Game two of the three-game series between the Diamondbacks and Reds pits teams headed in opposite directions. Arizona has won 10 of its last 11 games, and is hanging in the wild card race, only 2.5 games back. The Reds, on the other hand, have lost seven of their past 10, with any hope of finishing at or near .500 slip-sliding away. Today’s game at Great American Ball Park begins at 4:10 p.m. Eastern time.

Starting Pitchers

Name IP ERA xFIP K% BB%
Alex Young 58.2 3.84 4.78 19% 7.4%
Luis Castillo 166 3.25 3.44 29.2% 9.7%

Young’s longest outing of the season in a Diamondbacks uniform has been six innings, so that’s the longest you can expect from him, and he’ll probably give up three runs, based on averages. The Reds have won seven of Castillo’s last 10 starts. He’s been a little less dominant over the past month than he was previously in the season, and you have to wonder if he’s feeling the effects of the long season. He only needs 3.2 innings pitched to match the most innings he has ever pitched in a major league season.

Bullpen

None of the bullpenners has pitched in both of the last two games, so all should be available as needed today.

Starting Lineups

Diamondbacks Reds
RF Jarrod Dyson CF Phillip Ervin
CF Ketel Marte 1B Joey Votto
3B Eduardo Escobar 3B Eugenio Suarez
1B Christian Walker RF Aristides Aquino
2B Wilmer Flores SS Jose Iglesias
LF Josh Rojas 2B Freddy Galvis
SS Nick Ahmed C Curt Casali
C Carson Kelly LF Josh VanMeter
P Alex Young P Luis Castillo

There is a growing feeling that Reds management does not see Josh VanMeter as potentially a key everyday player next year, and the fact that he is batting eighth against a righthanded pitcher does nothing to dispel that feeling.

(Correction: Young is a lefthander, so it is not quite as surprising to see VanMeter batting eighth.)

A word about Aquino: Like many here at Redleg Nation, your author keeps waiting for signs that major league pitchers will discover his weaknesses and effectively shut down his outstanding hitting achievements. But last night’s performance against Arizona, despite only 1-for-4 with an RBI, was glowing. Two of the outs he made with runners in scoring position were screaming line drives to right-center field. He went with outside pitches and hit bolts the opposite direction instead of trying to pull them and possibly rolling over and hitting a ground ball. Hope is growing in this observer’s mind that perhaps Aquino does have the potential to be a true hitting star and not just a flash in the pan.

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

News and Notes

Those were the days …

Eugenio Suarez closing in on the major league home run leaders after his 42nd Friday night …

Also at Redleg Nation today:

The Reds lose Wandy Peralta on waivers to the San Francisco Giants

Giants claim Wandy Peralta, Reds activate Juan Graterol

John Ring wraps up his series on the 1999 Reds with one final, maybe painful look back at the final few days of the season.

1999 Reds: The Lost Weekend in Milwaukee and Al Leiter

39 Responses

  1. Rob

    Totally agree with author in that this team does not seem as good as the version that had us within 4 games at the AS break. A lot of it may be Bell’s overuse of the bullpen and the fatigue therein. To be sure there are other issues including the lack of clutch and the 1run losses. If this is supposed to be the 2020 version, then a lot of filler pieces are needed … especially in the speed and power departments. And we should have more than our share of valuable trade pieces. We should not have Winker and Votto anywhere near the top 3 spots. Maybe some combination of Galvis/Senzel/Van Meter at 1 and 2. We could stand a OF and C who will hit 50 HRs between them… not 25. And a high IP guy for a 5th starter. Not some feeble guy who crashes after the 5th inning. I will give 4 runs of we could get a guy who will give us 7+ innings.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      My thoughts briefly on next year’s team. If they hope to contend, they have to have two or three additional above average or even elite bats. The reduced importance of defense in today’s game makes me think you get the bats, and then you move the pieces around so you get them all in the lineup at positions they can play on at at-least-average level.

