A rainy weekend series in St. Louis leads into what will likely be a gloomy Monday night game in Cincinnati for the Reds as they take on their NL Central rival Pittsburgh Pirates tonight at 7:10 PM. It’ll be the first of three games between the division bottom dwellers, with both teams sitting at 11-13, 2 games behind the 13-11 division-leading Chicago Cubs.

Starting Pitchers

Name IP ERA xFIP K% BB%
Gerrit Cole 30.0 3.60 3.59 21.8% 4.8%
Amir Garrett 23.0 5.09 3.67 22.7% 7.2%

Amir Garrett will take the mound for the Redlegs tonight. After stringing together three bonafide Major League starts, including a Win against these same Pirates at their home PNC Park, the young lefty struggled in his fourth start of the year, giving up 9 ER in 3.1 innings against the Milwaukee Reds Killers Brewers. It was clear that Garrett didn’t have his normal stuff in that outing, which isn’t unexpected for a pitcher just getting started in his Major League career. In fact, as our own Jason Linden has pointed out numerous times throughout the years on Twitter, these (fortunately occasional) blow-ups have been a part of Garrett’s game for a few seasons. He’ll look to get back on track tonight, as he did so many times in his Minor League career.

It’ll be the Ace of the Pirate pitching staff opposing Garrett tonight as Gerrit Cole will take the mound for Pittsburgh. Cole has notoriously struggled against the Reds in his career: He’s 0-6 with a 5.44 against our Redlegs, and Cincinnati hitters have a team OPS+ of 140 when Cole is on the mound. If you’re going to tear up a specific pitcher, might as well tear up the Ace of a rival pitching staff, right?

The lineups

Pirates Reds
3B Josh Harrison (121 wRC+) CF Billy Hamilton (37 wRC+)
SS Jordy Mercer (64 wRC+) SS Zack Cozart (171 wRC+)
CF Andrew McCutchen (98 wRC+) 1B Joey Votto (129 wRC+)
LF Gregory Polanco (84 wRC+) LF Adam Duvall (115 wRC+)
RF Jose Osuna (171 wRC+) RF Scott Schebler (135 wRC+)
1B Josh Bell (121 wRC+) 3B Scooter Gennett (115 wRC+)
2B Phil Gosselin (-14 wRC+) 2B Jose Peraza (37 wRC+)
C Chris Stewart (140 wRC+) C Tucker Barnhart (69 wRC+)
P Gerrit Cole (3.59 xFIP) P Amir Garrett (3.67 xFIP)

For what it’s worth, this is probably pretty close to what I’d trot out onto the field as Reds manager, with the obvious exception of Eugenio Suarez getting an off-day. In his stead, Scooter Gennett will try to add to his rapidly growing Cincinnati urban legend status, and maybe hit a few homers for his birthday. The Zack Cozart hitting second experiment continues, as it should, in my opinion. Tucker Barnhart gets his second straight start at Catcher as we try to figure out just how Bryan Price will balance having three catchers on his roster. This could be related to Amir Garrett being on the mound, or it could just be getting Devin an extra day of rest after travelling back to the Queen City.

The Pirates will roll out a lineup that looks a little differently than we’re used to seeing, mostly due to the absence of Starling Marte. Pittsburgh has been pretty unlucky to start the 2017 campaign from a roster standpoint – some of the role players, including guys like Francisco Cervelli, David Freese, and Antonio Bastardo have been banged up, while Marte and fellow starter Jung Ho Kang are unavailable due to their suspensions. Because of this, the Pirates have been making waves with some of their recent roster moves, including promoting the first African-born player in Major League history in Gift Ngoepe. Ngoepe wasn’t a highly touted prospect by any means, but it’s still a monumental occasion for Major League Baseball. We’ll see if we’ll get a glimpse of Ngoepe in Cincinnati this week.

