Here’s the bad news: the Cincinnati Reds (18-24) have to face Yu Darvish and the Chicago Cubs (25-18) tonight, and he’s been one of the best pitchers in the league this season. Here’s the good news: Trevor Bauer, who has also been one of the best pitchers in the league this season, is pitching for the Reds. It’s set up to be a pitcher’s duel at Wrigley Field.

First pitch is at 8:15 EDT. If you’re like me and are inclined to watch no matter how bad the team is playing, the game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Ohio, for the out-of-market fans, and 700 WLW for the radio listeners.

Starting Pitchers

Trevor Bauer 44.0 2.05 3.17 3.31 0.86 35.90% 7.60%
Yu Darvish 50.0 1.44 2.01 2.60 0.88 33.00% 4.20%


Bauer was the victim of some terrible defense in his last outing at Pittsburgh on Friday. He pitched six innings of a seven inning doubleheader and only allowed one earned run. The other three runs were unearned, mainly due to a Joey Votto error. Bauer did continue his impressive strikeout streak with seven more strikeouts on Friday. For the season, he is up to 61 strikeouts in 44.0 innings and looking for more.

After only allowing two runs in the first 26.1 innings of his 2020 season, it looks on the surface that Bauer has hit a little bit of a slump, allowing 11 runs in 17.2 innings. However, when you factor in that three of those runs were unearned and two of those were home runs given up to Anthony Rizzo on August 29, six runs in 17.2 innings looks a lot better. Bauer’s ERA still sits at 2.05 and his FIP is at 3.17, so he’s still performing above league average and still in the conversation for a Cy Young award.


Darvish faced the Reds eleven days ago and it was not good for the Redlegs. He pitched six innings of shut-out baseball while striking out eight and walking only two. Darvish has always been a good pitcher, but it appears he has taken his game to the next level in 2020. He’s pitching like the top candidate for the Cy Young award, with an ERA of 1.44 and a FIP of 2.01 and 63 strikeouts to only eight walks in 50.0 innings.

A big reason for his success is that he tweaked his fastball in the off-season. Darvish has always been a pitcher who throws a lot of pitches. Statcast says he throws six pitches, but he really throws around 11. His four-seam fastball has always been a weakness of his. During the off-season, Darvish worked on understanding more of the analytics behind why it wasn’t as good. An article by Matt Kelly from explains in a little more detail on how he tweaked his spin rate, and how it’s paying off for him in big ways. His whiff% for his four-seam fastball, has gone from 29.3% in 2019 to 44.7% in 2020.


1. Joey Votto (1B)
2. Nick Castellanos (RF)
3. Jesse Winker (DH)
4. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
5. Mike Moustakas (2B)
6. Shogo Akiyama (LF)
7. Brian Goodwin (CF)
8. Freddy Galvis (SS)
9. Tucker Barnhart (C)
1. Ian Happ (CF)
2. Willson Contreras (DH)
3. Anthony Rizzo (1B)
4. Javier Baez (SS)
5. Kyle Schwarber (LF)
6. Victor Caratini (C)
7. Jason Heyward (RF)
8. David Bote (3B)
9. Ildemaro Vargas (2B)

Aristides Aquino is hitting .400 off Darvish with two home runs and four RBI in five at-bats…. but he’s also not in the lineup.

Here’s hoping that Bauer can actually get Rizzo out tonight.

News and Notes

It’s Roberto Clemente Day. There was a good story written about him and his wife over on today.

José DeLeón, who is from Puerto Rico, will be wearing #21 tonight in honor of Clemente.