When the Reds jumped out to a 5-0 lead the collective Redleg Nation mind began to boggle.

An improbable five-game winning streak for a last-place club. Searches for pictures of statues holding brooms. Joy over a series sweep against a first-place team, Dusty Baker’s first-place team.

The absurd notion that the Reds might be an OK team crept into our win-starved brains.

But then the Rebuild Binder and Disabled List report showed up. They come fully equipped with generous helpings of poor pitching depth, shoddy defense and five-plus innings of the bullpen. Toss in the bad breaks and cheap hits that afflict mediocrity.

Factors that prevent nine runs from being enough.

Put away the brooms Reds fans and fast forward to the slide in PowerPoint presentation that addresses ten unanswered runs.

Oh yeah, bring on the Cardinals (Tuesday).

Cincinnati 9  Washington 10  |  FanGraphs  | Uh huh. 

Big Second Inning Ivan De Jesus Jr. got the Reds on the board in the bottom of the second. Following a walk by Jay Bruce, and singles by Adam Duvall and Eugenio Suarez, De Jesus lined a double to the left field corner, clearing the bases. Tucker Barnhart singled and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jon Moscot. Tyler Holt drove in two runs with a hit to center field, staking the Reds to an early 5-0 lead. Holt had a 3-hit, 1-walk day.

Lead Lost Jon Moscot began by throwing three perfect innings. But then his lack of command made him unable to finish the fourth. After recording outs on the first two batters, Moscot started to fall behind hitters and had to groove too many pitches. “You make a sub-.200 hitter look awfully good when you have to throw him a 3-1 fastball down the middle of the plate,” observed Jeff Brantley. By the time the Reds came to bat in the bottom of the fourth, a 5-0 lead had become a 5-5 tie.

Key Defensive Play With the score tied 5-5, the Nationals loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth. Anthony Rendon hit a routine ground ball to Eugenio Suarez at third base. Suarez threw home for the force place and Tucker Barnhart couldn’t hold on, allowing two runs to score. Barnhart was charged with the error, but the throw from Suarez did him no favors. It arrived to the plate about six inches off the ground and down the first base line. A good throw or a clean pick may allow a double play and get the Reds out of the inning.

Bruce Blast Jay Bruce smashed a 3-run homer in the bottom of the seventh. He now has 13 for the year. For those of you who care about this stat, he has 40 RBI which is top ten in MLB. For the rest of you, his wRC+ is 137 and OPS is .920. Bruce is building serious trade value.

The Comeback That Wasn’t Tyler Holt (!) led off the bottom of the ninth with a single. Joey Votto walked, because of course he did. Brandon Phillips lined a double down the left field line driving in Holt. The Nationals walked Jay Bruce to load the bases. The Reds needed a fly ball (or a walk, heaven forbid) to tie the game. Adam Duvall swung at the first pitch and hit a soft pop up to the shortstop. Zack Cozart swung at the three pitches he saw –  all out of the strike zone – and struck out. Ivan De Jesus flew out to the left-center warning track.

Bullpen Artists Dan Wright and J.C. Ramirez gave up eight hits (no walks!) in two innings. Only three of the runs they gave up were earned. Josh Smith struck out two in 1.1 innings of work. Ross Ohlendorf gave up a double but nothing else in the eighth. Blake Wood pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.

I Read the News Today, Oh Boy The Reds announced today that when Raisel Iglesias returns to the club it will be in the bullpen. Iglesias, who was a relief pitcher in Cuba, has not proven he can manage the workload of a starting pitcher without hurting his shoulder. In better news, reports indicate that the next start for Anthony DeSclafani will be with the Reds. DeSclafani threw 85 pitches – 72 during the game and 13 more in the bullpen afterward – in his rehab start for Louisville yesterday. DeSclafani may take Jon Moscot’s spot in the rotation.

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 42 Comments

  1. Still think Duvall should move to 3rd when Winker gets called up.

    • And what about Suarez?

    • I think Duvall should move between LF and 3B, Winker should move between LF and RF. That way, we can have several configurations when each of Duvall, Suarez, and Bruce get an off-day.

    • I would give that a shot if they could ever trade Phillips. I think Suarez is a better fit at 2B than 3B. However I don’t think BP is going anywhere

  2. Good recap until you said “Bruce building trade value”
    Then got sick.
    would rather see moscot every fifth day instead of simon.

    • Agreed. Hope Simon get moved to the ‘pen or released. At least there is SOME chance Moscot turns into something. We know exactly what Simon is, and he’s not changing.

      • I’m not ready to relegate Moscot to the pen either. In a lost season, I give him starts over Simon. I mean at least for a while longer.

  3. Seems like the Reds have had bases loaded, no outs or based loaded and one out many times this year then score only one run or no runs. What is the average runs produced in those two situations for all of major league baseball? Also seems like teams playing the Reds average more than one run in those same situations.

    • The expected runs for bases loaded, no outs – based on 2016 data – is 2.26 runs. At least one run scores 83% of the time.

