Final R H E
Chicago Cubs (63-53)
2 5 0
Cincinnati Reds (55-59)
5 6 0
W: Bauer (10-8) L: Darvish (4-6) S: Iglesias (23)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

The Reds used the long ball and outstanding starting pitching to take another game from the Chicago Cubs on Friday night. The fans wound up with souvenirs and free pizza. Oh, and a win, which is way more important.

The Offense

After the Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, it wasn’t long before the Reds took their swings and grabbed the lead. Josh VanMeter, who finally got another start, led off the second inning with a double. Aristides Aquino followed up with a home run to right center to put Cincinnati out front. It was a lead they’d never give up.

Fast forward to the fourth inning and the Reds extended their lead on a solo home run by Eugenio Suarez. Cincinnati’s third baseman cracked his 31st of the year way into the upper deck and into one of the tunnels. The fan who wound up with the ball? Yeah, he was wearing a Suarez jersey. Two innings later it was Joey Votto’s turn to join the home-run parade. The Reds first baseman smashed his 12 of the season to extend Cincinnati’s lead to 4-1.

In the next inning Nick Senzel did what he does: He hit a ground ball to third base and then he sprinted as hard as he could to first base. And using his plus speed he beat the throw from a diving Kris Bryant to the bag in a bang-bang play. That proved to be important because after advancing to second base on a ground out he would score on a bloop single by Jose Peraza to make it a 5-1 game.

The Pitching

Trevor Bauer was making his home debut. Things didn’t start out great as Nicholas Castellanos used his National League magic to homer yet again off of the Reds in the top of the 1st inning. That would be the only run that Bauer would allow in the game. The newest Reds pitcher also got the fans at the ballpark a free pizza all by himself as he struck out 11 batters in his 7.0 innings while giving up just three hits and walking two batters.

But when Bauer left the game, holding onto a 5-1 lead, that’s when things got dicey. Michael Lorenzen entered the game for the 8th and struggled to find the strikezone. He walked the first two batters he faced and then saw Kris Bryant single into center to load the bases. That was all he was allowed to do as the Reds went to Amir Garrett out of the bullpen. He came on to face the left-handed hitting Anthony Rizzo, but saw a breaking ball get away from him and plunked the Cubs first baseman to bring in a run and make it a 5-2 game. The bases were still loaded and there were still no outs. But there’s a reason Garrett’s nickname is Count on AG for Players Weekend: You can count on him. And he came through. He sandwiched a strikeout between two ground outs and shut the Cubs down and held onto the 5-2 lead.

For the ninth inning David Bell and Derek Johnson turned to Raisel Iglesias to seal the win. The first two outs came quick and easy as he got Victor Caratini to ground out to Josh VanMeter at second base and then struck out Jonathan Lucroy on four pitches. But Iglesias fell behind Jason Heyward before giving up a double an a 2-0 pitch. That’s when newest Reds killer Nicholas Castellanos came to the plate. Not this time. Not this night. Iglesias shut it down and got him to pop up to Joey Votto to end the game.

Notes Worth Noting

Eugenio Suarez has now hit eight home runs this season that have gone 425+ feet. That’s very impressive.

Aristides Aquino is now tied with four other players in Reds history for most home runs through their first nine games as a Red with four. He joins legends Ron Northey (1950), Brian R. Hunter (1994), Ron Gant (1995), and Corey Patterson (2008). This one was from Elias, via the Reds media relations department. For Aquino his hot start this season has his OPS at 1.398 currently. If he continues at this pace he might be a keeper.

The Reds are now only 4.0 games out of the final playoff spot. This is way better, and way more fun that whatever the heck has been happening in the last four seasons.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Chicago Cubs vs Cincinnati Reds

Saturday August 10th, 7:10pm ET

Kyle Hendricks (8-8, 3.06 ERA) vs Sonny Gray (6-6, 3.25 ERA)

31 Responses

  1. Dewey Roberts

    Doug, was it you that told us that Aquiño would be hitting deep homers as a Red? Maybe it was another writer. But he has sure been doing that. He is one of the most exciting young players I have ever seen in a Reds uniform. He looks to have superstar written on his jersey.

