The Reds open their final series of 2019 tonight against the Pirates at PNC Park in in Pittsburgh. Game time is 7:05 EDT.  The Reds enter the series losers of 5 of their last 6 games. Meanwhile the Pirates come in  off a 3 game sweep of the Cubs which finished the job of knocking the laughable losers of 9 straight out of the playoffs. Nonetheless, the die is already cast that the Reds will finish 4th in the NL Central, ahead of the Pirates.  Only the final total of wins and losses remains to be settled.

On the individual side of the ledger, Eugenio Suárez hopes to add to his single season  MLB home run  record  for  a third baseman (currently at 49). Each additional HR by Suárez would also extend his single season record mark for a player born in Venezuela.  Suárez needs 3 more homers to catch George Foster’s Reds club record of 52 HR in a season. We are so immersed in stats anymore that we sometime take them with a grain of salt. However stop and consider all the great MLB 3B men and great Venezuelan players over the years. Then join me in saying, “Wow Eugenio!”

Starting Pitchers

Anthony DeSclafani gets the call for the Reds against left-hander Steven Brault of the Pirates. These two were previously paired against each other on May 29 in a game at GABP won by the Pirates, 7-2.

Anthony Deslcafani

2019 has been nothing less than a redemption tour for Anthony DeSclafani. After missing all of 2017 sandwiched  between substantial portions of 2016 and 2018 also missed with injuries, Disco has made it from start to finish intact this year. In 30 starts he has accumulated a career high 2.3 fWAR while posting a league average range 4.43 FIP. For those preferring ERA, Disco’s 3.84 mark places him at #18 among  qualifying NL starting pitchers. The biggest question about Desclafani’s future now seems to be whether he enters 2020 as a pending free agent or on a shiny new extended contract. That’s quite a step up for guy who has been through such an extended injury ordeal. Congratulations Disco!

Steven Brault

Steven Brault  is a 27 year old 11th  round draft pick (2013; #390 overall) looking to find his place in the MLB world.  He reached MLB primarily as a starter with the Pirates in 2016. In 2017 he saw limited MLB time split between starting and relieving.  Then in 2018, 40 of his 45 MLB appearances were out the pen; but, this year the pendulum has swung back the other way with 18 starts in 24 appearances. Brault has been used exclusively as a starter since late May.

As a starter Brault’s 2019 FIP is around league average. He’s been roughed up a bit in his 3 most recent starts; but; they came came versus the Cards, Brewers and pre-collapse Cubs. His previous 5 starts against more mixed competition were much better.  In the May 29 appearance versus the Reds noted above, Brault allowed no runs on three hits over 5.1 inning.

Tale of the Tape:

PITCHER  ERA FIP  WHIP  HR/9  BB%  K%
Anthony DeSclafani 3.84 4.43 1.18 1.56 7.1% 24.1%
Steven Brault 5.07 4.91 1.50 1.25 10.2% 18.7%

Home runs seem to be a fact of life for Disco. He has to keep his WHIP  down and K% up so the homers  aren’t the deciding moments in his games. Looks like Brault walks a few too many and doesn’t strike a lot guys.

Bullpens??

It is very late September. Both teams are out of the playoffs; and, their finishing positions are locked in.  Rosters are expanded. They will find willing arms to complete the required innings. Nothing else to see or say here.

Lineups

          REDS          PIRATES
1. Jose Peraza (2B)
2. Phillip Ervin (LF)
3. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
4. Aristides Aquino (RF)
5. Jose Iglesias (SS)
6. Curt Casali (C)
7. Michael Lorenzen (CF)
8. Anthony DeSclafani (P)
9. Alex Blandino (1B)
1. Kevin Newman (SS)
2. Pablo Reyes (CF)
3. Adam Frazier (2B)
4. Jose Osuna (1B)
5. Kevin Kramer (RF)
6. Jacob Stallings (C)
7. Jake Elmore (LF)
8. Erik Gonzalez (3B)
9. Steven Brault (P)

Nary a left-handed hitter in the Reds lineup. Not even Joey Votto. Steven Brault has some quirky handedness splits. Lefty hitters actually have a higher BABIP against him; but he strikes out enough more of them that the  simple batting average and OBP of RH hitters against him is better than left-handed hitters. Also righties hitters slug nearly .080 better than lefties against Brault.

Pregame News, Notes and Reading

In the afterglow of Marty’s retirement celebration, the Reds handed the the keys to the radio booth to Tommy Thrall. Cowboy Jeff Brantley continues as the primary shotgun rider in the booth. Redleg Nation’s Doug Gray provides the details:

Tommy Thrall and Jeff Brantley to take over as Reds broadcast team

 

Do you remember this date in Reds history? Yep, I do. For extra credit. Did you recall who played where? I didn’t.

Final Thought

Let’s get this weekend behind us so the Reds can get on with the work at hand in the off season to take another, larger, step ahead in 2020. BTW, both teams had listed their lineups by 1PM. They may be primed to get the weekend finished too. GO REDS! 


Stats and data courtesy of Baseball Reference, Fangraphs and MLB.com

31 Responses

  1. AirborneJayJay

    The obvious elephant in the signing extensions room this winter will be Luis Castillo. But it might be prudent to give DeSclafani a smaller extension of say 3 years, to take up his final season of arbitration and 2 free agent years afterward. He has looked much better in the second half too. He had a rough stretch there in part of June and July, but has really looked good since August started. He is about as good of a #4 starter as the Reds could find on the open market.
    We will set the over/under for HBP’s from Pirates pitchers for tonight at 2.5.

    • DocProc

      “He is about as good of a #4 starter as the Reds could find on the open market.”
      Agree completely. I won’t be surprised if other teams ask about him. It’s clear that he’s gotten healthier and stronger as the season progressed. Hope we keep him.

