The rollicking Reds go for a sweep versus the Los Angeles Dodgers in today’s matinee close out of their current homestand at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.  With a victory today, the Reds can pull off a bounce back winning homestand and hit the road for St Louis on a 4 game winning streak. Game time is 12:35pm ET.

Starting Lineups


SP: Clayton Kershaw


SP: Graham Ashcraft

1. Mookie Betts (RF)
2. Freddie Freeman (1B)
3. J.D. Martinez (DH)
4. Max Muncy (3B)
5. David Peralta (LF)
6. Miguel Vargas (2B)
7. Chris Taylor (SS)
8. James Outman (CF)
9. Austin Barnes (C)
1. Kevin Newman (1B)
2. Matt McLain (SS)
3. Jonathan India (2B)
4. Elly De La Cruz (3B)
5. Spencer Steer (LF)
6. Tyler Stephenson (DH)
7. TJ Hopkins (RF)
8. Jose Barrero (CF)
9. Curt Casali (C)

Starting On The Mound

Pitcher IP ERA WHIP BB% K%
Clayton Kershaw (L) 69.1 3.25 1.01 6.1% 30.0%
Graham Ashcraft (R) 62.1 6.64 1.60 7.8% 16.1%
Links: Clayton Kershaw’s Stats | Graham Ashcraft’s Stats

Clayton Kershaw

For whatever reason, Clayton Kershaw being 35 years old and in his 16th MLB season makes me feel older than acknowledging that I recall Sandy Koufax’s playing career as a another great Dodger lefthander. With 75 career bWAR Kershaw has long since passed Koufax’s total of 53.1. However Kershaw has benefitted from nearly 60 years of advancing medical technology to keep him in the game beyond the dozen years of Koufax who was done at age 30 with elbow woes before Tommy John surgery was available. Which career was greatest is an argument for another day.


RHH 228 51 9 0 9 12 76 .237 .276 .405
LHH 52 8 0 0 1 5 8 .178 .289 .244

LH hitters have actually have gotten on base a tad more effectively versus Kershaw than RH hitters this season but only because he seems to more likely to walk them.

Pitch Usage

4-Seam Curve Slider Other
Velo 91.1 73.7 86.8 —–
Usage 38.1% 17.6% 43.5% 0.8

As Kershaw has lost fastball velocity from the mid 90s down to his current level, he has evolved from using his fastball over 50% of the time to throwing more sliders than fastballs. His curve doubles as a changeup off of either one of the other two pitches.

Graham Ashcraft

All Reds followers know Graham Ashcraft is in the throes of a serious MLB sophomore funk. Opinions about the cause of this are numerous. Maybe he isn’t 100% physically? Perhaps he is struggling with focus as he grieves the recent loss of his grandmother? Could it be the league has caught up with his repertoire of pitches? Or perhaps, a bit of all of these factor into his difficulties? Whatever the cause, with the callup of Andrew Abbott to the Reds, Ashcraft needs a strong performance to hold his spot in  the Reds rotation.


RHH 157 42 6 2 6 18 23 .313 .397 .522
LHH 126 18 7 1 3 10 26 .259 .318 .414

Ashcraft is being hit often and hard, particularly by RH batters. However looking back to 2022, his OPS versus RH hitters isn’t much worse in 2023. What is much worse is that his current HR rate versus RH batters in 2023 is 11% versus just 4% in 2022. Even worse yet is that his OPS versus LH batters has jumped from .555 to his current .732 in 2023.

Pitch Usage

4-Seam Sinker Cutter Change Slider
Velo —– 97 96.5 —– 88.6
Usage —– 5.2% 57.5% —– 37.4%

The major take away here is that Ashcraft has become essentially a 2 pitch pitcher compared to last season when when he threw his sinker 20% and his slider 27% of the time. In 2023, 95% of the time, a hitter knows from the speed of the pitch what the pitch is going to be. And with a cut fastball being essentially a vertically flat slider, the batter also knows what pitch action to anticipate.



The Reds bullpen was tasked with covering 3.1 innings on Wednesday night. The “A” team of Buck Farmer, Lucas Sims, and Alex Diaz covered the entire 3.1 innings with Farmer working 1.1 innings and the other 2 a full inning each. All had last worked previously  on Monday. Last night, Farmer threw 16 pitches Wednesday, Diaz 11 and Sims just 9. However with the short overnight turnaround, bets are off  as to their availability today.


