Thursday, Jul 5, 2012, 10:05 PM EDT
TV: FSO-HD, FSSD-HD; RADIO: WLW, XPRS, XEMO; WEB: MLB.tv, Gameday Audio, Gameday
Partly cloudy. Winds blowing in from left field at 5-10 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 65.
Like last night's recap reminds us, Reds' pitching seems prepared to work right up until the break. The Reds' hitters thoughts have drifted to, I dunno, Bodacious Bikini Boat Parties. Or unsolved math theorems. Whatever the case, something distracting. The pitching staff has allowed just 1.28 runs per game during the West Coast trip, posting the third-best ERA in the NL over that span.
The hitting, meanwhile, has been mostly disappointing out West, beyond Monday's 8-run fun fest: .233/.297/.343 this trip. it's only seven games against two very good teams, but they're magnified like 10x by the Pirates' surge and our need to evaluate things at the mid-point. Last night officially put half the season in the books. Run preventing - pitching especially - has more than exceeded expectations. But there are plenty of questions marks on offense - even around players who were well-established members of the Opening Day roster.
Chuck gave us an incisive look at the Reds' options with Drew Stubbs. Unfortunately, the weakest bats play the hardest positions to replace - Stubbs and Cozart. And with Ludwick hitting and Stubbs in an industrial slump, Heisey's value would seem to be in CF. But he isn't doing much of anything either.
Most likely, they're just going to have to improve the old fashioned way. By actually improving.
The Reds' offseason acquisitions have done pretty well against their former teams so far. J.J. Hoover pitched a scoreless inning against the Braves. Sean Marshall picked up a save (though he did allow an earned run in 2 IP). Valdez hasn't faced the Phillies. And not facing the Phillies is usually good.
Unfortunately or not, there's no chance Latos could pitch in the same game as both Volquez & Boxberger, while facing Alonso and Grandal. Boxberger was sent back down because I think everyone agreed that would be too weird.
It's tacky to slag off Edinson Volquez at this point. But it's no surprise where his success has come from this season. He's striking out fewer batters than last year, walking them at the same rate, but his HRs are down almost one per nine innings. He's given them up on the road at a rate of 1.13-per-nine vs. 0.45-per-9 at home.
||ERA (ERA+)||3.68 (100)
||5 day totals|
||1.0, 18p||1.0 IP, 18 pitches
||1.0, 12p||1.0 IP, 12 pitches|
||1.0, 16p||1.0, 18p||2.0 IP, 34 pitches
||0.2, 16p||1.0, 19p
||1.2 IP, 35 pitches|
|Sam LeCure||face his
||0.0 IP, 0 pitches
||0.0 IP, 0 pitches|
||0.0 IP, 16 pitches|
- Bill Bray has only pitched 4 innings across 8 appearances this season. While he's a very effective reliever when he's healthy, something's not right. After walking 4 batters in 5 rehab innings in Louisville, he's walked 7 batters in 4.0 IP -- issuing a walk to the first batter he saw in his three appearances since returning from the DL.