The Cincinnati Reds (29-49) will try to avoid being swept this afternoon by the Chicago Cubs (50-26). The two teams will square off for the series finale at 12:35. The Reds lost a wild game last night, 7-2 in 15 innings. The game saw the Reds bullpen throw 8.1 consecutive no-hit innings, and the Cubs used three different relief pitchers in left field.

Starting Pitchers


Cody Reed has shown his dominant stuff through his first two starts, as he has struck out 15 batters through his first 12.0 big league innings. He has also shown that he has work to do, as he has been subject to giving up the long ball (already 3 HR allowed). The cool thing is that Reed is only 23 years old, and has lots of time to develop. The most encouraging stat from Reed is his 3.15 xFIP so far. xFIP is expected fielding independent pitching, which is a good predictor of future run prevention.

Kyle Hendricks is having a very nice year for the Cubs. The Cubs acquired Hendricks back at the 2012 trade deadline for 12 starts of Ryan Dempster. Hendricks just does everything a little bit better than average (strikeouts, walks, home runs).

The Reds haven’t faced Hendricks yet in 2016, but have had good success against him in his career. Hendricks has a career 4.34 ERA in 5 starts against the Reds (all between 2014-2015). Joey Votto has 2 home runs against Hendricks in just 5 AB (plus 3 walks).

Starting Lineups

Cubs Reds
1. Ben Zobrist (RF)
2. Kris Bryant (3B)
3. Anthony Rizzo (1B)
4. Willson Contreras (C)
5. Javier Baez (2B)
6. Matt Szczur (LF)
7. Addison Russell (SS)
8. Kyle Hendricks (P)
9. Albert Almora (CF)
1. Billy Hamilton (CF)
2. Joey Votto (1B)
3. Brandon Phillips (2B)
4. Jay Bruce (RF)
5. Adam Duvall (LF)
6. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
7. Jose Peraza (SS)
8. Tucker Barnhart (C)
9. Cody Reed (P)


J.J. Hoover now has a 13.50 ERA following another implosion last night. He was optioned to AAA today, and Keyvius Sampson was recalled. I dug into just how bad he has been in terms of MLB history. Viewer discretion is advised.


It’s been a tough stretch for the Reds. The Reds have lost 10 of 13, and things will only get tougher leading up to the all-star break. The Reds final three series of the second half are all on the road against the Washington Nationals (46-32), Chicago Cubs (50-26), and Miami Marlins (41-36). So wins might be tough to come by. The Reds could really use a big start today from Cody Reed. Go Reds!

Nick is a lifelong Reds fan who was born and raised in Cincinnati. He acquired his love of baseball from his late grandfather. Nick moved to the Cleveland area in 2014 with his wife, and his currently fighting to convert his beautiful baby daughter Emma to Reds fandom. Nick has been writing for Redleg Nation since 2013. Follow Nick on Twitter @nicholaspkirby.

Join the conversation! 58 Comments

  1. Does anyone know if the Reds have to pay Hoover at his $1.4mm/year rate while he is in the minors, or would the contract provide for a big reduction, say to $100k, while in the minors? My guess would be they are stuck with the higher rate.

    It’s hard to feel sorry for Hoover, widely known to be a nice man, because with this year’s $1.4mm, he will have been paid about $3mm by the Reds. Unless he is a financial nincompoop, he should have close to $1mm banked at age 28.

    He is utterly useless as a major league pitcher, however. No stuff; no movement; no command; no confidence; and a hitting-speed fastball. I would give him a chance to learn a knuckleball, because there is zero chance he will be effective in MLB with what he has now. I suspect we’ve seen him throw his last pitch as a Red, and maybe as a major leaguer.

    • I don’t know for sure but since he was arb eligible, I really doubt it was a split contract. Believe i read somewhere the typical split amount is $80K annualized when the player is on option to the minors.

    • Guaranteed salary, whether in majors, minors, injured or released outright. Standard MLB contract. It’s great to work where there’s a strong union.

  2. It will be interesting to see if Hoover stays on the 40 man roster the next time the Reds need a spot opened. He was optionable which clears the 25 man spot immediately; but, I have to wonder if he also is now on waivers for possible outright. He is still owed about $725K on this season. At this point, I can’t imagine any org making a waiver claim and taking on that money.

  3. For his career, Hoover now at -0.2 fWAR in 242 IP, walking 4.2 batters per 9. That just won’t cut it as a reliever. Sad for JJ.

  4. This will be the first Cody Reed game I miss! My streak of…two…ends!

    • Mine too.
      We can give Cody Reed a pass on his first two starts. The first one was his first one, nerves and all to overcome. The second start came on the night the Reds honored the 1976 BRM team. There had to be many older players roaming through the locker room prior to the game meeting the new players. Had to be some distractions.
      Even though it is the Cubs, no distractions today. Brass tacks time.

      • For a 23 year old making his first trip to the big leagues I thought Reed pitched well enough that we don’t really need to give him a pass. He’s young, will make mistakes but I think the future looks very bright for him.

  5. You’ll pardon my skepticism about anything Sampson will provide, either. It’s becoming comical that pitchers get hammered in the bigs, go down and do well in AAA, then come back and get hammered some more. … Jumbo, Sampson, Hoover etc.

    • The Reds have limited options for the bullpen up to this point. Jumbo is certainly not a long-term option for the bullpen, but he has had success at the major league level as recently as last season. Jumbo and Ohlendorf are simply place holders at this point until some younger arms get more experience and becom major league ready (Routt, Peralta), not to mention the starters who fail to make the major league rotation.

      • You think those 2 will make it up this summer Sir or do you think the Reds wait until September? In my mind they could replace Jumbo and Ohlendorf in a heartbeat.

