The Cincinnati Reds start up a 3-game series in Chicago on Friday afternoon against the Cubs. Graham Ashcraft will take the mound for Cincinnati. Chicago will give the ball to Adrian Sampson. First pitch is set for 2:20pm ET.

Starting Lineups

Here’s the lineup for this afternoon’s series opener:

Cincinnati Reds

Chicago Cubs

TJ Friedl – LF Esteban Quiroz – 2B
Jonathan India – DH Seiya Suzuki – RF
Kyle Farmer – 3B Patrick Wisdom – 3B
Jake Fraley – RF Ian Happ – LF
Donovan Solano – 1B Franmil Reyes – DH
Spencer Steer – 2B Nico Hoerner – SS
Michael Siani – CF Yan Gomes – C
Jose Barrero – SS P.J. Higgins – 1B
Austin Romine – C Christopher Morel – CF
Graham Ashcraft – SP Adrian Sampson – SP

Starting Pitchers

Pitcher IP ERA WHIP BB K
Graham Ashcraft 97.0 4.18 1.36 23 66
Adrian Sampson 94.2 3.23 1.25 24 64
Links: Graham Ashcraft’s Stats | Adrian Sampson’s Stats

Graham Ashcraft

Things were going well for Graham Ashcraft in his first start off of the injured list until the 4th inning when things blew up and the Brewers scored four runs off of him. He’ll look to avoid the big inning this time around.

Lefties have been fairly helpless against Ashcraft this season. They don’t hit for average, they don’t walk, and they hit for absolutely no power. Right-handed hitters are nearly the exact opposite. They also don’t walk much, but they hit for a high average and plenty of power against Ashcraft.

Splits

Split PA H 2B 3B HR BB K AVG OBP SLG
RHH 219 66 12 0 9 10 32 .325 .365 .517
LHH 204 43 3 0 1 13 34 .230 .289 .262

Pitch Usage

2-Seam Cutter Slider Change
Velo 97.2 97.3 85.7 89.8
Usage 22.0% 49.4% 27.9% 0.8%

Adrian Sampson

It’s been a good season for Adrian Sampson, though he did miss much of the first two months of the season. Over the last month, though, he’s kept runs off the board at an incredibly impressive rate as he’s posted a 1.67 ERA in his last six starts.

When it comes to his splits, it seems that managers haven’t quite figured out that his splits are reversed as he’s faced more lefties than righties this season despite the fact that he’s significantly better against left-handed hitters. Lefties don’t hit for average, they don’t draw walks, and they don’t hit for any power against him. Right-handed hitters don’t walk much, but they are hitting .290 and they are slugging .460 this season against him.

Splits

Split PA H 2B 3B HR BB K AVG OBP SLG
RHH 187 51 9 0 7 10 34 .290 .332 .460
LHH 201 43 9 1 2 14 30 .230 .284 .321

Pitch Usage

4-Seam 2-Seam Cutter Slider Change
Velo 92.5 91.9 84.9 83.2 85.1
Usage 33.0% 31.9% 5.5% 15.7% 13.8%

When and Where

  • Game time: 2:20pm ET
  • Where: Wrigley Field
  • Watch: Bally Sports Ohio, MLB.tv, MLB Network
  • Listen: 700 WLW AM (Cincinnati area)
  • Forecast: 61°, sunny, 0% chance of rain

News and Notes

A whole lot of losing in the minor leagues

The Cincinnati Reds minor league season is officially over and the farm system finished well below .500 in 2022. Only two of the six teams finished with a winning record. It was the 13th time in the last 15 seasons that the farm system finished below .500 and they haven’t even been close in any of those 13 losing seasons.

78 Responses

  1. DataDumpster

    With all the oddball records the team has set this year and HBs still going strong, I wonder if even a few more records are possible. On the Reds this season;
    The number of pitchers recording a W decision is 20,
    The number of pitchers recording a L decision is 25, and the winningest pitcher on the staff is Diaz with 6 but Ashcraft could tie that today.
    Has there ever been an MLB team having a season where no one pitcher won at least 7 games? I doubt it. The first two seem likely also if that minutia is tracked.

