With the first half of the season coming to a close, the Reds (38-49) are ending things on a positive note. Behind much better pitching, the club is 8-6 over its last 14 games, putting a 1-14 stretch in June in the rearview mirror. Following a dominant start from Luis Castillo last night — one of the best efforts from a Cincinnati starting pitcher this season — the team will close out its series with the Diamondbacks (53-35) this afternoon at 4:10 p.m. ET.
Coming off his best start of the season (6 IP, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K vs. the Rockies in Coors Field), Homer Bailey will try to build off of that success. The right-hander is still working his way back from a series of elbow ailments, so expecting the multiple no-hitter Homer to return is probably wishful thinking. But his last start was a huge step in the right direction. Bailey showed much better command than in his first two starts and held a powerful offense at bay in the most hitter-friendly park in baseball.
Here is Bailey’s track record against current D-Backs (stats courtesy of Baseball Reference):
Early in his career, Patrick Corbin looked poised to become the Diamondbacks’ ace. Coming off an all-star season in 2013, he was slated to be the team’s Opening Day starter but missed all of 2014 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. The left-hander rebounded nicely upon returning in mid-2015 but had a rough time in his first full season back in 2016, eventually getting demoted to the bullpen.
Corbin returned to the rotation this year and has showed promise at times. His overall numbers are ugly, but the peripherals indicate he hasn’t been as bad as his 4.81 ERA shows. His walk numbers are below league average and his strikeout rate, which is slightly worse than the league average, is on the rise. In his five starts since June 8, the southpaw has pitched to the tune of a 3.41 ERA and 3.20 xFIP, striking out 25.2 percent of the batters he’s faced.
Here are Corbin’s numbers against the Reds:
|CF Billy Hamilton (64 wRC+)||CF A.J. Pollock (95 wRC+)|
|2B Scooter Gennett (152 wRC+)||RF David Peralta (115 wRC+)|
|1B Joey Votto (167 wRC+)||1B Paul Goldschmidt (155 wRC+)|
|LF Adam Duvall (122 wRC+)||3B Jake Lamb (130 wRC+)|
|3B Eugenio Suárez (112 wRC+)||2B Chris Owings (100 wRC+)|
|RF Scott Schebler (117 wRC+)||C Chris Iannetta (106 wRC+)|
|SS José Peraza (56 wRC+)||SS Ketel Marte (75 wRC+)|
|C Tucker Barnhart (90 wRC+)||LF Gregor Blanco (79 wRC+)|
|P Homer Bailey (5.21 xFIP)||P Patrick Corbin (4.03 xFIP)|
— Zack Cozart is getting a breather before he heads to Miami to start at shortstop in the All-Star Game. Jose Peraza is sliding over to shortstop while Scooter Gennett starts at second base.
— Speaking of Peraza, it’s a bit odd that he continues to bat ahead of Tucker Barnhart, who has proven himself to be an above-average hitter for a catcher.
— Jesse Winker is once again on the bench. Adam Duvall and Scott Schebler are playing well, to be sure, but it’s puzzling and frustrating that Bryan Price couldn’t get the organization’s top hitting prospect even one start in this series.
News and Notes
Stat of the Day
While watching Luis Castillo throw bullets last night, I started wondering how many times a Reds pitcher has hit 100+ mph on the radar gun this season. According to Statcast, that number is eight. Raisel Iglesias has the fastest pitch at 100.5 mph, but he’s only touched triple digits a single time. Ariel Hernandez has four such pitches, while Castillo has done it thrice.
Getting another solid start from Bailey would be a great way for the pitching staff to ride some momentum into the all-star break. The staff has largely held the Reds back this season but is starting to show signs of turning it around with the addition of Castillo, Sal Romano, and a healthy Bailey.