The Short Version: Luis Castillo is exactly who we thought he was. But the Reds still lost.

Final — 10 innings R H E
Cincinnati Reds (66-89) 0 3 0
Miami Marlins (60-93) 1 7 0
W: Barraclough (1-6) L: Hernandez (5-2)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score

The Good
–Outstanding start by Luis Castillo, who continues to look really strong as the season draws to a close. In the longest outing of Castillo’s career, he pitched 8.1 shutout innings, allowing five hits and a walk. One of the hits and the walk came in the ninth, when Castillo was still throwing 98 mph. And one of the hits earlier in the game should have been charged an error to Billy Hamilton.

Just a magnificent outing.

–Curt Casali had a double.

–David Hernandez came on in the ninth inning of a 0-0 game, one out, runners on first and second. He proceeded to induce a double play, and the game headed to extra innings.

The Bad
–But then Hernandez surrendered two doubles in the bottom of the tenth that scored the game’s only run.

–No one really needs extra innings at this point in the season.

Not-So-Random Thoughts
–Seven games remaining. 63 innings.

–The Reds will need to win all seven of their remaining games in order to avoid a fourth consecutive 90-loss season. If Cincinnati goes 2-5 the rest of the way, it’ll be the third straight season that this franchise finishes with a 68-94 record.

Today’s Tweets

Blame Chad for creating this mess.

Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

Join the conversation! 36 Comments

  1. The Reds have been wasting some good pitching lately.

  2. Castillo in start number 31 of this year and 45th for his career continues to shine at the end of the season.Yep it was against the Fish but the Dodgers and Cubs are elite offensive clubs in our league and he did the same thing to them.It just makes so much difference when you let guys pitch and stay with them.He knows he can and so does the rest of the league.He will have his stinkers but everybody not named Max and Clayton and another one or two guys do have stinkers.Go back and look at Cueto’s numbers and compare them to Castillo’s.Johnny was good in year 3 but he became the Johnny we knew in year 4.Castillo may make it all the way next year.

    • Yes, but Castillo is a bit older than Johnny. Danny Darwin has, I think, been really instrumental in Castillo’s improvement this year. I think Luis was a little lost at the beginning of the year, and had issues with his mechanics, etc. The harder he was trying, sometimes the worse it got. Darwin has gotten him back on track in the second half. Darwin was his pitching coach in AA when he cam to the Reds.

    • “It just makes so much difference when you let guys pitch and stay with them”.

      Yep. It really does.

  3. Here’s some numbers I just put up on Twitter
    Before tonight:
    Votto 595PAs despite missing time with injury
    Suarez 576PAs despite ~3 weeks on DL
    Gennett 613PAs while playing with bum shoulder all year
    Peraza 652 PAs

    It is no wonder the offense is running on empty. Unless Riggleman has been operating under direct orders all year to run these guys out every day and try to win every game like it was the playoffs, these numbers on their own should disqualify him from consideration for the “permanent” manager position

    • Maybe thats it. Maybe it is a long term conditioning, a form of muscle memory, to condition the regulars not to burn out having to play an extra month if necessary next year.

    • Suarez has played in 136 games; missed 16 on the DL. So other than team off days, he has 3-4 off days all since April 26 when he returned from the DL.

      Votto has played in 139 games and missed 12 games after he was hit on the knee in August. Other than the injury time, by my math that’s one more day off than Suarez

      Gennett has played in 149 games which is 2 additional days off from Votto

      Pereaza has played in 150 games, 1 less off day than Votto and in addition has not had any injury time off.

      • Jimmy Fundamentals has overplay Joey, that’s for sure. The quest for winning (facepalm). And really with overplaying Suarez, Votto, etc, the record will still be only 68 or 69 victories, and a lot of young guys really never got a chance to play.
        Guerrero has been up since Sept 1, and has gotten almost no playing time
        Dixon, Herrera, etc. The management of this team is truly clueless at times.

    • I did not have the figures you just posted but I was thinking the exact same thing last night watching the game. Particularly Suarez, it looks like his bat is really dragging.

    • Exactly 100% correct and regardless of who is calling the shots its dumb because it actually hurts the so called re-build.Oustide of Ervin who gets to play only because Winker got hurt and Duvall was traded nobody else has got any significant playing time.He has shown he belongs almost by default if you will.I do understand that Votto is Votto and Eugenio was competing for a rbi crown as is Scooter is in the running for the league lead in average.However a team game becomes an individual thing and that’s not good.I do believe wins are important to the front office which should be the last thing while trying to rebuild a team.I don’t know if they will ever get.

  4. This has been a frustrating, often infuriating, season for Reds fans. The Old Cossack tanked and stowed any enthusiasm for this season and BC’s regime months ago, but continued to follow the games. There has been no enjoyment in following the games for a long time. Tonight I found myself cracking a glimmer of a grin that morphed to a full blown smile as the game progressed. The players had fallen to a lackadaisical mode of simply going through the motions emerged from their early hibernation and actually rallied around Castillo. They had a purpose and resolve once again and it had nothing to do with Riggleman or the front office. That game was fun again, despite the loss.

