The Cincinnati Reds (13-19) play the Pittsburgh Pirates (17-14) for the 3rd three-game series already this season. The Reds won two of three in their first series at GABP back in early April while the Pirates returned the favor at PNC Park just 10 days ago. Now these two teams are at it again downtown for what is expected to be a rainy week in the Cincinnati area.

OPPOSITE DIRECTION
Both the Reds and Pirates were tied for 3rd place with a 9-9 record on April 23rd. Since then, the Reds have gone 4-10 while the Pirates were 8-5. Both team have three losses to the Cubs during these past two weeks.

PLAYER TRANSACTION
The Reds have recalled RHP Layne Somsen and optioned OF Kyle Waldrop to Louisville. Waldrop was just called up yesterday and did not make an appearance. Somsen was called up during Jay Bruce’s paternity leave and also did not play. When Somsen appears in a game, it will be his Major League debut.

POLICE AND FIRE APPRECIATION NIGHT

STARTING PITCHERS

PITCHER ERA FIP HR/9 BB% K%
Jon Niese 5.94 5.74 1.9 9.1% 16.2%
Dan Straily 3.56 5.18 1.5 11.3% 21.0%

Left handed starter Jon Niese is coming off three consecutive sub-par outings, where he’s given up 15 runs over 15 innings, and failed to pitch six innings in any of those last three games. His season totals are worse than his career ERA of 3.97 and his homerun allowed rate is double what it has been in prior seasons. An elevated homerun rate, along with more walks and fewer strikeouts is a recipe for bad news. There don’t appear to be velocity concerns, as his season average fastball speed of 90mph is consistent with career and recent season numbers. The only notable change in his Pitchf/x data compared to prior seasons is that he has thrown his fastball 57.5% of the time this year compared to 47-49% in each of the past four seasons. This will be his first appearance against Cincinnati this season.

Dan Straily has already faced the Pirates twice this year. Back on April 10th out of the bullpen, Straily threw three shutout innings in the Reds 2-1 victory. Then, in an April 29th start in Pittsburgh, Straily allowed two runs over six innings in what would be a 4-1 Reds loss.

STARTING LINEUPS

PIRATES REDS
1. John Jaso (1B)
2. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
3. Gregory Polanco (RF)
4. Starling Marte (LF)
5. Francisco Cervelli (C)
6. Jung Ho Kang (3B)
7. Josh Harrison (2B)
8. Jordy Mercer (SS)
9. Jon Niese (P)
1. Zack Cozart (SS)
2. Billy Hamilton (CF)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Brandon Phillips (2B)
5. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
6. Adam Duvall (LF)
7. Tyler Holt (RF)
8. Tucker Barnhart (C)
9. Dan Straily (P)

PIRATES OUTFIELD POSITIONING
The Pirates were the subject today of a Fangraphs article on outfielder positioning. They identify a couple of teams who are using statistical data to justify pushing their outfielders to play deeper while the Pirates have looked at their own data to determine their outfielders should move in closer to the plate. For example, Andrew McCutchen has lined up short of 300 feet from home plate this season compared to an average of 316 feet this year. The move has been in place all season to play into their pitching philosophy, which produces shallower fly balls on average.

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

These teams were playing even just two weeks ago, and the pitching match-up appears to favor the Reds tonight. Hopefully, Mother Nature is a Reds fan tonight and allows enough dry innings to get this one in.

GO REDS!

59 Responses

  1. Shchi Cossack

    5/9/16 Cincinnati Reds recalled Layne Somsen from Louisville Bats.

    FINALLY!!! There was no valid reason for Somsen to be the last promotion to the bullpen from AAA and promoting him previously without even allowing him an appearance was absurd with the performance of this bullpen.

    • IndyRedMan

      Alright! He just needs to be a rebel and to resist that urge to try to fit in with everyone else. If he gets a 123 inning they might give him a blanket party on the next road trip.

  2. Shchi Cossack

    The Reds will need solid performances from Staily, Simon and Adleman over the next 3 games. Whoda thunk with the roatation anticipated coming out of spring training.