      The bullpen needs an overhaul, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Raisel Iglesias used in a trade for a bat. The front office has a big budget available in the offseason, and we’ll see how serious they are about truly trying to win. They will need to spend the money.

      • greenmtred

        Reduced importance of defense? Reduced importance of pitching, too, then, right? More than half of all outs are recorded by the guys with gloves behind the pitcher.

    • JB

      Galvis and his 290 OBP at the top? No thank you. Reds need to cut bait with him and find somebody else.

  2. Jim Walker

    I agree on Aquino. As for JVM, I think the Reds are seeing him as a super sub type which I think is selling short on him.

    Here’s something to chew on given Winker’s troubles staying on the field do due health issues, who would you rather count on as the LH hitting side of a LF platoon in 2020, Winker or JVM?

    Winker is about an .890 career OPS vs RH pitching but a liability everywhere except with a bat in his hands against a RH pitcher. How much above an 800 OPS does JVM have vs RH pitching to make him the choice given he runs the bases well and at 2 years younger than JW and getting his first OF exposure would figure to grow into the OF defensively.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Jim, JVM’s OPS vs. righties is .803.

      • Sliotar

        Jim, IMO, your anti-Winker bias has been coming through loud and clear.

        To each their own.

        I want young difference-makers on this team….and I think it is too early to declare Winker isn’t one and that JVM will be.

        Winker’s HRs and numbers across the board have been missed, even in a platoon role. OBP/SLG/wOBA…all higher than JVM.

        And no one has had a worse howler in the OF than JVM did recently.

        Sadly, this team has not “sorted” the young pieces it is counting on.

  3. Tom Mitsoff

    I will say this — I am tired of watching catchable fly balls not being caught.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      I’m really trying to curb my optimism (and enthusiasm!) about Aquino because perhaps like you, I’m in the habit of thinking, this can’t be as good as it looks. But it looks like he can do EVERYTHING!

  4. VaRedsFan

    The only thing bad about that missile throw from Aquino was that the runner didn’t tag up.

  5. VaRedsFan

    Soft tossing lefties…aka Reds Achilles heel.
    If they let Wood walk (which they should), he will throw many shutout inning against them in the future.

  6. Ron Payne

    Tom, I agree with your views on next year’s team. They need at least 3 more bats and new bullpen.

    We need everyday players. Guys that can be penciled in regardless of whether there’s a left-hander or right-hander on the mound. No more platoons. Platoon players are bench players.

    Move VanMeter to 2B. No platoons.

    VanMeter, Winker and Ervin are not good outfielders. Senzel is decent, but should be moved to the infield also.

  7. Ed R

    Wow. This game is just terrible so far. Heading into the 8th with 1 hit? Absurd.

    • Pete

      I really hate to say this but the Reds look beat. Uninspired baseball.

      • Ed

        I’m really sad to say it too. These guys should be playing their butts off and making the most of real game time before the off-season lull. I guess this is what we have to look forward to next year? Votto looks exhausted.

      • VaRedsFan

        That makes people mad for some reason.

      • Pete

        If the team you follow is terrible, is it bad manners to point it out? I have no issues with Marty, he’s an old-school guy in a new-school world and he’s getting out while the getting is good. The Reds are very hard to follow as a fan.

      • VaRedsFan

        It doesn’t bother me either.,,,in fact I welcome it. Just some of the writers got mad, when when “joey wasn’t elite” comment came out when Votto was batting in the low .200s 2 months into the season.
        Perhaps he should have said it this season too…and last season…ect.

  8. Ed

    Hmm- when your offense has just 1 hit, it’s the top of the 8th, and your starter wants to try and nail one last batter to get him out of a jam, and your team is not contending for anything anymore…. why pull him?

  9. Pete

    Galvis is now 1 for his last 40. I’d DFA him and play Blandino or VanMeter. No way they should keep this guy in 2020. See if Freddie can find a suitor.

