Final 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Pirates 0 1 3 0 0 4 1 0 0 9 12 1
Reds 2 1 3 3 1 0 0 1 X 11 13 0

Six home runs flew out of Great American Ball Park off the bats of Cincinnati Reds (28-26) hitters, and the home team needed every bit of that muscle to score an 11-9 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates (23-31) in the opening game of a three-game series between National League Central Division rivals.

That was the result today as Strat-O-Matic games of Glen Head, N.Y., continued its announced plan to simulate the entire 2020 Major League Baseball season on a day-by-day basis for as long as actual game play is on hold.


Help set the lineup, batting order for the simulated Reds:

Have you ever dreamed of your opportunity to “manage” the Reds? Now is your chance. Learn more below!


Eugenio Suarez was the primary power source for the sim Reds, with two homers (bringing his team-leading total to 16), a double and five runs batted in. Other Reds homers were struck by Phillip Ervin (his fifth), Freddy Galvis (third), Curt Casali (first) and Jesse Winker (fourth).

Cincinnati scored in each of the first six innings, as they pummeled Pirates left-handed starter Derek Holland for five of their six home runs. Winning Redleg Nation commenter/manager Redsfan4life loaded his lineup with right-handed bats, which paid off as all five longballs off Holland were struck by right-handed batters.

Pittsburgh took a 4-3 lead in the top of the third against winning pitcher Luis Castillo, but his sim Reds teammates took the lead for good in the bottom of the inning with a three-spot. Suarez hit a two-run shot in that inning, and Galvis followed with a solo shot to give Cincinnati a 6-4 lead. The Reds got three more in the fourth on a three-run shot by Suarez, which marked the end of the day for Holland.

Castillo hung in long enough to get credit for the win, but his pitching line of eight earned runs allowed in five and two-thirds innings was certainly nothing to be proud of. He allowed four runs in the top of the sixth to bring Pittsburgh back within 10-8, and Robert Stephenson allowed a run in the seventh to make it a one-run game at 10-9. Winker added a crucial pinch-hit solo shot off Robert Rodriguez in the bottom of the eighth to score an important insurance run, and make the score 11-9, which was the final.

With the win, the sim Reds have won eight of their past 10 and 11 of their last 14 games.

Division-leading St. Louis lost, as well as the Cubs, meaning that the sim Reds climbed over Chicago and into sole possession of second place, only two games back of the Cardinals.

Here is the sim Reds box score, as provided by Strat-O-Matic:

A-Pinch Hit For Stratton In 6th Inning
B-Pinch Hit For Rios In 7th Inning

C-Subbed Defensively (2B) For Stephenson In 7th Inning
D-Pinch Hit For Garrett In 8th Inning

Standings following the May 26 games:

NL Central WON LOST PCT GB
Cardinals 31 25 .554 0.0
Reds 28 26 .519 2.0
Cubs 28 27 .509 2.5
Brewers 28 27 .509 2.5
Pirates 23 31 .426 7.0

The 2020 schedule as currently constituted has the Reds playing game two of the three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates Wednesday at Great American Ball Park. Sonny Gray will pitch for the sim Reds, while righthander Joe Musgrove pitches for the Pirates.

Outfielder Nick Castellanos is due to be activated from the 10-day injured list for Wednesday’s game, so one player will have to be sent to the minors to make room for him. Redleg Nation readers are asked to cast their votes in the comments below for the player who will be sent down.

News/Notes from around baseball

One of the things we would have during the season in the game threads was a section comprised of news and notes for the day. While there’s a lot less going on these days in the baseball world than usual for this time of year, there still are some things that are worth highlighting. When there are, we’ll be adding them to these daily simulation threads.

MLB to propose a “sliding salary scale” today

We’re going to have some more on this in the morning, as we’d like to digest more details as they become available. But Bob Nightengale of USA Today is reporting that MLB is planning to approach the players union with a sliding scale for salary reduction where players earning the most would take larger paycuts than those making the least. There’s also talk of sharing more of the postseason shares with the players. You can read the entire article from Nightengale here and formulate your own opinions based on it.

