Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (1-4) 2 5 1
Pittsburgh Pirates (5-1) 5 9 0
W: Steven Brault (2-0)  L: Homer Bailey (0-2)  SV: Felipe Rivero (3)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score | Game Thread | Statcast

If you didn’t catch tonight’s game, you didn’t miss much. The Reds briefly had a 1-0 lead, but that was about the only moment of excitement on Thursday night in the first road game of the season against the Pirates.

Here’s how it went down:

The Hitters

Woof.

Against a pitcher with a 4.56 career ERA and 5.11 xFIP, the Reds could get nothing going on offense. While they did manage five walks on the night — three from Tucker Barnhart — the club managed just five hits. Only one of those knocks, an Adam Duvall solo home run in the eighth, was an extra-base hit. Their first run came courtesy of two wild pitches from Pirates starter Steven Brault.

Other than that, not much action from the Reds’ bats tonight.

Jose Peraza picked up his first hit of the season on what amounted to a swinging bunt down the third-base line, so that’s something I guess. Take ’em how you can get ’em.

The Hurlers

The line for Homer Bailey wasn’t quite as pretty tonight as it was on Opening Day. The right-hander allowed only one run through the first four innings but ran into trouble the third time through the Pirates batting order, allowing three runs in the fifth. An unearned run on a Peraza error ended Bailey’s night after 4 2/3 innings. All told, he allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits and three walks (one intentional), and he struck out just two.

While Bailey did a decent job of painting the corners, the overall quality of his pitches was noticeably down. His fastball averaged only 91.2 mph and he got just five swings and misses on the night (four on his splitter). The inability to miss bats really hurt him once Pittsburgh hitters saw him a couple times, as he had a lot of trouble putting hitters away late in his outing. This is a development worth watching his next time out, but perhaps the freezing temperatures played a role in the diminished stuff.

Kevin Quackenbush pitched a clean two-thirds of an inning, giving up only a single.

Amir Garrett was next in line and continued to throw the ball well. The lefty got the Reds through the next 1 2/3 frames unscathed, allowing only a double while striking out two. He did get the benefit of this nice play from Phillip Ervin in right field to save a run:

Let’s hope Garrett sees some time in the rotation at some point this year.

Austin Brice pitched the eighth inning. He issued a leadoff walk but retired the next three hitters in order.

Not-So-Random Thoughts

  • The Reds pulled off the rare one-game sweep of the Cubs this week, so we still have that, guys.
  • You have to wonder if Joey Votto will ever figure it out. He’s hitting just .158/.238/.158 this season. Might be time to write him off as a bust, y’all.
  • Bear with me for a moment because I’m going to beat a dead horse some more. Batting Billy Hamilton in the leadoff spot defies logic in general, but particularly against left-handers. He’s a career .235/.266/.334 hitter with a 59 wRC+ against southpaws in his career. He was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts tonight. That won’t get it done anywhere in the lineup, but it looks a lot worse at leadoff.
  • In non-Reds news, this was probably the best moment of the day in baseball:

Up Next

Here’s some fun with small sample sizes: Luis Castillo (10.80 ERA, 2.99 xFIP) will take the mound for his second time this season on Friday against Trevor Williams (0.00 ERA, 5.29 xFIP) for the Pirates. Castillo is looking to rebound after a rough first outing, while Williams is hoping to build on a six-inning, no-hit performance his first time out. First pitch at PNC Park is again set for 7:05 p.m. ET.

Growing up just north of Cincinnati, Matt has been a Reds fan for as long as he can remember. As a kid, he was often found leading the Reds to 162-0 seasons in MVP Baseball 2005 and imitating his favorite players (Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, Sean Casey, and Austin Kearns) in the backyard. One of his earliest baseball memories is attending the final night game at Cinergy Field. Matt is also a graduate of The Ohio State University and currently lives in the Dayton area. Follow him on Twitter at @_MattWilkes.

Join the conversation! 50 Comments

  1. Sell the team, Bob. This is not winning baseball. GALLARDO AND QUACKENBUSH is not going to cut it. Your GM is clueless, your manager is clueless and you have the worst hitter in baseball leading off because you love his speed. You can’t steal first but if you could he would get picked off anyhow.

