One of the most intriguing aspects of sports is surprise performances: major upsets, and individuals and teams performing at a level higher than predicted or ever before seen. One reason they actually play the games is because of the variables in human athletic performance.

Clearly one of the amazing and heartwarming stories of this otherwise difficult season for the Reds has been Scooter Gennett, the second baseman acquired on waivers from the Brewers late in spring training. Expected to be a utility player and pinch-hitter, Gennett has emerged as the starting second baseman, and has an outside shot at 100 runs batted in. In the past couple of weeks, he has found himself slotted in the cleanup spot in the batting order, because of moments like this:

Gennett has 93 runs batted in, and could possibly become one of three Reds with 100 ribbies – Joey Votto and Adam Duvall are close, as well.

This unforeseen performance level raises many possibilities for Gennett during the off-season. Should Dick Williams view this as an outlier season and try to trade him at his highest value, similar to the Dan Straily for Luis Castillo trade? Should Williams view Gennett’s performance as the new norm, and perhaps even try to extend his contract through remaining arbitration years and one or two post-arb years, similar to what was done with Tucker Barnhart?

Or, with Gennett’s historic poor splits against lefthanded pitching, should he be considered a platoon player, with someone like Jose Peraza or Dilson Herrera starting at second against lefties? (Gennett is starting today against a lefty. He is batting .240 against southpaws as opposed to .313 vs. righties this year.)

This is one of the more unexpected and intriguing issues facing Williams once the 2017 season ends after a week from tomorrow. While the 2017 team has had eight players start 100 games for the first time since the mid-1970s, there are still questions galore and many interesting possibilities for trades.

Oh yes, the Reds do take the field again this afternoon against the Red Sox in the second game of a three-game series.

Starting Pitchers

Eduardo Rodriguez 128 4.15 4.25 26.2% 8.5%
Robert Stephenson 73.2 5.01 4.94 24.3% 14.5%

Rodriguez is a lefthanded version of Rick Porcello, who the Reds saw last night: not likely to dominate anybody. The Reds’ offense is equipped to put up runs against pitchers like this, but has struggled at times against lefthanders. We’ll see if that weakness again shows itself.

Just like Sal Romano last night, Stephenson is coming off a hot streak that came largely at the expense of bad teams with sputtering offenses. Romano did not fare well against the potent Red Sox lineup Friday night, and now it’s Stephenson’s turn to demonstrate whether he can compete effectively against a first-place team with a good offense.


Asher Wojciechowski and Ariel Hernandez are likely to be unavailable after pitching two innings each Friday. That leaves only about 10 other guys available. (wink)

Starting Lineups

Red Sox Reds
SS Xander Bogaerts CF Phillip Ervin
LF Andrew Benintendi SS Zack Cozart
RF Mookie Betts 1B Joey Votto
1B Mitch Moreland 3B Eugenio Suarez
C Christian Vasquez 2B Scooter Gennett
3B Rafael Devers RF Scott Schebler
2B Brock Holt LF Adam Duvall
CF Jackie Bradley Jr. C Tucker Barnhart
P Eduardo Rodriguez P Robert Stephenson

Phillip Ervin gets the start in center field today against a lefthander. Billy Hamilton’s batting average against lefties as a righthanded batter is .220 in 76 games.

News and Notes

The final week of the season will continue to devolve further into a spring training scenario …


Positive news for Brandon Finnegan …


Green jerseys today …


If you’re going to the game, you’ll probably get one of these …

29 Responses

  1. Scott Carter

    Good to see Ervin get the start today. Which it would happen more often. Winker again sits.

    • Bill

      It doesn’t seem Winker is viewed all that highly by the Reds. I would have at least expected him to give Duvall a day off. I guess it is possible they are doing everything possible to let Duvall build up his numbers for the year, but he is really struggling

      • Darrin

        Really struggling is an extreme understatement

      • Scott Gennett

        Claiming for help? Drowning?

      • Aaron Bradley

        They must be throwing games, jockeying for draft position, while hiding behind PC logic nonsense… kudos to them They say pimpin aint easy, neither is being a GM … (except yea we could all do a better job given the chance,….)

  2. TR

    If the Reds want to build for the future, Winker should be in the lineup.

  3. james garrett

    I agree but you can’t hide him any more.His numbers are really good and has some pop.

    • msanmoore

      Booth may have it right … he kind of expected it to go foul. Then again, he should have stopped at first in that case. Great field and throw. Plus Bogarts just dove/crawled across 2nd to tag him.

