Just as quickly as sure as they won the first two games of the month, the Cincinnati Reds (59-81) reminded all of us fans why September is the longest month of the year, for a team on the outside of the playoff race.
The Pittsburgh Pirates (69-71) inched ever closer to .500 with their series sweep of the Reds. Cincinnati was mathematically eliminated from the Central Division race, last night, and sits on a four-game precipice of being eliminated from the wild card.
This is nothing new, few Reds fans, if any, believed they were real contenders for October baseball, but it still stings a bit to know there is literally no chance of catching the Cubs. Remember when the Cubs were the ones on the bottom looking up at the Reds? Those days were nice…
Homer Bailey (1-14, 6.09 ERA) unceremoniously led the Reds to their 19th loss in games started by him. He tossed five innings of three-run baseball. I am unsure as to the exact number, but few Pirate hitters got through an at-bat without reaching two strikes, but Bailey failed to seal the deal. He did strike out his counterpart, Jameson Taillon, in the fourth inning for his 1,000thcareer K, for those of us looking for any positives.
Jose Peraza got the Reds started off, early, with a solo shot to the deepest part of PNC Park of Taillon (12-9, 3.40 ERA). But the Redlegs endure seven-straight scoreless innings before Dilson Herrera knocked an RBI-double in the top of the ninth to wake up any Reds fans still tuned in. Cincinnati would then load the bases, but Scott Schebler struck out to leave em juiced at the end of it all.
The Reds now return home to face an opponent with as many October aspirations as them, the Padres. San Diego (55-86) has recently called up some of their young studs, Francisco Mejia (acquired from Cleveland in the Brad Hand trade) being the most recent to get the Major League promotion. They also have their second baseman of the future in the majors (Luis Urias) and have enjoyed powerful production from their 23-year old outfielder, Franmil Reyes. You know, they’re rebuilding.
The four pitchers the Padres will run out on the mound are 23 years old, 24, 27, and 22, respectively. Eric Lauer will pitch the opener for San Diego, with Brett Kennedy following in game two, Robbie Erlin, and then Jacob Nix to wrap up the series on Sunday.
Lauer was the Padres 1st round pick in the 2016 draft and made his Major League debut against the Rockies on April 24th of this year. Colorado spoiled it for him, though, as they shelled him for seven runs (six earned) on six hits and four walks. He has, since, settled down a bit and pitched five shutout innings in his last start (oddly enough, against the Rockies).
Kennedy, not that Kennedy, is also coming off a stellar start in which he allowed Colorado to score exactly zero times. This, also his inaugural season (he debuted August 8th), that was the first time he had pitched six innings and the first time he kept a goose egg on the scoreboard. In his last three starts, his ERA has shrunk from 11.00 to 5.76. He boasts the typical repertoire for a pitcher with a fastball that averages 92 MPH, a decent changeup and slider, and a curveball he peppers in, on occasion.
Erlin is the most experienced starter the Reds will face from the Padres and he is still just 27 years old. He has put together a solid year, going between the bullpen and the rotation, keeping his walks to minimum (less than a walk per nine innings) and compiling a 3.87 ERA. His average fastball velocity is just a tick under 91 (90.9) which is the best it’s ever been, and he has added a sinking fastball in this, his fifth season in the majors. He faced the Reds on June 1st of this year and allowed a homer to Scooter Gennett, in his only career appearance against the Redlegs.
Nix will end the four-game set on Sunday for the Padres. He will be the third pitcher in this series that made his debut just this year. He pitched six shutout innings against the Phillies on August 10th in his debut and also had an 8.1 innings outing against the Mariners in which he allowed just one run. Nix doesn’t walk too many batters, but does give up a lot of hits (27 in 26 IP). Fun fact, Nix was drafted by the Houston Astros in 2015 but did not consent to the pick, later going to the Padres.
The Reds will counter with Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, Matt Harvey, and Cody Reed.
@lockedonReds and @jefffcarr have all your daily Reds content and look out for quick pitching previews before the games!
Could he? Would he? May he? Things looking slightly up for the Reds prospects of getting Dallas Keuchel.
New Podcast Episode!
Download, download, download! You know…on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, or Stitcher. And leave a review! I would love your feedback!
New Year, New LOR
Here is the first episode of your new Locked on Reds podcast hosted by me, Jeff Carr!