.
For Reds fans that clamored for Winker, it was hard to remember that Schebler slugged 22 home runs and had an .856 OPS in the first half. When Schebler struggled and went on the DL, Reds manager Bryan Price determined it was time to see more of Winker, who had two previous callups with little playing time.
Winker was batting .310 with four home runs in his last 21 games, including 15 starts, since he his recall from Triple-A Louisville.
"It's human nature to kind of worry about it. Winker obviously came up and played great," Schebler said. "You can't do anything but be happy, especially for a guy like Wink. He's a good teammate and a good guy to have around. The jealously part, you have to take that out. But you think about it, for sure. I'm not going to lie to you. But I felt like once I got healthy and able to play the way that I can, I would get back to where I was early on. I was confident in myself as well.
"Winker is not going anywhere. He's playing great. Who knows what's going to happen?"
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.