The first two days of the Jim Riggleman era haven’t looked much different for the Reds (3-17), who are now one loss away from their worst start in franchise history. At the very least, the team showed some fight yesterday, battling back from a three-run deficit to tie the game in the seventh inning and mounting a rally in the ninth that came up just short. But the only victory to be had was of the moral variety.

The Reds will look to get a real victory against the Cardinals (12-8) this afternoon at 2:15 p.m. ET.

Starting Pitchers

Name IP ERA xFIP K% BB%
Luis Castillo 22.2 6.75 3.63 21.9% 8.9%
Miles Mikolas 19.0 4.26 3.19 18.0% 2.6%

Luis Castillo’s 2018 got off to a bumpy start, but he’s coming off his best outing of the year by far against the Brewers on Monday. While his overall line (6.2 IP, 4 ER) doesn’t look overly impressive, don’t let it fool you. Castillo was dominant until running out of steam in the seventh inning. Through six frames, the right-hander allowed no runs on two hits and two walks while striking out eight. His fastball command was as sharp as it’s been all year, and his changeup was particularly on point, getting a whiff on nine of the 13 swings against it. All four runs against him came in the seventh inning, and two of them scored after he left the game as his bullpen couldn’t get him out of the jam. So, yes, Castillo’s ERA isn’t pretty, but he’s starting to look like the pitcher we saw last year.

Castillo vs. Cardinals


The Cardinals quietly signed Miles “The Lizard King” Mikolas in the offseason after the right-hander had spent three seasons playing in Japan. After two unspectacular starts to begin his return to the major leagues, the 29-year-old had his way with the Reds last Saturday, allowing only one run (a home run by Tucker Barnhart), four hits, and two walks in a 6-1 win. Control was the calling card for Mikolas in Japan, and that has continued so far with the Cardinals. His only two walks of the season came in last week’s game against Cincinnati.

Mikolas’ fastball averages 94.3 mph and can touch 98. He also mixes in a sinker, and his primary off-speed pitches are the curveball and slider. Thus far, his breaking pitches have given hitters fits. The curveball has been hit for a groundball 76.9 percent of the time, while the slider boasts an 81.8 GB% and a swinging-strike rate of 19.0 percent. Mikolas has a changeup, as well, though he hasn’t thrown it much through three starts.

Mikolas vs. Reds

Lineups

Reds

Cardinals

SS Jose Peraza (66 wRC+) 3B Matt Carpenter (88 wRC+)
LF Jesse Winker (127 wRC+) C Yadier Molina (142 wRC+)
1B Joey Votto (72 wRC+) 1B Jose Martinez (168 wRC+)
2B Scooter Gennett (88 wRC+) RF Dexter Fowler (70 wRC+)
RF Scott Schebler (146 wRC+) SS Paul DeJong (131 wRC+)
C Devin Mesoraco (84 wRC+) LF Tyler O’Neill (-100 wRC+)
3B Alex Blandino (-4 wRC+) 2B Kolten Wong (28 wRC+)
P Luis Castillo (3.63 xFIP) CF Harrison Bader (133 wRC+)
CF Billy Hamilton (55 wRC+) P Miles Mikolas (3.19 xFIP)
  • The good news: Devin Mesoraco is back in the lineup for the first time since being hit by a pitch and exiting the game on Wednesday. Alex Blandino gets his third start in a row.
  • The bad news: Jose Peraza is leading off for some reason. I have absolutely no idea why.
  • The slumping Adam Duvall is getting a day off.
  • Marcell Ozuna is getting the day off for St. Louis. Tyler O’Neill, the Cardinals’ No. 4 prospect, is making his first big-league start in left field.
  • Tommy Pham is again out of the Cardinals’ lineup as he battles a groin injury.
  • The Cards also placed Adam Wainwright on the 10-day disabled list before the game due to right elbow inflammation.

News, Notes, & Pre-Game Reading

An update on Eugenio Suarez:

Weather update:

A good read on Joey Votto from a St. Louis sportswriter:

More Votto stuff:

Stat of the Day

The last two Stat of the Days have been bummers, so how about a more positive one today?

