The losing streak is over! With some heroics on the mound by Asher Wojciechowski and a furious comeback by the red-hot offense, the Reds (20-22) bested the Rockies (27-17) on Saturday to snap a seven-game losing streak. They’ll try to turn it into a winning streak today when they take on Colorado for the finale of their three-game series at 1:10 p.m. ET.
The eighth overall pick in the 2014 draft, Kyle Freeland moved through the minor leagues quickly, reaching Triple-A in only his second full season. He made the Rockies out of spring training and is off to a nice start to his big-league career. A low strikeout rate and a high walk rate indicate that may not last, however. The Reds would benefit from being patient with the left-hander today. He’s succeeded in large part due to his ground-ball rate of 65.5 percent, the second-best mark in the major leagues behind the Astros’ Dallas Keuchel. Freeland’s ability to pitch down in the zone means he’s allowed only two home runs this year, an impressive feat considering the ballpark he pitches half of his games in.
Bronson Arroyo hasn’t thrown the ball all that well this season. But all things considered, he’s pitched better than expected. Before his last start, which came at Wrigley Field with the wind blowing out, he had given up just five runs (four earned) over 11.2 innings in his previous two starts. At some point, Arroyo should be replaced by younger arms, but the organization clearly doesn’t think Cody Reed or Robert Stephenson should step into the rotation right now. Until they’re deemed ready or others get healthy, Arroyo is probably here to stay.
Here is how the right-hander has fared against Rockies hitters over the years (stats courtesy of Baseball Reference):
|CF Charlie Blackmon (130 wRC+)||CF Billy Hamilton (79 wRC+)|
|2B DJ LeMahieu (73 wRC+)||SS Jose Peraza (60 wRC+)|
|3B Nolan Arenado (125 wRC+)||1B Joey Votto (152 wRC+)|
|1B Mark Reynolds (147 wRC+)||LF Adam Duvall (105 wRC+)|
|RF Carlos Gonzalez (45 wRC+)||3B Eugenio Suarez (144 wRC+)|
|LF Ian Desmond (75 wRC+)||RF Scott Schebler (116 wRC+)|
|SS Pat Valaika (84 wRC+)||2B Arismendy Alcantara (87 wRC+)|
|C Ryan Hanigan (70 wRC+)||C Devin Mesoraco (133 wRC+)|
|P Kyle Freeland (4.37 xFIP)||P Bronson Arroyo (5.30 xFIP)|
Zack Cozart is getting the day off, so Jose Peraza is sliding over to shortstop and up to second in the lineup. Arismendy Alcantara is getting the start at second base. It’s a bit puzzling that Devin Mesoraco is still batting eighth, though he won’t stay there for much longer if he keeps hitting bombs into the second deck.
The Rockies lineup looks mostly the same. Pat Valaika, brother of former Red Chris Valaika, is getting a start at shortstop, while former Cincinnati catcher Ryan Hanigan will be behind the plate.
News and Notes
How about the Reds’ young pitching prospects? Tyler Mahle threw a perfect game earlier this season, and Scott Moss — the team’s fourth-round pick in last year’s draft — was part of a combined no-hitter last night.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) May 21, 2017
A note on the Reds’ taxed bullpen:
Price expects to stick with 8 relievers until things stabilize. "We need reinforcements," he said. #Reds
— Jeff Wallner (@JeffWallner) May 21, 2017
An update on Stuart Turner, who was placed on the disabled list yesterday:
Bryan Price thinks Stuart Turner could be back by the end of his 10-day minimum DL stay. Hurt hamstring chasing a wild pitch Friday.
— Zach Buchanan (@ZHBuchanan) May 21, 2017
Stat of the Day
Asher Wojciechowski, the 41st overall pick in the 2010 draft by the Blue Jays, debuted on April 9, 2015 with the Houston Astros. A mere 772 days later, he picked up his first big-league win with the Reds.
With the Reds swinging the bats the way they are, you have to like their chances in any game right now. This one will come down to the pitching. Can Arroyo bounce back and throw five or six innings, at least? Thanks to Wojo, most of the bullpen got some much-needed rest yesterday, so they should be ready if Arroyo struggles again.
Growing up just north of Cincinnati, Matt has been a Reds fan for as long as he can remember. As a kid, he was often found leading the Reds to 162-0 seasons in MVP Baseball 2005 and imitating his favorite players (Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, Sean Casey, and Austin Kearns) in the backyard. One of his earliest baseball memories is attending the final night game at Cinergy Field. Matt is also a graduate of The Ohio State University and currently lives in the Dayton area. Follow him on Twitter at @_MattWilkes.