Following yesterday’s strange news that Matt Harvey wouldn’t be traded, the even more concerning news that Bob Castellini had once again stuck his nose into baseball operations, and a crushing walk-off defeat to the Cubs (74-53), the Reds (56-73) could really use a win to lift the collective spirit of the fanbase again. Fortunately, the struggling offense gets a key piece, Scott Schebler, back in the lineup to provide a boost. First pitch is once again set for 2:20 p.m. ET.

Starting Pitchers

Name IP ERA xFIP K% BB%
Luis Castillo 133.1 4.86 3.81 22.8% 7.1%
Jose Quintana 130.0 4.36 4.40 20.4% 10.2%

One game aside, Luis Castillo has been impressive over his last six starts, helping to restore some of the lost faith in his potential to become a trusted member of the starting rotation in the future. Since July 14 — a period spanning 35 innings — the 25-year-old owns a 2.83 ERA (3.18 xFIP) and has struck out 35 batters against just five walks. He was at his best in his last outing against the Giants on Sunday. Castillo threw 76 of his 98 pitches for strikes — a career-best percentage — and struck out nine while allowing just one earned run. Barring unforeseen events, Castillo is pencilling himself into the 2019 rotation.


Few pitchers in baseball have endured a more disappointing season than Jose Quintana. The left-hander has barely been above replacement level, posting the worst walk rate of his career by far and his lowest strikeout rate since 2013, which was his second season in the majors. Expected to be a workhorse in the Cubs rotation — he had thrown at least 188 innings in each of the last five seasons — Quintana has only made it through the sixth inning in half of his 24 starts. With his control out of whack, home runs have also been a problem. The southpaw has already allowed 20 of them, three shy of his career-worst with over a month to go in the regular season. Getting Cole Hamels helped the Cubs tremendously, but they’ll need Quintana to find some consistency to make another postseason run.

Scouting report: Quintana has never been a flamethrower on the mound, but his velocity has taken a hit this season. He’s averaging only 91.5 mph on his four-seamer, down from 92.2 last year. While he was able to dial up to 95 or 96 at times in previous seasons, he’s only topped out at 93.9 in 2018. The lefty’s secondary pitches have let him down more than anything, though. His changeup, which registered a career-high whiff rate last year, has the fourth-worst pitch value in baseball this season among players who use it. The pitch has been bashed for a .515 slugging percentage. He also throws a sinker, which gets plenty of grounders (54.1 GB%) but is otherwise unspectacular, and a curveball that is getting fewer swings and misses than at any other point in his career.

Lineups

Reds

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

Cubs

1. Daniel Murphy (2B)
2. Javier Baez (SS)
3. Anthony Rizzo (1B)
4. Ben Zobrist (RF)
5. Jason Heyward (CF)
6. Willson Contreras (C)
7. Kyle Schwarber (LF)
8. Jose Quintana (P)
9. Ian Happ (3B)

  • Scott Schebler is back in the lineup for the first time since July 14 after missing 34 games with a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder. He batted .278/.351/.470 in 299 plate appearances before hitting the disabled list.
  • Phil Ervin is making his third start of the year in center field and first since July 22. That’s frankly the way it should be for the majority of the remaining games this season. Everyone knows he can hit better than Billy Hamilton; now we need to find out if he can play center at the big-league level.
  • Dilson Herrera is starting for the fourth time in the Reds’ last five games.

News, Notes, & Pre-Game Reading

Aristides Aquino is the odd man out with Schebler’s return. He got only one plate appearance after being called up on August 17.

Mo Egger nailed it with this piece on Bob Castellini’s meddling.

Evidence that Castellini’s faith in Harvey is misguided.

A nice story on former Reds manager Jerry Narron.

Doug Gray with today’s minor league update.

Stat of the Day

Without Schebler in the lineup, the Reds went 13-21 and averaged just 3.6 runs per game. Granted this was also without Jesse Winker and (partially) Joey Votto, but make no mistake — Schebler is a big part of this offense.

44 Responses

  1. Sliotar

    There is a sad irony in playing the Cubs today because…

    the Reds are the Cubs of my childhood….lovable losers.

    -3 winning seasons in now 18 years
    -Keeping players because of being a fan (or owner) favorite
    -Even with the losing, going to the ballpark is still fun and the jerk factor (as much as we can see) around the whole organization seems very low.
    -There are likeable players on the Reds…many of them. There were with the old Cubs, too.
    -Cringeworthy broadcasters (Harry Caray….Thom).

    There is even the similarity between the Lee Elia rant about people who should working attending Cubs games and Thom this year….”only jobless people watch as games go late.”

    Lots in common. Too much, sadly.

    Go Redlegs.

