Returning home proved to be just the ticket for the Reds (51-65) last night, as they pulled off an impressive shutout victory over the first-place Diamondbacks (64-53). It was a much-needed pitching performance after several duds during the nine-game road trip. Tonight, the club will try to keep building some momentum when it sends its most experienced starting pitcher to the mound at 6:40 p.m. ET.

Starting Pitchers

Name IP ERA xFIP K% BB%
Robbie Ray 71.1 4.92 3.75 30.8% 12.0%
Matt Harvey 104.0 5.37 4.58 17.1% 6.2%

Robbie Ray was one of baseball’s breakout stars in 2017, but he’s struggled to replicate that success this year. Injuries have slowed him down, and when he’s been on the mound, he’s battled inconsistent performance. Look at his strikeout and walk rates for all the evidence you need there. Ray has made it through the sixth inning in only four of his 14 starts on the season due to his inefficiency. While his stuff is still as nasty as ever — his K% ranks eighth among all pitchers with 70 or more innings — he’s having trouble controlling it. While he succeeded despite his erratic pitching last year, luck hasn’t quite gone in his favor in 2018.

Ray benefited from an 84.7% strand rate and .267 BABIP last season despite being one of the league leaders in hard contact allowed (40.4%). The result was a 2.89 ERA. This year, he’s giving up even more hard contact (43.9%) — a rate topped by only six pitchers with the same number of innings. This time, however, the balls aren’t bouncing his way. His BABIP is up to .331 this season, while his strand rate has fallen to more normal levels (75.2%)

Scouting report: Ray is primarily a three-pitch pitcher, throwing a four-seam fastball, slider, and curveball. His fastball sits around 93-94 mph and touches 97. Per FanGraphs pitch value, his heater was the eighth-best in the game last year, holding hitters to a .193 average, .371 slugging percentage, and 86 wRC+. This year, those numbers have regressed to .273, .469, and 146. His breaking pitches haven’t been as effective either. His slider is still getting a lot of whiffs (21.4%), but not as many as last year, particularly outside the strike zone. Ray’s wRC+ allowed on the slider has risen from a 40 to 72. The curveball has been even less effective, increasing from a dominant 47 wRC+ last year to 111 this year.


It’s August 11, and Matt Harvey is still a Cincinnati Red. Not a sentence most people expected to read a few weeks ago. Presumably, the team is still looking to move him by getting him through waivers, but based on the recent returns the Padres got for Tyson Ross and Jordan Lyles (which were nonexistent), the Reds are likely not going to get any more for Harvey than they would’ve on July 31. At this point, his starts should be going to young pitchers like Cody Reed or Lucas Sims.

As for Harvey’s actual performance, he’s coming off another shaky outing, his second such start in his last three trips to the mound. The right-hander has allowed 15 runs and six round-trippers in his last 12 2/3 innings and has not made it through the sixth inning since June 26.

Lineups

 

Diamondbacks

1. David Peralta (LF)
2. Paul Goldschmidt (1B)
3. A.J. Pollock (CF)
4. Eduardo Escobar (3B)
5. Steven Souza Jr. (RF)
6. Ketel Marte (2B)
7. Nick Ahmed (SS)
8. Jeff Mathis (C)
9. Robbie Ray (P)

Reds

1. Jose Peraza (SS)
2. Dilson Herrera (LF)
3. Scooter Gennett (2B)
4. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
5. Phillip Ervin (RF)
6. Brandon Dixon (1B)
7. Curt Casali (C)
8. Matt Harvey (P)
9. Billy Hamilton (CF)

  • Dilson Herrera is making his first professional start in the outfield. All of his other starts have come at second base, shortstop, and third base.
  • After returning for one game, Joey Votto is back out of the lineup again as he continues to nurse a knee injury. Thanks for nothing, Ryan Madson.

News, Notes, & Pre-Game Reading

Stat of the Day

Three position players have pitched for the Reds this season (Cliff Pennington, Alex Blandino, Phil Ervin). The Reds haven’t had multiple appearances by a position player in a single season since 2009, when Paul Janish threw in a pair of relief outings. Believe it or not, four other MLB teams have had more relief appearances by position players this year, one of them being the Diamondbacks (the others are the Cubs, Brewers, and Rays).

