Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (50-70) 2 8 0
Chicago Cubs (62-56) 1 7 0
W: Lorenzen (7-2) L: Strop (3-3) S: Iglesias (21)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score

The Good
–Luis Castillo is very, very good. Tonight, Castillo twirled six scoreless innings, allowing just two hits. He struck out seven and walked two.

I don’t know if Castillo or Raisel Iglesias is more enjoyable to watch on the mound, but I’m glad these guys are Cincinnati Reds.

–Joey Votto walked three times. Jesse Winker had two hits and a walk. Eugenio Suarez had a hit and a walk. Billy Hamilton had a couple of hits.

–As noted above, Votto reached base three times tonight. That is 20 straight games in which Votto has reached base 2 or more times, which ties him with Barry Bonds (2004) and Pete Rose (1979) for #2 in MLB history. Next up: Ted Williams, who reached base in 21 consecutive games in 1948.

–The Reds took a 1-0 lead in the top of the 8th on a Scooter Gennett sac fly that scored Votto. (Note: Scooter did not pitch tonight.) In the bottom half, Wandy Peralta entered to pitch and promptly walked the first two batters. After collecting the first out of the inning, Peralta was replaced by Raisel Iglesias.

As he often does, Iglesias put out the fire, preserving Cincinnati’s slim lead.

In the top of the 9th, the Reds doubled their lead when Hamilton singled Winker home.

–Hamilton stole his 50th base of the season tonight.

The Bad
–Reds missed a golden opportunity in the top of the seventh. With the game still scoreless, Eugenio Suarez walked and Jesse Winker singled. Manager Bryan Price had Tucker Barnhart attempting to bunt, despite the fact that the pitcher’s spot and Billy Hamilton were the next two hitters.

Barnhart couldn’t get down a bunt and ultimately struck out swinging. With runners on first and third (Suarez advanced to third on a wild pitch), Price removed Castillo — who had been dominant, as noted above — in favor of pinch-hitter Patrick Kivlehan. Kivlehan struck out in a particularly ugly at-bat. Then Hamilton struck out, as well, for the third out. (Though, it must be noted that the third strike on Hamilton was a garbage call on a check swing.)

You know how I feel about Hamilton, but this was a perfect example of a situation where it harms the Reds to have Hamilton hitting leadoff. He should be batting eighth. Hamilton is a legitimate big league starter, but he’s not the guy you want getting more at-bats than anyone else in the lineup.

And Price has to know that.

Not-So-Random Thoughts
–It’s always fun to beat the Cubs.

–That’s four consecutive quality starts for Castillo.

–Iglesias gave everyone a little scare in the bottom of the ninth. Okay, it was a pretty big scare — or at least as big a scare as we can get in this lost season.

With the Reds up 2-0, Iglesias surrendered singles to Kyle Schwarber and Jason Heyward. Fortunately, the Cubs handed the Reds a free out with a sacrifice bunt that moved the tying runs into scoring position.

Iglesias looked really good in striking out the final two hitters of the game, but it was tense for a moment there. Ultimately, however, it was Iglesias’ ninth save in which he recorded four or more outs. That’s tied for tops in the big leagues.

–Votto and Suarez are 1-2 in the National League in walks during the month of August. Votto has 21, while Suarez has 15.

–Speaking of walks, Suarez has 45 walks on 3-2 counts this season. That’s the best in baseball. What that shows me is Suarez’ ever-increasing command of the strike zone. This kid just keeps getting better and better.

–Only three National League players have hit 60+ homers and 180 RBI in the last two seasons: Colorado’s Nolan Arenado, Joey Votto, Adam Duvall.

–Game three of this four-game series will take place tomorrow night. Homer Bailey will pitch for the good guys.

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39 Responses

  1. GreatRedLegsFan

    Very rare game between those teams. Reds had multiple opportunities to increase the score, but between the lack of offensive (1-9 w/RISP, 10 LOB) and Price’s lousy decisions it was not possible.

  2. GreatRedLegsFan

    As another poor season becomes to an end, it’s worth to mention those players that have performed or taken a step forward towards a better future: Barnhart, Votto, Gennett, Cozart, Suarez, Duvall and Winker. That’s 7 out of 8 position players. As for the pitching, I think only Castillo, Iglesias and Peralta are worth to be mentioned. A lot of uncertainty in the future before having a solid starting rotation again.

  3. [email protected]

    100% agreement on how Price handled the 7th inning. That’s a microcosm on why Price should be fired. No way you have Barnhart bunt. Give away an out plus it removes Castillo from the game who was dominant. Followed by Hamilton who has no business batting 1st either. I was beside myself.

    • big5ed

      Price didn’t really have any good options there. I would have had Barnhart hit away, but that risks a double play followed by Castillo hitting. The bench is thin, with I think no left-handed hitters last night, so Price opted to see if Kivlehan could hit a sac fly and relied on his bullpen. It would have been a better strategy if he had Tony Gwynn to pinch-hit instead of Kivlehan.

