It all comes down to this. The Cincinnati Reds (66-86) and St. Louis Cardinals (79-72) have played 18 games in 2017. Both teams have won nine games. If the Reds can win at Great American Ball Park tonight, the Reds will have won a season series against the Cardinals for the first time since 2011.

Of course, for a game of this magnitude, it’s fitting that the two starters are both veteran pitchers. Homer Bailey and Carlos Martinez will oppose each other on the mound as the Reds also try to avoid a three-game sweep. First pitch is at 7:10 ET.

Starting Pitchers

Pitcher IP ERA xFIP K% BB%
Homer Bailey 80.0 6.86 4.91 16.1% 10.0%
Carlos Martinez 194.1 3.57 3.59 25.4% 8.2%

Bailey’s season has been one of slow progress. It started disastrously, but has improved as he pitches more innings. In the last month, Bailey is 1-2 in four games with a 4.18 ERA, 17 strikeouts and six walks. It’s not great, but it’s a far cry from the 10.12 ERA in July after five starts.

More importantly, Bailey is going deeper into games and building up his arm strength again. He’s pitched six innings in three of his last four games, and has already pitched 80.1 innings this season, many more than the last two years when he pitched 11.1 and 23.0 innings, respectively. That was the goal for the remainder of the season, and as long as nothing else goes wrong, *knock on wood*, Bailey will go into spring training healthy for the first time in a long time.

His problem continues to be control issues, as he has walked 37 batters in 80 innings. For comparison, in 2012 and 2013, Bailey pitched more than 200 innings in each season and walked 52 and 54 batters.

Bailey faced the Cardinals once this year, on August 6. It was one of his worst performances of the season. He lasted just 3.1 innings, giving up 10 hits on 10 runs, while walking three and striking out three.

homer bailey stats

It’s weird that Martinez is now a “veteran” pitcher, but that’s where we are. Martinez will break the 200 innings mark for the first time in his career, barring a crazy injury. By all accounts, he’s been the Cardinals ace this season, and he turns 26 today. Martinez has a 3.57 ERA in 30 games, has walked just 66 batters, and already recorded a new career strikeout total with 205 (his previous high was 184 in 2015).

He likes his fastball, which tops out in the high 90s. The difference in 2017 is that he’s throwing his slider more (27 percent of his pitches are sliders, compared to 22.8 percent in 2016). Martinez has always been a ground ball pitcher, but this season, he’s given up 25 home runs, the most of his four-year career. In 2016, he gave up 15 home runs in 195.1 innings. This could be due to throwing his slider more or batters just catching up to his fastball. It’s hard to say in the year of the home run.

Martinez has faced the Reds twice in 2017, giving up five earned runs in five innings in early April and four earned runs in 6.1 innings in June.

carlos martinez stats


Cardinals                                                            Reds

1. Matt Carpenter (3B)
2. Tommy Pham (LF)
3. Dexter Fowler (CF)
4. Jose Martinez (1B)
5. Yadier Molina (C)
6. Paul DeJong (SS)
7. Kolten Wong (2B)
8. Randal Grichuk (RF)
9. Carlos Martinez (P)
1. Scott Schebler (RF)
2. Zack Cozart (SS)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Scooter Gennett (2B)
5. Jesse Winker (LF)
6. Phillip Ervin (CF)
7. Tucker Barnhart (C)
8. Patrick Kivlehan (3B)
9. Homer Bailey (P)


-Zack Cozart’s 2017 season has been nothing short of amazing, especially when you think back to what he was doing a couple years ago. It turns out he’s had one of the best seasons by a Reds shortstop in history. It’s been fun to watch, and I’m going to miss him next season.







-Also in 2017, Joey Votto has done something not many Reds players have done before. But, of course, this is not the first time he has done this.




News and Notes

-Keury Mella made his MLB debut for the Reds last night in the fourth inning. It’s been a revolving door of players coming up from the minors over the last two seasons.

-The Reds are giving away this bobble head of Tucker Barnhart to the first 20,000 fans on Saturday. There’s also a Bronson Arroyo post-game concert and fireworks. If you’d have to choose one game to go to this weekend, Saturday would be a good choice.

-I used to think I didn’t want netting extended beyond the dugouts at ballparks, but my opinion has changed after seeing how many hard line drives have been hit into the seats down the third base line at GABP this season. Now, I side with Cozart on the situation.

-And then the Reds announced this afternoon that they will install extended netting along the first and third base dugouts in time for Opening Day 2018.

Final Thoughts

Earlier this week, I read a tweet that said it seems like it’s been another lost month for the Reds because the team hasn’t learned anything new about the future rosters during during September. I beg to differ. I think the Reds have learned a lot about many of their young players.

