By Hal McCoy
CINCINNATI — There were no extracurricular activities Wednesday afternoon in Great American Ball Park, no fisticuffs, no cranium-seeking beanballs, no cursing, no brawls.
There was a niftily-pitched game (Luis Castillo) and there were a couple of trades (Tanner Roark, Scooter Gennett). Castillo painted a fine landscape, holding the Pittsburgh Pirates scoreless for seven inning and the Cincinnati Reds scored a 4-1 victory.
And while that was going on, Reds pitcher Tanner Roark was traded to the Oakland Athletics for Class A center fielder Jameson Hannah.
Then just when everybody in the clubhouse thought they were safe, right at the witching hour trade deadline of 4 p.m., the Reds announced they had traded Scooter Gennett to the San Francisco Giants.
And who did they get? Nobody. They will receive that age-old guy, a player-to-be-named-later.
On the field?
It wasn’t a 1960s peace movement rally. The Reds and Pirates, plainly and clearly, despise each other.
Before the game, Reds manager David Bell and Pirates manager Clint Hurdle took their lineup cards to home plate. They shook hands with all the umpires and everybody around home plate. They did not shake hands with each other.
It was the residue from Tuesday night’s scrap and scuffle on the field.
The off-the-field activity was another trade by the Reds, one that was expected, especially after they acquired Trevor Bauer.
During the game, pitcher Roark was traded to Oakland in exchange Hannah. Roark is eligible for free agency after this season.
Hannah, 22, was Oakland’s second round draft pick in 2018 and was playing at Class A Stockton, where his slash line was .283/.341/.381.
With Roark going to Oakland, the Athletics have two former Reds pitchers in their rotation, Roark and Homer Bailey, While Roark was 6-and-7 with the Reds, Bailey is 9-and-7 in 21 starts with Kansas City and Oakland.
Roark was not in the ball park when the trade was made. With the team scheduled to play in Atlanta Monday, Roark was already in his wife’s car, three hours down I-75, taking her the car to their Atlanta home.
“I was driving to Atlanta because she needs that car so I said, ‘You know what, babe. I’m going to drive it down there for you.’ It’s about 6 1/2 hours so I don’t mind it.
“I was 20 minutes out of Cincinnati, sitting in an Arby’s parking lot, eating some beef and cheddar and curly fries,” he said. “I started hearing chatter. I hadn’t heard anything. Then I realized I probably better come back.”
Roark, though, was not shocked about the trade, especially after the Reds dealt for Trevor Bauer Tuesday night.
“I knew coming in there I had the possibility of being traded, that’s just the way the game is these days,” he said. “I’m a free agent next year. I’m excited because Oakland is playing really good baseball, right in the middle of the wild card chase.
“And here? We had seven starters with the addition of Bauer so that’s two guys who were odd man out,” he said. “It was in my head.”
It was a day of shedding talent in GABP. The Pirates traded outfielder Corey Dickerson to the Philadelphia Phillies. And the Reds are thrilled to see him go. For his career in Great American Ball Park, Dickerson hit .431 in 58 at bats with nine home runs.
Luis Castillo, Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez did their talking on the field as the Reds took care of the Pirates to take their third straight series, all three by two games to one.
Castillo held the Pirates to one run and six hits with no walks and seven strikeouts over seven innings. The performance gave him his 10th victory.
With his quiet, easy-going manner, Castillo probably was the perfect pitcher for the Reds after the explosiveness of Tuesday night’s game.
“It was a big game in so many ways and Luis stepped up,” said Bell. “He was the right guy. He was able to keep it quiet, shut them down. We’ve seen it before but it was really good timing.”
As writers approached Castillo’s locker, one kidding him by saying, “You’ve been traded.” He smiled and quickly said, “No chance.”
But Tanner Roark was traded and Trevor Bauer was added.
“I feel happy because Bauer is coming, an experienced pitcher who knows how to pitch,” said Castillo. “I feel sad because I didn’t want Tanner to go. He is a real good teammate and really good person.”
After a shaky outing in his previous start, Castillo did some minor tinkering and adjusting in the bullpen and came out in total control.
“We have to win, we need to win,” said Castillo. “I made the adjustments and that’s what made my outing so good today.”
Suarez unloaded a two-run home run in the third inning, his 29th home run. Jesse Winker led the bottom of the first with a home run over the left field wall and Winker singled in the third ahead of Suarez’s home run. Nick Senzel contributed two doubles, a single and drove in the fourth run.
And the underlying animosity, ever close to the surface in these games?
“I think it must be the Ohio River,” said Reds relief pitcher Jared Hughes, a former Pirates relief pitcher. He was referring to the fact that the Ohio River flows past Great American Ball Park and its beginning is just outside Pittsburgh’s PNC Park, where the Allegheny and Monongahela meet to form the Ohio. “Somethin’ in the water.”
There was a mild stirring, at least from the fans, in the fourth inning. Pittsburgh starter Dario Agrazal hit Tucker Barnhart on the foot with a pitch and then hit Jesse Winker in the back with a breaking pitch.
Fans howled for blood as the umpires conferred and determined nothing was intentional and didn’t eject Agrazal. However, Hurdle did it for them. He came to the mound and removed Agrazal.
To add a bit of spice to the proceedings, Reds pitcher Michael Lorenzen saved things two ways — once on the mound and once in the field.
When the Pirates started the eighth with two straight hits off Castillo, Lorenzen came on to apply a tourniquet. He gave up one run on a ground ball.
Then he went to right field for the ninth inning and ended up with a cut on his left arm, a badge of honor. He sustained it making an incredible diving catch as he crashed face-first into the wall to rob Josh Bell of a double.
“The catch was up there with some of my best,” said Lorenzen. “I made some better ones playing outfield in college, I think.
“It was fun,” he said. “I love it. That is one of things I’ve missed, being able to do that on a baseball field. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to do both (pitch and play outfield) and not many people can say they do that. Getting one of these cuts on my arm? I miss them, miss them like crazy. And I’ll cherish this for a couple of weeks.”
4 thoughts on “Castillo keeps things calm while Scooter, Roark pack their bags”
They shouldn’t have traded Scooter, especially for a PTBNL. This move weakens the team. Neither Peraza Nor Deitriech are anywhere close to Scooter as a hitter. And this team needs every hitter they can get! Signing Scooter would have been difficult because he wanted to stay here in his home town. Bad move Reds.
If Scooter had had a repeat of the past couple seasons, it would’ve been easy to demand something for him. But he came back before his timing was in-tune. The Giants most certainly felt the need to be careful. I can only assume, and maybe Hal McCoy can comment this, is that the player coming east will depend on how Scooter plays the next few weeks.
Great contributions by Scooter & Puig in their time w/the Reds. Really made it much more interesting for us fans. Best wishes.
Oh yeh, I concur! Imagine what the Reds paid for those guys. Waiver wire pick-up in the case of Scooter, and Homer Bailey for Puig (and several others). The return on the investment – namely their on-field production as well as Trevor Bauer is pretty good front office work, in my opinion.