The Cincinnati Reds (15-21) open up a series against the Pittsburgh Pirates (11-24) with a double header this afternoon, with the first pitch set for 4:10pm ET. Even though the games are all in Pittsburgh, in game two this evening the Reds will be the home team. Cincinnati is sending out Luis Castillo and Trevor Bauer. Pittsburgh counters with Steven Brault and Cody Ponce.

If Cincinnati has any shot at getting into the playoffs they must start winning today. And they need to take full advantage of playing the worst team in baseball eight times the rest of the season.

Game 1 Information

Starting Lineups

Cincinnati Reds

Pittsburgh Pirates

Joey Votto – 1B Erik Gonzalez – SS
Nick Castellanos – RF Kevin Newman – 2B
Matt Davidson – DH Bryan Reynolds – LF
Eugenio Suárez – 3B Colin Moran – DH
Jesse Winker – LF Gregory Polanco – RF
Aristides Aquino – CF Josh Bell – 1B
Curt Casali – C Ke’Bryan Hayes – 3B
Jose Garcia – SS Cole Tucker – CF
Kyle Farmer – 2B Jacob Stallings – C
Luis Castillo – SP Steven Brault – SP

With a lefty on the mound, the Reds are going with a bit of a different lineup. Mike Moustakas is sitting this one out, at least to start. Aristides Aquino gets the nod in center field – which, hopefully with Luis Castillo and his high ground ball rate won’t come back to hurt them. Kyle Farmer and Matt Davidson get starts as right-handed hitters, hoping to take advantage of the platoon advantage.

Starting Pitchers

Pitcher IP ERA WHIP BB% K%
Luis Castillo 37.1 4.10 1.47 9.0% 31.1%
Steven Brault 18.0 4.00 1.44 15.2% 17.7%
Links: Luis Castillo’s Stats | Steven Brault’s Stats

Luis Castillo

2020 Splits

RHH 77 21 4 0 0 4.9% 31.7% .273 .317 .325
LHH 85 19 4 1 4 12.9% 30.6% .260 .353 .507

Pitch Usage in 2020

4-Seam 2-Seam Slider Curve
Velo 97.7 97.7 87.2 88.6
Usage 31% 20% 19% 30%

Steven Brault

Small sample size in 2020 for Steven Brault with just 18.0 innings, but this season he’s gone from about a league average ground ball rate pitcher in the past to a guy with a very high rate of ground balls. His walk rate, which has always been high, is currently at a career high rate, too.

2020 Splits

vsRHH 71 13 1 0 0 15.5% 16.9% .224 .352 .241
vsLHH 8 1 1 0 0 12.5% 25.0% .167 .375 .333

He’s barely faced any lefties at all this season. Right-handed hitters haven’t done much against him other than walk a lot. They’ve managed just one extra-base hit against him in 58 at-bats this year.

Pitch Usage in 2020

4-Seam 2-Seam Slider Curve Change
Velo 93.1 91.7 83.3 75.2 85.7
Usage 41% 9% 26% 2% 21%

Game 2 Information

Starting Lineups

Pittsburgh Pirates

Cincinnati Reds

Kevin Newman – SS Joey Votto – 1B
Adam Frazier – 2B Nick Castellanos – RF
Bryan Reynolds – LF Jesse Winker – DH
Colin Moran – 1B Eugenio Suárez – 3B
Gregory Polanco – RF Mike Moustakas – 2B
Josh Bell – DH Brian Goodwin – CF
Ke’Bryan Hayes – 3B Shogo Akiyama – LF
Anthony Alford – CF Jose Garcia – SS
John Ryan Murphy – C Tucker Barnhart – C
Cody Ponce – SP Trevor Bauer – SP

Starting Pitchers

Pitcher IP ERA WHIP BB% K%
Trevor Bauer 38.0 2.13 0.79 7.6% 37.2%
Cody Ponce 9.0 2.00 1.22 8.3% 13.9%
Links: Trevor Bauer’s Stats | Cody Ponce’s Stats

Trevor Bauer

2020 Splits

RHH 69 5 1 0 0 8.7% 37.7% .081 .174 .097
LHH 76 14 2 0 6 6.6% 36.7% .200 .263 .486

Trevor Bauer’s been good this year. Real good. But if you have to look at where someone has found some success against him, lefties have been able to put the ball in the seats against him.

