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Series Preview: Reds make a rare visit to St. Pete

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Cincinnati Reds v Chicago Cubs Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Rays salvaged a split by winning the final two games in their four game set against the Detroit Tigers. The Reds meanwhile have lost nine games in a row, including six to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Matchups:

Monday 7:10 PM: Scott Feldman vs Jake Odorizzi

Tuesday 7:10 PM: Azir Garrett vs Alex Cobb

Wednesday 12:10 PM: Tim Adleman vs Erasmo Ramirez

The Reds rotation is the worst in baseball

The Reds have a Major League Baseball worst 6.09 ERA and 6.02 FIP. The rotation has been worth -0.6 fWAR and -1.6 RA9 WAR. Their 19.0% HR/FB rate leads baseball, but even normalized to league average homer rate their 5.18 xFIP is only ahead of the Minnesota Twins.

Scott Feldman is having a typical Scott Feldman season. In 2017 he has put up a 4.29 ERA and 4.28 FIP with a career 4.39 ERA and 4.38 FIP. His strikeouts are up to 19.0% and walks are up to 8.3%. He typically has a problem with balls leaving the park when the ball is hit in the air. This year is no exception with his 14.5% HR/FB rate. In his last start he allowed four runs in five innings to the San Diego Padres.

Amir Garrett is a tall left handed pitcher who sports a 6.91 ERA and 6.97 FIP in his first taste of the majors. He is only striking out 18.9% and walking 10.3% of batters. When he pitches, balls are flying out of the park at a 25.8% HR/FB rate. In his last start he allowed two runs in six innings for one of the most successful starts in his young career. Garrett has struggled against right handed bats as he’s allowed a .267/.363/.576 line.

Tim Adleman is a 29 year old in his second year in the majors with a 4.22 ERA and 5.15 FIP. The right hander does a solid job getting strikeouts at 20.4%, but has a 9.1% walk rate. Homers have been one of his biggest problems. He has allowed a 14.8% HR/FB rate with a 44.8% fly ball rate; together that makes a lot of home runs. In his last start he allowed two runs in six innings to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Reds bullpen has been much improved

Last season the Reds had a horrific season. Their 5.09 ERA was almost the worst in the league (the Rockies’ ERA was even higher). Their 5.34 FIP was almost one run worse than that of any other team. This year their 3.73 ERA ranks ninth in MLB and their 4.29 FIP is ranked 18th.

Raisel Iglesias has stepped into the back end of the pen and done work. He has a 1.64 ERA and 2.97 FIP. He has a 31.5% strikeout rate, but walks 12.6%. He has picked up 12 saves.

Drew Storen has gotten good results with a 2.45 ERA and 3.81 FIP as a free agent pickup.

Michael Lorenzen has transitioned well to the pen with a 2.97 ERA and 3.52 FIP.

The bullpen has been worked hard over the weekend. Over the last two days the Reds bullpen has had to cover 12.2 innings with all eight members working at least one inning.

The Reds bats and defense have been a bright spots

Reds batters (minus the pitchers, who we won’t see hitting this week) have hit .260/./326/.452 and 100 wRC+ and 107 wRC+.

Shortstop Zack Cozart has been one of the brightest spots, hitting .320/.404/.562 and 149 wRC+ in a contract year. However, Cozart was placed on the disabled list this morning with a strained right quadriceps.

Joey Votto continues to be one of the best bats in baseball. He is hitting .304/.415/.599 and 158 wRC+. Votto has hit 19 homers.

Eugenio Suarez is in the midst of a breakout season hitting .278/.370/.491 and 125 wRC+. Suarez has hit 11 homers.

Adam Duvall continues show power out of the corner outfield. He’s hitting .275/.320/.534 and 117 wRC+. He has 16 homers after hitting 33 last season.

Scott Schebler has been a pleasant surprise for the Reds. He has hit .249/.320/.529 and 116 wRC+. He has 18 homers after hitting 9 last year in a similar amount of playing time.

Where the Reds really shine is on the defensive side of the ball. As a team they lead the league with 37 DRS and +19.8 UZR. However they will be down a plus defensive shortstop with Cozart on the DL.

The Rays have the second wild card

As Adam Sanford pointed out earlier today the Rays currently are in playoff position, but the whole league is hot on their tail. The Rays need to grab every win they can.

The Reds aren’t playing well, losing their last nine by a combined 61-30 score. Six of those loses did come against the Dodgers though.

This is one of the rare times the Rays get to host the Reds, so Rays fans can take the opportunity to watch some players that you don’t get to see very often. Hopefully, however, you will be watching those players come out on the losing side!