After a tight one-run win for the Cincinnati Reds (57-86) in the series opener Thursday night, they continue this rare five-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals (84-60) tonight. Jack Flaherty will start for the Cardinals, while the Reds are going with a bullpen game. Fernando Cruz will be the opening pitcher.


  • When: 8:15 pm ET
  • Where: Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri
  • Weather: 80 degrees, mostly sunny
  • TV: Bally Sports Ohio
  • Radio: 700 WLW


Cincinnati Reds

St. Louis Cardinals

LF T.J. Friedl 2B Brendan Donovan
2B Jonathan India SS Tommy Edman
SS Kyle Farmer 1B Paul Goldschmidt
DH Jake Fraley 3B Nolan Arenado
1B Donovan Solano LF Corey Dickerson
RF Aristides Aquino DH Albert Pujols
CF Nick Senzel RF Lars Nootbaar
3B Spencer Steer CF Tyler O’Neill
C Austin Romine C Andrew Knizner

Except for Nick Senzel, no one on the current 26-man roster has faced Flaherty more than three times.

Starting Pitchers

Fernando Cruz 56.0 2.89 3.32 4.01 1.04 29.3% 8.4%
Jack Flaherty 18.0 4.50 6.45 6.62 6.18 1.89 13.6% 15.9%

*Cruz’s stats are from Triple-A Louisville.


After pitching to a 2.89 ERA with 23 saves in 56 games at Triple-A Louisville this season, Cruz finally earned his way to the major leagues 15 years after he was drafted. And he’s been stellar in his limited appearances with the Reds. In 6.1 innings, Cruz has struck out seven while walking four and allowing only one run. He started as the “opener” in a bullpen game on Tuesday at Great American Ball Park against the Pirates and will get that same assignment tonight against the Cardinals.

Right-hander Raynel Espinal was called up when Justin Dunn went on the IL and is most likely to pitch after Cruz. He made one appearance, giving up two hits and one run in 2.1 innings on Tuesday night against the Pirates. He got the loss when the Reds failed to score the rest of the game. Espinal has been in three organizations this season (Giants, Cubs, and now Reds), and has a 5.63 ERA in 102.1 innings at Triple-A. It hasn’t been a great year for him, but his strikeout rate has been between 23-27% in all three organizations.


Flaherty has had a injury-riddled season in 2022. He made three starts in June after starting the season on the IL and being out for more than two months. Flaherty saw limited action in those three starts; however, pitching just eight innings. He gave up five runs in six innings through the first two starts, but in two innings against the Cubs on June 26, he allowed one hit and struck out two in facing 11 batters. That would be his last start for awhile. The Cardinals placed him back on the injured list the next day with a right shoulder strain and transferred him to the 60-day injured list on July 11. The Cardinals activated Flaherty September 5, and he’s made two starts since then, pitching five innings in each.

In 2019, Flaherty threw nearly 200 innings and had a 2.75 ERA with 231 strikeouts. And then came the shortened season where he made only nine starts, followed by an abrupt end to his season with an oblique injury in 2021. The Cardinals hope Flaherty can return the pitcher he was in 2019 when he was considered one of the best pitchers in the league.

News and Notes

The Arizona Fall League rosters were announced today, and the Reds have a lot of prospects heading out to Phoenix next month.

Here’s a fun stat about the Reds’ opener tonight, Cruz.

Final Thoughts

If you follow me on Twitter, you know I’ve been aggressively rooting for the Reds to avoid the 100-loss mark. I made a bet with my co-worker in early April (before the 3-22 start) that the Reds would not lose 100 games, and it has come down to the very end of the season. So, here’s to the Reds winning six more games and giving me a free lunch, but if they do lose 100, at least this bet gave me a sense of passion in September for a team that’s 30 games below .500.


109 Responses

  1. Melvin

    Good job, Ashley. I’ll tell you what. Here’s to winning but if the Reds let you down maybe we on here can chip in and buy you lunch. 🙂 You’re definitely a great Reds fan. Who knows? Maybe Mark can help you out with one of the fine meals he prepares and is telling us about all the time. 😉

    • Mark Moore

      I’d be happy to entertain anyone. Finished up the leftover grilled/smoked chicken and peppers tonight (basic street tacos with homemade guacamole). Breakfast tomorrow is the usual scramble with good sausage. My wife is saying she wants burgers and, provided I can hunt them down, those will be on the flat-top griddle tomorrow night.

