The 2018 battle for the Ohio Cup resumes tonight at GABP as the Reds (52-66; 4-6 last 10) meet the Indians (66-51; 7-3 last 10) in the first game of a 3 game set. The Reds took 2 of 3 from the Indians in Cleveland back in July and need to at least repeat that result to lock down the 2018 Ohio Cup since the current Cup holders, the Indians, retain the Cup  if the season series ends tied at 3. Yes, it’s not a real alternate championship like the FA Cup; but, the Ohio Cup is at least something for the Reds and their fans to aspire to in another season gone sour. Game time tonight is 7:10pm Eastern.

Starting Pitchers

A pair of right handers, Homer Bailey (Reds) and Mike Clevinger (Indians) make the start tonight. Tonight marks Homer Bailey’s first appearance of the year versus the Indians. Clevinger started the opening game of the series between the Reds and Indians in Cleveland a month ago allowing 5 earned runs over 6+ innings in a game won 7-5 by the Reds.

Tonight is Homer Bailey’s fourth start since his return from the disabled list. His first 2 starts went well. His most recent start did not go well which has reminded Reds fans of his strong start start to the 2018 season followed upon  by the downward spiral which ended up with Bailey on the disabled list. Reds management is apparently  committed to riding out the string with Bailey at least to the end of the current season. Fans can only hope that this commitment yields positive results and does not come back to haunt the Reds longer term development.

Mike Clevinger has been having a bit of a rough spell himself over the last month or so; but, all things are relative. In his last 7 starts he has pitched more like a league average starter rather than the up and comer many have pegged him to be. However in his most recent start, Clevinger showed signs of getting back into a more positive groove.  Clevinger throws his fastball a little over 50% of the time at a velocity in the low to mid 90’s, mostly as a 4 seamer but with a few sinkers mixed in. His main secondary pitch is his slider which he throws about 20% of the time. The remainder of his pitches are split about evenly between a change up and curveball. An interesting point to note is that according to Fangraphs’ data, Clevinger’s change up clocks in the high 80’s while his slider is in the low 80MPH range which is something of a reverse look.

2018 Comparative Data

PITCHER FIP IP/ Start HR/9 BB% K%
Homer Bailey 5.62 5.1 1.91 7.4% 14.7%
Mike Clevinger 3.35 6.1 0.80 7.7% 24.1%

Interesting to note that Bailey doesn’t walk batters quite as often as Clevinger’ but; Clevinger strikes out batters at more than 150% of Bailey’s rate and allows only half as many HR/9 as Bailey. At this point in his career, Bailey appears to be simply too hittable.

Bullpens

Keury Mella pitched 2 innings for the Reds Sunday and would figure to be limited or unavailable today. 

 

UPDATE:

The Indians current closer, Cody Allen, has pitched 5 outs in the last 2 days; and could be on short availability tonight. Also keep in  mind that with National League Rules (no DH) in use, Indians manager Terry Francona may have to change his bullpen patterns during this series which may or not work to the Reds advantage.

Lineups

              INDIANS            REDS
1. Francisco Lindor (SS)
2. Michael Brantley (LF)
3. Jose Ramirez (3B)
4. Yonder Alonso (1B)
5. Melky Cabrera (RF)
6. Jason Kipnis (2B)
7. Yan Gomes (C)
8. Greg Allen (CF)
9. Mike Clevinger (P)
1. Jose Peraza (SS)
2. Joey Votto (1B)
3. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
4. Scooter Gennett (2B)
5. Tucker Barnhart (C)
6. Mason Williams (CF)
7. Phillip Ervin (RF)
8. Preston Tucker (LF)
9. Homer Bailey (P)

Billy Hamilton gets a night off. The Reds player with the best wRC+ ranking since the All Star Break, Phil Ervin, will bat seventh. I guess we should just be glad Ervin is actually in the lineup and not sitting next to Dilson Herrera on the bench yet again.

News and Notes

We all have missed seeing Nick Senzel debut for the Reds this season too.

Have a look at another Reds up and comer

How about the last 3+ weeks at the plate for the guy at the top of this list?