  4. msanmoore


    And if you move him from 3B I think you’re nuts. You will likely NEVER replace that glove he’s become.

  5. Darrin

    I think Duvall would be way better suited as a DH somewhere, yes his D is very good, I just think it takes too much a toll on him.

  6. msanmoore

    And we’re done for the day … perhaps tomorrow will bring a little more sunshine, but these are the playoff-bound Red Sox. They are way better than we are.

  7. james garrett

    We weren’t going to score any runs today so Bob pretty much had to be perfect.We can’t/don’t hit lefties at all combined with they are play off bound and we are just playing out the season makes for a long day.Bob did just fine today.

    • Jim Walker

      Bob did just fine today

      Doubt that he agrees with you. He knows he shot himself in the foot (twice) to make the HR a really big blow. Stuff like HRs happen. You have to control what you can to minimize them. If he takes this lesson with him, today will have been a success.

      But I somewhat agree with you. For my money, he is right behind Castillo among the young potential starters at this point. We simply haven’t seen enough of Mahle to date. I believe BobSteve’s stuff and mental game are at least a tick ahead of Romano, especially if like today he gets his BB count down and controls his pitch count. He completed 6 innings with 79 pitches/ 55 strikes that’s good.

  8. james garrett

    Your right the walk and error made the homer a big big blow but it does happen.I felt he pitched well and you are right his stuff is really good.May have been his best game minus the homer because he got outs early in the count and could have gone 7 with some to spare.The Red Sox are good and make you throw strikes.

  9. james garrett

    Did Price just send up a pinch hitter for a pinch hitter in the 8th inning of a 5 run game with two outs with less then 10 games to go in the season.Wow what a strategic move.Way to show Farrell you aren’t asleep.

  10. Cincity80

    Garrett walking everyone in Cincinnati tonight

  11. Indy Red Man

    I see the boys are lighting it up again…haven’t scored for 16 straight innings. What was it again about how Price had them playing hard? He puts in Adleman over Iggy vs St. Louis and they won’t pinch run for gimpy Cozart last night with the tying run in the 9th. The players know he doesn’t care so why should they?

  12. james garrett

    Get use to it Indy.We got another year of this stuff.Everybody in Cincy is arm and arm walking together down the same path because well we weren’t expected to win so its ok.

  13. james garrett

    Lets see no runs on 3 hits and 4 walks and that makes 5 losses in a row.Can you see the off season from here.I did like Price’s move of pinch hitting for a pinch hitter in the 8th though.Always looking for that match up when the game is on the line.But wait it was a 5 run game with one on and two out.I am sure Farrell was impressed.I know I was

    • VaRedsFan

      Happens all the time. A team sends up a pinch hitter, The opposing team changes pitchers, and you change hitters again for the platoon matchup. If you think 5-0 is a reason to stop playing, then I don’t know what to tell you. Expanded rosters allow such flex-abilities.

  14. Aaron Bradley

    het I hate to be mister negativity, but these facial features resemble the Sean Casey mold from 2005 lol, no joke. I would collect this stuff but cmon man!

  15. james garrett

    It doesn’t happen all the time in a 5 run game with two outs in the eighth inning with one man on base when you are 4 batters away from bringing up the tieing run.Its the situation not the move.You actually think it makes a difference if Kivlehan or Winker faces the righty they brought in.Smith was coming in regardless because the starter was done.He would have been brought him in if Babe Ruth was due up.Its a 5 run game with a man on first and its not about match ups for Farelll.Price just woke up and said oh they are bringing in a righty so let me go to Winker.Come on Va Red its not a tie game or even a close game and as far as stop playing Price stops doing that when he makes out the lineup and just to make sure he will give away an out or two by bunting.


      The Reds have not scored in the last 17 innings. Blaming Price is lunacy. Blame the players.

      • james garrett

        Not blaming Price for losing just saying he is miserable at line up construction and in game management.The eighth inning yesterday is just another example.Let Kivlehan hit for goodness sakes it doesn’t matter.Too many times he does goofy things like that in an attempt to give the impression he is trying to win or let people know he is in the game so to speak.Looking for a favorable match up of Winker against a righty vs Kivlehan against a righty in that situation is just idiotic.Its different if its a close game or even if there are more on base or in scoring position or one our or two out and I could go on and on.He’s managing as if this is a key moment in the game or the game is on the line.

  16. msanmoore

    Ring around our Rosie … a pocket full of BLARGH!!!!!