Nothing would erase Friday night’s Milton-esque performance like two wins. The Reds (15-30) will play a doubleheader against the Cubs (23-18) at Great American Ball Park today to make up for a rainout on April 3. Game one begins at 1:10 p.m. ET, while first pitch for game two is set for 7:10 p.m. ET, though rain looks like it may again be a problem throughout the day.

Starting Pitchers: Game 1

Name IP ERA xFIP K% BB%
Kyle Hendricks 50.2 3.20 3.73 18.7% 4.4%
Luis Castillo 46.1 6.02 3.70 22.9% 7.5%

Although he doesn’t have flashy numbers, Kyle Hendricks has been the Cubs’ steadiest pitcher so far in 2018. Per usual, the right-hander’s control is among the best in the game, ranking 10th in walk rate among 94 qualified pitchers. He’s also among the best at inducing weak contact, coming it at 17th in soft-contact percentage (22.7%). Among 119 pitchers with 100 or more batted balls allowed, he also ranks 15th in average exit velocity (86.0 mph). That’s all a pretty good combo when paired with an above-average groundball rate (49.3%). Hendricks has seen a dip in his strikeout rate, however, and his .234 BABIP seems bound to come up. He’s also had some home run problems at times, allowing nine so far on the season.

Hendricks vs. Reds


Luis Castillo’s sophomore season hasn’t been quite as spectacular as his rookie year, but his last three starts have him headed in the right direction. After making an arm angle adjustment, the right-hander has allowed just six earned runs, struck out 22, and walked only two over his last 17 2/3 innings. His fastball velocity still isn’t where it was last year, but his command has improved over his last handful of outings, as he’s doing a much better job of painting corners and changing the eye level of hitters. Still, he’s left a few balls out over the plate, allowing home runs in each of his last five starts. Getting through the opposing lineup a third Castillo’s biggest obstacle, as he’s lasted just 6, 5 2/3, and 6 innings his last three outings. We’ll see if he can get deeper into today’s game.

Castillo vs. Cubs

Lineups: Game 1

Cubs

CF Albert Almora Jr. (114 wRC+)
3B Kris Bryant (175 wRC+)
1B Anthony Rizzo (83 wRC+)
SS Addison Russell (93 wRC+)
LF Kyle Schwarber (127 wRC+)
C Victor Caratini (83 wRC+)
2B Javier Baez (125 wRC+)
RF Ian Happ (95 wRC+)
P Kyle Hendricks (-84 wRC+)

Reds

LF Jesse Winker (91 wRC+)
SS Jose Peraza (69 wRC+)
1B Joey Votto (135 wRC+)
2B Scooter Gennett (140 wRC+)
3B Eugenio Suarez (158 wRC+)
RF Scott Schebler (103 wRC+)
Tucker Barnhart (118 wRC+)
P Luis Castillo (38 wRC+)
CF Billy Hamilton (69 wRC+)

  • Jesse Winker is back in the leadoff spot, while Joey Votto moves back to his regular No. 3 spot.

Starting Pitchers: Game 2

Name IP ERA xFIP K% BB%
Jose Quintana 41.1 5.23 4.44 20.2% 11.2%
Sal Romano 44.2 4.84 5.27 14.1% 9.6%

The Cubs gave up a whole lot to acquire Jose Quintana before the trade deadline in 2017. He mostly lived up to the high price, posting a 3.74 ERA and a career-high strikeout rate for the season (26.2%). But he’s been a major disappointment so far in 2018. His strikeout rate has plummeted while his walks have skyrocketed, leading to an unsightly ERA and peripherals that don’t tell a much better story. On the opposite spectrum from Hendricks, the southpaw has allowed a tremendous amount of hard contact, with his 90.8 average exit velocity ranking 113th of 119 pitchers with 100 or more batted balls. He’s coming off a terrible start against the Braves in which he allowed six runs and three homers in 4 2/3 innings.

Quintana vs. Reds


Sal Romano’s run of solid starts came to an end on Monday as he lasted just 2 1/3 innings and allowed six runs and eight hits against the San Francisco Giants. Over his previous two outings, he’d given up just two runs in 11 1/3 innings. Despite the solid outings, there are still red flags with the young pitcher. His strikeout rate is the fifth-lowest among pitchers with 40 or more innings, and his swinging-strike rate is dead last. Establishing a third pitch continues to be a struggle for Romano, who is throwing his fastball 65.3% of the time. Only Tyler Mahle (68.1%) throws his fastball more among starting pitchers. The difference is Mahle mixes in two other pitches, while Romano mostly relies on his slider as a secondary pitch.

Romano vs. Cubs

Lineups: Game 2

You can view game two’s lineups here.

News, Notes, & Pre-Game Reading

Kevin Shackelford will be the 26th man on the roster for today’s doubleheader.

