Hope you slept soundly but quickly because we have a  12:10ET matinee game coming up for you. With a win today the Reds can secure a  series victory and ride a 2 game winning streak back to Cincinnati to kick off the next homestand against the Brewers. And that’s not to mention how good it would feel to look at the standings Thursday morning and see our favorite team was 9-1 in their last 10 games!

Starting Pitchers

Today will be a righty/ lefty dual as Luis Castillo goes for the Reds opposed by left hander Sean Newcomb of the Braves.

Luis Castillo is learning the hard lesson that life in MLB isn’t as easy as it must have seemed to him last year in his rookie season.  Just when it seemed he might be leaving his early season sophomore struggles behind, he has regressed into a 5 game skid which has seen him compile an ERA/FIP of 6.49/5.84.  While his 2 most recent starts are nothing to be proud of, at least they are markedly better than the 3 which proceeded them. Hopefully he will take another step in the good direction today.  For the most part even recently he has looked good and at times even impressive on the mound. However he needs to find a way to avoid the sudden outbursts of trouble which have plagued him. That starts with limiting walks and avoiding home runs.

Sean Newcomb, like Castillo, is  a 25 old pitcher in his sophomore year in MLB.  However the former first round pick (#15 overall; 2014) seems to be moving in the opposite direction from Castillo.  After a somewhat mediocre rookie season in which he posted an ERA/FIP of 4.32/4.19 in 19 starts, Newcomb stands at 2.59/3.38 for the same metrics in 15 starts to date in 2018. Newcomb’s  “secret” is a 49.1% ground ball rate paired with a 7.9% HR/FB rate (Castillo’s HR/FB rate is 21.2%). Newcomb has been particularly effective against LH hitters, holding them to a batting average of .177 and OBP rate of .300 which could bode ill for the Reds typically LH heavy lineup.

Comparative 2018 season stats:

Luis Castillo 4.01 5.1 1.94 8.8% 22.4%
Sean Newcomb 3.91 5.2 0.62 10.8% 23.9%

Does the HR/9 rate comparison grab your eyes too? Newcomb’s may be unrealistically  low as the difference between his FIP/ xFIP with his xFIP over half a run per game higher suggests. However Castillo’s at HR/9 of 1.94 is too high; and, again FIP/xFIP comparison bears this out as Castillo’s FIP is over a run per game higher than his xFIP. Thus we might be prone to blame Castillo’s troubles on luck. But when they have persisted for going on half a season now, there has to be concern that something more is behind his struggles.


Matt Harvey did the Reds pen a huge favor by completing 6.2 innings of work on Tuesday, leaving the pen to cover just 2.1 innings. Michael Lorenzen and Amir Garrett combined to pitch 1 inning. Neither is likely to see action today, Garrett because of being injured last night and Lorenzen because of the short turnaround on the heels of having worked consecutive nights. Raisel Iglesias worked 1.1 innings Tuesday. He would most likely be available for a 3 out save opportunity today.

The Braves pen was tasked to cover 4.1 innings Tuesday.  Matt Wisler and Shane Carle answered that call pitching 2.l and 2.0 innings respectively. Neither would figure to be available today on the short turnaround.


            REDS             BRAVES
1. Scott Schebler (RF)
2. Jose Peraza (SS)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
5. Scooter Gennett (2B)
6. Adam Duvall (LF)
7. Curt Casali (C)
8. Luis Castillo (P)
9. Billy Hamilton (CF)
1. Ender Inciarte (CF)
2. Danny Santana (LF)
3. Freddie Freeman (1B)
4. Nick Markakis (RF)
5. Kurt Suzuki (C)
6. Charlie Culberson (3B)
7. Johan Camargo (2B)
8. Dansby Swanson (SS)
9. Sean Newcomb (P)

News and Notes

Here’s the word on scary looking injury suffered by Amir Garrett Tuesday. Thankfully it’s mostly good.

