Tonight the Cincinnati Reds hope to post their fifth consecutive win in game two of the current series versus the New York Mets at Citi Field in New York City. However the even bigger story may be that Joey Votto can tie the MLB record of 8 consecutive games with a home run. Game time is 7:10 Eastern.
This game will feature a match up of of vintage lefthanders, Wade Miley for the Reds and Rich Hill for Mets.
Wade Miley makes his 18th start of the season tonight for the Reds. Miley emerged as the unlikely foundation of the Reds rotation early in the season. He hasn’t looked back or fallen off all season long. His seasonal ERA/FIP comparison of 2.86/3.48 suggests perhaps Miley has been a tad on the good side of luck this year. However, just maybe a guy who has been around as long as Miley makes some of his own luck?
Miley comes at batters with a variety of pitch actions over a wide range of velocities. His intent is to disrupt the hitters’ timing. About half his pitches have been cut fastballs (85MPH) and another 25% of them changeups (82 MPH). He fills out his repertoire predominately with his 4 seam fastball (18%/ 90 MPH) and just enough curves and sliders (5% combined) to keep the batters guessing. And it works. In 2021, about 60% of balls put in play by hitters versus Miley have been grounders (~50%) or infield popups (~10%).
Yes, Rich Hill starting tonight for the Mets is the same guy who has been rumored to be a Reds trade or free agent target time and again since probably 2005 or so. Hill, now 41 years old, was originally drafted by the Reds out of high school (1999/ 36th round). However, he chose to attend college versus signing with the them. As I count it, the Mets are Hill’s eighth MLB team. The Mets acquired Hill from Tampa Bay just a week ago to shore up their injury riddled rotation. Tonight will be his second start for them on the heels of 19 starts for Tampa this year.
Hill came up in 2005 as a fastball/curveball pitcher. That is what he remains today after 312 MLB appearances (184 starts). His fastball has never been much if any over 90MPH; and, it remains at 89MPH this year. He throws it about 50% of the time. Hill throws his curve about 36% of the time in the low 70’s MPH range. Hill fills out with a split finger fastball used as his changeup along with the occasional slider or cutter.
Pitching Tale of the Tape
There’s not a lot to choose between these guys in the numbers aside from Miley keeping the ball in the yard at significantly better rate. It may be wise to keep in mind that the vast amount of Hill’s work this season has been in the DH league.
Mychal Givens has appeared on consecutive days and threw 21 pitches Friday. Amir Garrett threw 26 pitches Friday. Count them both as questionable to unavailable tonight. Michael Lorenzen threw just 8 pitches to complete an inning in his first appearance off the IL. The Reds might be cautious in how they use him tonight.
Anthony Banda, Miguel Castro and Drew Smith look borderline for Mets tonight. Starter Rich Hill’s longevity in 2021 is right at 5.0 innings per start. Things could get dicey for the Mets if the Reds can get him out early.
|1. Jonathan India (2B)
2. Jesse Winker (LF)
3. Kyle Farmer (SS)
4. Joey Votto (1B)
5. Aristides Aquino (RF)
6. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
7. Tucker Barnhart (C)
8. Shogo Akiyama (CF)
9. Wade Miley (P)
|1. Jonathan Villar (3B)
2. Pete Alonso (1B)
3. Jeff McNeil (2B)
4. Javier Baez (SS)
5. James McCann (C)
6. Dominic Smith (LF)
7. Kevin Pillar (CF)
8. Brandon Drury (RF)
9. Rich Hill (P)
NINE homers in SEVEN games??
Take a minute and appreciate Joey Votto. ? pic.twitter.com/VeGgqbRxzg
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) July 31, 2021
How about this bit of ciphering by Redleg Nation’s Nick Kirby. The Reds are finishing out their seventh best month since 2003:
Reds best record by month since 2003:
July 2012: 19-7 (.731)
May 2013: 19-8 (.704)
August 2010: 19-8 (.704)
April 2006: 17-8 (.680)
September 2009: 18-9 (.667)
June 2014: 18-10 (.643)
July 2021: 16-9 (.640)
Sept 2020: 16-9 (.640)
August 2012: 19-11 (.633)
May 2010: 18-11 (.631)
— ???? ????y (@Nicholaspkirby) July 31, 2021
Final July Thoughts
The calendar says today is the last day of July. Regardless of what happens tonight, the Reds have won 16 games in a month where they will have played 26. That’s better than a .600 pace for the month already assured. Since June 1, the Reds are 31-21 (.596). That’s two months, just short of a third of a season. This team is not a fluke.
With the schedule taking a turn to the Reds favor in the final third of the season, there is no reason the Reds cannot continue at or near this same winning pace. If the Reds finish out at at .600 over the final 2 months, they will be right at 90 wins for season. Will it be enough to get the Reds to the playoffs? Who knows? That’s why they play the games and we follow them. GO REDS!
Game Time: 7:10 EDT
Watch: BallySports Ohio / MLB.TV
Listen: 700WLW/ MLB.com