The Cincinnati Reds go for a series sweep against the Milwaukee Brewers in this afternoon’s (12:35 pm ET) series finale. The game also gives the Reds a chance to even their home record at 36-36. Losses the Reds have inflicted on Milwaukee the past two days have cost the Brewers the opportunity to make up ground on the NL Central leading Cubs, who lost twice to the Pirates. The Reds have one more series against the Brewers this season. It’s in Milwaukee during the final week of September.

The Reds/Brewers game is one of the two afternoon match-ups being shown by the MLB Network today.

Tonight, the Reds head to New York for a 4-game series with the woeful Mets and then to St. Louis for three games with the new-life Cardinals. Wouldn’t it be great to throw the last shovels of dirt on their 2017 season? But before that fun, we have to stay focused on sweeping the Brew Crew.

Starting Pitchers

Take a long, adoring look at Luis Castillo today. It’ll be the last time you see him pitch in a Reds uniform until Spring Training.

As Chad reported yesterday, this will be Castillo’s 15th and final game for the Reds in 2017. He’s thrown 161. 2 innings this year between AA and the Reds before today. As you know, Castillo (24) has had a tremendous season for the Reds, one of the most encouraging signs for the team next year and beyond. The trade in which the Reds acquired him from the Marlins for Dan Straily is one of the best moves of the rebuilding process. Starting in spring training through his surprising call-up to debut on June 23, Castillo has performed beyond reasonable expectations. Barring injury, he’s a lock for next year’s rotation.

What has made Castillo so effective? His average fastball velocity (97.5 mph) is tied for highest in the major leagues among starters with at least 80 innings pitched. Castillo also keeps hitters off balance with a wipeout change-up. He’s Edinson Volquez only better than Edinson Volquez. When Castillo masters his slider (he’s close now), he’ll be awesome. His swinging-strike percentage (SwStr%) is also among the league’s best. If you aren’t sure whether SwStr% is an important statistic, consider that the top-11 starters in that category include Corey Kluber, Chris Sale, Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom, Chris Archer, Zack Greinke and Stephen Strasburg. Castillo’s strikeout rate (K%) is in the t0p-20 for starters with 80 IP.

Castillo has faced the Brewers one time this season, in his second big league game. In 5.2 innings, he struck out 9 and walked 3, allowing 2 earned runs. Expect Castillo be on a short leash today. Bryan Price has cut his appearances short in 2 of his last 3 starts.

Matt Garza (33) is now a much worse version of his former self as a starting pitcher, which wasn’t all that great really anyhow (2011 excepted). Garza has been one of the worst starting pitchers in the major leagues and gotten worse as the season has worn on. The Reds faced Garza less than a month ago in Milwaukee. He went 5.1 innings, striking out just 2 and walking 5.


Here are the lineups for today’s game. According to FanGraphs, the Reds have a 59% win probability today.

1. Hernan Perez (2B) – 82 wRC+
2. Neil Walker (1B) – 128 wRC+
3. Ryan Braun (LF) – 114 wRC+
4. Travis Shaw (3B) – 123 wRC+
5. Domingo Santana (RF) – 123 wRC+
6. Stephen Vogt (C) – 134 wRC+
7. Keon Broxton (CF) – 88 wRC+
8. Orlando Arcia (SS) – 82 wRC+
9. Matt Garza (P) – 5.26 SIERA
1. Billy Hamilton (CF) – 66 wRC+
2. Zack Cozart (SS) – 142 wRC+
3. Joey Votto (1B) – 165 wRC+
4. Adam Duvall (LF) – 104 wRC+
5. Eugenio Suarez (3B) – 126 wRC+
6. Scott Schebler (RF) – 105 wRC+
7. Jose Peraza (2B) – 63 wRC+
8. Tucker Barnhart (C) – 85 wRC+
9. Luis Castillo (P) – 3.82 SIERA

The Reds are going with their usual lineup other than substituting Jose Peraza at 2B for Scooter Gennett. Anyone know which team cut Gennett this spring? With Peraza in the lineup and batting 7th, Bryan Price no longer has his worst hitter batting first. /waves tiny Reds pennant/

The Brewers have a different 2B and CF playing today.