And a market report to start your day

Final Thoughts

Today the Reds finish a run of 7 games against a couple of excellent teams, the Cubs and Braves. It feels very good to be able to say that at the worst, the Reds will be 5-2 in those 7 games. But there is little rest ahead because next it is home to face the Brewers for 4 then after a potential respite at home versus the White Sox comes 9 more toughies, 3 each with the Cubs, Indians and Cardinals, all on the road, to take the Reds to the All Star Break.  If we feel anywhere nearly as good about the Reds at the All Star break as we do right now, that’s probably a sign the light at the end of the tunnel is finally sunshine and not the headlight of an oncoming locomotive. GO REDS!

Stats and data courtesy of Fangraphs and MLB.com

Twitter: @jn_walkerjr

Join the conversation! 120 Comments

  1. With news of Billy Hamilton perhaps returning soon to a leadoff role…. some stats not including late inning substitutions in the leadoff spot

    9 games leading off:


    17 K 5 BB 0 SB 7 runs.

    The Reds are also 1-8 in those games.

    • And the Reds are 9-5 in the 14 games that Schebler has been the leadoff hitter here recently. He has a slash of .338/.394/.615/1.010 with an incredible 9 2B, 14 R, 11 RBI, 3 HR, and a wRC+ of 171 batting 1st. A huge, huge difference from anyone else on the team. It has been an unbelievable run for Schebler.
      So what will the Reds front office have Riggleman do? Move Hamilton back to leadoff.

    • Absolutely disgusting. Billy is a bench player pure and simple and the Reds are probably the only team in the league dumb enough to not understand that.

    • I think this is lip service to Billy – while dangling the carrot of .320 OBP in front of him – more than “the plan”. Making him earn it (while publicly calling it out) is a refreshing change from just giving him the position. And let’s be honest, if he does get his OBP in that zipcode, it’s a win-win. I’m not sure the metric exists, but the percentage of time he scores when he gets on base seems much higher than the average player. I actually think it signals the organizational change in how it perceives Billy.

      • Billy’s runs scoring efficiency is really spectacular. For his career, Billy scores a phenomenal 46% of the time that he gets on base (331 runs in 719 times on base – hits, BB, HBP). For this season, he has scored exactly 50% of the time (40 runs in 80 times on base). That may not be an exact percentage because I’m sure that he scores at times when he didn’t reach base safely (error, hits into force-out, etc).

        For comparison, Winker for his career scores about 32% of the time that he reaches base (47 runs in 149 times reaching base safely). For the season Winker is scoring at around 27% (26 runs for 98 times on base).

        Over 500 PA with a .320 OBP, Billie would score approximately 74 runs using his career 46%.

        Over 500 PA with Winker’s very excellent career .377 OBP, Winker would score approximately 60 runs at his career 32% scoring rate.

        That just a comparison, not an indictment of Winker or anything. Now there is more to be said for getting on base than just scoring runs, but I think the offensive impact of Billy’s ability to score runs at that phenomenal rate is sometimes overlooked when evaluating his contribution.

        I really think that batting ninth is the optimum position for Billy to bat when he does start.

    • Except that nobody actually said that. Riggleman, when asked, said something to the effect that it would be ideal if Hamilton could leadoff. Which almost certainly meant that Hamilton would have to prove he had turned the corner. And it certainly would be ideal if Hamilton magically turned into Ricky Henderson and could lead off.

      It would also be ideal to have the Ted Williams of 1941 hitting third and a roided-up Mark McGwire hitting fourth, but don’t look for that to happen, either.

      Hamilton might lead off a game or two against a RH pitcher, if Schebler was hurt or unavailable. But when Schebler was unavailable against the Cubs, Hamilton did not lead off.

      • Riggleman has thrown out the OBP figure of .320 as the tipping point he would like to see BHam at a minimum for his speed to overcome his lack of ability to get on base.

      • What upset me was that Winker is benched again… he deserves to play everyday, Billy’s speed and defense plays better coming off the bench. They are trying to satisfy his ego as best he can.. if it’s not to build trade value, it is upsetting.

        • Apparently you have not been watching games for the last month. Billy is nowhere near leading off, and has been very serviceable since then.

    • If Riggleman puts Billy back at leadoff it would be pure insanity. Schebler is doing well and the offense is clicking. Why fix what ain’t broken.

