The Reds and Cubs square off  tonight in  game two of the current three game series at Wrigley Field in the toddling town of Chicago.  The Reds need a win tonight to avoid being mathematically eliminated from winning the series.  But given the way the Reds season has unwound, losing the series would be just the first of several mathematical eliminations ahead in the month.

Starting Pitchers

Mike  Minor starts for the Reds. Javier Assad goes for the Cubs.

Pitcher IP ERA WHIP BB/9 K/9
Mike Minor (LH) 84.1 5.98 1.53 3.3 7.2
Javier Assad (RH) 10.0 0.90 1.60 5.4 5.4
Links: Mike Minor’s Stats | Javier Assad’s Stats

Mike Minor

What is there to say to Reds fans about Mike Minor’s season that hasn’t already been said? How about he is what he is at  this point in his career? Unfortunately for Minor, the Reds, and Reds fans, that is a not very effective starting pitcher. On average, he lasts 1 out into the 6th inning giving up about 2/3 of a run for every inning he pitches. Perhaps the “sore shoulder” Minor suffered in spring which held him out of action until June has been a factor in his performance; or maybe not. The possible glimmer of hope is that in his last 2 starts, Minor has pitched 11.2 innings with a 3.09 ERA.


RHH 291 77 21 0 16 27 48 .303 .381 .575
LHH 94 21 3 2 4 4 19 .233 .266 .400

Pitch Usage

4 Seam Change Curve Slider
Velo 90.4 84.2 79.1 85.3
Usage 41.9% 23.8% 10.4% 23.7%

Javier Assad

Javier Assad, a 25 year old from south of the border down Mexico way, hopes he is at the opposite end of a long career from Mike Minor. Tonight he makes his 4 MLB appearance (3rd start).

Assad was signed by the Cubs seven years ago as an international free agent. Coming into 2022  He was not among the Cubs highly rated prosects. However, he caught attention of the organization at AA this season, advanced to AAA and on August 23 was promoted to the Cubs. Assad compiled a sub 3.00 ERA at both the AA level (23 games) and AAA level (7 games) this season.

Assad doesn’t dazzle with his stuff; but, he seems to have mastered the art of pitching effectively. At least the Cubs hope so.

Checking our usage chart below, note Assad uses 3 different fastball types totaling to over 80% of his pitches. He favors the cutter over his 4 seam and sinker. In addition to the speed and movement differential among the fastball types watch for him to create confusion and timing issues by slipping a full slider in among the cutter offerings.


RHH 30 6 1 0 0 4 4 .231 .333 .269
LHH 16 4 2 0 0 2 2 .286 .375 .429

Pitch Usage

4 Seam Sinker Cutter Change Curve Slider
Velo 93.3 92.5 87.4 85.0 75.3 80.9
Usage 22.0% 23.1% 37.1% 5.9% 5.4% 6.5%



Hunter Strickland threw 26 pitches (1.1 innings) on Tuesday. Art Warren need 33 pitches to navigate just 0.2 inning. Both would seem unlikely to work tonight.

Buck Farmer and Alexis Diaz did not see action Tuesday and should be ready to go in leverage situations if needed.


Hayden Wesneski  followed Wade Miley to the mound Tuesday for Cubs and finished the game. Everyone else should be good to go.

Starting Lineups


SP: Mike Minor


SP: Javier Assad

1. T.J. Friedl (CF)
2. Jonathan India (DH)
3. Kyle Farmer (3B)
4. Jake Fraley (LF)
5. Spencer Steer (2B)
6. Donovan Solano (1B)
7. Aristides Aquino (RF)
8. Jose Barrero (SS)
9. Chuckie Robinson (C)
1. Nick Madrigal (2B)
2. Seiya Suzuki (RF)
3. Ian Happ (LF)
4. Franmil Reyes (DH)
5. Nico Hoerner (SS)
6. Nelson Velazquez (CF)
7. Yan Gomes (C)
8. P.J. Higgins (1B)
9. Christopher Morel (3B)

Spencer Steer makes his first MLB start at 2B

Bobby Nightengale (@nightengalejr) notes NIck Senzel remains out the lineup following being scratched die to a sprained ankle Tuesday.

