Sometimes, when the pitching is outstanding, a single run holds up. That’s what happened this afternoon at the Great American Ball Park as our Cincinnati Reds busted into the win column with a victory over the stupid Chicago Cubs. The Reds go for a series sweep tomorrow.

Chicago Cubs 0  Cincinnati Reds 1 || Box Score || Win % || Exit Velocities

Featuring pinpoint control and a 95-mph fastball, Tyler Mahle dominated the Cubs lineup in his first start of the season. The Cubs managed just one hit off Mahle in six innings, a triple to right field that sliced sharply away from left fielder Jesse Winker. The 23-year-old Mahle struck out seven and walked two in 86 pitches. He put down a nice sacrifice bunt, too. We’ll worry about Tyler Mahle’s service time later.

Photo: Kareem Elgazzar/Cincinnati Enquirer

Jared Hughes pitched the 7th inning, giving up a walk but nothing else. Wandy Peralta retired two batters in the 8th then walked Ben Zobrist and gave up a sharp single to Ian Happ. Bryan Price lifted Peralta to bring in Raisel Iglesias to face Kris Bryant. Kudos to Price for not holding Iglesias until the 9th. Iglesias walked Bryant on four pitches to load the bases and bring up Anthony Rizzo.

The Iglesias vs. Rizzo matchup was a true moment of drama. After Iglesias pulled the first pitch inside (you have to wonder if Rizzo regretted not taking one for the team instead of jumping out of the way), Iglesias fired two fastball strikes inside. After wasting a pitch, Iglesias challenged Rizzo with a 95-mph fastball and the Cubs slugger swung through it for strike three. Iglesias retired the Cubs in order in the 9th to clinch the win.

Tucker Barnhart had a nice game, with two singles, a double and throwing out Kyle Schwarber on an attempted steal. Backup shortstop Cliff Pennington drew two walks and made a nice play in the field to start an important double play. Eugenio Suarez had a triple to deep centerfield and scored the game’s only run.

Jesse Winker also walked twice in his four at bats. Reds director of media relations Jamey Ramsey pointed out that if Winker walked a third time, it would be the first time a Reds leadoff hitter had drawn three walks in a game since early April of 2014. Billy Hamilton has hit first in 369 of those games since then. Hamilton did draw a walk in four plate appearances today. He was hitless and is batting .083/.154/.167.

LHP Brandon Finnegan will travel with the team and throw a bullpen session on Monday in Philadelphia. Then he’ll pitch in a simulated game on Wednesday in Louisville.

Whether you believe Cody Reed or Amir Garrett should start tomorrow’s series finale, it appears neither is in line for the rotation. Bryan Price said on WLW yesterday that Garrett is “transitioning to the bullpen” and when you add that with Garrett having out-pitched Reed in spring training, it’s clear that either would just be holding Brandon Finnegan’s spot. I’m not sold that Finnegan is a major league starter (2016: 5.19 FIP, 4.92 SIERA). I’d have seriously considered moving him to the bullpen for now and had Garrett, with his re-discovered velocity, try it as a starter. But Price has said all spring that Finnegan has a near-claim on a rotation slot.

This game was the first matchup in the history of baseball of two starting pitchers named Tyler (credit: Joel Luckhaupt, of course).

Scott Schebler was a late scratch with a sore elbow. He was hit there by a pitch late in yesterday’s game. Schebler said his hand was still tingling this morning. Doesn’t sound like it’s anything serious.

The Reds announced that Hunter Greene would debut for the Dayton Dragons on Monday, April 9.

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! 63 Comments

  1. Shutting out the Cubs is the best birthday present I could ask for

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  2. Great job by Mahle!

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  3. Trying to compare Mahle to someone….how bout Roy (Lee Harvey vs the Reds) Oswalt? Oswalt was a shorter guy but both power pitchers that don’t throw 98 mph, but just have command and a knowledge of how to pitch! It was a joy to watch him last year in Indy!

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    • Indy.. I like your stuff. Think you are a great part of the discussion.. but sorry.. the Lee Harvey Oswalt thing gave me the creeps.

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    • Ron Darling?

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    • I’m just going to go with Greg Maddux until he proves me wrong.

