Do you remember Lou Piniella’s famous prediction of a guaranteed win against the Giants in 1990?
It received quite a bit of hoopla at the time, as the Reds were on their way to a World Series win. Now, for perhaps the first time in Redleg Nation history, a game preview author is going way out on the limb to say:
“The Reds will ABSOLUTELY defeat the Pirates today. It’s just that plain and simple.”
Readers may be thinking, “How daft can you be?” No team that is 20 games under .500 (64-84) and in last place in its division is EVER a lock to win any game, doubters may reply. Oh, ye of little faith. There are numerous factors and trends that point to this prediction being the biggest lock of the Reds season:
- The Reds have an 11-6 record against the Pirates this year, by far their best against any opponent.
- The Reds are 37-36 at home, and the Pirates are 29-46 on the road.
- Today’s starting pitchers have trend lines on opposite trajectories. Ivan Nova’s trend line is plummeting, and Sal Romano’s is on the rise. (See Starting Pitchers, below.)
- In three previous starts against the Reds this year, Nova has allowed 12 earned runs in 17 innings. And, from a longer-term view, many of the Reds regulars have a history of hitting Nova well:
So there you are. The lock of the year. BOO-YAH!
This is the one day this year Reds fans can watch the game without any anxiety that things may go poorly for the home team. Put your feet up, relax and enjoy the show.
Nova’s performance has been on a slippery downward slope for the past several weeks. Since the first of August, he has pitched 37 innings in which he has allowed 25 earned runs. This was after a very good start to the season. None of his previous four starts has been of the “quality” variety (six or more innings pitched, three or fewer runs allowed).
Romano is trending in the other direction. He has allowed three or fewer runs in each of his last five starts. If this trend continues through the rest of the year, he will have placed himself on the short list of pitchers likely to open the 2018 season in the Reds rotation.
Both Raisel Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen pitched 1.2 innings Friday night. When either of them pitches more than an inning, that usually signals they won’t be used the next day. So the final two or three innings could be interesting. Jackson Stephens and Rookie Davis may not be available. (See News and Notes below.)
|2B Adam Frazier||RF Jesse Winker|
|LF Jordan Luplow||SS Zack Cozart|
|CF Andrew McCutchen||1B Joey Votto|
|1B Josh Bell||3B Eugenio Suarez|
|3B David Freese||2B Scooter Gennett|
|RF Gregory Polanco||CF Scott Schebler|
|C Elias Diaz||LF Adam Duvall|
|SS Jordy Mercer||C Tucker Barnhart|
|P Ivan Nova||P Sal Romano|
News and Notes
Hunter Greene is stopping by for a visit …
— Kareem Elgazzar (@ElgazzarBLVD) September 16, 2017
Tyler Mahle has reached his innings limit, and Amir Garrett will receive some tutelage from Mack Jenkins …
#Reds rotation changes. Garrett and Mahle are out. Stephens and Davis start Tuesday and Wednesday.
— Brian Giesenschlag (@BGiesenschlag) September 16, 2017
A reason for optimism …
19 of the last 29 #Reds games have been started by pitchers under the age of 25. They have a 2.65 ERA in those starts.
— Joel Luckhaupt (@jluckhaupt) September 16, 2017