Hello Reds’ fans. Starting today, our erstwhile
club contenders will cast a line and try to hook as many wins as possible in a four game series with the Marlins of Miami. The clubs enter the series with identical records of 53-54 and playoff chances that could dwindle like raindrops in the sea depending on the outcome of these games. One wonders if, like The Old Man and the Sea, any victory won will be little more than that of pride in survival for another day.
If I can stretch my metaphors to the point of breaking, one could build the perfect fishing expedition from these two clubs, the Reds, with their excellent pitching and defense provide a solid boat to keep the the fisherman from sleeping with his prey while the Marlin bats would provide a solid reel and tackle box for bringing dinner home to the frying pan.
Of course, neither team has all the pieces it needs, which is why they both enter the series with mediocre records and dwindling hope.
The Marlin Lineup
You can see here that they are a bunch of able sailors with the bats and they, of course, have a strong captain to lead them in Stanton. Of note is that they are one about their 37th second baseman this year. Having experienced something akin to what the Reds saw in left last year.
Still, it’s a good crew from stem to stern.
The Pitching Matchups
Tom Koehler quickly shows that the pitching staff consists of more weekend fisherman than true sea captains. He’s a serviceable fourth or fifth starter who does not belong in the same league as Johnny Cueto.
Again, not much to see here, nor has there ever been. The more interesting narrative will continue to be what’s going on with Mat Latos’ fastball velocity. He should run all over Turner, but he hasn’t been what we’re used to seeing since coming off the DL.
Once again, we see a pitcher who is solid but not anything great. Eovaldi is just sort of okay. Probably below average. He should have equal odds against Homer, though, as the Marlins lineup is so much better than what the Reds are likely to show.
Of all the starters the Reds will face, Alvarez is probably the best and should provide a good challenge for Mike Leake who is having a his own personal banner year.
This is a series of great importance to both clubs. A sweep on either side means playoff doom for the other. Each team has to be hoping for at least three wins as anything else if going to put them further away from the playoffs than they are now. It should also be an unpredictable series. It is easy to imagine high scoring games and shutouts on both ends given the relative strengths and weaknesses of each club. It should be interesting to watch, that’s for sure.
Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at jasonlinden.com.