2013 Reds / Series Preview

Cards Come to Town

For the first time this year, the St. Louis Cardinals make an appearance in Cincinnati. The Reds will be looking for a bit of revenge as the first two meetings between these rivals have gone the Cardinals’ way, leaving the Reds 2-4 against their arch rivals.

The big story with the Cardinals right now is that they have no fewer than four starting pitchers one the disabled list. Chris Carpenter hasn’t played a game for them this year, of course, but Jaime Garcia and Jake Westbrook have both gone down with injuries since the Reds last saw them. And then there’s John Gast, who was called up to replace Westbrook and promptly injured himself in his third start. The only one of these pitchers close to returning is Jake Westbrook, but he won’t make it back in time for this series.

So, the pitching matchups for the upcoming series should go like this:

Friday: Adam Wainwright (8-3, 2.33) vs. Mike Leake (5-2, 2.75)
Saturday: Tyler Lyons (2-1, 2.66) vs. Mat Latos (5-0, 2.90)
Sunday: Lance Lynn (8-1, 2.76) vs. Bronson Arroyo (6-5, 3.38)

Now, with all due respect to the Cardinals’ seemingly magical ability to produce Cy Young clones, I only really believe in Adam Wainwright’s numbers. Lyons has only 20 major league innings and there is nothing in his minor league track record to indicate this kind of ability while Lynn is benfitting from an impossibly low home-run rate. Yes, the Cardinals have good pitching, but they’ve also been lucky. They have a clear advantage Friday as do the Reds on Saturday. I believe Sunday is a wash.

Now let’s take a look at the offense (through Tuesday):

Player L/R AVG OBP SLG OPS+ POS
Yadier Molina R .348 .386 .478 139 C
Allen Craig R .312 .356 .459 125 1B
Matt Carpenter L .323 .407 .470 144 2B
Pete Kozma R .245 .302 .302 69 SS
David Freese R .280 .352 .392 107 3B
Matt Holiday R .249 .338 .418 109 LF
Jon Jay L .238 .314 .342 83 CF
Carlos Beltran S .307 .346 .525 139 RF

The Reds and Cardinals stack up pretty evenly on offense. Each team has a big hole at short (though I think Cozart is a better hitter than Kozma in the long run) and each has a few hitters who have been fantastic this season.

I suppose I could beat around the bush a bunch more, but the long and short of it is that these two teams are both very good, they match up well, and this should be a heekuva series. I’m excited to watch it.

52 thoughts on “Cards Come to Town

  1. To this point in the season, Carpenter (Matt that is) has done for their offense what Choo has ment to the Reds.

    This series will be tight and the season series will come down to a game or two. These teams are pretty evenly matched.

  2. It seems to me from looking that xFIP for top pitchers is higher than ERA. I haven’t studied it in detail, but there aren’t that many fly balls hit. The idea that FB/HR rate will even out over a season to me seems like a shaky one.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: There are a ton of flyballs hit. Generally speaking, groundball pitchers give up fewer homers than flyball pitchers, obviously, but as for Lynn, 4% of his flyballs are going for homers right now. His career rate is around the league average (10%ish). No one gives up 4%. No one. I do look this stuff up.

      • @Jason Linden: BABIP can swing a lot from year to year for a pitcher, and fly balls are a subset of batted balls. Pitchers have often posted season BABIPs of 50 points lower than their career average. So while we might think that will revert, in June, it might not.

        According to fangraphs, 5% is considered “excellent”. Your comment about 4%, then, is misleading (at least to me); you made it sound like no one is even close to that. Lynn also has exactly one year of pitching (plus 30 innings), so his historical rate is a small sample too. I think your conclusions are shaky. Sorry, no offense intended, but we all get to state our opinions. I’m not saying you will be wrong. I’m saying that I don’t think one can conclude what you are concluding based on the line of reasoning. For example, you might look at his minor league stats, but he’s clearly a different pitcher, for whatever reason, than he was in the minors.

  3. I worry that those exemplary Redbirds are hurting too much–that they’re feeling pain. Can’t we all just be nice to them for awhile?

  4. I hate the cardinals

    They do have the best uniforms though…. (that was for mom and the if you can’t say anything nice category)

  5. Really looking forward to this series. Best case scenario Reds sweep and enter Monday in first by a half a game…Worst case Reds go into Monday five and a half back. My prediction – Reds take two out of three and gain one game on the Cards.

      • @L.A.Red: One of the people at MLB network covering the draft said he (Ervin) was his favorite player in the draft … so we shall see I guess. I have to say the Reds have done a pretty decent job drafting the last 5 years or so, so I’m pretty hopeful he will be good.

        • @HOF-13: I watched and heard the same thing. Our Compensation round pick is coming up, I wonder if we’ll take one of the pitchers still left on MLB.coms Top 100 board.

  6. Ervin is a good CF/OF. Good bat and arm. Reds have another pick at #38.
    The Cards got 2 great pitchers, 1 college and 1 HS.
    The Pirates got 2 great players. An OF and a C, both from HS.
    The Cubs got that 3B from San Diego U, second overall.

    • @WVRedlegs: Yeah, the WLB’s did get to 2 really good pitchers. I like drafting tons of high upside pitchers, because as we’ve seen over the years, teams (like the Reds) will trade for good pitching when they become MLB ready. The A’s and Rays are masters at that.

      • @L.A.Red: Yeah, not only did the Cardinals get two really good pitchers, their player development will sharpen them into two top of the rotation guys.

