Monday -- D-backs 2, Reds 1; Ahmed sends Arizona to win in 15th. Tuesday -- Reds 3, D-backs 0; Leake shuts down D-backs. Wednesday -- LHP Wade Miley (6-7, 4.34) at RHP Alfredo Simon (12-4, 2.86), 10 a.m., no TV.
With three days and counting until the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, general manager Kevin Towers and his top talent evaluators plan to hunker down in a hotel in Covington, Ky., across the Ohio River from Cincinnati to evaluate possible deals. The D-backs have organizational depth in the middle infield, the outfield and the bullpen and could target young major league or major league-ready starting pitching on their end. Paul Goldschmidt may be the only untouchable.
Coming and going
President/CEO Derrick Hall expects the D-backs to be active at the deadline, and he mentioned the bullpen as a possible target area for potential trade partners. Right-hander Brad Ziegler is one of the best setup men around and Oliver Perez is having a strong year with one year remaining on a team-friendly contract. The D-backs appear willing to pay some of the money owed Aaron Hill ($24 million) and Martin Prado ($22 million) in the right deal. Hill brings a 10-game hitting streak into the Reds series. Prado has hit safely in 8-of-10.
The new rule that requires catchers to provide base runners a lane to home plate remains a work in progress. The intent is admirable -- to prevent violent collisions, such as the one that KO'd the Giants' Buster Posey in 2011. In application, however, it has permitted base runners who obviously will be out a loophole, one that was big enough for Philadelphia's Ryan Howard to drive through while score the tie-breaking run after an umpires' review in the seventh inning of the Phillies' 4-2 victory Sunday.
The Reds have lost eight of their last nine and have scored only 16 runs since the All-Star break, with first baseman Joey Votto and second baseman Brandon Phillips on the disabled list. Their only victory was a 1-0 Johnny Cueto/Aroldis Chapman shutout of Washington on Saturday, and Cueto is not scheduled to pitch this series. No home runs have been hit in the last three games at Great American Ball Park for the first time in the 12-year history of the park.