Now that the Reds are starting to show some semblance of an offense - they're batting .290/.376/.456 during the 5-game win streak - probably the last thing they need to see is a knuckle-baller. Alas, that's what they are up against today. Twenty-five-year old Charlie Haeger has had a couple of shots at the big leagues prior to this season while playing for the Chicago White Sox, but his two starts this year with the Dodgers have been much better than anything he has done previously in the majors. He shutout the Cubs for 7 innings in his last start, striking out 7 while allowing just 3 hits. It concerns me that facing such an unorthodox pitcher could throw off a team that is just now finding some sort of rhythm at the plate.
Matt Maloney has supposedly picked up a new sinker that will hopefully help him get a few more ground balls and give up fewer home runs. Home runs were a bit of a problem for him in his 3 previous starts in the majors as he gave up 2 of them in each start. If he can limit the number of home runs he gives up, his strikeout and walk rates have been good enough that he could be a successful pitcher for the Reds. Plus, the infield defense has been greatly improved since his last starts, which means there is even more reason for increasing ground balls. I'd love to see Maloney throw together a set of good starts to end the season. If he could give the Reds a sub-5.00 ERA as a lefty, he might make a nice piece to the rotation next season.
So, I was wrong yesterday when I said that the Reds needed 17 wins to get to a winning record. It was actually 27 wins (now 26 wins), which is even less likely. However, all of this winning kinda has me hoping the Reds can make a challenge at a winning record. I don't think it will change the quality of the season or suddenly put them back on the brink of being competitive, but it sure would make the remainder of the season much more fun. I'm hoping that it's already been established that this team is bad. Now, let's have some fun!