The Cincinnati Reds will visit Wrigley Field and the Chicago Cubs for the first time in 2019 on this holiday weekend. It’s also the second of five straight day games for the Reds. First pitch is at 2:20 ET.

The Cubs are coming off a split of a four game series with the Philadelphia Phillies, while the Reds try to forget about the blown five-run lead and loss to Milwaukee Wednesday. The next seven games are crucial for the Reds, as they play three games in Chicago followed by four against the Pirates at Great American Ball Park. If the Reds want to climb out of the basement of the NL Central, the opportunity is now.

Starting Pitchers

Name IP ERA FIP xFIP K% BB%
Anthony DeSclafani 45.0 4.60 4.81 4.40 26.0% 7.3%
Kyle Hendricks 56.0 3.21 3.28 3.97 19.6% 4.8%

In DeSclafani’s last start against the Los Angeles Dodgers at GABP, he gave up four runs on six hits, including three home runs, in four innings. His last three starts have been a struggle, as he’s given up 11 earned runs in 14 innings, though the Reds won two of those three starts.

In those 14 innings, DeSclafani has surrendered five home runs. This might be due to his FB% being at 48.0%, the highest of his career thus far. While his FB% is high, his GB% is at 32.5%. Normally it’s between 40% and 45%. He’s giving up a lot of fly balls, but not a lot of ground balls. He’s never been an exceptional ground ball pitcher, but this season his ground ball rate has been particularly low.

Javier Baez and Willson Contreras both hit DeSclafani well. While Anthony Rizzo is 4-for-24 against him, three of those four hits have been home runs.

Kyle Hendricks has been one of the Cubs best pitchers this season, behind Jon Lester (who the Reds will not face this series), boasting a 3.21 ERA and a 3.28 FIP in 56.0 innings. With only 45 strikeouts this season, he’s not a huge strikeout pitcher. He pitches to contact and is more of a ground ball pitcher. His career GB% is 48.6%, and this season it’s at 43.4%.

Hendricks has four pitches, but relies mostly on two of them–the sinker and the change-up. He’ll throw a four-seamer about 12 percent of the time, but rarely throws a curve ball (6.6%).

Last Tuesday in Cincinnati, he pitched 8.0 innings against the Reds, giving up one run on three hits while striking out seven. The lone run came via a Joey Votto home run. Votto is the only Red to have any measure of success against Hendricks, as he is 9-for-21 with a double, three home runs, and 11 walks. Eugenio Suarez has two doubles off him, and Jesse Winker is 3-for-11 against him.

Bullpens

The Reds had two days off this week, and yet because David Bell had to go to the bullpen early on Wednesday, it might not be as well-rested as he would like it to be. Robert Stephenson and Michael Lorenzen both pitched more than one inning, but Stephenson was the only one to pitch two full innings. If anyone is not available this afternoon, it’s most likely to be him.

The Cubs used five relief pitchers in a loss to the Phillies yesterday. Joe Maddon had to use at least three relievers in each of the four games of that series.

Lineups

REDS CUBS
1. Nick Senzel (CF)
2. Joey Votto (1B)
3. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
4. Jesse Winker (LF)
5. Yasiel Puig (RF)
6. Derek Dietrich (2B)
7. Jose Iglesias (SS)
8. Tucker Barnhart (C)
9. Anthony DeSclafani (P)
1. Kyle Schwarber (LF)
2. Kris Bryant (3B)
3. Anthony Rizzo (1B)
4. Javier Baez (SS)
5. Jason Heyward (RF)
6. Victor Caratini (C)
7. Daniel Descalso (2B)
8. Albert Almora Jr. (CF)
9. Kyle Hendricks (P)

Yasiel Puig is back in the lineup this afternoon.

News, Notes, and Pregame Reading

-A couple of Reds minor leaguers have had a good week at the plate.

-If you haven’t listened to the Jim Day podcast yet, you should go listen. It’s fantastic. You get to learn about the players in a way you don’t get during a regular media session. The latest episode is with Joe Morgan, but if you want more fun, I highly recommend also listening to the episode with Sean Casey. Stories and laughter for over an hour!

-While we’re on the subject of podcasts, the latest Redleg Nation podcast is available as well.

Final Thoughts

There has been angst about the Reds record on the inter webs, and it seems to me like some members of this fan base need a reality check. I have news for those fans. The Reds were not predicted to win the NL Central. Five games under .500 going into Memorial Day weekend is not terrible for a team that was 18-33 a year ago at this time.

