The Cincinnati Reds (16-17) are playing for a series victory and .500 record in the final game of this three game series against the Atlanta Braves (15-18). They are expecting sunny skies and a game time temperature of 64 degrees for the final 2015 regular season meeting between these two clubs.
The Braves are sending veteran lefty Eric Stults to the hill to make his 111th career start against Reds rookie righthander, Raisel Iglesias. Carlos Contreras was optioned to AAA Louisville to make room on the 25-man roster for Iglesias.
*Iglesias stats are AAA/MLB combined
Stults has pitched three quality starts in his last four outings. The only poor start in those last four games was against the Reds on May 2nd. In that game, Stults gave up 11 hits and six runs over seven innings, including a homerun each to Marlon Byrd and Todd Frazier. The left-handed Stults throws about five different types of pitches, ranging from his 88 MPH four seam fastball to his 69 MPH curveball.
Because of the rainout and doubleheader over this past weekend, Iglesias is back for the day to make his second major league start. He made his major league debut one month ago against the St. Louis Cardinals. He followed that start with his minor league affiliate debut for the AAA Bats in a game I got to watch in Indianapolis. Like his MLB debut, Iglesias was limited to 5 innings and a mid-70’s pitch count in the game I witnessed. He threw mostly fastballs and sliders with his pitch speed topping out at 92-93 MPH. In his five starts this year, he’s only pitched more than 5 innings and 76 pitches once. Two starts ago, he threw 95 pitches over seven innings allowing just four hits, two walks, and two runs against Buffalo.
REDS NEWEST RELIEVER
Today, the Reds claimed RH reliever Ryan Mattheus from the LA Angels. He was a valuable member of the Washington Nationals bullpen from 2011-12 (2.84 ERA, 1.19 WHIP) before having injury problems the past two seasons. He was with the Angels on a minor league deal (12 innings, 1 unintentional walk, 12 strikeouts), and only pitched one game in the majors this season before being designated for assignment. In his one major league outing, he only faced four batters, walking one and striking out two. His velocity readings are back to what they were in 2012.
Cameron Maybin is back in the lineup for the Braves tonight:
- Nick MarkakisÃ‚Â (L) RF
- Andrelton SimmonsÃ‚Â (R) SS
- Freddie FreemanÃ‚Â (L) 1B
- Kelly JohnsonÃ‚Â (L) LF
- Alberto CallaspoÃ‚Â (S) 3B
- Jace PetersonÃ‚Â (L) 2B
- Christian BethancourtÃ‚Â (R) C
- Cameron MaybinÃ‚Â (R) CF
- Eric StultsÃ‚Â (L) P
Reds shortstop Zack Cozart returns to the Reds lineup. Phillips is out today. Cozart was questionable, but the Reds cleared him to play after batting practice. With the only one backup infielder (Kristopher Negron) starting at second base tonight, Billy Hamilton is taking grounders at shortstop this afternoon implying that he is the emergency backup infielder.
- Billy HamiltonÃ‚Â (S) CF
- Zack CozartÃ‚Â (R) SS
- Joey VottoÃ‚Â (L) 1B
- Todd FrazierÃ‚Â (R) 3B
- Marlon ByrdÃ‚Â (R) LF
- Jay BruceÃ‚Â (L) RF
- Kristopher NegronÃ‚Â (R) 2B
- Brayan PenaÃ‚Â (S) C
- Raisel IglesiasÃ‚Â (R) P
BILLY HAMILTON’S FIRST BUNT HIT
Dave Cameron of Fangraphs.com suggests that Hamilton could improve upon that OBP if he improved as a bunter. Prior to last night’s game, Billy Hamilton led the league in bunt hit attempts. However, until Hamilton achieved his first bunt hit of the 2015 season last night, he also was tied for last in successful attempts. We all know that Billy Hamilton is fast. He has more stolen bases than 16 major league teams have in total. He has those lofty stolen base numbers despite the fact that he has a sub-.300 OBP.
Meanwhile, Redleg Nation’s own Chad Dotson wrote for the Cincinnati Magazine that there is reason to be optimistic in Hamilton’s numbers coming back up:
DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get worried about him just yet. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s still only 24-years old. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s still a unique player with a unique set of skills. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s still a great defensive center fielder. He still very well might develop into an All-Star. And there are signs that heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s making progress at the plate.
In the meantime, it would be really nice if manager Bryan Price would drop Hamilton to eighth in the lineup until he gets things going again. And there is every reason to believe that Hamilton will get things going again, and soon.
Fangraphs also has an interesting look at 2015 bullpen usage around the majors. While the Reds bullpen ranked dead last in bullpen ERA (before games played yesterday), the future looking FIP stat has the Reds at 18th overall. The main focus of the article was bullpen usage or overuse. The Reds bullpen has thrown the second fewest innings and had the second fewest multi-inning relief appearances. They also are one of the top 4 clubs in limiting reliever appearances on zero days rest. The Cardinals are way out in front of everyone in this category:
There is little correlation between the number of games with no rest and ERA at the end of the season, but the Cardinals are on pace for nearly 200 zero-days-rest appearances when no team had more than ClevelandÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 150 last season.
This early in the year, most relievers are going to have fresh arms. As appearances even out between the relievers over the course of the season, however, some of the production may creep up when teams are forced to turn to their less talented relievers. Conversely, if some of the teams with high innings totals at the moment can get a little more production from their starters, their bullpens could look a lot better when innings are given to those same teams; best relievers. The situation in Boston looks bleak, for example. Without better results from the rotation, the bullpen is not likely to improve. And with regard to the Cardinals, theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve gotten great production so far, although lesser results are likely in their future.
The Reds announced current and former Reds participating in various 2015 All-Star activities. Jay Bruce and Eric Davis will co-host the charity golf outing and will be joined by former Reds including Ken Griffey Sr., Dave Parker, Tom Browning, Reggie Sanders, Ron Oester, Billy Hatcher, and Danny Graves. Participation is open to the public with a $6,000 donation to play.
The All-Star Celebrity Softball game will be played and televised on Sunday, July 12 following the MLB Futures game:
Former major league players Andre Dawson, Fred Lynn, along with former Cincinnati Reds players Aaron Boone, Sean Casey, Eric Davis and Paul OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Neill will participate in the game. Olympic Softball gold medalist Jennie Finch has also agreed to play.
Other celebrities are expected to take part in the game, but commitments have not yet been announced.
CASEY AT THE BAT
Sean Casey is getting ready for the celebrity softball game inside MLB Network studios.
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) May 12, 2015
R.I.P. DARRELL “DOC” RODGERS
Sad news today regarding Doc Rodgers fight with lung cancer. Rodgers worked for the Reds organization in several roles including minor league pitcher, minor league pitching coach, assistant to baseball operations, and assistant general manager. You’ve heard him on 700 WLW’s Reds post game radio show since 2008.
After two very strong pitching match-ups, it will be interesting to see what tonight’s game has in store for us. I’m looking forward to seeing how Iglesias has developed in the past month and how that translate onto the major league field. Hopefully, no one else gets hurt tonight or pitchers will be forced to field other positions!
It should be a beautiful night at the ballpark with no risk of a rainout. Wherever you happen to be watching or listening, discuss the game with us here.