  2. RedsGettingBetter

    Sampson and Ashcraft have numbers and splits very similar… let’s watch Barrero if he can continue making the things offensively where he left them last game….
    Ashcraft and the bullpen know if they want to win just giving up 1 run or less

  3. Votto4life

    I was at the Bengals game last night as the team set the single game attendance record. Take note Bob , Cincinnati will support a winner.

    • wkuchad

      Technically I wouldn’t call them a winner. With a .500 record, you could say Cincinnati will support even an average team (the Reds are a ways off from that).

      • Votto4life

        Must have missed the fact they made it to the Super Bowl last season.

      • LDS

        4 games into the season and being 2-2 doesn’t mark them as average. They went to the Super Bowl last season. Most of us would be happy if the Reds were an average team.

      • Doc

        Depends on how far back in time you want to choose as your sample size. As I recall, a good friend had Bengals season tickets for a number of years before finally throwing in the towel. He certainly did not consider them a normal team, not even a competitive one. Of course, only choosing last year as your basis doesn’t include all his years of frustration.

    • Klugo

      I thought the same thing. But the Castellinis insist it will only work the other way. “Fill the stands and we will field a competitor”. Good luck with that, Bob.

    • TR

      The fanbase is there in Cincy and the metropolitan area, but good crowds depend on consistently competitive teams.

  4. LDS

    Not playing Aquino against the Cubs is managerial malpractice. It’s the one team he seems to be able to hit. 12 HR in 84 ABs and a .298 BA with an OPS of 1.1+. So, unless he’s injured or sick. He should be starting the last 6 games. Let him hammer the Cubs for what is likely his last stretch in a Reds uniform.

    • Pete

      I think AA has played his way out of starting against RHP. Rather see Siani & Friedl get AB’s for the experience.

      “It was the 13th time in the last 15 seasons that the farm system finished below .500 and they haven’t even been close in any of those 13 losing seasons.” Need further proof the whole organization needs a complete management flush? A culture of losing from the bottom up. Just swell.

      • LDS

        Maybe, but if you want to win, not that it matters, AA is more likely to help with that than either of them. Besides, it’s Fraley that I’d bench, not Siani and Friedl. As far as I’m concerned, Fraley should be out at the end of the year as well.

      • LDS

        Even a broken clock is right twice a day. I’d still dump Fraley in the off season. He doesn’t hit LH’ers and isn’t a great defender. Use the money elsewhere.

      • TR

        It is vital, if the Reds and the fanbase are are going to get out of the doldrums their in now, that major change happens this offseason in principal ownership and management of the Reds.

    • wkuchad

      “Not playing Aquino against the Cubs is managerial malpractice. It’s the one team he seems to be able to hit.”

      It’s comments like this that make your constant criticisms of Bell so laughable. Who cares what Aquino has done against the Cubs in the past. Look at the extreme roster turnover in baseball today.

  5. Bet on Red

    logged in just in time to see fraley bomb one

  6. Bet on Red

    just two more days of suffering… i mean games after this right?

  7. old-school

    Fraley is well above league average in every hitting category-BA/OBP/Slugging/OPS – easily. Fraley against righties is great- OPS .843 and wRC+ 128.

    The guy is 27 and still rising. He’s also very good in GABP.

  8. Beaufort Red

    Wow those that want Aquino instead of Fraley
    Age. AB. HR. SO. OPS
    Fraley. 27. 198 12. 49. 816

    Latest from MLB. It’s a no brainer. Some peoples’ love for Aquino and Barrero is mind boggling. As Barrero strikes out again.
    Aquino. 28. 253. 10. 99. 612

    • LDS

      Aquino against the Cubs is a no brainer. As I said, it’s the one team he hits reliably. But, at this point, the greater concern is that Ashcraft hasn’t performed well in either of his two starts back. If he falters, next year’s pitching is really a concern.

      • wkuchad

        “Aquino against the Cubs is a no brainer.”

        I honestly don’t think there’s any current ML basement managers that would agree with that statement.

  9. Beaufort Red

    Sorry post got wacky, the stats are there

  10. Dennis Westrick

    The pitching efficiency of this 2022 Reds pitching staff is atrocious! Ashcraft at 61 pitches thru only 2.1 innings!

  11. Dennis Westrick

    Unfortunately this game is on the MLB Network this afternoon and I actually see this train wreck live! Can’t get out of my subdivision here in Central Florida due to flooding! Speaking of flooding, the Cubs now up 6 to 1. Time to switch to C-SPAN!