News and Notes

Final Thoughts

The NL Central has been fairly competitive so far this year, with all five teams hovering right around a .500 winning percentage. I think it’s clear that the Cubs will probably finish the year well above that mark, but I don’t think we know just yet which of these clubs will finish at the bottom. The Cardinals and Pirates look to have lost a step in 2017, while the Brewers and Reds have gotten off to surprising starts. It’s a long season, and one good or bad week from any of these teams could re-set the balance into one we might have been able to predict in the preseason. This series, in particular, can be a good measuring stick for just how different these two teams might be this season. It’ll be interesting to see how the Pirates respond to being in the lower half of the table for the first time in a few seasons.

Quick programming note: I’ll be back with the Seventh Inning Stretch starting in between the top and the bottom of the seventh inning in the series finale on Thursday. Be sure to send in questions, and I’ll try to get to them on the air. And, as always, Go Reds!

Jordan has been a lifelong Reds fan, attending games since before he can remember. When he’s not watching, listening to, or writing about the Reds, he’s designing websites, photographing weddings, and hanging out with his friends and family.

Join the conversation! 93 Comments

  1. I love the wRC+ stat used in the lineups, and xFIP next to pitchers!!! Good stuff. I had a chance to go to a college baseball game on the weekend. The scoreboard only allowed for one stat to be shown. Of course, it was AVG. I envision a day when wRC+ will be the number one go to stat.

    • Thanks for the kind words! They’re my favorite stats, for sure. They aren’t perfect – no one statistics is – but I think it’s a good measure of how the guys have been playing and how they might be expected to play in the future.

  2. I really don’t think the Cubs are going to run away with the division this year. Their starting pitching isn’t doing that great and their lineup is hitting just ok

    • I hope you’re right, but I don’t think you are. Cubs are gonna Cub, for better or worse.

  3. Scooter needs to be at second while Peraza sets for a game or two to work on some things with the hitting coach.

  4. Scooter 8-17 vs. Cole. So he gets the start. I roll my eyes. I think Scooter should be taking time away from Peraza. But not because he is 8-17 vs. Cole.

  5. Cutch….another Red killer

  6. Garrett needs to think ahead & not let McCutcheon beat them tonite! Polanco doesn’t hit lefties well behind him and there were 2 outs!

  7. Where do the Reds rank attendance wise through first month? I wold think bottom 5 in MLB.

  8. Why bat Cozart second when he won’t even be a Red in a few months? Youth should be in at 2 so they get more at bats and we get to see what they can do

  9. Cozart not liking the 2 hole so far

    • I figured by the time Price got around to moving him up he would cool off.

  10. billy safe…challenge

  11. I was thinking the same thing.

  12. I like duvall BUT. He will never hit above 250. He looks at strikes right down the middle in every single at bat. Usually 2. but always the first. Every pitcher knows it and knows he will have him down in the count.

  13. In George Grande’s eyes is there one single player or x player, that is not a great team mate????

    • He’s still light years better than THOM!!

    • Every player who makes an out is battling a sore shoulder, sore knee maybe elbow for apitcher. Nobody who is healthy ever made an out. LOL

  14. GABP showed exit velocity on the scoreboard in real time. Just noticed it on last hitter. Don know if they’re doing it for every hitter.

    • With Reds pitchers having the 4th lowest hard hit rate against as you posted earlier. Shouldn’t this mean much much better things are on the way for the staff?
      I know the walks with have to go way down first. But still it is nice to see they aren’t getting a lot of rockets hit off them as a whole staff.

      • All of the peripherals think the Reds are in for a huge improvement as far as pitching goes. Reds currently sport a 4.63 ERA and 4.42 Fielding Independent Pitching, which is bottom five in the league. Their Expected Fielding Independent Pitching (xFIP) of 3.91, however, would place them in the top 10 of all pitching staffs. Basically, they’re getting a little unlucky with home runs. Those numbers should die down, and the Reds pitching should get a little better relatively soon.

