Imagine a tall ladder. It’s full of people trying to get to the top. 

There’s a guy toward the middle, but he’s slipping down, rung by rung. This struggling guy, let’s call him Louis. Below Louis is another guy climbing up. We’ll name him Red. Imagine Red working his way relentlessly up the ladder. As Red reaches Louis, he puts his foot squarely on Louis’ face and pushes down, using Louis as leverage to pass over him. That concludes today’s metaphor. 

The St. Louis Cardinals have lost 6 games in a row at home and are just one game over .500. Gosh, hope the Reds aren’t contributing to their demoralization. That would be downright rude. 

The surging Cincinnati Reds are 5-3 on this brutal road trip. In the past few weeks, they’ve won series against the first place Chicago Cubs (4-game sweep), first place Atlanta Braves, first place Cleveland and now the St. Louis Cardinals. They split a 4-game series with the Brewers. The Reds go for the series sweep against Louis, er, St. Louis tomorrow afternoon, with Anthony DeSclafani starting.

Then the team gets a well deserved rest from climbing the ladder.

The Reds started the day 12.5 game behind the Brewers and Cubs. Milwaukee was swept in a double-header by the Pirates. If the Cubs lose tonight, the Reds will find themselves 11.5 games out of first place. 

Cincinnati Reds 8 (43-52) • St. Louis Cardinals (47-46)

Box Score || Win % || Statcast Hitters Report || Statcast Pitchers Report

Luis Castillo pitched around the first rain delay (50 minutes) and gave up two runs in five innings. He struck out two and didn’t allow a walk. He gave up a lead-off 357-foot homer to Matt Carpenter. It’s easy but wrong to freak out about Luis Castillo if you look at his ERA. Castillo’s ERA-predictors show he’s been about a half-run worse over 9 innings this year compare to last. His xFIP at the start of the day was 4.00 compared to 3.41 last year. His 2018 SEIRA was 4.13 compared to 3.63 in 2017. Castillo hasn’t pitched as well this year, but he hasn’t fallen off a cliff, either. 

The bullpen shut the Cardinals down for four innings for the second night in a row. Kyle Crockett and Austin Brice worked the sixth. David Hernandez the seventh. Amir Garrett pitched a dominant eighth, with two strikeouts. Michael Lorenzen finished off the ninth with two Ks. 

The Reds got out of big jam in the fifth inning on a great defensive play by Eugenio Suarez. With Cardinal runners at second and third and no outs, Suarez fielded a ground ball, forced the runner on third out of the baseline, then wheeled to first to get the runner and a double play. Scott Schebler saved a run with a smart play in the outfield in the 6th. With Matt Carpenter on second base, Schebler slammed into the right field wall catching the ball, crumpling to the ground. He managed to toss the ball to Billy Hamilton to stop Carpenter from scoring. Schebler left the game with an apparent right shoulder issue. Hopefully nothing serious.

The Reds got on the board right after the rain delay with back-to-back doubles by Joey Votto and Scooter Gennett, to make the score 2-1. 

The good guys put the game out of reach in the top of the seventh. First, they MacGyvered a run off Cardinals reliever Jordan Hicks. Dilson Herrera’s ribs got in the way of a 101 mph Hicks fastball. Billy Hamilton walked on four pitches and Adam Duvall hit a jam-shot single to right, loading the bases. Jose Peraza then slapped the ball back to Hicks who misplayed it. A run scored, bases remained loaded. Scooter Gennett shot a single to right to score a run, followed by an Eugenio Suarez single to left, knocking in two. The Reds were ahead 5-2. 

The Reds scored two more in the eighth, with singles from Alex Blandino, Billy Hamilton and Jose Peraza loading the bases. Joey Votto lined a single to CF, knocking in two runs. Jose Peraza knocked in Jesse Winker in the ninth. 

Jose Peraza had a 5-hit day, the first of his career.  

As Well As Can Be Expected xwOBA (how well batters are hitting the ball) standings from before today’s game, out of 121 National League hitters with at least 200 plate appearances: Joey Votto (#2) .434; Eugenio Suarez (#5) .417; Jesse Winker (#14) .391; Scott Schebler (#25) .370; Adam Duvall (#47) .355; Scooter Gennett (#56) .348; Tucker Barnhart (#62) .340; Jose Peraza (#99) .301; Billy Hamilton (#120) .253.

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 61 Comments

  1. I need to apologize to Scooter Gennett. Yesterday I compared him negatively to Ron Owster. I know better. He sure made me look foolish today.

