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Know Your Enemy: Cincinnati Reds

Mr. Redlegs is just a scarier Mr. Met

Pittsburgh Pirates v Cincinnati Reds - Game Two Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Last time

The moment that most stood out last time was the fact that Tony didn’t understand a certain extra innings rule. Due to the game being played in an NL ballpark, La Russa would have been allowed to substitute Abreu on second for Hendriks. However, Hendriks remained a baserunner, the White Sox failed to score, and Hendriks allowed the winning run in the bottom of the 10th. While that game had a disappointing ending, Dylan Cease absolutely dominated during the first of two games that series.

During the first game, Cease threw for one hit for six innings, struck out 11, and got three hits in his first MLB plate appearance (and the first time facing live pitching since he was in high school). He was the first White Sox pitcher to get three hits in a game since Tom Bradley on May 14, 1972, against Baltimore. A year later, the designated hitter was instituted. The next day was when La Russa’s ignorance regarding the new extra innings rule came into play and ultimately cost the White Sox the game.

How’s it going

We all know how things are going for the White Sox (89-68). Meanwhile, the Reds (82-75) are poised to finish the season in third place behind Milwaukee and St. Louis. After running close to the Wild Card for most of the second half, their odds have dropped to a little under 1% to make the postseason.

The Reds aren’t mathematically eliminated, as they have a tiny chance to steal a spot in the Wild Card matchup as enter Chicago for their final road trip. A subsequent Reds loss or Cardinals win will boost the Cards into the final Wild Card spot in the National League. On the bright side, the Reds have put up a winning record during a full season of play for the first time since 2013.

In terms of batting, Nick Castellanos is hitting the ball everywhere. He leads in batting average (.310), RBI (97), and hits (161) while Joey Votto leads in home runs (97). Wade Miley is leading the rotation in ERA (3.37) while Tyler Mahle is leading in strikeouts (204).

On the road, the Reds are 38-38, and they are 9-11 in their last 20. They have a +43 run differential this season and have won four in a row. The Reds are 9-9 in inter-league play and 42-31 vs. Central opponents.

Pitching matchups

Today is going to be Reynaldo López vs. Riley O’Brien. Lopez is 3-3 over 51 13 innings with a 3.16 ERA. In his last seven starts, he’s 1-3 over 28 13 innings with a 4.76 ERA. López has never faced the Reds as a starter.

The Reds recently promoted Riley O’Brien to the starting rotation. He posted a 4.55 ERA during Triple-A with the Louisville Bats and will be making his debut. The Reds received O’Brien in the deal with the Rays last season for Cody Reed. He’s the #24 prospect in the organization and made his Triple-A debut this season. An eighth-round pick by the Rays in 2017, he’s been in the minors for the last five seasons.

Wednesday will be Carlos Rodón vs. Sonny Gray. Rodon has been nursing some arm soreness so may be limited on innings on Wednesday to save his arm for postseason play. This season, he’s 12-5 with a 2.47 ERA, He has faced the Reds once (May 2015) and got the win over six innings with a 3.00 ERA. In his last seven starts, Rodón is 4-2 over 31 innings with a 3.48 ERA.

Gray is 7-8 this season over 130 23 innings with a 3.99 ERA. He’s 3-2 in his last seven starts over 40 innings with a 2.93 ERA. He has faced the White Sox five times, most recently during the May trip to Cincinnati, and he is 3-0 against the team in his five starts against them, posting a 3.30 ERA over 30 innings. In his arsenal, Gray has six pitches: sinker, 4-seam fastball, curveball, slider, cutter, and changeup.

Why we still hate them

(Pete Rose sucks)