Do you remember Lou Piniella’s famous prediction of a guaranteed win against the Giants in 1990?


It received quite a bit of hoopla at the time, as the Reds were on their way to a World Series win. Now, for perhaps the first time in Redleg Nation history, a game preview author is going way out on the limb to say:

“The Reds will ABSOLUTELY defeat the Pirates today. It’s just that plain and simple.”

Readers may be thinking, “How daft can you be?” No team that is 20 games under .500 (64-84) and in last place in its division is EVER a lock to win any game, doubters may reply. Oh, ye of little faith. There are numerous factors and trends that point to this prediction being the biggest lock of the Reds season:

  • The Reds have an 11-6 record against the Pirates this year, by far their best against any opponent.
  • The Reds are 37-36 at home, and the Pirates are 29-46 on the road.
  • Today’s starting pitchers have trend lines on opposite trajectories. Ivan Nova’s trend line is plummeting, and Sal Romano’s is on the rise. (See Starting Pitchers, below.)
  • In three previous starts against the Reds this year, Nova has allowed 12 earned runs in 17 innings. And, from a longer-term view, many of the Reds regulars have a history of hitting Nova well:

So there you are. The lock of the year. BOO-YAH!

This is the one day this year Reds fans can watch the game without any anxiety that things may go poorly for the home team. Put your feet up, relax and enjoy the show.

Starting Pitchers

Ivan Nova 173.2 4.25 4.12 16.6% 4.1%
Sal Romano 69.1 4.54 4.69 18.4% 10%

Nova’s performance has been on a slippery downward slope for the past several weeks. Since the first of August, he has pitched 37 innings in which he has allowed 25 earned runs. This was after a very good start to the season. None of his previous four starts has been of the “quality” variety (six or more innings pitched, three or fewer runs allowed).

Romano is trending in the other direction. He has allowed three or fewer runs in each of his last five starts. If this trend continues through the rest of the year, he will have placed himself on the short list of pitchers likely to open the 2018 season in the Reds rotation.


Both Raisel Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen pitched 1.2 innings Friday night. When either of them pitches more than an inning, that usually signals they won’t be used the next day. So the final two or three innings could be interesting. Jackson Stephens and Rookie Davis may not be available. (See News and Notes below.)

Starting Lineups

Pirates Reds
2B Adam Frazier RF Jesse Winker
LF Jordan Luplow SS Zack Cozart
CF Andrew McCutchen 1B Joey Votto
1B Josh Bell 3B Eugenio Suarez
3B David Freese 2B Scooter Gennett
RF Gregory Polanco CF Scott Schebler
C Elias Diaz LF Adam Duvall
SS Jordy Mercer C Tucker Barnhart
P Ivan Nova P Sal Romano

News and Notes

Hunter Greene is stopping by for a visit …


Tyler Mahle has reached his innings limit, and Amir Garrett will receive some tutelage from Mack Jenkins …


A reason for optimism …

Tom Mitsoff is a lifelong Reds fan who grew up in the Dayton suburb of Beavercreek, Ohio. He lived a teenage life atypical of most his age by prioritizing following the Reds. At one point in the 1970s and early 1980s, Tom kept complete scorecards on more than 1,000 consecutive Reds games. Now that adult life has forced him to move on from his beloved Southwest Ohio, he follows the Reds daily through MLB.TV and other online media sources, including Redleg Nation.

Join the conversation! 30 Comments

  1. Nice work, Tom! Enjoyed the preview. Didn’t know Rookie Davis and Jackson Stephens were getting starts this week. I think both are likely bullpen guys in the long term.

    Really thought they’d give Garrett a couple more starts since he is under his innings pitched from last season. That’s an interesting move.

  2. Not sure what that says if anything.Would love to see Mahle and Garrett until they reach their limit.Every 5th day is kind of what starters do to keep a certain routine

  3. Tom,

    Great preview. You made me laugh with the guaranteed victory prediction.

    I have the same level of certainty about a win today as I did about Chad’s tweet back in March, his “guarantee” of a Reds record of 81-81 for this season. He may even included his trademark “my gift to you” line, for extra assurance.

    I hope not, but that bullpen situation could be a big factor, especially with Romano not pitching more than 6 innings in any of his last 3 starts.

    (Lou was truly one of a kind).

  4. Yeah I’d like to watch a ball game. This is just incredibly annoying to me. I’m going over the radio

  5. Hunter Greene is one impressive young man (interviewed on TV). Joey Votto baserunning, not so much.

  6. I’m afraid you gave our offense the kiss of death, Tom.

  7. It didn’t let me post. Is this happening to everyone?

  8. The record of Redleg Nation game preview writers guaranteeing victory … 1-0! Thank you, thank you very much. I’ll be here all thread.

  9. Very impressive performance by Big Sal, and Reed get his first save.

  10. 8 innings pitched, 6 strikeouts, NO RUNS, NO WALKS!

    Wow, that might just be the best start by a young Reds pitcher this season. Actually, that’s in contention for the best start by ANY Reds pitcher this season, bar none.

