The Cincinnati Reds (10-16) will look to bounce back from another bullpen disaster last night against the San Francisco Giants (14-13). The Reds have lost 7 of their last 8 games, and find themselves in last place in the NL Central. Tonight is “Bark in the Park” at the old ballpark.
*John Lamb’s numbers are his 2016 ZiPS projection with the exception of FBv (2015)
John Lamb was just called up from AAA-Louisville where he was on a rehab assignment. Jon Moscot was supposed to pitch tonight, but he is dealing with a non-throwing shoulder injury.
Lamb made three rehab start at AAA. The first start was OK (3.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 65 pitches). The second start was a disaster (2.2 IP, 11 H, 9 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 78 pitches). The third start was very good (8.0 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K). The Reds haven’t had a starter pitch into the 8th inning all season, so that in itself is incredibly encouraging.
I am a big John Lamb fan. Here is what I wrote about Lamb when I previewed the Reds rotation in late March:
John Lamb was the definition of a raw talent with a lot of upside last season with the Reds. If you only looked at Lamb’s 5.80 ERA in 49.2 innings, you’d probably think he was terrible. But if you look a little bit closer, you’d see all the promise that he brings. Lamb had a ridiculous 10.51 K/9. For comparison sake, there were only five starting pitchers in baseball who struck out 10+ batters per 9 innings (Sale, Kershaw, Scherzer, Archer, and Carrasco). Obviously, striking out that many batters over 150+ innings is an entirely different level than 49.2 innings, but you can see why there is so much excitement.
So how exactly did Lamb put up a 5.80 ERA if he was that good? Well, he had a 3.44 BB/9 (MLB average among SP in 2015 was 2.72) and a 1.45 HR/9 (MLB average was 1.06). He also suffered some tough luck with a .376 BABIP.
The Giants were hoping when they signed Jeff Samardzija for $90 million this off-season that they weren’t getting the pitcher who had a 4.96 ERA/4.23 FIP in 2015. So far it has gone pretty well for the Giants. Samardzija did hit a rough spot in his last start, which came against the Padres (5.2 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 7 K).
Samardzija broke out with the Cubs in 2008. In 26 appearances, all coming as a reliever, he posted a 2.28 ERA/3.06 FIP. He didn’t allow a home run in 27.2 innings. The Cubs moved him up and down from AAA to the big leagues in 2009 and 2010 (pitching as a starter in AAA and mostly as a reliever in the MLB) and he really struggled. The Cubs had him pitch entirely as a reliever in 2011 at the MLB level, and he succeeded again. He made 75 appearances and had a 2.97 ERA/3.20 FIP.
The Cubs moved Samardzija back to the rotation in 2012. Between 2012-2013, he was exclusively used a starter. In 61 starts between 2012-2013, he posted a 4.10 ERA/3.67 FIP. Samardzija had his breakout year in 2014. He made 17 starts with the Cubs, and had a 2.83 ERA/3.10 FIP. The Cubs made a smart move knowing they were out of the race, and traded him to the all-in Oakland A’s for top prospect Addison Russell. Samardzija was good with the A’s too, posting a 3.14 ERA/3.30 FIP in 16 starts.
The A’s traded Samardzija over the off-season following their late season collapse in 2014. He struggled all season with the White Sox in 2015. Samardzija has been really great at times in his career, and really struggled at other times. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the 31-year old’s career finishes out.
|1. Denard Span (CF)
2. Matt Duffy (3B)
3. Buster Posey (C)
4. Hunter Pence (RF)
5. Brandon Belt (1B)
6. Brandon Crawford (SS)
7. Kelby Tomlinson (2B)
8. Gregor Blanco (LF)
9. Jeff Samardzija (P)
|1. Billy Hamilton (CF)
2. Ivan De Jesus (SS)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Brandon Phillips (2B)
5. Jay Bruce (RF)
6. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
7. Adam Duvall (LF)
8. Tucker Barnhart (C)
9. John Lamb (P)
Reds bullpen on the wrong side of history
The Reds bullpen allowed a run for the 20th consecutive game last night. That tied the 2013 Colorado Rockies bullpen for the longest streak of allowing at least one run in MLB history. If the Reds bullpen allows a run tonight, they will be the only team in the entire history of Major League Baseball to allow a run in 21 consecutive games. So, Bryan Price should just let John Lamb pitch 9 innings, even if he has given up 15 runs and has thrown 268 pitches.
Other news and notes
Moscot says MRI on left shoulder shows it's structurally fine. Price hoping he can pitch in 24-48 hrs. Might return to bullpen initially.
— Brian Giesenschlag (@BGiesenschlag) May 3, 2016
Mesoraco says he's still deciding on next step. Price says team hopes to lay out a plan for treatment relatively soon.
— Brian Giesenschlag (@BGiesenschlag) May 3, 2016
When Mesoraco went for the MRI, he thought he might still be in the lineup that night. “It is what it is. I can’t change it.” #reds
— John Fay (@johnfayman) May 3, 2016
We all need to forget about last night as quickly as possible. Last night’s game really showed the high and low that a baseball game can bring. The only way to forget that is for the Reds to come out and get a nice W tonight. Go Reds!
Nick is a lifelong Reds fan who was born and raised in Cincinnati. He acquired his love of baseball from his late grandfather. Nick moved to the Cleveland area in 2014 with his wife, and his currently fighting to convert his beautiful baby daughter Emma to Reds fandom. Nick has been writing for Redleg Nation since 2013. Follow Nick on Twitter @nicholaspkirby.