News, Notes and Commentary

And here is the link to Doug’s deeper dive into EDLC’s big August

Not quite  ready but hopefully very close…..

But Wait! Here is more starting pitcher rehab good news!

Jim’s Soapbox Minute

Tuesday night in 3.1 innings (10 outs) of work the Reds bullpen issued 7 walks and hit a batter. Along the way they also allowed 5 hits. This works out to a WHIP of 3.9. It is probably a miracle they gave up “only” 6 runs which translated into a bullpen ERA a tad higher than 16.

I’m worn out and down by a lot of things about this Reds season but the bullpen takes the cake. It is past time to quit trying to reinvent the bullpen wheel and get back to a proven scheme which works. Find guys who can spot and command a decent fastball in the zone for strikes with a enough of a change up or mediocre breaking pitch to get by working off their fastball.


When, Where, and Weather

Game time: 7:40pm ET
Where: Wrigley Field Chicago, IL
Watch: Bally Sports Ohio, (out of market)
Listen: 700 WLW AM (Cincinnati area)
Forecast: 75°, Partly cloudy, NE wind 5mph; 10% chance of rain

Data and stats courtesy of Fangraphs and Baseball Reference

94 Responses

  1. Melvin

    Well your Soapbox Minute sounds pretty accurate and in part, pretty sad. Maybe it’s just me but a bullpen ERA of over 16 doesn’t sound too good. 🙂 I’d still like to know about free pizza for 11 walks. Does it work the same way as 11 strikeouts? lol I guess not since it’s not a home game and I didn’t have a ticket anyway. Haven’t been to a Reds game all year.

  2. LDS

    Come on Jim, relief pitchers that throw strikes? What’s next, hitters that’s hit? Starters that can go 6 or more innings? Players that master their position? Next you’ll be expecting them to win games. SMH. It’s almost like you think it’s the 90s or even the 70s.

    • Melvin

      That Jim is a pretty silly guy considering what he expects.

    • Bill J

      Excuse me LDS but how does a player master his position he is not kept in his position.

      • LDS

        Exactly the point, Bill J. He doesn’t. Bell’s obsession with utility players is not benefiting the team.

  3. Redsvol

    Jim – nice pregame report. I couldn’t agree more on the bullpen. Peronsally I wouldn’t mind seeing everyone but Diaz and San Martin (only because he’s a lefty) gone from the 2023 bullpen. The bullpen is full of guys that are not young and should know how to hit the strike zone by now. They can’t, so they should be gone. Cardinals bring up 2-3 new guys per year that know how to throw strikes out of the bullpen. There really is no excuse for our bullpen anymore. I know we have to put up with it for another 25 days but let’s clean house after that. The guys in triple A aren’t any better. Too many walks, all of them.

    • Kevin H

      I still say Buck Farmer deserves a shot as well. He has settled into a nice roll.

      I say let the young guns pitch out the pen. Petty, Williamson, Abbott, and Phillips, They can’t do much worse I don’t think.

      Not saying it should happen as reds will need starting rotation help as well.

      • Jim Walker

        Back when I was as young or younger than the players, it was not that unusual for pitching prospects to cut their MLB teeth working out of the bullpen. But that doesn’t seem to fit the development plan any more. Maybe it is because the guys good enough to do this are so high ceiling the teams don’t want to burn service time with them in the pen?

        Don Gullett and Mario Soto are two pretty good pitchers who spent at least a season at the front ends of their careers working primarily or even exclusively out of the bullpen. Same with Jose Rijo.

      • Doc

        Some guy named Bob Gibson also started in the pen.

        In my view, it is free agency after six years that ruined what used to be a smooth developmental path.

  4. Old-school

    Outstanding pregame synopsis Jim

    Love the bullpen who is in and who is out regular reports

    Ive been frustrated for years on the organizational approach to the retread yesteryear non roster invitee bullpen. I dont think it improves in 2023…… Sigh

  5. Dennis Westrick

    So, we start our Million Dollar Man! Sorry, make that the 10 million dollar man! With Minor’s 3 wins on the season that equates to $3.33 million dollars per win! In any case, hope Minor can get thru 6 innings tonight and give our stellar bullpen a chance to hold a lead and NOT walk 11 batters!

