The Reds hope to bounce back tonight in the pivotal third game of their current series with the Cubs at Wrigley Field. If you haven’t brought yourself to check the NL Central standings after the Reds debacle Tuesday, the Reds lead the Brewers by
half a full game and the Cubs by 4 going into tonight’s action.
SP: Drew Smyly
|1. Kevin Newman (2B)
2. Nick Senzel (3B)
3. Matt McLain (SS)
4. Spencer Steer (LF)
5. Christian Encarnacion-Strand (DH)
6. Joey Votto (1B)
7. Tyler Stephenson (C)
8. Stuart Fairchild (CF)
9. Will Benson (RF)
|1. Nico Hoerner (2B)
2. Christopher Morel (DH)
3. Cody Bellinger (CF)
4. Dansby Swanson (SS)
5. Ian Happ (LF)
6. Yan Gomes (C)
7. Seiya Suzuki (RF)
8. Jeimer Candelario (3B)
9. Patrick Wisdom (1B)
|Brandon Williamson (L)||64.1||4.48||1.37||10.0%||17.8%|
|Drew Smyly (L)||108.0||4.50||1.35||7.9%||20.7%|
|Links: Brandon Williamson’s Stats | Drew Smyly’s Stats
Rookie leftie Brandon Williamson has emerged as a key rotation member as the Reds attempt to navigate through the injuries to Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo. A difficult month of June ended with Williamson’s ERA/FIP at .582/.586 through 8 MLB starts. His immediate future in MLB was being questioned. However Williamson righted the ship in July by posting an ERA of 2.45 (3.97 FIP) in 5 starts, with 3 won by the Reds. The Reds hope to see a continuation of the July version of Williamson tonight.
Williamson is handedness neutral for batting average and OBP. However RH hitters slug at a much higher percentage against him than LH hitters.
Williamson’s 4 seamer and cutter have the speed and action variation to work off of each other. The slider adds adds its double break action to speed variation off of either fastball. The straight change can lock up hitters thinking the speed tips it as a slider. The curve is a special delight to drop on unsuspecting hitters.
Drew Smyly is an impersonation of the crafty lefthander characterization. He is in his second decade as a MLB pitcher with a career ERA right on MLB average for his tenure.
After working strictly as a reliever back in 2013 (63 appearances), he has spent the balance of his career predominately as a starter (175 of 260 total career appearances). However, 2 of Smyly’s 21 appearances in 2023 have been out of the Cubs bullpen. Thus tonight marks his 20th start of the season.
Smyly is coming off a tough month of July. In five appearances (3 starts), he posted an ERA/FIP of 6.65/5.53 and allowed an OPS of .940 in 21.2 innings of work.
No, the red ink in Smyly’s split chart is not an accident. He appears to have severe reverse splits.
Smyly has an unusual pitch repertoire. Per Statcast, he uses only 3 pitch types: and one of them, the knuckle curve, is a rare bird these days. He has enough speed variation between his two fastball types to keep batters unsure about which might be coming. The deceptive dual threat of the knuckle curve allows it to serve as both a breaking ball and change of pace. Look for him to use the cutter off the sinker and the knuckle curve off of either other pitches.
The first two games of the series have been blow outs, one to each team’s favor. To protect his bullpen each losing manager left his starter in the game to throw a full length stint. Each manager also used a position player as a pitcher to finish out the game.
Consequently, neither team should feel any pressure or constraints involving their top flight leverage relievers.
News Worth Noting
There is good news about Hunter Greene.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) August 2, 2023
When and Where
- Game time: 8:05pm ET
- Where: Wrigley Field
- Watch: Bally Sports Ohio, MLB.tv
- Listen: 700 WLW AM (Cincinnati area)
- Forecast: 80°, partly cloudy, 1% chance of rain
NL Central Standings
|TEAM||W/L||Win %||GB||Last 10|