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C. Trent Rosecrans Talks Reds Baseball, Amir Garrett and the Unnecessary Hype Around Opening Day

Apr. 24, 2017
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Photo Courtesy: Erik Eckel, Flickr CC

The last week wasn’t especially kind to the Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers. Seven days ago they stood together as unlikely companions atop the NL Central, but they’ve since gone a combined 3-9 in a harsh reminder that neither of them is a likely postseason contender.

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Before this week the only bump in the road for the Reds so far had been a series with the Brewers in Cincinnati about ten days ago, when Eric Thames powered Milwaukee to three wins in four games. They’ve since lost series to the Orioles and Cubs, although three of their last four defeats came in one-run games.

Most national prognosticators picked these two teams to finish at the bottom of the NL Central but nonetheless, one of them is going to win at least twice this week as they play a three-game series against each other in Milwaukee.  To help us preview the series, we spoke with C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

This was not a Reds team that was projected to contend in any shape or fashion, but they've already spent 15 days in first place in 2017. What happened?

Well, the Phillies were pretty good in the first month-plus last year, so baseball happens. Baseball will continue to happen for six months and at the end of that, there's no reason to expect the Reds to be anywhere near first place. They have a better bullpen and a decent lineup. That's helped.

Entering play on Saturday the Reds had three players slugging over .600, and not one of them was Joey Votto. Which of the three of Zack Cozart, Eugenio Suarez and Scooter Gennett is most likely to turn this hot start into a big season?

Suarez. He's a talented player and is really hitting the ball well. I've always been a big believer in him. He also still just 25. He's a good player and having a good season defensively too after struggling last year in his first year at third.

On Monday the Brewers will face Amir Garrett for the first time. What can you tell us about him?

Big, lanky lefty. He was signed out of high school because of a big fastball, but he's shown a great ability to pitch beyond the fastball. He's a tremendous athlete who played basketball for two years at St. John's (seriously, check this out). I hate the term "swag" but it's hard to deny he's got swag. He brings a basketball player's confidence and swagger onto the mound. You'll see him start every game by writing a big A on the front of the mound with his foot, marking his territory. He says it's to remind himself that it's his mound. 

The Reds drew some derision around baseball for starting Scott Feldman on Opening Day, but he's been pretty good through four starts. Are you surprised?

He's been solid. That's what they were hoping for. I mean, it was his third career Opening Day start, so it's not like it's crazy. One of those Opening Day starts was for a team that would go to the World Series (2010 Rangers). Opening Day is just one day, too much is put on to that one game (especially here in Cincinnati). 

Assuming the Reds don't parlay their 2017 hot start into a playoff appearance, when does the window to win open for this team again?

Ha. Yeah. I think the best-case scenario is 2019. They'll need some of their young pitching to come around and a few position players to pan out and you'd need some help in trades. But it's not impossible. I wouldn't bet on it, though.

The Sports section of the Shepherd Express is brought to you by Miller Time Pub.