The Reds are looking to get out their brooms tonight versus the Pirates in Pittsburgh. Yes, you read correctly; the Reds are looking to get out their brooms tonight versus the Pirates in Pittsburgh. This is the first time since June 28 that the Reds will be trying to push the brooms instead of hoping to avoid them. If the Reds can complete the sweep, it will extend their modest winning streak to 4. They haven’t won that many consecutive games since June 8 when they completed a sweep of the Cardinals. Let’s get to it.
Sal Romano goes for the Reds tonight in his fifth start since being installed into the Reds rotation in late June. The young righthander has struggled mightily with his control. The good news is when he throws strikes, he can be an effective pitcher. The bad news is that in two of his four recent starts he has walked hitters at a rate exceeding 1 batter per inning. Also, too often, even when Romano is getting outs, he is still pitch inefficient and not able to pitch as deeply into games as needed. Robert Stephenson’s strong and pitch efficient performance Wednesday seemingly puts Romano squarely in the rotation bubble given the looming return of Scott Feldman from the DL. Here is hoping Big Sal steps up big tonight and gives the Reds a happy problem to figure out.
A third consecutive young righthander, 24 year old Chad Kuhl, starts for the Pirates tonight. Unlike the two prior Pirates starters in this series who were top 50 overall draft picks, Kuhl was a ninth round pick (#269 overall 2013; chosen out of University of Delaware). Nonetheless he has grabbed the opportunity and is in an MLB rotation alongside the more highly regarded pair at around a year younger than them. Kuhl’s stuff is typical for today’s young pitchers. A mid 90’s fastball and 90ish slider comprise about 85% of his offerings with the remainder of his pitches about equally divided between a change up and even slower curve ball.
Michael Lorenzen and Raisel Iglesias both pitched more than an inning last night for the Reds throwing 25 and 42 pitches respectively. How much if at all either can pitch tonight is for the Reds to know and us to learn along with the Pirates. However, expect to see a lot of Drew Storen and Wandy Peralta if the game is competitive from the seventh inning onwards. With the announcement Wednesday that Tim Adleman has been dropped from the Reds rotation, he could be the first man out of the pen tonight.
Clint Hurdle spread 3.2 bullpen inning among 4 different relievers yesterday with no one going longer than an inning. Nobody who pitched out of the Pirates pen last night pitched Tuesday. They should be in solid shape.
Bryan Price seems to be sticking to the plan that if it succeeds try, try, again. However, once again, no Devin Mesoraco.
News and Notes
A reminder that just like the rest of us, MLB players have lives away from work
Jesse Winker appears to have arrived on “both sides of the ball”.
This guy is on his way to the Reds in a hurry
In case you missed yesterday’s somewhat understated announcement…
Finally, this late bit of information
Success in baseball flows from effective pitching, particularly effective starting pitching. We’ve seen this proven yet again in the Reds current three game run of wins. The results of the last three games should underscore to the Reds front office that if they can get the starting rotation right, the team is ready to begin, begin I said, competing at a higher level.
Looking to both the immediate and long term futures, the rotation needs to be the top priority. In the best of worlds, through the rest of 2017 internal candidates will make efforts such as we’ve seen in the last three games the norm, enabling the front office to decide it can build a stable 2018 rotation with growth potential from among them. If this doesn’t happen, the time will have come to change course. As I see things in this case, they should either bring in one or two middle of the rotation pitchers to provide stability to build upon moving forward or take the unpalatable step of selling off MLB level talent for prospects and begin the rebuild anew. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to the latter. Go Reds!