Things haven’t gone well for the Reds in the first two games of this series. Collectively, the pitchers haven’t pitched well; and the hitters have hit well. Just about whatever could go wrong has gone wrong. But today is another day; and, the Reds get one more chance to set things right in a matinee contest against the Brewers ahead of a day off Thursday.
Rookie Davis (RH) returns to the mound for the Reds following a stint on the DL which resulted from him being hit on his throwing arm by a pitch while he was batting. The injury occurred in the fifth inning of Davis’ second MLB start. Davis’ stats in his first two games weren’t very good. In 7 innings he allowed 5 runs (all earned) on 7 hits (2HR) with 6BB and 7K. However in his second start he fared much better having allowed a single earned run on just 2 hits in 4 innings prior to being injured. That performance gave cause for optimism. Optimism is what the Reds need rekindled today.
Righthander Wily Peralta gets the start for the Brewers. Peralta, despite being just 27 years old, has been in the major leagues since 2012 except for a stint back at AAA in 2016. Of his 117 MLB appearances, 116 have been as a starter. His numbers through 3 starts this season look a lot like his career numbers. After showing greater promise early in his career, Peralta has become a back of the rotation grinder. If the Reds are patient, they should draw some walks and see some pitches to hit.
Here’s the numbers, 2017 actual performance:
The Reds pen had only 3 innings to cover Tuesday, thanks to the Reds being a soundly thrashed visiting team (again). Barrett Astin and Blake Wood worked 1.1 and 1.0 innings respectively. Given the quick turnaround, they may be unavailable today. Robert Stephenson worked a disastrous 0.2 innings; when and where he will next pitch is probably an open question. The rest of the bullpen crew should be good to go.
Craig Counsel covered 3 of the 4 innings he needed to cover with one pitcher, Tommy Milone. Other than Milone, it is likely all hands are available for the Brewers.
So much for my hope that in the seventh game between these two teams, Eric Thames and Hernan Pérez would rest. Why are the Reds apparently the only team that doesn’t know how to pitch to these guys?
The Reds scoring chances often seem to come at the bottom of the batting order. Tuesday the #8 hitter left 8 men stranded. Perhaps it is time to shuffle the order and get the three guys with excellent OPS rates, Cozart, Suarez and Votto, batting in succession near the top of the order; but, today is not the day anything changes.
The Reds have optioned outfielder Phillip Ervin back to AAA to clear the roster spot for today’s starting pitcher Rookie Davis to be activated from the DL.
Last week was a tough week for the Reds because they lost some games they probably should have won against what was seen as top flight competition. Many of us found solace, perhaps even some optimism, in the fact that the Reds avoided being swept in either series and that all but one of the losses were very competitive games.
Then came this series with the Brewers which affirms the results of series with the Brewers at GABP two weeks ago. The last two days have been even tougher for me than last week because the Reds have been unable to stay close in either game against a team I’d like to believe is behind the Reds in their own rebuilding cycle.
In the first post I wrote for RLN about six weeks ago, I concluded that the Reds were still lacking enough quality major league players to make a serious move forward. You can read it here. Perhaps I was even more on target than I believed at the time. If the Reds prove me wrong starting today, I’ll be happy to have been wrong. In the meantime like sports fans everywhere I’ll savor the good, have a constructively short memory of the bad and above all else keep looking for reasons to believe things are getting better.