Well, Bryan Price or not, the Reds (3-16) are still who we thought they were.

Believe it or not, Jim Riggleman couldn’t fix everything in one game. Brandon Finnegan was erratic and the offense continued to look hapless in a 4-2 defeat against the Cardinals (11-8) on Friday night. The Reds have now scored two runs in the last 28 innings and are averaging 2.9 per game this season, dead last in MLB. You simply can’t win many games with that kind of production.

Fortunately, today is a new day, and the Reds will get another chance to turn it around this afternoon at 2:15 p.m. ET.

Starting Pitchers

Homer Bailey 23.2 3.42 4.80 16.5% 8.3%
Carlos Martinez 25.2 1.75 3.98 27.5% 12.8%

Homer Bailey has undoubtedly been the Reds’ best pitcher in the early going of 2018. One shaky start aside, the right-hander has given his team a chance to win every time he’s taken the mound, despite getting next to no run support. Bailey has gone six or more innings and allowed three or fewer runs in three of his four outings. He hasn’t left any of those games with the lead, as the offense has scored only two runs for him this year. Only two pitchers in baseball have received less run support: Tyler Mahle and White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito.

As for the things Bailey can control, his pitch location has been better in 2018. Over his last two games, he’s allowed only two walks in 13 innings pitched and has an above-average (for this season, at least) 8.3 percent walk rate on the year. Ideally, he’ll start to miss more bats, however.

The good news is Bailey’s strikeout rate is up slightly from last year (16.5 vs. 16.0 percent). But with his fastball velocity down so far (92.1 mph vs. 93.5 in 2017), the 31-year-old’s swinging-strike percentage has fallen to 7.5 percent, far below even last year’s mediocre mark of 9.3 percent. His splitter is still getting plenty of whiffs (19.0 SwStr%); however, his curve and slider haven’t been as effective. There’s also the whole low BABIP and lots of hard contact stuff — but you know what? Let’s just enjoy his good start for right now.

Bailey vs. Cardinals

The Cincinnati offense will have another tough test this afternoon in Carlos Martinez, the unquestioned ace of the Cardinals’ pitching staff. The right-hander mowed down the Reds will relative ease last Sunday, allowing only two hits and striking out 11 in seven innings. Martinez currently boasts an impressive strikeout rate, but his control gets him into trouble at times. He’s walked 14 batter in just 25 innings this season, though he’s been able to get out of trouble by inducing a bunch of groundballs (56.7 GB%) and double plays (4, tied for sixth in baseball and one behind Mahle, who has 5).

When Martinez has his best stuff, however, it’s tough to beat him even when he does walk four hitters as he did against the Reds his last time on the mound. He throws three different types of fastballs — a four-seamer, sinker, and cutter, which is a new addition this year — and all can reach the mid-to-upper 90s on the radar gun. His primary off-speed pitches are a slider and changeup, and both had swinging strike rates above 17 percent last season. Martinez is also mixing in a curveball more this year. That’s six pitches opposing batters have to contend with, so it’s no wonder he can dominate even without impeccable command.

Martinez vs. Reds




RF Jesse Winker (110 wRC+) 3B Matt Carpenter (87 wRC+)
SS Jose Peraza (53 wRC+) C Yadier Molina (122 wRC+)
1B Joey Votto (60 wRC+) 1B Jose Martinez (182 wRC+)
2B Scooter Gennett (85 wRC+) LF Marcell Ozuna (72 wRC+)
LF Adam Duvall (59 wRC+) RF Dexter Fowler (62 wRC+)
CF Scott Schebler (188 wRC+) SS Paul DeJong (114 wRC+)
C Tucker Barnhart (139 wRC) 2B Kolten Wong (39 wRC+)
3B Alex Blandino (-11 wRC+) RF Harrison Bader (130 wRC+)
P Homer Bailey (4.80 xFIP) P Carlos Martinez (3.98 xFIP)
  • Scott Schebler is back in the lineup for the first time since April 1, when he was hit by a pitch on the right elbow. The outfield rotation resumes, as Billy Hamilton is sitting today.
  • Alex Blandino starts two days in a row. It’s a miracle!