    • NO wrap up? I absolutely love football season but that does not deter me checking in on my warped obsession with how a collective bunch of overpaid millionaires and soon to be millionaires fared on the day, With the success of sub 25 year old SP’s day in day out gives me hope for 2018. I feel there is some esoteric hope when your core team can pull out 2-1 wins

  11. I think it’s now safe to say that barring further injuries or trades, the starting rotation for 2018 have four spots already filled with Bailey, Castillo, Romano and Mahle. Hopefully the last one for a healthy DeSclafani.

    • Between Stephenson/Reed/Finnegan/Davis/Garrett/Disco, they should be able to find someone. Of course, they also said they plan to sign the best starter available this offseason, so we’ll see how that goes.

      Personally, I’d rather they stick with their in-house options as they are just now (FINALLY!) starting to round into form, but if they can pull a Strailey-for-Castillo type deal again, I’m onboard. But if it’s something like trading Suarez and prospects for Stroman, I might be considerably less onboard.

      • I always thought if we didn’t have all of those injuries that our starting pitching was going to be a strength.Looking around the league who has some many young guys like we have to chose a starting group from.All they needed was to let them pitch and over the last month or so they have got that chance.Wish it wasn’t such a small sample size but its clear that they have the stuff and have gained some very valuable experience to build on for 2018.Go Reds.

        • Turning over the entire starting rotation at once and throwing unproven prospects to the the wolves was WJ’s gift to Reds fans. Nice to see he’s being rewarded by his buddy BC for his gifts.

  12. The Bucs are an offensive machine but a 4-2 win followed by a 2-1 victory are good signs going into next year.Get ready for close and exciting games in 2018 and yes some meaningful games this time next year.Got to tweek that offense some and barring injuries we should be much better.Winker can play can’t he and where is that power to all fields coming from?

  13. Should be the Bucs are not an offensive machine.

  14. Went to the game and had a blast. Surprisingly, the ballpark seemed a lot more energized than in the last couple of seasons. The crowd seemed more engaged and excited. Jesse Winker’s home run made the place go wild. And, while there were Pirates fans in attendance, it wasn’t like last year where the opposing team’s cheering section was louder than our own!

    This old pessimist feels just a tinge of hope now. The Reds weathered difficulties in the early going of this game (they were no-hit for the first few innings) and didn’t crumble under the pressure after McCutchen’s home run in the top of the 9th. To show that kind of resilience this late in the season says something about the future. It’s great to have the heroes of the day be guys like Winker and Romano.

    The only downside is that, whenever Hamilton comes back, Price will stubbornly put him back in the lead off spot. And, who knows, maybe that WILL yield dividends. But would the Reds have won Saturday’s game with Hamilton leading off? I don’t think so. I’m also concerned that Billy’s regression at the plate will continue next year. And the Reds (from front office down to field manager) seem to be so damned SENTIMENTAL that they’ll have a hard time moving Billy aside from the lead off spot for the good of the team.

    • I have many of the Reds games recorded and I watch them while on the treadmill to catch up on my backlog (helps me through winter as well) but I just watched that Wednesday game where Billy broke his thumb…………bunting.

      He is so bad at bunting, at seeing the ball and watching it hit the bat that he broke his thumb, because he missed putting the other 18 inches of the fat part of the bat on the ball. And this was after he attempted to bunt on the first 4 pitches. I truly believe that his batters eye is being ruined by his frequent, half hearted attempts at bunting. Either square and bunt, get the ball on the ground and then run, or hit. His bunt attempts should be a surprise like every other major leaguer on the planet. But he pulls in the infield and then unlike the majority of pitchers in the league, he cannot bunt. He is bad at it.

      For him to be an effective player, he needs to limit his bunts to 8-10 times per year. Use them wisely. The rest of the time he needs to hit, and even though it is late, he should stop switch hitting. This is all about improving his batters eye, which is horrible. The bunting and switch hitting degrade his batters eye. I’ll bet he could hit 275 if he did so

      • Great points. Early in his career BH hit better from the right side. He does not hit well enough to warrant continuing switch hitting especially since he cannot bunt well enough to get on base from the left side. Stick to Batting right handed and if they keep him at least reap the benefits in 2019 and beyond after a year or so of making up for lost time.

    • We were there too! Although we didn’t get there until the bottom of the 2nd inning and thus missed out on the very nice bobble-head that was given out. Yes, from 418, the atmosphere at the park seemed pretty good. Probably helped that it was a gorgeous day. It was a little hot in the sun but not unbearable.

Comments are closed.

About Tom Mitsoff

Tom Mitsoff is a lifelong Reds fan who grew up in the Dayton suburb of Beavercreek, Ohio. He lived a teenage life atypical of most his age by prioritizing following the Reds. At one point in the 1970s and early 1980s, Tom kept complete scorecards on more than 1,000 consecutive Reds games. Now that adult life has forced him to move on from his beloved Southwest Ohio, he follows the Reds daily through MLB.TV and other online media sources, including Redleg Nation.


2017 Reds, Game Thread


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