    • It was fun, but I wish the Reds had had enough “purpose and resolve” to score Castillo a run before the bottom of the ninth.
      Was the Marlins’ pitching THAT good? Are the Reds trying to overtake the fish to be cellar dweller?

  5. Castillo’s lone walk was a gift from the home plate umpire to the mysteriously shrinking strike zone in the 9th inning.

    Castillo was not only throwing 98 in the 9th inning, he was still painting the black at 98.

    • I noticed that too. That good ol’ human error element some want to cling onto. Ball three wasn’t even on the black, it was absolutely a strike.

    • Yep Castillo already had him stuck out with a ball a couple of inches above the knees.

  6. Great decisions throughout history:

    1) “I think I will take a bite of the apple” — Adam
    2) “I think I will attack Russia in Winter” — Napoleon
    3) “I think I will attack the Little Bighorn” — Custer
    4) “I like putting our regular guys out there. Our position guys are pretty well set. It’s not like we’re saying, Let’s have an audition for next year” — Jim Riggleman

    • Best post of the year.

    • Love it!

      How about: “We don’t want to disrupt a Winning Culture?”

    • Winters you come to store Ikelea early that year. If the cold weather had held
      off for three weeks we would be living in an entirely different universe.

      Much like the bad weather that screwed up the Spanish Armada, sometimes good decisions get torn apart by bad weather.

      Think about this, is there any other team in the major leagues that would even interview Jim Rickelman this off-season? Let’s hope it snows so bad on the day they’re supposed to interview him he can’t show up.

  7. The comment about the error that was ruled a hit was the latest example of a common statement on this site. I have been surprised at plays ruled as hits that were actually poor reads or lazy preparation by the fielder.
    Readers, does it seem to you that official scorers are frequently assigning hits on plays that really should have been an out at the MLB level? More so now than in previous years?

    • It was an error. And frankly, that happens at times to Centerfielders. When the ball is hit right at you, it can sometimes be difficult to read it in a split second, as that line drive was hit harder than Billy could judge it. His contention for the Gold Glove is still safe! But it was an error.

    • Yes, I think a number of hits this year are really errors. It would be a large number if mental errors were assessed.

    • Yes I have thought so. When I played (At a very, very, vey lower level than MLB) our mantra was, if you can get your glove on it, you should catch it. Obviously we were no way near the level it takes to play in the majors, these guys should catch what they can get to. If not it should be an error

  8. Didn’t watch a minute of the game. Can anyone tell me who led off this shutout loss?

    • It’s in the boxscore but it was Billy Hamilton. Don’t think we can pin the loss on him as the whole team failed to get on base and hit though.

  9. Riggleman: Winker is the odd man out in the OF rotation. That was retracted quickly by the FO.
    Riggleman: Bailey to the bullpen. That was eventually negated by the FO as well and Bailey never threw from the pen.
    Riggleman: Article went up yesterday about how he’s going to have his starter go shorter outings. Last night Castillo pitches a career high in innings pitched. I guess he just figured he’d save the FO some time.

    It was the right move to leave Castillo in. Don’t have any issue with that. Just funny that it seems that every time Riggleman makes a declaration it is almost immediately walked back. Does he have any clue what is going on?

    Guess he learned it from the best.
    Big Bob: The losing stops here, within a few seasons the Reds embark on a historically awful stretch of bad baseball.
    Big Bob: After worse start in team history, “if we’re not going to play better than .500 baseball from now on, to me that would be a disaster”. After not playing better than .500 ball, the Reds side step the disaster comment and declare a “positive momentum”.
    Walt Jocketty: We’re going to focus on OBP, trades for Marlon Byrd.

    I mean I could probably go on, but I think you get the point.

  10. From time to time I think nobody could be this clueless in running this circus and then it happens again to show me I am wrong.Can’t remember who it is that says the Reds just throw stuff on the wall and see if it sticks but it really fits doesn’t it.I would like to add it isn’t different stuff its just they clean it up put it back in the box close their eyes and pull the same stuff right back out again.That happens when you have the same guys from the same generation making the same decisions.Walt and his guys from the old school have ruined this franchise and as long as they are here it will not change

    • Roger, I had to chuckle at this description. But as I thought about it, this still sounds too methodical and intentional compared to what seems to be happening. I’d say things are being run more like tying a blindfold on and swinging at a piñata. Only in the Red’s case, the piñata is not within swinging distance.

  11. After Castillo’s gem last night, the Reds have a team ERA of 3.62 for the month of September. That’s the kind of team ERA you can hang your hat on (Tampa Bay has the 3rd best ERA in the ML for this season at 3.62). Add in that Harvey & DeSclafani have had a few bad starts this month & there’s a little room for optimism. Unfortunately, the improvement is substantially due to deducting Bailey from the rotation. Cody Reed, a better Castillo, & a little Lorenzen have helped.