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      • A lot of pitchers could take notice on how he painted corners all game.I thought his start was fantastic and Winker should have caught the triple,it wasn’t a easy catch but should have been caught.Mahle pitched like a veteran.He reminded me of Carpenter for the Cardinals

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    • Tim Belcher.

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  4. Good win and, as much as I’ve been saying they have to play the service time game, maybe they just give him a deal with Votto years and call it a wrap?

    Seriously, though, the Garrett thing is really bothering me. I can handle giving Reed a chance for his confidence but Amir Garrett, when healthy, looks like another outright dominant pitcher. Castillo, Garrett, Mahle , Greene, and Romano/Stephenson/whatever could be a rotating for the ages around here. Why not let Garrett show he belongs like he did early last year?

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    • I agree Garrett has such upside I just can’t understand why dw doesn’t step in and tell bp he is a starter.

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  5. Btw, nice touch, bolstering the box score with win% data (even if it is a little overrated) and StatCast exit velocity data (kinda cool). That’s the sort of thing “obsessive fans” love! 🙂

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  6. If this continues, we might just put an end to a gazillion fair weather Cubs fans showing up at GABP.

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  7. Great outing by Mahle. His location today was impeccable. Outstanding. I hope when the players leave the locker room, that Price hands a CD to Reed with all of Mahle’s pitches from today on it and tells Reed to watch that a couple of times tonight.
    The offense still needs some work. One run when Cubs pitching gives up 9 or 10 BB’s is very inefficient.
    Good to finally make it to the win column.

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    • Mahle has location. That stood out to me the times I saw him pitch in Pensacola. There is no comparison between him and Reed or Stephenson. I am not sure either of the lattter will ever learn to locate their pitches on a consistent basis to be winners in the major leagues. But Mahle has it and the Reds need to keep him for a long time.

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  8. Great game. Execution could have been better offensively…but a win is a win.
    Mahle continues to look like a SP in the next good Reds team.
    Bullpen outstanding.
    Tucker Barnhart is quietly becoming a leader on this team. Outstanding catcher.

    I suspect the Reds want Garrett on the 25 man roster all year and with his options dwindling…the bullpen is the simplest route to manage that.

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  9. Four games in and three solid starts: Bailey, Romano, and Mahle. Castillo will come around. I’m like you, Dave R., I thought Garrett showed plenty in ST to earn a spot in the rotation with Finnegan out. But this gives Reed a shot to start to turn last season around. First inning will be huge for him tomorrow.

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  10. I too am a bit disappointed in Garrett getting the short end of the stick. But it probably will.ay itself out over the next 8 to 10 starts Finnegan makes. If after that if Finnegan has a 4.75 ERA and higher peripherials he and Garrett will floppy flop spots. I think Finnegan’s leash will be 10 starts long.

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    • I think Garrett deserves to start as well but he’ll get his chance. Good chance he could overtake Peralta and be the #1 lefty in the pen. Maybe he could blossom into a guy that get Price 4-6 outs if needed. Wainwright was a closer in the beginning for the Cards and he still had a good career as a starter. If Finnegan and Lorenzen come back….and Stephenson gets it together? A couple of guys somewhere are going to have to relieve or become trade bait.

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      • Indy,first time anybody has talked about trading any of these guys.Its a great point and if the team had did the right thing last year they would know more about who is and who isn’t right now.That is essential to acquiring players to fill our holes on the field and most teams will give value for value but what do we really know.With such a small sample size on all of these young guys I doubt if anybody takes a chance.Finny,Disco and Lorenzen have pitched enough for us and other teams to know what they bring.Of course these 3 have been injury prone.Interesting times ahead for sure.Let the young guys pitch.

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      • Wainwright was a closer for a competent organization in St. Louis. They temporarily had a hole to fill in the bullpen and filled it with the best arm available. The Reds designate certain players for certain roles and they are then stuck. Who was the last Red to start in the ‘pen and end up in the rotation? Danny Graves?

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    • Garrett’s first few games last yr. should have earned him this starting nod today,Reed has yet to throw strikes consistently.This really bothers me.

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  11. It is great to best the Cubbies. Mahle was getting good movement today. He should have had a few more SO’s but the ump did denied him some edge strikes.

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  12. wheeeee! nice to get win #1.

