Game Thread

Reds vs. Orioles – April 18, 2017

Before we get into the usual game and series preview, I want to introduce a new venture for us here at Redleg Nation tentatively titled the Seventh Inning Stretch. During the seventh inning of the last game in every series, one of the staff here at the blog will go live on Periscope. We’ll be interacting with fans, answering questions, reacting to the game, and looking forward at the next series.

In order for us to deem this a success and keep doing it, we need two things from you, dear reader. First, we need your participation. After all, everything we do here at Redleg Nation is meant to provide an awesome source of information, by fans for fans. This is another avenue of providing that information and analysis to you, as well as providing us with a forum in which to interact with you in real time.

Secondly, we need your questions! So, throughout the Orioles series, you can send me questions either in the comments on this post, on the Redleg Nation facebook page, or twitter @JordanBarhorst or @RedlegNation. We’ll compile the best and most relevant questions, and I’ll answer them live in the seventh inning of Thursday night’s game.

And, with that, we bring you to our regularly scheduled program:


After an off-night on Monday, the Reds are back at it tonight at Great American Ballpark. In the first interleague action of 2017, our Redlegs will host the somehow-AL East-leading Baltimore Orioles. Led by the hot bats of Trey Mancini and Chris Davis, the Orioles will hope to take advantage of Cincinnati’s recent pitching woes and continue to elude the red hot, second place New York Yankees.

Starting Pitchers

Name IP ERA xFIP K% BB%
Kevin Gausman 16.0 3.94 5.00 15.1% 12.3%
Bronson Arroyo 10.0 9.90 6.02 10.9% 6.5%

The baseball gods have spared us a nightmarish pitching matchup:

 

Something’s gotta give, indeed. I had a few paragraphs written about tonight’s scheduled starter, Ubaldo Jimenez, and how he’s been even worse than Bronson Arroyo has been so far this season. I guess that’s what I get for reading ahead!

Instead, the Reds get the Oriole’s staff ace to start off the series. Gausman has looked okay so far on the young season – his ERA looks much better than the reality of his performance. The young Baltimore pitcher has been having the same problems many of the young Reds pitchers have been having, and that’s throwing strikes. Gausman has walked five hitters per nine, and that’s a rate you definitely don’t want out of the top of the pitching staff. His last appearance of 6.0 innings was also Gausman’s longest outing of the season, in which he walked 2, struck out 3, and gave up 5 hits to the Toronto Blue Jays. He’ll look to continue progressing against the Reds in Cincinnati.

Bronson Arroyo’s biggest problem has been giving up the long ball, a side effect of his well below average velocity. He’s flashed the ability to fool hitters with his movement and changing speeds and angles, but Arroyo’s mistake pitches look a lot like home run derby pitches – and the recipients of said pitches have treated them as such. In a season in which Redleg Nation seems to be hanging on every pitch of every pitcher to see how they may progress, the luster of the Bronson Arroyo Comeback Tour 2017 seems to be fading a little. It will be interesting to see how much longer the Reds feel they can devote a start every fifth day to a guy with a 10 ERA and no hope of being a part of the Next Great Reds Team™.

The lineups

Orioles Reds
LF Seth Smith (177 wRC+) CF Billy Hamilton (46 wRC+)
CF Adam Jones (132 wRC+) 2B José Peraza (43 wRC+)
3B Manny Machado (91 wRC+) 1B Joey Votto (95 wRC+)
1B Chris Davis (181 wRC+) LF Adam Duvall (130 wRC+)
RF Mark Trumbo (51 wRC+) RF Scott Schebler (116 wRC+)
C Wellington Castillo (97 wRC+) SS Zack Cozart (221 wRC+)
2B Jonathan Schoop (131 wRC+) 3B Scooter Gennett (184 wRC+)
SS J.J. Hardy (86 wRC+) C Tucker Barnhart (83 wRC+)
P Kevin Gausman (5.00 xFIP) P Bronson Arroyo (5.98 xFIP)

Update: 3B Eugenio Suarez was scratched with a stiff neck. Schebler and Cozart are bumped up a spot, and Scooter Gennett will be starting at 3B and batting 7th.

