The Cincinnati Reds (24-39) begin a four game series at the Atlanta Braves (18-44) tonight at 7:10. This is a battle of the two worst teams in the National League. Or rather, a nicer way of putting it would be the battle for the 2017 #1 MLB Draft pick. If the season ended today, the Braves would pick #1, and the Reds would pick #3. So get your popcorn ready!

Starting Pitchers

BlairWright

The Reds will turn to Daniel Wright to take the place of Alfredo Simon in the rotation. Simon was moved to the bullpen after his last start. Wright has only made one start this season:

5/24 at Dodgers: 5.1 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 0 HR, 1 BB, 4 K.

Wright certainly doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but Wright has done a great job this season throwing strikes. That is something many Reds pitchers have struggled with. He has walked just 1 batter in 10.0 innings. Wright really dominated in the minors this season. In 34.0 IP between AA and AAA, he posted a 0.79 ERA and 0.65 WHIP, with 32 K and just 5 BB.


Aaron Blair is currently listed as the Braves #4 prospect on MLB Pipeline. He has struggled since being called up April 24th, but hasn’t missed a start since being called up. Blair has struggled with his command, and has yet to put up the high strikeout totals he did in the minors.

The Braves acquired Blair from the Diamondbacks this past off-season. Blair along with 2015 #1 draft pick Dansby Swanson were traded to the Braves for Shelby Miller. That trade so far looks very good for the Braves, as Shelby Miller has a 7.09 ERA/6.62 FIP with the Diamondbacks. Blair was a first round draft pick in 2013 (#36 overall pick). Below is his scouting report, courtesy of Fangraphs.

Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Future Value
50 / 55 45 / 50+ 50 / 55 45 / 50+ 55

Lineups

Reds Braves
1. Zack Cozart (SS)
2. Joey Votto (1B)
3. Brandon Phillips (2B)
4. Jay Bruce (RF)
5. Adam Duvall (LF)
6. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
7. Tyler Holt (CF)
8. Tucker Barnhart (C)
9. Daniel Wright (P)
1. Mallex Smith (LF)
2. Ender Inciarte (CF)
3. Freddie Freeman (1B)
4. Nick Markakis (RF)
5. Adonis Garcia (3B)
6. A.J. Pierzynski (C)
7. Jace Peterson (2B)
8. Erick Aybar (SS)
9. Aaron Blair (P)

The Reds lineup is pretty standard. Joey Votto enters play with a 13-game on-base streak. Jay Bruce now leads the Reds in OPS (.895) and wRC+ (132). Adam Duvall has slipped a little bit of late (0 for 8 in his last two games). Duvall still a .869 OPS and 126 wRC+.

You might expect that a team with a record of 18-44 record might have a bad offense. You would be right. The Braves are dead last in the MLB in OPS (.613) and wRC+ (66). The Braves team .613 OPS is the worst of any team since the 1972 Texas Rangers (.581).

Freddie Freeman hasn’t been himself so far this year. Freeman is hitting just .242/.336/.414 with a 100 wRC+ this season. A player to watch for the Braves is their leadoff hitter Mallex Smith. He got off to a slow start for the Braves, but put up a .793 OPS in May, and so far has a .809 OPS in June.

Reds sign top pick Senzel

The Reds signed the #2 overall pick Nick Senzel for $6.2 million today. That might sounds like a lot, but that is actually $1.6 million less than the slot value. The Reds also signed their second and third picks Taylor Trammell and Chris Okey. Doug Gray did an excellent job breaking it all down today on Redsminorleagues.com.

Conclusion

I will not suggest rooting against the Reds this series. That would be unthinkable…..even though this series could go a long way towards the Reds getting their Carlos Correa Stephen Strasburg Bryce Harper Ken Griffey Jr. (Mariners version). So go Braves Reds!

93 Responses

  1. Patrick Jeter

    Braves also got Ender Inciarte for Shelby Miller.

    Even though Swanson isn’t killing it much at AA and Inciarte and Blair aren’t killing it at MLB, I still can’t believe that trade happened.

    Inciarte projected to be about as good as Miller (for cheaper) this year anyways. And the D-Backs decided to just throw in a #1 overall pick and Aaron Blair.

    Crazy.

    • Patrick Jeter

      I didn’t mean cheaper. Meant has an extra year of team control.