News, Notes, & Pre-Game Reading

Stat of the Day

The Reds haven’t been this bad on offense in their first 19 games of a season in a century. Their 56 runs are currently tied with the 1918 ballclub for the fewest through 19 contests in franchise history (Note: The data only went back to 1908.).

The good news is the 1918 Redlegs went on to win the World Series the next year, so there’s hope! Now to find a team willing to throw the series like the Black Sox…

Final Thoughts

Schebler’s return should inject a bit of life into the Reds’ offense, and they’ll need it against one of the tougher pitchers in the National League. Martinez got the best of Bailey in a pitcher’s duel last Sunday; let’s see if Homer can return the favor today.

89 Responses

  1. Klugo

    Outside of Gallardo, Rainey, and Weiss, the pitching hasn’t been half bad.

    • Colorado Red

      The Bull pen has not been that bad.
      Finnegan has not been good in his two starts.
      Louis was bad his first two starts, and 1 bad inning the last one.
      Starting pitching has been fair

    • Scooter Rolen

      If you only look at who is pitching on the team right now (also not counting Pennington’s 1 IP), then the team ERA is at 4.32 and 20th in MLB, 13th in NL. Then compare that to our current ERA of 5.38 that ranks 14th in NL ahead of Miami.

      If you go as far as to remove Finnegan’s innings from the calculation, our ERA goes down to 3.97 ERA for the team as whole – 17th in MLB and 11th in NL.

      The pitchers for the Reds that are with the team now have performed fairly well, especially if you take out Finnegan’s bad starts. And that is true even when the Reds young rotation only has 1 starter with a sub-4.00 ERA (Homer Bailey).

      There are some signs of progress for our Reds, hitting just needs to get it together.

  2. J

    I’m starting to think one of the prerequisites for managing this team is an unwavering belief that one of your worst hitters should always bat first or second. It can’t be just a coincidence that three consecutive managers have consistently done it.

    • kmartin

      I would like to think that if he were healthy Suarez and not Peraza would be hitting second today. Also, I hope Riggleman would not have Suarez sacrifice. Actually, I would prefer Barnhart to be hitting second today.

  3. cfd3000

    Agree. But Finnegan looked like he was going to be giving up runs as long as Riggleman left him in. Garrett or Stephenson should be in his spot the next time through. And the bullpen has quietly been terrific recently. But I am hoping to see more of Rainey – his ceiling is very high and he needs to be pitching somewhere. How about a win this afternoon boys? Multi-hit games for Votto, Schebler and Duvall should do it…

    • cfd3000

      I was agreeing with Klugo, but your point is valid J. I still don’t think Peraza belongs in the starting lineup, let alone batting 2nd. I really really hope it will be Suarez at short and Senzel at 3rd when Suarez returns from the DL. Peraza’s defense doesn’t even justify starting him in the field (IMO) so any drop off to Suarez’ glove will likely be small if any, and Senzel was rated the top defensive minor leaguer at 3rd last year so he can fill Suarez’ shoes there. But I’m probably dreaming…

      • Colorado Red

        Agree with your point, but I would want Suarez to play 3B for a bit, to get his hitting back in order. (due to the fact he was on the DL)
        Then bring up Nick

  4. sezwhom

    I know it’s a work in progress but I wouldn’t mind seeing Blandino bat 1st or 2nd once in awhile

    • Shchi Cossack

      Blandino might make an excellent #2 hole hitter once he establishes himself. He should also make an excellent #8 hole hitter. As long as he’s playing, I’m not concerned about where he’s hitting in the lineup right now.

  5. GreatRedLegsFan

    This season is going to be historically bad, with a winning percentage rounding .200. A few days ago I read an article about the combination of injuries, bad trades, lofty contracts and next to zero player development have taken Reds to its current situation. I don’t want to be extremely negative, just fair realistic, but with the current roster it’s very likely they’ll stay in the division’s cellar for quite a few more seasons. Only after FO have financial flexibility (once Bailey and Votto are gone), and some other prospects get ML-ready, then we’ll see a winning team again.

