Today is Wednesday which means the third and final game of the current series between the Reds and Indians is on tap tonight at GABP. The Reds chances of garnering the 2018 Ohio Cup are gone, washed down the Ohio river by a deluge of  Indians runs in the first 2 games of the series.  However with  a win tonight, the Reds can avoid a home field sweep and also secure a 3-3 split in the season series with the Indians. Game time is 7:10pm Eastern.

Starting Pitchers

Tonight’s game will feature a pair of righthanders looking to establish themselves as MLB rotation starters, Robert Stephenson for the Reds and Shane Bieber for the Indians.

What’s not been said about 25 year old Robert Stephenson over the last three years or so here at RLN and on other media outlets?  The prior first round (#27 overall; 2011) draft choice has flashed moments of brilliance but has been unable to establish himself in MLB. Stephenson closed out 2017 with an 11 game run in the Reds rotation during which he graded out ~25% better than league average in ERA and right at league average in FIP despite having a BB/9  of 5.55. He then missed making the 2018 rotation because of a poor spring but went to AAA and posted dominant numbers in June and July. So, here we are again. Keep an eye on Stephenson’s pitch selection tonight. Last week in his first MLB start of 2018, he threw his fastball an amazingly low 25% of the time and threw sliders on almost 50% of his pitches. This is almost exactly an inverse of his pitch selection at the MLB level in 2018. The bottom line for Stephenson is if he keeps his BB% under 10 and HR/9 around 1, he will probably succeed because of his high K%.

Shane Bieber is having his first go at the MLB level in 2018. The 23 year was a 4th round (#122 overall) pick of the Indians in the 2016 draft. Tonight will be his his twelfth MLB start to go along with 13 AAA starts in 2018. At the MLB level Bieber has compiled an ERA of 4.24 but a much better 3.02 FIP. He averages about 1 strikeout per inning  while limiting his walks to just under 2 per 9 innings. He has been generally stingy with home runs averaging less than 1 per 9 innings.  Bieber throws his fastball on nearly 60% of his pitches at a velocity in the low to mid 90’s. His main secondary pitch is a slider which he throws  just over 20% of the time at an average speed about 10MPH below his fastball.  He rounds out his arsenal with an 80MPH curveball (15%) and an occasional changeup at just under 90MPH.

Comparative Stats

Robert Stephenson
2018 AAA
3.95 5.2 0.96 12.2% 28.9%
Shane Bieber
2018 MLB
3.02 5.2 0.85 4.8% 24.3%

If the Reds could just wave a wand and turn Stephenson’s BB rate into Bieber’s, they just might have that #1 we are yearning for.


Michael Lorenzen saved the Reds pen from total disaster Tuesday night by pitching 4.1 innings (66 pitches; 22 more than the Reds starter, Sal Romano) and certainly won’t be pitching tonight. David Hernandez, Jared Hughes and Raisel Iglesias each pitched an inning Tuesday and should be available to do at least the same tonight, especially with an off day coming Thursday.

Neil Ramírez has thrown 2.0  innings (33 pitches) in the last two nights and may be unavailable tonight for the Indians. Everyone else in the Indians pen should be good to go.


            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. Greg Allen (CF)
8. Roberto Perez (C)
9. Shane Bieber (P)
1. Jose Peraza (SS)
2. Joey Votto (1B)
3. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
4. Scooter Gennett (2B)
5. Preston Tucker (LF)
6. Tucker Barnhart (C)
7. Phillip Ervin (RF)
8. Robert Stephenson (P)
9. Billy Hamilton (CF)

The Reds hottest hitter since the All Star Break, Phillip Ervin, returns but once again is consigned to the #7 spot in the lineup. Be thankful for small pleasures, at least he is playing; and, if you don’t play, you can’t win.

News and Notes

Nick Carrington echoes the thoughts of many of us in this RLN post

Confirmation that our eye test was all too correct

Who do you know that might fit this description?

Final Thoughts

My initial intent was to talk some more about Robert Stephenson here; but, I’ve realized I’m all talked out where he is concerned. Whether Stephenson should have been up with the MLB team earlier this year is water under many bridges and over several dams because Stephenson is at MLB now; and either he gets the job done or he doesn’t.  Let his bottom line performance speak for itself (but since old habits die hard I will add WHIP is more important than simply BB rate in judging his bottom line).

I’ll ask instead, “Did we witness a sea change in Micheal Lorenzen’s career path Tuesday night?”   His extended effective 4.1 inning appearance in relief of Sal Romano’s meltdown had  the sort  of feeling to it that it left me wondering. How about you? GO REDS!