  12. LDS

    Ashcraft hasn’t bounced back from the IL stint. Let’s hope that it’s rust and not more serious.

  13. RedsGettingBetter

    Second bad start in a row at the major level by Ashcraft after he came back from IL… He’s hit and giving up more walks than usually … He also pitched a rehab start in AAA poorly …

  14. Tom Mitsoff

    A quick look at my thoughts on what the Reds front office mindset should be this offseason. (They 99.9 percent won’t do this.) 😉

    1) Improve infield defense. I’d move India to third base, where he played in college. He’s been brutal at second base this year. I’d prioritize acquiring a starting shortstop and second baseman (who are on short-term contracts). If they can’t get a second baseman, move Senzel there to lower the chances of him banging into outfield walls.

    2) Improve offense however possible. Aggressively pursue any major league player with an above-average batting record at the big-league level. Currently the major league roster is populated with what are essentially a bunch of platoon position players. Focus on the outfield, in particular. None of the current outfielders on the current big-league roster strikes me as being ready to hit productively as an everyday player. That may change with some additional minor league seasoning for some of them.

    3) Stephenson is your catcher and probably best hitter. But he needs a competent backup. There has to be someone available who can be a better backup catcher (both defensively and offensively) than the motley crew we’ve witnessed this year.

    So I am suggesting finding numerous veteran big league players with some history of hitting (and hopefully fielding) success. If you come back with this current roster of position players, chances are pretty good we’ll see hitting futility similar to what we’ve been watching for the past several weeks.

    And why is that important, you ask, for a “rebuilding” team?

    Because the pitching staff is closer to competency than many believe. Greene, Lodolo and Ashcraft are going to come back as the top three in the rotation. The four and five starters will come from some combination of players lumped together in training camp and told they can go win a job. I would add a major league starter to that group.

    The bullpen looks like it has a closer in the making in Diaz. I’d like them to bring Buck Farmer and Derek Law back on either minor league contracts or low-cost big-league deals. Connor Overton will likely be slotted in the bullpen somewhere if he is healthy. Reiver Sanmartin is decent as a spot-use lefty. You also have the possible returns of Lucas Sims, TeeJay Antone and Tony Santillan from injury, but that can’t be counted upon.

    With the pitching, you have the potential to be able to hold up their end of the deal with at-least average production. But the position players are nowhere near able to do that. The farm system is still years away from filling out a starting lineup with major-league caliber players.

    When you have only $43.5 million committed to payroll for 2023, why not spend money on veterans on shorter-term deals to fill out the roster and give us something to watch next year? Doing so is not going to block a flood of prospects who are ready, so it wouldn’t detract from the purpose of the rebuild.

    I’ll take Nick Krall’s call if he wants to discuss this further. 😉

    • RedsGettingBetter

      It sounds great… even the veterans player in short-term deals maybe could be traded at dead line if the team is out of contention and receive another group of prospects… but if nothing of that will be do it in the off-season … how would we do with “where are you gonna go?” kind of questions?

    • dhmorgan

      I couldn’t agree more about adding some above average hitters.
      The Reds lack what most other teams have: the ability to string together hits on a consistent basis, which leads to runs.
      Right now it seems like it’s home runs or nothing.
      The Reds’ current home run leader is…and I mean no disrespect to him…Kyle Farmer?

      • Joe Henry

        Kyle now has over 500 AB. No one else has more than 380.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Possible 2023 lineup:

      1B) Votto (platoon with righty batter, maybe resign Solano)
      2B) Nick Senzel
      SS) barring acquisition of an experienced veteran, probably Kyle Farmer again
      3B) India
      C) Stephenson
      LF) Andrew Benintendi
      CF) TJ Friedl/Stuart Fairchild platoon
      RF) Jake Fraley/Wil Myers platoon (after Padres decline his option
      DH) player du jour to include Moustakas

      • LDS

        Sounds like a 90+ loss lineup. Farmer, Moose, Votto, Senzel? Not a lot of upside likely here. If they’re going to lose anyway, let Barrero, Steer, and whoever else play. At least, they’ll have an excuse to lose. But it’s all academic. Surely, you don’t see Castelllini spending that much money. Maybe he’ll surprise me and will. but I don’t think so.

