Tonight the Cincinnati Reds (8-11) will host to the Pittsburgh Pirates (4-13) for the second game of a four game series at Great American Ballpark. Things almost have to go better than they did on Thursday when starter Anthony DeSclafani was tipping his pitches and allowed nine runs in the first two innings of the game. Cincinnati will turn to the ace of their staff, Sonny Gray, to face off against Chad Kuhl at 7:10pm ET.

Starting Lineups

Pittsburgh Pirates

Cincinnati Reds

Adam Frazier – 2B Shogo Akiyama – LF
Kevin Newman – SS Nick Castellanos – RF
Josh Bell – 1B Joey Votto – 1B
Colin Moran – DH Jesse Winker – DH
Bryan Reynolds – LF Nick Senzel – CF
Gregory Polanco – RF Josh VanMeter – 2B
Erik González – 3B Freddy Galvis – SS
Cole Tucker – CF Tucker Barnhart – C
Jacob Stallings – C Kyle Farmer – 3B
Chad Kuhl – SP Sonny Gray – RP

As you can see in the pitcher breakdown below, historically lefties have handled Chad Kuhl a lot better than righties have. David Bell stacked the lineup again tonight with lefties, with only Nick Castellanos, Nick Senzel, and Kyle Farmer being right-handed hitters when the game starts (Freddy Galvis is a switch hitter).

Starting Pitchers

Pitcher IP ERA WHIP BB% K%
Sonny Gray 24.0 2.25 0.92 8.4% 36.8%
Chad Kuhl 9.0 2.00 1.00 8.6% 34.3%
Links: Sonny Gray’s Stats | Chad Kuhl’s Stats

Sonny Gray

In 2020, Sonny Gray leads the National League in wins, strikeouts, and wild pitches. Two out of three isn’t so bad, right? In his three home starts this season, he’s dominated the Tigers, Cubs, and Indians. But in his last start out in Milwaukee was a bit of a struggle as he allowed four earned in 5.1 innings as he was charged with his first loss of the season.

2020 Splits

vsRHH 44 7 0 0 1 4.5% 45.5% .171 .227 .244
vsLHH 51 7 2 1 1 11.8% 29.4% .159 .275 .318

This season has seen Sonny Gray outclass both lefties and righties, but he’s on a different level against right-handed hitters this year so far. He’s got a 10-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio against them and he’s striking out an absurd 45.5% of them. Against left-handed hitters the strikeout rate is still impressive at 29.4%, but the walk rate is pretty high at 11.8%. They aren’t doing much damage when they do get the bat on the ball, but lefties have found more success than righties thus far.

Pitch Usage in 2020

4-Seam 2-Seam Slider Curve Change
Velo 93.5 93.2 83.5 81.0 89.0
Usage 27% 28% 20% 24% 2%

Two fastballs. Two breaking balls. Two change ups per game. That’s what you’re going to get from Sonny Gray on a typical day.

Chad Kuhl

It’s been an interesting season for Chad Kuhl in 2020. A starter from 2016-2018 who made 61 appearances – all starts – is coming back from Tommy John surgery after missing all of the 2019 season. The Pirates pitched him out of the bullpen every five days the first two weeks of the season, but he made his first start of the year against Detroit on August 7th in a while game that saw him allow one run over the first 4.0 innings, only to see the bullpen go on to give up 16 runs going forward in a 17-13 loss. He has thrown 55, 28, and 58 pitches in his appearances this season, so don’t expect a long outing from the right-hander as he continues working his way back.

2020 Splits

He’s only faced 23 right-handed hitters and just 12 left-handed hitters. His splits aren’t very useful for this season. Unfortunately, his splits for his career mostly took place before 2019, too, so they aren’t entirely useful today, either. But he has had more success against right-handed hitters (.704 OPS against) than left-handed hitters (.869 OPS against). Lefties have struck out more often, but have also walked significantly more often and hit for a lot more power against him in the past.

Pitch Usage in 2020

4-Seam 2-Seam Slider Curve Change
Velo 95.0 94.5 87.5 81.2 88.0
Usage 9% 31% 37% 20% 3%

We’re dealing with a limited sample size for everyone in 2020 so far, but even more so for Chad Kuhl given his usage so far this season. His velocity is down across the board from where he was at pre-Tommy John surgery, with everything being down about 1.5-2.0 MPH.

When and Where

  • Game time: 7:10pm ET
  • Where: Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark
  • Watch: Fox Sports Ohio,
  • Listen: 700 WLW AM (Cincinnati area)
  • Forecast: 80°, cloudy, 15% chance of rain.

NL Central Standings

Team Wins Losses GB
Cubs 13 3
Reds 8 11 6.5
Brewers 7 10 6.5
Cardinals 2 3 5.5
Pirates 4 13 9.5

We apologize for botching the standings in yesterday’s game thread that had the Cardinals in second place due to the amount of “games back” they were being the least amount. What we should have done was use winning percentage, which is actually what determines the standings. We’ll (and by we, I mean I – Doug Gray) will try to do better moving forward.

News and Notes

Fangraphs projects the Cincinnati Reds playoff odds at 54.1% going into the game tonight, and has their season projected record at 30-30 despite their 8-11 start.

Chad Dotson on Nick Castellanos

Our friend, founder of Redleg Nation, best podcast host on the planet, and noted movie aficionado Chad Dotson wrote about Nick Castellanos this week over at Cincinnati Magazine. There’s a lot worth reading, so you better click this link and go read it, but I found this piece of information from the article particularly awesome.

First things first: Castellanos has always been a good hitter, and a doubles machine. He led the majors with 58 doubles last year, only the 10th player in the entire history of baseball to hit that mark. The last time a right-handed hitter reached that total, before Castellanos last year? Try 1936.

Nineteen Hundred and Thirty Six. That’s awesome.

Jesse Winker has been the Reds best hitter

Sub-headline is garbage, but let’s talk about how good Jesse Winker has been for a second. He’s entering the game tonight hitting .347/.467/.592. He’s leading the team in average, on-base percentage, OPS, and OPS+. He’s 6th in the league in average, 4th in on-base percentage, 8th in OPS and OPS+. That’ll work. Not bad for a guy who after a week some were calling on to be sent over to Prasco Park, huh?

Anthony DeSclafani was tipping his pitches

After the game on Thursday night, catcher Tucker Barnhart noted that they believed that starter Anthony DeSclafani was tipping his pitches during the game, but they caught it a little bit too late and the damage was already done.

Anthony DeSclafani’s tipped pitches cost the Reds on Thursday

97 Responses

  1. Melvin

    Would have liked to see Suarez just moved down in the order to 8th instead of taken out and Farmer at 2B. Hope it works.

  2. Klugo

    I see an IL stinting in the near future for Suarez. It’s interesting to me that for one reason or another, players often end up serving an IL/DL stint when in the midst of a terrible slump.

    Winker is really hitting well and I’m happy as anyone about it. But he’s terribly slow, he’s a poor defender, and he doesn’t hustle. He’s gotta slug and slug big to make up for all that, imo. And, really, he’s been doing that lately. So, I’ll take it.

    • jazzmanbbfan

      I think he’s making up for it tonight.

  3. Mark Moore

    OK, so Geno gets a break … hopefully to “think about what he’s NOT done”

  4. Sliotar

    While forming a fantasy lineup for tonight’s games, the projection systems aren’t as excited as we might assume about Gray’s performance tonight – good, not great.

    Pirates were a team that challenged him more than most last season.

    Feels like a bigger game than usual – lose tonight, another home series that can’t be won. Reds haven’t had a .500 season or better on the road since 2013.

    Go Redlegs.

  5. Gonzo Reds

    What a great Reds season it’s been so far! Let me count my 25 favorites in no particular order:

    – We actually have baseball and there’s no boy in a bubble in sight
    – Joey Votto has 2 game winning hits so far and he’s a funny interview
    -Nick Castellanos won NL player of the week and he juggles while in the field
    -Tucker Barnhart has gunned down several players attempting a theft
    – Jesse Winker is playing so well he’s allowed to bat against lefties too
    -Tyler Stephenson was exciting in his major league debut
    -Moose is turning into a team leader in his first Reds season
    -Farmer can play SS and do it well… especially for a third string catcher
    -Sam LeClure has been able to showcase his entire plaid jacket collection
    -Cincy Japanese first Aki’s glove is special and his bat sprays like a fire hydrant
    -Sonny Gray was almost unhittable in his first couple of winning starts
    -Trevor Bauer set an early season K record and he’s running for commissioner
    -The Reds have won 6 more games than the Cardinals this year
    -There are still 14 bats in the outfield stacks for future HOF’er Pete Rose
    – There are lots of Reds game used baseballs up for auction
    – Suarez still blows great bubble gum bubbles
    – Davidson does a fantastic Suarez hair dye impression
    – Our 2020 DHs have almost hit for as high of an average as our 2019 pitchers
    – Senzel has only been injured a couple of times so far
    – Reds players have signed autographs for every fan in attendance this year
    -No drought in the AL or NL central cities, plenty of rain during game time
    -No late-night West coast games causing lack of sleep for Reds fans
    -No dogs or donkeys on the field so the only scoop needed is the one Jim Day is providing
    -Still time to retire Eric Davis’ 44 as no one on the active 26-man roster is wearing it
    – Only 14 innings for double headers which is good as my attention span is, wait what was I posting here again?

