The Reds (19-27) are 1-9 in their last 10 games, which by any account is not very good, but they are also 1-1 in their last 2 games, which is the definition of average. Therefore, by the powers invested in me by the laws of small sample sizes, I declare this Reds team average. Isn’t that a weight off your back? (Note: when you lose nine straight games, logic ceases to apply to optimism.)
This weekend, the NL East leading Nationals (28-19) come to town for a three game set. The Nationals currently lead the National League in runs scored (219) and are third in baseball in the same category behind the Blue Jays and the Yankees. The Nats are third in the NL in OPS (.743) and second in home runs (54), just one spot above our Reds who have 53 dingers. Most of the Nationals dynamic offense has been supplied by their young sparkplug Bryce Harper, who is hitting .331/.470/.745 with18 homers and 43 RBIs.
As for pitching, the staff as a whole is good but not outstanding by Major League standards, yet is anchored by Cy Young frontrunner Max Scherzer and a solid number two in Jordan Zimmerman. Not to mention flamethrower Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez who finished third in 2012 Cy Young voting. Luckily, the Reds miss both Scherzer and Zimmerman, instead catching Strasburg, Gonzalez, and Tanner Roark.
After a horrid 3.0 inning, six-run outing against the Giants, DeSclafani bounced back his last time out to throw 7.0 strong innings of one-run ball. That the Reds still dropped the game to the Indians is a bit out of his control. On the bad news side, DeSclafani has pitched far better away from Great American Ballpark, posting a 2.25 road ERA in 32.0 innings compared to his 5.40 home ERA in 20.0 innings.
For the Nationals, Stephen Strasburg looks to rebound after a tough start against the Phillies in which he only lasted 3.2 innings. Strasburg has had a tough go of it this season, lasting less than 4 innings three times in just nine starts and going 6 or more innings just twice. An interesting article critiquing Strasburg’s “makeup” and if the young pitcher receives too much undue criticism was published at the Washington Post a couple days ago.
In six years in the majors, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s clear heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not a person who is Ã¢â‚¬â€ by temperament or ability to change his disposition Ã¢â‚¬â€ ideally suited to being a pro baseball player.
Zack Cozart leads off for the Reds as Brandon Phillips is out of the lineup again with turf toe. Given the Reds propensity to play with a short bench, we may see a lot of Skip Schumaker and Kris Negron before any decision is made on Phillips’ toe.
Even though Bryce Harper has done most of the heavy lifting, the Nationals aren’t completely punchless in the rest of the lineup. Denard Span and Yunel Escobar are both hitting over .300, and Danny Espinosa’s solid bat and good glove tie him with Span for second highest WAR behind Harper.
Lorenzen to start Sunday. Marquis to the bullpen. Hoping Cueto will start a game in Philly series. #reds
— John Fay (@johnfayman) May 29, 2015
When I first came up, the bullpen was pretty much where they put the guys that couldn’t start — Dennis Eckersley
You know, my birthday isn’t until tomorrow, but if this is the kind of present I get the day before, then I know it’ll be a good year indeed. There’s really not much more to be said about this move, its necessity having been parsed out a few times already. Hopefully, Johnny isn’t out much longer and can actually return for the Philadelphia series.
Such a surprise that Marquis plan didn't work. If only there had been a way of knowing ahead of time. Like, say, reading his career stats.
— Steve Mancuso (@spmancuso) May 29, 2015
A LESSON IN LINEUP CONSTRUCTION
Dave Fleming wrote a strong article a few days ago detailing the limitations of Billy Hamilton as a ballplayer and Joey Votto’s exceptionalism as one. It’s worth a read not in the least because it calls out management for its “shuffling the batting order like deck chairs on the Titanic.” Consistency is key for these Reds; well, maybe not these Reds, but for the organization moving forward. It’s about acknowledging the limitations of your players and working with that, not always trying to finagle a way around them.
Jason Marquis is in the bullpen, so no matter the outcome of the game, the Reds took home a win on May 29, 2015. Now, we just need one that shows up in the standings.