Sean Casey was no Joey Votto, but he was pretty dang good.

Minor league notes courtesy of Doug Gray:

The recently released Cliff Pennington already has a landing spot:

Stat of the Day

Castillo has the highest whiff rate on the changeup among all starting pitcher in baseball who have thrown the pitch 100 or more times. Here’s the leaderboard, where Hendricks also appears:

Pitcher Changeup Whiff%
Luis Castillo 32.2%
Trevor Cahill 28.2%
Noah Syndergaard 27.5%
Cole Hamels 26.2%
Trevor Richards 25.9%
Carlos Carrasco 24.0%
Eduardo Rodriguez 23.9%
Lance McCullers Jr. 23.4%
Johnny Cueto 22.6%
Kyle Hendricks 22.5%

Final Thoughts

Nothing better than sitting inside on a dreary Saturday and watching not one but two baseball games. Go 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! 109 Comments

  1. NEVER, EVER WHEN IT COUNTS.

  2. Scooter does it again

  3. NEVER,EVER WHEN IT COUNTS

  4. Scooter is the best hitter on the team right now! I vote against trading him! Big steal for Peraza there….if he has any chance to stick at SS then he needs to steal 35 a year!

    • And he has to get more than one walk a month. I’m a big fan of his ability offensively and defensively but I think he needs to step it up

  5. I agree with Chad and Doug on the red leg nation podcast, trade Gennet now

  6. If you guys on TV are going to talk about the game or show much of it I’m not gonna bother to watch. I’m getting more effective coverage from game day. I’m guessing fox sports Ohio has a contract with UC football

  7. I Just got home and am starting from the beginning. Did anybody see the usher fall down the stairs backwards and everybody just sat there and watched Him? Nobody got up! Wth is wrong with this world!

  8. I agree with Chris and Thom (which doesn’t always happen):
    Castillo needs to pitch inside more. Darwin needs to get in his ear.

    • Castillo was doing it after Darwin got up here. Mahle as well. Homer might want to try it. Homer might want to plunk about 10 batters a game.

  9. Castillo is battling out there! Those 2 walks to Happ and Almora were on borderline 3-2 pitches that could’ve gone Castillo’s way. If a pitcher can get into the 6th with only 1-2 runs allowed then thats about anyone can ask in todays game.

  10. Votto has had a lot of key hits in the past week, and I notice you mysteriously disappeared every time that happened. He also just had a key double to open an inning, leading to a run, but of course you don’t think that “counts” because he didn’t get the RBI. I’ve figured out how this works.

  11. SHUT UP THOM!!! PLEASE JUST SHUT UP I MEAN PLEASE JUST SHUT UP!!!

  12. Wow, how do they overturn that?

  13. Baseball – 982 Cincinnati Reds +½ -130 for 1st 5 Innings K. Hendricks – R (must start) L. Castillo – R (must start)

    My inner Pete Rose strikes again:)

  14. I’ve just been able to follow the game peripherally and sporadically, but Scooter Gennett laying down a sac bunt with Votto on 2B and no outs in the 4th inning? Really? Am I missing something not obvious. I didn’t see or hear the play, so I must have missed something, right?

    • For what it’s worth, I think he was bunting for a hit.

    • I’m not convinced he was sacrificing. I think he was trying to surprise and perhaps get a hit. It sure surprised Joey, so it probably wasn’t called from the bench.

      • He didn’t show bunt until the pitch was on the way, and, you’re right that Votto certainly didn’t seem to know he was bunting, so I think he was trying to get a hit, and figured the worst case scenario was a sacrifice. It wasn’t quite as bad as it looks on paper.

    • He did it on his own for what I could see and the cub announcers could see. Even the Cub announcers said they would take thst everytime in order to take the bat out of Scooters hands. Wth swing away Scooter.

  15. I find it hard to discern the difference between Jesse Winker walking and Jesse Winker running. The difference in speed seems statistically insignificant.

    Thank goodness, he’s a good hitter, though.

    • The difference is the way he throws his arms around violently. That’s all I can see differently.

  16. What is the average innings pitched by a starter? Our guys seem to only go 5. What is the league average? Anybody?

    • LG/Tm GS IP IP/GS
      AL 44 241 5.5
      NL 44 235 5.3
      MLB 44 238 5.4
      Reds 45 223.3 5.0

  17. Wow! Scooter! We probably trade the day after his bobble head game

  18. I hope someone is noticing how NOT bunting can be an effective strategy sometimes…..

    • Yes…100X yes. Giving up and out for a sac bunt is rarely, I MEAN RARELY (that’s for Thom’s benefit as a professional? communicator) a good decision.

