If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.  That’s the task facing the Reds tonight as they seek to avoid being swept at home by the Brewers in the final game of the current series at 7:10 tonight. So far in this series, the Reds have been just good enough to barely lose. Meanwhile the Brewers have been good enough to win both games, either of which could just as easily gone the other way.

Starting Pitchers

Tonight’s game features Reds right hander Luis Castillo versus Wade Miley, a leftie, for the Brewers.

The Reds have progressed from patiently waiting to anxiously hoping for a reasonable facsimile of the 2017 version of Luis Castillo to materialize and take the spot reserved for him at the top of the team’s starting rotation. Castillo’s most recent start versus the Twins in which he lasted only 1 inning allowing 5 earned runs, 6 hits (1 HR), 2 walks and perhaps most notably recorded no strikeouts resulted in the team publicly acknowledging Castillo’s issues. Words and phrases we’ve heard used before to describe the issues of seriously struggling young starters crept into the official conversation about Castillo’s problems. Phrases like changed arm slot, not getting on top of the ball, flattened fastball and pitch tipping. A focused side session to begin addressing these issues was conducted. Manager Jim Riggleman lamented that the schedule did not fall correctly to allow the team to skip over Castillo on this cycle of the rotation in favor of more side sessions for him. We can only hope for improvement from Castillo tonight.

Wade Miley a 31 year old long time MLB starter (196 career starts) makes his fist ever start for the Brewers tonight after being signed to a minor league contract by the team in February. Miley appeared set to make the Brewers  roster out of spring training before suffering a late camp groin injury. Rehab completed, he takes the rotation spot of Brent Suter who has been relegated to the Brewers bullpen. Miley spent 2017 with Baltimore where he made 32 starts and compiled a 5.27 FIP. Miley mixes his 4 seam fastball, a cutter and sinker for about 60% of his pitches. All are thrown at about 90 MPH.  A slider and change up  in  roughly equal proportions comprise most of his other offerings, although he will periodically drop in a very slow curveball.

For what they are worth, comparative numbers

PITCHER xFIP HR/9 BB% K%
Luis Castillo 4.38 1.88 9.9% 18.3%
Wade Miley
2017 MLB
4.66 1.43 12.8% 19.5%

Castillo’s xFIP doesn’t look hateful; but he is being persistently burned by the long ball which xFIP is specifically designed to mitigate. His 2018 ERA/FIP are 7.85/5.57. Also troublesome is that his K% has dropped by 9 points from last season. He is missing a lot fewer bats and being hit hard.

Bullpens

For the second consecutive game, the Reds bullpen was tasked with covering 4 innings Tuesday. It is probably a good thing for the bullpen’s sake that Thursday is an off day.  Last night David Hernandez pitched an inning, Amir Garrett 1.1 innings and emerging folk hero Dylan Floro 1.2 innings. I’m guessing the latter two don’t see action tonight beyond possibly a single hitter in a situation to save another arm or double switch because the Reds pitcher spot is due up to bat in the Reds next turn at the plate.

The Brewers used 3 relievers to cover 3.2 innings. Jacob Barnes worked just 0.1 innings while Matt Albers and Jeremy Jeffress each worked 1.2 innings. Allbers and Jeffress are likely in the same situation as Garrett and Floro are for the Reds. The Brewers are also off tomorrow; so, they should have no issues getting through the game tonight.

Lineups

          BREWERS           REDS
1. Jonathan Villar (2B)
2. Christian Yelich (CF)
3. Ryan Braun (LF)
4. Travis Shaw (3B)
5. Jesus Aguilar (1B)
6. Domingo Santana (RF)
7. Manny Pina (C)
8. Orlando Arcia (SS)
9. Wade Miley (P)
1. Jesse Winker (RF)
2. Jose Peraza (SS)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
5. Adam Duvall (LF)
6. Devin Mesoraco (C)
7. Alex Blandino (2B)
8. Luis Castillo (P)
9. Billy Hamilton (CF)

Order is somewhat restored to the Reds lineup. Presumably Scott Schebler is sitting because the Brewers are starting a left handed pitcher. Just because I’m feeling a bit mischievous today, in 2018 Schebler has a 1.122 OPS in 13 PAs versus left handed pitching. Duval’s is .835 in 19 PAs; and, Hamilton’s is .504 in 25 PAs.

