Ubaldo Jimenez (3-3, 6.04 ERA, 3.87 SIERA) vs. Mike Leake (4-2, 3.25 ERA, 4.04 SIERA)
We all should have expected Jimenez’s last outing. He’s cruising right along, and suddenly, a shelling. The Tigers weren’t kind to Ubaldo, six runs on seven hits over four innings – they made him work and that was that. But liek I said, focus on the positive. He’s generally looked good, people were just talking about him too much I suppose. He’ll be fine against the Reds, as long as he just walks Votto every time up just to get it out of the way. He’s pitched 32 innings against the Reds with a 3.09 ERA and 29 K’s. Votto in particular has a .417 average with two homers. I don’t expect much of that to change, but if we see the guy who spots his fastball decently and doesn’t lose his head, it’ll be a big day if he can get through this one smoothly.
Mike Leake is one of a few young pitchers with talent the Reds have allowed Dusty Baker the chance to ruin. The 25 year old is having a brilliant season though, and has held his last two opponents scoreless over seven innings in each game. If he can make the leap to very good pitcher, that’s a major boon to th Reds’ championship dreams. Leake has been lucky though, somewhat anyway, witha 1.352 WHIP and all those hits he’s given up, eventually his ERA is going to start climbing. The Reds defense isn’t good enough to lift him. Considering his home park, only five homers over nine starts is impressive. The Indians can afford to be aggressive against this guy, he attacks the zone and only one of his pitches gets above 90 consistently. Leake likes his infield defense though, he gets a ton of ground balls.
Zach McAllister (4-3, 2.89 ERA, 4.42 SIERA) vs. Mat Latos (4-0, 3.17 ERA, 3.67 SIERA)
Solid and just short of strong, that’s the best way to describe Zach McAllister’s last outing against the Red Sox. He went five innings giving up three runs, throwing 96 pitches all the while. It was the walks that got to me though, three of them. He’s been so good this year because he’s minimized the walks, and he needs to do this every time out. Whoever said he was going to get exposed at the next level is a bit of a numbskull, because this guy can pitch, and this is going to be a great matchup. I like these test games for Zach, it helps to bolster my arguments. This will be his first start against the Reds. Welcome to the Terrordrome.
Looking back, seems like the Reds won the trade with the San Diego Padres for Latos. The best player they gave away was Yonder Alonso, and he’s decent at best in the cavern that is Petco. Latos is 25, and already he’d be an ace on most staffs. His strikeout numbers have crept down since coming to CIncy, but so have his walk numbers. About the only spike he experienced is the homer number, but GAB does that to you. He throws all the fastballs (four, two, cut,) in the low 90’s but he can hit the mid-90’s, along with a strong change along with a slider and curve. He’s a great pitcher, and an innings eater. I’ve been a fan, and again, look forward to seeing him pitch.
Bronson Arroyo (5-4, 3.39 ERA, 4.39 SIERA) vs. Justin Masterson (7-3, 3.20 ERA, 3.44 SIERA)
Do you like pitches ranging in speed from 65 to about 88? Do you like ridiculous leg kicks, great location and strange breaks on balls? Then enjoy Mr. Arroyo. In about 10 years, when he’s still pitching, we’ll draw the comparison to Jamie Moyer, I’m convinced. Arroyo works with deception and junk, a rarity these days in baseball where everyone has hopped on the speed train. I can’t tell you what he throws, because it’s everything but a legit fastball. But he’s a joy to watch, and the antithesis of pretty much everyone else in this rotation. He makes Aroldis Chapman almost unfair.
His last time out was not Justin’s best, and he had to take the loss on this one. His slider wasn’t locating, which damages his effectiveness, and he gave up five runs in six innings. It didn’t help that John Lackey was having a throwback day. He’ll need the slider on his side for this one, along with everything else. In 28.2 innings against the Reds he’s got a 3.14 ERA with 25 strikeouts. That’s right in line with what he’s been doing this year, really. Depending on which Arroyo shows up, Masterson should walk away with this one. Hopefully anyway.
Scott Kazmir (2-2, 5.94 ERA, 3.82 SIERA) vs Homer Bailey (3-3, 3.08 ERA, 3.32 SIERA)
Kazmir is looking more and more like the man he was four years ago. Meaning, he’ll rarely go more than six innings but he’ll get a ton of strikeouts and throw a ton of pitches. Considering what he costs, I’ll take it. As long as the fastball velocity holds he’ll be just fine. He’s never pitched against the Reds, though Shin-Soo Choo is 3-for-10 against him.
Can you go from overrated to underrated to overrated back to underrated? I’m pretty sure that’s what Homer Bailey’s up o these days. He was highly touted back in 2004, then scuffled for years. Now, he seems to be finding himself at 27. In 64+ innings this year, his strikeout rate is up almost 1.5 per nine and he’s getting hit less. His ERA is a career best. Whether it will hold is the question, but with a name like Homer Bailey, you can’t be mad, just disappointed in the guy. His fastballs (two and four-seam) sit in the low to mid-90’s, and his curveball falls off the table. He was touted as an ace, and he could be great still, he’s so young. He’s thrown 30.2 innings against Cleveland, earning himself a 5.28 ERA. But this is the new Homer. Just judging from his Skills Interactive, he’s better than advertised. Good for him.