With the losing streak reaching five games, the Reds will be entering today’s matinee series finale with some extra motivation to win. The team hasn’t been completely blown away in either of the two games in this Cubs series, but have gained two L’s regardless. The Cubs, meanwhile have made ground against the second place Cardinals and the first place Milwaukee Brewers (!) in an attempt to regain the throne of the NL Central. 

Starting Pitchers

Amir Garrett 36.0 4.25 4.60 18.9% 9.5%
Jon Lester 47.0 3.45 3.62 24.6% 10.1%

Making his return to the big league rotation today is Amir Garrett. The Reds recalled the rookie lefty today from AAA, and in return sent Barrett Astin back down I-71 to Louisville. Garrett was sent down to AAA Louisville a few weeks ago, the front office citing an attempt to limit his innings over the course of the long season. While this is probably a legitimate reason for Garrett to be sent to Louisville, it also obviously had some positive (for the team) service time implications as well. Garrett pitched two innings in AAA, and struck out every single batter he faced. He’ll look to return to his solid rookie campaign with the Reds, as he’ll face the Cubs for the first time this season.

Game 3 for the Cubs will be in the hands of perhaps their best pitcher in 2017, Jon Lester. Lester has been pretty good so far in 2017, with two 5ER games inflating his numbers a bit. One of those 5ER games was his last outing against the Reds on April 21, a game the Cubs ultimately won 6-5 in 11 innings after a rare Michael Lorenzen bullpen blowup. The Redlegs will look to have similar success against Lester today, although as it’s been proven in the first two games of the series, 5 runs might not be enough to win against the defending champs.

The lineups

Reds Cubs
CF Billy Hamilton (71 wRC+) RF Ben Zobrist (95 wRC+)
SS Zack Cozart (169 wRC+) 3B Kris Bryant (148 wRC+)
1B Joey Votto (152 wRC+) 1B Anthony Rizzo (100 wRC+)
LF Adam Duvall (111 wRC+) LF Ian Happ (228 wRC+)
3B Eugenio Suarez (128 wRC+) C Wilson Contreras (87 wRC+)
RF Scott Schebler (114 wRC+) SS Addison Russell (70 wRC+)
2B Jose Peraza (56 wRC+) 2B Javier Baez (70 wRC+)
C Tucker Barnhart (77 wRC+) P Jon Lester (3.62 xFIP)
P Amir Garrett (4.60 xFIP) CF Albert Almora Jr. (93wRC+)

Cubs skipper Joe Maddon will switch things up once again, looking for the series sweep against the good guys. Ben Zobrist will lead things off tonight. He’s struggling to start the season, but is nearing league average across the board. Kyle Shwarber gets the night off.

The Reds will sent out the same starting 8 for the third straight night. The offense hasn’t been the problem so far this season, and they’ll look to keep producing at their top-10 level. Zack Cozart continues to swing a hot bat – will he ever cool off? Goat Watch 2017 looks to be more than just a funny story to tell. Someone get Joey Votto a goat guy.

News and Notes

Final Thoughts

Despite the two losses in this series, the Reds as a whole have continued to look pretty good on the field. The exception here remains the starting pitching, which has been the only element of the Reds that has been outside of the top 10 when compared to the rest of the major league. Unfortunately, starting pitching might be the most important element a team can have. It’d be very interesting to see how this team would have faired sans injury, but that’s the way the game works. Let’s hope the good guys can claim at least one game from Wrigley in this series.

About The Author

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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70 Responses

  1. bhrubin1

    Anybody notice how the Cubs keep putting players with mediocre OBP and no power, but +defense and baserunning in the nine hole? What a novel idea. If only the Reds had somebody like that.

    • Jordan Barhorst

      Thanks! Had replaced everything but the name from yesterday’s post. Gotta love day games!

    • Mike Adams

      Sure about that against the jekyll and hyde Reds? (starting two days in a row)?

  2. WVRedlegs

    With Lester pitching today, I hope BHam gets on base 4 times today. That should be very entertaining.

  3. kmartin

    I think this is the third straight game Barnhart has caught. Is Mesoraco hurt? If so, I somehow missed that.

    • Jordan Barhorst

      I saw ‘hamstring’ attached to his name a few days ago. I think Price mentioned he had Barnhart slated to catch all three games against the Cubs regardless, so it could be just giving Mesoraco some rest.

      • kmartin

        Thanks Jordan. I told myself at the beginning of the year to be happy if Mesoraco caught 100 games.