Jesse Winker currently has a 20.6 BB%. If that number somehow holds up for an entire season, he would become the third rookie since 1900 to eclipse a 20 percent walk rate (minimum of 200 plate appearances) and the first since the Reds’ Bernie Carbo in 1970.

If Winker plays his maximum potential of 159 games this season, he would be on pace to walk 121 times. That would trail only Aaron Judge (127 last season) and Bill Joyce (123 in 1890 for the Brooklyn Ward’s Wonders — what a name) for the all-time rookie record.

Final Thoughts

The Cardinals have won 10 straight games against the Reds dating back to last year. That is gross. Let’s change that today, Reds.

Growing up just north of Cincinnati, Matt has been a Reds fan for as long as he can remember. As a kid, he was often found leading the Reds to 162-0 seasons in MVP Baseball 2005 and imitating his favorite players (Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, Sean Casey, and Austin Kearns) in the backyard. One of his earliest baseball memories is attending the final night game at Cinergy Field. Matt is also a graduate of The Ohio State University and currently lives in the Dayton area. Follow him on Twitter at @_MattWilkes.

Join the conversation! 74 Comments

  1. I feel good about this season and everyone needs to cheer up. We’re only 9 games out of first place!

  2. It is nice to see Winker playing in LF, which I believe is his stronger defensive position. Blandino has been getting consistent playing time since Price got fired, I only wonder if that is coincidence or not.

    Go Reds!

  3. I don’t understand Peraza leading off, but I guess Riggleman is at least trying something new

  4. “Jose Peraza is leading off for some reason. I have absolutely no idea why.” That’s about the nicest possible thing any sane person could say about it.

    With these players, I’d use: Winker, Votto, Schebler, Mes, Scooter, Blandino, Peraza, Castillo, BH. People could quibble with a few of those choices, but I doubt almost anyone would think it’s as crazy as the actual lineup is.

  5. Matt,

    Nice stat on Winker’s walk rate.

    Votto is like Albert Pujols in that, he will be here a long time, and he will decline. Not to Pujols’ extreme, but, like the Angels do, you keep him in a slot that plays to his remaining strenghs and put young talent around him. In Votto’s case, probably at 2 to maximize his on-base.

    All the projection systems had Votto as less than a 4 WAR player this season, down from 6.6.

    Look at the wRC+ of the Reds today. Six of the eight well below league average, small sample or not. Votto will bounce back to some degree, but just like Mike Trout, who has never won a playoff game, Votto posting even 5 WAR this year won’t overcome the dregs around him currently.

    Go Redlegs.

  6. Worst start in franchise history. WORST START IN FRANCHISE HISTORY. The oldest franchise in the game, if I’m not mistaken. Begs the question…. everyone’s wandering if the marlins are tanking. Are the Reds???

    • If the Reds were purposely losing, they are a few years late. There problems are more related to the fact that they didn’t tear it down like the Cubs or Astros. The Reds tried to hang onto Frazier, Chapman, Cueto, and others even when it was clear they were going to lose. Now the have a lack of talent and multiple key injuries that will be difficult to overcome

    • Sadly, the Reds thought they were done tanking this season. Can you imagine how bad things would be if they weren’t actually trying??

    • This is a tough division, no way is this the worst team talent wise, regardless of the record. There haven’t been many easy games on the schedule thus far, even without injuries and the correct managing I see maybe only 3 or 4 more wins max.

  7. A few pre-game thoughts:

    1. Happy Luis Castillo Day! Reds need to get him some runs.

    2. There are several examples of players returning after 2-3 weeks with fractured thumbs. Although it seems like he’s been out two months, today is the two-week anniversary of Suarez being HBP. Here’s a link to a post about other fractured thumb returns:

    https://redlegnation.com/2018/04/08/recent-thumb-fractures-and-time-on-the-dl/

    3. Riggleman said after yesterday’s game – when looking for bright spots – that he thought Peraza’s approach had improved the past few days. Thus the insane decision to have him lead off. Peraza is batting .246 with a 1.3% walk rate (that’s one walk). The Reds managers’ fetishization of speed over being a good hitter and on-base skills continues with Riggleman.