News and Notes

Patrick Kivlehan, who caught my eye in spring training, has excelled in his role this year. Refresher on Kivlehan (27): He played 3B for Rutgers in college, where he hit for the Big East Triple Crown in 2012. He was drafted in the 4th round by the Mariners, who moved him to 1B and then the OF. He bounced around in 2016 (Mariners-Rangers-Mariners-Padres) before the Reds picked him up off waivers during the last week of the season. Back to 2017: Over 169 plate appearances, Kivlehan has hit for power off the bench, with 8 home runs and .187 ISO. The Reds didn’t have any pinch hit home runs in 2016. Kivlehan has drawn walks (10.1 BB%). And he’s played 1B, 3B and all three OF positions. He’s just about everything you’d want in a bench player and should be squarely in the Reds plans for 2018.

With today’s call-up of RHP Luke Farrell, the Reds now have 18 pitchers on their roster. The Reds claimed Farrell (26) from the Dodgers off of waivers in early August. He made an appearance for the Kansas City Royals in July and soaked up bullpen innings on August 23 in his only appearance for the Reds. He shut out the Cubs for three innings with two walks and three strikeouts.

• Reliever Drew Storen (30) has been unavailable the past few days with a stiff elbow. (Jeff Wallner)

The Dayton Dragons host Game One of the MWL playoffs vs. West Michigan tonight at Fifth Third Field, at 7 p.m.

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 56 Comments

  1. Barring injury, Castillo and Bailey are absolute locks for the rotation next season. Romano, Mahle, and Stephenson are knocking very loudly on that door. If Disco and Finnegan get healthy, or Garrett or Reed suddenly figures it out, it adds eve more healthy competition to the team.

    It’s for these reasons why I’m not sure the Reds should follow through with their plan to trade for a frontline starter this offseason. The in-house candidates are younger, cheaper, and may end up being better than almost anything else they could get via a trade.

    • They should follow the plan because for the last two years they have paid a large price for hoping ifs and buts would turn into candy and nuts. There is probably no truer baseball adage than that a team cannot have too much pitching. And even if it does, somebody else won’t; and, a pitcher can be flipped for good return.

      • The thing is, though, we’re already seeing Castillo, Romano, Mahle, and Stephenson have success at the MLB level. Homer, Disco, and Finnegan already have done it.

        I’m just not sure I’m seeing a pitcher they could reasonably trade for who would be worth it in the long run. To get a pitcher that’s worthwhile, they would most likely have to trade one of their young starters plus some position players. For example, would you be willing to part with Romano and Trammell for a pitcher who in the long run ends up being about as good as Romano would have been anyway?

        • Disco and Finnegan are both ifs and buts.

          Disco has played half a season in the last two. Why should we believe he will be healthy and productive in 2018 when it is probably just as likely he will end up having some sort of elbow surgery and mis at least a significant portion if not the entire season?

          Finnegan is in a slightly different but similar situation. There seems to be building scuttlebutt that like Cingrani and Iglesias before him, his on going should woes have him bullpen bound.

          The proactive thing to do is to move on from these guys as given pieces and reap the benefits if they come up positive but not take the hit if they don’t.

          • I agree with that. I’m not counting on Disco or Finnegan for anything going forward, just like I already have written off Mesoraco from the team.

            All that said, the Reds currently have 4 young pitchers with a ton of upside who are are having success at the MLB level. I’m just not sold on them making a trade to get a frontline starter when they would have to mortgage part of their future to do so.

            For example, the Red Sox got Chris Sale by giving up 2 of their top 3 prospects, plus 2 other minor league players. Are you willing to give up Senzel and Mahle if it means acquiring that elusive frontline starter?

          • I agree but hope we get lucky with at least one of them and we are due some luck with our pitchers after these last two years.Easy for me to say but I am surprised Disco didn’t opt for surgery.