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  13. Great game by Mahle. He looked to be always in command after the 1st inning. Sparkling play by Pennington on the double-play.

    Really wish we’d have gotten a hit with runners in scoring position a couple of innings early in the ballgame. That would have provided some breathing room.

    Finally, I HATE that Garrett has been ‘assigned’ to the bullpen. He’s been dominating both early last year and in the spring. Give him a chance to shine.

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  14. I’m not sold on Finnegan either. KC used him in the bullpen. Much rather see him there with Garrett starting. Reed in the wings.

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    • KC used him in the bullpen to fill a need going into the playoffs. He was coming straight from a college season (and a college world series) after the draft and could only help the team in a bullpen role. He was a starter in the KC minor league system during both 2014 and 2015 and was utilized as a multi-inning reliever in 2015 on the major league roster.

      I wouldn’t be too quick to discount Finnegan’s ability to start at the major league level. The Reds need more than 5 effective starters capable of pitching effectively at the major league level. That’s why relegating Reed and Garrett to the bullpen under Price’s whim is a VERY bad decision.

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  15. Bryan Price said on WLW yesterday that Garrett is “transitioning to the bullpen” and when you add that with Garrett having out-pitched Reed in spring training, it’s clear that either would just be holding Brandon Finnegan’s spot.

    In case anyone hasn’t noticed, the Old Cossack has little respect for Price as a manager, but right now, I really hate Price as a manager. He simply has no redeeming value as a manager. Now we’re going to see Garrett and Reed relegated to bullpen pergutory like Stephenson and Reed were relegated to bullpen purgatory last season.

    By the time Finnegan or Romano may need replaced in the starting lineup, neither Garrett nor Reed will be stretched out and capable of going more than 2 innings. Both will become Price’s LOOGY’s out of the bullpen and there goes another year of service time with nothing to show for it.

    I’ve had my fill of Price’s preconceived roles and his blind adherance to those roles, to the detriment of both the team and the players.

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    • Co-signed, ol’ Cossack. Price was exactly the wrong person to lead this “rebuild”, as he doesn’t seem to understand the concept of letting the kids play. I blame him for the rebuild being so far behind schedule, and to this day I still believe Castillo/Romano/Mahle would have never been given a chance last season if the old retreads in the rotation hadn’t gotten hurt first.

      It’s almost like the rebuild is happening in spite of Price, not because of him, but he’s still doing whatever he can to keep tossing a spanner into the works.

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    • Agreed. So ready for the Brayn cramps to end.

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    • I’m with you 100%. Price’s only redeeming value so far has been batting Winker leadoff. But even there if you look at Billy’s stats vs RHP and LHP his decision of when to sit Winker and have Billy lead off made no sense.

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    • Price just has to have a couple of guys to punish.I said it on another thread that these guys don’t even know if they are starters or relievers or are in Cincy or Louisville.No wonder some are deemed as head cases because all of us would be if we were treated in such a way.Garrett was need per Price because of all those lefties the Cubs and Nats throw out there and yet in 4 games he has pitched I believe 1 inning.Price has a reason for everything but then he forgets what he said.Just lip service and means he really really doesn’t get it.

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      • If by punish, you mean Garrett is making like $40,000 more per month than he would if sent down to the minors.

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  16. You gotta love how one spring game can turn around the fortunes of nearly an entire team of players.

    Scooter Gennet => 1.059 OPS
    Scott Schebler => 1.51 OPS
    Eugenio Suarez => .924 OPS
    Tucker Barnhart => .818 OPS
    Jesse Winker => .462 OBP

    Now when (not if) Joey and Adam join the party…

    Adam Duvall => .604 OPS
    Joey Votto => .494 OPS

    we’ll have 7 of the eight positions humming like a Europian sports car.

    Of course that will still leave Billy and Jose creating holes in the lineup.

    Billy Hamilton => .321 OPS
    Jose Peraza => .000 OPS (and that’s hard to do!)

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  17. The Reds have a keeper in Mahle. Nice motion, very smooth, well coordinated and a ground ball pitcher. Garrett, Reed, and Finnegan all deserve a try-out to be the fifth starter until if and when DeSclafani returns from the DL.