Stats and data courtesy of and


70 Responses

  1. WVRedlegs

    Good call. I think we did witness a sea change with Michael Lorenzen’s career path.
    The Reds announcement of front office transfers with Director of Player Development and the Director of Amateur Scouting (Draft and IFA) is very interesting. Not friendly transfers, more like forced, and DW and NK had a big no comment afterward. Interesting indeed.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      We’ve seen Lorenzen go multiple innings on several occasions this season with no follow-up to indicate that it is anything other than him being used as a middle reliever because his bat allows the batting order to pass through him without using a pinch-hitter. I hope it’s more than that.

      • Jack

        Exactly. This isn’t new. He has done this before.

      • WVRedlegs

        Not 4+ innings.
        I hope they realize it is time.

    • lwblogger2

      Two rather SCARY changes! The ship would seem rather rudderless.

      • Mike Adams

        They are going to keep pitching chairs off the Titanic (Reds FO and staff) until that ocean liner stays afloat!

  2. lwblogger2

    I really hope Stephenson looks good tonight. If you’re a Reds fan you want him to do well. He’s supposed to be a big part of rebuilding the pitching staff.

  3. roger garrett

    I agree but it takes time and he just hasn’t been given the time.I personally want him to do well because he has great stuff but if the past is any indication it won’t make any difference what he does.Good or bad he will have to be really good next spring to stick.He won’t be given the rope like Sal,Tyler and Luis were/are given this year and that is sad because he may have better pure stuff then any of them.Time will tell

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Roger, I would like to agree with you. But despite his great numbers in Louisville, Stephenson looks just like the guy who has pitched so wildly at the big league level in the past. He had no idea where the ball was going tonight. Second straight start where he walked the opposing pitcher. I don’t care how great his fastball is, or how many revolutions his curve ball has, if he has no idea where it’s going, he’s not a keeper. I want him to be great, but I trust the eye test after having watched this team and baseball for as long as I have. Reed was at least throwing strikes, and the results were good for his first 3 innings.

  4. Wayne Nabors

    I can’t imagine a worst shortstop than what the Reds have,just can’t play position

  5. RedsFanEd

    I hope BobSteve does well but if he can’t or won’t throw strikes with anything but the fastball he will get the same fate as Big Sally. He’s a 2 pitch pitcher which means he’s is a reliever not a srarter
    I’ve seen enough of Peraza at short to be convinced he’s a center fielder.

      • Indy Red Man

        Sal is a future competitor to Joey Chestnut….that is all.

  6. RedsFanEd

    Steve has no clue where his pitches are going NONE. No confidence in his stuff.

  7. msanmoore

    Walk, wild pitch, increase pitch count. Same song, same verse.

  8. Sliotar

    BobSteve is already in Thom’s doghouse, for whatever reason.

    He just knocked BobSteve’s movements between pitches.

    No current pitcher is more jittery between pitches than Clevinger, who threw on Monday for Cleveland. Don’t remember Thom knocking that guy for doing it.

    • msanmoore

      Thom liked Clevinger’s hair too much.

  9. Reds Fan in Petaluma

    He must be a slow learner, Bob Steve is. Nervous nelly every single f…ing time. Cannot even throw a shut down inning.

    • Sliotar

      I think BobSteve is nervous, but who wouldn’t….

      -only second start of season against a team that has scored 18 runs in this park the last 2 games

      -this organization has brought in Arroyo and Harvey each of the last 2 seasons to get starts

      -interim manager and owner apparently desperate to avoid 90 losses

      -calls for Cody Reed, Lorenzen, whoever to get some starts

      Probably thinks he’s heading to Louisville after every not out at-bat

      • Jack

        He is a big league pitcher. Throw strikes for God sakes.

      • Indy Red Man

        Its a tough world out there. Cops and soldiers (I’m a vet) go out there every day and risk their life but they walk around scared. He needs to put his big boy pants on and go do it….if he wants to get paid the big bucks when he’s 27+

      • Indy Red Man

        “but they can’t walk around scared” Man…I need to proofread my ramblings

  10. RedsFanEd

    3 innings of pitch count in 1 1/3. not going to last long.

  11. Indy Red Man

    Apologize to all for complaining so hard that BobSteve deserved a shot. Pours in strikes to Lindor but walks the pitcher on 4 pitches. They just got him a rare 3-0 lead and he insures he’ll be lucky to make it thru 3.

    • RedsFanEd

      I look for Rigs to PH for him in the order

      • RedsFanEd

        Or not. He’s gone. What a head case.. Gets up to the bigs and just pees down his leg.
        Even Thom feels bad.

    • msanmoore

      Apology accepted. We all hoped fotbetter. Reality and 60 pitches in 2 innings stinks.

    • David

      He’s done for tonight. Maybe gets one more start. This six man rotation probably plays hob with his feel and touch for the ball. But he looked like crap tonight.

