The Reds had a chance to win two series in St. Louis for the first time in 27 years. The Reds won one in April, I promise. They still have a chance to take the season series against the Cardinals by winning one of the three games next week at GABP. It would be the first time the team’s done that since 2011.

Cincinnati Reds 2  St. Louis Cardinals 5 || Box || Play Log || Statcast

Amir Garrett (25) returned to the scene of his major league debut when he threw six shutout innings allowing two hits on April 7 (Nick Kirby’s recap). And for a while today, it looked like he might repeat it, or even his performance two games later against Baltimore when he struck out 12 Orioles in 7 innings.

While Garrett showed potential, he’s still a ways away from being a reliable major league starter. He made it through four innings plus three batters. Garrett did strike out 7 Cardinals, but he walked 5. A pair of 2-out walks and a double steal hurt him in the 3rd.

Jackson Stephens (23) came in for Garrett and pitched three shutout innings. Asher Wojceichowski (28) came on in the 8th and gave up a run.

Billy Hatcher sentenced another runner to obvious doom at home plate. Adam Duvall had doubled with two outs in the 7th and Joey Votto appeared to be slowing down going into third base. Hatcher waved on a surprised Votto who was out easily at home. Is there accountability for Hatcher’s performance?

The Reds managed six hits (a double and triple by Scott Schebler) and a walk (Votto, of course). Schebler is having a sneaky good season at the plate, bracketing off the time his shoulder was hurt. More detail on that in a post Monday.

Jesse Winker and Adam Duvall each made nice plays in the outfield, catching flies far in front of them. Eugenio Suarez also had a defensive gem in at 3B, charging a dribbler and firing to 1B. Every outstanding play by Suarez at third reinforces my reluctance to see him move to SS or 2B.

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! 53 Comments

  1. A lot of analysts seem to think Votto’s speed is a hinderance. While true, he seems to have a good idea of the situation, sand him slowing up at third and running hard for that double. He’s losing value on the paths thanks to Hatcher.

    I’m in the category of people that agrees to keep Suarez at third, why mess with all that work and gold glove potential. Is Senzel able to play any other spots?

    • auto fill fail. “hence” not sand

    • It’s a little baffling to me that the Reds didn’t try Senzel anywhere other than 3B. I know they felt he needed as much work as possible at third. And maybe they don’t see him with the Reds in 2018. But in combination with how they are handling SS this month, it’s hard to make out their plans for the infield.

      • I would expect an offseason announcement. Perhaps they wanted to see Suarez for another year. Benavides did a great job with Suarez and Senzel could come to ST and spend 6 weeks with Benavides on the practice fields learning…..then play at AAA as long as needed.

        I wonder if he could play CF… But I doubt that gets explored.

      • I also love having Suarez at 3rd. In your opinion, what would you do with Senzel? What do you think the Reds will do?
        To me, if they want to shift Suarez to SS, then this last month would be a perfect chance for him to get some game reps there.

      • I think it’s very hard not to play Cozart right now, at least primarily. Sure, he needs to rest the quad but Peraza getting more starts at SS than him right now, with how he’s played all year, could bring down his overall numbers and therefore his value on the market. This is especially true if he falls below qualifying plate-appearances. Stuff like that doesn’t sit well with players and their agents. With the injury to Scooter, Peraza is getting time at 2B too. I’d love to see him at SS more but they really needed to move Cozart to do that and they couldn’t.

        • If you manage by not hurting the players or their agents feelings you are a terrible manager. Maddon, Girardi, etc. have no issues with pulling their starters after 4 2/3 innings, changing closer roles, resting players, playing players in multiple positions – the team comes above the individuals.

          • Resting players and those moves are different than implementing a rotation for playing time. Maddon, Girardi et al, make those moves for baseball performance reasons. Someone isn’t playing up to snuff and they get a day off to rest. Sometimes you realize a player like Cozart for example is nursing an injury so you give him some scheduled days off. Say a day game after night game or perhaps a day in the middle of a long stretch of games with no team off-days. Maddon and Girardi aren’t pulling performing players on a regular basis just to see what Player X can do. They may play Player X when there is an off day for a player to see what Player X can do but they don’t bench a starter who’s performing just to see what Player X can do. Make sense?