      I would have liked to see Castillo go another inning or two, but on the other hand there is some merit to the idea of getting Castillo out of the game with a good taste in his mouth. Maddon said after the game that Castillo “doesn’t have a good arm. He has a great arm.”

      • Vicferrari

        Brought this up in the game thread… with runners on the corners and 1 out in the 7th and Castillo only at 80, pitches…
        Is it more important to try to win the game with a better hitter or to see if Castillo could go 7 or 8 innings? I was disappointed they took him out

      • Scott in Texas

        I raised this exact conundrum to my wife while watching the game. And, of course, was met with that “don’t you have anyone else to talk to about baseball?” look…

  4. Scotly50

    Castillo was dealing. We may have a keeper. 🙂

  5. joshtrum

    I’m tempering my expectations for the kid, but every additional start he has makes it pretty hard not to believe. I imagine there will be growing pains with him, as he’s young, but even still his pains are going to come with Tylenol or ibuprofen so it won’t hurt as bad..

    • Mike V

      I agree .. Castillo looks good .. But lets see how durable he is long term . He throws the ball as hard or harder then anyone else. That alone will take its toll for sure. As always let’s keep our fingers crossed .

      • TR

        Castillo is young and he has a wiry physique that may enable him to withstand the physical beating that a pitching career entails.

  6. big5ed

    Bet the over tonight. Historically Bad Homer Bailey pitches in Wrigley Field. Opponents have an OPS of .997 against HBHB, who is striking out only 5.85/9 IP. No stuff, no command, no movement, no deception.

    He’s now 26+ months past Tommy John surgery, so I am not sure what the excuse is. To his credit, HBHB doesn’t dodge the media after his starts. He will stand up after games and admit he’s bad, but . . .

    • IndyRedMan

      I’ve never been a Homer fan but believe it or not….he’s given up 2 runs or less in 5 of his last 8 starts. That’s worth a ticker tape parade with this bunch. I think you have to have atleast some command to pull that off. Of course he gave up a 10 spot to the Cards so his overall numbers are horrible. We’ll see?

      • big5ed

        Yeah, but in the last game, he gave up 5 hits and 5 walks in 5 innings, while giving up only 2 runs. It was also his highest percentage of hard-hit balls (50%) of the year, and the 2.00 WHIP in that game was actually lower than his 2.03 WHIP for the year.

        He’s yielding 28.1% line drives this year, versus 21.1% for his career, and his K/BB is only 1.24, when his career average is 2.49.

        He is particularly horrid against right-handed hitters, who are slashing .413/.484/.642, which effectively turns the average righty facing him into Mike Trout.

        I guess there isn’t anything to lose by continuing to roll him out there the rest of the year, in hopes that he can resolve it by next spring. But if doesn’t have it together by the first of May next year, he’s pretty much a $20 million mop-up man.

      • citizen54

        Dude hasn’t pitched much in the last three years. The velocity is there and that’s the main thing. Give him a chance to figure out the rest.

  7. Vicferrari

    It seems batting Billy 8th comes up a lot and some people think batting him 9th would be worse. I see some many benefits of batting him 9th
    1) He is the worst hitter in the line-up and would get the fewest AB
    2) If he gets on base he is in the exact same situation as batting leadoff with the best hitters batting.
    3) Batting 8th and having the pitcher come up would deeply hamper his best skills plus he probably sees worse pitches.
    4) any body got an argument about batting a worse hitter above him is neglecting the fact that the pitcher probably gets 2 AB like Castillo last night and you can change this with PH 2 or 3 times a game.
    Last night in same situation in seventh, Castillo could have bunted and remained in the game (I know the whole dynamic of the line up would have played differently but to me pitcher batting 8th or 9th is not an issue but batting Billy 9th has so many advantages)

    • jazzmanbbfan

      Maybe I’m wrong but I thought a lot of people favored batting him ninth and used the reasoning you did above. I thought Price got props last year when he batted him 9th for awhile. I don’t know that I’ve seen much criticizing the idea.

    • big5ed

      Hamilton has an OBP of .328 v. right-handed pitchers, but only .219 v. LHP. At .328, I can still use him at lead off against right-handers, but hitting him at the bottom of the order makes since against lefties.

      And they might as well play Ervin in center against lefties while he’s here over the next week or so.

      • Vicferrari

        even at .328, only one hitter in line up has worse OBP, career LHB OBP at .310 which is OK for his skill set, but then you are back to the disadvanatge as soon as they bring in a lefty, I just rather have.370 overall hitting in front of Votto maximizing his at bats

      • james garrett

        As long as Price is here and I believe he will be back in 2018,Billy will hit lead off.Oddly we discuss daily if he puts his team in the best position to win but in reality the discussion needs to stop when the line ups are posted.He puts his team at a disadvantage before the first pitch is even thrown by insuring his worse hitter that has no power and strikes out over 25% of the time gets the most at bats.As much as most of us hate bunting it really isn’t an issue is it?