  2. Just caught a whiff that the Braves are in the process of making a bullpen move in time for today’s game. Matt Wisler who pitched 2.1 innings Tuesday night will be optioned and Wes Parsons, a 25 year old RH will be brought up. This will also involve a 40 man move by the Braves but that seems unlikely to impact the active roster for today since Wisler is being optioned out.


  3. Feeling that the “old” Castillo is showing up today. Let’s take this one with no mercy and then go do unto Milwaukee that which they did to the Cubs!

  4. OK, FoxTrax had that pitch on JV just grazing the top of the zone. Very tough call and his reaction stinks as now he gets an unplanned day off.

  5. I guess Winker is too valuable as a pinch hitter to come into the game when Votto was ejected.

  6. Even if the third baseman hold onto that ball, Duval was safe.

    • More aggressive baserunning by Riggleman’s Reds.

    • Yeah on the replay looking up the baseline toward 2B, it looked like the never tagged Duvall. Thom hasn’t figured that out yet and is still wondering why no error was charged

  7. Who’s the skinny kid batting 9th and playing CF? Looks like Billy, but he got a hit and and RBI …

  8. I have always loved Billy and what he brings but his stats are what they are and have been for 5 years now.Nothing would make all of us happier is if he suddenly got on base at a 320 or better clip but it just won’t happen.Nice knock and we needed that run.

  9. They were playing Peraza so shallow, with the right bounce he might’ve had an inside the park homerun

  10. What happened to Votto? Saw he got replaced by Dixon.

  11. Just another day at the office….Billy and Jose carrying the load for everyone:)

  12. The 4 man outfield is working.Duvall looks rested. Schebler is having a great year and Winker is coming on. Hamilton has value on a 25 man roster- just not leading off 160 games a year.

    The bullpen has been great but Iggy is not replaceable. The guy is an All star shut down guy. With Garrett now out and Peralta and Brice ineffective, the bullpen is at risk the next 5 days. Bring up Rainey and give him a 10 day try and DL Garrett. My price tag for Iggy is steep- top 25 overall prospect and a second top 100 overall.

    The pitch to Votto was a ball. If mlb calls that high pitch a strike across the league, baseball is changed immediately.

    • My price tag for Iglesias is much steeper than yours. I don’t want prospects. I want proven major leaguers. I want a very good starter and a young pitcher with lots of potential.
      Don’t dangle Iglesias. Make teams come to the Reds.
      But I really would like to keep him instead.

      • What contending teams are going to give up proven major leaguers off of their 25-man roster? What team will include a “Very Good Starter?” These teams are pushing to the playoffs.

  13. Did anyone see the show on MLB Network (the one with Harold Reynolds) last night? They showed what happened to Amir Garrett and were laughing about it.They showed it at least 3 times and kept laughing.I don’t know what’s funny about what happened to him.What a bunch of jerks!

    • Reynolds is the most sickening “analyst” in all of baseball; he comes on i go off.

  14. I think we may want to pump the brakes a bit on proclaiming that SS is a huge need for this team. Peraza seems to be finding his swing and his defense seems to e improving. He is hitting 270, puts the bat on the ball and it seems his plate discipline his coming along as well. He is also only 24 and is playing exclusively at SS while in the past he was being bounced around. I think giving up on him now would be a very bad move

    • Despite what some people say, Peraza has earned the ss job for the rest of 2018.

      • Sure, the job is Peraza’s for the rest of the season. I wish him well.

        But if he ends the year with an OPS under .700 and one of the lowest WARs in the league for a SS, you have to consider Senzel playing there. Especially if Scooter is still on the team.

  15. Joey getting run in the 1st inning brings back a nice memory! It happened in Wrigley in 2010 (or 09 or 11?)….Reds went on to hit 7 HRs. My boy Drew Stubbs had 3 and Corky Miller hit one about 450 onto Waveland Ave. Getty Lee from Rush was there in a Cubs hat and just dropped his head in shame. Good times:) I watched that one about 100 times

  16. Castillo looking great through 3–and pitch count is crazy low.

    • But he has had a way of finding a wall out of the blue this year. Next couple of innings should tell the tale.

