On the heels of playing a weak excuse for an MLB game Thursday in Cleveland, the Reds open a 3 game series against the Brewers tonight at Miller Park in Milwaukee. Game time is 8:10pm Eastern time.

Tonight starts a marked change in the Reds schedule. Up till now, they have played 10 interleague games and just 3 games within their division. However, now the table turns the other way with the Reds playing 18 divisional games and only 4 interleague games through the end of August and then  continuing in their own division through the first half of September.

Two teams in the division assured of a playoff spot and the other three eligible for Wild Card consideration giving every divisional game added weight. Let’s hope the team is loaded and ready for this 36 game intradivision run which could set the dye for their 2020 fate.

Starting Pitchers

It’s scheduled to be the Bauer/ Lauer show tonight at Miller Park. Bauer is, of course, Reds righthander hander Trevor Bauer, while the Brewers Lauer answers to the first name Eric and pitches with his left hand. Can this be correct? Are the Reds actually seeing a lefthanded starter? Well, that’s what the websites say.

Trevor Bauer

Trevor Bauer has been otherworldly in his 2 starts so far in 2020. Want proof “otherworldly” is not hyperbole?  Here’s his 2020 stat line courtesy of Fangraphs

Season Team G GS IP K% BB% GB% ERA FIP WAR
2020 Reds 2 2 13.1 42.5% 6.4% 41.7% 0.68 1.68 0.6

Like some icing on your cake? Bauer’s most recent outing was a complete (7 inning doubleheader) game shutout effort he finished by retiring 13 consecutive batters.

You can see Bauer’s career stats here

So how is Bauer doing these things? Has he made changes in how he is pitching?

Yes. According to Fangraphs, Bauer is throwing his fastball a full 12% more so far in 2020 than he did in 2019 (54.6%/42.3%). On the flip side, he has virtually dropped his changeup (0.9% vs 7.6% in 2019) and significantly curtailed the use of his curveball (14.8% vs 19.8% in 2019).  Bauer hasn’t significantly altered the velocity of any of his offerings.

Let’s just enjoy this run while we can and hope Bauer settles into a norm not too far removed from it.

Eric Lauer

Eric Lauer makes his first ever start for the Brewers tonight after coming to them from the Padres in an off season trade. Lauer had logged 52 starts with the Padres in 2018-19. Have a look at his Padre Years.

Year ERA FIP WHIP HR/9 K% BB%
2018 4.34 4.51 1.54 1.21 19.8% 9.1%
2019 4.45 4.23 1.40 1.20 21.2% 7.8%

Looks reasonable to expect the Reds to put the ball in play on at least 70% of their plate appearances. But it bears mentioning that in 2019 Lauer actually had severe reverse splits with LH batters hitting for both much better average and power against him than RH batters. His career handedness splits are also reverse but not to the extent as in 2019. So, we shall see….

See more of Lauer’s stats here

What to Expect

Based on past performance, look for Lauer to throw his four seam fastball in the low 90 MPH range on just less than 60% of his pitches. His lead secondary pitch is a cut fastball thrown enough slower than his four seamer to cause timing issues for hitters. He throws this cutter about 1/3 of the time. He will change pace more severely on about 10% of his pitches by flashing either a curve or change up.

Bullpens

Reds

José De León threw 48 pitches in a 1.2 inning relief stint Thursday. And that’s just for starts. Cody Reed followed and needed 20 pitches to record the single out of his 0.1 inning appearance.  Safe to say DeLeón will not be available tonight. Reed would rate as possible for a short appearance.

Brewers

Freddy Peralta thew 54 pitches to cover 3 innings Thursday night. Eric Yardley tossed  28 pitches to complete 1 inning. Count Peralta out for a couple of days and Yardley unlikely tonight. And because everyone should be wondering; Josh Hader was last seen throwing all of 11 pitches in a save on Wednesday night. Count him ready to go.

