The Giants (17-17) come to town this weekend currently tied with our Reds (17-17) and the Padres for first losers in the Wild Card race behind the Cubs and Nationals. Yesterday, Steve previewed the series, including the obligatory head-shake at the 2012 playoffs (it’ll stop hurting eventually, right?).
#Reds are 20-8 in reg season with a 2.19 ERA vs the Giants since 2011, their best record against any team. But that 2012 LDS, man.
— Joel Luckhaupt (@jluckhaupt) May 14, 2015
All stats are 2015 actuals:
Through six starts this season, Tim Lincecum seems to have returned to his former Cy Young form. Currently working on a 15 inning scoreless streak, Lincecum has had four quality starts this season and only one real hiccup against the Dodgers. A big part of his success this year? His HR/FB rate is down to 3.6% after sitting between 12-15% the last three seasons. The Freak’s GB% is also up 7% from his career average. As his fastball has lost velocity, Lincecum has cut its usage nearly in half, working instead to get contact outs instead of overpowering strikeouts evidenced by his K% dropping nearly 10% from his Cy Young days. Beyond the Box Score wrote a far more comprehensive piece on Lincecum’s resurgence and why it just might be sustainable.
Johnny Cueto is coming off a dominant start against the White Sox that got slightly derailed in the ninth. Through 8 innings, Cueto had given up one run on four hits and walk while striking out seven. However, coming back out for the ninth, he gave up a solo shot to Jose Abreu and two other earned runs as JJ Hoover closed out the game. Somehow, Johnny Cueto has the highest ERA of any Reds’ starter not named Jason Marquis, but Cueto also leads the National League in innings pitched and WHIP so there’s really no reason for concern.
Skip Schumaker gets the start in place of the day-to-day Brandon Phillips in the Reds’ lineup:
The Giants’ lineup:
With the addition of Ryan Mattheus, the Reds will have to make a move sending someone to AAA. Prior to Rasiel Iglesias’ spectacular start last night, it was assumed that he would be the one going down the ladder. Now, it seems that Iglesias will be staying in the bullpen for the time being and someone else will be moved to make room for Mattheus.
Iglesias will stay with #Reds, Bryan Price said. in KC heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll join bullpen. After off days, theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll decide whether he or Lorenzen in rotation
— C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) May 14, 2015
Update: Pedro Villareal has been optioned to AAA to make room for Ryan Mattheus as per C. Trent Rosecrans.
Further, Lorenzen will be skipped in the rotation next time through due to an abundance of offdays per Bryan Price. It seems that the Reds will go with some sort of a make-shift six man rotation where Iglesias and Lorenzen will both take turns in the bullpen to keep innings down. Presumably, DeSclafani will also take a turn in the bullpen as the third rookie in the rotation, and Marquis may take a turn as the least effective.
Opponents are hitting .312/.358/.536 vs Jason Marquis this season. His rotation spot does not appear to be in question. #Reds
— Joel Luckhaupt (@jluckhaupt) May 14, 2015
According to John Fay, Brandon Phillips is off today as a precaution and should be back in the lineup on Friday.
DARK FATHER MEETS TODD FATHER
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) May 14, 2015
Tomorrow is Star Wars Night at Great American Ballpark complete with a Star Wars themed firework show and a Reds/Star Wars poster given to the first 20,000 fans. The promotional video for the night is actually quite good though I feel like the aesthetic of Reds players having red lightsabers is far outweighed by the connotation of evil that red lightsabers carry. But maybe I’m thinking into it too much.
BACK TO THE FUTURE
In other news, Ken Rosenthal wrote at length yesterday about how the Reds and Brewers would be smart to sit back and retool for the future. While I doubt anyone here at Redleg Nation would disagree with Mr. Rosenthal, the second Wild Card and early success of the Reds’ young pitchers have instilled a certain degree of optimism in Reds’ fans of late.
So, if you’re the Brewers and Reds, do you make yet another futile attempt at trying to compete as you fall further behind your division rivals? Or, do you acknowledge the uncomfortable reality of your position, and embark upon the long road to recovery?
Rosenthal’s gripe centers directly on Bob Castellini and his drive to win despite the odds, but the fate of the organization is still in his hands. So what do we do besides sit back, mutter to ourselves, and wait.
This series is a big one for the Reds, but the more interesting storyline might just be whatever roster moves are made over the weekend. With Devin Mesoraco only 50% if that and Zack Cozart and Brandon Phillips banged up, we might see someone go on the DL to make room for Ryan Mattheus. Or maybe the Reds will carry 13 pitchers and work with a three man bench, it’s not like they don’t do that already.