The stretch of five straight series against division foes continues this evening for the Reds (56-71). After dropping two of three contests against the Brewers to begin the week, the competition won’t get any easier as the team travels to Chicago for the first of four games against the first-place Cubs (72-53). The teams last met in early July, with the Reds going 1-2 in their first trip to Wrigley Field of the year. The Cubs haven’t been overly impressive of late without Kris Bryant and Addison Russell, going 16-14 in the last month of play, but that’s been enough to hold onto the NL Central lead thanks to the slide by Milwaukee. However, the Cardinals are charging hard (21-9 over their last 30 games) and sit just 2.5 games back from the Cubs. The Reds will have their work cut out for them against a team fighting to secure a postseason spot.

First pitch for tonight’s contest — the only night game of the series — is set for 8:05 p.m. ET.

Starting Pitchers

Name IP ERA xFIP K% BB%
Anthony DeSclafani 74.1 4.12 4.02 21.1% 6.3%
Cole Hamels 139.1 4.00 4.00 23.0% 8.1%

The 2016 version of Anthony DeSclafani has showed up lately. The right-hander has thrown seven or more innings in three consecutive starts and has given up a combined two runs in those outings. His line in those three starts: 21 2/3 innings, 0.83 ERA, 1.96 FIP, 3.40 xFIP, 16 strikeouts, 2 walks. Disco isn’t going to pitch that well moving forward — no starting pitcher can — but he seems to finally be shaking off the rust from his extended time away from the game. This has been a particularly encouraging stretch for a team that desperately needs to find dependable rotation members heading into 2018. DeSclafani, along with Luis Castillo, is likely one of the only current starters whose job is safe next year.


The Reds will face an old familiar foe in Cole Hamels this evening. The Cubs acquired the former Phillies southpaw from the Rangers before the trade deadline to bolster a starting rotation afflicted with injuries (Yu Darvish) and ineffectiveness (Tyler Chatwood). Hamels has done just that, as Chicago has won all four games he’s started to this point (though one had to come on a walk-off grand slam in the ninth inning by David Bote). A return to the National League has been what the doctor ordered, as the 34-year-old has a 0.72 ERA (2.40 FIP, 3.19 xFIP) in 25 innings with 23 strikeouts and six walks in his four starts with Chicago. Hamels’ overall numbers are so-so, but they mark an improvement from his disappointing 2017 that had many wondering what he had left in the tank. His strikeouts are up by a large margin and his walks are down, putting him on pace to surpass his 1.5 fWAR from last season.

Scouting report: Hamels doesn’t throw 93 like he used to, averaging 92.1 mph on his fastball, but he’ll still touch 96 occasionally. It’s a poor pitch overall, with batters slugging .670 against it this season. His go-to putaway pitch is his Castillo-like changeup, which has an elite 27.0% swinging-strike rate. However, his best pitch is the cutter, which has a 5.9 pitch value this season — eighth-best among all qualified pitchers. Hamels also mixes in a sinker and curveball and added a brand-new slider to his arsenal in 2018.

Lineups

Reds

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

Cubs

1. Daniel Murphy (2B)
2. Javier Baez (SS)
3. Anthony Rizzo (1B)
4. Ben Zobrist (RF)
5. Kyle Schwarber (LF)
6. Ian Happ (CF)
7. Victor Caratini (C)
8. Cole Hamels (P)
9. David Bote (3B)

  • Billy Hamilton is batting leadoff again. I wish I knew why.
  • Good to see Dilson Herrera finally getting some consistent playing time.

News, Notes, & Pre-Game Reading

Stat of the Day

DeSclafani is the first Reds pitcher to throw seven or more innings in three straight starts since he accomplished the feat back in 2016. Before that, you have to go back to Raisel Iglesias in 2015.

39 Responses

  1. msanmoore

    BH … is that for Billy Hamilton or Black Hole when leading off? Would rather see Peraza. And I’m a Billy fan.

    Let’s go Redlegs. Beat the Stupid Cubs.

  2. Old-school

    You can’t ask for better starting pitching sorting for 2019 than the next 2 weeks. All against NL Central teams fighting for playoff spots.

    • Colorado Red

      Only if Harvey is traded, and they bench BoomBoom Homer

  3. David

    Hamels could fall out of bed in the middle of December and probably shut down the Reds. Don’t look for much offense tonight by Cincinnati.
    And with a Lefty going, why isn’t Brandon Dixon starting at first? Tucker is a good left-handed hitter, but not so good right handed.
    Another Riggleman puzzler.

    • Jack

      Exactly. Why do they keep playing Tucker at first? To me it’s one of the dumbest things Riggleman has done this year. What happened to Scooter playing first Jim? Sometimes I think he is going to unzip this body suit and Bryan Price will step out saying Surprise?! You cant trust a word he says.

