As the baseball season winds to an end and attention starts turning to football, the Reds (63-84) are quietly heading to Chicago this weekend looking to make some sort of impact in the NL Central race — even if it’s not the type of impact they hoped for when the season began. They’re set to square off against the Cubs (85-61) for the final time in 2018, looking to make a dent in their rival’s postseason dreams. The North Siders currently have a slim 1.5-game lead over the Brewers in the division standings, and the Cardinals are still in the hunt at 4.5 games back.

The Reds do have the advantage of being well-rested, if nothing else. The club got an off-day on Thursday; meanwhile, the Cubs had to fly from Chicago on Wednesday night after a loss against the Brewers to Washington, D.C., on Thursday for a one-game makeup from a previous rainout against the Nationals. Joe Maddon and company were none too pleased about it, either. To make matters worse, the Cubs were forced to go to extra innings in the game, though they did pull out a 4-3 win.

The team managed to push back Friday’s start time from 2:20 p.m. to 8:05 p.m. to accommodate the travel schedule. We’ll see if this situation has any bearing on this weekend’s series when the Reds and Cubs duke it out in Wrigley Field tonight.

Starting Pitchers

Name IP ERA xFIP K% BB%
Matt Harvey 138.2 4.87 4.31 19.2% 5.7%
Cole Hamels 165.0 3.71 3.97 23.2% 8.5%

Outside of one start, Matt Harvey has largely thrown the ball well over the last month, accumulating a 3.38 ERA and 3.50 xFIP in six starts. In his most recent trip to the mound on Saturday, Harvey struck out a season-best 10 batters, his highest total since May 8, 2016. The righty also matched a career-high with 24 swings and misses in the game, the second-highest total by any Reds pitcher this year (Tyler Mahle is the leader at 26). Although it was against a woeful Padres offense, it was a vintage performance from Harvey, who could very well be entering his last handful of starts with the Reds. We’ve said that a few other times before, though, so it’s hard to tell what the future holds for him in 2019.


Cole Hamels has been a godsend for the Cubs after a trade-deadline deal to bring him to the Windy City. Since his acquisition on July 31, only three pitchers have a lower ERA in all of baseball than Hamels (1.42): Zack Wheeler, Clay Buchholz, and Blake Snell. The southpaw’s peripherals (3.49 xFIP) don’t support that level of dominance (which is the case with almost all pitchers), but let’s not sell him short either. His 50.8% groundball rate ranks 15th among all pitchers with 30 or more innings pitched since the start of August, and he’s not running a ludicrously low BABIP during that time either (.276). Although his strand rate (86%) is unsustainably high, he’s upped his fastball usage significantly in a Cubs uniform, saving his sinker, curveball, and changeup for when he really needs a groundball.

Against the Reds on August 23, Hamels threw a complete game and surrendered only one run. He’s coming off his worst outing as a Cub, however, as he lasted only 5 2/3 innings and allowed five walks and three runs on Saturday against the Nationals.

Lineups

Reds

1. Scott Schebler (RF)
2. Jose Peraza (SS)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
5. Scooter Gennett (2B)
6. Phillip Ervin (LF)
7. Curt Casali (C)
8. Matt Harvey (P)
9. Billy Hamilton (CF)

Cubs

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

News, Notes, & Pre-Game Reading

Interesting development on Nick Senzel:

Our friends over at Red Reporter dissected the Senzel news today:

Some love for Eugenio Suarez:

Jason Linden says it’s time to punch Joey Votto’s ticket into Cooperstown.

Lucas Sims may be done for the year:

Stat of the Day

On Tuesday, rising Rockies star Trevor Story became the first shortstop in MLB history to eclipse 40 doubles, 30 homers, and 100 RBI in a single season. The only Cincinnati player to come close to that achievement is, no surprise, Barry Larkin. He had 32 doubles, 33 home runs, and 89 RBI in 1996 at age 32. By bWAR, it was the best season of Larkin’s career (7.2); yet, he finished 12th in NL MVP balloting. The year before, he won the MVP with a 5.9 WAR.

Growing up just north of Cincinnati, Matt has been a Reds fan for as long as he can remember. As a kid, he was often found leading the Reds to 162-0 seasons in MVP Baseball 2005 and imitating his favorite players (Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, Sean Casey, and Austin Kearns) in the backyard. One of his earliest baseball memories is attending the final night game at Cinergy Field. Matt is also a graduate of The Ohio State University and currently lives in the Dayton area. Follow him on Twitter at @_MattWilkes.

Join the conversation! 34 Comments

  1. Senzel healthy and to the OF, this changes everything.

    Reply
    • Not really….not for 2019.

      Senzel will spend time in AAA to get the extra year of control and Hamilton is going to be back, hopefully for his last season in Cincinnati.

      Winker-Hamilton-Schebler in OF to start season….Hamilton traded for a bucket of baseballs at deadline to get Senzel fully blooded in OF before end of season.

      Use the $ from Bailey buyout to further upgrade the pitching….and 2020 starts the competitive window.

      (Still need moar HRs, though. Hopefully, Winker shows power and Senzel’s potential is realized).

      Go Redlegs.

      Reply
  2. Brantley just said that Peraza has played great not only at the plate but also in the field. Has he been watching the Reds play this year?