    • I agree with you in regards to using Sampson out of the pen. All of his recent very good success at AAA came when they started using him exclusively as a starter about 6 weeks ago. I’d rather that they left him at AAA. A month from now if he was still owning the world, maybe they’ve got a legit value adding throw in on a trade. Or, at that point bring him up and put him in the rotation to fill as guys reach innings limits. Find out if he might be a legit starting candidate for 2017 or at least strengthen him as off season trade add in.

      They said they brought him up now in part because he was scheduled to start today at AAA and could give them “length” out of the pen. The way this game is going. we’re probably going to see him shortly…..

  6. The Reds now have the arms needed to simulate a MLB bullpen and complete a review for oppotunities going forward as a competitive team. Some of the arms will be short term (Ohlendorf, age 33; Jumbo, age 32; Wood, age 30) and some will certainly be replaced by new additions to the bullpen as the 25-man roster stablizes.

    Josh Smith has stepped up big time with his recent success in moving from starter at AAA to the major league bullpen. I hope Sampson can expierence similar success this time around after his dominant performance while starting at AAA. Please let Hoover’s audition be over and final.

  7. I realize this would be very gutsy, but has any member of the media asked Price to explain why BP hits third? And if so, did he offer any explanation or just swear a lot and insist it doesn’t help him win games to explain his bizarre decisions?

  8. make this season stop, please. enough already.

    • How bad is Hamilton’s injury? Watching only on Gameday.

      • Looked like the ball just ticked off Duvall’s glove and hit Billy in the head, maybe the face. He got up and left the field on his own. Just maybe woozy, and he had the concussion awhile back.

  9. How was that not ruled an error?

  10. The radio announcers sure made it seem like DeVol was in the wrong. Then they backtracked just a little. Is there anyone at the game I was also reading this blog?

  11. The game is on MLB TV now.

  12. Found the video. I think Noel had no idea that Billy was going to be anywhere near him.

    It does make me appreciate how good the directors are for reds TV versus Cubs TV

  13. Oh, Billy Hatcher

    • You have the NL co-leader in home runs coming up, could be with the bases loaded, and you send Votto there. Amazing.

      Only the Philadelphia 76ers do a better job of tanking than these guys.

    • So this is in regards to sending Votto, I assume? Just saw that in the box score…

      Bad decision? How far was Votto out by?

      • 10 feet maybe? Short throw from right field, on the fly. Votto didn’t bother to slide, just sorta surrendered for the tag.

        • Sounds like the right play. Why risk injury when you’re still 98% likely to be out.

          Good ‘ol Hatchet Hatcher.

  14. I’m still bullish on Cody Reed, but alas he’s been beat up in his 3 starts.

  15. Just got out of a meeting… 7-0. Ok, then.

  16. Do we have to start to question the legitimacy of AAA hitters in the minors. Our pitchers are lights out down there and get truly punished while with the big club.

    • Well, before their rough last week, the Cubs had the same run differential as the 1927 Yankees through the same amount of games. This isn’t exactly a representative sample of MLB talent as a whole.

  17. They’re hit by a truck

  18. OF COURSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Gee, too bad there weren’t any runners on base when he hit that !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Annnnd, that’s why you don’t send your slowest base runner home on a line shot to right field Mr Hatcher

  20. KS got his first inning behind him. Next go around he gets the big boys.

    • Hoover had a good inning or two when he first got back. I’ll reserve judgement on Sampson, and hope for the best of course.

  21. A Cubs fan threw Duvall’s HR back! When I do go back to GABP I’ll make sure its not against the Cubs because I would’ve “accidentally” spilled a beverage on the guy….even if I had to go 10 sections over to do it! Its just a game but I hate the way Chicago people act? They did the same thing in Indy during Jordan’s run vs the Pacers.

    • What is wrong with a Cubs fan throwing it back?

      • Your in the visitors park and there are plenty of children around that cheer for the home team that would love that ball. He should have done something different in his life and thought first.

  22. 13 pitch AB, ends in a walk for Votto. He hasn’t able to foul off pitches as much as he used to. Good to see it here.

  23. Looks like a good crowd for a wed afternooner…

  24. Anyone else starting to think Ryan Hannigan might have been the real mastermind behind the Reds pitching success in 2012-2013.

    It’s not like Price has a bunch of talent to work with in this pitching staff. But it seems like every single reds pitcher has been as bad or worse than expected. You’d think a pitching guru could pull a couple surprising success stories from these guys.

    • The notion seems to be starting to take root that there is a systemic problem of some sort, at least where all the HRs are concerned, that transcends the talent level of the pitching staff.

    • That might have something to do with it. Scouting Reports also. They kept throwing Freddie Freeman (low ball hitter) low pitches.

    • Barnhart is currently 4th worst catcher in MLB in terms of RAA via pitch framing.

      Ramon Cabrera is currently the worst catcher in MLB in terms of strikes lost per game (3.10).

      This may have something to do with our guys underperforming.

  25. Welcome back to the big leagues, Sampson. Hitters have been waiting for you.

    • You can have the greatest stats in the world in AAA. The big show brings a whole different talent. There is a reason why these guys get let go or other teams trade them. They just aren’t very good.

  26. It’s the walks I just don’t get. I mean, Sampson wasn’t hardly walking anyone and he comes back up to the bigs and is a BB machine.

Comments are closed.

About Nick Kirby

Nick is a lifelong Reds fan who was born and raised in Cincinnati. He acquired his love of baseball from his late grandfather. Nick moved to the Cleveland area in 2014 with his wife, and his currently fighting to convert his beautiful baby daughter Emma to Reds fandom. Nick has been writing for Redleg Nation since 2013. Follow Nick on Twitter @nicholaspkirby.


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