Tonight at Coors Field in Denver, the Reds open a four games series against the Rockies. This game marks the beginning of the mathematical second half of the season for the Reds. Their 35-46 record in the first half of 2017 fell one win short of their Pythagorean projection.   On a more positive note, thanks to a week of home cooking against Central Division rivals, the Reds are 5-5 over their last 10 games.

The Rockies enter the series at 48-36 which while 3rd in the tough NL West is good enough to hold down the second NL Wildcard spot, a full six games better than the Wildcard third place Chicago Cubs . The unhappy news for the Rockies is that they are 1-9 in their last 10 games with the single win coming on Saturday to break an 8 game losing streak.

The more significant stat for both teams in this series may be that the Rockies  play at nearly a .600 clip at home (.595) while the Reds are a miserable .317 road team.

Starting Pitching

Righthander Luis Castillo will experience his Coor’s Field baptism in his third career MLB start for the Reds.  In his first two MLB starts, Castillo was up to the task versus two powerhouse offenses, the Nats and Brewers. However, despite providing a welcome breath of  refreshing air to Reds fans, Castillo has experienced control issues. His control will need to sharpen  if he is to prosper in the harsh Coor’s Field environment.

Jeff Hoffman starts for the Rockies. Hoffman, a 24 year old righthander, was the ninth overall pick in the 2014 MLB draft (chosen by Toronto) even though he was in the midst of recovering from Tommy John surgery at the time of the draft. Hoffman came to the Rockies in the trade that sent Troy Troy Tulowitzki  to the Blue Jays. He will be making his eighth MLB start of the season after being brought up from AAA in early May. Overall this will be Hoffman’s 14th MLB start, the first 6 coming in 2016 after he was called up last August. Watch for a big fastball in the mid 90’s paired with a solid curve and OK change up from Hoffman. As with the Reds Castillo, at Coors if his command is not sharp, Hoffman could get hit hard and often.

Luis Castillo 3.94 2.53 6.75 11.81
Jeff Hoffman 4.06 0.64 2.34 9.35


Coors Field is known for burning through bullpens. This said, the Reds bullpen starts the series in about as good of shape as possible. The Reds have already swapped a starting pitcher roster spot for a reliever by calling up Asher Wojciechowski.

With the All Star break on the horizon, do not be surprised if Luis Castillo is optioned out in favor of an additional reliever following his start tonight. Yes, his spot does come up once more before the All Star break; but, the bullpen monster must be fed. Saturday can be dealt with when it arrives; there are candidates aplenty at AAA.

The Rockies are coming in off the road. Their recent bullpen usage looks light and well distributed.


1. Jose Peraza (SS)
2. Scooter Gennett (2B)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Adam Duvall (LF)
5. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
6. Scott Schebler (CF)
7. Patrick Kivlehan (RF)
8. Tucker Barnhart (C)
9. Luis Castillo (P)
1. Charlie Blackmon (CF)
2. DJ LeMahieu (2B)
3. Nolan Arenado (3B)
4. Mark Reynolds (1B)
5. Carlos Gonzalez (RF)
6. Raimel Tapia (LF)
7. Trevor Story (SS)
8. Tony Wolters (C)
9. Jeff Hoffman (P)

News and Notes

Zack Cozart is getting his All Star donkey; and, Joey Votto will be in Miami along with him. Will Joey deliver the donkey in person at the game?

Votto has decided to take a pass on the home run derby.  His explanation is vintage JDV.

Then there is Adam Duvall who will not be on the All Star team this year…..

Late this afternoon, the Reds shuffled some chairs on the minor league deck:

The Reds starter in game 4 of this series (Thursday) is no longer a mystery:

Final Thoughts

Seven games in seven days before the All Star break enforces a step back to collect our thoughts on the season to date and state of our beloved Reds. Those days of inactivity will go down a lot more smoothly if the Reds give a decent accounting of themselves this week. Go Reds!

Statistics, data and biographical information from, MLB.comBaseball Reference, and Wikipedia
Twitter: @jn_walkerjr

Join the conversation! 77 Comments

  1. Glad to see an infielder moved and Renda certainly looked like the odd man out. Nothing of concequence will be coming back this way, but it frees up playing time in the infield.

  2. Its sad when the worst hitter on the team is leading off and will get 5 at bats tonight.He has had a half of a year to show some improvement and he hasn’t done it.Either he isn’t getting any coaching or he isn’t listening but it appears that Reed and Stephensen are getting the message in AAA.Maybe Peraza didn’t get the memo or was it for pitchers only.Thanks Jim for mentioning Castillo’s control issues.Now where have I heard that before?By sarcasm is directed to whomever is running this rebuild in that there are mixed messages being sent to the players as to what they need to work on and if they need to work on it in the majors or minors.I really don’t know what Winker needs to do but he does I guess.Glad to see Sal coming back up and maybe he gets 10 or 12 starts or more.

