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Game 99: Reds vs. Braves

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Atlanta Braves
@ Cincinnati Reds

Friday, Jul 22, 2011, 7:10 PM EDT
Great American Ball Park

Jair Jurrjens vs Bronson Arroyo

Partly cloudy, rain. Winds blowing out to left field at 5-10 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 90.

MLB Media Center | Gameday

Complete Coverage >


NEWSBREAK: Bruce is out of the lineup with reported dizziness. Rolen isn't starting either. I would guess it's the shoulder acting up, because yesterday was an off-day. He's only started 3 of 7 games since the ASB, including tonight.

Neither Bronson Arroyo nor Jair Jurrjens are power pitchers (both below 90 mph in average FB velocity this season), relying instead on at least four pitches thrown for more than just show. But tonight's pitching match-up, to put it politely, is a a study in contrasts. Jair Jurrjens has the lowest ERA among qualifying NL starters, complete with a 1.11 WHIP, 3.07 FIP and 2.4 fWAR to date. Arroyo, meanwhile has the third-highest ERA among NL starters, with a discouraging 5.46 FIP to go along with it, 1.40 WHIP - all good for -0.5 fWAR.

Jurrjens has probably been at least a little lucky - and Arroyo a little unlucky, but the second-half Bronson Bump is past-due. Arroyo's HR/FB rate was exactly average last season. This season, it's up by more than 5%. Normalizing to league-average gives him an xFIP of 4.11. Arroyo would be a perfectly tolerable pitcher over the first half if he'd been a little bit healthier and the number of long balls he gave up had stayed in sane territory. He's giving up very slightly less fly balls than last season, so there's likely to be bad luck at play along with the harder hit balls that his increased LD% suggests.

Arroyo is still capable of being the kind of high-3.00s/low4.00s ERA pitcher he was expected to be coming into the season. But time is running short. If there's something holding him back beyond the mere fact that the season isn't over yet, he may need to be shut down in August. Remaining one of the worst pitchers in NL while possibly aggravating his physical condition is the not in anyone's interests - whether the Reds are in the race or not.

The Reds try again for their first back-to-back wins since June 17. Obviously, the pitching. But also, the batting. While the Reds haven't had a real problem with RISP over the entire season, they've been in a funk since the All Star Break and it played a major role in their 3 Runs in 3 Days dry spell in Pittsburgh.

Lineup after the jump.


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Bronson Arroyo 7-8 20 19 0 0 0 0 114.2 136 75 71 26 25 68 5.57 1.40


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Jair Jurrjens 12-3 17 17 2 1 0 0 115.2 101 31 29 5 27 71 2.26 1.11

LINEUP:

Heisey RF
Cozart SS
Votto 1B
Phillips 2B
Stubbs CF
Cairo 3B
Hanigan C
Arroyo RHP