It is matinee time this afternoon as the Reds look to salvage a split in this 2 game series with the Tigers prior to moving on to DC where they will face the Nationals in a 4 game set. Today’s game time is 1:10pm Eastern. Recall that FoxSports Ohio has wall to wall Reds this year; so, video of this game will be available via all the normal outlets.

Starting Pitchers

This afternoon’s game will feature a battle of right handers, Sal Romano for the Reds and Mike Fiers for the Tigers. How often does an MLB game feature starters who were respectively a 23rd round draft choice (Romano; 2011) and 22nd round draft choice (Fiers; 2009)? Probably not very often but that’s what we’ve got today.

Not that long ago Sal Romano appeared to be losing hold of his starting rotation spot. However in his ERA of 4.70 in his seven most recent appearances is 0.75 better than his ERA over his last 15 appearances which at least which looks like progress. This level of performance is not likely enough for Romano to hold a rotation spot indefinitely; but, it has bought him some time to keep on moving in a positive direction.  The knock on Romano as a starter has been that he lacks an effective third pitch to go with his fastball and slider. In his recent run of better results, Romano seems to have learned to more effectively use various grips combined with subtle speed differences to make his fastball essentially a third and even fourth pitch. Hopefully he will have this deception effectively working for him this afternoon.

Right up until the trade deadline Tuesday there was doubt that Mike Fiers would be making this start today as he featured prominently in several trade rumors. However when the rumors cleared, Fiers was not traded and is set to take the mound for the Tigers today.  In 20 starts to date in 2018 the 33 year old Fiers has an ERA over half a run better than his career mark complied in 161 MLB appearances (143 starts). He has been very effective in his last 7 starts, posting  a 2.64 ERA. Fiers mixes his 4 seam fastball, cut fastball and sinker for about 65% of his pitches and throws a curve and change up  in roughly equal portions to round out his offerings. The various fastballs work in the high 80’s MPH range, the change in the lower 80’s and curve all the way down around 70MPH.

Pitching numbers for 2018

PITCHER FIP IP/ Start HR/9 BB% K%
Sal Romano 5.28 5.1 1.63 8.6% 16.2%
Mike Fiers 4.41 5.2 1.54 5.3% 17.4%

Fiers numbers are pretty much those of a career journeyman starter yet he was featured in multiple trade deadline rumors (think your Matt Harvey related thoughts here).

Bullpens

For the second straight day, there is really nothing much to report here! The Reds pen wasn’t used at all. The Tigers closer threw an inning  and was nicked for a run; but. no doubt he will be available for an inning  if called upon.

Lineups

            REDS

SP: Sal Romano

          TIGERS

SP: Mike Fiers

1. Jose Peraza (SS)
2. Scooter Gennett (2B)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
5. Mason Williams (RF)
6. Phillip Ervin (LF)
7. Preston Tucker (DH)
8. Curt Casali (C)
9. Billy Hamilton (CF)
1. JaCoby Jones (CF)
2. Nicholas Castellanos (RF)
3. Niko Goodrum (2B)
4. Victor Martinez (DH)
5. Jeimer Candelario (3B)
6. John Hicks (C)
7. Jim Adduci (1B)
8. Jose Iglesias (SS)
9. Victor Reyes (LF)

This could be a big start for both Mason Williams and Preston Tucker. Both are LH hitters as is Scott Schebler; and, thus one of them is likely headed back to Louisville when Schebler returns from rehab.

News and Notes

Hopefully Scott Schebler is close to returning and more Reds minor league action from yesterday

Dick Williams talking about Robert Stephenson

Final Thoughts

Last night’s game was an old time pitchers’ dual, the type of game we seldom see anymore. It  also featured the rarity of a complete game loss pitching effort. Guess what? The empty feeling of being a fan of the losing side didn’t feel any better to me than it did years ago when games like these seemed to be much more common.

The Reds bungled a couple of early scoring chances then didn’t get another one until the end and came up a run short.  Aside from a bolt from the blue solo home run, the Tigers didn’t even have a real scoring chance until their last at bat when they managed to plate the additional run which turned out to be the game winner. In such situations every little thing which might have made a difference seems to end up under our microscopes.

Phillip Ervin, the guy I hoped to see  play more, was involved in three of the biggest moments of the game. Only one of these went the Reds way, his 9th inning triple and following run scored. Earlier Ervin clearly made a gaffe running the bases which cost the Reds a run.  Then on the Tigers late run, he didn’t make a perfect play but didn’t really make a misplay as originally called out by the Reds TV team; and besides, the run was going score regardless. What I’m taking forward is that Ervin had 2 extra base hits, scored the Reds only run, and hopefully learned a rookie lesson or two for next time and the times thereafter. GO REDS!


