Nine games left.

Another disappointing Cincinnati Reds season is nearing its conclusion, which will summon the period of analysis and post-mortem that follows the final game of any organized sports team’s schedule.

Pure and simple, the Reds front office did #getthepitching. But the hitting never kicked into gear:

Prior to the start of today’s 7:10 Eastern time game at Great American Ball Park against the New York Mets, Cincinnati had these rankings among all of the major league teams:

  • Home runs: 218, 13th
  • OPS: .739, 21st
  • Slugging: .424, 22nd
  • On-base percentage: .315, 22nd
  • Walks: 455, 23rd
  • Batting average: .245, 24th

As you can see in Doug Gray’s tweet, the best the Reds have to offer in terms of position players contributing to wins is third base, which is obviously greatly due to Eugenio Suarez.

This is a topic that will be hashed over in the coming weeks and months here at Redleg Nation, but the Reds must #getthehitting for 2020. And, they have to target the best hitters available, regardless of position. (The obvious exception is first base, where Joey Votto will still be playing.) Even a slugging third baseman would be welcome, and Suarez could perhaps move to shortstop or second base if needed to make that addition work.

This is probably an overreaction, but I have little faith that any of the returning position players except Suarez can become star-caliber starting players. (Regarding Votto, while we all hope he will return to his All-Star hitting form, it seems increasingly unlikely as time continues to march on.) Even Aristides Aquino’s bat has crashed back to Earth after his interstellar first month. It’s impossible to say at this point whether the August version or the September version is closer to what Aquino will be as a major leaguer.

It has been said other places, but the upcoming off-season will be the most important in recent Reds history. There are no Acunas or Tatises ready to emerge from the farm system. The front office will have to #getthehitting by opening the pocketbook. If the Votto we have seen the past couple of years is one of this team’s two or three best offensive weapons in 2020, that does not bode well. We’ll see what happens.

Starting Pitchers

Name IP ERA xFIP K% BB%
Jacob deGrom 190 2.61 3.16 31.6% 5.7%
Luis Castillo 178.2 3.22 3.47 28.9% 9.9%

It’s a matchup of All-Star pitchers in the series opener. Mets manager Mickey Callaway has managed deGrom similar to the way David Bell has managed his starters: Typically a maximum of 100 pitches or seven innings. In fact, deGrom has pitched exactly seven innings in each of his last six starts. During that span, he’s allowed 11 runs in 42 innings pitched. Castillo has not been nearly as effective as deGrom during the same period, and it may be the effects of the most innings he has pitched in a major league season taking a toll. If there is a good time for that to happen, it’s in a season when the Reds are not going to need Castillo in the post-season.

Bullpen

With an off-day Thursday, the entire bullpen staff should be available if and when called upon tonight.

Starting Lineups

Mets Reds
CF Brandon Nimmo LF Josh VanMeter
3B Jeff McNeil 1B Joey Votto
1B Pete Alonso 3B Eugenio Suarez
2B Robinson Cano RF Aristides Aquino
C Wilson Ramos C Tucker Barnhart
RF Michael Conforto SS Jose Iglesias
LF J.D. Davis CF Phillip Ervin
SS Amed Rosario 2B Jose Peraza
P Jason deGrom P Luis Castillo

Nimmo, McNeil, Alonso and Conforto are examples of what has been a very productive farm system for the 79-73 Mets, who are holding on to slim hopes of a wild card berth. They are 3.5 games behind Milwaukee for the second wild card berth entering tonight’s play. The Reds’ lineup is about the best that David Bell can put on the field at the moment.

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

News and Notes

Suarez on the cusp …

39 Responses

  1. D

    Will be fun to watch this series,however the homerun lead turns out.Go Eugenio,but don’t diss Alonso,his parents grew up in Lancaster ,Oh. And a lot of his family were big Reds fans.Hit one for the other famous Joe (Jonas )Morgan son ,make em proud.

