Tonight in game 2 of 3 versus the Blue Jays in Toronto, the Reds get to test the time worn cliche that one of the best things about professional baseball is that a team doesn’t have to wait long for their chance to set things right after a terrible performance. The  Reds at 24-26 through 50 games will be trying to get back to one game under .500 for the third time on this road trip. The surging Jays, 24-27 and winners of 7 of their last 10 games, will be looking to continue their recovery from a disastrous start to the 2017 season.

Starting Pitchers

Asher Wojciechowski, who says it is OK to just call him Wojo, gets the start for the Reds. He becomes the tenth starting pitcher for the Reds this season.  This will be Wojciechowski’s  fourth MLB starting assignment but his first since April of 2015 with the Astros.  As irony would have it, the righthander was originally a property of the Blue Jays as the #41 overall pick (first round sandwich pick) in the 2010 draft. He went to the Astro’s in the July 2012 trade which brought JA Happ, tonight’s Toronto starter, to the Jays. Following an abbreviated MLB stint in 2015, Wojciechowski bounced through the minor league systems of the Astros, Marlins, and Diamondbacks. After being released by Diamondbacks at the end of 2017 spring training, Wojciechowski caught on with the Reds organization to provide depth at AAA; and now, here he is in the Reds rotation, at least for one game.

Veteran lefthander JA Happ makes the start for the Blue Jays. Tonight marks Happ’s return from a stint on the DL due to elbow issues. He hasn’t pitched for the Blue Jays since April 21 but did make a rehab start  with the Jays A+ minor league team last week. In the three MLB starts Happ made this season before going on the DL, his ERA was half a  run higher than his career ERA but his FIP and xFIP were both better than his career norms. In 16 MLB innings this season, he has yet to allow a walk but his given up 4 home runs. He has also struck out batters at a rate of more than 1 an inning this season. If he pitches true to this form tonight, the Reds will have to put the ball in play; but also may be able to put some over the fences.

Tonight is one of the situations where the numbers may not tell us a lot. Here’s what I chose to do with them:

PITCHER FIP HR/9 BB/9 K/9
Asher Wojciechowski 2017 AAA 2.86 0.70 2.10 4.83
J.A. Happ MLB 2017 3.78 2.25 0.00 11.25

Bullpens

With Monday’s game turning into a rout early on, no front line relievers were used by either manager.

Lineups

REDS

SP: Asher Wojciechowski

BLUEJAYS

SP: J.A. Happ

1. Billy Hamilton (CF)
2. Zack Cozart (SS)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Adam Duvall (DH)
5. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
6. Scott Schebler (RF)
7. Devin Mesoraco (C)
8. Patrick Kivlehan (LF)
9. Jose Peraza (2B)
1. Kevin Pillar (CF)
2. Josh Donaldson (3B)
3. Jose Bautista (RF)
4. Kendrys Morales (DH)
5. Justin Smoak (1B)
6. Russell Martin (C)
7. Troy Tulowitzki (SS)
8. Devon Travis (2B)
9. Ezequiel Carrera (LF)

The Reds are loading up with their best RH batting lineup to face Happ. Mesoraco gets consecutive starts. Duvall moves to DH to get Kivlehan into the action. Let’s hope Happ is not a short timer followed by a parade of RH pitchers.

Adam Duvall is in the midst of one of his hot streaks. Over his last five games, his slash line is .400/.400/1.150. That makes for an OPS of 1.550 and ISO of .750. The guy may have issues with above average pitching (what hitters not named Votto don’t); but he knows what to do when he sees average and below average pitching.

Seemingly everybody on the Jays was hot even before they saw Reds pitching on Monday. But How about this for commentary on Monday’s Blue Jays offensive outburst.

Final Thoughts

The hot topic in most Reds circles today seems to be what is going on with Robert Stephenson and how the Reds should proceed with him the rest of the season.

UPDATE

For the record, count me among those who think Stephenson needs to be pitching regularly somewhere as a starter.  The way events have unfolded to now this season, that “somewhere” pretty much has to be Louisville to allow him to get stretched out. However if he goes to AAA and gets on a roll, then waste no time getting him back with the Reds in the starting rotation. Now back to your regularly scheduled preview…….

Both starting pitchers come into tonight’s game as question marks, Happ due to injury and Wojciechowski because he has never had success at the MLB level. Both will be facing a big time offense. It seems like the makings of a last man standing cage match. So, now watch one of the starting pitchers go out put together a really strong outing. Hopefully it will be the Reds offense turn to have a “pratique de battage” game  for a change.

