Tonight, the Reds (44-54) take on the Cardinals (64-36) in a rubber match that could potentially lead to the first Reds’ series win in St. Louis since 2011. If that sounds abysmal, consider for a second that of the 25 series the two teams have played against each other since 2011, the Reds have won 5 of them. That’s a .434 winning % in 76 games, which, when I first looked it up, was much higher than I expected it to be, so maybe that means something. Or maybe it just means that with baseball’s parity, absolute dominance is still relative. Regardless, the Reds are 19.0 games back of St. Louis and no amount of perspective is going to change that.
Of all the Reds’ rookie starters that have taken the mound this year, Disco DeSclafani has been the best, the most consistently. Iglesias and Lorenzen have both shown flashes of brilliance, but DeSclafani has been the only one who has proven he can run out their every fifth day and be solid. Now that I’ve praised him, there’s a caveat: he’s still no Johnny Cueto. Over his last three starts, Disco is 0-1 with a 5.60 ERA in 17.2 innings pitched. While not good numbers (he’s given up 20 hits over those starts, four being long balls), there are encouraging signs (15 K’s to 6 walks) that point to him being the Reds’ number two come next spring.
Amidst the Cardinals’ once again dominating season, John Lackey’s rebound season has been quietly overlooked. His 3.45 FIP is his best mark since 2006, and his 2.88 ERA is his best mark since ever. Granted, he’s expected to regress as Fangraphs has his xFIP at 3.99 for now, but a look at his last eight starts paints him as a model of consistency. Only one of those starts was less than 7.0 innings (it was 6.2), and he’s posted a 5-1 record with a 1.75 ERA in that time.
Joey Votto looks to continue his torrid streak and Marlon Byrd is back in today’s Reds’ lineup:
Kolten Wong leads off for the Cards, and rookie Stephen Piscotty continues to start in place of the injured Matt Adams:
BYRD IS THE WORD
Yorman Rodriguez went on Louisville's DL yesterday with a left calf strain. #Reds
— Jamie Ramsey (@Jamieblog) July 29, 2015
Bad news for any potential Marlon Byrd moves, the Reds’ replacement in the bush went on the DL today. Winker would be the next logical call-up I’m assuming if Byrd is moved, but the Reds could also get by with Jason Bourgeois and Skip “Grit” Schumaker until Y-Rod was healthy again.
–Former Red Mat Latos was on the move again today, back to the West Coast with Michael Morse to the LA Dodgers. Reportedly, Latos is happy with the move, and the big righty should shore up the iffy Dodgers’ rotation. He also may have finally found a clubhouse he fits well in:
@wesjenks17 the dodger roster is a $270 million headcase. He'll be right at home.
— Alex Leichenger (@AlexLeich) July 29, 2015
–Ken Rosenthal reports that the Blue Jays are interested in Mike Leake, but that was before the Tigers officially made David Price available. Reasonably, Price would need to be moved before a team took a flyer on Leake, but Leake would command a lesser return, so a team like the Dodgers still looking for pitching could bite.
ANYONE KNOW A BUTCHER WHO SELLS CROW?
Votto is hitting .468/.600/.790 with 5 doubles, 5 HR, and 11 RBI in 80 PA since July 6th. https://t.co/JB9lXPFsRV
— Joel Luckhaupt (@jluckhaupt) July 29, 2015
How hot is Joey Votto? Over his past 11 games he's hitting .595/.700/.946, 3 HRs, 12 BBs, one SO.
— David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield) July 29, 2015
SO YOU MEAN THERE’S A CHANCE?
The Reds chances of reaching the post-season may be remote, but they aren’t totally out of it yet. Check outÃ‚Â whatÃ‚Â betting experts like the guys at My Top Sportsbooks have to say.
Today is the first step of many in conquering the Evil Empire that is the Cardinals. A series victory may seem like a small victory, but it’s on enemy turf, and whenever you can go into your rival’s house and make it yours, it always feels like everything else will fall into place.
In other news, if you needed any other reason to root for the Royals this coming postseason, they keep proving they’re a baseball team that doesn’t take themselves too seriously. Best of luck to them and to Johnny Beisbol this coming fall.