In another non-competitive contest, the Reds (61-82) dropped their third straight game against the Mets (63-79) last night. The loss was their ninth straight in Citi Field, and they again scored only one run — bringing their series total to a whopping four. We’ll see if Cincinnati can at least keep viewers from falling asleep by the fifth inning today. The finale is set to kick off at 1:10 p.m. ET.
Sal Romano has come a long way since overthrowing his way out of the game after three innings in his first career start. Along with Robert Stephenson, Romano has pitched right into the conversation for a spot in the 2018 rotation. With increasing confidence in his still-developing third pitch, a changeup, the 23-year-old has a 2.45 ERA over his last four starts. The caveat is his 4.78 xFIP, however, as he’s still not striking out many batters and tends to nibble at times, leading to a few too many walks. But he’s still a young pitcher, and the important thing is he’s showing notable progress — in a season of mostly dreadful starting pitching, that’s all the Reds can ask for.
Romano vs. Mets
If the Reds couldn’t get anything going against Matt Harvey, Seth Lugo, and Rafael Montero, it doesn’t seem like a safe bet that they’ll score many runs against Jacob deGrom. The right-hander is the only pitcher from the Mets’ Opening Day rotation who has stayed healthy all year, and he’s quietly having another excellent season. He’s striking out more hitters than ever before and is on pace to easily top his previous career-high in innings pitched.
That being said, deGrom has not thrown all that well over the last month, allowing a 5.81 ERA over his last five starts. In his last outing, the Phillies — the worst offensive team in baseball — scored nine runs (six earned) on 10 hits against him, including a home run and four RBIs by pitcher and former Reds farmhand Ben Lively. The Reds certainly seem to have caught deGrom at a good time, but it also seems he caught their offense at a good time; something will have to give today.
deGrom vs. Reds
|CF Jose Peraza (64 wRC+)||2B Jose Reyes (88 wRC+)|
|SS Zack Cozart (142 wRC+)||RF Nori Aoki (95 wRC+)|
|1B Joey Votto (163 wRC+)||CF Brandon Nimmo (127 wRC+)|
|2B Scooter Gennett (130 wRC+)||C Travis d’Arnaud (80 wRC+)|
|3B Eugenio Suárez (124 wRC+)||1B Dominic Smith (56 wRC+)|
|LF Adam Duvall (101 wRC+)||SS Amed Rosario (82 wRC+)|
|RF Scott Schebler (101 wRC+)||LF Travis Taijeron (76 wRC+)|
|C Tucker Barnhart (85 wRC+)||3B Matt Reynolds (70 wRC+)|
|P Sal Romano (4.90 xFIP)||P Jacob deGrom (3.31 xFIP)|
— Today will be Jose Peraza’s first appearance in center field of the season.
— Adam Duvall is back in the lineup, but Bryan Price has moved him out of the cleanup spot as the left fielder continues to slump in the second half. This will be Duvall’s first time batting anywhere other than fourth this season.
News, Notes, & Pre-Game Reading
— Joey Votto turns 34 today, but he’s sure not playing like a 34-year-old.
Votto shares his birthday with another legendary Reds first baseman, Ted Kluszewski.
Here’s a nice story from Mark Sheldon on recent call-up Zach Vincej:
The Dragons won their first semifinal game in the Midwest League playoffs last night. They’ll have a chance to move on to the championship with a win tonight at home.
Stat of the Day
In honor of their birthday, today’s Stat of the Day™ is Votto and Kluszewski themed.
— On August 10, Votto passed Big Klu (251) for fifth on the Reds’ all time home run list.
— By fWAR, Votto is already the best Reds first baseman in history (52.8). Kluszewski ranks fifth (25.5).
— In a four-season stretch between 1953 and ’56, Big Klu hit 171 home runs, averaging nearly 43 per year. Votto’s biggest four-season output was 115 between 2008 and 2011.
— In terms of isolated power (slugging percentage minus batting average), Votto (.228) and Kluszewski (.210) are first and third in team history among first basemen, with Lee May (.216) sandwiched between them.
— It’s been well-documented how Votto has cut down his strikeouts dramatically, from a 19.4 K% in 2015 to a 17.7 K% last year to 11.5 K% this year. Kluszewski would still think that’s too many strikeouts. He boasted a career 5.6 K% and only struck out in more than 10 percent of his plate appearances twice — one of those times was in 1947 when he had only 11 trips to the plate.