Lineups

Cincinnati Reds Milwaukee Brewers
Nick Senzel -CF Brock Holt – 3B
Nick Castellanos – RF Keston Hiura – 2B
Eugenio Suarez – 3B Christain Yelich – LF
Matt Davidson – 1B Logan Morrison – DH
Curt Casali – C Justin Smoak – 1B
Christian Colon – 2B Ben Gamel – CF
Jesse Winker – DH Omar Narvaez – C
Phillip Ervin – LF Mark Mathias – RF
Kyle Farmer – SS Orlando Arcia – SS

Understand giving Winker the start after his 2 hit night Thursday but wonder if something is going on with Votto.  Also given Winker’s career MLB stats versus LH pitching, it is curious to see him hitting ahead of Ervin and Farmer, particularly Ervin who tends to mash LH pitching. Perhaps Bell set his lineup in anticipation of seeing RH pitching following Lauer?

News and Notes

Not the kind of news one wants to hear; but, then again hardly a surprise these days

UPDATE:

News has broken that the entire Cards/ Cubs weekend series has been cancelled

The Reds are reinforcing the ranks at their Prasco Park alternate/ backup facility

Reds add Brandon Finnegan, TJ Friedl, Rece Hinds to 60-man player pool

Final Thoughts

Here is a look at the NL Central standing as the Reds move into the heart of their season comprised of intradivisional play. Bear in mind that the top two finishers will automatically advance to the playoffs. League wide the best 2 remaining nonqualifiers will receive wildcard berths.

Note that the Cards and Brewers have a significant number of games in hand to the other 3 teams because of the Cardinals outbreak of COVID-19.

If for any reason all the teams do not play all 60 of their games, the expectation is that winning percentage will be used to determine final standings.

This is really no different from the normal way of doing things. It’s just that all the teams might not have played the same number of games.  And with that, it is game on! GO REDS!


Data courtesy of MLB.com, Fangraphs and Baseball Reference

91 Responses

  1. Melvin

    HMMM What a fearful lineup tonight. Just not the kind of fear I like that’s in our favor. 🙂 LOL Hope I’m wrong. Just want to win.

    • Jim Walker

      Don’t know how old you are Melvin but there is an old old song (this means it was already old when I was young) with the refrain “Something’s gotta give, Something’s gotta give, Something’s gotta give”. Maybe that;s where David Bell is at.

  2. Sliotar

    Senzel hitting leadoff is always a good thing in my book.

    Miller Park is usually a road stadium where the Reds do some of their best hitting …. good time to visit and right the ship.

    Go Redlegs.

  3. Roger Garrett

    Its time to start winning games.Bell is on record as saying it should not matter where in the lineup hitters hit. Senzel should always lead off and when Joey plays he hits second and Nick always hits 3rd.Untill somebody else gets above .200 that’s how it should be.Lets get em on,get em over and get em in.Facing a lefty so who knows the guy may no hit us or we knock him out early.I see a knock out early.Go Reds.If Eugenio is patient and doesn’t try to pull everything he will have a big night.

  4. Klugo

    No more Reed, please. I’m done with him. Seems like he’s given up. This lineup makes me wonder of Bell has, too. That is not a winning lineup. I guess nothing else has been either.
    At least maybe we’ll get a Front Row Amy cutout tonight at Miller Park.

  5. Bred

    I think this lineup exposes a weak bench. I hope I’m wrong!

  6. seadog

    Wow— This line-up is set to hit the long ball. I am not sure I have ever seen a Reds line-up that may be this bad to watch defense wise. I hope I am wrong. DP combo of Colon/Farmer. Ouch!! I don’t think we will see on bunt or stolen base. We may see a few E’s. I am probably 100% wrong. They will probably come out. Turn 4 DP’s. Steal 6 bases and bunt 8 times. LOL. I hope so.

    Go Reds.

  7. Old-school

    Anyone disagree Nick Senzel hits leadoff and plays CF everyday the rest of the year?