Data and stats courtesy of Fangraphs and MLB.com

42 Responses

    • Jim Walker

      And Mason Williams. Every chance is probably very important for both Tucker and Williams because they are both LH hitters, the same as Schebler, and thus one of them is likely to get shipped out when Schebler returns. If Schebler, Hamilton, and Ervin are the everyday OF, Williams might have the inside track because he is a legit CF backup; but then again both Scheb and Ervin could slide over to cover CF during a game; so, maybe not.

      It looks like Tucker does have an option left. I can’t really figure out about Williams. My first blush guess would be no; but then he was outrighted early on and from the data on Cot’s I can’t really tell for sure when he was back on a 40 man and thus would have been optioned. I can see why teams have somebody whose man job is to keep track of this stuff.

      • doofus

        Roster Resource has Mason Williams with zero options.

    • Greatredlegsfan

      Could it be related to famous Sergeant Preston from Royal Canadian Mountain Police?

  1. Seat101

    Is there any way to know definitively if a player has been put on waivers?

    • Jim Walker

      No, big trade secret proprietary info, which makes no sense since at all the teams see everybody put on; and, as it suits any of them leak it to the media.

    • Shchi Cossack

      Not unless it’s announced by someone. Revocable waiver wire moves are not publicly available. We generally see only a fraction of the revocable waiver wire moves.

    • WVRedlegs

      No. MLB doesn’t make that public. Names leak out a lot into the media though.

  2. Seat101

    Thank you both. I thought it was something like that. I think it might be for the reason that teams don’t want to upset their players.

    I’m sure every agent has a go to guy on a couple of teams to find out if their clients are on waiver. I guess since it’s “off the record” players’ feelings won’t be hurt.

    • Jim Walker

      Yeah kind of archaic isn’t it given that at least the top agents probably have sources as good or better than the media.

      I haven’t done any research or reading up for several years; but, as I recall, a team is limited to 7 guys on waivers at a given time; and since trade waivers can be recalled once per player in each waiver period, they often send almost their entire 40 man roster through at the trade deadline. The period which starts with the deadline is good through the end of the season.

      Teams have up to 72 hours to claim somebody on the waiver list. There is no such thing as a “negative” claim. At end of 72 hours if there are no claims, the guy has cleared. If there are claim(s), MLB determines the “winning” claim. At that point the waiving team has 48 hours to A)make their best deal with claim winner, B)recall the waivers or C) let the guy go for the waiver fee.
      Note that a given player can only be recalled once in a given waiver period. Put him on a second time and if he is claimed he is gone.

  3. WVRedlegs

    Was Schebler at DH in Louisville, or was he able to play the field? The bat isn’t the question, it is his throwing from the outfield that is in question. If he hasn’t made any appearances in the OF at Louisville yet, it is going to be a while longer.
    Starting to feel a little empathy for Robert Stephenson. That was a lot of double speak by Dick Williams.
    I think it will be Dixon who is shuttled back to Louisville when Schebler is activated. They are going to see what Tucker and Williams can bring to the table. That will take some AB’s away from Ervin. We’ll see a 5 man OF rotation for the rest of the year. Not sure how Riggleman will handle that.

    • Hanawi

      I’d be surprised if it was Dixon since he can play the infield as well. Schebler has only been DHing, so he might be back for a little while anyway

  4. WVRedlegs

    The calendar has turned to August and the schedule gets tough again.
    Team, # of games, (place on Aug. 1, games behind).
    DET- 1
    WAS- 4 (3rd, 5.5 GB)
    NYM- 3
    ARZ- 3 (1st place)
    CLE- 3 (1st place)
    SF– 3 (4th, 5.0 GB)
    MIL- 6 (1st place tie)
    CHC- 4 (1st place tie)
    STL- 1 (4th, 7.5 GB)

    That is 24 games against 1st place or contender teams, and 4 games against non-contenders. This will be the stretch that gets Riggleman the permanent manager’s job, or it will show he is not the man for this job. The saving grace in it is the Reds have 16 games against 1st place teams and they have played well against 1st place teams in June and July.

  5. citizen54

    Nice to hear they had a plan with Robert Stephenson and that Harvey’s situation will have no effect on Stephenson..

  6. roger garrett

    Same game I watched yesterday.New guys getting hits and vets watching then get hits.

  7. Wayne nabors

    Ervins baseball fundamentals leave alot to be desired,2 games in a row,hope he picks it up quick

  8. Seat101

    Peraza is as cold as a teacher’s wit.