  2. Bet on Red

    I dont even recognize the names anymore

  3. OKIE Red

    No Lopez and no Barrero…no reason not to play all the young guys the rest of this pathetic season…

    • Mark Moore

      2nd night in a row for Jose. We all know Lopez has been in the DTB doghouse before (for who knows what reason) 😀

  4. Mark Moore

    Wow … 11 pitches, 10 strikes, 3 K’s. Color me impressed.

  5. Melvin

    Cruz is “cruzin” already. I like him.

  6. RedsGettingBetter

    Flaherty challenged Aquino on 4 fastballs in a row and strock him out… Aquino couldn’t make contact to the preferred kind of pitch

    • JohnnyTV

      But it likely means he won’t see another FB all night.

      Macro strategery by the Curds.

  7. Mark Moore

    Too bad Cruz couldn’t finish off the 2nd inning.

    Watching this at bat, maybe I’ll have myself a Nootbaar for my Friday evening treat … 😀

    • Kevin H

      Umpire not calling the low strike this evening. According to game day Cruz should of completed the 2nd inning.

      • Mark Moore

        Cowboy said the same thing. At least he’s doing it both ways so far.

  8. Melvin

    Speer doesn’t swing at bad pitches.

  9. Mark Moore

    A Failed GIDP … didn’t even get one. Nice hustle by Friedl.

    Now let’s leverage that miscue by the WLB’s.

    • Mark Moore

      Nope. Just like we can’t execute a Sac Bunt, the Sac Fly opportunity goes missing as well.

      • Roger Garrett

        Both are foreign to our players.

    • Grand Salami

      I didn’t understand that. Scorer was FC and there wasn’t an out?

      Farmer not playing well at Busch so far.

      • Mark Moore

        Same. I’m thinking it falls under some part of a “failed GIDP” category. The fielder chose to throw to second, nullifying the hit. India did get an RBI out of the deal.

  10. Grand Salami

    San Martin just wastes too many pitches.

  11. Kevin H

    Okay, well lets see if the ump is consistent the whole night with the low non strike call

  12. Old-school

    Senzel on 2b steer on first base, both grinded out at bats and Romine up. Gets the sac bunt order and doesnt get it done. At 0-2 you read BEll’s lips…he said…TAKE IT OFF. Why? Romine is terrible and is a strike out or double play machine. Romine strikes out swinging on a ball 2 inches above the zone. Bell is protecting his .514 OPS vet guy. WHY? Make him bunt 0-2 and if he doesnt get it done, he walks back to the dugout for everyone to see he didnt do his job. Thats how you send a message to the other 27 guys about accountability . Do your job to help the team win and if you dont, I’m not protecting you.

    • Mark Moore

      True enough. Same result and far safer than a GIDP in the end.

    • Grand Salami

      Yes, the strike out was lucky.

  13. Mark Moore

    And we get a bit of a bonehead play in response. Should have tucked that ball in his pocket and saved the run.

  14. Melvin

    India probably should have just ate that ball. Instead gave up a run.

  15. Old-school

    India Romine and farmer not playing clean situational baseball. Execution is what wins baseball games. Reds should be up 3- 1 at least.

    • Kevin H

      Agree on Romine and Farmer, however India did hustle down the first base line.

      I saw video though and agree with the others, he should of held on to the ball.

  16. Roger Garrett

    Won’t happen cause it never does thats why everybody in the dugout loves him.If Bell was held accountable then he would in fear of losing his job hold his players accountable.I mean no where does a man survive a 3-22 start if he is being held accountable.He won’t call out his players cause he will then have to fix it so he does what he always does and will continue to do and thats nothing.

    • Old-school

      Reds arent firing Bell because that would only turn the crosshairs on the Fo and ownership and rightly so. But, that inning was a microcosm of how Bell doesnt demand clean baseball execution. Players know they can miss cutoffs, make bad baserunning gaffes, not execute the sac bunt, not get the runner in from 3rd with less than 2 out, catchers can not block balls and give the extra base and infielders can allow runner to score from 2b on a ground ball.

