What all Reds fans hoped would be the beginning of a strong push toward a playoff berth went off the rails Thursday evening. Now let’s see if the home team can get the engine back on the track in game two of a four-game weekend series against the Chicago Cubs at Great American Ball Park. Start time tonight is 7:10 p.m. Eastern time.

Before the game, relief pitcher David Hernandez was designated for assignment, and Sal Romano was recalled from Louisville to take his place. Reds management heard the voices of many of those here in Redleg Nation with regard to Hernandez. To this observer, this is another sign that the team management is “all in”, the willingness to eat the remainder of a contract of a veteran who is not performing well.

Starting Pitchers

Name IP ERA xFIP K% BB%
Yu Darvish 126.0 4.36 3.94 28.1% 9.6%
Trevor Bauer 161.1 3.85 4.35 27.5% 9.6%

Not much separates these two in terms of statistics. We saw in Bauer’s first start as a Red against Atlanta a lack of control that led to what seemed like a full count on every batter. His ability to regularly throw around 120 pitches per start is irrelevant if they come in only five or six innings of work. Since mid-July, Darvish has returned to the form the Cubs were seeking when they signed him as a free agent more than a year ago. He’s recorded a 2.17 ERA in 29 innings since July 12.

Bullpen

Ouch. This is clearly the team’s weakness at this point. It was a bold decision by Manager David Bell to take Alex Wood out after three innings Thursday, despite him having given up five runs. That meant the final six innings would be handled by the weak link in the team’s chain, and it showed. These relievers can be considered somewhat reliable at this point: Raisel Iglesias, Michael Lorenzen, Amir Garrett and more recently Lucas Sims. The fact that Bell continued to use Hernandez in meaningful situations perhaps reflects how little confidence he has in Robert Stephenson.

Starting Lineups

Cubs Reds
CF Jason Heyward LF Jesse Winker
RF Nicholas Castellanos 1B Joey Votto
3B Kris Bryant 3B Eugenio Suarez
1B Anthony Rizzo 2B Josh VanMeter
SS Javier Baez RF Aristides Aquino
2B Ian Happ CF Nick Senzel
LF Kyle Schwarber C Tucker Barnhart
C Victor Caratini SS Jose Peraza
P Yu Darvish P Trevor Bauer

Not that you’re not doing this already, but keep a close eye on Aquino tonight. Cubs pitchers appeared to discover his Kryptonite last night — breaking pitches low in the zone and off the outside corner. After two fantastic Aquino at-bats, the Cubs said nah-baby-nah to anything more that was hittable. Result: three strikeouts. We should learn in relatively short order if he is able to make the necessary adjustments to lay off those pitches or not.

Additional insights into the statistical history of the players in today’s game is available all season long at BaseballSavant.com.

116 Responses

  1. CI3J

    Josh VanMeter starting? What is this tomfoolery?!?!

  2. CFD3000

    Hate to say it, but this is a big game. Win and a split or series win is there for the taking. Lose and at best this was four games of wasted opportunity, and at worst the death knell for all playoff hope. Go Reds!

  3. doofus

    FYI, Bauer was averaging 6.53 innings per start prior to coming to the Reds. I believe that was best in MLB.

    • Sliotar

      Bauer IP

      2014 – 153
      2015 – 176
      2016 – 190
      2017 – 176
      2018 – 175
      2019 – 161 (so far)

      Hopefully, he gets through next season unscathed…but a lot of recent mileage builing up on that arm.

      Maybe the 1-year thing works for him…but, if he suffers a serious arm injury, tough to see a long-term deal afterwards, in his 30s, with those innings logged.

  4. Sliotar

    All 8 Cubs starting hitters tonight are better than league average in wRC+.

    Happ has a small sample size in 2019, but was above 100 each of the last 2 seasons and is already a “Junior Reds Killer.”

    All 8 of these players could very well be with Chicago in 2020… the “all in” season for the Reds.

    Whether or not the Reds salvage this series…. the real challenge, IMO, is to get an offense sorted over the next 6 weeks and this winter to compete with the Cubs and win the division.

    Gambling on making a play-in game is tricky….look at current NL wild-card standings.

    Go Redlegs.

  5. Klugo

    Ahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!! Jose Peraza??!! As a fan, Ive been as patient with Peraza as the FO. Which is to say, VERY patient. But last night, he practically single-handedly handcuffed the team with bonehead play after bonehead play. He should be on the bench. JC would be embarrassed.

    • Phil Gasson

      I know someone else in the lineup who is not producing. Namely your first ballot HOF.

      • RojoBenjy

        Yes, but Peraza gets treated with as much privilege as he does, without having ever earned it.

  6. Seat101

    Go Reds!

    Really big game tonight. But we already have our scapegoat, don’t we?