    Suarez blew that play

    • Broseph

      Was a half-effort play all around. Blame goes on Ervin and Suarez there.

  9. Broseph

    Riggleman needs to start being a manager on fundamentals outside of bunting, like pulling your head out of your rear and go make the play.

    That’s three times now this season at least a run has scored on outfielders not going to the ball quickly and getting it in.

    2 run game could be 1 if Ervin comes up throwing.

    I get you can’t play 162 games with your hair on fire, but play with a little urgency.

  10. Broseph

    So far we have:

    – Lack of hustle to ball down line and error on throw home.

    – No one covering second base on steal

    – Poor hitting

    – One bouncer past catcher on relay throw home that would’ve saved a run

    Sign Riggleman now

  11. Broseph

    Good grief. Just pull Ervin after the inning. Set an example

  12. roger garrett

    Can’t you feel the winning vibe and winning culture that DW was talking about?

  13. Brandon

    Bad news bears again. Reds have looked pretty bad offensively this week, but they have made up for it by equally being as bad on the bases and defensively.

  14. Wayne nabors

    For those of you who wanted Ervin, YOU CAN HAVE HIM

  15. Tom Mitsoff

    Missed TWO cutoff throws today, bad base-running last night. I don’t see him staying when Schebler returns.

    • roger garrett

      Sadly I agree but it would be sooooooo nice to have somebody in center that could hit

  16. Broseph

    I think Ervin has great potential, but he is proving to be a Robert Stephenson-type head case. His baseball IQ needs a serious evaluation.

  17. roger garrett

    New guys getting it done if you count Casali as being new.

  18. Broseph

    Can’t blame Casali on trying to score on that infield grounder with no outs. He probably looked in the on deck circle and saw Gennet who is arctic cold and Votto who is so cold he has to be measured in Kelvin.

    At least they got a few back

    • Old-school

      I agree on Casali… Bang bang play. Aggressive. He had a big double and competes. Seems like a solid back up catcher.

    • Bill

      Votto is hitting .364 in the last seven games with a .500 OBP. I guess none of those ABs counted

      • roger garrett

        He will go down as the best hitter this team has ever has but for 2018 he is a singles hitter and a walking machine.His best power days and his ability to drive he ball are behind him but I will take a bunch like him and still win a ton of games.

      • Bill

        The intersting thing is when looking into hard hit balls and exit velocity there isn’t anything out of the ordinary. However his HR totals are down. It is somewhat related to the drop in fly ball % and increase in line drives. I think his decline has started, I just don’t believe it is as drastic as some are making it

      • da bear

        Maybe Votto is the best hitter in GASP. If Votto hit in Riverfront his power numbers would certainly be down. I’d take a few of the Big Red Machine ahead of Votto, including Doggie.

        Ultimately it’s a team game. The 2015-2018 Reds have stunk. There’s no getting around that.

        There are signs of hope 2019 will be better, but only if Castillo and Mahle improve into top of the line rotation pieces… this is possible. They have the stuff. Disco ranges from middle to very solid if healthy, Romano can develop into a dependable back rotation guy. Finnegan Stephenson Reed if these guys get better and one of them breaks thru…..and management finds one more strong arm, there’s hope.

        The defense stinks and will continue to hurt their young pitching staff. Will the offense be strong enough to overcome their defensive liabilities? Pray Jesse Winker comes out of shoulder surgery positively and Nick Senzel is cracked up to be all that and Schebler has some success leading off …..or .500 might be the ceiling….and 90 losses the average for the next five years.

      • da bear

        Votto had 2 RBIs in the recent ten game home stand. How many runs did he score?

        Bat him second. He’s not driving in runs. Reds need two base hits after Votto gets on to drive him home. Despite his slowness, maybe he should lead off to take advantage of his OBP.

  19. Broseph

    You walk Votto to get to Suarez? Okaaaayyy

  20. WVRedlegs

    Tucker an RBI hit in his Reds debut made it 6-2, nice. Casali makes it 6-4.
    Votto starts 8th off with a BB.

  21. Tom Mitsoff

    Here’s where the rubber meets the road for this team … you just can’t win if your starting pitcher is constantly giving you outings of 5 innings with 3 runs allowed. You still have Romano, DeSclafani and Mahle right now in that groove. With a starting pitcher ERA over 5.00 for the year, that’s about what the Reds get on the average on a daily basis. Romano is going to end up as a reliever or a swingman (spot starter). We’ve seen enough of him over more than a year now to see he lacks consistent production. An occasional very good start gives people hope, but he hasn’t displayed that consistently.