The Cincinnati Reds are rollin,’ baby! Fresh off a series victory in Los Angeles against the Dodgers, they’ve initially eschewed the bugaboo of previous promising seasons by heading to the West Coast and not completely falling apart. If anything, Sunday’s 9-0 drubbing of LA showed that they’re doing much, much more than merely getting by, and hopefully they’ll build on that both for the longer, more rigorous West Coast swing at the end of August and, more pertinently, for the rest of this particular road trip.
Said road trip has them in Wrigley Field, where they will undoubtedly smell stale beer with every breath and be tasked with taking down the red-hot Chicago Cubs for the next four days.
The Cubs fell to St. Louis 3-0 yesterday, but prior to that had ripped off 10 wins in their previous 11 games to climb over the .500 mark and out of ‘seller’ stage with the trade deadline set for tomorrow. They’ve reportedly taken former NL MVP Cody Bellinger off the trade block to pursue more victories, something that surely has direct relation to their decision to stick by Marcus Stroman, who’ll start tonight’s series opener. Stroman could be a free agent at season’s end - he’s got a player option for 2024 - but would pretty clearly be one of the most sought-after arms on the trade block should he be put there. That said, he’s been roughed up for at least 4 ER in 4 of his last 5 outings, so maybe the Reds can mash him back onto the market with a powerful showing this evening.
As for the Reds, well, there’s been nothing but crickets about any dealings prior to the deadline. They don’t seem to be moving mountains to land the old guys with huge contracts in New York, and the market falls off precipitously after that. Maybe they have interest in Eduardo Rodriguez of Detroit, but that would given them potentially four left-handers in their rotation once Nick Lodolo returns, and I’m not sure that’s the best of ideas.
One of those lefties, however, has somehow managed to vault into the team’s overall leader in bWAR so far this season despite having made only 10 starts. That would be Andrew Abbott, who is punching his way into serious Rookie of the Year conversations, and he’ll toe the rubber opposite Stroman tonight.
First pitch is slated for 8:10 PM ET, because the Central Time Zone is dumb.