    • Broseph

      I thought about this during this series as well. Redlegnation slogans for playing Pirates and Cubs as “[Pirates/Cubs] to cure what ails ya” or something to that effect. And “Cubs going to cub”.

      I’m sure there is a slogan out there now on Central division rival sites when playing the Reds

      Man have things turned on their head in the last four years

    • Jim Walker

      I’d never actually thought of things in this light before; but, you are (sadly) pretty much on spot.

      I don’t listen to the audio on the Reds telecasts; but, I do have the close caption on most of the time. So, I see Thom’s thoughts without his inflection and phrasing. This said, the words I read seem to fit snugly with the comments I see here and elsewhere about Thom’s presentation. Many nights he seems to me to be a person who would rather be just about anywhere else doing just about anything else. Whatever is going on with him, I hope he gets worked through it and finds a way to not seem so put upon.

      • Jeff Reed

        If Thom is so put upon, it would not bother me for him to say goodbye as a Reds broadcaster.

      • RedInIND

        Even better if the ownership would say goodbye to him. And the sooner, the better.

  2. Hotto4Votto

    So in the 2nd half of the season Harvey has been the Reds 4/5th best pitcher running neck and neck with Romano who a lot of people believe should be moved to the bullpen. #winning culture, #momentum, #big bob’s love affair with mediocrity

  3. GW

    You’re cherry picking Harvey’s splits. For the year he has the lowest FIP of all Reds starters. For August (4 starts if BR is up to date) he has a 3.18 ERA (I don’t have his FIP for August). His post ASG stats are messed up by a few crappy starts right after the ASG.

    • Hotto4Votto

      For the year, Harvey has a 4.63 FIP and a 4.41 xFIP. Castillo has a 4.33 FIP and a 3.81 xFIP. So he doesn’t have the lowest FIP and when it comes to expected FIP Castillo has outpaced him by a good bit.

      And wouldn’t the cherrypicking be on the guy who used the smaller sample size of 4 starts rather than the guy who used the traditional break in the entire season?

      • GW

        Harvey’s reds fip is 4.33 – same as Castillo. Although as I watch the game Castillo is headed up. And no I’m not cherry picking – I quoted the whole year for Harvey as a red. My point is that if you’re gonna cherry pick after the ASG then I can cherry pick some even more recent data. Finally, cmon, Harvey looks pretty good right now – he really fell off when he was being shopped after the ASG – maybe a reason? It’s time to stop the rebuild and try to win in 2019. Harvey is not a bad option if he’ll sign for a year while he tries to build himself for free agency.

      • Hotto4Votto

        You said for the year, not for time he’s been with the Reds. I was giving you the numbers for the entire season. As far as I know, April and May still count as part of the season. I don’t think saying first half and second half of the season is cherry picking on Steve’s part. It’s long been a natural separation. We talk all the time in the past two seasons about Duvall’s first half and second half splits and not once did I see someone mention those stats were cherrypicked.

      • Gw

        Whatever – Harvey is not Romano 2nd half or no. And everyone knows Harvey was a mess in NY. Plus he’s recovering from his arm surgery. Bottom line is he’s been as good a starter as we’ve had this year although that’s not saying much.

      • Hotto4Votto

        I would agree Harvey’s not Romano. Harvey’s clearly been better and knows how to pitch more effectively, partially due to experience. I was simply commenting on the tweet from Steve in the game thread. Since the ASB their numbers have pretty close. Throughout the season think Castillo and Harvey have been our most consistent and best pitchers. Everyone else has been pretty bad outside of Disco for the most part, and Mahle for a stretch. So it isn’t saying much, I agree.

        And as a side note, this seems to be mistakenly said often, but he’s not coming off surgery, no less arm surgery. He had thoracic outlet which involves removing a rib a little over two years ago. He had Tommy John in October 2013.

  4. Bill

    Glad to see Herrera getting starts in the OF. The utility role is probably the only way he has a future on the Reds. If the Reds can avoid signing a veteran utility guy this winter it will show there is some hope. Blandino and Herrera can back up everything except CF and C for league minimum

  5. cfd3000

    Aristides Aquino must be pretty bummed by his week in the majors. I didn’t even realize he’d had one plate appearance, but at least he got the one. But what does it say about Riggleman as manager – in the National League where there’s no DH – that he had four (or five?) reserves for a week, and played a couple of extra inning games, but one of those reserves only got one plate appearance? Seems a wasted resource to me. Was that really an efficient use of the roster? Please no Riggleman next year!!

    • Jim Walker

      Aquino might be bummed a little but my understanding of the CBA is that the one MLB game appearance earned him lifetime medical coverage on MLB’s dime even if he never makes it to the majors again. Just one of the reasons the players like the MLBPA and what it has done for them over the years.

