The results of the past couple of days – two convincing Pirates wins over the Reds — have helped to confirm a point that was already obvious – the Reds are in the toughest division in Major League Baseball.

Pittsburgh is one of four teams in the division that have records above .500. Having four teams ranging in caliber from decent to outstanding ahead of you makes the climb out of the rebuild abyss a bit more difficult than it would be otherwise.

It’s important for the Reds to right the ship and get back on the winning track today. Otherwise, the momentum of an encouraging and at times exciting stretch of games in June and July may start trickling down the drain.

Manager Jim Riggleman announced this morning:

Game time is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. Eastern time, weather permitting.

Starting Pitchers

Name IP ERA xFIP K% BB%
Ivan Nova 102.2 4.38 4.01 18.0% 3.9%
Matt Harvey 91.1 4.63 4.32 17.7% 6.2%

Nova has made two 2018 starts against the Reds prior to today. On May 24 he allowed four earned runs in 5.1 innings in a game the Reds won, 5-4. Then on June 16, he allowed only a run in 6 innings as the Pirates won, 6-2. His July performances have not been so great, allowing 11 earned runs in 15.1 innings. Maybe the Reds can lay some wood on him early.

Harvey is currently the ace of the Reds staff, if there is such a thing. At the very least, you can say that he is the starting pitcher that gives the Reds the best chance to win when he takes the mound. The Reds have split his two starts to date against Pittsburgh, in which Harvey surrendered four earned runs in 11 innings. So far in July, Harvey has a 1.65 ERA, which puts him on the opposite track as Nova for the month.

It seems all but certain that Harvey will be traded prior to the July 31 interleague trading deadline, so it is important that he continues to display effective stuff today and in perhaps one more start prior to the deadline.

Or will he?

Scouts from other teams need to be wowed by his performances, so Dick Williams can squeeze as much out of this asset as possible.

Bullpen

No reliever pitched any more than one inning Saturday night, so all should be available for today’s finale.

Starting Lineups

Pirates Reds
LF Corey Dickerson SS Jose Peraza
CF Starling Marte 2B Scooter Gennett
RF Gregory Polanco 1B Joey Votto
C Elias Diaz 3B Eugenio Suarez
3B Colin Moran RF Jesse Winker
1B Josh Bell C Tucker Barnhart
2B Sean Rodriguez LF Adam Duvall
SS Max Moroff CF Phillip Ervin
P Ivan Nova P Matt Harvey

News and Notes

Pensacola infielder Taylor Sparks had a big game Saturday …

Interesting take by a veteran national baseball writer …

Those who attended games at Riverfront Stadium will get a kick out of this …

On this date in 1986 …

58 Responses

  1. seat101

    Mr. Red #1 lost more than two out of three races. Occasionally he would tie Mr. Red #2 whe it was MR#1’s turn to win. MR#2 would win the face-off. Over the course of the season betting on MR#2 would give you the advantage.

    Now you know.

  2. Patrick Jeter

    Interesting take and funny wording from a journalist. “…on behalf of Riggleman’s request.” Combined two separate ways of saying what he was trying to say! Hah!

    I’ll see myself out.

  3. Sliotar

    Tom, excellent point regarding the NL Central being tough.

    I have a lot of Indians fans in my life, and I bring up on occasion how Cleveland benefits greatly from being in the AL Central, year in and year out.

    Indians are 28-13 in their division, other 4 teams are not projected to have a winning record.

    Reds this season:

    7-5 vs Cubs
    3-7 vs Brewers
    4-8 vs Pirates
    3-10 vs Devil Magic

    17-30 Total

    All 4 of the other NL Central teams are now projected to finish at .500 or better.

    The Reds can certainly follow the Indians model and do more Suarez-type deals to lock up a core of stars for a contention window, but have to do more than Cleveland most years.

    Go Redlegs

  4. Scott Gennett

    This should be Harvey’s last outing with the Reds, wish him the best.

    • Colorado Red

      His new kickname is BOOM BOOM.
      Could not have come at a worse time.

  5. Klugo

    Very interesting tidbit re: the scout.

  6. VaRedsFan

    I love the historic videos you post Tom. Epic fight between ED and Knight.

  7. Steelerfan

    Can you imagine he suspensions from that fight today?

  8. CI3J

    What the heck??? Just tuned in and the Reds are already down 2-nil??

  9. Steelerfan

    Leadiff double, bunt(not just us apparently) and then home run. Sound is off where I am watching, but it feels like ball is carrying.

  10. Broseph

    This FO is crazy if they believe this team can win. Really need to move some pieces to get pitching.

    I know it’s a short losing stint followed by two early runs from Harvey, but August will be a wake up call to the short term success prior to the break. Whether or not the Reds FO knows this is what is worrisome.

  11. CI3J

    This game is certainly not helping Harvey’s trade value. Absolute worst time for him to have a stinker.

  12. Shchi Cossack

    One start too many for Harvey. He should have been traded during the break.

    • CI3J

      Exactly, Old Cossack. And not just Harvey, like I said in the other thread: The Padres traded two relievers to Cleveland for Mejia, Mets traded two relievers to A’s for spare parts. That effectively eliminates two potential trading partners for the Reds’ biggest trade chip, Iglesias.