Pitchers like Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle, and Sal Romano have proven they should get a chance at the rotation in 2018 by their performances in the second half. But it works both ways. Just as players who perform well receive a chance next season to make the team, those who don’t perform well miss their chance. You can bet that the Reds front office is watching closely to see who has what it takes and who doesn’t.

We’ve learned that Eugenio Suarez is a budding star, Jesse Winker is ready for the big leagues, which means a interesting outfield competition soon, and Jose Peraza has not looked like a solid replacement for Cozart.

2017 was the most fun season to watch of the rebuilding years, and call me overly optimistic, but I’m really looking forward to 2018. It’s a shame others can’t see it too.

38 Responses

  1. seat101

    Assuming a positive progression for Bailey, how many innings can he be expected to be able to pitch next year?

  2. james garrett

    We have indeed learned some things about our young pitchers.It could have and should have been more but what experience they got can’t be measured as to its value going forward.

  3. james garrett

    Interesting that Schebler is leading off.

    • Ethan L

      I would have used the word head-scratching.

  4. seat101

    The man took his granddaughter to the game. He had a positive duty to protect her. He didn’t. The alternative is that he sit somewhere else. He didn’t.

    Due to his neglect, netting will be put up at all major-league ballparks.

    • Indy Red Man

      Little harsh. Bruce Lee’s reflexes weren’t fast enough to stop a 100 mph foul ball at that distance.

      • seat101

        Then he should not have been sitting there with that little girl. Clear case of neglect.

      • Indy Red Man

        Like someone could/should anticipate that? Also the fact that that a little net might inconvenience you. Why don’t u sit in the cheap seats or just quit supporting 90+ loss teams financially in the first place. To each his own…I’m done

      • seat101

        If they were at the swimming pool of course they shouldn’t expect a foul ball coming at them. But they were at a baseball game. And the possibility of a foul ball coming their way increased in likelihood by several thousand percent. And they should have prepared themselves for that. They were responsible. Or do you disagree with the idea that the grandparents were not responsible for their grandchild?

        And I haven’t given you any reason to think that a “little net” might “inconvenience” me.

      • Keith

        I’d argue that no one can prepare themselves for a 100+ mph line drive foul ball, no matter how well-anticipated it may be. Those who sit in those seats escape because they’re lucky, not because they’re prepared — I’ve sat in those seats paying attention and still found myself paralyzed by a line drive that luckily hit the back of the seat next to me rather than my face. When it’s easy and cheap for a franchise to protect its fans from danger that is challenging to avoid, they should.

    • Keith

      And that netting will likely save the life of someone, be it a child or adult, while not changing the gameday experience of the fan sitting behind it. I’m perfectly fine with that

  5. Sliotar

    After the first 4 batters, it feels like the scouting report on the white board in the Cardinals read,

    “Bailey’s stuff not what it was. Let’s be hyper aggressive, get some doubt in his mind and reap the walks and meatballs second and third time through the order.”

    (Actually, no way this could be true. “Reap” isn’t being written in any MLB clubhouse. Otherwise, Cards looking to jump on Bailey.)

  6. old-school

    Have we reached a point where Bryan Price is managing the Reds not to win…..but instead to defend his wrong decisions???? Winker is closing in on statistical significance. He continues to do everything asked of him and be the best leadoff hitter since Choo and by the way……hit for some power too. So what does Price do? Shuffle the deck.

    The only reason Winker hit leadoff was Hamilton fractured his thumb and could not. Then Winker succeeded wildly…Uh- oh…….so lets make everyone forget how good Winker was leading off…shuffle the deck……bat him 5th…..and create a diversionary Schebler/Winker competition in RF. Can’t go into the offseason with Winker having 40 more at bats at lead off and proving beyond a shadow of a doubt he is the guy. Price needs to do something now to defend Billy at leadoff and it starts with kicking Winker out….because he is too good.

    • seat101

      Perhaps the manager and maybe even the general manager wish to see how other players do leading off. Just a thought

      • Old-school

        Schebler is hitting .235
        Obp is .313
        Career Walk rate 7%
        Career K rate 23%
        Age 27

        I doubt hitting leadoff in late September adds anything.

      • seat101

        Oh, I agree. I was trying to find some rational basis for this action.

    • Shchi Cossack

      I recall that earlier in the season, while Winker was relegated to AAA or the MLB bench, that many fans her at RLN were asking why Schebler wasn’t considered as a possible leadoff hitter in lieu of Hamilton or Peraza. Of course, Schebler was putting up a league average OBP at the time and of course, Hamilton and Peraza were a long way from league average.