  2. J

    Those stats seem a little misleading given the fact that so many positions are no longer being played by the same guys who were starting and/or getting major playing time at the beginning of the year. I don’t disagree the team needs to add hitting, but we haven’t seen what even a half season of JVM, AA, and PE getting regular playing time might look like. They could all be above-average offensive players..

  3. Seat101

    I’ve got all off-season to tell the Reds how to improve themselves.

    Honestly, I expected them to finish Below .500. But it was a frustrating season even if we win the rest of our games

  4. Aaron B.

    One strange caveat about the offense is just how good they have been at scoring in the first inning of ball games. They lead all of baseball in a bunch of categories for the first inning including runs scored. This in a record setting HR year league-wide makes you think maybe the offense is having trouble making in-game adjustments or something psychological is going on in the dugout after the first inning. IDK, it could just be a fluke but it seems they come to play fresh out of the gate and then lack the stamina to sustain the intensity or momentum or whatever it is. Could just be a freakish statistical aberration but it is still worthy of some analysis. I was looking at the free agents and no one player sticks out to me as a difference maker that wouldn’t require a huge a gamble by the FO. The only guy I really liked was Will Smith the lefty reliever for the Giants. We need to continue to spend shrewdly looking for bargains and we need to re-stock the farm as well as opposed to splurging big in free agency. Someone else mentioned it but Lorenzen as 5th starter is very intriguing to me and I don’t care what Brantley thinks about it, one spot start plus pitching every 5 days shouldn’t break him down he looks about as physically fit as any player I have ever seen. Brantley wouldn’t know what having a physique like that is, no offense Jeff.

    • RedsMonk65

      I like Will Smith as well. Also, perhaps Castellanos. Both, I think would be good additions for this club.

  5. Don

    There are 53 players in MLB with > 600 PAs. Suarez is the only Red
    There are 65 between 500 and 599. Votto is the only Red here.
    Iglesias will join the 500 AB club tonight.

    Less than 500 ABs in a year and it is a guess at what a player can do in MLB as a hitter.

    Players that have multiple years and a track record and can make judgements.

    1st year players whom have not got to the 500 AB level are still a guess as to what they can be.

    Noone can know what will occur with the players in 2020, I just hope that if the Reds to get some expensive veteran hitter that they trade the younger players to other teams to given them an opportunity to succeed. If the Reds do not have them in the plans for 2020 with lots of playing time they should let them walk. No reason to keep around players which the team does not have confidence that they can be successful.

    Reds need to have a lineup in 2020 where 7 players get 500 PAs and of those 7, 3 get to 600 PAs. The constant guess and changing whom is going to play will never result in consistent offense.

  6. Don

    Castillo cruising in the 1st two, hope it does the same for 5 or 6 more as the Reds are probably not scoring much vs deGrom at all tonight.

  7. Sliotar

    Tune in to the game to hear Jim Day say, “(these) are the best 2 pitchers in the game.”

    Really? Castillo is great, but not even the best on the Reds staff this season.

    I like Day, but when he gets in the play-by-play role, he starts mailing in loose “facts” as bad as the other guy. Better get the last days of Marty and the Cowboy as an overlay.

  8. Chris Holbert

    It has been amazing all season, how most of the time, when Votto gets called out, he does not think it is a strike., too close to take with two strikes..

    • VaRedsFan

      Yes, and 8 out of 10 of those times they are strikes.

  9. Don

    Having to watch the Mets Broadcast based on being in Mets blackout zone so cannot use MLB app.

    Castillo has looked good so far.

    Agreed Votto does not know the new wider striek zone which Umps seems to be calling this year.

  10. Chris Holbert

    Help me understand, facing one of the best, the count is 3-0, and number 5 hitter? Barnhart swings and pops out…

    • Don

      agreed, just like all year swinging for fences every swing. The approach at the plate has been poor for everyone all year by the Reds.