Other than that, the Reds will trot out their usual lineup, for better or worse. You’ve got to wonder if the hesitancy in moving Cozart up in the lineup is due to a feeling of comfort in keeping things the same. Hamilton and Peraza’s 46 and 43 respective wRC+ numbers aren’t going to cut it at the top of the lineup for long.

Missing from Baltimore’s lineup is rookie standout Trey Mancini. Mancini has gotten off to one of the best power hitting starts to his career as anyone in history. He’s got 7 HRs and 14 RBIs over his last 12 games (including a few in ’16), and he’s only the third such player to do so since 1913 (Dino Restelli, ’49; Trevor Story, ’16).

The Orioles have plenty of power in their lineup, and they’ll look to put a few into the stands in the hitter friendly Great American Ballpark over the next three days.

News and Notes

  • It’s always fun to see AL pitchers hit in National League ballparks. Gausman has a total of 7 plate appearances in his young career, and has yet to record his first major league hit. He did have a walk in 2016, so his slash line doesn’t consist completely of zeroes.
  • The Reds released RHP Carlos Portuondo yesterday. If his name doesn’t ring a bell, you aren’t alone. He was one of the two pieces the team received in return from Atlanta in the Brandon Phillips deal. He made one appearance in Pensacola. Make of that what you will.
  • Around the time I’m writing this, sources have claimed that Starling Marte, the NL Central rival Pittsburgh Pirates best player, has tested positive for PEDs. If true, he’s looking at an 80 game suspension. We’ll fill you in more as this news develops.

Final Thoughts

The Reds face their first true test of the season in the Orioles. They’re off to a hot start, and they’re swinging the bat very well. A series win here would be a huge statement that this team is done playing for the #1 draft pick. In the past, this kind of series – one with three weeknight games in Cincinnati – would have been an easy series to let slide by without anyone noticing the three losses. It will be interesting to see how the young players bounce back from their struggles with a team in the Brewers that they were projected to sweep.

78 thoughts on “Reds vs. Orioles – April 18, 2017

    • Yeah, first instinct as a fan can be tricky. I like watching him play, just not against the Reds. Looks like we won’t see it again until 2018.

      • Crazy stuff. I guess McCutchen gets his wish… he’ll probably be back in CF. Conspiracy!!

        • Crazy stuff. I guess McCutchen gets his wish… he’ll probably be back in CF. Conspiracy!!

          Maybe McCutchen shared some “M&M’s” with Marte.

          Hey, it worked for these kids!

          (In retrospect, that commercial is about 100 times more cringeworthy today than when it first aired, given what baseball went through about 15 years ago.)

  1. Jordan, am I missing something or do you have two different Baltimore pitchers above? Gausman in the starting pitcher stat part and Jimenez with the over 10 ERA after that? Or is my dementia acting up again?

  2. My prediction Arroyo gets his ERA below 8 by games ends and leads the entire staff in IP, proving he is the innings eater all the haters dent that he is.

  3. Wasn’t it Amir’s turn in the rotation, what was the point in bumping him back a day or did I miss something?

    • Yep – Amir got bumped to tomorrow night, so that there’s a space between Arroyo and Feldman.

    • Trying to determine sarcasm or truth. Looked to not want to have an awkward moment dancing around the ball

      • I meant it as truth. Except the part about being surprised THOM! didn’t add anything interesting to the discussion of the play. I’m kind of surprised–seriously–Brantley didn’t say anything. Whether Votto did it on purpose or not, I do think his presence altered the play.

    • Btw. Huge Votto fan, I’m more curious if Thom and dad were all giggles when Duvall got the RBI at the cost of an out when, in fact, a walk would have been more productive. Very well could have ended that inning with only a run

  4. With all the fielding & positioning stats available….why not play anti-doubles defense on Castillo and have Gennett guard the line? If the ball is hit to the left of him then their catcher gets held to a single and its still 2-0!