      The Reds ask for waivers to send him back down. And then, anyone can claim him.
      I think we are seeing the end of Bob Stephenson with the Reds.

      And now……Cody Reed.

      • RedsFanEd

        And another in a long line of disappointing 1st round draft picks. No wonder reds are re-organizing the scouting and development staff. Obviously it;s long overdue.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        He can still be optioned during this season without waivers. After this season is over, he will thereafter have to pass through waivers before being sent to the minors.

    • Reds Fan in Petaluma

      Thank you Jim Riggleman. Don’t apologize for complaining. Watching Bob Steve does that. When it comes to Bob Steve…. Do you think he could ever throw 91 to a spot/corner versus trying to throw as hard as you can? Actually PITCH. When it comes to Bob Steve NO CHANGE EQUALS NO CHANGE.

    • SF Reds Fan

      I was right there with you. Look at it this way…clarity (even disappointing clarity) is a powerful thing.
      So bummed that Bob is mucking up this opportunity.

  12. Indy Red Man

    Easy 5 inning over bet with BobSteve. He’s staying in the rotation supposedly and so is HOmer. Free money$$

  13. RedsFanEd

    And another in a long line of disappointing 1st round draft picks. No wonder reds are re-organizing the scouting and development staff. Obviously it;s long overdue.

  14. Sliotar


    I can’t believe the Atlanta Braves would let Riggleman anywhere near their young pitchers.

    Foltynewicz had plenty of starts last season like BobSteve did tonight. Braves weren’t in race, they let Folty try and find himself…on mound,…vs. MLB hitters.

    Folty on pace for 4 WAR this season.

    If BobSteve can’t make it, so be it. But, jerking him in his second start, in a lost season?

    AAA ball is not going to help him like trying to work it out vs. the playoff bound Indians.

    Interim manager + young pitching staff = no bueno.

    Very no bueno.

    • Indy Red Man

      When you throw 99 like Folty and walk guys they have patience. When you throw 93 and walk the park like Stephenson? Not so much

    • David

      He looked like crap, and couldn’t throw strikes. He walked an AL pitcher on four pitches. A guy who never comes up to hit. He had thrown 60 pitches through 1-2/3 innings.

  15. Bill

    Stephenson has the talent to be an ace, but has never been able to put it together. He has had multiple opportunities to make the rotation, and almost every time he has failed to deliver. Many will point to the small streak of success last year or his second half AAA stats this year, but overall he has been a disappointment. His AAA coach publicly criticized him and he has done interviews stating his walks are not a problem, when it is obviously his biggest problem. I wouldn’t blame the Reds if they released him

    • David

      Maybe he does not have the talent. Just being able to throw at ML velocity is not enough. He cannot command the strike zone.

  16. Greg S.

    It has been proven that Stephenson cannot pitch in MLb. Please release him and move on. The Reds Frint Office knew he could not pitch, that’s why they were slow to bring him up.

    • Sliotar

      Tonight was Stephenson’s 21st MLB start.

      21 starts…over 3 seasons…on one of the worst run organizations…under 2 managers….in a top park for HRs hit.

      But…he’s done…at age 25?

      OK. Got it.

      Starting pitching via free agency is expensive. Even for non Tier 1, All-Star guys.

      The people in the fan base who gripe over Homer’s contract better get ready for some sticker stock to get quality free agent pitching into Cincinnati, if the Reds even spend.

      (Certainly not a Homer or BobSteve fanboy, but the impatience regarding the young SPs is….something).

      • Greg S.

        His 21st start was terrible. His start last week was terrible. He had his chance, he should not be given a 23rd start in Cincinnati.

      • Indy Red Man

        Finnegan stunk in the spring and stunk in AAA in April. He got 5 starts to stink with the Reds….throwing 90-91 mph batting practice. BobSteve will get more chances….nothing to lose for the Reds

      • Bill

        He isn’t being judged solely on those 21 starts. He hasn’t been consistent in the minors and despite his good strike out rates he has always walked way too many guys you succeed. I’m not saying he is done, but he has used up about all the opportunities he is going to get with the Reds. He is out of options and may benefit from a change of organizations.

      • Jim Walker

        If a person went by his first 19 MLB starts, RS was a league average starter. That’s probably a major factor in why he has been afforded this latest opportunity.

        Change of scenery may be in order for him. That happens. Look at how many times EE bounced before he connected.

  17. Indy Red Man

    I’m probably crazy, but to my way of thinking they only need 1-2 guys to figure it out to put together a decent rotation. Disco, Castillo, Lorenzen, and they make a push for a guy like Zack Wheeler with Harvey as a fallback plan. That leaves Mahle, Sims, Reed, and whoever to become the 5th starter and some quality depth.

    I know I’ve harped on this one before, but not getting Nimmo in the Jay Bruce trade still bugs me. He’s back up to a .876 ops now. We got Dilson instead and won’t even play the kid????