    4. That stat about Jesse Winker’s walk-rate is great, Matt.

  8. The lineup is actually not far from being pretty good. Once Suarez comes back, he probably moves back to 2-hole and Peraza bats 7th where the current 3B (Blandino) is batting. If you switch Suarez (or even Blandino immediately) and Peraza in the order, then Riggleman has a nice lineup set up.

    I will admit, I’m not sure I understand Peraza at leadoff – maybe to limit his double play chances? Though probably rewarding him for recent success. In the last 15 games, Peraza is batting .302 with a .333 OBP and .748 OPS.

  9. Should of listed Duvall getting a day off as good news. My head’s ready to explode watching him strikeout on another low and away breaking ball. Unless he pinch hits, another day of life for me!

  10. Similar to the Houston rebuild the Reds have tanked early in 2018. I hope we don’t put too much pressure on young Mr. Senzel but I look forward to his arrival in town, and the return of Suarez. In the meantime it’s interesting to follow the progress of the Red’s pitching staff.

  11. Just a few days left in our fundraising week. Any donation timed during today’s glorious win over the stupid Cardinals gets a shout out in the game thread.

    • This is a great site for Reds fans-definitely worth the donation. Especially enjoy Tom’s, Chad’s and your columns but a great lineup of writers

  12. No sitting day games after night games , or Sunday rest days for Molina.

    • Against the Reds????? He’d stumble out of his hospital bed to play against them. No sitting against Reds’ pitching.

  13. That’s how you do it kid!

  14. I’m glad Blandino is playing but I can’t help but think Suarez isn’t so far off the line and fields that “double.” Our D really hurts our pitching this year, fir the first time in quite a few years.

    That said, Castillo is a stud and gets out of it!

  15. Love the way Schebler uses the other side of the field.

  16. .133 batting Wong takes Castillo deep.

  17. Castillo worries me. 93 mph beach ball on a tee for Wong. 1st hr of the year….how many of those have we given up? He cracked 100 when he came up and was regularly 97-98. He’s not going to become elite topping out at 95. 50% of the guys throw 95 now.

    • Meh, not too many starters throwing 98 consistently. Mark Prior used to do that and his career ended prematurely. What’s more concerning is that he is only featuring 2 pitches per gameday. I see 2 seamer and change up nothing else. He threw 3 straight changes to Yady who singled, and 4 straight fastballs to someone else who drove in a couple. That is not going to fool anyone. It’s about mixing speeds and changing locations and putting different spin on the ball. It is nice to be able to reach back and throw 98 on occasion, but you can’t do that for every fastball and expect longevity.

    • “He’s not going to become elite topping out at 95.” LOL. Indy, you have a lot of good comments, but a pro scout you are not. Pitching is more about deception – there was just something on fivethirtyeight.com a few weeks back about how guys are catching up to the faster fastballs and those who can’t (Chris Carter of the 41 HRs. now is in AAA) are done. Throwing hard isn’t the game. Location and deception (either through changing speeds or making it hard to see, a la Kershaw) is way more important. Castillo will be fine and might actually work past the 5th inning if he goes less than 100% every pitch.

  18. It was nice making it all the way to the third inning without being mathematically eliminated from this game. Maybe next time we’ll make it to the fourth or fifth. Baby steps.

  19. I still don’t see how this is all José Peraza’s fault.

    • Who told you it was??

    • Who is blaming Peraza for anything? He shouldn’t be leading off, that is Riggleman’s decision. He will never be the caliber player the Reds fans wanted for Frazier, that is the front office’s fault for going after weak hitting fast players. His hitting is below average, his defense is below average, but he is the best available option right now; that is also the fault of the front office for not having a plan in place. The Red’s are losing this game because Castillo is not the ace every one has anointed him to be yet, which is what happens when you pull a guy straight from AA to the majors. The Reds are losing this game because the starting 8 have only gotten two hits so far, which Peraza only gets a small piece of blame. Would you feel better if we all blamed Votto for not hitting two solo home runs, making it a 1 run game?

