Tonight the Reds will be looking to make it two in a row over the Pirates in the middle game of their current series at GABP. A Reds win tonight would secure a winning series for the Reds and set the stage for them to go for the sweep and a winning homestand on Thursday in the series finale.
Homer Bailey makes start 203 of his MLB career for the Reds tonight. Given his performance to date in 2018, fans are wondering how many more starts are left in his career. Bailey’s issues are particularly vexing. His velocity is still good; but, he doesn’t consistently pitch clean innings because his location control has deserted him. Bailey’s fastball which has never been noted for its movement seems to have become even more straight arrow and is often ending up in sweet spots for hitters. His split finger pitch which had become his out pitch over the years is hanging in the hitting zone or diving too early and out of control to fool batters. With Anthony DeSclafani apparently nearing a return to MLB, Bailey’s window to get his game in order may be closing.
Righthander Chad Kuhl will go to the mound to open the game for the Pirates. Kuhl at age 25 hopes he is at the opposite end from Bailey of a long career as an MLB starter. He seemingly has beaten the odds to date ascending to the Pirates rotation at mid season in 2016 after being a ninth round (#269 overall) draft pick by the Pirates in the 2013 June draft. He starts for the 55th time for the Pirates tonight. Kuhl is a fastball/ slider pitcher who throws his fastball, predominately as a sinker, just over 60% of the time at about 95-96MPH. He throws an 88MPH slider on 22% of his pitches and fills out the balance with a mix of a change up (10%/ 88MPH) and 83MPH curve. Kuhl is prone to giving up some walks but largely compensates with a high strikeout rate.
2018 season numbers:
How about this… Bailey’s BB rate is actually lower than Kuhl’s and only 0.4% higher than his career BB rate. The sad story is that Bailey’s K rate is nearly 6% lower than his career K rate. His career WHIP is virtually identical to Kuhl’s 2018 WHIP. A quick take is that those guys Bailey isn’t striking out anymore are getting on base at a high rate; and a lot of their hits are leaving the yard as Bailey’s current HR/9 is nearly double his HR/9 rate. Truly vexing.
The Reds used 4 relievers to cover 3 innings. Nobody worked more than an inning. David Hernandez needed 25 pitches to record his 3 outs and may be very limited tonight. Both lefties, Amir Garrett and Wandy Peralta, were used and may be limited to an inning at most tonight along with Jared Hughes who also worked an inning. Unless there is a last minute issue, Michael Lorenzen will be activated and available to work out of the pen tonight.
No doubt it is of small or no solace to Pirates manager Clint Hurdle but by virtue of being a losing road team on Tuesday, his bullpen was saved an inning of work. Two Pirates relievers, George Kontos and Tyler Glasnow worked an inning each Tuesday. Kontos needed 19 pitches to finish his inning and may be very limited tonight.
|1. Josh Harrison (2B)
2. Gregory Polanco (RF)
3. Francisco Cervelli (C)
4. Josh Bell (1B)
5. Corey Dickerson (LF)
6. Colin Moran (3B)
7. Austin Meadows (CF)
8. Jordy Mercer (SS)
9. Chad Kuhl (P)
|1. Jesse Winker (LF)
2. Tucker Barnhart (C)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Scooter Gennett (2B)
5. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
6. Scott Schebler (RF)
7. Jose Peraza (SS)
8. Homer Bailey (P)
9. Billy Hamilton (CF)
Jesse Winker returns. Tucker Barnhart stick at #2. Bottom third is really soft.
News and Notes
As mentioned above, tomorrow is here and Michael Lorenzen will be activated for tonight’s game
— OhioJimWalker (@jn_walkerjr) May 23, 2018
Here is the other side of Lorenzen’s activation; and, it is big unexpected (bad) news
— Redleg Nation (@redlegnation) May 23, 2018
It appears that Scooter Gennett just has a grand knock knack
— Tim Kurkjian (@Kurkjian_ESPN) May 23, 2018
On the farm this afternoon. How close may we be getting to Robert Stephenson switching places with someone currently in the Reds rotation?
BATS WIN, 10-2!
Robert Stephenson: 3rd straight W, 6.0 IP, 2H, ER, 2BB, 9K
Josh VanMeter: 3-5, 2B, HR, 4 RBI
D.J. Peterson: 2-5, HR, RBIhttps://t.co/d6kCSwhH3M
— Louisville Bats (@LouisvilleBats) May 23, 2018
At some point last night as I watched the continuing magic of the Reds Matt Harvey Era, the thought occurred to me, “Hey, this guy looks like a real MLB starting pitcher“. He doesn’t look too old or worn down by injury or still green behind the gills and trying to find his way. He looks like a guy who knows what his job is and who is also capable of getting it done.
We don’t know how long Harvey will continue to prosper like this (recall Homer Bailey’s early season starts) or how quickly somebody will make the Reds brass an offer for Harvey they feel compelled to take. But until something changes with Harvey, we are blessed with this respite and reminder of how things are supposed to be. Perhaps it is time we stand on our hind legs and demand that the Reds do what it takes to obtain the longer term services of a couple similar guys to facilitate the advance of this alleged but seemingly endless rebuild?!? Go Reds!