The Reds open their final series of 2019 tonight against the Pirates at PNC Park in in Pittsburgh. Game time is 7:05 EDT. The Reds enter the series losers of 5 of their last 6 games. Meanwhile the Pirates come in off a 3 game sweep of the Cubs which finished the job of knocking the laughable losers of 9 straight out of the playoffs. Nonetheless, the die is already cast that the Reds will finish 4th in the NL Central, ahead of the Pirates. Only the final total of wins and losses remains to be settled.
On the individual side of the ledger, Eugenio Suárez hopes to add to his single season MLB home run record for a third baseman (currently at 49). Each additional HR by Suárez would also extend his single season record mark for a player born in Venezuela. Suárez needs 3 more homers to catch George Foster’s Reds club record of 52 HR in a season. We are so immersed in stats anymore that we sometime take them with a grain of salt. However stop and consider all the great MLB 3B men and great Venezuelan players over the years. Then join me in saying, “Wow Eugenio!”
Anthony DeSclafani gets the call for the Reds against left-hander Steven Brault of the Pirates. These two were previously paired against each other on May 29 in a game at GABP won by the Pirates, 7-2.
2019 has been nothing less than a redemption tour for Anthony DeSclafani. After missing all of 2017 sandwiched between substantial portions of 2016 and 2018 also missed with injuries, Disco has made it from start to finish intact this year. In 30 starts he has accumulated a career high 2.3 fWAR while posting a league average range 4.43 FIP. For those preferring ERA, Disco’s 3.84 mark places him at #18 among qualifying NL starting pitchers. The biggest question about Desclafani’s future now seems to be whether he enters 2020 as a pending free agent or on a shiny new extended contract. That’s quite a step up for guy who has been through such an extended injury ordeal. Congratulations Disco!
Steven Brault is a 27 year old 11th round draft pick (2013; #390 overall) looking to find his place in the MLB world. He reached MLB primarily as a starter with the Pirates in 2016. In 2017 he saw limited MLB time split between starting and relieving. Then in 2018, 40 of his 45 MLB appearances were out the pen; but, this year the pendulum has swung back the other way with 18 starts in 24 appearances. Brault has been used exclusively as a starter since late May.
As a starter Brault’s 2019 FIP is around league average. He’s been roughed up a bit in his 3 most recent starts; but; they came came versus the Cards, Brewers and pre-collapse Cubs. His previous 5 starts against more mixed competition were much better. In the May 29 appearance versus the Reds noted above, Brault allowed no runs on three hits over 5.1 inning.
Tale of the Tape:
Home runs seem to be a fact of life for Disco. He has to keep his WHIP down and K% up so the homers aren’t the deciding moments in his games. Looks like Brault walks a few too many and doesn’t strike a lot guys.
It is very late September. Both teams are out of the playoffs; and, their finishing positions are locked in. Rosters are expanded. They will find willing arms to complete the required innings. Nothing else to see or say here.
|1. Jose Peraza (2B)
2. Phillip Ervin (LF)
3. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
4. Aristides Aquino (RF)
5. Jose Iglesias (SS)
6. Curt Casali (C)
7. Michael Lorenzen (CF)
8. Anthony DeSclafani (P)
9. Alex Blandino (1B)
|1. Kevin Newman (SS)
2. Pablo Reyes (CF)
3. Adam Frazier (2B)
4. Jose Osuna (1B)
5. Kevin Kramer (RF)
6. Jacob Stallings (C)
7. Jake Elmore (LF)
8. Erik Gonzalez (3B)
9. Steven Brault (P)
Nary a left-handed hitter in the Reds lineup. Not even Joey Votto. Steven Brault has some quirky handedness splits. Lefty hitters actually have a higher BABIP against him; but he strikes out enough more of them that the simple batting average and OBP of RH hitters against him is better than left-handed hitters. Also righties hitters slug nearly .080 better than lefties against Brault.
Pregame News, Notes and Reading
In the afterglow of Marty’s retirement celebration, the Reds handed the the keys to the radio booth to Tommy Thrall. Cowboy Jeff Brantley continues as the primary shotgun rider in the booth. Redleg Nation’s Doug Gray provides the details:
Do you remember this date in Reds history? Yep, I do. For extra credit. Did you recall who played where? I didn’t.
September 27, 1998: Cincinnati becomes the first team to ever have two sets of brothers in the lineup with an all Larkin/Boone infield.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) September 27, 2019
Let’s get this weekend behind us so the Reds can get on with the work at hand in the off season to take another, larger, step ahead in 2020. BTW, both teams had listed their lineups by 1PM. They may be primed to get the weekend finished too. GO REDS!