  15. Nice atbat from Tucker but typical Reds line so far with 3 hits in 2 innings and nothing to show for it.

    • IMO Tucker gives the best ABs on the team game in game out, outside of Votto of course.

  16. Just haven’t shown it so far to hit with runners on base,Big problem that needs to be fixed but you have to be patient because its the pitcher that is in trouble.We are not patient for the most part as a team.

  17. Cole does have something to do with it tonight….Awesome change up working

    • He’s looking like a dominant #1. Cozart and duvall looked really uncomfortable in the box.

  18. Over/under on the number of “looped” calls by Grande tonight. 2 so far.

  19. Cole is good but we have owned him so lets get some runs.

  20. Amir Garret competes. I saw him strike out 12 in person. This guy wants the ball 30x and 200 innings a year. Yes..He will have bad outings….But he’s looking very much like a guy who is not giving away his rotation slot.

    • He’s up to 94 mph tonite as well! I don’t see him as an ace but maybe a #2 while Disco is the #3.

      • Yup….He and schebler are pushing forward…Fun to see. I can see him in the rotation for years to come.

  21. Sure be nice to get this kid some runs.As OLD SCHOOL said he competes and he will have some bad outings but learning to pitch at the big league level and having some success while doing it can’t be measured as to how valuable it is.Just throw strikes young man.

  22. Second request,Can we get this kid some runs?He has already lost a 2-1 game and he has bounced back from getting hammered his last time out.We owe him.Go Reds.

  23. Peraza might not be able to draw a walk…But he’s got a nice sand wedge at 90 yards

  24. Yep.Followed by a pop up on the second pitch by Tucker and Garrett bunts into a double play on the next pitch.A 4 pitch inning for Cole and we got a hit only the Reds could do that.

  25. Dusty ball there….bunting Peraza when he should just steal it. Bunt doesn’t work anyway! Stubbs used to bat 8th and Dusty would do the same thing every time!

  26. Exactly what I was thinking.I thought Tucker maytake some pitches to give him a shot.I guess he doesn’t run now that he hits seventh or maybe Tucker forgot he could run.Just another one of those head scratchers.

    • Attempting the wrong play even if you could execute it which we can’t….lol. I thought Dick Williams was a numbers guy….how is a bunt supposed to work when the corners are 30 ft away?

  27. Jose peraza hit the ball with authority last year..didnt walk….But got on base hitting.. He had several monster home runs and the ball.jumped off his bat…Not the same hitter.
    Hopefully another 2 weeks he finds his groove…But his first 100 at bats show why 2 organizations traded him in 12 months.

    • Ugh. I hate when people label getting traded twice as a bad thing. Sure, two teams were willing to part with him, but two teams also really wanted him. He literally just turned 23 not even a week ago. Give the guy a chance.

  28. He hit a monster homer in San Diego and the smoked a bunch of balls.Can’t imagine he just turned into a slap hitter overnight.He is only 23 so he didn’t lose it that quickly.

  29. I’m afraid Zack is back to Zack:( He’s getting under everything again?

  30. Ahead 2-0 he needs to look to drive the ball.

  31. Duvall and 3 run Homers. A good combo. I almost feel bad for Gerrit Cole. These Reds just won’t cut him any slack.

  32. Duvall !!!!!!!!!!!!!! 3-2 good guys.

  33. Duvall with a 3 run homer.We will take it.

  34. The stat nerds on here want Winker (and have for a year now) over Duvall because of obp. Well I’ll take his 1-4 with the 1 being equally 3 runs!!

    • equalling 3 runs

      • This is a great baseball game. Reds Young gun competing his tail off…Pirates Ace throwing 97-98… Reds find a way with big inning to take the lead on a 3 run bomb.
        This titanic struggle is a microcosm of this year. Can they push forward and win?