      • burtgummer01

        I like it but unfortunately I also doubt it,I expect another cheap off season and pretty much the same results in 2023

      • Harry Stoner

        A reasonable, if not fear-inducing, lineup.

        Big question mark for me for Stephenson’s return. I’m not banking on a instant comeback after the injury he suffered. I’d raise the ante on getting a better than stopgap backup.

        Trading for yet another shortstop would strike me as pretty comical at this point. Barrero has worn me out, so if he doesn’t come around after the off season and ST, then Farmer seems like a plan until the real thing comes along.

        I’m more than ready to say Adios, Aquino, but I see him sticking around unless they shell out the big money for the free agents you are penciling in.

        India to 3rd, Senzel at 2b? I wish they had done that last year. India at 3rd opens 2b for Senzel, Lopez, Steer to duke it out.

        “Moose du Jour” sounds like an entree at a Canadian restaurant.

      • burtgummer01

        Any lineup with Farmer and not Barrero is better

      • Jim Walker

        Fairchild projects as a 10-20% better than a league average hitter from both the left and right side of the plate based on is current handedness spits with essentially the same number of PAs from both sides.

        Friedl’s OPS from the RH side is not as good as Fairchild (.735/.758). Fraley’s OPS is better than Fairchild (.843/.758) vs RH pitching. But unfortunately, Fraley is a nonstarter vs LH pitching (.493 OPS).

        Does it really work for the Reds to sit a guy (Fairchild) vs RH pitching (~70% of the time) who is an above league average hitter against it?

    • wkuchad

      Tom, this would be a great stand-alone article so we can properly discuss (hint hint Doug). 🙂

    • Optimist

      +90 on all this, and just a few quibbles.

      Next year is time to start moving TySteve to 1b, even if only 20-30 games. He cannot and should not be the long term C – ideally he’s the awesome backup catcher – say 20-30 games a year or as a designated C for one of the starters, and primary 1b. Others have noted how difficult it is for 6’4″ catchers. Time to begin moving him.

      As for the rotation – yes, the three youngsters will be key, but they shouldn’t look to MiLB for any rotation help to start 2023. Dunn and Anderson perhaps to begin, and sign a FA (Cueto anyone?), but leave Stoudt, Williamson, Abbott, Phillips etc. in AAA regardless of how good they look in the spring – Don’t rush them!

      Also, Overton and Hoffman are still around for the spot starter/8th-9th rotation roles.

      Absolutely correct on the bullpen and OF issues – lots of work needed there.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        I agree with you on Stephenson. His future should be at first base. He could be the righthanded platoon with Votto at first next year. But you can’t have a catcher batting somewhere in the .100s in the lineup on any sort of a regular basis. For that reason, Stephenson would be the catcher for at least 2023.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        I did overlook Hoffman. He’ll still be around unless he is non-tendered.

    • eddiek957

      I’d like to see the reds acquire a right handed catcher who hits lefties well so Stephenson can play first or DH. An offensive outfielder is a must. An innings eating starter and two or three promising relievers. I agree these type players won’t block prospects who are two or three years away

  15. Dennis Westrick

    Only 3 more losses until that magic 100 loss mark!

    • LDS

      Pretty much in the bag now. I don’t see the Reds winning 3 of the last 5

    • VaRedsFan

      Only 3 more to 99.
      2 more to 98
      1 more to 97

      • Dennis Westrick

        I’m assuming today’s game as a loss! After all, they are the one (1) run Reds!

  16. RED THUNDER

    Overton sure gets a lot of popups and flyouts. Held them for couple innings but Sampson has held the Reds more, lol.

    • Harry Stoner

      This was what we were seeing from Overton before his injury. I’m pleasantly surprised that he’s been able to pick things up.

      Who knows whether it’s sustainable or lightening in a bottle?

      But in a grim grim season, Overton and Cruz have been pretty enjoyable underdog surprises.

      • RED THUNDER

        Yes, he did seem to come from no-where to provide some good pitching.

    • wkuchad

      I’d love for Overton to be in our bullpen next year as a long man or next man up when a starter gets hurt, but I wouldn’t want to pencil him to start the year as one of our starting pitchers.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        He is looking very impressive, an extension of his early-season performance. He’s certainly staying on my 40-man roster if I’m running the team.

