A slightly different format as we move forward into your fantasy baseball season…
Here’s how things look for the Reds during the upcoming week:
Monday – off
Tuesday – @ Oakland
Wednesday – @ Oakland
Thursday – off
Friday – @ Texas
Saturday – @ Texas
Sunday – @ Texas
Overview of position players and their career numbers at stadiums in which Reds will play:
Shin Soo-Choo – @OAK: .262/.364/.369, 1 HR, 5 RBI in 18 games (77 PA); @ TEX: .236/.391/.364, 1 HR, 7 RBI in 19 games (69 PA).
His only HR at Oakland came last season.
Joey Votto – @OAK: .250/.400/.667, HR, 4 RBI in 3 games (15 PA); @ TEX: first games
All games in OAK were in 2010.
Brandon Phillips – @ OAK: .243/.243/.297, 0 HR, 0 RBI in 9 games (37 PA); @ TEX: .545/.583/.909, 0 HR, 5 RBI in 3 games (12 PA).
6-for-15 in OAK in ‘10; played in TEX in ‘03
Jay Bruce – @OAK: .700/.727/.800, 0 HR, 3 RBI in 3 games (11 PA); @ TEX: first games
Chris Heisey – @ OAK: .250/.250/.250, 0 HR, 0 RBI in 3 games (8 PA); @ TEX: first games
Only 2 have played in Texas: BP and Choo. BP hasn’t since he was in Cleveland…in 2003. Choo did last season.
Here’s the list of probable starting pitchers the Reds will face.
Tuesday – Tommy Milone
Wednesday – A.J. Griffin
Friday – Martin Perez
Saturday – Nick Tepesh
Sunday – Yu Darvish
An aspect of interleague games is that you are going against a pitcher that you most likely haven’t seen live. Sure, you got the video, but there’s only so much you can grasp from that. You don’t have that feel for how much a particular pitcher’s slider breaks. How does the ball really look as it leaves his hand.
This advantage almost always favors the pitcher. Unless you are fortunate enough to have Joey Votto on your roster, a thought of sitting players you may not normally sit at least enters your head. The way Bruce has been going, he’s also a must-start.
Choo hasn’t found the success he had early in the season. Plus, Dusty has been putting him in the #2 slot when a lefty starts. Every once in a while, Choo won’t even play against a lefty. Some have met this move with resistance, but here’s something. You will see more fastballs at the #2 spot. After all, you got Votto in the on-deck circle.
BP is struggling since coming back from his wrist injury. Since his return, he’s hitting only .164 with one homer and 13 RBI in 16 games. Wait? 13 RBI. Yeah, but 6 came in one game.
Frazier is starting to right the ship, but like the ToddFather we saw during the first week of the season. Not even closer to that. He did have a power punch, but not much else that should help.
Something that I’m sure you know. Cozart is outperforming Starlin Castro across the board. Those are the season and do not take weekly points into consideration, but my guess is that you at least made the adjustment in sitting Castro with his recent woes.
If Cozart is available, he might not be a that bad of an addition.
Also of interest: If Heisey is ready to go on Tuesday, expect him to get the start against the LHP Millone. If Heisey doesn’t, Derrick Robinson, provided he’s still on the roster (and I think he would be), will get the nod. Of course, we could see both Heisey and DRob in that game with Choo sitting against the lefty. Choo isn’t exactly showing a prowess for hitting against lefties. Keep a close eye on this.
Starting rotation (tentative):
Tues @ OAK – Bronson Arroyo (2-0, 3.74, 0.877 in 3 G, last in 2010)
Wed: @ OAK – Homer Bailey (1-0, 1.29 ERA, 0.857 WHIP in 1 G, 2010)
Fri: @ TEX – Johnny Cueto (1st game at TEX)
Sat: @ TEX: Mike Leake (1st game at TEX)
Sun: @ TEX – Mat Latos (1st game at TEX)
A spacious playing field should serve Arroyo well. You won’t get the whiffs from him, but you could still see a decent WHIP, workable ERA and possibly a win from him.
For Bailey, the consistency is still just a bit off. That said, Bailey sports decent overall numbers across most fantasy categories. He’s 9th in the NL in strikeouts with 95. That sits as the #2 on the Reds staff; however, his big strikeout games have come at the expense of the Marlins (10 and 8) and Cubs (8 twice). His other 10 strikeout performance came against the Phillies, another sub-.500 team. Oakland isn’t sub-.500.
Bailey’s career home/away splits have been talked about for at least the past season-plus. His ERA is a full run lower on the road (3.83) than at GABP (4.90).
Look for the A’s to load up the lefty bats against both Arroyo and Bailey as both are much better when facing righties, but with the vast playing field, particularly with Oakland’s vast foul territory, it might not be so bad.
I would start both Arroyo and Bailey on their perspective days.
As far as the three pitchers the Reds will have head to the hill in Texas…
Cueto is coming off a horrendous outing where he didn’t even get out of the 5th inning. He usually bounces back pretty well after such games. And those games do happen. Cueto has become pretty darn good pitching at GABP, but some will say that Rangers Ballpark is a different animal. GIven his status as the team “ace”, it’s pretty much a given you’ll start him.
At the moment, Leake is the hottest pitcher on staff as he has supplied a quality start in 7 of his last 8 starts. In those 8 games, he is 5-1 with a 1.31 ERA and a WHIP of 0.927. He also has 35 punchouts in 55 innings during this span. Not a huge delivery on whiffs, but Leake should provide some decent scoring on the other areas.
Add this: Leake is currently 10th in the NL in ERA with his 2.61 and tied for 9th in wins with 7.
Who saw that coming from Leake for 2013? If your hand is in the air, put it down because nary a soul would believe you.
Not sure if everyone is buying the Mike Leake we’ve seen over the past month and a half, but after a slow start, he sure has picked up his game. He is among the top 10 most added pitchers in ESPN leagues and a top 5 add in Yahoo! leagues.
Now you probably saw that coming.
Latos has adapted to GABP as well, but Latos has seen slight struggles after getting off to a tremendous start to his 2013. You’re going to usually get the strikeouts (an even 100 so far this season), which currently ranks first on the team. If you’re looking for that elusive “W”, might want to consider another route though as Latos has 8 no-decisions this year.
It’s easy to say to start all three of these guys, but the unknown of pitching in Arlington must be taken into consideration. Again, pitching at GABP is a good “trainer” for this and it is hard to justify not starting all three of them..
The only Reds reliever most would consider is Aroldis Chapman. He wasn’t exactly sharp in his two appearances in Arozona, but we have seen Chapman put together a good run after having a few bumps in his road.
This week’s schedule has the potential to be either really good or really bad for Chapman.
The good: with two off days, Chapman could easily see action in four games.
The bad: will there be save situations? Yes, I ask that with a bit of a grin and/or sneer because you know that unless that save opportunity present itself, odds are Dusty won’t consider getting him into a game.
But the two off days may force Baker’s hand there.
Unless you are in a NL-only league that is also a deep league, then you may wish consider Sam LeCure and Tony Cingrani if you haven’t already. I know LeCure had recent stumbles and Cingrani is having to re-adjust to being a reliever, but Cingrani will be the lefty out of the bullpen and LeCure has seen a slight shift in his role as well.
Not the two other bullpen arms you think about when the Reds are the topic, but with the injury bug making its way through the roster, LeCure and Cingrani are your best two options other than Chappy.
Not saying pick ‘em up, but definitely contemplate adding them to your staff.