The Dodgers pen was extended last night as 5 pitchers were used to cover 8+ innings in the Reds walk off win. Three of the five were working on consecutive days and are likely out for today given the short turnaround.

News And Notes

Elly De La Cruz is turning heads everywhere. Read about it here

The Reds seem to have a problem of the good kind

And here is Doug’s latest on happenings all over the Reds farm system.

When and Where

  • Game time: 12:35 ET
  • Where: Great American Ball Park
  • Watch: Bally Sports Ohio,
  • Listen: 700 WLW AM (Cincinnati area)
  • Forecast: 72°, Hazy; Air Quality Alert, 0% chance of rain

101 Responses

  1. Melvin

    I just read today where De La Cruz broke a protective glass barrier in the CF bleachers during batting practice the other day. lol The man hits the ball HARD.

  2. Indy Red Man

    Brett Kennedy is probably next up….whoever that is? It’s ok the lineup/pen will carry them

    • David

      Brett Kennedy was from some independent league this Spring. Doug covered this briefly. Previously, he was from the Boston Red Sox system.
      Very marginal major league pitcher. Doing ok at AAA. Maybe between Luke Weaver and Ben Lively.
      Cupboard of available pitchers is kind of bare in the minors, now.

      Better than Weaver, worse than Lively. Gaaaaaah! Who knows?

  3. DataDumpster

    I don’t know if and when Ashcraft is going to find his niche again but it seems a much more minor concern now. Not for him obviously but it seems a decent bet that this team now has 2 bona fide stars in McClain and De La Cruz and a very promising starter in Abbott to say the least. Krall and the various coaches at the lower levels deserve a boatload of credit for the development of prospects that have thus far even exceeded the most optimistic of expectations.

    • Kevin H

      Not ready to say De La Cruz and McCain are bona fide stars or that after 1 start abbott is promising starter.

      Are they good yes, however let’s see of they can maintain over rest of the season and into next season. As we have seen with Ashcraft and his struggles or Senzel, or Barrero. In time though maybe..

    • Jim Walker

      The Reds are going to need starting arms to cover innings whether they are in or out of playoff contention in the back half of the season. And I think we have to be very real about what if anything the Reds are going to get from Lodolo the rest of the season.

      When the eternal optimist on injuries David Bell says within days after Lodolo went down that the middle of July is the most optimistic return date for him then within another week to 10 days they go and move him to the 60 day list, I’m guessing they are just hoping to get some innings out of Lodolo from mid to late August on to help with the innings crunch.

      • Mario

        Absolutely right on the innings crunch and Lodolo. I read the timeframe guess estimates and I think it’s August when he may be ready for a rehab assignment.

        I think Greene skipping a start here and there is actually a good thing in trying to help to keep him healthy all year. Turns out this one is a stiff back and he’s already throwing bullpens. Thankfully not a painful elbow or shoulder.

  4. Jim t

    Need Ashcraft to get turned around today. Sweeping the Dodgers would be huge.

    Fact is this team is performing much better than I thought at the start of the season. Bell’s challenge is to continue to find the right mix. This roster is very fluid at this point. Myers, Votto, CES, Senzel and Freidl all have to be added at some point.

  5. Brennan

    Does anyone know the status of Tejay Antone? I completely loss track and there doesn’t seem to be any news that I can find.

    Not that relief pitching is our biggest need right now, but hey, depth is always good.

    Speaking of depth, our outfield could really use Fraley and Friedl.

  6. JB WV

    DFA Myers or take whatever you can get in a trade. With the sudden surplus of guys who need to play he should never get another at bat with the Reds.

  7. LT

    Big test for offense today to put a good number of runs on the board against the old, crafty Kershaw. We need a boat load of runs to back Ashcroft.
    Love early games elbowing from west coast. Waking up, having breakfast and following the game.

  8. rednat

    barrero needs a good showing in center from a defensive standpoint. I think Bell lost some faith in him when he lost the ball in the lights at Fenway. he has not played since. I think he has a higher upside than Fairchild and Senzel in center so hopefully no more errors.

  9. RedsGettingBetter

    So the question to ask is why Ashcraft has reduced his count on sinkers, why doesn’t he thow it as before in recent games?