Stats and data from Fangraphs.com and Baseball-Reference.com

146 Responses

  1. WVRedlegs

    Stephenson going to AA Pensacola would be the way to go. He needs to earn his way back.

    • Jim Walker

      Stephenson has been sent back to AAA.. To me the issue with sending him back to AA would have been that it is likely he could have dominated simply with his stuff. That was part of the problem at AAA last season according to some folks. Now that he has eaten some serious humble pie, maybe he will make sure to do his work and not just get by on stuff….

      • Old-school

        Cody Reed and Stephenson have major work to do…But…Brian Price was steadfast in his claim that young starting pitchers can and should pitch out of the bullpen. I know of no other organizations who take their franchise top 100 picks( former top 100) and bury them in the bullpen as a developmental tool.

      • Jim Walker

        Don Gullett and Mario Soto both did some MLB bullpen time early on but they were actually used regularly and in what we would call today leverage situations.

      • Jack

        Didn’t the Cardinals use to do that?

      • Playtowin

        This is not a Bryan Price problem. The Cardinals have had pitchers earn starting jobs for years. Stephenson and Reed stinks. They need to EARN a spot on an MLB roster. Both have not.

    • Big56dog

      are you saying Stephenson has not earned his way to being a AAA pitcher??? not sure I get your point to go to AA, other them show him we mean business and you are nothing but a bust in our eyes. Bad idea to make a young starter more of head case than he already is perceived to be if that is your point.

      • Playtowin

        Yes he has not earned his way. His minor league stats are mediocre. His MLB stats are mediocre. He does not deserve to be in MLB.

    • Jim Walker

      The way things have been going for Stephenson the last year or so, watch him have some issue getting back into US 😉

    • Playtowin

      “Earning” is way back is important.

  2. Big56dog

    My impression is Kivelhan is a terrible OFer, so why is Duvall the DH?

    • Big56dog

      no matter what, I would think Mesoroco should DH when possible, save the wear and tear, he absolutely should DH tomorrow, right?

      • msanmoore

        Slight problem with that is Turner wouldn’t be available as a back-up catcher. I know you can bring a DH into the game as a position player, but if I recall that kind of screws things up a bit.

      • Jim Walker

        I wondered about this one too. Without checking, I’m going to guess that Barnhart’s splits batting RH are markedly worse than what they think Meso will do versus LHP

      • Big56dog

        that is the impression I get, but why start Mes last night?, not that big a of a deal but still cannot believe he was batting 8th a lot of the season and can sense they would not start him tomorrow as DH when there is no reason not to, other than the stupid fear Barnhart might get hurt and you have to have a pitcher bat in his spot

      • Playtowin

        Why? Mesoraco can not hit. Have you noticed?

    • Jim Walker

      The old “manager’s decision”? I was a little surprised too that Kivlehan wasn’t the DH with Duvall in LF. Mabw AD is lightly dinged but his bat is too hot to sit him out?

      • msanmoore

        Possibly … and we can always trot Scooter or AA out there to play LF if necessary and that certainly wouldn’t be a downgrade from PK.

      • I-71_Exile

        I think the Reds are on record for wanting to manage Duvall’s workload due to his diabetes. DH fits the bill in a small way.

    • Playtowin

      Kivelhan made a nice catch. Duvall getting a fielding break is a good thing. Reds will not miss his bat with the DH.

  3. msanmoore

    Mystery of the night (for me at least) … will Billy look like he has so often from the right side of the plate?

  4. Big56dog

    Quick poll before first pitch- who feels Wojo will last longer (ie more innings pitched as a Red) than Adleman?

  5. Sliotar

    This game is already is a disappointment…Getty Lee of the band Rush is not sitting behind home plate, keeping a scorecard.

  6. magi210

    This is a nice start. Back to back dingers.

  7. VaRedsFan

    Splendid diving catch by Schebler

  8. Sliotar

    All the national broadcasters love to hype that Kyle Schwarber plays baseball with a football player’s mentality. Same applies to Schebler. Great effort there.

    • msanmoore

      Personally not convinced Schwarber will have the longevity necessary to make it. Can’t put my finger on it, but there’s just “something”.

  9. Indy Red Man

    So far so good…Price’s ingenious strategy of using Stephenson so they’d round the bases like 3rd graders playing kickball which would leave them tired and over confident!!

  10. msanmoore

    Well that’s already a WAY better start than yesterday. Only 8 more innings to go …

  11. VaRedsFan

    Votto flashing the leather. A find that he is better going to his left

  12. VaRedsFan

    Tulo’s backhand snag saves 2 runs. Good play.