  4. Old-school

    Bats early start today…reed 9 K’s thru 7….3 walks..2 runs. Winker 3-5 double 3 rbi…hitting in the #3 hole. His slash line is going from good to great.

  5. spaulson50@gmail.com

    Did I miss something? No Mez for three straight games?

    • vegastypo

      From Mark Sheldon:

      CHICAGO — Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco remained bothered by a sore left hamstring, which kept him out for a third straight game on Thursday. The injury could soon have the club weighing a potential stint for him on the 10-day disabled list.

      “It’s still kind of lingering around here more than I had expected,” Mesoraco said. “I’ve been running the last couple of days and it’s 75-80 percent.”

  6. vegastypo

    I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but I think Hamilton has hit a few homers against Lester. Not that I want him trying to hit home runs.

  7. vegastypo

    And Peraza couldn’t be bothered to touch the bag. The flyball not being caught was bad enough, but they still had a force play.

  8. Darrin

    Better get rid of my peraza collection before it’s completely worthless

  9. vegastypo

    I don’t get it. Barnhart is setting up inside, so when Garrett hits his spot, he’s not throwing strikes.

  10. Broseph

    Reds starting pitching is in dire ways right now

  11. Indy Red Man

    So tired of this bs versus the Cubs. We can’t make routine plays and the pitchers keep walking people when they’re ahead in the count. Its ridiculous. We battled them in Cincy but this series has been over from the first pitch? I’m not hanging around all summer this year….just tell me when the “rebuild” is over….if any of us are still alive by that time?

  12. Broseph

    I think Mack Jenkins just needs to stop running out there in his Reds night gown. It’s just throwing off the starting pitchers focus. I’d like to see the stats when he comes out what the outcome is.

    Clearly Garrett was disturbed by his visit in hanging that breaking ball for the slam

  13. vegastypo

    A sun-lost pop-up and a subsequent flubbed force-out, then three walks, then Boom. Gonna be another short start. Who’s the next emergency reliever from Louisville?

  14. RedAlert

    if the ocean was a strike zone , none of these pitchers they are running out there could hit it – pathetic

  15. Broseph

    Is Dilson Herrera still hurt? Perazas glove has been nice and all lately, but these first pitch soft, 69mph non-hits are doing this team no favors. Put in Alcantara or anyone else but Peraza at this point. Heck, Id rather see Lorenzen in the lineup and manning second

      • Indy Red Man

        He had a line drive pop out of his glove last night for 2 runs. They just choke at every level vs the Cubs! Everyone except for Cozart & Votto and even Joey could’ve had that rocket by Schwarber last night in their normal 5 run inning vs the Reds.

      • Mike Adams

        Re: choking vs Cubs, we used to say the same thing about the Cardinals.
        I think Steve Mancuso had one of his better lines back then about playing them, something about “…the Reds wet the bed against the Cardinals…”

    • Keith

      Scooter is the 2B you’re looking for

      • Broseph

        Eh, I could live with Scooter for now. He doesn’t fit into long terms plans. But I agree that for now, he’d help the fans sanity vs watching Peraza hack at everything

  16. bhrubin1

    When we got rid of Brandon Phillips, I remember thinking: well, defense is going to suffer, power out of 2B is going to suffer, but at least we’ll get an improvement in plate discipline, right?

    Jose Peraza: Hold my beer.

    • Patrick Jeter

      Well, BP does have a higher O-Swing% than Peraza. Not really an upgrade… but as far as plate discipline goes, BP and Peraza are the same player.

  17. vegastypo

    Might as well put Mes on the DL, backdated if possible, and have an extra reliever for the Rockies and Indians. Let Turner have a few starts in there as well.

  18. james garrett

    Fourth game in a row its over by the second inning.I can live with this one though because Garrett is a young en.Maybe they need to have a pitcher’s only meeting and I don’t know go over the importance of throwing strikes.Carbon copy of last night’s game.They take and we swing.Lester just has to throw it close and he gets through 7 really easy.

  19. Patrick Jeter

    Just had time to check the game… wow… Garrett gave up a GS to JAVIER BAEZ on a 1-2 pitch? I could strike out Baez on a 1-2 pitch. He must have majorly missed his target, because the only acceptable target to JAVIER BAEZ on a 2-strike pitch is “the dirt.” Wow. Maybe it was the catcher’s fault.

    • Shchi Cossack

      A changeup thrown at the top of the zone on the inside third. There was only one possible outcome…

  20. james garrett

    Lester with a 10 pitch inning and you thought I was kidding about throwing it close.