The best offensive play in defensive history…..

Today marks the 27th anniversary of the best defensive gaff in the history of Major League Baseball in my opinion. That’s when Jose Canseco missed a deep fly ball on the warning track, then had it bounce off of his skull and land over the fence for a home run.

Reds Rewind this week

If you’re looking for some Reds multimedia this week, you are going to have some choices. On Fox Sports Ohio you can watch past games at night from Thursday through Sunday.

  • Thursday, May 28th, 8pm ET: 1990 NLCS Game 6 (series winner)
  • Friday, May 29th, 8pm ET: 1978 Reds vs Cardinals – Tom Seaver’s no-hitter
  • Saturday, May 30th, 8pm ET: 1985: Reds vs Padres – 4192 game
  • Sunday, May 31st, 8pm ET: Reds vs Astros – Reds clinch the NL Central

If you want to see a young Joseph Daniel Votto, his first career start from back in 2007 will be available to stream on both Facebook and Youtube on Sunday, May 31st at 2pm ET.

Help set the lineup, batting order for the simulated Reds:

Have you ever dreamed of your opportunity to “manage” the Reds? Now is your chance.

Strat-O-Matic has agreed to allow Redleg Nation to submit the Cincinnati Reds’ lineups for each day’s simulated game. We want all of our readers who want to participate to get involved.

Here is how it will work:

  • In each wrap up of that day’s simulated game, Redleg Nation will post the opposing starting pitcher for the next game. You will know who the pitcher is and whether he is left-handed or right-handed, and you can use that information in creating a lineup for the next game, and submitting it in the comments below. “Splits” such as performance vs. left-handers or right-handers are replicated in the Strat-O-Matic game algorithm, and therefore should be considered.
  • We will accept lineups from every reader who wants to submit one. The lineup that will be submitted to Strat-O-Matic each day will be the one that receives the most positive replies (in effect, “yes” votes) from readers other than the submitter. In case of ties:
    • First tiebreaker: Lineup submitted by the reader who has had the fewest number of opportunities as a “manager.”
    • Second tiebreaker: Lineup submitted earliest in the comment thread. (So get your lineup in “early” each day.)
  • What is “early?” Redleg Nation posts these articles daily between 5 and 6 p.m. Eastern time. Strat-O-Matic’s deadline for us to submit a lineup for the next day’s game is midnight. On most days, we’ll do this before “bedtime,” which is typically between 10:30 and 11 Eastern time.

All players’ batting stats

All players’ pitching stats

Batting and pitching player stats by team

Redsfan4life will have priority for Wednesday’s lineup since he was the winning commenter/manager today. Have fun with this! If you have any questions, please post them in the comment string below. Here are the “managerial records” of our Redleg Nation participants to date:

Commenter/
“Manager”
WON LOST PCT
Jon Davis 6 1 .857
Peter Onte 2 1 .667
BK 7 4 .636
James Owens 3 2 .600
Redsfan4life 3 2 .600
Gonzo Reds 2 2 .500
Doug Gray 1 1 .500
RedsEuphoria 1 1 .500
Tomn 1 1 .500
AirborneJayJay 0 1 .000
Jeff 0 1 .000
Mark Moore 0 1 .000
Tom Mitsoff 0 1 .000
VaRedsFan 0 1 .000
Don 0 2 .000
Melvin 0 2 .000

About Strat-O-Matic

Strat-O-Matic has been in the sports simulation business since the 1960s. A USA Today article contained this explanation:

Strat-O-Matic and other baseball simulations use statistics from the previous season to create “cards” for each player on a roster. The team managers select the batting order and the starting pitcher. From there, a series of dice rolls and calculations determines the outcome of each at-bat.

Strat-O, as it’s known to longtime players, first gained its immense popularity as a board game. The company has since expanded to a downloadable Windows version and one that’s played online. A few years ago, it introduced Baseball Daily – a new iteration that combined the player cards from the previous season with statistics from the real season being played at the same time.

