Instead of moving two steps forward and one step back, as initially planned, the Reds are now facing being swept and losing their fifth straight game as they take the field against the Pirates on Sunday. Mind you, the Reds longest losing streak in 2012 was five games as well. Is this time to panic? Well, probably not for the underperformance. What should be concerning, however, is the health of the team. With Sean Marshall and Ryan Ludwick on the DL and now Johnny Cueto's ability to pitch up in the air, the everyday eight and Mat Latos must step up. Most importantly, they need to start today against the Pirates to avoid a pretty embarrassing outcome to the team many have pegged to be marginally better than the Cubs.
The Reds have it cut out against them this afternoon. While he's been pitching the best out of all the healthy starting pitchers, Latos has been a slow starter throughout his career. The good news is, however, that Latos is undefeated against Pittsburgh in his career (4-0) with an ERA of 2.11. Going for the Pirates will be Phil Irwin making his Major League debut. Irwin, 26, was 8-7 with an ERA of 2.83 moving up from Single-A to Triple-A in 2012. With that, Red Legs Nation turns its lonely eyes to
Derrick Robinson a returning Brandon Phillips and the hopefully-soon-to-be-invigorated boomsticks of Jay Bruce and Joey Votto.
|Shin-Soo Choo CF||Starling Marte LF|
|Zack Cozart SS
||Travis Snider RF|
|Joey Votto 1B||Andrew McCutchen CF|
|Brandon Phillips 2B|
|Jay Bruce RF||Neil Walker 2B|
|Todd Frazier 3B||Pedro Alvarez 3B|
|Chris Heisey LF||Michael McKenry C|
|Ryan Hanigan C||John McDonald SS|
|Mat Latos P
||Phil Irwin P|
When your bullpen is a bit taxed, particularly the long relievers, a sudden injury to your greatest innings eater is not what the doctor ordered. Even if the Reds are not in a save situation today, Aroldis Chapman and Jonathan Broxton may be expected to pitch. With both Hoover and Aldredo Simon getting the J.J. Hoover Treatment, Brian Price's two best bullpen horses will likely complement Sam LeCure today if Mat Latos doesn't go nine innings. Regardless, I hope I do not have to label any of these fine gentlemen as "Hard Luck Losers" later this afternoon.
|Reliever||4/9||4/10||4/11||4/12||4/13||5 day totals|
|Aroldis Chapman||-||-||0.0 IP, 0 pitches
|Logan Ondrusek||1.0, 7p||-||1.2, 20p||2.2 IP, 27 pitches
|Jonathan Broxton||-||-||0.0 IP, 0 pitches|
|Sam LeCure||-||-||0.0 IP, 0 pitches
|J.J. Hoover||-||0.1, 14p||1.2, 27||1.3 IP, 41 pitches|
|Manny Parra||2.0, 34p||-||0.0, 5p||2.0 IP, 39 pitches|
|Alfredo Simon||2.0, 42p||-||1.2, 52p||
3.2 IP, 94 pitches
Today is the first day of the rest of the season for the Reds. It is clear that they need more than one token player such as Phillips, Cozart, or Choo to step up. They need some solid starting pitching going deep into games. They need Joey Votto and Jay Bruce to get some pitches to hit far. They need the Pirates to play like the Pirates. Also, they need to stop getting hurt. The last thing they need is to gobble up their entire deductible with Doc Poking Stick Health Insurance before we get out of April.
Go Reds, they're (still) my favorite team!