      • IndyRedMan

        He’s on pace for 640 atbats or something crazy? He’s super skinny and literally bounces off walls but yet barely gets any days off?

    • Streamer88

      I just love the idea of hitting him eighth for no other reason than it makes the opposing team pause to walk him with the pitcher up next (a relatively common occurrence).

      Because if u do he’ll be standing on third in 2 pitches and now you’re a hanger away from giving up a run to the 8-9 in the lineup.

      Prolly wouldn’t happen often but when it did I would revel in it.

  8. james garrett

    Almost forgot.Castillo was awesome and Winker hitting 7th which is crazy was on base 3 times.

  9. Still a Red

    Didn’t see Castillo pitch last night, but the videos show his follow through leg whipping around, somewhat like Lorenzen. Can’t remember if Castillo always has done that, or if he’s getting a little loosy-goosey with it. Hard to argue with the results, but is it a good thing in the long run?

  10. Still a Red

    Seems like Joey is picking up, more and more, some of Ted Williams quirky little on field antics…throwing a foul ball up on Wrigley’s roof, etc. In regard to comparing Joey to Ted…Joey won’t end up with as many HRs, won’t hit for as high career average, and has already struck out more with about half as many plate appearances. That said, Joey’s career numbers, if he keeps them up, compare favorably with other HOFs.

    • IndyRedMan

      Ted Williams didn’t face 97 mph every night either? Most of these comparisons are a complete waste of time

      • IndyRedMan

        Did Jackie get in before TW got out? How many nasty Dominican pitchers did Ted face? 99 from Castillo then a changeup that breaks 2 ft to the right like a screwball! Somebody on ESPN said it about Jim Brown clips once…”Looks like he was running the ball against a bunch of guys that run like my dad”

  11. Scott Carter

    Between Joey and Jesse on base 6 times out of 9 plate appearances. HMMMMM! wonder what would happen if they batted back to back? Probably not know this year.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      When this season is over and computer simulations are available based on 2017 stats, it would be interesting to get into an online Strat-O-Matic league and build a lineup with Winker leading off, Suarez hitting second (or vice versa), Votto third and Duvall fourth — and see what kind of run production would happen with that batting order over a simulated season.

  12. Tom Mitsoff

    The efficiency or non-efficiency of bunting again is a point of discussion after specific at-bats by Jon Jay and Tucker Barnhart last night. There was a recent Brewers game in which Manager Craig Counsell took heat for NOT bunting late in the game. His quote:

    “I don’t think bunting is the way to score a lot of runs.”

    This factoid from an NBC Sports article on the game:

    “…according to Baseball Prospectus, the runs expected from having runners on first and second with no outs is 1.48. With runners on second and third and one out, it’s 1.37. It doesn’t seem like much, but if one often chooses to bunt in these situations, the lost runs add up over time.”

    http://mlb.nbcsports.com/2017/08/07/craig-counsell-i-dont-think-bunting-is-the-way-to-score-a-lot-of-runs/

    • IndyRedMan

      I don’t get it? I think Price was trying to make sure Tucker didn’t hit into a double play but he has 72 hits while he’s hit into 11 doubleplays. The crazy thing too is that he’s giving up an out with Billy on deck and batting .200 vs lefties? Billy got the key hit the 2nd time around but that’s not playing the numbers whatsoever?

    • IndyRedMan

      Bunting is just stupid 95% of the time. I see other NL teams and they don’t auto bunt their pitchers every time. Price will have 1st/3rd with 1 out and have Homer (.160 average or whatever) just bunt the guy to 2nd for Billy. Homer could make alot of outs to get a run in…let alone a hit?

      • Tom Mitsoff

        There’s also a very high likelihood that he could strike out. I’m going to say, without any statistics to back me up, that it is a good move to have a pitcher who cannot hit worth a darn to bunt and advance a runner, instead of striking out with no advancement of runners. Of course, part of that question is whether the pitcher can bunt. Most don’t seem to be able to.

      • IndyRedMan

        Dan Straily or Romano maybe…guys that get 1-2 hits a year? Homer can hit a little bit and Billy was the guy they’re trying to setup for 2 out rbis. You have to take some calculated risks sometimes and like Patrick said….half the time we have Barnhart running so they’re going to get him on a bunt anyway?

    • KDJ

      Another consideration against calling for the bunt is that bunts are not always successful. The above stat does not even consider the bunt calls that lead to a strikeout, fielder’s choice, or double play.

  13. brunsfam

    I personally thought it was the play of the game!

  14. jazzmanbbfan

    The times I’ve heard Marty comment about Votto this year has been almost exclusively positive. Shocking I know.

  15. jazzmanbbfan

    I think that says a lot about just how awful July was.