  2. Scooter did a pretty job on the one play of showing he could go after fly balls but then on the same play gave us reason to question the health of his arm 😉

  3. With the Reds playing so well now, I was thinking wouldn’t it be cool if MLB suddenly decided midseason that they would break the season into two halves and then choose who would make the playoffs based on teams’ 1st and 2nd half records rather than their records for the whole season. Then the Reds could make the playoffs based on a terrific 2nd half of the season!

    Then I thought, the MLB would never do something like that. In that scenario, the team with the best record in all of baseball could be held out of the playoffs if they only had the second best record in each half of the year. And that would just be outright ridiculous.

    Oh well, one can dream.

    • Or nightmare…

    • You must remember 1981. And recall in the first half that the forgotten team with the best overall record for the season finished 2nd by half a game despite being even in the loss column. Literally punished for a game never played.

      • Also there were rainouts.

        5/26/1981: In a game against the Giants, George Foster of the Reds hit a home run off Tom Griffin in the first inning with two men on and no one out. The game was rained out.

        4/19/1981: Pitcher Frank Pastore of Cin homered in the bottom of the third inning off the Cardinals’ Silvio Martinez. There was no one on base and one out. The game was rained out.

  4. “I believe in luck. The better you are, the luckier you are.”- Not me (but oh so true)

    Hope Louis hits his head on every rung on the way down.

  5. Matheny just got canned.

    • And hitting coach John Mabry and assistant hitting coach Bill Mueller go with Matheny.

  6. We just got Matheny fired…lollllllllll

    That might make a sweep a little harder?

  7. Let’s see now, a few years ago, the Reds kept the Cards out of the playoffs by winning the first two games in St. Louis of a four game series. Now, losing to the lowly Reds, and to a few lowly teams before the Reds, gets their manager fired. …. Gee, it must not sit well losing to the Reds.

  8. Best line in early on the Matheny firing: “Now who will Bud Norris snitch to?” (as shared to me from a buddy who got it on a writer’s Twitter.

    Bring on Chris Carpenter.

    • Actually, maybe they’ll dip into somebody that they got the name of when they hacked into the Astros organization. How did the hammer not come down on them for that again?

      • Speaking as a former IT guy, because it is hard to feel really sorry for some fool who never changes his/ her password. At some enterprises, he would have been shown the door despite the fact the hacking was the official crime.

  9. Maybe the Cards hire Price? 🙂

  10. Baseball is a crazy game. The Cards were killing us in April and had Flaherty and Alex Reyes coming. Mikolas was rolling and Weaver. Jose Martinez was hitting everything and Pham was hot. The Hicks kid was throwing 104. I thought they’d win the division. Now they look like a dumpster fire.

  11. These Reds players are pretty talented … the team would have a lot more wins, if it wasn’t for their own managers and front office.

    • 1-16 in Homer & Finnegan’s starts…thats it right there. Neither one earned anything?

      • I wonder if we’ll ever see Finnegan called up again. Dropped off the radar. Rightfully so too.

        • Don’t give up on Finnegan. He lost velocity. Last year Garrett was throwing 91. Now he’s hitting 97. If Finnegan can regain the 4 mph missing from before the injuries his stuff probably plays a lot better.

          • Finny was around 90/91 and in 2016 before the injuries he was at 95 or above all the time with his fastball.That made his changeup and slider much much better.A pitcher at 90/91 has to have pin point control and Finny never has had that.You are right Bear if he gets some of his velocity back he is right back in the mix.

    • The Reds are playing really well now, but they have the same front office as they had before. The manager is different, but he gets few style points from RLN, and doesn’t seem to use very different strategy than Price used. What has been different is the overall effectiveness of the pitching.

      • Exactly.

      • Under the heading of things that changed impacting the turnaround:

        Suarez returned from the DL.
        Schebler returned from the DL.
        Riggleman replaced Price with a sense of urgency.
        Finnegan removed from the starting rotation.
        Darwin assumed pitching coach responsibilities.
        Harvey added to the starting rotation.
        Bailey removed from starting rotation.
        Winker & Schebler pulled out of their May funk.
        DeSclafani added to the starting rotation.

  12. Yikes, that is an ugly number.

  13. St. Louis looks like a near perfect landing spot for Joe Girardi. Cards fans will want a big splash. That is probably the biggest splash out there. My guess is they get him hired in August so he can evaluate players and get a jump on 2019.
    Reds will need to hit a HR on their managerial hire.
    Already a series win. Nice.
    Wonder what the rotation order will be coming out of the break? Homer will have made his last rehab start by next Friday.

