The last time the Mariners played Cincinnati here in Seattle, 2010, the Reds were on their way to a division title in a 91-win campaign. This year, they are not. Cincinnati's ballclub is ten games under .500, in fourth place in a tough NL Central division and on their way to a sixth consecutive losing season. They have an underwhelming lineup of .250ish batters, only one of whom intimidates at all, third baseman Eugenio Suarez—batting just .269, but Suarez can thump with the best of them, evidenced by his 44 home runs on the season. Even the great Joey Votto, a six-time All-Star and owner of an incredible career line of .307/.422/.521, is having a down year, way, way below his typical numbers at a mere mortal .265/.357/.415. They're not the Detroit Tigers or Baltimore Orioles, but they do appear to be a club the Mariners could handle if they keep their wits about them.
If the Reds have a strength, it's their starting pitching. Led by Sonny Gray and Luis Castillo, the Cincy rotation also features ex-Cleveland Indian All-Star Trevor Bauer and ex-Dodger All-Star Alex Wood, both having down years but both also proven talents. Gray is the de facto ace, leading the club in ERA at a splendid 2.75, while Castillo leads the Reds in wins, innings, and strikeouts. The M's saw a lot of Gray when he was in the American League with the A's and Yankees, usually with humbling results; Gray is 5-2, 2.71 in 11 career starts against Seattle. Castillo isn't scheduled to pitch in this series, but Bauer is; the M's have fared much better against the climate-change denier and birther conspiracist over his career, as Bauer holds a 2-4 record and 4.17 ERA when facing Seattle. Also scheduled to pitch for the Reds is Tyler Mahle, who has not distinguished himself in his sophomore big-league season with his 2-11 record and nearly 5.00 ERA.
The M's will throw rookie Justus Sheffield, Marco Gonzales, and Tommy Milone in the three-game set. Sheffield is coming off his best big-league outing yet, a five-inning, no-run effort against the Chicago Cubs; Marco will be vying for his 15th win of the season again, having taken a loss and a no-decision since his 14th victory August 25th. Milone may or may not start, depending on manager Scott Servais' whim; he may instead follow another "opener" for no good reason as he did his last time out, when he took the loss against the Astros (for the record, the last time he started, Milone went five strong against the Rangers, allowing just one run in a no-decision).
Who’s Hot & Not
Last 10 games
.355/.462/.613, 4 XBH, 4 RBI
.371/.421/.914, 7 XBH, 12 RBI
.273/.385/.273, 0 XBH, 1 RBI
.229/.229/.400, 2 HR, 4 RBI
.130/.200/.261, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 9 K
.074/.107/.111, 1 2B, 0 RBI, 7 K
Last 3 series vs. Seattle
|5/22/16||SEA 5, CIN 4|
|5/21/16||SEA 4, CIN 0|
|5/20/16||SEA 8, CIN 3|
|7/7/13||SEA 3, CIN 1|
|7/6/13||CIN 13, SEA 4|
|7/5/13||SEA 4, CIN 2|
|6/20/10||SEA 1, CIN 0|
|6/19/10||SEA 5, CIN 1|
|6/18/10||SEA 1, CIN 0|
Cincinnati's rookie manager is an old friend, ex-infielder David Bell. Bell played for the Mariners in the good times, three-plus seasons from 1998-2001, mostly playing an excellent third base. A third-generation Major Leaguer—Bell's father Buddy was a six-time Gold Glove third baseman with the Rangers (also playing for Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Houston in his career) and his grandfather Gus was a four-time All-Star outfielder with the Pirates, Reds, Mets, and Milwaukee Braves—Bell spent nine years as a big-league coach and minor-league manager after his playing days. He was hired as Reds manager after two others with Mariners history, former Seattle pitching coach Bryan Price, fired by the Reds in early 2018, and Price's immediate successor, ex-Mariner manager Jim Riggleman, let go after the '18 season.
R.J. Alaniz: Who? If you blinked, you missed him, but Alaniz was one of the seemingly hundreds of relievers to pitch for the M's in this year's extended bullpen tryout camp. The 28-year-old rookie appeared in four games for Seattle, logging four innings and giving up nine earned runs on eleven hits. That's a truly terrible 3.500 WHIP for those scoring at home. He's only pitched in six games for the Reds so far, having spent the bulk of the year with Cincinnati's Triple-A affiliate in Louisville, where he posted a respectable 2.93 ERA in just under 28 innings of relief.
|Cincinnati Reds||(1959 - present)|
|World Champions:||1919, 1940, 1975, 1976, 1990|
|League Champions:||1939, 1961, 1970, 1972|
|Division Titles:||1973, 1979, 1995, 2010, 2012|