Personally, I predicted a .500 finish before the season started, and I stand by that prediction as of now. I’ve already said it on Twitter once this season, and I’m still saying the Reds will not finish in last place in 2019. You have full permission to resurrect this paragraph from the archives if this is not the case.  But one thing I do know is that this Reds team is already more fun than the last couple of years (Hi, Derek Dietrich!), and I have optimism that the Reds record will get better as the season progresses.

116 Responses

  1. Scott Gennett

    I’d advise against keeping Votto hitting second until the slump is over, if ever. I’d also double check upon Desclafani health condition after the game.

  2. Klugo

    The Redleg fanbase is one of the very best in all of baseball. We are loyal, passionate, and have endured way more losing than we deserve, Such losing may make complacency acceptable and mediocrity tolerable within some fanbases. Not this one. This team is rich in history which has created a high standard we should all wish for and expect. Yes, this team is improved and has been fun (at times and in context) to watch. But no more fun than winning.
    That’s the way I feel anyways.

    • Pete

      My two cents: this team has found a way to lose some games it probably shouldn’t and their record versus runs scored/runs surrendered reflex this. The lack of come from behind wins also feeds into this. This club comes from a losing culture and I hope David Bell and crew understand this. Sending Ervin back down and JV still batting second baffle me but we’ll see how it turns out.

      Hopefully starting today the team will begin to figure out how to win games where maybe they shouldn’t. May a winning culture commence this afternoon. Big games from Votto and Puig would be very helpful in this endeavour.

      • PhP

        I wish they would have kept Ervin and optioned Vanmeter. I’d rather have Ervin starting in left against a lefty than Peraza. Vanmeter sits the bench the whole time because he’s behind Winker and Deitrich (obviously) against righties, and behind Farmer and Peraza against lefties. Seems like a waste to have him on the bench this frequently.

      • Roger Garrett

        I agree Pete and I have mentioned the losing culture several times in the past.Its a long season and a grind for the players but talent plays out over a 162 game season.Our starting 8 are not as good as the other teams in our division on offense but our pitching and defense are just as good and the data right now says they are better.If and right now after almost 50 games its a big if a player or two puts this offense on their back and start to lead then who knows what could happen.Right now its win a couple then lose a couple and so far we haven’t went on a losing streak or a winning streak.I still believe in all of these guys and fully expect Suarez,Winker and Senzel to pick it up and start to get their offense cranked up.Could this be the day?

      • Pete

        Agree. Although if Peraza has options, it would be my preference to send him down. It looks like he’s the odd man out. I’m not giving up on Jose but he might be better served playing full time at Louisville.

        One of the apprehensions I hear about Peraza being sent down is he is the only who can back up at SS but didn’t Farmer play some short during spring training? The team isn’t going to pinch hit for Iglesias and is it unreasonable to believe he can play every day? If required, Farmer should do in an emergency. As of today, Framer seems to provide more value to the team. It goes back to establishing a winning culture and I personally doubt sending Peraza down is going to stunt his development, at least he’ll be playing everyday.

    • jreis

      well said. I agree. as a loyal fan I have not had too much “fun” the past 6 years. at least the players seem to be enjoying themselves.

  3. PhP

    I don’t agree with the whole attitude, “I never thought they would compete anyway so I’ll take .500”. For all those people I have a question. Did you imagine the pitching would be this good? I would bet if you told all these people who “knew” they wouldnt compete that they would have one of the top pitching staffs in all of baseball at Memorial Day they would have predicted a much better record. That’s why this team is so frustrating, if the hitters just played to the back of their baseball card this team would be multiple games over .500. So unless you predicted the pitching would be at the top of the league and the hitting at the bottom of the league you can’t take credit for “knowing” they wouldnt compete.

  4. Chris Holbert

    What does Ervin have to do to stick with the big club? He has proven he can compete, he did it last year as well. No offense to JVM, but I would prefer something a little more proven and Ervin is also a true outfielder. We keep Peralta, and add another righty and Reed continues to prove he should be up, yet he still toils with a dominant year in AAA. Are they really keeping the best players on the big club?

  5. matthew hendley

    With Reed still under his 10 day restriction barring him from returning to the MLB club (which could also see him return as soon as it is up in place of Bowman), I can understand if you wanted a pitcher, why it would be Bowman, obviously there is no First hand accounts of his work but his history is good. Regardless, it boggles the mind that Ervin was sent down. His play has been more then adequate in the limited usage and should the club want to continue Platooning Winker in Left, he would be a hundred times better then the current situation with Peraza.
    None of that matters today.
    Standard RH line up today, hopefully a non standard hitting performance today. Infact the only gripe I have today has nothing to do with the reds directly. Its actually the game time, 2 games in a row now where I must observe from Gameday and not watch the game directly. Sad Face.