      • I agree because they can see what Suarez has done just like everybody else.The only thing the Reds did this year with any conviction was to give Peraza over 400 at bats before benching him for Scooter.That may have been just more about Scooter then anything else but the Reds haven’t done much to gives us a hint about their future plans at any position.Kind of makes you wonder.

        • I think the sorting on Peraza is over for the time being. Scooter is the starter at 2nd base vs all righties. Peraza is the backup at SS, 2B, and emergency CF

      • As for Senzel at another position. I’ve got nothing other than they want him working at 3B as much as possible. I am surprised they didn’t look at him at 2B at all though. Maybe they had planned to in the AFL but his vertigo nixed that?

    • Hatcher should have known Joey was going to coast into 3rd. What was he thinking?

      • I think I am along the same train of thought as you, without seeing the game is there no accountability on Votto for not running hard?
        He is a terrible base runner based on how many things I have seen in limited viewing.

        • I did see the game. Votto was running hard, like max effort hard, coming around second base. He didn’t begin slowing down until just before reaching third base, then suddenly he kicked it back in gear with max effort as he reached third and headed for home.

          That tells me two things. First, Votto gaged the play 100% correctly as he rounded 2B. He had no chance of going home unless the play was bungled by the defense, so he headed to 3B with the intent to round the base and look for an opportunity if it presented itself. Second, Hatcher did not give Votto any indication of what he was going to do until just before Votto reached 3B, leaving Votto on his own. Once Hatcher finally ordered Votto to go home, Votto was at 3B, ready to round the bag and look for an opportunity.

          I did not see any replay with Hatcher, but the secondary evidence sure points to another bungled decision and lack of proper communication by the 3B coach.

          • I agree with Cossack. This was not on Votto, it was on Hatcher.

          • That ball was in the air for a long time. There were 2 outs when it was hit; Votto should have been off on contact.

            When the TV picked him up after the ball was already on the ground, he was just rounding 2nd and was running hard. However, I’d like to see a replay from a high 1st base viewpoint to see what he was doing the entire time before I pass complete judgement on the situation.

            This said, with the play in front of him, Hatcher should not have sent Votto given what he could see the situation was versus what he might have thought it should have been.

          • Votto is not a good baserunner.

          • this just sounds like a lot of excuses blaming Hatcher for Votto not running hard, I know he is a great hitter and has improved his D this year and again I did not see the game, but just on circumstances why is Votto not running hard until Hatcher stops him?

  2. Suarez is a top 6 3B in the league right now with 4.6 fWAR. Suarez’s range might not be good enough for short and his arm would be wasted at second. If it were up to me I keep Suarez at 3B and find a new position for Senzel. There’s no guarantee that Senzel is even going to be worth 2 WAR at 3B.

    • Do you want Scooter at SS? Suarez has atleast played SS before. Cozart has no mobility at all, so Suarez has to be better then that, IF he can the routine plays. I haven’t seen Senzel….maybe they can make him a big SS like Tulowitski or Ripken back in the day? All I know is that you could blindfold Scooter, Suarez, and Senzel and they could all still easily outhit Peraza.

      • Ideally, I would extend Cozart for two years but no way he takes that deal. I guess for now ya maybe see if Scooter or Senzel can handle SS. If not, we have a glut at 2B if you include Herrera so we are probably going to have to move one of those three. Peraza stays as a utility guy until he learns how to get on base.

        • Scooter isn’t even a very good 2nd baseman. Shortstop would be a serious problem for him and probably disastrous for the Reds.

      • Right on Indy but he is fast and that plays all day every day in Cincy because speed causes chaos.I am going to miss it during the off season.

        • Not as much as you’d miss it if they didn’t have any. Speed is as asset, but it shouldn’t the only consideration in lineup construction.

      • Peraza could be a .300 hitter and .400 OBP if he would take more pitches, stop hacking at the inside high ones. He can learn this just as Suarez improved over the past two years.