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.

Join the conversation! 36 Comments

  1. Herrera in LF in an interesting development.

    I don’t like Madson. First the Reds payed him 8.5 million to rehab his arm then he injures Votto because Harper’s knee got bruised by an 86 MPH curveball. MLB really needs to put an end to this stupidity before someone takes a fastball to the face because the unwritten rules of baseball demand payback

    • Difficult decisions at work here.

      On one hand, I’m glad to see Dixon getting additional playing time. But, OTOH, I haven’t been following closely.

      The experiment I would have like to seen: Dixon in the OF, Scooter at 1B and Herrera given a chance to show his stuff at his natural position.

      What am I missing?

      • Just be glad they’re playing…..this is the Reds after all. They’d normally run a starter out there on 1 leg rather then play a young guy. I like Herrera and I still like Dixon! He’s got more power then Blandino and can also play OF fairly well. He might pan out as a RH enforcer against lefties. They could sit Winker, Scooter, or Joey a little more often if Dixon could handle that role.

        Wish list would be plenty of Ervin, Dilson, Dixon, and Mason Williams….along with Sims and BobSteve. If they could go out and get a Wheeler or Stroman to go with Disco and Castillo? Then add in Sims who has had a better run at AAA then all of our other young guys. That leaves one spot for a 4th-5th type and we have a bunch of guys to pick from.

      • As the fourth year of the rebuild is drawing near, nothing is missing.

      • If Votto hits the DL then giving Scooter the starts at 1B makes almost to much sense.

      • Scooter is never going to be the 1B with Votto around so there probably isn’t much value in getting him time at 1B. Herrera probably has no future at 2B with both Gennett (probably getting extended) and Senzel ahead of him. Herrera’s best chance at playing is probably the guy who can play both OF and IF off the bench

        • Votto may be less than ideal at first base sooner rather than later. He’s 35 in a month with the DH coming in 2021. Suarez might be a candidate to move to 1b with Senzel at 3b and India staying on the left side.

          Might be time to re-evaluate moving Senzel.and India off the left side of the infield. They might be the answer in 2021 at 3b/ SS. It’s not that far off when viewing the reds contention window

          • I’m sure Votto will move to DH, if it comes to the NL. That is still a couple of years away so hopefully Senzel has found a place to play before 2021. At that point when Scooter gets his extension either he or Winker could go to 1B

        • That’s fair Bill, I’m thinking about Scooter’s trade value and possiblity of the DH coming to the NL. If Scooter gets his Uncle Bob driven 6 year extension then we’ll need the DH to park either him or Votto as they lose the ability to play the field.

    • That Votto was not protected by the Reds is wrong. In stead of intentionally walking Turner, Garrett should have plunked him. If anything, the battles with the Pirates, a few years back, should have taught the Reds that. Not protecting J.V. Is on the manager.

  2. I don’t see Dixon or Williams ever being players on TNGR team. Blandino is the infield swiss army knife assuming he’s healthy post surgery. Phil Ervin is the OF swiss army knife with Herrera as the bench guy and bat.

    I never really followed Ervin in the minors other than his slash line. He’s always had a reasonable OBP and OPS but if he can’t play CF or be a an elite OF defender ….he’s not even Chris Heisey. Jesse Winker and Schebler are corner OF starters assuming health.

    • I think Schebler’s shoulder is shot. The word is going to get around that he can’t throw. I think it was Atl earlier this year and Freeman hit a bullet that got by Joey….he just rounded 1st and kept going even though Schebler got to the ball as he was just rounding the bag. He made it easily. They knew while most teams don’t follow thru on their scouting reports hard enough! Even though Freeman is no speedster they knew his arm was shot. Hope I’m wrong because he was making big strides at the plate, but the Reds can’t count on him. He needs to DH or maybe 1st base somewhere? To me its Winker and Ervin. If Schebler can throw then an outfield of Winker, Schebler, and Ervin sounds pretty good with Mason Williams helping out.

