by Matt Wilkes

RC+ Preview: Reds vs. Cubs (August 11)

With a chance to take three of four games from the Cubs, the Reds will send their ace to the mound today to team up with the otherworldly Aristides Aquino. It’s an important contest in the divisional race, as it could be a potential two-game swing in the standings. First pitch is set for 1:10 p.m. ET.

Pitching Matchup

Luis Castillo had one of the best starts of his career on Monday, striking out a personal best 13 batters in a win over the Angels. The right-hander has slowly seen his walk rate fall after struggling with control earlier in the season, an encouraging sign in his continued development into one of the league’s top starters.

Everyone knows how dominant Castillo can be when he has his best changeup, and he showed that on Monday. The pitch got an unbelievable 18 whiffs and accounted for strike three on 11 of his 13 punch-outs. Yeah, he’s good.

If we were talking about the Jon Lester of a few years ago, this would be a premier pitching matchup. But in his mid-30s, Jon Lester isn’t the pitcher he once was. His velocity is down to a career low. He’s not missing many bats, although he’s still getting a healthy amount of strikeouts. He’s giving up a lot of hard contact (88.3 mph average exit velocity). The Reds have the advantage on paper. They knocked him around for four runs (three earned) in 5.2 innings in an 8-6 win on June 30.

Batting Order

Per usual, the Reds have loaded up with right-handed hitters against a left-handed starter. Curiously, Jose Peraza is batting fifth ahead of Phillip Ervin and Kyle Farmer. It’s a bit hard to follow the logic of this one. Here are their respective numbers against southpaws this season:

  • Peraza: .276/.321/.382, .703 OPS, .302 wOBA, 82 wRC+
  • Ervin: .477/.540/.841, 1.381 OPS, .558 wOBA, 250 wRC+
  • Farmer: .308/.357/.538, .896 OPS, .374 wOBA, 129 wRC+

[Graphic: Baseball Press]

Cubs Hitter Stats

Reds Hitter Stats

[Graphics: Baseball Savant]

Matt got hooked on Reds baseball after attending his first game in Cinergy Field at 6 years old, and he hasn’t looked back. As a kid, he was often found imitating his favorite players — Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, Sean Casey, and Austin Kearns — in the backyard. When he finally went inside, he was leading the Reds to 162-0 seasons in MVP Baseball 2005 or keeping stats for whatever game was on TV. He started writing about baseball in 2014 and has become fascinated by analytics and all the new data in the game. Matt is also a graduate of The Ohio State University and currently lives in Columbus. Follow him on Twitter at @_MattWilkes.

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R Smith
R Smith
1 year ago

Reds are 9 games up on the Pirates in the loss column. Love to to see them win 82 games +. Progress . Well over 100,000 in attendance for the 4 game series. Go Reds.