  3. Votto had just one hit, a double, and a walk. Suarez, Duvall and Barnhart also had hits along with Schebler’s two hits.

  4. There was great optimism at this site in the offseason….speculating on a big step forward from Eugenio offensively. He’s done all that and more. No one could anticipate his defensive greatness though.Sign him to a 5 year deal and keep him at 3b. A corner infield of Votto and Suarez the next 5 years works for me.

    • He made great strides in the second half of last year at 3rd

    • hasn’t Suarez got 4 more years – would an extension now be wise?

      • He has 3 arbitration years of team control. MLB traderumors ran an article recently on the top 10 players in baseball set for big arbitration raises. Suarez was on the list. His year 5/6 arbitration numbers could be huge.
        Many teams are buying out arbitration years and the first 1-2 years of free agency for their young stars and that makes sense. Suarez would be a good candidate in my mind. If they don’t do that, it doesn’t make sense to switch Senzel off 3b.

        • I did not realize he played that much for Detroit n 2014- I would think that they could have planned that out a little better but I guess he would have qualified for Super 2 if they waited 2 months in 2015

  5. Shut off the game after the HR … walks, walks, and bad choices by Hatcher add up to the same old bottom lines again.

  6. If Suarez is just an average fielding SS wouldn’t he be more valuable there just based on, what would then be, his elite level SS bat? Then put Senzel at 3rd. If it doesn’t work out it doesn’t work out. Reds aren’t competing next year anyway. There just aren’t many options in the middle infield right now.

    Is it possible to calculate theoretical WAR based on someone’s given offense and projected defense? For example, keep Suarez’ offense numbers for this year, use average defensive numbers (in this case for NL shortstops) and come up with a new “theoretical” WAR.

    • Yeah. but as we saw last year, when Suarez was struggling in the field, his offense also suffered. Maybe since he’s more mature now, that might not be the case if he tries SS next year

    • You could make the same argument with Senzel, Bryant or anyone else. The problem is not everyone can play SS. And why would you move a guy who is young and already has all star numbers at 3B for someone who is projected to be a little bit better than league average? Senzel is projected to be a 2.5 – 3.5 WAR guy, he’s not projected to be the second coming of Bryant.

      • Projection? Based on what, KATOH? I think those projections are pretty dubious. But for the sake of argument, if Senzel were projected to be a 2.5 – 3.5 WAR player in his age 23 season, then the Reds could absolutely stand to find a way to get him in their lineup.

        Not sure if moving Suarez to SS is the answer, but he has played there before and seems more likely to be able to handle that position than Senzel. Nothing that I’ve read suggests that Senzel would even be average at SS. Suarez could probably be average, if not a little better. Besides, no telling if Cozart can keep things up. He has some leg injury history and he’s on the wrong side of 30.

  7. I don’t understand the hesitation moving Suarez to short, it is a promotion for his excellent season! I trust him there more than Senzel. I don’t think Peraza, Blandino, or Vincej should get at-bats over Senzel/Suarez/Gennett. The offensive drop-off is too great for any defensive metrics to overtake. If they have enough money for Cozart, they should probably spend it on starting pitching. One possible wrinkle: Boston used top prospect to get Chris Sale last year, if a similar deal is out there I’d think about moving Senzel and take a Cozart extension more seriously. A trade is the only way Reds end up with a pitcher that caliber, and Senzel would have to be included if it were to happen.

  8. I agree about keeping Suarez at 3B. Not much of a compelling reason to move him from a defensive position he’s excellent at to one where he’s had past struggles or no recent experience.

    Senzel played 2B in college. He hasn’t played it in the minors this year because Shed Long was on his team in A+ and AA, and both deserved to be on the field. I’d bet Senzel starts in AAA next year while Long stays in AA. With Herrera having to be on the MLB roster, and Blandino with positional flexibility, I wonder if we’ll see Senzel at 2B in Louisville? That may be a sign of things to come.

