Tonight the Reds (62-82) return to the Central division pennant race in the first of a three game series versus the 2nd place Cardinals (75-68) in St Louis. Back from the living dead, the Cardinals find themselves just 2 games in arrears to the division leading Cubbies and 3.5 games behind the second NL wildcard berth currently held by Colorado. The Reds play the Cards 6 times in their final 18 games which poses an interesting conundrum for Reds fans. Root to wreck the Cards season or to obtain the best possible draft position?

Starting Pitchers

Bob Stephenson gets the ball for the Reds. He will be looking for his 5th win in as many starts. We don’t normally put much stock in wins as measure of  pitchers’ performance. However when a guy has been in the dark places Stephenson has traversed these last two seasons it is significant that he is going for his fifth win in 5 games because it means he is staying in games at least 5 innings without rendering them hopeless causes for the Reds. That’s progress. Truth be told, other than his walk rate, Stephenson’s numbers since he was placed into the Reds rotation  in late July are solid. The difference between his 3.38 ERA and 4.52 FIP over the span speaks to the fact that unlike in the past, he has been stranding walked batters and has avoided surrendering untimely home runs. Luck or skill? Only time will tell.

Righthander Lance Lynn starts for the Cardinals. Lynn finds himself on the opposite side of the coin from Stephenson over his last five starts. The numbers say he has pitched well, by most measures better than Stephenson; but, his team has lost all five games. Lynn personally has been hung with only one decision in this streak.

Here’s our typical pitchers’ stat table with full season numbers for both starters. Click on the pitcher’s name in the table to see his most recent starts.


Bob Stephenson 5.02 1.53 14.4% 23.2%
Lance Lynn 4.72 1.26 9.7% 19.7%


Both teams had an off day on Monday. No known issues here.



1. Jesse Winker (RF)
2. Zack Cozart (SS)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Scooter Gennett (2B)
5. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
6. Scott Schebler (CF)
7. Adam Duvall (LF)
8. Stuart Turner (C)
9. Robert Stephenson (P)


1. Matt Carpenter (3B)
2. Tommy Pham (LF)
3. Paul DeJong (SS)
4. Jose Martinez (1B)
5. Yadier Molina (C)
6. Kolten Wong (2B)
7. Harrison Bader (CF)
8. Randal Grichuk (RF)
9. Lance Lynn (P)

Jesse Winker returns and leads off for the Reds! Maybe Bryan Price spent his off day trolling RLN for lineup ideas, eh? Adam Duvall drops another spot or two in the order as Price continues to look for ways to get the big guy going. Scan at that Cardinal lineup and consider the names you see versus as recently as just a couple of years ago. I wish the Reds could rebuild by just reloading like this.

News and Notes

In addition to activating Jesse Winker the Reds have added two more pitchers to their active ranks and made a move to create a spot on their 40 man roster for one of the newcomers.

Joey Votto wishing he had a time machine?

In that other corner of Ohio a date with history awaits a certain winning streak if it continues tonight

Final Thoughts

Tonight the Reds begin what is essentially the last tenth of their 2017 season. While they are long out of contention for a playoff berth,  all but three of their remaining 18 games are against teams currently fighting for playoff spots.

How will Bryan Price choose to approach this last segment of the season? In the games versus contenders will he start what he considers his best lineups and manage the game as if he was  managing the contending team, even at the cost of getting less of a look at his prospects? And what of the Reds players? Will they rise to the occasion as they did in the recent homestand versus the Brewers; or, will they look somewhat indifferent as they did versus the Mets over the weekend until late in game four of that series?

Finally, what of we fans? I’ve reached a point of relative indifference to the game outcomes myself. I just want to see whoever is on the field for the Reds play their best; and, let the chips fall as may. If they win a bunch games to derail the Cardinals and/ or Cubs, great. If they play poorly and move up in the draft order, fine. Either way, I’m ready for the organization to be about the business of the off season. Just get this club fixed so we don’t endure more of the same old same old again next year for however many consecutive seasons it would be. Go Reds!