    • Jack

      Wow .200! That’s a little above 30 wins. It’s going to be a long long year.

    • Spaceman Red

      Votto’s contract is not the problem with this team and its failure to win. Authors on this site have repeatedly run the numbers to show he is actually underpaid. The Reds could not find similar production on the free agent market were Votto’s money available. It is simply untrue to blame the lack of success in previous years on Votto. Let’s remember he was second in the MVP voting next year with next to no protection in the lineup.

      This team will win more than 30 games. They will be bad, though, and have another top five pick in next year’s draft.

      Saying the Reds will only win 30 games and be in last place for several years is pretty negative. Maybe it turns out true but it is still pretty negative. Other teams make roster mistakes, too, whether it be bad draft picks, free agent signings or poor player development.

      The Front Office has financial flexibility. Neither of us can see the books but I feel confident saying this given rising player salaries and media contracts.

      • Spaceman Red

        Of course I meant “last year” and not “next year”.

      • Dave Roemerman

        I agree with you that Votto is underpaid (by WAR, not necessarily free market). I also don’t think he’s anywhere near the problem the last few years. Also, 30 wins is just dumb talk that won’t happen.

        However, back to Votto, there is a good argument that his production could be replaced. If you swap out a 6.6 WAR (and declining with age) player with a 2 (MLB average, replacement is 0) and fill other holes, we’d be better off. The average salary is $4.52mm. That’s 4 guys for 18, at 8 WAR, with 2 million to spare. Yes, I’m assuming average salary equals average WAR, which is not true, but it does make for good back-of-the-napkin estimates across multiple players. For every 2-plus, cheap Winker, there’s a more expensive Gennett.

        On a good team, Votto is the capstone. On the Reds, we could play Duvall/Schebler/Winker at first, find a positive-WAR SS, replace a gas-on-the-fire negative like Lisalverto Bonilla with a small positive middle reliever (Hughes and Hernandez), etc. The argument is we have so many minuses that finding a AAA replacement (or Duvall, a former 3B and excellent defensive OF) and plugging a bunch of holes makes us better on the whole.

        It’s the same as 3 of 4 NFL Conference Championship games teams having cheaper QBs and better balance vs. a salary-dominant Manning or Brees. All of this said, we could’ve done that and played the kids the last few years. Now, if the Reds drop Votto to become “decent,” I’m 100% Yankees (fiancee’s team, I live here) until Castellini sells. We won’t lose 132, but winning 90 looks father away than it has in a few years.

  6. Jack

    86000 people today and yesterday. It would take the Reds 8 games to get that, but apparently the FO doesn’t mind.

  7. J

    We can only imagine what that inning might have looked like if the second batter had gotten a hit instead of deliberately making an out.

    • Jack

      He is a good bunter though. He is the only one on the team that can do it. LMAO.

      • J

        If Peraza isn’t in the lineup, the pitcher should hit second.

    • muttonlettucetomato

      I thought the same thing until I remembered that Peraza leads the team in hit into DPs. Maybe coaching staff thought the same thing?

    • james garrett

      Never have or will be a fan of the bunt.Just took the bat out of Joey’s hand which will always happen until somebody behind him steps up.No pitcher fears this lineup at all right now so here it is boys and see if you can hit it.

  8. kmartin

    I see the Cardinals are smart enough to have Molina bat second and are not worried he is clogging the bases.

  9. muttonlettucetomato

    Case study of Reds woes in the top of inning 1… 2 on with one out and Scooter and Duvall strike out short in the count on fastballs out of the zone. Continued lack of plate discipline in RBI situations.

  10. Jack

    Hey look they have their catcher batting 2nd. What a great idea! This coming after the Brewers had their first baseman batting leadoff.