    • Interesting take. Pretty good idea. I’m sure many field managers do that without stats with two out and runner on second

  5. That 1-2 to Joey was very close….thats where it pays to have Joeys reputation! Duvall has been getting rung up on those kind of pitches every week! Cozart got 1 far worse then that (and low) to get rung up for the last out the other day.

    Duvall….cheapie but it counts!! He’s a monster on the inside breaking balls!!

    • I appreciate what Duvall brings and that was cheap but many players don’t tap that out of the park.

      My only problem is people who argue how good Duvall is. He has pop, but without any of the other players doing their job, Duvall is looking at 1-2 with a solo shot – not bad, but not 1-1 with 5 RBIs

  6. I kept thinking if that Baltimore starter kept trying to blow a fastball by Duvall that it might not end up working the way he thinks. Even with the bases loaded, I don’t think that is what the Orioles scouting report said to do.

  7. Grand slam on an 0-2 pitch just shows it happens sometimes.I was surprised he threw it close but he has struggled with his command tonight.

  8. Worth a try sending Scooter with Bronson coming up. Running on the pitch I thought he would make it easy….Out by a mile instead.

  9. Who knows about this game we love so much.Bet nobody is surprised its 7-1 after two innings but bet everybody is surprised the good guys have the 7 runs.

  10. Amateur move by Baltimore not just walking Barnhart when it was 3-0 and the pitcher up next. American League teams. Geesh.

  11. Thames is now hitting a cool .419…just shocked it wasn’t a HR? Is this anyone else like him in Japan?

  12. My old sales manager used to say “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, then baffle them with bs” I think Arroyo is more of a baffler then a dazzler:)

  13. Arroyo reaching back- that last pitch shows 86.5 on game day, that is 87 in my eyes, he will be dealing 88-89 by May

  14. I’ll be glad to be wrong on Arroyo! I don’t think he can keep an era under 5 but we may not have 5 kids better with all the injuries? One good thing about him….its not like he’s going to lose a bunch of velocity after 80 pitches or something….he comes out throwing slow!

  15. Thames…I’m gonna live forever
    I’m gonna learn how to fly (High)
    I feel it coming together
    People will see me and cry

    .432 and counting! Cubs lose….Cubs lose! Raise your hand if you had the Reds up 3 on the Cubs after 14 games!

    • Hold the phone on that one. The Cubs remembered who they are. Or the Brewers did. Either way, that game got flipped.

    • Gameday isn’t up-to-date but wanted to check the tracker. The second to last pitch looked a lot closer than that last one – time for machines to call the zone.

      • Eh! With all the whining about starters not giving innings, how do you not run your “inning eater” back out for one more inning when he’s at 82 pitches after 5 with a six run lead?

  16. Off day yesterday and I would assume everybody is available and you are right it is a good move.

  17. Just had a thought.What if Homer and Disco come back throwing like we know they can do and the younger guys get better?We could have a heck of a staff with a piece or two left over to acquire a bat.Just saying next year and beyond we could be baddd news for a lot of teams

    • I’d put Homer in the pen….maybe make him a late inning guy like John Smoltz became! Alot to consider for the future…..Herrera is hitting .171 at Lville and never seems to be quite healthy? Do they resign Cozart or maybe platoon Gennett with someone at 2B? Is Senzel going to take off and make the Reds next year? We’ll see?

      • From A+ ball to the majors would be quite the leap. Perhaps he makes it to AA by mid season this year, then rakes when he gets there, and he’d have a chance

    • Finnegan & Rookie are out….how long are they going to leave Reed in the pen? I guess they’re going to go with Romano & Adleman then?

  18. Good win and 4 innings of no run baseball by the pen.Don’t know how long they can continue to throw a bunch of innings but outside of Storen they are all young.Maybe we have a bunch of guys throw 80 to 100 innings.

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