Data and Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs, Baseball Reference, and


19 Responses

  1. Sliotar

    Jim, great set-up

    And, I think you nailed. It’s a win-win….draft position can improve or someone can get their goal of a playoff spot damaged.

    Whether counting down the games remaining in their heads or not, the Reds appear to still be doing their jobs, and providing professional opposition.

    (But, it would mean a little more to me to wound the hopes of the Cardinals. Stupid Devil Magic are the Rasputin of MLB. Three months ago, you could not visit a Cards blog without reading #FireMatheny. Now, look who’s still lurking in the race.)

    Go Redlegs.

  2. msanmoore

    Aside from Schebler in CF being a potential defensive nightmare, this lineup looks good. Certainly should be able to hit.

  3. Shchi Cossack

    I’m thrilled to see Winker starting in RF and leading off along with Schebler in CF. Those two players remained in those roles for all of the remaining games this season. Ervin should get the bulk of the playing time in LF simply because Price has run Duvall into a situation where he he physically can’t produce, for the 2nd season in a row. Some people just have very flat, or even inverted, learning curves.

    With this being a time to evaluate the players who haven’t had a chance to play at the major league level, giving Turner the start makes sense, but Barnhart should be starting against every RH pitcherr with Turner getting playing time against the LH starters.

  4. VaRedsFan

    A rare unforced error by Zack on the throw to 2nd

  5. VaRedsFan

    Immediately, the Cards take advantage of Schebler’s arm in center as Pham tags up from 1st on a ball not even on the warning track

    • Old-school

      Schebler was born to play in the AL.

  6. VaRedsFan

    2 unfortunate runs given up by Bob…the defense let him down

    • Jim Walker

      Cozart air mailed the toss because he couldn’t set on his left knee. That’s the unfortunate but accurate thing to keep in mind about him as we move into the off season and free agency maneuvering. Defensively, he’s not the guy he was so many years in a bad way just like offensively he’s not the guy he was for so many years in an improved way.

      • VaRedsFan

        If it was his left quad thats hurt, then it wouldn’t be his plant league. Cardinals broadcast said he didn’t have a good grip on the throw

      • Jim Walker

        He need to rock forward onto his front (left leg) instead he threw off his back leg with classic back leg throw results.

  7. Scott Gennett

    Certainly it looks Duvall cannot manage an entire season, he should sit at least once a week. Carrying five outfielders it should not be a problem.

  8. james garrett

    Extra outs and walks won’t work.Cards have scored all 4 with two outs.

  9. james garrett

    Interesting to see if Bob can finish his night up in a good way.Often you can learn something even when you are getting hammered.Lets see.

  10. Sliotar

    Whether it’s international or coincidence, the Cardinals are not playing like the Brewers did last week against the Reds.

    There is a crispness to their play, their running of the bases and they all look locked in on the pitching.

    I am jealous of their situation, standings-wise. Every game likely mattering the rest of the way for them, plus scoreboard watching.

    I look forward to the days when we can agonize, even if it’s for the second wild-card spot.

    • Jim Walker

      I suspect your spell checker coincidentally and not intentionally did you wrong in your first sentence 😉

  11. Sliotar

    Ha. Good catch. I now realize where the faux pas came from.

    Someone was very, very unhappy about Celtic’s performance in the Champions League today vs. Paris Saint Germain and had just texted me about it.

    (my team, Arsenal, is so drama-filled, it doesn’t have time to qualify for such tournaments)

  12. Sliotar

    After Matt Holliday, and his career .390 OBP vs. Cincinnati, went the American League, I was greatly worried that the Cardinals would not be able to find a brand new Reds killer.

    Enter Paul DeJong, at least for this season.

  13. Sliotar

    This is getting Redsy (the Baseball Theatre of the Absurd, usually created by abnormally bad pitching and long innings)

    Let the Deck McGuire Commence!