By HAL McCOY
When it comes to Dan Straily, the Cincinnati Reds should throw away the pencil. They shouldn’t pencil him in for the rotation next season. They should use indelible ink.
In fact, his name should be at the top of the rotation for 2017, especially for what the 27-year-old right hander has done the second half of the season.
When he beat the Milwaukee Brewers Saturday night, 6-1, it was his 10th win since the All-Star break, the most wins in that span for any National League pitcher, including all those Chicago Cubs vying for the Cy Young Award.
And his season’s record is now 14-and-8 after he held the Brewers to one run and five hits over 6 2/3 innings. The Reds are 21-12 in games started by Straily, excellent numbers for a guy pitching for a last place team.
STRAILY’S HEART-WARMING STORY IS well-documented. During spring training, the Reds knew Homer Bailey wouldn’t be ready and they lost Anthony DeSclafani and Michael Lorenzen to injuries.
The Reds were desperate and when the San Diego Padres put Straily on the waiver wire three days before Opening Day the Reds grabbed him.
He was a stopgap plug-in — and he knew it.
“I know I’m here just to fill in until the other guys get healthy, but I want to show them that I’m more than that,” Strailey said early in the season. Nobody believed him but he believed in himself. And he has done just that. He has been the Reds best and steadiest pitcher.
Straily has been particularly tough on the Brewers. He is 3-and-0 against them this season and they are still unsuccessfully trying to figure him out.
The big question? How in the name of Greg Maddux could the Padres figure they couldn’t use him. They acquired him in a trade with the Houston Astros and within a week the Padres put him on waivers.
AND IT IS THE SAME WITH 22-year-old infielder/outfielder/wherever Jose Peraza. Use that same indelible ink to write his name somewhere in the starting lineup.
Peraza had two more hits and a walk and has hit safely in 11 of his last 13 games and six times has had two or more hits. He is hitting .330 and leads the league in hitting at .370 since his recall from Class AAA Louisville on August 20.
And while the Reds have that pen with the indelible ink in hand, they might consider putting Scott Schebler’s name down for right field next year. He had three more hits Saturday and is hitting well above .300 since taking over in the outfield since the trade of Jay Bruce at the July 31 trade deadline.
JOEY VOTTO GAVE STRAILY all the runs he needed in the first inning with his 26th home run, a long two-run blast far over the center field wall. It came off Taylor Jungmann (0-and-5), making his first start since April after spending most of the year trying to straighten out his act in the minors.
Straily’s only mistake was a misplaced pitch in the second inning to Domingo Santana, who barely cleared the left field wall for a home run.
The Reds made it 3-1 in the sixth. Adam Duvall led the inning with a double, stole third and scored on Eugenio Suarez’s high-bouncing infield hit.
The lead grew to 4-1 in the seventh when Peraza and Scott Schebler singled and Votto walked to fill the bases. Peraza scored on Duvall’s ground ball to the mound.
Peraza started a ninth-inning rally with a rare walk and Schebler banged his third hit. Peraza scored on another error by the Brewers, who lead the league in errors with 128.
The only thing positive for the Brewers, other than Santana’s home run, was that Jonthan Villar stole a base, his 59th, tying Cincinnati’s disabled Billy Hamilton for the National League lead.
The last place Reds, 5 ½ games beind the next-to-last Brewers, finish the series in Milwaukee Sunday afternoon, then head to St. Louis for four games, hoping to spoil the Cardinals’ bid for a wild card spot.