The Cincinnati Reds (62-82) defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers (78-66) by a score of 10-6 on Monday night. This night was an important one, not because of the win, but because we learned something about a pitcher and how he factors into the Reds’ future. Cody Reed will be a good bullpen arm for Cincinnati, 2019 and beyond.
The 25-year old left has a brilliant slider, but he doesn’t yet have a consistent second pitch with which to put together a quality start. The slider was slow to get going, but once he struck out Kike Hernandez, with the bases loaded, to end the top of the first, it dominated from there. He managed to get all but one of his strikeouts via the slider as he compiled five K’s in four innings. He constantly kept the slider velocity around 85-87 MPH and the movement kept the Dodgers guessing.
His fastball was a problem. Early on, he spotted it terrifically, but as the game progressed, the fastball waned. He hit 95 on the radar gun a handful of times through the first three innings, but came out in the fourth and never eclipsed 91. The majority of LA’s hits came off his fastball and past the second inning he seemed to have trouble locating it. More often than not, Dodger hitters would sit idly by as another fastball hit Tucker Barnhart’s glove while missing the strike zone. In fact, just 26.4% of his pitches outside the zone induced a swing, Monday, representing his lowest percentage since moving to the rotation.
His changeup needs development. Monday night, it was a beach ball. Just over 12% of his pitches were changeups, which isn’t much, but it was, per Fangraphs.com, his most detrimental pitch, as it “cost” him 4.2 runs. -Quick explanation, this is using linear weights for pitch types. Each count, whether it be 0-1 or 1-0 has an expected run value. Whatever pitch is thrown in that instance gains or loses the run value based on whether it was a strike, a ball, or a hit or an out. Negative means bad and positive means good. In Reed’s instance, his changeup was -4.2, so it was not good.-In a more physical since of “costing” him, Chris Taylor launched an errant changeup into the moon deck, in the fourth inning, for a two-run homer.
His x-factor is his sinker. He sprinkled it in against LA with varying success. A few times it helped induce some key outs, but other times it looked more like a bounce-pass to Tucker. Having a sinker will give hitters another spinning pitch, but with different movement than the slider, to look at, but he will need to beef it up.
Numbers-wise, Cody has been better out of the bullpen. Over the course of 10 appearances, with 11.2 innings pitched, Reed allowed just three earned runs. He allowed 13 base runners compared to 10 strikeouts, with just three of those base runners reaching via walk. Despite being a small sample, his pitch values are even better, showing marked improvement in his fastball (-0.48 out of the bullpen, -2.89 as a starter) and his changeup (-2.49 bullpen, -4.09 starting).
In his last three starts, Reed has a 6.59 ERA in 13.2 IP and has allowed 25 base runners. The numbers say he is getting a bit unlucky, with an above-league-average .348 batting average on balls in play and an xFIP that is two-and-change runs lower than his ERA, at 4.20. Again, small sample size, but the numbers are much better out of the bullpen.
His career record of 14 losses without a single win is, like Homer Bailey’s 2018, a bit fluky. He will get his first career win, and maybe multiple, but, as things currently stand, it will come from the bullpen, not the rotation.
Luis Castillo is set to face Hyun-Jin Ryu in the second game of the Reds and Dodgers series. First pitch is set for 6:40 p.m. Tuesday.
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