    • Doc

      Yes, but at only a million dollars per loss, losses are a much better bargain, and easier to acquire!

      • Dennis Westrick

        Drat! Forgot about the left side of the equation!

  6. eddiek957

    I’m not happy seeing a lineup missing Lopez

    • Dennis Westrick

      I’m not happy Bell is still the manager!

    • 2020ball

      Which other younger player are you sitting instead?

    • LDS

      I have no problem with Lopez playing ahead of Farmer

    • 2020ball

      I dont know enough about Lopez’s defense to say whether he’s better than Farmer. Their bats are similar, one with more power, the other a better average. I have some major concerns regarding Lopez’s power, but he looks like a nice future bench piece.

      • LDS

        I’d take average over power any day, particularly if the batter can hit to all fields. The HR, SO, or BB strategy is a loser for most teams, as is the focus on launch angle.

      • 2020ball

        I said nothing of launch angle. Both power and avg are important. Neither of the guys we are talking about are HR, BB, SO guys.

  7. Old-school

    Tough play by Barrero. Nick Madrigal 100.3 backhand tough short hop and an athletic play for the out. Barrero can play SS at the MLB level. He cant hit.

    • LDS

      He has hit before and he will hit again. If not for the Reds, then elsewhere. Give him time.

      • 2020ball

        I’m willing to give him the chance to turn it around, hoping a normal year next year helps if he can stay injury free. Saying he can’t hit at this stage is premature IMO, but he hasnt shown much of anything to inspire much confidence so I get it.

      • LDS

        That I agree with. But I think he still has potential. Though someone here said his regression wasn’t typical of hamate surgery, who knows?

      • 2020ball

        Hamate should sap power, but his bat to ball skills have been bad so far in his MLB time. Next year will tell us a lot and he needs to earn his spot soon if he wants to keep it. I’m not a fan of just giving guys starting roles just because theyre young if they havent earned it.

      • 2020ball

        Theres potential there even if its as a .650-.700 OPS with above avg defense.

      • Doc

        Do you apply that same reasoning to Aquino? He has hit once, actually more than once, in AAA, and for one brief shining month his first trip.

        Barrero has not yet matched Aquino’s record.

      • LDS

        Yes Doc, I do. I think the way the Reds have used the various players, shifting positions, platooning, shuffling back and forth to Louisville, etc. has hampered development of the younger guys. I don’t think Ward or Zinter either one have been good for the team. Senzel, in particular, has been publicly vocal about it. And he has been one of the biggest “recipients” of moving around. Coupled with his injury frequency, I’m not sure that he isn’t more expendable than AA.

  8. Old-school

    Minor is killing the infielders. Steer has to field the 108.1 mph short hop. Minor and the bullpen need replaced.

    • Dennis Westrick

      Are you suggesting Minor is a major health hazard? Maybe they have a vaccine for that!

      • Old-school

        He’s vomiting on the mound again. Thats a health hazard right? Homer bailey was 1-14 in 2018. Hes the worst of the worst but please give Minor some nausea meds.

  9. JB

    Everytime the Cubs square to bunt, Sadak about has a heart attack.

  10. Old-school

    Lost in that miraculous blind backhand stand by minor,,,was a great turn by Steer at 2b and a hard throw to first.

    • LDS

      That makes him 6-13 with 2HRs over his last 5 games. That should earn him a spot on the bench for the next game, right next to Lopez.

  11. Old-school

    Billy Hamilton part 2 with the style points. 438 feet

  12. VaRedsFan

    I’ve said it before… I hate the micro-second with no contact to the bag replay overturns.

    • Old-school

      Agree VA

      Years ago, son travel coach who was an umpire and really good, said he always called players out if ball beat bag and glove there. Risks injury if you dont and encourages injury.

  13. Mark Moore

    Saw the AA blast. Pretty. Happ didn’t move a muscle.

    Didn’t catch what happened with Barrero (stuff going on in the neighborhood, sheriff has been called). Just saw the umpire handing him his helmet.

    Hoping we can get something done against these Stupid Cubbies.

