After a quick weekend trip to Pittsburgh in which they won the first game and lost the next two, the Cincinnati Reds (58-79) return to Great American Ball Park for a three-game series against their NL Central counterpart Milwaukee Brewers (72-65). Game time is at 1:10 ET on this Labor Day.
The Brewers come into town having faded slightly, but are still within striking distance, 3.5 games behind the Cubs and 0.5 games out of the second wild card spot.
The Brewers are where the Reds want to be in 2018. No one expected the Brewers to be ready to compete yet, but that’s exactly what has happened. The Reds and Brewers are pretty even when it comes to offense (the Reds actually have a better team batting average and OPS, and both teams are top five in the NL in home runs). But the Brewers’ pitching has been a good surprise, while the Reds pitching has been….well, you know.
While he’s still not the Homer Bailey of old, he has been improving. In his last start against the Mets, he pitched six innings of four hit, two run baseball, striking out one and walking only one. Both runs came in the first inning, before he settled down and pitched five shut out innings. Even in the August 16th game against the Cubs when Bailey surrendered six hits on seven runs, he also struck out ten batters. Honestly, it’s just a matter of getting him healthy and comfortable so that he’s ready to go in 2018.
Chase Anderson’s breakthrough season has come in 2017. In his first three years in the league, first with the Diamondbacks and last year with the Brewers, Anderson has consistently pitched with an ERA over 4.00. In 106.1 innings this season, Anderson has a 2.96 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP, both the lowest of the Brewers’ starting staff. He still walks about the same percentage of batters as in past years, but he has improved his K% by about five percentage points from last year. He’s also allowed less home runs, only 11 compared to the 28 he allowed in 2016. Anderson has four pitches, but has only started to throw his cutter a lot more this season than in previous season.
Anderson has faced the Reds just once this season, and had to leave after one inning. He went on the disabled list with a strained left oblique and recently returned on August 20. He’s made three starts in that time and is 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA.
Here are how the Reds have fared against Anderson (Joey Votto has drawn SIX walks against him):
|1. Jonathan Villar (CF)
2. Neil Walker (2B)
3. Ryan Braun (LF)
4. Travis Shaw (3B)
5. Domingo Santana (RF)
6. Eric Thames (1B)
7. Manny Pina (C)
8. Orlando Arcia (SS)
9. Chase Anderson (P)
|1. Billy Hamilton (CF)
2. Zack Cozart (SS)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Adam Duvall (LF)
5. Scooter Gennett (2B)
6. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
7. Scott Schebler (RF)
8. Tucker Barnhart (C)
9. Homer Bailey (P)
-Tucker Barnhart returned from paternity leave yesterday and is back in the lineup this afternoon.
-It’s Adam Duvall’s 29th birthday today. Maybe he’ll hit a home run as a birthday gift to himself.
Stat of the Day
— Joel Luckhaupt (@jluckhaupt) September 3, 2017
This is a very good development. Finally, the young pitchers are getting a chance, and some are emerging as legitimate candidates to be in the rotation in 2018. Unfortunately, about half of these pitchers will likely make only one more start and then get shut down. Will we see Cody Reed and Amir Garrett again before 2017 is over?
News and Notes
-Great story by C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer this weekend on Eugenio Suarez. Walt Jocketty made some questionable trades, but the Suarez for Alfredo Simon deal was not one of them.
ICYMI: Jim Leyland had some choice words for Walt Jocketty when the Reds got Eugenio Suarez… https://t.co/f3FBXH88so
— C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) September 3, 2017
-This is fun.
— MiLB.com (@MiLB) September 4, 2017
-Also, from the Reds minor leagues, there’s this good news.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) September 4, 2017
With the news about Bryan Price returning for another year as manager of the Reds being revealed this weekend, there has been a lot of talk about whether or not he should return. While I don’t think Price is the guy to carry the Reds to the next level, I also think he hasn’t been given much to work with. The last four years were never about the manager, despite what some fans want to believe.
2018 will be a very important season in the next phase of the rebuilding process, as all of these young players start performing at the big league level. Price will be judged on how he manages next season, and then I think the Reds re-evaluate his performance after that.