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)
Photo: Contributing Writer
Photo: Contributing Writer

Reds bolster bullpen with fresh arms

They optioned right-handed pitcher Austin Brice to the Bats and designated left-hander Kyle Crockett for assignment, creating a spot on the 40-man roster for a possible trade acquisition. Major League Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline is Tuesday.

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Brice pitched the ninth inning of Wednesday’s win over St. Louis and two innings in Thursday’s loss to Philadelphia.

“The changes we made are not based much on somebody’s pitching performance,” interim manager Jim Riggleman said before Friday’s game. “It is based on how much they had to pitch. A couple guys threw a lot of pitches. We had to get a couple guys here (Friday), who could give us innings (Friday).

“Brice, it’s not just the two innings (Thursday). He threw the day before also. We’d be asking him to go multiple innings for a third day. Instead of doing that we had to go out and get a fresher arm."

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Peralta enjoyed an impressive 2017 season with Cincinnati, going 3-4 with a 3.76 earned-run average while leading major league rookies with 69 appearances, but he found reaching that level to be elusive this season. His ERA skyrocketed to 6.14 in 37 appearances before he was optioned to Louisville on June 21.

He put together a 3.14 ERA in 14-1/3 innings over 13 games with Louisville.

“Wandy has been here before, of course,” Riggleman said. “He’s been doing a good job down below, but Wandy is a guy who we hope will pitch in high-leverage situations and also give us multiple innings.

“Initially when Wandy went down, he didn’t seem to be making progress there for a little while,” Riggleman added. “His last couple weeks have been very promising.”

Melia, acquired from San Francisco with outfielder Adam Duvall for right-hander Mike Leake on July 30, 2015, opened this season with Double-A Pensacola and was 7-3 with a 3.07 ERA in 16 starts. He was 2-1 with a 3.18 ERA in three starts with the Bats. His next start was scheduled for Friday, setting him up to pitch multiple innings in relief if needed by the Reds.

“He’s another young guy who has a big arm,” Riggleman said. “He’s been down there refining his pitches. He had a good year at Double-A. He’s a quality young starter that has to make his way here initially in the bullpen. Hopefully, he can come here and show he is here to stay.”

Melia, who turns 25 on Thursday, pitched four innings of relief over two games last season for Cincinnati.

 Power strips: Third baseman Eugenio Suarez became on Thursday the third Reds player this season to hit at least one home run in four consecutive appearances. Suarez joins Joey Votto and Scooter in this season’s club, which is exclusive as far as the franchise is concerned. This is the first time in franchise history that three different players have homered in four consecutive appearances in the same season.

The Big Red Machine couldn’t do it. The 1956 team, which clubbed 221 homers in 154 games, couldn’t do it. Neither could the 2005 team, which hammered a franchise-record 222 home runs but needed 163 games to do it.

“It does surprise me,” Riggleman said. “The other part that surprises me is with the great teams the Reds had here before. It’s not just the Big Red Machine, but other teams have had some big power hitters. I’m sure they’ve had guys who hit homers four games in a row, but they didn’t have three players do it.

“That’s kind of the where are in today’s game. People are hitting homers. Pitchers have got to figure out a way to stop them from hitting them.”

Suarez needed to homer on Friday to become the eighth player to hit at least one home run in five straight appearances. The other seven: Ted Kluszewski in 1954, George Crowe in 1957, Johnny Bench in 1972, Ken Griffey Jr in 2003, Adam Dunn in 2008, Devin Mesoraco in 2014 and Jay Bruce in 2016.

The last Reds third baseman to hit at least one homer in four straight games was Chris Stynes in 2000.

ICYMI: While the start time is listed on some schedules at 7:10 p.m., Saturday’s third game of the four-game series against Philadelphia actually is scheduled to get under way at 6:40 p.m. to allow time for the post-game, hour-long Walk The Moon concert. Right-hander Matt Harvey (5-6, 5.21 earned-run average overall, 5-4, 4.50 with the Reds), who is 7-3 with a 2.85 in 12 career starts against the Phillies, is Cincinnati’s scheduled starter. Right-hander Vince Velasquez (7-8, 4.05) is due to start for Philadelphia.