  11. CI3J

    Is it just me, or has Scott Schebler put on a few pounds? I don’t remember him being this chunky. He looks more like a 1B than an outfielder.

  12. Jack

    Poor homer. He basically pitches against the other teams best. He must know with this pathetic lineup he is losing 20 this year.

  13. james garrett

    Like I said nobody will pitch to Joey and they won’t.So easy to just throw 4 out of the zone and then strikeout Scooter just like the first time.

  14. Indy Red Man

    Winker and Barnhart are the only 2 guys doing their jobs and they’re not exactly bidding for the AS star game. Sad! Their SS will hit 25 HRs and ours is sacrificing out of the 2nd spot in the first inning? If you’ve got Kershaw on the mound and the ball doesn’t carry at night in LA then play for 1 run in the first inning if you want but it never makes any frigging sense for the Reds????

  15. Tom Diesman

    Sadly it’s same crap different manager thus far.

  16. Mike Adams

    Duvall just canNOT lay off that low and off the plate breaking ball. He looked so bad just now, squatting and lunging trying to reach the ball.

    • J

      Right now Duvall is bugging me more than anyone else on this team. No matter how many times he strikes out on pitches low and away, he just doesn’t seem to believe anyone is going to throw him pitches outside the zone on a 2-2 or 3-2 pitch, so he keeps swinging at pitches a foot low and outside. It’s as if he literally cannot stop his bat from moving once he gets to a 2-2 count unless the pitch is foot inside, and then there’s 50/50 chance.

  17. Jack

    Grande has the same old school thinking as the people in charge . Who cares about the home run threat. Let’s get a lineup of guys with high OBP’s.

  18. Ernest

    Just checking in, the Reds sacrificed with their #2 hitter in the first inning?

    Wonder if the Yankees did that with Judge today. Sure the Astros would have Cabrera sacrifice, or Machado, or Seager, or Trout, or, never mind. 3-16 seems reasonable with that sort of baseball decision making.

  19. Seat101

    I know that it’s the rule here to put the heat on Peraza and give nothing but love for Winker – but allow me a solid criticism of Wenker in the field some love for Perazza’s glove.

    I didn’t fill out the lineup card. But he’s a better hitter than you credit.

    • Bill

      I am not sure what you are trying to say

      • Seat101

        As far as I can tell Jesse Winker Has not proven ready for a major league baseball level play in the outfield. Yet a very slick fieldind shortstop is pilloried

      • Bill

        From what I can see his defensive metrics do not agree with you

    • J

      He has a terrible OBP, doesn’t hit for power, and does a lousy job of advancing runners unless he’s intentionally making an out. Which aspect of his offense are we not giving him enough credit for?

      • Seat101

        Here’s my point point: you give a dog a bad name Then it doesn’t matter what he does,he can’t do anything right.

        Even Jeanette believes Wenker is a detriment. He went out to right field to make sure Winker wasn’t anywhere near that ball.

        Half this game is defense

      • Bill

        Do you spell every name incorrectly on purpose?

      • james garrett

        Right now this team can’t score and Peraza’s year and a half says he has little or nothing to offer on offense.I am cool with him the rest of the year playing shortstop and he may become Ozzie Smith but he is just terrible at the plate.Winker can hit and well if you can hit you will play somewhere.Its just the way it is.

      • J

        Just because a guy can play shortstop doesn’t mean he needs to hit second in the order. I believe most of the anger is directed at management, not so much at Peraza himself. We’ve all come to accept that he’s physically incapable of walking more than once every 20 or 30 games. So be it. But management ought to be capable of hitting him 8th or 9th where he belongs.

  20. seat101

    Wow, Wong!

    Is there any particular reason I have to register each time I want to post something?

  21. Jeff Reed

    Terrible base running by Gennett. Go half way between first and second but not around second and it turns into a double play, instead of runner on third with one out if he drops it.

  22. james garrett

    Doesn’t matter cause we aren’t going to score.Time to throw chairs,DFA a few old guys,bench a few guys and call up some younger guys.As the late Chuck Shick said several times losing is losing so what’s the difference if its 90 or 100.

