The Reds (54-69) and Giants (61-63) get together for the final game of this series, as the Reds try to complete the three game sweep and win the season series. First pitch is at 1:10 ET.

Starting Pitchers

Pitcher IP ERA xFIP K% BB%
Luis Castillo 126.2 5.04 3.92 22.3% 7.4%
Andrew Suarez 116.2 4.40 3.59 20.7% 6.0%

Luis Castillo’s season has not been one to remember. After a stellar rookie year, Castillo has regressed with an ERA just above five and a FIP of 4.54. He looked like he might be turning it around on July 29 against the Philadelphia Phillies when he pitched 7.0 innings of shutout baseball while striking out nine. Then last Sunday, he made it only 5.2 innings while giving up five runs to the Diamondbacks. But that’s been the nature of Castillo this season: very inconsistent from one start to another.

Castillo’s troubles stem from one main issue:giving up the home run ball. He’s given up 22 home runs, already double of what he gave up last season. And it’s directly related to how he pitches in a game. Against the Phillies and the Cardinals, Castillo did not allow a home run. He pitched well in both of those games. But he gave up a home run when he faced the Nationals and two more against the Diamondbacks. In both of those games, he gave up two or more runs and suffered the loss.

Castillo has faced only one Giants hitter, Andrew McCutchen. He has not allowed a hit to the former Pirate in five at-bats.

Andrew Suarez, a top 10 prospect in the Giants organization, has acquitted himself well in his rookie year. He’s had a couple of rough starts, as any young pitcher would, but has had some brilliant performances too. He’s coming off one of his best starts last Tuesday against the Dodgers in which he pitched six innings of shut out baseball and gave up only two hits while striking out four.

Suarez is definitely a ground ball pitcher, as 50.3% of his pitches come via the ground ball. While most of his outs have come that way, he has also given up 17 home runs in 116.2 innings and his HR/FB% is 17.5. Suarez has four pitches–fastball, slider, curve ball, change up–that he uses and utilizes the fastball most, followed by the slider.

The Reds faced Suarez back in May at AT&T Park. He surrendered four earned runs on eight hits in six innings of work. Jose Peraza was 2-for-3 against him in three at-bats.


Michael Lorenzen pitched two innings out of the pen, so he might not be available this afternoon. But everyone else should. The Reds have gotten good starting pitching this series, which means extra rest for the bullpen.

The Giants would seem to have most everyone available out of the bullpen as well, since Madison Bumgarner went six innings last night. The Giants only needed to use two relievers.


You can find the lineups here.

Stat of the Day

One thing to watch for the rest of the season is to see if Gennett makes this happen. It’s a long shot, but with the season he’s having, I also wouldn’t be surprised if it did, especially if he keeps hitting like he did last night.

News and Notes

-From yesterday: Scott Schebler will likely start a rehab assignment today.

-Curt Casali has proven to be a solid backup catcher since coming to the Reds.

Final Thoughts

After losing four straight in the middle of this nine game home stand, the Reds can finish with a 5-4 record if they complete the sweep today. I think this is how the Reds will play for the rest of the year. Some of the series will be bad, and some will be good. That’s what you’re going to get with inconsistent pitching. But if they can play .500 ball, a 90-loss season can be avoided.

One of these wins is already in the books. It would be a big step in the right direction if the Reds can avoid 90 losses. Then they just have to go out and sign a pitcher or two in the off season.

80 Responses

  1. David

    If Mike Lorenzen pitched two innings last night, and won’t pitch today, why isn’t he in Center Field and a regular batter? Okay, that’s light hearted frivolity for Reds fans.

    Joel Luckhaupt was known as Slyde at Red Reporter for years. Then he got his dream job as Reds statistician for the Reds broadcasting network (TV and radio).

  2. big5ed

    Ashley, you’ve been a step up in Game Thread write-ups, yielding two straight Reds wins and breaking us from Jim’s doldrums. I especially appreciate what you’ve done with the starting pitching.

    • Sliotar

      Whoa, Big Ed.

      Ashley’s game previews have gotten quite good, but Jim puts a ton of detail into the pre-game writings. Nothing wrong with keeping it real at RLN.

      We are in Year 4 of the rebuild and the goals apparently are….Scooter gettting 200 hits, and the team avoiding 90 losses, while still probably finishing last in the NL Central.

      And, whether Jim Riggleman gets the job full-time.

      No wonder this blog is a little fiesty this weekend.

      Go Redlegs.