    • Old-school

      Barrero stole 2nd,, head first slide. 8 mm hand in a microsecond came off base and overturned. Dumb overturn.
      Lock the doors!

  14. Mark Moore

    Rake Fraley with an oppo HR. That helps.

  15. Mark Moore

    Nice around the horn twin killing

  16. LDS

    Well, Minor isn’t exactly dominating the Cubs, but he hasn’t walked anyone yet. That’s something, I guess.

    • Mark Moore

      At this point, we’ll take that. If he gets 6 innings in, even better.

  17. Mark Moore

    That Statcast view of AA’s blast was bea-u-ti-ful!

  18. Beaufort Red

    Barrero’s hamate has nothing to do with his pitch selection. OMG another strikeout! Those that are hoping for a turnaround are destined for another crappy season. Keep dreaming he’ll become a MLB hitter. Ain’t gonna happen.

    • Old-school

      Im officially adding Barrero to Aquino as hopeless.

      Both have zero idea of the strike zone or plate discipline.

      If you cant decide in a half second what to swing at….you cant play baseball at any level. Barrero and Aquino are terrible hitters. Great defenders. They both strike out >40% of the time. Thats insane.

      Barrero is 24 so he can go to AAA. Farmer figured it out 30 to hang on a few years.

      • LDS

        Ever looked up Schmidt’s SO rate his first couple of years? And that was before batters were all focused on hitting HRs

      • MBS

        De La Cruz is nearly ready, and Marte is heating up. My guess is Barrero will have a short leash in 23. I’m hoping Barrero finally gets it, or holds on long enough for Marte or McLain to take over. EDLC could become the best CF since ED, and that’s saying something.

      • Old-school

        Where is this Mike Schmidt narrative coming from?
        His career K% was 18.7%???
        His first full year was 30.7% but he had a 14 % walk rate and hit 18 home runs.

        His 2nd year his K rate was 20.1% with a BB% of 15.5% and he hit 36 home runs with a WR of 9.4

        Stop with the Aquino Barrero comparisons. Thats insanity.

      • LDS

        The strategy of the game has changed. You can find plenty of examples of earlier players who struck out frequently who improved dramatically. That Barrero strikes out too much, at this point, is no big deal. Aquino is another matter. However, until the Reds get a decent hitting coach and a sense of accountability, I’m not sure we know who’s good and who isn’t. Mediocrity is accepted, if not encouraged.

  19. MBS

    Fraley and Friedl make the lineup so much better.

    • Mark Moore

      Fraley as long as we have a RHSP on the mound. And “better” is most definitely relative this season.

      • LDS

        Agreed, Fraley against a LH’er is to be avoided.

  20. Mark Moore

    Again tonight with the incompetent HP Chumpire … I’ve heard Cowboy chirping about it plenty tonight. If he’s consistent, it isn’t as bad, but still …

  21. Bet on Red

    and the cubs redding again…. steer with 2 RBIs…. send him down!!!!lol

    • Mark Moore

      Only 1 RBI on that hit. The other run came via the error.

  22. Mark Moore

    I like this. It’s way more funner than yesterday.


  23. Mark Moore

    1 run on 10 hits … a very Reds-like line so far for the Stupid Cubs.

    • David

      In 5-2/3 innnings pitched, Minor only gave up one walk.

      I also think a lot of those Cub hits were ground balls. That’s Minor; pitch to contact and let them hit the ball into the ground.

      He’s not great, and not that good, but he has pitched better the last few weeks.
      Soon, Greene will be back, and…possibly Overton.
      I don’t know exactly what the status of Ashcraft is, but the year may end up with a moderately good starting rotation.

      • Mark Moore

        Absolutely agree on all points. +1,000

      • JB

        They said yesterday that Ashcrsft might get a couple of starts.

    • Dennis Westrick

      Noticed the same stat Mark! Thought the lines had been switched.

  24. William

    I have not seen the ability to hit MLB pitching in Barrero. Nothing to get worried about. If he is not hitting in 2024, one of these good young prospects will eventually take his position. Hope he figures it out.

