2017 Reds / Game Thread

Reds at Brewers — August 13, 2017

The Reds (49-68) couldn’t extend their winning streak to four games last night, but they’ll have a chance to win their 50th game of the season and their second straight series in the rubber game against the Brewers (60-59) this afternoon. First pitch is set for 2:10 p.m. ET.

Starting Pitchers

Name IP ERA xFIP K% BB%
Sal Romano 33.2 5.35 5.19 17.8% 12.1%
Matt Garza 91.1 4.34 4.83 16.3% 7.3%

Against one of the worst offenses in baseball, Sal Romano struggled again in his most recent outing versus the Padres. While he pitched six innings, the right-hander gave up five runs on nine hits. He walked a respectable two batters but only struck out two as well.

Romano has essentially been using only two pitches — his fastball and slider — and it’s resulted in problems putting hitters away. The rookie has relied on his four-seamer heavily, throwing it 66.2 percent of the time, the third-highest rate among starting pitchers who have used the pitch 400 or more times. He seemed to show more confidence in his changeup against the Pirates on August 3, throwing it 13 times; however, the pitch all but disappeared against San Diego, as he threw it only four times.

While his control has been better since walking six Marlins hitters on July 28 (two walks in 12 innings), command within the strike zone has been another story, as he’s given up 17 hits in those two starts.

Romano vs. Brewers

Romano’s major-league debut came against the Brewers on April 16. He gave up three runs (two earned) on three hits and four walks in three innings.

Here is how he performed against Milwaukee hitters in that game (stats courtesy of Baseball Reference):


Injuries have slowed down Matt Garza since signing a four-year, $50 million deal with the Brewers prior to the 2014 season. His inaugural season in Milwaukee was solid (2.7 fWAR), but he’s accumulated only 3.2 fWAR in the three seasons since. That being said, Garza has had a decent 2017 campaign while battling various ailments that have resulted in three separate trips to the disabled list. Prior to his last start, in which he was beaten up for four home runs and eight runs in 3.1 innings, Garza’s ERA was 3.83 — though his xFIP was nearly a full run higher at 4.70. Despite the respectable results, however, he’s not striking many batters out (16.3 K%) and doesn’t force many ground balls (41.9 GB%), which is why his peripheral numbers aren’t so pretty.

Garza vs. Reds

Garza’s first start of the season came against the Reds on April 24. He lasted only four innings, allowing four runs (one earned), four hits, and three walks while striking out four.

Here are his career numbers against Cincinnati hitters:

Lineups

Reds

Brewers

CF Billy Hamilton (63 wRC+) 2B Jonathan Villar (60 wRC+)
RF Jesse Winker (97 wRC+) 1B Eric Thames (126 wRC+)
1B Joey Votto (166 wRC+)  LF Ryan Braun (132 wRC+)
LF Adam Duvall (111 wRC+)  3B Neil Walker (107 wRC+)
2B Scooter Gennett (125 wRC+) RF Domingo Santana (115 wRC+)
3B Eugenio Suárez (120 wRC+) C Manny Pina (98 wRC+)
SS Jose Peraza (61 wRC+) SS Eric Sogard (116 wRC+)
C Tucker Barnhart (86 wRC+) CF Hernan Perez (82 wRC+)
P Sal Romano (4.09 xFIP) P Matt Garza (4.10 xFIP)

— Zack Cozart is getting the day off. Jesse Winker is taking over the No. 2 spot in the Reds’ lineup, while Jose Peraza is getting the starting nod at shortstop.

— The Brewers acquired Neil Walker from the Mets yesterday in exchange for a player to be named later, and manager Craig Counsell wasted no time getting him in the lineup. He’s playing third base for only the 18th time in his MLB career and the third time this year.

— Walker is playing in favor of Travis Shaw, who fouled two balls off his right leg in last night’s game and was seen in a walking boot afterward.

News, Notes, & Pre-Game Reading

Austin Brice has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with a lat strain, and Robert Stephenson has been activated. There’s still no word on when Stephenson will re-enter the starting rotation, but it seems likely that he’ll start on Monday in favor of Asher Wojciechowski.

Barry Larkin debuted on this day 31 years ago. He turned out to be decent.

Joey Votto can extend his hitting streak to a career-best 18 games today. He currently holds the longest active hitting streak in the majors and is hitting .462/.627/.808 with five homers and 21 walks over that span.

Another nice stat on the improvement at the plate for Cozart and Eugenio Suarez this year:

Stat of the Day

Last night, Patrick Kivlehan hit the Reds’ hardest home run of the season at 113.0 mph. It also set the mark to beat for the team’s hardest hit ball of the season, which was previously held by Kivlehan as well.