News and Notes

Here is the interesting story of Alex Blandino’s first MLB home run ball and the guy in the stands who corralled it.

This is not good in several ways.

And if the Reds bullpen needs reinforcements,  Jimmy Herget may be next man up.

Final Thoughts

72 hours ago, many of us  were allowing ourselves to feel at least a glimmer of hope that the Reds might be in the process of turning an important corner on the road back to beginning to having some success.

Then Monday night happened followed by Tuesday night. Despite some missed opportunities, the Reds new found offense continued to put up runs at a pace that could have, would have, probably should have won at least one if not both of these last two games. Instead what they got were two more losses.

My takeaway is that two relatively even matched teams have had at each other but that one of those teams is clearly further down the road at recognizing the game defining moments and seizing those moments to their advantage. As the sorting and figuring out who plays where and when for the Reds continues, let’s hope part of the evaluation process is recognizing which Reds players are learning to seize and exploit the game changing moments. Go Reds!


Stats and data courtesy of FangraphsMLB.com, and Baseball Reference

 

https://www.facebook.com/jim.walker.79
ohiojim67@hotmail.com
Twitter: @jn_walkerjr

Join the conversation! 106 Comments

  1. I saw the guy going after the home run balls last night. He was wearing a yellow shirt, and thought about the 60 Minutes piece that was done about him. Pretty wild that he got 3 last night. Of course there’s not much competition with the empty stands.

  2. We are on our way back.
    The hitting is closer to last year’s acceptable level.
    Defense is a little less than last year but new guy’s accountability technique will fix that.
    Pitching is not close to last year’s totally unacceptable level.
    Team is plagued with youth but I can guarantee you that 2 or 3 years of play at the mlb level will fix that. I don’t mean riding the bench for those 2 or 3 years.

  3. Jim,

    Always appreciate your analysis/thoughts on the state of team that you put at the end of the preview.

    Billy Hamilton vs. LHP

    2014- 84 wRC+
    2015- 71 wRC+
    2016- 52 wRC+
    2017- 36 wRC+
    2018- 35 wRC+

    Hamilton is 1/3rd of a league-average player in offensive production vs. LHP.

    As much as the top guys in the Reds order are core guys, start from 9 up:

    9- well, well, well below league average as RHB
    8- pitcher
    7- rookie
    6- catcher (still a shadow at the plate of what he showed)
    5- strikes out 26%, 65 wRC+

    4-man lineup. That is what the Brewers coaches are telling Wade Miley, the definition of a career journeyman SP. Get through the top 4 a couple of times, and maybe we can rough up a struggling rookie and get you a win.

    Let the sorting continue (’cause this lineup isn’t scaring a really good pitcher).

    Go Redlegs.

  4. Schebler has started a whole 7 games in a row…he must be tired by now. I’m at the point now that Duval should only play against lefties, until he can show some form of progress. So I guess this qualifies FWIW.

  5. We need to see some improvement from Castillo. Milwaukee is a team that can really beat up a pitcher who isn’t on his game. If this start is another instance where he gets lit up, I say it’s time for a trip to Louisville to get things in order. Getting beat up at the big league level consistently doesn’t teach anyone anything.

    • I don’t disagree with you. In fact when the story started going public and Riggleman said he wished they could skip Castillo for a turn, the thought I had was why not option or DL him. With the off day they could have done either and had him back after one missed start.

      Then I considered who would take that start and realized they didn’t have anyone. Moving Garrett would destabilize the pen even more. Neither Reed nor Stephenson appeared to be up to it right now which was borne out by them both subsequently hammered at AAA over the last several days.

      So, Castillo, perhaps their most valuable pitching property north of Hunter Greene is basically being sent to the mound even though his manager has publicly indicated this might not be the best course for either the player or the team. And we wonder what Price might have barked about behind closed doors to finally get himself shown the door.

  6. Billy and Duvall starting with Schebler on the bench . I think the Front Office is trying to lose every game to annoy Votto. Joey pissed them off in the spring with his rant. Front Office thinks if they keep losing Votto will give in and demand a trade. In which the Front Office gets rid of some of his contract.
    That’s all I can come up with folks. I mean come on, can these people be this dumb by batting Duvall 5th?

