Game 3 despite no Game 2.
2:15 PM ET
A giant freight train of moisture has been rolling through the Missouri Valley all weekend, dropping enough rain in the process to cause both floods and the cancellation of Saturday’s would-be game between the Reds and Dirty Birds.
The forecast doesn’t look mightily better at the moment, but there’s hope that a baseball game sized window will open up at some point this afternoon to get the series finale in. At least, we sure hope so.
Bronson Arroyo will share the same mound with his former rotation mate, Mike Leake. The latter famously lived with the former for a time immediately after being Cincinnati’s 1st round pick in 2009, and Leake has since dedicated the last five years of his life to having hair as nice as Bronson’s. Leake has also been determined to have the single best year of his career, and his start to 2017 has been living up to those expectations. His 1.32 ERA and 316 ERA+ both are tops in the National League, but he’s struggled in 5 career games against his former club to the tune of a 5.64 ERA.
As for Arroyo, well, who the hell knows what to expect from him. He’s 40 years old, has a bionic elbow, and throws feathers, yet somehow seems to be evolving into a cromulent pitcher with each and every additional start. With him, the numbers truly get thrown out the window in favor of guile and Saturn Nuts.
Go Reds. Go the frickin’ go.
2017-04-29T12:00:02-04:00Wah. Cincinnati Reds vs. St. Louis Cardinals POSTPONED Well, I had a thing here about the pitching match up but, well, if you haven’t heard... Today’s #Reds and Cardinals game in St. Louis is postponed due to weather. Game Will Be Made Up At A Date & Time To Be Determined. pic.twitter.com/4pqYIQH8Oy— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) April 29, 2017 Since Mesoraco signed his 4 year, $28 million extension after a breakout, All Star 2014 season, he’s hit no dingers. In the 39 games in which he has played, he’s hit just .158/.245/.200, and has had as many labrum surgeries in that time (3) as RBI. Even during that stellar 2014 season in which he hit .273/.359/.534 with 25 dingers and 25 doubles, he logged only 440 PAs in 114 games, in part because he fought a hamstring issue that at one point landed him on the then 15-day DL. That’s quite the injury history, though it certainly comes along with the pedigree of being a former 1st round draft pick, former top prospect, and former All Star. However, when the Reds doled out that grand extension, they did so with the hopes that he’d do something he never had to that point, and certainly hasn’t done since: be a guy capable of catching 140 games. 140 games is certainly a convenient number, since that’s exactly how many games the Reds have remaining in the 2017 season. It’s a premise that implied he’d catch 7 out of 8 games throughout a full, healthy season, a rate that’s also out of the question for the pro-rated duration of the 2017, too. That’s in part because the team will wisely have kid gloves on him as he returns, in part because it’s likely he’ll pick up a minor ‘injury’ through the rigors of catching even if not on the scale of his previous issues, and in part because of the presence (and success in his stead) of Tucker Barnhart. And of Stuart Turner, since the Red plan on carrying three catchers. Realistically, that limited window means the Reds won’t stand much of a chance of getting enough return on their investment to call the contract extension a win. Rationally, it’d be nice to see them not try to at all, since that would require asking Mesoraco to tackle something he’s likely not capable of tackling at the cost of giving Barnhart the playing time he rightly deserves. That’s the breakdown in a vacuum, though that’s obviously not the world in which we operate. The reality is that in the NL and without the DH, it’ll be hard to even give Mesoraco enough regular playing time to truly work himself back into form. Carrying two catchers and giving them equal playing time is tough enough, much less with three catchers on the roster, an everyday stalwart entrenched at 1B in Joey Votto, and the fact that none of the three catchers has any experience playing any other position on the diamond. That’ll mean a lot of pinch hitting chances as the lone way to show what he’s got left, something that we saw with little to no success when he spent some 40 days on the active roster in 2015 without being able to catch at all due to the pain in his hip. The best case scenario? After his initial ease-in to big league life again, he ends up catching 3-4 times a week by the start of June, and hits like the Mesoraco we saw when healthy in 2014. Even if he shows no side effects of his previous surgeries and flashes the talent that warranted the extension in the first place, the prevailing thoughts on big-time catching talent these days suggests that asking him to ever return to the kind of playing time most hoped to see out him before he was hurt is a terrible idea, one that ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick explored in depth today regarding a potential full-time position change for San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey. With $13.25 million of that total dollar value left as his 2018 salary, it’s hard to envision even a pro-rated 2014-esque finish to this season setting up the Reds to use Mesoraco as a trade chip this off-season, at least not one who would be an asset marketable enough to bring back a solid retur[...]