  4. Lots of key situations in a game like this. I thought the biggest one was the Ramos AB/ HR in the Nats 5 run inning. From 0-2, Moscot muddled his way back to an even count then made a poor pitch which Ramos managed to (barely) push over the fence for the 3rd Nats run and the gates were ride open for the Nats. If Moscot finishes Ramos, there are 2 outs in the inning with the bases empty and the Reds on a 3 run lead.

  5. I dunno I always feel on the opposite side of the coin as most of the readers and commentary here.
    Raisel Iglesias going to the bullpen is absolutely the best and only move. He clearly can’t handle the work load of a starting pitcher. He might be even better than Chapman was for 1 or 2 innings 3 or 4 times a week.
    I hate to say it but Robert Stevenson, if he starts to break down like he did the past two years this will be his story as well.
    Now we will have a bullpen of Raisel Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen we will go from the worst bullpen in MLB history to one that is looking pretty good.

    • Dan,

      I agree! Raisel has already experienced a number of injuries as a starter and the Reds still have (as current or future options) Bailey, Disco, Finny, Reed, Stevenson, Dan S., Amir Garrett, Rookie Davis, and a number of others. Iggy and Lorenzen in the bullpen even if a few of the minors guys don’t pan out makes since to me.

      I know many desire to maximize the value of the pitchers (as starters); however, with the depth of pitching the Reds MAY have I have no problem with getting as many of these quality arms in the mix as possible.

    • I’m close to being in your camp on Iglesias; but if they tread carefully, why not give it one more try next year after another off season with more shoulder strengthening work.

      This said, the Cubans know about baseball and the relative value of starters versus relievers. They certainly were aware of Iggy’s stuff; yet, they used him as a reliever. Also most of the MLB orgs had him pegged as a reliever.

      Given where the Reds org was at when they signed Iglesias, it certainly made sense to give him a (long) look as a starter. However with his shoulder issues and the development of apparent starter depth the Reds now have from AA on up, let’s not lose out on a great reliever by trying once too many times to put the square peg in a round hole.

      • I think that is what the Reds were thinking all along. They knew if he did not hold up there was a place in the pen for him. He is not at an exorbitant salary, so it should end up a good signing anyway.

    • If Iglesias was any other pitcher, I’d agree. The issue is with the contract he signed to join the Reds. The Reds aren’t paying him starter money but are paying him perhaps a little more than bullpen money. The Reds can’t and shouldn’t put a lot of dollars into the bullpen. They really need Iglesias to work out as a starter. For this year, I think that keeping him in the pen may be a good idea. Long term however, I don’t think they should automatically keep him there. If he has one more season with shoulder problems or if the shoulder problems persist in the pen, I’d relegate him to the pen as you suggest.

      • Some guys aren’t durable enough to start, regardless of their contract status. We were an outlier at the time of his signing in thinking he could start. Two season in so far, both with some time on the DL because of the shoulder not holding up. I’d love it if he could start, but he may not be able to.

  6. Really frustrating game. No, I don’t expect the Reds to win five in a row. But I do expect them to win one in a row when they build a 5-0 lead. Lousy play by Suarez trying to rush things. Poor plate discipline by Duvall and Cozart. I was actually hoping for a squeeze from Cozart. Not that I expected him to strike out or flail at balls, but the difference between no runs and one run there is so huge, why not reduce the risk. Sigh… Time to recuperate then beat up on the Cardinals. Go Reds!

    • I would completely agree if this were a normal team, but with the Reds’ historically bad bullpen you can’t play for a tie. If the game extends beyond nine, the Reds lose.

    • I did not see the Barnhart error on the missed catch in real time. I just spent about 10 minutes looking at it from my recording of the game. The throw was not a perfect throw but neither was it a bad throw. It struck Barnhart’s glove just below knee level pretty much at the center front of the plate, not up the line toward first.

      As was pointed out in the Fox broadcast commentary, the issue seemed to be that Barnhart was turning toward 1st before he caught the ball presumably hoping to get a double play. In fact he had set up with his right foot along and on the front edge of the plate parallel to the front edge of the plate versus across it. This created an awkward angle for him in catching the throw and probably gave an impression that the throw was up the line when it fact it wasn’t.

      Thus Barnhart was the one who rushed the play, not Suarez. Barnhart certainly looked handcuffed on the play. Maybe he did it to himself with his setup positioning or maybe Suarez threw him a 2 seamer which was moving on him at the catch point.

      • Exactly what I was thinking on that play. You can’t turn two if you don’t catch the ball for the first out. The throw was not the best, but Barnhart definitely takes all the blame in my opinion.

    • Squeeze is more risky with a force at the plate. It would have had to have been a near perfect bunt. There was a better chance of Cozart hitting a fly ball or getting a hit in my opinion.

