Emotions ran high during last night’s doubleheader nightcap in Washington, D.C. Bryce Harper got hit in the knee by an Austin Brice 84-mph-curveball, and later, Jesus Reyes hit the first batter he faced in the majors, Spencer Kieboom. Pretty unlikely that either had any intent.

But in the eighth inning, Phillies reliever Ryan Madson hit Joey Votto squarely in the right knee with a 96 mph fastball – apparently a revival of the “eye for an eye” mindset of years past. Perhaps it would be more accurately called a “knee for a knee.”

Votto was irate after being hit and spewed insults at Madson that can’t be transcribed here in a family-oriented blog. It will be very interesting to see how much, if any, of the anger spills over into today’s 1:35 p.m. Eastern time finale of the four-game series at Nationals Park. The Reds are hoping for a series split.

Starting Pitchers

Name IP ERA xFIP K% BB%
Luis Castillo 115.2 4.98 3.94 22.4% 7.5%
Tanner Roark 129.2 4.37 4.30 21.1% 8.0%

July was the month when the light bulb apparently began to glow for Castillo. In five July starts, Castillo allowed only 7 earned runs in 28 innings, striking out 25, and walking only 4. Of particular note is he allowed only one home run in July after surrendering 18 in the first three months of the season.

After his most impressive start of the year, last week’s seven shutout innings against the Phillies, published reports indicated that pitching coach Danny Darwin has been working on Castillo’s arm angle during pitch delivery. What Reds management and fans are looking for from Castillo is consistency in the form of how he pitched in July. When that is realized, Castillo will be ready to take the step that all in Redleg Nation are hoping he takes, and that is into the role of “stopper” and “ace.”

Like many pitchers, Roark runs hot and cold. He’s coming off two very good starting performances, allowing just one earned run in 15 innings. That was preceded by three starts in which he allowed 17 earned runs in 16 innings. He’s a lot like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.

Bullpen

How about Reyes last night? Pretty impressive major league debut with two scoreless innings in a mop-up role. As a result of throwing two innings, he may or may not be available today. All others in the bullpen crew should be available if needed.

Starting Lineups

Reds Nationals
SS Jose Peraza RF Adam Eaton
LF Phillip Ervin LF Juan Soto
2B Scooter Gennett 3B Anthony Rendon
3B Eugenio Suarez CF Bryce Harper
RF Mason Williams 2B Daniel Murphy
C Tucker Barnhart 1B Matt Adams
1B Brandon Dixon C Matt Wieters
P Luis Castillo P Tanner Roark
CF Billy Hamilton SS Wilmer Difo

It was not clear at the time this post went live if Votto’s absence from the lineup is in any way connected to the events that occurred late in Saturday night’s game.

News and Notes

Very, very interesting read from yesterday’s LA Times: “You hear a lot about major league prospects – but most will never be heard from again.”

The story’s focal point: “In his eight years as the Dodgers’ general manager, (Ned) Colletti made 44 trades, sending 71 players out of town – not all of them minor leaguers, to be sure. But out of the dozens of minor leaguers Colletti traded, how many came back to burn the Dodgers? One.”

That was Carlos Santana, traded to the Indians in 2008, and now with the Phillies.

Author Bill Shaikin maintains: “The goal should not be to hoard minor leaguers. The goal should be to identify the very best ones, then consider trading any of the others for players that could help the major league team.”

In fairness, it should be pointed out that the article was written from the perspective of a perennially contending team, as opposed to one that is in a rebuilding cycle. The player acquisition strategies are obviously very different.

I highly recommend this read to anyone who spends time regularly here at Redleg Nation.

47 Responses

  1. Jim Walker

    Looking down the Reds lineup for today the thought hit me that with the obvious exception of the missing Votto, I’m not sure the other 7 guys fare any worse across a season as the Reds regular lineup, assuming Votto back in there, than if any 2 of the 3 missing guys from then Reds previous “outfield rotation” were inserted as corner OF instead.

    • Seat101

      That was not an unambiguous statement.

      Took me a while to figure out what you were saying. Essentially though it all comes down to what’s going to happen in centerfield, right?

      • Jim Walker

        Sorry, my first sentences of the day. See Sliotar’s comment below. He caught my intended drift.

    • Sliotar

      Schelber (120 wRC+) and Winker (128 wRC+) were on track for nice seasons before the injuries occurred.

      To tie into Tom’s excellent link on minor leaguers, this is why Ervin, Williams, Dixon, Herrera need all the at bats going forward. “Get some tape on them”, to use a football scouting term. Projections are fine, but sorting against a Nats team desperate to stay in playoff hunt is a better determinate of young players’ ceilings.

      At this level, position players (catcher sometimes excepted) sort themselves fairly quickly.

