To paraphrase the late football coach Dennis Green, the Reds are who we thought they were.

We’ve been hoping for a second-half resurgence powered by hitters who have broken out of their collective first-half slump, along with the acquisition of a top-line starting pitcher. But through this critical 11-game streak against the Cubs, Nationals and Cardinals, the Reds are only 2-5. It doesn’t matter what the teams you are trying to catch in the standings do when you don’t win yourself.

The first of a weekend four-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals starts tonight at 7:10 p.m. Eastern time at Great American Ball Park. The starting pitching matchups for the weekend seem to favor Cincinnati on paper, but we’ve learned to never rely on what “should” happen.

Starting Pitchers

Name IP ERA xFIP K% BB%
Michael Wacha 89.1 5.54 5.00 17.9% 10.5%
Sonny Gray 127.2 3.10 3.63 27.9% 9.1%

Right-hander Wacha is having his worst major league season. Opposing batters are hitting .301 against him. He’s allowed 21 homers and 42 walks in 89.1 innings. Looks like an opportunity for Reds hitters to do some damage. On the other hand, Gray is having one of his best major league seasons, firmly entrenching himself as a building block for the coming years with as many as four more years with the Reds under his current contract. Acquiring him from the Yankees for Shed Long and a draft pick was certainly one of the best trades by any team during this past offseason.

Bullpen

What can you say after what happened yesterday? You can rent a large neon arrow and point it at the bullpen as the culprit in what is now holding this team back.

The team took some action today. They lost Jared Hughes on waivers, while shuffling around several pieces – including calling up their top relief prospect Joel Kuhnel from Triple-A. You can read more about that series of moves right here.

The club is still without a left-handed reliever while Amir Garrett is on suspension.

Starting Lineups

Cardinals Reds
RF Dexter Fowler CF Nick Senzel
3B Matt Carpenter 1B Josh VanMeter
1B Paul Goldschmidt 3B Eugenio Suarez
LF Marcell Ozuna RF Aristides Aquino
SS Paul DeJong LF Phillip Ervin
C Yadier Molina 2B Freddy Galvis
2B Kolten Wong SS Jose Iglesias
CF Randy Arozarena C Tucket Barnhart
P Michael Wacha P Sonny Gray

UPDATE: 5:49pm

Josh VanMeter has replaced Joey Votto at first base and hitting second in the lineup. No news why, yet, but it’s coming according to the Reds.

UPDATE: 6:26pm

Joey Votto was scratched from the lineup with lower back tightness.

The Reds lineup looks like it is intended for facing a left-handed pitcher. But Wacha has had serious problems against right-handed batters this season. They are hitting .330 against him.

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

News and Notes

The Yankees have signed David Hernandez to a minor league contract …

54 Responses

  1. matthew hendley

    Wasnt Wacha the one that was sent to the Bullpen for a while?

  2. Chris

    Regardless of any issues vs righties, the fact that both Galvis and Iglesias are playing and Vanmeter and Winker aren’t, is short-sighted, long-sighted, and just dumb. No logic. No sense in any of this…..makes it hard for me to even follow when our manager is so inane and obtuse.

    • Pete

      Is there a by-law in the Reds charter where Joey Votto can’t take a night off? He might make a mess of it but I’d like to see Winker try 1B.

  3. Ghostrunner

    I like the line-up. We’re due to rake.

  4. Pete

    Fun with numbers: total PA’s, excluding pitchers, of players having a =WRC+:

    99 1475

    Think about this next time someone bellyaches about Winker, JVN or Philip Ervin not getting PT. Reds should probably balance this out in 2020.

    • Pete

      That was messed up, try again:

      Total PA’s with hitters with less than 100 wRC+: 2759
      Total PA’s with hitters with more than a 99 wRC+: 1475

  5. RojoBenjy

    Votto late scratch with back. JVM gets the nod.

  6. RojoBenjy

    I have family at the game. They sent pictures. The stadium is more deserted than I’ve ever seen it.

    • Sliotar

      My brother and his family live on the West Side.

      School has already started for his kids.

