The Cincinnati Reds are fresh off a four-game series split with the San Francisco Giants. After losing the first two games of the series, a split should be considered a win as the Reds try to stay afloat in the NL Wild Card race.
However, the Reds have some ground to make up. The back-to-back abysmal series against the Brewers are still weighing down the momentum that this team had throughout the month of June. If the Reds are going to recapture that magic, now would be a good time.
The Diamondbacks are one of the best teams in the National League. They are similarly fighting for a Wild Card spot since they share a division with the loaded LA Dodgers. Winning this series would bring the Reds to just one and a half games behind Arizona, and a sweep would put them just a half game back.
It is only July, but this stretch of baseball is as crucial as it gets for Cincinnati. The Reds are looking to make the playoffs for the first time since 2020.
Friday night’s series opener will feature two rookie starting pitchers. Diamondbacks starter Tommy Henry has pitched to a 5-2 record with a 3.89 ERA in 78 2/3 innings in 2023. Meanwhile, Ben Lively will take his 4-5 record and 3.72 ERA to the bump as he looks to continue his surprising season.
Henry sits at about 90 miles per hour on his fastball and likes to hit the edges of the strike zone, rather than the middle. According to his Baseball Savant page, Henry throws 43% of his pitches on the edges of the zone, compared to the 39% league-average rate. Additionally, 62.3% of ball put in play against him are fly balls. That should bode well for the Reds at Great American Ballpark.
Game two will feature Tyler Gilbert going against Brandon Williamson. Gilbert has logged just four innings this season and is listed as a reliever. It appears Arizona will be using an opener or going with a bullpen game.
Williamson has given up three runs or less in six consecutive starts, including a six-inning gem against the Giants on Monday where he gave up just two runs and four hits.
The series finale has the Dbacks scheduled to start rookie Bryce Jarvis who will be making his debut. Luke Weaver is the scheduled starter for the Reds, but he took a line drive off his left elbow in his last start, so that could be in doubt.
This series will likely feature the 2023 National League Rookie of the Year. Corbin Carroll has been outstanding and was named an All-Star for his first-half efforts. Carroll hit 18 home runs and drove in 50 runs already. On top of his .283 batting average, he is one of the fastest players in the game. His sprint speed of 30.1 feet per second ranks sixth in MLB this season, according to Baseball Savant.
On the other side are several Reds contenders for the award. Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain and Spencer Steer each have legitimate cases for Rookie of the Year and will look to add to them this weekend.
The Diamondbacks are starting two left-handed pitchers, so Nick Senzel likely will earn a start or two this weekend. Expect to see a lot of right-handed hitters, including Christian Encarnacion-Strand who made his debut earlier this week and has already launched a mammoth home run.
The Cincinnati offense seems to be getting back into its groove, and it appears the Diamondbacks are setting their pitching matchups nicely to work in the Reds’ favor, potentially. Expect a lot of runs this weekend in Cincinnati, from both teams.
Stay tuned for more breaking MLB content, including trade deadline information, power rankings and more news from every team.
Featured image courtesy of Reds.com
“From Our Haus to Yours“