Tonight the Reds will be looking to make it two in a row over the Pirates in the middle game of their current series at GABP. A Reds win tonight would secure a winning series for the Reds and set the stage for them to go for the sweep and a winning homestand on Thursday in the series finale.

Starting Pitchers

Homer Bailey makes start 203 of his MLB career for the Reds tonight. Given his performance to date in 2018,  fans are wondering how many more starts are left in his career. Bailey’s issues are particularly vexing. His velocity is still good; but, he doesn’t consistently pitch clean innings because his location control has deserted him. Bailey’s fastball which has never been noted for its movement seems to have become even more straight arrow and is often ending up in sweet spots for hitters. His split finger pitch which had become his out pitch over the years is hanging in the hitting zone or diving too early and out of control to fool batters. With Anthony DeSclafani apparently nearing a return to MLB, Bailey’s window to get his game in order may be closing.

Righthander Chad Kuhl  will go to the mound to open the game for the Pirates. Kuhl at age 25 hopes he is at the opposite end from Bailey of a long career as an MLB starter. He seemingly has beaten the odds to date ascending to the Pirates rotation at mid season in 2016 after being a ninth round (#269 overall) draft pick by the Pirates in the 2013 June draft. He starts for the 55th time for the Pirates tonight. Kuhl is a fastball/ slider pitcher who throws his fastball, predominately as a sinker, just over 60% of the time at about 95-96MPH. He throws an 88MPH slider on 22% of  his pitches and fills out the balance with a mix of a change up (10%/ 88MPH) and 83MPH curve. Kuhl is prone to giving up some walks but largely compensates with a high strikeout rate.

2018 season numbers:

PITCHER xFIP HR/9 WHIP BB% K%
Homer Bailey 5.41 2.04 1.60 8.2% 13.1%
Chad Kuhl 4.15 1.63 1.39 8.5% 22.2%

How about this… Bailey’s BB rate is actually lower than Kuhl’s and only 0.4% higher than his career BB rate. The sad story is that Bailey’s K rate is nearly 6% lower than his career K rate. His career WHIP is virtually identical to Kuhl’s 2018 WHIP.  A quick take is that those guys Bailey isn’t striking out anymore are getting on base at a high rate; and a lot of their hits are leaving the yard as Bailey’s current HR/9 is nearly double his HR/9 rate.  Truly vexing.

Bullpens

The Reds used 4 relievers to cover 3 innings. Nobody worked more than an inning. David Hernandez needed 25 pitches to record his 3 outs and may be very limited tonight. Both lefties, Amir Garrett and Wandy Peralta, were used and may be limited to an inning at most tonight along with Jared Hughes who also worked an inning. Unless there is a last minute issue, Michael Lorenzen will be activated and available to work out of the pen tonight.

No doubt it is of small or no solace to Pirates manager Clint Hurdle but by virtue of being a losing road team on Tuesday, his bullpen was saved an inning of work. Two Pirates relievers, George Kontos and Tyler Glasnow worked an inning each Tuesday. Kontos needed 19 pitches to finish his inning and may be very limited tonight.

Lineups

            PIRATES              REDS
1. Josh Harrison (2B)
2. Gregory Polanco (RF)
3. Francisco Cervelli (C)
4. Josh Bell (1B)
5. Corey Dickerson (LF)
6. Colin Moran (3B)
7. Austin Meadows (CF)
8. Jordy Mercer (SS)
9. Chad Kuhl (P)
1. Jesse Winker (LF)
2. Tucker Barnhart (C)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Scooter Gennett (2B)
5. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
6. Scott Schebler (RF)
7. Jose Peraza (SS)
8. Homer Bailey (P)
9. Billy Hamilton (CF)

Jesse Winker returns. Tucker Barnhart stick at #2. Bottom third is really soft.

News and Notes

As mentioned above, tomorrow is here and Michael Lorenzen will be activated for tonight’s game

Here is the other side of Lorenzen’s activation; and, it is big unexpected (bad) news

It appears that Scooter Gennett just has a  grand knock knack

On the farm this afternoon. How close may we be getting to Robert Stephenson switching places with someone currently in the Reds rotation?

Final Thoughts

At some point last night as I watched the continuing magic of the Reds Matt Harvey Era, the thought occurred to me, “Hey, this guy looks like a real MLB starting pitcher“. He doesn’t look too old or worn down by injury or still green behind the gills and trying to find his way. He looks like a guy who knows what his job is and who is also capable of getting it done.

