The Cincinnati Reds (38-37) play for their 4th straight win tonight and are looking to lock in their 4th consecutive series victory. The Reds haven’t lost a series since dropping 2 of 3 to the Giants at the beginning of the month. Only Jake Arrieta and the Chicago Cubs (31-43) stand in the Reds way of continuing their June success tonight.
Arrieta will make his 10th start of the year after missing the beginning of the season with a shoulder injury. In 7 of his 9 starts, Arrieta has allowed just 1 run or less. He has been even more impressive over his last three games: 20 innings, 10 hits, 2 walks, 27 strikeouts and only one run on a solo homerun to Giancarlo Stanton. Fangraphs attributes his 2014 success to throwing a cutter more frequently. Prior to this season, Arrieta was throwing a cutter less than 15% of time. Over his past three games, he’s thrown a cutter for more than 30% of his pitches.
Homer Bailey takes the ball for Cincinnati. His best start of the season was in Chicago back in April. It is the only start of the year in which Bailey allowed 0 runs, and he also went 1-for-3 at the plate with an RBI.
After getting heavy use late last week, the bullpen should be well rested, if needed. J.J. Hoover hasn’t appeared in the past five days, last throwing 39 pitches on June 18th. The following table summarizes reliever pitch counts over the past 5 days:
|Pitcher||Total Pitches||June 23||June 22||June 21||June 20||June 19|
Phillips is still day-to-day while Devin Mesoraco remains in the cleanup spot.
1. Billy Hamilton (S) CF
2. Todd Frazier (R) 3B
3. Joey Votto (L) 1B
4. Devin Mesoraco (R) C
5. Jay Bruce (L) RF
6. Ryan Ludwick (R) LF
7. Skip Schumaker (L) 2B
8. Zack Cozart (R) SS
9. Homer Bailey (R) P
MINOR LEAGUE NEWS
Jesse Winker and Robert Stephenson were named to the MLB Futures roster for the USA Team. Doug Gray has the details and 2014 player’s stats.
MLB RULE CHANGE/CLARIFICATION
After apologizing for the incorrect interpretation of the home plate blocking rule during the last week’s Reds/Pirates series, MLB has adjusted rule 7.13 today and instructed umpires to not enforce the rule on force outs at home plate.
There was some afternoon rain in the Chicago area, but there’s no forecasted chance of rain delays during the game. It looks like the Reds are facing a tough starting pitcher tonight, but I’ll choose to be optimistic that the Reds keep their record above .500 and continue to chase down the front running Brewers.