  21. james garrett

    Patrick you are spot on about Baez.He may be the only guy the Cubs have that will swing at almost anything.He should play for us.

  22. Broseph

    I think an excellent thought to ponder is how would the Reds’ offense look against Reds pitching?

    I project Votto’s slash line to be something like .390/.620/.675

    • Broseph

      Probably .400+ on the average actually, making him the first player ever since Williams

  23. james garrett

    Our pitchers would not walk hardly anybody except Votto because we start swinging in the parking lot.We are down 6-0 and we swing at the first pitch.

  24. james garrett

    I think its safe to say our offense has just rolled over and played dead.

  25. Broseph

    Cubs getting the hometown strike zone this series

  26. vegastypo

    And Suarez playing defense like he has already surrendered, too. Nice team effort today.

  27. Old-school

    Freddie Freeman out 10 weeks.
    JV will be an All Star.

    • Broseph

      Doubt it. Zimmerman will be in, Goldschmidt and Thames. And don’t forget Cubs fans voting in the Rizzo, regardless if he stays at his current batting level.

      Stiff competition unless JV hits a nice hot streak soon to make the decision making easier

      • Old-school

        Goldschmidt is the only one with staying power. Votto is even with Thames already in WAR and will catch Zimmerman soon.
        Rizzo…and fan voting ….yikes.

  28. WVRedlegs

    Time to start some early shopping for a couple of experienced ML starting pitchers who are not in the twilight of their careers. Pitchers who can offer the Reds more than what they are getting now and will be around through 2020. The pitching is getting as bad as last year at this time.
    Apparently Reds GM Dick Williams was very incorrect in his assessment and the Reds have not reached rock bottom. That will come soon enough with the Reds usual June Swoon.
    The Reds have no one that can consistently throw strikes and keep runs off the board. No one. This is getting rather ridiculous.
    Going to need a college pitcher in the draft at #2.

  29. james garrett

    I thought the Reds weren’t ready to play in SF.I am sure they weren’t in Chicago.

    • WVRedlegs

      Wait until the Rockies come to town this weekend. More double digit scores given up by Reds pitching on the horizon.

  30. james garrett

    Guess what the guys that walked and reached on an error scored.Forty games in to the season and we are just going through the motions.Sad.

  31. TR

    After getting sweep in St. Louis, the Reds have revived the Cubs.

  32. RedAlert

    Out time to cut bait with Wood -he is really bad. Please try some other options. This guy is brutal .

  33. james garrett

    You are right about Wood I believe.Lots of younger guys to throw out there.

  34. Broseph

    Or to take anything away from Lester and the difficulty of hitting at the MLB level, but his stuff hasn’t been as nasty as it can be. Yet there have been way too many strikeouts on breaking balls in the dirt by Hamilton, Suarez, Schebler etc. not to mention weakly hit balls that I wouldn’t use a 9 iron on.

    Pro tip Reds team. He’s not going to feed you a fastball in the zone with two strikes

  35. Mike Adams

    Stephenson looks as fidgety as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

  36. Darrin

    Now by the time you get to the major leagues you should be able to throw strikes, right?

  37. Playtowin

    “Make no mistake about it”, Thom Brennaman gives me a headache. He never stops preaching.

  38. Patrick Jeter

    Gameday just showed Votto striking out looking on a pitch that looked to be closer to the dirt than the strike zone. #RobotUmps please.

  39. Broseph

    So Rizzo gets a pass and Votto gets rung up on a pitch not as close. A Cubs’ life

  40. james garrett

    Young guys have to pitch to learn how to throw strikes in the big leagues.Three of our starters don’t have the velocity so they nibble and thus walk guys.Not sure who it was but one of the writers showed a chart on our staff in regards to walk% a few days ago and of course it was terrible.Young guys come up and struggle with their control and getting people out because big league hitters for the most part make a pitcher throw strikes.This series is a perfect example of what can happen.Iggy walked the bases loaded last night.Lorenzen has struggled throwing strikes so has Stephensen and so has Reed and so has almost everybody except Peralta.You have to pitch to get better.Let the young guys pitch.Pitching in the minors doesn’t mean squat.Reed dominated last year and looks like he went 7 strong today but it was in the minors.It would be great if everybody would learn how to throw strikes in the minors and that is carried over to the big leagues but its a different game on a much bigger stage with professional hitters and umpires.