Pitch Usage in 2020

4-Seam 2-Seam Cutter Change Slider Curve
Velo 93.8 94.5 85.0 84.5 80.8 79.6
Usage 51% 1% 22% 1% 15% 11%

Cody Ponce

There hasn’t been much big league action for Cody Ponce in his career. The 26-year-old has all of 9.0 total innings in Major League Baseball, and he only has 18.2 innings of Triple-A under his belt, too. He hasn’t spent much time starting in the last three seasons, making just 17 starts to go along with 49 relief appearances.

2019 MINOR LEAGUE Splits

vsRHH 135 29 6 0 4 7.4% 28.1% .246 .308 .398
vsLHH 130 25 7 0 2 7.7% 24.6% .217 .292 .330

With just 9.0 innings this year, I thought it would be more useful to look at his 2019 splits at the minor league level where he threw 63.0 innings – mostly out of the bullpen, and mostly in Double-A.

Pitch Usage in 2020

4-Seam 2-Seam Cutter Change Curve
Velo 93.7 93.3 89.7 85.0 78.0
Usage 37% 1% 31% 8% 23%

When and Where

  • Game time: 4:10pm ET
  • Where: PNC Park, Pittsburgh
  • Watch: Fox Sports Ohio,
  • Listen: 700 WLW AM (Cincinnati area)
  • Forecast: 77°, sunny, 0% chance of rain

NL Central Standings

Team Wins Losses GB
Cubs 22 15
Cardinals 14 14 3.5
Brewers 17 19 4.5
Reds 16 21 6.0
Pirates 11 24 10.0

News and Notes

The Taxi Squad

Today will have right-handed pitcher José De León as the 29th player on the roster for the double header. The Reds are traveling with a full 5-man taxi squad this road trip. Joining José De León on the taxi squad is infielder Alex Blandino, catcher Tyler Stephenson, outfielder Travis Jankowski, and right-handed pitcher Sal Romano.

Wade Miley could be back soon. Nick Senzel’s return date remains uncertain

Nick Senzel is still working out at Prasco Park, but his return timetable remains uncertain. Wade Miley, however, could return on this road trip if things go well today as he’s set to throw at Prasco Park.

Reds Nick Senzel’s return still uncertain, Wade Miley could return soon

Phillip Ervin claimed by the Mariners

In the “in case you missed it on the off day” category, Phillip Ervin was claimed by the Seattle Mariners on Thursday.

Seattle Mariners claim Phillip Ervin on waivers from the Reds

Reds complete their trade with the Angels

Also in the same category, the Reds sent left-handed pitching prospect Jose Salvador to the Los Angeles Angels to complete their trade for Brian Goodwin, which originally included a player to be named later. Salvador was that player.

Cincinnati Reds trade LHP Jose Salvador to the Angels

Updated Playoff Odds

As the Reds enter the 4-game series with Pittsburgh, Fangraphs now projects them to finish 29-31 and gives them a 38.5% chance of making the playoffs. Baseball Reference now gives them a 20.7% chance of making the playoffs.

110 Responses

  1. Charlie Waffles

    I hope Bell is going to manage these games like they are an elimination game. They are more or less. Bell’s lineup is interesting, not bad.
    Glad Trevor Bauer is going in the second game today. That didn’t work out well with him pitching the 1st game of a DH last week. I still shake my head on that decision to not pitch him at night in the last DH.
    Glad to see Big Sal make it on the taxi squad for the first time this season. Maybe he is inching his way back to the big league team. That would really be news if Finnegan could at least make a taxi squad before its over.
    If you are into watching and appreciating talent even on opposing teams, check out PIT’s new 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes who they just called up. He is a good one. If he stays healthy he will be one of their main building blocks going forward. I saw him in the minors a few times. Nice player. He could become “that player” that Polanco was supposed to be for PIT. But Polanco has had a slew of injuries.

  2. Vada

    Ok, let’s assume the Reds do take all 6 remaining games with Pittsburgh. That would put them 23-21. That leaves 15 games with Cubs x3, Cards x3, Brewers x3, White Sox x3, and Twins x3. Out of those 15 games the Reds would have to win 6 of the 9 games to finish 31-29.