    • Marquis and Gregg to Quackenbush and Gallardo. Are the Reds still in rebuild or has the Owner/FO shifted to veteranism?

  2. This is gonna be a long, long season…

  3. Well to Price credit, PNC park is Billy’s best park he hits in with a .300 average

  4. Price continues to accelerate his long-overdue exit with his ridiculous line🤔-ups. Billy Hamilton should penciled permanently in the 10-hole, and protecting Suarez with Votto makes no sense. Slot Gennett in the 2. Meanwhile, Peraza continues down the path of Dilson 2.0. Where’s Nick Senzel and Hunter Greene when you need them? But I forgot, this is only year 4 of the year-down rebuild. We’re so close!

  5. I read that Billy’s numbers against the SP were absurdly good. **

    Unfortunately I remember Dusty tweaking lineups based on past performance and it never seemed to work as well as those tiny stats would indicate.

    Billy and Peraza looked to have improved not at all. Votto is characteristically slow but there is just the right amount of lineup gaps to do next to nothing on offense. Ervin should get a strong look at OF #4 as BH should be relegated to Defensive sub and base running specialist. Worse than the Billy regression, I fear 2018 will be remembered as the ‘Peraza Problem’. Speaking of SS …

    ***SSS Alert. I think it was the Red Reporter preview that tried to play the role of apologist for the BH lead off call. I won’t complain one iota if 7-8-9 is Peraza, P, BH until they can prove otherwise.

  6. If this team was designed to win why do they have at least 3 non-baseball bobble head giveaways? One of them being hippo from the zoo, one an Elvis, and I can’t remember the other. What is going on with our beloved Reds? I am trying not to swear and go nuts because I really am angry. I am angry because I don’t really tolerate idiocy or ineptitude very well. THese aren’t complicated concepts we are talking about here. If a guy has a track record where he can’t hit he shouldn’t be playing. This is basic stuff unless we are in little league. Billy is fast and he is probably a nice guy. But he isn’t a good hitter. He is a terrible hitter. He shouldn’t be switch hitting. He shouldn’t be starting. He could be a good bench player. Why bring in Revere? WHat was the point of that when there was no serious competition? What is going on? Was Revere supposed to hit 3 home runs in the few ABs he got? Was it an insurance policy in case someone got hurt? Why do we have so many marginal players on this roster while the team couldn’t sign any meaningful talent? Take all the scrubs and guys getting paid a million each and they could have gotten one decent guy and fleshed out the bench and bullpen with the young guys. Why not call Hunter Greene up and throw him in the fire. THat’s what I would do. The Mets did it with Dwight Gooden. That would be a bold move that would put butts in the seats. Who cares about service clocks when this team is showing no hope of ever getting good. Get Senzel up here too. They had 3 years to become competivie and they failed so throw all the patience out the window and put the best athletes in starting roles NOW not tomorrow. Or else sell the team. The off season was as bad as one I have ever ever seen and now a slow start. It’s like purposeful torture. If I didn’t know any better I’d say that’s what this is.

    • Yup, the season is ruined with only 157 games left to play. We don’t have a chance to turn it around.

      • Nice to see the apologists out early this season. It’s only year 4 of the tear-down rebuild of the House that Dusty built, but was never allowed to finish. But with Bryan Price as your manager, there’s no reason to panic. Man’s got it goin’ on G.

  7. This the same line-up, minus Cozart, as last year. They lost 95 games. Really Dick !!!! This is the best you can do. Sat on your hands the whole offseason while every team in our division reloaded.

    • The Pirates didn’t reload, they got arguably worse, but still miles ahead of us. That’s depressing as hell.

  8. I’ll be honest. I went all in on the BlueJackets early tonight; and, it looks like I made the right choice. Yeah, they lost in OT; but it got them the standings point they needed to lockdown a playoff spot. They’ve gone 13-1-2 in their last 16 games. Hopefully we see stuff like this from the Reds again someday soon rather than much later.

