Cincinnati Reds: Robert Stephenson’s time to start is now

The Cincinnati Reds have yet to name their starting pitcher for Wednesday’s game in New York against the Mets. It’s time to see if Robert Stephenson has what it takes to be a Major League pitcher.

The Cincinnati Reds wrapped up their four-game series with the Washington Nationals on Sunday and are taking the train to New York for the next stop on their road trip. The Reds will start a three-game series with the Mets beginning on Monday. Homer Bailey and Sal Romano are the scheduled starters for the first two games, but Cincinnati has yet to name Wednesday’s starter. It’s time to see if Robert Stephenson has what it takes to be a Major League pitcher.

Stephenson has been dominant of late with the Triple-A Louisville Bats. Over his last 10 starts, Stephenson has a 7-2 record with a 2.28 ERA. He’s struck out 73 and walked 26 during that same 10 game stretch and has gone 6 innings or better in 7 of those 10 starts.

For the season, Stephenson is 11-6 with a 2.87 ERA through 20 games at Triple-A Louisville. Stephenson’s WHIP on the year is 1.16 and he’s struck out 135 batters in 113 innings pitched. Stephenson has slowly lowered his ERA from 4.11 back in early June to where it sits now at 2.87.

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The rainout on Friday night caused the Reds and Nationals to play a doubleheader on Saturday. Anthony DeSclafani would be the normal starter on Wednesday, but one less day of rest is likely to have the Reds looking for someone other than DeSclfani toeing the rubber on Wednesday night. Stephenson last pitched for Triple-A Louisville on Friday night so it would seem to set up perfectly for the right-handed Stephenson to make his season debut.

This would not be Robert Stephenson’s first stop at the Major League level. Stephenson is 7-9 during his big league career with a 5.10 ERA and a WHIP of 1.595. Stephenson’s K/9 is an impressive 8.7, but his 5.3 BB/9 is far from where the Reds would like it. He has, however, been better of late, having only walked more than three batters in 3 of his last 10 starts.

If Stephenson is called up, the question then becomes, who will the Reds send down? Will they waive Matt Harvey or outright release him? Will they send down Romano after his start on Tuesday? Might a reliever like Keury Mella or Jesus Reyes head down to Louisville and Romano head to the bullpen?

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The Cincinnati Reds have several options, but they don’t have many left with Stephenson. In fact, he’s out of options after this season, so it’d be nice for the Reds to see if they want to go forward with Stephenson as a possible starter going into 2019.