  35. Iggy went 2 yesterday and is prob unavailable. The end could get interesting tonite?

  36. Wow…Storen looked so good all year…hung one right there and Harrison didn’t miss it

  37. Well atleast I picked Harrison for the Beat the Streak contest….trying to get to 10 tonite. I had to pull Suarez….think he was like 3 for 7 vs Cole so not sure why they sat him tonite?

  38. It is time for the Reds to take charge. Top f the lineup.

  39. Garrett with 7 outstanding innings.He won’t get the win but he got it done.

  40. Cozart has looked terrible tonight.

  41. Cozart has not had a hit since he has moved to the #2 spot in the order. He is 0 for 12. He is a better hitter at the #7 spot.

    • I don’t know if its that? He’s just a .250 hitter basically and he’s been playing too long to suddenly change now! He might be a .275 hitter since he’s not lifting the ball as much but he’s only got 1 hr?

  42. This is a great baseball game. Suarez back in.

  43. It would be a shame to burn bullpen in extra innings….let’s get a run

  44. Schebler ordered to try and sac bunt. Sigh

  45. He was hot for most of the month and was due to come back down,Problem I have is know what you have with Votto,Cozart and maybe Mesoraco.Give Cozart another game or two and try somebody else.Its not like these guys have earned a permanent spot in the order.Move them around.

    • I agree! I would go with Suarez in the 2 hole and bat Peraza 9th. Mesoraco/Cozart 6th & 7th when Devin plays and Cozart/Barnhart when Tucker plays. Scooter can also sub Cozart & Peraza and bat 2nd!

  46. Rivero is tough…trying to bunt with Scheb not happening

  47. How is the crowd doing the “woo” still a thing? And how can we end it. Move on folks, it was fun for a minute.

  48. Nats traded Rivera and others for Melancon who said good by to the Nats and is now in SF. Dumb move by Nats. Rivero would look great in the Nats bullpen this year.

  49. This game just continues to get better and weave it’s way into the 2017 story. Cody reed or Robert Stephenson need to enter stage right.

  50. Could we please ban our play-by-play guys from saying the word “bunt” unless it is a pitcher hitting? This is ridiculous.

  51. Now steal a base and don’t wait long….if u get thrown out then Mesoraco can still end it with a HR!

  52. If Rob Manfred wants to be good to the game of baseball, he will push for a rule that allows teams 5 bunts a season. Use them as you will, and when you’re done, your done.

    • How bout a rule that a manager that sends up his hot lefty slugger to bunt off a 100 mph throwing lefty is not brought back? Just when I think Price has learned a few things then he reminds me that he hasn’t!

  53. I can’t imagine that the comment regarding Alcantara scoring easily on a basehit being true.

  54. Best win of the year. Go reds. Congrats Billy.

    • I agree….yesterday was nice but also frustrating because we should’ve scored 8+ runs! They took advantage tonite of a few mistakes like a solid team does!!

  55. YESSSSS!!!! Way to go Billy boy!!!!

  56. Nice. Way to pick up the win after the best starting pitching since week one. Good game.

  57. And that concludes the lesson for today … back to .500, aren’t we?

  58. 2 hits and reached on an error…ruled an error despite the bad hop….3 SB’s….
    More of that Billy!.

    They only burned 2 relievers tonight.
    Quality win!!!

  59. I have no idea what Hamilton said in the post-game interview, but I enjoyed listening to it.

  60. Interesting thing too is looking at the Cubs pitching! They picked up Brett Anderson but he rocked tonite and is now at a 6.23 era. Lackey is near the end and Arrieta’s velocity is down to 92-93 at best! He’s been getting hit and Hendricks has been getting hit. Lester isn’t young either and tops out at 93 or so. I guess they could buy a new pitching staff but I like our current arms for the next few years then theirs!

  61. Winning one run games is a good omen for the future.

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About Jordan Barhorst

Jordan has been a lifelong Reds fan, attending games since before he can remember. When he's not watching, listening to, or writing about the Reds, he's designing websites, photographing weddings, and hanging out with his friends and family.

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