  19. Eugenio Suarez is a very good baseball player.

  20. The Cubs are one of the worst defensive teams. But they are great offensively. Why in the world would you trade Scooter ? You’re not getting anybody back who is better than him. Trust me if we were the trade would have been done already. The guy is what 27? He isn’t the guy losing games for you. Find a place for him. Votto, Gennett, Suarez and Senzel is your infield for the next 5? Years. Barnhart as well at catcher. The outfield is what’s killing this team.

    • Gennett is not signed for the next five years, only the next year. It also appears the Reds have decided Senzel is not an option at SS so he is either at 2B or the outfield

  21. The Cubs intentionally walk a .191 hitter in Adam Duvall to load the bases for a .205 hitter in billy hamilton in year 5 with a lefty pitcher and fails miserably. This outfield is awful. Billy Hamilton was public ly lobbying to hit leadoff again. What a dysfunctional franchise.

    • Now why in the world would the Cubs walk Duvall to get to Hamilton?
      Aren’t they afraid of havoc and chaos on the bases? NOT

  22. Great job Garrett. Love that guy. Somebody has some fire.

  23. A lot of you are grumpy even though we are winning.

  24. This team is not competitive this season and in middle of rebuild. The major issue with the team (and has been for years) is starting pitching. Why not try Garrett in the starting rotation?!

  25. That sucks. Iglesias threw 4 strikes before the homer to Happ. Ump blows.

    • The cubs announcers played ignorant, wondering why Iglesias appeared peeved. One of those pitches was down the middle. The other was inside the borderline. That ump should never call balls and strikes. And Barnhart needs to stop committing with the glove so early, the pitch down the middle he was expecting outside, so when Tucker stabbed at the ball made the pitch appear inside to the ump. Bad framing.

  26. Guess it’ll be Hughes in the 9th. Iglesias has 25 pitches already in the 8th.

  27. I’m guessing we’re going to have an HBP coming up

  28. A closer can’t blow his cool like that. He got hosed on some calls, but he has to not lose his shit.

  29. This pitching staff has got to lead the league in 2 out 2 strike mistakes leading to big hits…

  30. Garrett has a 14 pitch inning…strikes out Baez and triggers a Cubs bench clearing man crisis…. and Riggleman pulls him? Why…let Garrett pitch…this guy is a core player.

    • I’m with you Old-School. I’ve never understood the need by managers to replace a reliever whos has demonstrated that he throws daggers coming out of the bullpen and demonstrated the same again during a solid one inning performance with minimal pitches. Any time a reliever comes in from the bullpen, you never know if he’s bringing his ‘A’ game. I don’t care if it’s Iggy, Chapman or any of the best relievers in history. Why change from a demonstrated known result on the mound to an unlnown result on the mound for no reason other than making a change.

      • There’s no doubt in my mind that managers’ logic is different than normal people’s logic. (I feel the same way about basketball and football coaches. They all seem to have agendas that often don’t make sense to anyone but themselves.) But Reds’ managers’ logic seems to be even more mysterious than most.

  31. The number of Cubs fans in attendance is embarrassing. Had to double check we weren’t playing at Wrigley. Even Cubs fans in the front row seats

  32. The first question related to that answer is why did he sit Winker instead of BH. He set up Garett to lead off. No chance for him to go two.

    • Technically, Garret was allowed to hit for himself.

    • He was doing it for the defense. So yea it was pre-planned that Garrett would only go 1 inning. Maybe that makes him available for the 2nd game. But I don’t really understand asking Iglesias to go 2 innings (if he hadn’t melted down) that would surely make him unavailable for the 2nd game. So pretty strange, but I think Hamilton over Winker for defense makes sense when your holding a slim lead.

  33. Other than his bad outing in San Fran, has there been a more consistently good pitcher out of the Reds bullpen than Floro? The guy has been a great help to this team this year.

  34. In the big picture, Castillo, Mahle, and Garrett are competitors and the future. They have the “it” factor . Castillo needs to be more pitch efficient abd quit wasting pitches….but hes good. Mahle and Garrett just need to pitch more . Garrett could be that nasty 100 inning bullpen guy who wants the ball when the game situation calls for it.

  35. per Thom… “if the league would just expand the strike zone it would cut down on these longer games”… yeah, and the scoring would plummet as well to make what some call a boring game even more boring. SMH at that guy.

    • I was watching a game the other day where a pitcher was taking forever between pitches. That is by far the most problematic aspect of the game IMO and they have a solution in the countdown clock like in the minors. Why is this not used at the MLB level? Is the player’s union fighting it?

  36. I really feel for
    the Cubs. That’s too bad

    • What a sad sad day it would be for all those Cubs fans to get rained on and watch two losses.

  37. OK, that works.

  38. Ugly win, but a good one. Wilson never seemed to recover from the ump blowing the 3rd strike call on Shebler (much like Iggy earlier in the game). Kudos to Billy for not swinging at pitches out of the zone.

    • Well, for not swinging at more than one out of the strike zone….

    • Exactly. And Gameday at least had the strike close. The others are some we’ve see Billy hack at.

      • I’m still a little troubled by the fact that he swings at ANY 2-0 pitch with a pitcher having so much trouble throwing strikes, let alone a pitch that was probably a couple inches outside the strike zone. But I guess congrats are in order for taking the ones a foot outside the zone.

        • Yep – I’m right with you on that one. Nothing at all to lose by taking until the guy throws a called strike.

  39. And given the 2nd game today coming, perhaps pulling Amir wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

  40. How sweet it is especially when it’s the Cubs that load the bases and walk in the winning run.

  41. Last night was woeful and then to have your closer give it up in the 8th could have caused us to roll over but Wandy and then Fliro for two innings got it done.We will take a walk off walk anytime

  42. Reds bullpen survives.
    Scooter and Suarez get it done.
    Amir Garrett is the story . This guy competes and gets under the Cubs skin. More of this .

  43. Just a reminder:

    On this day one month ago, the Reds were 3-16. They’ve pretty much been a solid .500 team since.

  44. Has Thom been saying “money” all year, or is this a new thing? I’m wondering if maybe he watched “Swingers” between games.

    • For a guy who has never played the game , Thom thinks he knows everything. Then Welsh tells him why he is wrong. Like Thom bellyaching about Romano worrying about Happ at 1st. Welsh kindly tells him he knows little.

  45. Lester gets us on 8 pitches with his +5 ERA.Wait its not Lester but it doesn’t matter he is a lefty.

  46. Apparently my untrained Eye called his slow curve and/or his slider a changeup.

  47. Another game where the offense is just bad.Can’t expect these young guys to keep up on the mound when they don’t get any support.

  48. That ought to do it.Of course we will give up a couple more and then we get cookies to hit and make it close late and then we can talk about how bad Romano was.Sound about right,Go get em tomorrow with Mahle and maybe some early offense,

  49. Romano walking a small village out there tonight. Dude’s not going to win if he continues to give free passes.

  50. the offense is asleep again this game. Haven’t hit a ball hard against a pitcher that has largely struggled all year.

    However, Romano was bad in his last start and he is bad again tonight. It would be nice if one of these young pitchers could come out and dominate a game and pick the offense up too. That really hasn’t happened this year. Even if you throw out Bailey, the Reds starting pitching numbers still are not good. Romano was horrible in SF and tonight has 6 walks to this point. I mean come on.

    Romano is probably a number 5 moving forward but in this rotation he is number 3 I guess ? That can’t be the case in 2019 if they are “urgent” about contending.

  51. And while I’m ranting, Winker sucks in the outfield. I like the guy. He needs to hit better but I like the guy but he just sucks out there. He is slow and doesn’t have good instincts. They Heyward ball is caught by a good RF.

  52. A bloop triple finished them off, but if you’re going to play Winker way over in right-center then don’t pitch him inside? Romano is not good enough and thats the bottom line. They should try Disco, Lorenzen, or Bob Steve. Let Romano figure it out at AAA. My rotation would be Castillo, Disco, Mahle, Garrett, and Lorenzen.

    • These are growing pains. We saw it in the first game and we’re seeing it now. It’s pretty obvious, I mean even Thom has noticed it, pitchers are not well prepared for the major-league

  53. Winker blew that one. Went back first and then of course he runs so darn slow. Nibbles Romano showed up again. Frustrating.

  54. No doubt about it that inning was brutal with 4 walks and only 2 hits.I have no problem with him being left out there to see if he can get out of it but its a different game if we had a run or two or were ahead.Lots of pressure on young guys when they feel they have to be perfect all the time.He sees what we see and that we don’t have a hit and only two last night and only 10 in the last 24 innings.Not making excuses for him because its his job to get them out.

  55. Lorenzen is a sinkerball pitcher with a live arm and about 1/3 of the experience in the minors that Romano has. He’s also athletic and can hit and run. Stephenson has better stuff then Romano too imo. He put up a 3.30 era in the 2nd half last year with a .224 batting average allowed. Romano never done anything close to that! Garrett has the chance to be a better starter then all of them. I like the Harvey trade but I hate to see Homer and Romano block better guys and stink up the place while doing it!

  56. I will say one thing for Riggleman in that when he has a chance to win he goes for it but when he doesn’t like tonight or Friday he doesn’t mind letting a reliever hit down 6 or 7 runs.

  57. I’m being serious I think all of our outfielders are terrible. Winker overrated and not getting it done. Schebler is awful seriously Duvall well and Hamilton well they all need to go

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.

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2018 Reds, Game Thread

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