    • Indy Red Man

      Yep….that ball was smashed! I think we’ll get enough runs tonite if the pitching holds up?

    • VaRedsFan

      And that one rattled the restaurant by Bautista

  13. Indy Red Man

    Bob Steve time!! My God….we just put it on a tee for people???

    • Jack

      Wojo made it to the 4th without allowing a run. Now he is making up for it.

    • VaRedsFan

      Donaldson’s was actually up and in. But Bautista’s was indeed a meatball

  14. magi210

    We may need that new anti missile defense system to get to those bombs.

  15. Indy Red Man

    Finnegan is another one that loves the high fastball! We need to move away from that pitch as an organization with GABP in mind. Sinkers and low stuff at the hollow of the knee!

  16. Indy Red Man

    Cmon? This pitching staff is ridiculous. These guys just groove everything?

    • Jack

      They are just waiting for that fastball

  17. Jack

    Fastballs right down the middle on those 3 homers.

    • Indy Red Man

      He jammed Pillar with a fastball to leadoff their 1st inning and I thought tonite would be different but all 3 were up above the belt where they can extend their arms! Nothing on the outside corner or at the knees? He’s not going to make it either. Its too bad they had to deal Straily because he didn’t throw as hard as any of these guys but he can get people off stride and get outs!

  18. VaRedsFan

    3rd dong of the inning.
    Happ will no doubt settle in and shut us down now

  19. VaRedsFan

    After a 2nd HBP and 3 HRs, the pitching coach finally makes an appearance.

      • J

        (You’ll just have to take my word for it that I hadn’t seen your comment before posting mine.)

      • Jack

        There is no jinx with this pitching staff. They just suck.

  20. J

    3 HRs and 2 HBP later, it’s finally time to have a chat with the rookie pitcher. This coaching staff seems to take nothing seriously until it’s too late.

  21. VaRedsFan

    The Reds just took over the MLB lead in HRs allowed. So there’s that

  22. VaRedsFan

    Wojo commanded the breaking pitch….didn’t use it enough I guess.
    Martin hit a changeup (the 3rd of 3 straight)

  23. VaRedsFan

    2nd of the night for Cozart. We’ll have to out slug them I guess

  24. vegastypo

    Good God, and I wanted to get rid of Cozart for whatever we could get for him two months ago. Amazing.

    • Indy Red Man

      Me too….we were wrong! Whatever track the “rebuild” is on…it falls seriously behind if we deal him now! Even if he’s now a .285 hitter when the smoke clears…he’s now drawing walks and has 20 HR power and always dependable defense!

      • Old-school

        Great question Indy…is he worth 4 years and $65 million through his age 37 season????….with this pitching staff…why would you u pay him $30 million for 2018 and 2019 to win 82 games when we don’t have 5 starters to win 93 games?

  25. Indy Red Man

    Cozart cuts the lead to 1! The pen is rested….we need to ride Lorenzen for a few innings and then Peralta. Whatever happened to Lorenzen coming into the game in the 3rd inning in Pittsburgh? It seems like the random garbage starter has to give up 5 or 6 before he gets pulled now?

  26. VaRedsFan

    New season of House of Cards was released on Netflix today. It’s tempting but I’ll stick around here a while longer.

  27. Playtowin

    The problem is pitching which will take a few years to fix. In the mean time let’s enjoy the offense and Cozart who will rep the Reds in the All Star game when Maddon picks him.

  28. Playtowin

    With Lorenzen in game Reds have a chance to hold them and come back.

  29. Indy Red Man

    My boy ML with the wipeout slider!! All they have to do is to MAKE HIM A STARTER and they have Zack Greinke lite for the next 7 years!

    • Jack

      They will go through 7 or 8 more hacks before they think about giving him a try.

  30. Old-school

    Austin Ross promoted AAA??? 7 IP 2 runs 0 k.
    Tyler Mahle starting in AA.

    • Indy Red Man

      Interesting! Its about time for Ross!! 59 ip and ZERO Hrs at Pensacola. I don’t care what level a guy is pitching at….thats keeping the ball down! He just has 1 K tonite so I’m guessing he’s not a hard thrower but throws strikes and keeps the ball down. He should replace Bonilla immediately…he was horrendous yesterday!

      • Old-school

        Mahle 5 k thru 4 in Pensacola…O runs…his numbers are ridiculous and he is a supreme command and control guy.

        Tyler Mahle is the next great reds hope.