Unlike many video games, the Strat-O-Matic results are based on algorithms that account for players’ performance based on statistics that their statistical experts project for each player in the 2020 season. It’s not a game played with a joystick that relies more on the skill of the person with the video game controller in his or her hand.

The simulation software will keep comprehensive statistics for all teams for the season, so we’ll be able to track year-to-date leaders in many statistical categories. Our current plan is to provide statistical leader summaries here at Redleg Nation each Sunday. You can follow the season at Strat-O-Matic.com, where they plan to post the results from each day’s schedule at 2 p.m. Eastern time.

34 Responses

  1. Don

    To me the choice is between Senzel and Aquino.
    I do not think either should be a starter
    Since Senzel can be a backup 2B and play the infield after a pinch hit late in games and Aquino is only OF.

    I Vote to send Aquino down.

    • Jon Davis

      I completely agree but I also Originally considered Farmer too. It feels like we need Farmer or Blandino around as the backup SS, personally I would be just fine maybe even happier to have Suarez as the occasional backup SS and If Galvis were to get injured then we could bring up Blandino or Farmer.

      You know what I just talked myself into it. I vote for sending down Farmer.

  2. Don

    I put this on yesterday’s game late in the day and more this morning.
    These were stats before’s today game and Castillo’s numbers will just be worse.

    Looking at the pitching stats no pitchers are really having a great year.

    Anyone think that the staff needs a shake up?

    A 1.3 WHIP is considered average per fangraphs. 1.3 is below avg, a 1.5 or higher poor, 1.6 is awful

    P.Strop 1.15
    S.Gray 1.23
    R.Stephenson 1.24
    M.Bowman 1.32
    A.Desclafani 1.32
    A.Garrett 1.34
    R.Iglesias 1.43
    T.Bauer 1.49
    L.Sims 1.51
    W.Miley 1.55
    L.Castillo 1.67
    M.Lorenzen 1.68
    C.Reed 1.78
    T.Mahle 2.10

    Pitchers on 26 man with options
    Bowman, Iglesias, Castillo, Lorenzen

    Pitchers on 26 man without options (demoted and exposed to being claimed)
    Strop,Reed,Bauer,Sims,Disco,Gray,Garrett,Stephenson,Miley

    Pitchers that can be called up (all have options)
    Ryan Hendrix,Joel Kuhnel,Tyler Mahle,Justin Shafer,Josh D. Smith

    These would never happen in real life,
    Maybe demote Reed and bring up Smith?
    Demote Sims and bring up Hendrix?
    Demote Iglesias and bring up Kuhnel?
    Demote Castillo and shuffle to rotation?

    The Reds Staff WHIP is 1.43,
    Cardinals = 1.34
    Cubs = 1.43
    Brewers 1.46
    Pirates 1.43

    Dodgers =1.17
    Nationals = 1.24
    Braves = 1.21
    Padres = 1.31

    On average the Cards staff is having one less base runner a game than the Reds.
    That will lead to more runs and losses for the Reds and Wins for the Cards.

    I do not think without better pitching the Reds will catch the Cards in the division or the Padres or Atlanta for the wild card.

    Runs per game
    Reds Offenses = 4.87 , Reds giving up = 4.52
    St Louis 4.69, 4.29
    Cubs 4.87, 4.44
    Brewers 4.65, 5.15
    Pirates 3.55, 4.77

    Reds are tied for most runs per game but the middle of the division for total runs allowed per game.

    The point I am trying to make is that the Cards are in 1st due to pitching not offense.

    Just some wild ideas for the Sim Reds and the team GM’s to think about.

    • Jon Davis

      Don, I agree with you in principle but I have done a deep dive into the pitching and there aren’t really any moves that have a higher probability of making us better without risking losing a player permanently. The way I understand it, based on Tom’s efforts, is that any player without options can be sent down but because there is no waiver system in the simulation, you will lose that player for the rest of the season. I also feel like using WHIP only makes the situation seem worse than it really is, as the majority of the pitching staff has pitched much better than you’re suggesting.

