Nobody reading this will be surprised by the statement that starting pitching has been the Reds’ downfall in 2017. For example:

How bad has it been?

Reds starting pitchers are averaging LESS THAN FIVE INNINGS (4.92 to be exact) over the 92 games played to date. The earned run average for starting Reds pitchers is 6.12. What that means is that on an AVERAGE day, Reds opponents have scored three or four earned runs THROUGH FIVE INNINGS.

One of the many unpleasant things we learned in the four-game kicking by the Nationals is that when the Reds (or any team) is facing quality starting pitching, you just can’t afford to fall behind by that many runs on a regular basis. Even when the bullpen does a fantastic job, as it did yesterday, most often it’s just not enough.

Now, it’s easy to blame the front office for letting things line up so that all five starting pitchers on a good team were due to become free agents after the 2014 season. It’s easy to blame the scouts and farm system managers and coaches for perhaps not coaching the young pitchers up enough. That may or may not be the case.

What we can’t forget is the variable that nobody can control, and that’s injury. Last year in April, the Reds had SIX starting pitchers on the disabled list. With Scott Feldman going on the list today, that’s all five members of this year’s rotation that have been on the DL at one time or another this year. No team in any professional sport could be expected to deal with that wave of misfortune and remain at anywhere near peak performance.

Here is an article that shows that less than half of all starting pitchers in the major leagues were draft picks of their current organizations. The info has changed slightly since January, when the article was published, but not enough to change the overall gist.

What we might deduce from those numbers is that ultimately, the Reds are going to need to make some trades for pitchers who are starters on the next good Reds team. (Luis Castillo was a trade acquisition, and he looks right now like the best of the bunch.) The rotation of that “good” team is not going to be flush with the players currently in the Reds system. And based on what we’ve seen this year, that probably is a good thing.

Now then, speaking of starting pitching for tonight’s 7:10 Reds vs. Diamondbacks game at Great American Ball Park:

Starting Pitchers

Robbie Ray 106 2.97 3.72 32.1% 11.9%
Sal Romano 8 4.50 5.39 21.1% 13.2%

Ray is a lefthander who has bounced around through a few organizations, and at age 25, appears to have “figured it out,” as they say in baseball terminology. In his third year as a D-backs starter, he has 141 strikeouts in 106 innings. His 2017 numbers (including an 8-4 record) are a big departure from his career numbers of 22-35 with a 4.25 ERA. Romano gets his third major league start, and he opened some eyes with his five innings of six-strikeout, two-run pitching against the potent Rockies before the All-Star break.

As Chad Dotson pointed out, it’s a Ray-Romano matchup:


The only unavailable Reds arm will be Asher Wojciechowski, after his five innings of long relief work yesterday. Lisalverto Bonilla was recalled today from Louisville, almost certainly as the go-to man for long relief today, if needed.

Starting Lineups

Diamondbacks Reds
CF A.J. Pollock CF Billy Hamilton
RF David Peralta SS Zack Cozart
1B Paul Goldschmidt 1B Joey Votto
3B Jake Lamb LF Adam Duvall
SS Chris Owings 3B Eugenio Suarez
2B Brandon Drury RF Scott Schebler
LF Daniel Descalso 2B Jose Peraza
C Chris Herrmann C Stuart Turner
P Robbie Ray P Sal Romano

Stuart Turner gets his first start since the All-Star break at catcher, giving Tucker Barnhart a bit of a breather against a tough lefthander.

News and Notes

Good sign Monday for Devin Mesoraco in his rehab stint at Louisville …

Scott Feldman went on the 10-day DL today, and Jesse Winker was sent back to Louisville in conjunction with these moves:

A Hunter Greene sighting …

From the which-starting-shortstops-from-contending-teams-are-injured file:

Carlos Correa of the Astros has a torn ligament in his thumb, and is expected to miss six to eight weeks. The Astros are so far ahead, though, it’s questionable whether they will seek out possible short-term replacements (such as Zack Cozart).