    The BIG question is can the Reds really win all 8 against the Pirates when history has shown otherwise. Even if a miracle does happen it won’t be easy to take 6 of 9 against 5 strong teams.

    So then, do the Reds make the Playoffs and win #8 seed and then expected to take 2 of 3 from the #1 seed?

    If I had $1,000 I know where I would place my bet on ANY aspect of the above situations.

  3. JB

    Not sure about the worst team in baseball. They started out 3-12 but are 7-7 in their last 14. They compete. The Reds? 5-9 in last 14. The Reds are 2 wins up on St. Louis and 1 win back of Milwaukee. Cardinals have 4 against Cubs. Reds need to distance themselves from Cardinals in the win column. Take care of your own and good things will happen.

    • Matt WI

      From the radio call I’m listening to… sounds like the Pirates aren’t playing real clean defense and made an out at home. Must crush.

      • JB

        The Reds are finally getting some breaks.

  4. Old- school

    Jose Garcia singles in Aristides Aquino

  5. Matt WI

    Great job by Castillo pitching out of trouble. Castellanos owes him some offense in return for the stress.

  6. Matt WI

    I mean, I thought only the Reds were going scoreless after getting runners on 2nd and 3rd and 0 outs these days. That was awesome.

  7. Mark Moore

    OK – got through that one. I agree, Nick C. owes a blast or two.

  8. ClevelandRedsFan

    Am I the only here annoyed that Castellanos swings at the first pitch he sees…and it’s outside the zone…and right after Votto took a 4 pitch walk…and after Cowboy said you need to be patient against this guy. You have to assume David Bell has the same scouting report.

    • JB

      Agree. When he swung at the first pitch I realized he fits right in with the others. Sometimes they just dont think.

    • Indy Red Man

      Hocus pocus…3-0 disappeared

  9. Mark Moore

    A little luck for us … but OUCH!! That looks like it hurts.

  10. ClevelandRedsFan

    Holy cats. Reds manufactured a run. I love it!

  11. Mark Moore

    Again, a little luck on the lack of communication (I got it – you take it).

  12. Matt WI

    Lots of things sound like they’re breaking the Reds’ way. I like it! 3-0. Lock it down, Castillo. Let’s see a CG SH

  13. ClevelandRedsFan

    Double holy cats! Reds scored on a bloop hit with Castillo on the mound. I also love it!

  14. Matt WI

    Even for a 7 inning game, I love that they are wearing down the starter and will hopefully be pressing their bullpen over the two games. I came for a sweep tonight.

    • Mark Moore

      I forgot this was a 7-inning sprint. That’s even better.

  15. Mark Moore

    OK, we drank a lot of our “luck” up that inning. Hope we’ve saved some. Let’s sit the Pie-rats down and then the rookie can lead off 🙂

  16. JB

    Castillo has to realize he has the shadows for at least this inning. He needs to use it in his fsvor.

  17. Mark Moore

    C’mon Luis … dial it in here!!

  18. AVinVA

    Brantley, Lecure and Day are a nice team. Especially enjoy Brantley and LeCure discussing strategy.

  19. Mark Moore

    Yep … didn’t dial it in. Has to face Polanco now.

  20. Mark Moore

    Not the way to get win #1 in your books …. ARGH!!!!

  21. RedAlert

    Dude is doing it to himself ….self destruct

  22. Mark Moore

    “Escaped” with only 2 runs. We’d better cover his nibbling butt. He’s likely to keep doing this next inning as well. Not acting like a #2 or #3 guy at all.

  23. Don

    Keep the 1 run lead.
    Cannot enjoy success

    • Mark Moore

      Why we cannot have nice things comes to mind … #AAAAGH!!

  24. Don

    Teams needs Castillo from inning 1 and 2 in 4th. Forget about 3rd inning and restart in the 4th, get out the 7,8,9 hitters in order. Do not nibble vs the bottom 1/3rd

  25. Don

    not the way to start the 4th. Get the bullpen up and do not let this one get away.

  26. Mark Moore

    Looking like a lost cause already tonight. He started nibbling now he’s throwing cookies to weak hitters. We didn’t do much other than spot him a 3-0 lead he squandered. Just piling on the ugly.

    I’m thinking it’s time to go get some dinner and maybe do an errand with my missus.

  27. Don

    got the 1st out. Needs to have a pitchers best friend now.