      • Read the game preview and the early comments. It seems to me that Peraza is the whipping boy/scapegoat.

        His fielding is fine, and is hitting is picking up.

        Buck up, Reds fans!

        • I have read them, maybe you should re read them. The comments are that Peraza should not be leading off. There is not one comment that says Peraza is causing the Reds to lose. His fielding both this and last year has rated slightly below average, and yes he has recently hit better, but he has not proven he is capable of being a lead off hitter. The problem is how management uses him, not Peraza himself

  20. Maybe Price would be willing to come back?

    • Good one, J. Would the average Joe want this job? Probably but it’s a tough call for anyone with aspirations of wanting to continue to manage in the big leagues

  21. I’m 62 and can’t ever remember a team that sucked this badly. Even the 82,83 and 84 Reds teams weren’t this awful. And they we’re baaaad.
    There’s not a hope of a line drive in this line up let alone home run power.
    Votto now becomes the albatross contract we all were hoping was not going to come to pass. His bat looks sloooow.

  22. David Kielar just donated to RN in honor of Luis Castillo working out of that jam. Thanks for the support David.

  23. Blandino looking solid at 3b with regular playing time. Jesse Winker power alert last inning. 1-2-3 for Austin Brice.

  24. We got a ballgame on our hands here…. 1 run down, just like yesterday. Let’s see if they can actually battle all the way back this time.

  25. Nice pitching by Brice. The Reds need more innings like that: scoring and then not being scored on the next half inning.

  26. Jesse Winker is doing his part. Great eye and sweet swing.

  27. 1 run game??? Quackenblast can fix that………4 run game

  28. Annnnndddddd……..

    Duckman gives the game away.

  29. Why put in a mop up pitcher in a one run game? We got Quakenbush for that…

  30. So why can other teams hit home runs but we can’t?

  31. How bout Winker 1 Votto 2 Suarez 3 and schebler 4 until Senzel arrives. Against Kershaw or bumguarner can adjust .

  32. What’s there to say? Two outs and two strikes and there goes the game.

  33. Again, I seriously do not understand why Quakenbush gets a roster spot in bullpen instead of a younger guy. The guy clearly doesn’t have the stuff and would not be on a single ML roster.

    • There isn’t a single young guy in AAA or AA that is part of future that couldn’t use the experience.

  34. This is about to turn ugly….

  35. I saw Quackenblast for 5 minutes the first time & knew he wouldn’t hack it! 90 mph high & straight fastballs…nope? Not in GABP especially. Which scout pointed it out to DW to sign this guy? They have to win 60 more games to avoid losing 100. I don’t see it? They have Mason Williams in CF at Lville….had a double and triple today. Call up some guys and change things up. Rosell Herrera can play SS.

    What really worries me though is Castillo. He may be hurt or something? His velocity seems to drop every start? Put him on the DL and check him out.

  36. Is this performance enough to get Quackendumpsterfire DFA’d and bring up someone who has a future here?

  37. Reds just Whacked up.

  38. Thanks Scott Lykins for you donation in support of Redleg Nation and this being the last game Kevin Quackenbush pitches for the Reds.

    • Be generous to the writer who writes today’s post game recap.

    • “this being the last game Kevin Quackenbush pitches for the Reds”… if this statement can only be true.

    • From your lips to God’s ear. But considering how things have been going around here lately, they’ll release Rainey and bring back Kevin Gregg.

  39. 3-2 game….so you use the weaker pitcher to give up runs and end up using your better pitcher anyway. You could really shake things up and use your best pitcher in a 1 run game since we’re usually down 4-5 runs by the 7th inning.

    Bunting in the first yesterday too….its like Price never left. Whats the point of firing him if you continue the same stupid ##&$^$&% anyway?