  2. DocProc

    Just when I thought I had seen David Bell’s worst lineup, out comes this one.

    • Mike

      I would say at least 4 of the eight in this lineup will not be on the opening day roster in 2020. Maybe just wishful thinking on my part.

    • Jim Walker

      I hadn’t looked at Brault’s handedness splits until I saw that Reds lineup. Don’t know about the order they are batting in but other than no Votto, I really wasn’t that surprised to see all RH hitters.

      I was trolling Twitter all afternoon for any signs that Votto was out hurt or packing it in for the season. So far I haven’t found any.

  3. Old-school

    Great points on Disco Jim. He is in his prime and healthy and a solid back end pitcher. The Reds have done a nice job signing guys early who are approaching or in their prime- Suarez/ Gray /Iglesias. Add Disco to the list with a fair 2 year deal and mutual option for 3.

    Agree on the hurrying up the off-season. 2020 needs some major upgrades.

  4. Steve Schoenbaechler

    I have to wait to see how Disco goes next season. If he starts out well, then I extend him mid-term. If not, then, of course, no, I don’t extend him. I still believe there’s still a question about him and injury. I’d just like to see a bit “longer” sample size.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about the FIP. For, given how they calculate it, if you have two pitchers, and one goes “BB, BB, HR” and the other goes “HR, BB, BB”, the way FIP gets calculated, both pitchers have the same FIP, even though the first person only gave up 1 run. But, I would definitely be more interested in the one that only gave up 1 run. For the haters, I didn’t say I wouldn’t worry about it “at all” but that I wouldn’t worry about it “too much”.

    • Jim Walker

      The issue for me is if the Reds wait until far enough into 2020 to reasonably evaluate how Disco is doing, all the leverage will be in his favor if he is doing well enough they want to sign him.

      Given he broke down during spring training in 2016-18, I can see maybe waiting until mid to late March to start talks with him but not much later. If they are following this tact, why not be transparent about things in the off season and tell him what kind of offer they are prepared to make if he comes through ST in good health. Then things could move quickly once the time came and not become a distraction

  5. centerfield

    It looks like both teams are running out their B lineup. I actually do not expect any intentional HBP tonight. Both teams are just playing out the string.
    I think given Mahle’s recent struggles AD should get an extension. His velocity has been up this year and command has improved. He’s better than anyone we’d be able to afford in free agency. With the left hander starting for the Pirates, expect to see massive changes when they bring in the RHP. Bell just can’t help himself. He seems to feel that he needs to out maneuver the opposition rather than enabling his players to succeed. It tells you his has an exaggerated sense of his own importance in producing wins. He just needs to get out of the way and let the players play.

    • Jim Walker

      I’m with you. Hopefully the silliness is gone at the very least until another season. I don’t recall much trouble at GABP the last time the Pirates were in. Supposedly MLB had laid down the law to all involved. Got to believe that’s the case here too because the last thing they want is some sort of fracas stealing attention and headlines from a couple of pretty good races.

      In the AL it is 3 teams for the 2 wild card spots; and, in NL, the playoff field settled but the which NL Central team will be champ and which drops down to the WC remains unsettled. Recall that last year, from the -1 game spot they are now in to start the last weekend, the Brewers eventually emerged as division champs. Given the matchups, the same is possible this season.

  6. Seat101

    Thank you for the great prequel, Jim. And thanks for all your writing this year

  7. Aaron B.

    Reds making history tonight.. first time since 1926 a first baseman is batting 9th in the NL. Nice!

  8. Seat101

    I enjoy this fast games. Yet I would like to see the red score more often then in the first inning.

    Go Reds!

  9. Indy Red Man

    Where would you think the Reds would be now if you knew this in April?

    1. The Reds would hit the most total HRs in team history
    2. Gray, Castillo, Disco, Lorenzen, and Garrett would have the numbers they have
    3. The Reds would have a winning record vs the Cubs
    4. The Reds traded for Trevor Bauer

    88 wins atleast I would think. Its been kind of a frustrating season, but atleast Disco has figured it out and our rotation looks really good next year.

    • Seat101

      I like your optimism. And even if you’re not in our time zone next year I still help you contribute to the conversation

    • Aaron B.

      Add to that: Suarez would hit 49+ home runs, a rookie would come along in August and break all kinds of records hitting home runs, and Dietrick had 17 home runs in the first 2 months. If you told me all that I would for sure be planning on watching the Reds in the post season. Crazy stuff.

      • Aaron B.

        I guess that was covered in your most home runs in team history. I guess that is mitigated by the fact it is a league wide trend. It’s been a wild year though and the Reds should have more wins then they do, but they still have an incomplete team with too many holes. The off season should be fascinating.

    • JB

      5) Iglesias or Barnhart would bat 5th most nights . 73 wins.

  10. Old-school

    This is a spring training game.
    Zero information . End the season please.

    • JB

      2 terrible called 3rd strikes on Aquino in back to back at bats. Even the umps want the season to end.

  11. AirborneJayJay

    Wow. How appropo. Now 12 losses for the closer.

  12. Aaron B.

    Still a shot at top 10 draft choice, they are 1 game ahead of the Angels… Angels playing Houston who has nothing to gain by winning, so you never know…

    • Aaron B.

      I’m wrong, Astros still haven’t clinched best record in AL yet, they have a 2 win lead on the Yankees. They are fielding their A lineup tonight.

  13. B-town fan

    Iglesias…Sigh………I don’t even know what to say.

  14. Erik the Red

    Lordy. It just will not end. There are some many holes in this team. Can not even beat a horrible team like Pittsburgh.