We don’t know how long Harvey will continue to prosper like this (recall Homer Bailey’s early season starts) or how quickly somebody will make the Reds brass an offer for Harvey they feel compelled to take. But until something changes with Harvey, we are blessed with this respite and reminder of  how things are supposed to be. Perhaps it is time we stand on our hind legs and demand that the Reds do what it takes to obtain the longer term services of a couple similar guys to facilitate the advance of this alleged but seemingly endless rebuild?!?  Go Reds! 


Stats and data courtesy of Fangraphs and MLB.com 

 

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

Join the conversation! 57 Comments

  1. Here, here on your last paragraph. I made a similar observation watching Harvey pitch. Soak it in while we can.

  2. I love the attention to detail in your previews Jim. I am happy to see Jose batting seventh.

  3. I posted a very similar comment about Harvey on the game thread lsst night. He looks like an actual ML pitcher.

  4. Pretty nice top of the lineup for the Reds tonight. I was just thinking last night that it would be nice to see Barnhart stay in the 2-hole with Winker leading off. Hopefully Peraza might have some pressure taken off and start hitting again? Hopefully.

  5. Potential tonight … and right now that has to be enough against the Rats. I have to think patience is running thin other than with RLN about Homer.

    • I think patience is running low on Homer everywhere judging from what I see at various places.

      I’m not sure what they should do with Homer; but, my instincts say that a guy who throws in the mid 90’s and isn’t really wild has to be fixable and have some utility. Maybe putting him in the pen is the answer. Regardless he has to keep his four seam FB out of the sweet hitting zone and throw that splitter or change etc for swinging or called strikes to succeed again.

      • You mean like he did tonight? I wasn’t watching it, but I’m guessing he grooved it.

  6. Peraza needs to set a couple of games and lets see what Blandino can do.Peraza changed his approach last year when Scooter took over second base and then went right back when he was given the job at short to start the season.If he can’t change his approach at the plate then he needs to go to the bench.I don’t want to look up next year and we hope he gets it or the next year after that.That card has been played with Hamilton.Yes we have bigger issues but that one can be fixed or let him go.

    • James no way they can bat Oeraza behind Billy even if as it was last night Billy 9th and him 1st. Billy got on base and Peraza swung at first pitch to end the inning. Riggleman should have yanked him at that point. Little leaguers no better.

  7. I think Homer might be the best hitter in the bottom third.

  8. A bottom third of the lineup this soft speaks unequivocally: poorly constructed, but properly deployed baseball team.

    • Can’t hide guys with no power and don’t get on base and along with the pitcher scare nobody.Its just here it is and see if you can hit it.If we played in a bigger park it may not matter as much but we don’t.

  9. The good thing about Stephenson’s performance today was that he gave up a home run in the first inning and didn’t collapse after that. His last 4 starts have be good. 24 innings 7 BB 31 K 6 ER.

    • And as Doug Gray noted on Twitter today, RS claimed walks didn’t matter etc and then promptly quit walking folks. Maybe the light has gone on.

  10. The good thing about Stephenson’s performance today was that he didn’t collapse after giving up a home run in the first inning. His last 4 starts have been pretty good. 24IP 7 BB 31K 6 ER.

  11. I have always been a big fan of RS.He has great stuff but I never felt he has been given a legit shot in the big leagues.I believe he has only started 19 games in the big leagues and its certainly because of the walks but I would not throw him away until he got some more.

  12. 100% agreement with regard to Harvey. Watched his 1st start vs. Dodgers, saw him pitch in person in SF then watched again last night. He has the “it” factor we’ve been missing. Too bad we’ll dump him but it’s a pleasure watching him now. He hit 96 on the gun in the first inning last night. Didn’t hit that at all in SF.

    • Homer was hitting 95 last time out too but its the command. Harvey wasn’t getting the borderline pitches in the 1st but then the ump started to relax the corners and Harvey/Tucker figured it out and got a couple of Ks with pitches off the outside corner. Very few were in the middle of the plate like Homer does routinely. Even the HR off Harvey was at the guys chin and he hammered it somehow.

  13. Yes to Bob Steve! Not that he can necessarily hack it but we need to find out! Same with Winker! Play him everyday and see what he can do! You know the other 3 already.

    5/23/18 7:10pm MLB Baseball 957 Pittsburgh Pirates 1st 5 Innings Over 2½ -130* vs Cincinnati Reds (C Kuhl – R must Start H Bailey – R must Start)

    I hope the Reds win 10-3 but I like free money and Brandomer Baileygann give up atleast 3 thru 5ip like clockwork! Usually by the 1st-2nd inning!

