The Cincinnati Reds outfield has been decimated by injuries of late. Thankfully, Phillip Ervin has seized the moment and likely a starting spot for the remainder of the season.
The Cincinnati Reds had a plethora of outfielders to start the season. However, injuries and a recent trade have depleted what was once a deep position on the Reds’ roster. Phillip Ervin has seized the opportunity he’s been given, and it appears he’s not looking back.
The Reds used a four-man outfield rotation up until the All-Star break. Jesse Winker was rookie and hadn’t proven anything at the Major League level. To say Billy Hamilton struggled to get on base would be an understatement, however, his defense is unmatched by any other center fielder in all of baseball. Scott Schebler and Adam Duvall were both solid players that the Reds acquired through trades, and both of them were deserving of a shot.
It all came to a crashing halt just before the All-Star break. Schebler collided with the right-field wall in a game in mid-July against the St. Louis Cardinals. Schebler sprained the AC joint in his right shoulder and has been on the DL ever since. Schebler is not expected back in the lineup until September.
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Ervin was called up to replace Schebler in the lineup. However, because Winker was absolutely torching opposing pitchers, Jim Riggleman was likely to only use Ervin as a defensive substitution late in games.
Then, while on the basepath between first and second during the ninth inning of a comeback victory over the Cardinals, Winker fell to the ground and injured his shoulder. He would finish the game, and actually, score the winning run, but the damage was done and Winker would be shelved for the remainder of the season and require surgery to repair the injury to his shoulder.
From that moment on, Ervin has been a mainstay in the Reds starting lineup. His versatility allows Riggleman to play him along any spot in the outfield. He seems to have played the majority of his games in right field, however, the trade of Adam Duvall has resulted in Ervin picking up some time in left field as well.
Since becoming more of a fixture in the Reds lineup back on July 24th, Ervin has torn up opposing pitchers at the plate. Over his last 15 games, Ervin is hitting .441 with a .462 OBP and a 1.168 OPS. Ervin is seeing the ball very well.
Ervin started for the Reds in the first game of a day/ night doubleheader against the Washington Nationals today. In the top of the second inning, Ervin took a 2-2 pitch from Gio Gonzalez and blasted it into the seats in left. Ervin finished the game with a career-high four RBI’s.
Though Mason Williams, Preston Tucker and Brandon Dixon are all capable of playing in the Reds outfield, Ervin has cemented himself, both offensively and defensively of late. Look for he and Hamilton to start most games, and Williams, Tucker or Dixon fill in until Schebler returns.