Series Tale of the Tape

Starting Pitcher Matchups

Tuesday - Aaron Harang vs. Ryan Dempster

Aaron Harang – Originally scheduled to face the Nationals, Harang was pushed back to Tuesday due to stiffness in his right forearm. Harang’s velocity wasn’t where it usually is in his last start, against the Pirates on Monday, but his stuff was still pretty good. The right-hander pitched seven solid innings, giving up three runs on seven hits with a walk and eight strikeouts, but received a no-decision. Harang has just one win in his last nine starts and is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA through three career games against the Nationals.

  • Has trouble getting ahead in the count and struggles against right-handed hitters.
  • He uses his size to his advantage and is fairly durable, able to pitch effectively beyond the fifth inning. He can work out of jams.
  • Good mid-rotation righty.
  • Pitches – Fastball (71% / 90 mph), Slider (24% / 81 mph), Curveball (2% / 75 mph), Changeup (3% / 82 mph)

Ryan Dempster – It was the same old routine for Dempster in his previous start. The righty pitched well at AT&T Park — six innings of two-run ball on five hits and seven strikeouts — and he walked away without a decision. The Cubs won, but Dempster was pulled in the seventh, up 5-2, and then watched Carlos Marmol cough up three runs. He’s pitched eight times on the road and hasn’t won once. Meanwhile, he’s 9-0 at Wrigley Field.

  • His slider devastates both righties and lefties and he smokes a sinking fastball past hitters at 92-94 mph. He has a deceptive delivery that helps both when going to the plate and keeping runners honest.
  • Sometimes his abundant energy gets in the way; he’ll find himself too pumped up early on and get knocked around a bit. He has some problems with his command and gets in homer trouble when he leaves his fastball dangling up in the zone.
  • Quality starter and/or reliever.
  • Pitches – Fastball (56% / 91 mph), Slider (27% / 84 mph), Changeup (17% / 82 mph)

Wednesday – Johnny Cueto vs. Carlos Zambrano

Johnny Cueto - Cueto gave the Reds’ overworked bullpen the rest it needed in his last start, against the Nationals on Thursday. The 22-year-old rookie pitched seven solid innings, giving up just three runs on seven hits, walking one and striking out eight. He threw just 95 pitches, with 66 going for strikes. Cueto has given up just six runs in his last four starts. His only career start against the Cubs came on May 5, when he pitched six innings and gave up three runs on six hits, with two walks and eight strikeouts.

  • Has an impressive arsenal of pitches, tremendous command and poise. Understands how to work hitters and displays the ability to dominate.
  • Lacks experience at higher levels. Is a diminutive right-hander, so arm injuries down the road will always be a concern.
  • A future ace starter.
  • Pitches – Fastball (63% / 93 mph), Slider (30% / 85 mph), Changeup (7% / 84 mph)

Carlos Zambrano – Zambrano looked well rested and sharp in his first start coming off the disabled list last Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals. The right-hander threw six shutout innings and struck out five. He gave up four hits, and only two got out of the infield. He had good tempo and command of his pitches. The Cubs limited him to 87 pitches in the outing, and he’ll probably be able to go deeper against the Reds. He’s 2-0 this season against Cincinnati.

  • He can throw big heat from two different angles and has hit 99 on the gun. His slider can be a great out pitch and he has remarkable endurance.
  • Command is his one consistent flaw, but he can be effectively wild. Throwing from different angles gets him into trouble when his mechanics aren’t right.
  • A legitimate frontline starter.
  • Pitches – Fastball (67% / 91 mph), Slider (15% / 82 mph), Cutter (8% / 89 mph), Curveball (1% / 70 mph), Changeup (1% / 83 mph), Splitfinger (9% / 84 mph)

Thursday – Bronson Arroyo vs. Ted Lilly

Bronson Arroyo - After what he called “the worst outing” of his career on June 24 in Toronto, Arroyo has posted two of his better starts of the season, his last coming on Friday, as he shut down the Nationals and led Cincinnati to a 3-0 victory. Arroyo pitched six shutout innings and gave up just five hits, walking three and striking out three in helping the Reds to their fifth win in seven games. Arroyo likely would have lasted another inning, but went out of the game when a run-scoring situation came about and Cincinnati needed a pinch-hitter.

  • He’s an economical pitcher who locates his pitches well. Right-handed hitters find him particularly tough.
  • Needs to work on his ability to pitch beyond the sixth inning and isn’t as effective from the stretch with runners on.
  • Good mid-rotation starter.
  • Pitches – Fastball (43% / 88 mph), Slider (20% / 75 mph), Cutter (3% / 84 mph), Curveball (20% / 72 mph), Changeup (14% / 80 mph)

Ted Lilly - Lilly gave up two runs on six hits and two walks over seven innings in his last start against the Cardinals, but did not get a decision. St. Louis rallied against Kerry Wood for the win. The lefty was cruising until the sixth when Rick Ankiel led off with a homer. Lilly faced the Reds on April 17, and took the loss, giving up five runs on six hits over six innings while striking out six.

  • Lilly is that rare pitcher who can throw with control and power and all with his left arm. Can pitch well late into his starts and is rough on left-handed hitters.
  • In general, Lilly has very good stuff but when he gets hit, he gets hit hard, mostly because he offers too many pitches up in the zone that hitters can drive. Also has trouble with right-handed hitters.
  • Decent mid-rotation lefty.
  • Pitches – Fastball (48% / 87 mph), Slider (23% / 82 mph), Curveball (11% / 70 mph), Changeup (18% / 78 mph)

All scouting information taken from MLB.com / TSN.ca / Fangraphs.com

Hot / Not on the Reds

Who’s Hot

  • Brandon Phillips
  • Jerry Hairston Jr.
  • Adam Dunn
  • Joey Votto

Who’s Not

  • Jay Bruce
  • Edwin Encarnacion
  • Paul Bako

 

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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers as well as host of VFTB Radio. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail