Tonight the Reds (7-21; 5th place NL Central) open a 9 game home stand with the first of three games versus the Milwaukee Brewers (16-13; 4th place NL Central).  Note that the starting time is 7:10pm as weeknight games  have returned to their traditional starting hour until September 6. The Reds will be looking to continue the positive momentum they started last week when they went 4-3 and in the process  recorded their first series win of the 2018 season. The Brewers come in on the other side of  the  street having just been swept by the Cubs in a brutal four game series at Wrigley Field which saw only 11 runs combined scored by the two teams.  For their part, the Brewers scored only 2 runs in the process of being shut out 3 times in the four games.

Starting Pitchers

Left hander Brandon Finnegan makes his fourth start  of the season for the Reds. Finnegan is coming off his strongest effort of the season having lasted 5 innings (77 pitches/ 52 strikes)  against the Braves allowing 3 runs (2 earned) in a game eventually lost by the Reds when the bullpen failed to hold  a 4-3 lead. To continue progressing, Finnegan needs to consistently maintain a strike percentage similar to his last outing (68%) and  thus avoid walks and running deep counts. He must also avoid wildness in the strike zone which has resulted in many hard hit balls against him.

Jhoulys Chacín, a 30 year old right hander, will start for the Brewers. Chacín will be making his seventh start of the season, his first with the Brewers. Since 2009 Chacín has been with 5 different teams and made 173 career MLB starts. After his once promising career with the Rockies flamed out, he found himself back in the minors 3 years ago and bounced through 3 organizations as a reliever before landing with the Padres in 2017 as an MLB starter. His 32 starts with the Padres (173 IP; 3.89 ERA; 4.26 FIP) earned him  a 2 year $15.5M contract with the Brewers. Such is the price of starting pitching on the open market. He is a sinker (37%) /slider (39%) pitcher having used his 4 seem fastball slightly less than 20% of the time this season. He will also mix in an occasional change up or curve. He has had some issues with BB; and, he does not record very many strike outs at this point in his career. To date in 2018 he has been a 5 inning pitcher.

Here are the comparative 2018 numbers.

PITCHER xFIP HR/9 BB% K%
Brandon Finnegan 5.89 2.19 14.3% 15.9%
Jhoulys Chacín 5.17 1.23 10.4% 14.1%

Neither pitcher has a significant history versus opposition players he will face tonight.

Lineups

          BREWERS             REDS
1. Lorenzo Cain (CF)
2. Christian Yelich (LF)
3. Ryan Braun (1B)
4. Travis Shaw (3B)
5. Domingo Santana (RF)
6. Manny Pina (C)
7. Jonathan Villar (2B)
8. Orlando Arcia (SS)
9. Jhoulys Chacin (P)
1. Jesse Winker (LF)
2. Jose Peraza (SS)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Scott Schebler (RF)
5. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
6. Tucker Barnhart (C)
7. Alex Blandino (2B)
8. Brandon Finnegan (P)
9. Billy Hamilton (CF)

There is a lot to like with this Reds lineup; but, it is a bit short on RH pop. That problem hopefully will be solved when Nick Senzel is eventually brought up.

News and Notes

For those of you to whom Johnny Bench is simply a legend and not a guy you watched play in his prime, here is this….

And  here’s  yet another award for a Reds player who hopefully will join Bench someday in both the Reds and National Hall of Fame.

Just in from Reds sick call:

 

There is a new guy on the Enquirer Reds beat.  I’ve not seen any indication that John Fay is leaving; so, I’m guessing this move is to put their team back to full strength. Welcome Bobby.

Feliz cumpleaños José

And here is some really good news about Nick Senzel who jammed his shoulder Saturday and was held out of action Sunday

Final Thoughts

It felt good to have positive thoughts and feelings again about the Reds this past week. Not only did they win 4 games, in no small part due to the return of Eugenio Suarez and Scott Schebler, they also seemingly indicated a more focused look toward the future by replacing the veteran players on the bench and in the bullpen with younger guys who may actually have a role to play with the next good Reds team. There is still a lot of sorting and figuring out to be done; but, at least we are seeing some signs the team is finally moving the process along with perhaps a hint of urgency. Go Reds!


