The 2019 Cincinnati Reds (52-58) certainly aren’t boring. The Reds somehow, someway found a way to split a four game series against the first place Braves in Atlanta. The Reds now head home where they will play 13 of the next 16 games. The Reds have found themselves now 5.5 games back from the second wild card spot (6.0 back from the first wild card spot). The Reds playoff odds sit at 5.2% according to Fangraphs. That might not seem like a lot, but considering the Reds playoff odds each of the last four years on August 5th were all at 0.0%, we will take it.

First up for the Reds homestand is a two-game series against the Los Angeles Angels (56-57). The Angels have lost four straight games, and they are just 2-8 in their last ten games. They have of course had a devastating season not only on the field with injuries, but also with tragic the death of their starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs. The Angels are 17.0 games back in AL West, and they are fading quickly, now 9.0 back from the second wild card spot.

Starting Pitchers


Luis Castillo is coming off his best start of the year (according to FIP) against the Pirates: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 7 K. The most impressive part of Castillo’s start was that he did not allow a walk. This will be his first appearances of his career against the Angels. Castillo has a 2.20 ERA at GABP this season and a 2.25 ERA in 2 inter-league starts this season.

The Angels will be employing the opener tonight as Taylor Cole (RHP) will start the game. Cole has started 5 games and also finished 5 games for the Angels. Cole’s starts have been all 1-2 innings pitched, but he has gone as long as 3.1 innings in relief this season. Cole has a 3.97 ERA/2.78 FIP. He has incredibly not allowed a home run in 34.0 innings.

Patrick Sandoval (LHP) will pitch the bulk of the game for the Angels, and he will be making his MLB debut tonight. It is not often you see a guy with a 6.41 ERA get called up, but that is how desperate the Angels are. Here is what Dylan Chase of MLB Trade Rumors had to say about Sandoval:

The Angels are set to promote pitching prospect Patrick Sandoval to take the ball for Monday’s game in Cincinnati. Acquired by Los Angeles in a 2018 deal involving Martin Maldonado, Sandoval has been identified by evaluators as a lefty with a reasonable ceiling as a back-end starter. Fangraphs has him ranked 15th in Los Angeles’ lightly regarded system.

Beginning the year with his second stint in Double-A, Sandoval overwhelmed hitters across his first five appearances, logging a 14.40 K/9 and 1.76 FIP in 20.0 innings before receiving a promotion to Triple-A. The PCL has been less kind to the southpaw, as his 6.41 ERA through 60.1 innings isn’t all that much better than his 4.97 FIP mark. Nevertheless, in a season challenged by pitching injuries, the Angels will look to provide MLB opportunity to this college-aged hurler.

Starting Lineups

1. Jesse Winker (LF)
2. Joey Votto (1B)
3. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
4. Aristides Aquino (RF)
5. Jose Iglesias (SS)
6. Nick Senzel (CF)
7. Jose Peraza (2B)
8. Tucker Barnhart (C)
9. Luis Castillo (P)

The Reds lineup is kind of all over the place with the opener being a righty and the primary pitcher being a lefty. You have to wonder if Winker will get 1 PA and call it a night?

Reds claim Gausman

The Reds claimed Kevin Gausman off waivers from the Braves today. Doug Gray broke that down earlier today. Gausman’s 4.20 FIP makes him a very intriguing project for Derek Johnson.

Dietrich to IL/O’Grady called up

Brian O’Grady was hitting .277/.351/.562 with 27 bombs at AAA. The Reds are certainly giving the guys raking at AAA a chance, which you love to see. O’Grady will help the Reds keep some left handed thunder on the bench with Dietrich out. O’Grady split most of his time at AAA between CF and 1B, but has played 3B and both corner OF spots in his career. Doug Gray took a little deeper of a look at O’Grady’s 2019 and has some information from a scout on his profile.

Conclusion 

If you have made the poor mistake of following me on Twitter then you would know that I’ve been preaching for the past month that if the Reds can just hang around 5.0 back in the wild card race until August 22nd, then they will have a chance for a late season run due to the favorable schedule (you could maybe move that up to August 19th now as the Padres have really struggled of late). Well, here the Reds are……5.5 back. The next 13 games will make or break the Reds season as they play the Cubs, Nationals and Cardinals after this series. It would be so much fun to see the Reds hang around and play some meaningful games in September. Go Reds!