Cincinnati Reds: Phillip Ervin should start every game

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 17: Phillip Ervin #27 of the Cincinnati Reds is congratulated by his teammates at home plate after hitting a walk off home run off of Ray Black #62 of the San Francisco Giants during the 11th inning at Great American Ball Park on August 17, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati defeated San Francisco 2-1 in 11 innings. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 17: Phillip Ervin #27 of the Cincinnati Reds is congratulated by his teammates at home plate after hitting a walk off home run off of Ray Black #62 of the San Francisco Giants during the 11th inning at Great American Ball Park on August 17, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati defeated San Francisco 2-1 in 11 innings. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Reds outfielder Phillip Ervin sent the fans home happy last night after a walk-off HR in the 11th inning. Ervin should be starting for the Reds every day.

Sometimes, as fans, we get emotionally charged when a call doesn’t go our teams way. Sometimes we yell at the umpire through the television when he misses, what appears to us, to be an obvious call. Sometimes we shake our head at a manager’s decision because, we think, we know better. Well, in this case, the Cincinnati Reds fans are 100% correct, Phillip Ervin should be starting every game for the rest of the season.

You saw it, right? The lineup card came out before the game, and you thought to yourself, “Why isn’t Phillip Ervin’s name in the starting lineup?” I know, I thought the same thing. Let’s face it, Mason Williams is a journeyman minor-leaguer with an injury history who’s good for a spot start. Preston Tucker appears to be a solid prospect who could use some seasoning over the next season and may turn into a serviceable outfielder. But Phillip Ervin is money!

If you needed further proof, I hope you stayed awake to watch Ervin’s walk-off to center field last night that gave the Cincinnati Reds a 2-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants. With a 1-1 count, Ervin drove a hanging breaking ball pitch from Ray Black over the wall to give the Reds their first win since beating the Arizona Diamondbacks on August 11th.

https://twitter.com/Reds/status/1030642425499459584

Now, before you think this is an instant reaction to one play, take a minute and look at the numbers that Phillip Ervin has been putting up. Before last night’s win, in the 22 games Ervin’s started since being called up to replace Scott Schebler, he’s hit .333 with a .377 OBP and .927 OPS.

Now, I’m not going to sit back and say that Ervin should be starting over Billy Hamilton in center field. Even though Ervin is capable of playing there, no one on the team, or in the league for that matter, plays better defense in center field than Billy. Hamilton’s also hit safely in 9 straight games, and while he’s not stealing bases at the rate he has in the past, his speed on the base paths is his biggest offensive weapon.

However, with Scott Schebler still on the disabled list and Jesse Winker out for the year, Ervin deserves more opportunities than he’s received. To be fair, Ervin has started 16 of the 22 games he’s played in since being called up from Triple-A Louisville. However, he’s been pulled late in ballgames by interim manager Jim Riggleman in favor of a left-handed bat. Unless it’s Joey Votto or Scooter Gennett, I don’t want any lefty pinch-hitting for Ervin.

Preston Tucker has hit .240 with a .345 on-base percentage and .745 OPS in 8 starts. Mason Williams has played well in his limited outings with the club. He’s hitting .281 but doesn’t provide the pop that Ervin does. Williams has only 1 home run in 18 games with a .368 slugging percentage.

I understand the idea of playing the percentages but sitting a player as talented as Ervin in favor of Williams or Tucker or Brandon Dixon is crazy. Ervin could be a big part of the rebuild going forward. Even with an outfield of Hamilton, Schebler, and Winker, Ervin could be the fourth outfielder and give a spot start at every outfield position once a week.

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Ervin was a first-round pick by the Cincinnati Reds back in 2013, and he’s playing like it. It’s time for Riggleman and the Cincinnati Reds organization to start treating him like it. It’s time to play Phillip Ervin every day.