  7. Wow Michael Lorenzen…we took a guy a with 2 positions. Does anyone know how the reds plan to use this guy?

  8. Gosh flipping DAMMIT Royals. Their one good pick came in the comp. round. They picked Manaea.

    Also, Lorenzen was announced as a RHP, so I’d guess that would be what they see him as.

    • @rhayex: What I read about Lorenzen as an OF reminds me of Chad Mottola, who, in the words of Bowden “would have been great if he could hit”.

      Looks like a RHP to me.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Mottola turned out to be one of those inexplicable 4A guys. He played in the minors into his mid 30’s, nearly all of it at AAA (13 years). He got a couple of cups of coffee in the bigs after washing out with the reds.

        • @OhioJim: I don’t think it was inexplicable. Jim Bowden did not put a premium on guys that could hit.

      • @L.A.Red: He was supposed to go in the top ten at least, maybe top five, until he broke his foot. He was considered the third best pitcher in the draft after Mark Appel and Jonathon Gray. Yeah, he was alright.

  9. The Pirates draft was ridiculously good. Seriously, I’m starting to get worried about them. Their two picks were both huge upside guys.

    • @rhayex: Again, check out wikipedia and the drafts. Most of the players aren’t good. Over half never even reach the majors, let alone do anything.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Yes, but that is largely guys who were big “ifs”. The Pirates got two guys considered to be locks. Everyone was desperately hoping Reese McGuire would fall to them. The Pirates were only the first that he fell to.

        • @rhayex: There is not nearly a such thing as a lock in the draft. Sheesh. The best ever prospect was Todd Van Poppel.

    • The Pirates draft was ridiculously good. Seriously, I’m starting to get worried about them. Their two picks were both huge upside guys.

      You are starting to worry about them? Welcome to the party, Pal.

  10. This Lorenzen pick frankly looks stupid to me. He was a college closer. Did the organization learn nothing from the Ryan Wagner debacle? You do not pick college closers high in the draft. Ever.

      • @WedgieSanders: Point noted. I’m not sure if 3rd round is high or not, but I would honestly wait for closers until later. Maybe 5th-7th. Obviously, each rule has exceptions where the guy works out.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I doubt he was drafted to be a closer. Seems the kid was an OF first, pitcher second. That means he was probably only closing because he couldn’t put in the workload to be a starter.

          Plus, with the irresponsible, incompetent coaches in the NCAA, I think choosing NCAA “closers” might actually be kind of clever. It’s risky, because the team has less data to work with and has to project more, but these guys have a lot less wear and tear.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I like it because he has barely scratched his potential as a pitcher. He is an OF/RP who can throw 95-98 MPH. He could be a steal.

      Cal State Fullerton’s coach said he has the strongest arm he has ever seen. That guy has had some serious talent roll through his clubhouse . . .

  11. Nice analysis, Jason. I’m excited too. But actually, if neither team sweeps, this series will soon be forgotten.

  12. here’s a good stat for you guys that i just stumbled upon. Adam Wainwright has 6 bb in 89 IP this season! I knew the guy had good control but jeeze

    • @zab1983: And he’s striking out nearly 1 per inning. His FIP is 1.77.

      He’s always had great control, but this is a bit absurd.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Luckily the Reds have never seemed to struggle against him as much as the rest of the league. I hope that trend continues.

        He owns Votto but Bruce and Phillips love them some Wainwright (both .333 against him). I hope Choo fairs well.

        On the flip side, they don’t have as many ABs against Leake but Holiday and Yadi love facing him. Then again Leake appears to be a very different pitcher this year . . .

        • @rightsaidred: Yeah, when Leake has his control and keeps the ball down, he’s pretty darn good. I’m hoping he stays on his hot streak and even gets a hit or two tonight.

        • @nvilleredsfan: What I have noticed (or from the Old Cossack’s perception anyway) is that the home plate umpire has a lot to do with Leake’s success on the mound. If the home plate umpire squeezes the bottom of the strike zone and doesn’t allow (call) the legitimate low strikes, then Leake is in trouble because he is forced to pitch up in the strike zone just to get a strike called by the umpire and Leake simply can’t pitch effectively up in the strike zone.

  13. It’s a bit worrisome to go into this series with a slumping Votto and the continued slumping of Choo. Will be interesting to see how quickly BP gets back in the hitting groove. He’s been great this year. Hoping for at least a close series. That last beating from the Rockies was brutal to watch.

  14. Don’t put too much stock into this series. The Cardinals come in red hot and the Reds are slumping a bit. The Cardinals come in with their 1-2-3, while the Reds pitch their 3-4-5 pitchers.

    If the Reds take one of three it is an even series to me.

    • @TC: More like the Cardinals are bringing their current 1-5-3 pitchers against the Reds current 4-1-3. Lyons is purely a fill-in for the Cardinals and is not close to the top of the rotation yet. Latos is the best healthy pitcher the Reds have.

  15. Wainwright vs. Leake tonight. I’m very excited to see if Leake can continue his impeccable trend vs a staff ace like Wainwright. Who would have believed, in the beginning of the season, that this match-up would be this interesting? We’d have written up in the Loss column automatically, right? Boy, Leake is fun to watch. And I like that he’s a David in this match-up, insofar as the physical comparisons go between the two.

  16. The Reds pitching, as a team, ranks very well.
    4th in MLB in ERA at 3.34. 8th in runs allowed at 235. 1st in fewest BB’s allowed at 144. That has to make Brian Price a little happy and put a small smile on his face. The Reds pitching for so many years was at the other end of the spectrum. They sure have come a long way in a short amount of time. Good work all.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s