    • FWIW or not, one of the traditional axioms of baseball has been don’t trust major decisions to what happens in spring training or September (unless a team is involved in a playoff race).

      An argument could be made we saw this demonstrated in the recent series versus the Cubs and Brewers, The Cubs were running not quite on cruise control. They toyed with the Reds and yet ended up taking 2 of 3 just marking time and counting down, The Brewers were still fighting to be sure they are in and pretty much dismantled the Reds pitching picking up their 2 of 3 versus the Reds.

      • Popular hypothesis? Yep. Traditional axiom? Not quite. Anyway the Reds pitching this September isn’t a basis for “major decisions” (except possibly continuing to delete Bailey from the rotation). Fourteen of the Reds 20 games this September have been vs teams with winning records. All those teams are still in the playoff hunt except for Pirates. Even the Cubs haven’t secured home field yet. What September has demonstrated is that the Reds have some pitching, but their staff is beset by many shortcomings- not the least of which is failing to properly utilize the talent they do have.

  12. Last night was Castillo pitching towards his true effectiveness over the year, a bit unlucky early on.

    Harvey instead of Homer, another year of growth for the youngsters, and a lineup featuring healthy OBP monsters (Winker, Votto, Suarez) and Scheebs and Scooter, plus a Senzel would be a .500 Club. Add a wish list bonafied SP and we’re in the mix.

    This year, for me, has exposed our lack of organizational depth. People talk about logjams at positions but we in fact have the opposite. We are missing the ability to mitigate injuries to our SPs, OFs and 1B.

    The Dodgers have logjams, we do not.

  13. So the Reds article about looking to the FA market for pitching was interesting. I’m not trying to get into the FA route vs trading for an ace. There’s risk each way no matter which way you go. And even though I’m more an advocate of trading for an ace (not of emptying our farm system), I do understand people’s resistance to trading prospects. I don’t want to lose Senzel, Greene, Trammell, Santillan, or India either. In fact Santillan may be the most difficult to part with as he’s a top of the rotation guy who’s improved upon reaching AA. I also recognize that to get quality, aka a difference maker, you have to give up quality.

    But, just looking at the FA market there are three guys who are a cut ahead of the other guys available. Kershaw if he opts out, Keuchel, and Corbin. I have long suggested that Kershaw doesn’t opt out to come to Cincinnati. Corbin grew up a Yankees fan and the Yankees have rotation needs and the means to compete on the open market, making that a natural match. That leaves Keuchel, who I’d guess commands $25-30m a year. (Darvish made $25 and Arrietta made $30 in 2018 after being the top two FA’s last offseason.) The Reds article indicated the Reds likely won’t be players at the top of the market, and I absolutely believe that to be the case.

    The article mentioned a next tier of pitchers that may be of interest.
    Buchholz: He’s ending the season on the 60-day DL due to a flexor strain in his elbow.
    Gonzalez: 33 year old with about league average production. (99 ERA+)
    Lynn: Will be 32 in May next year, has been below average this year with a 89 ERA + this season, although he’s been about league average in 46 innings with the Yankees. Plus he’s an ex-Cardinal so he’s sure to have Walt’s attention.
    Miley: Will turn 32 this offseason, has pitched very well when healthy. He had a groin injury in ST and then an oblique injury his second start back requiring a 60-day DL stint.
    Harvey: Well we all know about him, below average production for the Reds, but can take the ball every five days and likely to pitch 5 innings.

    There are sure to be others. Do any of these guys drastically improve the Reds next year? Do they make the Reds a competitor next season? Can any of those guys be counted on to anchor a rotation? A lot of posters here think we need to add two arms. All these guys either have recent injury concerns or just average performances this season.

    I’d love just to drop money and not prospects on shoring up the rotation. I’m struggling to see the real upgrades here that change next season’s trajectory. Sure some of those guys could slot into the middle of our rotation and improve upon this year. But what’s the ceiling of those improvements? I’m willing to listen to how this crop of FA pitchers takes us back to winning baseball.

    • Thought-provoking points. Adding average, mid-rotation guys in their 30’s might, if all went well, make next year’s team better, but, barring break-out years from several of the young guys, doesn’t seem likely to result in making the play-offs.

  14. I’ve been tough of Riggleman but he made good decisions last night. Challenging the interference slide at 2nd and winning equaled a double play. Good call. He left Castillo in as long as I thought he should. It was time to make a move and that worked out too. To the best of my knowledge, no bunts were called. Even Castillo was swinging. When Casali doubled to leadoff an inning, nobody bunted. I approved! This is a change from not so long ago.

Comments are closed.

About Chad Dotson

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine. You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

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2018 Reds, Titanic Struggle Recap

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