  3. Patrick Jeter

    Let me guess… Jay Bruce is 1-8 against Niese or something, so he gets the night off?

      • Andrew Mace

        I think Patrick was being sarcastic about Price’s adherence to individual batter-pitcher histories. And I’m with you on that Patrick. Do you think the Reds analytics department has given Price the research on that subject and he is ignoring it or do you think he is oblivious. My guess is he is old school so he’s probably thinking he knows more than the analytics do. Anyone? Steve, Nick, you guys know?

      • Steve Mancuso

        Hard to say. The analytics guys surely know better. Price probably asks for pitcher-hitter history. On the one hand, managers are desperate for reasons to figure out what to do. Pitcher-hitter history is information, so they seize on it. Even has that veneer of being statsy. Kind of like the 100-pitch limit for pitchers. But the truth is, an easy replacement is to look at how the batter does against a group of pitchers who are similar to the starter that night. That info has much more probative value and just as easy for a manager to use. It’s up to the analytics staff to do the extra work and put it together. It’s a lot more work for them, but exactly what their time is well spent doing. It frustrates me to no end to hear Price say he bases playing time or batting order decisions on individual matchup history. Might as well write player names on index cards and throw them down the clubhouse stairs and base decisions that way.

    • Craig Z

      Bruce is 2 for 15 off Niese. He last faced him in 2014.

  4. wizeman

    Glad to see Somsen. Anybody watching Jumbo in Louisville? Has his velocity started to come back?

  5. RedsFanCT

    Long time Redsfan living in Ct.-After yesterdays Reds debacle, i switched to the Mets/
    Padres tussle and watched as Mets lefty reliever A. Bastardo calmly blew away
    Derek Norris, Melvin Upton and Ramirez with bases loaded and no outs. Bastardo
    last year with the Bucs allowed 39 hits in 57 innings-ERA under 3.00–So far with
    Mets doing much better than any of the arson crew.He was signed by Mets in
    January about one month prior to ST–Total Cost-2yrs-12M–I can’t help thinking
    that the Reds would at least be playing 500-with Bastardo in tow.

    • mikemartz

      Long time fan? Then maybe you were a fan in 1982 when we went 61 – 101 or maybe 1984 when we went 70 – 92 or 2001 when we went 66 – 96 or 2003 when we were 69 – 93 or even last year when we had a 64 and 98 record? This is not the first time we have struggled and it surely won’t be the last time.
      Sorry to see the Reds lose a fan but rest assured with the talent coming from the minors late this season or sometime next season this will not be a long struggle! Keep the faith and you’ll be happy you did!
      I believe I was born a Reds fan as they are the only team I can ever remember rooting for. The past 48 years I’ve lived and died with every up and down season and I’ve been proud that I hung on during the downs.
      Hang in there!

      • RedsFanCT

        Hi Mike–I’m always a Redsfan–what i meant was –after the Reds game
        ended yesterday-i watched the ending of the Mets-Padres game-
        I go back to Pinson-Robinson-Purkey Ruiz–never gonna switch

  6. mikemartz

    ugh, after re-reading your post I see that I misunderstood what you meant. My apologies!! Glad to hear that you remain a fan!

  7. VaRedsFan

    For the record, Bruce is 2-15 vs Niese with 7 strikeouts.
    If he is due a day off, why not give it to him against a pitcher he has very little success against? Sometimes you don’t have the luxury of 100 AB’s against a pitcher.

    • VaRedsFan

      Billy would bat .800 if the 3rd baseman played that far back on him

  8. Darrin

    Just when I think the MLB.TV app has been fixed…..argh. Why do I pay for this again?

  9. VaRedsFan

    Tough break for Votto hitting that ball hard (100 mph) into a DP

  10. DHud

    Great play by Suarez to get the runner at 2nd! I love seeing aggressive baseball

  11. Indy RedMan

    I don’t mean to be a party pooper and I like Straily but he gave up 147 hits in 122 ip (4.77) for AAA Fresno last year in the Astros organization. The PCL is obv always been a hitters league but I’m not sure he’s as good as he’s been so far? I am pretty sure he could come in as a reliever and do better than these guys we have now!

