Tonight the Reds try to salvage a win and avoid a sweep by the Mariners in the series finale. Earlier this season the Reds were lauded for their resilience from adversity. They will need a ton of it tonight coming off of back to back crushing losses. Same Bat time, same Bat channel (10:10 EDT/ FSO).

Starting Pitching 

Reds

Tyler Mahle gets the call for the Reds tonight. I almost said “young Tyler Mahle”; but, he is finishing his second season  of getting an extended look in the Reds rotation. As the saying goes in college athletics, at some point freshman need to play like sophomores; sophomores need to play like juniors etc.  That point is probably now for Mahle if he wants to be in the Reds rotation plans for 2020.

On the positive side, Mahle has lowered his FIP into the league average range this year. However he continues have issues with allowing big innings. Four times this year (most recently last week), Mahle has allowed 5 or more earned runs in 5.0 or fewer innings pitched. Overall he has averaged less than 6 innings per start across 21 starts in 2019. He needs to learn how to limit damage in tough situations and go deeper into games to hold onto a rotation spot moving forward.

Mariners

For the first time in this series, the Mariners will be starting a right handed pitcher when Justin Dunn takes the mound tonight. Dunn, 23, becomes yet another Mariners starting pitcher in this series who was a first round draft pick of a different MLB team (2016; #19 overall; Mets).  Dunn came to the Mariners in the December 2018 trade which sent  Robinson Canó and Edwin Díaz to the Mets. Tonight is Dunn’s MLB premier appearance after being called up from AA in the September roster expansion process. At the time of his call up he was rated in the bottom third of MLB top 100 prospects by various lists.

Expect to see a mid 90’s MPH fastball from Dunn and a hard slider, both considered to be a plus pitches by MLB.com which rates his change up as a work in progress. According to MLB.com, Dunn will serve as an opener and pitch 3-5 innings tonight. He will be followed by Tommy Milone a veteran left-hander.

Tale Of The Tape

PITCHER ERA FIP WHIP HR/9 BB% K%
Tyler Mahle 4.94 4.37 1.28 1.59 5.8% 23.8%
Justin Dunn (Class AA) 3.55 3.43 1.19 0.89 7.1% 28.6%

Dunn’s large plus margin between K% and BB% jumps out for someone of his age, regardless of classification. It is right in the same range as Luis Castillo was at AA when he got the direct call to MLB. However Dunn both strikes out and walks about 3% more than Castillo at that juncture.

Bullpens

The Reds pen covered 1.2 innings last night, all thrown by Kevin Gausman (25 pitches). He figures to be on very short duty or unavailable tonight.

The Mariners pen covered 2.0 innings. Anthony Bass worked for a second consecutive night (1.2 innings; 21 pitches total). I’d be mildly surprised to see him tonight. Sam Tuivailala needed 20 pitches to get through just 0.1 innings and is likely a scratch tonight on several counts.

Lineups

REDS MARINERS

SP: Tyler Mahle

1. Josh VanMeter (1B)
2. Joey Votto (DH)
3. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
4. Aristides Aquino (RF)
5. Freddy Galvis (SS)
6. Phillip Ervin (LF)
7. Brian O’Grady (CF)
8. Jose Peraza (2B)
9. Curt Casali (C)

OP. Justin Dunn
PP. Tommy Milone
1. Shed Long (LF)
2. Austin Nola (1B)
3. Kyle Seager (3B)
4. Omar Narvaez (C)
5. Kyle Lewis (RF)
6. Daniel Vogelbach (DH)
7. Dylan Moore (2B)
8. Donnie Walton (SS)
9. Braden Bishop (CF)

Interesting to see platoon master David Bell’s response to an opening right-handed pitcher scheduled to be followed by a left-handed pitcher.

Pre-Game News and Notes

Nick Senzel is going to miss the rest of the season.

Chad Dotson wrote about Joey Votto yesterday in his piece titled The Decline and Stall of Joey Votto over at Cincinnati Magazine.

There is no way to evaluate Votto’s 2019 season without first conceding that it’s been the worst campaign of his 13-year career. I believe there is plenty of evidence, however, that he can and will be a productive player for the Reds, at least for the foreseeable future.

You can read the entire piece right here. And you absolutely should go read it.

In what seems to be “Award Week” over at RedsMinorLeagues.com Doug Gray handed out his award for the 2019 Cincinnati Reds Starter of the Year to Packy Naughton.

2019 Reds Minor League Starter of the Year: Packy Naughton

Final Thought

According to the Pythagorean Theorem  (of baseball) developed by Bill James, the Reds should be a .500  team today; but, instead they are 12 games under that mark.  As recently as the start of the current series versus the Mariners, the Reds Pythagorean was actually better than .500. This difference is a lot to write off to simple bad luck. Let’s hope there is  abundance of honest self analysis, evaluation and proactive response to the 2019 season inside the Reds organization during the coming off season.