  40. Scooter is awful at 2B. Just awful.

    • When Senzel comes up, trade Gennett to an AL club for DH duty in return for a good relief pitcher, and the Reds will have Blandino at second, Senzel at third, Suarez at shortstop and Winker in leftfield. The beginning of a good team.

  41. 21 games into the season and the Reds 2 best pitchers so far- Raised Iglesias and Amir Garrett- rarely pitch. Garrett has 9 innings and Iglesias 8 IP.

    What value does Iglesias have on a last place team being utilized this way?

    Price is fired and Peraza gets promoted and Quackenbush pitches in a close game. Clearly the doubled headed GM tandem of DW and WJ isn’t working.

    We are past historically awful. Riggleman is the interim guy, but his presence allows now the focus to bebaimed at the real problem- the Reds roster construction failure .Walt Jocketty is still in a decision making capacity and needs to protect his legacy. Didn’t the Cards get rid of him?

    • I think Jocketty is still working for the Cardinals. Inside job. Turn a 5 team division into a 4 team division and pickup 12+ wins (17-18 this year).

  42. So I see we’re Oh-for-Riggleman and what I’d term a Double-Milton with a BLARGH! twist recap.

    I still plan on making my Fathers’ Day $50 MLB-tv purchase, but I can’t say I’m eager to watch the carnage live.

  43. Worst start in team history.

    Hey, remember when management said the plan was to compete in 2018?

    Pepperidge Farm remembers.

  44. Let’s face it when Bob Castellini came to town he blew smoke up our rears talking about winning baseball. His only plan was to bring his home boys with him and make money. Didn’t matter that Krivsky was turning this franchise around he was immediately replaced by Jocketty. Then when Jocketty dismantled everything they bring in a minority owner’s nephew as the new GM, but keep Jocketty around to fill his head with whatever losing nonsense he still could remember and pass on. This is what nepotism breeds: losing and poor quality.

    • Castellini wants to win. He just has no idea how to do that beyond Walt Jocketty.

      • Steve;
        I get what you are saying even though many might take it as a defense of BC. I remember an article in the Dayton Daily News a few years back when BC fired his GM and was quoted; “The losing must stop”. I remember the look on his face when the TV showed him sitting with Joe Morgan at the play-offs, lots of anger and embarrassment. My humble opinion is it is the old story about the emperor not having any clothes, nobody in the Organization will tell him.
        Castellini needs to be exposed to some aggressive media (local and national) attention that makes him look foolish to the public, hurts his pride, and embarrasses his legacy. Once he is publicly called out in the media he will initially respond through his organization and it will be based on “look what I have done with the stadium facility, the “Youth Baseball Project”, the honoring of the “Great 8”, and so on. He will not admit any errors nor blame anyone, he will just get angry. Until BC decides to get a qualified modern baseball executive with the knowledge and fortitude to stand up to him it will be what it is.
        The one thing I hope for is that when some of our younger players start to develop that everyone one will give the players the credit and not the organization.

  45. This team might not win 50 games this year.

    • They better pick it up. Currently on pace to win 23 games for the season. It has to get better, right? RIGHT?!!!!

      • Define ‘better.’ Better draft pick? That guy will come in handy in 2022, along with Hunter Greene.

        The Reds have such a rough schedule to start out, but geez, as bad as the Reds are, there is no easy game or series, much less stretch of games. Castellini cannot be this oblivious to what is going on.

  46. At least it’s refreshing not to see dozens of comments blaming today’s loss on Bryan Price for batting Peraza lead-off & bringing in the Quack in a 1 run game.

Comments are closed.

About Matt Wilkes

Growing up just north of Cincinnati, Matt has been a Reds fan for as long as he can remember. As a kid, he was often found leading the Reds to 162-0 seasons in MVP Baseball 2005 and imitating his favorite players (Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, Sean Casey, and Austin Kearns) in the backyard. One of his earliest baseball memories is attending the final night game at Cinergy Field. Matt is also a graduate of The Ohio State University and currently lives in the Dayton area. Follow him on Twitter at @_MattWilkes.

Category

2018 Reds, Game Thread

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