The Reds (41-52) will try to turn around their fortunes this season against the St. Louis Cardinals (47-44) with a weekend series at Busch Stadium. First pitch for tonight’s game is 8:15 ET.

The Reds last faced the Cardinals at GABP one month ago and snapped a 13-game losing streak to St. Louis dating back to 2017. In 2018, the Reds are 1-9 against the Cardinals and it’s been the pitching that has struggled against St. Louis, as Reds pitchers have allowed 60 runs off Cardinals hitters.

The Cardinals come into this series seven games behind the Brewers in the NL Central, but trying to stay above .500 and in the wild card hunt. They come into this series with a .717 team OPS, good for eighth in the National League. For comparison, the Reds are fifth in the NL with a .742 team OPS. The Cardinals’ strength has been pitching this season. With a team ERA of 3.74, St. Louis pitchers rank fifth in the NL. Two of the four teams ahead of them are also ahead of them in the NL Central standings, which shows you how good the division has been.

Starting Pitchers

Pitcher IP ERA xFIP K% BB%
Matt Harvey 86.1 4.80 4.47 17.3% 6.0%
Carlos Martinez 85.2 3.05 4.59 22.0% 11.9%

I don’t think tonight will be Matt Harvey’s last start in a Reds uniform as the rotation after the All-Star break will be set up to get him one more start, but his time pitching for this team is nearing the end. It makes it all the more imperative that he pitches as well as possible so as to maximize whatever trade value he’s gained (and he has gained a fair amount). I, like so many fans, doubted what the Reds were doing when they traded for him, but it has turned into a good decision, and now Dick Williams needs to complete it with a nice trade after the break.

Harvey’s last start at Wrigley Field wasn’t as impressive as his start against the Brewers 11 days ago in which only rain stopped him, but it wasn’t terrible. Yes, he gave up nine hits, but allowed only three runs, two of them earned, in 5.2 innings. He also walked one and struck out four.

In 11 starts with the Reds, Harvey has a respectable 3.79 ERA. While he has given up seven home runs, he’s struck out 44 batters and walked only 13. His walk and strikeout totals aren’t near to what he was doing at the height of his career, but they are definitely better than his April numbers with the Mets. Harvey’s fastball velocity isn’t quite back to normal either, but it’s at 94.9 with the Reds, a 1.8 point difference than with the Mets. And as long as he locates it, it’s one reason for his turnaround.

Here are Harvey’s career stats against the Cardinals. Watch out for Jose Martinez, as he’s hit two home runs off Harvey in only four at-bats.

matt harvey vs cardinals

Save for a few starts, Carlos Martinez has been solid for the Cardinals this season. In his last start, he went seven innings against the San Francisco Giants, allowing only one run on six hits and walking none. His three strikeouts were a bit low for him, as he’s more of a strikeout pitcher. This season he’s had 83 strikeouts in 85.1 innings, and he has surpassed the 200 strikeout mark in recent history. If you’re looking for good news, Martinez’s last start against the Reds did not go well. He didn’t last past the third inning, giving up five earned runs and walking seven batters.

Martinez is primarily a four pitch pitcher, but added a cutter to his repertoire this season. He very rarely throws a curveball, but has managed to increase his use of it in 2018, even with adding the cutter.

Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez have had the most success off Martinez, while Joey Votto does not hit him well at all.

carlos martinez vs reds

Bullpens

With an off day yesterday for both teams, it should be a full go for everyone in both bullpens. Jackson Stephens might be the lone holdout since he pitched three innings Wednesday night.

Lineups

REDS CARDINALS
1. Jose Peraza (SS)
2. Scooter Gennett (2B)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
5. Jesse Winker (RF)
6. Tucker Barnhart (C)
7. Adam Duvall (LF)
8. Matt Harvey (P)
9. Billy Hamilton (CF)
1. Matt Carpenter (1B)
2. Paul DeJong (SS)
3. Jose Martinez (RF)
4. Marcell Ozuna (LF)
5. Yadier Molina (C)
6. Jedd Gyorko (3B)
7. Tommy Pham (CF)
8. Kolten Wong (2B)
9. Carlos Martinez (P)

News, Notes, and Pregame Reading

-After Tanner Rainey’s performance against the Indians on Wednesday, he’s back at Triple-A Louisville.

