The sweep of the Giants last weekend seems like a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. The Reds’ (56-74) trip to Chicago has gone about as well as you’d expect for a last-place team playing a first-place club. In every sense of the word, the Cubs (75-53) have dominated this series, taking the first three games by a combined score of 20-9. To avoid a four-game sweep, the Reds need a vintage performance from their $105 million pitcher. The series finale will again kick off at 2:20 p.m. ET.

Starting Pitchers

Homer Bailey 91.1 6.21 4.75 15.2% 7.1%
Kyle Hendricks 151.2 4.04 3.89 20.0% 5.9%

The Reds are 1-16 in games Homer Bailey starts this season. Is there really anything else to say? He’s certainly deserved a better fate in some of his 17 starts, including his last outing against the Brewers. But at the end of the day, Bailey has a -0.3 fWAR. He’s tied for the second-least valuable pitcher who has thrown at least 90 inning this season (only the Cubs’ Tyler Chatwood is worse, for those wondering). Although he averaged 95 mph on his fastball in his first start back from the disabled list on July 24, that number has trended downward in each start since. That culminated in an average velocity of just 92 mph in his last start, which is his second-lowest mark in any outing this season.

On a brighter note, Bailey has an excellent 4.6 BB% and a respectable 20.0 K% since his return from a knee injury. Improved control is certainly a good thing to see, though he’s still missing his spots in the strike zone, as evidenced by his five homers allowed in his last four starts. His strikeout rate, at the very least, seems sustainable given his 10.5% swinging strike rate — putting him right at the league average — and above-average 36.1% swing rate on pitches outside the strike zone. Bailey’s splitter has also been excellent since returning from the DL, notching a 23% whiff rate.

Like others on the Chicago pitching staff, Kyle Hendricks has endured an up-and-down 2018 season. His dominant 2016, which netted him a third-place finish in NL Cy Young voting, seems like a long time ago at this point. The 28-year-old dealt with injuries for much of 2017 and has further regressed this season. Hendricks is sporting the worst ERA and FIP of his career, and his xFIP is at its highest point since his rookie year in 2014. Making matters worse, his strikeout rate has also declined for a second straight year, and his ground-ball rate is at an all-time low of 46.2%.

While Hendricks still does a nice job of forcing soft contact (only 12 qualified pitchers rank ahead of him on that leaderboard), he’s allowing hard contact more than at any other point in his career. Given the drop in ground balls, that’s led to allowing 20 home runs this season — already a career-worst by three. While it was highly unlikely Hendricks would replicate his 2.13 ERA from 2016 given his lack of dominant stuff, the Cubs have to be disappointed with his regression. This season, he’s looked more like a No. 4 starter than the potential ace he did two short years ago.

Scouting report: Velocity is not the reason the sinker-baller made it to the big leagues, but losing a few ticks has likely not helped matters. After averaging 88.1 and 88.9 on his sinker and four-seamer, respectively, in 2016, he’s down to 86.6 and 87.2 this year. His sinker, which has hovered around a 60% ground-ball rate at times during his career, is down to a career-worst 50.5% in 2018. The four-seam fastball is getting slugged for a career-worst .636, and his curveball pitch value is eighth-worst among all qualified pitchers. Hendricks’ saving grace has been the changeup, which continues to be his go-to putaway offering (20.5 SwStr%) and once again ranks in the top 10 in pitch value.


1. Billy Hamilton (CF)
2. Jose Peraza (SS)
3. Scooter Gennett (2B)
4. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
5. Scott Schebler (RF)
6. Phillip Ervin (LF)
7. Tucker Barnhart (1B)
8. Curt Casali (C)
9. Homer Bailey (P)
1. Daniel Murphy (2B)
2. Javier Baez (SS)
3. Anthony Rizzo (1B)
4. Willson Contreras (C)
5. Jason Heyward (RF)
6. David Bote (3B)
7. Kyle Schwarber (LF)
8. Kyle Hendricks (P)
9. Albert Almora Jr. (CF)

News, Notes, & Pre-Game Reading

Stat of the Day

With his performance yesterday, Curt Casali eclipsed 1.0 bWAR for the season. The last time two Reds backstops got over that hump was in 2011, when Ramon Hernandez and Ryan Hanigan were splitting the catching duties. They also did so in 2010. Before that, you have to go back to 2005, when Jason LaRue and Javier Valentin both did it.

