Final R H E
St. Louis Cardinals (64-56)
13 18 2
Cincinnati Reds (57-64)
4 7 1
W: A. Wainwright (9-8) L: L. Castillo (11-5) 
Statcast | Gamecast | Game Thread

With one out in the first inning, Castillo struck out Tommy Edman on the 5th pitch of the at bat and the 11th pitch of the game. But a funny thing happened on that third strike. Home plate umpire Mike Muchlinski called the pitch a ball.

That missed call by Muchlinski turned the inning, as Edman would go on to single and Marcell Ozuna would—after a long at bat—double, sending Edman home with the game’s first run. Castillo went from 2 outs on 11 pitchers to 32 pitches and a run relinquished before the Reds would come to bat.

La Piedra would start the 2nd inning by getting 2 outs, but by then he was at 42 pitches. You wonder if Castillo didn’t feel a certain urgency to get some quick outs because the ball began finding the middle of the plate with alacrity. And on the 49th pitch of the game, Dexter Fowler gave the Cardinals a 4-0 lead with a 3-run home run. An inning and another dinger later by Paul DeJong, the lead would be 6-0 and Castillo would be at 69 pitches.

It’s possible that Castillo just didn’t have it on this August night and St. Louis was destined to maul the right hander. But you have to wonder what might have been had the Reds’ ace gotten out of that first inning scoreless throwing 16 pitches instead of 32.

The pitch count continued to climb like an Arizona thermometer in July. Pitch No. 92 from Castillo resulted in a 2-run shot by Paul Goldschmidt. One batter later, his night was done.

The Good

When Aristides Aquino failed to slip the surly bonds of earth last night, you could be forgiven if you felt like the bartender had suddenly cut you off, stolen your fun evening and declared “you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.” It’s taken a mere 54 plate appearances for The Punisher to hit 10 HRs. Another MLB record. 10 HRs in 15 games this season.

Only Adam Dunn (2001) and Frank Robinson (1956) have hit more HRs in a month as a rookie. August is not over yet.

The Bad

Eugenio Suarez injured his hand (thumb?) attempting to put the tag on Dexter Fowler sliding into third in the 6th. The last thing this ailing offense needs is to lose its best hitter for any length of time.

The Ugly

All the pitching. Matt Bowman came on in relief of Castillo and retired two batters quickly. But it wasn’t too long before the Cardinals went to work on him, tattooing him for 4 more runs. Joel Kuhnel would make his major league debut, giving up a solo shot. Jose Peraza would become the ninth inning sacrificial lamb, relieving Kevin Gausman.

The Second Guess

Joey Votto missed another start with his ailing back. Jesse Winker would also sit for a second night, another victim of an uncooperative back. In related news, Padres 20-year old ROY candidate Fernando Tatis Jr. was placed on the 10-day injured list with a back injury that reportedly will end his season. Manager Andy Green said the injury was the result of “common usage.”

Clearly, that aging curve just begins earlier and earlier these days.

23 Responses

  1. Big Ed

    Well, if you want to persist in believing that back injuries that persist for months are not a problem for 35-year-old players, feel free.

    And feel free to believe that one missed strike call in the first inning would have changed the outcome of a 13-4 game.

    For most of us, that’s where neither lark nor even eagle flew.

    • George

      At least no one mentioned “the reds are only (pick a number) behind of a wild card position.

      • Mason Red

        Those comments will return with the next Reds win.

    • Ed

      I need to pick a new username. I’ve been Ed since I showed up here in June, and for the whole rest of my life for that matter. but there’s been a Big Ed all along.

    • Scott C

      It’s not paranoia if they really are out to get you.

  2. Ed

    Bit of a dumb question, but from somebody new to sabermetrics. why is Iglesias wRC+ so low? The stats say he is slightly below average, right? Yet he seems to be on base consistently, he makes good contact- he absolutely has the capacity to deliver in clutch moments whether it’s two strikes or two outs… he has decent speed, no base running foolishness. If I were an opposing pitcher, Iglesias would be one of the few guys I’d be worried to have come to the plate, because he hits all over the ballpark. I don’t know- is it his low walk rate? Walk rate to strikeouts?