  7. Riggleman is still hanging onto the 4-man OF rotation because…well, just because. According to Riggleman himself, the 4-man OF rotation should go bye in a week or so. Hopefully, at that point we will see Winker in LF every game. Schebler in CF against LHP & Hamilton in CF against RHP. Schebler in RF against LHP & Duvall in RF against LHP.

    I’m all for benching Hamilton as simply a 5th OF and role player, entering the game as a 7th inning (or later) pinch runner and defensive replacement with Duvall getting more playing time along with Herrera, but realistically, Hamilton hitting in the #9 hole is about as far as this lineup will go before BC starts cancelling paychecks.

    Glad to see Mesoraco and Blandino starting against the LHP.

  8. Nick Senzel 2-5 w/ 1-2B in today’s early game for the Bats.

    • Winker and Senzel with an .818 OPS.

      • 5man outfield isn’t Riggleman .
        Bob mandates it.
        Go Senzel. Go Schebler. Go winker.

    • With this season going nowhere, why not bring him up? It gives him 5 months of big league pitching to get use to. We all know there is a huge difference in pitching between AAA and the bigs. They screwed up the pitching last year and the kids are a year behind now. Let’s not screw up Senzel. He has nothing to prove in AAA.

  9. Winker walks and Peraza swings at the first pitch.Amazes me sometimes.

  10. Thom and Brantley on the radio broadcast. I may have to listen to the Milwaukee game broadcast.

  11. Agree with bringing up Senzel now. My lineup for the remainder of this season would be as follows:

    LF Jesse Winker
    2B Nick Senzel
    1B Joey Votto
    3B Eugenio Suarez
    RF Scott Schebler
    SS Jose Peraza
    CF Mason Williams
    C Tucker Barnhart

    • I like it. I would like to try Peraza at the 9th spot. He is getting on and he could set it up for the top of order. Like trying Williams in center. Never know what you got unless you play them. We know what we have in Billy.

  12. Very interesting commentary on the Brewers telecast — the announcers are saying that the word on Castillo is that he cannot throw the changeup for strikes. The Brewers hitting coach’s instruction to his hitters tonight is to not swing at the changeup because it is rarely a strike, they said. I’ll be watching to see how accurate this is. If the Brewers know this, the rest of the league does, as well.

    • Not swinging is easier said then done. Looks like a fastball, then dives

    • Thanks for posting, Tom. Great stuff.

      Castillo was living off of fastball/change last year, but either was devestating back then.

  13. Votto, when holding runners on, is only coming off the bag 1 step when the pitch is thrown. Unacceptable.

  14. It’s time for Duval to tide the pine.

  15. Warmer weather….Castillo is throwing 97-98. Looking good. If Votto makes one of the two plays he had a chance on, and no runs score.

  16. Why would Castillo even throw a strike on 3-1 to the eight hitter.Had to be a mistake with the pitcher on deck.Lets hope so because that isn’t smart at all.Cost him a run.

    • Typical 2 out gift run? You don’t put the 8th hitter on base and then Votto can’t make a slightly difficult play.

    • Why does the manager not know you’re supposed to intentionally walk the #8 hitter in that situation? As I said yesterday, what this team needs more than anything is a seminar on basic baseball strategy.

  17. I’ve never seen a team beaten so much over and over with 2 outs or 2 strikes like the Reds. With the pitcher coming next nonetheless. I won’t even go about their defense. Plain and simple idiocy and lack of fundamentals.

  18. A free out courtesy of Villar

  19. Nice to see a silly TOOTBLAN in a Reds game and for once, it not be the Reds committing it.

    • It was beyond dumb, because he can probably steal 2nd 90% of the time on Mez

  20. Driving home and listening to WLW. They said the Reds have lost 18 in a row w/Mesoraco behind the plate. That is insane?

  21. And yet again, 0-2 count, at bat ends with a hit. Amazing. Whoever is calling the game deserves a statue.

  22. Oh well, got the game on mlb.tv then switched to the optional audio feed (WLW), and the Cowboy is on, good, but then… it’s Thom :/ talking.