Stats and data from FangraphsMLB.com, and Baseball Reference

https://www.facebook.com/jim.walker.79
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@jn_walkerjr

Join the conversation! 90 Comments

  1. Sorry to see Scooter with a gimpy shoulder, but if it transferred from Nick Senzel to Scooter Gennett, that’s Scotter taking one for the team!

    I like seeing Blandino back in the lineup today. I just wish it wasn’t due to a possible injury to Scooter. I was really hoping to see Schebler in CF and Duvall in RF as the start of a trend to put the OF rotation to rest, permanently.

  2. Was just looking at Duvall’s stats on MLB.com and found that he has more walks than strikeouts in the last 7 games, and roughly the same for each in the last 14 games. In fact, Duvall had 7 walks in the last 7 games (1 per game!) and only 6 SOs.

    Duvall currently has a 10% BB rate. When added to last year’s stats (about 20 more BBs), Duvall’s OBP goes from .301 to .351. One negative when looking at his ratio stats is that his HR rate is down to 3.7% which over 600 ABs would be around 22 home runs.

    Another interesting observation is that his BABIP is in the tank at around .190 while his career average is around .270 (and that is considering he only usually hits .240).

    Duvall’s approach at the plate seems to be improving but bad luck and BABIP is putting a damper on things. If he could maintain this better discipline and see his BABIP stabilize, things might start looking up for Adam Duvall.

    • His exit velocity on Statcast also looks very good for what that is worth or not. Seems like everything he hits is either a pop up or a towering warning track fly both of which are indicative of a ball “just missed” but he never (rarely) really gets one. Its been going on so long, it is kind of difficult for me to lay it off to poor luck.

      • That could definitely explain his low BABIP, though I think it should rise some. If he truly has lost his hitting for one reason or another, it seems like really unfortunate timing now that he is finally being more patient at the plate (at least his rise in walks would indicate more patience).

        Though, maybe him attempting to take more walks or be less aggressive is throwing him off? I do wonder if he can keep up his walk rate and if his BABIP will continue to stay low.

    • Good research. Looks like he’s gonna be okay, which is good news!

  3. At least Thames isn’t going to hit a home run tonight or in this series. 😉 (because he is on the DL)

    • The way things work with the Reds, the Brewers probably have some guy who has hit 1HR in a journeyman’s career step up and hit several in this series.

  4. Out of curiosity, when is the Super 2 deadline, and will this be when Senzel gets the call up??

    • The super 2 deadline is a moving target because it I based on a fixed % of the players with between 2 and 3 years of service time being granted arbitration a “year early”. Typically it is end of May to early June. But they won’t officially know until after the season when all the service times are calculated the percentage applied. A couple of years back Dan Strailey missed it by 1 day. cost him probably close to $1M in salary last year.

      • Missed the second part of your question> Most folks figure the Reds are likely waiting out the Super2 date on Senzel. However since he is not on the 40 man roster and does not have to go on this off season, it is entirely possible but not probable they could hold him down at AAA all season to save the 40 man spot over the winter. They certainly didn’t imagine the team being as bad as it has been. If it doesn’t get better in May and Senzel isn’t brought up by mid June, keeping Senzel down all season is something to start keeping an eye on.

        • Thanks for the clarification. I certainly hope that he makes it up ASAP. The sooner the more comfortable he gets to ML play/pitching.

  5. After reading about the Brewers hitting woes, this unfortunate thought crossed my mind “the Reds.. good for what ails ya”. I sure hope I’m wrong though.

  6. Breaking News- Cory Seager out for the year. You know the Dodgers are on the phone right now asking about the great Cliff Pennington. The Reds are said to be balking at a trade saying Cliff is part of the next great Reds team.

