Today’s Reds lineup might be as good as Manager Jim Riggleman can concoct at this point in time. (See below.)

He’s riding two hot hands, Scott Schebler batting leadoff and Jesse Winker batting sixth – the opposite of where we would normally expect to see them in the lineup. Batting in the leadoff spot the last two games, Schebler is 7-for-12 – small sample size, but great for a leadoff batter if it continues. Batting down in the order, Winker hit the game-winning homer Thursday, and knocked in the game-tying run in the bottom of the ninth Friday – terrific clutch hitting.

What I hope we’re seeing is the beginning of a strict outfield platoon, instead of the four-man rotation. Schebler is showing signs of perhaps having a breakout year and establishing himself as an above-average regular major league outfielder. He needs to play every day. So does Winker, who despite recent struggles, is among the league leaders in on-base percentage:

It’s time for the two Reds outfielders who are producing, Schebler and Winker, to play every day, and for the two who are not – Billy Hamilton and Adam Duvall – to share playing time in a platoon. Because the latter two are Gold-Glove-caliber defenders in center and left field, respectively, there will be some shifting to get them in their best defensive position each day.

When the Reds can acquire a starting outfielder, or promote one from within, both Hamilton and Duvall head to the bench. I’m going to propose the best solution to that situation is to get Nick Senzel playing in the outfield at Louisville. Find out if he can play any or all of the outfield positions. Before the season, the assumption was that he was going to Louisville to play second base with the intent of eventually replacing Scooter Gennett. Well, an odd thing happened on the way to that transition – Gennett became one of the most productive hitters in the majors. Those of us who saw Gennett play the outfield last year know he doesn’t have the skills to play it every day. (Some would argue the same about second base.)

Gennett is currently a defensive liability wherever you play him. Ideally, you’d trade him for a starting major league outfielder or a starting pitcher, but that isn’t likely to happen. And you can’t trade one of the top hitters in the majors, for whom you still have more than a year of contract control, for a prospect. So this is why you find out what Senzel can do in the outfield. It also gives him time to stay at Louisville and determine whether the recurring vertigo issues are now in the past, or if they are going to crop up again. The last thing you need is Senzel coming to the bigs, starting his major league time clock, and having him end up on the DL with a recurrence of vertigo.

Today’s lineup also has Jose Peraza batting eighth, which is probably where he belongs on a regular basis.

Hopefully this lineup will enable the Reds to stop their 12-game losing streak at the hands of the Cardinals, eight of them coming this season. Game time for Scooter Gennett bobblehead day is 4:10 p.m. Eastern time at Great American Ball Park.

Starting Pitchers

Name IP ERA xFIP K% BB%
Michael Wacha 71 2.41 3.77 21.3% 9.4%
Luis Castillo 67 5.64 3.99 22.0% 8.9%

Wacha has had tremendous success against the Reds in his career, with a 10-1 record vs. Cincinnati, including eight in a row. Over the first two-plus months of the season, he’s been one of the top starting pitchers in the National League. Past performance indicates this could be a bad day for the home team.

After a terrible April, Luis Castillo has begun to right the ship. In May and early June, he is 3-3 with a 4.01 ERA. Opponents were hitting over .300 against him in April. Since then, he’s holding teams to a .240 batting average against. These are not Wacha-like statistics, but they are what you must see from a young pitcher in a situation like the Reds are in. If he’s not improving and getting better, find someone who will. Castillo’s performance trend is upward, unlike most of his peers in the rotation.

Bullpen

Michael Lorenzen pitched two innings last night and may not be available as a result. Everyone else should be available for work.

Starting Lineups

Cardinals Reds
3B Matt Carpenter CF Scott Schebler
CF Tommy Pham C Tucker Barnhart
1B Jose Martinez 1B Joey Votto
LF Marcell Ozuna 2B Scooter Gennett
C Yadier Molina 3B Eugenio Suarez
2B Jedd Gyorko RF Jesse Winker
RF Dexter Fowler LF Adam Duvall
SS Yairo Munoz SS Jose Peraza
P Michael Wacha P Luis Castillo

News and Notes

10 years ago today, Junior clubbed HR number 600 …

Happy birthday, Dave Parker!