        • That’s the million $ question? The only guy I can think of that would be a gamechanger worth risking our top guys would be Marcus Stroman! He’s young, durable, affordable, competitive, and keeps the ball on the ground…plus the Jays need to rebuild badly! Other then that…I’d try to add a arm similar to our guys by trading other prospects or Billy/Schebler/etc. Jose Urena, Blake Snell, or Jeff Hoffman are talented young arms….or someone similar. Kind of like Disco when we got him!

  2. Healthy and Reds pitching lately don’t often collide in the same sentence. I’d still make the case we need at least one more piece at the top, though giving valuable innings away to the likes of Arroyo, etc. further delays the timing of this as 2018 will be used more for what 2017 was intended for trying to gauge our young starting core.

    • The re-build is over. The Reds are going into battle next year gunning for an NL Central title. This winter will be the phase to go out and get what you don’t already have. The Reds have offense. They have defense. They have 4/7 of a bullpen.
      What don’t they have? That might be a front-line starter. It might also be a new leadoff hitter. Two quick but important moves to be made this winter. Time to thin the herd a little this winter for the betterment of 2018.

  3. Talking about pitching performance, check for Ben Lively’s numbers with Philadelphia this year. He was traded by Reds back in 2014 for….Marlon Byrd!

    • Yeah, he arrived a year later than I thought he would but would seem to be doing well. My only question with Lively is “Where is the out pitch?” He doesn’t strike out many guys and missing bats is important. In other words, I doubt he’ll maintain a 3.xx ERA over 30 starts. He has potential to be at least a serviceable starter though.

  4. What a waste of an inning with runners in scoring position and no outs. Schebler and Peraza continue to show that plate discipline is sorely lacking with swinging at bad pitches. Peraza’s AB was particularly gruesome to watch.

    • None of them should be regulars, bench players at the most.

      • I think Schebler’s cieling is still high and he’d be a solid piece if he could lay off the high fastball as he’s decent in the field with power and takes some walks. Peraza is another story with limited power, OB skills and questionable in the field.

        Shame they can’t show what they can do to make this offseason a little easier

        • Since the All-Star Break, Peraza has put up a .354 OBP. His OBP in August was .368. He is walking more (13 walks in the 2nd half compared to 5 in the entire 1st half) and is seeing more pitches per AB. He is also 23 years old. I think it would be foolish to give up on him so easily, he has shown signs of being able to adjust and improve

        • Schebler is Jay Bruce light. Less power, less defense. Both swing at bad pitches, both struggle with runners on in tight games

          • Schebler is still improving. And his ISO of .275 (when healthy) is already excellent. I’m hoping enough plate discipline will come along to make his power play really well.

  5. Hamilton’s finger must really be hurt since he was lifted for Ervin. I hope it doesn’t mean significant DL time. Like last season, missing the last month would kill his GG chances.

    Only thing on the plus side is we’d see more of Ervin and what he can do.

    • I wouldn’t mind seeing Ervin get 5-8 games in center then slide over to RF when Hamilton comes back to see what he has.

      Hamilton has plenty of games at this point to make his case so a short stint shouldn’t hurt

    • I don’t wish injury on anyone, but if BHam going on the DL means we get an extended look at Ervin in CF, I’m ok with that. It feels like Ervin has been a prospect since the days of Jack McKeon, it’s time to finally see if this kid can hack it or not.

  6. Man….you get Senzel in the lineup and bat Billy 9th (or play Scheb in CF?) and watch this offense explode next year!!

    • Mentioned this to Chad on twitter the other day. The vertigo thing has me very concerned. Vertigo symptoms can last for months, even years.

      • Where is my worry, also. Nick Esasky is an example of the worst case scenario.

        I had a friend who suffered from it and couldn’t drive a car for four years

        • Yeah. My father in law has to sleep upright every night. One night in a bed and he’s in trouble for days.