    Feel free to add your positive 2020 Reds memories…

  6. Preach

    Ok, I’m going to watch this one more time……

  7. JB

    I wish some of these guys will stay in there and take the HBP. Any way on…

  8. Preach

    Good frame job for strike three to polanco

  9. Mark Moore

    Lil’ Nick taunting Kuhl a bit. He earned it with the patient walk.

  10. Preach

    Polanco is such a solid player. For an old vet who’s had a lot of injuries, he just has fun playing. And he always hustles

  11. Mark Moore

    Terrible call … Nick was right to ask for a challenge.

    • Mark Moore

      It’s the kind of aggressive play we need to see. Nick at least looks like he’s trying to use his tools rather than sit and wait for one to hit out (and then whiff).

      • Jefferson Green

        Agreed. He made the defense make a perfect play to ‘get’ him, too.

  12. Jefferson Green

    Looked safe. Maybe not enough to challenge. And amazing throw by Polanco.

    • Mark Moore

      Looked safe to me as well. Though the right angle was pretty clear. But it could be Bell is having his early innings nap, so …

      Throw was a frozen rope, that’s for certain.

  13. Preach

    Kuhl is pitching too well to let opportunities like that go by.

  14. JB

    This teams average has got to be terrible with runners in scoring position.

  15. Roger Garrett

    You just have to put the ball in play.I just don’t get it.

  16. Old-school

    Winker is top 5 in obp and top 10 in exit velocity in all of MLB. …ahead of Mike trout and Aaron judge. At some point, red leg nation needs to admit he’s the best hitter on the team.

    I know that’s really really hard for some of you to admit you are wrong.
    You know who you are.

    He’s still faster than Saurez and Votto and Barnhart and the same as Moose. Keep digging.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      I’ll admit that he is the best at the moment. 🙂 He is on fire.

      Oh, and he just homered again!

    • DaveCT

      Votto remarked the other night how Winker had given some key insight to his (Votto’s) hitting.

      And he’s seemingly seeing pitches before they are thrown. It happens. But it’s still A great thing to see.

    • Charlie Waffles

      Let me try that again.
      Da Wink en fuego.

  17. Mark Moore

    Wait … WHAT???? Winker!!!

    That might fire up Castellanos …

  18. JB

    Winker is hotter than Aquino was last August.

  19. Old-school

    But Winker is slow. And doesn’t hustle.

  20. Gonzo Reds

    Glad I picked him up and started him in all 4 of my fantasy baseball leagues!

  21. JB

    Like I said , some people struggle as DH’s and Winker is thriving at it.

  22. Tom Mitsoff

    Let me throw this comparison out there for you: Jay Bruce used to have unbelievable hot streaks and then would go cold for weeks. Da Wink seems to have the same pattern in his career to date. He’s not consistent. But I love what he’s doing at the moment. 😉

    • Mark Moore

      Ride it while you can …

      Biggest difference was that JB was a pretty good defender and had a cannon of an arm.

    • Roger Garrett

      I agree but you ride him until he cools off then you move him back down and wait for the next streak.

    • Old-school

      Tom- what planet do you live on? Jesse Winker was 2nd in obp in 2018 in the NL… He’s going to be tops in 2020 in obp.ops. and perhaps top exit velocity in all of MLB 1/3 of the way thru….yet reds fans continue to minimize Winker on a team that can’t score this side of Castellanos

    • Old-school

      Jay Bruce is a reds hall of famer.
      Keep digging.

  23. Roger Garrett

    Wink was finally moved up in the order and he should stay there until he doesn’t produce.Its a no brainer to give guys that are hitting the most at bats you can.Its not rocket science.Its just gives the team a better chance to win which is why they play the game I think,

  24. docproc

    The season so far:
    Moose hot for a few days.
    Castellanos hot for a couple of weeks.
    Winker hot the past week.
    Any chance we’re allowed to have more than one hitter hot at the same time?

