The Cincinnati Reds (15-29) are on the West Coast to battle the LA Dodgers (22-23) for a 3-game series. The game threads will be posting at their regularly scheduled time this week, though game action won’t start until 10pm ET.

Despite having the best run differential in the NL West (+15), the Dodgers find themselves currently sitting in 3rd place, 4.5 games behind the first place Giants.

The Dodgers played an 11-inning game on Saturday against the Padres in which they used 6 relievers and lost the game on a walk-off walk. Then on Sunday afternoon, the Dodgers used all eight of their relievers and had to use Clayton Kershaw as a pinch hitter in the 15th inning. They finally ended the six hours after it started by scoring four times in the 17th inning. Which would normally add up to some sort of advantage tonight for the Reds in Los Angeles, right? Well, of course, it’s Clayton Kershaw who gets to play on back-to-back nights, taking tonight’s start, which has routinely become a night off for the Dodgers “shaky bullpen“. Kershaw hasn’t pitched less than seven innings in any of his nine starts this season. Two of his most recent four starts have been complete games.

STARTING PITCHERS

PITCHER ERA FIP HR/9 BB% K%
Brandon Finnegan 4.44 5.45 1.7 10.6% 17.5%
Clayton Kershaw 1.67 1.33 0.4 1.6% 34.8%

A classic battle between two left-handed pitchers tonight. They were both drafted in the 1st round of the June draft. Both men are in their 20’s. Each of them are making their respective 10th start of the season. They both have a 1 and a 6 in their BB% (percentage of walks per batters faced). And, I actually ran out of similarities before I even started.

Kershaw has the ball for the Dodgers tonight, and if you stay up late to watch the game, you’ll get a chance to watch one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. He’s won three of the past five NL Cy Young Awards and is having an even better season this year than he has in previous seasons: nine starts, 70 innings, 88 strikeouts and FOUR walks. After walking three batters over his first four starts, he’s issued just ONE free pass over his last five starts spanning 40 innings. Per ESPN:

There are 106 pitchers this season who have walked four batters in a game. Including last year’s Cy Young winners — Jake Arrieta and Dallas Keuchel — who have done it three times each.

Brandon Finnegan is not Clayton Kershaw. He has yet to complete seven innings in a game this season. We’ll look at the positives and focus on his last start in which he didn’t walk any batters and struck out six over 5.2 innings. That makes two of his last three starts where he hasn’t walked a batter.

LINEUP AND BATTING ORDER

SP: Brandon Finnegan SP: Clayton Kershaw
1. Zack Cozart (SS)
2. Billy Hamilton (CF)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Brandon Phillips (2B)
5. Jay Bruce (RF)
6. Adam Duvall (LF)
7. Jordan Pacheco (3B)
8. Tucker Barnhart (C)
9. Brandon Finnegan (P)
1. Kiké Hernandez (LF)
2. Justin Turner (3B)
3. Adrian Gonzalez (1B)
4. Howie Kendrick (2B)
5. Trayce Thompson (CF)
6. Corey Seager (SS)
7. Yasiel Puig (RF)
8. A.J. Ellis (C)
9. Clayton Kershaw (P)

Eugenio Suarez gets the day off he needs. Otherwise, standard  Reds lineup to take on Kershaw.

WINNING OFF THE FIELD
I don’t recall this happening very often. Major League Baseball has rescinded the three game suspension and fine of Reds reliever Ross Ohlendorf. You typically see reduced penalties when these things are appealed. So, an outright rescission gives the Reds a rare win.

IMHO
In my humble opinion, it is time for Alfredo Simon to move back to the bullpen. It was the Reds who initially made him a starter two seasons ago, and they need to do right by him and the team and move him back to a bullpen role. I’m not saying that he will be any better there, but I think they need to see if they can salvage anything from their $2 million offseason expenditure to see if he can pitch anywhere close to the way he did as a reliever in 2012-2013.

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS
The last time that Kershaw faced Cincinnati hitters, he pitched seven innings, walked one batter and struck out nine. However, Brandon Phillips hit a two-run homerun in the top of the first inning, which gave Cincinnati a lead that they never relinquished.

Finnegan and the Reds bullpen will need to pitch tonight as well as Homer Bailey did that May night almost exactly two years ago for history to repeat itself.

GO REDS!

53 Responses

  1. kmartin

    Kershaw K%/BB% = 21.75, Finnegan K%/BB% = 1.65. Ugh!

  2. DHud

    4 BB in one game? Psh, child’s play. The Reds pitchers can do that in one inning!

  3. ohiojimw

    There are several reports on Twitter that the Reds have traded minor league pitcher Franderlyn Romero to the Orioles. Doug Gray (@dougdirt24 redsminorleagues.com0 reports that he now believes an MLB player is also involved but doesn’t yet know who or from which team. I believe Doug is in Dayton tonight and picked this up via someone with the Dragons who knew than Romero had been told he was traded to the Orioles org.

    • ohiojimw

      Roch Kubatko (@masnroch) who covers the O’s for MASN/ masnsports.com has tweeted the following:
      Hearing #orioles have traded LHP Brian Matusz. Trying to get more details

      • ohiojimw

        Zach Buchanan (@zachENQ) says he been told that Romero is going to the O’s but that NO MLB players are involved in that deal.