  23. I’m relatively new to posting here and keep getting “INTERNAL SERVER ERROR” notices. Do others have this happen? Is there something I’m doing wrong?

    • I don’t have that problem, maybe somebody else can chime in

    • I personally have experienced this issue when commenting. Site management aware and working with the site host to attempt to identify and rectify the issue(s).

      Please send an email to the contact address listed on the site banner headed “SITE INFO”. It would be helpful t include your device and operating system, date time, and location/ service provider.

      Sorry for your issue. Thanks for speaking up about it.

      • Thanks–just did. Now let’s see if this get through. 🙂

        • It seems to be very intermittent (as I probably don’t have to tell you). From my prior real world job, those are the hardest glitches to run down and put to rest. Thanks for sticking with us and sending in the information.

  24. One problem I see with Castillo is everything down or a meatball at the belt. He never seems to throw the high fastball right at the top of the letters when he’s ahead in the count to induce a swing-n-miss or a popup. Its hard to get on top of a high 97 mph fastball but if its down and in then drop the bat head on it.

    • I wish he would throw a few heaters inside and high. Get them off the plate.

  25. Stay put Billy…Winker swings at the 1st pitch

  26. you know, NEVER EVER WHEN IT COUNTS.

    • None of the 845 RBI have counted?

      • Very few my friend, some. But not in his 33 at bats in 9 postseason games (He has NONE!) or last night or today or…..the guy has the stats but not when those runs really matter.

        • Just out of curiosity, when the Reds are down by a run and Votto reaches base to become the potential tying run, does that “count” by your standards? Because he’s done it about 7 million times.

          • oh yes it counts for his great obp, walk rate and some other nice stats that we love and live for. But tying the game or bringing the run in, not so much. And expecting guys like Duvall, Gennett or some of the hackers to deliver is like expecting rain in Arizona in august. A miracle.

      • 2018 Runners in scoring position
        Votto
        Batting average 407
        Slugging % 556
        11 RBI in 27 AB
        17th in MLB in OPS

        Better than Harper, Trout, Machado, Martinez

        • Yes, but somehow almost none of those successful ABs “counted.” They almost all occurred in games that the Reds either couldn’t possibly win or couldn’t possibly lose, so Votto’s contributions were irrelevant.

          • You got that right. Look it up.

            Votto’s post season numbers: 33 at bats, 9 games, 117/233/321, 0 (zip, nada) RBI’S. ‘NUFF SAID.

            BTW: Mediocre defender and the dumbest runner. Elite. Yeah.

          • Your stats are wrong. ‘Nuff said.

          • Career in High Leverage Situations
            Votto
            wRC+ 190
            BA 352
            Slugging 634

            Clearly not clutch

        • LOL keep on bringing more stats. But today 0 fer, 3 LOB (you know, when it mattered), lost the game with his iron glove. Last night, his Mummy impersonation with the game on the line in the 8th. Keep it up.

          • Todays game matters? Keep on trolling, it is entertaining

          • Do you know what High Leverage means?

          • Keep on nerding, cannot hide the truth. It would be funny but is not. My favorite team is the laughingstock in baseball and your idol is a big part of it.

            Now, go and enjoy his baseball card while the reaity shows a 7-23 record. And Perfect laughing all the way to the bank.

          • What is your analysis based on?

            It is Votto’s fault that the Reds are 7-24 and lost over 90 games the last 3 seasons?

            Your ability to troll is impressive

          • Curious how many additional times you can change what you consider a reflection of Votto’s impact on the Reds during your trolling

          • The HoF is so silly to consider stats. Nerds! They should just consult you to see which players deserve to be in.

          • I get solace on enjoying the bozo nature of your overwelming worship of a guy who just gives a rat behind about you, gets paid a King’s ransom for missing when it counts and still has his Groupie fan Club. Go and ask him four a foul ball and tell us about it.LOL.

            Good night Costanza.

          • Hall of Fame? Will see about that. Hall of Famers are Bench, Morgan, Larkin. You know, WINNERS who played the game the right when it mattered and have some hardware to show for it.

            Good night J. We just had another L. In big part for JV.

  27. 77 pitches thru 4. Hopefully Castillo can give ’em 2 more scoreless innings.

  28. Making Miley look like Cy Young he is at 89-91 mph.Castillo is battling and I mean battling.If only we could score he may relax a little.