    Reply
  3. I like the Senzel move to the OF, anything that gets his bat in the lineup and hastens the end of Billy Hamitlon’s time in Cincinnati. As a bonus, Senzel could be a realistic option to play basically any position outside of catcher and pitcher, so he adds depth all across the team in case of injury.

    Reply
  4. Peraza surges back ahead of Votto in the HR race 12-11.

    Reply
  5. Kid is getting comfortable.

    Reply
  6. First baseman is looking comfortable too.

    Reply
  7. That homeplate ump is terrible. Called Strike 3 on a way inside Ball 4 to Ervin, and called a strike on a low and away ball to Caselli. If he’d gotten both of those calls right, that could have been a huge inning for the Reds.

    Reply
  8. Suarez is a very lackadaisical baserunner…. Why look at the ball for 5 steps when you are running home.?

    Reply
    • Flip side….Baez busts it to 2nd to beat the throw. He’s out otherwise.
      Scooter shouldn’t have thrown to 2nd anyway.

      Reply
      • I expect guys to run and play hard because well they should but they know what we know.Its just playing out the season for us and we have tons of practice but one day we will play meaningful games in September.

        Reply
  9. Didn’t Hovey have a rep for showing his anger when a fielder made a mistake?

    Anyway I’m glad you got out of that inning.

    Reply
  10. Suarez was out either way, Umping is terrible, Back to Backs are Great. Welches Obviously incorrect statement on the defense of Peraza is the New Party Line. Senzel to OF, Peraza stays at SS. Damn Billy why

    Reply
    • Disagree about either way. 100% out if you don’t run hard. 50-50 if he was busting it like he should.. Throw was 5 feet towards the 3rd base dugout.

      Reply
      • I’ll Give you 75% out 25 % safe, It was up the line. This does not excuse suarez from not running hard.

        Reply
  11. Balk move by Hamels. Foot came behind the rubber. Billy let the ump know too.

    Reply
  12. This game is just so who the Reds are and have been for so long.Two runs in,second and third and no out and don’t score.Billy walks and gets doubled off on a line drive.He gets a hit and gets picked off balk or not,Scott then singles and Peraza grounds in to a double play.Should be up 4 or 5 to nothing which leaves them a bloop and a blast away from a tie.Call it fate,bad execution,bad baseball period but it is not a winning culture or positive vibe.However I remain a fan and one of these days things will change.

    Reply
  13. Harvey is pitching a pretty good game. It’s nights like this where I think, if he would agree, to signing him to a 3 year, team-friendly deal. I know Boras will be out for blood, but if Harvey is happy in Cincinnati and pushes for a deal, I’m sure it could happen.

    Then if the Reds could put together a package for a legit top-of-the-rotation starter and Castillo/Mahle/Reed can take a big step forward next season, they might have something.

    Reply
  14. Gosh bless it, I love watching Matt Harvey pitch. Outside of a few guys in the bullpen, he looks like the only true big leaguer on the roster. I hope the Reds find a way to keep him around.

    Reply
  15. I like him.He is a tick above or below an average major league starter and in my mind that’s 10 mil or more per year and I really think his agent will get him more from a team with more bucks.If he would take a one year deal for say 6 or 7 then it works for me.Just don’t think it will happen for us though one could argue he hasn’t proven he is any better then average and throw in the injury concerns then well maybe.

    Reply
    • Oh I think Harveys going to be well above average next year. The further he gets away from all of the injuries, the better he gets. Someone is going to get the old Harvey or close to it next year and I hope it’s the Reds.

      Reply
  16. We all knew that was coming, didn’t we?

    Reply
  17. And just Like that

    Reply
  18. David Hernandez… that’s a killer there.

    Reply
  19. Not that Amir is any better, by why doesn’t he come in 1 batter sooner to face the lefty Happ?

    Reply
  20. Too many blown chances.We are so far away from competing in our own division.I am not blaming Hernandez or Suarez but this is what losing teams do all the time.This game is over but we should have had 5 or 6 runs with all the chances we had.Good night all.

    Reply
    • We are so far away from competing in our own division.

      Disagree. The Reds’ offense is already playoff caliber and is set to be even better with the continued development of Peraza, Winker, and Senzel. Take Billy Hamilton out of the lineup and replace him with Senzel and (assuming Senzel lives up to his billing) the Reds will have a truly elite offense.

      The pitching… Yeah, there are problems there, but it might not be so bad depending on if you believe Castillo/Mahle/Reed will ever amount to anything. Disco is a decent middle-to-bottom of the rotation option for a playoff caliber team, and if the Reds sign Harvey, he would be a decent middle-to-top of the rotation starter. The Reds need to really buck up and make a difficult trade for a legit top of the rotation starter this winter and go for it next season. With the right moves, they absolutely could compete.

      And by “right moves”, I mean also finding a manager who won’t give away 2-5 outs each night with stupid bunting.

      Reply
  21. 47 errors so far in 2018 by 3B/SS/2B – that’s quite too much

    Reply

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About Matt Wilkes

Growing up just north of Cincinnati, Matt has been a Reds fan for as long as he can remember. As a kid, he was often found leading the Reds to 162-0 seasons in MVP Baseball 2005 and imitating his favorite players (Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, Sean Casey, and Austin Kearns) in the backyard. One of his earliest baseball memories is attending the final night game at Cinergy Field. Matt is also a graduate of The Ohio State University and currently lives in the Dayton area. Follow him on Twitter at @_MattWilkes.

Category

2018 Reds, Game Thread

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