You didn’t have to squint a lot while watching the late innings of Thursday’s Reds win over the Padres to see some shadows of the Nasty Boys on the Petco Park mound.
Robert Stephenson and Amir Garrett have very quickly established themselves as the most effective and reliable members of Manager David Bell’s bullpen in the early weeks of the season. It appears that they perhaps have impressed Bell enough to now be considered the go-to relievers in the late-inning “setup” situations – when the team is either ahead, tied, or behind in a tight game.
How Robert Stephenson ranks among 193 qualified relievers:
K% (39.5%): 13th
BB% (2.6%): 14th
fWAR (0.5): T-5th
SwStr% (21.4%): 5th
FIP (0.57): 6th
xFIP (2.14): 13th
SIERA (1.71): 11th#Reds
— Matt Wilkes (@_MattWilkes) April 19, 2019
Thursday night, Stephenson put down a Padres threat in the sixth and pitched a scoreless seventh. Garrett blew away the Padres in the eighth, and closer Raisel Iglesias struck out the side in the ninth. Presuming that Iglesias can recapture the form that made him at times a dominant closer in previous years, the Stephenson-Garrett-Iglesias trio has the potential to become a similarly imposing force as the Nasty Boys for opposing teams to deal with in the late innings.
Randy Myers, Rob Dibble and Norm Charlton all threw hard for the 1990 World Champion Reds, and the same can be said for this present-day threesome. In the heyday of the Nasty Boys, opposing teams knew it was essentially a six- or seven-inning game. If opponents didn’t have the lead by that time, chances were slim they were going to mount a comeback. In what has been a very disappointing start to the season for the Reds, the development of a potential late-inning, lights-out bullpen corps is very definitely a highlight.
Game two of the four game series between the Reds and Padres at Petco Park begins at 10:10 p.m. Eastern time, with the Reds hoping to gain some momentum after breaking a four-game losing streak Thursday.
Despite DeSclafani’s high Earned Run Average, he may actually have the advantage over the lefthander Strahm, at least on paper. DeSclafani’s xFIP, which uses a projected home run rate based on the number of fly balls allowed to balance out the effect of differing ballpark dimensions, is considerably lower than Strahm’s through the first few weeks of the season. Strahm was very effective last year in his most extensive stint in the majors, finishing with a 2.05 ERA primarily in relief. This season he has begun the season in the pitching rotation with mixed results.
|1B Joey Votto||SS Fernando Tatis Jr.|
|3B Eugenio Suarez||1B Eric Hosmer|
|RF Jasiel Puig||3B Manny Machado|
|LF Matt Kemp||CF Wil Myers|
|C Curt Casali||RF Franmil Reyes|
|CF Jesse Winker||LF Hunter Renfroe|
|SS Jose Iglesias||2B Ian Kinsler|
|P Anthony DeSclafani||C Austin Hedges|
|2B Jose Peraza||P Matt Strahm|
Scott Schebler and Derek Dietrich are not starting tonight with a lefthander on the mound for San Diego.
Additional insights into the statistical history of the players in today’s game is available all season long at BaseballSavant.com.
News and Notes
- Lefthander Brandon Finnegan is in extended spring training in Goodyear, Ariz., our Doug Gray reports. Finnegan cleared waivers after spring training and was outrighted to the minors, but he has not yet been assigned to a team.
- In the category of “Things could be worse,” it was one year ago today when the Reds fired Manager Bryan Price after losing and falling to a record of 3-15. The 2018 team lost three more consecutive games under interim manager Jim Riggleman to fall to a season-worst 3-18. This year’s team is already three games ahead of the 2018 team’s pace after 18 games.
- Despite playing six innings over three games in the outfield this season, Michael Lorenzen has not yet had a fielding chance on a fly ball.
- Joey Votto expanded on his interesting post-Los Angeles interview with C. Trent Rosecrans in this Thursday post-game interview with Jim Day:
— FOX Sports Ohio (@FOXSportsOH) April 19, 2019
- MLBTradeRumors.com reports that catcher Stuart Turner has returned to the Reds on a minor league contract:
Cincinnati selected Turner, a former third-round pick by the Twins, in the 2016 Rule 5 Draft and carried him on the MLB roster for the entire 2017 season. He was heavily shielded from facing big league pitching, however, and hit just .134/.182/.244 with a pair of homers in 89 plate appearances. The Reds outrighted to Triple-A early in 2018, and he struggled to a .200/.265/.213 slash there in just 22 games during an injury-shortened season.
The article did not indicate to which minor league team Turner will report.