Tom Mitsoff is a lifelong Reds fan who grew up in the Dayton suburb of Beavercreek, Ohio. He lived a teenage life atypical of most his age by prioritizing following the Reds. At one point in the 1970s and early 1980s, Tom kept complete scorecards on more than 1,000 consecutive Reds games. Now that adult life has forced him to move on from his beloved Southwest Ohio, he follows the Reds daily through MLB.TV and other online media sources, including Redleg Nation.

Join the conversation! 46 Comments

  1. I also picked schebler to have a breakout year,still possible but he has got to play,price and now riggleman will not put out an 8 man lineup and stick to it,Barnhart in no.2 slot is still a bit puzzling

  2. The trade deadline, or, Who needs what the Reds have?

    First, what do the Reds have by position;

    #1 Pitching;
    Except for Bailey and Harvey, who are done as starters, and Castillo who is a 5 -inning pitcher, the Reds have a starter collection of maybe’s. Would a playoff team want any maybe’s? only if the Reds maybe’s are better than their maybe’s. Reds bullpen pitchers are probably the best trade bait.
    #2 Catching;
    I would say Tucker is all we have to offer and would probably thrive in a winning environment.
    #3 First base;
    Votto has defensive lapses and baserunning flaws. If he wants a ring, the AL is best option as a DH. The Reds would need to send at least $15 Mil with him.
    #4 Second base;
    Scooter’s bat is the only positive to a playoff team, defensively, well, he can hit.
    #5 Third base;
    The Reds have an All-Star who would be a good long-term replacement for Votto. Would command a current winning starter in return.
    #6 Shortstop;
    The Reds don’t have one anybody wants.
    #7 Left field;
    Winker is part of the future for the Reds and would be a long-term asset to a playoff team.
    #8 Centerfield;
    The Reds don’t have one that another team would take in a straight up trade.
    #9 Right field;
    Schebler is not the most graceful, but if his bat looks good and to a playoff team, it would be the deciding factor.

    If the above is really what exists, and whatever real help is in the minors (praying and hoping), the next 2 years are toast. 2021 anyone?
    This is just some random thinking on a rainy morning.

    • Raisel Iglesias will draw the most attention from contenders.

    • We have three FA-signing bullpen arms that could get *something* and iggy would get considerably more if he were moved. I wouldn’t be trading anybody else right now besides Duvall/Hamilton or Homer/Harvey if the right offer came along.

      • As bad as this team is EVERYBODY should be available in the right deal. No one is a keeper. This organization needs to do a rebuild of the rebuild.

  3. Any future role that Hamilton and Duvall have with the Reds will be as utility OF. Both can serve as late-game defensive replacements with Hamilton being a pinch runner and Duvall being a pinch hitter. With that understanding, the current OF rotation will be over once Duvall takes a role as a utility OF and starts playing RF with Winker starting in LF full time.

    Hamilton has some trade value heading into the trade deadline. Duvall has virtually no trade value, so a role change to a utility OF for Duvall is the only opprotunity the Reds have to gain any future value from Duvall’s contract which enters 1st year arbitration eligibility next season and should remain cost controlled for the next 3 seasons. Hamilton’s contract has already become cost prohibitive for the value he brings to the Reds lineup.

  4. They need to trade Hamilton to a team that can utilize his strengths as a late inning base runner. He is absolutely not a major league hitter and it is painful to watch him flail around up there as an every day player. I absolutely do not mind if they receive prospects for him or take a flyer on a younger player with some hitting skills.

    I also respectfully disagree about trading Scooter for prospects provided we have done our homework. This is a similar situation to where things stood with Bruce and Frazier a few years ago. The front office waited past their prime value moment and received less (some could argue little to nothing) in return. You have to move him now for the opportunity to acquire a player on the Next Good Reds Team.

    This franchise should never ever trade Joey Votto. We do not want another team’s fans cheering him with us one day when he goes into the Hall of Fame. I do not agree with the argument of saving money and/or reallocating it others who will not produce at the same level. He is the best overall hitter to ever play for this franchise. We should enjoy him while he is around and, by the way, he is producing over value on his current contract.

    • Spaceman;
      I am sure that Cardinal fans thought the same about Pujols and yet the Cards attendance just keeps on rolling.

      • George: I hear you but I do not think the two situations parallel one another. The Cardinals, of course, did not trade Pujols and put up quite a bit of money to try and retain him. Votto is ours unless we move mountains to trade him out of town. I do not buy the argument that he “deserves” to be on a contender. He deserves the large amount of money we are paying him and that he agreed to take in exchange for playing for the Reds. Of course, I think they should build a good team around him but working a deal for him to head to the Yankees so we can inherit an inferior hitter does not sound palatable to me.