Data and stats courtesy of  MLB.com, Fangraphs and Baseball Reference

42 Responses

  1. RedsMonk65

    Seven rookies in Seattle’s starting lineup tonight.

    Imagine that.

    • TR

      The recent version of the Reds has not had much luck against rookies.

      • Sliotar

        @RedsMonk65

        I can’t imagine it….because tonight shows (again) how the Reds front office wasted the last 4 seasons.

        Something like what the Mariners lineup is what the Reds should have been running out nightly in 2016 or 2017. You can see what Seattle is trying to do, clearly.

        The Reds offense? You tell me…because this is less than inspiring. Very meh. Looks like 2 guys to avoid mistake pitches to, and you’re good.

        The no. 5 hitter, Galvis…since joining the Reds has an OBP of .269 and a strikeout rate of around 30%.

        On his 4th team and in his age 30 season. But, he has a cheap option for 2020, so SS or 2B is covered for 2020 (eye roll).

        Not-young and not-very-good isn’t where teams are supposed in Year 5 of Tear Down-Tank-Rebuild….but here we are.

        Go Redlegs.

  2. B-town fan

    As for the Platoon Master comment about David Bell. I was pretty excited when he was hired but I will have to admit that his lineup construction is quite puzzling at times. A good lineup has 1 maybe 2 platoons in it, not 3 every day and all the rest platoons. As for Josh VanMeter it looks like he’s turned him into platoon player even though his career numbers don’t warrant that, it seems only because he bats left handed.

  3. Seat101

    This poem, Harlem, by Langston Hughes summarizes my feelings rather well. Are there questions or is it ambivalence?

    Does it dry up
    like a raisin in the sun?
    Or fester like a sore—
    And then run?
    Does it stink like rotten meat?
    Or crust and sugar over—
    like a syrupy sweet?

    Maybe it just sags
    like a heavy load.

    Or does it explode?

    • Seat101

      I skipped the first line

      What happens to a dream deferred?

      What happens to a dream deferred?

      Does it dry up
      like a raisin in the sun?
      Or fester like a sore—
      And then run?
      Does it stink like rotten meat?
      Or crust and sugar over—
      like a syrupy sweet?

      Maybe it just sags
      like a heavy load.

      Or does it explode?

      • Daytonnati

        Nice, Sea

        Reminds me of the Boss’ observation in Badlands:

        “Talk about a dream
        Try to make it real
        You wake up in the night
        With a fear so real
        Spend your life waiting
        For a moment that just don’t come
        Well don’t waste your time waiting”

  4. JB

    Is it me or whoever is playing shortstop gets to bat 5th every night. Clueless wonders. Galvis is a retread who has been traded or released a number of times because he isnt that good. Seattle is putting rookies out there and Bell is playing Galvis.

  5. Old-school

    Nick Senzel news of torn labrum is huge. It explains his poor year.

    • Sliotar

      I enjoy Senzel’s style. All out, no respect for his body in trying to make a play. A real gamer.

      But, If the Reds internal metrics project him as a primary offensive guy for the next few seasons…. move him to 2B. Safer there now than taking on outfield walls.

      If the Reds can’t figure out a suitable replacement to CF, shame on them.

    • Doc

      I wonder if he tore it in early August, explaining the sharp decline, or if the changes they were making in August caused/contributed to the tear. Either way, at least there is a fixable explanation for the decline.

      • Eric B

        Lets hope he didn’t tear his rotator cuff. Very painful and debilitating if not repaired properly. An MRI would show a tear if he had one. I think it was a nerve impingement.

  6. David Johnson

    This kids stuff is just driving at the end of the zone. A different ump and it’s a different game.

  7. Chris Holbert

    Is J Iggy now a platoon as well?…smh

  8. Eric B

    I’ve seen enough of Tyler Mahle to come to the conclusion he doesn’t deserve a rotation spot in 2020. If he does indeed land the #5 spot that tells me all I need to know about the level of common sense that David Bell has. One doesn’t need baseball knowledge to come my determination concerning Tyler Mahle. Only decent vision.

    • Sliotar

      You may be right about Mahle….however, he is in his age 25 season and has done average the first two times through order in his career.

      Feels like a guy who needs another pitch developed, or more Derek Johnson coaching to get through innings 5 and 6.

      • Eric B

        I must admit he does look the part which makes this so perplexing. I have hoped for his success and am still pulling for him to make to necessary adjustments under Johnson’s tutelage. With all that said, unless he has one heck of a 2020 spring I just can’t see him in the rotation. The bullpen may work better for him as well as for the team with the latter being the number one objective.

      • Doc

        Needs a long stretch in Louisville next year to hone his craft. If he is the best we have as a fifth starter, we’re in deep doo doo.