  7. Great preview! Go Reds!

  8. Here is an update from @m_sheldon concerning Scooter’s shoulder issue. No word back yet from the MRI; but some comments from Scooter
    https://www.mlb.com/reds/news/scooter-gennett-undergoes-mri-on-shoulder/c-274575216

    • Thanks for the update Jim. I guess that explains the side arm throws.

    • If Scooter goes to the DL, I certainly hope that we don’t see Pennington or Gosselin back on the 25-man roster.

      • Good God I hope not. I’m not even sure I like them at AAA.

      • They went on and immediately outrighted Pennington off the 40 man so at least that reduces the odds of him returning. If Gosselin has been outrighted, I haven’t seen about it.

    • Heard Scooter say on WLW on the drive home that he’ll take a few days off and then the off day and see how it felt on Friday. So they’ll be playing short handed on the bench, with a 13 man pitching staff all week. Seriously, it’s been bothering him all year, just DL him, no Scooter for 10 days is not a big deal and sounds like he needs the rest for the shoulder.

      Also said he’s been side arming his throws because of the shoulder a lot lately. I saw Dilson Herrera play 3 weeks ago and noticed all his throws were side armed. Never saw him play before so can’t say if he was like that before the arm injury or not. But he did look free and easy with the shoulder that night.

      • I’m with you about the DL for Scooter. Bring up Brandon Dixon.

      • Yes, I am sure the Reds will survive with Gennett on the DL for 10 days. Blandino can play 2B for that timeframe.

  9. That was a ton of swag shown by Blandino as a rookie on that Chacin ground out.

    That is like the complete Anti-Scooter play from a 2B.

    Certainly one way to stand out.

  10. Nice hit and hustle by Winker. Man he has a good stroke.

  11. Senzel with a HR and 2 walks tonight. So glad he is OK.

  12. Suarez!!! 2 run double!!

  13. Blandino not making the most of this opportunity.

  14. Nice to see Suarez and Schebler aren’t having any lingering effects from their injuries. Both picked up right where they left off.

  15. Finnegan continues to struggle. there goes the lead as fast as we got it.

  16. Cody Reed 4 IP, 2 ER,3 walks, 1 K

  17. Does anyone happen to know why Finnegan is one of the Reds’ starting pitchers? I don’t see what purpose this is serving.

  18. 50 strikes 39 balls
    5 hits 2 HR’s and 3 walks in 5 innings

    Not a recipe for success as a Starter

  19. I wish Finnegan would throw his fat pitch for strike one, not after he nibbles his way to 3-1. I also would love it if Hamilton could drag bunt like Winker, wow!

    • Difference is…they aren’t playing on the infield grass when Winker is bunting

  20. Billy double…Winker drag bunt single…Peraza sac fly. + tie game. Nice job fellas.

  21. I like this lineup so much more without Duvall in the middle of it. He shouldn’t ever hit higher than 6th.

  22. Suarez again… 2 more ribeyes!!!!!

  23. Amazing after the slow start, Votto OBP is up to .411

  24. Gennett is able to bat, if needed. He is on deck for the pitcher, so their bench really isnt short tonight.

  25. Smart decision, took Finnegan out

  26. Anyone else think Austin Brice has been the best surprise of this year?

  27. Villar can’t catch a break with these throws!

  28. Its a whole new team with Schebler and Suarez raking! Brice has really stood out lately as well out of the pen and they’ve all been decent.

  29. Good lord…does anyone else see how empty GABP is on a nice night?

    • Wow.

      Cannot play that better in an away park than Yelich just did. Ran a long way, waited until right location, then sprung like a high jumper.

      Winker is rolling.

  30. Somebody call the police. Winker just got robbed!

  31. 2 out & nobody on…and 1 gift run so far? Peralta has good stuff, but he’s always walking the tightrope with walks?

    • cue the The Beverly Hillbillies theme so I can say Pitiful, pitiful, pitiful…….

  32. Wow….just can’t give them life like that? We had control of this game.

    • If Barnhart had made the play on the the throw to 3rd there would have been no damage.