    • RojoBenjy

      Yes! David Bell! LOL

      😉

      More importantly, go REDS! Beat the stinkin’ Cubs.

  7. Curt

    Other things aside, it’s cool to see that 4-6 in the line-up. The Punisher sandwiched by Batman and Robin. That’s the future right there folks. No matter the outcome tonight, look no further for a nucleus to build around.

  8. VaRedsFan

    Darvish strikes out the side on 10 pitches.
    Turns out that you can strike people out without wasting pitches….cool concept

  9. Curt

    Nice inning by Bauer…more of that please.

  10. Daytonnati

    Bauer throwing some filthy stuff as well.

  11. VaRedsFan

    Aquino bomb…opposite field!!!!

  12. RojoBenjy

    That HR by Aquino is what raw power will do for you. A pop fly that goes yard.

    And it hit that fan in the mouth.

  13. vegastypo

    What did Yorktown call him yesterday? Aquino Bambino ??????? !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Start printing the T-shirts !!!!!!!!!!!!

    • RojoBenjy

      A Cub fan at GABP has gone silent.

      • RojoBenjy

        LOL I realized too late that I meant to type “And Cub fan”

        A Happy Accident.

  14. daytonnati

    Please Thom, don’t ruin “The Punisher” for us …

    • RojoBenjy

      Based on his hyperbole in praising Baez, I think he’s putting together some tape to audition in the offseason for his old Cubs job.

      One can hope.

  15. RojoBenjy

    That strike 3 pitch to Caratini was super dirty filthy.

  16. daytonnati

    George Grande saying “Coco” Cordero was like fingernails on the chalkboard to me.

  17. vegastypo

    Rizzo should be charged with a strike for trying to get hit with that pitch, but missing.

    • RojoBenjy

      Notice how much Rizzo is choked up? THom would go on and on about Joey doing that. Tonight? On his boy?

      Not so much.

  18. Indy Red Man

    Feels like the Reds walk Bryant in every game. He’s a very good hitter, but he’s no Punisher:) He’s got 22 hrs which is barely above average by todays standards for a player on any corner

  19. daytonnati

    Bauer is like a mad scientist out there.

  20. RojoBenjy

    Alright, Seat, with all due respect, I have to say something about that pop up in shallow center just now where where Peraza almost ran into Senzel again. I’m only mentioning it because I am incredulous that he would do it again after almost killing each other earlier in the season.

    The man’s baseball smart is not there.

    • VaRedsFan

      I was going to say something too. If Peraza has it easily, wave your arms and yell that YOU GOT IT. Nope, he just fails in every fundamental area when he’s in the field. It’s actually becoming tiresome. On replay, Senzel was running in saying he had it…Peraza didn’t yield.

    • Curt

      “The man’s baseball smart is not there.”

      I’ve been thinking of a polite way of saying it. And it’s why in his case, the age argument is a wash. It’s not like adjusting your swing. You either have it or you don’t. Not something that just appears at 25.

    • RojoBenjy

      It hit the concrete facing above the walkway out to the concessions. The one by the KKKKKKKKK signs in left.

    • VaRedsFan

      FOX camera-work at it’s best…sooo many times the cameraman can’t find the ball…half the time it’s a routine out.

  21. Chris Holbert

    Senzel looks tired at the plate…..

    • RedsMonk65

      It does seem like it’s been a while since he’s come up big.

    • Indy Red Man

      I’ve been thinking that as well! Even when he gets his hits….they’re opposite field poker thru the infield. Really not driving the ball at all. Needs a game off here and there.

      Darvish still pitches like a Japanese league pitcher. We’re little guys so we’ll fool you with breaking stuff. He’s 6’5 and throws up to 99? Throw the fastball already? Glad he hasn’t figured it out

  22. Indy Red Man

    So awesome to pick up Bauer! Its going to take the NL a while to get used to him. Weird delivery and hard slurve. I’m thinking 180+ innings at 2.90 or something

  23. Seat101

    If Barraza doesn’t hear the centerfielder he’s not gonna give up on that ball. It was obvious to everyone but the centerfielder that Barraza did not hear him and that he also had a beat on the ball.

    I agree that in that situation the second baseman needs to be very aware of where the centerfielder is but… Until the centerfielder is known to take charge it’s not just going to be given to him. Sends out as a rookie playing a new position. Give him and his teammates time to find a working relationship.

  24. Indy Red Man

    So glad Peraza plays every night with his .270 obp. Lets put him in the OF tomorrow for Punisher. Peraza punishes my baseball sensibilities almost every night:)

    • Seat101

      You can always change channels if it bothers you that much.

