All good things must come to an end, and the incredible run that Hunter Greene had been on, did last night. Prior to last night he had posted a 1.87 ERA in 43.1 innings over his last eight starts. Brandon Montgomery snuck a ball just over the fence down the left-field line for a 3-run home run in the 1st inning off of Greene – the first home run he had allowed in over a month. In all, he would last just 3.0 innings, allowing five runs with a walk and three strikeouts. He threw 54 pitches on the day before being replaced to begin the 4th inning.
Next Sunday he will be participating in the Futures Game in Washington, D.C. His next scheduled start for Dayton would be on Friday. It will be interesting to see if, 1, he makes that start, or if the Reds use this scenario to skip a start to just give them that extra little leeway in his innings on the season. That would allow him to go out on Sunday in the Futures Game, then return to the rotation a few days later for the Dragons.
Alexis Diaz dominates for Greeneville
It’s been a long road for Alexis Diaz to reach last night. He was originally drafted out of Puerto Rico in 2015 by the Reds in the 12th round. The right hander threw 13.0 innings that season, but would miss all of the 2016 season as he underwent Tommy John surgery. When he returned in 2017 he was limited, throwing 31.0 innings while splitting time between the bullpen and rotation for the Arizona League Reds.
This season the Reds sent him out to Greeneville to join their new affiliate in the Appalachian League. The first two appearances for Alexis Diaz in 2018 came out of the bullpen. And both followed 2nd round pick Josiah Gray, who started the games. Diaz threw 3.0 innings in the first game, and things didn’t quite go his way. He allowed four earned on six singles and a walk. But he struck out seven batters in the game and likely had some bad luck given that six of the eight balls put in play against him found their way into becoming singles. Things went better the next time out as he racked up six more strikeouts, without a walk, in 4.0 shutout innings.
Last night, a full nine days since his last appearance, Alexis Diaz made his first start of the 2018 season. It was worth the wait. The 21-year-old brother of Seattle closer Edwin Diaz carved through the Burlington Royals lineup for 6.0 innings. He allowed just one run in the start, he walked one batter and he struck out nine. Diaz racked up 15 swinging strikes in just 68 pitches thrown – with 52 of those being strikes.
For the season, and yes, it’s a very small sample size, Alexis Diaz has thrown 13.0 innings with a 3.46 ERA. That’s pretty good on it’s own. But that’s not nearly the thing that should be noted. He’s walked just two of the 55 batters he’s faced this season, and he’s struck out 22 of them. That’s a 40% strikeout rate and a 3.6% walk rate so far this season. That is what we call getting it done.
Vladimir Gutierrez keeps moving in the right direction
From May 15th through June 1st Vladimir Gutierrez made four starts for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. To say things went poorly would be an understatement. He posted a 9.72 ERA in that span and opposing batters hit .314/.410/.571 against him. Gutierrez, known for good control, walked nine batters in 16.2 innings. Things simply did not go well.
However, in the six starts Vladimir Gutierrez has made since then, he’s been dominant. In one of those starts the Cuban pitcher allowed two runs. Every other start has come with zero or one run allowed. He’s thrown 36.0 innings with a 1.50 ERA in this stretch. That’s come along with eight walks and he has 34 strikeouts. He’s held batters to a .180/.245/.258 line. That’s a .502 OPS – which is lower than what guys were slugging against him in that earlier stretch.
Overall on the season he’s posted a 4.67 ERA in 90.2 innings pitched for Pensacola. He’s walked 23 batters and struck out 83. The inconsistency has his ERA on the higher end, still, but things are trending in the right direction and quickly.