      • Looks like he just hit one. Freeman plum wore him out.

      • You must have watched Romano Sunday. Young pitching….can’t live with them, can’t live without them.

  17. That’s what I’m talking about! Keep rolling Castillo.

  18. Newcomb Looks like he’s getting more comfortable out there.

  19. Castillo is just drilling the strike zone. If he can avoid the HR today, this game could be a turning point on the season for him.

    The Reds look like they will dip into the Braves bullpen early again today. That bodes well for the Reds chances for another W today.

  20. Someone go vist that mound, slow Castillo back down and get back on the groove.

  21. Our outfielders have made three crappy throws to the plate this inning.

  22. Duvall with a very poor throw.

  23. Unbelievable. Two outs and rolling, and then this.

  24. Wow, did the wheels come off of Castillo quickly. Death by a thousand singles.

  25. At least he’s not giving up home runs.

  26. He just losses it all of a sudden and it goes really quickly after that.He is just all so close of putting it all together.One pitch and he is out of it with no runs.

    • To me that’s good because I believe he will eventually put it all together and be the ace of the staff, or at worst, #2 on the staff. Hope I’m right anyway.

  27. And we’re headed for a dumpster fire …

  28. Is it my imagination or does Castillo’s problems appear when he pitches out of the stretch instead of a full windup?

  29. Well, nothing left to do but go pick him up with some offense.

  30. It’ll be interesting to see how he pitches next inning.
    I agree with keeping him out there.

  31. Send Castillo down. I’ve been saying it for some time. He needs a mental break and work on some things. They need to see what BobSteve has as well. It happens. Why do the Reds take forever to do something? 1-16 in Homer and Finnegan’s starts.

    • Indy- I usually agree with you but I would counter that Castillo has to learn how to get through mlb hitters a second and third time. He retired the first 11 and was dominant. There are no Freddie Freeman’s, Markakis’s and Ender Inciarte’s at AAA.. He will succeed immediately there . He just lost command and focus and wilted under the pressure of facing tough hitters inning after inning and couldn’t course correct. It’s mental not physical.

      Romano did the same thing Sunday. Dominated for an hour, then lost it in 10 minutes.

      Romano and Castillo will get better. It’s young pitchers with good stuff unable to sustain their mental edge for 7 innings and 25 hitters. Go to the video room, watch the ugly innings and learn from it.

      • Castillo is 25 years 6 months and counting. Not sure how much longer he gets the “he’s young” mulligan from me. Particularly when he didn’t have theses issues last year.

        • The alternative is too painful to think about. Many elite pitchers have struggled, been traded, had down years..injuries… before finding success, etc. Its not a happy linear path.
          Your skepticism is well founded though.

          • I tweeted about 20 minutes ago that maybe the “bitter pill” we were looking at was that Castillo is better suited to being a reliever than a starter. So, I think we are actually close to being in the same space….

        • There’s bad luck involved here. Gave up a bunch of singles, each of which found holes. Of the few saves Hughes has, a couple of them were close to blown but the bullets that were hit fell short of the fence. Harvey the other day had some hard hit balls find gloves.

          Once the pitch leaves the pitchers hand the outcome is out of their control. There’s the batter doing their best, umpire calling balls and strikes, and fielders playing defense.

          Castillo showed again today the great potential. Lights out stuff. Even with a 95mph FB unlike last year’s 97/98. Hopefully the extra juice makes a comeback next year. Garrett found his 97mph this year when last year he topped out at 93….and even slower post injury.

          Severino struggled last year. He’s a Cy Young candidate this year. Don’t give up so soon.

  32. Thom was right on the telecast — Castillo has a difficult time limiting damage, not just today, but on a recurring basis. And he was also right in saying it is mental — Castillo has to believe he can stop these sudden rallies, because physically he obviously can.

    • This is absolutely correct. It’s just a growing pain that someone needs to get in his ear about. He has plenty of talent to get MLB hitters out.

    • Tend to agree Tom but I also wonder if there is a component of short term physical endurance and a need to learn to pace himself within innings.