For those curious, the Reds’ softest hit home run of the season was a 90.8 mph shot by Zack Cozart on June 4. That ball traveled only 339 feet, the team’s third-shortest homer of the year. The shortest belongs to Adam Duvall, a 328-foot long ball at Yankee Stadium on July 26.

Final Thoughts

The Cincinnati offense has been on a tear lately, averaging eight runs per game over the last six contests. While that’s been enough to win four of those games, poor pitching has cost them the other two. The team could really use a nice start from Romano today, especially since the bullpen has been heavily used in the past two days.

65 thoughts on “Reds at Brewers — August 13, 2017

  1. It took 117 games, but last night is my candidate for “Redsiest” game of the season.

    The one game that encapsulates everything about the Reds in 2017:

    -Duvall home run (especially if early, like last night. Seems like a lot of his HRs in 1st AB)
    -Starting pitcher struggles, does not make it until 6th inning
    -Lots of bullpen guy appearances
    -Votto getting a hit after being down 0-2 in count
    -Ryan Braun hits his 800th career HR vs. the Reds
    -Price allows player to be ejected rather than protect Mesoraco and get himself tossed, adding to the all-around enigma that is Bryan Price, Reds Manager
    -Offense stalls as game goes on, other team pulls out come from behind win
    -Winning run scores in extra innings on wild pitch

    A game so “memorable” it apparently did not warrant a Titanic Struggle Recap, making it even more Redsy.

    Going to be tough to top all that today, but that is why we watch. You just never know for certain.

    Go Redlegs.

    • I can imagine if nobody wanted to recap that thing. An enlarged photo of Milton would have sufficed, I’d say. And yes, a lot of 2017-in-a-flash last night.

  2. Be prepared for a slugfest this evening, with Romano starting and a shorthanded bullpen

  3. Well last night’s game certainly sucked, but the loss contributed to the competition for a top 5 draft pick in next season’s rule 4 draft…

    71 losses SF Giants
    71 losses PH Phillies
    69 losses CH White Sox
    68 losses CN Reds
    66 losses OK A’s
    65 losses SD Padres

    While the team continues with it’s pitching driven issues, Votto continues his push as a non-contender NL MVP this season…

    OPS 1st with 1.051
    SLG 6th with 0.605
    OBP 1st with 0.446
    AVG 7th with 0.316

    With Bryce Harper moved to the 10-day DL with what has been characterized as a ‘significant’ injury, Votto’s competition for NL MVP has been reduced to a small handful of players and Votto appears to be on yet another 2nd half explosion against NL pitching.

    • I saw a comment elsewhere on the Internet this morning, that indicated Harper’s injury was very serious, and his season is likely over. I did not see what happened, but it was intimated that the field (baselines) were wet, which contributed to his knee injury. Someone thought it might be career ending, it was that bad.

      Odds on favorite for MVP for NL at this time (IMHO) would have to be Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers. Joey is having a great season, but a player for a last place team is not going to be voted MVP. Sorry, I wish it was otherwise.

      • I imagine so, however, I do recall some player earned MVP a few years ago for a non-contending team, of course there wasn’t the kind of competition Votto has now (Bellinger, Zimmerman, Goldsmith).

      • When Harper had to be assisted from the field (he slipped on the wet 1st base bag), there was a lot of concern. The reports today indicated a bone bruise with a probable return before the end of the regular season. Still a serious injury, but no indication of surgery and certainly not career threatening.

        There is still significant competition for the NL MVP, but the injury to Harper probably removed the current leader from such consideration. With Votto playing for a last place team, he certainly faces an uphill struggle for the NL MVP, but this is also the same Votto with a current 17-game hitting streak and HISTORICALLY strong 2nd half finishes the past two seasons. In addition to the competitiors mentioned by David, Giancarlo Stanton could become a major factor too.

        • Whoops…GRF identified Votto’s major competition, not David. Sorry GRF.

  4. I don’t like to see the Reds lose or get beat up, but I DO want to see Romano continue to start. He has to master his control of the strike zone (not just strikes but location), and get that third pitch over, sometimes. He’s only going to progress if he gets to start in the Major Leagues.

  5. As with just about any Reds starting pitcher, I’ll be surprised if Romano makes it past five innings.

  6. Got to let the young guys pitch regardless.Watching Feldman start it and Aldeman finish it last night doesn’t help at all.Wasted another game and found out nothing we already didn’t know.Yes the pen will get burned out but our last two starters were Homer and Feldman and we got what 9 innings from them so what’s the difference.The difference is we could have found out last night about somebody else but we don’t seem to think that is important.

  7. What has happened to Chris Welsh?

    He just suggested that the Brewers intentionally drop a seeing-eye fly ball, that at least 2 players were working hard to get to. in the hopes of getting Hamilton forced out at 2nd.

    If the Brewers are truly sweating giving up a first-inning run to a last place Reds team, with a worked bullpen and a rookie starting pitcher, they should give up any hopes of making the playoffs.

