Another day, another preview introduction about how poorly the Reds (41-61) are playing. The team dropped its fourth straight game on Thursday to open the weekend series with the Marlins (47-53), dropping them to 2-12 since the all-star break. If there’s any silver lining to the recent performance, it’s that Cincinnati is now in position to grab another high draft pick and continue bolstering the farm system. They’re currently in line for the No. 4 overall pick and are four games in front (behind?) of the Phillies for the top selection.
The Reds’ goal isn’t getting the top pick in the draft, though, so they’ll look to snap out of their funk tonight at 7:10 p.m.
After his most recent performance, Sal Romano must have a little extra confidence coming into tonight’s contest. Following his worst outing as a big leaguer, he turned in his best, as he threw more than five innings for the first time and held the Marlins to one run on only three hits in six strong frames last weekend. Minus a solo home run, he generally had his way with Miami hitters, striking out seven and walking only one. That last stat is the most important for Romano; when he’s been off his game, the right-hander has battled control problems, walking nine in seven innings. In his two victories, he has only two walks combined. The rookie hasn’t dealt with wildness in his minor-league career, so it’s certainly not something to get worked up about. When his command has been erratic, Romano has chalked it up to overthrowing.
Here’s how current Marlins did against him last week:
(Stats courtesy of Baseball Reference)
After the Reds roughed up Tom Koehler in his last start, the Marlins sent him to the minors and promoted veteran right-hander Vance Worley from the bullpen to start tonight’s game. The 29-year-old at one point looked like a promising young arm for the Phillies, posting a 2.4 fWAR in 2011, his rookie season. Since then, however, he has dealt with injuries and ineffectiveness.
He was almost exclusively a starter at the beginning of his career with the Phillies, Twins, and Pirates, but he’s served in a relief role for much of the past three seasons. He’s made four starts this season, posting a 7.11 ERA and making it to the fifth inning only once. Worley hasn’t been stretched out to throw six or seven innings, so the Reds will have a chance to get to the Marlins’ bullpen early tonight.
Here is how Reds hitters have fared against him in the past:
|CF Billy Hamilton (63 wRC+)||2B Dee Gordon (86 wRC+)|
|2B Scooter Gennett (138 wRC+)||RF Giancarlo Stanton (143 wRC+)|
|1B Joey Votto (153 wRC+)||CF Christian Yelich (112 wRC+)|
|LF Adam Duvall (112 wRC+)||LF Marcell Ozuna (138 wRC+)|
|3B Eugenio Suárez (113 wRC+)||C J.T. Realmuto (121 wRC+)|
|RF Scott Schebler (98 wRC+)||3B Derek Dietrich (80 wRC+)|
|SS José Peraza (52 wRC+)||1B Tyler Moore (81 wRC+)|
|C Tucker Barnhart (75 wRC+)||SS Miguel Rojas (95 wRC+)|
|P Sal Romano (5.04 xFIP)||P Vance Worley (4.32 xFIP)|
— For the fourth straight game, Zack Cozart is out of the Reds lineup with a quad injury. Jose Peraza is again starting at shortstop.
News, Notes and Pre-Game Reading
While the pitching has continued to struggle in the second half, the disappearance of the offense has been most notable for the Reds. The team has scored only 41 runs in 14 games since the break, averaging just under three per game. That kind of output won’t win very many games. Minus Eugenio Suarez, nearly every starter has been mired in a slump, though Joey Votto showed some signs of getting out of his in the last two games (3-for-4, four walks). If the club is going to get back on track, the bats will have to lead the way.