      Which begs the question…why is Gennett, “playing with a bum shoulder all season” according to Welsh, not sitting in place of Herrera?

      Go Redlegs.

      • Jim Walker

        Agreed we need to see these guys playing the next 2 months. It would really help to see one or both of Williams and Ervin playing a significant amount of CF to see if among them and Schebler that spot could be covered over a season. Other comments below replying to “J”

    • J

      That could be so, but the two guys on the DL right now both have an OPS that would rank them in the NL’s top 30 if they had enough ABs to qualify. Their numbers are similar to Charlie Blackmon’s. Maybe Ervin and Williams could both put up similar numbers if they played every day, but maybe not.

      • Jim Walker

        If I had to choose from the total current pool, i.e. Duvall out Preston in. I want Winker and Ervin as my first 2 picks. Strong bat from each side. Also they are the 2 youngest (Ervin 21 months younger than Schebler; Winker abott a year younger than Ervin). Schebler is probably next depending on what we might see from Williams if he stays up and continues to play. On the age scale he is not quite a year younger than Schebler.

        However I think an OF crew of Winker, Ervin, Schebler and Williams would be fine to go with until the guys at A+/ AA hit and force their way into the picture. For now somebody like Dixon as the all around utility guy/ big bat off the bench would take the 5th OF spot. Schebler and Williams would split CF with either filling a corner from time to time.

  2. Old-school

    I don’t expect residual fireworks. The Nationals need to win games and Riggleman doesn’t want to let this road trip get out of hand.Castillo leads the Reds pitchers in WAR/ strikeouts and IP and soon to be wins. Let him continue to build his resume as a core pitcher. Beating the Nationals on the road would be a nice W for Castillo.

    • VaRedsFan

      Castillo can get the 1st plunk in and stay in the game. Warnings come afterwards, then ejections for future plunkings.

  3. Hotto4Votto

    I’d like to see Castillo bury a heater in one of Nat’s back in the first inning. After that there will be a warning issued to both clubs and things will settle down. Can’t roll over and take this lying down or you’ll become seen as a pushover. No excuse for throwing at Votto last night after two clearly unintentional HBP. Hope his knee’s feeling alright and his absence is more of a taking him out of the fray from further retaliation.

  4. Jack

    I would have been surprised if Votto was playing today. It’s all bone where he got hit. He has to be seriously sore today.

    • Satchmo

      First pitch should be in Harper’s ear.

      Is there a Wishbone C on his jersey? No. Then his physical health means nothing to me.

  5. Indy Red Man

    We’re all sick of Billy’s bat, but that ball by Rendon brings up some questions. Do they have another CF that catches that ball? Schebler..I doubt it. Ervin…no way. Mason Williams possibly? They’re most likely looking at 2nd/3rd with 1 out there.

    • Jack

      There is no answer to any of that until one of them plays center. So it’s just a steaming pile of speculation.

    • Old-school

      I think that’s the wrong question. The Reds are allowed to acquire a good CF that can hit too. What MLB CF peers catch that? Almost all of them.

      The Nationals are benching Michael Taylor who was with Hamilton and enciarte last year as GG finalists in the NL Taylor catches it…

      Do other NL Central CF catch that ball?

      Marte Pittsburgh-yes
      Almore cubs- yes
      Fowler St louis- yes
      Cain brewers- yes( Yellich too)

      Enciarte yes…Trout yes…Pollack former GG yes…Kiermaier GG winner yes. Odibal Herrera Phil’s…yes….Buxton Minnesota yes

      And on and on. Hamilton is great defensively … But 5-7 CF are just as good and another 5-7 are marginally below and then there are the Blackmon’s and Harper’s and offensive guys where it doesn’t matter..

  6. VaRedsFan

    No HBP’s…but Harper slings his bat to the edge of the dugout after the popout to 3rd

  7. docproctor

    A lot to like about Mason Williams. Too bad he’s another lefty. Sure would like to see him get some time in CF, but we know that’s impossible with Everyday Billy out there.

    • Indy Red Man

      Yeah…I like him too! No big holes in his game that I can see? He’s hasn’t shown much power in the minors, but he has that blast in the sun deck in gabp already!

      • Keith

        He hasn’t walked yet this year. That’s fine as long as he’s hitting .400, though!

  8. Indy Red Man

    I’ve never seen anyone in my life that throws as hard as Castillo (97-99 today) that gets so few swing-n-misses on the fastball? Just too many center cut…has to go up the ladder on the heater and then drop the change. Its still good to see him throwing harder though….sets up the change-up better!

  9. BigRedMike

    Nice defensive play there out of Ervin

  10. VaRedsFan

    Luis needs to throw 100% changeups when he is ahead in the count, until they prove that they can hit it. Beat on the fastball again, by Harper. They aren’t touching the change up.

