The Reds seek to make it 2 consecutive wins over the Mets tonight at Citi Field. The big two atop the Mets rotation, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, loom ahead after tonight. So, it would behoove the Reds to secure no worse than a series split ahead of the final 2 games of the series. And will the Mets take issue with Jesse’s Winker’s unbridled exuberance when he hit the game winning HR Monday in the 9th inning? Tune in at 7pm tonight to see.

Starting Pitchers

Tonight will feature a righty/ lefty duel, Luis Castillo for the Reds versus leftie Jason Vargas for the Mets.

Luis Castillo

Having been around for the careers of both Mario Soto and  Johnny Cueto, I am often a harsher critic than most of casting Luis Castillo as a potentially top ace. However he is starting to win me over this spring. The stuff has always been there, blazing speed and a knee buckling bat locking change up off it. Now he is starting to mix in a quality slider to boot. But what I like most is that signs are emerging that he is becoming much more than just a thrower.

Two particular changes have caught my eye.  While Carillo’s higher strikeout rate is great, I like even more that he is no longer giving up home runs at a near league topping rate.  In fact, he is at the happy end of that scale now. And just as importantly for a man who would wear  the ace’s crown, he is extending himself deeper into games, averaging just better than 6 innings per start. Castillo’s ERA/FIP/xFIP comparison of  1.23/2.52/3.29 suggests there is more substance than smoke and  mirrors here. He is growing into a true pitcher. Enjoy.

Jason Vargas

Lefty Jason Vargas populates the opposite end of the rotation world from Luis Castillo.  Vargas’ job is to find a way through 5 innings or so while keeping his team in at least striking distance. He has struggled to do so in 2019.

Vargas will attempt to spot a not very fast fastball (88MPH) then work a variety of breaking pitches at different lesser speeds off of it. The Reds job is remain patient and not chase pitches out of the zone.

In a MLB career dating all the way back to 2005 with the Marlins, Vargas has made 273 MLB appearances of which 252 have been starts. Vargas has earned 15.9 career fWAR.  All told Vargas will have made at least $65M in his MLB career.  As the old, old song says, “Nice work if you can get it”.

Luis Castillo 2.92 0.95 0.25 9.7% 29.9%
Jason Vargas 6.39 1.93 1.11 11.8% 13.2%

The stats say tonight is a gross mismatch which marks the makings of a trap game. The Reds need to stay focused on task to make sure this doesn’t happen.




The Reds pen was tasked to record 16 outs (5.1 innings) Monday. Five pitchers were used. Most notably, Raisel Iglesias threw 28 pitches in a 2 inning save. He’s probably good for no more than an inning, if that,  tonight. Michael Lorenzen threw 23 pitches in a 1.2 ining stint and is also probably very limited tonight. David Hernandez and Wandy Peralta were appearing in consecutive games; but both threw less than 10 pitches working less than an inning each. Look for a lot of Robert Stephenson and Jared Hughes tonight.


The Mets used three pitchers to cover 3 innings of relief.  Each worked a single complete inning. Closer Edwin Diaz worked on his third consecutive day (3.0 innings 32 pitches in total). The Mets would probably prefer to not use him tonight.


          REDS            METS
1. Jose Peraza (2B)
2. Joey Votto (1B)
3. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
4. Yasiel Puig (RF)
5. Curt Casali (C)
6. Phillip Ervin (CF)
7. Jesse Winker (LF)
8. Jose Iglesias (SS)
9. Luis Castillo (P)
1. Jeff McNeil (2B)
2. Peter Alonso (1B)
3. Brandon Nimmo (LF)
4. Michael Conforto (RF)
5. Todd Frazier (3B)
6. Wilson Ramos (C)
7. Amed Rosario (SS)
8. Juan Lagares (CF)
9. Jason Vargas (P)

Casali and Ervin get the call versus a LH pitcher. Winker drops to #7 for the same reason.


News and Notes

It wouldn’t be another day in Reds land without Nick Senzel rumors. Our Doug Gray has this and other Reds minor league  activity covered.

Meanwhile, the hottest hitter for the Reds AAA team is actually Josh VanMeter. Doug Gray wrote about the changes he made and how it’s helped fuel his breakout.

Jesse Winker has played in just over a season’s worth of MLb games. Here’s what his offensive numbers look like


Final Thoughts

While the speculation about Nick Senzel’s pending MLB debut builds to a climax, another guy, Josh VanMeter, is having quite a season of his own at AAA for the Reds. In 25 games this season VanMeter has a .454/.783/1.236 OPS slash line! He leads the International League in HRs (11).  From July 1, 2018 through the end of the 2018 season his OPS was .885 at AAA. So, this is quite a sustained run he is on. VanMeter is  24 years old, just 3 months older than Nick Senzel.  He’s an infielder who bats left handed. He has primarily been a 2B in the past; but recently has been seeing time also at 3B and 1B. Could this portend a call up to the Reds if his bat stays blistering hot?

And as always,  GO REDS!   

Stats and data via Baseball Reference, Fangraphs,  and 


84 Responses

  1. matthew hendley

    JVMR- Small sample size. Anyway, cant wait until Senzel is up so i dont have to see Peraza atop a line up. Casali and Ervin getting the look against the lefty. I never hear anything positive when i read about Vargas, lets hope that continues.

    • Jim Walker

      That was the point I was trying to make about Vargas. He’s been at MLB for 15 years and only had the one really strong season early on and a couple in the high mediocre range in 2009-10 but just keeps getting hired and paid. Say the saying goes, you can never have too much pitching, especially a leftie who looks like he can get through 5 innings in reasonable shape.

  2. Steven Ross

    I like this lineup…a lot. About time.

  3. citizen54

    I loved seeing Winker showing some emotion after the HR and waving good bye to the Mets fans at the end of the game.

    • Jim Walker

      Well I am going to have one eye on the Reds game and one eye on the CBJ playoff game to begin with. If the Met express umbrage at Winker’s actions and a scrum breaks out I’ll be thoroughly confused about which is what! But Curt Casali and Yasiel Puig can be DMen on my hockey team anytime they want.

  4. ToBeDetermined

    I listened to some of the Game last night from the Mets announcers on WCBS. They were talking about the great job Wheeler was able to do to get into the 6th inning and not have to use the pen very much.

    The two announcers were almost like groaning that Vargas was pitching tonight and the a bevy of relievers will probably need to be used just like they have all year when Vargas pitches.

  5. CFD3000

    Good to see Ervin and Casali getting the start, and Winker in against a lefty. Castillo wasn’t quite as sharp his last start so hoping this one’s a ge, if the Reds are patient against Vargas tonight could be a lot of fun. Go Reds!

  6. Roger Garrett

    If the Reds are patient they knock Vargas out early.He will walk people if you give him a chance and that’s what the Reds have to do.Don’t have to hit him to get him out of there just have to hit when you get men on.He is and always has been a nibbler.A left handed Roark but with no where near the stuff.

  7. Reddawg12

    The game hasn’t even started yet and Thom has already annoyed me.

  8. Seat101

    I need another hour or so before I can pick up WCBS.

    Got a love the double play

    • VaRedsFan

      They generally suffer against the soft tossers

  9. VaRedsFan

    Peraza walks….I fully expect RLN to blow up

  10. WVRedlegs

    The heavens opened up and Jose Peraza took a walk.
    And now he is on third base.

  11. Roger Garrett

    Joey couldn’t believe it either.Never swung at a pitch.

  12. Slicc50

    why did they not defend against the bunt there?

  13. Indy Red Man

    How many pitchers have been getting lit up and then suddenly look like aces against the Reds? Flaherty had been getting hit hard. Vargas has been horrible. Its like they don’t know what the guy has? Do they work on the scouting report?

  14. Indy Red Man

    Ervin can hit lefties. Winker? Not so much? He’s better then a platoon player, but he needs to pick it up? He rolls over too much vs LHP

  15. Roger Garrett

    Two hits against a guy that couldn’t get a girl’s softball team out in the SEC.I love the Reds but it is so hard to watch them.How can this guy still be in the game?

  16. Seat101

    That was a nice doubleplay there, wasn’t it?

  17. Wayne nabors

    this is a new low even for the reds

  18. Mark Lang

    I was certainly looking forward to a year of Puig – I thought he was going to put up some monster numbers in Great American…. now I’m wondering why he’s starting.

    • Indy Red Man

      2016-18 for Puig

      April .680 ops
      May .698 ops
      June .908
      July .847
      August .848
      Sept .963

  19. matthew hendley

    missed the first 5, say Genos homer, what else did I miss.

      • matthew hendley

        Looking at the box score. At least he had the common sense to take a walk against vargas. I am not seeing anything else that would indicate he ‘dominated’

    • VaRedsFan

      Peraza walked and got to 3rd…but Votto didn’t swing in taking 3 strikes.
      Casali missed 2 run HR by a few feet foul.
      Geno 2 nice defensive plays.
      Vargas resurrected his career.
      Castillo brilliant. run scored on drag bunt (2nd attempt) because the shift had Peraza in short right.