      Of the guys who could be brought I feel like Shafer and Smith are too big of question marks, so someone has to get hurt or be really bad to bring them up. I would love to see Hendrix and I like Kuhnel and Mahle but whose spot do they take? Of the 4 with options only one is movable in Bowman but he has been good, Iglesias has a 1.85 ERA, Lorenzen as you mentioned is too valuable with the bat, Castillo is a huge conundrum but has the potential to dominate and given how bad he has been is due. Based on all factors it seems to me Miley is the only guy worth risking losing given what the options are, at least right now.

      • Don

        Jon, totally understand.

        Here are the highest ERA starters in the SIM (min 9 starts) with their WHIP

        Starts, ERA, WHIP
        Ivan Nova 10, 9.86, 2.14
        Andrew Heaney 10, 8.64, 1.96
        Drew Smyly 9, 8.44, 1.92
        German Marquez 11, 7.61, 2.0
        Taijuan Walker 10, 7.48 , 1.76
        Tanner Roark 9, 7.43, 1.88
        Alex Cobb 11, 7.39, 1.77
        Eric Lauer 9, 7.08, 1.89
        Mike Minor 11, 6.83, 1.78
        Dinelson Lamet 10, 6.65, 1.78
        Antonio Senzatela 9, 6.49, 1.81
        Luis Castillo 12, 6.44, 1.69
        Vince Velasquez 9, 6.44, 1.62
        Josh Lindblom 9, 6.42, 1.46

        Castillo has the 12th worst ERA.
        A high WHIP correlates to a high ERA.

        The names he is around are not the names I think anyone would believe are Castillo’s equals statistically or as a real life pitcher.

        After 12 starts and 64 innings he either has a really bad card or the worst dice rolling luck of all but 11 other starting pitchers in the league.

        In real baseball I do not this would ever happen.

        For this SIM, I am suggesting it may be time to give someone else a few starts in his spot and see if the dice rolling is better for another pitcher in this spot.

        I understand a disagreement because of his real life ability, In this case, I do not think the SIM is being accurate to real life.

        Castillo has options so he would not be lost for the season either and could be brought back if the replacement is worse after 2 or 3 starts.

      • Jon Davis

        Yeah I do see what you are saying, the fact that he has options and this is a sim actually make it worth discussing. For 2 reasons I believe we should hold off, first I firmly believe it has been bad luck and that should turn around for him and second who are going to make those starts? The only SP options are Mahle who is an okay option but struggled himself and Sims who you also suggested sending down. I guess at this point I am asking to see the whole plan before deciding.

      • Don

        My 1st options would be to givie Sims 1 start and skip Castillo for one start as extra rest could be all that he needs in the sim and no roster move would be needed. I would assume this would need to be told to Start-O-Matic a few days ahead of time so Sims would not be put in as a reliever in the 3 games before the start.

        2nd option would be Mahle as his numbers are based on 6.2 relief innings across 7 appearances. Castillo would need to miss two starts unless there are off days in the mix so he was down for 10 days (which is think is the MLB rule unless a player is put on the IL).

        It is just hard to tell the offense once every 5 days, go score 9 or 10 runs and hope for a 1 run win

    • Gonzo Reds

      Cody Reed has to go regardless of being exposed. Same as yesterday, drop him for Smith.

      • Jon Davis

        Wow really? Has to go? I am surprised that you feel so strongly that he must go with a 2.61ERA and a K per inning. I am not saying that there is a case that could be made but to state that he Must go and give him up for the rest of the season, for 30 year old with no success in the majors ever. That seems like an over reaction to me.

    • BK

      @Don … really good analysis. However, I’m with Jon, I just don’t see the guy in the minor that we can reasonably believe will give us a better shot than those on our roster. The guys on our roster out-perform the guys in AAA in nearly all projection systems. Even in real baseball, elite players hit slumps. I think that is the case with Castillo. The only one I wonder about is Lorenzen. We’ve given him multiple starts in the outfield. I wonder if there is a fatigue factor negatively affecting his pitching. If not, he too, should rebound.