-If you’re a subscriber of the Athletic, there’s a great read from C. Trent Rosecrans on Matt Harvey fitting in just fine with the Reds these last two months.

-First round draft pick Jonathan India hit his first professional home run last night for the Greeneville Reds.

-Hernan Iribarren passed a Reds fan favorite on the all-time hits list in Louisville last night.

Final Thoughts

As I was perusing Baseball Reference last night, I came across the Reds’ month-by-month win-loss record for 2018 and I realized that if the Reds hadn’t had such a terrible April, they would be right in the middle of the wild card hunt. In April, the Reds went 8-20. In the three months since, they have a record of 34-30. Even if four of the losses had been wins and they finished April with an 11-15 record, the Reds would have a 45-46 record, and would be tied with the Washington Nationals, only five games back for the second wild card spot.

But that’s why we can’t play the “what-if” game. It would drive everyone crazy. Unfortunately, we can’t rewrite history. So, just enjoy the ride the Reds are on now (with the exception of last night’s game) and hope for great things in the future. It looks bright.

 

*All stats are courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs.

119 Responses

  1. WVRedlegs

    This might be getting St. Louis at the right time just before the break. They have struggled quite a bit lately. Their fans on MLB Network radio the last couple of weeks are awfully distraught. It is great to hear and see. Whiny, whiny Cards fans. It would be great to get this series.

  2. Reds Fan In FL

    They’ve actually struggled all year. If you subtract what they have done against the Reds, they would be 38-43. Cards fans would be calling for Matheny’s head.

  3. docproctor

    Would love to see us take 2 out of 3 here and head into the break with a strong finish to the first half.

    I also hope that Scooter rests his shoulder during the All-Star break. I know he’ll need to throw the ball around a bit, but I would be happy if his ASG appearance was pinch-hit-only.

  4. Old-school

    I don’t see the Reds getting a good prospect for Matt Harvey. I could see Harvey going to the Braves for a low level wild card and lots of cash to pay for their next move- a cost friendly credible SP who can be a bridge over the monstrosity of a contract that is Homer Bailey’s last year+option as a Red.

    Zach Wheeler?

    The Mesoraco and Bailey contracts have been crippling and moves are still ongoing for disaster relief to pay the 2018/19 obligations

    • Joe Farfsing

      I wonder how his contract plays in. Reds didn’t get any contract relief from the Mets and I wonder if the Reds throw in some $ to whomever acquired him significantly improved their hair

  5. Jeff Reed

    Barnhart 6th. in the batting order is a good fit.

  6. Nathan

    I’m a reds diehard fan living in STL. Parents are from Cincinnati and I was raised watching the correct team. The fans here are a mess and every day matheneys head is being called for. Would love to see us take this series. Cardinals radio guys today said the reds have the better team. They are all down in the dumps. It’s awesome.

    • Wayne nabors

      I also work and live near st.louis,hear same gripes,love it haha

  7. Indy Red Man

    We owe these guys! They’re under .500 against everyone else as noted earlier. You don’t want to deal with Hicks and Norris at the end but the rest of their pen is pretty bad so make Martinez work and get him out of there.

  8. Indy Red Man

    4 runs 3 ip for Homer…..DFA please. Or DFT….designate for Texas. He’s done. Its over. Pay the man his money and move forward.

    • Dewey Roberts

      Homer’s arm is shot—too many surgeries, too much bone removed. I said this before the season started but I would have loved to have been wrong. His pitches are too straight and get hit hard.

      • roger garrett

        I agree but his pitches have always been straight.I think its location location and location.His velocity is good enough but everybody can get a fastball that misses location.Rainey was throwing 98 to 100 the other night and it was batting practice.

  9. JR

    Earlier comment on the State of the Cardinal fans is correct. They are irate at Matheny and Fowler. Time is ripe for the Reds to take 2 out of 3, tonight’s game is key because of Martinez. We need a big weekend from Votto and Suarez. And hopefully Mr. Bunt forgets about sacrifices. Play to win!!!

  10. Sliotar

    I looked up and thought just by the swing that it was Votto hitting that oppo field double, not Winker.

    It really is a good-looking stroke from either guy.

  11. Indy Red Man

    Winker is going to be a monster! That kid is good!

  12. roger garrett

    Wink delivers for the good guys and Votto scores from first.Go Reds.

  13. Indy Red Man

    Do we ever get Molina out with risp? Just hit’em and keep your pitch count down.

  14. Old-school

    Winker is in the conversation for ROY.
    In this transition season- let him play every day and do something potentially positive and historic for the franchise. The kid can hit.

  15. Indy Red Man

    2-1 pitch to Molina and Tucker signals to hit the outside corner. Can’t Peraza see that or have an idea that being way over in the hole is stupid? He was too far in the hole on Baez’s big hit on Sunday. Good hitters don’t roll over often on outside pitches….they’re going to hit it where its pitched. Molina didn’t even hit that ball very hard. It should still be 2-0!

    • seat101

      Everybody’s you a new dog to replace the one he ran over will you give him a break?

      • Indy Red Man

        You can’t argue with an .822 ops for Jose in June & .832 in July so far! He’s playing well, but just like to see guys thinking out there. Votto is as guilty as anyone but he’s Votto!

      • Indy Red Man

        You can take a couple steps in the mostly likely direction. Nobody specifically told the kids in the outfield to come in when you were at bat, but they just knew:) I’m just pulling your chain! I was on Peraza’s side for a short while til Billy hit .400 for 3 weeks and Schebler started looking like Stevie Wonder in the outfield. Our CF has to run 125 feet in every direction to help out so maybe they should keep Billy? That leaves Senzel or Peraza? Nobody is giving a starting pitcher for Scooter and keeping Peraza over Scooter is insane.

    • vegastypo

      Thank you !!!

      I’d rather listen to Jim Day and Doug Flynn on radio overlay of video feed.

    • Sliotar

      The timing of comments posted seems to vary based on the browser being used.

      Besides, Preach, you are one of the hardcore around here. If you haven’t been blocked or had a comment deleted at some point during this re-build, you probably haven’t been complaining hard enough. 😉

  16. vegastypo

    Sheldon saying not only does Gennett NOT expect to be traded, but the front office has indicated they want to start working on a longer-term arrangement in Cincinnati.

    • Preach

      I’m firmly in the camp of trading him, but for value. He’s been too good for too long to just consider this a fluke hot streak. So, if you can’t get a deal, signing him cheap long term would not upset me. It does not hurt my feelings to have a guy that rakes and can be moved all over the field. He ain’t blocking anyone.

  17. jazzmanbbfan

    Reporter on the radio broadcast says Gennett told him the team is telling him they want to work out a deal with him to keep him here long term (don’t know what defines long term). Hmmm.

  18. Scott C

    Is it me or is this umpire all over the place with his strike zone.

  19. vegastypo

    I think Scooter just said, if you trade me, here’s what you’re losing. Home Run !!!!!!!!!!!

  20. WVRedlegs

    Scooter doing another boot Scootin boogy.

  21. Chad Dotson

    The Reds should definitely sign Scooter Gennett to a contract extension. Or trade him. One or the other.

  22. Indy Red Man

    Baseball – MLB – Total Runs O/U – Texas Rangers

    Texas Rangers @ Baltimore Orioles

    Over 4.5 (-130) Jul 13, 2018 7:05 PM

    Baseball – MLB – Total Runs O/U – Cincinnati Reds

    Cincinnati Reds @ St. Louis Cardinals

    Over 3.5 (-130) Jul 13, 2018 8:15 PM

    When they make sports gambling legal then I’ll make you guys some money. Baseball is not that hard if you’re not a degenerate!!

  23. Preach

    I have an idea: if RLN doesn’t get charged a fee with every CC donation, how about having a “swear jar” icon linked on these game threads. Every Time we commit a TOOTBLAN, Thom just irritates you beyond belief, or anything that may make you feel like you are about to violate TOS, you push and a preset card would be charged .50?

    I’d be good for 3 or 4 a game during this rebuild.

