After only two games played so far this week, the Reds (25-43) will be back on your TV or radio all weekend long. They head to Pittsburgh for the next three days to face a Pirates team heading in the opposite direction. While the Reds have won their last three games, the Pirates (33-35) have dropped 14 of their last 20 games since the two teams last met at Great American Ball Park in May. The Pirates stood atop the NL Central at that time, but now find themselves with a losing record as they regress back to the team most expected them to be heading into the season. The division’s bottom-dwellers will duel tonight at 7:05 p.m. ET in PNC Park.

Starting Pitchers

Name IP ERA xFIP K% BB%
Matt Harvey 57.1 5.97 4.47 17.5% 6.8%
Chad Kuhl 73.0 3.95 4.22 22.2% 8.7%

After two solid appearances in the first three starts of his Reds career, Matt Harvey has looked much like his previous self over his last three outings. He’s allowed 11 earned runs in 16 1/3 innings (6.06 ERA) over that time, including five home runs, while striking out 12 and walking six. Although the right-hander has largely shown good control, he is still struggling to get swings and misses, with his 7.9 SwStr% tied for 14th-worst among 121 pitchers with 50 or more innings. If there’s a silver lining, he’s continuing to average around 93-94 with his fastball, which is much better velocity than he was showing with the Mets earlier in the season. He’s also gotten more whiffs (15.6%) on his slider since coming to the Reds than he did with his former team (7.8%). Hopefully, he can continue that improvement and the Reds can flip him at the deadline for a somewhat valuable piece and Robert Stephenson or Amir Garrett can jump into the rotation in the second half, as their development is critical to the rebuild.

Harvey vs. Pirates


Chad Kuhl has always had the fastball velocity, averaging 95 mph and reaching 99 at times, but he hasn’t been able to translate that to consistent results. Still, the Pirates have to be encouraged by some of the signs they’ve seen from the 25-year-old this season. The right-hander’s strikeouts are up and his walks are down, and he’s posted a 2.70 ERA over his last four starts. Home runs have been the largest problem for Kuhl in 2018, with 12 allowed in 73 innings. Despite his increased strikeout numbers, he also doesn’t get a lot of swings and misses, with his 9.4 SwStr% well below league average (10.6%) and he’s only been a league average pitcher when it comes to limiting walks. He’ll likely never become more than a No. 3 or 4 starter, but Kuhl is a formidable pitcher when he’s on.

Scouting report: Kuhl’s sinker has sat at 95.2 mph this season, as he’s one of 15 qualified pitchers in baseball who can say they average a fastball in the mid-90s. His slider is becoming a plus pitch, getting a whiff 21.2% of the time it’s thrown. Of all starters who’ve used the offering 200+ times this season, only seven have a higher whiff rate. Kuhl’s curveball is also a solid pitch, with hitters batting .098/.119/.098 against it this season. He also mixes in a below-average four-seamer and changeup.

Kuhl vs. Reds

Lineups

Reds

1. Scott Schebler (CF)
2. Tucker Barnhart (C)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Scooter Gennett (2B)
5. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
6. Jesse Winker (RF)
7. Adam Duvall (LF)
8. Jose Peraza (SS)
9. Matt Harvey (P)

Pirates

1. Josh Harrison (2B)
2. Corey Dickerson (LF)
3. Starling Marte (CF)
4. Colin Moran (3B)
5. Francisco Cervelli (C)
6. Josh Bell (1B)
7. Gregory Polanco (RF)
8. Jordy Mercer (SS)
9. Chad Kuhl (P)

  • Billy Hamilton is out of the lineup tonight as he nurses a sore knee from sliding into the outfield wall at Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday. At this point, it may not hurt to start giving Scott Schebler additional time in center field to see if he can handle the position on more than a part-time basis. But MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon is reporting that Hamilton will likely start the next two games of the series.

News, Notes, & Pre-Game Reading

Homer Bailey is being shut down from his rehab assignment for now.

Nick Senzel should probably be in Cincinnati.

Stat of the Day

More emphasis is being made on hard contact than ever before. But avoiding soft contact is important, too, because weakly hit balls are converted into outs far more often than not. While Hamilton and Jose Peraza weigh down the Reds in this area, the team still has the fifth-lowest soft-contact rate in baseball at 16.5%. Among qualified hitters, Joey Votto (who else?) is first at 7.5%. Eugenio Suarez is 16th at 11.5%, and Jesse Winker (12.6%) and Tucker Barnhart (12.8%) are both in the top-25 as well.

45 Responses

  1. Seat101

    Go Reds!

    Three batteries will be hit by pitch today

  2. VaRedsFan

    Peraza drops another line drive, but recovered to get the DP. They could have got the runner at home

    • Indy Red Man

      He only cost them 1 run this time. A shortstop that can’t catch line drives? Just take the deflection off your chest and catch it? The runner from 2nd was halfway to 3rd.

      • greenmtred

        Indy: I’m not impressed by Peraza at short, but that line drive was a screamer. If he’d taken it off his chest, it could have stopped his heart.

