You didn’t have to squint a lot while watching the late innings of Thursday’s Reds win over the Padres to see some shadows of the Nasty Boys on the Petco Park mound.

Robert Stephenson and Amir Garrett have very quickly established themselves as the most effective and reliable members of Manager David Bell’s bullpen in the early weeks of the season. It appears that they perhaps have impressed Bell enough to now be considered the go-to relievers in the late-inning “setup” situations – when the team is either ahead, tied, or behind in a tight game.

Thursday night, Stephenson put down a Padres threat in the sixth and pitched a scoreless seventh. Garrett blew away the Padres in the eighth, and closer Raisel Iglesias struck out the side in the ninth. Presuming that Iglesias can recapture the form that made him at times a dominant closer in previous years, the Stephenson-Garrett-Iglesias trio has the potential to become a similarly imposing force as the Nasty Boys for opposing teams to deal with in the late innings.

Randy Myers, Rob Dibble and Norm Charlton all threw hard for the 1990 World Champion Reds, and the same can be said for this present-day threesome. In the heyday of the Nasty Boys, opposing teams knew it was essentially a six- or seven-inning game. If opponents didn’t have the lead by that time, chances were slim they were going to mount a comeback. In what has been a very disappointing start to the season for the Reds, the development of a potential late-inning, lights-out bullpen corps is very definitely a highlight.

Game two of the four game series between the Reds and Padres at Petco Park begins at 10:10 p.m. Eastern time, with the Reds hoping to gain some momentum after breaking a four-game losing streak Thursday.

Starting Pitchers

Name IP ERA xFIP K% BB%
Anthony DeSclafani 13.1 7.43 4.88 25.8% 11.3%
Matt Strahm 12.2 4.26 6.20 13.6% 8.5%

Despite DeSclafani’s high Earned Run Average, he may actually have the advantage over the lefthander Strahm, at least on paper. DeSclafani’s xFIP, which uses a projected home run rate based on the number of fly balls allowed to balance out the effect of differing ballpark dimensions, is considerably lower than Strahm’s through the first few weeks of the season. Strahm was very effective last year in his most extensive stint in the majors, finishing with a 2.05 ERA primarily in relief. This season he has begun the season in the pitching rotation with mixed results.

Starting Lineups

Reds Padres
1B Joey Votto SS Fernando Tatis Jr.
3B Eugenio Suarez 1B Eric Hosmer
RF Jasiel Puig 3B Manny Machado
LF Matt Kemp CF Wil Myers
C Curt Casali RF Franmil Reyes
CF Jesse Winker LF Hunter Renfroe
SS Jose Iglesias 2B Ian Kinsler
P Anthony DeSclafani C Austin Hedges
2B Jose Peraza P Matt Strahm

Scott Schebler and Derek Dietrich are not starting tonight with a lefthander on the mound for San Diego.

Additional insights into the statistical history of the players in today’s game is available all season long at BaseballSavant.com.

News and Notes

  • Lefthander Brandon Finnegan is in extended spring training in Goodyear, Ariz., our Doug Gray reports. Finnegan cleared waivers after spring training and was outrighted to the minors, but he has not yet been assigned to a team.
  • In the category of “Things could be worse,” it was one year ago today when the Reds fired Manager Bryan Price after losing and falling to a record of 3-15. The 2018 team lost three more consecutive games under interim manager Jim Riggleman to fall to a season-worst 3-18. This year’s team is already three games ahead of the 2018 team’s pace after 18 games.
  • Despite playing six innings over three games in the outfield this season, Michael Lorenzen has not yet had a fielding chance on a fly ball.
  • Joey Votto expanded on his interesting post-Los Angeles interview with C. Trent Rosecrans in this Thursday post-game interview with Jim Day:

Cincinnati selected Turner, a former third-round pick by the Twins, in the 2016 Rule 5 Draft and carried him on the MLB roster for the entire 2017 season. He was heavily shielded from facing big league pitching, however, and hit just .134/.182/.244 with a pair of homers in 89 plate appearances. The Reds outrighted to Triple-A early in 2018, and he struggled to a .200/.265/.213 slash there in just 22 games during an injury-shortened season.

The article did not indicate to which minor league team Turner will report.

13 Responses

  1. CFD3000

    With a lefty on the mound Votto and Winker will have extra focus and the righties will feast. I’m not confident in Disco (or Iglesias) but would love to see them both pitch well tonight. I predict a 7-5 Reds win.

  2. Roger Garrett

    The bats come alive and Disco does it tonight.Go Reds.

  3. Joey

    Love the interview with Votto, keep that stuff coming.

  4. Indy Red Man

    Reds are hackmasters! Even Joey and Winker aren’t drawing walks? Its not even drawing walks either…its extending atbats and just waiting for a mistake. They just bail the pitcher out.

  5. Tom Mitsoff

    Sometimes you wonder if this team is ever going to start hitting the ball with authority on a consistent basis.

  6. Broseph

    Hoping Votto is close like he mentioned in the interview with Jim D. Because this is not pretty to watch. Here’s hoping his opening day t didn’t jinx him.

  7. Chris

    Why isn’t Amir Garrett pitching right now? Like right now?

  8. Chris

    Why didn’t Amir Garrett pitch earlier instead of Wandy Peralta if you weren’t saving him for this situation? He’s the best reliever we have by a WIDE margin. Like it’s not even close. And we are playing a close, extra-inning game during which he will not be used. That is stark-raving idiocy the likes of which I haven’t seen since Bob Boone…..

    • Chris

      Like is he hurt? Did his wife have a baby tonight? His ERA is like 0.5 and he throws 1000 mph… I. Don’t. Understand.

  9. Chris

    Hey! A winning streak! Same old Fathers!

  10. Rich H

    Sliotar, your appraisal of Jose Iglesias’ value to this team is laughable. Laughable.