  3. I think Romano’s a good call for Colorado. His fastball is heavy, and he’s a ground ball machine when he’s on. Hopefully we won’t see the “first start” jitters and he’ll be able to demonstrate his usually very good command.

  4. Winker’s leading off again for the Bats. That’s 2 consecutive games in the #1 hole for Winker. This is feeling more and more like changes are blowing in the wind.

    • A 7 pitch PA and BB to lead off the game for Winker. Stephenson’ s starting for the Bats tonight too. Here’s hoping for a big night for the Bats in all aspects of the game.

      • As an Indianapolis Indians fan, I hope not. 🙂

        Stephenson did not have a good start, by the way.

    • Temper your optimism…….. Just checked in on the Bats via MiLB Gameday. Winker drew a leadoff walk Ervin immediately tried to bunt him over.

    • I’m sure this is just wishful thinking, but the timing of Winker’s move up the Bats lineup with Hamilton getting pinch-hit for yesterday in a big spot and sitting out today…

      Probably 100% unrelated.

    • I agree. Funny Schebler in center tonight. The start of second half of the season and I think they will start rotating people.

  5. The News and Notes section was getting pretty lengthy so I’ll just put this bit of joy here.

    The Rocks have activated CarGo from the DL just in time for this series……

    • Yeah…same thing with Braun, when he came off the DL. It’s like a bad omen

  6. With so much space for little pop-ups and soft liners to land untouched, Coors seems like a place where Peraza could get some hits. However, because it’s a baseball field, it seems like a place where it will be nearly impossible for him to draw any walks.

  7. Peraza knock, Scooter knock…Votto sac fly…1-0 good guys. The Peraza bashing will have to wait until his next AB

  8. Castillo pitching behind to the 1st 3 batters…gone 2-0, 3-0, 3-0

  9. Just like every young pitcher will do he is struggling to throw strikes.Its the kiss of death in Coors.

    • Just missing on every pitch. Will be interesting to see if he settles down when he comes back out.

  10. Why would you option out Castillo? Its a 7 game trip. I wish they had the radar going tonite but I guess we can figure out his velocity from the swings they take! He’s got the rocket arm but can’t walk people and run his pitch count up.

    • 97-100 mph in bottom of the 1st.

    • To fulfill Bullpen needs. Send him back but keep him pitching on schedule. Otherwise it could be 10-12 days between starts for him from this Saturday until his next start with the 4 days off for the All Star break figured in. He could pitch somewhere Saturday and again on turn Thursday and be set to drop back into the Reds rotation on his next regular day.

      • Or get rid of Alcantara because he had shown nothing. Maybe 10 day DL Hamilton? No loss there.Can’t they option out Wojo or Brice after they pitch?

        • Actually, if Wojo or Brice gets heavy use, they might be sent down. … I suspect the Redsy don’t want to lose any more position players since they are carrying three catchers as it is.

  11. Every pitcher we face is a strike throwing machine.Even Castillo swung at the first pitch.

  12. I know the Reds used to have navy blue in their uniforms but I have to admit, I am surprised how much I like these uniforms.

    • Personally I’ve had my fill with all these special uniforms using the different color schemes. Not just the Reds but all sports. I guess my age may be showing; but, for instance, it just didn’t seem right for the Red Devils, Manchester U, to be playing for a spot in the UEFA Champions League wearing blue jerseys that nearly matched the colors of their arch rivals, Chelsea.

      • I dislike the stuff that is different just to be different, but I can’t get enough of the retro stuff.

        • I’m OK with the retro looks too as long as the colors are true to tradition, whether or not they are current colors. It seems like with international the soccer in particular, they are just choosing a color de jour to wear for road games instead of white trimmed in the team’s base colors. It is clearly about generating jersey sales to kids and collectors.

      • I generally don’t like it (particularly the camo uniforms) and I could definitely do without the socks and stars/stripes on the lettering. I just think the blue is pretty sharp. Way better than the black and the Reds have had blue in their uniforms before.

    • It’s because you have a good eye and excellent taste.

  13. Burned by the pitcher? That hurts….couldn’t capitalize on Tapia’s baserunning error. Castillo is nasty though…..have no idea how those AA kids hit him?

  14. Votto grounds out on 3-0 pitch.Rare for him.

  15. 1-0 count and Peraza gets himself out on a pitch on the hands that was never a strike? I’m so tired of his act.

    Now he has an easy force at 3rd on a ball that is never going to be a dp and doesn’t see it? We can’t move Cozart for Peraza. Its that simple

  16. Peraza should have got the out at 3rd there. Cost them a run.

    • If the ball was hit hard then go for the doubleplay but it wasn’t and he had to go towards the hole to get the ball. He has to read it and make the right play.

