MILWAUKEE – Three days after the play happened, Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell praised a throwing error by outfielder Aristides Aquino.
In Tuesday’s 7-6 loss to the Kansas City Royals, Aquino tried to throw a runner out at the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning. When the throw went over catcher Tyler Stephenson, the go-ahead run advanced to third base.
It didn't work out for the Reds on Tuesday, but that’s the type of throw the Reds coaching staff has taught the players to attempt.
“It’s something that’s part of our philosophy of what we teach our outfielders,” Bell said. “The difference that it can make when you get an out and you cut down a run is so significant in a game. We will give up always trying to perfectly hit the cutoff man at times. You’d like to be able to do that, but not at the expense of not making your absolute best, aggressive throw to try to throw guys out.”
After Tuesday’s loss, Bell said the Reds “celebrated” Aquino trying to get the out at home. The throwing error was a crucial part of the Reds one-run loss, but Bell said Aquino’s throw was “one of the better throws I’ve seen in a long time.”
“Even though that one didn’t work out, that’s going to lead to throwing guys out at the plate,” Bell said. “We want them to have that approach to make the throws.”
In each of the Reds first two games against the Milwaukee Brewers this week, that mentality paid off.
On Thursday, Tyler Naquin prevented a run with his throw from center field. With two outs in a tie game in the seventh inning, Brewers shortstop Willy Adames hit a line drive single to center field. Brewers infielder Luis Urias tried to score from second, but Naquin’s throw beat him to the plate.
On Friday, left fielder Jesse Winker made the highlight throw. Brewers infielder Jace Peterson opened the inning with a hit that deflected off Aquino. Winker backed up Aquino on the play and made a quick throw to second.
Reds second baseman Jonathan India tagged Peterson out, and that play kept the Brewers from scoring in the inning. After Winker made the play, Naquin ran to the top of the dugout and mimicked shooting a bow and arrow.
“That's the mentality, you kind of just let it rip,” Winker said. “I just try to mimic Naquin out there and Aquino, throwing the ball 100 mph. I know mine's like 87, but you just try to copy those guys.”
RELIEF HELP: Reds relievers Lucas Sims (right elbow sprain) and Tejay Antone (right forearm strain) remain on the 10-day injured list without a specific timetable to return.
Sims is expected to come off the injured list before Antone, who is still about a week away from beginning his throwing program.
“I don’t have a calendar yet, that’s going to be produced in the next couple days with what that looks like, how long, once he starts throwing, how long before he returns to play,” Bell said. “But I do know that Lucas is probably seven to 10 days ahead of Antone as of right now.”
BIG HIT: Since June 19, Winker’s batting average has dropped from .344 to .300. Over his last 19 games, Winker has gone 11-for-71 at the plate with just eight RBI.
In Friday’s 2-0 win over the Brewers, Winker broke out of that slump with an RBI double in the seventh inning.
“Obviously I knew how I was performing over this little stretch,” Winker said. “You just keep going, right? You just keep clocking in and working and staying positive and just kind of chipping away at it.”
Winker swung at the first two pitches of the at-bat on Friday and went down 0-2 in the count. From that position, Winker worked an 11-pitch at-bat. He took three balls, fouled off six pitches and then hit a change-up over the middle of the plate to right field for a double.
“A few of us were watching thinking these are the kind of at-bats that get you going.” Bell said. “More than that, the focus that (Winker) had turning that into a great at-bat. It turned into a big hit and a big contribution.”