2017 Reds / Game Thread

Reds vs. Cardinals — September 19, 2017

The Cincinnati Reds (66-84) will try to spoil any postseason chances the St. Louis Cardinals (77-72) have at Great American Ball Park over the next three days.

After taking two of three from the Reds in St. Louis last week, the Cardinals ran into a proverbial brick wall over the weekend, as the Cubs swept the three-game series in Chicago and put the Cardinals six games behind the defending World Series champions in the NL Central.

The Reds have played well against the Cardinals this season, winning nine of 16 games against them. It’s a battle of rookie pitchers tonight as Jackson Stephens and Jack Flaherty match up in the first game. First pitch is at 7:10 ET.

Starting Pitchers

Pitcher IP ERA xFIP K% BB%
Jackson Stephens 11.1 2.38 4.64 25.0% 6.8%
Jack Flaherty 13.1 6.08 4.75 21.7% 11.7%

This is the first start for Stephens since he joined the rotation when Tyler Mahle was shut down last week. Stephens’ lone start at the major league level came in early July when he made his debut against the Cubs. He pitched five innings, giving up three runs on six hits, while striking out eight and walking one.

Stephens was recalled when rosters expanded at the beginning of September, and has been pitching out of the bullpen since. He’s pitched 6.1 innings, most recently against these Cardinals in St. Louis. On September 14, he pitched three innings of two-hit, shut-out baseball with one strikeout. Tommy Pham and Harrison Bader were the only two Cardinals to get hits off him.

In his limited time at the major league level, Stephens has been impressive, striking out 11 in 11 innings pitched and walking very few batters. But luck could also have played a role in his success. Stephens’ BABIP is .222 in the big leagues, and his fly ball percentage is at 51%. If he keeps giving up fly balls at that rate, his stats might look a little different. At Triple A-Louisville this season, Stephens had some of the same troubles, giving up 16 home runs in 139.0 innings.

Flaherty, the Cardinals’ #3 prospect according to Baseball America’s mid-season Top 10, was called up on September 1 and made his MLB debut the same day, giving up five runs on eight hits in just four innings against the San Francisco Giants. Two starts later, Flaherty faced the Reds, and pitched 4.1 innings, giving up four hits and three runs, including a lead-off home run to Jesse Winker, while walking two and striking out three.

Flaherty was the Cardinals’ first round draft selection in 2014 and is only 21 years old. While his first three starts at the major league level haven’t been eye-opening, he has pitched excellently in the minors this year, posting a 1.42 ERA with 62 strikeouts and 11 walks in 63.1 innings at Double-A this year. He struggled to adjust to Triple-A hitters when he was promoted, but still posted a 2.74 ERA in 85.1 innings. His biggest issue at Triple-A was the home run ball, where he gave up 10.

jack flaherty stats

Bullpens

Both teams were off Monday, so everyone should be available.

Lineups

Cardinals                                                          Reds

1. Kolten Wong (2B)
2. Tommy Pham (LF)
3. Dexter Fowler (CF)
4. Jose Martinez (1B)
5. Yadier Molina (C)
6. Paul DeJong (SS)
7. Jedd Gyorko (3B)
8. Stephen Piscotty (RF)
9. Jack Flaherty (P)
1. Jesse Winker (RF)
2. Zack Cozart (SS)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Scooter Gennett (2B)
5. Adam Duvall (LF)
6. Scott Schebler (CF)
7. Patrick Kivlehan (3B)
8. Stuart Turner (C)
9. Jackson Stephens (P)

-Eugenio Suarez gets a day off tonight.

-Joey Votto is at it again. He’s now reached base in 20 consecutive games.

-Adam Duvall, on the other hand, has not been good. In the second half, he is hitting just .204/.258/.557, with an OPS of .645. Bryan Price has tried moving him down in the lineup (though not for tonight’s game) to take some pressure off him, but there hasn’t been much change yet.

Stat of the Day

Don’t forget about Zack Cozart, who currently has 22 home runs. If he gets hot in the last two weeks of the season, this list could grow.

The Reds offense has not been the problem in 2017, and all of the home runs are a reason why the Reds have been exciting to watch at times.

News and Notes

-Big roster moves happening at 100 Joe Nuxhall Way today.

-The Reds will wear the camo jerseys one last time this season during tonight’s game.

-Price should stick with his starters, at least for the St. Louis series. It would be fun to watch this series be the death of the Cardinals’ playoff hopes.