  28. Mark Moore

    Minor redemption there. Now we need to play add on.

    • Don

      Time for Castellanos to make up for his error and start off the 5th with a hit.

    • JB

      Bought time Castellanos. I dont think he even has a hit against St. Louis this year. He needs to hit against these central teams.

  29. Don

    made up for the error with a HR

    Added on one.

  30. Matt WI

    Castellanos restores his honor to Castillo. Whew! Big run.

  31. Melvin

    Broke up the back to back of Casty and Winker. HMM

    • Don

      lefty starter, will be back hitting 2-3 in game 2

      • Melvin

        Yeah but if Winker is hitting, especially when most aren’t, what does it matter right?

      • Don

        No clue why other than Bell being Bell

  32. Don

    Castillo only at 59 pitchers, needs to get through the 5th. Bell going to see if he can to qualify for the win.

  33. Hanawi

    So Aquino has been on base each of his first two times up and you pinch hit for him? Bell has mind-boggling little feel for the game and when to make moves.

    • Melvin

      They were talking on Redleg Nation Radio not too long ago about how Bell seems to, one way or another, have to always make himself in the limelight. I’ve never met David Bell and don’t know whether he has an ego problem, insecurity problem, or whatever. It sure seems like it at times though.

      • Don

        Well when you have one of only 30 jobs in the world with the same job description, that does take someone with an ego.

      • Melvin

        haha I’m not sure I agree with that one. If a manager is not willing to swallow his pride and think about what’s best for his team rather than what he wants to do to keep himself in the limelight then that manager needs the BOOT for sure.

  34. Don

    Solid inning by Castillo vs 2,3,4.

    6 outs to go.

  35. Don

    Neverauskas cannot seem to find the plate to the Reds hitters hopefully will not help them

  36. Don

    Another hard hit ball right at someone. To bad for Garcia.

  37. bug

    It is so refreshing to have great TV announcers. Jim Day and the Cowboy are FANTASTIC!!! And Jeff Brantley is VERY SMART! He should be the next manager. Common sense. Ole school. Stay on offense as a hitter or as a pitcher. Don’t be afraid., or doubt you talent. It’s as easy as that. Kudos to the Reds for making the change in the booth.

  38. Melvin

    Moose good hit the other way. Good job!

  39. Melvin

    Good catch by Goodwin. Glad he didn’t trip over that beard. 🙂

  40. Don

    win #1 – Reds do not make it easy but they get the win

    Bauer’s turn in game 2 to dominate

  41. Charlie Waffles

    Bauer has a wicked breaking ball. I hope he is around for a couple of more years to mentor Tejay Antone. I hope Antone is picking Bauer’s brain every opportunity he gets.

    • Mark Moore

      That would mean 2 or 3 1-year contracts where we outbid other contenders (and are contending ourselves).

  42. Mark Moore

    Back after dinner and errands … got to see a bit more of game 1 on the phone and just watched the Geno-blast in the top of the first for game 2. A little concerned that Trevor burned through as many pitches as he did so far … but we’ll see what we see.

  43. Mark Moore

    Fielding equivalent of a TOOTBLAN by Votto. Not helping Bauer with that stuff.

  44. VaRedsFan

    Votto has not caught 2 catchable throws in the doubleheader

    • VaRedsFan

      Iggy bailed him out in game 1, but he has cost Bauer and the Reds 3 unearned runs

    • Melvin

      It doesn’t matter if Votto is losing it or at the top of his game. That’s just not acceptable. It doesn’t look like to me that he’s seeing it. If I was a major league manager and had the resources I’d order an eye test. Eye problems some times develop quickly.

  45. Frankie Tomatoes

    Joey Votto might be doing well at the plate again, but he’s been in a real slump with the glove. He’s looked like a guy who has never played first base before with his positioning on that Garcia throw. No clue what happened with the Farmer throw earlier but you have to catch that.

    • Mark Moore

      And look what it cost us that inning …

  46. Mark Moore

    Well … that’s not good for us. Not good at all since Ponce is a Cy Young candidate when he faces us.

  47. VaRedsFan

    Should be an error on Goodwin too, playing that double into 3 bags.
    Then Tucker instead of getting the ball first, looked to see if the runner was coming, so he took his eye off it, and fumbled it away.