      • Rich H

        Maybe Ed just meant that the Reds are 2-0 for Ashley’s last write ups, after dropping two in a row for Jim’s. That’s how I read it anyway, as a joke about Jim’s record vs. Ashley’s. Both of ya really do great work though, Jim and Ashley!

      • big5ed

        Jim’s write-ups are great, but he was the kiss of death this week against the Tribe.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        Both Jim’s and Ashley’s write-ups are fantastic, and neither has anything to do directly or indirectly with any Reds losses. 😉

  3. Show Triple Slash

    Ervin in RF and Herrera in LF; good to see.

    • Jack

      Two games in a row. It’s a stinking miracle!

      • David

        I would actually like to see Herrera at 2nd base, Gennett can play third and Aquino in Right, with Ervin in left.

        Or how about Aquino in Center, Ervin in Right and Gennett in Left?

        Or how about……..

        I would like to see Herrera get some time at 2nd base.

        There are going to be too many young players and pitchers out of options next year, and somebody or a slew of somebodies will have to go somewhere else. The so-called rebuild was supposed to sort all of this out.

        My choices: Tucker and Williams can go. Keep Ervin; he has really shown some improvement this year, and could finally live up to his draft billing.
        Keep Dilson; his reputation is that he can really hit (Well, Doug Gray says so too). Senzel can learn to play outfield too.

      • Sabr Chris

        Just spit balling, but at this point I think Scooter’s bum shoulder is limiting him to 2B. The Reds should make him get it checked out and fixed now, else I foresee an offseason procedure that endangers the start of next season.

  4. Old-school

    John Fay has a must read that puts the Reds FO reassignments in context. Johnny Almarez- the Reds former head of Latin scouting who signed Cueto – left the Reds in 2007 to run the Braves Latin and then international scouting for a decade, incuding the Dominican Braves academy. He signed Ronald Acuna and Ozzie Albies. He’s now head of Phillies scouting.

    How did the Reds let that guy go?

    • Jack

      He probably wanted more than minimum wage.

    • Bill

      He didn’t have enough RBIs and never signed anyone when it counted

  5. VaRedsFan

    Multiple defensive malpractice that inning. Castillo bad throw to 2nd on an easy double play. Scooter made a miraculous play to just get 1 out. Then Dilson misplayed the ball in left for a double. The Giants cash in the gift run on a sac fly.

  6. Scott C

    The run that scored on Herrera’s misplay, is on Riggleman. Wilson needs to play but he needs to be playing 2.cnd. There is no reason that Gennett could not sit game, then maybe we could see Aguino in Left. Great job of sorting going on.

  7. Indy Red Man

    Dilson broke in for some strange reason (guy barreled it up) and it cost them a run. To be expected really, but what bothered me was the 0-1 meatball Castillo served up to the 8 hitter. He’s lucky its not 3-0! He throws hard but he has to quit giving hitters center cut at the thigh level or the belt? Of course they tell every pitcher to keep the ball down, but maybe working the top of the zone with 97 quite often might be better for Castillo? Up 0-1 in the count….why not try to get him to chase. If he walks then the pitcher is up.

  8. Hanawi

    Seems like it would be easier for Herrera to play first than LF. He’s used to playing on that side of the infield. Then maybe we could see Aquino get an at bat or two instead of rotting on the bench for 10 days.

  9. Hanawi

    Herrera is also a much better hitter than Hamilton and is probably better than Peraza too. Would rather see him in the 2 spot.

  10. Steve Mancuso

    If Tucker Barnhart can play first base, certainly Scooter Gennett should be able to. If Gennett played first, then Dilson Herrera could play second and Reds could give Aquino a start.

    With Votto’s injury, Reds should have told Scooter he was going to play 1B while Joey was on the DL. That opens up 2B for 10 days to Dilson Herrera and other OF (Phillip Ervin) gets regular OF starts.

    • Kettering Reds Fan

      Agreed. It’s just -so- obvious. The only counters I can suggest are:
      (a) they like Herrera’s bat but have no natural spot for him if/when Senzel arrives, so the strategy is to convert one of them (and Herrera may be the better choice) to an outfield position.
      (b) With Tucker, Dixon, Williams,, the sorting overload has burned out any sense of rational planning. There just isn’t enough time to give -all- of them adequate opportunities, so they are spitballing day-to-day and waiting to see what sticks.
      (c) With Casali delivering, management is trying to find a way to make this a long-term duo and extending the career life of both of them.

  11. Indy Red Man

    We all rip the Reds FO, but Casili was a find! Backup catcher in the AL but somebody did their homework!