  7. I agree Indy.Guys with high obp and guys with pop work for me.Right now we have too many who are just the opposite.

  8. Just turned on the broadcast by the Milwaukee team on MLB network

    I’m not sure they know a baseball game is being played

  9. As Ali used to say I’m a bad man and so is Castillo.He is filthy and easy and just plain nasty.

  10. Irvin with a hit and a stolen base.

  11. How did Billy hurt his finger?

  12. Wow didn’t realize there was an early game today. I liked how Steve brought up SwStr% and how Castillo was at 12.0%. Robert Stephenson is even better at 12.3%. I think these two young guys could be our future #1 and #2, assuming they get the walks thing figured out. Castilio to me is already a #2.

    • To me…the jury is still out on Bob Steve? He looks like he’s getting it but I don’t know how many times I’d see him have 3-4 shutout innings at Lville w/5-6+ Ks and then end up with 4 earned in 5.2 or something? I was ready to bail him last year though…so what do I know:)

      • The jury is definitely still out on Stephenson. We can all see he has the ability to miss bats but the lapses in control still leave some doubt. Like you I am lot more confident in him than I was last year at this time.

  13. So if there is no Cozart next year. Do we start the year with Suarez at short? Scooter at 3rd, and Peraza at 2nd, until Senzel passes super 2? Scooter moves to 2nd when Senzel comes up? Peraza the utility guy, and starts at 2nd vs. lefties.

    That’s a lot of hope pinned on Senzel. Suarez has to play games at short before Senzel arrives, if that’s their plan.

    • I’d keep Suarez at 3rd. He has amassed 4.3 fWAR already this year and could even hit 5 WAR by the time the season is over. There’s no guarantee that Senzel is even going to reach 3 WAR.

  14. Its difficult to overstate the significance of Luis Castillo’s emergence as a definitive #1. He is changing the storyline of 2017. Homer Bailey is getting healthy and redefining himself as a differnet but potentially effective veteran pitcher. Romano, Stephenson, and Mahle……albeit belatedly, are starting to write their own late season script changes. There could be some nice momentum heading into the offseason.

    • And it has all come about with better starting pitching. Improvements can still be made this winter though.

    • Ya with Casillo’s coming out party, I don’t see any real urgency to trade for a top line starter or make an expensive FA acquisition there.

  15. It’s the 7th inning for a Red’s starter…
    Castillo: Hold my beer!

  16. Great effort by Luis Castillo. I thought Castillo might be out after 5 innings today. That is great that Price is letting him finish on a very strong note. What is also great, is the run support the offense is giving Castillo today. They may have in a few games, but it doesn’t seem like the Reds have scored this many runs in any of his games.
    Price is letting Castillo set the bar high today for the other starters to emulate in the rest of their starts. Great strategy. Great execution.

    • The Reds offense has not scored for Castillo – that’s how you end up with a 3-7 record yet one of the best ERAs in baseball. The Reds average of 4.8 or 4.9 runs per game is inflated from scoring during low leverage situations – jacking up the score during blowouts or when they’ve been blown out against inferior pitching as one other poster pointed out recently.

  17. 8 STRONG for Luis!!

  18. Castillo with a great outing for his last start of 2017.

  19. Luis Castillo is sure going to make winter more tolerable! Great way to finish off 2017!

  20. Peraza says “Adios!” to that ball.

    • One for four-two runs scored two runs batted in


    • Peraza should start every game until the end of the season. He can play 2B, 3B & SS, so even Price should be able to handle that roster adjustment. The Reds need to get more data on Peraza’s capability, especially with the apparent improvment in the 2nd half of the season. Is that simply a sample size apparition or a serious adjustment in his plate approach.

      • +1

      • No he should not. If I am a player on that team who is having the kind of year Cozart, Gennett and Suarez are having and you sit me to try out a player who walked 3 times in half a season I would never play for you again. Especially considering the financial impact it could have on Cozart a free agent and Gennett who I believe is arbritration eligible. What more do you need to see out of Peraza? He is a player that with a bad approach. Not just this year I might add.

  21. Let me say it again.Castillo is a baaaaaaaaaad man.

Comments are closed.

About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.


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