      • matthew hendley

        Thanks, Just want to make sure. The SHIFT yet again gave up a run? or Peraza was just out of position?

      • VaRedsFan

        shift related. Votto made i good play on it…the runner just beat Castillo to the bag. If no shift he doesnt try it a 2nd time most likely

  20. Seat101

    I don’t know about you people that are watching a really good and exciting baseball game.

    What are you guys watching?

    • Indy Red Man

      I’m watching a game the Reds should be winning 5-1 or 5-0. Vargas is trash and everyone else is hammering him? Entertaining is great, but good teams can beat bad pitchers. If this offense doesn’t pick it up then they’ll be lucky to get close to .500? The pitching won’t be this good all year either. Thats just reality

  21. Indy Red Man

    Yeah lets bat a guy leadoff that walks once a month. Thats brilliant! Thats like grabbing the fat kid out of band class and putting him on the track team

    • matthew hendley

      2 days…. 2 days and you wont have to worry about it

    • MK

      Every track team needs a shot putter. Its where the fat kids excel.

  22. VaRedsFan

    Victimized by the Toddfather.
    Why throw him a fastball ever. And a low one at that.

  23. Roger Garrett

    What a shame.Another winnable game and well you know.We are just bad at the plate.

    • Indy Red Man

      Well maybe Senzel will give them a lift? April is always rough on Joey and Puig. If Bell would play DD and Casali alot more then they might get it together? Platoon Winker w/Ervin if he’s not going to hit LHP? VanMeter could get most of the atbats at 2B vs RHP. Bell has a few options?

  24. Seat101

    I really don’t understand you. You have to know the Reds are not going to win every game.

    Batteries won’t get a hit every time they come to bat.

    I read the comments of the regulars here and I since no Joy at all in your association with the game.

    I just saw a guy come in from the bullpen on strike out the batter. That was good and fun to watch. What did you see?

  25. VaRedsFan

    Votto needs to go up there looking for slider down and in and yank it against Gsellman leading off here.

    • VaRedsFan

      they pinch hit for Gsellman…duh….
      Base hit leading off will do.

  26. matthew hendley

    Good Start by the numbers for Castillo, QS, good cleanup by Stephenson. Need a rally.

  27. Indy Red Man

    Lol….Joey has to be the worst baserunner in mlb. Slow is one thing, but his instincts are horrible. As soon as I saw the CF close….thought it would be a doubleplay

  28. MK

    Maybe VanMeter can play first base. As good as he has been in the past Votto is no any longer.

    • matthew hendley

      overreaction of the century

  29. matthew hendley

    I am usually a Votto defender but that was….something else. At least try to make it back. I understand why he was so far off but to give up on returning to the base?

    • MK

      Not only is he not hitting but he is clogging the bases and making running mistakes; but he is also killing them defensively. Think we are seeing the deterioration of a star before our eyes.

      • Indy Red Man

        Its not new. 12 hrs last year. Father Time don’t lose….ever. He fouls off some pitches and wears you down every time

  30. Reddawg12

    I think it’s time for me to come to grips with the fact that the Reds are just not a good team.

    • Indy Red Man

      True, but they’re better then a 1-8 start. They’re better then Pittsburgh. Their fundamentals just lack every friggin year? Their pitcher gets his bunt down…wild pitch to 3rd and scores on an infield hit. Castillo can’t bunt. Votto runs the bases like the little kids that play ball in blue jeans? It gets old.

  31. Roger Garrett

    Joey will always get a pass.Just so hard to always be in his corner when he does stuff like that.Earlier he never even swung at a pitch with a man on third.Just don’t see how stuff like that by him or anybody is allowed.

  32. FreeHouse

    I said it on Jason’s post and I’ll say it again, a bum pitcher like Vargas is the type to dominate this offense. Tomorrow and Thursday is not looking good. DeGrom and Syndergaard will shut them down a 3 game losing streak just like that. This offense is freaking trash hopefully Senzel can spark something up.

    • matthew hendley

      Normally I would say your right. But both Degrom and Thor are evidently having Horrible starts, maybe we will get lucky and they will not have sorted themselves out yet.

      • FreeHouse

        Well the way this team is hitting one run is not enough to win games.