Bonus fun fact: During this research, it was discovered that Corky Miller led all Reds catchers in WAR in 2013.

75 Responses

  1. Colorado Red

    Homer is pitching.
    Bets Reds lose again.

  2. msanmoore

    Not sure I can bear to watch it.

  3. Scooter Rolen

    I wish someone else would get a chance in the Reds bullpen instead of Wandy Peralta. He just doesn’t seem to be as good as the Reds think he is, and I’m sick of the idea that just because he’s left-handed he can have almost a 5 ERA and keep his spot. Especially since we have Garrett (who didn’t play well either, to be fair) as a LH option. Only Reed has a higher FIP in the bullpen, and Reed doesn’t have the sample size that Peralta does. I don’t know off the top of my head, but surely there’s somebody in Louisville that’s young and deserves a shot in the bullpen – maybe Herget?

    2018 Stats: 4.99 ERA, 4.49 FIP
    2017 Stats: 3.76 ERA, 4.16 FIP

    Of course, this may all be a moot point since rosters expand soon, but Peralta has stuck out for me lately for some reason. (Wasn’t there an article on here a while ago that said his stats last year were boosted by one good month?)

    • Scooter Rolen

      And those stats are for Peralta, not Herget. Just noticed that might be confusing.

    • Sliotar

      Yup. Steve Mancuso pointed out Peralta feasting off a good month.

  4. Hotto4Votto

    So the Reds determined that 3 starts, the last of which showed signs of improvement, was enough to relegate Stephenson in the bullpen. Even though three months worth of solid starts weren’t apparently enough for him to start the season in the rotation. Ok, makes sense. And Romano has out pitched Bailey this season, it shouldn’t be him losing a rotation spot while Bailey continues to be one of the worst starters in baseball out there. Glad Reed is getting the start, just wish it didn’t come at the expense of other guys who need opportunities to start, while guys that won’t be on the next competitive Reds team continue to log starts in a meaningless season.

    Go build that winning culture Bailey, you’re the poster child for it.

    • Matt Hendley

      Stephenson is stlll walking as many people as he is in the minors, he got his chance last year, and the year before

  5. Sliotar

    “A guy like George Brett hitting, you could always start a runner 3-1 and 3-2 because it’s either going to be ball four or he’s going to hit it,” Riggleman said. “Tony Gwynn is going to hit the ball.” (Quote from baserunning story linked above).

    I liked watching Gwynn as a small kid. But, I don’t want the manager of the team I follow bringing him up in 2018. For better or worse, the game has changed.

    Good baserunning is always needed, but there is too much swing-and-miss today and GABP is too HR-friendly to justify being a “running team.”

    However, I bet ol’ Bob C. smiled after reading that Riggleman was going to bring back “the old way” of playing the game.

    • Mike Adams

      Maybe I am too cynical, but sometimes when Riggleman does or says something I get the impression of “Look at me! Managing here. Doing stuff, changing things, doing the best I can with what I got. Why, someone should make me permanent manager. Yoo-hoo, Reds: did you notice me managing the heck out of that ballgame?”

      • Jack

        Riggleman also talks out his behind. I’m still waiting for Scooter to play first. He said Scooter will play first and Herrera can start at 2nd. Apparently he Likes tucker at first. Probably will bench Votto for him when he gets off the DL

    • CI3J

      Great. But I don’t know if Riggleman noticed, the Reds don’t have Brett or Gwynn on the team. So the question becomes, what if the batter strikes out on the 3-2 pitch and the runner then gets thrown out? The Reds don’t have much speed outside BHam, Peraza, and now Ervin, so this scenario seems a lot more likely.

  6. RedInIND

    Reds will probably put Hendricks back on the Cy Young path today. That’s as optimistic as I can get.

