Thursday, July 18, 2024
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MLB Preview: Cincinnati Reds (68-65) at San Francisco Giants (68-63)

CINCINNATI REDS NOTES:

TODAY’S TRANSACTIONS

  • Selected from Louisville the contract of IF/OF Alejo Lopez (#35).
  • Optioned to Louisville OF Michael Siani.
  • Designated for assignment RHP Tony Santillan.
  • Sent to Louisville on a rehabilitation assignment OF Jake Fraley (stress fracture, left fourth toe).

TONIGHT’S GAME

  • Is Game 2 (0-1) of a 3-game series vs Russ Stanley’s Giants and Game 9 (4-4) of a 10-game road trip that included Wed’s day/night doubleheader sweep at LAA (3-0 at LAA, 1-3 at AZ, 0-1 at SF). Is the Reds’ third trip of the season to the West Coast.

SERIES NOTES

  • Beginning with the 2008 season the Reds are 55-43 vs SF, at .561 the best winning percentage of any Giants opponent since then (minimum 50g). Beginning 6/29/12 and including the 2012 season’s National League Division Series, the Redlegs have won 21 of the last 36 meetings at beautiful Oracle Park to improve their all-time record here to 40-40. In the 3-2 win on 7/19 vs SF, the Reds started rookies at the 4 infield positions (1B Christian Encarnacion-Strand, 2B Matt McLain, 3B Spencer Steer, SS Elly De La Cruz)…the Reds started rookies at those 4 positions for the first time since 9/30/1992 vs LAD (1B Tim Costo, 2B Jeff Branson, 3B Willie Greene and SS Freddie Benavides).

BIG ROAD MACHINE

  • The Reds are 30-16 over their last 7 road trips covering 15 road series. The Reds won 10 of their previous 14 road series, including a streak of 7 straight road series wins snapped by the Brewers in the last series before the All-Star Game break.

ROOKIES ON THE ROSTER

  • The Reds had 10 rookies on yesterday’s roster, tied with the Pirates for most of any team in the Major Leagues…following today’s transactions currently have 9 rookies on the roster: IF Elly De La Cruz, IF Christian Encarnacion-Strand, OF TJ Hopkins, IF Noelvi Marte, IF/OF Spencer Steer, LHP Andrew Abbott, RHP Fernando Cruz, RHP Brett Kennedy and LHP Brandon Williamson. Rookie OF Michael Siani today was replaced by IF/OF Alejo Lopez. Injured rookie IF Matt McLain yesterday was replaced by OF Stuart Fairchild. RHP Lyon Richardson was the 12th rookie on Wed’s roster as the 27th player for the doubleheader at LAA. 14 Reds players have made Major League debuts this season, the most of any team in the Major Leagues: RHP Casey Legumina, RHP Levi Stoudt, IF Matt McLain, LHP Brandon Williamson, RHP Eduardo Salazar, OF TJ Hopkins, LHP Andrew Abbott, IF Elly De La Cruz, RHP Ricky Karcher, RHP Randy Wynne, RHP Jake Wong, IF Christian Encarnacion-Strand, RHP Lyon
    Richardson and IF Noelvi Marte. 21 rookies have played in at least 1 game for the Reds, the most of any team in the Major Leagues. The Reds have used 57 players overall…when he plays, IF/OF Alejo Lopez will become the 58th…RHP Michael Mariot was on the roster for 1 day (7/8) but did not appear in a game…in 2022, the Reds used a club record 66 players.

LET THE KIDS PLAY

  • The Reds are the first team in Major League history with 3 rookies, in a single season, with at least 10 HR & 10 stolen bases each (Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, Spencer Steer). For the first time since 1890, when Cincinnati joined the National League, 3 Reds rookies have produced at least 10 HR…courtesy @EliasSports. Reds rookies have combined for 49 HR (Spencer Steer 18, Matt McLain 16, Elly De La Cruz 11, Christian EncarnacionStrand 4)…the franchise record for home runs in a season by rookies is 54 in 2008 (Joey Votto 24, Jay Bruce 21, Chris Dickerson 6, Ryan Hanigan 2, Paul Janish 1). On 8/22 at LAA, in his 64th career game, Elly De La Cruz recorded his 20th stolen base to become the fastest player since 1900 to accumulate at least 10 HR and at least 20 steals…Barry Bonds did it in his 65th career appearance, just ahead of Reds rookies Chris Sabo (66g) and Gary Redus (67g)…courtesy @EliasSports. Elly De La Cruz is the first Major League player since RBI became a statistic in 1920 to produce in his first 60 career apps at least 60 hits (64), 10 HR (10), 25 RBI (26) and 15 stolen bases (19). IF Matt McLain (5/22-5/28) and IF Elly De La Cruz (6/19-6/25) each earned National League Player of the Week awards, McLain in the second week of his career and De La Cruz in his third week. The Reds are the first team in Major League history to move into first place alone in 9 games or fewer after falling 5 or more games under .500 while facing a deficit of at least 5 games…on 6/9 were 29-35 and trailed the first-place Pirates by 5.0 games…beginning 6/10 won 9 straight games to move into first place alone on 6/19. The Reds’ 12-game winning streak from 6/10-6/23 tied their modern club record (5/16-5/27, 1939 & 4/30-5/12, 1957). The Reds went 18-9 in June, their highest victory total in any month since June 2014 (18-10). From 6/14-7/8 Reds batters established a new franchise record for consecutive games with at least 1 home run (22g, 45hr), a streak snapped in the 1-0 loss at Mil in the final game heading into the All-Star Game break. The Reds lead the Major Leagues with 153 stolen bases (TB 2nd, 138), their highest total since 1999 (164sb)…in 2022, the Reds recorded 58 steals…are trying to lead the National League in stolen bases for the first time since 2015 (134sb). The Reds recorded 50 stolen bases in June, their highest steals total in a calendar month since September 1912 (53sb). 6 times this season recorded at least 5 stolen bases in a game (last, 8/16 vs Cle)…prior to this season, the Reds hadn’t recorded 5 stolen bases in a game since 4/10/17 at Pit.

