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Reds: Vladimir Gutierrez’s development is key to playoff push

Jul 27, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez (53) leaves a baseball game. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 27, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez (53) leaves a baseball game. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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Vladimir Gutierrez has gone from a spot starter to an irreplaceable member of the Cincinnati Reds rotation. Gutierrez’s development over the next couple months will be key to whether or not the Redlegs are playing baseball in October.

Among the Cincinnati starters, over their last five games, no one in the rotation has a better ERA than Vladimir Gutierrez (3.40). Wade Miley (3.64) is a close second. Gutierrez has 22 punch outs in 29.1 innings during that timeframe.

David Bell has also allowed Gutierrez to work deep into ballgames, showing trust in the young rookie. Gutierrez has gone at least six inning in his last four starts. After posting a 4.34 ERA during the month of July, the right-hander has 3-0 record and an ERA of just 1.42 in August.

Vladimir Gutierrez has been the Reds best starter of late.

To be fair, it’s not as though Vladimir Gutierrez has faced a Murder’s Row lineup over his last several starts given that the 25-year-old has gone toe-to-toe with the New York Mets (twice), Pittsburgh Pirates, and Atlanta Braves over his last four starts.

While the Braves rank fifth in OPS, they are missing their best player (Ronald Acuña Jr.). The Mets and Pirates both rank in the bottom half of the league in OPS with the Buccos occupying last place in the NL.

Still, what Gutierrez gas done is quite impressive. More than anything, he’s helped keep the Cincinnati bullpen fresh. Gray has survived past the fifth inning just once in his last five starts and Castillo’s last start saw him removed after 3.1 innings of work. Gutierrez has gone past the fifth inning in nine of his 14 starts this season.

Vladimir Gutierrez has not been without a flawed outing. Two of Gutierrez’s worst starts came against the San Diego Padres. In 9.1 innings versus the Friars, Gutierrez has allowed 14 hits, including four home runs, and surrendered 11 earned runs.

However, if you subtract Gutierrez’s two starts against the Padres, his season ERA sits at just 2.88. Since Cincinnati doesn’t face San Diego anymore this season, perhaps we’ll see Gutierrez’s ERA continue to fall.

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The Cincinnati Reds have found a gem in Vladimir Gutierrez. While Jonathan India and Tyler Stephenson are the two Cincinnati rookies who gain the most attention, Gutierrez deserves a fair share of adulation as well. The right-hander’s success or failure over the final two months of the season could have a huge impact on the Reds’ playoff push.

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