  2. Shchi Cossack

    The Yankees DFA’d Layne Somsen after claiming him off waivers when the Reds DFA’s him. I’m not sure why Somsen has such difficulty finding a home. He has solid #’s, albeit the BB are a little high, throughout his minor league career. I wouldn’t mind if the Reds gave him another shot.

  3. Ohioindiaspora

    I don´t know where to put this, but anyway:
    How unthinkable would it be for the Reds to trade Jay Bruce to the Nationals for, say, Stephen Strasburg?

    • liptonian

      Why would the Nationals do that with the player they just locked up for 7 years?

    • Chuck Schick

      I’m sure the Nats would jump at the chance to trade one of the best starters in the game…whom they have locked up for the next 7 years….in the midst of perhaps his best season…while in 1st place.
      For Jay Bruce.

      I hope you were trying to mix humor and sarcasm.

  4. Shchi Cossack

    Signing Senzel for $1.5MM below slot value feels like a huge win. I think Senzel was the player the Reds wanted with their 1st selection, irrespective of who went #1-1. I also think they made an excellent selection at #1-2 in Senzel. That additional $1.5MM could really augment the quality of this draft by allowing the Reds to sign a high school kid who would otherwise have opted for a college scholarship.

    • Gaffer

      That is what the last 3 second picks have gotten (and basically the max ever given) so it’s not a surprise. It’s still good.

  5. VaRedsFan

    Wright looks like he is giving max effort, but it’s only coming in here at 91 mph.

  6. Chad Jones

    Is the service time issue up? I’m so tired of some of these crap pitchers we’re throwing out there. Daniel Wright is NOT part of the rebuild. Either bullpen innings eater or he needs to be “organizational depth” at AAA.

    • VaRedsFan

      Or perhaps bullpen mop up guy at AAA

    • RedAlert

      Yep , it’ll take the Reds 5 years to get Senzel to the big league club the way they do business . service , smervice …. Tired of their excuse always being that.

      • Chuck Schick

        Yeah. Why would they do something smart like be mindful of service time.?The dumb teams bring guys up so they can win 5 extra games in a rebuilding year and lose a year of control when it actually matters.

      • RedAlert

        I understand service time implications CHUCK SCHICK – figured you would show up and make some smart — comment like always. Knew it was coming when I posted it and knew you’d be the one . You enjoy that don’t you. Notice you do that a lot here when others make comments.

  7. VaRedsFan

    The Reds replace Simon (9.11 ERA) with Wright (8.25 ERA),
    Fitting that Simon’s ERA is that number.

  8. VaRedsFan

    Tom Glavine in the Braves booth explaining the struggles that he went through when his career started and how the team let him pitch every day now matter how bad he was. They let him figure things out each game. His ERA was 2 runs lower in the 2nd half then it was in the 1st half.

    I guess the moral to the story, is even if our young pitchers come up and struggle, that to let them pitch through their struggles and hope they start to improve throughout the year.

  9. VaRedsFan

    6 runs on 3 hits…not your typical Reds scoring line.

  10. vegastypo

    Defensive metrics might be tricky, but my eyes tell me Duvall is really good out there.

  11. VaRedsFan

    Little League 101….stay in front of it Votto. He played that ball from his knees and to the side. 2 runs tallied because of it so far.

  12. VaRedsFan

    The mistake by Wright was throwing it down and in to a lefty (Freeman) that has an uppercut swing.

  13. Indy RedMan

    2 different 3 run leads and its going to become a bullpen game and we’ll prob lose? I know Votto blew it there but Wright has nothing! They call him up based on a few good innings but he was a 4.50 era guy at AA last year? Sampson has a ton more arm and so does Josh Smith for that matter? Somsen has really good minor league stats and they never gave him a real shot but yet they run a guy like this guy out there to start?

  14. vegastypo

    So Wright bats, but they replace him. Are they worried about running out of pinch hitters?

  15. james garrett

    Just tuned in but if Cosart and BP have drawn walks this kid must be really bad.I am for giving Wright another start or two because it is audition time but we all know we have better options.

  16. seat101

    Seems a little negative in here. Is anyone else here reminded of “The Theory Of Rising Expectations”?

    Two weeks ago this type of game would have had us making jokes.

  17. Indy RedMan

    Atleast we didn’t sign James Shields!

    Booed off the field in his White Sox debut….HR to the first hitter tonite and has now allowed 23 earned runs in 6.2 innings!

    • Jack

      Yeah Shields 19 ERA is making Simons look awesome.

  18. David

    Aaaaaand Freddie Freeman gets HOT against the Reds.