  6. VaRedsFan

    The Reds need to move up in the box vs. Hendricks today. Sit on the changeup, because you know it’s coming. 91 MPH seems to tie our guys in knots. Be proactive and move up!

  7. Old-school

    Some important baseball to be played the next 2 weeks.

    Reds: Cubs/ pirates(4)/ Nats/ Phils/Cards

    Pirates: dodgers/Reds(4)/ Brewers (4) , Braves/ Brewers.

    Cards: Braves/Phils/Cubs/reds/Cubs

    Let the sorting begin. Go reds.

  8. Vada

    GM might want to consider having Votto play in a T-ball league for awhile. Then re-work his way back to the Majors.

  9. Roger Garrett

    Same guy throwing 88 and we can’t hit it.Won’t follow this one today.Just don’t have it in me to watch.

    • Doug Gray

      Kyle Hendricks has a 3.08 ERA in his 6 year MLB career. No one can hit it.

  10. VaRedsFan

    Votto returns from the off-day looking pretty much the same as before. Deep, power-sapping crouch. 1 half swing, 1 weak foul pop left, foul tip on fastball down the middle, swing and miss on 91 mph fastball down the middle.

    • Broseph

      He needs more than a day. Move him down in the lineup or sit him for 1+ week. 10 day disabled sounds good

      • VaRedsFan

        approach is the same wherever they bat him. So sitting or DL is the temporary solution.

      • matthew hendley

        although a IL trip will come with a Rehab start that will allow him a minor league visit without an option, time to work on his craft and get the engine started again. Not a completely bad idea.

      • Doug Gray

        You do know they can’t put him on the IL if he’s not actually hurt, right?

  11. Broseph

    Can of corn to a fastball hitting LH. Yikes

  12. Rob Cheshire

    One batter into the bottom of the 1st and I have already had to turn Marty off!

    The genuine relish in his voice as he slaughtered Joey between innings was only exceeded by his triumph as Schwarber hit the homer.

    I know that we only have to put up with old fool for another 4 months, but honestly, I would throw a party if he keels over with something terminal this weekend!

    • Broseph

      A little harsh. I agree on Marty’s take on Reds players. He likes “Grit” and .230 hitting power players from the Midwest. Let’s disregard the fact that the Refs have had a potential three time MVP player that the Reds couldn’t field a good enough supporting cast around his prime.

      Nope, Schwarber and Gennett for ever in Marty Brennaman’s personal HOF

      • da bear

        It’s a team sport. In general better to have 8 solid players than 1 overpaid superstar surrounded by economically induced lesser talent. That’s the choice Reds FO made when they devoted 1/4 of the player payroll to one player.

        Can’t blame Joey for taking the money….and since Marty’s paycheck comes from the FO, he’s bashing the recipient of the foolish decision rather than the executives who made said terrible decision.

    • Pete

      Honestly, I would throw a party if Votto and Puig start helping this team win some games. Horrible. If these guys don’t start hitting, I don’t see how this club avoids tanking regardless what Marty Brenneman has to say about it.

    • VaRedsFan

      Marty’s comment should have been???

      “Dag Nabbitt, Cowboy…Joey had an awfully nice, arms bent swing on that 89 mph fastball right down the middle. Shucks, it was a good try, go get ’em next time Sport”

      I like hearing the truth during broadcasts…not candy coated fluff.

      • Matt WI

        There’s a difference between announcing what happens on the field and editorializing. Marty has loooong since crossed that line.

    • Billy

      Hang your head in shame. Disgusting!

      • Rob Cheshire

        Whatever.

        I will leave you to listen to the negative dinosaur, bemoaning batting averages, RBIs and pitcher win-loss records, while I tune into the “enemy” broadcast for the rest of the season, in search of some balanced reporting on the Reds…..

      • Matt WI

        Rob, I think more people are in your camp about how Marty does the job… but wishing/celebrating someone dead is never ok. It doesn’t have a place here or anywhere. It’s not an issue of being “soft,” it’s an expectation of decency.

    • Billy

      Brilliant comeback… “whatever?”
      You wish someone a terminal disease and it’s “whatever.”
      Sick

      • Rob Cheshire

        Calm down Billy, or you will keel over yourself!