    • Michael Smith

      Votto was a top 100 and might have been top prospect

    • Colt Holt

      As Michael smith said, he was a top 100 prospect. He was not the top prospect as that was Jay Bruce who was #1 in all of baseball. Between Bruce and Votto, they also had cueto and Bailey, giving the reds four of the top 50 prospects in baseball. Needless to say, the reds minors had loads of fanfare with Joey Votto being a significant part of that excitement.

    • Colt Holt

      Similar players who weren’t major prospects, but contributed in big ways would be guys like Zack Cozart, Todd Frazier, Chris Heisey, Adam Rosales, Justin turner (unfortunately not for the reds). Not much mvp talk in there (but that isn’t there with jvm or Aquino either), but a lot of significant mlb career in there.

  2. Lee

    How fun is this? An insane level of pitching, given the last 5 years and now the farm is producing 2 players that are doing exceptionally well. The front office is showing its mustard- Bauer trade, the coaching staff is getting much more out of a very similar cast, and the Reds are in contention( a wee bit) in August. Reds are gonna make some noise!

  3. Great Redlegs Fan

    Aquino reminds me of Vladimir Guerrero Sr. when he came to bigs back in the 90s with the Expos.

    • Jbrat22

      Doug – I think it would be a good read to compare this year’s rotation (individually and as a whole) to the rotations from the last Reds window. Any way you could make that happen?

  4. TR

    Bauer is a competitor. The Reds are on the right track. I like Aquino’s Mel Ott stance.

    • Daytonnati

      He seems fearless, too. Never intimidated by a batter or a situation.

  5. Dennis Westrick

    Is it just me or does anyone else see a resemblance between Aquino and a young George Foster? Hopefully there’s a few of you on this Redleg Nation site who are old enough to remember George Foster aka “Yahtzee”!

    • Indy Red Man

      Line drive HRs. I can see that, but Foster was 6’1″ at most. Foster was my fav BRM member as a kid! I do remember being surprised in the AS game when Dave Parker and some of the other NL stars towered over him. He seemed bigger then that. Of course Parker was huge.

  6. Daniel

    This is the kind of team that will be “dangerous ” if they can manage to get into the post season. There are alot of elements in play that can go a long way toward returning the Reds to relevancy again.

  7. Steven Ross

    Never thought I’d see the day where a Reds starter shut down a team such as the Cubs. Yes, I know Castillo but this felt different. Bauer was fired up in the 6th and 7th innings. I was pumped too since it’s been such a rarity the past four years.

  8. Dave

    I love what Aquino has done but let’s not put him in the Hall of Fame just yet. If he continues to show the plate discipline he did last night it would be awesome. We tend to get really high or really down on players after just a few games. JVM needs to be our 2b the rest of the year and I think he will show he needs to be the starter next year.

    • jazzmanbbfan

      Yes, after his first game people on here were commenting on how Aquino was completely overmatched by ML pitching. He will hopefully adjust as the pitchers adjust to him and have a long and successful tenure with the Reds.

  9. Indy Red Man

    That hr that Aquino hit last night was definitely a gabp special, but still very impressive. At 374 feet or whatever to straight RF….probably goes out of some other parks or off the wall. What was impressive was that he kept his hands inside the ball and still got the barrel on an inside pitch that normally would jam the hitter. Then he had enough bat speed to hit it that far without being able to extend his arms.

    Contending this year is highly unlikely with 6 teams ahead of them for the last wildcard, but Aquino, Bauer, and JVM definitely give this organization alot of life! I thought their farm system was overrated and temporarily useless with Trammell and Siri and some of those guys struggling and being so far away from the bigs. Aquino and JVM came out of nowhere!

    They just need to fix the pen and sort out the end of the rotation. Disco is a decent 5th starter, but thats about it unless he can find another pitch. Wood can audition for maybe 9 more starts, but I don’t know what he can do when he’s topping out at 90? Had better stuff in Atlanta, but thats 1 of 3 starts. We’ll see? They need a ton of help in the pen. Maybe Mahle when he comes back?

    • Indy Red Man

      I don’t know? Same thing with Dallas Keuchel. 2-3 years ago throwing 92 and now he’s 89. DK and Lester both just gave up 10 runs. Lefties don’t usually have the velocity anyway….so no margin for error when their stuff drops off. This version of Wood isn’t going 17-6 for anybody. That guy was a top 5 pitcher in the NL. This guy is 4th-5th starter at best. He does know how to pitch. Lets see how he looks, but I wouldn’t want to pay him moving forward.

