Tanner Roark and the Cincinnati Reds starters look to dominate the Mets

SAN DIEGO, CA - APRIL 18: Tanner Roark #35 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park April 18, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - APRIL 18: Tanner Roark #35 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park April 18, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /
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SAN DIEGO, CA – APRIL 18: Tanner Roark #35 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park April 18, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA – APRIL 18: Tanner Roark #35 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park April 18, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /

Reds’ pitchers look to continue leading the arms race

As the Cincinnati Reds close out another frustrating April, it’s easy to focus on the struggle to score runs. Nevertheless, it’s been an amazing run for the team’s pitching staff. Let’s take a look at those arms who have kept the team within striking distance of contention.

First and foremost, we must discuss Luis Castillo. The days he is scheduled to pitch are quickly becoming can’t miss TV appointments for Reds fans. La Piedra is leading NL pitchers in WAR (2.0) and ERA (1.23). He ranks 3rd in strikeouts (43) and 5th in WHIP (0.95). Mets hitters will see first hand Tuesday night what all the hype is about.

If ever there was a pitcher for the “kill the win” campaign it would be Sonny Gray. The Reds’ right-hander went winless in April and I couldn’t care less. Gray is averaging 11.3 strikeouts and only allowing 2.2 walks per 9 innings.

If Sonny Gray maintains this pace, he would set career-highs in both categories. Add in a WHIP of (0.97) and a ground ball rate of 54.1%, and Gray is developing into the perfect No. 2 starter behind Luis Castillo.

Tanner Roark may be the Reds No. 3 starter, but don’t let that fool you. When the Reds acquired Roark they were hoping to get a starter who could eat innings and keep the club in ballgames.  He’s been that and more.

Roark has posted an excellent 3.24 ERA in addition to an 8.6 strikeout per 9 innings rate, which is currently on pace for a career-best. He’s been most impressive in high leverage situations. In 23 at-bats, Tanner Roark has limited the opposition to 3 hits and zero extra base hits.

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Prediction

The Mets can’t pitch and the Reds can’t hit. However, I’m betting the Reds offense can manage to squeeze out a few runs in the Big Apple. They say New York is the city that never sleeps and neither does the Reds pitching. Look for the Reds to take 3-of-4 from the Mets and begin the month of May with nothing but flowers.