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

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Twitter: @jn_walkerjr

Join the conversation! 146 Comments

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

    • 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….

      • 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.

        • 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.

        • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

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

    • “Earning” is way back is important.

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

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

      • 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.

      • 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

        • 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

      • Why? Mesoraco can not hit. Have you noticed?

    • 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?

      • 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 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.

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

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

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

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

  6. This is a nice start. Back to back dingers.

  7. What a catch by Schebler !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Splendid diving catch by Schebler

  9. 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.

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

  10. 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!!

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

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

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

  14. Wojo!! Maybe they found someone!

  15. That rocket hit the 5th deck.

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

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

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

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

  18. 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!

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

  20. Fastballs right down the middle on those 3 homers.

    • 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!

  21. 3rd dong of the inning.
    Happ will no doubt settle in and shut us down now

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

  23. 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.

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

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

  26. 2nd of the night for Cozart. We’ll have to out slug them I guess

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

    • 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!

      • 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?

  28. 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?

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

  30. 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.

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

  32. Lorenzen strikes out the side

  33. 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!

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

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

    • 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!

      • 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.

        • 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.

          • 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.

  35. 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

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

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

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

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

  39. Is the Peraza version of the Hamilrun a Perunza?

  40. Works for me.Now get some more.

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

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

    • Not good.

    • 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?

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

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

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

  46. Nice catch by the BJ LF.

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

    • 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!

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

  49. Blake Wood warming. Would rather see Peralta.

  50. Nice three innings!

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

    • 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?

      • Hernandez can’t throw strikes consistently yet.

        • 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!

      • Do you think they give Stephens a start?

        • 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.

      • 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

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

  51. Mez is really struggling at the plate

  52. 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!

    • 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?

  53. Another rocket finds a Blue Jay glove

  54. Now a dive by Tulo saves a run

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

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

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

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

  59. 2 Lefties coming up, but don’t bring in a lefty

    • Morales a switch hitter..

      • 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

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

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

    Hooverohlenwoodendiazeldorf.

    • you somehow left out Jumbo

    • 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

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

      • Wood has been horrible , not just tonight

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

      • 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 .

      • 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…

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

  63. To face the 8, 9, and 1 hitters.

  64. 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.

  65. 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?

  66. 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.

  67. 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.

    • 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?

  68. 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.

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