  7. George

    “Joey Votto still on DL and Riggleman says Votto may not be ready to return Tuesday, either. Called injury “way worse” than originally thought, but still says JV is doing much better than when he went on DL.#Reds”

    Looks like “riggs” has finally realized the Reds will be last so lets use the “hit by pitch” story (excuse) to try and correct what has been aggravating Votto all Season.
    Just saying…

    • Jack

      They are always worse than what they thought. Usually takes 5-7 days just to decide to put them on DL. Crack pot organization.

  8. Klugo

    Based solely on performance, that seems like a fair use of Romano,Stephenson, and Reed. One of these guys needs to capitalize on their opportunities, enough of this BS.

  9. bouwills

    Should 25,000 or more (mostly Cub) fans show up at GABP today, then more than 10% of the attendance for the 2018 season to date will be from this 4 games series with the Cubs. SAD!

    • bouwills

      Would be except their in Wrigley. My point being the Reds just don’t have the following to compete. Attendance will be north of 150, 000 for this series. Reds have 1.367 M to date.

      • Jack

        Reds should be grateful for the 1.367 M

  10. WVRedlegs

    De-fense. De-fence. What defense?

  11. docproctor

    Our fundamentally unsound SS makes yet another error.

  12. VaRedsFan

    Peraza defense rears it’s ugly face again in the top of the 1st. This will, no doubt, be the cause of Bailey’s demise in the game recap tomorrow.

  13. vegastypo

    Peraza is NOT a major league shortstop. Maybe if he carried a big bat, that’d be a different story, but geez, please tell me he’s not viewed as the long-term answer.

    • Jack

      It’s always the easy plays. The simpler it is the harder he makes it.

  14. vegastypo

    Murphy gets a squib hit, then an error. I’m no Homer apologist, but this ain’t all his fault.

  15. vegastypo

    And Hamilton falls down. … Note to Homer: Fake an injury and leave the game. A horrible season, but even HE doesn’t deserve this.

  16. docproctor

    Here’s what I posted on a previous thread. I stand by it:

    Peraza is not a fundamentally sound shortstop. He routinely messes up routine plays. He slides feet first instead of diving head first at balls up the middle, he throws off the wrong foot at times, he backhands balls he should get in front of, he airmails throws because he doesn’t stop and plant, he doesn’t locate well as a cutoff man, and of course he sometimes forgets to cover second base on stolen bases. I know he’s young and learning, but it looks like he hasn’t been coached well through the years (or maybe SS isn’t his best position).

    • bouwills

      Suarez is not a fundamentally sound 3rd baseman either. At least not this year.

      • docproctor

        Can’t disagree. I want to think otherwise, but he’s made lots of charged and uncharged errors this year.

    • VaRedsFan

      A whole lot of truth in this. It’s a shame it has to come up game after game. You left out that he has dropped 7 line drives (that I’ve seen) over the last 2 years.

      • docproctor

        Forgot about that! Yes, those have been awful.

    • Old-school

      I don’t disagree a lot- but he’s improved substantially offensively in his age 24 season. This is a guy who had an impossible BB % and no power last year. Hes now getting on base at a league avg+ and leading the team in doubles with an occasional HR.

      Just to play devil’s advocate, If the Reds aren’t leapfrogging 4 other teams in 2019, why not give him another 155 games and mentoring from Benavides to see if he can be a solid SS. He’s 24.

      • VaRedsFan

        It would be different if they were physical errors (like the one in the 1st), but it’s the mental errors that’s hard to forgive. Those are the ones that should have already been ironed out in rookie and lower minor leagues.

    • doofus

      +he can’t get anything on his throws because he throws side-arm.

  17. Old-school

    Plenty of opportunities out of the bullpen for Stephenson!!!

  18. vegastypo

    And that pop-up isn’t caught. … I’m actually feeling sorry for Homer now.

  19. Jack

    Did Bailey sleep with somebody’s wife? Punch their dog? Bad juju

  20. muttonlettucetomato

    Wow, Homer definitely does not deserve this. How many games in the last 20 some left to play will the Reds be behind by 3 or more runs in the first inning? Just ugly baseball right now.

  21. Seat101

    Jose Peraza was the wheelman for the Lindbergh baby kidnapping

  22. Old-school

    I missed the first few hitters- but Heyward stung that ball. I don’t think Hamilton catches it anyway. The pop up down the LF line was just in a bad spot.Bad luck.
    Bote crushed it…Murphy just crushed one .

