The game has been postponed.

On Tuesday night we noted here at Redleg Nation that the #1 starter on the pitching staff was called a stopper for a reason – to stop any losing streak that may be happening at the time. Well, last night the Cincinnati Reds (2-4) stopper, Sonny Gray, did just that as he dominated the Chicago Cubs (4-2) behind an offensive explosion. Tonight the two teams get back at it at 6:10pm ET….. if the weather gets itself together.

Starting Pitchers

Pitcher IP ERA WHIP BB% K%
Luis Castillo 6.0 1.50 1.17 4.0% 44.0%
Yu Darvish 4.0 6.75 1.50 0.0% 25.0%
Links: Luis Castillo’s 2019 Stats | Yu Darvish’s 2019 Stats

Luis Castillo

We are going into the second week of the season today in Major League Baseball, though for the Reds it is still just six days into the season. Luis Castillo was outstanding in his first start. The 2019 All-Star allowed one run on six hits in 6.0 innings with a walk and 11 strikeouts against the Detroit Tigers on Saturday.

Let’s take a look at some stats on Luis Castillo from last season to get an idea of what we could expect today.

Splits

Split IP ERA HR BB% K% AVG OBP SLG
Home 125.2 3.15 12 8.1% 27.9% .191 .263 .308
Away 65.0 3.88 10 13.6% 30.7% .222 .337 .407
1st Half 106.0 2.29 9 12.3% 28.8% .169 .286 .276
2nd Half 84.2 4.78 13 7.4% 29.1% .239 .296 .419

Luis Castillo threw a lot more innings at home last season than on the road – 66% to 34% to be exact – and he was more successful at home. Far fewer home runs on a per-rate basis, and his walk rate was significantly lower. In turn, his average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage against were all also lower in Cincinnati than when he was pitching in the opponents ballpark.

His first half and second half splits were also a bit different. Actually, they were a lot different. His ERA more than doubled from the first to second half as his home run rate jumped up in a big way, and his BABIP went from .226 to .309 and that resulted in an OPS of .715 in the second half for hitters facing him versus the one they posted in the first half of just .562.

Split PA H 2B 3B HR BB% K% AVG OBP SLG
vsRHH 369 64 12 0 9 9.2% 27.9% .194 .270 .312
vsLHH 412 75 17 1 13 10.9% 29.9% .209 .308 .372

Luis Castillo is strong against both lefties and righties, but he really dominates right-handed hitters. Last season their OPS against him was just .583 on the year. Lefties didn’t have much success against him, but they did better than righties as they posted a .680 OPS against him during the 2019 season.

Pitch Usage and Value

4-Seam 2-Seam Slider Change
Velo 96.5 96.6 85.9 87.3
Usage 30% 21% 17% 32%
Value/100 -0.36 1.5 -0.13 2.68
MLB Rank 82nd 11th 61st 2nd
MLB Rank among 130 pitchers with 100 IP in 2019

Luis Castillo has two very good pitches – his 2-seam fastball and his change up. Both of them are among the best in all of baseball. But his slider is basically a league average offering, and his 4-seam fastball despite strong velocity is a below-average pitch – or at least that was the case for 2019.

Yu Darvish

Unlike Luis Castillo, the first start of the year didn’t go so well for Yu Darvish. He allowed three runs in 4.0 innings on six hits and he hit a batter. The right-handed pitcher took the loss in the game, but did pick up five strikeouts against the Brewers on the day while throwing 73 pitches.

Let’s take a look back at Darvish in 2019 to see what we may be able to expect from the Cubs starting pitcher.

Splits

Split IP ERA HR BB% K% AVG OBP SLG
Home 85.1 4.96 19 7.9% 30.6% .231 .297 .458
Away 93.1 3.09 14 7.5% 32.0% .196 .273 .366
1st Half 97.0 5.01 20 11.7% 26.5% .225 .326 .433
2nd Half 81.2 2.76 13 2.2% 37.8% .199 .228 .384

So there’s a lot to digest here. Yu Darvish was not good in the 1st half last year. And he wasn’t really good at home for the Cubs last season, either. But he pitched better on the road – keeping the ball in the ballpark a bit more being the key difference. Great American Ballpark is home run friendly – which clearly if you’re reading the words here at Redleg Nation you already know – but when teams got to Darvish last year it was usually because they put the ball into the seats.

After a struggle in the first half, Darvish was flat out dominant in the second half. His ERA dropped 2.25 runs as he lowered his home run rate, saw his walks almost disappear entirely, and he struck out batters at nearly the highest rate in baseball in the second half among starting pitchers. When he’s on top of things, he’s very, very good. And in the second half last season he was absolutely on top of things.