  9. I am not a chronic complainer. This may actually be my 1st time complaining on this site. But, when I saw BH was leading off against a lefty( batting RH) and Winker was also in the game. It made so little sense that I watched Hawaii five o that I had just recorded after the first couple of innings.Billy was so overmatched in his 1st two times up, I saw no reason to continue. Plus I assumed Homer was due for a stinker. He is a 500 pitcher and had 1 good one already. So the math was easy, even for me.

  10. It’s early April so I always give everyone a pass but when the Reds broadcasters are complaining about BH leading off and for the life of me, why Garrett isn’t a SP, I nod my head and go: yep. The only mulligan I refuse to give is to Price. I just don’t see it.

  11. Feels like I’m always bashing Price, but.. the double switch in the 5th, down 5-1, he puts Ervin in for Winker? And leaves Hamilton in the game? Down 5-1, not up 5-1 and it was a late game defensive replacement… We were DOWN 5-1 and he takes Winker out of the game, and leaves Hamilton in???

    I’m finally ready for Bryan Price to move on. Can we please hire a real manager now??

    • The Old Cossack had a question (issue?) related to the double switch, but not the double switch itself. The double switch actually occurred during the bottom of the 6th inning, not the 5th inning, after Winker made the last out in the top of the 6th inning. The double switch was actually executed perfectly. One of the very few double switches that Price has executed properly. Unless the Reds generated some offense, Winker was probably not getting more than one additional PA and the pitcher’s spot was due up 3rd in the top of the 7th inning, requiring a pinch hitter if the double switch wasn’t made.

      The problem was what happened after the double switch. Garrett replaced Quackenbush with 1 out in the 6th inning. I’m assuming Quackebush was brought in during the bottom of the 5th inning as a short term replacement for Bailey to give Garrett sufficient time to warm up before entering the game, otherwise it made no sense to bring Quackenbush in to just get the last out of the 5th inning and the the 1st out of the 6th inning, but such a move with no actual reason or thought process is fairly typical of Price’s bullpen management decisions.

      Garrett pitched 1.2 innings (the 6th and 7th innings), but Price then pulled Garrett after finishing the 7th inning and brought Brice in to pitch the 8th inning with the pitch spot (Garrett) not due up until the top of the 9th inning. Garrett is more than capable of pitching 4-5 innings, but Price has apparently decided to make sure that Garrett is not moving from the bullpen to the starting rotation, so he can keep his binky and security blanket handy. Replacing Garrett with Brice completely negated any benefit gained by the souble switch, making the double switch another useless manuver by Price as a manager.

      Price continues to demonstrate that he completely lacks the ability to manage a roster during the game, yet he continues to retain his job.

      • Hi Cossack, not to defend Price, but I’m not sure I see the problem…Garrett shouldn’t be in the bullpen, but if he is then aren’t we glad he wasn’t completely “wasted” in a game that was barely in reach for our Mighty Offense? He got some work, but didn’t throw so many pitches that he isn’t available again in the next couple of days.

        I don’t want Garrett used exclusively as a long man. The work is far too erratic–and low value–for a guy who needs to be pitching. I want him in the rotation for the Reds (or Bats), but the next best thing is pitching regularly to multiple LH and RH batters in the middle of close games. (If Price wanted another inning out of him, better to have him ready in the 5th for Polanco after the warning signs were there for Homer in the 4th…)

        • And there’s the conundrum. I agree 100%, Garrett shouldn’t be in the bullpen, he should be starting. As long as Price has him pitching in short bullpen stints, he will stay in the bullpen. An effective long man role (3+ innings) is very manageable, except Price is the manager and can’t/won’t manage it properly. Usually the long man in the bullpen is used only when the game is lost in order to conserve the other arms in the bullpen, creating the lack of consistent pitching opportunities. An effective long man role finishes games and extends games while pitching 3+ innings out of the bullpen. This can be done every 3-4 days or even 5 days if the long man has to cover an extended 5-6 innings after the early departure of the starter or an extra innings game.

          If Garrett is stretched out by pirtching 3+ innings an outing, he is prpared to step in immediately when a starter is injured or falters. Garret was good enough to be a starter during the 2017 season and prior to ST this season. Suddenly, Price needs another LH in the bullpen and Garrett is no longer considered an effective starter. That’s Chapman all over again, with the exception that Garrett wants to start and welcomes the chance to prove he can start.