        Meanwhile, the Braves got Matusz and the #76 over all draft pick, a competitive balance pick and thus tradeable, from the O’s for a couple of minor league pitchers. The linchpin of the deal is that the Braves take on all of the remaining portion of Matrusz’s $3.9M 2016 salary. The Braves are thought to be likely to DFA Matuz. So essentially the Braves bought that pick by taking the salary and sending a couple of minor league pitchers to the O’s

        @mlbboswman, @mlbrtostermoves, @chriscotillo

  4. preacherj

    Maybe the Commissioner thinks its more of a punishment to let Ohlendorf pitch. I know I do.

  5. Darrin

    Complete game shutout with 12 ks, Kershaw should do pretty well too. HayOhhhh. I’ll be here all week, try the crab cakes.

  6. Patrick Jeter

    If you added the 2nd worst pitcher’s ERA (Jake Peavy) to Clayton Kershaw’s ERA, it would still be less than Alfredo Simon’s ERA.

    That is a zinger.

  7. seat101

    The trade descriptions are clear as mud. Can you tell me who was sent where by home and which team gets what in return?

    Of course, this could just be a result of the medicine I’m taking to recover from back surgery……

    • ohiojimw

      >>Reds send Romero to O’s org. No word on return but apparently no MLB players involved

      >>O’s send Bryan Matusz and the #76 overall draft pick (a competitive balance pick) to the Braves for a couple of minor league players. Braves take on the remainder of Matusz’s $3.9M 2016 salary. Braves then DFA Matusz. (i.e. deal was all about getting the #76 pick which they essentially bought by taking on the salary).

      >>>No known connection between the deals other than they happened almost simultabneously.

      • seat101

        Thank you very much. I think the Orioles are wrong to give up any draft picks.

  8. Indy RedMan

    Curtis is hitting .328 (.449 obp) for Lville but Pacheco can be the emergency catcher! He’ll never actually catch this year but hey lets not squabble over details.

    • David

      This is winning baseball! Catch the fever!

  9. seat101

    They say a pessimist is never disappointed.

    anyway, this is still not the most disappointing Red’ season I have ever witnessed. Most frustrating and disappointing season to date, was the 1971 Reds. The team had
    been built for Crosley Field. Not Riverfront. It was not until the off-season trades that I realized that was why the season was so frustrating.

    If the bullpen had just been replacement level capable, this would not be a particularly frustrating or disappointing season.

    • ohiojimw

      To me the frustrating part about the bullpen is that it likely could have been made to say league average standards without breaking the bank and upsetting the (alleged) rebuilding plan.

      However then again, I also see the logic they apparently had of filling in the pen from the fallout of the rotation competition, neither of which have yet to take shape because of the injuries.

      I’m trying to stay even keeled and bide my time until the Super 2 threshold date is clearly passed. At that point if we don’t see Stephenson and Reed at MLB with Garrett and a couple of others pushed forward to AAA to give them a shot at the MLB team next spring, I will be very frustrated.

  10. Scotlykins

    Why is Cozart not batting third the way he is hitting the ball ???

    • Patrick Jeter

      Probably something to do with Price believing that a move might end Cozart’s mojo.

    • Patrick Jeter

      And even though Votto’s been bad, he’s still got the best OBP. Might as well switch Votto and Cozart. Can’t hurt anything.

      • David

        1st Basemen don’t bad leadoff! Shortstops do! From the book of Dusty, Chapter 2.

  11. seat101

    Eddie Milner used to smile whenever he made a real dumb mistake. Same smile that Brandon Phillips has on his face right now.

    Irritating to see.

    • Chuck Schick

      Eddie Milner and Dan Driessen always adjusted the cups every 5 seconds…..it was like they were using a car battery for protection

      • seat101

        I had forgotten that about the old Double D. I don’t remember that about Milner. It could be confirmation bias but I seem to remember him getting picked off first and awful lot of times.

  12. Tom Diesman

    Reds get two international signing slots from the Orioles for Franderlyn Romero.

    • vegastypo

      That sounds encouraging, from the way the Enquirer guy was talking about it. The guy the Reds traded had been in the minors as was still in A ball.

      And the Reds have more money to spend on international players. That should make weak hitting, free swinging middle infielders very optimistic.

  13. vegastypo

    Kinda funny. Ohlendorf told MLB brass simply that he wasn’t trying to hit the Pirates batter. And MLB believed him. Since his suspension was overturned, now Bryan Price wants the money back that he was fined.

  14. BigRedMike

    Can generally count on Phillips to hit into a DP

  15. vegastypo

    From Zach Buchanan on Twitter, the Reds picked up two of those international signing slots from the current season. He didn’t specify, but I think the current period ends June 30. Quoting Zach: “At most Reds received ability to spend $902,700. At least, $400,200.”

    Makes me wonder whatever happened to that shortstop we heard the Reds wanted to sign, the one with so few extra base hits?

  16. Indy RedMan

    Why not put Duvall at cleanup? Putting your best obp guy right in front of your hitter thats most likely to hit into a 6-4-3 just doesn’t seem like sound strategy? I’m sure massaging egos plays a part…Price can’t ruffle any feathers

  17. vegastypo

    I’m in the blackout zone for MLB so I can’t watch this game, sounds like it’s not worth seeing.

  18. muttonlettucetomato

    Finnegan pitches 8 solid innings, gives up a run on a leadoff walk and looks like he’ll get a loss. That’s a tough day at the ol’ ball orchard.

  19. wdwrolen2713

    Way to go Finnegan! Showing great progress tonight and probably gets W vs most other pitchers. Go Reds and good night!