      The Reds are practicing their tried and true tactic of holding onto their assets for too long. It’s sickening watching this play out for the umpteenth time.

  13. docproctor

    There goes Harvey’s trade value…

  14. Indy Red Man

    Corey Dickerson was just a quick pickup by the Pirates when he got released late March last year. He’s good! Too bad the Reds can never move fast enough to get anything done? Harvey? Trade value down the drain in 2 innings. Crazy. Might get a AA lottery ticket now at best.

    • Jazzmanbbfan

      Didn’t the Reds get someone named Scooter at the end of spring training last year? He’s been pretty good too.

      • Bill

        He probably didn’t count because the Reds had a losing record. The never get waiver claims when it counts

  15. seat101

    Suarez some more peaches in his at bat than all the Reds did in the first inning

  16. seat101

    The Dunn interview was boring enough. And now they’re repeating it

    • Darrin

      Yeah, listening to. The the Dunner is about as exciting as watching paint dry.

  17. Luckeydad

    Why does this weekend series feel so like April?

    • Hotto4Votto

      Symmetry? Trying to start the second half like the first half, so it’ll make September end on a good note.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      It feels just like April, unfortunately.

  18. roger garrett

    Lets see that’s 7 homers to 1 in 20 innings so far and we think our offense is good enough staying the way we are?Does anybody think we could sign a good pitcher to pitch in a park where pop ups go out?Won’t happen so we better look at the make up of this team and try to out score some teams because this one will not get it done.

    • Broseph

      Offenses go through drought periods. 3 games of poor offense doesn’t tell me anything about this team overall.

      Not many teams are winning games with 9 and 11 runs against. Pitching has been and co tinues to be this team’s issue.

  19. Steelerfan

    In their defense, not much else to focus on so far this game

  20. roger garrett

    Nova saying here’s 90/91 and we can’t even hit it.Keep it up guys we need to drop our next 8 or 10 then we can look at some younger guys.

  21. seat101

    Thom is on the Peraza bandwagon. Is it just a ‘Captain Obvious’ moment or the kiss of death?

  22. WVRedlegs

    Good pitching beats good hitting. Reds just don’t have much at all in the good pitching department. Very disappointing.
    I hope Schebler isn’t the straw that stirs the Reds offense. But the Reds are 2-15 When he is on the DL. Hoping just his injuries have coincided with bad spurts of starting pitching.
    This Pirates series has been a big bucket of ice water of reality in the face of the Reds front office. Go get good starting pitching at this deadline. Give Stephenson a shot ASAP because there is little else in-house.
    The hangover from the intoxication of the first half is here. Boy it is a large one. A round of alka seltzer for everyone.

  23. CI3J

    Alright, just invoke the mercy rule. No sense in continuing today, someone might get hurt. Well done, Pirates.

  24. docproctor

    Yes, I just checked the radar forecast to see if there’s a chance that a monsoon is coming that would wipe out this game. No such luck. We’re going to have to endure this beatdown.

    • Jeff Reed

      And take it out on the Cardinals and Phillies this coming week. Plus the Reds need to make a couple big trades of players at the top of the curve in the next nine days.

  25. Old-school

    All momentum is lost. SP has gained little to no progress for the year. Bailey is coming back to the rotation. Back to a 25 man roster with gaping holes in it. The offense misses Schebler.

    This could get back to 90 losses really quick.

  26. TyGuy85

    This is why you trade the players when they are at peak value.

  27. Phil

    Overtake the Bucs for 4th? Right!!
    Play a solid 2nd half, increase attendance and increase payroll? Right!!
    Show improvement with young staff? Right!!!

    • CI3J

      Might still happen. Getting swept doesn’t help, but it’s just 3 games out of 162. Still lots of baseball to be played.

  28. Old-school

    The offense is down with Adam Duvall and Billy Hamilton as regulars.

    The only hope for SP is Castillo bounces back to 2017 form and RS is called up and thrives

    Garrett and Iglesias and the bullpen sure we’re important in this series.

  29. Bill j

    Steelerfan my the sound is way down too & I’m at home, just can’t take Thom & Chris.

  30. Jack

    Wow! Just turned it on and wham. And Stephen’s is in. I mean the score was a slap to the face and now Stephen’s is a punch to the gut. I guess Harvey’s performance would be the knockout.

  31. seat101

    Could one of you find fellows direct me to the page on MLB.com that gives the top 10 L in virtually every batting category?

    Pretty please with peaches on top

  32. sezwhom

    Is it April again? I turned the game on and we’re down 9 to 0. Turned it off. Not so good again.

  33. CI3J

    Nice job Ervin. At least now the score is somewhat….

    No, it’s still pretty embarrassing.

  34. CI3J

    Mercifully, that’s finally over.

    Yeesh, not the kind of start you want to get off to in the second half.

  35. Private Gripweed

    “…the Reds are in the toughest division in Major League Baseball.”

    That argument may hold water against the NL, but the competition in the AL West and East may have something to say about that claim.