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  18. Oh I’ve noticed,but you spot on,price has been in over his head since day 1

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  19. I know we are 1-3… but I am really enjoying quality starts the first week.

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    • No kidding. And against top-caliber competition. The Cubs are in a team hitting slump, but Mahle looked outstanding!

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  20. I overheard a comment on the radio post game that this was the first 1-0 victory for the Reds in 2 seasons. That simply astonished me and speaks to the gross ineptitude of the Reds pitching staff over the past 2 seasons. Glad to see the prospects finally getting a chance at the major league level.

    Once Lorenzen, Hernandez and Shackleford come off the DL, I hope DW transfers Reed and Garrett back to AAA to continue starting and maintain their readiness and availability for the next opportunity to start at the major league level. With Finnegan, Hughes, Peralta, Lorenzen, Hernandez, Brice and Shackleford, Price can whine and cry in his beer all he wants if he can’t manage a pitching staff effectively. Oh, I understandably forgot to include Gallardo in the list of relievers…

    If Finnegan proves ineffective as a starter once he completes his rehab assignment and is reinstated from the 10-day DL, I have no issue with moving him to the bullpen to try and establish an effective role for him at the major league level, but give the man a real opportunity as a starter first. I think he may surprise a lot of people.

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  21. I think Garrett is being saved for later in the season. At some point, these kids run out of innings.

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    • I agree with this. Between some aches and pains to the staff, and some innings limits, Garrett will get his starts in eventually. If they optioned Garrett to AAA, he would just use up his own innings down there, instead of being able to go every 5th day in Cincinnati after the All-Star break.

      I would like to see him pitch some 2-inning stints as a reliever, such as pitching the 6th and 7th innings.

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    • Would sound like a smart thing and I hope your right but personally the only way I see it happening is if somebody visits this site and sees what you wrote.

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  22. Garrett is a very hard thrower, and has what two or 3 pitches but mainly relies on fastball slider. They may worry he can’t keep throwing that hard all year as a starter so his innings need to be limited. Also they need another lefty in the pen. Peralta was pretty good today hit 97mph. If Garrett does that too, its pretty nasty and we have some hammers to go along with Iglesias. Hughes had that sinker going good, looks good for GABP.

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    • They don’t “need another lefty in the pen.” They need to find out whether Garrett, Reed, and Finnegan can be effective starters. During a year when we have legitimate playoff aspirations we can worry about the makeup of the bullpen; during this season, wasting any of those three guys in the bullpen is nothing short of Organizational Malpractice.

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      • Yes, finding out if Garrett, Reed, and Finnegan can get through the 5th. or 6th. innings as starting pitchers should be a paramount part of the later rebuild period. The bullpen is secondary.

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    • Price said this in the last few days… Liked Garrett in the pen because he can come in max effort….throwing hard…competitive guy….and not worry about the 2nd or third time through the lineup.

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  23. I’m kind of surprised no one mentioned this in the game thread or the recap. I know we’ve all seen a lot of boneheaded things the last few years, but this may be the worst of them all: Billy Hamilton tried to bunt for a hit with two outs and the pitcher batting behind him. (Bonus points for how terrible this was: it was still pretty early in the game, and the pitcher on the mound was having real trouble throwing strikes.)

    Seriously. Two outs, no one on, and the pitcher behind him. How could that happen on a Major League Baseball team? I’m a (properly used) Hamilton fan, but that’s just not excusable.

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    • I missed it Eric but it could be because we are so used to seeing these kind of things that we just think its normal.I mean we don’t have a team full of guys with great baseball IQ and we know Price is clueless and there is no accountability starting with him.

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    • Yes, that was a big head scratcher. Then in his next AB, he had runners on third and second with one out, and he should have bunted. The third baseman would have had to stay back on third to cover the base with a runner on second and the pitcher would have had to cover the third base line. A safety squeeze should have been the call here. That would have scored an insurance run and probably Mahle doesn’t get pinch hit for in the next AB and pitches the 7th inning. But Billy hits a dribbler back to the pitcher who throws home for a force out and no run scores. Then the pinch hitter for Mahle K’s. That was a bad series of events that should have been avoided.