    Dilson!!! Not since Pete have I seen a headfirst slide for no reason:) To me its says we’re not playing around today even though he could’ve jogged at that point.

  12. roger garrett

    Too easy Steve this is our team and well.

  13. Indy Red Man

    Belt’s 14 lb beard threw off his balance on that play:) Whats up with all these guys with the Battle of Gettysburg look?

  14. roger garrett

    We may have found the lineup against lefties and may want to keep Ervin/Herrera in all the time.Just saying.

    • VaRedsFan

      Too bad they only face lefties 20% of the time. Good option vs. late inning lefties though.

  15. Seat101

    I sure picked a good ending to start watching, eh?
    Really great to see Suarez hit that homer!

    We are being very efficient with our hits!

    I love this kind of game.

  16. roger garrett

    Dilson got everybody pumped with that head first slide.Go Reds.

  17. Indy Red Man

    Thats why Scooter is playing today! He’s got his stroke back! Now they could’ve sat Suarez and played Dilson at 3B? 2nd thought….maybe Suarez can sit some other game:)

    Easy $$

    (901) San Francisco Giants @ (902) Cincinnati Reds
    Over 3.5 (-140)
    (Match) Total Runs O/U – Cincinnati Reds
    Baseball – MLB Aug 19, 2018 01:10 PM EDT

    • VaRedsFan

      Exactly! no time to sit Scooter coming off of back to back 3 hit games

  18. roger garrett

    Got to love it. Hats off to whomever said to go get this guy.

  19. VaRedsFan

    Castillo’s first 40 pitches…. 35 strikes

  20. bouwills

    Giants? Stick a fork in ’em. they’re done.

  21. Seat101

    There isn’t a bad preview writer in tne bunch.

    I’m just getting around to reading the preview.

  22. Scott Gennett

    Looking into 2019 there’re plenty of options for every position, perhaps excluding C and 1B. However, starting pitching is a different story as I can only foresee a couple of viable options in Castillo and Mahle. I hope FO will focus on that during the off-season.

    • Seat101

      I think I may have to eat some crow on Disco! He’s beginning to show some really good sign for the sticking as a starter

  23. VaRedsFan

    On this date in 1965, Jim Maloney had a 10 inning, 187 pitch, 10 walk, no hitter.

  24. roger garrett

    I know its the Giants but there record is way better then ours and I know they stink on the road but Castillo has got 9 in a row after his buddies put him up.You like to see that from any pitcher but when its a young guy its even better.They have some guys that are vets and can hit so its huge to do what he has done thru 6 innings.

  25. VaRedsFan

    JOSE!!! Keep turning on that ball young man

    • roger garrett

      Yep.Guy has pop when he lets that bat head get out in front.

  26. Seat101

    Has Jose ever homered two games in a row ?

    • Darrin

      Nobody playing in the stands, that’s fo sho.

  27. Jeff Reed

    Peraza is not Barry Larkin on defense but he can hit.

  28. VaRedsFan

    Aquino in the game a a pinch runner. With the Reds up 9-1, he could have batted foe Scooter

  29. Old-school

    Peraza is developing this year as a hitter and player. He’s got to walk more and player a cleaner SS and eliminate the mental errors. But he’s only 24. He’s had a nice season.

    • CI3J

      He’s going big to finish with 10 HR and lead the team in doubles. If he can get a little stronger, some of those doubles will be HR next season. If he develops 20 HR power, pitchers may pitch him more carefully, which will lead to more walks.

      I think Peraza is going to really break out next season. He may challenge for the 2nd most oWAR behind only Suarez.

  30. Indy Red Man

    Its going to be interesting to see what happens with Senzel? If nothing else they should have some trading options with all these guys? I see no place for Dilson to play with the Reds and someone should see him as a starter?

    Possibly Senzel could go to LF or maybe Scooter if his shoulder is ok? Schebler and Winker with Ervin as the 4th OF’er. That could be a pretty dangerous offense if they ever fix the pitching.

    • Sabr Chris

      The Reds need to tell Scooter to get the Shoulder looked at/fixed now or no extension talks period.

    • Kettering Reds Fan

      A perverse explanation (see also above in my response to Steve):

      Management wants to keep Herrera but if they play him at his natural position he may draw too much interest from other suitors.

      Not how I’d approach things, but remember what FO we’re dealing with.

      • Sabr Chris

        You’d think they’d want to drive up Herrera’s value…
        They have three options for 2B going forward but
        Gennet, potential for regression due an expensive extension with a questionable shoulder, but “proven”.
        Herrera early returns on playing the outfield not promising.
        Senzel, won’t be able to see his outfield potential until Winter ball or maybe spring training.