  17. He is hurting the team on offense and when he does it on defense he has to be sent down.

  18. Castillo competes which I just love.He will struggle but he just pitches and I like that.Lets hope he gets a few more chances regardless.

    • He needs to quit falling behind everyone 1-0 and 2-0 but he’ll get it together. He’s came in with the best stuff of any Reds prospect that I can remember? Cueto wasn’t rated that high. Bailey was but his stuff never matched the hype…even though he obv got better. Rijo came from another organization….same thing w/Volquez. Castillo could be special?

  19. This is some of the strangest TV camera work I have seen in a game this season.

    I appreciated seeing CarGo touch home plate, but his run did not count.

    Maybe the usual “road TV crew” that each visiting network hires is in the Rocky Mountains for the holidays, and they are using college students?

    • Thank you for that comment. The angles are weird and the directing is choppy. And there’s a lot of panning and rack focus

  20. Castillo’s velocity plays and maybe the Reds will give him enough starts in the big leagues to see what he has got.

  21. Hoffman had a 9 pitch inning and just saw 7 as a hitter.He is winning and has drove in a run.

  22. Castillo gives up a homer but his stuff is nasty.Blackmon is a good hitter.

  23. Stephenson 7 innings 0 walks. Doing everything they have asked. If Castillo goes down after tonight he might finally get a start

  24. Suarez with 22 walks since May 28. The problem is he’s hitting .183 with only 3 doubles and 2 hrs. Thats where I think OPS can be a little overrated. Walks are great but when you’re not driving the ball and need teammates to score you from 1st then you’re not getting it done!

  25. What a play by Arenado

  26. Butcher boy arenado and he will think twice about that. I hate bunting there anyways. It’s not like Peraza is driving him in.

  27. Another guy we make look like Cy Young.A lead off walk and then we hack and hack and hack.I am done for tonight.I mean we mailed it in early yesterday and got on the plane early and now this tonight.

    • After the walk, Barnhart hit a scorching liner to center, our pitcher bunted the 3rd pitch that Nolan A made a great play on. Peraza took 1 ball and 2 strikes before grounding out. Can you please explain what you would considered hacking that inning?

  28. 1-10 in your last 11 games? No problem….Reds can’t win on the road. That Peraza play irritates me because he was moving towards the hole (and 3rd base) and could’ve seen the runner was only halfway to 3rd if he picked his head up. Yes….he’s young but he just doesn’t show the headsup instincts that it takes to win! He’s a decent runner but nothing special considering his speed. If he loses half a step he’ll never steal anything.

  29. Scoots….CarGo never moved a step in right:)

  30. Scooter takes his legend mile-high !!!

  31. Any complaints about Votto swinging 3-0 there??? He hit that a mile!!

    • He served notice almost from the start of the season that pitchers shouldn’t expect him to automatically take pitches in certain counts. … Like now !!

  32. HRs good:) Suarez rolling over on every outside pitch for weak grounders like slumping Jay Bruce bad:(

  33. 3/4 cycle…only needs a single for Tapia

  34. Couldn’t stay even for a half-inning …

  35. At least the 2 HRs allowed have been solo shots, which is good at Coors. There have been a lot base runners for the Rox too

    • He fell behind too much and went 3-2 on this last hr but growing pains are part of the deal. If Peraza was a headsup ballplayer then its still 3-3. Castillo has faced the best there is…..Nats, Brewers, and Rox in Colorado. Thats tough on any pitcher!

  36. I know scouts have liked Garrett and Reed a lot, but Castillo is my favorite pitching prospect. Easy motion. High velocity. Great change-up. Cool demeanor. Competitive. Whats not to like.

  37. Game over…..another game where we just can’t make the key plays to get it done. Too many holes in the lineup. Suarez is cold and Schebler hasn’t done much lately either. Happy 4th to everyone!!

  38. 3 hits for Scooter tonight

  39. To my untrained eye it looks like Peraza is hitting the ball harder. Any Statcast info?

    • 3 of 4 at bats tonight Peraza’s ball in play was on a broken bat, including his bloop single

  40. I find myself grimacing when announcer says “Top of the order coming up”. Would prefer starting the inning with number 2 spot. Sixth inning case in point.

  41. That Tapia at-bat was as close to a NBA “heat check” as you will see in MLB.

  42. Peraza now has 140 plate appearances without a walk. Yet Bryan Price sees fit to make him leadoff hitter. In last 100 PA Peraza has 2 extra base hits.

    • I’m confused. Are the Reds’ brass ok with Peraza’s approach? I only played ball up through High school so I dont understand how real coaching should work, but it doesn’t seem like Peraza is trying to change his approach of swinging flat footed at everything he can reach. Are they working on stuff like stepping into the pitch and learning the zone? Or have they just decided this is what you get with him?

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About Jim Walker Twitter: @jn_walkerjr


2017 Reds


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