      The oddity of the situation is that Winker is doing exactly what a leadoff hitter is suppose to do, get on base and make positive contributions to run creation, and now Price decides to look for another option at leadoff? Yeah, that doesn’t make any sense to anyone except Price.

  7. james garrett

    Martinez with a 10 pitch first inning.The Reds are done and so am I for tonight.No walks last night and hacking away again.

    • Indy Red Man

      Once again dude…he’s a good pitcher. They throw strikes. Scooter/Duvall will swing at anything but our walks are up overall.

  8. Indy Red Man

    So glad Homer is rounding back into a #3 starter…lol. I stump for Duvall and Lorenzen, but I’m not delusional about their abilities.

  9. kmartin

    Just now checking in. How can Schebler be hitting first? I now have lost all hope that Winker will hit first when Hamilton is healthy. I am really frustrated. It is almost like Price ignores OBP.

  10. TR

    In another fading Reds season, a win of the season’s series with the Birds could be a good omen for 2018.

  11. Indy Red Man

    I pushed hard on this blog for 2 years to suggest that the Reds sign Dexter Fowler. He’s always got on base and it would’ve subtracted from the Cubs at the same time (and block St. Louis). Nobody seemed to want him going into last season and finally the Cubs got him for 8 mil. The Reds could’ve had him easily for 35 for 3 yrs or something? An .840 ops last year and won the WS. A .871 ops this year and he’s only 31. Of course we still need a CFer!

    • Indy Red Man

      Maybe a Schebler/Ervin platoon in CF? How many years are they going to wait on Billy to hit?

      • TR

        They’ll keep waiting for Billy to hit as long as Price is the manager.

    • seat101

      I remember. I was thinking about that the other day. I couldn’t remember who it was. I hope it gives you some slight consolation that you were right.

      • Indy Red Man

        I guess so? I just wish they could find 2-3 underrated guys like that somewhere? The Cubs didn’t even want Fowler….they thought Heyward was a huge upgrade and they were planning on having Schwarber in LF all year.

      • Indy Red Man

        Soler was the other one…they envisioned a Schwarber/Heyward/Soler OF and 2 of them did nothing & they still won

    • Sliotar

      Fowler doesn’t create HAVOC! on the basepaths like Billy Hamilton does.

      Plus, that .365 OBP Fowler has produced this year is above league average and that isn’t a necessity for a Bryan Price leadoff hitter.

      That 5 year deal Cards gave Fowler, with full no trade, left many on FanGraphs scratching their heads as an overpay, maybe desperation to keep up with Cubs.

      But, if Fowler isn’t an elite CF, what does that make Hamilton? Yikes.

  12. Old-school

    Homer has competed…battled…given everything. Not unexpected in his first year fully back to struggle.
    Big off season for him. Does he continue to build himself back and find that consistent 94-97 mph fastball and continue his progress?
    Or….is this the new Homer.

    • seat101

      I asked this question earlier. I will ask again, to you. How many innings do you think homework and throw next year?

      I ask, because I’m sure he’s not going to get much more than 125, I think. So we will definitely need a sixth starter. Right?

      • Sliotar

        Homer got into the 7th inning not long ago (vs. Mets?), threw over 100 pitches.

        For the money he is being paid (it’s a factor in the Reds situation), unless he or a physician says otherwise, Bailey has to be pencillled in as a regular turn in the rotation….175 innings or above.

        Unless…..2018 is about sorting of starting pitching, with contention only if lightning strikes with a real hot start in April or May.

        If that is the case, they could do whatever, limit his innings, pitch count, 6 man rotation.

      • Indy Red Man

        Looking at the Brewers stats to compare.

        Basically 4 starters under a 4.00 era.

        Anderson 2.74, Jimmy Nelson 3.49, Davies 3.89, Suter (12 starts) 3.41, Woodruff (6 starts) 3.28

        Old vet Garza has 23 starts with a 4.99.

        With their greatly improved pen they’re 9th in overall era & only 20th in runs scored

        Bailey would be our Garza, but we should have 5-6 guys better on paper imo?

  13. Sliotar

    If this is the “best it’s going to get” Bailey and this is what we see in 2018, it makes the hill tougher for the starting staff to be playoff caliber in 2018.

    Brewers starters – 13
    Cardinals starters 12.9
    (and they aren’t in. most other playoff teams higher)
    Reds 2.1

    Castillo has 1.7, Romano 1.2, Bailey .5

    • Sliotar

      Those numbers are starting pitching WAR