Split PA H 2B 3B HR BB% K% AVG OBP SLG
vsRHH 356 57 10 1 14 9.3% 36.0% .181 .266 .352
vsLHH 375 83 13 3 19 6.1% 26.9% .245 .301 .465

Guys don’t get on base much against Yu Darvish no matter which side of the plate that they hit from. But there’s a huge advantage for left-handed hitters when it comes to the power department as when they do make contact, which isn’t exactly often, they do tend to make it count when it lands somewhere that isn’t a fielders glove.

Pitch Usage and Value

4-Seam 2-Seam Slider Splitter Curve Cutter
Velo 94.2 94.4 85.1 88.8 77.4 91.3
Usage 26% 9% 45% 8% 7% 5%
Value/100 -0.94 -2.46 1.63 2.12 3.14 -0.20
MLB Rank 109 83 14 1 2 27
MLB Rank among 130 pitchers with 100 IP in 2019

If you are going to do something against Yu Darvish then you need to do it on a fastball, where both his 4-seamer and his sinker are towards the bottom of the league. Once you get into the offspeed offerings, Darvish is among the best in the league. Don’t let him get ahead in the count or he’s likely to bury you with his secondary arsenal led by his slider. While the splitter and curveball rate out #1 and #2 in baseball on a value basis per thrown pitch, he doesn’t throw them nearly as often as his slider – which he throws a ton and was the 14th best in the game among starters last season.

Starting Lineups

Chicago Cubs

Cincinnati Reds

Kris Bryant – 3B Shogo Akiyama – LF
Anthony Rizzo – 1B Joey Votto – 1B
Javier Baez – SS Eugenio Suarez – 3B
Kyle Schwarber – LF Mike Moustakas – 2B
Willson Contreras – DH Nick Castellanos – RF
Jason Heyward – RF Jesse Winker – DH
Victor Caratini – C Nick Senzel – CF
Nico Hoerner – 2B Freddy Galvis – SS
Ian Happ – CF Tucker Barnhart – C
Yu Darvish – SP Luis Castillo – SP

As we noted above, Yu Darvish doesn’t handle lefties as well as he does righties and David Bell loaded the lineup with lefties. If the game gets going the Reds lineup will feature six left-handed hitters to begin the night, with only Saurez, Castellanos, and Senzel being right-handed (Galvis is a switch hitter). The Cubs lineup is leaning lefty, too, with four of their starters tonight beginning the game as left-handed hitters – including both Caratini and Happ, who are switch hitters.

When and Where

  • Game time: 6:10pm ET
  • Where: Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark
  • Watch: Fox Sports Ohio, Marquee Network, MLB.tv
  • Listen: 700 WLW AM (Cincinnati area)
  • Forecast: Continued rain, 70°

NL Central Standings

Team Wins Losses GB
Cubs 4 2 0.0
Brewers 3 3 1.0
Cardinals 2 3 1.5
Reds 2 4 2.0
Pirates 2 4 2.0

News and Notes

Tejay Antone shows off elite spin rates

In his Major League debut this week, right-handed pitcher Tejay Antone threw the ball very well. He allowed one run, a solo homer, on one hit in 4.1 innings of relief of Wade Miley. Antone also picked up five strikeouts with just one walk. It was an impressive showing, but the Statcast data showed a whole lot more impressive stuff going on, too. The spin rates that the Reds rookie showed jumped off of the chart.

Tejay Antone showed off elite spin rates in his Reds debut

Former Reds manager John McNamara passes away

John McNamara has passed away at the age of 88.

Manager of the Cincinnati Reds from 1979-1982, John McNamara went 279-244 with the club before being let go during the 1982 season after a 34-58 start. It was the only season in which he had a losing record with the club. He would manage in parts of 20 seasons in the Major Leagues, leading his teams to the playoffs twice in that span – including the ill-fated 1986 Red Sox.

Marlins outbreak leads to new rules for all teams

This morning another Miami Marlins player returned a positive COVID-19 test, pushing the number for the players on the team that are out up to 17, with two more on the staff that travels with the team. Last night there were new rules agreed to for the season moving forward between MLB and the MLBPA. That includes a compliance officer, as well as the use of surgical masks instead of cloth masks during travel. Jeff Passan has the full story over at ESPN.

Speaking of the Marlins outbreak – the Phillies were the team that was playing them on opening weekend and their season has been paused for the time being as well. Today two members of the Phillies staff, a coach, and a clubhouse staff member tested positive. Thursday through Saturday were the days that the doctors said the tests would be important for Philadelphia with regards to whether or not they caught anything from the Marlins.

25 Responses

  1. Old-school

    I hope they play.
    Great line up again.

    Some posts/ comments on leadership last day or so. Joey Votto leads by example. Moose does too.

    But emotional leadership is important too. Castellanos and Gray led with performance last few days but also led emotionally. Both had fire and had no problem letting every one know they compete and won’t accept losing. Kudos to both.

    The bullpen needs an emotional leader who also performs. It’s odd, because those guys are usually the fiery ones. Amir Garrett???