    • Chris

      15 walks all year hurts him. Not an expert by any means, but I believe wRC is based on wOBA, which attempts to reconcile the inadequacies of OPS by assigning real values to outcomes. This ends up weighting OBP higher than SLG, and Iglesias has a very low OBP, owing to the lack of walks you mentioned.

      Interestingly on Iglesias, his OPS is .050 higher than last year, but his OPS+ is and identical 89. The league is emphasizing HRs as the best way to add offensive value, and Jose doesn’t really hit those.

      I like what he’s done this season, and it hard to adequately quantify the clutch hitting and how getting on after 2-strikes can impact the psychology of some pitchers. From what I’ve read, he brings real veteran leadership and is the type of player contending teams always seen to have. BUT – I’m not in any hurry to give him an MLB deal. Galvis is arguably better (and younger) and already under team control for 2020. If Jose takes another minor league deal with a $2.5MM roster bonus or whatever, I’m down. But if someone wants to give him $8MM -$10MM in guaranteed money, I’ll let them.

      • Chris

        Galvis is 45 days older than Iglesias upon closer inspection…

    • Doug Gray

      Yes, it’s his low walk-rate/lower on-base percentage. His power isn’t exactly good, either.

      There’s a lot that goes into wRC+. It’s adjust for park factors that a guy plays in, and it’s also adjusted each year for the league average.

      What’s not factored into that is “clutch” hits. It’s weighing every single the same, no matter what (aside from the park adjustment, of course). Whether that single comes to lead off the game or it drives in 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th to win the game, that single represents the same value. Love it or hate it, it’s doing that.

      As you’d imagine: out of any kind < walk < single < double < triple < home run. Each of those instances is worth a certain amount of value, the context of each isn't accounted for (a solo home run is worth the same as a grand slam, for example, because the belief is that the batter can't control if someone is on base, only what they do when they are at the plate). Then there's an adjustment for the parks where each of those events take place. Always worth remembering, when it comes to run production, on-base percentage is significantly more valuable to it than slugging percentage, which is more valuable to is than batting average. So a guy like Jose Igleisas, who has a good average, but a lot on-base percentage and a low slugging percentage, simply isn't going to have a good profile as a hitter because the things that are most valuable to run production, he's not exactly good at.

      • Streamer88

        The park adjustment thing baffles me a bit. Is it a flat adjustment? Or more individualized to each outcome. I’ll give you an example.

        Billy Hamilton hits a grounder down the line in the corner – easy triple (high slugging event). Next batter is Votto who hits a 331 foot fly ball over the 330 foot right field wall for a HR.

        Now, one of those slugging events had absolutely nothing to do with park factors- Bham triples that in every park in the league. The other was an out at Petco.

        Is the slap hitter (Iglesias for example) getting robbed by playing at GABP because most of his outcomes have less to do with the park size?

      • Doug Gray

        Streamer88 – I *believe* that each outcome is adjusted because some parks are penalizing/benefiting only in certain aspects. GABP for example helps home runs, but hurts literally every other kind of hit. A home run is worth less in GABP than it is in Detroit. But a triple in GABP is worth more than a triple in San Francisco.

      • Ed

        Thanks for the detailed explanations- it’s really difficult for me to wrap my head around this stat. I appreciate all the help! It is weird to think there could be just one number to compensate for how each hitter benefits from their home park… and then that lack of recognition for clutch hitting seems like a slight oversight, especially for a time like the Reds that constantly strands runners on base.

        do you know how much the park factor docks a contact hitter specifically at GABP- like Iglesias- relative to Oakland Coliseum, or some other place, with maybe less of a reputation for being so hitter-friendly?