    Ideally though, I also get where the Suarez back to SS comes from. It offers the Reds the best hypothetical offensive infield with Senzel, Suarez, Gennet/Long/Herrera/Blandino, Votto in the near term. More options for 2B than SS where it’s pretty much Peraza and crickets.

  9. Talk about Suarez maybe not having the range to play shortstop, does anyone remember Dick Groat? He was a shortstop who didn’t have the range many others but played position by pitch & hitter. He had a great career in Pittsburgh & St. Louis.

  10. Jay Bruce walk off.

    • Yeah, pretty amazing… Got Bruce and Joe Smith on that team. Really would love to see them go the WS again.

  11. To me the SS situation seems fairly cut-n-dried. Suarez has to move back to SS! Cozart can barely move and he’s an old 32 with all his injuries. Senzel is blasting the ball and needs to play. He should be ready to play for the Reds next April. Even if they considered this year to be a mirage w/Scooter, and they anticipated that he would drop off heavily with the bat, then who plays SS? Peraza isn’t particularly good with the glove or the bat. He’s prob better then Scooter at 2B, but he hasn’t looked that good at SS?

    They could trade Duvall for pitching (or a SS?) and platoon Scooter in LF. That a massive drop off defensively though? It would free up 2nd base for Senzel and allow Suarez to stay at 3rd. If they resign Zack then that blocks either Scooter or Senzel. Personally, I doubt Scooter has an .937 ops vs righties next year, but .850+ is very achievable! GABP is a good fit for him and he’s at home in Cincy. He’s in his prime! Thats pretty deadly for 2B!

  12. On a happier Ohio note, did any of y’all stay up to watch Jay Bruuuuuce pull a rabbit and a corner shot (assume a double) walk-off to send the Cleveland Wahoos to their 22nd straight victory? Jay’s interview after the game was fantastic. You can tell he’s loving a pre-playoff atmosphere.

    • Just saw the replay highlights. Great to see Jay Bruce playing well and having fun. And Cleveland is on an incredible run that’s been cool to witness.

  13. Complicating the infield equation for next year is the fact that Senzel almost certainly will start the year in Louisville, if for no other reason than they will want to avoid him having a full year of service time in his first season. So if you move Suarez to short, which I endorse, then who do you play at third until Senzel arrives? Barring trades, the season will probably start with Suarez at third, Peraza at short and Gennett and a platoon partner (Herrera?) at second. But that does nothing to verify whether or not Suarez can move back to shortstop effectively. One of many, many interesting questions for the front office to resolve this off-season.

    I agree that Suarez needs to be extended. He’s the obvious first choice to me. Maybe Barnhart after him,

    • I believe that Scooter Gennett will have the same fate as Dan Straily. A free end of spring training pickup parlayed over the winter into a trade asset for a need. A sell high on asset. My guess is that Gennett will be in a package for that upper level starting pitcher, or for a SS. And Peraza will handle 2B until Senzel is summoned from Louisville. They will move Senzel to 2B at Louisville to start out the season and they will give Blandino more work to 3B to be more ready in that 2B/3B backup role.
      And take the outfield situation too. Five OF in Duvall, Hamilton, Schebler, Winker, and Ervin. That leaves out Kivlehan as a backup OF, and that doesn’t leave much room for him as a backup INF. I think the Reds really like Kivlehan too. Unless he has a horrendous spring, he should have a bench spot locked up. There is some surplus talent starting to back up at the ML level and at AAA that will have to be dealt with over the winter. If any trades happen, it won’t be just prospects used to make it happen.
      One of the 5 OF’s and a 2B or two will go in trades this winter. I think that is inevitable this winter.

    • The Reds seem particularly averse to L/R platoons for some reason. I think everything you say above is plausible with the exception of platooning Gennett at 2B.

  14. I think we’re all forgetting that Senzel is battling vertigo… It may be all fine and dandy by spring training but that isn’t a guarantee. Let’s not move Suarez off 3B until we know what’s going on with Senzel and if he can even get to ST in time. Then, lets maybe let him have some more MiLB success before we just anoint him the starting 3B and beg the Reds to move Suarez back to SS.

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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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