    • Indy Red Man

      16-3 with a 2.72 era in 2017 for Wood. Our version = 19 hits in 14ip with 4 bombs. Hope I’m wrong? Maybe he just needs to get back in the groove again?

  10. Slicc50

    Fellow Reds fans, this was the REAL Trevor Bauer. This is why I had hoped they would land him over the winter. Man, it is going to be fun to watch this rotation over the next year plus. Maybe longer? Who knows? With 1 year contracts, maybe the Reds could afford to pay Bauer 20 mil + a year. They already have Castillo and Gray for a few years. Really, he would be doing the Reds a favor by only accepting one year contracts. Teams like the Reds can ‘t usually compete for the TOP GUYS. They usually want 20 + million, for multiple years. Small market teams can’t afford to take that gamble. I hope he holds to his word on that. He says it’s all about contending. Well I can promise you, the Reds will be contenders for the next few years with these guys!

  11. Doug Gray

    His BABIP is .486. That’s how he’s done it. He’s been incredibly lucky. He doesn’t have a “great eye”. He’s struck out 25% of the time and walked 8% of the time in the Majors since last season began (the difference between 2018 and 2019 are nearly non-existent).

    He’s maybe a starting corner guy on a 2nd division team, but looks like a good 4th outfielder.

  12. Doug Gray

    His BABIP is .486. It’s luck. I showed you. You don’t want to believe it. And please don’t confuse me saying “his BABIP is .486” with “he sucks”. His OPS is about 200 points higher than it would be with a BABIP that’s normalized. Take that away and he’s still a solid Major Leaguer – but he’s not a high 900 OPS guy. And he’s not that guy.

    Josh VanMeter was significantly better in Triple-A over the last year than Ervin was. It’s not even remotely close. That’s more of a “Josh VanMeter has been insanely good” than anything against Ervin. Their careers don’t mean much at this point.

    With Aquino, I’m not saying I’m making the argument for or against him over Ervin. But if you’re going to make the argument, I’d imagine it’s this: Right field is the spot that needs filled, and defensively, that’s an edge for Aquino. Offensively, you’re hoping Aquino can be more Javier Baez than Adam Duvall, or even something below that. And you’re taking the time to find out and get that information. Aquino’s likely going to be a guy who needs to hit .280 and 30 home runs because he’s not going to walk enough to post a solid OBP without it and he’s going to rack up the strikeouts along the way. With Ervin, the power just isn’t the same, and he just looks like a good 4th outfielder.

    You don’t have to agree with that, but that’s what it is. There’s no inconsistency there. The logic is all there.

    • Doug Gray

      And let’s also address the whole “he’s changed” thing. He’s basically doing exactly what he did last year in the majors. On a rate basis, he’s hit 1 more line drive this season than last season, 2 more ground balls, and 2 fewer fly balls. His strikeout rate? Exact same. His walk rate? Exact same.

      The difference? A BABIP of .486 and a BABIP of .310. And 50 points of IsoP (isolated power). He’s probably slightly better this year than last year because there’s more power there. Everything else? It’s the exact same. And heck, the more power thing might be entirely related to the BABIP because he’s hitting fewer home runs this year than last year.

      And again, this isn’t me crapping oh Phillip Ervin. He’s a big leaguer. He was one last year and he is one this year and he is one next year. But his true talent level is a lot more 2018 version of his numbers than his 2019 version of his numbers and every single thing on this planet that we know about projection says that.

    • Doug Gray

      It’s luck on a grand scale and history tells us that because no one has ever sniffed the kind of BABIP he’s got right now. So unless you are making the argument that Ervin is some sort of magical wizard who can’t use his powers to make more contact or hit for more power, but can use them to make fielders not catch the balls he does make contact with but not over the fence….. it’s a bad argument that you’re making.

      In the entire history of baseball there has been 1 guy, ONE, with a BABIP for their career that’s within 100 points of what Ervin is doing this season. Tom McCreery. His career ended in 1903. His career BABIP isn’t even real, though. It’s listed at .390. But that’s only accounting for the 2 seasons, 1895 and 1896, where we have his strikeout numbers. The other eight years of his career we don’t have those numbers, so we don’t know what his BABIP was.