  11. Jack

    Reds need to put Washington away here.

  12. VaRedsFan

    4 singles with no outs, and only get 1. Barnhardt and Dixon have to be better against the guy throwing 91.

    • Jim Walker

      Dixon had 2 very good pitches to have at and didn’t get his bat off his shoulder on either of them. So far, he is not in the same class as Williams and Ervin,

    • Shchi Cossack

      This is why players like Herrera, Dixon, Tucker, Ervin & WIlliams need playing time right now. We don’t need to see Hamilton playing at all or Gennett, Votto or Suarez playing nearly every day. That time is past for the 2018 season. Some or possibly even all of the prospects will prove less than capable in a starting role at the MLB level, but the Reds have a perfect opportunity to make those determinations and possibly one or two of the prospects step up and seize the opportunity.

      • Jack

        Herrera should be playing every other day for Gennett. And I’ve seen enough of Dixon. He is a guy that can play multiple positions but the Reds have Blsndino for that and Dixon shouldn’t be getting more playing time over Herrera , Ervin and William’s. JMO

      • Jim Walker

        Dixon seems like a guy that is occasionally run into a ball. Question is how much. Think he is better judged by spotting him against relievers such as he is likely to see in his eventual role because most of those guys are relievers because they have holes in their games too. More fastballs. Fewer good breaking balls etc.

      • roger garrett

        I agree Cossack but we don’t count so expect to see the 4 guys that always play continue to do so.

    • roger garrett

      We had holes on offense to begin with and now we just have more.Its ok just let the new guys play and see what they can do.The Reds will blame this year on injuries to Winker,Homer,Scott and the down year power wise for Joey along with 3 youngsters in the rotation.It could very well be why they win 70 games rather then 75 but we know this roster was flawed in the beginning and the team chose to sign two arms for the pen only.Unless they cut some ties with existing players and sign some through free agency it will be the same in 2019 and could be any way since the rest of our division continues to make moves they think will help them.

  13. WVRedlegs

    Jim Day says the Reds need a starter for Wednesday. He says Robert Stephenson’s next start is supposed to be Wednesday too. This might be the time.

  14. Old-school

    The regular absence of Herrera is telling. He’s not in the plan.

    Opening day lineup 2019.

    Peraza SS
    Gennett 2b
    Votto 1b
    Suarez 3b
    Winker LF
    Schebler RF
    Barnhart C
    Castillo P
    Hamilton CF

    The Reds will transition Senzel to the OF and go to AAA for a month to learn the OF….but really gain an extra year of team control. Schebler will.move to CF…Senzel to RF and Hamilton and Ervin are backups .

    Castillo gave a good outing against an elite offense.

    • VaRedsFan

      I think Billy will be too expensive to be a bench player for the Reds. Bigger market team maybe. Otherwise I hope your plan works and Senzel can transition to the OF

      • Sliotar

        Spot on, VA.

        I have read in this thread that Bailey and Hamilton, a combined $30 million next season minimum, probably more, will be DFA’d and benched.

        I will believe that when I see it.

        IF the Reds think they are going to contend from day one in 2019, then maybe those things occur. Maybe.

        Otherwise, hope for an overachievement, let them run their contracts down, buy Homer out for $5 milllion, let Hamilton walk.

        Start window in 2020.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      I would agree that it’s becoming more apparent that Herrera is not in the plans. Dixon is helpless at the plate right now. The only pitch he can hit is the fastball that the opposing team tells him is coming.

  15. VaRedsFan

    Nice work by Peralta today. Castillo as well..

  16. roger garrett

    We will still being talking about Billy next year.Either the fact he still can’t hit or the other one which I prefer is that Billy would have caught that ball.I really hope he lands on a team that doesn’t need him to hit at all.Maybe an offensive machine like the Red Sox.

    • Jim Walker

      Somewhere in the DH league with a big OF is where he needs to be.

    • Jack

      Milton Bradley is better than he is .

  17. roger garrett

    I get a feeling we are going to get two or three more runs and steal this one from the Nats.Go Reds.

  18. Indy Red Man

    Poor atbats by Barnhart and Dixon…game over. Barnhart hitting .200 with risp….0 Hrs in 85 atbats. I’d like to see more Casili. Dixon? He can hit at AAA and is a good athlete w/power, but that was pathetic? Maybe he’s an occasional platoon guy vs lefties….thats about it

  19. bouwills

    Gee Joey, take the bat off your shoulder. Please.

  20. roger garrett

    Still have the same holes on offense we have had since day 1.Ervin and Williams holding their own replacing Scott and Winker and should play most of the time from here on out.