  14. Homer: Still a bad name for a pitcher

  15. Homer getting hit hard again.
    The Twins DFA’d starting pitcher Phil Hughes a couple of days ago and owe Hughes over $22MM for rest of this year and next year. The Reds have to at least consider the same course of action with Bailey. More $$$ involved. Twins are a small market like the Reds.

    • I don’t have confidence that Castellini will allow them to release Homer. At the very least, he needs to go to the bullpen as a long man to minimize his number of innings.

  16. I am guessing that if homer does not retire he’s going to be the new Gapper

  17. Please…stop the pain..release Homer..

  18. Joey has 12 extra basehits and we’re almost 1/3 of the way thru the season? I hope he can still turn it on like usual!

    • For comparison….Albies has 31 and Acuna has 11 and didn’t get called up til April 25th

    • Yep, Votto is just not going yet. Hope it isn’t the start of the regression

  19. I guess Peraza is going for the reverse Samson

  20. It is time to give Stephenson another chance to lock up a rotation spot. He has improved while others are regressing or stagnant.
    One other reason would be to give Stephenson 2 months along side of Matt Harvey. Maybe Stephenson can learn a thing or two from Harvey. One knothead to another.

    • Why not? Homer and Romano have been bad and Mahle is under innings limit considerations anyway. I would stick with the plan to consider Lorenzen for the rotation too. They could start with 3 inning stints at some point.

      Change the offense up….move Scooter to LF. Dixon/Duvall can spot him vs lefties when he needs a break. He can’t butcher 2B from LF so the infield defense improves and GABP is about as small a leftfield as you can find. Platoon Winker/Duvall in RF and let Schebler get some run in CF. Blandino at SS and Herrera/Senzel at 2B. The outfield as it stands is horrible! Peraza is horrible offensively. Try something? Its a long season! Call me nuts but I’d give Lorenzen a little run in CF occasionally. Maddon used to put Travis Wood in LF on double switches all the time. Lorenzen has easy power….prob some of the most pop on the team right now. When his dad passed last year….he hit that one HR about 430 to right-center!

      • Lorenzen is like Iggy and Finnegan…his arm doesn’t hold up to starting

  21. Why are we discussing Cleveland sports talk radio?

  22. Down to the last strike…..thank you Homer $$

  23. Anyone could’ve had Corey Dickerson. Tampa just got rid of him in a cash dump. He’s better then any of the Reds OFers by a mile but DW sleeping on the job as usual.

  24. Hamilton just really has no clue at the plate

    Not the Reds night so far

  25. Bailey battled, just does have the command anymore

  26. Well, if Suarez does not have a brain fart on that “sacrifice” Homer might’ve gotten out of the inning.

  27. You have to search far and wide to find anything good about this Reds season but Rainey is nasty! 99-100 w/a sharp slider = 8th/9th guy if he can just learn on the job!

  28. I’m gone due to boredom. I’m boycotting any Reds game from here on out when Billy/Jose are both starting. Its not all on them of course but they suck! They’re just happy to cash checks and be where they’re at. If Billy was dedicated then he’d be 180 lbs of muscle by now. Peraza has the baseball IQ of an eggplant….they can wrap up all of his 0-4 night with about 10-12 pitches.

    • See you later, alligator

    • Can’t hide them and why should you even try.Bench them and let Billy set and watch and smile and give Peraza a bat and let him swing down in the tunnel.Same as being on the field.

  29. Gennett keeps hitting

  30. Tied it up!

  31. This is a fun game

  32. Bottom of the 9th ! Here we go. Chaos is leading off!

  33. Gennett was swinging at everything. How about working the count and then get your pitch to hit the game-ending home run?

  34. A strong hitter was asked to bunt a speedy runner to second so that Hamilton, hitting right handed, could drive him in. What could possibly go wrong?

  35. Thom just needs to just leave the baseball to the pros. Laying into Votto for not tagging on a mid field LH e drive with fielder charging towards home was a sure fire out at the plate, pitcher or not coming up.

  36. This game should be shown in Manager School as a perfect example of how NOT to manage.

  37. Bases loaded and two outs. Another perfect opportunity to call for a sacrifice bunt.

  38. Probably won’t win the award, but I’d at least nominate this one for Worst Managed Game of the Year.

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About Jim Walker

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