      • Indy Red Man

        I read somewhere that his last pitch in his perfect game was clocked at 99 so he’s not just a control guy! You’re right…he is the next great hope! Garrett will never be an elite guy at 91 mph. Reed/Stephenson look like busts at this point. That leaves Mahle and Romano.

      • Old-school

        Perhaps the reds are building Lorenzen’s innings in 2017 to start in 2018… That would fix a ton…he is so far beyond the most mature pitcher the reds have it’s not funny…..then Garrett and Romano and Mahle could fill in behind finnegan.disco and whatever Homer has left.

  31. james garrett

    What happened to the offense?Only 6 hits last night and only 4 through 6 innings tonight.That won’t get it done at all

  32. james garrett

    Lorenzen can’t throw strikes.He dominates one inning and now he isn’t even close with anything

    • Indy Red Man

      He gets groundballs though! The 8th highest groundball % in baseball. If they keep Cozart then that equals a ton of double plays!

  33. james garrett

    Of course a double play and he is out of the inning

  34. VaRedsFan

    Tepera has 19 straight scoreless. Let’s end that here.

  35. Tom Diesman

    Is the Peraza version of the Hamilrun a Perunza?

  36. james garrett

    Works for me.Now get some more.

  37. vegastypo

    What’s the world coming to when a pitcher pitches around Cozart to get to Votto??

  38. vegastypo

    I’ve railed about that before. Why try to steal third, especially with Votto at the plate. Stupid baseball.

    • Indy Red Man

      Horrible!! Got a bad jump and why risk it with your best hitter at the plate? We had them in a bind….lets see if Joey and Duvall can pick Billy up?

  39. VaRedsFan

    Wasn’t fond of attempting to steal 3rd. If Votto failed, then try it with 1 out.

  40. Indy Red Man

    Mr. RBI at the plate! I think Duvall punishes them here!!

  41. james garrett

    Baseball IQ is missing in a big time way on this team.Just dumb even if he makes it.

  42. VaRedsFan

    Duval robbed for the 2nd time tonight. 1st was on the shift up the middle in the 1st

    • Indy Red Man

      Thats a 2 rbi triple if he misses that ball. Suarez is bothering me a little bit? His swing seems really long right now! Its easy to tell when he’s not going that well because he rolls over on 5-3 ground balls and isn’t getting hits the other way!

  43. Tom Mitsoff

    I hope someone is up in the bullpen behind Lorenzen … he’s looked good, but he’s over 40 pitches.

  44. VaRedsFan

    Blake Wood warming. Would rather see Peralta.

    • Old-school

      Building innings as a starter for 2018!!!! That’s a productive year in 2017.

    • Indy Red Man

      If he can go 3 then he could go 5 and work himself into the rotation! I don’t understand Price and the Reds FO? They have Hernandez throwing 100 mph smoke at 25 yrs old to AA kids? He should replace Lorenzen in the pen. Ross threw 8ip 2er in his first AAA start tonite….100x better then Bonilla? Neither Rookie or Bonilla earned a spot in the rotation…just random selections?

      • Indy Red Man

        1 earned in last 13.1….16 Ks and 7 walks I think? Lorenzen walked 3 tonite….control is a problem if they can hit your 3-1 2-1 pitch but I’d take my chances with Hernandez!

      • Jack

        Do you think they give Stephens a start?

      • Tom Mitsoff

        Who knows? Right now, Adleman and Feldman are the only two starters who you go into the game feeling have at least a 50-50 chance to keep the team close.

      • Chuck Schick

        The issues regarding the 40 man roster have been discussed/explained no fewer than 28,000 times. With Bailey, Disco and Finnigan coming back at some point you can’t just easily give up on guys and/or call up every guy who pitched 4 solid innings last week in the Sally League without creating issues with the 40 man roster.

        This isn’t fantasy baseball…it’s actually real baseball

      • Indy Red Man

        Yeah they should make big plans for all the innings Homer will compile!!

  45. VaRedsFan

    Mez is really struggling at the plate

  46. Indy Red Man

    I don’t want the on base % boys on here to have a heart attack or put a contract out on me but I don’t see where Winker is supposed to play? Granted the rebuild is far from over but I would deal Winker/Stephenson for Blake Snell from Tampa yesterday!

    • BigRedMike

      Trade a top 100 prospect, position player, for a pitcher that has never thrown more than 99 innings in a season at any level. One that averages over 5 BB/9?

  47. VaRedsFan

    Another rocket finds a Blue Jay glove

  48. Indy Red Man

    We’d be up 5-4 already if Billy doesn’t get a brain cramp. He needs a hit here!!

