The Reds look to take advantage of former Redleg Mike Leake and the St. Louis Cardinals in this afternoon’s rubber game. A Cincinnati victory would be their sixth consecutive series win in a row.


Mike Leake 4.50 3.98 1.3 3.2% 17.5%
Brandon Finnegan 4.68 5.71 1.7 11.6% 16.9%
When Leake was a better dresser.

When Leake was a better dresser.

Mike Leake has given up six runs in back-to-back games against the Marlins and the Dodgers. He also gave up six runs against the Reds earlier this season. Despite the ugly ERA, Leake continues to be one of the best control pitchers in the game. He’s actually cut his walk rate from 2.3 walks per 9 innings in 2015 to just 1.2 BB/9 in 2016. That walk rate ranks him as 3rd best among all MLB starters this season. Leake issued zero free passes in 30 July innings and only walked three batters in the same number of innings in June.

FinneganBrandon Finnegan has expectedly been inconsistent, just as many of the Reds young starters this season. His last time out against San Diego, Finnegan gave up just four hits over six shutout innings. The week before that? He allowed six runs on the power of three homeruns over five innings. Matt Wilkes analzyed yesterday whether Finnegan can stick in the starting rotation long-term. It seems the success of his change-up, which adds a third pitch to his repertoire, has been key to his successful games like that against San Diego. Finnegan had a pretty good game against today’s opponents earlier this season, too, allowing just five hits and two runs in his seven inning start.


Billy Hamilton is back in the lineup but Zack Cozart remain out another day with the finger injury. Both teams have their back-up catchers pulling day-after-night game duties.

1. Tommy Pham (CF)
2. Jedd Gyorko (3B)
3. Stephen Piscotty (RF)
4. Matt Holliday (LF)
5. Brandon Moss (1B)
6. Jhonny Peralta (SS)
7. Greg Garcia (2B)
8. Alberto Rosario (C)
9. Mike Leake (P)
1. Billy Hamilton (CF)
2. Ivan De Jesus (SS)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Adam Duvall (LF)
5. Brandon Phillips (2B)
6. Scott Schebler (RF)
7. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
8. Ramon Cabrera (C)
9. Brandon Finnegan (P)

There’s not currently a lot of good options for the top two spots in the order ahead of Joey Votto. An argument could be made to keep Suarez in one of the top two spots, but that argument (.344 OBP in 64 snd half PA or .342 OBP for season with 101 PA in the #2 spot) is based on limited sample size.

Here’s the Reds 2016 current roster, sorted by OBP:

Joey Votto 439 .293 .424 .497
Tucker Barnhart 283 .254 .319 .387
Zack Cozart 401 .266 .317 .462
Eugenio Suarez 406 .236 .303 .409
Brandon Phillips 405 .263 .300 .368
Tyler Holt 136 .218 .299 .252
Billy Hamilton 338 .248 .298 .343
Adam Duvall 391 .250 .297 .547
Ramon Cabrera 96 .250 .295 .318
Ivan De Jesus 140 .229 .273 .290
Scott Schebler 78 .219 .269 .397
Tony Renda 2 .000 .000 .000

We’ve had a lot of nice tributes this week to Jay Allen Bruce. From video highlights to personal stories.

Jay Bruce is in elite company in my house, too, as one of only two Reds players to have his name on the back of a t-shirt. My youngest has a Joey Votto t-shirt, and I own a Jay Bruce t-shirt. Bruce’s shirt is the only player-specific shirt I own, and the first I’ve had since my Barry Larkin and Eric Davis t-shirts from the 1980’s.

It’s afternoon baseball! Time to ignore your job, watch Gameday, and listen to the Reds take a series away from the Cardinals.


84 Responses

  1. Patrick Jeter

    Every day I check the lineup in hopes of not seeing one of the two worst hitters in the lineup batting 2nd. Almost every day, I’m disappointed.

    • mdhabel

      I wish these lineups didn’t frustrate me so much. They have to know something we don’t know, right?

      Maybe your tweet about price being a dunce is accurate…I just don’t get it

      • Patrick Jeter

        I wish I woudlnt’ have said that. I was pretty worked up about whatever it was that happened in that game.

        Maybe I need to sign a ball and give it to Price.

      • Shchi Cossack

        Now that’s appropriately, topically funny!!!

      • MrRed

        It’s ok, you didn’t initiate any physical contact with Price during your rant and your comment couldn’t have been nearly as bad as some others in the twittersphere. An apology and signed ball are acceptable penance; a picture with Bryan is not necessary but would be great fodder for RLN.

  2. Brian

    In this instance I’d actually be ok with BP batting 2nd, but no business in 3-5 spots but I’m not the manager. I’d prob put him 2 with guys listed and move scott and suarez up and put de jesus at 7 or 8.