    • Matt Hendley

      Aquino was eligible for the rule 5 draft and so had to be on the 40 man. While he is showing promise in AA, he is nowhere near ready for the majors. There just wasnt anyone else. besides, he nearly made what he makes in a month in the minors up here in just under two weeks and god medical for life (see below)

  6. Seat101

    I don’t have a subscription to that paysite. So I will have to rely on secondhand reports that there is definitive evidence that the Reds’ owner got into the middle of a baseball decision that went against what the baseball people wanted.

    Otherwise it’s just rumormongering.

      • Seat101

        Well it’s more than a comment because people are saying it like it’s a fact.

  7. docproctor

    Love having Schebler, Ervin, and Herrera in the starting lineup, with Ervin in CF. Would like to see a lot more of this in the stretch run.

  8. roger garrett

    Hard not to like Casali.Guy can hit or he has so far at least and has some pop.

  9. roger garrett

    That ought to do it for this game.See you tomorrow.

  10. Jack

    Remember when the Reds use to pound the Cubs and we all use to laugh at the loser Cub fans?

  11. Indy Red Man

    We get 2nd/3rd 1 out and get nothing. They have 2 out and 1 on and get 3. Their guy is throwing 90. Our guy touched 99 in the 1st inning. Murphy will put them in the WS and kill us for the next few years. Cole Hamels will beat us 4-5 times/yr for the next 3 years. I give up. Its not only the $ difference but their young/cheap guys like Bode/Happ beat us and our guys do nothing. Yeah we swept them 4 in Cincy….whoop-de-#$n-doo

    • Jack

      Hey Indy thank about all the yard work and family time you’ll get in the next 7 years. 10 year rebuild !!!

  12. Old-school

    I just heard the ole left-hander.

    ” If you swing a bat…..you’re dangerous!”

    Let’s go Castillo.

  13. Jack

    Just not on board with the Amir Garrett love affair.

  14. Jack

    These have to be the ugliest uniforms and hats the Reds have ever worn. Who comes up with this crap.

    • docproctor

      We differ on that one. I think the unis are great.

  15. Sliotar

    As Quintana is being pulled after 1 batter in the top of the 6th, Thom starts laying into Quintana for issuing a walk with a 6-2 lead and says,

    “They are paying some of these pitchers a pile of money.”

    Maybe, but Quintana isn’t one of them.

    2018 – 8.85 million
    2019 – 10.5 million
    2020 – 10.5 million

    Cubs can buyout Quintana for $1 million in either 2019 or 2020.

    Matt Harvey will re-sign with the Reds for more than Quintana is making.

    There is a reason Thom doesn’t broadcast everyday in Chicago or New York or Boston, where TV media critics work and would call him out for just ranting without facts.

    • Old-school

      Sliotar- throw some more HR numbers out there. You win the the 2nd biggest theme of the year- power- behind the obvious, SP

    • Matt Hendley

      yea its cause his dad is the radio broadcaster here….maybe…

  16. Broseph

    This irks me with ERA. Peralta has now given up 3 runs this series that have been attached to another pitcher because he inherited them. I hate the stat because he plays a part in those runs scoring.

    • Matt Hendley

      IRS= Inherited Runners Scored Inherited runners scored/Inherited Runners? Maybe that should be a stat

      • Broseph

        IRS is actually inherited runners stranded. IR and IS is what you’re referring to. Might want to make sure you’re right with snide remarks.

        If you haven’t noticed by Reds broadcasts and office talk, this isn’t a team that looks at something like IR/IS/IRS. It took them years to acknowledge OBP and that is still suspect. They’re happy looking at RBIs, W-L records and ERAs when viewing players, hence my comment.

  17. Hanawi

    So I guess Sal to the bullpen is how they are ending the 6 man rotation.

  18. WVRedlegs

    Romano out of the pen today. End of 6 man rotation. Stephenson gets a little rope. Reed and Sims waiting in the wings.
    Castillo still has a long ways to go. Castillo’s lack of taking the next step has to be a bigger disappointment than Stephenson and Romano failure to step forward also.
    Changes have to come this winter. Big changes.

    • DEN

      Could you define what you mean by big changes?

      • WVRedlegs

        1. Manager.
        2. Rotation.
        3. 2B.
        4. CF.
        5. RF.
        6. Front Office.

  19. Matt Hendley

    Reed is Peraltas replacement when he is non tendered this off season, he also always projected as a relever. Castillo suffered from never going to triple A which is honestly where he should start next season. Romano I am iffy on. but you all know that there will be a position player pitching next inning

  20. Matt Hendley

    That Error Right there is why JOSE Peraza is not the SS of the Present or of the Future or of any time in the past. The Moment that his hand is healthy, Senzil needs to be getting reps at short in what ever league. That is the second Error THIS WEEK, that had DIrectly led to Runs being scored against the reds