If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. That’s the task facing the Reds tonight as they seek to avoid being swept at home by the Brewers in the final game of the current series at 7:10 tonight. So far in this series, the Reds have been just good enough to barely lose. Meanwhile the Brewers have been good enough to win both games, either of which could just as easily gone the other way.
Tonight’s game features Reds right hander Luis Castillo versus Wade Miley, a leftie, for the Brewers.
The Reds have progressed from patiently waiting to anxiously hoping for a reasonable facsimile of the 2017 version of Luis Castillo to materialize and take the spot reserved for him at the top of the team’s starting rotation. Castillo’s most recent start versus the Twins in which he lasted only 1 inning allowing 5 earned runs, 6 hits (1 HR), 2 walks and perhaps most notably recorded no strikeouts resulted in the team publicly acknowledging Castillo’s issues. Words and phrases we’ve heard used before to describe the issues of seriously struggling young starters crept into the official conversation about Castillo’s problems. Phrases like changed arm slot, not getting on top of the ball, flattened fastball and pitch tipping. A focused side session to begin addressing these issues was conducted. Manager Jim Riggleman lamented that the schedule did not fall correctly to allow the team to skip over Castillo on this cycle of the rotation in favor of more side sessions for him. We can only hope for improvement from Castillo tonight.
Wade Miley a 31 year old long time MLB starter (196 career starts) makes his fist ever start for the Brewers tonight after being signed to a minor league contract by the team in February. Miley appeared set to make the Brewers roster out of spring training before suffering a late camp groin injury. Rehab completed, he takes the rotation spot of Brent Suter who has been relegated to the Brewers bullpen. Miley spent 2017 with Baltimore where he made 32 starts and compiled a 5.27 FIP. Miley mixes his 4 seam fastball, a cutter and sinker for about 60% of his pitches. All are thrown at about 90 MPH. A slider and change up in roughly equal proportions comprise most of his other offerings, although he will periodically drop in a very slow curveball.
For what they are worth, comparative numbers
Castillo’s xFIP doesn’t look hateful; but he is being persistently burned by the long ball which xFIP is specifically designed to mitigate. His 2018 ERA/FIP are 7.85/5.57. Also troublesome is that his K% has dropped by 9 points from last season. He is missing a lot fewer bats and being hit hard.
For the second consecutive game, the Reds bullpen was tasked with covering 4 innings Tuesday. It is probably a good thing for the bullpen’s sake that Thursday is an off day. Last night David Hernandez pitched an inning, Amir Garrett 1.1 innings and emerging folk hero Dylan Floro 1.2 innings. I’m guessing the latter two don’t see action tonight beyond possibly a single hitter in a situation to save another arm or double switch because the Reds pitcher spot is due up to bat in the Reds next turn at the plate.
The Brewers used 3 relievers to cover 3.2 innings. Jacob Barnes worked just 0.1 innings while Matt Albers and Jeremy Jeffress each worked 1.2 innings. Allbers and Jeffress are likely in the same situation as Garrett and Floro are for the Reds. The Brewers are also off tomorrow; so, they should have no issues getting through the game tonight.
|1. Jonathan Villar (2B)
2. Christian Yelich (CF)
3. Ryan Braun (LF)
4. Travis Shaw (3B)
5. Jesus Aguilar (1B)
6. Domingo Santana (RF)
7. Manny Pina (C)
8. Orlando Arcia (SS)
9. Wade Miley (P)
|1. Jesse Winker (RF)
2. Jose Peraza (SS)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
5. Adam Duvall (LF)
6. Devin Mesoraco (C)
7. Alex Blandino (2B)
8. Luis Castillo (P)
9. Billy Hamilton (CF)
Order is somewhat restored to the Reds lineup. Presumably Scott Schebler is sitting because the Brewers are starting a left handed pitcher. Just because I’m feeling a bit mischievous today, in 2018 Schebler has a 1.122 OPS in 13 PAs versus left handed pitching. Duval’s is .835 in 19 PAs; and, Hamilton’s is .504 in 25 PAs.
News and Notes
Here is the interesting story of Alex Blandino’s first MLB home run ball and the guy in the stands who corralled it.
— Enquirer Sports (@ENQSports) May 2, 2018
This is not good in several ways.
SP innings last 14 games for #Reds: 5, 5, 6.1, 4.2, 1, 5, 5, 6, 6, 5, 5.2, 3, 5, 5.
— Lance McAlister (@LanceMcAlister) May 2, 2018
And if the Reds bullpen needs reinforcements, Jimmy Herget may be next man up.
Is right handed reliever Jimmy Herget the next player to be called up by the Cincinnati #Reds? He's been dominant for the Louisville Bats this season and should be next in line.https://t.co/wh16tV5M71 pic.twitter.com/X7Mq3eaVlg
— Doug Gray (@dougdirt24) May 2, 2018
72 hours ago, many of us were allowing ourselves to feel at least a glimmer of hope that the Reds might be in the process of turning an important corner on the road back to beginning to having some success.
Then Monday night happened followed by Tuesday night. Despite some missed opportunities, the Reds new found offense continued to put up runs at a pace that could have, would have, probably should have won at least one if not both of these last two games. Instead what they got were two more losses.
My takeaway is that two relatively even matched teams have had at each other but that one of those teams is clearly further down the road at recognizing the game defining moments and seizing those moments to their advantage. As the sorting and figuring out who plays where and when for the Reds continues, let’s hope part of the evaluation process is recognizing which Reds players are learning to seize and exploit the game changing moments. Go Reds!