For those of you otherwise occupied over the weekend, this really happened on Saturday

PS. Votto burned them with an RBI single.

Final Thoughts

Writing about Homer Bailey today in the Starting Pitchers segment was difficult. My first thought was to say that we should hope for the best results from his efforts tonight. But then I found myself debating just what the “best results” for the Reds would be at this juncture where Bailey is concerned.  What purpose is served by a strong start such as we saw from Matt Harvey over the weekend? Would that actually portend good for the Reds over the longer haul? Does anyone really believe Homer might find a formula to enable him to pitch well enough in 2019 to be a solid rotation piece? Even if he did, it is hardly imaginable the Reds would pony up the $25M to keep him around for 2020. We can but hope for an end result that somehow is best for both Homer Bailey and the Reds. MLB needs to find a better way  for the player, the team, and we fans.


Data and stats courtesy of  MLB.com  and Fangraphs

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Twitter: @jn_walkerjr

Join the conversation! 61 Comments

  1. Love your game thread previews Jim!

    I’ll be taking this game in with my father. It will be my 6th and likely last game this season. One of the 6 games was that dreadful rainy and cold experience on my birthday (July 20th). We’ll be in section 135, right down by the field for this one. I’m hoping Homer pitches a good one. The first two times I saw him this season, they weren’t very good outings.

    • Hope it is an enjoyable evening regardless; but of course, even better if it is a Reds W!

  2. This is a better pre-game write up than this team deserves. Nice work Jim!

    Why not put Ervin at leadoff. Post-ASG Peraza is not an everyday leadoff hitter and it’s odd that Riggleman has become more consistent on that than anything else in the lineup. It’s like he just threw the kids into the bottom of the lineup as an afterthought.

  3. Clevenger is a guy I hoped the Reds would pursue last month in an Iglesias package. He’s a #4 in Cleveland who could be a #1 or 2 in Cincinnati.

    That’s the kind of deal I hope the Reds pursue in the offseason.

  4. And for the record, the best result is for Bailey to pitch well. One, I don’t want the Reds to be out of this one by the 5th inning. Two, the Reds have to pay Bailey in 2019 rather he is with the team or not. If he’s pitched well enough to not get DFA after this season, that means he may provide some value in 2019 as a rotation piece. I’m not seeing a huge opportunity cost in 2019 if Bailey can actually be one of the 5 best starting pitchers. If the Reds are competitive in 2019 (unlikely), it hopefully means Bailey is helping them win games. If the Reds aren’t competitive but Bailey is pitching well, he could be moved for some salary relief and maybe a prospect depending on just how much money the Reds may be willing to eat. Strong outings more often than not by Bailey the rest of 2018 also make it easier for the Reds to perhaps move him in the off-season. Rather or not it would be a good idea to move him if he’s pitched well the rest of 2018 is inconsequential. What matters is makes him moveable if only saving them a few million $$ (a la the Phillips trade).

    If I was the Reds I woudln’t move him in the off-season if he is pitching well and someone isn’t willing to pick up at least $12-million of his salary.

    • I pretty much agree. I don’t want Bailey or anyone to play badly. The issue is opportunity cost versus paying off or slowing paying down the tab which will be still be $28M at the end of this season.
      Keep in mind, Baily becomes a 10/5 guy by the end of this season (9.017 at the start of 2018). That could color anything they seek to do in the off season or next year since he will be in a position to block any deals.

      • LOL. Block? Bailey should bronze (a statue of) anyone deft enough to trade for him.

        • He is going to be paid regardless. Why should he put himself out for anyone unless he has designs on playing after 2019?

  5. Dilson Herrera should start every game from now to the end of the season. Too much potential to not find out what he can do either at second base or in the outfield.

    • Second this. They brought him up, and with all the injuries it is time to find out what you have.

      One of the earlier threads has Scooter’s splits in it. Between the shoulder and all the games he has played, a few days off would not seem to hurt, regardless of what they plan to do with him in the offseason.

      • Unfortunately the guy making out the lineup card disagrees and said a week or so ago that Scooter was likely to start every game the rest of the season, or at least until late September.

