After salvaging a win Thursday night and avoiding a sweep to the Cubs, the Cincinnati Reds (54-74) start a three-game series this weekend against the slumping Pittsburgh Pirates (61-67) at GABP. First pitch is at 7:10 ET.

The Pirates come into town having lost three of four to the Dodgers in Pittsburgh and nine of the last 12. For as bad as the Reds have been this season, they are 8-2 against the team directly above them in the Central.

The Pirates rank 13th out of 15 total teams in the National League in OPS. Meanwhile, the Reds are 4th in OPS in the NL. The disparity, and the reason the Pirates are seven games better than the Reds in the Central, comes on the pitching side. While the Reds are dead last in the NL in ERA, Pirates are middle of the road at 7th.

It’s Players Weekend in MLB, so the Reds and Pirates will be wearing special jerseys with nicknames they chose on the back of their jerseys. (Note: the Reds will be wearing the Players Weekend jerseys for the game, and camo jerseys for batting practice tonight).

Here are the Pirates’ jerseys for this weekend. My favorite one remains David Freese’s: Davehuman, because his friend has a dog named Dave.

Starting Pitchers

Pitcher IP ERA xFIP K% BB%
Robert Stephenson 47.0 6.13 5.59 19.7% 13.9%
Ivan Nova 160.2 3.81 4.08 15.5% 3.6%

After a quick DL stint, Stephenson (also known this weekend as Bob, but he missed an opportunity to go with Bob Steve) has had his best month of the season. Since returning to the Reds from AAA-Louisville, he’s lowered his ERA two points, from 8.10 to 6.13, and in the month of August, he’s given up just two earned runs in 12.2 innings. Stephenson is coming off a solid start against the Atlanta Braves in which he pitched five innings and gave up only two earned runs on five hits, striking out three.

His biggest drawback continues to be walking batters, though he’s been better of late. If he’s commanding the strike zone, he can be great, but he gets himself in trouble when he walks too many batters. Stephenson has walked 31 batters in 2017, but in August, he’s only walked six.

Stephenson has pitched well against the Pirates in his short career, but he might want to be careful with Josh Bell, who seems to have the best numbers against him.

stephenson stats

Nova (better known as Super Nova this weekend) has been the Pirates best starting pitcher in 2017. A big reason for this is his incredibly low BB%, walking just 24 batters in 160.2 innings. He’s not a huge strikeout pitcher, striking out just 103 this season, and has given up as many home runs (23) as he did all of last season in the same number of innings.

Nova has three pitches: fastball, curveball and changeup, but uses his fastball and curveball most frequently. In his most recent appearance against the Cardinals in the Little League Classic in Williamsport, PA, Nova went 5.2 innings, giving up eight hits on three runs with five strikeouts.

Here’s how the Reds have fared against Nova in the past:

ivan nova stats


Pirates                                                            Reds

1. Starling Marte (CF)
2. Adam Frazier (LF)
3. Josh Harrison (2B)
4. Josh Bell (1B)
5. David Freese (3B)
6. John Jaso (RF)
7. Francisco Cervelli (C)
8. Jordy Mercer (SS)
9. Ivan Nova (P)
1. Billy Hamilton (CF)
2. Zack Cozart (SS)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Adam Duvall (LF)
5. Scooter Gennett (2B)
6. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
7. Scott Schebler (RF)
8. Tucker Barnhart (C)
9. Robert Stephenson (P)

-And here’s the Reds lineup, with nicknames included:

Stat of the Day

Joey Votto just keeps on being Joey Votto. And if it wasn’t for one game, he would be crushing Ted Williams’ streak of getting on-base twice in a game 21 straight games.

News and Notes

-Mark Sheldon of goes deeper into the stories behind the players’ nicknames.

-Jesse Winker goes on the DL, which is a surprise. Hopefully Phillip Ervin gets some playing time, but I’m not holding my breath. No surprise to see Stuart Turner go on paternity leave. Chad Wallach will be with the Reds for at least a week, as Tucker Barnhart is next up for paternity leave.