  25. Optimist

    Marte and McLain have almost identical, under 1:2 BB/K ratios. EDLC still not near that yet. All are still young enough to improve/develop that. Barrero may still be fixable, Aquino, likely not. Still, of all of them, Aquino needs the least improvement given his other skills, but time is almost up for him.

  26. Beaufort Red

    That Barrero strikes out is no big deal! Wow that’s insane. Like Old School said the Schmidt comparison is ludicrous. He hasn’t even proved he can hit AAA pitching. Keep on believing though and if the Reds hang on to this mindset next year will be just as this year.

    • LDS

      There are other examples besides Schmidt. Barrero hit over .300 last year in Louisville with a .986 OPS. And the Reds will be bad next year. Get used to it. If they don’t address the management issues, they are never going to be good.

      • Indy Red Man

        I doubt Barrero ever hits, but you’re correct about next year. They’re going to lose so Barrero will get more chances. They have nothing to lose and alot to gain.

    • 2020ball

      I dont see a reason to give up on him, and I keep running him out there this year given our record and new team direction. With his defense he doesnt have to hit like an allstar to be a useful player. I dont think theres anything he can really learn in AAA anymore, but he has options so its there if someone else emerges.

      That said, hes proved nothing. A lot of people were advocating just playing him and watching him struggle prior to this year, and we’re seeing about what I expected now. I think they did it at the right time though, and you might as well give him a fresh year and see what happens.

  27. Indy Red Man

    Combining 2021-22, Fraley has 357 at-bats with 18 Hrs, 13 steals, and 65 walks. That left-center stroke is especially encouraging because it reminds me of vintage Joey.
    Fraley is a find!

  28. Beaufort Red

    Barrero believers just keep dreaming. Less than mediocrity is a great standard to be satisfied with. What was he hitting this year in Louisville? Hamate is no excuse. I would hope it’s healed by now.

    • LDS

      It’s not a question of being “Barrero Believers”. It’s the reality of the numbers. Barrero has a grand total of 230 ABs spread over 3 years. That isn’t sufficient to say whether he can hit or not. Aquino, who seems to have been here forever, still hasn’t hit 700 PAs in 4+ years. An argument could be made that that isn’t definitive either. Same is true of Fairchild & Fraley, though Fraley’s performance against LH’ers is probably the worst of all 4 of these. If you want to chase “believers”, focus on the folks that think Votto will be a major factor next year. Statistically, the odds are that Barrero has a higher average next year than Votto.

      • burtgummer01

        Only if Votto has an avg of .050

  29. Mark Moore

    Well, that one stayed in the park at least 😀

  30. VaRedsFan

    Aquino…38 career HRs……12 vs Cubs
    He’s our Ian Happ.

  31. Bet on Red

    Punisher again…. is this shades of August 2019

  32. Mark Moore

    Much better, guys. Very much better.

    And at least tomorrow is an afternoon game so I won’t try staying up as late. Catch you all a little after 2:30 when my client meeting ends.

    • Dennis Westrick

      No meetings on my work calendar tomorrow so I may be able to follow the game online!

  33. RedsGettingBetter

    Khunel sporting a 98-99.9 MPH sinker tonight….

  34. Beaufort Red

    At least I’ll agree with you on Votto. The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless.

  35. LDS

    Aquino has a nice 5 game streak going on, 8-16, 3 HRs, 7 RBIs, 4 SOs. Too bad he can’t keep it up. Fully expect him to be out of the lineup tomorrow. It how Bell rolls.

  36. Matt McWax

    Aquino, again teasing with sporadic greatness. If only he could get a consistent diet of hangers like that to “punish”.

    It’s great that Fraley has replaced Naquin’s production and they got two decent prospects. Also saved a bit of cash fwiw. Maybe just maybe this will be a trade deadline that we can look back fondly upon in the future.

  37. MK

    The value of a backup catcher has to be at an all-time best. I noticed Andrew Knapp was DFAed this week by the Giants. He started the year with the Reds in Spring Training, after release he signed and played with the Pirates, was released and signed with Mariners, played and was released and signed with Giants. In addition we know the Reds set a team record with 7 catchers on the active roster and played this year. Guys encourage your boys to be catchers.