  6. I’m pretty sure Clevenger embarrassed Peraza in all three of his plate appearances against him last time.

  7. Cody Reed up for Mella.

    • Thanks Not surprising given Mella pitched and pitched poorly yesterday plus they are an arm short because of being committed to the 6 man rotation.

  8. Wow.

    Almost 15 comments before the first pitch. I personally choose to believe the FA Cup reference fired up the Nation early tonight. Nice write-up, Jim.

    Go Redlegs.

    • Maybe it should have been the League Cup instead. The Reds aren’t exactly a beer league town team which has to take up a collection to make the entry fee 😉

  9. Indians feed just commented that Scooter was the last Red to lead the NL in batting average at the all star break since….

    George Foster. Would NOT have guessed that one.

  10. MVP of the game so far kid reds fan that caught ball…

    • Good call on the youngster.

      There was a segment this morning on MLB Radio, discussing what a bad practice has developed, shaming people to throw home runs balls back on the field, if a visiting player hit it.

      They cited what happened in Yankee Stadium over the weekend, where a kid caught a home run ball by Adrian Beltre, that moved him up on the all-time list…a collector’s item, or certainly one Beltre would have traded for.

      The dad was shamed by Bleacher Creatures to throw it back, and he did.

      Kid is always likely to remember that as a bad day at the park.

  11. More nonsense on the pitch selection….like I was talking about earlier today? Homer drops a curve on the outside to go up 1-2 on Ramirez so why throw a heater inside to a short guy with short arms? He didn’t even hit it that good, but he’s got a million HRs and a quick swing so how is that pitch going to work? Stupid? You throw your pitch and if he walks then he walks. Alonso isn’t 1/3 the threat!

    • Homer shook off the fastball in, Tucker hung 3 fingers for the slider (I assume). The slider at 90 mph, didn’t break and hung on the inside edge. I’ve said a million times, don’t throw inside pitches to leftyies….the love them. I’ll assume again, that it was supposed to break off the plate inside.

  12. I refuse to believe Joey is done with the long ball. He’s not stepping into his swing at all and still just muscled that ball 390 feet off the wall with his arms! If he gets his knees/legs right then he could still be a force!

    • The power decline this year is real, and worth discussion. But there was similar concern two seasons ago and Joey adjusted and had the 2017 season. Certainly not going to rule out another adjustment through end of this year and beginning of next.

  13. $105MM for 350 innings of 5.70 ERA ball, that’s what Bailey has provided under current contract, I can’t wait to see him cut loose.

    • Bailey won’t be here for the 2020 season, so his days are numbered.

      The year before his extension, he got paid $5.4 million and produced…..$30.4 million of value (per FanGraphs).

      He got hurt. It is what it is.

      I am glad all MLB players are guaranteed. The money is certainly there, no reason for a guy not to get everything the team promised, injury or no injury. The NFL is an absolute travesty.

      His story is a cautionary tale about trying to land a “name” SP via free agency. Most are going to be 30 years old or close, with some miles on the arm.

      Much cheaper (if a longer path) to sort the numerous cheap, cost-controlled arms.

  14. The big swing of Gennett is not getting it done. Let’s see what Herrera can do at second base.

    • Yeah….he needs a few days off atleast. He’s barely missed 3 hrs in the past 2 weeks and maybe thats making him press even more? No reason why they can’t play Herrera at 2B once a week and 4-5 more in LF.

    • Yup, what about that big swing? Game tied 2-2 now.

  15. Sigh, every time I think I am done doubting Peraza he pulls me back into it…

  16. Bailey stated that the scouting report was bad vs. the Mets in his last start.

  17. I have two boys who have played a lot of travel ball, and have watched a lot of baseball myself, and never seen that play…

  18. Homer got 4, maybe 5 outs that inning

  19. Homer competes but 1-19 in his and Finnegan’s starts. The Reds are 51-47 in the other games. 25-9 when they get a quality start.

  20. Scooter is 17-79 with 1 home run since the All star break. He’s had a great great run but no way do you extend him for $40 million + for his age 30-33 seasons. I’ll take Nick Senzel at age 24-26 and that money for SP.