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  24. I will do something I don’t do much regarding Price and that’s defend him well sort of anyway.What do you do short of pinch hitting for Billy?You can’t hide him unless you set him.He just has no power to even drive a ball to the outfield and the infield and out field both play up close all the time.He is at best a late defensive replacement or pinch runner.He and Peraza and to some extent Tucker are the weak links offensively and the game will find them even if the other team’s pitcher doesn’t.

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    • Tucker batted .270/.347 last year. I wouldn’t call him weak offensively. Couple that with gold glove defense and he is more than solid. 4 Spring homers show he might add some power to an already solid offensive repertoire.

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      • Your right his numbers were better last year but with only 7 homers.He had 93 hits and walked 42 times but only scored 19 runs when you take away the homers.The data is what it is but how much of is it because he hits 8th in the line up.You would think he would see few good pitches with men on base with the pitcher up next and with nobody on because of only 7 homers they could be saying here it is hit.The Reds may be better served by moving him up in the line up because of his high obp to see if he can maintain that.He is a solid player as you said and he may hit more homers.Lets hope so.

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  25. We’ve all known Mahle was going to be a good one. Reminds me of Kyle Hendricks maybe better. Once the scouting report comes out on him he’s in danger of succumbing to fastball only syndrome but I don’t think that’ll be the case. His control is too good and he’ll continue to refine / tinker with his offspeed stuff. Just remember Johnny Cueto was never our #1 prospect and then one day he was our ace. That’s Mahle.

    Also a quick monthly note on Price. He sets the lineup, manages the bullpen and has a say in personnel management. He does not promote, option, activate from DL, scout, trade or make large position assignments for the players. That’s DW. So Garrett in the pen is not Price. That’s DW. Price may agree with it or he may not. He may have suggested for it or against it. DW makes the call and then price has to sell it as the teams position. A thankless job. I’m not a price fan, but I try to remember what MLB managers actually do.

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    • I’m not so sure about that Streamer. It’s my belief that the GM assembles the team, and that the manager uses the players he has, the best way he sees fit. There may may some wiggle room there too obviously, for input from both guys in both directions.

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      • A very reasonable take. I’d be very curious to know how much of the personnel bad decisions (ie Aroldis, Winker rotting in AAA, etc) were BP based decisions.

        Perhaps I’m giving price too much of a break.

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  26. Glad to get that 1st win. Concerning the rebuild; I truly believe that the Reds have at least 3 of the 5 starters for next yrs rotation in the organization right now. It’s time to address the SS. & CF positions. I would be ok if 1 of the 2 players was a defense first type player. But, I think whoever is at the other position needs to have a good bat. If Winker & Senzel become a part of the starting lineup throughout the course of this season, then I think 1 more good bat makes them a playoff lineup. That’s my opinion. Btw, could Senzel handle CF.???

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    • Other than starting pitching, the best position for Nick senzel may be the second biggest question of the rebuild.

      Hamilton is who he is. I’ m not defending Peraza, but he has shown the ability occassionally to hit the ball very hard. I will reserve further judgement until June 1 as he is just 23.

      I would be intrigued with an outfield of Winker and Senzel in LF and RF. Second base can be filled internally then use the the trade deadline and FA to secure CF and a SS. The trade deadline could be fruitful. Scooter is going to play a lot and once the weather warms….he could be a huge piece as a power lefty bat. Iglesias could return the mother lode if a big market team….Nats/ Cubs/ red Sox….. have bullpen injuries or fall a few games back.

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  27. I agree Timmy because its so hard to hide 2 guys that have no power and don’t get on base.

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  28. It would appear to me that the quickest but more risky way to get back to that 82-88 win range (which I posit should be our goal every year as less teams are competing for that space) is to invest in starting pitching. You could end up the 1990s Braves, or the 2000s Mets who had Harvey, Noah, wheeler, those other two kids (escaping me) and due to injuries was just never able to put together a 5 year stretch.

    Here’s hoping we’re working towards the former with Castillo Mahle Romano and eventually Hunter Greene.

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  29. Stuart Tucker cleared waivers today and was outrighted to AAA. Apparently no one else wanted to expend a 40-man roster spot on Turner either. The Reds can now stash him at AAA without the burden of a 40-man roster spot. Now the Reds just need to put Yovani Gallardo through release waivers and be done with it. If the Reds are simply going to throw away $750K, I have a much better use for that money.

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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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