Manager David Bell on the Cincinnati Reds’ 4-2 win over the Chicago Cubs, Luis Castillo
Reds manager David Bell discusses his team’s 4-2 win over the Cubs, Luis Castillo’s start and Nick Senzel’s production in the leadoff spot.
Bobby Nightengale, Cincinnati Enquirer
Before Friday’s series opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Cincinnati Reds announced they were calling up left-handed reliever Cody Reed and optioning infielder Josh VanMeter to Triple-A Louisville.
One of the motivations for Reed’s promotion was combating the left-handed hitters in the Dodgers lineup. The Dodgers, who have scored more runs than any team in the National League, featured five lefties in their lineup Friday, including sluggers Cody Bellinger, Joc Pederson and Max Muncy.
“It was a decision that we felt like we had to make,” Reds manager David Bell said. “That’s why we did it. It was to add another arm. Cody, the way he pitched last time, and the way he’s doing at Triple-A, it makes sense.”
Reed pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings for the Reds on May 4 against the San Francisco Giants and was optioned to the minor leagues on the following day. He’s yielded a 3.06 ERA in 15 relief appearances at Louisville and allowed one earned run in his last 12 innings while striking out 17.
“I get out there and try to throw strikes and get groundballs,” Reed said. “I know I’m going to come in sometimes with guys on base and groundballs are big. That’s all I’m trying to do.
“I’m coming up, I’m sure, just for the Dodgers series because they have a lot of lefties and then it will be another series when I come back again.”
VanMeter, who received two starts after he was called up on May 5, had two singles in 14 at-bats at the Major League level. He had a .431 on-base percentage at Louisville with 13 homers and 31 RBI in 30 games.
Bell said it’s good that VanMeter will receive regular at-bats at Louisville, but he believes VanMeter is a good fit for any role on the big-league roster.
“He was impressive for his first time in the big leagues and the role that we were using him in,” Bell said. “He was unfazed in a good way. I think that’s what makes him the kind of hitter he is. He hits for power, but he also has a really good understanding of the strike zone.”
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PUIG VS. L.A.: There was no pre-game press conference with rows of media members and cameras. There was no anticipation about the crowd’s reaction during his first at-bat.
Puig sat in front of his locker at Great American Ball Park on Friday and he said his second series against the Dodgers wasn’t much different than facing any other team. Puig hit a home run off Clayton Kershaw in his first at-bat as a visitor at Dodger Stadium in April.
“Every day it’s special to play your old teammates, but we’re going out today to play and win games,” Puig said. “We don’t see who is coming today or last night, like the Cubs or the Dodgers. I played for the Dodgers in the past and that’s going to stay in the past now. I have my new team and we try to win games.”
The Reds won two of their three games against the first-place Chicago Cubs this week and Puig is hopeful that their wins will carry over into their weekend against the Dodgers.
“From my (view), we’ve been playing better when we see better teams like the Dodgers, Cubs, St. Louis,” Puig said. “Everybody has a good team this season, but we know that we have a nice team and we’re going to be at the end of the season where we want to be.”
FLORO FLOURISHING: Former Reds reliever Dylan Floro had dominated with the Dodgers this season. He’s allowed one earned run in 17 relief appearances, yielding a 0.50 ERA.
Floro had a 2.72 ERA in 25 relief outings with the Reds last year before he was traded in July for minor league pitchers James Marinan and Aneurys Zabala. He’s dominated against right-handed batters this year, holding them to a .125 batting average and .167 slugging percentage in 48 at-bats.
“Just getting ahead of hitters and executing, and believing I can do it pretty much,” Floro said. “I’ve changed a little bit. I’ve been throwing a little bit harder. My slider is a lot better and helping hitters stay off my two-seam.”
Marinan, 20, was a fourth-round pick in the 2017 MLB Draft and owns a 6.18 ERA in eight starts at Class-A Dayton. Zabala is a 22-year-old right-handed reliever at High-A Daytona with a 2.45 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 22 innings.