  29. So is this another journeyman pitcher that the Reds make look like an All-Star?

    • They really count on Duvall as an enforcer vs lefties because they neutralize Scooter and some of Schebler’s power. Unfortunately Duvall is horrible right now.

      • I would give him a week off and clear his head. Just get back to basics and go from there. It’s in his head now.

  30. Thou shalt play Mez vs Lefties….

  31. Mesoraco says “I’m not losing 19 in a row as a starting catcher! It ends tonite!”

  32. Oh Billy…. why couldn’t you take the walk?

  33. Have you all not noticed that the players are being instructed to swing early?

    If i have I taught my children anything, it was don’t be a first pitch swinger.

    Tough to teach an old dog new tricks. But we’re scoring more getting more men on base with this first pitch swinging

    If you don’t like it complain to the manager not to the player

    • Matt Holliday (definitely in the Reds Killer Hall of Fame) has a regular spot now on MLB Radio. He said the other day that trend (swing at first pitch if you like it/is hittable) is now being taught at all levels of the game.

      • I’m very much in the camp of swinging early. But it should come from the scouting report. Does the pitcher throw 1st pitch fastballs for strike…ect?

      • There seems to be a lot of players in that hall of fame.

  34. Lance dumped on Mez this afternoon, said that in Mez’s last 18 starts, the Reds lost every single game. Lance tried to qualify it by saying there were all kinds of different variables, but I very much didn’t like the ‘audio optics’.

  35. He saw 4 sliders that AB and still got fooled on it. He is hopeless and useless in this lineup. His only value is pinch running and defense. It is what it is. We all wish it wasn’t but that will never make it so.

  36. 2 major problems w/bunting Castillo there!

    A. Nobody on the team can bunt except for Peraza
    B. Billy was on deck so just swing away already? The next time Billy gets a 2 out rbi will be the first time

  37. Obviously they pitched around the rookie to get to the pitcher and Billy.

  38. I wonder how many times this year we give the lead back ad soon as we get it or tie?

  39. Its 1-1 if Riggleman just walks the 8 hitter earlier. Not bad for Castillo. 97 on the last pitch so thats encouraging! I’d be careful pushing him another inning at this point.

    • 6 inning 2 runs…he labored a bit, but I’d call it a step in the right direction.

      • Definitely a proper step to the good. Now he just has to repeat it and extend incrementally

  40. If the Brewers get a 6th inning out of Miley and still have the lead, that is a gift.

    Hader did not pitch yesterday and Brewers are off tomorrow. He probably has 2 innings (or more) in him.

  41. Cmon….get your pitcher a W now!!! Tired of scoring 6 and losing one night and can’t get 4 the next to win the game.

  42. Ryan Braun hurt himself on Winkers flyball. He was walking gingerly after he caught it.

  43. Young Braves rebuild in action. Young Phillies rebuild in action. Reds? Check back in 2020? Until then? Good/All seats are available:)

  44. Anybody here ever have control panel problems with a Maytag dishwasher? Were you able to fix it without calling a repair man

    • Unplug it for a minute then plug it back in. Sometimes it will reset itself.

      • Thanks. But no.. We now return to our regularly scheduled Cincinnati Reds come back time

  45. Nice relief work by Garrett

  46. Did you try resetting it?

  47. Thank you all for your help. Looks like I need to get into the control panel myself (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha) Or call forrepair help

  48. first bad throw I’ve seen Suarez make in 2 years

  49. Embarrassing when the only thing you can cheer for is free pizza.

  50. Duvall batting 2nd didn’t make him a good hitter, batting 4th, 5th, and 6th didn’t work, so obviously the solution is have him
    batting either 1st or 3rd on Friday. I can’t think of any other possibilities.

  51. I am a lifer. It’s Reds above all other teams and sports for me.

    I have tuned in every game this year for at least a couple innings. I’ve been to a few so far this year. I’m done for a month or so. They aren’t worth my attention.

    Don’t call it fair weather. If that were the case this team would have lost me permanently and long ago. I just need a break from disappointment.

  52. If they lose the coming series against the fish that should reaffirm this a historically rotten team and have the right personnel to run it.

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About Jim Walker

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