      • VaRedsFan

        Well, when it’s 3-0, you should swing for the fences. But Tucker shouldn’t be the one allowed to swing 3-0

  11. Don

    great pitching by castillo through 5.

    Reds need to get 2 hits in the same inning. Anyone with any speed can steel 2nd.

    This has to be a manufactured run tonight to win the game or a HR will win it tonight

  12. Don

    top of 5th, starting 3rd time through the lineup. Castillo has to keep this 1 hit outing going without any walks.

    • Don

      any more walks, 2 walks is enough for the night

  13. Don

    to bad that the HR was given up.

    Hope Castillo can keep this in check now. Gut check time for Castillo.

  14. RedsMonk65

    Rosario with a gift there.

    Not sure what Castillo was thinking. The pitcher was in the on-deck circle with 2 outs already. Sigh …

    • Aaron B.

      This right here. That was the game. Doesn’t make sense to pitch to Rosario with the pitcher on deck who he made look foolish earlier in the game. They won’t pull the pitcher who has a shut out going and 95% you get out of the inning. oach should have gone out and made that clear, but maybe they are mailing it in for draft position plus sticking it to the Cubs is an added bonus.

  15. Don

    oh well, that 2 run HR is probably the ball game.

    I do not see the Reds scoring 4 tonight without a Mets bullpen implosion.

    Was a good outing but not good enough, a couple of mistake pitches.

    • JB

      Mets bullpen usually implodes. Unfortunately the weak hitting Reds wont take advantage.

  16. Seat101

    Maybe it’s time for one of those rare come back wins, Eh?

    • Don

      wishing for one but that would make like the 2nd one this year????

      • Seat101

        We had one on opening day and I think we had one in June, didn’t we?

      • Don

        There was one June 9, scored 4 in 7th to win 5-3 vs phillies, Duke got the win. Good memory, only one I could find in June.

      • Don

        there was another May 25th vs Cubs, Suarez hit a run HR in top of 9th to win by 1. That was a 1 run comeback.

  17. VaRedsFan

    #50 for Alonso…OVER the toyota sign

  18. RedsMonk65

    Wow — Alonso. 50 HRs as a rookie.

  19. VaRedsFan

    No way that was 437 feet….had to be 460+

  20. BigRedMike

    DeGrom is amazing, but, shocking that a lineup of Barnhart batting 5th, Iglesias, and Peraza is struggling.
    As Doug pointed out, the Reds need an upgrade at just about every position outside of 3B. Votto will play next year and hope for improvement. It is not possible to upgrade that much, so, I guess the Reds just go with the position players they have and hope for improvement

  21. Chris Holbert

    Tonight’s lineup doesn’t scare anyone. Be careful around Suarez, and you will be fine…

  22. Ed

    Alas- Ervin hits into the DP this time.

  23. Ed

    Once again, starting pitching fine, bullpen and offense sucks. If only there had been a time mid-season where the Reds could have traded for some pieces that could strengthen either of these areas. How could they have known some 60 games back, that their bullpen was struggling and their offense was below league average. If only there were statistics to look at- or even a way to watch a few games to actively identify this insidious weakness, and then some concrete time or deadline to ensure moves are made to to stop the madness. Ah well.

  24. Steve Schoenbaechler

    I entirely agree with the offense part. I don’t know if the Reds will target every position. But, I know they must:

    – Get some offense
    – Restock the bullpen
    – Get development personnel in the minors, especially for pitching.

    They do have one advantage here, I believe. They have a lot of money to work with, I believe. That can bring in some FA’s. Only that might give them some trade bait, then. For, right now, I don’t believe they have much to trade with.

    I still believe going after Rendon then moving Suarez to SS would be a good move. Those who believe Suarez wouldn’t make a good SS, I just don’t get it that much. I mean, we just moved 2 IF’s to CF and they did a very competent job out there, and they never played the OF. Suarez came up playing SS. Why wouldn’t he be able to make a decent SS now?