    • Jazzmanbbfan

      Earlier today I was thinking about how I miss Chuck’s comments. And what’s up with Peraza and Scooter getting clutch hits??

      • james garrett

        I miss them too.He also said the manager makes little or no difference which was discussed back and forth several times by a lot of us.

  23. james garrett

    Winker on 3 times today and that always plays.Come on Peraza.

  24. james garrett

    Atta boy Peraza serve it to right.

    • Jack

      I just came back in and I see they scored!! Maybe I should go back out

    • Jack

      Lol that’s ok. Right now we need a win.

  25. james garrett

    Good break for Homer.Bad break for Martinez.Bloops count.Go Reds,

  26. J

    What did I just witness? Who are these guys?

    • james garrett

      Has no business being on the roster.Lots of younger guys on the farm that deserve that at bat.

  27. Seat101

    Bill, I use VR and I have the Some dead nerves in my face from the aftermath of Bell’s Palsy. So I spend a lot of my time trying to make sense out of What the VR thing thinks I saidand I guess I haven’t paid enough attention to the spelling of the names.

    I’ll work on that

    • Jack

      This team is frickin snakebitten. They need somebody to come in and get rid of all the bad juju that’s following them.

  28. J

    Never mind why Pennington is playing for the Reds. Why is he even on a major league roster?

  29. Jazzmanbbfan

    And then there’s Molina 😖

    • Jack

      If the Reds make one bad pitch ,it winds up in the seats. If the other team makes a bad pitch it’s a pop up to the infield.

  30. J

    Phew. I was afraid these guys weren’t the real Reds. Now I feel better.

  31. Den

    So Amir pitches a third of an inning? Looks like new leadership follows view of previous…so exactly again why did we fire Price and Jenkins?

    • J

      He needed to experience another successful out. It’s all part of the master plan.

      • Dave Roemerman

        Hello, Mr. Williams/”J.” Could you please let Amir try his hand at succeeding in the rotation? Thanks, all of Redleg Nation. 🙂

    • Bill

      In this case he was taken out for a pinch hitter because there were runners on base in a tie game. It is not really the same as pulling him after one batter.

      • Tom Diesman

        Pretty much is when Pennington is the PH. 😀

      • muttonlettucetomato

        If Mes would have been available, I wonder if he would have hit in that spot even though it would have taken out a catcher?

      • Bill

        Unfortunately there aren’t many options on the bench. I would have preferred Mesoraco, but I think any of them gave the Reds more of a chance to win at the plate than Garrett.

  32. Jeff Reed

    Score and tie it up and in next half inning scored on. Oy veyl

  33. TyGuy85

    Man, did we reach into the serious scrap heap to get Pennington and Gosselin?? It always seems like we’re shopping at Dollar Tree while others are shopping at Whole Foods.

    • Dave Roemerman

      You reversed that! We overpay for the same “organic” (plays a bad SS) stuff Walmart sells for 30% (Senzel or Blandino over those two) while others get good deals on cheap buys (Cardinals starter). We have good young talent but I’m afraid the “proved it years ago” approach of Jocketty is going to keep us from ever getting over the hump.

  34. J

    Down by a run in the top of the 8th and Schebler reaches first. Why is Hamilton not running for him?

  35. TyGuy85

    Also, of course the Cardinals develop players so they can reach into minors and bring up guys like this Jordan Hicks. We reach and get guys like Quakenbush and Gallardo.

  36. Old-school

    Winker on 4x.
    The guy legitimately has a shot at .300/.400/.425.
    He needs to lead off every day.

    Witnessing a clinic on plate discipline from Winker and Votto. Not coincidentally….the Reds in the game.

  37. CI3J

    All Scooter needs is to hit a ball out of the infield, and it’s tie game again.

  38. CI3J

    ….And of course, that’s the way it ends.

    Still, at least they are showing some fight. At this point, I’ll take a moral victory.