      Those are all fair criticisms of a team that doesnt play clean fundamental baseball and has nothing to do with the fact Suarez was traded or castellanos executed his opt out or Castillo is a Mariner or the ownership group is bad. All of that is true. It an also be true the current reds on field culture says they dont take the extra base, or hit the cut off man, or get the runner in from 3rd with less than 2 out…or hit the ball to the right side , or get the sac bunt down to manufacture an add-on run or not walk guys to gift opponents add-on runs.

      • Doc

        Culture – the difference between the Reds perennial losing and the Cardinals perennial winning. The Cards way works, the Reds way doesn’t.

  17. Mark Moore

    Backward K on a fairly low strike. Goldy has to be thinking “why now? why me?”

  18. Roger Garrett

    Perfect inning to showcase the lack of accountability on the Reds.Its been that way for so long and yet we still see it over and over.Its just sad for sure.

  19. Kevin H

    Senzel half way to a cycle perhaps? Stay tuned.. Such a good ball player. Hasn’t been easy in his 4th season for sure.

  20. Daytonnati

    The story Raynel Espinal will tell the grandkids.

  21. Roger Garrett

    Reds in a gun fight with only a knife.Got to love it regardless.

  22. Old-school

    Fraley beats Flaherty and delivers with the bases loaded.

  23. LDS

    I’m finding the occasional check in to be far less irritating than paying attention to the whole game. I really like seeing the Reds only .300 hitter sitting very day. Good job Bell. Reading the comments the last two nights tells me Bell is still up to his little style. I’ve had enough of that these last too many years. Oh well, back to something more interesting. Up 3-1 so I’ll check back in later.

  24. Mark Moore

    See, fellas? They’re drawing us in again.

    • Kevin H

      Its funny, AA strikes out twice and I am thinking see… then he singles and I am like okay okay..

      Senzel 2 hits and see above comments then on first pitch he see’s he hits a ground ball out. LOL man.. Being a fan of the Reds is hard. LOL

      • Melvin

        Can’t have a weak heart. Gotta be able to laugh. lol

  25. Roger Garrett

    Should have at least 6 runs but 4 is good for now.Aquino made the adjustment from the first two times and gets in run #4

  26. Roger Garrett

    Raynel Espinal gets us to the 6th.

  27. Mark Moore

    I really hate these late start games. I swear I didn’t used to be this old.

  28. Old-school

    steer obliterates a baseball and gets an out. Baseball

    • Mark Moore

      And he almost beaned the pitcher in the process.

  29. Roger Garrett

    Friedl with a really good at bat against a tough lefty.

  30. RedsGettingBetter

    India in last 8 games including this is 1 for 23, fell in a big slump after being hot

  31. Roger Garrett

    Bell rolling the dice right here.

  32. Daytonnati

    Alas, Espinal will avoid “the rest of the story”.

  33. Bet on Red

    alright well onto the Gym…. at least it was Pujios that did it

  34. Mark Moore

    You know, population between these two cities is pretty much a wash. That makes them both “small market” teams. Yet the WLB’s will again draw 3.3M this season and wind the NLC. Love them or hate them, their FO is committed to fielding a winning team. It’s what we could be if only …

    That was a bomb for 698, Albert.

    • Old-school

      I disagree

      St louis regional cornfield country

      Theres no OSU football up the road or UK basketball down the road

      Theres no NFL that made the superbowl

      Theres no college football that finished top 10 2 years in a row

      Theres no 2 legit college basketball teams 6 miles a part

      St louis is truly a city of where else u gonna go other than mlb

  35. Roger Garrett

    Got to love Bell.He waved the white flag from the get go and actually made us think he was trying to win the game.Done and done again

    • Kevin H

      Double header tomorrow. Not sure what more he can do. Can’t pitch the whole bullpen today..

      After a dh a few games ago..

      • Mark Moore

        Yep. Brutal weekend no matter how you slice it.

    • Mark Moore

      Where else are we going to go? (asking for a friend)

    • Kevin H

      Nevermind Roger, he brings kuhnel in. Why not do that sooner. Forget my comment. Lol

  36. VaRedsFan

    This is all on Bell.
    Cruz was awesome…getting 5 straight outs, and then a single….Bell Yanks him.
    Espinal…ringing doubl…then a single….then a very loud out to the wall…Bell leaves him in.
    Pujols Bomb

    Pull the effective guy…leave the struggling guy in.

