Reds vs Royals: Preview, pitching matchups and prediction

KANSAS CITY, MO - JUNE 12: Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds throws to first past Whit Merrifield #15 of the Kansas City Royals (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - JUNE 12: Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds throws to first past Whit Merrifield #15 of the Kansas City Royals (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
1 of 5
Next
Shogo Akiyama #4 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a single
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – AUGUST 09: Shogo Akiyama #4 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a single (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The Reds return home to battle the Royals.

Like much of 2020, the last week was a roller coaster ride for the Cincinnati Reds (7-9) and their fans. After winning the first game of the Ohio Cup versus the Cleveland Indians, Cincinnati proceeded to drop the final three games in the series before righting the ship by taking 2-of-3 from the Milwaukee Brewers.

Much of what we saw last week has been the norm so far this season from the Reds. The runs came in fits and starts, while the bullpen provided nothing even remotely close to relief, leading the club to finish with a 3-4 record last week. However, the one constant this year, the starting pitching, was once again solid.

The Redlegs received quality starts from Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle and Anthony DeSclafani over the past week while rookie Tejay Antone put together a nice outing in his debut start in the majors. Quality starts, starting pitchers tossing at least six innings and allowing three runs or less, are nothing new for this rotation.

Cincinnati starters have racked up quality starts in 56% of their outings this season. This mark is good enough for third among all National League starting rotations and well above the 29% league average. Reds pitchers also continue to strike out opposing hitters at a dizzying rate.

In 60 innings last week, Reds hurlers fanned a staggering 80 batters. They continue to lead the senior circuit with 185 total punchouts. Their nearest competitor, the New York Mets, are a distant second with 155 strikeouts.

Unfortunately, the Cincinnati Reds have been unable to transfer this dominance on the mound to other parts of their game. Entering play tonight, the Reds have the worst batting average in the NL. The unsightly .203 average is simply amazing for a lineup featuring the likes Joey Votto and Eugenio Suárez.

However, as bad as the average is, the club has a respectable .314 on-base percentage, which is league average and they lead the NL with 68 free passes. Jesse Winker currently leads the team with a .410 OBP, which is also good enough for 10th among all NL hitters.

But no Reds discussion is complete in 2020 without mentioning the bullpen. If the past week is any indication, the bullpen is nowhere close to turning the corner. Beginning play tonight, the relief corps is 1-7 with a ghastly 7.77 ERA.

The only two arms out of the bullpen who have made a minimum of five appearances with an ERA south of 5.00 are right-hander Lucas Sims and lefty Amir Garrett. Perhaps a visit from the Kansas City Royals will help get the bullpen, and the team, back on track.