  18. David

    ALternatively, Cody Reed is actually pitching quite well in relief.

    Maybe a question HAS been answered tonight. Just not the one we were expecting to see.

    Cody looks relaxed and is just throwing the ball over the plate, and changing speeds.

    I vote for him to take Stephenson’s spot in the next turn.

  19. Jeffery Stroupe

    Nap Lajoy……really Cowboy???

  20. RedsFanEd

    Don’t look now but Cody Reed has become a keeper.. Who knew that THROWING STRIKES could be so effective? Indians are completely baffled by the slider. It is moments like this that does make the Reds front office consider BobSteve expendable,

  21. Sliotar

    To Bill’s point above, since BobSteve is out of options, IMO, he should get every turn he can the rest of the season.

    Be sure he can’t cut it with the Reds. That is good asset management of a former 1st Round pick, who isn’t over the hill in MLB terms yet.

    Just like DeSclafani has to get every turn next season, he is too cheap and nearing the end of his cost-control period. Be sure he is/isn’t worth a contract extension.

    The hand-wringing over the 6-man rotation on the TV broadcast was both funny and sad. DFA Homer and the problem would solve itself. But, of course, that won’t happen.

    • Jack

      The way Welsh was talking it seemed to me he was implying that Romano should go down and learn . I agree on Stephenson. He should get to pitch from here on out. Although he had 4 walks in 1 2/3 of an inning. That is about 21walks per 9. I dont think that will do. I would like to see him slow down a little a take his time between pitches. Dont be in such a hurry. Lorenzen takes his time and gets his thoughts together. Kluber did it last night.

  22. Indy Red Man

    Suarez pulling his head….a little slump was inevitable. Hopefully its little? Avi Garcia with the White Sox was hitting HRs every day when they came thru Cincy, but he can’t buy a hit now. 2 for 33 or something

  23. RedsFanEd

    Votto needs to sit for a while and heal up. No sense him being running in pain like he is. Need to get looks at other prospects anyway/ Oh wait Riggleman still thinks he’s in the hunt for a playoff spot.

  24. RedsFanEd

    Votto can’t score on a wild pitch on his leg.

  25. Indy Red Man

    Ronald Acuna with 8 Hrs in 8 games. They said last night he’s hit 39 ball 105 mph+. The great Freddie Freeman has 20!

    Urena with Miami hits him on purpose with 97 mph on the elbow on the 1st pitch. You can’t have pitchers taking top people off playoff teams with beanballs? Thats bs. Of course it was bs when Votto got drilled too? MLB needs to lay out some big big fines to stop this nonsense.

    • kmartin

      If Mattingly ordered Urena to do this then Mattingly should get a much bigger fine/suspension than Urena. When this nonsense happens the person ordering it should get the most severe penalty.

  26. VaRedsFan

    Acuna hit with the 1st pitch of the game. Had to leave the game. That’s one way to keep him from homering i guess

  27. VaRedsFan

    Reed was looking good, then a walk and a GABP special HR. A hit and an out later and he is out of the game. His line now looks like Lorenzen from last night, who also pitched good for a stretch.

    • Indy Red Man

      Reed looked good overall, but I don’t think he’ll ever make unless he starts getting downward bite on his slider. It comes in too high, but atleast something to build on tonite. That HR was cheap as can be.

  28. Bob Purkey

    Another GASP HR. Kind of like the Wrigley Field basket, takes 3-4 feet off of posted distances.
    They should take out the 1st 3 rows in right field. Helps the pitchers and the Reds certainly don’t need those seats for attendance.

  29. Sabr Chris

    BobSteve is going to have a nice major career…with his third team. Reds will trade him to team who thinks they can fix him. When they can and DFA him, BobSteve will finally realize throwing strikes matters and make adjustments.

  30. Sabr Chris

    Why is this organization pathologically incapable of making long term decisions. Joey should be on the DL, with Dixon and Gennet getting 1B starts. Herrera should be starting at 2B when Scooters at 1B or on the beach when a lefty starts. Suarez should be getting starts at SS and Herrera at 3B. Until Schebler is health the starting outfield should be Williams, Ervin, and Tucker.
    Harvey should be DFA.
    Homer and Disco should start to build innings and feel, but if Homer can’t turn them DFA time.
    Reed and BobSteve should be starting
    Lorenzen, Romano, and maybe Garrett should be getting “reliever” starts al a Tampa Bay

  31. RedsFanEd

    OMG how stupid can you be? You cannot run on that grounder to first.

  32. TyGuy85

    That ending there was a winning culture.

  33. TyGuy85

    Can Votto please be put on the DL?! He’s obviously injured but hey we gotta win some games so we get 4th place.