Just when it looked like the Reds’ (25-28) losing streak would extend to four games without much of a fight, the team mounted a comeback against the Braves (22-30) on Friday night. After tying the game at two apiece in the bottom of the ninth inning, Devin Mesoraco sent the GABP crowd home happy by launching a walk-off home run into left-center field in the 10th inning.
The Reds will try to turn that into a winning streak when they take on the Braves for game two of the series this afternoon at 4:10 p.m. ET.
(Note: For those watching on TV, today’s contest is on Fox Sports 1 instead of Fox Sports Ohio.)
Some people scoffed when the Braves gave R.A. Dickey $7.5 million during the offseason — and for good reason. Since winning the NL Cy Young award in 2012 with the Mets, he’s consistently declined each year. There wasn’t much reason to think that trend would reverse for the knuckleballer this year, especially at age 42, and it hasn’t.
Serving an innings eater role a la Bronson Arroyo, Dickey is sporting the worst strikeout rate of his career and his worst walk rate since 2005. Of 86 qualified pitchers, only the Phillies’ Jeremy Hellickson has a worse K% and just six pitchers have a higher BB%. He’s had only one start in which he struck out more than four batters and has walked multiple hitters in nine of his 10 outings. His last start, which came against a subpar Giants offense, was his worst of the season, as he allowed seven runs (six earned) on six hits and five walks in six innings.
Here are Dickey’s numbers against current Reds hitters over his career (stats courtesy of Baseball Reference):
Inconsistent is the best word to describe Scott Feldman’s season to date. However, he’s still the most dependable starter in the Reds’ rotation right now. He’s coming off a poor performance in his last start (5 IP, 4 ER, 8 H vs. the Phillies), so if the trend holds, he’s in for a quality outing against Atlanta today.
The 34-year-old has been a bit of a different pitcher in his 13th season in the big leagues. He’s striking out hitters at a career-high rate but also walking more batters than ever. In addition, his ground-ball rate is down from his career numbers; it currently sits at 43.5 percent, while his career rate is 47.2 percent.
Here is how he has performed against current Braves hitters in his career:
|CF Ender Inciarte (98 wRC+)||CF Billy Hamilton (65 wRC+)|
|2B Brandon Phillips (95 wRC+)||SS Zack Cozart (166 wRC+)|
|RF Nick Markakis (97 wRC+)||1B Joey Votto (151 wRC+)|
|LF Matt Kemp (163 wRC+)||LF Adam Duvall (120 wRC+)|
|1B Matt Adams (73 wRC+)||3B Eugenio Suarez (131 wRC+)|
|3B Adonis Garcia (69 wRC+)||RF Scott Schebler (120 wRC+)|
|C Kurt Suzuki (118 wRC+)||2B Jose Peraza (65 wRC+)|
|SS Dansby Swanson (52 wRC+)||C Devin Mesoraco (114 wRC+)|
|P R.A. Dickey (5.40 xFIP)||P Scott Feldman (3.97 xFIP)|
— The lineups are the mostly the same today, with only the catchers from last night’s game swapped out.
News and Notes
The Reds have a great opportunity to put some runs on the board today against a struggling pitcher with a tendency to give up the long ball (11 home runs in 60 innings). If the good Feldman shows up and the offense can send a few baseballs into the bleachers, which they’re pretty good at, you have to like their chances of winning this afternoon.