    • jeffversion1

      So far I’m not super-enamored with Goodwin’s defense in centerfield. I’d rather have Akiyama there.

  48. JB

    Bauer not happy with Votto. Letting him know.

  49. Mark Moore

    Moose picking up Votto, Goodwin, Tucker, and Bauer with that swing.

    Now Goodwin needs to pick up himself.

    • That that had had

      One run from moose does not make up for the three runs and the game that Votto cost the Reds . Also cost Bauer an additional 10 pitches that inning .

      No excuse for Vottos bush league defense. Embarrassing for a guy who is being paid a half a million dollars PER WEEK.

  50. Mark Moore

    Seeing eye hits … killing us here.

    Bauer looking like he doesn’t have it right now.

    • JB

      It would be 3-1 if somebody could catch the ball.

      • Jack

        Maybe, maybe not. Votto didn’t give up all those hits afterwards, Bauer needs to own his own mistakes too

  51. Jon

    Votto hurts the Reds more than he helps.

    • Jack

      Nonsense. Most pitchers when a fielder makes an error say “I’ll pick you up”. Bauer fell apart like a little baby

  52. Mark Moore

    Very frustrating to watch that unfold. Geno and Moose did what they needed to do but nothing from the others.

  53. JB

    Absolutely stupid. Reds need a base hit so Bell sends up the guy who swings to hit it out of the stadium . Why not Farmer or Galvis or anybody but Davidson

    • JB

      And now he puts Farmer in left for defense. Why not let him bat? Holy moly.

    • RedAlert

      Split with the stupid pirates is no good – another pathetic offensive performance

    • Redgoggles

      I agree. A slap hitter like Blandino would have been a better choice there. Our offensive mindset from top to bottom is aligned to the 3 outcomes. Boring, inconsistent and losing baseball.

  54. Redgoggles

    Back to swing for the fences……works every time, except when it don’t.

    • Mark Moore

      Which is more often than it does work

  55. RedAlert

    Once again David Bell doesn’t seem know the Right strings to pull – dude is lost at sea Without oars

    • RedAlert

      Unbelievable how inept this offense is and has been

      • RedAlert

        Not unbelievable how inept Bell is as a manager ….

  56. JB

    What’s the chance Bell let’s our worst hitter(Barnhart) hit? Cant hurt anybody’s feelings you know.

    • RedAlert

      Awful loss , just awful
      This team just sucks top to bottom – can‘t even sweep against worst team in baseball . Barnhart stinks – but let’s keep letting him get playing time . Pitiful

    • Melvin

      Yeah. I saw him batting at the last when we needed base runners one run down. I couldn’t believe it. Bell never pinch hits for him even in clutch situations with the game on the line. ?????

    • VaRedsFan

      Nope…lefty with pop sits.
      Weak tap to the pitcher instead.

  57. Jack

    with the game on the line the 3 Reds hitters in the last chance are batting .200, 185 and .182

    • RedAlert

      Inexcusable for Bell … until this guy gets fired nothing gonna change with these players/lineups – but it won’t because there is too much nepotism in this organization for that to happen . Product on the field ain’t working – and it starts with manger

      • That that had had

        Votto and Bell have destroyed this team.

        No chance Bauer will consider coming back after this season and who would blame him.

  58. Mark Moore

    A 3-1 win translates into a 4-3 loss … if we don’t somehow win out the rest of the weekend, we’re completely done because it won’t get any easier going forward.

    Night all … catch you tomorrow.

  59. zigbeenuthouse

    2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020….just add another season to the last several in terms of disappointment and futility. When you don’t hit you don’t win. When you kick it around and help the other team you don’t win. I feel for the pitchers on this club as they are good. Hitters suck.

  60. VaRedsFan

    Our last 4 batters in a game we had to have.
    Davidson strikeout
    Akiyama – weak pop out
    Garcia – weak tap to pitcher
    Tucker – weak infield pop.

    • Jack

      Exactly what their batting averages suggested we would get. Who would have thought? Not Bell apparently

  61. Indy Red Man

    13-8 to reach .500

    They haven’t been to Wrigley yet and still have to play the White Sox and Twins. I’m going to put a fork in them and hope the NFL somehow happens. As usual I hope I’m wrong, but with this organization it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that losing is the end result.