Cincinnati Reds: Peralta sent to minors to straighten out mechanics

CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 22: Wandy Peralta #53 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park on May 22, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds won 7-2. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 22: Wandy Peralta #53 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park on May 22, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds won 7-2. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

The Reds think they know what’s wrong with Wandy Peralta, but he’ll have to tinker at Triple-A Louisville.

The team optioned the beleaguered left-handed reliever to the Bats before Thursday’s game against the Chicago Cubs and selected the contract of left-hander Kyle Crockett from the Bats to fill Peralta’s slot in the bullpen.

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Peralta, 26, is 1-2 with a 6.14 earned-run average in 37 Reds games this season after going 3-4 with a 3.76 ERA while leading National League rookies with 69 appearances in 2017. His dropoff recently had become more pronounced. He failed to retire any of the six batters he faced in his two most recent outings, hitting the only batter he saw on Friday in Pittsburgh and giving up four hits, a walk and five runs after inheriting a 9-0 ninth-inning lead on Tuesday against Detroit.

Pitching coach Danny Darwin and assistant pitching coach Ted Power believe they discovered through video study differences in Peralta from last season to this year, interim manager Jim Riggleman said before Thursday’s game.

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“Unfortunately, we don’t have the luxury of allowing him to work on it up here,” Riggleman said. “He’ll go down and work on that and hopefully come back and help us up here.

“If you talk to the hitters around the league, they say he’s really tough. We want to get him back to that.”

Crockett was claimed off waivers from Cleveland last Nov. 27. The Reds didn’t tender him a contract before re-signing him to a minor league deal on Dec. 4 and inviting him to spring training as a non-roster player. He went 0-1 with a 5.68 ERA, four walks and four strikeouts in 6 1-3 innings over six games.

The 26-year-old dramatically improved his walk-to-strikeout ration in 23 games with Louisville, piling up 23 strikeouts while walking just five in 27 innings.

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“It was just getting more confidence,” said Crockett, who was the Indians’ fourth-round pick in the June 2013 draft and became in 2014 the first player from the 2013 draft to reach the majors. “I wasn’t thinking too much. I was just using my stuff. I knew I had to do that.”

Crockett went 4-1 with a 180 ERA in 43 games as a Cleveland rookie in 2014, but the Indians placed him on waivers after he was 0-0 with a 10.80 ERA in four games last season. He was 1-0 with a 4.00 ERA this season with the Bats. Opposing batters were hitting .278 against him.

“He was doing OK,” Riggleman said. “There are so many stats these days, and some of the periphery ones were favorable to him. The main reason we made the move is we wanted to have another left-hander in the bullpen. He’s been up here before, so he’s not going to be intimidated by the situations he sees here.”

Schebler out: Trading Peralta for Crockett wasn't Cincinnati's only Thursday roster move. Outfielder Scott Schebler was placed on the bereavement list and outfielder Phillip Ervin was recalled from Louisville for his second stint with the Reds this season. Ervin opened the season with Cincinnati before being optioned to the Bats on April 26 after hitting .211.

Catcher Tony Cruz, who appeared in nine games with the Reds this season, was released from Louisville.

Warming up: Great American Ball Park probably was a welcome sight for Cubs left fielder and Middletown native Kyle Schwarber. The former Middie was 6-for-40 in his last 13 games going into Thursday's game, but he'd homered in each of the Cubs' last two games, and he went into the series against the Reds hitting .281 with four homers and 11 RBIs in Cincinnati for his career.

Game two: Right-hander Luis Castillo (4-8) is scheduled to face left-hander Jose Quintana (6-5) in Friday's second game of the series. Quintana is 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA in three career starts against the Reds, including his May 19 outing when he allowed one hit and struck out seven in seven scoreless innings. Castillo has allowed a league-high 17 home runs.

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