  3. james garrett

    Put BP anywhere and it really doesn’t matter because he is a singles hitter that continues to decline in the field.Very sad he has to prove to everybody he is done being an every day player

  4. Aaron Bradley

    Maybe with DeJesus you can force him to take pitches so Billy can run ahead of him. In later innings you consider him maybe bunting if someone is on (and yes I hate the sacrifice as much as the rest of you, but maybe this is what Price is thinking). At the end of the day the team is 20 games under 500 and no besides Votto is hitting for much average.

  5. IndyRedMan

    The Red FO has made plenty of mistakes but atleast they didn’t re-up Leake. The ball seems to carry more in new Busch but a 4.50 era is still pretty bad! Hopefully they can slap him around today!

    • RedAlert

      Hope they don’t make the mistake of retaining Price !

      • TR

        I’m not confident that Price will not be extended at least on a one year contract.

    • Redgoggles

      Not to mention gleaning a cheap, young All-Star outfielder for multiple years.

  6. james garrett

    Suarez can’t handle it the praise from last night.

  7. vegastypo

    I don’t mind saying, it bothers me a little to hear Homer and Votto griping about the trade of Bruce. They have to realize that the Reds need to rebuild, and part of the reason is that not everyone can get longer-term deals like they got.

    Dang Suarez, missed a chance there.

    • Greg Dafler

      First, they were friends who had been together for nearly a decade. It wasn’t a voluntary change of teams like via free agency. And as Homer said, he felt like the team was gearing up for a good season in 2017 and felt Bruce was a part of that.

      • vegastypo

        Maybe they could have competed in 2017, maybe not. I tend to think not, but they would know better than me. And so, theoretically, should the the front office. But the front office needs to look at longer-range plans, too. If the guys are sad that they lost a friend, so be it. As a fan, I’m gonna miss Bruce too.

      • lwblogger2

        The players’ perception is also that teams are simply made of money. The thought of moving people because they are unaffordable, especially moving homegrown people who are productive, upsets them.

    • Unpolished Reds Brass

      Thats why they dont have the title of GM. They’re responses are mostly emotional.

      • jazzmanbbfan

        I don’t have a problem with it. Doesn’t change the reality that it was the right move to make, and I say that as a Bruce fan. What the Reds got in return won’t really be known for awhile.

    • Matt WI

      Also, when they signed their contracts, and I feel this was especially true for Homer, it was reported that there was an understanding that the team was going to strive for contention.

      So, I can imagine that while Joey knew his long term deal might have ups and downs, Homer might be feeling a bit betrayed about the direction of the team. I don’t mind a guy owning that he misses his buddy and knowing that the team is less competitive for the effort. All that matters is that they are able to work past that frustration and continue to do what they do.

      • vegastypo

        Fair enough, but I kinda think that saying Herrera needs to be Robinson Cano for the trade to be of any value was a bit unfair.

    • Big56dog

      I totally agree, what bothers the most was implying that his teammate better be the next Cano. I see this as a very positive trade for the future I say there is very good chance Herrara puts up more WAR than Bruce from here on out as Bruce goes into his declining years.
      I wonder what Bailey’s analysis of the Cueto trades are at this point. Its ironic that they chose to give Bailey a huge contact and were limited to players like Bruce who they could not.
      But they possibly cannot think keeping Bruce would had been a wise decision w/o an extension. Bailey probably could have done without the extra quotes and just voiced his disappointment that Bruce is gone

  8. earmbrister

    Yo, Turd announcers: so much for dominating the lower third of the order

  9. lwblogger2

    Only can follow on Gameday here and there… Don’t want to jinx it but Finnigan getting it done. Anybody confirm he looks as good as Gameday appears?

    • citizen54

      You can watch the game on Yahoo sports. The game is free there

      • lwblogger2

        Thanks… I can’t really watch right now though. I’m at work. Peeking at Gameday and checking RLN probably about as much time that I should spend not actually getting stuff done.

      • citizen54

        Ahh to answer your question he is looking pretty good so far.

      • preacherj

        In Columbus, game is blacked out😱

    • reaganspad

      On the Finnegan thread yesterday, this is what I was talking about. While Reed may have great potential and stats, Finnegan is just competing and getting it done.
      I do not think he will roll over next year when they come for his spot in the rotation. He will have his say especially with a few more starts like his last 2

      It was fun to see him dominate in a day when we faced Leake. Today is the frustrations that I always had with Leake and they are perfect in a cards uniform

      • reaganspad

        and one of his last homers was on a 3-2 pitch. he is really not the free swinger that I thought he would be this year

  10. Redgoggles

    Leake walking Duvall? Maybe it would be a good day to buy a lottery ticket.

      • jazzmanbbfan

        After the TV announcers last night were commenting on how Phillips looks hurt, he goes 3-3 with 2 runs scored and a RBI. Hmmmm. I’m still frustrated that he’s playing every day but he’s having a good game today!!

  11. Ryan

    I really appreciate Mike Leake and his time as a Red. He is the enemy now and I hope the Reds continue to put up 4+ runs every time he takes the mound against us.

  12. earmbrister

    Brian and LW —

    You guys had the right idea with BP (batting 2nd). 3-3 with an RBI double. Batting .320 over the last 20 games — not bad for an old timer.

