It’s a monumental day in Great American Ball Park today: Joey Votto Funko Pop day. If that doesn’t give the Reds (46-58) the motivation to win, who knows what will?
First pitch against the Phillies (58-45) is set for 6:40 p.m. ET.
Velasquez has long been a tantalizing pitcher but has never quite reached his potential, in part due to injuries. Aside from a brief stint on the DL after being hit in the forearm by a line drive, the 26-year-old has stayed healthy this season and is enjoying his best year. Velasquez is just 0.2 fWAR from his career-high with two months left in the season and has significantly raised both his strikeout and walk rates from his dreadful 2017 season. He’s on his hottest stretch of the season as well, posting a 2.31 ERA and striking out 35 in his last six starts, though his performance is boosted by an unsustainable .167 BABIP and 82.1% strand rate.
Scouting report: Velasquez’s throws his 94-mph fastball well over 50% of the time, and for good reason. Only four pitchers in baseball get more whiffs with the four-seamer than Velasquez (14.8%). He also mixes in a curveball, which has been largely ineffective, and a slider, which hitters are slugging just .302 against this season. He throws a sinker about 10.6% of the time and has a seldom-used changeup.
Today could very well be Matt Harvey’s last start in a Reds uniform. With the trade deadline looming on Tuesday, he’s the only player on the team who’s likely to be dealt. Harvey has seemingly resurrected his career in Cincinnati, increasing his fastball velocity while lowering his walk and home run rates. While he’s certainly not the Harvey of old, he should fetch the Reds a decent prospect or two in a fairly weak pitching market. His last start was his worst as a Red, so he’ll hope to end his stint in Cincinnati on a high note this evening.
|1. Cesar Hernandez (2B)
2. Rhys Hoskins (LF)
3. Odubel Herrera (CF)
4. Carlos Santana (1B)
5. Asdrubal Cabrera (SS)
6. Nick Williams (RF)
7. Maikel Franco (3B)
8. Vince Velasquez (P)
9. Andrew Knapp (C)
|1. Jose Peraza (SS)
2. Scooter Gennett (2B)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
5. Mason Williams (RF)
6. Tucker Barnhart (C)
7. Adam Duvall (LF)
8. Matt Harvey (P)
9. Billy Hamilton (CF)
News, Notes, & Pre-Game Reading
— Bobby Nightengale (@nightengalejr) July 28, 2018
The Reds have 4 of the top 20 hitters in the NL pic.twitter.com/0kbaeeKB9k
— ɴɪᴄᴋ ᴋɪʀʙy (@Nicholaspkirby) July 28, 2018
Cincinnati #Reds Minor League Game Review: 7/27/18
— Doug Gray (@dougdirt24) July 28, 2018
Stat of the Day
If Eugenio Suarez homers again today, he will set the Reds record for most consecutive games with a long ball. Seven other players have homered in five straight games (in order of most recent): Jay Bruce, Devin Mesoraco, Adam Dunn, Ken Griffey Jr., Johnny Bench, George Crowe, and Ted Kluszewski.
Growing up just north of Cincinnati, Matt has been a Reds fan for as long as he can remember. As a kid, he was often found leading the Reds to 162-0 seasons in MVP Baseball 2005 and imitating his favorite players (Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, Sean Casey, and Austin Kearns) in the backyard. One of his earliest baseball memories is attending the final night game at Cinergy Field. Matt is also a graduate of The Ohio State University and currently lives in the Dayton area. Follow him on Twitter at @_MattWilkes.