Yankees vs. Reds Series Preview

The Cincinnati Reds make a rare trip to the Bronx this week for a three-game set with the Yankees in a matchup of two teams going in opposite directions. As you likely don’t see too much of the Reds (why would you?), here’s your need to know heading into the mid-week series.

The Reds are awful. There is literally not one aspect of the game in which they are not bad.

They rank near the middle of the league in runs scored per game but that’s the result of playing in a bandbox (only Colorado has been easier to hit in this season). Cincinnati batters have posted the third-worst OPS+ in MLB this season with the fifth-highest K% and fourth-lowest walk percentage.

When they do reach base, they’ve been inclined to run into outs as they rank 21st in stolen base percentage and are above league average in outs made on the bases (despite being below average in extra bases taken – a paradox that reminds me of the 2021 Yankees’ baserunners.) Overall, FanGraphs has them ranked 26th in MLB in Base Running Runs Above (below) average.

On the run prevention side, the pitchers walk batters at a higher rate than all but five teams, while also posting the sixth-worst xFIP. The defense isn’t much help as they turn batted balls into outs less frequently than all but four teams and they currently rank 23rd in Defensive Runs Above Average.

On an individual level, catcher Tyler Stephenson (132 OPS+, 1.8 WAR) and third baseman and former Yankee Brandon Drury (131 OPS+, 1.7 WAR) have performed well for the Reds, as has pitcher Luis Castillo, who the Yanks will see Thursday night. The 29-year-old Castillo once again is circulating in the trade rumor mill, and once again is having a very good season posting a 158 ERA+ with a 3.04 FIP.

Overall their SRS (based on run differential and strength of schedule) is the second-worst in MLB – although they’re actually closer to first place in the NL Central than the Blue Jays are in the AL East – talk about unbalanced divisions. With a rematch with the Red Sox on the horizon, the Yanks can’t look ahead – two out of three would be an “OK” result – the Bombers should really head into the weekend having swept the Reds.

Pitching matchups, how to watch:

Tonight: Gerrit Cole vs. Graham Ashcraft
Wednesday: Luis Severino vs. Mike Minor
Thursday: Nestor Cortes vs. Luis Castillo

All three games start at 7:05 PM, EDT, and can be seen on the YES Network. They can be streamed on MLB.tv and heard on WFAN 101.9/660, and as always, you can follow along with me @mybaseballpage1 on Twitter and the “My Baseball Page” on Facebook.

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