    • Brian

      I feel like he has better value there than 5th despite the solid game so far today.

  13. Greg Dafler

    It’s really encouraging to read about why Finnegan had success against San Diego and how he’s trying to carry that over (the use of three pitches instead of relying on two) into this game. And that he’s pitched so well against the Cardinals twice this season! Hopefully, this is him “figuring it out”. It’s a painful process to watch, but a joy when it comes to fruition!

  14. vegastypo

    Taking Finnegan down for a pinch hitter after less than 80 pitches. Saving innings?

    • earmbrister

      Good thinking, by you and the Reds

    • Big56dog

      Do you really want to turn it over to the bullpen, Price maybe should have thought o that in that 2nd start in April. He is cruising- what difference is an inning or 2 going to make- dumb, dumb, dumb

      • earmbrister

        Finnegan earned this win. The bullpen is better than at the start of the year. It should be able to hold a 7 run lead.

    • jazzmanbbfan

      Could be, plus it’s pretty warm and humid today in Cincy.

  15. Greg Dafler

    I’m a little surprised that they are pulling Finnegan after six innings and just 79 pitches…1 hit, no walks, six run lead.

    • Big56dog

      Didn’t he let him throw 120 pitches when he was clearly gassed in April? why not let him try to get through the line-up a third time through and show he can go 7 or 8.

      • Greg Dafler

        Finnegan’s highest pitch count in April was 111 against the Cubs and 107 against the Mets. In both cases, he had slightly less than 100 pitches after six innings but was pulled mid-inning. You may be thinking of that Mets game where he gave up the homerun to Cespedes in the 7th inning?

      • Big56dog

        I was talking about the cubs game, he had a no hitter through 6 over 100 pitches and had no one warming up. Let him go 1 batter too long after he gave up the hit. See no reason why you do not let him go at least 7 at 79 pitches, now Iglesias might not pitch until Sunday

  16. Redgoggles

    How good does it feel to see the Cardinals overpaying ex-Reds, Leake and Broxton?

  17. Chuck Schick

    Leake is paid 30x’s what Finnegan makes. Oh, The beauty of cost controlled pitchers.

    The Cardinals will pay Mike Leake about as much for this one start as Finnegan will be paid all year.

    • lwblogger2

      When I saw what he signed for, it became clear that the Reds probably were right to move him.

  18. Brian

    Looking individually at bullpen era’s now vs the 6’s and 7’s we had earlier in the season sure makes you at least a little more confident in holding out games now (not that we should have problem today holding). Still have some improvements to be made but even still, night and day difference from what we had.

  19. DEN

    I know many here want our young Cuban pitcher to be worked back to being a starter, right now, I don’t see why, he has shown now he can be dominate out of the pen, and also shown his body isn’t starter material. I would leave him right where he is…

    • TR

      Yes indeed. Why mess with success? With the Reds young pitching staff, Iglesias is really valuable being able to pitch a couple strong innings late in the game every other day or so.

    • The Duke

      I think Iglesias should be used in the future exactly like they are using him now. 2-3 IP per appearance and work about 100-120 IP per year.

  20. Greg Dafler

    Adam Duvall’s WAR this year is 2.2. Mike Leake’s is 1.5. Leake’s career year was 2.3.

    • Chuck Schick

      The Cardinals are paying 10 million per WAR for Leake….the Reds are paying 275k per WAR for Duvall

    • IndyRedMan

      Leake had a 4.50 coming into today….that might be above replacement level in GABP but it seems high for a Cards pitcher? I guess I don’t understand war?

      Anyway….6 series in a row is pretty sweet!!!

  21. vegastypo

    I think Marty just said this would be the first time the Reds have won six series in a row since 1999.

  22. james garrett

    Just tuned in and all I can say is WOW about Finnegan’s performance.He said after his last outing he was throwing some change-ups so I wonder if that was a good pitch for him today

  23. msanmoore

    Just looked at the score as well … I love Mike Leake but I sure like to see him getting shelled when he’s wearing a Dirty Birds uniform back in GABP.

    • earmbrister

      Not hurt. Price wants this win badly (vs the Cards)?

    • Shchi Cossack

      Goodness By Golly!!! Glad to hear Jumbo’s OK, but that was a silly move. I can see pitching Jumbo for the 9th with a 7 run lead or pitching Cingrani for the 9th with a 7 run lead, but substitutions during the 9th, just because he can if he wants to? Just a silly move.

      • earmbrister

        Apparently it was a common move for LaRussa.

  24. Big56dog

    Did Price seriously situational pitch righty vs righty before bringing in Cingrani?

  25. Brian

    I think finishing with a winning record for the second half of the season would be pretty sweet and 6 series wins in a row sure is nice.

  26. james garrett

    Long way to go but I thought a winning record in the second half was within reach because of our pitching.Great to see the start that Finnegan had today.Young guys learning how to pitch at the big league level can be something special.

  27. earmbrister

    SIX series wins in a row. The Little Red Machine that could.