  33. matthew hendley

    Nick Senzel responding to his eventual call up on Friday by….checks box score, Three strikeouts and a single. VMTR- only a walk, and an error.

    • RojoBenjy

      That was against Kyle Funkhouser–not exactly a scrub prospect.

      • matthew hendley

        not exactly the excuse/explanation you want to go with. Are we going to say that when he goes up against MLB pitching

      • RojoBenjy

        @matthew h. – that excuse has been working for Schebler against MLB pitching LOL.

      • matthew hendley

        2 things, Schebler does walk. and he will become a 4th outfielder on Friday

  34. Indy Red Man

    The pitching looks really good! Stephenson, Garrett, and Lorenzen have been really strong. Reed has been good at AAA and needs a chance. Disco has been firing 95 every start…just needs to get his breaking stuff going. Gray looks good. Its not all bleak, but they need to figure out the lineup moving forward? Either sign Scooter or try to get some value in a trade. You cannot move forward with Peraza/Iglesias up the middle? Plus Joey at 1b. Thats 30 hrs tops between the 3. What do the Cubs get out of Rizzo & Baez? Or St Louis with Goldie and DeJong. Its either Scooter or pickup a big OF bat and move Senzel back to 2b

    • matthew hendley

      It should be cheaper signing scooter. he is willing to take the Hometown discount, the injury devaluates him a little. GO with what you know. Peraza is not the anything of the future.

      • Matthew

        Scooter is horrible defensively and he’s 30 years old and not getting an younger. I don’t know why you’re always so hard on Peraza. He may not be hitting well now, but neither is anybody else except one guy that would be in the minors had Scooter not been injured.

      • matthew hendley

        He also didn’t hit in 2017, 2016, is not exactly a gold glove himself. Scooter isn’t getting any younger, but he is still within the age range of being able to produce. a 3-4 year contract wont hurt. Certainly not as badly as relying on Peraza at 2nd. Also who are you implying would be in the minors, certainly not the planned backup SS Jose Iglesias. Who would Certainly at this point, had scooter not been injured, already dethroned Jose Peraza at Short pushing him to the bench.

      • matthew hendley

        Oh and scooter is an average defender, and his bat easily makes up the difference

  35. matthew hendley

    Deitrich needs to start tomorrow. Peraza to the bench. I don’t mind the leadoff spot being a Leadoff by committee until Senzel gets here, but not Peraza.

    • RojoBenjy

      You were saying….. 3-3 Reds after Peraza’s 2 out single!

      • RojoBenjy

        @matthew hendley. I have to admit I was thinking the same thing about Peraza earlier myself. So can’t really call you out on that.

  36. FreeHouse

    The Reds should send back Puig and Turner Ward for a pack of bubble gum.

    • Indy Red Man

      Look at Puig’s splits….he’s not a quick starter. April/May sub .700 ops then he takes off

    • RojoBenjy

      Looks like the other hitters have decided to tell Turner Ward to shove it. Line drives win games!

  37. matthew hendley

    Igleasis with another hit. Now that’s a guy who could be the SS of the future.

  38. matthew hendley

    Every time…. way to go Jose

  39. Indy Red Man

    My boy Peraza!!! Mr Clutch!! I told you guys to be patient:)

  40. Seat101

    I love these hitswith two outs, don’t you?

  41. Sliotar


    He has been exasperating…but he puts the ball in play, which makes all the difference once in a while as a leadoff guy getting that extra at-bat.

    (Who is pitching if this thing goes on for a few more innings?)

  42. Old-school

    Here is the scenario why Cody Reed needs to be up. He could pitch 3+ innings now.

    • matthew hendley

      Actually, this is why you don’t have a RP pinch run. despite his admittedly significant physical upgrade. David Hernandez dominant. Reds need to finish this now.

  43. matthew hendley

    Went to the well to many times with some of these pitchers. This One pitcher one batter is unnessasarily burning pitchers. That is on David Bell. No reason that Iggy should be out there today this soon into extras with an extra pitcher in the Bullpen.

  44. Roger Garrett

    He went with his best and tried to win the game.This loss was on the offense.I have no problem with Bell in using Iggy.Team can’t hit and lose another game that should have been a cake walk.Cy Young Vargas held them in check.Lots of guys to blame this one on.I said way back in the spring we would play lots of close games and our offense would be exposed.No cookies to hit when its close,no stat padding when your down by 4 in the eighth.Got to hit and we aren’t.

  45. matthew hendley

    Was their not a Recap for this game? or did it just not show up in my email?