After a sweep at the hands of the 13-7 New York Mets, the Reds (9-13) travel to Pittsburgh to take on the second in the Central Pirates (13-9). The Reds have lost six of their last seven, being outscored 51-22 in the process. Following the Pirates’ series, the road gets a bit easier for the Reds with series against the Giants, Brewers, and Phillies on the horizon.

Starting Pitchers
The following stats are from 2016

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In his two starts this season, Dan Straily has pitched well despite not lasting deep into the game. His last time out against the Cubs, Straily lasted 4.2 innings, giving up three earned runs on four hits and three walks. Control has been Straily’s Achilles heel so far, as he has walked at least one batter in every appearance.

Juan Nicasio opened the season with a bang against the Cardinals but has yet to repeat that performance in any of his other three starts. In that first game, Nicasio went 6.0 innings, allowing one run, walking no one, and striking out seven. Over his next three starts, Nicasio has gone 14.0 innings with 11 walks and 14 strikeouts. If the control isn’t there today, the Reds might be able to chase Nicasio early.

Starting Lineups

Reds Pirates
1. Zack Cozart (SS)
2. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Brandon Phillips (2B)
5. Jay Bruce (RF)
6. Tucker Barnhart (C)
7. Scott Schebler (LF)
8. Dan Straily (P)
9. Billy Hamilton (CF)
1. John Jaso (1B)
2. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
3. David Freese (3B)
4. Starling Marte (LF)
5. Francisco Cervelli (C)
6. Gregory Polanco (RF)
7. Josh Harrison (2B)
8. Jordy Mercer (SS)
9. Juan Nicasio (P)

The Votto Blues

This is all a funny mirage, and May comes in a few days, and we’ll probably look back on this month and remember that one time when Joey Votto was terrible — somehow.

Fangraphs published a piece today titled “The Unfathomable Reality of a (Temporarily) Awful Joey Votto.” Similary, Redleg Nation’s Patrick Jeter published a piece titled “Neutralizing Joey Votto.” Despite the disparity in the catchiness of each work’s title (sorry Patrick), both end up saying the same thing: Joey is being pitched inside and it’s working.

Part of that is the product of age–Joey just can’t turn on the inside pitch anymore–but part of it is also a delay in changing his approach. Votto’s biggest strength has always been his adaptability, so Fangraphs claiming that Joey will be good again at the calendar flip is not so far outside the realm of possibility.

Suspension
Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon has been suspended 80 games for using a banned substance. Gordon had signed a 5 year, $50 million extension with the Marlins over the winter after a breakout 2015. Gordon released the following statement in response:

“Though I did not do so knowingly, I have been informed that test results showed I ingested something that contained prohibited substances. The hardest part about this is feeling that I have let down my teammates, the organization and the fans. I have been careful to avoid products that could contain something banned by MLB and the 20+ tests that I have taken and passed throughout my career prove this. I made a mistake and I accept the consequences.”

Concluding Thoughts
The Reds need to break out of their funk today and take it to the Pirates. Hopefully, Straily maintains some control and works deep into the game, and Joey decides to end his slump  a few days early.

Go Reds!

35 Responses

  1. lwblogger2

    I don’t know how much easier the road is going to get. Giants are 12-11 and my pick to win the NL West. Phillies are a shocking 12-10 so far, this after starting very poorly against the Reds. The Brewers? Yeah, well, they are just as bad as the Reds. They may be…worse.

    I love watching Barnhart catch but him doing so as often as he has begs the question of just how healthy Mesoraco is? The guy was out all last year so I understand taking it slowly but he’ll need to play a little more than every other game if they ever want to “get him going”. You don’t get out of a slump by sitting regularly.

    The Pirates are my least favorite team now. They’ve passed the Cards. I can’t stand them. I don’t even really know why I dislike them so much. There’s no logical reason. I just can’t stand them. It starts with Clint Hurdle I think though.

  2. TR

    My dislike of the Pirates is tied in to my aversion toward the Steelers.

  3. gusnwally

    Well, considering they throw at just about every batter that walks into the box, then whine that other teams are throwing at them it is not too hard to dislike them.

    • Dan

      and that is the only reason I care for them at all.

    • docmike

      The Pirates are a bunch of punks, plain and simple.

      And they have also become my most hated team in MLB. I hope they lose every game they play.

  4. VaRedsFan

    McCutchen has 25 career HR’s vs the Reds…Most vs. any opponent. How about keeping him in the park this series?

  5. VaRedsFan

    I wish Duval was the lefty and Schebler the righty.

  6. VaRedsFan

    Pirate broadcasters are annoying. At least they have a center field camera looking straight at the plate.

  7. VaRedsFan

    Nice job Straily getting out of the jam.

  8. VaRedsFan

    2 jam shot hits this inning plate a run…bad luck

  9. VaRedsFan

    Suarez just saved a run…nice play

  10. VaRedsFan

    6 innings of 2 run baseball for Straily. Can’t hardly complain about that.

  11. msanmoore

    So I had Gameday in the background and just flipped to it in time to see Hoover the Groover give up a gopher ball. Go figure …

  12. VaRedsFan

    Hoover at it again. Turns a 2 run game into a 4 run game. Has now given up 5 HRs in 8 innings.

  13. redsfan06

    Who is more certainly finished….Hoover or Simon?

    • Patrick Jeter

      Neither one has ever been very good, so they’ve kinda always been finished to some degree!

  14. TR

    Home run again and this time in the 7th. inning.

  15. VaRedsFan

    Wow…watching that replay, Schebler got there and LITERALLY WATCHED the ball hit the top of the 7 foot padded wall. He actually shied away from it. He would be in the minors tomorrow, if anybody had a backbone. Total lack of effort.

    • Patrick Jeter

      I thought the same thing. Looked like a catchable ball to me… at least one that should have had an attempt on it…

  16. VaRedsFan

    Ball 4 is called strike 3 to Billy.

    • msanmoore

      Past time for robo calling balls and strikes.

      • vegastypo

        I’m a little sad to say this, but I think I agree. I’m beginning that as pitchers increase their velocity, umps have even less time to react, and end up guessing.

  17. gusnwally

    Well, Hoover has sent me off to Laverne and shirley.

    • Indy RedMan

      2 was enough….1 run was prob enough….we can’t hit

  18. Indy RedMan

    Bob Steve 6 ip, 2er, 11 Ks tonite for Lville. Winker with a 3 run HR off Tampa’s highly regarded lefty Blake Snell. When they get called up then I might actually watch 9 innings again….or maybe a Lamb start. I sort of like Straily….reminds me of Sammy LeCure a little bit…stuff isn’t that great but he knows how to pitch

  19. Patrick Jeter

    Votto is somehow 2nd on the team in OBP now at .330… behind Cozart (and Barnhart if you count him).

  20. Patrick Jeter

    With all the talk about the Pirates being so shift friendly over the last few years, a lot of people have mistaken Clint Hurdle as a forward-thinker.

    He just brought his closer in for 1 out… to face Scott Schebler….who has one of the worse contact rates in major league baseball. Why? Because since Caminero gave up 1 run, it became a save situation.

    Hurdle is as old school as they come. Always has been. Shifts coming from the front office only.