      • Ed R

        the bench really is nowhere near as deep as it should be. I was watching the Twins last night, and they do have an absurd wealth of big bats riding the bench, waiting to help out when needed

    • Aaron B.

      He got robbed of a home run, hit several balls sharply, he is having some bad luck just as Aquino had two hard hit balls yesterday with nothing to show for it and is now 2 for his last 21.

      • Pete

        No, he’s 1 for his last 40. He need’s to go and hope someone picks him up so the Reds don’t have to pay $1M option next season. If you can’t hit, you can’t help. wRC+ of 100 minimum.

  10. Curt

    I’m all for versatility but not everyone can be LA’s Chris Taylor or Kiki Hernandez going back and forth from dirt to grass especially rookies. And Taylor and Kiki didn’t start out that way, it took a few years. Deitrich didn’t work out there, Peraza didn’t, VanMeter’s having difficulties, Senzel’s lucky he’s not out for 9 months after smashing into the wall. All of these guys are infielders. VanMeter and Senzel should be developing where they’re most comfortable first and then perhaps dual roles. And why is Suarez so immovable? He’s a veteran, maybe he could play LF?
    A beatwriter finally asked Bell a few days ago about “maybe Senzel getting some time in the infield if his shoulders still sore, he’s experienced”. Bell rejected it strait-away, “he hasn’t played there in awhile,”…SMH, just his whole career Dave.

    All this said, isn’t it ironic that the Reds two scored errors for the day are by Galvis and Iglesias. Go figure.

    • Ed

      Yeah- I really think Votto should’ve gotten the error for falling into the dirt on that one

      • Sliotar

        @Pete
        @Curt

        Your comments are why I struggle with Doug Gray’s reasoning earlier this week, replying to me, that the last 4 years weren’t Williams’ fault and that things are much better now.

        Well, Derek Johnson and some analytics….OK…but the personnel and short-term thinking…yikes.

        The team seems desperate to not lose 90 games and then somehow try and be respectable in 2020, (even though it need major offensive upgrades)….then what?

        Signing rejects from Toronto and guys released by Detroit doesn’t seem like a sound plan.

      • Ed

        @silotar

        I think Iglesias can actually contribute. His approach is hilarious, swinging his way into base hits through a dozen pitches…. A little more discipline, and his numbers would change dramatically I think.

        The real issue is that you can’t have a glove-first SS when no one in the team can hit.

  11. VaRedsFan

    Kuhnel owes Gausman a few dinners for that one.

  12. Pete

    Two absolutely horrible AB’s by Suarez & AA. Horrible.

  13. Aaron B.

    I don’t see a reason for Castillo throwing 111 pitches in a meaningless September game. The one thing they absolutely cannot afford next season is Castillo having any sort of arm trouble. He should be treated with kid gloves in the final month. No way do I let him go over 100 pitches, and I would probably shut him down just out of extreme caution. Let him throw on the side if he wants. I just don’t see what the point of pitching him anymore. I mean 200K is a nice milestone and sure maybe he has a shot at a Cy Young, and maybe he has incentives in his contract, but at least limit the pitch count.

    • Pete

      100% agree. It’s all about 2020. See if Kevin Gausman looks like a starting pitcher because no FO worth its salt pays a middle reliever $10M a season.

  14. Pete

    Is there a magic number that get’s David Bell fired? If there is, it’s the number I’m pulling for. Pinch running ML for Blandino. What was the point? Making moves to make moves?

    This club is either out of gas or has zero confidence right now. Blandino on-base 7 straight. He needs to lead off, that’s the only thing I know for sure. Not for life but for tomorrow. The guy that replaced him today is 1 for his last 40.

    • Centerfield

      Sam LaCure made the same point about Blandino not starting (on the post game show). This is nothing new for Bell. Remember earlier in the year when Erving went 6 for 6 and then sat…..