    • Jim Walker

      Yep. I figure it must not be accidental. Beyond that is well above my pay grade 😉

  10. Dennis Westrick

    Who’s this Barrero guy in the lineup batting 8th? Is he somebody new the Reds just called up? Hope he can hit!

    PS: for those of you out there that don’t recognize sarcasm, that’s SARCASM!

  11. Rednat

    Jim I think we are around the same age and I too remember Koufax and Drysdale well.
    one of my favorite games at crosley was an 18-0 reds domination of the Dodgers with Maloney drubbing Drysdale and the dodgers. i think it was 65 or ’66. I felt then that the reds were building something special. maybe we can have another 18 run blowout today

    • Dennis Westrick

      I remember that game as a young (12) Reds fan back then! Kofax & Drysdale were tough to beat most days!

    • Jim Walker

      For all Koufax did on the field, perhaps the specific thing I recall most is that he sat out a World Series game rather than pitch on either Rosh Hashanah or the Day of Atonement (forget which). That went a long way in making me aware other things in life can be more important than baseball and of the diversity of our country,

  12. SlippinJimmy

    Let’s see who can hit it farther: Elly, or Graham–off the other guys bats…

    I’m going with an over/under of 4.5 on home runs given up by Ashcraft. And I believe, I’m taking the over…

    • Dennis Westrick

      Just hope any HRs allowed by GA are solo shots! Just keep us in the game thru 6 and we know how to win in the later innings!

    • JB

      That combacker from Barnes on the plant foot hurt GA. Hit batter on Betts after it. I like him using his other pitches today . Barrero with a strong throw to home. Reds don’t have strong arms in OF. Hopefully Barrero can start hitting and he can become the CF.

  13. . JB

    Let’s get it on . For all us old timers who grew up disliking those Dodgers, let’s sweep them. I ended up marrying a Dodger fan. Her father was a huge Dodger fan.

  14. Dennis Westrick

    Current Reds players who remind me of former Reds players! 1) Will Benson looks like a left-handed version of George (Yahtzee) Foster and 2) Andrew Abbott reminds me of the late Tom Browning!

    Please note that I am 70 and my vision isn’t as good as it once was, especially watching the player videos on a small smart phone screen!

    • Jim Walker

      @Dennis> I agree on the Abbott/ Browning. I’d also put Fred Norman in that mix. I know you recall Freddie but for those that don’t here is a link

      Not so much on the Benson/ Foster comp. To me Benson just looks larger framed and more obviously muscular than Foster. Yahtzee was well built but in an understated way, at least in my memory.

      • Dennis Westrick

        You are correct Jim! Foster was shorter but those that saw him without a shirt say he looked like he was chisled out of granite!

    • Votto4life

      I really hope Abbott has a better career than Tom Browning and Freddie Norman.

  15. SOQ

    Sadak calling for a “Broom Cleaning of the Dodgers”
    That’s it. I’m done. Hello Tommy and Cowboy

  16. JB

    Newmy with the good eye. Let’s get some here

  17. VaRedsFan

    Like what I’m seeing so far from Ashcraft.

  18. HoF-13

    I’m listening to the radio feed. They said Friedl could be back Saturday.

    • Mario

      Who gets sent down? Gotta be Barrero right. It can’t be Benson after last night right? Oh, I forgot about Hopkins. It’s him. Barrero probably goes down when Senzel is ready.

  19. VaRedsFan

    Elly extends hitting streak to 3!

  20. LT

    EDLC hit for cycle, over 3 games that is.

  21. Dennis Westrick

    Kershaw is a master at keeping his pitch count low! Reds young pitchers should take note!

  22. Redlegs1869

    Ashcraft is a disaster. Send him down. Better find another starter. Like we have bunches of those waiting in the wings. Hope I’m wrong and he works his way back to what we’ve seen in the past, but not betting on it right now. Can’t find the zone. Hitting batters. Gee whiz.

    • greenmtred

      I thought he was addressing the issues that made him ineffective recently: not perfectly, but better. Being hit by the comebacker changed how he pitched.

  23. Dennis Westrick

    And now the wheels fall off for GA!

    • Votto4life

      So glad the Reds didn’t extend him a couple of months ago.

      • VaRedsFan

        Just growing pains…He has the arm talent. Many pitchers struggle in their sophomore season.

      • Votto4life

        Many pitchers struggle their sophomore season and are soon out of baseball too. Regardless, I sure wouldn’t extend him at this point.

