Tonight the Reds (42-63) open a three game series in Pittsburgh versus the Pirates (51-54) who are the next team up the ladder from the Reds at the bottom of the NL Central standings. The Reds are 1-6 on the current 10-game road trip following Sunday’s 6-4 win against the Marlins. The Pirates return home after a tough western road trip on which they were 3-6 including 4 disappointing losses against the lowly Padres and even lower Giants. Whatever playoffs hopes they still entertained are gone or hanging by the thinnest of threads.
Homer Bailey continues his comeback from Tommy John surgery for the Reds tonight. The righthander will be looking to go at least 6 innings for the third straight start and fifth time in his last 6 starts. By way of comparison, only Scott Feldman, Tim Adleman and Amir Garrett have completed a 6-inning consecutive trifecta this season for the Reds, each having done it just once. Long ago and oh so far away, Amir Garrett went at least 6 innings in five of his first six MLB starts. He is the only Red this season to complete such a run.
Pirates starter righthander Jameson Taillon is also on the comeback trail. Taillon missed 6 weeks from early May into June after being diagnosed with testicular cancer and undergoing treatment. His final start prior to his illness related absence was May 3 versus the Reds. In that game won by the Reds Taillon was roughed up for 6 earned runs in 5 innings. Over Taillon’s 8 starts since returning to the Pirates rotation, he has been a 5 inning pitcher. However his most recent start, versus the Giants, was the worst of his MLB career. He lasted just 3.0 innings and allowed 9 earned runs.
Both teams were off Monday. All arms should be rested. More interestingly, both teams traded a lefthanded reliever named Tony to the Dodgers Monday. They are Cingrani from the Reds and Watson from the Pirates. Call them the lucky Tony twins.
Jesse Winker has been recalled to fill the roster spot formerly occupied by Tony Cingrani and is in the lineup for the slumping Scott Schebler. Better yet Winker is batting #2. Let’s hope this observation by Mark Sheldon turns out to be correct:
News and Notes
For those who skipped straight to News and Notes, one more time:
Jose Siri kept us waiting with bated breath and crossed fingers Monday night before he got the job done in dramatic fashion.
And having gotten over the hump, Jose wasted no time in extending his record streak in the Dragons Tuesday matinee
If you haven’t had time to catch up yet, the Reds made just the one move at the trade deadline
If either player obtained for Tony Cingrani ever makes an impact with the Reds, it will likely be the “other guy”, 20 year old Hendrik Clementina, years from now.
When opportunity and means come together good things can happen
The calendar says today is August 1. Even though we’d all probably rather not do so, we should take a look back at the Reds July. The team’s record for July was 8-18 (.307). For some sense of just how bad .307 is, over a full 162 game season it works out to 50-112.
“But wasn’t most of July was played against top drawer teams”, you say yearning for mitigation? Yes, however July’s disaster comes on top of a 10-17 (.370) June for the team, which is also 100+ loss rate across a full season.
With 57 games to go it is past time for the Reds to drop all pretense and focus squarely and solely on sorting out who are the keepers. Clear the bench and bullpen of folks who obviously do not figure in the team’s future even though this means eating sunken costs. Fill those spots with prospects now in the minors. Most importantly once the prospects are on the 25 man roster, play them early and often. Let’s hope today’s recall of Jesse Winker is just step 1 of a widening and ongoing process.