  24. Old-school

    Bob loves his guys . Scooter and Hamilton aren’t going anywhere. dW said payroll is going up. That means Scooter is signing. Only remaining question is who starts in LF and what OF spot does Senzel play
    .

    • roger garrett

      I agree but its a mistake on both counts.

      • Old-school

        If Senzel goes to CF and bats leadoff and Winker stays in LF and Hamilton is a supersub and Schebler is RF then they
        Can decide Ervin/Duvall as 5 th OF.

        I’d move Scooter and put Senzel at 2b….but that seems more and more unlikely

    • Indy Red Man

      Totally agree. Scooter is the short little Rudy underdog type that everyone loves and Billy is the fastest man in baseball. He prob doesn’t ok the Chapman deal if there weren’t charges filed. Thats the hardest throwing pitcher ever! He’s more interested in the Barnum-n-Bailey aspects then actually trying to win a WS! Scooter is the real deal though. He even surprises defensively at times. He throws out their pitcher on a wonderful play if Votto doesn’t wander away from 1B for some reason.

  25. Indy Red Man

    Starter James Paxton on the DL for Seattle. The A’s are within 5 of them and playing great baseball. Leake has been getting rocked and Felix Hernandez is washed up too. Harvey could help either one of those 2 team. Iggy too for that matter.

  26. Bill

    It sounds like Scooter is staying, so now we can focus all our arguments on who plays CF, is Peraza the answer at SS, where does Senzel play, and the always popular subject of Bailey

  27. Old-school

    More sorting needed….but it appears Jesse winker will finish the night 3rd in the NL in OBP behind Joey Votto and Freddie Freeman.

    • Scott C

      And yet he only plays 3 out of every 4 days and gets pulled early for many of those.

      • Old-school

        The Cardinals just intentionally walked Winker …a left handed hitter …. To face Tucker Barnhart…..a left handed( switch) hitter. Other teams know .

  28. Seat101

    I think it’s a big mistake to keep Gennett.

    INDY, The idea originally was you couldn’t have two weak hitters SS & CF specifically) in the lineup. Are you now saying that we can’t have two strong hitters in the lineup because they’re the shortstop and the center fielder? (:

    • Indy Red Man

      I’ve always said you could live with one of them, but not 3 guys (Tucker) that can’t hit the ball out of a bandbox. I think all you Scooter traders are crazy???? Assuming Senzel will step in without a hitch and put up .850+ right out of the box? Assuming no more vertigo.

      Can anyone move past Peraza in your view? Mookie Betts? Is he close to Peraza level yet? Mike Trout wishes he was Peraza but he does the best he can. I don’t get the love for a sub. 700 ops player with little to no power?

      • Seat101

        I see a first class (top 5) player in Peraza. He’s 24 playing betwee a converted ss at third and a slow footed bad arm second baseman.

      • Indy Red Man

        Hey you like your guy and I respect that! He has potential! No doubt about it! I was sure to tell everyone on RLN last year when Duvall was among the NL leaders in extra basehits at the AS break. I was sort of quiet about it when he went 1 for August. I overrated how good he was. It happens. I was sort of right about Lorenzen though and many infrequent posters still love to take potshots at him on RLN from time to time. Michael “NO hrs allowed and 3 hit” Lorenzen.

      • Indy Red Man

        Top 5 of what? Scooter isn’t a great defensive player but I think its overblown. He had atleast a month with no bonehead plays until I jinxed him in the late innings of that White Sox loss the other night. He’s 5x better then Peraza will ever be and thats not just me saying that. Thats numbers! Thats everyone but you.

      • Seat101

        Scooter is flat out a poor 2nd baseman. Ron Oester was a better second baseman. Tell me Joey plays so far off the bag if a good defensive 2nd baseman is out there. Look at his underhand and/or sidearm throws to Peraza almost every game.

        He is a wonder at the plate, yes indeedy. He is the Adam Dunn of 2nd basemen.

        By the end of the yesr, barring injury, Peraza will be well above 700 ops.

  29. Sliotar

    Thom earlier in game: “I followed good advice….never tell someone how to spend their money.”

    Last inning – “Why not pony up for Matt Harvey? When is this team going to commit $ and pick a date to start contending?”

    Just now – “STL paying “King’s Ransom” for Fowler, who’s playing part time.”