    • Some alarm bells are already being sounded about Girardi in the STL media, pointing out his old school ways and difficulties dealing with young players helped bring on his demise in NYC. Sounds like he would be a good hire for the Cards from a Reds fans point of view both for these reasons and because the Reds would be “protected” from hiring him.

    • Girardi and the St. Louis farm system does not seem to fit and that’s fine with me as a Reds fan.

  14. Just a late night reflection…but I want to give a shout out to the FO. We love to give them a hard time, but think about this…Suarez, Scoots, Dilson, Castillo, Harvey, Casali, Hughes, Hernandez, etc all came via trade or pick up. My respect for DW and Krall is growing by the day. Just PLEASE don’t bring Homer back for more than 2 starts (gotta give him a shot)

    • The sad truth is that they’ll probably need Homer once Harvey is traded. I hate to see him go. We’re on a roll so it would be nice if they didn’t mess with the chemistry this group has now.

      • Homer is entering Jason Marquis territory or Arroyo. He hasn’t been good for 4-5 years atleast. Guys don’t just suddenly get it back? Lorenzen and BobSteve should both start in the 2nd half imo.

        • On Bailey. Yes but.… $35-40M is a lot of money even for an MLB team. Consider what % of the annual payroll it is for instance. Depending when the payouts are due if they DFA him, they might have an actual cash flow issue raising the money if they can’t just keep paying it down as regular payroll every two weeks.

          • Fingers crossed that we figure out BobSteve instead of revisiting Homer mistakes of our past

  15. Good to see Castillo put together a solid effort in very difficult circumstances Saturday. Hopefully he can use the break to clear his head and come back looking more like the 2017 version of himself.

  16. Apparently, Iglesias and Scooter both want to stay Reds. Harvey has said all the good things since coming here, but he’s stopped just short of saying he wants to stay.

    I know baseball is a business, but boy it makes it tough when you see the human side of it. In Scooter’s case especially, he’s a local lad who has become an All-Star playing for his hometown team, and that makes it tough to deal him, at least from an emotional perspective.

    I think the pinnacle of this emotional side can be summed up when Aaron Boone broke down in tears at the press conference after the Reds traded him to the Yankees. Although in the end, he’s done well for himself in New York, so maybe it’s a case of short term pain and long term gain.

    Bottom line: The team is playing well with the current group. Maybe the Reds really shouldn’t trade too many pieces and instead fill holes in the free agent market this winter? It really depends on what’s available via trade right now, but given the Reds have been one of the best teams in baseball since early June, I’d think long and hard before I’d tinker too much with a winning formula.

    • Landing a couple of pieces for the rotation could be done via FA or a trade of some prospects without touching our core group.

      • I’m always skeptical of what free agent starting pitcher would come to the Reds in that ballpark. I think the Reds would really have to overpay, since they could be so easily outbid by any number of teams for a proven commodity. Trades, however, are another story. Gotta give up something to get something, though. I really, really wish we had gotten a look at Senzel this season.

  17. What fun to watch … and the cherry on the top of this Dirty Bird Deluxe Sunday is Matheny getting canned whilst we’re in town.

    Love Peraza’s first 5-for-5 night event though a couple of them were seeing-eye singles.

    Brooms up and then golf clubs out for the break!

  18. Matheny fired was premature unless there was something we don’t know. Hurdle and Madden are the only two I’d want out of this division.

    These last two games allowed the Reds to erase that huge run differential caused by the Cleveland finale. They still are 30 runs in the red but they should be on the positive side by seasons end.

    • I imagine it was a combo of performance expectations and then the final spark was the drama that surfaced with Bud Norris and Jordan Hicks and Matheny clearly loving what Norris was doing. Which is exactly why they shouldn’t hire Girardi, he and Matheny are of the same cloth. It looks like a good fit but would be a dubious choice… for the same reasons the Reds shouldn’t consider Girardi. Game is going another way.

      • Aha. Just found an article by Craig Calcaterra at NBC Sports that exactly outlines what I was just saying about all of this exactly… bad performance, but having become out of touch and irritating upper management by being delighted with Bud Norris.