        I think one of the smart writers on this site might take a whack at this but I think that Votto’s skills will age better than Pujols and, in fact, there is already evidence that they are doing this. I see Votto similar to someone like Chipper, Ripken or even our own Barry Larkin: someone who stayed with the team their whole career and continued producing. There is evidence that Votto can do this. I have also heard him say in interviews that this is a specific part of his training plan. The man has already proven he can make adjustments so I believe him.

    • Love Votto. But he is not performing to his contract. He was one of baseball’s best bargain first five years because his contract was back loaded. The next five years will not be pretty.

      He doesn’t want to go so the Reds are stuck with him. If he changes his mind absolutely trade his contract and let a rich city team pay for all of it.

      I’d rather see Joey get a ring elsewhere and the Reds free up the money for more efficient usage and become competitive than see them hampered by $25MM per year for one player whose decline is inevitable….and has already occurred on the basepaths and defensively.

      • According to Baseball Reference, Votto is 0.1 Defensive Wins Above Replacement this year. Not exceptional but also not a liability. He was a Gold Glove finalist last year at his position. I do not support trading him because he has an occasional base running lapse.

        • Many of Votto’s defensive problems aren’t errors: They’re poor judgment, like when he cuts in front of the 2nd baseman to take a grounder and then has nobody to throw to at first. I think he’s pretty serviceable defensively, overall. He doesn’t miss many throws in the dirt, for example, but there would be room for improvement.

  5. Scooter played how many games in the outfield last year? Seems to me Scooter should be out there shagging flies during batting practice if they plan on using him there. Or Senzel should be playing outfield in the minors. The organization to me has no answer on where they plan on playing Senzel or Scooter. If they did those two would be playing that position. Last time I checked you couldn’t play 2 people at the same time at 2nd. Well you could but it would leave a big hole somewhere else. So what this tells me is that Scooter is going to be traded no matter what.

    • I don’t disagree with your logic Jack, but I do disagree with the way the Reds are approaching the issue. With no plan or alternative in place, the Reds are going to run head long into the exact same situation as the Bruce/Cozart trades at the deadline and get nothing of real value in return. If other teams know the Reds are fully committed to trading Scooter, no matter what, they will play a game of chaicken at the trade deadline and the Reds have proven that they will lose that game.

      Scooter’s trade value has limits and represents more of a ‘like-to-have’ asset rather than a ‘must-have’ asset. The Reds need to be in a position of forcing the issue with a backup plan to utilize Scooter internally if a trade isn’t consumated in order to level the trading dynamics.

      • Apparently my comment is lost in space. Anyways old Cossack you are correct. That’s what I meant in my comment. It’s like playing poker with knuckleheads. Th ey are showing their hand by showing their logjam at second. They need to try either one at another position or other teams will give them nothing for Scooter. And if they don’t trade Scooter they will be 2 months behind by not trying him or Senzel at another position.

  6. Reds first round pick Jonathan India didn’t have such a great game in the super regionals in Florida’s big win. They beat up Casey Mize pretty good. India was 0-4 with a walk, a run, and a K. Singer was good. But Reds #14 pick Florida
    Closer Michael Bryne was fantastic. 2 very good IP with 4 K.

  7. If the next good Reds team is no sooner than 2020/21 which looks to be the (best) case then I think the OF is wide open.

    Schebler or Winker are possibilities but not certainties at this point. They need to be playing everyday now to aid in deciding whether and where they fit down the line.

    There is a virtual cadre of coming outfielders at A/A+. We could see one or more of them moving up a level in the next several weeks as the minor league seasons reach the midpoint and at AAA as soon as the start of 2019.

    Dick Williams said this week he thought the #1 choice Jonathan India could player either corner OF spot. 2B is one of the deepest positions in the organization.

    As Tom suggests, Senzel could be moved to OF. If Senzel stays at 2B, Shed Long a AA all star will need a position and could be moved to a corner spot. And there is always the possibility an MLB level outfielder could come in a trade or be signed as an FA.

    • That’s what worries me about Schebler. If it’s 2021 he will be 30. Are we dealing with Duvall 2.0? I like Schebler and I didn’t think he was part of the future. But batting up top with food hitters behind him has treated him well. Hope he and Winker prove me wrong..

