“I’m getting close,” he said. “I want to finish strong.”
No choice: The battered bullpen needed some new blood after Tuesday's eruption, so the team designated right-handed pitcher Blake Wood for assignment, recalled from Triple-A Louisville right-hander Luke Farrell and selected from the Bats the contract of right-hander Alejandro Chacin, whose first appearance will be his major-league debut. Outfielder Phillip Ervin was optioned to Louisville.
Farrell, the son of Boston manager John Farrell and a Cleveland St. Ignatius High School graduate, made his major-league debut on July 1 in a start for Kansas City against Minnesota and was rocked for seven hits and five runs with three walks and two strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings.
“Every player has nerves in their debut,” the 6-foot-6, 210-pound 26-year-old said. “It was exciting, but I’m glad to be done with it.”
The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind for Farrell. The Royals sold his contract to the Dodgers on July 28 and he pitched in one game for Triple-A Oklahoma City before Los Angeles placed him on waiver Aug. 9. The Reds claimed him and, in two starts with Louisville, he was 0-2 with a 19.06 ERA. He is a combined 7-6 with a 4.85 ERA in 20 games, including 19 starts, at his three minor league stops this season.
“Right now, no unpacking,” Farrell said. “It’s been a merry-go-round. I’m just taking it day-by-day.”
“We kind of feel like he’s the right guy for this particular spot — this particular role at this particular time,” Price said. “He’s the best fit. He can go out and pitch five or six innings if we need it.”
The Reds signed Chacin as a free agent in 2010 when he was 16. The 6-foot, 204-pounder Venezuela native has progressed steadily and posted a 2.60 ERA in 69 1/3 innings over 44 games for the Bats this season. He allowed five hits in 11 1/3 scoreless innings over his last eight games with Louisville.
“Every promotion he’s gotten he’s deserved based on how he performed at the previous level,” Price said. “It’s really the American way. He’s earned everything he’s gotten to this point. I admire him for it.”
Wood entered Tuesday’s game in the eighth inning, walked the first three he faced and allowed hits by the next three, extending to 10 the streak of consecutive hitters he allowed to reach base over his last two appearances.
“It was a really hard decision,” Price said. “Phillip, we knew we were going to send him to Louisville to get some regular at-bats before September. (Outfielder Jesse) Winker already isn’t getting regular at bats, and it’s harder with two guys. Blake needs reps at a different location, but he didn’t have any options and we didn’t have any options. He’s been our most durable pitcher. He took the ball every time we asked, often after going two innings the day before. The bulk of his work here has been positive, but his recent performance led to this.
“We needed to make a move, and his recent struggles meant I didn’t know how I could use him. It was a tough decision.”
Leftovers: From Tuesday's mind-numbing 13-9 loss to the Cubs: the 4-hour, 4-minute game time was Cincinnati's longest for nine innings this season. … Tucker Barnhart's logged his 100th career RBI with a second-inning double. … Kevin Shackelford's fourth-inning single was his first career hit.
Jesse's turn: Winker will start Thursday's series finale, Price said. Right-hander Sal Romano (3-5, 5.32) is Cincinnati's scheduled starter in the 7:10 game. Right-hander Jake Arrieta (13-8, 3.63) is due to start for the Cubs.