Tom Mitsoff is a lifelong Reds fan who grew up in the Dayton suburb of Beavercreek, Ohio. He lived a teenage life atypical of most his age by prioritizing following the Reds. At one point in the 1970s and early 1980s, Tom kept complete scorecards on more than 1,000 consecutive Reds games. Now that adult life has forced him to move on from his beloved Southwest Ohio, he follows the Reds daily through MLB.TV and other online media sources, including Redleg Nation.

Join the conversation! 67 Comments

  1. Jesse Winker leaves MLB with a cool career .400 OBP. Can’t wait to see his next 6 ABs.

    • And they supposedly weren’t going to go back to a four man bench but have. The overall effect of the lousy starting pitching is just so insidious. In one way or another it is undermining virtually every aspect of this team and supposed rebuilding process.

      • Jim, you hit on the point I’ve been making since May. This rebuild, such as it is, has lost at least another season due to the injuries to the pitching staff. And that doesn’t even begin to address the non-performance of the young starters (when they’ve had a chance).

        Injuries happen, but to me, that’s even more of an excuse to give additional opportunities to the young guys.

    • Can’t be having that up here. Have to send him back down to the minors

  2. Fun fact: Arizona is 27th in OPS this season in away games this season. (At home, tied for 1st, with Washington).

    It will be interesting to see the impact if a humidor is used next season in Chase Field, as has been rumored.

    Not so fun fact: Arizona’s scheduled pitchers this series are Ray, Zack Greinke and Taijuan Walker.

    Go Redlegs.

  3. Looks like some poor AAA pitcher learned not to throw Devin fastballs.

    Regarding the Astros – in addition to their huge division lead, they probably have the pieces required to get through Correa’s absence. I don’t think they will be players for Cozart, especially not at the price/return that we would like to see (actual prospect vs couple of throw aways).

  4. #FreeUncleJesse

  5. Hoping for a good outing from Ray Romano tonight, he looked good last time. We need more starters to pan out besides Castillo. Hopefully they’ll start Stephenson with Feldman on the DL, but this is he Reds and I would be surprised if they gave his start to Bonilla

    • Well, if you’re hoping for a good outing from Ray Romano, you’ve doubled your chances tonight! You’ve get Robbie Ray going for the D-Backs and Sal Romano for the Reds. Good luck!

  6. Winker’s day will come.It just won’t happen this year and that’s ok because we saw enough of him in his few at bats to know he can and will get on base at the top of the order.

  7. Wonder when Votto will start driving the ball on line drives. His angle and height in hits are above league average, probably why his BABIP is so low compared to his career average. A lot of deep fly balls caught this year. Not too concerned but noticed more fly balls than usual from him

    • Votto has said he has not changed his swing in order to hit more HR’s. Well personally I think he has changed to an uppercut type swing. When he takes his practice cuts they are uppercuts. I miss the line drives to the gap between the left fielder and center fielder. Oh well he is the pro and knows more about hitting than I will ever dream of. I love the guy but do not like this mini slump.

      • Yep, pretty much what I’ve seen too and his hit stats don’t lie about his flyball rate. His approach and swing are different. I just don’t see long term success like he had with those beautiful doubles he was cranking out in 2012. Hope he comes out of this slump, but I don’t see him making that Ted Williams .400 run I was hoping for this year.

        • Not with this type of swing it will not happen I am afraid. Let’s hope Votto dust off that Williams book and gets some inspiration. When you got Thom and his dad preaching year after year (I hear Marty is better this yr) it is bound to get to a person after a while. Votto needs to listen to Rose and Rose alone.

          • This uppercut crap has gotta go!!!

          • Yep, another fly ball. Not liking this version of Joey lately

          • I was not happy w him leading n HR’s. I know that sounds nuts but I know deep down that is not his hitting style. He is a Gwynn, Boggs type hitter in my opinion.