    • DaveCT

      The intangibles. Leaders, as you point out, take different forms. When I saw Moose greet the dugout after his first home run on opening day, I said, I haven’t seen that for awhile.

    • TR

      I agree that some emotional leadership is needed at the ML level. The grind to go as far as you can in any job or profession is a fact. But these players are not that far removed from their spirited high school days. Emotional expression at the right time can be a motivating factor in the success of a team such as the Reds.

    • Roger Garrett

      Merriam Webster says leadership is the ability to take individuals and make them into a team.Reds have had a losing culture for a long time.For me in sports its not always when things are going good,its when things are not going so good is when leadership is so important.Yesterday for what I can read Gray start chirping at Rizzo for not trying to get out of the way of a pitch that grazed his leg.Thats leadership.His message was you will have to do more then stand there to get on base cause I am bringing it.It would have better for the Cubs if Rizzo had tried to get out of the way cause it just made Gray even more focused.

  2. Chris

    Doug, good preview for the game and the pitchers; thanks. Hope we get it in tonight.

    • Doug Gray

      Without a minor league season to really follow this year I decided that I can put in a little more time on stuff like this. So the other day I built up the 2019 database so I can get this information a lot quicker in the future. Still takes some time to put it all together, but I figured it would be a nice addition to my game threads when I’m on game thread duty.

      • seadog

        You have done an outstanding job with this site. I appreciate all the work/info. Not an easy task. On top of that You have to put up with “all our comments”. Wrong or right. I am as guilty as anyone. But, we all love the Red’s. Hence, we are here.

        Thank You Doug.

      • Wayne Nabors

        I also would like to thank you,this is probably the best site for baseball and I can’t imagine the dedication to it that you and the other writers put into it,and still try to maintain a normal life

      • KetteringRedsFan

        Concur with those opinions.

        (I’ve been here all along through the evolution of the site. Life used to be simple. Then life got hectic and frantic so our attention turned to other things.)

        It’s -good- to be here. Doug, the work effort and balance you bring to this place is incredible. There is literally no place else like it.

      • DaveCT

        Plus one. Doug, I’ve read you for years and your writing is simply on a higher level than I’ve ever seen it. Congrats

  3. renbutler

    Wrong date on the article, but I don’t think it will matter given the way the radar looks.

    I guess they might be more motivated than usual to play this game, so it could be a late one.

    • Doug Gray

      *insert Homer Simpson backing into the bushes dot GIF*

      Yeah, I don’t think there’s much chance they play this one. There’s a 90+% chance of rain through midnight tonight. They’re going to have to make it up later.

      • renbutler

        Sunday 8/30 looks like a good day for a doubleheader.

  4. Bred

    I guess if this game is called Bauer won’t get his match up with Mike ???????? Clevinger that they have been bantering about on Twitter.

  5. Doug Gray

    Game will not begin on time. Next update is due to be given around 6pm

    • Renbutler

      Radar not looking great, but also not nearly as bad as it was a couple hours ago.

      • Wayne Nabors

        Maybe good news where as I’m in Illinois so not to aware of weather but really wanted to get this in,same lineup 2 days in a row is unheard of during this management tenure,so was really looking forward to another win

  6. Eric the Red

    What exactly does it mean that Bowman’s option was reversed? Was he called up and then they found out he was injured? If this was covered elsewhere I apologize.

    Go Reds!

    • Doug Gray

      No. They found out he was injured before he was optioned – they just didn’t know he was when the move was made.

      My guess: they thought he had a “dead arm”, but it didn’t recover and he got an MRI and hadn’t pitched since then and it revealed the sprain/tear. Therefore by rule he has to be on the big league roster because he was injured while with that team. It’s not something that I’ve ever seen before, but the process makes a lot of sense.

      • Eric the Red

        Ah, so if I understand you they were reversing his having been optioned down so that he’ll serve his IL time as a major leaguer. I thought they had “purchased his option” and brought him up, and that’s what was reversed. Thanks for the explanation.

        In any event, that’s not good news with the way our bullpen is going.

      • Doug Gray

        To try and clarify a bit more – he was optioned before the season started. But it turns out he was injured, but they didn’t know it at the time. But since the injury seemed to take place before he was optioned, they couldn’t option him because he must go on the injured list. Since they found out he was injured at that time, they had to rescind the move and correct it. Hopefully that makes more sense.

  7. Mark Moore

    Well, we shall wait another day and take the show up I-75. Here’s hoping it’s the same line up.

    Good evening, all.

  8. renbutler

    Weird, the radar opened up quite nicely. They could have gotten a lot of innings in if they were so motivated.

  9. Old-school

    Fast forwarding. The 4-2 tigers are finishing their KC series.

    Spencer Turnbull takes the bump tomorrow. Give the young man credit for a great performance on Sunday.

    But the refocused reloaded Reds get to rewrite the script.