Reds Facing Fearsome Threesome

It’s not what you think. Get your mind out of the gutter. Sheesh…

I’m referring to the the Pirates pitchers for the upcoming three game series that begins tonight at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. The three: Kevin Correia, Charlie Morton and James McDonald. The numbers these three have posted against the Reds this season have been nothing short of fantastic. There’s only one blip on the screen…and that belongs to McDonald. That occurred in his first appearance against the Reds this season.

To further see the effectiveness of this trio, all you have to do is look at the numbers.

W L IP R ER H BB SO ERA WHIP BAA
Correia 1 0 9 3 2 4 2 5 2.00 0.667 .125
Morton 3 0 23 1 1 13 6 11 0.39 0.826 .163
McDonald 2 1 17.1 8 7 20 6 13 3.64 1.500 .294
TOTALS 6 1 49.1 12 10 37 14 29 1.83 1.034 .206

But this doesn’t really tell the whole story of how effective these three have been, look at each pitcher’s individual numbers against the Reds.

Now, Correia just has one start against the Reds, but that was a complete game performance on April 18th. Morton is a different story.

Coming into the season, the Reds had used Morton as a personal punching bag. Here’s a look at Morton’s numbers against the Reds this year, against the rest of baseball, and how he fared previous to this season.

v. Reds v. MLB Pre-2011
Record 3-0 6-6 1-4
ERA 0.39 4.07 6.34
WHIP 0.826 1.599 1.745
SO/BB 11/6 72/50 15/15
BAA .163 .293 .326

Talk about a reversal of fortunes. Morton has owned the Redlegs this season. Some of us have read on many blogs and baseball sites that Morton has drastically changed his delivery to resemble that of Roy Halliday. And we Reds fans know all too well how Halliday has performed against the Reds. But could this be the reason for Morton’s turnaround? Against the Reds, it is. The rest of baseball still has his number. Those numbers aren’t much below what the Reds were doing against the Reds prior to the 2011 season.

Oh, and Morton has two complete games against the Reds this season.

McDonald has changed his fortunes after his first outing against the Reds back on April 16th.

v. Reds v. MLB
Record 2-1 6-5
ERA 3.64 4.28
WHIP 1.500 1.496
SO/BB 13/6 97/53
BAA .294 .270

In his first outing against the Reds this season, McDonald only lasted 4.1 innings and was touched up for 7 runs, 6 of those runs were earned. Looking at McDonald’s last two outings versus the good guys, he has pitched 13 innings surrendering only one run, and that was earned. The Reds have barely touched McDonald in his two appearances since that April 16th contest (2-0, 0.69 ERA, 1.154 WHIP, 11/4 SO/BB, .239 BAA).

And here’s a fact that left me shaking my head, albeit shaking it only a little. The Pirates have three complete games against the Reds this season. The Reds have three…total. And all of those have come from the arm of Johnny Cueto.

Granted, the fortunes have changed for the Buccos over the past month. At one time, they were the NL Central division leaders. Now, the sit in fourth place, a game and a half behind the Reds and 14 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers. If the Reds bats awaken against thses three pitchers, they can make the season series a little more even. The Pirates currently own the series at 7-2. With six more games to go in this series, a sweep of all six by the Reds would give them an 8-7 edge for 2011.

The Reds will counter with Homer Bailey (tonight), Dontrelle Willis, and TBA. In his career, Bailey is undefeated against the Pirates with a 5-0 record and 1.52 ERA. Willis has been on the unfortunate end of three losses this season. Time for the guys to get him the win he so richly deserves.

Leake’s Turn?

That TBA has to have everyone wondering who will slot in as the starter for that Sunday afternoon tilt. It would be Mike Leake‘s spot in the rotation. Leake wasn’t sharp in his last outing against the Nationals. Despite supplying the Reds with two quality starts this month, he is 1-2 for August. He is also #2 on the staff in innings pitched (132.2) behind Bronson Arroyo (153.1). Leake also ranks second on the staff in starts with 21, again, behind Arroyo who has 25.

Will we see the Reds start to curtail Leake’s workload? With September not too far away, we could. He hurled 138.1 innings last season before being shut down. But it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. It’s not like he’s been struggling. He’s getting the ball over the plate, but in August, he has served up 5 homers. Maybe just a small adjustment is needed.

If the brass elects to bypass Leake, Travis Wood, already with the big club, could slot in there provided the Reds do not make any other roster moves. And the Reds made a few today…

Roster Moves

Walt Jocketty has already been busy over the last two days. Here’s the list of moves made.

– moved Zack Cozart from 15-day to 60-day DL
– optioned Matt Maloney to Louisville
– release Philippe Valiquette

The first two should really not surprise anyone. Cozart recently had surgery and Maloney needs some work. No doubt we’ll see Matt in September.

The Valiquette release is not as surprising as you think. He has not thrown a pitch in a game this season due to injury. His fastball has been measured consistently in the mid 90’s. His best overall season in the Reds organization was 2007 when he split the year between Billings and Dayton, going 4-3 in 18 games along with a 2.81 ERA and 1.188 WHIP. He was also a participant in last year’s AFL and in the league’s All-Star Game.

But that should tell you something. The arm may be worse that thought. Here’s a guy that can really bring the heat, was selected to play in one of the best All-Star games within the world of baseball, yet, he finds himself without an organization. He could most likely land on a roster and be a reclamation project. Considering he already has six years in the minors under his belt, it is that, a possibility.

Sigh... (Image: Bo Hussey)

One Last Thing

Darn you, Jonny Gomes. That is all.

Tags: Baseball Charlie Morton Cincinnati Reds James McDonald Kevin Correia Mike Leake MLB Pittsburgh Pirates

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