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.
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:Ã‚Â 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.
1.Ã‚Â Scott ScheblerÃ‚Â (RF)
1.Ã‚Â Daniel MurphyÃ‚Â (2B)
- 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.
#Red activate Scott Schebler, OF Aristides Aquino optioned to AA Pensacola
— C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) August 25, 2018
Mo Egger nailed it with this piece on Bob Castellini’s meddling.
— The Athletic (@TheAthleticCIN) August 25, 2018
Evidence that Castellini’s faith in Harvey is misguided.
Reds starting pitchers —
xFIP since All Star Game:
FIP since ASG:
— Steve Mancuso (@spmancuso) August 25, 2018
A nice story on former Reds manager Jerry Narron.
— Dan Hoard (@Dan_Hoard) August 25, 2018
Doug Gray with today’s minor league update.
Cincinnati #Reds Minor League Game Review: 8/24/18
— Doug Gray (@dougdirt24) August 25, 2018
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.