-Chad has another edition of Reds player power rankings over at Cincinnati Magazine:

Final Thoughts

The Reds are on quite the roll at GABP. Since August 31, they have won every home game. That’s a seven game winning streak, for those who are counting. With six home games left, the Reds are 39-36. They would need to go at least 2-4 to finish the season with a winning record at home. In 2016, the Reds went 38-43 at GABP, so they’ve already improved from a year ago. Next step is to be above .500 for the season. It’s very possible, and I think the Reds can get more than two wins in the next six games.

68 thoughts on “Reds vs. Cardinals — September 19, 2017

  1. I’m amused (but not in a good way) by the idea that Duvall’s problem has been the “pressure” of hitting cleanup for a last place team that receives very little negative media coverage and has some of the most polite/forgiving fans in America. Instead of hoping he’ll magically improve by moving him around the batting order, maybe Price could do the unthinkable and suggest he start taking more pitches and stop swinging at so many balls in the dirt. Duvall hasn’t walked in September. Peraza has 4 more walks than Duvall since the all-star break. Pressure has nothing to do with this. Wanting to hit every pitch out of the park has a lot more to do with it.

    • J, you knocked it out of the park (pun intended) with your post.

      There is angst from all of us from time to time at RLN, but Cincinnati ranks with any other MLB market in terms of being easy on its players. No chance Votto would waive his no-trade clause to jump into a media fishbowl in Toronto, New York or elsewhere.

      Duvall is making his 146th appearance tonight, in the 151st Reds game of the season. He has developed atrocious habits at the plate and his spray chart shows no interest/ability in hitting to the opposite field.

      Maybe had his playing time been better managed, he might not be in such a slump, it’s tough to say. There are options around for next season to give him a break and rest and/or try to work out bad habits.

      • Schebler has the same issue too – neither Duvall or Schebler know how to make contact with two strikes and both guess far too often at pitches which is the only explanation I can come up with how both players swing and miss pitches by a good foot, either in the dirt or near their eyes..

  2. “Price should stick with his starters, at least for the St. Louis series. It would be fun to watch this series be the death of the Cardinals’ playoff hopes.”

    Please, win at least two out of three. I’d hate to help them out any.

      • He could be the Reds second best OF if they would get serious about fielding the best team possible next season and making a playoff run. This team is on the cusp of a scary good team. I’m talking Stupid Cubs scary good.

  3. How does Stephens get smacked around so much at AAA? He’s got really good stuff!

  4. Cards no shift on Schebler…and he hit it right where the shift should be….Stupid Birds

  5. Carpenter got on base 80-something times in the last series vs the Reds….on the bench tonight…..stupid Birds. Shoulder problems for him, but he can rest in the off-season

    • The Reds are going to miss Cozy next season if they don’t get him resigned during the off season, xwOBA or not.

      • The problem with cozart is simple….if not him….then who??? They didn’t have a succession plan. Suarez would seem to be the only credible internal option at this point….and that involves a position switch

  6. Brilliant move to leave Winker in AAA for 80% of the year. Its important to have a guy lead AAA in obp while the Reds flounder in last place. We might see Senzel in August if we cross our fingers? Atleast he can get 3 hits in the AAA All-Star game. Play your best people!! Is that really that difficult a concept? Atleast I picked up Winker for my fant playoffs. 2-2 with 2 runs will work:)

    • To be honest, I discount criticisms about players not playing when the criticizer admits they have that player on a fantasy team.

      Just sayin’

      • I just picked him Sunday:)

        I guess the important thing is that he looks so comfortable and he has shown some power! His wrist isn’t an issue and like Old-School said…..looks like he’s our best outfielder? I’m a big Duvall fan, but he looks completely lost.

        Cozart has convinced me that they need to keep him, but it could get too expensive? Plus if he stays then where does Senzel & Scooter play? I’m boycotting this team if they play inferior players over Senzel for half the year! They do it every time…except for Jay Bruce.

          • Ervin was brought up early and wasted on the bench. Winker was brought up twice early in the season and price refused to use him. We waited four months more than necessary to experience a guy who is easily better offensively and defensively than Schebler and seems to be on par defensively with Duvall, and will help the team win more offensively with his superior OBP.

    • The Reds felt Schebler or Duvall would not cut it and when they did. Winker wasn’t called up.Billy’s job was /is safe regardless of how he hit or got on base so there was no room for Winker this year.Yeah I know it is/was dumb but get use to it.

  7. “How does Stephens get smacked around so much at AAA? He’s got really good stuff!”

    Just like that Indy.

  8. Ron Burgundy: Boy, that escalated quickly. I mean, that really got out of hand fast.

    Champ Kind: It jumped up a notch.
    Ron Burgundy: It did, didn’t it?
    Brick Tamland: Yeah, I stabbed a man in the heart.
    Ron Burgundy: I saw that. Brick killed a guy. Did you throw a trident?

