I was a bit down and pessimistic in yesterday's game thread, so today I will try to be a bit more upbeat. The best way to do that is to talk about the pitching:
- So far in June, the Reds pitching staff has a 3.05 ERA. The starters have a 3.09 ERA and the bullpen has a 2.98 ERA.
- The pitching staff has surrendered more than 3 runs just 5 times in 14 June games. Not surprisingly, they've lost all 5 games.
- Tonight's starter, Micah Owings, has not pitched too many innings, but he hasn't given up many runs either in 2 June starters. His ERA this month is a paltry 2.38. He's struck out 10 batters in 11.1 innings, but he's also walked 7 and given up 9 hits. He's been living dangerously, that's for sure.
- The bullpen has a 3.39 ERA this season. That's good for 3rd best in the NL.
- As a team, the Reds have 4 blown saves this season. No one else in the NL has less than 6.
- The starters have the fewest no-decisions in the NL, which is a credit to the bullpen and the offense for not doing much to change the outcome once the starting pitcher leaves the game.
- The staff's ERA+ of 116 trails only the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL.
It's strange for the pitching staff to be the main positive about this team, but I kind of like it.
I know it's starting to get popular to be down on Owings, but I want to remind everyone that last season our #5 starters gave up over 8 runs per 9 innings pitched. He doesn't need to be the ace of the staff. He just needs to keep the team in the ballgame. He's done that in more than half of his starts this season. Sure, it'd be nice to have him go deeper into games too, but let's just worry about one thing at a time. The good news is that he's 3-0 with a 2.70 ERA in 20 IP against the Braves over 3 career starts. He seems to like to face them. Hopefully it will continue.
Unfortunately, Javier Vazquez looked more than comfortable against the Reds back in April when he struck out 9 and allowed just 2 runs over 6 innings of the Braves win. It'd be nice if the Reds can get to him tonight and give Owings a little run support as he's only seen 5 runs on his side of the board over his last 3 starts.
As there always is this Spring, rain is in the area again tonight, though it's sunny right now. Hopefully no delays in this one because I need some sleep!