  13. VaRedsFan

    Schwarber hits it out of the stadium…into the wind

  14. Old-school

    Solo home runs won’t kill you. But this offense can’t get on base anymore or generate runs. They hit 7 grand slams last year- because a deep lineup pressured pitchers and got on base.

    2019 reds:
    BB 8.2% K 24.2 % OBP .292

    2018 Reds:
    BB 9.0% K 22% OBP .328.

    The reds simply can’t get on base. The team AVG in 2018 was .328. Only 3 players are over that in 2019. Iglesias / Suarez and Dietrich and 2/3 were late pick ups thought to be bench players.

  15. Pete

    4-0 seems like a mountain too high. Times like this it would be nice to force Zach Duke pitch 2 or 3 innings.

  16. VaRedsFan

    Fight at the bat rack in the Cubs dugout

  17. Broseph

    Discos cutter, or splitter or whatever he’s throwing is not working. All HRs that thing went right into the middle of the zone. Pitch has decent movement, but you have to locate it away or in and not right down the middle

    • matthew hendley

      I am watching via game day, it said ‘Straight down the middle’ Results seem to say the same. Suddenly glad I am not actually watching,

  18. Matt WI

    Well, that escalated quickly. Stupid Cubs.

  19. Broseph

    I’ll give the team until June. If it’s more of the same, think I’ll be taking a break. This is just hard to watch after a game like that in Milwaukee.

  20. Pete

    Hendricks is not a strike out pitcher but he sure is today. Nice hustle Joey!

  21. Matt WI

    Atta boy Joey. XBH a site for sore eyes!

  22. Matt WI

    Two out bingo baby! Keep it going. One big swing and we have a new game.

  23. Pete

    Votto and Puig create a run, you have to love to see that.

  24. VaRedsFan

    I half-joke about Hendricks velocity, but he has pinpoint control, with movement, and changes speeds tremendously.

    • Broseph

      That’s the difference in the score today. Hendricks hitting his spots. Disco…not so much.

  25. Pete

    Maybe 4 runs won’t win this game…

  26. Matt WI

    Disco is kind of turning into “Good Bronson/Bad Bronson” days on the mound. Seldom in the middle.

  27. WVRedlegs

    Wandy is in with the bases loaded and Schwarber up. How does it end?

    • WVRedlegs

      SIX straight sliders and gets a ground ball out. Whew. Wasn’t going to throw Schwarber any kind of fastball. Must have been under explicit orders by Bell. A miracle by The Lake.

  28. matthew hendley

    Walking the opposing pitcher to load the bases. Never a good sign.

    • matthew hendley

      The we gave up pair, sent into the game. At least we still have two more games to win the series with. Disco has to be hurt, or extremely Regressing.

  29. Old-school

    Desclafani has now given up the most home runs of any NL starter at 13. His ERA is over 5. Tanner Roark is actually top fewest.

    Reds are going to need more pitching in 2020. Castillo.gray and Mahle are a nice start. There will be a lot of turnover on this roster.

    • Hanawi

      I’d actually see what it would take to resign Roark for a year or two. There are no reinforcements that are ready in the minors right now.

      • Matt WI

        Yeah, I think there’s something to be said for the job Roark has been doing. I’ll take a guy that already knows the league instead of waiting for someone else to develop.

  30. matthew hendley

    Double header Monday, a possible move would be to bring up lucas sims and option Disco to the Minors after complete. Give Sims the first/second start to see what he has, at least until Wood Returns.

  31. Aaron B.

    I don’t like the double switch with Iglesias.. one of the only guys that has been producing consistently since day 1 both offensively and defensively.

    Also, the shifts are insane with this team… vs Milwaukee they had runners on 1st and 3rd and a grounder was hit to Suarez but he couldn’t throw to 2nd for the the double play because Dietrich was in no man’s land on some insane shift. I don’t care what the spray chart says, someone has to be able to cover 2nd base on a grounder to third base to turn the double play and save a run!

  32. Matt WI

    Time for Suarez to bring out his Cub killing bat. Do it, big man.

  33. Matt WI

    BOOM! Right up in this game! PUIG!

  34. Matt WI

    Even though the runs haven’t come in, I’m very much appreciating that the Reds have been squaring up on Hendricks. Did the same to Davies last game, obviously. Good signs.

  35. Matt WI

    Nice 1-2-3 inning for Bowman. Welcome to the mound, young man. That was a nice spot in the order to get him some action if he has to pitch against the Cubbies.

