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18 Games at a time - Capsule 6

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Selective endpoints on the 2018 Reds: Games 91-108

Philadelphia Phillies v Cincinnati Reds
Running into the rest of the season like
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

There was honestly nothing spectacular about the last 18 games for the 2018 Reds. There were some very solid performances, some absolute clunkers, and a lot of “meh” in-between. In other words, they played pretty much how you’d expect a .500 team to play. Now, obviously they’re winning percentage doesn’t say .500 next to it. Their horrible start to the season made sure we wouldn’t see that in 2018, but since April they are 41-39 (if you count last night’s game against Washington, which wasn’t actually part of the previous capsule). That’s nearly half a season of .500 baseball for these Reds, something we had all wished we’d see going into the year.

The story-lines for the rest of the season aren’t much different. We still don’t know what the Reds are going to do about the future of the starting rotation, a statement that has become even more muddied by the return of Homer Bailey, the non-departure of Matt Harvey, and Cody Reed and Robert Stephenson continuing to knock the door down at Triple-A. They still need a number-1 type starter, something we knew going into the year, and we still don’t know how the middle infield is going to shake out.

These questions likely won’t be answered in the final two months of the season. But at least we’ll have decent team to watch while they attempt to figure it out.

All stats and notes are through Wednesday’s games.

2018 Reds - Capsule 6

Record: 9-9

Season Strength of Schedule: .504 (8th hardest in NL; 11th hardest in MLB)

Season RPI (ESPN): .489 (12th in NL; 21st in MLB)[Previous: .484 - 12th NL; 22nd MLB]

Baseball Prospectus division odds: 0.0% (Previous: 0.0%)

Baseball Prospectus post-season odds: 0.0% (Previous: 0.0%)

Offense

  • .263/.340/.414 slash line for capsule 6, compared to the NL average of .252/.324/.407 and .275/.365/.442 for capsule 5.
  • The regulars, as defined by plate appearances: Barnhart, Votto, Gennett, Suarez, Peraza, Duvall, Hamilton, Winker.
  • It was a pretty average capsule for the offense over the last 18. Nobody particularly stood out and nobody was particularly abysmal.
  • Jesse Winker was on fire in capsule 6. He slashed .457/.537/.657 and collected 5 extra-base hits while walking 6 times against 5 strikeouts. Unfortunately, this is how he would end his rookie season after undergoing shoulder surgery last week. For the 2018 season, he hit .299/.405/.431 with 7 dingers, 43 RBI, and had more walks (49) than strikeouts (46). Hopefully the resolution of this shoulder issue will help bring back his power. The future is bright for this kid.
  • Jose Peraza once again had a solid 18-game stretch at the plate, hitting .315/.346/.397 for the capsule. He is hitting .284/.330/.382 on the season with a career-high 92 OPS+.
  • Joey Votto is still struggling to find his power. He had a SLG% of .390 for the capsule and once again only hit one home run. He still had a very Votto-esque .419 OBP, while walking 15 times against 11 strikeouts.
  • Eugenio Suarez had a weird capsule this time around. He had 9 XBH, including a franchise-tying streak of 5 straight games with a dinger, but he also had a serious cold spell outside of those home runs. Overall, he hit .243/.289/.514 for the capsule. The ugly part of the capsule was that he walked only 5 times while striking out 27 times.
  • Adam Duvall’s final capsule as a Red pretty much went right in-line with the rest of his 2018 season. He had a .214/.290/.375 line for capsule 6 while hitting 1 home run. Good luck in Atlanta, Adam. It’s been a fun 3 seasons.
  • Phil Ervin has been a great bat off the bench over the last few weeks. In 33 PA’s in capsule 6, he hit .419/.424/.613 and collected 5 XBH. Hopefully, with the trade of Duvall and the injury to Winker, this gives Ervin plenty of chances to showcase what he can do with regular playing time.

Defense

  • Team ERA of 5.03 for capsule 5, compared to the NL average of 4.10 and 3.80 for capsule 5.
  • It was another rough capsule for the pitching staff this time around. Tyler Mahle did a complete 180 from his last capsule, where he was one of the best pitchers on staff. The Reds had 2 games this capsule where they gave up double-digits in runs and two more games where they gave up 9 runs. That’s not to say there weren’t any good starting pitching performances. Luis Castillo had by-far his best capsule of the season and Homer Bailey returned from the DL with a vengeance. It is going to be interesting to see how the Reds handle the rotation the rest of the season, especially with Robert Stephenson and Cody Reed continuing to perform well down in Louisville.
  • Let’s begin with Luis Castillo. He made three starts in this capsule that spanned 17.1 innings and allowed only 3 runs, walked only 2 batters, and struck out 18. He was finally able to keep the ball in the yard, allowing only 1 dinger this capsule, had a team-best walk rate of 1.1 and was second best among starters with a K/9 of 8.4. This is the Luis Castillo we all hoped to see going into 2018 and I’m excited to see what he can show us the rest of the season.
  • So, is Homer Bailey, like, good now? Where in the world did this come from? Homer returned from the DL with a knee injury and pitched like the Homer Bailey of 2012. His 2 starts spanned 14.2 innings and he allowed only 3 earned runs, walked only 3 batters, and struck out 14. He, too, allowed only 1 home run, which was a massive struggle of his in the early goings of the season. I have no clue how long we will see this side of Homer, so for now I will just enjoy these positive results.
  • Anthony DeSclafani continues to struggle in 2018. I’m not going to put a ton of stock into it considering he missed a season and a half with injuries, and I do think he’ll be fine in the long run, but it has been a little discouraging to see. He’s able to strike batters out, as he had a 9.0 K/9 for the capsule and has a career-best K/9 this season at 8.2. It’s the rest of the stuff that he is struggling with. He’s walking nearly 3 batters per 9 innings, which is the highest of his career and giving up 2.6 dingers per 9 innings which is well above his career high (1.2). He will get it figured out, it’s just going to take some time.
  • Matt Harvey’s overall numbers in his final capsule as a Red capsule 6 weren’t all that great. They were, however, skewed by the fact that he gave up 8 runs against the Pirates in his first start after the All-Star Break. In his other 2 starts he gave up 3 runs over 10 innings of work and walked 4 against 10 strikeouts. In other words, it was a pretty 2018 capsule for Matt Harvey.
  • What in the world happened to Tyler Mahle? He made a start on July 6 against the Cubs where he allowed just a single run over 6.2 innings of work and was showing himself as one of the best starting pitchers on the team. Sine then, the wheels have absolutely fallen off. In capsule 6, he made 3 starts that spanned only 9 innings. He gave up 16 runs (14 earned), allowed 5 dingers, struck out only 7 batters and walked 6. Yikes.
  • Raisel Iglesias and Jared Hughes were, once again, the best performers out of the bullpen. Hughes allowed only 1 run over 7.1 IP and Iglesias didn’t allow a run in 7.2 innings of work while walking only 1 batter and striking out 7.

The Next 18

  • 9 games at home, 9 on the road.
  • 2 of the next 18 against NL Central opponents.
  • 3 of the next 18 are against American League teams, none of which use the DH.
  • 8 of the next 18 against projected 2018 playoff teams.
  • .516 combined winning % for teams in the next 18.
  • It definitely doesn’t get any easier for the Reds. Everyone on their schedule save for the Mets have a winning record and are fighting for playoff position. It will be nice interesting to see how this team continues to stack up against playoff contenders the rest of the season. So far, they have done pretty well since that disastrous April.