Tonight the Reds (42-63) open a three game series in Pittsburgh versus the Pirates (51-54) who are the next team up the ladder from the Reds at the bottom of the NL Central standings.  The Reds are 1-6 on the current 10-game road trip following Sunday’s 6-4 win against the Marlins. The Pirates return home after a tough western road trip on which they were 3-6 including 4 disappointing losses against the lowly Padres and even lower Giants. Whatever playoffs hopes they still entertained are gone or hanging by the thinnest of threads.

Starting Pitchers

Homer Bailey continues his comeback from Tommy John surgery for the Reds tonight. The righthander will be looking to go at least 6 innings for the third straight start and fifth time in his last 6 starts.  By way of comparison, only Scott Feldman, Tim Adleman and Amir Garrett have completed a 6-inning consecutive trifecta this season for the Reds, each having done it just once.  Long ago and oh so far away, Amir Garrett went at least 6 innings in five of his first six MLB starts. He is the only Red this season to complete such a run.

Pirates starter righthander Jameson Taillon is also on the comeback trail. Taillon missed 6 weeks from early May into June after being diagnosed with testicular cancer and undergoing treatment. His final start prior to his illness related absence was May 3 versus the Reds. In that game won by the Reds Taillon was roughed up for 6 earned runs in 5 innings.  Over Taillon’s 8 starts since returning to the Pirates rotation, he has been a 5 inning pitcher. However his most recent start, versus the Giants, was the worst of his MLB career. He lasted just 3.0 innings and allowed 9 earned runs.

Homer Bailey 5.08 1.43 8.5% 12.1%
Jameson Taillon 3.66 0.59 7.5% 22.0%


Both teams were off  Monday.  All arms should be rested. More interestingly, both teams traded a lefthanded reliever named Tony to the Dodgers Monday. They are Cingrani from the Reds and Watson from the Pirates.  Call them the lucky Tony twins.

Starting Lineups


1. Billy Hamilton (CF)
2. Jesse Winker (RF)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Adam Duvall (LF)
5. Scooter Gennett (2B)
6. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
7. Jose Peraza (SS)
8. Tucker Barnhart (C)
9. Homer Bailey (P)


1. Starling Marte (LF)
2. Adam Frazier (2B)
3. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
4. Josh Bell (1B)
5. David Freese (3B)
6. John Jaso (RF)
7. Francisco Cervelli (C)
8. Jordy Mercer (SS)
9. Jameson Taillon (P)

Jesse Winker has been recalled to fill the roster spot formerly occupied by Tony Cingrani and is in the lineup for the slumping Scott Schebler. Better yet Winker is batting #2. Let’s hope this observation by Mark Sheldon turns out to be correct:

News and Notes

For those who skipped straight to News and Notes, one more time:


Jose Siri kept us waiting with bated breath and crossed fingers Monday night before he got the job done in dramatic fashion.

And having gotten over the hump, Jose wasted no time in extending his record streak in the Dragons Tuesday matinee

If you haven’t had time to catch up yet, the Reds made just the one move at the trade deadline

If either player obtained for Tony Cingrani ever makes an impact with the Reds, it will likely be the “other guy”, 20 year old Hendrik Clementina, years from now.

When opportunity and means come together good things can happen

Final Thoughts

The calendar says today is August 1. Even though we’d all probably rather not do so, we should take a look back at the Reds July.  The team’s record for July was 8-18 (.307). For some sense of just how bad .307 is, over a full 162 game season it works out to 50-112.

“But wasn’t most of July was played against top drawer teams”, you say yearning for mitigation?  Yes, however July’s disaster comes on top of a 10-17 (.370) June for the team, which is also 100+ loss rate across a full season.

With 57 games to go it is past time for the Reds to drop all pretense and focus squarely and solely on sorting out who are the keepers. Clear the bench and bullpen of  folks who obviously do not figure in the team’s future even though this means eating sunken costs.  Fill those spots with prospects now in the minors. Most importantly once the prospects are on the 25 man roster, play them early and often. Let’s hope today’s recall of Jesse Winker is just step 1 of a widening and ongoing process.

Go Reds!

Data courtesy of Fangraphs, Baseball Reference, and
Twitter: @jn_walkerjr

Join the conversation! 41 Comments

  1. Schebler to DL (shoulder), Phillip Ervin called up. But why do the Reds always seem a day late and dollar short making these decisions

    • Surprised they put him on the DL. Just shorten the bench some more. I hope they play winker and Ervin as much as possible. I would like to see Ervin get his shot .

  2. This is probably the best game preview ever. Thanks for taking the time to get me caught up, Jim!

    • Yep…good stuff, Jim!

      • I third the motion. I rarely am in position to read these summaries just before games but this one is excellent. Now I can’t wait to see Votto and Winker on base 7 or 8 times tonight. Thanks Jim.

  3. This Winker’s chance. It was a good at bat.

  4. Suarez was calling for the ball from Peraza. Maybe he should have backed up three feet so that he would have actually been standing at the bag…

  5. Billy triple and now a 3 run BOMB

  6. Different Hamilrun than usual, but we’ll take it.

  7. So far this is been a very fun game

  8. Billy! He’s having a big 2nd half! Its weird how they love playing the Pirates:)

  9. Billy scored 27 runs in May with a .339 obp. His .300 obp = most guys .340 and when he’s around .340 obp then he’s a beast! One of the top 5 leadoff men in the game!

