Going into today’s game, the Reds (14-14) are 7 games behind the Cardinals for the division lead and a half game behind the Cubs in second. In the wild card hunt, the Reds are tied with the Padres and the Braves for the second spot and sit a half game above the Nationals, Giants, Diamondbacks, and Marlins. In brief, all that standings update tells anybody is that the Cardinals are really, really good and that it’s still May, the wild card doesn’t mean a thing yet.

This series will be the first between the White Sox and Reds since 2009 and the first played at US Cellular field since 2001. The last time these two teams played in Chicago, Great American Ballpark was still just the wedge, Ken Griffey Jr. had made 11 straight All-Star games, and Adam Dunn was still a month away from making his Major League debut for Cincinnati much less taking the mound for the White Sox 13 years later.


Any excuse I have to watch that video, I will take.

STARTING PITCHERS
All stats are 2015 actuals:

PITCHER ERA  FIP HR/9 BB% K%
Hector Noesi 6.75 6.98 2.45 13.4% 19.4%
Jason Marquis 5.22 4.05 1.23 7.1% 22.2%

Remember the old Old Spice commercials with Isaiah Mustafa? You know, the ones where he would walk around saying declarative sentence as things randomly appeared? The commercials I can just link to in this post basically:


Technology is awesome. Anyway, when I was typing that table of stats for today’s probables, all I could think of was this commercial. Normally, when I type the table for Jason Marquis starts, I cringe and curse Walt for plaguing us with such a pitcher. But today, I was confronted with the stark reality of Hector Noesi’s statline and had to think to myself, “Well, at least we don’t have him.” I looked at Noesi then back at Marquis, and then back at Noesi then back to Marquis. Happily, Noesi isn’t Marquis. Sadly, Marquis is still Marquis.

Over his past three starts, Jason Marquis has been the winning pitcher. In those starts, Marquis has given up 5, 2, and 3 earned runs. Also in those starts, the Reds have scored 16, 9, and 8 runs. Somewhere Johnny Cueto is softly crying and shaking his head.

Hector Noesi has made three starts this season and has yet to last six innings in any of them. In his last start against the Minnesota Twins, Noesi went 4.1 innings, giving up five runs on five hits with two home runs and two walks. Last year, Noesi led the American League in home runs allowed. If today’s game happens to be another high scoring affair, I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest.

BULLPEN

When Price took over as manager, I remember being unduly excited because the pitchers would no longer be mismanaged like they were under Dusty Baker. A bit over a year into his tenure, that has quite obviously been proven to be untrue. While I realize Price has to work with the bullpen he’s been given and not everyone can pitch everyday, using Kevin Gregg in a one run game against the big bats of the Pirates order is just bad decision making. It’s basically conceding the game. Using your lesser pitchers when you’re behind follows a defeatist mentality that has plagued Reds’ teams for years. In Joe Atkinson’s post earlier this week, he talked about the fire this year’s Royals have. They get behind, but they still expect to win as Joe said. When the Reds get behind, not even Bryan Price expects them to win, judging by his managing.

STARTING LINEUPS

Devin Mesoraco makes his triumphant return to the Reds‘ lineup as a DH in today’s interleague game. Kristopher Negron starts at first in place of a suspended Joey Votto:

1. Billy Hamilton (S) CF
2. Marlon Byrd (R) LF
3. Todd Frazier (R) 3B
4. Devin Mesoraco (R) DH
5. Brandon Phillips (R) 2B
6. Jay Bruce (L) RF
7. Zack Cozart (R) SS
8. Tucker Barnhart (S) C
9. Kristopher Negron (R) 1B
WESLEY

The White Sox lineup:

1. Adam Eaton (L) CF
2. Melky Cabrera (S) LF
3. Jose Abreu (R) 1B
4. Adam LaRoche (L) DH
5. Avisail Garcia (R) RF
6. Gordon Beckham (R) 3B
7. Alexei Ramirez (R) SS
8. Tyler Flowers (R) C
9. Micah Johnson (L) 2B
WESLEY

VOTTO SUSPENDED
Joey will be out of the lineup tonight as he serves a 1-game suspension for bumping umpire Chris Conroy on Saturday. Votto apologized immediately after that game, acknowledging that his actions were out of line.

FROM THE ENEMY’S PERSPECTIVE
We don’t often see how other team’s fans and writers feel about our club, but this morning, South Side Sox–the White Sox SB Nation blog–broke down the Reds roster and chances for the 2015 season. The article is written with just the right amount of sarcasm and humor, and I encourage everyone and to check it out before the game tonight. Highlights:

Defensive whiz Zack Cozart hit worse than Zack Greinke, Ryan Ludwick played entirely too much baseball.

Jumbo Diaz has had trouble keeping the ball in the park, J.J. Hoover has had trouble finding the strike zone, and Kevin Gregg has made you feel a lot better about your team’s middle relievers.

