I can remember watching baseball from about 1999 on, and aside from their recent meanderings into the early stages of the NL playoffs, the Pirates have never been good. The Reds don’t even have a stretch to match that.
Next I thought about the Brewers, then the Cubs and I understood a little more about why so many baseball fans dislike the Cardinals.
The latter is off topic, though, a tangent from my initial thought, which was Reds/Pirates game tonight, two teams that are, one week into 2017, both ahead of those Cardinals.
Last year, the Reds’ pitching staff had a bottom three ERA in the MLB. Dan Straily and Anthony DeSclafani were their two best starters but have since been replaced by Scott Feldman and Rookie Davis. Bronson Arroyo is still doing his thing, now from the no. 5 slot and Amir Garrett emerged from Steve Lavin’s basketball program to claim the spot in front of him. Then there’s the final return figure.
Rack your brain hard enough, or hardly at all, and you’ll remember Brandon Finnegan in 2014, pitching well in the World Series for the Kansas City Royals three months after leading TCU on a run to Omaha.
He got a lot of attention and the Royals used the hype to swap him for a few months of Johnny Cueto and eventual World Series triumph. Now Cincinnati is getting what it wanted.
Finnegan is the no. 2 after Feldman in the Reds’ rotation, the most improved staff in baseball if nothing changes over the last 156 games. Three of Cincy’s four wins have been shutouts and Finnegan struck out nine in seven one-hit innings in the first one of those.
Tonight’s start against the other team from Pennsylvania will be harder, but maybe not much. Pittsburgh’s lineup feels thin after the three outfielders at the top. I’m betting on a quality start.
The story tonight is Tyler Glasnow. The 6’8″ California pretty boy won a spot in the rotation in the spring and finally makes his season debut after some rain last week.
He was after Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon in what was an often talked about pipeline of pitching in Pittsburgh’s system right when it started contending. Glasnow is the youngest and took the longest to get ready. He’s was a top-10 prospect for three years but the Pirates were wary of his command.
That he’s up now is either a great sign or do-or-die time for a kid who isn’t ready. I want to root for the former and I feel good about it too. It’s not his Major League debut, so he should have his nerves under control with the home crowd behind him.
Free Pick: Under 8.0 (+100)