      • Mario

        Extending any pitcher is extremely risky. I’m glad Greene took his extension to set the example for the team but no mas.

  24. Redlegs1869

    That’s it. Ashcraft will go to IL.

  25. HoF-13

    Reds have the Dodgers right where they want them.

  26. Jim Walker

    Give Bell extra credit. He called for that challenge to get his guy in the pen several more tosses and also to (hopefully) stall the Dodgers momentum.

  27. Dennis Westrick

    If it’s not the walks, it’s the HBP nonsense! Both batters hit by pitches thrown by GA scored!

    Can’t blame Bell in this case for the quick hook after GA’s 2 walks plus the HBPs.

    Let the comeback begin!

    • JB

      GA got nailed on plant foot. First guy he pitched to was Betts. Blame that on the plant foot. Give the guy a break for crying out loud.

      • greenmtred

        Hard to bash Newman today, so another target was inevitable.

      • Dennis Westrick

        Did not know that! My bad!

      • JB

        That’s ok Dennis. Ashcraft mixed in alot of his pitches today. Just bad luck today for him. That come backer off the leg would have been another DP but it is what it is.

      • Dennis Westrick

        Thanks for calling me out for denigrating GA! Didn’t know he was hurt!

        Here is what I posted on the postgame thread:

        I need to take this opportunity to apologize for a comment I made earlier this afternoon on the RLN game thread after Graham Ashcraft struggled in the 3rd inning, hitting 2 batters and taking a line drive off his lower leg! I was at work and following the game thread on but not watching the actual game!

        My comments about GA were wrong and uncalled for not knowing he had been hurt and that the injury may have affected his performance! Frustration is no excuse for attacking a professional athlete!

        I also apologize to my fellow Redleg Nation followers and vow to do better in the future! I hope GA is OK and will be back on the mound soon! We need him to be successful and help the Reds make the playoffs!

  28. JB

    That combacker from Barnes on the plant foot hurt GA. Hit batter on Betts after it. I like him using his other pitches today . Barrero with a strong throw to home. Reds don’t have strong arms in OF. Hopefully Barrero can start hitting and he can become the CF

    • VaRedsFan

      Agree…GA was looking better before being struck in the leg

    • greenmtred

      I thought that Benson was known for a strong arm.

      • JB

        Should have said the Reds don’t have many strong arms in outfield. Benson does. Freidl, Fraley and it looks like Hopkins don’t. Haven’t seen if Steer has a good arm or not. Does Fairchild? Can’t remember

  29. Moon

    Do not think the Reds will be climbing out of this hole today. I do not expect Kershaw to implode. I am not sure but it seems the Dodgers have pretty much led (or have been tied) with the Reds every inning of the series. The Reds have taken the lead and win in the bottom of the ninth. So the Reds have two wins without having the lead in any of the games and it continues today.

  30. Votto4life

    Kershaw is a master at his craft.

  31. Mark A Verticchio

    The problem becomes, who will replace Ashcraft? I guess they will just stay with the five they have. Williamson, Weaver, Greene, Abbott and Lively. The issue becomes who would be next.

    • JB

      Honestly I don’t think GA pitched bad today. Using his pitches alot better today. Just took one off the plant leg and couldn’t get over the pain. Pitched better than Williamson yesterday. Keep the six man rotation.

  32. LarkinPhillips

    Time to get Cruz out of this game! 2 batters ago.

  33. JB

    Cruz throwing it right down the middle today. Got to get it down.

  34. AMDG

    Congrats on Ashcraft only giving up 3 earned runs today!

    Over his past 6 starts he is sporting a 12.99 ERA, but in today’s game it was only 10.11, so that’s an improvement! Baby steps…

  35. HoF-13

    Dodgers have homer, walk, double, single — in this inning. Is a triple coming?

  36. LT

    Steep hill to climb and we have to wait for Kershaw out of the game to start climbing.

  37. LarkinPhillips

    CES is 2-3 in Louisville again today. I hope to see him in STL this weekend.

    • JB

      I as well. Just isn’t anything else to accomplish at AAA.

    • Jim Walker

      If CES was on the 40 man roster, we might have seen him by or now or see him sooner; but. he is not on the 4o man. Thus I think his fate and Votto’s are intertwined because either (or both) will require a 40 man move.