  25. Indy Red Man

    Winker! 1 hot hitter and 1-2 lukewarm is about we get. Time for other guys to get it going!

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Consistency is what’s missing to date.

      • Old-school

        Where is Jim walker criticizing Winker? Crickets..

  26. VaRedsFan

    Strike 3 to Votto was called a ball before he doubled. That was huge.

  27. Indy Red Man

    Tucker is a swell guy, but I feel like if someone raided his Brownsburg (westside Indy) home and got those blackmail pictures back then we could move on. How and why is he the Reds starting catcher every.single.year(((

    When he approaches the plate its like changing the channel and finding Murder She Wrote. Next

  28. Jack

    Nick Castellanos career OPS .801, Jesse Winker .858 (not counting tonight)

    • Indy Red Man

      To be fair….I started lobbying for NC on here about 3 years when I read that he led mlb in 380+ ft outs. In other words…gabp is about half the size of Comerica

  29. Roger Garrett

    Sonny did what Sonny normally does.Now lets get some more runs or get Wink up with somebody on.

  30. Charlie Waffles

    David Bell hasn’t done anything to screw up tonight’s game. Yet.
    Bell would have to let Sonny Cy at least start the 7th inning at 99 pitches.
    There’s the headline, Sonny Cy up tonight. After being a bit down last start.

  31. Old-school

    Sonny Gray Trevor Bauer and Jesse Winker are MVP candidates. Look at the numbers.

  32. Preach

    Sonny is still pitching strong. He struck out this next guy twice tonight. I’d let him finish the inning

  33. Preach

    Shogo bails out Bell again. Ridiculous, actually.

  34. VaRedsFan

    Breaking News…Sonny Gray threw 110 pitches and his arm didn’t fall off

    • JB

      After watching him run to 2nd its mindblowing that he was pinch ran for.

  35. VaRedsFan

    JVM has gotten good wood on the ball in all 3 AB’s

  36. Jack

    Van Meter runs very well, remind me why he was pinch run for?

  37. Roger Garrett

    The fact that we just can’t hit puts so much pressure on our starters and yet Sonny and Bauer are able to rise up and get people out when one or two mistakes could mean the game.My hat is off to them.

    • Jefferson Green

      Veterans. Tough minded vets. Fun to watch, for sure.

  38. Preach

    Hey, the runner advanced. Don’t stop now.

    • Old-school

      Galvis is ok this year. Not great
      . But decent

  39. VaRedsFan

    Galvis routinely tries to go the other way trying to beat the shift.

  40. Preach

    Wow, didn’t think that one was going to make it

    • Mark Moore

      +100 for that special term … and another +100 just because.

  41. Mark Moore

    And we get the “good Nick C” tonight afterall.

  42. Roger Garrett

    The little things done by JVM,Galvis and Tuck got a run +Shog’s hit got the big guy up and he delivers.Its just great to these guys playing as a team and not as individuals tonight.

  43. RedsMonk65

    Nice to see some solid hitting and base-running throughout the lineup. Need to see more of this over the next, say, 20 games.

  44. Preach

    To win that tundra, all you have to do is drive it down

  45. Mark Moore

    Yeah … that wasn’t a strike a couple of innings ago. Winker knew that much.

  46. Tom Mitsoff

    I am keeping Thornburg around. That might be the most dominant inning of relief pitching by this bullpen this year.

  47. VaRedsFan

    And just like that, Thornberg goes to the #2 guy in the bullpen

  48. Preach

    Tucker smoked that one. Nice stroke on that.

  49. Preach

    I dunno. guy making his major league debut went three and Owen was having a hard time throwing strikes. I think I’m taking that one, and maybe the next one

    • Jefferson Green

      Agreed. Surprised he swung.

  50. Don

    good night to be a Reds fan and player.

    Solid pitching and timing hitting, no defensive miscues. A complete team win, hopefully start of a streak.

    They have done what a winning team does to a team that is 4-13.

    Bauer needs to be able to do the same on Saturday and the offense needs to perform vs the lefty starter.

  51. Mark Moore

    Back of the schneid!!! Fine fashion tonight as well. Finally, the BP didn’t waste a start.

  52. Kevin Patrick

    Tyler Thornberg looks really sharp… I wonder whether he can be as successful against other teams.

  53. TR

    It’s nice to see Winker step forward. The DH is his position.