What might have been, or what might still be?
These questions are inevitable when assessing these Cincinnati Reds on a daily basis, I guess.
Their 8-6 win over the first-place Milwaukee Brewers last night was a reminder Bryan Price’s team can bash its way to some wins if it gets decent* starting pitching.
*In most worlds, the five runs Tim Adleman allowed in five innings would not be considered decent, but this Reds rotation is unusually bad.
Asking for eight runs a night is probably not going to cut it, but this team can hit.
The Reds are sixth in the major leagues in OPS, eighth in home runs and fourth in stolen bases.
The lineup is also deep with two of the top base stealers in the league and five guys with at least 11 home runs.
Heading into last night, Cincinnati also had the second-best defense in the National League, so when the pitchers are not issuing free passes or giving up home runs, this team is pretty good.
Unfortunately, the Reds are the worst in the league in both of those categories, not to mention team ERA. They’re 23rd in opponents’ batting average, though.
RELATED: Will the Reds ever be healthy again?
The June swoon has left them only 7 1/2 games out of first place somehow.
But then again there is that old adage about momentum being as good as tomorrow’s starting pitcher, well…
On the bright side, tonight’s starting pitcher is Luis Castillo. I’m definitely excited to see what is next for the 24-year-old who battled through five innings against a great Washington lineup.
He doesn’t get much of a reprieve with the powerful Brewers in town…
NOTES: Cozart could return soon
Castillo jumped over Robert Stephenson and Cody Reed to be placed in the major-league rotation.
Price said the team wants to see Stephenson and Reed get on a good roll in Triple-A before they are brought back.
With Kevin Shackleford being called up, Hal McCoy wonders if another message to the prospects throughout the system.
An example surfaced again Tuesday when the Reds made a roster move to add a pitcher. Instead of recalling Reed or Stephenson, they Reds called upon a non-roster pitcher, meaning they had to drop somebody off the roster to add Kevin Shackelford.
“He has performed and he has performed really well — at a high level,” said Reds manager Bryan Price. “He has handled the closing job, he has been a multiple-inning guy, throwing 3 2/3 innings and nearly 60 pitches. He checks off as being able to pitch some length for us.
“He has been in high-leverage pressure situations in the eighth and ninth innings,” Price added. “He is throwing good quality strikes and he has added a cut fastball. He has a sinker-slider combination that has been very good.
“He is a non-roster player that pitched himself onto our roster and on our team, not out of need, but out of performance. It is nice to recognize performers rather than guys we deem prospects.”
And that last quote says it all about performance over alleged prospects.
Not a bad theory…
Monday we mentioned Archie Miller made an Indiana offer for one of Ohio’s top rated players — Jeremiah Francis of Pickerington Central.
A highly regarded point guard who figures to be a huge focus of new Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann’s first year on the recruiting trail for the Buckeyes, Francis was also getting interest from new Dayton coach Anthony Grant.
The Flyers’ hat is officially in the ring now as rivals.com's No. 65 player in the 2018 class tweeted yesterday he has an offer from UD.
Meanwhile, Miller is going after another the big fish in the Buckeye State.
Darius Bazley was an early commit to Ohio State, but he re-opened his recruitment in the spring.
He started adding major offers right around the same time, including one from Xavier.
Bazley had to sit out the first part of his junior season after transferring to Princeton, and he made his season debut in Kettering at the Flyin’ to the Hoop.
He looked very raw as the Vikings were overwhelmed, but I can see projections of what he can be as he grows into his 6-8 frame.
He said afterward he wanted to be the next Evan Turner at Ohio State.