      He looked whipped before the end of the Freeman AB and a couple of batters later had a definite “no mas” air to his body language.

  33. Did Castillo have Freeman struck out on what was called a non swing? Radio guys hinted that he had swung.

    • It was close. I thought he should have been rung up.

      • If Votto is rung up on the pitch that he was, Freeman should have been on the “check swing” but then that was actually the 3B ump making the call on Freeman not the home plate guy.

        Guess my point is we come to expect the close calls to go the way of guys who have positive reputations at taking close pitches and checking swings and both Votto and Freeman fall into that category.

        • Maybe they need to change the check swing rule to make it a strike if the hitter pulls the bat back in act of checking which is what Freeman did in that instance because isn’t the act of pull the bat back during the act of checking is essentially saying you were committed to swinging.

  34. There’s nothing for Castillo to work on in Louisville. Either we stick with him or give up on him. He just has to learn to overcome setbacks. As for the outfield throws, all 3 were poor but Barnhart makes the tag on the 1 play at the plate.

    • Don’t know that I agree that Barnhart makes that tag. Catching and tagging has consistently not been one of his strong points. Casali made a pretty good play, Suzuski just made a better slide.

    • This. He needs to stay here. Learn how to overcome these crooked number bumps in the road. This is the year for that. If the Reds were contending, then it might warrant a demotion.

  35. Another quality appearance by Crockett. Somebody in the Reds management did a pretty good job of analyzing Hughes, Hernandez, Crockett, & Floro.

  36. What was Suarez thinking there?

  37. Reds still in this. 5-3 is certainly within striking distance in the 6th inning.

  38. The reds need a lefty starter. Newcomb isn’t throwing 95. He’s 82-91 but mixing pitches and locating and throwing strikes. Who woulda thunk a year ago that Cody Reed was the last Reds hope for a lefty starting pitcher coming out of the rebuild?
    ( Yes Garrett but player and FO agree in bullpen role)

  39. Go reds. I’m starting to like this team alot.Warts and all. Scooter Gennett????

    • Anything they can do,. we can do better??? 😉

    • The offense is reminding me a bit of the ’99 team. Too bad they are in such a big hole in the standings.

  40. Nice. Duvall goes opposite field for 2 more ribbeye steaks. Reds retake the lead.

  41. Another fun comeback. And Hernandez shuts the 7th-inning door.

  42. I’m telling you, if the Reds offer up Iggy and Hernandez, the Braves will open the cupboard. They can’t win the NLED or make the playoffs from the NLED without a bullpen and the Reds have an offer they can’t refuse.

    • I would love it if the Reds made an aggressive deal based on the other team’s vulnerability instead of being in a weak position like they were with Chapman, Frazier, etc.

  43. Reds are real close to being a really good team,I’m just not getting all the talk of trading off gennett, iggy,Hernandez and or Hughes for prospects, just keep em and let’s improve a little,prospects are nothing more than maybes anyhow

    • It’s about finishing this rebuild and avoiding another rebuild in 5 seasons. Trading redundant, replaceable assets for needed assets. Relievers and 2B are redundant in the Reds organization and easily replaceable.

      • But I think what Scooter continues to do means if he moves in a trade it has to be a real blockbuster. A season and a half of him right now would be huge for any team in contention.

    • Every major league star was a prospect at one time.

      • But not all prospects turn out to be major league stars. Even great prospects often become duds.

        • With respect, know kidding, so what is your point, the Reds should not want to receive a prospect in a trade? the Reds should want players that are close to the show, how’s that I didn’t say prospect? The probability is that contenders will not trade off their 25 man roster before the deadline; therefore, they will most likely have to settle for “players that are close to the show.”

    • “Real close to being a really good team?” You actually believe that this present roster only needs to “improve a little?”

  44. Cha-ching. Hernandez is certainly increasing his trade value. It’ll be hard to decide to keep him or trade him at top value.

  45. Time to give this Casali dude some props. His bat beats the heck out of Cruz’s. Or Mesoraco’s this year, for that matter.