  9. I wonder who decided Davis and Stephens should be starting and Reed should be in the pen?

  10. 9 up 9 down….maybe Stephens is supposed to be a reliever? I couldn’t break down his Louisville stats to see how he did in the first 2 innings? He’s only 23 though, and has good stuff.

  11. LOL. Well done, Indy.

    What was with Kivlehan not flipping the ball to those half-dozen kids next to him, following the catch? That is one of the coolest things still going about MLB games, compared to other sporting events.

    #SuarezWouldHaveDoneSo

    • I noticed that as well. He paused for a minute. I really don’t think he was 100% sure that there was 3 outs.

  12. Cubs picked up lefty Mike Montgomery for next to nothing last summer. He’s starting tonite…15 up 15 down in Tampa while lowering his era to 3.43. Thats what we really need. A lefty that can spot start and also get out key lefties out of the pen. Finnegan might be that guy if his shoulder is right? Reed…possibly but I’d look for someone outside the organization.

    • Puzzling that they have just given Reed one start so far. Ya so he walks a lot of people. A lot of young pitchers do that.

  13. 2 sac flies in the inning. I’m pretty sure that ties a major league record.

  14. Duvall with a walk and a sac fly. Baby steps! I think he’s just worn down mentally. They’ve had some days off and Price is sitting him once in a while, but he’s just hacking at everything and his timing is off.

  15. If the editors are allowed, I would like to see the Jim Day interview with Votto posted on RLN.

      • He pulled off the ball a little bit? He’s barely faced lefties and he zero power vs lefties in the minors. He did get on base vs lefties though? They could let him go in RF and platoon him if they have to.

  16. Wall scraping HR by Fowler. Schebler got a glove on it. Look like he mistimed his leap. I have no doubt Billy would have brought that one back.

    • Or if it was cool like the last 2 weeks then it prob doesn’t make the wall. Shack put that one on a tee though…can’t go right down the middle at the belt in the majors

  17. With that home run….

    6666

    (6 runs, 6 hits for both teams)

    There is a reason that the Cardinals are referred to having (Stupid) Devil Magic, especially with their one losing season since 1999.

  18. There have now been more home runs hit this season than in any other in MLB history.
    I find that strange since only 1 guy has 50 and 1 guy has 40. And more than the PED years.

  19. So glad we hung on to Turner all year. Homer Bailey is a better hitter but oh well. If you put on Mr Magoo glasses then he sort of looks like Scott Rolen at the plate. He just hits like a waiter named Rolen Scott.

  20. Have to get the kids ready for school tomorrow…lets go with Adleman over Iggy. Who needs a walk off win anyway?

  21. The abject stupidity of so many decisions tonight … Suarez doesn’t bat for Kivlehan, Iggy isn’t in to pitch, of course we see a homer that I believe Billy gets (nice try Scheb, but it still made it out) … just overall BLARGH! kind of play in the end.

    • I heard on TV that Suarez was with his wife and new baby. Did anyone see him in the dugout? I didn’t watch the game.

      • I missed that piece of information. Still I wonder why even Peraza didn’t PH until later when he does seem to be getting better at a fly ball that would have been a SF and a run.

  22. Adleman? Go back to deli and get on with your lifes work. You made some major league $$…be grateful because you’re not a major league talent

    • Don’t be mad at Adleman he’s living the dream! The blame is all Price. Use Adleman only in low leverage, inning vacuum games. He’s serviceable and cheap for those situations until you have enough pitching talent to fill out twelve spots (which the reds did have most of 2017 sitting in the minors but refused to bring up Castillo & Mahle when they established they’d been ready since May).

  23. And ….. Good Afternoon, Good Evening and Good Night! I’m taking my BLARGH!! and heading for bed. Really, really dislike the Dirty Birds.

  24. Duval gets a useless error because Turner doesn’t knock down the ball at the plate

  25. Iggy must have a minor injury we don’t know about since there were 3 innings in which he would normally have been used.

  26. If Iggy isn’t hurt then this is unacceptable? You could make a case for Adleman on the road because someone has to close….but not at home where Scooter could’ve just hit a walk off????? Price is a #&^$^#)*@@ moron

  27. Votto had a bad game, striking out twice in key situations. Scooter gets a late homer to balance out two early double plays when the Reds coulda knocked the Cards out early. Then the defensive lapses by Schebler and Turner’s bat is nonexistent….kivlehan another hole in the lineup. The lack of using Iggy your best pitcher sits on the bench with ample important situations screaming for his arm.

    This game goes on the mantle another example one of several throughout the year of how to manage a win into a loss.

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