      • You’re not wrong. I just felt that a squeeze would be an active choice to create a run while Price chose to just hope for a run. Squeeze with the bases loaded is harder, and there’s a risk not just that it fails but of a double play. So I’m not howling about the decision, just disappointed by the outcome. But at the time I wanted a more proactive call.

        • Would have been outside the box. I wouldn’t have done it, but it would have been a gutsy call that may have netted a run. A run that didn’t end up scoring. You’re not wrong either. Just would have made a different move.

  7. I understand it’s one game, and every pitcher will have those days, but if Moscot wants to be a major league pitcher, and he’s handed a 5 run lead in the second inning, he needs to make it at least through the 4th inning

  8. I can’t help Moscot still isn’t ready. If medical, which I wouldn’t be surprised with this medical/training staff, send him back to the DL. If mental, send him to AAA until he gets to where he was, from what I heard when he was down there, “The minor league pitcher we’ve had best prepared for the majors”, or something of that sort.

    Not so surprised on Raisel, nor concerned about the move. Only concerned if he is ready yet or not (again, because of the medical/training staff). We’ve been trying to develop way too many relievers to starters. And, right now, we need relievers.

  9. I love Iglesias stuff but think this is the correct move. Do not have numbers at my fingertips but do not think he was pitch efficient in throws per inning. This will probably work out.

  10. I never had Inglesias as our #1 like a lot of people because he doesn’t throw hard but if he doesn’t develop as a starter then that’s a pretty good body blow to the organization imo! He’s so tough on righties and all he seemed to need was to develop a change or split vs lefties. I didn’t see extraordinary stuff out of Stephenson earlier this year and he’s not tearing up Louisville? Lorenzen has as good or better stuff than BobSteve imo but he’s in the pen as well then I don’t see how they fill out a good rotation? Are they counting on guys like Homer and Straily that much?

    • I don’t get the exclusive fixation on the radar gun. Iglesias (memory) seems to often throw 93-94, which is fine, if it isn’t straight down the middle. The only way in which Lorenzen has better stuff than BobSteve is a marginally faster fastball. Not much movement or command, not much in the way of breaking stuff. I hope he develops, and he may. But I’ll bet that if he does gain command of secondary pitches and transcends being a thrower and becomes a productive starter, those 98mph heaters will be rare occurrences.

      • I’m ok with Iggy and Lorenzen in the bullpen this season. I feel like Lorenzen is either a set up guy or maybe a closer… Possibly …. Never really liked Lorenzen as a starter option. I feel like Iggy could be possibly a nice # 3 pitcher in our rotation maybe next season.

  11. Cody Reed, Bailey, Disco, Brandon Finnegan, Stephenson/Straily/Garrett/Davis battle for that 5th spot. Iglesias and Lorenzen anchoring the pen. That has potential to be a great staff.

    • Not to mention other possibilities like Sal Romano, Nick Travieso, Jackson Stephens who are all currently at AA.

      And I’m not sure we’ve seen the last of Daniel Wright as a starter yet either. Wright is likely to be one of the folks who ends up back in AAA when the MLB guys are all returned from the DL. The question is will they develop him as a reliever or use him as a starter at AAA.

  12. On a side note, I wonder how Washington fans feel about Baker batting Ben Revere leadoff and giving Trea Turner (one of their 8 best position players) only 4 PA during his 3-game stint.

    Some things never change!

  13. We are competing and its hard to find fault over the last few games but lets don’t forget outside of Votto and Holt(he needs to play more) we are a team of hackers.Papelbon is a veteran that really doesn’t have much anymore and we should have made him throw strikes and we didn’t once the bases were loaded.Regardless we won two out of three against a very good team.

    • If Holt has many more games like Sunday, he will succeed in playing himself off of the Reds and onto (most likely) a better team 🙂

    • A sweep was in reach but the Reds did quite well against the Harpers.

  14. The Mets are said to be looking again for a bat and Jay Bruce near the top of their list again this year. Two near MLB ready AAA players the Mets have are OF Brandon Nimmo age 23, and SS Gavin Cecchini, age 22. The Mets have a higher rated SS at A+ about to go to AA. Nimmo can step in at RF and Cecchini an step in at SS if and when Cozart is traded. Hold the Mets feet to the fire if they want Bruce.
    Nimmo in 47 G’s at AAA in 2016, .306/.388/.461, 11.6 BB%, 17.4 K%.
    Cecchini in 38 G’s at AAA in 2016, .316/.388/.397, 10.5 BB%, 14.4 K%.
    Both have good defense and very good arms.

    • I’m not so sure the Mets aren’t about to promote Nimmo.

      • Maybe auditioning him for a trade??
        I don’t really want to see Bruce traded, but if it is inevitable, then I hope the Reds score big in a trade of Bruce. With Cespedes under a one year deal for NY, this could be an all-in all-in season for the Mets. They would have Bruce through the end of 2017 if they would choose so.

    • Wow. Double digit BB% and sub 20% K rates? Those kind of guys are not in the rebuild binder. Sadly, we’ll have to pass.

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About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

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