Cody Bellinger is in town? Oh boy.
Cody Bellinger is hitting .401/.481/.770 this season.
Cody Bellinger and the NL-best Los Angeles Dodgers begin a weekend series in GABP against the Cincinnati Reds tonight, a matchup that will pit the highest scoring offense in the NL against the league’s stingiest pitching. Of course, while the Dodgers will get to trot out their MVP front-runner at their will, the Reds won’t be using ace Luis Castillo in this series, seeing as he was on the mound last night in the Reds series-clinching victory over the Chicago Cubs.
Bellinger, for all his absurd exploits this season, is far from alone as a Dodgers masher. Justin Turner is back to hitting the ball well, as are the likes of Joc Pederson, Max Muncy, and Alex Verdugo. That’s going to be plenty to deal with.
It wouldn’t be doing the Dodgers justice to ignore their pitching staff, either, which has also been plenty dynamite. Their 3.57 team ERA ranks as the fifth best in all MLB, while the 3.17 ERA their starters have posted this season ranks behind only the Tampa Bay Rays, who often are just using ‘openers.’
As for the first game of this series, it’ll be veteran lefty Rich Hill on the mound for LA, and if ever there was a game where the Reds really needed to thump hard, it’s this one. Hill’s 4.20 ERA is the weakest among Dodgers starters, and hides an even more hideous 6.58 FIP. Of course, that’s in only 3 games started, and his longer track record is certainly better than that. As we mentioned prior to yesterday’s game against Jose Quintana and the Cubs, though, the Reds have actually handled left-handed pitchers pretty well so far in 2019, and tonight’s starting lineup will feature a right-heavy feel.
On the mound for the Reds will be Anthony DeSclafani, who has allowed 7 ER in 10 IP over his last two starts, both coming against the otherwise nondescript offense of the San Francisco Giants. He’ll obviously be looking to right the ship tonight, which doesn’t exactly look like the easiest of tasks given his opponent.
One final note: the Reds optioned Josh VanMeter back to AAA earlier on Friday, bringing up Cody Reed to take his spot on the roster. That means the already short bench will be incredibly short for the time being, but given the offense the Dodgers are bringing to GABP, it appears the Reds want every last pitching option they can have on deck.
First pitch tonight is set for 7:10 PM ET, not one of the earlier 6:40 PM ET starts we’ve seen of late. Plan accordingly.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) May 17, 2019