      • Kettering Reds Fan

        I -did- say that this was -perverse-.

        If they find themselves in a position where they -need- Herrera on the 2B depth chart, then keeping him off other clubs radar is not the worst notion in the world. Scooter’s shoulder is questionable – as you’ve pointed out. And Senzel may or may not work out as an outfielder or may have a recurrence of vertigo.

        So this is a reinsurance bet of sorts.

    • Jim Walker

      Ervin is a better athlete than Winker and a couple of years younger than Schebler who is probably no better athlete than him. He is also a RH hitter on a team trending toward being too LH. If he continues as he has since the ASB and cleans up his defense and base running, he may well push one of the other 2 guys (Schebler most likely) into a 4th OF spot instead; or, we may see the return of a “rotation” but hopefully based on some more definitive performance criteria than if this is Tuesday “Smith and Jones” play, “Miller” sits.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        Jim, Ervin is opening my eyes. He is punishing lefthanded pitching, and the sample size is growing beyond the “too small” stage. Barring injury, a big drop-off in performance for the remainder of the season or an off-season trade, he’s a good bet to be on the 25-man roster to start next season in my opinion.

  31. Seat101

    I thought it was funny/strange that he looked at his glove before he went to go get the ball

    But I can’t blame him

  32. Jim Walker

    A real major league operation that has only one 1B mitt? And how many days is it they’ve had to get another one shipped in?

    • VaRedsFan

      Well, there is a courtship (breaking in) process. Maybe this is Joey’s backup mitt.

  33. VaRedsFan

    Tucker’s (Dixon’s) glove broke, he’s now using Votto’s

  34. VaRedsFan

    Ervin hits the cutoff man!!! and they nearly had the runner at home.

  35. roger garrett

    What a game.Billy with a sac fly that scores a catcher from 3rd.Peraza with a bomb.The Reds bat around and put up 7 in the 4th.Not sure how the mitt got broke but it appears we need to go out somewhere and by another one quick before we run out of equipment.Riggs with the double switch which leaves us with only one catcher in a 7 run game I think.Ervin as VaRed said hits a cut of man and Aquino is now playing somewhere in the outfield.

  36. VaRedsFan

    Billy has squared the ball up 4 times today to go along with the walk. 2 triples

  37. Indy Red Man

    Enjoy! The Reds are 1-46 in Homers last 47 starts.

    Ok thats not true, but it feels like it! Just cut him loose and start off 2019 with the possibility that the Reds might actually field their best team!

    • Jack

      Milwaukee is getting our best 3 pitchers this week. Should be a slugfest. Maybe Stephenson learned something today watching Castillo throw strikes.

  38. Jeff Reed

    Billy’s getting it done. That looked like an inside-the-park.

  39. jeffery stroupe

    2019 going to be what we have now pitching wise, which should improve with experience. Position player wise be Winker Hamilton and Schebler in the outfield with Votto , Gennett , Peraza and Barnhardt. So deal with it. No magic trades can fix this. Dont expect winter of 1971.

    • Jim Walker

      You are probably correct because this is the Reds. However if they were that other org in the NL Central which features red as a primary team color, they figure out which 2 of those guys above along with some minor league prospects at A/AA levels would get them the pitching to succeed and trade for the pitching to make them better in the way they have to be better trusting that the likes of Senzel, Ervin, Herrera et al, maybe even Casali could fill in well enough on the position side to fill the holes.

      • roger garrett

        Well said Jim.Lots of ways to go and get what you need but you have to be willing to pull the trigger.That other team traded Pham and never blnked.They had a surplus of outfielders and let Pham,Piscotty and Gricuk go in less then a year.All started a bunch of games for them last year and we talk about players blocking other players.

  40. bouwills

    Playing like this, the Reds are not going to improve their 2019 draft position. On the other hand, I will relish each & every victory vs Brew Crew & Cubbies the next 10 days.

    • Jeff Reed

      With Homer, Sal and RS starting in Milwaukee the bullpen should get a good workout.

  41. bouwills

    Obviously, Scooter Gennett did not receive the memo that he was in the middle of regressing the 2nd half of this season.

  42. roger garrett

    Food for thought.Cueto in his first full year in 2008 started 31 games and went 9-14 with a 1.41 whip and a ERA of 4.81.After today Castillo sets at 7-10 with a 1.30 whip and an ERA OF 4.86.Let the young guys pitch.