Phillies-Reds (Game 15): Must-Know Stuff
Phillies (6-7) at Cincinnati Reds (6-7)
First pitch at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN 2
And so, our first Phillies doubleheader.
But with the conclusion of yesterday’s postponement set for 5:30 p.m., just an hour and a half before Game 3’s scheduled first pitch, and these teams’ flair for a marathon, we could be headed that way.
Of note, it’s been all or nothing for the Phillies in same-day games. Of their last 10 spanning back to 2010, just 2 have been split. They’ve swept 5 of them over the span, and in 1 of 2 last year.
Of more important note, the offense needs to score. They’ve yet to plate a run in the first five innings of any game this road trip, which ends tonight.
Then comes eight straight with the Cardinals and Pirates.
John Lannan, Takeoff?
So far, Lannan’s 2.77 ERA is better than Steven Strasburg’s 2.95, and ranks 20th in the National League. His 7.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio is better than Clayton Kershaw’s 6.25, and is fourth-best in the league. And through 2 starts, he’s lasted as many innings as Kyle Lohse (13) – as a No. 5 starter.
He’s yet to get a win, giving him the fourth-best ERA of any NL starter still warming a goose egg.
But he’s also seen only the Royals and Marlins, Nos. 16 and 30 in runs scored so far.
For sure, he’s been solid so far, especially by No. 5 standards.
He lasted 7 innings in his debut in Game 2 against the Royals, surrendering just 3 runs and fanning 5. Against Miami on Friday, he served just 1 run over 6 innings. He’s needed just 92 pitches in both.
But that Lannan’s first 2 starts have been for quality doesn’t put him in any exclusive company. Some 34 MLB hurlers did the same to open 2013, Bartolo Colon and Jon Niese among them. Barry Zito, too.
So Lannan’s first real test will be tonight.
In 4 career starts against the Reds, Lannan’s 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA, going at least 5 2/3 innings in each and allowing more than 4 runs in none. Three of the four were team wins.
Lannan hasn’t seen Cincy since August 2009, and has just 31 plate appearances against current Reds.
Brandon Phillips (4 for 8) and Joey Votto (3 for 6) have had the edge in limited opportunities. For Jay Bruce (0 for 5), advantage Lannan.
In 2 career starts in Great American Ballpark, Lannan is 0-0 with a 5.40 ERA.
Of note, Lannan’s fastball hasn’t had the same zip so far, down 0.9 m.p.h. to 88.5. His 54.3 percent usage rate is also a career low, and down from 64.8 percent last year.
The Other Guy
This is what makes the Reds such a tough out.
Their procession of Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey and Mike Leake, alternating slow- and hard-throwing hurlers, makes for tricky back-to-back-to-back for a lineup, should the schedule so align.
Where Bailey regularly registered at 94 m.p.h. yesterday – he went 8 scoreless and struck out 10 – Leake will be happy to touch 91 m.p.h. He’s not Arroyo (fourth-slowest fastball in baseball last year), but 67 of 88 pitchers had hotter stuff than did Leake.
Leake doesn’t have much action on his pitches. His fastball had the fifth-least vertical movement in the bigs last year, less than R.A. Dickey’s.
This year, he’s been knocked around, allowing 4 and 5 runs in 6 innings each against the Nationals and Pirates.
No reason the Phillies shouldn’t be able to get to him.