The Reds (49-68) couldn’t extend their winning streak to four games last night, but they’ll have a chance to win their 50th game of the season and their second straight series in the rubber game against the Brewers (60-59) this afternoon. First pitch is set for 2:10 p.m. ET.
Against one of the worst offenses in baseball, Sal Romano struggled again in his most recent outing versus the Padres. While he pitched six innings, the right-hander gave up five runs on nine hits. He walked a respectable two batters but only struck out two as well.
Romano has essentially been using only two pitches — his fastball and slider — and it’s resulted in problems putting hitters away. The rookie has relied on his four-seamer heavily, throwing it 66.2 percent of the time, the third-highest rate among starting pitchers who have used the pitch 400 or more times. He seemed to show more confidence in his changeup against the Pirates on August 3, throwing it 13 times; however, the pitch all but disappeared against San Diego, as he threw it only four times.
While his control has been better since walking six Marlins hitters on July 28 (two walks in 12 innings), command within the strike zone has been another story, as he’s given up 17 hits in those two starts.
Romano vs. Brewers
Romano’s major-league debut came against the Brewers on April 16. He gave up three runs (two earned) on three hits and four walks in three innings.
Here is how he performed against Milwaukee hitters in that game (stats courtesy of Baseball Reference):
Injuries have slowed down Matt Garza since signing a four-year, $50 million deal with the Brewers prior to the 2014 season. His inaugural season in Milwaukee was solid (2.7 fWAR), but he’s accumulated only 3.2 fWAR in the three seasons since. That being said, Garza has had a decent 2017 campaign while battling various ailments that have resulted in three separate trips to the disabled list. Prior to his last start, in which he was beaten up for four home runs and eight runs in 3.1 innings, Garza’s ERA was 3.83 — though his xFIP was nearly a full run higher at 4.70. Despite the respectable results, however, he’s not striking many batters out (16.3 K%) and doesn’t force many ground balls (41.9 GB%), which is why his peripheral numbers aren’t so pretty.
Garza vs. Reds
Garza’s first start of the season came against the Reds on April 24. He lasted only four innings, allowing four runs (one earned), four hits, and three walks while striking out four.
Here are his career numbers against Cincinnati hitters:
|CF Billy Hamilton (63 wRC+)||2B Jonathan Villar (60 wRC+)|
|RF Jesse Winker (97 wRC+)||1B Eric Thames (126 wRC+)|
|1B Joey Votto (166 wRC+)||LF Ryan Braun (132 wRC+)|
|LF Adam Duvall (111 wRC+)||3B Neil Walker (107 wRC+)|
|2B Scooter Gennett (125 wRC+)||RF Domingo Santana (115 wRC+)|
|3B Eugenio Suárez (120 wRC+)||C Manny Pina (98 wRC+)|
|SS Jose Peraza (61 wRC+)||SS Eric Sogard (116 wRC+)|
|C Tucker Barnhart (86 wRC+)||CF Hernan Perez (82 wRC+)|
|P Sal Romano (4.09 xFIP)||P Matt Garza (4.10 xFIP)|
— Zack Cozart is getting the day off. Jesse Winker is taking over the No. 2 spot in the Reds’ lineup, while Jose Peraza is getting the starting nod at shortstop.
— The Brewers acquired Neil Walker from the Mets yesterday in exchange for a player to be named later, and manager Craig Counsell wasted no time getting him in the lineup. He’s playing third base for only the 18th time in his MLB career and the third time this year.
— Walker is playing in favor of Travis Shaw, who fouled two balls off his right leg in last night’s game and was seen in a walking boot afterward.
News, Notes, & Pre-Game Reading
Austin Brice has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with a lat strain, and Robert Stephenson has been activated. There’s still no word on when Stephenson will re-enter the starting rotation, but it seems likely that he’ll start on Monday in favor of Asher Wojciechowski.
Barry Larkin debuted on this day 31 years ago. He turned out to be decent.
Joey Votto can extend his hitting streak to a career-best 18 games today. He currently holds the longest active hitting streak in the majors and is hitting .462/.627/.808 with five homers and 21 walks over that span.
Another nice stat on the improvement at the plate for Cozart and Eugenio Suarez this year:
Stat of the Day
Last night, Patrick Kivlehan hit the Reds’ hardest home run of the season at 113.0 mph. It also set the mark to beat for the team’s hardest hit ball of the season, which was previously held by Kivlehan as well.
For those curious, the Reds’ softest hit home run of the season was a 90.8 mph shot by Zack Cozart on June 4. That ball traveled only 339 feet, the team’s third-shortest homer of the year. The shortest belongs to Adam Duvall, a 328-foot long ball at Yankee Stadium on July 26.
The Cincinnati offense has been on a tear lately, averaging eight runs per game over the last six contests. While that’s been enough to win four of those games, poor pitching has cost them the other two. The team could really use a nice start from Romano today, especially since the bullpen has been heavily used in the past two days.