  3. Redsfan4life

    Votto 1b
    Winker lf
    Suarez 3b
    Ervin CF
    Moustakis 2b
    Castellanos rf
    Galvis SS
    Barnhart c
    Gray p
    Hopefully this is a winner. I hated to set Payton but felt like we should get Castellanos right back in there.
    My vote is to send down Aquino for Castellanos. Looks like Lorenzen has taken Aquino’s spot playing against LHP and we have a bunch of OFers hitting the ball.

    • Tomn

      I’m glad Castellano is back. Tough decision on who to send down. Though Aquino was heating up. Maybe not?

    • Jon Davis

      Well since Redsfan4life has already submitted a lineup I will forgo submitting one of my own. I did look at some numbers already so I will give some unsolicited advice, based on previous matchups and Musgrove’s splits I would have played Payton over Castellanos and Casali over Barnhart. I like your thinking of getting Castellanos right back in the lineup but he is 0 for 7 with 5 K’s vs Musgrove and Payton gives better OF defense too. Casali has been hitting great all year and I think deserves more playing time plus he is 1 for 2 vs Musgrove while Barnhart is 0 for 5. Both are minor things but just figured I would share my thoughts. Sorry I can’t help myself I think I need to find a support group.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        THIS is your (our) support group. 🙂

      • Gonzo Reds

        I agree and I’ll be your support group, I’d have Casali and Peyton in there as well based on matchups.

        Aquino down for me. Let’s retire Eric Davis’ 44 while Aquino is in the minors, seems like the right and well overdue thing to do!

      • Melvin

        That’s okay. Just the next time you lose control and vote twice make sure I’m one of them big guy. Hahaha

      • Jon Davis

        Ok Sweet thanks Tom, Melvin, Gonzo I guess I just need some understanding when I get a little crazed. I am with you Gonzo Eric Davis is maybe my all time favorite and deserves more love. Ok Melvin I will try but can’t promise anything my brain isn’t in control so you need to appeal to my gut. Also if I vote for everyone then it’s like I didn’t vote at all.

      • BK

        I definitely need a baseball support group right now.

    • BK

      I’ll be interested to see if Votto can continue his climb while hitting at the top of the order. I love the idea of loading the top of the lineup with high OBP guys. Let’s hope he continues to get on base like he did towards the bottom of the order.

      • Melvin

        His OBP is creaping up and is currently at about .377. I’ve always liked Votto leading off. If you want to talk about OBP think of Ervin. He’s at .437. and should be in at least one of the top three spots no matter who makes out the lineup. I’ve been talking about Galvis moving up but he’s not a high OBP guy at about .330. He’s second on the team in RBI and doubles though, first in total hits, runs scored and triples. Those things along with a .284 BA is not bad for a SS that everyone wanted to replace. Batting him fifth or sixth probably suits him best.

  4. Tomn

    Why do the stratomat guys think so poorly of Castillo. What justifies the poor performance?

    • Doug Gray

      This is a roll of the dice thing. There’s not some person sitting back deciding what’s going to happen because they think that’s what should happen.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        That is true, but each MLB player has a game card with results for 72 different rolls of the dice. The ratio of outs to hits and types of hits on each card is (supposedly) at least somewhat representative of how the player will perform over a large sample size.

        In recent games, we’ve seen Votto begin to perform at the plate much more like we would expect. And Suarez, at his current home run pace, projects to 48 homers over a 162-game season. Pretty close to his actual 49 last year. His card has many more homer chances than, say, Jose Peraza.

        But all of that being said, it’s is literally a roll of the dice. I’ve been waiting to see if Castillo’s stats would improve over a larger sample size, but so far, not the case at all. He’s allowed the most earned runs in the entire simulation and I believe the second-most walks.

      • Don

        Tom, Castillo has the 4th most walks with 34, there are 3 pitchers with 36 and they are Lance McCullers, Tyler Chatwood, Patrick Corbin

        Corbin has only given up 48 hits in 61 inning while Castillo has given up 74 hits in 64 innings.

        Castillo has given up the 12th most hits allowed in the sim.