FEEL GOOD STAT OF THE DAY

That stat just makes you feel great doesn’t it? Now it’s time for the “Feel Bad Stat of the Day.” The Reds’ bullpen ERA ranks dead last in baseball at 5.32.

WE THE PEOPLE
Building upon the “Feel Bad Stat of the Day,” some Reds’ fans have started a petition to demote Kevin Gregg to AAA.  Personally, I feel releasing him would be a better move for the organization as a whole, but I’m always happy to see the instruments of democracy being put to good use.

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS
I have great faith in this Reds team and think they could take that second wild card spot. Todd Frazier and Joey Votto have been great to watch this season and Disco DeSclafani and Michael Lorenzen give me hope for the future. Despite what Twitter says, the sky isn’t falling just yet. Maybe the stereotypical Little League coach is right; the Reds (and their fans) just need to go out there and “have fun” and not worry about anything else.

23 Responses

  1. Beroader

    I’m glad to see Joey Votto only got a 1-game suspension.

    Certain other Reds players/managers haven’t been so lucky when bumping umpires!

  2. BigRedMachine

    Price on Gregg: “I thought tonight’s game was another opportunity to get him in a close game and get him on a roll.”

    I’m … uh … speechless.

    Anyway, go Reds!

    • Gaffer

      Agree, waiting until we are ahead to use the few decent pitchers we have. . . You may wait awhile. Cingrani has basically the lowest innings pitched on this team so what are you waiting for Brian?

    • Vicferrari

      I am surprised Price did not say, I fell pretty good about Gregg’s outing up until the last batter, he got some big outs and saved us from having to burn Cingrani or Chapman in what was headed toward a loss anyway

  3. Eric

    I appreciate and share your optimism Mr. Jenkins.

    At times there are two arguments to a roster scenario and at times, once view is more popular than another. I honestly cannot think of anyone other than Walt Jocketty that would keep Kevin Gregg on this roster.

    I hope Mesaraco is the DH for all 3 games. I look forward to a lineup with both Devin and Joey in it.

  4. Eric the Red

    You could argue Votto already served his one game, since the ejection that led to the bump was so outrageous.

  5. Beroader

    Anybody think Jason Marquis might be a better option at the plate than some of our position players?

    Do the rules allow for the DH to hit in place of a position player rather than the pitcher?

    I’m not seriously suggesting the Reds fill out their line up this way, just making conversation since the game doesn’t start for 80 minutes.

      • Beroader

        Interestingly, I did find some references to American League managers having lost their DH to start the game because of lineup snafus.

        In one instance Joe Maddon filled out a card with Ben Zobrist and Evan Longoria listed at 3B. They were eventually forced to bat their pitcher in the No. 3 spot in the lineup while Longoria had to wait until he was called on to pinch hit.

        The Indians made a similar snafu where Charlie Nagy was forced to bat for himself.

        http://www.cleveland.com/tribe/index.ssf/2009/05/st_petersburg_fla_a.html

      • Vicferrari

        What are the exact rules?, you can pinch hit for the DH I think, but you cannot put whomever is in the spot in field, otherwise the pitcher takes the place of the position the DH replaces in the lineup?

  6. ECReds

    Never feel great going in to play AL Teams. Perhaps the third from last .443 interleague winning percentage has something to do with it. Still rooting hard, and Go Reds!

  7. seat101

    I still do not understand the “Standing on the stool holding one’s skirt up to one’s knees ” prudishness concerning Price’s rant last month.

    I do have the same disappointment with his managing of The bullpen. It is so frustrating. But, it’s obviously what management wants.

    • ncboiler

      Radar does not look good. If I didn’t know better I would say they are playing this game in Myrtle Beach.

  8. Jeff Morris

    See below….other teams don’t fool around.

    What was reported is now official – the Red Sox have announced that they have designated veteran right-hander Edward Mujica for assignment.

    Mujica, who is on the back end of a two-year deal worth $9.5 million, could not save his job with his last two strong appearances. He gave up five runs in 3 1/3 innings in his previous two and owns a 4.61 ERA on the season.

    • Vicferrari

      He would be the top right hander in the Reds bullpen, sign him and let Gregg front the money to avoid being embarrassed any further

  9. Kurt Frost

    I forgot the Reds are in central time.

      • Eric the Red

        Knowing the Reds, they’ll hold Cingrani out of every game between now and then just in case whoever starts Wednesday gets into trouble. We’ll lose four games that were within a run going into the 8th inning, but at least Cingrani will be able to pitch the 4th and 5th inning of a game where our emergency starter gives up 9 quick runs.

  10. Eric the Red

    McCutchen with a terrible, terrible TOOTBLAN, but Molina drops the ball. How come no one–much less a guy like Molina–ever drops the ball when we have a TOOTBLAN?

    Incidentally, I once again find myself rooting for St. Louis (yuck!). I just think it’s more likely we’ll find ourselves fighting with the Pirates down to the wire for a WC slot, rather than fighting down to the wire with the Cardinals for the Division.