      • It would be nice to know .I do remember Sean Casey injured his shoulder and bad power year and MRI supposedly ok… Then Reds did arthroscopy ….found torn labrum and fixed and Casey had huge power year .

        We don’t know . A lot of uncertainty.
        The Reds have zero chance to win in 2019 without Schebler and Winker.

  3. If you listen closely to the telecast, you can hear Robbie Ray grunt as he releases each pitch. When I saw him in Goodyear this spring, it was really loud. And really annoying.

  4. Harvey delivers a 2 out knock to tie it. Twice the Reds have had a runner on 3rd with 1 out and struck out. (Suarez/Casali)

  5. They pitched to Harvey when they had Billy on deck….big mistake:)

  6. I’m against the DH. I like to see the pitchers put some work in to be only slightly bad at the plate. Disco has really hit some balls hard this year and then Lorenzen of course. Castillo has a few hits and even Harvey’s swing doesn’t look that bad. Romano is the only auto out. Can they bunt…can they make contact? Its a skillset that some teams have that others don’t. Automatic DH would be like taking punting out of football. Just advance the ball 40 yards and save time.

    I say that despite knowing that the DH would limit Riggleman’s love of bunting and double switches.

  7. Peraza in a nutshell right there…..2 weak outs where there is 99.99% chance that they make the play and 1 bleeder that drops in barely over the infield. Rarely walks or drives the ball. That would be ok if he ran more and he could bat 9th to have speed on base in front of the thunder! If they can’t get Schebler back at leadoff then it would be nice to see someone with some pop in their bat. Senzel maybe?

  8. I understand why they did not overturn the call. But they were wrong

  9. Billy single. Time for Peraza to bunt.

  10. Run already? Billy and Peraza need to just go! If they get thrown then so be it….but it beats waiting around? We are not the Yankees where 1st base is scoring position because 6-7 guys go deep constantly!

  11. Scooter killed that ball:(

  12. Any of you stat gurus know how bad we’ve been outhomered at home? I’m guessing -30 atleast?

  13. Pretty good recall, Indy.

    Entering tonight, at home:

    Reds HRs – 65
    Home runs allowed- 98

    Can’t underestimate the power of HRs in 2018. DBacks below average htting team anyway, but are much worse away from home.

    Lost last night, really not on top of game tonight, but Peralta’s HR could totally bail them out.

  14. Huge 2 run double Tucker!!!

  15. Indy boy comes thru!!!! Tucker is from Brownsburg….burb on the westside. Its amazing how much talent comes out of there. Lance Lynn and Drew Storen were teammates. Gordon Hayward on the Celtics is from Avon next door. There is a couple guys in the NFL….and just heard the other day that the #2 pro style QB from 2017 in the nation just left Clemson and is considering Indiana or Purdue.

  16. Yeah, nice to hear a crowd with a little bit of life in there.

    This starting to feel like the Brewers series about this time last year, where the road team wasn’t playing their best and the Reds swept them. Milwaukee ending up missing playoffs by 2 games.

    DBacks may regret yet not finding a way to get Iglesias. That bullpen is not what is was last year, in the bottom half of the league.

  17. I’ve seen it all…Peraza walked to get to Votto.

  18. This is the Reds and they love “veteran-ness”! I think they resign Scooter, Billy, and probably try for Harvey too. I’d like to keep Scooter if he’s affordable….and maybe Harvey too?

    They’ll be 9-7 in his Reds starts and he has a 4.61 era in Cincy. Not great #s but he doesn’t beat himself and his velocity has increased throughout the season. 2 years for 20 mil wouldn’t be that bad, but I’d try for Wheeler first! Hate to lose Billy in some ways, but just when he teases you with some havoc then a 2-30 is sure to follow!

  19. Big time win.Does anybody think Iggy could end up with the Dodgers?

    • Probably not this year. He would have to make it through waivers and I am sure a few other teams higher on the list would claim him even if there was no intent to actually trade for him

Comments are closed.

About Matt Wilkes

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.

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2018 Reds, Game Thread

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