      • RED THUNDER

        4.1hitless innings with 1 walk 2 ks (52 pitches)

      • Harry Stoner

        How about chalking him in with an eraser near at hand?
        Overton just threw four shutout innings with one walk.
        Comp that with Minor, Zuech, Dugger, Dunn, the so-called ‘innings eaters’ who turned out to be nibblers at best.
        Don’t know how durable or repeatable he will be after ‘once around the league.’
        Cessa hasn’t nailed it down for me yet, but I’d keep Overton in the mix.
        Imagine if the Reds had someone to keep things under control in the 5-7th innings this year?
        Okay, we might be talking only a handful of fewer losses given the anemic hitting.
        Given the price of any decent pitching on the market, after the one-and-done hitting of the last month, I’d rather spend money on improving run production.

      • RED THUNDER

        I’m surprised they left him in the game after 4.1 and back from IL

  17. Joe Henry

    Look at all those Cub fans. And for an afternoon game.

    • RED THUNDER

      At least somebody is enjoying the game today! Wish it was us Reds fans. Maybe tomorrow

  18. RED THUNDER

    Yeah, down 5 runs lets swing at the first pitch! Lets get it over with

  19. Kevin H

    I would like to see the Reds spend like the Bengals did. Improve one area at a time and go. It took Taylor and staff 3 years to get to a superbowl. Football and baseball are different as we all know, but from a spending perspective if the Bengals ownership can spend money, why can’t reds ownership.. example a strong bullpen

  20. Pete

    One silver lining of this season is nearly all positions are wide open for next year with the exception of 3 SP’s and a Closer. With Votto’s health not a given, 1B is highly likely to be another opportunity for someone. The hot stove league will be interesting so will Spring Training.. Great job on getting the ball rolling Tom.

    Only immediate question I have is: does Bell & his staff survive and whoever is running player development in the minors – neither should in my opinion. If nothing else it will enhance the anticipation of 2023. As far as the latter: “It was the 13th time in the last 15 seasons that the farm system finished below .500 and they haven’t even been close in any of those 13 losing seasons.” Man, that burns.

    • RED THUNDER

      Pete, go look at Tampa Bay’s top 4 teams this year. All playoff teams! And one team winning league championship for third year in a row. No 2020 season, so 2019 then 2021 and 2022. Bowling Green Hot Rods

      • wkuchad

        Ha, I didn’t know the Bowling Green Hot Rods was a Tampa Bay minor league affiliate.

      • RED THUNDER

        Know it’s not all about the Ws at that level but it’s setting an example, a winning foundation.

      • Pete

        Maybe take a look at who the second person in charge of player development with the Rays? Personally I like a track record of winning as a starting point and probably a requirement.

        Anyone know what Theo Epstein is up to? If the Reds would dump a ton of money into player development, I could live without Kyle Framer and new FA’s. The organization’s structure looks shaky at best….

      • RED THUNDER

        Yes, wkuchad! I have been attending games since 2010. Love watching them when they where in the midwest league vs Dayton. They when to the SAL last year so no more Dragons games.

      • wkuchad

        I grew up in BG and was excited when they got a minor league baseball team. Need to get to a game.

    • burtgummer01

      It’s not Bells fault that he was handed the worst roster in mlb.Price also was set up to fail but at least he had prime Votto

      • Pete

        To be quite honest with you, I felt that Bell should’ve been relieved of his duties after last season. The team totally melted down during the stretch run. Whether that was his fault or not, I felt changes needed to be made. Frankly, he’s never had a record of any success either at the minor or major league level. I just think the fanbase would be encouraged if someone was hired that did.

      • burtgummer01

        Last year they had the worst bullpen in mlb, the only off season major league signing was Dolittle

      • RED THUNDER

        Don’t look at DB minor league record then because he had some good players at the time. (mlb future players) Lets hope the Reds improve the roster for next year!

      • RED THUNDER

        Better roster = more wins. David Bell still here or not. Go Reds!

  21. LDS

    The Reds are 5-17 since the last Cubs series. With 5 to go, 100 will be tough. Hopefully, by this time next weeks, heads will be rolling.

  22. Doc

    Overton pitched 5.1 today with fewer pitches than Ashcraft used to get through 2.2. Excellent job by Overton.