Nobody reading this will be surprised by the statement that starting pitching has been the Reds’ downfall in 2017. For example:
#Reds have given up 60 runs to the Nationals this season, most ever in any NL season series of 7 or fewer games.
— Joel Luckhaupt (@jluckhaupt) July 17, 2017
How bad has it been?
Reds starting pitchers are averaging LESS THAN FIVE INNINGS (4.92 to be exact) over the 92 games played to date. The earned run average for starting Reds pitchers is 6.12. What that means is that on an AVERAGE day, Reds opponents have scored three or four earned runs THROUGH FIVE INNINGS.
One of the many unpleasant things we learned in the four-game kicking by the Nationals is that when the Reds (or any team) is facing quality starting pitching, you just can’t afford to fall behind by that many runs on a regular basis. Even when the bullpen does a fantastic job, as it did yesterday, most often it’s just not enough.
Now, it’s easy to blame the front office for letting things line up so that all five starting pitchers on a good team were due to become free agents after the 2014 season. It’s easy to blame the scouts and farm system managers and coaches for perhaps not coaching the young pitchers up enough. That may or may not be the case.
What we can’t forget is the variable that nobody can control, and that’s injury. Last year in April, the Reds had SIX starting pitchers on the disabled list. With Scott Feldman going on the list today, that’s all five members of this year’s rotation that have been on the DL at one time or another this year. No team in any professional sport could be expected to deal with that wave of misfortune and remain at anywhere near peak performance.
Here is an article that shows that less than half of all starting pitchers in the major leagues were draft picks of their current organizations. The info has changed slightly since January, when the article was published, but not enough to change the overall gist.
What we might deduce from those numbers is that ultimately, the Reds are going to need to make some trades for pitchers who are starters on the next good Reds team. (Luis Castillo was a trade acquisition, and he looks right now like the best of the bunch.) The rotation of that “good” team is not going to be flush with the players currently in the Reds system. And based on what we’ve seen this year, that probably is a good thing.
Now then, speaking of starting pitching for tonight’s 7:10 Reds vs. Diamondbacks game at Great American Ball Park:
Ray is a lefthander who has bounced around through a few organizations, and at age 25, appears to have “figured it out,” as they say in baseball terminology. In his third year as a D-backs starter, he has 141 strikeouts in 106 innings. His 2017 numbers (including an 8-4 record) are a big departure from his career numbers of 22-35 with a 4.25 ERA. Romano gets his third major league start, and he opened some eyes with his five innings of six-strikeout, two-run pitching against the potent Rockies before the All-Star break.
As Chad Dotson pointed out, it’s a Ray-Romano matchup:
Everybody Loves Tuesday Night’s Matchup in Cincinnati
— MLB Network Radio (@MLBNetworkRadio) July 17, 2017
The only unavailable Reds arm will be Asher Wojciechowski, after his five innings of long relief work yesterday. Lisalverto Bonilla was recalled today from Louisville, almost certainly as the go-to man for long relief today, if needed.
|CF A.J. Pollock||CF Billy Hamilton|
|RF David Peralta||SS Zack Cozart|
|1B Paul Goldschmidt||1B Joey Votto|
|3B Jake Lamb||LF Adam Duvall|
|SS Chris Owings||3B Eugenio Suarez|
|2B Brandon Drury||RF Scott Schebler|
|LF Daniel Descalso||2B Jose Peraza|
|C Chris Herrmann||C Stuart Turner|
|P Robbie Ray||P Sal Romano|
Stuart Turner gets his first start since the All-Star break at catcher, giving Tucker Barnhart a bit of a breather against a tough lefthander.
News and Notes
Good sign Monday for Devin Mesoraco in his rehab stint at Louisville …
— Louisville Bats (@LouisvilleBats) July 17, 2017
Scott Feldman went on the 10-day DL today, and Jesse Winker was sent back to Louisville in conjunction with these moves:
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) July 18, 2017
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) July 18, 2017
A Hunter Greene sighting …
— Melanie Nichols (@kiasuchick) July 16, 2017
From the which-starting-shortstops-from-contending-teams-are-injured file:
Carlos Correa of the Astros has a torn ligament in his thumb, and is expected to miss six to eight weeks. The Astros are so far ahead, though, it’s questionable whether they will seek out possible short-term replacements (such as Zack Cozart).