Following an exciting 11 inning win last night, the Reds face the Diamondbacks in a matinee today with a chance to win the series. For those who dare to dream big, a win today and a sweep of the Miami Marlins over the weekend would net the Reds a .500 homestand. This would be quite an accomplishment arising from the four game butt kicking administered to the Reds by the Nationals to open the homestand. But then this 2017 Reds team has been nothing if not mercurial.
Luis Castillo makes his sixth start for the Reds today. The performance to date of the nascent righthander has created excitement in Reds fans every fifth day and lit flames of hope for the future success of the team. Some have even dared to hope that Castillo could become a contemporary version of Mario Soto, the dominant Reds starter in the 1980’s who came from the same area of the Dominican Republic as Castillo. I was around to enjoy Soto’s work; and, to me there does seem to be a resemblance between Soto and Castillo in stature, bearing and most importantly pitching stuff, from the blazing live fastball to the drop dead change up.
UPDATE: The Diamondbacks just scratched Taijuan Walker’s start. He’s on paternity leave. Patrick Corbin will fill in. He last pitched on Saturday in Atlanta, so he’s on regular rest. The Reds faced Corbin on July 9. He pitched six innings, gave up two walks, seven hits and two earned runs. Corbin struck out nine. The Reds won that game 2-1 when Homer Bailey, Michael Lorenzen and Raisel Iglesias combined to hold Arizona to one run. (spm)
Taijuan Walker, also a righthander, starts today for DBacks. Walker was a late first round draft pick (#43 overall) of the Seattle Mariners in 2010. He was traded from the Mariners to the DBacks last November. He is making his 78th career MLB start today at not quite 25 years of age, only several months older than Luis Castillo. Walker’s career numbers indicate he seems destined to be a middle of the rotation journeyman.
Today’s game is a pitching rematch of the July 8 game between the Reds and DBacks in Arizona. Castillo got the best of that game pitching 6.2 scoreless innings while Walker allowed 5 runs in as many innings in a game won by the Reds 7-0.
Out of necessity, Bryan Price leaned hard on his bullpen “A Team” last night in pursuit of the win. Wandy Peralta, Raisel Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen all worked more than an inning. With two full innings worked, Lorenzen is likely limited to non-pitching duties today. Peralta may be good for an inning. My guess is that if the Reds get to the 9th inning in a saving situation, Iglesias will get the call despite the Wednesday’s long outing and the short turnaround. Otherwise expect to see Tony Cingrani, Ariel Hernandez, Blake Wood and Drew Storen.
The DBacks spread their Wednesday bullpen innings slightly more efficiently using 5 pitchers to cover 5.1 bullpen innings. Nobody from their pen went longer than 1.1 innings. For what is it worth or not, DBacks closer Fernando Rodney was not used Wednesday.
I like the move of putting Eugenio Suarez up to the #2 spot. It is good to see Devin Mesoraco back in the MLB saddle. Zack Cozart gets a well earned rest on the quick turnaround.
News and Notes
For those who haven’t quite caught up on Wednesday’s late finish:
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) July 20, 2017
Adam Duvall ended the game Wednesday; but, Zack Cozart did the heavy lifting all night long
Zack Cozart's feelin' pretty good.
Four hits, a home run and 2 RBI in one game will do that to you. pic.twitter.com/2mTFzVyuR4
— FOX Sports Ohio (@FOXSportsOH) July 20, 2017
If you are wondering who might start for the Reds on Saturday in Scott Feldman’s spot, the field seems to have narrowed
Jackson Stephens pitched last night, so I'd guess that leaves Robert Stephenson as the true minor-league option to start Saturday
— Zach Buchanan (@ZachENQ) July 20, 2017
The “major league” option for Saturday is Asher Wojciechowski. If Wojo works out the bullpen today, pencil Robert Stephenson in as Saturday’s starter.
How about some just for fun fake sports news
REPORT: Pablo Sandoval's new contract with the SF Giants will be the first in MLB history to pay a player entirely in Krispy Kreme donuts
— NOTSportsCenter (@NOTSportsCenter) July 20, 2017
Finally here is a very late breaking tweet from John Fay that’s sure to get some tongues wagging
Sounds like the #Reds will look at getting Lorenzen in spring as a starter next year. Probably not on Iglesias.
— John Fay (@johnfayman) July 20, 2017
What a difference a day and a win makes, right? Last night demonstrated what this Reds team is capable of when it plays on a foundation of solid starting pitching versus one of quicksand. Numbers 1, 2, and 3 on the front office’s off season to do list need to be assuring the Reds starting pitching is based on more than a wing and prayer in 2018 and to do that in a way that makes the team immediately better without dimming the longer term prospects. No doubt this is easier said than done; but, they have the resources in both dollars and talent to do it. If they want to swim in the deep end of the pool this is the task which must be tackled.