  49. Indy Red Man

    Wood>Peralta…..only in Price’s mind.

  50. VaRedsFan

    Wood hung a slider. he’s lucky that was just a single

  51. Indy Red Man

    Price strikes again! Does Morales hit right handed too? Don’t lose with less then your best? Its not rocket science.

  52. VaRedsFan

    2 Lefties coming up, but don’t bring in a lefty

      • Indy Red Man

        Lower ops vs lefties….this year and career but hey I’m not managing. Price is like the guy that interviews well…sounds good and then you hire him and he can’t sell s@#*#* and is at the bottom of the sales board

      • VaRedsFan

        Nope. The whole world knew it…minus Price

  53. TR

    Zero in 7th and 8th innings, but Wood gets it done. Game over.

  54. Old-school

    Let 2017 sort out “Woody,”
    He’s a price favorite.

    Hooverohlenwoodendiazeldorf.

      • VaRedsFan

        nevermind….you got them all…well done

    • Chuck Schick

      Price may love Wood, he may hate him. I don’t think Price was particularly enamored with Hoover or Diaz but he’s the manager of a rebuilding team and he isn’t being paid to win. His job is to see who can actually pitch and some nights ( like tonight) are going to suck

      • J

        So has it already been established that Peralta is a great setup man? No more need to test that theory?

      • RedAlert

        Wood has been horrible , not just tonight

      • Indy Red Man

        Wood is almost 32…not part of the future so that defeats that narrative.

      • Old-school

        Price likes Wood ….read his quotes….he said last week after wood pitched 1 inning he was happy for “Woody” since he struggled earlier……..said nothing about Stephenson who pitched 1 2/3 scoreless same game.

        Price has his favorites.
        No one can blame anyone for the injuries to homer.disco.finnegan….but price is the architect for Reed and Stephenson being banished to the bullpen at ST while Rookie Davis and Romano and Wojo and Adleman and Arroyo have been escorted ahead….he’s the proponent who says young starters can develop in the bullpen….Reed and Stephenson have failed miserably…not to mention the cluster with Garrett….their non-development is the long term hiccup for the season….doesn’t mean either aren’t simply the latest in a long line if failed prospects….but Brian Price isn’t developing prospects….he also isn’t developing 40 year olds or wojos or bonillas….

        The Reds are good at getting guys to AAA…..then a wall .

      • Da Bear

        Price’s job is to maximize the output of his resources. He’s done a horrible job of managing Stephenson and Reed, and from this year with Wood & Arroyo and previous years with Hoover especially, has displayed a lack of judgment. He’s done some good but the bad far outweighs the good. Time to kick him to the roadside…

  55. J

    Price is obviously saving Peralta for a 9th inning tie game. He’s always thinking ahead like that. The man really knows his stuff.

  56. VaRedsFan

    Just an observation….but the difference between Mez and Martin catching is light years apart. Mez stabs at every close pitch and hardly ever gets the borderline strike.

  57. Indy Red Man

    Totally gave this one away tonite. Billy runs them out of a run so we don’t get to Peralta and Iggy with the lead. Price doesn’t help by playing like he has a betting slip on the Blue Jays. Peralta is better then Wood….who doesn’t know that? Wood spent his entire 20s pitching somewhere other then the big leagues….that should tell you something?

  58. james garrett

    We tried to steal 3rd in the 7th with our best guy up and no outs and he gets thrown out.We get a lead off double in the 8th and don’t score.We bring in Wood and he gives it up.I guess we lose this one as a team.

  59. J

    Also, if you’re actually trying to win the game, you pinch hit for Mesoraco in that situation. He doesn’t hit the ball to right field very often, he’d looked pretty bad in this game, and he’s facing a right-handed sidewinder. Barnhart gives the team a better chance to score in that situation. I understand some people think everything happening on the field is all part of some master long-term plan, but I think the more obvious explanation is that Price is very bad at baseball strategy.

    • Indy Red Man

      Good point….guy LOVES the bunt but then when it could really help put them in position to take the lead late then he never considers it? Gennett lined out but the bunt did make sense and obviously brings the infield in….maybe that ball shoots by their 1B?

  60. james garrett

    CHUCK is right Price isn’t paid to win.His job is just to see if some guys can pitch but only the old guys.You know the guys that have a full baseball card that an 8 year old can read and say this guy is good or in Wood’s case this guy is not good.Of course if we don’t do the dumb thing in the 7th and waste a lead off double in the 8th Wood isn’t even in the game.Losing while your best two relievers watch is just plain dumb but I will give Price a pass tonight.