Cincinnati Reds: An aggressive Lucas Sims makes his case to start again

CINCINNATI, OHIO - MAY 28: Lucas Sims #39 of the Cincinnati Reds throws a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park on May 28, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - MAY 28: Lucas Sims #39 of the Cincinnati Reds throws a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park on May 28, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Reds dismantled the Pittsburgh Pirates last night. While Derek Dietrich’s 3 home run performance was amazing, Lucas Sims was equally impressive and should get another chance to start.

Lucas Sims made his first start in a Cincinnati Reds uniform last night against the Pittsburgh Pirates. While Derek Dietrich‘s 6 RBIs were almost enough to outscore the Pirates by himself, Lucas Sims dominated the opposition and made his case for another opportunity to start.

Sims set the tone from the jump. A three-pitch strikeout of Kevin Newman on three consecutive fastballs gave a glimpse into Sims’ plan for the game. He was going to be aggressive and attack the Pirates’ hitters.

Lucas Sims was getting ahead of hitters early. Thorough the first six innings of work, only twice did Sims fall behind 1-0 in the count. After loading the bases in the top of the eighth and allowing a grand slam to Newman, Sims’ stat line will not tell the whole story.

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Sims went 7.1 innings, allowed 6 hits, 4 runs, walked just 1 batter and struck out 9 opposing hitters. Given that the Reds were up 10-0 when Newman sent his big fly into the seats, there wasn’t much worry in the Cincinnati Reds’ dugout. However, at that point, Sims had thrown 100 pitches and David Bell brought in Robert Stephenson to finish the game.

After playing a doubleheader yesterday, Bell was probably looking for a performance like this from the 25-year-old. Getting an extra day of rest for an already taxed bullpen was probably a pleasant surprise for the Reds’ skipper.

The Reds traded for Sims last season at the deadline. Sims, along with Matt Wisler and Preston Tucker came over from Atlanta. In exchange, the Braves received former All-Star outfielder Adam Duvall. Sims was the key piece in that deal for the Reds and is the only player still in the organization.

So, what now? Do the Cincinnati Reds keep Lucas Sims on the 25-man roster? Does he get another start or do they use him out of the bullpen? Does Sims head back to Triple-A? All these questions will be answered in short order and a lot may have to do with how Anthony DeSclafani performs during today’s game against Pittsburgh.

DeSclafani has been bad his last three outings. The right-hander is 2-2 on the season with a 4.99 ERA in 10 starts. While Disco has looked dominant at times, the last three games have not been good. DeSclafani is 0-1 with a 9.26 ERA while allowing 19 hits and 12 runs. Disco has allowed an alarming 3 home runs in each of his last 2 starts.

Tyler Mahle, who had a rough outing his last time on the mound, has been in a precarious position since he made the roster. Mahle was always thought to be the place-holder for Alex Wood until the southpaw returned from injury. Mahle’s 5 inning performance against the Cubs that saw the right-hander surrender 3 homers may have some within the organization question his standing with the team as well.

Both DeSclafani and Mahle have two options remaining, so either could be sent down to Triple-A Louisville if the Cincinnati Reds deem it necessary. Personally, I don’t see the Reds sending either Mahle or DeSclafani down at this time. However, if I had to select one, I’d assume Mahle, who was slated to begin the season at Triple-A anyway, would be the odd-man out.

Lucas Sims’ performance did not go unnoticed last night, however, I still suspect the Cincinnati Reds will stick with their current rotation and send Sims back to the minor leagues. A move to the bullpen seems counterproductive and the Reds have already shown a willingness this season to yoyo players between Triple-A and the big leagues.

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Lucas Sims sure put the other five starters on notice though. If I were Anthony DeScalfani or Tyler Mahle, I certainly would not feel comfortable with my current standing on the roster knowing that Sims is nipping at their heels. While he may not stick this time around, expect to see Lucas Sims back in the major leagues this season.