Game Thread

Reds vs Phillies – April 7, 2016


The first two games couldn’t have gone much better for the Reds. The Reds got their second comeback win last night, as Scott Schebler hit a walk-off double to give the Reds a 3-2 win. The Reds will look for a sweep of the Phillies today, and they will turn to their #2 prospect, Robert Stephenson. He will be making his big league debut for the Reds.

Starting Pitchers

All numbers are from 2015:

Reds #2 prospect (#35 overall in the MLB) Robert Stephenson will make his major league debut today. It has been confirmed that he will only be making the start today, and then he’ll be going down to Louisville. It should be exciting for Reds fans to get a look at what their future ace will look like.

Stephenson was drafted by the Reds as the #27 overall pick in 2011. Stephenson was extremely impressive back in 2013 with the Dayton Dragons. He posted a 2.57 ERA/2.59 FIP with an 11.22 K/9 in 77.0 innings. By the end of the season he made it up to AA. Stephenson struggled in 2014 at AA, posting a 4.74 ERA/4.58 FIP in 136.2 innings. He was better in 2015, and got promoted to AAA at the end of the season.

In nearly 450 innings pitched in the minors, Stephenson has a 9.8 K/9. He has struggled over his minor league career with walks (4.0 BB/9). He has done a good job limiting home runs (0.9 HR/9).

Stephenson struggled this spring. He had a 9.58 ERA in 4 starts (10.1 IP, 12 H, 11 ER, 2 HR, 7 BB, 11 K). His command was a major downfall for him.


Charlie Morton is a 32 year old pitcher who is going into his 9th big league season. Morton has had some success in the big leagues, most recently between 2013-14 with the Pirates. Over those two seasons, Morton had a 3.52 ERA/3.67 FIP in 46 starts. Morton has dealt with injuries throughout his career, which has really kept him from being a really solid starter.

Morton struggled last season, posting a 4.81 ERA/4.19 FIP in 23 starts with the Pirates. Morton’s strikeouts were down to 6.70 K/9. This year he is projected to put up a 4.40 ERA/4.19 FIP.

Morton has made 17 career starts against the Reds, and has a 4.04 ERA. His only start against the Reds in 2015 came on August 2nd, and Morton pitched seven shutout innings (7.0 IP, 0 R, 5 H, 0 BB, 7 K). Phillips and Votto actually have the most PA of any MLB player against Morton. Phillips is 12 for 37 (2 BB, 4 RBI), and Votto is 9 for 31 (7 BB, 7 RBI). Jay Bruce has 2 career HR’s vs Morton.

Starting Lineup

Phillies Reds
1. Freddy Galvis (SS)
2. Odubel Herrera(CF)
3. Maikel Franco (3B)
4. Ryan Howard (1B)
5. Andres Blanco (2B)
6. Cedric Hunter (LF)
7. Carlos Ruiz (C)
8. Peter Bourjos (RF)
9. Charlie Morton (P)
1. Scott Schebler (CF)
2. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Adam Duvall (LF)
5. Jay Bruce (RF)
6. Jordan Pacheco (2B)
7. Ivan De Jesus (SS)
8. Tucker Barnhart (C)
9. Robert William Stephenson(P)

Brandon Phillips is still out of the Reds lineup with a stomach bug. Mesoraco, Cozart, and Hamilton all get today off, but don’t be alarmed. Price said before the season that he was going to ease all three of these players into the season. Jordan Pacheco makes his Reds debut today.

Young Studs

You couldn’t ask for much better starts from Raisel Iglesias and Brandon Finnegan to start the year. The two pitchers combined for 16 strikeouts in 12 innings, while only allowing 1 walk.

Finnegan: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 9 K
Iglesias: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 7 K

Reds pen > Phillies pen

The Reds bullpen was terrific in the first two games. Last night, Caleb Cotham (acquired in the Chapman deal) pitched two perfect innings, and Blake Wood pitched a scoreless ninth inning. On the other side, the Reds have won both games against the Phillies bullpen.

Reds bullpen: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K
Phillies bullpen: 3.1 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 3 BB, 2 K

Zero to hero

The Reds have had two big hits so far in 2016. Both hits have come from players who had struggled mightily earlier in the game. On Opening Day, Joey Votto had struck out in all three trips to the plate before he came up in the 8th inning. Votto then hit a 2-RBI single to break a 2-2 tie.