    • Indy Red Man

      So Senzel supposedly can’t play shortstop? Can he catch line drives that will hit his body if he doesn’t put his glove in the way? If so…then he’s better then what we got!

    • Seat101

      If he walked on water you would say he couldn’t swim

  3. Seat101

    I guess y’all didn’t see just how hard that ball was hit to him.

    Just listen to yourself sometimes

    • Indy Red Man

      Reflexes? I’m not going to argue with you every night but thats not the first line drive he’s dropped. Atleast 3 or 4 last year too! The ball was hit hard but he needs to catch that ball. An “average” major league shortstop catches that ball!

    • VaRedsFan

      Line drives are the easiest hit to catch other than a pop out. It’s like catching a throw

  4. Sliotar

    The Mayor bringing some refreshing candor to the analysis, breaking down Schebler’s running of the bases.

    Too bad he doesn’t live closer to Cincinnati and could be on the broadcasts more.

    • greenmtred

      I like the Mayor, but as he was leaving the booth, we were treated to food talk, and I’m afraid that wth more exposure would come more of that. This isn’t the Food Channel (though it’s barely baseball).

  5. VaRedsFan

    Pirates gonna Red. They botch the bunt back to the pitcher. Reds lead!

    • VaRedsFan

      Reds refuse to take advantage. 2nd/3rd, nobody out. K, K groundout.
      Would have thought seriously about squeezing with Tucker there.

  6. Jeff Reed

    No outs, Two in scoring position. Zero. Not even a fly ball.

  7. Seat101

    Nice play by the shortstop on that throw from Barnhart!

    What’s his name again?

  8. Indy Red Man

    I can’t get a read on Harvey? Can anybody else? He’s still got a live arm (95-96 mph) and good control, but there is zero deception there (Johnny Bench on Homer). He’s hung some offspeed stuff in big situations and thats hurt him. I still think he could be pretty good. It seems like he needs a big park to succeed. The Angels are 7 out of the 2nd wildcard. That really just leaves the Dodgers and Giants….maybe Arizona since its not the launching pad it was. Seattle maybe? We should be able to trade him somewhere for a decent prospect.

  9. Jeff Reed

    A good inning. Reds score. Opposition does not score.

  10. Indy Red Man

    2nd/3rd nobody out = nothing. Scooter on 2nd nobody out = nothing. Winker 0-15 since winning the Toyota for the lady. We need some of these guys that can hit to atleast advance the runner! They swept KC but they also allowed 2 scrub pitchers to have quality starts. They should be putting up some runs when Billy is out of the lineup!

  11. Shchi Cossack

    Another multi-hit game for Senzel, 2-4 w/ 1-2B. Herrera also having a good game, 1-2 w/ 2-BB. Some very interesting questions and scenarios are facing the Reds as the trade deadline approaches.

    • Indy Red Man

      Something has to give at some point? Or they could just do what they do….like with Bob Steve. 1 inning a week with the Reds for 2/3 of the year then pitch well for the last third of the year…then banished to AAA this year. No reward for success. No penalty for failure with guys already on the big league team. No plan from the front office in other words.

  12. Jazzmanbbfan

    Through 5 innings the box score says the Reds have left 18 on base but have only scored 2 runs. How is that possible???!!!

      • Jazzmanbbfan

        Duh, long week and I’m obviously a little slow on the uptake tonight. I’m not watching the game, which doesn’t help.

  13. Broseph

    It’s time to move Barnhart out of the top of the order. Speed aside, his on base skills are decent so is his ability to put the ball in play, but his numbers play as a true number 7 or 6 hitter.

    I like this line up but I don’t understand the reasoning behind every manager to not moving Votto to #2.

    • Indy Red Man

      Modern analytics say you hit your best hitter 2nd. The Reds bat their 5th-6th best hitter there. Makes sense!

      • Den

        Just wondering what the other teams in the league do. How many actually have thier best hitter hitting second?

  14. VaRedsFan

    Why does Wandy keep getting the high leverage spots?

  15. Jeff Reed

    Wandy has loaded the bases with no outs.

  16. J

    Are we SURE this team isn’t deliberately trying to lose?

  17. WVRedlegs

    Peralta should finally be out of rope. Time for a drive to AAA.

  18. Indy Red Man

    Peralta with a 9.82 era for June and 1.74 whip for the season. Those numbers just scream that this is the guy you want with a 1 run lead with 9 outs left. I swear??? Lorenzen wasn’t dominate there but it would atleast be 2-2 if they skipped Peralta.

    • Indy Red Man

      dominant……you get my drift

  19. Roger garrett

    They put it in play and we didn’t so they lead. We struggle with the little things.

  20. Indy Red Man

    Lorenzen is allowing a .177 batting average with no HRs allowed. Yeah….can’t have that in the starting rotation.

    • Den

      The issue isn’t talent but durability, which so far he has shown an ability to put out the innings or stability to stay healthy.

  21. Jeff Reed

    Tying run on second and Votto takes a half swing.

  22. Phil

    I’m serious. How much more are us fans supposed to take? Sell the team to someone who knows what a baseball looks like. When attendance is around 5,000 and Fox ratings are a 2 then maybe…..just maybe.