    The Reds desperately need some fresh blood in their broadcasting crew.

  8. Well, so far, the only good thing to come from this game is that I might be able to find a Uecker 8 Ball later this week on EBay.

    That TV shot of him was awesome. Brewers hat with sunglasses. Legend.

    Romano. 30+ pitches already. Oh boy.

  9. The Reds could solve all of their worldly problems if they could trade for Ryan Braun. He could probably even pitch

  10. Every young pitcher always struggles to throw strikes because the hitters are better and the strike zone is smaller and they will not get any close ones because they are a rookie.Garza will get those calls that Romano won’t.Its just the way it is and another reason why you have to let them pitch.Hard to watch but its where we are right now so hang on.

  11. It makes it even worse when our offense gets in to one of those we have to swing at everything modes so that our pitcher can’t even get his breath before he has to go back out there again.

  12. He battled though and got a nine pitch walk.Boy we need him to do that more often.

  13. Other than the two bunt attempts I didn’t care for, an excellent at bat by Billy. Saw a lot of pitches, battled, fouled off close pitches, and drew a walk …… uh oh double play ball by Winker, oh well.

  14. Double play grounder on the first pitch by Winker.Unusual for him and with Joey on deck that was not a good thing.

    • Good call, Vegas.

      Brewers starting to enter the “can’t give any games away” mode, not with the Cardinals and their stupid Devil Magic working again.

      Braun probably cost Milwaukee a run there. May not matter at the end of today, but 3 runs is very gettable if the Reds power guys catch a couple.

  15. If Peraza lets Billy’s throw come to him then Braun is out at 2nd. No reason to go out in front of the bag to catch the ball.

  16. Joe Morgan mentioned the other night that it is hard for Votto to have long hitting streaks, because he gets so few pitches to hit and AB’s then most other players over the course of a game

  17. Well, the bad news is that Peraza got hit by a pitch. (Or maybe that’s good news for him getting on base.) But the other good news is that the home plate ump didn’t call the pitch a strike. Sheesh.

    • Yup…I hate this type of review and think they should adjust the rule to not allow them

  18. Ya know, many times this season, Romano has not benefitted from defensive plays behind him that could have limited runs and/or shortenened innings. … And as I type that, the DP that is not turned is a 3-run home run.

  19. Bob Steve is back!!! Had enough of Romano already. Lets get Mahle or Reed on the merry-go-round. It doesn’t how much a team is struggling…..they’ll easily put 15 or more on the Reds in a series.

  20. Would anybody really be surprised if they just kept Stephenson in the bullpen and kept Asher in the rotation?

    • Marty was just saying during the radio broadcast that Price was making it sound like he would be back in the rotation, but if a specific time frame was mentioned, I didn’t hear it. …

    • I would not be surprised.Wojo is interesting but the problem is we should already know about him and Stephensen and we don’t.Neither has been given a legitimate chance.A few starts don’t tell you much.Why not start them both?

    • Stephenson looked good today! He’s mixing his breaking stuff up much better then Romano is. I would DFA Adleman and put Feldman & Romano in the pen with Wojo & Bob Steve starting but they won’t do that.

  21. Yeah your right but what about Peraza swinging at ball 4 in the dirt and Tucker striking out on another ball in the dirt.This inning is just who we are as an offense but it can be fixed.We show signs in every game that we are going to be more patient then we go back to who we are.We swung at everything Garza threw up there the first three innings then we adjusted and made him throw strikes and we get back in the game.Barnes comes in and he is all over the place and we hack away.That inning right their if not for the make up call on Scooter and Peraza wailing away could have been bases loaded and no outs.We are so close to being a great offense we just have to slow down and make pitchers throw us strikes and a lot of them.Peraza was down 0-2 and battled back to a full count.Price should still be hollering on that strike 3 to Scooter.He should have thrown bases and bats and even the umpire.

  22. Must be cool to have your best reliever pitch 2 innings the night before be able to pitch again the very next day. #kidsglovetreatment

    • Jesse Winker has not faced many (if any) pitchers with the quality pitches that Knebel can bring to the plate. Good job by the rookie!

      • Winker will be good at what he does.He passes both the eye test and the data test.I also think he will hit 15 to 20 homers one day without lowering his obp or average.

    • HItting streak ends at 17, but the multi-on base streak continues. Votto is now just 2 short of Bonds to tie for the most consecutive multi-on base games.

    • Braun was holding up the wall when he made the catch. That was 2 drives to LF that Votto just missed today. So close, yet …

  23. Going back to Saturday…why take Feldman out in the 5th…he only had 83 pitches, 54 for strikes…he made the last out in the 4th…the bullpen was taxed the night before…we aren’t nursing him for the long-term.

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