    (If Thom thinks a King’s Ransom is paying AAV of around $17M for a free agent coming a WS title and 4.6 WAR season….can’t wait for him to advise Reds on Scott Boras’s demands to have Harvey ride out his career in GABP.)

    Where is the fine jar, Preach? I have a donation.

    • Preach

      I tell you, it’s a good fundraiser. Figure $2 in donations per person per game, probably 5 people during a game donate. Ballpark 100 games viewed: $1000.

    • Indy Red Man

      What do you think Harvey will get? He’s exactly the kind of guy the Reds need. Actually they need a young lefty, but Harvey is about as good as they can get. Jacob DeGrom and Blake Snell aren’t coming to the Reds. I’m just guessing $35 mil/3 years maybe? Harvey has been hurt and/or bad more then he’s been good. Safe play is to trade him but maybe he’s worked thru some things and will be a solid #3 for several years!

  30. Seth Shaner

    I’m liking the leather being flashed, tonight.

  31. Preach

    I think that walk doubled Harvey’s OBP

  32. Preach

    Very, very tight strike zone. Why is he being lifted?

    • Cartel

      Because Riggleman is managing for his job. He is more interested in winning a meaningless game than possibly increasing Harvey trade value by allowing him to pitch out of the sixth inning. God I hope that don’t name him manager

      • George

        Could be that they have a trade in hand and the front office wants him to look as good as possible. I do agree that “Riggles” is managing for his job. We also know that they have Homer ready to save the rest of the year. NOT!!!

  33. Old-school

    Adam Duvall .199/ .278/.394.
    There’s no way he’s a starter. His time has passed as an everyday player.

    • Indy Red Man

      He does have a .787 ops vs lefties. 14 walks with 21 Ks. He’s also tied for most HRs in the 9th inning and he’s very good defensively. That sounds like a valuable 4th OF’er / pinch-hitter to me. The jury is still out on Winker vs tough lefties.

  34. Phil

    Lead off walk and he’s yanked!! Riggleman is flat out nuts.

    • Preach

      And it was definitely an umpire assisted walk. They haven’t even fouled anything hard off him since the first.

  35. Sliotar

    Indy, I think you have nailed a good topic for an open thread discussion during the All-Star Break…..

    Hamilton and Disco are getting arbitration raises this off-season, but Reds have budgeted for roughly a 3-year, $35M deal. Just one.

    Who gets it…Scooter or Harvey?

    (Assuming Boras would go for it, and remembering that Gennett would be age 32 in last year of deal).

    • Indy Red Man

      Why not both? DW says he wants to increase payroll and Homer comes off the books after next year & the buyout. I’d rather pay a guy like lefty Tyler Skaggs from the Angels, but they’d have to trade good prospects and Harvey is already here. Its interesting. If Harvey had the slider consistently like he had vs the Brewers then everyone would want him!

      If you trade Iggy, Dilson, BobSteve, etc then they should be able to get a quality arm or 2 in the “close to ready” starting pitcher status. They really need to look at Lorenzen and BobSteve as starters imo!

      • WVRedlegs

        Heaney first choice. Skaggs second choice from LA.

  36. roger garrett

    Winker again and off of a lefty.

  37. Indy Red Man

    Winker is a monster! They’re going to get a read on him that he likes the ball middle-away like Joey and start pounding him inside. If he can turn on enough balls and pepper the sun deck in GABP then its smooth sailing!

  38. Sabr Chris

    You’re dreaming if you think Scooter will take 3 for 35. We’re looking at the BP contact part 2. They’ll trade Senzel for a declining veteran pitcher, because that’s what Walt will whisper in Uncle Bob’s ear. Now where is that swear jar…

  39. vegastypo

    Duvall !!! He swung at a ball, and I’m surprised the third baseman didn’t field it, but they all count !!!

  40. Indy Red Man

    Duvall Y’all!!! Hardest .200 in the history of the game:)

    • roger garrett

      He provides power and defense.All of our outfielders bring something its just they don’t bring everything.Which gives us a bunch of things to talk about all the time.

  41. Seat101

    Dilson needs a nickname, pronto.

    What a great at bat.