          At least the minor league season is now underway and we will have game performances to evaluate in the minor league system for those players competing for roles at the major league level.

          • I’m with Cossack on Garrett. Pitching him 2-4 innings as often as possible makes sense. If he’s going to be in the bullpen, then maximize his value and keep him stretched out enough to potentially make a start when necessary.

      • I see what you’re saying, but I still would’ve taken Hamilton out of the game down 5-1. We needed offense, and by taking Winker out, you’ve just reduced your chances of producing any offense at all.
        I’ll sacrifice a pinch hitter and another pitcher to still have Winker in the game, and to get Hamilton out. Just my opinion..

      • Price has to protect Bailey , that is his boy and Garrett is the one who would replace Homer so as long as Garrett isn’t stretched out Price has a good reason not to use Garrett as a starter , thus the bullpen. Remember when baseball had to come thru Cincy now we bearly draw a home crowd or bring a crowd on the road. We don’t have to fire Price, he needs to change his thinking about the pitching staff. Homer will get his money there is nothing that can be done about that , he has been getting paid the last 3 seasons for nothing anyways so let’s move on with the youth movement. It’s not like Homer is Bronson and he is good for the locker room and you can’t get your money worth out of him. I didn’t see Homers interview last night but I bet he had an excuse.

  12. I thought Bailey’s problem was leaving the ball up and out over the plate too often…JMO.

  13. Man I’ve tried to remain positive but some of the stuff is just mind numbing. Garrett needs to be given a chance as a starter….yesterday. They have yanked this kid’s chain for far too long. Give him the damn ball and let him go every 4th or 5th day.

    Castellini’s love for Hamilton also has to end. Billy energized the fan base in the past (kind of) and Bob saw that and loved Billy for it. Those days are over. There is no reason Hamilton should be in the lineup more than once a week (if that).

    Going to be a long ass season. Im so over this rebuild.

  14. Peraza and Hamilton can’t hit a lick. They must have decided Senzel cannot be a shortstop.
    Don’t think anyone on staff has better stuff than Garrett. Of course others can say his stuff is limited and works best in short stints but that is not apparent to me.

  15. I can live with losing. It’s hard to live with some of the decision making, though. Putting Hamilton at leadoff vs a lefty just shouldn’t happen. I get it–when he set up his thinking on playing time a few days ago Price wasn’t expecting to see a LHP starting for the Pirates, he expected to have Schebler, he expected to have played on Tuesday, etc. But at this point if your process spits out “bat Hamilton at leadoff against LHP”, something is badly wrong.

  16. The Reds have played 5 games this season…

    Winker has an OBP of .438 and has hit leadoff 3 games.
    Hamilton has an OBP of .118 and has hit leadoff 2 games.

    During spring training…

    Winker had an OBP of .411 and hit leadoff 5 games.
    Hamilton had an OBP of .278 and hit leadoff 17 games.

    During the 2017 season…

    Winker had an OBP of .375 and hit leadoff 9 games.
    Hamilton had an OBp of .299 and hit leadoff 135 games.

    In AAA…

    Winker had an OBP of .396.
    Hamilton had an OBP of .308.

    That’s an apples v. apples comparison. Unless the Reds are deliberately tanking and playing for another top 5 draft choice in the 2019 rule 4 draft, fire Price now.

    If the Reds are employing the deliberate tanking rebuild methodology and playing for draft position, good luck getting the fan base back after they’ve moved their discretionary entertainment income to other forms of entertainment and activities.

    Jose Peraza looks lost, but the Reds really lack any better option for SS until Senzel is ready to make the move to MLB. There is no reason for Hamilton to start at the MLB level or even maintain a 25-man roster spot on this team right now. If DW fails to option Hamilton back to AAA until he proves he’s capable of playing at the AAA level (not to mention the MLB level), then DW should be fired.

    In today’s market, Hamilton, Peraza, Duvall and Schebler have no positive trade value. The Reds need to decide how they can best utilize those players going forward in order to maximize their value to the Reds. The one thing that must happen is Winker starting full time in LF and leading off every game.