    Bailey is laboring . He doesn’t miss bats

    • Jim Walker

      I think it was a ball Hamilton catches more often than not. Could see on the replay he misread it and stepped in a step or two then fell trying to correct. If he reads it correctly off the bat, gets his normal break, its a ball he catches.

  23. Jack

    I can hear Bob C. now talking to the other Knuckleheads…”I like that Murphy. Let’s sign him this offseason. We can never have enough second Basemen.”
    Jocketty nodding his head yes and saying ” Yeah and let’s sign Adam Wainright to be are number 1 pitcher!. You can never have enough washed up Cardinals Bob!”

  24. Shchi Cossack

    There are two defensive positions that can simply not be defensive liabilities…catcher and shortstop. Not CF, not 2B, not 3B and certainly not LF, RF & 1B. Average defense can play at C and SS if the team gets adequate offense from those positions, but not a defensive liability.

  25. vegastypo

    And then an infield grounder that nobody can get to, leads to two runs. Just unbelievable, this mix of bad luck and bad pitching.

  26. Jack

    Bote stands way off the plate and casali calls for a pitch inside. I just dont get it. Throw it on the outside corner down and away. Anything but on inside of plate belt high!!

  27. CI3J

    Just turned the game on. Saw Homer Bailey was pitching and the score was 5-0 in the 4th. Shrugged and turned it back off.

    That’s about all the attention the team deserves today.

  28. Mark Lang

    1 and 17

    Surprise, surprise, surprise.

  29. docproctor

    About to switch to the Bengals. Talk about a glutton for punishment.

    • Reds Fan In FL

      Bengals have actually had 7 winning seasons and 3 additional 8-8 seasons since 2001 compared to the Reds with only 3 winning seasons in that time frame. Sad to think the bengals have actually been “better” than the Reds since the turn of the century.

  30. VaRedsFan

    Little League World Series is on if you’re looking for entertainment, and better baseball

  31. docproctor

    (Oops, wrong ballgame)

  32. roger garrett

    More we lose more chance we see some changes.Getting pounded is just what we need.All teams in our division are so much better.I never have said to blow it up and won’t but anybody not named Suarez is trade bait for me if it makes us better.Another game over after the first inning and we look like a little league team against a guy that doesn’t break 90.Blame it on the bad start,blame it on injuries,pitching.the owner or manager or take your pick we are terrible.

    • Jack

      90? Cant reach 87! This goes to show you if you hit your spots with movement you can succeed.

    • doofus

      I would trade Suarez now for a haul, before he turns into a Prince Fielder mini-me.

    • Phil

      Name one player in this lineup, despite, Suarez, who would start for a contending team.

  33. Seat101

    Perhaps this is the last time we’ll see LameNickname pitch….

    • roger garrett

      It look likes this is true.What a waste of a great arm.

    • doofus

      If he would only learn to breathe out of his eyelids!

    • Jack

      On the bright side he didn’t walk anybody today!

  34. roger garrett

    I am torn and want to blame Bob the pitcher but he has only been here a couple of weeks.He could have upset the winning culture though so yeah its his fault.

  35. doofus

    Mrs. doofus was one of three that threw out the first pitch at the Dragons game last night. She buried a slider in the dirt.

    I met Eric-the-Red in the dugout where we stood together for the National Anthem.

    Had my Uncle with us who took me to my first game at Crosley in ’64. It was a great family outing.

    Our suite mooned the Lugnut pitcher to help break-up his no-hiiter. Hey, we did our part.

    • VaRedsFan

      Cool story. Is Mrs. Doofus eligible to start on Tuesday?

      • doofus

        Mrs. doofus will throw a bullpen tomorrow. We’ve altered her birth certificate. She’s Bob Castellini’s 2nd cousin.

    • roger garrett

      I am proud of you and really like the Crosley reference.Last game there we got late homers from Bench and the Big Bopper Lee May to beat the Giants 5-4.Those were the days.Well can’t wait to get home and watch two major league teams out homer us by a wide margin while we discuss how much to pay Billy in year 6 or if we should sign Harvey or what to with Homer.