  36. Old-school

    Not to lob softballs but Puig gets the reds back in the game and Peraza turns a routine grounder into a difficult save for Votto. Then swings softly at a low abd away off speed pitch – #2 of the at bat and softly grounds out. Why did he swing at that pitch that early in the at bat. Ted Williams could not have hit that pitch. It’s as if Peraza wants to get the at bat over with and not risk a K. He’s a utility player.

    Winker huge hit.

  37. matthew hendley

    What a difference a drive home makes. Reds have almost tied it up, Bowman pitching. THis looks like a ballgame. AND IT IS A BALLGAME. WInker with a Tieing double.

    • matthew hendley

      Votto and Puig with Multi hit games. Effectivily missed 5th and 6th inning. who was the other person on base when Puig homered?

  38. Matt WI

    Yes! Tie game. I held down the comments section for all of you. You’re welcome, Nation 🙂

      • Matt WI

        Well as I was present at the abomination that was that last game in Milwaukee, I’m trying to atone.

  39. Pete

    This could be a huge win – Votto & Puig both coming up big today.

  40. Pete

    A moral victory won’t mean a thing, have to put up a W.

  41. Pete

    Taking out Puig for Farmer? That move could be questioned. Hope it works out.

    • Matt WI

      Worries me a bit too. Amir better go two.

    • matthew hendley

      Saying Possible injury to Puig, don’t know the veracity.

      • Matt WI

        Hmm. Not saying that on the radio call (unless I missed it). I supposed he could have aggravated his injury swinging though.

      • matthew hendley

        TV, Stress that Thom noted that it was a theory, but they are saying the swing.

  42. Matt WI

    C’mon Peraza. Can get some heat off you with a big hit here.

    • matthew hendley

      give him the pass on this one, didn’t make it worse, got Senzel and a hot Votto to the plate.

  43. Pete

    Biggest AB of the rookie’s young career.

  44. Matt WI

    Peraza walks!? It really might be the Reds day!

  45. Pete

    Part of the learning process – Reds have to start to win close games.

  46. Seat101

    Just got in from running a bunch of errands. And I can’t find my WD-40. I need to change plates on my car. Bolts are rusted on. It was my future former father-in-law’s car and it’s going to be my 16-year-old it’s a 2006 Pontiac vibe.

    Every time I had to leave the car the Reds scored.Let’s see if they’ll score when I’m in the house.

    What’s with Disco? Do I have to flip-flop on him again

  47. CI3J

    Welp.

    Looks like the Reds just sealed another 1-run loss.

    • Pete

      Let’s see if they can take lemons and make lemonade.

    • Broseph

      Statistically, they had next to no chance after the third inning.

      If they pull off the 1/1000 chance, I’ll take it

  48. Matt WI

    They really can’t afford to go to extras with the double header coming up. Let’s take the walk to Votto and make it haunt.

    • Matt WI

      THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT. SUAREZ FOUND THE CUBBIE KILLING BAT. YEAH BABY!

  49. matthew hendley

    Votto on base 3 times and it pays. Suarez turning a loss into a win. Pile on!!!

    • Matt WI

      Votto has had a monster game. He’d like us all to quit speaking of his baseball demise just yet. Love it.

    • Pete

      Votto, Puig and Suarez – the big three all producing. That’s how you win in baseball.

  50. Old-school

    Winker on base 4x.
    2-5 got it done

    • Matt WI

      Let’s hope Raisel is up to the task. They could really use this. Stealing a game in which Hendricks started at home? That’d be awesome.

  51. Old-school

    Someone call Roger Garrett… He’s missin’ a good ball game.

  52. Seat101

    I had to go outside to the car and I missed a homerun!

    What’s with Puig? Any news?

  53. matthew hendley

    3 Outs required. Exactly what Iggy has been asking for for the longest time.

  54. Matt WI

    And this one belongs to the Reds! Way to start the weekend. Enjoy it Reds fans!

  55. Matt WI

    Nobody is allowed to comment about this team not caring, not trying, not being whatever “enough” for the next month.

  56. Pete

    Biggest win of the year and it isn’t even close. All the big guys came through today: Votto, Puig, Suarez and Winker. It doesn’t get any better.

  57. matthew hendley

    Massive win by the reds, completely oposite of WEDS loss, showed grit determination and brains. WIns the first game of a series so significant. Hope Puig being pulled for anylitical and not injury purposes

  58. burtgummer

    With Darvish pitching for the Cubs tomorrow the Reds stand a good chance to take the series