Double-header today and the good news is that even if the Reds lose both games, they won't be in last place. Yay.
They'll be facing 26-year old rookie Daniel McCutchen who will be making his first big league start today. The right-hander was acquired last season from the Yankees in the deal that sent Xavier Nady to the Bronx. McCutchen reportedly has decent stuff (fastball sits around 90 MPH, excellent curveball, okay changeup), but he has outstanding control. That definitely shows up in the numbers as he's walked under 2 batters per 9 IP in his minor league career. He's not a high strikeout pitcher, but the 7.5 per 9 IP looks good next to those low walk totals. He has been prone to the giving up the long ball from time to time, but he's managed to control those more this year. Don't be surprised if the Reds struggle with him because, well, he's a pitcher who will be on the mound while they bat.
Former Pirate Kip Wells faces his old team for the first time as a Red (he faced them twice with the Cardinals). Wells was actually a solid pitcher with the Pirates, posting a 36-53 record with a 4.20 ERA (102 ERA+) in 5 seasons in the Steel City. Of course, he's gone 9-23 with an ERA around 5.75 since leaving Pittsburgh, but that's no reason not to put him your starting rotation, right? Honestly, I really have no desire to see Kip Wells pitching for the Reds. However, given the inevitable tiredness that we'll see from the bullpen because of the last week's worth of extra inning games and the double-header today, I hope that he pitches 7 lights out innings and saves this staff from imminent doom. And then I hope he's sent down to make room for Johnny Cueto in game 2.
The Reds went 4-2 since they last saw the Pirates. The Pirates went 2-4 since they last saw the Reds. Now is the time to put some distance between 5th and 6th place. Man, that really sounds pathetic.