    Trade Gennett now

  42. vegastypo

    I’m hoping the best baseball fans in the world can put on their giveaway hats and go home now.

  43. WVRedlegs

    Wow. Great AB by Herrera. 3 run dinger. We have 3 major league 2B and can only start 1.

  44. Preach

    You know Matheny is catching HELL on St Louis sports radio.

  45. Scottya

    Dilson Herrera AB: best at bat of the season for any Red. Wow that was a bomb!

    • vegastypo

      Funny thing is, his plate appearance the other night in that explosion in Cleveland might have been just as good, even better. And he’s only 24. And Peraza’s only 24. … What a strange puzzle these Reds are. So many parts, but no obvious way to fit them together.

  46. roger garrett

    I vote we just keep everybody we have right now and not trade anybody.Just kidding to much Kool Aid will do every time.

  47. Indy Red Man

    What a situation to be in with Dilson and Senzel.

    Anyone remember Ron Gant? Thats who Dilson reminds me of….he’s not as thick and muscular as Gant, but thick and strong with short arms and a quick bat!

  48. Keith

    Problem that I have with the article is when Scooter says that it’s Castellini who wants him there for a long time. This contract screams out that it comes from the top, even if it’s not in the long term interest of the team.

    Scooter seems like a great guy who has batted well for a season and a half. I still don’t see where he plays long term, as his defense offsets some of his production. 2B pipeline is full of promising prospects who may (or may not) pan out.

  49. Preach

    Just another Billy Hamilton play, right Chad?

    • Indy Red Man

      Like I said earlier….if you’re going to have Schebler and Winker in the outfield then the other guy better be Spiderman and Billy is as close as you’re going to get. Schebler can catch a ball (or lose it in the lights) and Billy can just run 200 feet and throw it in for him. Winker tracks the ball like Otis from Mayberry so Billy can run over there too.

      • vegastypo

        What about Winker in left, Billy in center, Senzel in right?

        Suarez at third, Peraza at short, Scooter at second, Votto at first, Barnhart catching?

        Where is the upgrade if/when the Reds add payroll? Shortstop?

      • Preach

        I just got a visual of Otis shagging flies and I’m in tears. Thanks.

  50. Preach

    What was the giveaway tonight: retread Paul Hogan tribute hat night?

    • Andy

      Better than Hotel Transylvania bobble head.

  51. Preach

    Urban Burt Reynolds in Gator night?

  52. Preach

    Or, most likely, “Amazon delivered these crates by mistake and this is what you get night”

    • vegastypo

      You never fail to make me laugh, Preach. … I wonder which store that was expecting the straw hats actually ended up with Cardinals gear ????

  53. Indy Red Man

    Maybe you deal Schebler and move one of those guys to the OF? I love Schebler too, but if he needs to go to get us a good starter then so be it.

  54. Indy Red Man

    I really want the sweep just to pay these guys back. I’d go with Disco tomorrow and then all hands on deck no Sunday including Mahle for a few innings on 3 days rest. Oh well….Flaherty has struggled lately…same as Castillo. Lets go 2-0!

  55. Seth Shaner

    Guys like Billy and Dilson Herrera are making these decisions harder and harder. Oh well, they have some options, that’s for sure.

  56. jay johnson

    Y not keep Scooter.If we hire a manager that has a clue. Whats wrong with having players with talent that basically play the same position.Look at the Cubs.Madden moves Zobrist,Happ,Bryant,Baez all over the field from game to game.It gives you a deep team when you do.None of those guys are stick outs defensively at any the spots that they have been playing.Well maybe Baez.
    Move Nick around,Peraza,Herrera,etc.Even Suarez a bit in the OF would be ok,but you need a manager with a brain and a little imagination.Just because the back of his baseball card says 2nd base doesnt mean thats all he can play.These are major league ballplayers.
    I am also in favor of keeping Harvey on a 2 or 3 yr. deal.We need a starter like oxygen and he is a very professional pitcher,a former all star.Its no coincidence that the team is playing so well since he has been put in the rotation,yet everyone wants to trade him for nothing and go and sign or trade (even worse idea) for a pitcher in the off season.We already have the guy and it appears he likes being a Red.