    • DHud

      He’s given up (and likely done) only 2 runs over 6 innings against a very potent pirates lineup. Who else do we have actually pitching for us right now that could do any better?? When Homer and Disco and Iglesias are healthy and Reed and Stephenson are past the arbitration clock barrier, sure. I agree 100%. I’d love to have him coming out of the pen in the 7th or 8th instead of anyone else we have down there, but right now this is the best we can do

      • Indy RedMan

        I know that…just saying overall he’s prob like a 4.50 era guy….esp pitching in GABP. He’s been a lifesaver for Price so far….no disputing that

  12. Scotlykins

    The looming bullpen puts a damper on our games for me.

  13. Darrin

    Schebler 0-2 with 2 ks, picking up where he left off I see. Pereza 2-2 with a double and RBI, winker 1-1 with an RBI.

  14. Scotlykins

    Glad to see Votto aggressive at the plate.

  15. Vicferrari

    i do not understand why you go the pen with Straily only at 91 pitches, I find it hard to argue that Ramizrez is the better pitcher than Straily at this point, its great he got a 11-2-3 inning, but you still need 2 more if the Reds can score a run or 2, possibly you need more if it goes to extra innings. I say limit these guys any chance you get, maybe Cingrammi can get a few string of scoreless appearances going and become the closer.

      • Vicferrari

        following on gameday, what happened? Did a fan touch it? or is it review of fair foul?

      • vegastypo

        Call stands. The ball hit the top of the fence and then fans tried to catch it, but it bounced back onto the field. No interference

  16. Scotlykins

    I can’t believe that is his first of the year ???

  17. Vicferrari

    Kind of dumb to let Niese bat against Ramirez in 7th, Reds should have jumped all over him. 3 homers , Billy get 2 hits and all you got is 3 runs. Maybe Wood steps up for the bullpen in the 8th,

  18. DHud

    For the love of ALL that is baseball sacred, would our bullpen PLEASE stop walking the FIRST BATTER IT FACES EVERY FREAKING NIGHT!

  19. Indy RedMan

    Suarez can’t buy a hit right now….atleast it was a solid line drive! Tony Time!!!

    • Jack

      Suarez is 2 -25 since they moved him down to 6th spot. Tonight he is 5th but only because Bruce is out.

      • Indy RedMan

        Yeah….don’t think he’s had an opposite field hit for 3 weeks? He’s pulling his head and rolling over on everything away? He’ll get it together!

    • seat101

      There is no onus on either runner sometimes the other team gets a break.

      What would you have done differently?

  20. VaRedsFan

    Cingrani….Here’s your chance!
    Claim your spot with a clean inning.

  21. VaRedsFan

    Another bullpen streak (2) snapped

  22. VaRedsFan

    Didn’t fool any of the 4 guys he faced, but sometimes they hit ’em at ’em.

    • vegastypo

      If he can stay away from the dreaded walks, good things can happen. Rockets and all. … BP and Cozart can play some amazing D.

    • Vicferrari

      Amazing what happens when you do not walk batters

  23. Indy RedMan

    I was thinking that its great that Cozart is playing so well so we can get something valuable for him at the trade deadline but wouldn’t Price want to provide all these young arms with Gold Glove level D up the middle with Cozart, BP, and Hamilton? They’re stuck with BP and they could always trade Cozart next year? Move Bruce and put Duvall in RF next year and make room for Winker. The Cubs are the big dogs but other than that you’ve got 12 teams fighting for 2 wildcards and none of them look like they’ll be juggernauts?

    • vegastypo

      The Reds could hardly wish for anything more from Cozart as he returns from that injury. Great contact, including some power, and seems to be moving great in any direction. . …. To truly be sold on rebuilding, he has to go, especially since Brandon appears determined to stay. And even though the hitting can’t possibly continue at this level, he’s creating a nice market for the Reds.