  8. Peraza just had an 11 pitch at bat before lining out.Great and I mean great job.The kid just saw more pitches in one at bat then he usually sees in four.

    • He had an easy ball 4 on the 10th pitch….but you’re right. Baby steps…lol

    • I usually agree with your posts and agree with the value of elongated at bats …..But I respectfully offer a different view of that at-bat…..He worked a walk and earned a walk……except he couldn’t get out of his own way…..He couldn’t not swing when he got 2 strikes…. he kept swinging….and swinging ….and fouling off. The 10th pitch was literally 8 inches outside and 6 inches high. It was ball 4 to every human on the planet…. You simply cant teach reactionary decision-making at the major league level in 0.57 seconds. Peraza has never had a problem swinging and making contact….its not swinging. He doesn’t know how to not swing and that’s something you learn way before getting to professional baseball. He is hard wired to swing….probably because someone told him at a very early age the worst thing you could ever do is strike out….so the goal of every at bat is don’t risk striking out….swing early and often.

  9. Going forward we will have to address our line up against lefties.I know when Devin returns it helps but with Peraza,Turner,the pitcher and Billy hitting in order we well don’t have much of a chance.

  10. I like Romano. I see some Harang workhorse potential there. Both of these runs are cheap tonite. Suarez should’ve had the Goldschmidt double. He has a downward tilt on his pitches and gets groundballs. He going to need a 3rd pitch to take the next step but this season is for experimentation.

    2018 might possibly be coming into focus? Castillo, Disco, Lorenzen, Homer, and Romano. I saw Tyler Mahle the other night and he looks really good. He doesn’t throw quite as hard as Romano but slider is much sharper & seems to have better control.

    • I would be shocked if Lorenzen is ever given the chance to start, even though he said he wants to. Between Stephenson, Reed, Rookie, and Mahle, there are plenty of options they would turn to before they would think to convert Lorenzen.

      • Price has said he could get another chance although its highly likely Price isn’t here next year. Stephenson and Reed seem to get rocked every time and Rookie didn’t impress me? I’d take Jackson Stephens, Mahle, and Garrett over those 3. Hopefully Finnegan can come back as well? We really need a lefty and he improved in the 2nd half last year.

    • Agree Indy…Romano throws easy and I like the Harang workhorse analogy. Everything is there…We need to see him compete against MLB hitters for 4-5 starts. I thought Garrett was the guy who could navigate the ups and downs. He never got back up.
      I’ve not see Mahle…but he threw a no hitter and just missed a second.
      Castillo is clearly the new #1 young pitching prospect.

      Suarez might be making an adjustment. Rooting for that guy.

  11. Just feels like we won’t score any more so I am done for the night.I hope Big Sal hangs in there and gives us a good outing.

  12. Finally a big hit. Good for you Suarez! 2-2

  13. Peraza walks!!!!

  14. Peraza walks…intentionally!

  15. Schebler over his last 17 games:


    • Schebler and Duvall are both scuffling right now. Suarez has been too but he’s coming out of it?

      Romano’s line won’t look good but look on the bright side. No HRs and several of those hits down the line weren’t exactly crushed

      • Entire team is scuffling now!! Nats just beat the spirit out of us I feel!!

    • Obp is down and flirting with .310’s…schebler and duvall will give u power ….Billy Hamilton is exactly what was predicted this year.Suarez …tough 6 weeks…but obp still over .350….also why Winker is s keeper…ups and downs….but plate disciple doesn’t slump.

      The beauty of 162 games.

  16. Seems like everytime the reds do not take advantage of possible big innings it comes back to bite them the next half inning. Really frustrating!!!

  17. the score was 3-2 and Wood wasn’t the 1st guy to come in. What the heck is going on?
    Unfortunately it’s 5-2 now.
    Not sure why Cingrani didn’t come in the face the lefty Lamb. That hurt

    • I feel like the other dugout just get a jolt of life once we do not take advantage of our risp.

