The Cincinnati Reds (49-63) travel to The Big Apple to play the baseball team that isn’t always on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball, the New York Mets (45-64).
The team formally known as the employer for Matt Harvey has not fared well since dispelling the Dark Knight. In fact, the two organizations involved in the trade have kind of gone in separate directions.
There have been so many numbers thrown out on the Reds, in regards to different phases of the season, but here’s one more. Since the Matt Harvey trade, Cincinnati is 41-36 while New York is 27-45. The Mets were sitting two games behind the Braves on May 8th with an 18-16 record, but now they are 17 games behind the first place Phillies.
The Red sent to New York for Harvey, Devin Mesoraco, hasn’t exactly taken to his new surroundings. Since donning blue, Mez has hit .228 with a .301 on-base percentage. He does have eight round-trippers with 25 RBIs and is healthy, though, so it isn’t all gloomy.
The Mets, as a whole, can’t hit. They’re last in the league in hits, runs, batting average, and OBP.
From the Reds perspective, they’re looking to bounce back after a tough series in Washington. The pitching actually held up strong, allowing just three runs per game, but the bats fell short when the games were on the line, as the Nationals won two-of-three. Cincinnati was 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position during their two losses in the Capital.
For the year, Cincinnati actually ranks second in the National League in runs scored and at-bats with runners in scoring position while ranking fifth in batting average with runners in scoring position (.258). In other words, the Nats’ series is an aberration.
Though he will be the focal point of the New York media, during this series, Matt Harvey is not scheduled to start against the Mets.
The series matchups are as follows:
Monday – Homer Bailey (1-8, 5.87 ERA) against Noah Syndergaard (6-2, 2.98 ERA)
Tuesday – Sal Romano (6-9, 5.12 ERA) against Jason Vargas (2-7, 8.23 ERA)
Wednesday – TBD against Jacob DeGrom (5-7, 1.85 ERA)
Homer’s last outing was definitely his best of 2018 as he pitched a complete game and allowed just a pair of runs. The bats didn’t back him up, though, as he was slapped with a loss, despite striking out six and walking just one. He’ll be up against Thor Syndergaard who allowed three runs on seven innings in a tough-luck loss to Washington his last time out.
Sal will be looking to improve upon his last start where he allowed four runs on 5.1 innings. He didn’t allow a walk, which was nice. Sal should figure into the 2019 rotation, as long as he continues to grow and gain some consistency. His opponent looks, on paper, like he’ll give up a few runs. Of course, now that I’ve said that, Vargas will probably twirl a gem against Cincy.
For the finale, the Reds have not announced their probable starter. The spot was Tyler Mahle’s, but he’s been sent to Louisville to get right. For what it’s worth (*cough* not much *cough*), I hope it’s Robert Stephenson. You may have heard, but he is tearing it up in AAA. BobSteve has a 2.87 ERA in 113 innings with a ratio of 10.75 strikeouts per nine innings. I don’t make the personnel decisions for the Reds, though, so who knows.
Going for the Mets on Wednesday will be Jacob DeGrom. For a pitcher with a sub-2.00 ERA, he has a baffling win-loss record. Part of it can be explained by his help. Despite having the best ERA in the NL, Degrom has the third-worst run support at 3.41. So, if he tosses a quality start, then he’s handing the ball to a reliever with the score tied. We’ll see what the Reds can do with that in the finale.
As the clock hit 6:30 pm, last Saturday, I was ready to go to Great American Ballpark. That’s when my wife reminded me that it was December. Every year the Cincinnati Reds put on a first class party for their fans called Redsfest and they’re pretty good at what they do.
I got to meet Michael Lorenzen, Tyler Mahle, Ibandel Isabel, and Jimmy Herget. I got my copy of “The Big 50” signed by Chad Dotson and Chris Garber, made a video with Mo Egger, and talked shop with Doug Gray. Okay, I get it, enough with the name dropping. Basically, it was fun.
I made it a point to ask some light-hearted questions (or in Lorenzen’s case, make a light-hearted, but factual, statement) to see what their reactions would be.
I first met Lorenzen. I told him that he was the real silver slugger and I am attempting to get that other guy to mail him the trophy he deserves. Lorenzen responded with, “Well, that just gives me motivation to hit twice as many homers next year.” Might have to get me a Lorenzen jersey…
I then got Mahle’s John Hancock (or is it Herbie Hancock?) on a baseball and I asked him if we can expec upwards of three, or more, 20-strikeout games this year. He replied “Let’s hope so. I’ll see what I can do.” Hope you folks in the bleachers with K’s are ready to work, this season.
I then got autographs from Isabel and Herget. Isabel just gave me an awkward smile and a chuckle when I asked if he will focus on inside-the-parkers this year instead of traditional homers, since he’s already hit a lot of those. Herget gave me a classic answer to my simple question of what his favorite pitch was when he said, “A strike.” Well played Jimmy.
The main stage offerings were also enjoyable. The best was at the kids-only press conference. Joey Votto, Amir Garrett, and Eugenio Suarez were on stage for the show, and when asked what their favorite memory of 2018 will be, Joey decided it was “When Amir tried to fight the Cubs.” Suarez bumped in, “Yeah, when he struck out Baez and stared him down. That was awesome, man!” As much as we fans may have liked that moment, it seems to have been even cooler to the team.
Memorabilia-wise, there was a ton of stuff to get. I didn’t go too crazy, this year, but I did end up with a new hat that has a Jackie Robinson 42 patch on it. Definitely my favorite hat, now. All in all, a good weekend.
If you went, let me know how your experience went!
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Live (Sorta) from Redsfest with Mo Egger
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Instant Reaction: Bye, Bye Billy
Wow! It’s the first hour of Redsfest and there are fireworks, already! The world’s fastest man (probably), Billy Hamilton, was non-tendered by the Cincinnati Reds making him a free agent. I have a few instant thoughts on this.
Firstly, I am bummed. I watched his career develop in the minors all the way up til he got the call to the Bigs. He looked like a star in the making in Pensacola, but what we now know is that he was defensively gifted and offensively challenged. He will go down, in my book, as the foremost example of “You can’t steal first.” I hope that his next step (if he doesn’t return, that is, but more on that in a second) he finds that missing piece and becomes a star.
Nextly, where do the Reds go from here? The encouragement is that we know Bob Castellini loved Billy and wanted him to be here forever and ever. That means the front office has definitely, officially been handed the reigns. If that’s the case, maybe we see Nick Senzel brought up and given the CF job, or Jose Peraza move to CF (he has a few minutes of experience there) and Senzel put in at shortstop. Those possibilities excite me. Whatever gets Senzel in the lineup is the right course of action, to me.
Lastly, maybe this is a little Michael Johnson maneuvering? For those who don’t follow the other professional franchise in Cincinnati, the Bengals made a move, right before the season, where they cut one of their longtime veterans only to resign him a few days later. They made the move to get some young guys onto the practice squad, but I digress. What if the Reds and Billy have a little head nod and handshake agreement that they will sign him for a year or two at his current rate, avoiding the arbitration-hike in salary he was about to get? This is purely a hypothetical notion by me, by the way, and I don’t know if they can do that, or if Billy would want it that way. Just a thought from a fan who can never truly be unbiased when it comes to Cool Papa Bill.
Anyway, I am sure there will be more to come from Redsfest!
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