    • Just a wee bit off there. Scooter will be 29 in May. I think he’d take 35 for 3 years….thats to age 31. We’re already down 40 in HRs at gabp this year? Maybe a decent manager would give him some rest? The Reds just run people into the ground like Duvall last summer. THat was painful to watch. He’s 4th in hitting and he’ll hit again. Plus you have the vertigo issue with Senzel. Personally I get rid of Peraza and Billy and fit Senzel in somewhere. We need to play longball in GABP not small ball and stupid bunts.

      • Ervin is putting in a claim to be in the mix too which complicates things a bit (actually a good thing). Would be nice to know if PE could play CF or if he is in the corner pool with Winker, Scheb, and possibly Senzel/ Scooter.

        • Triumph of hope over experience, but Ervin’s bat has been good enough, and he seems to have enough base athleticism, that I hope if he works on the defensive fundamentals over the winter/spring he would be in play for a fourth outfielder spot.

        • I followed PE’ s slash line in the minors but always assumed he was a CF. It looks like he was moved off CF and is viewed as a corner guy and back up CF.

      • Except the Reds already have him for his 2019 age 29 year .It’s no new money in 2020+.. he’s been a pleasure to watch though and great great hitter.

        • I’m guessing a 3 yr deal would rewrite his 2019 paycheck right? I’m in sales and working with numbers on spreadsheets all day/every day, but I hate talking about that stuff with sports? If he goes then he goes….just think it would be a mistake. Plus I think big Bob looks at everything from a marketing (fans) standpoint and Scooter is the hometown underdog story!

    • Agree with you thoughts, but dang that was a nice shot…

    • Right on cue

  21. The Legend has hit 3 foul homers in the last 10 games or so. Not foul that time !!!!!!

  22. Left Bailey in to long . Every time this team gets a run they give it right back.

    • Your right and looks like we will have to get use to it for this year and next.

  23. I just picked up Diaz for my fantasy leagues when the Indians get the DH back. He can rake. Bailey tries but he just doesn’t have it any longer. Peraza didn’t do him any favors either….making him throw another 20 pitches.

  24. I’ve had it with Garrett. He’s been terrible since May. Send him down

    This makes 1-15 in Homer’s starts although his luck is even worse then he is.

    • Agree on Garrett. Not sure what is wrong, but something is and he needs to go down and figure it out.

  25. Indians fans just commented more Indians fans than reds fans at game.

    And that play is where you do miss Hamilton.

    Night all…

  26. Fight at the bat rack for a shot at facing Garrett.

  27. If the Reds want to start being competitive, starting next year…should be the year, they need to find pretty much consistent left hand relievers like their rightys, Hernandez, and especially, J Hughes and R Iglesias. Like last year, Garrett struggling the second half of the season. Not sure W Peralta, A Garrett, and I forget the other guys name that is a lefty in their bullpen are the answer. So…Reds, make getting a reliable left hand reliever or two for next year, make that a priority!!

  28. Seven hits,six walks and two runs through 6 innings.Both runs on solo homers.Not good.

  29. Cookie time for our guys.Lets see if we can eat a little.

  30. Nope but Terry tried by putting in Ollie.Guess he is still mad about being released.Got us on 6 pitches.

  31. I am sorry to see Cody Reed used in relief. I would like to see him start.

  32. Glad Reed got into a game like this after just being recalled. Not too bad a first inning for him. Got his feet wet. He might get a second inning. He could keep this bullpen gig with some good outings.

  33. Casali takes a bite.

  34. Dixon with a perfect inning.Guess the Tribe can’t handle 66 with movement.

  35. Everyone talking about Votto’s power outage. Couple months ago I started thinking he was hurt. Hit a ball to the gap that was a double all the way, but he almost got thrown out at 2nd. Replay showed he ran hard to first, slowed way down rounding the bag, and ran hard into 2nd. And not in a coasting kind of way. Seemed like he wasn’t confident of his legs if he rounded it hard. Just my thoughts.

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