There may be no better way to describe how much the Cincinnati Reds pitching staff has improved so far in 2019 than this:

If that rate were to project over the entire season (and I’m not claiming that it will), the Reds would have 25.92 pitching WAR for the 2019 season. Houston had the top team pitching WAR number for 2018 with 29.2, for the sake of comparison.

Luis Castillo is leading the way:

One of the many reasons the Reds’ team pitching WAR rate won’t continue at its current pace is that the team’s offense has been so poor that the hitters are not earning what one would expect to be their usual portion of the WAR statistical allocation. However, if the pitching can continue at its current outstanding performance rate, and the hitting can improve to even average, it’s clear to see that this team will be very competitive, if not contending, before the year is over.

The Reds have the chance today to sweep the four-game series against San Diego, and complete the nine-game swing through Mexico and southern California with a 5-4 record. Game time at Petco Park is 4:10 Eastern time.

Starting Pitchers

Tyler Mahle 17 2.65 3.60 21.7% 5.8%
Joey Lucchesi 21.1 5.06 3.54 23.1% 7.7%

If you look only at the Earned Run Averages, this looks like a matchup that would clearly favor the Reds. But look closer at the peripherals, including xFIP (which is ERA adjusted to remove the impacts of team fielding and differing ballpark dimensions), and the matchup is pretty close to a statistical dead heat. Lucchesi is the third consecutive lefthanded starter the Reds have faced, which will certainly be a rarity this season with the dearth of lefthanded starters in the National League Central division.


In case you hadn’t heard …

As a result of pitching in three consecutive games, Iglesias is unlikely to be available today except for an emergency situation in which the rest of the bullpen is depleted, such as perhaps an extra-inning game. Look for Robert Stephenson, Amir Garrett and Michael Lorenzen to fill the late-game lead-protection roles should that be needed.

Starting Lineups

Reds Padres
2B Jose Peraza SS Fernando Tatis Jr.
3B Eugenio Suarez CF Manuel Margot
RF Yasiel Puig 3B Manny Machado
LF Matt Kemp LF Wil Myers
C Curt Casali 1B Eric Hosmer
SS Jose Iglesias RF Franmil Reyes
CF Jesse Winker 2B Ian Kinsler
1B Kyle Farmer C Austin Hedges
P Tyler Mahle P Joey Lucchesi

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

News and Notes

If this guy has recovered enough from a sprained ankle to be able to play center field at least adequately, he certainly deserves a shot to play every day at the major league level when you have four regular outfielders all hitting under .200:

Here’s hoping you have an eggs-ceptional holiday today with friends and family, and hopefully a Reds sweep!

9 Responses

  1. CFD3000

    A sweep and a winning west coast road trip would be very satisfying. Here’s hoping that three days off takes care of whatever is wrong with Votto’s back and he’s ready for the Braves on Tuesday. Go Reds!

  2. jazzmanbbfan

    Not sure the extra hitting practice is the issue. He hit a leadoff home run the next day so his back couldn’t have been bothering too much then.

  3. Indy Red Man

    Rough couple of starts for Mahle? I guess Wood will probably replace him? Disco has had better stuff then Mahle so far? Both of them struggle with flyballs in gabp. Maybe Stephenson gets another shot in the rotation at some point?

  4. Roger Garrett

    It was bound to happen for Mahle.Just way to many fastballs in the zone.Lets see if this offense can pick him up.After 3 straight lefties one would think we could do more then a couple of hits but we will see.

  5. IndyRedsFan

    Any reason given for Kemp being removed from game?


    in-game trade?

  6. Indy Red Man

    3 down seems overwhelming with this offense & in this park. More yard work for me. Hopefully I’ll be wrong later but I don’t see it. Lefty pitchers own us. They never have the RH enforcers to even it out. Half our offense so far is Dietrich and he sits out vs LHP.

    • Roger Garrett

      You won’t be wrong.This team is packed and ready to go home.I thought before today’s game that this one was going to show me if they were in or just pretending.Obviously just pretending.Big game and no show.

  7. Tom Mitsoff

    Has anyone else noticed that the rectangle on the TV screen that supposedly outlines the strike zone is completely useless? There are pitches that appear to be not even close to the strike zone that the umpire is calling strikes.