      Of course it could just be a case of some people not being happy unless they’re unhappy

      • Indy Red Man

        Dude cost us 4 runs by the 3rd inning last night. Timely night for you to be mia:) He hurts this team. Period. End of story

  25. VaRedsFan

    For all of Votto’s defensive flaws, he can pick it with the best of them.

  26. Indy Red Man

    Bauer!!!! Man we have a 1-2-3 punch in the rotation for sure! Wood, Disco, and everyone else tbd

  27. VaRedsFan

    That was a beautiful swing by Votto. Full extension

    • Indy Red Man

      🙂 I prefer to think that I’m throwing some Spock type logic at you, but to each his own.

      • Seat101

        No. You’re a troll. I was ‘MIA’ the last 3 nights because as a single father of 3 (ages 17, 14, and 6) I was very busy with real life. It sure seems like Peraza making an error made you happy. Trolls got to troll

      • Indy Red Man

        Stats brother. Baseball is a game of numbers. Its not just me. Numbers say you’re wrong and more importantly Bell is wrong for playing him so much. Thats the truth. I want to see JVM or Blandino? I wanted to see ERvin in LF instead of JP who can’t hit or play the outfield. Ervin was in AAA. Its ridiculous. Pick a better battle because you lost this one. Badly.

        I did the single Dad thing at one point. Gl with that

      • Indy Red Man

        rbi there you go. Throw your hands in the air like you just don’t care.

  28. Indy Red Man

    Chicago TV guys with a nice observation. JVMs stance is quite a bit like Rizzo’s. Feet are set up the same way with their hands low. Of course JVM isn’t hanging over the plate, but you can see it.

    • VaRedsFan

      I thought that the other day…Rizzo…and also Matt Carpenter, where they all have a slight lean back.

  29. Curt

    Joey got tired of seeing his “old self” inside the body of Anthony Rizzo. (Cue Pearl Jam’s …iiiiiiiii i’m still alive!!)

  30. Indy Red Man

    Yeah Mr Bauer don’t do this 5.1 innings nonsense. Homey don’t play that:)

    Well he did last time, but lets overlook that.

    • VaRedsFan

      2 innings of bullpen to cover…it will probably come in handy.

  31. Seat101

    How many relievers is it gonna take to get through two innings? I mean I hope it’s only two innings….,

    • RojoBenjy

      Yikes. Bad Lorenzen shows up at the worst times. I like good Lorenzen better.

      Sets up the Rizzo/Garrett drama.

  32. VaRedsFan

    Get ahead…waste pitch waste pitch…walk…sigh.

  33. Curt

    I wish I could say I wasn’t nervous. Dear Bullpen, please don’t blow this game.

  34. Don

    get Garrett up, Lorenzen cannot throw strikes

  35. Indy Red Man

    Lorenzen 17 innings since July 1 with 13 walks now. Somehow only 3 runs. Thats hard to do with gabp in the juiceball era

  36. Chris

    It’s a pitching Reds tradition: Get ahead 0-2 and then walk the batter. How many times have we seen THAT play out?

  37. Don

    have to throw strikes. Just throw and stop thinking.

    To many walks by lorenzen recently

  38. Don

    wow, bullpen has fallen apart. This has to be killing Bauer. No way he wanted to come out of this game.

  39. Indy Red Man

    Wow. Lorenzen has to be better then that. Thats not acceptable

  40. DocProc

    Lorenzen: Great stuff, no idea where the pitch is heading when it leaves his hand.

  41. VaRedsFan

    It’s not the dink hit…it’s the 2 walks that preceded it

  42. Indy Red Man

    Lets be realistic. The Reds are not overcoming 6-7 teams for a wildcard with this pen. Way too many holes. This is sickening. Just giving it away like little leaguers

  43. Sidney

    I just don’t buy the argument that these guys were overworked in the 1st half – what the heck is going on?

  44. RedsMonk65

    C’mon guys. Don’t give this away!

  45. VaRedsFan

    I think we all know how this ends.

  46. Don

    ump bad call on garrett 1st pitch

    (like watching a slow motion car accident

    • RojoBenjy

      Only one run given up.

      All in all–I’ll take it.

  47. VaRedsFan

    thank you Amir!
    Now that was a great 0-2 pitch to Happ. started in the zone, and broke out of it.

  48. Don

    great recovery garret

    Iglesias will gets 8.9.1 in 9th inning now

    did not give lead and now have bottom of order vs closer.

    Almost a breakdown but turned out OK

  49. Indy Red Man

    2 more with the Cubs and then 3 in DC and they’re playing great. Close this one out and 3-2 minimum for the next 5.

  50. RedsMonk65

    That’s the way you do it — Reds win!

  51. RojoBenjy

    RLN– good win for our favorite team!

    • RedsMonk65

      Tom — how about a round on the house?