      • JB

        There is no need for Kuhnel to take up a 40 spot. Or even Karcher. Nobody will be picking them up , Bless them if they do, so they can be dropped right back to AAA.

  38. AMDG

    Over his last 27 starts Ashcraft has a 6.26 ERA and is allowing opponents to hit nearly 0.300 against him with a 1.66 WHIP.

    Those results are comparable to the worst seasons of Dempster & Milton.

    Sadly, Ashcraft’s bad outings are more the norm than the outlier, and we should probably be honest with ourselves and stop calling him one of the “Big 3”.

    • TR

      I knew very little of Ashcraft’s baseball background and then suddenly he was a member of the Big Three. A replacement is needed until he gets things worked out.

  39. JB

    Kershaw 42 innings and 20 ER on the road this year. Dodgers with the worst ERA on the road. Saying that, Kershaw is on today. Slider and four seam are spot on and now his curve is coming around. Reds 0-7 on the slider. 47 pitches in, so I don’t see him coming out soon. I guess maybe you just tip the cap to the HOFer.

    • TR

      Kershaw has been named by a prominent group, I don’t recall who, as the greatest Dodger in history. That says a lot since the Dodgers are one of the old franchises.

  40. RedsGettingBetter

    I don’t remember a game even on the line when Kershaw pitches against the Reds ever. I think all have been blowouts LAD wins… Let’s see if Reds are able to try come back again today

    • Votto4life

      I am at the game today. The only other time I saw Kershaw was in September 2021. The results were about the same except TJ Friedl did hit his first career home run in that game

      • JB

        “Clayton Kershaw has a record of 6-2 with an ERA of 2.25 and 107 strikeouts in 14 appearances against the Reds in his career. “

  41. Kevin H

    So sounds like Ashcraft got hit with a combacker and tried to stay in the game? Is that why he got pulled so early?

    • JB

      Yeah he wasn’t the same. Got nailed on plant leg. I thought he mixed in his pitches today and looked better. Of course others want him DFA’d

      • Kevin H

        Great that he looked better. I take your judgment JB. Hate to hear he got hurt though

        Some need to remember he is in his second year and struggles will happen.

      • Harry Stoner

        I don’t think anyone here suggested DFA Ashcraft.

        That’s ridiculous.

        There were some folks here (not me) suggesting to option him to AAA to do some remedial work.

        A different thing altogether.

  42. Tim

    I love looking at our lineup vs teams like the Dodgers, and thinking it’s as good or better. CES might just make us one of the best in MLB if everyone is firing o all cylinders.

  43. JB

    Salazar is pitching good. You throw out that 5 run disaster at Boston and he has given up 1 run in 9 innings. Keep it up kid.

  44. Kevin H

    Still have to remember these starters are young, well except Weaver and Lively. Point is they will struggle or go through slumps. I trust the powers that be to make adjustments etc.

  45. JB

    Max Muncy is impersonating Brooks Robinson’s defense of the 1970 World Series .

  46. Indy Red Man

    They really need 5-6 wins on this 9 game trip to keep some momentum & excitement. StL and KC but can’t remember the 3rd city. We have to hope it’s like horse racing in that we’re dropping in class and can handle the lower level opponents.

    I think they need to win like 12 of the next 8 starts from HG & Abbott because the rest of these guys are extremely shaky

    • JB

      Houston. These next two series are huge. Houston is going to be tough.

  47. MBS

    Got the right part of the lineup due up for a comeback!

  48. greenmtred

    I wonder if the Reds were completely flummoxed by going into the bottom of the first without being behind by a couple of runs? Never got their mojo working. Or maybe it was Kershaw.

    • JB

      Kershaw. He had three pitches going today and like they say, you only have one pitch working , you are out of the game early. Two pitches working it keeps your team in the game. Three pitches and you win the game.

  49. CI3J

    Just checking in after seeing the score.

    Incredible that McLain had yet another multi-hit day. He’s like Dustin Pedroia or Ichiro, just born to hit. I wonder if that power he was showing in the minors will ever show up in the majors?

    Nice to see Barrero got a hit, even though he struggles against lefties.

    Other than that, no real comments. Seems like Kershaw was on today, and there’s not much you can do about it. 11K tells the story.

    Still, a series win is a series win. Can’t complain.

  50. TR

    Shutout on getaway day, but Reds take the series with two comeback wins.