  4. Jack

    Why put Hamilton on Waivers if they dont plan on trading him? Trade him or give him to them. He isn’t worth 8-9 million after arbitration. Am I missing something here?

  5. docproctor

    When the Reds have Billy at 3rd and Peraza at 1st, Peraza should ALWAYS attempt to steal 2nd.

  6. Bill J

    You’re missing that B.C, wants him to be a Red for life. He’ll be in centerfield until he’s 50.

    • Jack

      But why put him on waivers then? To show him off like the prize cow at the town fair?

  7. Indy Red Man

    Just when Peraza stops the popups and starts getting regular hits then his defense falls off the cliff? He dropped that throw on the steal the other night that cost them the lead late? I have a hard time believing Suarez or Senzel would be worse defensively?

    • vegastypo

      Peraza is NOT a major league shortstop. ….

      If this team is determined to keep Hamilton in center field, they need to go out and get a big bat for right field, then put Senzel at shortstop.

      Winker
      Votto
      Suarez
      Big Bat
      Scooter
      Senzel
      Barnhart
      Pitcher
      Hamilton

    • CI3J

      This is the main reason why I want to see Peraza in CF. There’s less “thinking” in CF, and that seems to be Peraza’s problem, he thinks too much. Remember, Billy was an absolute butcher at SS too but moved to CF to utilize his speed and… Well, here we are. Peraza could follow a similar path, and I really wish the Reds would try it. It would solve so many problems for the team.

      But for some reason, the Reds are enamored of BH and refuse to ever let anyone walk the hallowed grounds of Billy’s Center Field as long as he is healthy. I really have a sinking feeling that Billy is going to sign a 5 year contract this offseason.

      • Jack

        I couldn’t handle 5 more years of him offensively.

  8. roger garrett

    Had chances in both innings and didn’t get it done.This game is over.

    • Indy Red Man

      They have guys that hit bombs and make the routine defensive plays. We don’t. God awful pitch to Baez though? Disco seems to have good stuff but that was ridiculous?

      • roger garrett

        Even with all hands on deck we can’t compete with them nor the Brewers nor the Cards nor the Bucs.One of these days I hope we can.

      • Jack

        I dont see I Roger. At least under this ownership.

      • roger garrett

        Your right because they fall in love with players that don’t produce or keep them past their prime.They allow players to be blocked from playing at the big league level while at the same time losing 90+ games for what looks to be the 4th year in a row.I could go on and on but its useless.I remain a loyal Red and will always hope it changes.

      • roger garrett

        It won’t change until the Reds realize you must have power up and down the lineup to compete.

  9. Indy Red Man

    Gotta love that Havoc!!!! Pickoffs are exciting!!!

    • Jack

      Ahhhhhh but he’s smiling. If Billy’s happy we are all happy.

  10. vegastypo

    Atta way, Billy. The ONE thing you’re supposed to have value at, and picked off. I guess this team didn’t show him any videos of Hamels’ move? Hamels has only been in the majors league for how many years? Sheesh.

  11. Old-school

    Billy Hamilton 2-3 on 48 mph exit velocity bloopers at 212 feet between 3 people. He’s laughing at first base….before he gets picked off . Why would any OF ever play past 250 feet .

    Billy Hamilton hitting leadoff suggest the Reds aren’t serious about winning. Losing streak is imminent. Write it down.

    • VaRedsFan

      They immediately won 3 in a row when he went to leadoff

  12. Jack

    Did anybody get the scouting report on Baez?

  13. docproctor

    Let me agree heartily with those who think we should move Peraza to CF, like we did with Billy. Peraza is not a fundamentally sound SS.

    • Seat101

      He’s actually an above average shortstop. Barely above average but above average.

      I think he’d make a great centerfielder though

      • Old-school

        Peraza is a promising young SS with flaws and room for improvement. Give him his age 15 year to clean up the defense and mental errors

        Barry Larkin was awful in April hitting and was terrible defensively on west coast road trips early in his career.

        It’s not like this is a post season team. They are in last place again.

  14. Indy Red Man

    MLB? The structure is just too unfair. Chris Sale is great on a bad team so of course he gravitates to 1 of only 4-5 possible teams. The Cubs whiff on a huge deal with Darvish so just pick up another big contract in Hamels. No biggie. A pitcher has to be shaky or unproven for the Reds to afford him. Zack Wheeler gets in a nice groove til the big boys pay attention and then the Reds have no shot. Its like a cheetah doing all this work to pick out a meal and bring it down….just to have the lions or hyenas waltz in and eat it in front of them. The NBA is unwatchable with their cherrypicked teams. Say what you want about the NFL but its not rigged.

  15. Seat101

    Billy with that Eddie Milner smile after being picked off.

    • BigRedMike

      Stupid throw trying to double up a runner at first, but, he was smiling, so that is ok.

  16. Jack

    Disco is worried about Zobrist stealing but wasn’t with Baez. Can we start this game over? Can we do a do over?