  9. RedNat

    Same pattern we have seen the entire second half. We expend all of our offensive energy in the first inning. The offense then stays dormant the rest of the game. P iui is too much pressure on the bullpen. We must develop that killer instinct if we are going to compete next year

  10. Pete

    Going to be interesting who has the better record in 2020, Reds or Mariners. Seattle has some good looking youngsters.

  11. Chris Holbert

    I have definitely seen enough of Galvis

  12. RedsMonk65

    Seattle rookies putting on a hitting clinic for the Redlegs.

  13. Eric B

    His HR/9 more than doubles from his 2nd tto compared to his 3rd tto. That’s the thing with Mahle. I know about GABP being known as a launching pad and all that but it seems to bite him more than others in the mid to late innings with runners on base. I mentioned him being better off in the bullpen but can you honestly see Mahle coming in from the pen in the 7th inning with a 1 run lead, 2 runners on and no outs with his inability to keep the ball on his side of the wall. If you look at his hr/9 1st tto the stat says sure, bring him in at least the hr is not a major issue. I think it’s just one of those things that time and those type situations would tell. It seemed to me Mahle got very little run support in alot of those early losses which contributed to many of his losses. But mitigating circumstances doesn’t change a loss to a win no matter how deeply one may dig into the ever growing complexity of statistics. I can’t talk with you about xFIP. I don’t know what the xFLIP it means! Though I will investigate.

    • Sliotar

      Hits after 4 innings … Mariners 8, Reds 1.

      The “offense” courtesy of a AA kid walking everyone.

      • Eric B

        Sliotar
        I did find a good link.
        mlb/advancedstatistics
        Good explanations and examples. Better for me than fangraphs bc I am a definite rookie on these sabermetrics. I’m an old school baseball guy (like Jerry Narron) but some of the advanced stats are useful to me if I learn what they mean, but not so much the formula calculations.

        Kind of like electrical calculations which I know quite well where as others may only care that the light comes on only because the switch was flipped. Who cares what makes it possible?

  14. Preach

    5 walks and 3 stolen bases in one inning has to net more than 2 runs. You almost have to script it out to score that few .

  15. Hanawi

    Getting swept by the Mariners while they trot out a bunch of rookies and the Reds trot out cast-offs like Galvis would be the perfect summation of the Reds rebuild over the past 5 years. David Bell unable to trust Van Meter or O’Grady for more at-bats just adds to the malaise that I feel about the future of the team.

  16. Eric B

    I agree with Doc. A stretch with the Bats may fix Mahle. He’s still very young and does look the part. He can be a #3 type pitcher. He does have that much potential. But please DO work it out in AAA.

  17. Curt

    So I left for 15 minutes and JVM and O’G are out of the game?
    So what exactly are we watching here? Is this what people mean when they talk about tanking intentionally? Are the Reds tanking for a better draft pick?
    I’m having a hard time figuring out any kind of purpose to what we’ve been witnessing. What’s being evaluated or learned from all of this? Someone smarter than me know?

    • Sliotar

      You got me.

      Bell trying to compensate for not having a pitcher’s spot in lineup to double-switch with a couple of times? LOL.

      (I question how smart any of us really are for suffering through this debacle.)

  18. Chris Holbert

    A 32 year old Cy Young Award winner, topping out at 87, shutting down this prolific offense..

    • Sliotar

      We are all geniuses for sticking around to see Galvis put the Reds in front.

  19. Hoosier Steve

    My first comment tonight… Being 65, I have loved and followed the Reds since the 1961 season. I’ve seen the highs and lows and never wavered as a fan. I haven’t always agreed with the FO moves or the manager’s moves. I have gone to many games, at least 2-3 per year and watch or listen to the rest. My wife is tired of hearing me complain, so here goes. Analytics and going with the percentages is fine, but what is going on now is ridiculous. Pinch hitting in the 4th inning(tonight) and double switching early in games is out of control. how can our young players develop or even try to when they do not get a chance? Bell manages as if he is in a fantasy league. What a joke! I have watched all year and tried to be patient and give him a chance, but this is very frustrating. Reds fans deserve better. I know the manager is not on the field playing, but how can the players ever gain confidence when they know that if a wrong-handed pitcher comes in, they will be pinch hit for? Ok I’m done, sorry for the rant….

  20. Aaron B.

    Freddy says: Show me some love, RLN!

    • Sliotar

      I take back everything I wrote tonight about Galvis.

      (Actually …. I don’t. He would not be the #5 hitter on a good team.)

      But, he may deliver the always-elusive #RedsWestCoastTripWin…which makes it fun when you stay up and see one.

  21. Jim Walker

    Somebody in the Reds dugout must have been surfing the web on their phone before the 7rh inning and run across my preview calling them out to show the resiliency they had earlier in the season! 😉

    Of course like most all you here, I’d already long since given up on them and was pleasantly surprised by Doug’s recap.