  18. 4 extra base hits this inning

  19. Another typical Reds start from Romano, unfortunately …

    • 5 walks…1 was IBB. I don’t even mind the 2 walks to Goldy ( 2 outs in the first, and 1st base open). The walk to the pitcher was the bad one

  20. Hey Price take all the starters out again like it is gonna help a thing going forward!

  21. I have Robbie Ray on all 3 fantasy teams and Scherzer in 2. Hate to see the Reds keep getting hammered but I’m picking up Ws and Ks. Goodnight all

  22. The same old story. Reds tie/take the lead then the next half inning they lose it.

    • Yep and bringing in Cingrani who just lets the flood gates open!!! Geez!!!

  23. Cingrani….saw 93 on his first heater and figured it was launch code time. All he has is 96 and he needs every mph

  24. Cingrani reverting back to bullpen v. 2016

  25. I think Alcantara is Spanish for lightweight?

  26. 15 under 500.
    72-90 is within reach.
    5 losing seasons in a row….(3) 90 loss seasons in a row….first time in 2 generations.
    Another top 5 pick in the draft.

    Anyone claiming 2018 is a 91 win wildcard season?
    Trade Billy.
    Let Cozart go
    Go all in for 2019-23.

    • Cozart is still the only shortstop we have but they could bring 24 yr old Arod in a time machine and we’re still not making the playoffs next year. Zack has to go….they need to spend their limited $ on other things. Could trade Billy but I’m not sold on Winker. Not really sold on Schebler that much. Duvall is pretty good but he faded badly last year in the 2nd half? Diabetes is no joke. Our pitching is so bad…feels like it doesn’t matter how good the hitting is anyway?

  27. Was hoping a contender would take lefthander Tony off our hands….not much hope of that

  28. 3 bags for Billy. Left stranded. 2nd time this game they couldn’t get a guy home from 3rd with 1 out

  29. Keep Cingrani down in the minors I do not care what level. Votto please abandon that uppercut swing please.

  30. 2018 is a wasteland and the only chance 2019 has is if Hunter Greene turns into Doc Gooden/Bryce Harper and is so dominant that he’s in the show at 19.5.

    • I see no hope in 2019 either. Knowing our luck Greene will be hurt!!

  31. Hey Thom newsflash Goldie is really that good you clown!!! Thought you called their games for a while? Some of the crap this dude says is mind boggling!

  32. wish we could score a run w 2-outs!!!

  33. Same old Bonilla. With Adleman going tomorrow Arizona should get 10 runs again.

  34. Reds pitching to Babe Goldschmidt over here. 4 BBs? You bums

  35. So glad Joey broke his bat!!!! Maybe it will help end this lil blip he is in?

  36. Just checked back in and I wish I hadn’t.We aren’t competing at all and that is not a good sign.Time to get somebody’s attention don’t you think.

  37. This is a deflated group of ball players here. Time to move some pieces, play the young guys and snag a higher draft pick. There’s always tomorrow in baseball…until there isn’t.

  38. As I watch some of our Pitchers struggle I sometimes see a basic wrong that I wonder why Price or the pitching coach does not see. That is the follow through foot not ending in the same place. The Arm follow through will basically go where the feet/Hips go and if the front foot aims differently each time then consistency is affected. Kids Coach.

  39. I REALLY have a difficult time listening to THOM! some nights. And tonight is one of those nights

Comments are closed.

About Tom Mitsoff

Tom Mitsoff is a lifelong Reds fan who grew up in the Dayton suburb of Beavercreek, Ohio. He lived a teenage life atypical of most his age by prioritizing following the Reds. At one point in the 1970s and early 1980s, Tom kept complete scorecards on more than 1,000 consecutive Reds games. Now that adult life has forced him to move on from his beloved Southwest Ohio, he follows the Reds daily through MLB.TV and other online media sources, including Redleg Nation.


2017 Reds, Game Thread


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