    • He’s been with the team about a month and is hitting over .400. I haven’t seen any big defensive weaknesses yet. He was a steal.

  46. Back from the dead and now ahead.

  47. This game is a big test of the 25 man roster. Votto gone. Day game after a night game..starter out early. On the road against a first place team . Only a good team wins this game . I like Duvall at first and Hernandez grinding and Jared Hughes sprinting in . Let’s see what happens.

  48. Wow. Great job by Hughes. Sets them up to avoid the middle of the order in the 9th.

    • I’m streaming and running a bit behind what passes for real time on most outlets. Following you guys right now is more fun than the game; and, I can just switch over and see for myself when something happens or seems about to happen. Keep it up!

  49. By the way… I like Day and Brantley together on the radio. Sign me up for more. I like that they interact with one another more often instead of breaking off into innings alone.

  50. Of course pinch hitter pitcher Michael Lorenzen grinds out a walk.

  51. No bunt = DP; probably the right call, just noting for the anti-bunt folks here.

    • That will always be true. But bunting will never equal a walk, single, double, triple, or homerun.

    • And sometimes even a bunt ends up a DP. Life’s full of risks like that.

  52. Great win . No one is untouchable.
    But Scooter Gennett and Raisel Iglesias have very very very high price tags. Both are All stars.

    • Start the conversation with a top 25 prospect in either case- or just say no.

  53. Outstanding. Way to scrape back. Looking at you next Milwaukee.

  54. The Braves were arguably the hottest team in baseball and we almost swept them. Pretty impressive… the Reds are playing loose because they have really nothing to lose, but you still have to give them credit… and today without Votto they still manage to put 6 on the board, that’s a very good indication they are seeing the ball well. I think they can pass Pittsburgh sometime in July.. they could flirt with 500 depending on how much they decide to sell at the deadline. All in all, a nice turnaround.. hopefully they have a more active off season. I still don’t think we get over the hump until Bailey’s contract is off the books.

    • I agree with the part about feeling loose with nothing to lose.

      It just struck me a couple of days back that what the Reds seem to be doing reminded me of several years when the BlueJackets (NHL) played themselves out of the post season in first 6 weeks of the season then for much of the rest of year played some really good hockey against all comers.

  55. Dat Dude signs with the Sox.

  56. Don’t look now but these Redlegs are only 4 games back of the Pirates and gettingready closer to .500. Don’t know if this will hold up but they sure areyou playing better ball……..and no, I do not want Jim Riggleman as the next manager

  57. Just spitballing here, but 29 yr old KC lefty Danny Duffy held the Brewers to 1 run in 6ip today. He has a 2.68 era in his last 7 starts. KC has him under contract for $15/mil year til 2021. I was just thinking that if they dealt Harvey, then maybe KC would eat a little bit of that $45 mil for a prospect or two. Stephenson and somebody possibly? I saw Duffy a few weeks ago and his fastball was up to 96 and he’s got great breaking stuff. He just shutdown Houston and Milwaukee on the road!

  58. The success of this team will not be determend by what we think, Means nothing. That is why we are not owners or GMs. I think they are doing the best they can do and are developing talent. Plus what they have are playing really good now. Our team is not the only team in the league trying to win a championship. Look at the droughts for other teams as far as World Series. Gives me a headache with all the daily nitpicking. It will happen when it will happen. I like what we have now. Fun to watch them grow. I look at all the years from 1968 until today. Has nothing to do with bunting or exit velocity. Has nothing to do with OPS. It is all about timely pitching and hitting. Period.

    • OPS and exit velocity have a lot to do with hitting and pitching.

      • Statistically OPS is silly. What does adding two percentage values provide? And you want to strip out the covariance for OBP and Slugging Percentage before doing anything else or you’re ‘double counting’ an input variable.

        keep OBP and total possible bases percentage achieved separate variables to look at.

        Instead of Slugging Percentage you weight the importance of an at bat by total possible bases advanced including the runners on base. With the bases loaded there are ten possible bases. A grand slam is 10 for 10. A walk is 4 for 10. Striking out yields an 0 for 10.

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About Jim Walker

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2018 Reds


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