      Oh, and for reference sake, I only limited “career” to 1000 total plate appearances. Two not even full seasons. Over 4000 players qualify here. One dude.

    • Doug Gray

      I predict that Aristides Aquino’s WAR will definitely be higher than mine by the years end.

    • Big Ed

      Pete, there is a hole in your theory that PE has “physical gifts that most players don’t have”: Why did he wait until he was almost 27 to reveal them?

      I followed him closely since he was drafted, because I liked how he did in wooden bat leagues as an amateur. But he under-achieved in the minors, although IIRC in part due to low BABIPs. It is hard to believe that as he approached age 27 that he found Hitter’s Nirvana or the Holy Grail or the Fountain of Youth or even a chicken in every pot.

      He is definitely “hot” right now. I’ve been hot at a dice table before, but that doesn’t mean I am or was good. It means I was hot — i.e., lucky. It is hard as a player to be as hot as he is without having some talent, but any number of Yankees have pulled off a variation of it. Shane Spencer, Kevin Maas, and Urshela and Tauchman now. Ervin swings hard, and sooner or later his mis-hits will be caught rather than fall in.

      Aquino is a different story. He is also red hot, but showed flashes of brilliance in the minors, such as being the FSL player of the year, plus (like Aaron Judge) has had to harness his size. His swing is now short enough and simple enough, where I could see him developing the confidence to lay off pitches and become even better. And he might not.

  13. Doug Gray

    We’ll never see the list of players they are choosing from (or at least not for a decade, and only then it’ll be leaked if the Reds passed on someone who turned into someone).

    They’ve got until November 1st to pick who, or to take the cash.

  14. Slicc50

    Phil looks like the kind of guy that is going to hit .280 to .300 to me. He looks like the type of guy that will get an extra base hit in about every 12 pa’s. He probably won’t be a 20 homerun guy. At GABP, who knows? He will get alot of 2b’s and 3b’s though. Those ain’t bad! He will strike out about 20 to 25% of the time. He will draw a bb about 10% of the time. He could improve those %’s with steady ab’s. He has improved his defense it seems. I remember him losing concentration in the past? He will steal some bases, he can run a little. Seems like a pretty good player to me, they could do alot worse! Everyone can’t be a star. The trick is to have your star players and surround them with solid guys, like Phil Ervin.

  15. Doug Gray

    The underlying numbers DO NOT SUPPORT HIS PRODUCTION. They don’t. Literally no one is good enough to have a .486 BABIP or anything close to it. Tony Gwynn and Wade Boggs couldn’t do it against a bunch of dudes throwing 85-92 MPH. Ty Cobb couldn’t do it against a bunch of dudes throwing 74. Phillip Ervin sure as heck can’t do it, either.

    • Doug Gray

      I’ll bow out now. There’s nothing more to be said. Nothing at all that you are presenting can actually be backed up with reasonable data. No one in the history of the game has been able to keep up with the “numbers” you think make Phillip Ervin viable to maintain his numbers or anything close to them.

      I’d love for him to be able to. But there’s dreaming and there’s reality.

  16. Indy Red Man

    True that nobody is hitting .486 or whatever on BABIP, but once again BABIP is a stupid statistic. If your swing is flawed and you don’t spray the ball around then it will be low. If your swing/timing is on and you spray it around then have Ervin #s. He hits to left. He hits to right. He usually keeps his hands inside the ball and produces some form of a line drive.

    For example. Cozart that one year….was one of the worst 2-3 hitters in mlb, HOWEVER, many of the talking heads on here said it was bad luck. They said nobody hits .275 or whatever on BABIP. Wrong. They do when their swing is all screwed up and they pop up 2-3x a game like Cozart. Look at Peraza. If you fail to hit the ball hard then they’ll probably turn that into an out. How is that bad luck?

  17. Indy Red Man

    “Jesse Winker needs to be at 1B at some point, Votto is showing signs of aging/declining”

    I like Pete’s take on this one. I think Votto does need more time off moving forward, but didn’t JVM play quite a bit of 1B at AAA? He’s too short to be a typical 1B, but just to give Joey a day off would be ok. Slide Senzel to 2B. Of course they can always move Farmer to 1B vs a tough lefty and give Joey the day off there.