2017-04-27T12:59:29-04:00At least this time it doesn’t involve allowing dingers. It’s never a good thing when you see a starting pitcher allow more baserunners than outs he can record, unless that pitcher happens to be facing the Cincinnati Reds when it happens. Yesterday, the Reds watched as that scenario played out for one of their own, as Rookie Davis was shelled for 11 hits and walked a batter while only recording 8 outs, the latest in a string of abbreviated outings the Reds have seen from members of their starting rotation. As of today, Cincinnati’s starters have logged the second fewest innings pitched of any team in the majors. A closer look at that, though, reveals that the Miami Marlins - the only team that’s eeked out fewer innings from their starters that the Reds - have had 98.1 innings thrown by their starters in just 19 games played, whereas the 29th ranked Reds have received 102.1 IP in 22 games played. So, on a per-game basis, the Reds are only averaging 4.2 innings from their starters, which is worse than even Miami has to deal with. The Enquirer’s C. Trent Rosecrans noted after Davis’ tough start yesterday that the Reds have now witnessed their starters go less than 4 innings on 10 occasions already, and 4 times less than even 3 innings. That’s flat awful. Aside from when Brandon Finnegan exited after a lone inning due to the shoulder injury that sent him to the DL, it hasn’t even been a case of Bryan Price overmanaging early in games. It’s been because his starters were getting hit hard, and the runs were piling up because the bases had been full of walked batters. The 5.72 ERA sported by the Cincinnati starters this year is the worst in all of baseball by almost a full run, aided (hampered?) by the fact that the 4.57 BB/9 from those starters collectively is the worst in all of baseball by over a half-walk per 9 innings. If this all feels like a bit of deja vu, it should. Through the end of April last year, the Reds were in almost an identical position with the state of their starting rotation. They sat 3rd worst in the game in IP by their starters (while having played one more game than both teams ranked worse), had the 2nd worst BB/9 in the game (by a mere 0.03 per 9 innings), and the -0.2 total fWAR provided by the starters as a whole was tied with Milwaukee for the worst in all of baseball. The major difference between this year and last year has been the performance from Cincinnati’s bullpen, as last year’s edition was so godawful that quantifying it seems pretty much irrelevant. This year, however, it’s been the rock that Price and the starters have been leaning on. Since baseball is played against a finite number of outs - not against a clock - it should come as no surprise that Cincinnati’s bullpen has thrown more innings than any other in baseball, a full 14.1 innings more than the 3rd most worked ‘pen. But while the quantity required of them ranks among the best in the game, the quality provided by them has been quite good, too. Their relievers have struck out 11.03 per 9 innings in their work - the 2nd best in the game - and their 54.3% ground ball rate is far and away the best by any bullpen in all of baseball. In other words, they’re the best in the NL in missing bats, and the best in all MLB in keeping the ball on the ground off the bat - and that only sets up their league-best defense to chip in with what they do so well. It’s hard to fathom that the bullpen will be able to hold up so well over the long haul, however, both due to the extreme number of innings and the fact that several of its key members also serve as logical replacements for the rotation should it continue to struggle. Cody Reed has been Jekyll and Hyde in his starting and relief roles, but undoubtedly deserves another shot to get starts at some point. Robert Stephenson has struggled to throw strikes anywhere he’s been tasked over the last two years, but is still young enough to deserve another shot if his peers continue to fail, too. Even Michae[...]