Reds pitching is the worst in the major leagues, possibly historically bad. And how are they solving this issue? Of course, by firing their pitching coach:
On Monday, all of that fell at the feet of first-year pitching coach Mark Riggins. While those with the team can say only positive things about Riggins' performance in the position, the organization decided to remove him from the role before the team’s Fourth of July game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
I mention this here because if the name sounds familiar, it should. Riggins was the Cubs' pitching coach in 2011 under Mike Quade. Just like this year's Reds, that Cubs staff was pretty bad, finishing third-worst in the N.L. in runs allowed. It was the year Carlos Marmol began to fall apart -- he had nine blown saves.
Riggins was pretty well-regarded as a Cubs minor-league coach and coordinator, and after the Cubs fired him he had a similar position in the Reds system. But he was overmatched as a big-league coach.
This almost certainly won't make any difference for the Reds, at least not this year. But as always seems to be the case in baseball, someone has to be the scapegoat.
Here are today's particulars.
Zobrist RF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Contreras LF, Russell SS, Heyward CF, Ross C, Lackey P, Baez 2B
Cozart SS, Hamilton CF, Votto 1B, Bruce RF, Duvall LF, Phillips 2B, Suarez 3B, Cabrera C, Finnegan P
John Lackey was the starter in the Cubs' only loss to the Reds this season. He was charged with six runs in 5.2 innings, although one of those runs scored after he left the game. A three-run homer by Eugenio Suarez did much of the damage. His other start vs. the Reds this year, April 13 at Wrigley Field, was perfectly fine: two runs allowed in 6.2 innings, with seven strikeouts.
Brandon Finnegan has started twice against the Cubs this year. April 11 at Wrigley Field, he allowed just one hit, but five walks. The Cubs eventually won that Opening Night game against the Reds' bullpen. The other start was against Jake Arrieta in Jake's April 21 no-hitter. Finnegan got hit hard in that one, allowing seven hits and five runs in four innings, including homers by Kris Bryant and Ben Zobrist. Finnegan has been awful in his last three starts, all Reds losses: 9.64 ERA, 1.857 WHIP, 11 walks and four home runs in 14 innings.
Today's game is on CSN Chicago. It's also available on MLB Network outside the Chicago and Cincinnati markets.
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The 2016 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used at the end of 2015. Here's how it works.
You'll find the game preview posted separately on the front page, two hours before game time (90 minutes for some early day games following night games).
At the same time, a StoryStream™ containing the preview will also post on the front page. The First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads will be published in that stream, as well as the recap. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post, and at the time I write the recap I will rename the stream "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.
You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread, all the overflow threads and recap in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in the game's StoryStream™ as noted above.
The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at one hour, two hours and 2:45 after the scheduled game time.
Discuss amongst yourselves.