Reds vs. Rockies: Pitching preview, prediction, and more

DENVER, CO - JULY 14: Tyler Mahle #30 of the Cincinnati Reds walks back to the mound after allowing a fifth inning triple to Ryan McMahon #24 of the Colorado Rockies. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JULY 14: Tyler Mahle #30 of the Cincinnati Reds walks back to the mound after allowing a fifth inning triple to Ryan McMahon #24 of the Colorado Rockies. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /
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Tyler Stephenson #37 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates with Heath Hembree #55 after a 5-1 win.
PITTSBURGH, PA – MAY 12: Tyler Stephenson #37 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates with Heath Hembree #55 after a 5-1 win. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

Journeyman Heath Hembree has been exceptional for the Reds.

I have been quick to criticize general manager Nick Krall regarding the structure of the Cincinnati Reds bullpen. However, credit must be given when it’s due, and his decision to sign Heath Hembree has been a stroke of genuis.

Signing as a free agent late in spring training, Hembree made his Cincinnati debut on April 23rd, and he’s been simply lights out. Appearing in seven games, he’s yet to allow a run or even a hit in 7.2 innings of work.

Additionally, the Spartanburg, South Carolina native has come in and thrown strikes when called upon. He’s tossing strikes 65% of the time and has only two walks against eight punchouts.

Due to the recent suspension of Amir Garrett, don’t be surprised to see Hembree, a nine-year veteran with his fourth club, called upon in high-leverage situations. David Bell has called upon Hembree three times late in one-run ballgames, and he’s responded each time by retiring 10 of the 11 batters he’s faced.

Prediction

The Reds face the rare opportunity of returning to the Queen City in much better shape than when they left. Cincinnati could, and should, leave Colorado, winning six of nine on their three-city road trip.

Next. India should be optioned to Triple-A

This is another series in which the Reds will face a last-place ball club in which they have a decided talent advantage. Look for the Reds to take three of four this weekend from the Rockies as they return to Great American Ball Park to entertain two of the league’s finest in the San Francisco Giants and Milwaukee Brewers.