@ Cincinnati Reds
Saturday, Jun 6, 2009, 7:10 PM EDT
Great American Ball Park
Ryan Dempster vs Matt Maloney
Mostly cloudy. Game time temperature around 80.
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Twenty-five year old Matt Maloney finally gets to make his Major League debut after putting up some very good numbers in the minor leagues. Over his minor league career, he is 47-28 with a 3.22 ERA. He's struck out 24% of the batters he has faced while walking only 7.7%, both excellent rates. Despite the high strikeout total, he's not a power pitcher as his fastball only sits in the upper-80s. He excellent command and three solid pitches, so his lack of power doesn't mean that he can't succeed in the big leagues. To read more about his status as a prospect, check out this excellent write up by John Sickels.
The Reds have not faced Ryan Dempster yet this year, which is a shame since teams have been hitting him a lot better this year than last year. He did pitch well in his last outing against the Dodgers though, throwing a 3-hit shutout for 7 innings while walking only one batter. None of the active Reds have hit Dempster particularly well in the past, though Ramon Hernandez is 3 for 5 against him. Unfortunately, even if Dempster were excessively hittable, I'm not so sure that would make a huge difference with the way the offense is playing right now.
The offense has had 5 hits or fewer in 3 of the last 4 games and even with a 9-run game three nights ago, they are still just averaging 3.4 R/G over the last week. Hopefully they will wake up for Maloney today and take some pressure off of the guy in his first start. All I know is that it really hurts having your two best hitters on the DL and another one of your top hitters scuffling like Jay Bruce is. Something has got to give eventually.