The 2018 battle for the Ohio Cup resumes tonight at GABP as the Reds (52-66; 4-6 last 10) meet the Indians (66-51; 7-3 last 10) in the first game of a 3 game set. The Reds took 2 of 3 from the Indians in Cleveland back in July and need to at least repeat that result to lock down the 2018 Ohio Cup since the current Cup holders, the Indians, retain the Cup if the season series ends tied at 3. Yes, it’s not a real alternate championship like the FA Cup; but, the Ohio Cup is at least something for the Reds and their fans to aspire to in another season gone sour. Game time tonight is 7:10pm Eastern.
A pair of right handers, Homer Bailey (Reds) and Mike Clevinger (Indians) make the start tonight. Tonight marks Homer Bailey’s first appearance of the year versus the Indians. Clevinger started the opening game of the series between the Reds and Indians in Cleveland a month ago allowing 5 earned runs over 6+ innings in a game won 7-5 by the Reds.
Tonight is Homer Bailey’s fourth start since his return from the disabled list. His first 2 starts went well. His most recent start did not go well which has reminded Reds fans of his strong start start to the 2018 season followed upon by the downward spiral which ended up with Bailey on the disabled list. Reds management is apparently committed to riding out the string with Bailey at least to the end of the current season. Fans can only hope that this commitment yields positive results and does not come back to haunt the Reds longer term development.
Mike Clevinger has been having a bit of a rough spell himself over the last month or so; but, all things are relative. In his last 7 starts he has pitched more like a league average starter rather than the up and comer many have pegged him to be. However in his most recent start, Clevinger showed signs of getting back into a more positive groove. Clevinger throws his fastball a little over 50% of the time at a velocity in the low to mid 90’s, mostly as a 4 seamer but with a few sinkers mixed in. His main secondary pitch is his slider which he throws about 20% of the time. The remainder of his pitches are split about evenly between a change up and curveball. An interesting point to note is that according to Fangraphs’ data, Clevinger’s change up clocks in the high 80’s while his slider is in the low 80MPH range which is something of a reverse look.
2018 Comparative Data
Interesting to note that Bailey doesn’t walk batters quite as often as Clevinger’ but; Clevinger strikes out batters at more than 150% of Bailey’s rate and allows only half as many HR/9 as Bailey. At this point in his career, Bailey appears to be simply too hittable.
Keury Mella pitched 2 innings for the Reds Sunday and would figure to be limited or unavailable today.
— Doug Gray (@dougdirt24) August 13, 2018
The Indians current closer, Cody Allen, has pitched 5 outs in the last 2 days; and could be on short availability tonight. Also keep in mind that with National League Rules (no DH) in use, Indians manager Terry Francona may have to change his bullpen patterns during this series which may or not work to the Reds advantage.
|1. Francisco Lindor (SS)
2. Michael Brantley (LF)
3. Jose Ramirez (3B)
4. Yonder Alonso (1B)
5. Melky Cabrera (RF)
6. Jason Kipnis (2B)
7. Yan Gomes (C)
8. Greg Allen (CF)
9. Mike Clevinger (P)
|1. Jose Peraza (SS)
2. Joey Votto (1B)
3. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
4. Scooter Gennett (2B)
5. Tucker Barnhart (C)
6. Mason Williams (CF)
7. Phillip Ervin (RF)
8. Preston Tucker (LF)
9. Homer Bailey (P)
Billy Hamilton gets a night off. The Reds player with the best wRC+ ranking since the All Star Break, Phil Ervin, will bat seventh. I guess we should just be glad Ervin is actually in the lineup and not sitting next to Dilson Herrera on the bench yet again.
News and Notes
We all have missed seeing Nick Senzel debut for the Reds this season too.
I miss ball
— Nick Senzel (@LilSenzii) August 13, 2018
Have a look at another Reds up and comer
Just me stopping by to share some video of Mike Siani hitting for the Greeneville Reds from last month.https://t.co/u3dVhNtHQi
— Doug Gray (@dougdirt24) August 13, 2018
How about the last 3+ weeks at the plate for the guy at the top of this list?
wRC+ since All Star break (100 is league average) with at least 50 PA:
— Steve Mancuso (@spmancuso) August 12, 2018
For those of you otherwise occupied over the weekend, this really happened on Saturday
Remember that time the Dbacks intentionally walked Jose Peraza to face Joey Votto?
— ɴɪᴄᴋ ᴋɪʀʙy (@Nicholaspkirby) August 12, 2018
PS. Votto burned them with an RBI single.
Writing about Homer Bailey today in the Starting Pitchers segment was difficult. My first thought was to say that we should hope for the best results from his efforts tonight. But then I found myself debating just what the “best results” for the Reds would be at this juncture where Bailey is concerned. What purpose is served by a strong start such as we saw from Matt Harvey over the weekend? Would that actually portend good for the Reds over the longer haul? Does anyone really believe Homer might find a formula to enable him to pitch well enough in 2019 to be a solid rotation piece? Even if he did, it is hardly imaginable the Reds would pony up the $25M to keep him around for 2020. We can but hope for an end result that somehow is best for both Homer Bailey and the Reds. MLB needs to find a better way for the player, the team, and we fans.