Two days later, Scott Schebler came to the plate in an eerily similar situation. Schebler had struck out in all three of his previous trips when he came to the plate in the 9th inning. Schebler delivered with a walk-off double, which turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 win.

Other news and notes

Around the NL Central

The Reds have played 2 games, and they are 2.5 games ahead of the Cardinals in the standings. Mike Leake struggled in his St. Louis debut last night (4.1 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 1 K), and the Pirates swept the Cardinals. The Cubs begin a 4-game series in Arizona tonight. The Brewers, Pirates, and Cardinals are all off today.

Pittsburgh Pirates 3-0
Cincinnati Reds 2-0 0.5 GB
Chicago Cubs 2-0 0.5 GB
Milwaukee Brewers 1-2 1.5 GB
St. Louis Cardinals 0-3 3.0 GB


How cool would it be for the Reds to start off 2016 with a sweep? The first two games have been a lot of fun to watch. It will also be exciting to see Robert Stephenson pitch this afternoon, and get a glimpse into the Reds future. Go Reds!

116 thoughts on “Reds vs Phillies – April 7, 2016

  1. It will be interesting to see how Stephenson responds to this long long break. Hopefully the lure of “one more inning to get the Win” will keep him focused.

  2. With the Pirates coming to town tomorrow, it might be a nice time to flip-flop Votto and Suarez in the lineup. Votto second, Suarez third, and Bruce 4th instead of BP.

    Schebler’s double earlier was almost identical to his one last night. A year or two under the tuttleage of Votto and this guy could be a special hitter.

  3. Nice job, Robert. That’s probably perfect for the Reds: he doesn’t get hurt, doesn’t pitch lights out, but (hopefully) picks up a win.

    • Makes it easier to send him down and stop his clock. He looks like he can use some more time at AAA to develop- there is only so many opportunities to do it at AAAA- not sure who pitches when the 5th spot comes up- which I think might be a week from Sunday (assuming Disco pitches this Sunday)

  4. Think Stephenson should perhaps be done. 87 pitches early in the season on a cold day?

  5. Tucker on 3 straight times. Has a hit from both sides of the plate plus the walk.

  6. Sampson and Straily have not pitched all season hopefully Jumbo does not let this get close and they can get some work. Would like to see Cingrani come in to get some work and show he can be a force

  7. Hey Walt, there is something there on the floor by your feet. Look at that, it is the 2017 Jay Bruce option. Go ahead, pick it up.

      • There’s no pressure, per se, he just won’t be around in 2018 and beyond if the Reds rebuild works. Might as well add more talent to the rebuild rather than keep Bruce for a (perhaps) bad 2017 season for the Reds.

    • Yup, he will have 38 more this year and this board wants those to occur in another uni.

      Lets keep Jay and contend with the kids this year. right way to rebuild so that we can have some success with the kids. Jay is great with these kids. We should have extended him this off season.

      Bruce has the kind of swing that could finish with 400 HRs and be the all time Reds leader. Love his hits to left yesterday and the bomb out the front door today

  8. Good timing! BRUUUUUCE!

    I was just looking up Jay Bruce’s number against the shift! They are now part of the splits available on FG as of today.

    PAs against shifts for Bruce (wRC+):
    2010 – 13
    2011 – 25
    2012 – 124 (93)
    2013 – 133 (66)
    2014 – 176 (69)
    2015 – 232 (58)

  9. Bruce doesn’t usually hit them to that spot. That’s more Votto-ian. I view it as a very good sign.

    I still think Bruce has an MVP run in him, so I may be in the habit of irrationally looking for signs of everything clicking.

    • I think everyone is, yes! I don’t know anyone (except the FO) that wanted to trade Bruce at his lowest value.

      • Just wishful thinking on my part but the best case scenario for me is if we keep Bruce because we are fighting for a playoff spot this year.

    • That’s twice today where a Reds’ pitcher has walked a batter and the next batter took him deep.

  10. I’d feel better if the Reds could put up one more. It’s the old-school in me to feel better when a slam doesn’t tie it.

  11. Honestly, with Pacheco hitting after him, there is no way I give in to Bruce, even with 1B occupied. I’m very careful as a pitcher here.

    • Agreed. Maybe the Phil’s will threaten the Cubs’ NL record for most losses to start a season (17).

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