    • seadog

      Absolutely agree. Play Senzel/Akyama at the 1-2 all year. Teach them how to bunt/steal etc. Play Winker in DH. If either need a day off slide in Winker to the OF. Obviously play Castellanos in Rt. Bat him third. I play that lineup everyday no matter R or L handed pitcher. I may flip-flop the top two depending on this. Bring up Aquino. It is pretty simple

    • Kim

      he will as long as he’s healthy enough to do so

  8. Old-school

    @ Jim. Mark Sheldon has an article up with Winker adjusting DH role. It appears the Reds are trying to mold him on the fly to be a DH and that takes an adjustment period for a career NL player. Also, career splits of lauer are reverse. He’s better against righties . He’s also only thrown 2 innings all year. He might be a 4 inning opener and Bell is holding back for innings 5-9.

    Moose is out till Tuesday. Not good news at all. Reds need this guy.

    • seadog

      I think that article on Winker as a DH is pretty old. And yes Moustakas is out till next Tuesday. Colon/Farmer/Van Meter are not the answer. Why not bring up Garcia?? Colon at 2nb. Play Senzel there. Just crazy.

  9. JB

    Suarez needs to dye his hair to change his luck.

  10. Sliotar

    Nice job by Casali battling.

    28 pitch inning for Lauer. He won’t be around long, at this rate.

  11. Jack

    If Davidson is your cleanup hitter you either have a bad team or a bad manager.

  12. Roger Garrett

    Nick and Eugenio didn’t even put the ball in play.Thats why we didn’t score.Senzel got on base,Davidson singles and Casali battled but we have to put the ball in play to have a chance.

  13. VaRedsFan

    Brewers didn’t get the memo to extreme shift on Winker.

  14. Old-school

    Winker 5 for last 10.
    Awful umpiring K last night

  15. JB

    Maybe this lineup should start every night.

  16. Jack

    Lauer is definitely not up to the Indian’s starter quality. Neither stuff or location that good

    • Roger Garrett

      Of course but more often then not we make everybody look like Cy Young and guys that throw it up there lefty usually just have to take the mound and we raise the white flag.Not tonight.GO REDS

  17. Jack

    Actually it would have been nice to see some of those guys struggling to get a chance to hit off this guy. Still nice to get a lead though

  18. JB

    Good for these guys. Maybe they will loosen up now and have some fun.

  19. VaRedsFan

    Who had Davidson in the HR pool?

    • Old-school

      I did. I said Sunday Dusty lineup

      They will score 7 runs because it’s 2020

  20. magi210

    So that’s what home plate looks like. Nice inning.

  21. Roger Garrett

    Putting the ball in play is a good thing all the time.Senzel’s sac fly was just a thing of beauty.Making an out but getting a run home.Bench should have went bonkers when he did that.Looks like the knock out of their guy came early.Now keep on playing.

    • JB

      Not to mention Ervin flying out to right to move the guy over to 3rd with one out. It’s the little things like that is what is needed.

  22. Preach

    Bauer pitching with a 6 run lead. He must think he’s in Iowa.

    • Jefferson Green

      Walks the lead off batter on a fastball. Alternate reality.

  23. Wayne Nabors

    Bell looking like a genius tonight,parking davidson in the 4 hole

    • Jack

      Lauer is or at least was very bad tonight. A good part of the Reds difficulty is they were hitting off perhaps the top pitching staff in the Indians

    • JB

      That would be some kind of record I bet.

    • Don

      he is also on pace for 170 pitches.

      Hopefully he last more than 5 innings as no lead is safe.

  24. Mark Moore

    Hey friends … just logging on after an evening out with my sweetheart. Rare treat, we ate in (outside table actually) and ran some errands.

    Checked the score to see 3-0 and started at the T2nd … watched all 6 runs. Wow!!

