The Cincinnati Reds (30-52) will go for a split in their four game series with the Washington Nationals (49-33). The Reds ended their five game losing skid last evening with a well fought, 9-4 win in 10 innings. Dan Straily pitched brilliantly, only allowing one hit through the first six innings. Zack Cozart and Tucker Barnhart lead the Reds with three hits apiece. Adam Duvall also had a pair of doubles for the good guys.
John Lamb will be making his 12th start of the season for the Reds. Lamb is coming off a brilliant start against a very good Cubs lineup on Tuesday: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. Here is what I wrote about Lamb in Tuesday’s game recap:
Lamb had a pretty darn good start tonight. He really locked in after allowing a home run to the first batter he faced. Lamb really did a great job mixing his pitches. The most encouraging thing is that it looks like Lamb has figured out how to strikeout hitters again. He now has 19 strikeouts over his last 3 starts (16.2 IP).
Lamb finished a terrific month of June with a 3.09 ERA in 6 starts (35.0 IP, 27 K, 13 BB).
Tonight will be Lamb’s first career appearance against the Nationals. The only player he has faced is Daniel Murphy (1 for 1).
Dusty Baker didn’t announce that Stephen Strasburg would start today’s game until yesterday. Today will be the first time he has pitched since June 15th, when he suffered a upper back injury against the Cubs.
Strasburg is one of the best pitchers in baseball when he can stay on the field. Well, that is what I thought, and I am sure you probably did too. That is actually a false narrative. He has made 129 starts since the start of 2012 (his first full season since coming back from TJS). That is the 29th most starts of anyone in the big leagues. Over that span, Strasburg ranks 14th among all pitchers in fWAR at 17.7. He is ahead of guys like Johnny Cueto (17.5) and Jake Arrieta (17.0).
Despite missing the past two weeks, Strasburg is still tied for 10th in MLB with 2.5 fWAR (t-6th in the NL). His 2.86 FIP is 6th in the MLB, and his 2.88 xFIP is 4th in the MLB. That is scary, because that means he could be getting even better as the year progresses. He is striking out a ton of hitters, as his 11.42 K/9 is good for 3rd best in the majors. His career 10.55 K/9 is the fifth best of any pitcher in MLB history with 850+ IP, and he is sandwiched in between Randy Johnson (10.61) and Kerry Wood (10.32).
Despite Strasburg’s greatness, he somehow has a career 5.55 ERA in 5 starts against the Reds. He faced the Reds on June 4th, and the Reds won that game 6-3: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 10 K. Joey Votto is 3 for 10 with 2 HR against Strasburg, and Jay Bruce 5 for 10 with 1 HR. Zack Cozart is 0 for 8.
|1. Zack Cozart (SS)
2. Jose Peraza (LF)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Jay Bruce (RF)
5. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
6. Brandon Phillips (2B)
7. Billy Hamilton (CF)
8. Ramon Cabrera (C)
9. John Lamb (P)
|1. Michael Taylor (CF)
2. Jayson Werth (LF)
3. Bryce Harper (RF)
4. Daniel Murphy (2B)
5. Wilson Ramos (C)
6. Ryan Zimmerman (1B)
7. Clint Robinson (1B)
8. Anthony Rendon (3B)
9. Danny Espinosa (SS)
10. Stephen Strasburg (P)
Thankfully for my mental health and sanity, Joseph Daniel Votto is back in the Reds lineup. I’m guessing that his sliding injury on Friday was nothing too serious. Certainly the 30-win Redlegs wouldn’t rush him back, right?
7 BB in first 221 PA.
7 BB in last 78 PA.#Reds
— Lance McAlister (@LanceMcAlister) July 3, 2016
Iglesias wants to be a closer
Here we go again. C. Trent Rosecrans had an article last night discussing how Iglesias is eyeing the closer role. In the article, Iglesias said “I like coming in from the bullpen. I want to be a closer.” This right here is why I was completely against putting a guy not healthy enough to start into the bullpen. It seems Iglesias has become comfortable in the bullpen.
We are going down the same road where the Reds wasted arguably their greatest arm in team history. In case you don’t believe me, Matt Garza has been worth the same wins above replacement as Aroldis Chapman since the start of 2011. Garza’s ERA and FIP are nearly two runs higher than Chapman’s. Hopefully the Reds stop this before it becomes an issue.
Other news and notes
Be sure to check out Chad Dotson’s post today about Pete Rose here on RN. I said in the comments: this is great, fair analysis of Pete Rose. This is probably the best way to remember the hit king. Thanks for sharing Chad!
— Doug Gray (@dougdirt24) July 3, 2016
— Derrick Goold (@dgoold) July 3, 2016
The Reds could get out of Washington with a series split. Could you even fathom that? John Lamb has been terrific lately. Today will be a big challenge for Lamb against one of the elite pitchers in baseball, but you know what? I think our guy is up for it. Go Reds!
All statistics used courtesy of Fangraphs, ESPN Stats & Info, and Baseball-Reference (including Baseball-Reference Play Index). All photos used courtesy of the Cincinnati Enquirer and are used by permission.
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.