-I don’t know what happened to Amir Garrett, but since he got sent down in May, he hasn’t been the same.

Final Thoughts

The Reds aren’t going to the playoffs this year, but that doesn’t mean they can’t play spoiler to other teams, particularly in their own division. Of the 34 games left to be played, 24 are against NL Central teams, including nine against tonight’s opponent, the Pirates.


Join the conversation! 62 Comments

  1. Hate to here about Winker but glad Irvin is back and leading off in center,He had a heck of a game in Chicago which now seems like over a week ago but good to see him getting rewarded with another start.Billy looks tired and needs a break because he is a little guy and goes all out all the time.Smart move by Price.

  2. GEESH!!! I knew Price wouldn’t start Winker on two consecutive days. Next thing you know, Price will probably try to manufacture some lame excuse like a hip flexor strain or some such.

  3. About those names:

    Votto is “TOKKI2”. What’s that all about?

    I laughed at “El HATCHO” for Billy Hatcher.

    Homer going with “HOMER” is just a reminder that he already uses his nickname. Scooter went the opposite way, putting his real name (“RYAN”) on the jersey.

    For non-Spanish speakers, Castillo (“LA PIEDRA”) is “the stone”, Peralta (“LA GRASA”) is “the grease” or possibly “the fatty”. I think the others are easy enough to figure out.

  4. Well on his first opportunity Billy Hatcher is going to send Winker from First to home!

  5. It’s absolutely criminal the way Price is handling Peraza. He’s supposed to be the future, and just when he starts really clicking, suddenly he can’t buy his way into the starting lineup.

    Between Winker and Peraza, I think Price has shown he’s really not the guy to lead the rebuild. Those kids should be playing every day.

    • I absolutely agree

    • Something you may want to consider is a righhander is throwing for the Pirates and not starting Scooter against a RH is not a good move. Also the difference in Peraza may be that Price has pulled his playing time which has woke him up to taking a different approach at the plate lately. He may have gotten the message if you want to play you better be more selective.

      • So if Peraza ‘received’ the message, implemented a much better approach at the plate for over a month resulting in more walks, higher OBP, a better BA, and clutch hitting….is the true ‘message’ Price sends by sitting Peraza so much lately, performance does not matter? Must be why Winker with his .400 OBP can’t find his way onto the field.

  6. Stephenson looks good tonight!

    • He’s been pitching noticeably better his last few times out.

      Hopefully he keeps it up and rides the momentum into the rotation next year along with Castillo and Romano.

      Now if we could just get one of the lefties to work out…

  7. must see TV now. Filthy.

  8. 6 up 6 down by Bob Steve with 6 punch outs. He is throwing a bunch of first pitch strikes.

  9. Bob Steve is hurling a gem! I’m more excited to see the Reds on defense than offense right now

  10. He has a nasty curveball working tonight.

  11. Had to watch the weigh-ins for Conor/Floyd….guess I missed some nasty Bob action in real time? Have to admit…was ready for them to chuck him last year, but he’s looked alot better. Nice velocity tonite and good breaking ball!

  12. I have to give Thomas credit. He will call at players on both teams when they make TOOTBLANs. maybe were just spoiled. For all the bashing of the manager the players haven’t given up and they pay attention to what’s going on.

  13. It looks like Joey is taking batting lessons from Billy Hamilton

  14. Here is what kills me about the reds at times. Hamilton leads off the inning beating out a infield hit. The Pirates have just changed catchers and Cozart swings early in the count and Votto swings at first pitch for a fly out. Go figure!!!

  15. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON OUT THERE? Who is this guy pitching?

  16. Duvy do good.

  17. Is it safe to conclude that Schebler’s slump was related to his shoulder injury? He has hammered the ball tonight.

  18. Schebler! Man…I want to see Schebler in CF and Winker in RF. Billy and Ervin can back them up. Add Senzel to the mix and we’d score a ton of runs!