  19. VaRedsFan

    Another low pitch to Freeman. Who needs scouting reports anyway….2 run HR

  20. james garrett

    I really am amazed with Ramirez in that his stuff is big time yet he shows no consistency at all.He can dominate then implodes

  21. BigRedMike

    7 runs so far to the worst hitting team in MLB. Not bad

  22. VaRedsFan

    The Reds blew a replay chance on the stolen base. Braves replays show the runner clearly off the bag with the tag applied. Cost them a run.

  23. Indy RedMan

    Someone on twitter……Braves have only scored 3+ runs in 16 of their 32 home games but have done it twice already tonite!

  24. james garrett

    Their line up tonight has one true professional hitter and its Freeman The others are young guys trying to stay in the big leagues and the others are old guys trying to stay in the big leagues.Surely there is a scouting report or a thought or even a whisper overheard at the water cooler that said we can’t let Freeman beat us yet with a base open he hits it out.

  25. BigRedMike

    Looks like the Braves have scored 7 or more runs 4 times this season prior to tonight. Guess they were due

    • David

      Holt has a good baseball IQ. He seems to usually do the right thing either at bat or in the field.

  26. David

    Two bad teams playing each other. Wow, is this ……entertaining?

  27. james garrett

    Why would anybody walk Votto,your only true professional hitter,intentionally with two out and a man on second?Maybe they don’t want our best player to beat them.You got to admit it is rubbing it in on the other teams dugout and of course it worked.

  28. BigRedMike

    Has there been any discussion from the Reds front office on how much longer this Phillips playing everyday is going to continue? He is the Reds worst hitter and continues to hit in the middle of the order.

  29. james garrett

    Holt needs to play more period.We need a bunch more like him.

  30. james garrett

    BP will decide what he does and when he does it.As we all know the Reds attempted to trade him but it didn’t work out.It was reported he wanted more money to go but it didn’t happen so he is our lameduck second baseman for this year and barring a trade next year.Get use to a singles hitter with a big time decline in defense.

  31. Indy RedMan

    Duvall hit that one about 380 to the right-center….that’s out in GABP and plenty of other places! I haven’t seen the ball jump off a Reds bat like that in a long long time….maybe Eric Davis?

  32. VaRedsFan

    Not gonna walk Freeman with 1st base open here?

    • Indy RedMan

      When Wood is getting ahead of guys he’s nasty! Wood could be the 7th inning guy with Cingrani/Inglesias in the 8th depending on righty/lefty and Lorenzen to close!

  33. TR

    Will Ohle be able to keep the Reds ahead?

  34. preacherj

    I seem to question the wisdom of having Ole pitch in a one run game a LOT

  35. vegastypo

    When these other pitchers get healthy, and it’s time to expel some from the current bullpen, Williams could pretty much draw names out of a hat as to who should go.

  36. preacherj

    Welsch: “I dont know what you can tell Olendorf here…”

    I have a few ideas…..

  37. preacherj

    Do Not throw Francour a fastball near the zone

      • vegastypo

        This inning, I’m not sure he knows where the ball is going when he throws it anyway.

  38. preacherj

    Ole almost balked on that. Wouldnt that just be fitting?

  39. preacherj

    Well, that could have been a whole lot worse

  40. hof13

    Do you believe in miracles? Giving up only 1 run pretty much qualifies.

  41. Indy RedMan

    If BP lets the ball drop he has an easy easy double play there? Let it drop…throw it to Votto and he either tags the stunned guy at 1st or throws as that guy retreats to 3rd and prob hasn’t even started home? Easy DP and nobody ever does it?

  42. VaRedsFan

    No doubles defense cost them a double

  43. preacherj

    Good baserunning for Joey there. Lets get him home.

  44. preacherj

    I like what Brandon is trying to do here

  45. VaRedsFan

    2nd bases loaded walk this game for the Reds

    • VaRedsFan

      Whoever had that one should play the lotto.

  46. vegastypo

    No Reds pitcher deserved the ‘win’ today. There should be a ‘team win’ for games like this.

      • vegastypo

        Fair enough. Ramirez was in line for the win, then Ohlendorf ends up with it. And Wood ends up with a ‘hold.’

    • TR

      Ohle only gave up the tying run and he hung in there so I think he deserves the win.

    • docmike

      That said, I despise the “win” stat. The only win that should be kept is the “team win”. Individual pitcher wins are a useless statistic.