  8. I have the cheese who’s got the whine?

  9. Castillo looked like a world-beater to the first two hitters he faced.
    The next two hitters beat him like a drum. One had one of the longest HRs I’ve seen in GABP.

  10. The reds SP is not moving forward in this rebuild. One or both of Garrett and Lorenzen need to be advanced for the second half as SP. Stretch them out now or this rebuild is postponed to 2020.

  11. Question for anyone who knows: I resolutely refuse to ever watch games with the Reds television crew but happened just now to hear a smidgen of George Grande waxing ineloquent about something. I am confused because he said many years ago that he was retiring and yet he continues to broadcast games for the Reds. I am trying to moderate my tone here but I must ask: for a job that I must assume there are thousands of willing applicants, why is this man still asked to do games? Are others fans? Just wondering if anyone has insight into the machinations on the Reds television broadcast teams.

    • He “retired“. Then they invited him back for occasional games. Now he’s back to being part of the crew

      I assumed that there might of been some kind of scare about an illness.

      Maybe he just got bored in retirement.

      Anyway, I like him as an announcer and he’s got a very smooth and soothing voice. It’s the oral equivalent of Miller genuine draft

    • Count me as NOT a fan. If I hear him talk about defensive “overshifts” one more time, or if we’re facing the Pirates and he refuses to call them anything but the “Buccos,” I’m going hurl.

      • I cringe every time Thom Brenneman says so-and-so is XX years young”.

        I knew I looked/was old when someone younger than I am called me a “young man”.

        • To each their own, of course, but among my favorite comments on these boards are people weighing in about the qualities of the broadcast crews. I especially Mr. Mancuso’s comments on the son of a particular Hall of Fame broadcaster. Chip Caray or Thom Brennaman? Which constitutes more egregious proof of nepotism? Now there is some discussion fodder.

  12. Castillo not fooling anyone on the Cardinals. Appears to be another short outing from a Reds starter.

    • This team has an absolute lock on 100 losses. They can always find another temporary manager & name another GM next spring. Right?

      • That’s the plan. They are cheaper than players and some fans will see that as positive proof ownership is trying.

  13. Does anyone know the record for consecutive losses by a team to another?are we getting close?

  14. Votto isn’t hitting for power, or I should Suarez and Gennett both show more power right now, Votto should b e batting 2nd, Gennett 3rd, etc. slide Tucker down to 7th, I think that is the best lineup.. but of course pitching is the main issue as always.

    • You’re right Aaron. Pitching IS the main issue. The Reds claimed they would be active in the free agent market next offseason. They will need to.
      They need to go strong after at least one or two quality starting pitchers. Patrick Corbin, Dallas Keuchel, etc.
      I think Castillo and Mahle will be ok, but neither are top of the rotation guys. Romano might be better suited for the bullpen, but I would give him starts up to the all-star break.
      Amir Garrett could be the sleeper. He has excelled in his current role, but I think he deserves a shot at the rotation.
      Homer Bailey, Matt Harvey, Cody Reed and Robert Stephenson need to go.

  15. I can’t remember but it’s either the Reds choose and Fox approves or Fox chooses and the Reds approve.

  16. .254/.335 shouldn’t earn you the 2-slot in the batting order–especially when there are several better options. Time to end this Barnhart experiment.

    • Many teams bat their best hitter second. Take your pick of Votto, Suarez, or Scooter.

    • I liked the suggestion that someone made about having Votto hit in the second spot. At least until Senzel gets here.

  17. Winker coming along nicely

  18. Man the front office did a great job getting this Casali!

  19. And a multi hit game for the shortstop

  20. Ur right seat he has been good

  21. Aaaassaaarrrrrrrrrggggggggggh!

  22. Recap: Starting pitching still not good, Winker found his missing power. Who is available to play CF next year?

  23. we need starting pitching bad this team would be a contender if it had decent starting pitching.

Comments are closed.

About Tom Mitsoff

Tom Mitsoff is a lifelong Reds fan who grew up in the Dayton suburb of Beavercreek, Ohio. He lived a teenage life atypical of most his age by prioritizing following the Reds. At one point in the 1970s and early 1980s, Tom kept complete scorecards on more than 1,000 consecutive Reds games. Now that adult life has forced him to move on from his beloved Southwest Ohio, he follows the Reds daily through MLB.TV and other online media sources, including Redleg Nation.

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2018 Reds, Game Thread

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