Tonight’s Pitcher – #55 Brandon Williamson, LHP

  • Tonight is making his 19th career appearance and start…will be his second start vs the Giants. In his last 10 starts beginning 7/1 went 3-2, 3.00 (54ip, 43h, 18er, 16bb, 53k, 6hr, .218baa). Beginning 7/1 ranks among the National League leaders in ERA (7th), WHIP (8th, 1.09), starts (T8th), batting average against (9th, .218), strikeouts (T20th) and innings pitched (22nd). Twice picked runners off second base, KC’s Bobby Witt Jr. (PO/CS 145) and SD’s Fernando Tatis Jr. (PO/CS 165). Once was called for a pitch timer violation, on 5/22 vs StL (Paul Goldschmidt batting). Once was called for a disengagement violation, on 8/7 vs Mia (Jorge Soler batting, Jon Berti to second on the balk). On 6/26 at Bal walked his second batter, Adley Rutschman, to snap at 10.0 his consecutive innings streak without issuing a walk. On 5/16 at Col, became only the 10th visiting pitcher to make his Major League debut with a start at Coors Field, the first since Hou’s José Urquidy on 7/2/19. Became only the fourth Reds pitcher to make his Major League debut with at least 5.2 innings, 2 hits or fewer allowed and at least 6 strikeouts, joining Tom
    Carroll (7/7/1974 vs StL, 7ip, 2h, 6k), Mo Sanford (8/9/1991 at SD, 7ip, 2h, 8k) and Johnny Cueto (4/3/2008 vs Ari, 7ip, 1h, 10k). Became only the fourth Reds pitcher in the expansion era (since 1961) to retire at least 14 consecutive batters in his Major League debut, joining Wayne Simpson(16, 4/9/1970 at LAD), Rob Bell (16, 4/8/2000 vs Cubs) and Johnny Cueto (15, 4/3/2008 vs Ari). In that 3-1 win on 5/16 at Col, allowed a single to Charlie Blackmon, his first career batter faced, but didn’t allow another hit until Ezequiel Tovar’s solo HR in the sixth inning snapped the scoreless tie…Williamson retired 14 consecutive batters leading up to Tovar’s home run. 2 of his starts were shortened by rain, a third was suspended & completed the next day and a fourth start was postponed & played the next day. In the top of the third inning on 6/26 at Bal did not return after a 1 hour, 44-minute rain delay. On 7/6 at Wsh, remained in the game following a 1-hour, 43-minute rain delay in the top of the second inning…pitched 3.0 innings. On 7/17 vs SF, the game was suspended with the score tied at 2-2 with 1 out in the eighth inning (completed the next day, 4-2 loss in 10 innings). His start on 8/12 at Pit was postponed 49 minutes prior to the scheduled first pitch…was played the next day

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS NOTES:

TONIGHT’S GAME: The Giants continue their six-game homestand with game two of a three game set against the Reds. Five teams are within three games of one another in the NL Wild Card race…the Giants are 1.0 game back of the Cubs and a 0.5 game behind the Diamondbacks, who occupy the second and third Wild Card spots entering play today. With one more victory in this series, the Giants will clinch the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Reds…SF has won three of five vs. CIN so far this year.

TODAY’S TRANSACTIONS: The Giants made the following roster moves prior to tonight’s game against the Reds: OF Mitch Haniger returned from his rehab assignment at Triple-A Sacramento and was reinstated from the 60-day Injured List. OF Heliot Ramos optioned to Triple-A Sacramento (post-game yesterday). OF Bryce Johnson designated for assignment.