  10. Queue the Benny Hill music. And it’s not the Reds this time

  11. Is there an acronym for TOOTBLAN-like behavior for the defense?

    Whether it’s because Taillon is getting roughed up, or slipping out of the race after their road trip, or not making any deals yesterday….whatever, the Pirates seem unfocused all the way around.

    • Every team looks disinterested when they lose or are losing. It is baseball.

  12. Raise your hand if you had Billy/Jose P hitting for the cycle by the 3rd inning….lol

  13. Winker launches his 1st!!!!

  14. Nice swing. He is taking charge of his opportunity.

  15. Cutch tossed the ball back into the stands

  16. Jim is doing all pregame summaries until further notice!
    Congrats to Hamilton and Winker.

  17. Winker! He looks great! Tyler Mahle tonite…7 ip, 3 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks, 3 ks. He should replace Adleman in the rotation. Maybe we’ll finally get to see the new guys get a real chance?

  18. Yet another walk by Peraza

  19. Homer looks decent…not great but more then good enough for the back of the rotation. Tonite might make 4 quality starts out of 6. It should be 5 of 6 but Price left him in for the 7th inning last time out

  20. Tyler Mahle…8 shutout innings with 0 walks (4 Ks) on 86 pitches

  21. What a catch!

  22. Marte makes a great catch to rob Winker of his 2nd HR

  23. Can we just cancel the rest of the schedule and play the Pirates every night?

    • I have been lurking tonight over at Bucs Dugout.

      According to their game thread:

      -The Pirates will not win any of the remaining 11 games between these teams.

      -Billy Hamilton is close to getting his own statue next to Clemente outside PNC Park. 2 of 3 HRs this season have come vs Taillon. He has more SBs vs PIT by a mile than any other team, career-wise.

      -Their window closing next year with McCutchen hitting FA next season (if it isn’t closed now) brings back bad flashbacks. The looming end, the dismantling to come.

      And we think we have problems. Every small market’s struggle is different, but still real.

      • Reds projected record if they only played the Pirates 139-23.

      • Thanks for pointing me to the Bucs Dugout, Sliotar. I busted a gut at several comments there. Let’s just say the TOS are much more lenient than RLN.

      • Andrew Friedman did a nice job with Tampa, but part of the reason he allegedly went to the Dodgers was his frustration around sustainability. The guy is awesome at his craft but the Yankees and Red Sox will always be able to just buy their way out of mistakes. Teams like the Reds and Pirates have to be almost perfect and extremely lucky with injuries to win consistently.

        I think the Brewers really felt like they could win this year and Sonny Gray made a lot of sense for them…..but you just can’t give up multiple prospects and risk setting yourself back for a decade…..especially after the Cubs starting flexing their muscles a couple of weeks ago.

        • I will agree to disagree on the Brewers and this season.

          Look how cheap JD Martinez went to DBacks (no name prospects to DET)
          Look how cheap Sonny Gray went, factoring in 2 more years of control.

          The Brewers made $58 million (!!!) in profit last season.

          They had the money and the opportunity to upgrade and at least compete for a wild card, if they could not hang with the Cubs in the division.

          Imagine how outraged RLN would be, if the Reds had the Brewers start, with that cash and the team was arrogant enough to believe they would have a better shot next year, and did not upgrade.

          • The Pirates made $51 million last season.

            In their window, they have missed out on 3 division titles by a total of 5 games.

            The Castellinis and their cronies look like Steinbrenners compared to Bucs owner Bob Nutting.

          • I totally agree with you guys. I couldn’t believe teams like Milwaukee and Houston did nothing. Like you said….Sonny Gray wasn’t a rental. Even a guy like Dan Straily could help these teams. Cleveland didn’t do anything either? If a team like that gets a Brad Hand or someone then maybe Andrew Miller doesn’t get worn down in the playoffs.

          • Your point are really good…..though that 58 million is operating profit so that generally excludes interest and principal payments and any non reoccurring expenses. Its also pre-tax. I don’t doubt that the Brewers made money….but their actually net income was likely less than half of that.

  24. And Scott Scheiber was never seen again

  25. Winker has a lift to his swing that I don’t remember seeing from before? If he can 15-20 Hrs then Schebler’s days might be done. They’ll have Senzel but they’ll still need a righty thumper vs lefties with Scooter/Winker vs righties. I wonder if they could deal Schebler to Oakland in the offseason? They have nothing in the outfield and have some decent young pitchers. I like Marcus Semien too and we might need a shortstop?

    • Then again, how much have we really seen Winker swing? They’ve let him collect dust at AAA and on the big league bench this year. Maybe those concerns about lack of power were overblown?

  26. I think Schebler is a very strong power guy, but he may be “limited” because of his long, aggressive swing and may never hit for a good average (reminds some of us of Jay Bruce). I would like to see him play another season with the Reds, to see if there is some maturity and confidence in improving his hitting, his BABIP. But again, there are a couple of talented players in the Reds system (Winker first) that need to be given a chance to play. I want to see Winker play in the ML so we can see just what kind of player he is. He deserves his shot…
    And after Votto, I think Duvall is the second most valuable offensive player the Reds have. I am not interested in trading him, unless it was a GREAT haul of talent. The presence of Duvall batting fourth makes it harder to pitch around Joey, and contributes to his success.

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About Jim Walker Twitter: @jn_walkerjr


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