    • With a LH starter, you would seriously sit Duvall for Winker? (And that’s not even taking defense into account.). I’m a big “we need to sort” fan, but that’s pretty hard for me to imagine. As for why Hamilton was batting leadoff in a game where Winker was also playing…I don’t agree, of course, but I bet Price did it because he was looking ahead to the late inning double switch 🙁

      • The answer was to give Ervin the start over BH in CF and bat Winker leadoff. Price has options at his disposal. He just isn’t using them.

      • Nope, I would not sit Duvall in favor of Winker. Duvall is a better defensive OF than Winker, although Winker is not a bad defensive OF. Duvall also has a stronger arm than Winker. That’s a formula for playing Duvall in RF and Winker in LF. The two players are not mutually exclusive, just misused, especially when Hamilton is playing CF. The Reds are just unwilling to challenge the status quo in order to investigate and implement better options. That lack of creativity is dangerous for smaller market teams. Trading for a 7-year MLB career 2B with the intent to cast him as the CF needed by the team is the type of creativity needed that the Reds lack.

        • I agree play Winker in left on a regular basis, platoon Duvall and Schebler in right. I would also platoon Ervin in center as well. In fact I would sit, trade or release Hamilton, he has no business being on a MLB roster. Speed is great but can not offset such a poor offensive inefficiency. Ervin may not be as great as Hamilton in center but he can play it well enough that his OBP will more than offset the slight lack of speed. If we did that then we could occasionally play Schebs in center when a strong right hander was pitching.
          I’m not sure whether the problem with the Reds is that Price is just too dense to see things (Like Garrett should be starting, Winker should play everyday and neither Hamilton or Peraza can hit, and Peraza does not add anything defensively either) or if the front office is to blind to the fact that Price can’t manage the assets that he has been given.

        • Cossac k don’t know how old you are but I remember Post, Colavito and Clemente all 3 with great arms and all played RF. Duvall needs to be in RF!!

      • The sample size is small, but Winker against lefties was .120/.154/.200 (25 AB’s) and 0-2 this year. Schebler sitting out is the reason Winker played yesterday.

    • And, yet, Senzel is getting few to no reps at SS in AAA. It makes my head hurt.

  17. It’s only been a week, but the complete mismanagement of the roster is mind-numbing. Granted Price wasn’t given the ’76 Reds (or even the ’86 or ’96 Reds) he has gone about the first week of the season demonstrating he’s as clueless in the dugout as Peraza/Billy are at the plate.

    The Easter 6-5 loss to the Nats is a perfect example of Price’s ineptitude. Down 3-1 in the 7th, which one of Price’s bullpen arms does he turn to? Why, the newly acquired, worst pitcher in baseball, Yovani Gallardo who promptly gives up 2 runs. Bottom of the 8th, down 5-2, bases loaded, no outs, the Nationals go to their bullpen and bring in righty Ryan Madsen to face righty Adam Duvall. Boy, if only the Reds had a left handed outfield bat they could count on in this situation. Wait! They do! One of their top prospects, left hander Jesse Winker. Does he pinch hit? Of course not. Duvall GIDP scoring 1 and thus ends the threat. Pitching Gallardo and not pinch-hitting Winker are indefensible decisions.

    With the 5 outfielders on the roster, Price should be able to strategically deploy them late in the game (Ervin in for Schebler against a tough lefty, Ervin in for Billy against really any pitcher, Winker in for Duvall vs. a righty). Hell, he can even do it with the catching position. Unfortunately, strategy is simply not Price’s strong suit and so he wastes what should be, if not a good roster, at least a flexible one.

    • Agreed..
      And after the 2 run HR in the 9th, he sends Hamilton up to bat with 2 outs. Hamilton strikes out looking at a pitch practically right down the middle, and then argues a little about the call. Why does Price not pinch hit for Hamilton in that situation?

      Look, I like Hamilton a lot, but the way Price uses him makes me so mad. I think the fan base is going to eventually really start to dislike Hamilton. And that sucks, because he does some good things. Just please stop batting him leadoff.

  18. This is a big road trip. Only 5 games into the season, but a 2-5 or 1-6 debacle against the Pirates and Phil’s could really make it difficult to recover against the NL Central and with the cards/brewers for 10 straight and a much improved Braves team in for 4 games in late April. Scooter needs to play most every day to build trade value.
    The offense is going to continue to struggle. Peraza needs 180 at bats and to play every day until Senzel gets his needed finalaturation step in AAA.