  37. Kevin H

    Would love to see a study as to why all these injuries this season. It’s like after Mahle and Castillo got traded the starting staff fell apart injury wise

    Bullpen as well

    • TR

      Top management started the ‘falling apart’ for this season beginning on Opening Day and the collapse was near total in April. The result being a great deal of player change and next to no change at all in management. A strange situation based on ML history of team collapses.

  38. Kevin H

    Well just when I thought I understood the strategy I don’t. Why bring kuhnel in now. LOL

  39. Roger Garrett

    Its ok Kevin.Bell will pull out all the stops now.He will hit for everybody move guys all around the diamond and if we go extras will only have himself and the pitching coach left as he gives us the impression he wants to win.He is just a clown.

  40. Mark Moore

    Farm Dawg getting one back and quieting the crowd.

  41. Kevin H

    So are Hopkins and Siani in reds outfield next season? Thoughts? You have Fraley, Friedl, and Aquino… plus Fairchild.. assuming Senzel is ur utility player.

  42. dhmorgan

    Aquino still a long way from having a decent batting average.
    But I’ll give him credit: he’s creeping up toward .220.

    • Melvin

      Seems like just yesterday it was below .180

  43. Melvin

    Multi hit games are becoming the norm for Aquino.

  44. Mark Moore

    Game is almost surreal again tonight. I do like seeing AA make adjustments and smack that ball around. I love Senzel working a count and taking the BB. Chased another pitcher on a weekend with 3 more to play after this one. It’s going to be a bumpy ride, friends.

  45. RedsGettingBetter

    Solano last 16 games AVG .148 , OPS less than 400
    Aquino last 16 games AVG .364 , OPS more than 1100

  46. LT

    It’s quite amazing AA can have a hot hitting streak like this. Even more impressive is that his hits are not just HR, a ton of. 1B and 2B hits. He had a hot stretch before where he pretty much hit a HR every other AB and pundits pointed to his change of stance or some make up thing like that. This hot steak seems different.

    • Chris Holbert

      AA 2 good streaks in 4 years…

      • TR

        But possessing a rifle arm in rightfield.

  47. RedsGettingBetter

    The ever first hitter walk… Incredible…

  48. Jeff Morris

    How do you know it’s a Reds relief pitcher that just came in the game? They walk the first batter they face!

    • Melvin

      I believe we’re second, if not first, in the majors giving up walks. Definitely has to do with wins and losses.

  49. Mark Moore

    I’m afraid I have to call it for tonight. If we come back, we’re probably looking at extra innings. Back at it tomorrow between some yard work, college football, and a search for some specific burgers (and perhaps some beer).

    Night all. You make games like this a lot more enjoyable.

  50. Jeff Morris

    Reds bullpen getting plenty of chances to show how they perform, okay or bad since the Reds have been out of it for a while now. There should be no excuses next year on who they keep and who goes to AAA and who they get rid of!

  51. Pete

    Running on Aquino? Not a good idea. Best outfield arm since Clemente.

  52. Hanawi

    Feel like Moreta has established himself in the bullpen for next year. He’s been really solid for the most part. His ERA is inflated from 2 bad appearances but has a lot of scoreless outings.

  53. LDS

    Contrary to what many here may think, Sparky would have won this game. No way he would have stayed with Espinal in that situation. Bell may not have a great bullpen but he wouldn’t know what to do with it if he did. I’d like to see the Reds go 3-15 over the remaining games, take the worst team record title away from the 1982 team. We know they have it in them. Would anything change? Probably not. But, it would further bolster the argument to clean out the FO and management/development staff.

    • Kevin H

      I disagree. Sparky wouldn’t of won this game with this bullpen. We disagree most of the time.

      I have yet to recall you say anything positive about Bell.. or Baker or Price. Lol

      • LDS

        I had no problems with Baker compared to Price & Bell. And Sparky would not have stayed with Espinal with the tying run at the plate. Could the bullpen have given it up later? Absolutely. A 4-1 lead screams for Bell to use Strickland. So yes, we disagree.