  19. I believe Schebler wants the RF job

    • I believe that is true, too. But I want to be 40 years younger and $40 million richer. In other words I want to be Scott Schebler

  20. Schebler is a double shy of the cycle. Wondering how much his shoulder injury hurt his numbers. While I think we need to find some PT for Winker I don’t believe our corner outfielders are the problem with this team. Both Schebler and Duvall field their positions well and should end up hitting 30 dingers. Billy is the best fielding CF in the game and will steal 70 bags while hitting less then 250.

    We get some pitching and we will compete.

  21. Really want to see Bob Steve get through this inning.

    • Well, he battled, but wasn’t meant to be. Strong effort, nice to see back-to-back nights of solid outings from the starters!

  22. Love what Scooter gives us at the plate but his range is not even average at 2nd.

    • Scooter is the archtype Utility/Pinch Hitter player. Why Price doesn’t see this and let Peraza play is beyond me.

      • Because until Peraza changed his approach he was awful. He didn’t change until Gennett was crushing the ball and he got benched.

        • Right, and you are talking about that in the past tense, (rightfully) implying Peraza is no longer awful.

          So please tell me again: Why isn’t Peraza playing?

          • Because scooter has killed right hand pitching

          • So remind me what the goal is this season: To win as many games as possible, or to give the young players as much playing time as possible?

          • So you see little value in playing a guy like Gennett who is having a huge year and is arbitration eligible over a guy who has been traded from two organizations because he refuses to take a walk because you think it flys in the face of the youth movement. Lol!! I’m sure players would be lining up to play for you. Price’s method in this case has got very good numbers out of Gennett, so far has looked like it has changed Peraza’s approach and you can find fault with Price in this instance?

          • No, I see no value in playing Scooter, and I do fault Price for doing so. Peraza is 23 and a decent defender. Scooter is 27 and a poor defender. We already know what Scooter provides the team. We need to see what Peraza can do and give him time to develop. He has recently shown signs of turning a corner, he needs to play to continue to progress.

            Repeat after me: The name of the game right now is not winning, it’s seeing what the young kids can do so the team can prepare for the future. It is pointless for Scooter to be taking at bats away from the 23 year old heir apparent in midfield.

  23. Another step forward for Bob Steve.

  24. Adleman deserves an “atta boy”

  25. The thing is with Schebler….he’s very streaky. You can see it with his long swing. Winker can really get on base and has hit 4 hrs already. I guess you could say Schebler might have the bigger ceiling, but I prefer Winker. They’re both 10 miles ahead of Billy. If our pitching every improves then we don’t need a guy running down 6 missiles a game in CF

  26. Just tuned in to see Adleman give up a quick 3 runs.Haven’t we seen enough of him this year?

  27. What is Price waiting on? A tie game? Put Adleman together w/Wojo and DFA them along with Wood. They SUCK!! Flyball pitchers will never cut it at gabp. Not with their stuff. Give some more new guys a shot from Lville. They can’t be any worse?

  28. Everybody can see it coming a mile away except the manager who has a front row seat.

  29. 3.5 hours to get to the bottom of the 8th? If you’re taking little kids then you have to miss half the game or have to carry them out? They have to do something….unjuice the baseballs or something. It seems like the umps are scared of the computer strike zone and they’re not giving extra room on the corners like they used to.

    • You are right, Indy – way too long. Even without kids, I rarely stay for the whole game these days, especially on a work night (although I’ll give them a bit of a pass tonight – high score, lots of hits, and all the pitching changes tend to add up.)

      MLB has tried some gimmicky adjustments – clocks, intentional walks – but I think the answer is fairly simple: keep the batter in the box. Too much stepping out.

      If you watch a game on ESPN Classic from the 70s or 80s, it’s amazing how quickly it goes. The batter stays put, the pitcher works quickly = 2.5 hours, tops.

  30. The FSO announcers said that Stephenson did something historic, what did he do besides pitch well? Maybe I heard wrong.

  31. Mahle to start on Sunday! OK, now the sorting is getting serious.

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2017 Reds, Game Thread


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