    • Curt

      Out of market, I can’t go to GABP, but on TV it looks deserted more times than not. Hate when vs. Cubs, seems like a Cubs home game. Seems to be a non topic though.

  7. RojoBenjy

    On radio pregame show Marty tried to get DB to talk about pitch tipping.

    A lot of tip-toeing resulted.

    • Sliotar

      You know the apathy is bad on the Game Thread tonight when no one is posting to call out Ervin’s awful TOOTBLAN.

      • RojoBenjy

        That was so tootblan it gets lower case letters.

        Brutal.

      • earmbrister

        I’m gonna use the low attendance to ask a question I’ve wanted to ask for years. What does TOOTBLAN stand for? I assume it’s an acronym (pho).

  8. RojoBenjy

    I am against bad umpiring in MLB.

    Why isn’t MLB?

    • Big B

      A lot of Sonny Gray’s pitches on the edge of the zone not getting the strike. SMH

  9. Hanawi

    Wonder how much the back has bothered Votto this whole year and if it’ll be an issue moving forward.

    • Sliotar

      @earmbrister

      Saving ice cream should take higher priority over most non-essential activities.

      Thrown Out On The Basepaths Like A Nincom—-

  10. earmbrister

    Great, all of a sudden it’s bases loaded for Goldy Locks

  11. earmbrister

    Senzel looks like he’s hit the wall, season wise. Give him some rest.

  12. Roger Garrett

    Wacha is just awfa yet he makes us look like young guys at the plate.Hey we are for the most part so go Reds.

    • Sliotar

      Top of 1st 2 innings – Sonny Gray as himself.
      Top of Last 2 innings – Gray impersonating Tanner Roark.

      Lot o’ pitches and grinding to keep it scoreless.

      Hope those fellas just up from Louisville are prepared to see some action.

      • earmbrister

        He finally had a quicker inning. 10 ks already.

  13. Roger Garrett

    Shame we can’t get a run or two for Gray.He just gives all he has got every time he goes out there.

    • earmbrister

      Agreed. Great pickup/extension.

  14. RedsMonk65

    Great bunt by Sonny. Let’s get ’em in!

    • RojoBenjy

      That’ll work, until Barney gets greedy.

      • RojoBenjy

        Maybe it was a hit and run play.

    • Sliotar

      This game makes me believe in Cardinals Devil Magic.

      What a lifeless performance by St. Louis…but they entered today tied for the division lead. Hard to believe based on this.

      If Gray had not used up his arm, he might have ended up with 15 Ks.

  15. Roger Garrett

    Glad to see Bob Steve in the 6th.Time to see if he and others can handle more high leverage innings,Two strike outs and a grounder against 3, 4 and 5 works.

  16. Chris Holbert

    DB cannot even use a pinch hitter without interjecting himself into the game…..not sure what that was

    • Ed

      Was he trying to reneg in using Peraza there? I think Thom said he may have been looking to put Stephenson back in to bat

      • RojoBenjy

        That probably will save the game. I doubt Stephenson could have done the same for another inning.

  17. Ed

    During the mauling last night, Winker left suddenly, and Lorenzen had to run out to center field. Did something happen? Where is he today I wonder?

  18. Roger Garrett

    Two innings covered by the pen.Lets get a few more runs and put this one away.Cards look as bad as we have over the last few days so lets take advantage.

  19. Steve Schoenbaechlers

    Lorenzen had the better numbers against Goldy.

    • Broseph

      Thom made it sound like Iglesias won that battle. In reality, Goldschmidt was all over that pitch and barely missed hitting that thing 440 ft.

      It worked out, but I agree Lorenzens number are slightly better and his stuff was looking pretty good.

      • Sliotar

        If Cubs hang on, Cardinals are out of first place tie and Gray got a W.

        Good night at the ballyard.

  20. earmbrister

    The Reds made it interesting in the end, but it’s always good to get a win vs Satan’s team.

    Let’s put a dent in their playoff hopes.

  21. RedsMonk65

    Nice win. (It IS nice to win–for a change.)

    Sonny Gray is DA MAN. Really impressed with him.

    • RedsMonk65

      And Cubs lose, too, on a walk-off slam by Bryce Harper. Good day all around.