The 2019 Ohio Cup Series between the Reds and Indians begins tonight  with the first of two games at Progressive Field in Cleveland. The series will conclude with two games at GABP July 6 and 7 leading into the All Star Break.  The Indians are 5-5 in their last 10 games. They come into the series at 33-32, good for 2nd place in the AL Central but a distant 10.5 games behind the division leading Twins.  They are 2 games away from an AL Wildcard spot, tied with Boston as 1st team out. The 5th place Reds, 4-6 in their last 10 games and 29-35 on the season, are 8 games off the NL Central lead. They are 6 games but a whopping 8 teams from a wildcard spot.  Maybe the Reds can catch the Indians looking past them.

GAME TIME: 7:10 EDT

STARTING PITCHERS

Righthanders Luis Castillo (Reds) and Trevor Bauer (Indians) are scheduled to square off. Need we say more than this could be a doozy  of a pitching matchup?  Well….

INDIANS

Actually Bauer has not shown the dominating form in 2019 which he demonstrated last season when he led the AL in FIP (2.44) and best HR/9 innings ratio (0.5). Nonetheless he has struck out 103 batters in 91.2 innings which should sound a caution for Reds fans given their team’s propensity for striking out.

Most recently Bauer has struggled through a series poor starts.  In his last 7 starts dating back to his first start in May, he has accrued a 5.33 FIP in 44 innings pitched.  He has allowed a uncharacteristic 1.84 HR/9 innings over this stretch. Surprisingly Bauer’s BB rate over this stretch is actually lower than his seasonal BB rate; and, his WHIP while higher than his seasonal rate is not greatly inflated.

Consider this: Bauer’s overall 2019 numbers look a lot closer to his career norms than do his 2018 numbers. Perhaps his “breakout season” in 2018 wasn’t a breakout after all?

 

REDS

Reds fans hope Luis Castillo is moving in the opposite direction from Bauer.  Castillo’s last start, versus the Cards, may have been among the most accomplished of his MLB career. After allowing a lead off home run to Matt Carpenter and following infield single,  Castillo did not allow the Cardinals either another hit or run through 6 innings of work.  While he did walk 4 batters on the day, Castillo closed out his day by retiring 12 straight Cardinals.

In completing those 6 sterling innings versus the Cardinals, Castillo was extended a bit  by throwing 111 pitches.  Thanks to the off day Monday, he has had a full week to recuperate.  Nonetheless keep an eye on his velocity and command as the game unfolds.

Tale of the tape:

PITCHER FIP WHIP HR/9 BB% K%
Luis Castillo 3.42 1.10 0.71 11.8% 29.4%
Trevor Bauer 4.41 1.16 1.28 10.3% 26.5%

 

Both pitchers could stand to lower their BB%. Castillo’s K% may be the difference that has allowed him to get along better with his BB%  than Bauer has. The numbers which stand out in comparing  Bauer’s outstanding 2018 year and 2019 to date are that his K% is down  by ~4%, his BB% up by ~2.5% and his HR/9  up by .78. Plus of course his FIP is just shy of +2 full runs per game.

 

Bullpens

Both teams had Monday off. Barring injury or illness, they should have all hands on deck. However with the quick turnaround to a Wednesday matinee, the managers may be cautious with their pen usage. Then again with both teams off again on Thursday, they may not be.

 

Lineups

REDS

SP: Luis Castillo

INDIANS

SP: Trevor Bauer

1. Nick Senzel (CF)
2. Joey Votto (1B)
3. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
4. Derek Dietrich (2B)
5. Jesse Winker (DH)
6. Yasiel Puig (RF)
7. Josh VanMeter (LF)
8. Jose Iglesias (SS)
9. Tucker Barnhart (C)
1. Francisco Lindor (SS)
2. Oscar Mercado (LF)
3. Carlos Santana (1B)
4. Tyler Naquin (RF)
5. Jose Ramirez (3B)
6. Jake Bauers (DH)
7. Roberto Perez (C)
8. Mike Freeman (2B)
9. Leonys Martin (CF)

 

The Reds are playing in a DH eligible game and actually using a DH!!

News and Notes

 

We have breaking news of the very good kind from Doug Gray and Reds Minor Leagues, the companion site of Redleg Nation!

There was a record setting event in MLB last night and apparently some guy named Jay Bruce was a part of it. At least the Reds weren’t the opposition this time.

The Reds bullpen is off to a good start in June. Now if they can just get the offense going.

Hopefully help really is on the way.

Finals Thoughts

It has been a rough couple of weeks for the Reds.  They are still 5 games, give or take, better than they were after the same number of games in 2018. That’s good news.  However 40% of the way through the season, they are on a seasonal pace to lose 89 games. That’s not as much improvement as most expected.

Continuing to flirt  with .500 week to week as they’ve done for 2 months isn’t going to significantly change that 89 loss projection. The Reds need a big bump up or a long haul 5 to 10 games better than .500  followed by sustained play at or near .500 play to do that. Read Wes Jenkins similar thoughts here. And let’s hope the Reds start that climb tonight. GO REDS! 


Data and stats courtesy Fangraphs, Baseball Reference and MLB.com