        Also- maybe some people are less affected by that park factor than others? Something you can see from watching a batter over the course of a season, but I don’t think is explored with current stats, is a hitter’s capacity to control/drop the ball where it needs to land relative to a defensive alignment. Also, offensive choices like hitting to right field when you want to advance a runner from second to third, for example. Those are weighted factors that seem like they’d potentially make one single more valuable than another, right? Valuing someone who hits a lot of singles, but drops his hits all over the ballpark… If you can drop the ball on the field, you aren’t hitting for the fences, it matters much less where you’re playing.

        Another dumb thought- Iglesias doesn’t have a bad strikeout rate. He has an average BABIP, and his batting average is slightly above average- is there some positive, maybe overlooked reason why he has so stinkin’ few walks for the year? I know I’m biased by a fairy limited sample size, but he doesn’t seem like he lacks plate discipline.

      • Doug Gray

        Park factor doesn’t dock a contact hitter. Park factors dock you for the quality of your hit. Contact hitter doesn’t simply mean “only hits sits”. It’s typically used in place of that, but that isn’t always the profile.

        Guys without power are getting docked naturally, because power is a very good thing to have. But a guy not hitting for power in GABP is getting docked more than they would be if they were not hitting for power in Oakland or San Francisco. There’s not an exact baseline publicly available – guys play 81 games at home, 81 on the road. So you can have two players on the same exact team, with the same exact triple-slash line, who would have different wRC+ because of where the inputs for those came. It’s adjusted for all parks they play in, and where those hits came at, not just a “home park” adjustment.

        As a side note: hitters can’t “control/drop the ball where it needs to be”. If they could, they would. But they don’t. It’s why the best dudes alive hit .310, not .810. Guys that “use the whole field” usually benefit from a slightly higher BABIP than guys who don’t, because you can’t shift quite as well against them. That’s where the benefit of being able to hit it around the field comes from.

        Iglesias doesn’t walk much because he just doesn’t walk much. His walk rate this year is the same as it’s been for his entire career, even when he wasn’t hitting .290-something. He makes a lot of contact, which is the primary reason he doesn’t walk. But simply making contact isn’t good enough anymore. Not that it ever really was – but we didn’t know better before. Now we do. Contact isn’t enough. You’ve got to do actual damage when you make contact. He doesn’t.

      • Doug Gray

        There’s a spot to bring up the “he’s been clutch this year” in WAR. I’m willing to listen to it. And I’ll agree, this season, Iglesias absolutely has been. But it’s not a skill. Otherwise he’s do it every single year. And he doesn’t. Guys perform, over the long haul in clutch situations just like they do in all situations. You’re either a good hitter or you aren’t. Guys that are good hitters perform in clutch situations and guys that aren’t don’t.

  3. Mason Red

    Above average won’t cut it. Eventually the Reds must break the surly bonds of above average.

  4. TR

    A series win over the Birds is still within reach. Will the good Disco show up?

  5. jon

    No way in HEdouble hockey sticks does SanDiego make that trade. Please. lmao.

    • Colt Holt

      They traded shields on a bad contract for him. Siri has to have more value than shields on a bad contract, right? Given the negative value shields had, I want gore coming back to offset some of Siri’s excess value.

  6. Mason Red

    I’m talking about GOOD hitters that are better than just above average. Maybe even GREAT hitters and not just one. I’m talking several. Yes Reds fans are “beat down” from losing. Average or above average or slightly above average or slightly below 500 is hailed as some great feat but it isn’t. It’s been long enough. It’s time for good or great.

  7. Roger Garrett

    Exactly Pete.When you go young there is growing pains.I have said for the last few years we can win/lose just as many with young guys with upside as with vets on the down side.We are getting younger position player wise and that is a good thing.

  8. Jack

    Is it just me or does Bell let his starting pitchers take too much pummeling? Do you let an ace let alone two aces give up that many runs in a span of 3 days without just taking them out. Both gave up career highs in runs allowed but I am sure they have had off days before but the manager took care of them not to allow that to happen