The baby is out of the basket, roaming free and reading at a third-grade level. Tonight the Reds go for their second-straight series sweep (S-SSS; should probably be a three game threshold for that), riding a wave of 10 wins over their last 12 games (selective endpoints). Over that stretch, the Reds have re-emerged as the NL's scoringest offense on a per-game basis (5.3 r/g), even with Cleveland for the big leagues' best mark.
Despite the offensive outpouring, I'm sure there's something to complain about for the sake of journalistic objectivity. The team is still allowing more runs (4.4 per game) than any team in the NL East, save the Mets. Aside from being an indication that the NL East has good pitching, we know there's still some work to be done in run prevention. Rolen's recent uncharacteristic fumblings notwithstanding, the defense is good - scoring high in advanced metrics and being generally WebGemic. The starting pitching has been excellent over the last week-plus - and that 4.4 RA is trending downward - but the SPs are still a big area of potential growth. Weighing the relative likelihood of Cueto and Bailey maintaining sub-2.00 ERAs, the top under-performing commodity that could bring about some sweet net gain is Edinson Volquez.
Volquez has kept a low line-drive rate (16%) - lower than most pitchers on staff and all starters except Cueto. His extra-base hit rate is similarly tolerable. His HR rate has stabilized, even if this HR/FB rate is still inflated at a team-high 15.9% (skewed by at least a little bad luck encountered in early April; Volquez has only given up one HR in five starts since 22). Simply put, Volquez is not getting hit all that hard. But he's continuing to walk way too many batters. This horse may be already be glue, but Edinson won't do much to preserve the bullpen in starts where he walks five batters, even if he only allows 2-3 earned runs. He's walked 5, 4 and 5 over his last 3 starts, keeping him in the league lead in BBs, while cranking up his BB/9 to 7.0 flat.This tactic seemed to work pretty well for Cardinals' series, so here goes: Hey, don't do that anymore.
OK, have a great game everybody.
|2011 - Edinson Volquez||3-1||9||8||0||0||0||0||42.1||37||28||27||7||33||41||5.74||1.65|
|2011 - Matt Garza||2-4||8||8||0||0||0||0||49.2||51||27||23||1||16||65||4.17||1.35|