ON THE MOUND: RHP Alex Cobb is seeking his first win since July 5…in eight starts since, he is 0-3 with a 5.48 ERA (26er, 42.2ip)…10 of the 16 home runs he’s allowed overall this season have come in this span. Cobb lost to the Reds on July 20 at Cincinnati, allowing five runs in 4.1 innings…of the 24 batters he faced in that game, 13 reached base safely…he allowed nine hits (tied for the most in a start this season) and did not record a strikeout. According to Sports Info Solutions, opponents are hitting .136 (8-for-59) with no home runs with two outs and runners in scoring position vs. Cobb…but in all other two-out situations, they are hitting .366 with five home runs in 101 at-bats.

WILL HE MAKE IT 3 IN A ROW?: RHP Camilo Doval has earned the save each of the last two nights…he’s pitched three straight days just once this season (May 15-17)…prior to Sunday, Doval had blown each of his previous four save opportunities while allowing six runs in 3.1 innings.

LEFT ON READ: The Giants are 22-14 (.611) this year when their opponents start a left-handed pitcher, but have only slightly outscored their opponents (150-144).
The Giants are 6-2 in their last eight games vs. a lefty starter since July 29.

FEELIN’ THE FLO: IF Wilmer Flores has reached base safely in 38 of his last 42 games, batting .347 (52-for-150) with 24 runs, 11 doubles, 11 homers and 25 RBI. Since June 1, Flores’ 1.026 OPS is fifth-highest in MLB (min. 175 PA) behind LAA’s Shohei Ohtani (1.216), LAD’s Mookie Betts (1.117), TEX’s Corey Seager (1.101) and ATL’s Matt Olson (1.045).

SETTLING IN?: OF Wade Meckler has reached base safely in 12 of his last 18 PAs since August 22 (7-for-13, 4bb, 1hbp, rbi). Meckler went 3-for-21 with 13 strikeouts and two walks in his first seven Major League games from August 14-21.

GETTING BETTER:As a team, the Giants are 8-for-21 (.381) when hitting with runners in scoring position in their last two games… they had been hitting .161 (18-for-112) in such situations in their previous 16 contests.

HIGH FASHION: Since it’s Tuesday, the Giants will don their City Connect uniforms tonight…since their introduction in 2021, the Giants are 25-8 (.756) with a +54 run differential in games where they are worn…this year, the Giants are 8-2 in the “Creamsicle” jerseys.

TODAY’S STARTER – ALEX COBB RHP #38
2023 RECORD: 6-5, 3.74 ERA

WITH THE GIANTS: The 2023 All-Star is in his 12th Major League season and his second with the Giants…he’s in his second year of a two-year contract (with a third-year team option) with the Giants that he signed on November 30, 2021.

LAST TIME OUT: Did not factor into the decision in the Giants 8-6 victory over the Phillies on August 23 at Citizens Bank Park…threw 5.0 innings, allowing two runs on five hits with four strikeouts… both runs were solo homers (Kyle Schwarber and Trea Turner).

TOUGH STRETCH: Has hit a tough patch in the month of August, posting a 0-2 record with a 6.84 ERA (20er, 26.1ip), eight home runs allowed and a .311 opponents average in five outings…the Giants have lost three of those five starts…over his first 17 games this season he posted a 2.82 ERA (30er, 95.2ip) and a .272 opponents average while holding opponents to two runs or less in 12 of those 17 outings.

WINNER, WINNER: The Giants have a 16-8 record over 24 games when Cobb takes the mound…however, they have dropped four of his last seven starts…prior to this stretch the Giants were 13-4 over his first 17 starts this season and had won of 10 of his last 11 games.

LIMIT THE LONG BALL: Has allowed eight home runs over his last five outings (2.73 HR/per 9.0ip)…prior to August 1, Cobb had allowed just 11 home runs over 20 outings (0.88 HR/per 9.0ip).

VS. THE REDS: Will face the Reds for the sixth time in his career and the second time this season…faced them on July 20 at Great American Ballpark and allowed five runs on nine hits over 4.1 innings of work…over five career starts against Cincinnati he’s gone 2-2 with a 2.83 ERA (9er, 28.2ip).

NOTHING LIKE YOUR OWN PILLOW: Has pitched much better at home this year going 4-2 with a 2.25 ERA (15er, 60.0ip) and a 1.18 WHIP in 10 starts, compared to the road where he’s 2-3 with a 4.98 ERA (40er, 72.1ip) over 14 starts…his 2.25 ERA on the Shores of McCovey Cove ranks as the seventh-best home ERA in the Majors.

RISP MANAGEMENT: Opponents are 7-for-their-last-17 (.412) with RISP vs. Cobb over his last four starts, however, Cobb is holding opponents to a .209 average (27-for-129) with runners in scoring position overall this season…his .209 opponent’s clip with RISP ranks as the sixth-lowest figure in the National League among starters…he’s also posted a .136 average (8-for-59) with runners in scoring position and two outs.

FIRST THINGS FIRST: Opponents are batting .381 (24-for-68) with 11 extra base hits (five doubles, two triples, four homers) off him on the first pitch of an at-bat.

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