    Live now. Saw we picked back up Payton and that the Stupid Cubs and Dirty Birds won’t be playing this weekend. At some point, the Cards are in a hole that they can’t dig out of. At least we get a chance to make up some ground.

    • JB

      I said the other day I was disappointed in losing Payton. I’m glad we got him back.

  25. Mark Moore

    Cowboy was commenting on the route Yellich took on the deep fly. Called it one of the worst he’d ever seen.

    • VaRedsFan

      It was. Then he dropped it. That and not shifting on Winker….2 sure outs became hits. they gave the Reds 5 outs in my book

      • Mark Moore

        The comment was on the one he spun around and caught. Probably prompted by the one he didn’t.

  26. Indy Red Man

    Hey we got a TD! Its about time! Maybe they can put together something like a 10-5 stretch?

    I tend to agree with Bauer usually, but its nice to save some energy towards doing your job instead of using it all to fight the man. I see his top notch breaking stuff and 95-96 on the radar gun and then I look at his career stats. Doesn’t match up, but he’s an elite talent! Zack Greinke is sort of the same type of person although quieter, but he figured it out in a big way!

    • Jefferson Green

      It was interesting to hear Kyle Boddy talk about Bauer after the Reds hires him. Said Bauer has less talent than a lot of guys are less effective, but he is the hardest working student he has had. Perhaps his attitude is all a part of what makes him great?

      • Indy Red Man

        Thats my whole point. He hasn’t been great (4.01 career era) despite having one of the best breaking balls in mlb and above average velocity. He is a hard worker though…just marches to a different beat. He does have the talent and drive to recapture what he was a few years ago when he was a Cy Young contender. I was super excited when we got him!

      • Jefferson Green

        Amen! And he seems to rub off very well on fellow pitchers, too, helping them get better. This is a fun starting rotation.

  27. seadog

    Maybe Bauer goes 8 tonight. Let’s see

    • Mark Moore

      I’d be happy with anything over 7, but 8 would be sweet.

  28. VaRedsFan

    I hope this isn’t one of those games where the Reds get a bunch of runs early. Then the offense goes silent, and the other team pecks away.

  29. VaRedsFan

    Colon…nice play up the middle.

    • Chris Holbert

      Just reported, groin injury.

      • Indy Red Man

        Time for Aquino to play everyday or atleast be available. Senzel can’t stay in the lineup.

  30. Mark Moore

    Please stay, Nick. We promise we’ll do better. Heaven knows you’re doing your part.

    • Matt WI

      +100 for you sir, for all the points you’ve handed out

    • ClevelandRedsFan

      Please don’t leave, Nick.

  31. RedsMonk65

    Good to see Winker beginning to get on track …

  32. RedsMonk65

    Reed in for Bauer.

    Fingers crossed.

    • RedsMonk65

      Fairly clean 7th. 2 K’s. Good for him.

  33. Mark Moore

    A little small ball, some long ball … good pitching. I like what I see tonight. Got to wind the first to sweep the weekend, right?

  34. ClevelandRedsFan

    Holy cats! Winker hits a ground ball down the third base line for a seemingly automatic single.

  35. Mark Moore

    They are dropping like flies tonight …

  36. Preach

    Yelich hitting .133 and king of the Ks.

      • Mark Moore

        He’s one player you just knew you could confidently say, “He’ll turn it around soon.”

        But why tonight?

  37. Mark Moore

    Anybody here NOT see that coming?

    • Roger Garrett

      Of course we saw it coming.You can’ walk people up 8-1 in.If not for the double play on a 3-2 pitch its an 8-5 game.

      • Preach

        Yup, one pitch away from panic mode.

  38. Preach

    Victory. Bullpen only gave up 2. Progress, I guess.

  39. RedsMonk65

    Nice game. For a change. Hopefully the start of more to come. One at a time.

  40. VaRedsFan

    Crazy stat of the day…The Reds are now 3-0 when Votto doesn’t play.