        For Castillo to have his SIM stats match his career numbers for ERA 3.68 & WHIP of 1.16. He would need to not give up any earned runs and 22 hits/walks for his next 48 innings.
        To get to this 2019 season numbers (3.40 ERA,WHIP 1.14), it would be 57.1 scoreless innings and 31 hits/walks in those 57.1 innings.

        That is close to doubling his innings pitcher and give up no more runs while only giving up 1/3rd of the hits/walks through his 1st 12 games.

        I do not think this will occur so his predicted card looks to be a serious regression from career avg or he is close to the most unlucky dice roller ever.

      • Don

        While looking at Castillo’s stats, I thought of comparing the other Reds starts vs their career ERAs.

        To have their current SIM ERA be changed to match their Career ERA, how many runs more or less would be needed for the number of innings already pitched.
        Gray = If he gave up 6 fewer runs SIM ERA would match career
        Bauer = if he gave up 2 more runs SIM ERA would match career
        Disco = if he gave up 5 more runs SIM ERA would match career
        Miley = If he gave up 6 fewer runs SIM ERA would match career
        Castillo = If he gave up 20 fewer runs SIM ERA would match career

        Relievers
        I think WHIP is a better stat for relievers due to limited innings
        The number is how many more or less batters reach base by a hit or a walk

        Lorenzen, 14 fewer to match 2019 WHIP
        Stephenson, 8 fewer to match 2019 WHIP
        Reed, 4 fewer to match Career WHIP (2019 to little data)
        Garrett, 4 more to match 2019 WHIP
        Iglesias, 4 fewer to match 2019 WHIP
        Strop, 3 more to match 2019 WHIP
        Sims, 9 fewer to match 2019 WHIP
        Bowman, 1 fewer to match 2019 WHIP

        Castillo is an obvious outlier in the stats vs real life
        Lorenzen is an outlier, Stephenson and Sims are probably outliers.

        Conclusion:
        1) these players have unlucky dice rolls more often
        2) predictive 2020 cards which show regression from career/2019 stats
        3) these pitchers are going to get really hot and dominate for a while in the 2020 SIM to match real life stats.

      • Tomn

        I know it’s not some guy calling the shots but I thought I remember Tom mitsoff saying that performance was being based on predictive 2020 stats. Still a small sample but this tells me that whoever came up with the predictive stats believes for some reason that Castillo is going to have a bad year. Not sure why that would be. He’s been awful in the SIM as has been pointed out

      • Tom Mitsoff

        Don, your analysis is quite intriguing. I hope you are right about point number three!

        We have the flip side possibility that players like Akiyama, Ervin and Lorenzen whose hitting stats are way off their career numbers will “come back to earth” a bit. If both the pitchers and hitters return to career norms, the effects would in theory offset each other.

        It’s my speculation that the recent “hot streak” has been fueled by commenter/managers who are paying closer attention to the simulation statistics rather than the statistics they would expect the players to have in real life.

  5. Tomn

    My lineup
    SS Galvis
    1b votto
    LF Winker
    3b Suarez
    C.f. ervin
    2b Moustakas
    Rf castellano
    C Barnhart
    P

  6. Melvin

    Farmer down. He’s not doing anything for us anyway. At least Aquino is more “fun” to have and always a threat. Always said we don’t really need backups in sim baseball and Suarez is there in a pinch for SS.

  7. Kurt

    Just curious, why wasn’t the ball off of conseco’s coconut not a ground rule double?

    • Doug Gray

      Because it never touched the ground.

  8. Tom Mitsoff

    At 10:08 p.m., we had four votes for Aquino to be sent down and two for Farmer. Down goes Aquino.

    And I do have Redsfan4life’s lineup. Go for two in a row!

  9. vegastypo

    Always, always amusing to see the Canseco clip. Easily overlooked from the 1990 World Series was that he made a few misplays or lackluster plays defensively that helped the Reds. ….

    Now, in a four-game sweep, it’s kinda hard to put too emphasis on any one thing, but a few plays here and there can rewrite a game’s script, and if the A’s had eked out one win, who knows, maybe the A’s get a chance to regroup.