    Wily Taveras had 2 stellar seasons in his early to mid 20’s and a solid playoffs at his age 26 season then became replacement level player or below. Hamilton regressed at his age 26 season and turns 28 in September. With his poor hitting and now diminished playing time and the diminished role of defense in these high octane hitting days…..he could be done as an everyday player. If the offense continues to struggle and the Reds dig a deeper hole on this road trip, I don’t see Hamilton weathering through a last place team with a last place offense as a regular player.

  19. I hate to say it but I’m rooting for pressure! Enough pressure on Dick Williams that he has to fire Price. Enough pressure on big Bob that he needs to rattle DWs cage a little bit. 10k on the first Sunday home game should tell them something! They’re mostly likely looking at 4.5 or 6.5 games out on April 8. Lose 90+ 3 years in a row and run out the same exact team with the same d#&^@$$ manager? I like seeing the young gun starters but nonstop losing has gotten old. I don’t think I can make it to Memorial day this year. At some point you feel like you’re contributing to stupidity by continuing to watch it…atleast I do.

    • Bless you if you stay on until Memorial Day. If changes aren’t made by end of April, I am deserting the Reds on May 1.
      This is worse than the post-Big Red Machine days of the early 80’s. This is worse than the Bowden years.
      We got better things to do than watch this crap game after game after game.

  20. Sadly, we have a large enough post injury sample size with Homer Bailey to know that he’s not going to return to the level he once enjoyed. At best we’re looking at a league average starter but more likely a back of the rotation placeholder who can only give you 5 innings most days. For the rebuild to take flight on the pitching side, 1 of Stephenson/Reed/Garrett need to step up and take Homer’s job.

    • Homer is not going anywhere until after the 2019 season. His contract goes through 2020, but the Reds can buy out his $25 million salary for that year for $5 million, which they will. The front office is not going to pay him to do nothing, you can bet on that. Much like the Giants did in recent years with Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito.

  21. The Rebuild needs a rebuild. What a terrible 25 man roster the Reds have put forth.
    The front office needs a rebuild.
    FIRE GM DICK WILLIAMS TODAY !!!!!!!!!

  22. And the pitching matchup in Philly Monday??

    Cody Reed v Ben Lively.

    Lively was the Reds organizations minor league player of the year in 2014….going 13-7 with a 3.04 ERA.

    Marlon Byrd played 96 games total for the Reds. If you want a symbol of the Reds not going in on the rebuild early enough….this trade was it.

    Walt Jocketty ” it’s a tough decision to give up a young pitcher, but really is the strength of our organization . ……they are paying a significant amount of his salary this year, which is the only way would have been able to do this deal.”

    • Typical Reds….love their “veteran-ness” so they bring in Marlon (.312 obp the year before) Byrd. He hustled and had some power, but if you bring in a veteran then try to bring in some guys that have some skills that they can pass on. Instead they bring in guys or resign guys that go up there hacking like they’re trying to get it over with asap?

      • Not only that, they completely whiffed on grabbing him off waivers in 2013, let the Pirates get him and the rest is history.

        The Bob Castellini Reds: A day late and a dollar short.

  23. The Reds have an offense? Huh.
    I believe Dick Williams is under the same mystical dilusions.

  24. Hamilton strikes me as a late-inning defensive replacement and pinch runner.

  25. I wasn’t impressed with Bailey in his first start. He let a lot of runners on base, in trouble often, only one hit away from losing it. In his second start, someone simply got those hits.

Comments are closed.

About Matt Wilkes

Growing up just north of Cincinnati, Matt has been a Reds fan for as long as he can remember. As a kid, he was often found leading the Reds to 162-0 seasons in MVP Baseball 2005 and imitating his favorite players (Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, Sean Casey, and Austin Kearns) in the backyard. One of his earliest baseball memories is attending the final night game at Cinergy Field. Matt is also a graduate of The Ohio State University and currently lives in the Dayton area. Follow him on Twitter at @_MattWilkes.

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2018 Reds, Titanic Struggle Recap

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