      • If Peralta checks the runner, he probably doesn’t run. If Suarez isn’t late to the bag, he probably knocks the throw down, If Winker is quicker to back up, the runners probably don’t get the extra base. It was an all around team failure

  33. All three runs scored on a missed strike three call on Braun. Nobody in the ballpark even thought it was anything other than a ball because Barnhart had to reach back for it. But, it wasn’t even close to being a ball. Turns out to maybe be the biggest play of the game. That exact scenario is the best case for moving to automated strike zones.

  34. I think our lineup is slightly better then Milw….especially if 2016-17 Duvall ever shows up, but their pen has a 2.45 era. The Reds pen is 5.02 and 6.40 in GABP. Dick Williams knew Peralta was inconsistent and they needed help, but all they got were old-timers Hughes and Hernandez. Hughes is decent but Hernandez has seen better days. Neither one is a potential closer like 2-3 of Milw’s top guys!

    • Take out the runs allowed with few outs by Gallardo and the young guys who got torched in their first appearances (Rainey and Weiss) and our pen looks much better.

      I looked it up – 7 R, 2.0 IP for Rainey, 8 in 2.1 for Gallardo, 2 in 1.0 for Stephens, 11 in 9.0 for Duck Hunt, 4 with 0.0 (Blutarsky-like IP) for Weiss, and 4 in 3.2 for Shackelford. I’m guessing Quackenbush doesn’t last the year or, at least, pitches less, and the others are minimal if at all. Riggleman has stuck to the good relievers at a much better rate than Price ever did, plus he has a quicker hook.

      23 runs combined in 73 IP for Floro/Garrett/Hughes/Iglesias/Peralta/Brice/Hernadez = 2.84. That doesn’t count tonight’s stats, but those 7 and a better-in-relief Cody Reed is a nice pen, IMO. Floro and Brice have been great and might well eliminate Quackenbush from getting many innings. I’m hoping Garrett starts soon but, if that happens, it probably means Finnegan in the pen, which is also a good thing.

      In short, after eliminating the single biggest problem with our bullpen (Bryan Price using bad pitchers while sitting Garrett/Iglesias) we look pretty solid in relief.

  35. Hader is a beast.

  36. I think Duvall just broke the record for “worst swinging strike of the season”. That ball was in the dirt about 5 feet in front of home plate!

  37. They should pinch hit for Billy here.

  38. Another terrible strike on first pitch to Billy.

  39. Umpires like this have no business keeping their jobs. But there’s virtually no way to get rid of them.

    • Exactly. Then he comes back and calls a terrible strike on Winker. Then Winker had to swing at those outside pitches because the up will ring him up.

  40. Pretty weak, in my opinion, to let Hamilton bat when you have Mesoraco sitting there.

  41. Ump thinks everything Hader throws is a strike.

  42. I would have liked to see Mesoraco pinch hit for Hamilton there. Dude historically crushes LHP.

    • Exactly. But the myth of Hamilton scoring the tying run with his speed won out but the guy has to get on base first.

  43. Billy Hamilton has no place in a good team in the MLB of 2018.

    It’s a 3 outcome game (K/BB/HR). One run down, in a HR-friendly park…and he tries a bunt and strikes out. Absurd.

    He entered the game with wRC+ of 51….half the production of a league average player.

    Good teams would not waste their time with that….or he would have been dealt to one in the off-season. Really looking forward to that $8M (or whatever) arbitration salary next season.

  44. Gave that game away.

  45. Hader is what I was hoping for out of Finnegan when he came into last April throwing 96. You have that max effort delivery and it makes the change-up & offspeed even more deadly, but you can’t go 3-1 to everyone like Finnegan does. Now Finn is back to 90 anyway…and very hittable. They blew this one tonite. Total giveaway! Look at a team like Tampa….gave everyone away that was making anything and they’re 13-14 now.

  46. Tough loss, but, typical for the Reds

    Need to get the pitching figured out

  47. Hader was getting balls called strikes FREQUENTLY. If Possible eralta gets the same calls, Reds win.

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