  19. Watching that game yesterday was enjoyable on the Reds side. Metheny got fired yesterday because from about the 7th inning on his team quit on him. That team was terrible. Hitting and walking batters like they never pitched before. Half hearted swings and no emotion from certain players. It’s all fun when you are winning but when losing starts you find out who the cancers are. One thing about the Reds is when they were losing , the players were still playing hard and not blaming anybody. This is a special team and it reminds me of the miracle Mets. I honestly think they can make the playoffs because they all believe in each other. That’s one thing you cant find in analytics. YOU GOTTA BELIEVE

    • For me it is more of 1999 Reds I see in this team when the O gets to cooking.

      Unfortunately I think that 3-18 start is a millstone they will not be able to shake in terms for playoff contention. As Ashley Davis of RLN pointed out recently either in a preview here or perhaps it was on Twitter, just 3-4 games turned back then would make such a difference now. But once they are in the lost column, it is essentially double that to make up for the damage.

      And maybe it actually took a disaster like that start to serve as a wake up call from ownership to the front office right on down through the ranks to the players that a sense of urgency and direction were missing that they just weren’t going to wake up on opening day in a year or two or three and see a finished product on the field ready to contend.

    • It’s easy to say the Cardinals ‘quit’ on Matheny, especially their bullpen. But I think the truth is that the bullpen just wasn’t that good to begin with. I have no idea whether Matheny should have been fired, but I do know that he seemed to be under fire constantly from “the best fans in the world.” ….

      • Matheny didn’t come across to me as having an up front personality although that’s not always a quality of a successful manager.

  20. It’s fun to watch the Reds thump the Cards and help getting their manager fired. I look at it this way. The Cards are down so it’s jist another reason for the Reds to make the moves to complete the rebuild NOW. One less team in the division that is strong. But the Cards won’t stay down long. Make no mistake they will be back and quickly.

  21. Read where Riggleman is well liked by Card’s Mozeliak.

    • I try not to second guess a manager’s decisions. He’s trying hard to win games & thus keep his job. Riggleman’s propensity for bunting is a case in point. BUT, the Reds are 2nd in the ML in OBP. They have been putting up a lot of crooked numbers on the scoreboard lately ( some after 2 outs in the inning). It is time for the manager to cease & desist all non-pitcher bunting signs.

    • Is this an indicator if Riggleman is not extended that Mozeliak will hire him for the Cardinals?

  22. Michael Lorenzen was rushed to the Reds in 2015. If you throw 2015 out then he’s allowed a HR every 11.7 innings

    Corey Kluber HR every 10.0 innings
    Zack Greinke HR every 10.0 ip
    Justin Verlander HR every 10.5 ip
    Gerrit Cole HR every 11.2 ip

    I’m not saying he’s in their class, but guys like Disco and Castillo are haunted by GABP HRs in particular. If you put Lorenzen in the rotation then there is a good chance he’ll keep the ball in the park and might allow 3 runs, but he also might drive in 1 as well. Its a no-brainer with their current roster.

    If they have to force Homer on us, then let him blow 3-4 more games and then set him free. Once Harvey is traded then that frees up Lorenzen and BobSteve. They can send down Romano or Castillo for a little fine tuning. It won’t hurt them. We know where they’re at presently, but nobody knows with BobSteve? I think he can beat 5.28 or whatever?

    • I believe Lorenzen is best utilized by pairing him with Matt Harvey to the Yankees for Justus Sheffield. Sheffield, Stephenson, Romano, & Castillo provide the floor of the 2019 Reds rotation. Not exceptional, but competitive.

  23. I’ll really believe that Dick Williams is in charge in practice and not just on paper if he parts ways with Riggleman and gets a manager less “old school” and more maddeninly Maddon-esque. … If Riggleman is the manager next season, it will be same ol’, same ol’.

  24. We just have to be careful with our joy of how we are playing and not get caught up in lets stand pat mode and suddenly our roster becomes the core group going forward.Age,performance,money owed now and in the future,who is decining,who is improving and who we have ready in the minors play a big part.The reality is our pitching has lead this charge of winning and it is the same with every team but lets not forget our record and the record of the teams just in our division who we will compete with every year.We have holes to fill and we have players that other teams will be willing to trade for.Personally any bull pen piece could be had right now but not as a give away because these guys are the easiest to replace and their effectiveness goes up and down certainly from year to year and even during the season.The only exceptions are the elite closers and we could argue Iggy is or isn’t elite but to teams that believe they can get to the playoffs he makes them better immediately.Lets sweep the Cards today and get some rest and see what happens after the break.Its an exciting time right now because we are actually seeing some improvement in our Reds.

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About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

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