The Reds (61-81) came into this series on a winning streak, but their season-long road woes have reared their ugly head again. Two games into their weekend trip to Citi Field, they’re back on a losing streak and their road record now sits at a dreadful 25-45. Despite injuries that keep piling up, the Mets (62-79) have owned the first two games, holding the Cincinnati offense to a mere three runs.
Once again, first pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. ET.
The overall numbers are still ugly, but Homer Bailey is slowly showing signs of returning to his old self on the mound. He’s thrown six innings in each of his last two starts, allowing run totals of two and three. His strikeout numbers are down, but he’s displaying better command, walking only two batters over his last three starts after issuing a combined 10 free passes in his two outings prior to that. In his last time out against the Brewers on Monday, Bailey at one point retired 14 batters in a row. If he continues this progress, it’ll be huge for the Reds in 2018, especially with the uncertainty surrounding Anthony DeSclafani and Brandon Finnegan.
Bailey vs. Mets
A casual baseball fan may not know who Rafael Montero is, but Reds fans do after his performance on August 30. The right-hander dominated Cincinnati hitters that night in Great American Ball Park, shutting the Reds out for eight innings, allowing only three hits, and striking out eight — easily the best start of his big-league career. But the former top-100 prospect did walk four batters in that game, and that’s been his primary problem. His 11.0 BB% as a starter ranks 10th-worst among pitchers with 70 or more innings, and he’s walked at least one batter in all 14 of his starts.
Montero vs. Reds
|LF Phillip Ervin (180 wRC+)||SS Jose Reyes (88 wRC+)|
|SS Zack Cozart (144 wRC+)||RF Nori Aoki (95 wRC+)|
|1B Joey Votto (164 wRC+)||3B Asdrubal Cabrera (102 wRC+)|
|2B Scooter Gennett (130 wRC+)||LF Brandon Nimmo (130 wRC+)|
|3B Eugenio Suárez (124 wRC+)||CF Juan Lagares (85 wRC+)|
|CF Scott Schebler (103 wRC+)||1B Dominic Smith (56 wRC+)|
|RF Patrick Kivlehan (82 wRC+)||C Kevin Plawecki (78 wRC+)|
|C Tucker Barnhart (87 wRC+)||2B Matt Reynolds (61 wRC+)|
|P Homer Bailey (5.01 xFIP)||P Rafael Montero (4.75 xFIP)|
— Interesting Reds lineup tonight. The slumping Adam Duvall is getting the night off, and Scott Schebler is making his seventh start of the season in center field. Scooter Gennett is also the cleanup hitter.
— Asdrubal Cabrera is back in the lineup for the Mets after missing yesterday’s game with a hamstring injury.
News, Notes, & Pre-Game Reading
Jesse Winker is close to returning from his hip injury. He should get plenty of playing time down the stretch with Billy Hamilton on the disabled list.
The Dayton Dragons won last night to move on to the second round of the Midwest League playoffs. They’ll face the Fort Wayne TinCaps, an affiliate of the Padres, starting tonight at 7:05 p.m. ET.
That wasn’t the only postseason success story for a Reds’ minor league team yesterday:
Happy birthday, Billy! Unfortunately, he will not play on his birthday for the second year in a row as he’s out with another late-season injury.
Rookie Davis is in the bullpen for now, but he may see time as a starter by the time the season ends:
Stat of the Day
Don’t run on Tucker Barnhart. The underrated Reds catcher threw out his 28th runner trying to steal last night to take the league lead. He has thrown out 47% of potential base-stealers this season, which trails only Orioles catcher Welington Castillo (50%). Barnhart doesn’t have the name recognition of guys like Yadier Molina and Buster Posey, but he’s got a real shot to win a Gold Glove this season. He leads all catchers in FanGraphs’ DEF rating (13.8) and Baseball Reference’s defensive WAR (2.4). His dWAR is fourth among all players, regardless of position.
***Bonus stat of the day that has nothing to do with the Reds: