It’s been a rough week for the Reds. Their losing streak now sits at six games after they were swept by the Cubs, capping off a 1-6 road trip. Now 19-21, they’re back under .500 and have dropped to fourth place in the NL Central, just ahead of the last place Pirates. Perhaps a return back to Great American Ball Park will get them out of their funk. The club is set to meet the Rockies, who lead the NL West at 26-16, for the first time this season in a three-game weekend series.
Tyler Anderson’s ERA might cause some to write him off, but the underlying numbers paint him in a more positive light. The southpaw has been particularly prone to the long ball, giving up 10 home runs in 42 innings. Believe it or not, only three of those have come at Coors Field. His 24 percent home run to fly ball rate, along with an above-average strikeout and walk rate, is why you see such a disparity between his ERA and xFIP.
The 2011 first-round pick is coming off his best two starts of the season, striking out 18 while allowing only four runs, 11 hits, and three walks over his last 11.2 innings. Anderson has never faced the Reds.
In his first big-league start since 2014 with the Rangers, Lisalverto Bonilla was impressive against the Giants last Saturday. The right-hander pitched a complete game, becoming only the second Reds pitcher to go the distance this season (Scott Feldman being the other). In his eight innings, he allowed three earned runs on six hits, walking two and striking out five. It was enough to earn himself another start in the big leagues.
Bonilla has never faced any hitters currently on the Rockies, so perhaps he’ll have a leg up, at least in the early innings as hitters get their first look at his stuff.
|CF Charlie Blackmon (130 wRC+)||CF Billy Hamilton (74 wRC+)|
|2B DJ LeMahieu (73 wRC+)||SS Zack Cozart (168 wRC+)|
|3B Nolan Arenado (124 wRC+)||1B Joey Votto (155 wRC+)|
|1B Mark Reynolds (145 wRC+)||LF Adam Duvall (108 wRC+)|
|RF Carlos Gonzalez (39 wRC+)||3B Eugenio Suarez (129 wRC+)|
|LF Ian Desmond (75 wRC+)||2B Jose Peraza (56 wRC+)|
|SS Alexi Amarista (95 wRC+)||RF Patrick Kivlehan (84 wRC+)|
|C Tony Wolters (101 wRC+)||C Tucker Barnhart (75 wRC+)|
|P Tyler Anderson (3.76 xFIP)||P Lisalverto Bonilla (4.55 xFIP)|
It’s a pretty typical lineup for the Reds tonight. The one notable exception is Scott Schebler, who is sitting with a left-hander starting for the Rockies. Patrick Kivlehan will get a start in right field. Devin Mesoraco is out of the lineup for a fifth straight game as he nurses a left hamstring injury.
On Colorado’s side, the most notable omission from the lineup is Trevor Story, who is currently on the 10-day DL with a left shoulder strain.
As you can see from the wRC+ figures, the Rockies have a formidable lineup. Nolan Arenado continues to be the best third baseman in the game, while journeyman Mark Reynolds has been a big addition, leading the team with 12 home runs and a 1.007 OPS. In terms of fWAR, Charlie Blackmon — one of the most underrated players in the game — has been the best outfielder in the National League whose name isn’t Bryce Harper. If they can get Carlos Gonzalez and Story (when he returns) going, this offense will be scary.
News and Notes
MLB is planning to start streaming games on Friday nights, and this game will be the first one. Blackout restrictions do not apply, so you can watch from anywhere.
With the bullpen worn down, Bryan Price plans to let Bonilla pitch as long as he can tonight. In case of emergency, Tim Adleman is available tonight.
Some encouraging news on Anthony DeSclafani and Homer Bailey:
Although he’s not in the lineup tonight, it seems Mesoraco’s hamstring has improved:
Bad news on the Luis Robert front. It sounds like the Cardinals and White Sox are the favorites to sign the 19-year-old Cuban phenom.
Stat of the Day
Strikeouts have been on the rise every year for the better part of a decade, and this year is no different. A whopping 21.4 percent of plate appearances this season have ended in strikeouts. But the Reds are doing their best to bring that number down. While the team ranks at the bottom of the league in walk rate (despite the best efforts of Joey Votto and Zack Cozart), they have the fifth-lowest strikeout rate at 19.6 percent. In fact, the only Reds regulars with an above-average strikeout rate are Adam Duvall (22.6 percent) and Eugenio Suarez (22.2 percent).
The offense and bullpen have done their jobs all season, but the starting pitching is holding the Reds back right now. Since Bonilla’s complete game, the Reds’ starting rotation has been rather brutal, with no pitcher making it past the fifth inning and only Bronson Arroyo getting past the fourth. Bonilla probably won’t throw another complete game (though it would be nice if he did) against the Rockies’ talented lineup, but even six solid innings would be huge for the team tonight.