Continuing their season-long battle with the elements, the Colorado Rockies arrived in Cincinnati today to take on Zeus, God of lightning and thunder, and lord of Mount Olympus.
In their previous meetings, Zeus has come out on top, producing hour upon hour of delay for the Rockies this season and a number of postponements. The Rockies will try to respond with a good series in Cincy. They just need to play within themselves instead of constantly trying to unseat the greatest of immortals with one swing. And remember, bats are wood, and don't conduct electricity. Could be useful, IDK.
Other strategies could include stealing fire from the heavens and giving it to the mortals, trying to lure Zeus into compromising territory by turning into a swan, or building a giant wooden badger, placing it at the foot of Mount Olympus, and when he wheels it inside the Rockies can leap out...of the badger...and uhhhhhh. Anyway, this series will test Walt Weiss's ingenuity.
Should the Rockies succeed in defeating Zeus, then they can finally play a baseball game without a weather delay. Today, theoretically, will be the Cincinnati Reds.
The Reds are currently languishing in fourth place in the NL Central after having lost eight straight games. That doesn't touch the Rockies' ten game loser from earlier this season, but that's still painful. Heads aren't rolling yet, but there have been grumblings. The Reds have a solid offensive unit, but their pitching is what has really let them down this year, as they sport the third worst FIP in the majors.
Third baseman Todd Frazier has crushed 12 homers this year, tied for fourth in the majors. He paces the team with 2 WAR so far. Joey Votto has been doing Joey Votto things like walking a ton and hitting for good power, though he isn't on an MVP pace like the Votto of old. Brandon Phillips is back to hitting over .300, though without much power or many walks. Short stop Zack Cosart is showing a surprising power burst after not being much of a hitter throughout his career.
Billy Hamilton isn't hitting much (.256 OBP) but he plays a great center field, and when he does get on base he is as fast as Apollo, with 17 steals. I don't fancy seeing him go up against Mike McKenry's noodle of an arm.
As far as offensive disappointments go, Jay Bruce is tangoing with the Mendoza line, Devin Mesoraco is hurt, and Marlon Byrd has run into nine home runs but been a zero other than that.
Cincinnati Reds Offensive Numbers
The pitching has been a real trainwreck for the Reds, something with which the Rockies can commiserate. Johnny Cueto has been pretty great, as usual, but a barking elbow is forcing him to skip starts, and any time the words "elbow" and "pitcher" are used in the same sentence Dr. James Andrews puts another down payment on a new wing to his house. His home is a glittering skyscraper. Regardless, the Rockies would miss Cueto's rotation spot anyway.
Homer Bailey has been the Reds' sacrifice to the altar of Tommy John. He made just two starts before the elbow gave way.
The Rockies will face Jason Marquis today. You remember him right? 2009 hero? Well, 2009 is a long time ago. Marquis has a 6.91 ERA for the Reds. His strikeout and walk numbers actually aren't that bad, leading to a respectable 3.98 xFIP. But when hitters hit it, it stays hit. He is allowing nearly two homers per nine innings and a .343 BABIP.
Tomorrow they will face a fellow by the name of Mike Lorenzen, who sports a 3.79 ERA but a 6.46 FIP. So I have no idea what to expect out of this guy. He's like the Reds' Eddie Butler.
And on Wednesday Kyle Kendrick will take on Mike Leake, initiating a "K" shortage throughout Ohio. There certainly won't be any K's in the game, as both pitchers are hovering around five strikeouts per nine innings. Leake is famous for being a great hitting pitcher, though his 4.14 ERA is unspectacular.
And of course, don't let the Reds take a lead into the ninth inning; that's when you run up against Aroldis Chapman. The big Cuban with the 100 mph fastball is doing his thang this year; almost 15 strikeouts per nine innings and a sub-2 ERA. He has seven saves for the Reds.
Cincinnati Reds Pitching Stats
Game one is at 1 pm eastern. Go Rockies.