Well, there’s nowhere to go but up from here, right? Right? Hello?

Last night’s unmitigated disaster was easily the most maddening Reds (1-5) loss of an already frustrating season. The 14-3 beatdown at the hands of the Pirates (6-1) featured horrific bullpen management, TOOTBLANs, an utter lack timely hitting, poor defense — should I go on? In short, the Reds are reeling just six games into the season. Things will get better, but aside from Opening Day and Monday’s win, this team has been rather uninspiring so far.

They’ll try to turn it around tonight at 7:05 p.m. ET for game three of the series against the Pirates.

Starting Pitchers

Name IP ERA xFIP K% BB%
Sal Romano 6.0 4.50 5.57 8.0% 16.0%
Chad Kuhl 5.2 6.35 3.42 16.0% 0.0%

Although he gave up a two-run home run to the second batter he faced, Sal Romano was solid in his first start of the year on Sunday. The 24-year-old did a nice job of settling down and got through six innings of three-run, four-hit baseball, though he did walk four and struck out only two. Romano’s calling card has always been his ability to force ground balls, and that was on full display against the Nationals with 12 ground outs against just two fly outs. His fastball sat in the mid-90s and he relied on it heavily, throwing it 72 percent of the time. Keep an eye on his off-speed pitches tonight. He only threw six changeups in his 2018 debut and got just one whiff on his slider, which was his primary putaway pitch last year (18.6 SwStr%).

Romano vs. Pirates


Chad Kuhl was a ninth-round draft pick of the Pirates back in 2013. Being a college pitcher, he was moved through the system fairly aggressively. Kuhl started in Low-A ball and moved up a level every year before reaching the majors in 2016. The right-hander became a full-time member of the rotation last year, posting a 4.35 ERA and 4.61 xFIP in 157 1/3 innings and 31 starts.

Despite boasting a sinker that consistently sits at 95 mph and has reached 99, Kuhl doesn’t get many strikeouts or ground balls. His strikeout rate of 20.9 percent in 2017 was his highest at any level, and although he had above-average ground-ball rates in the minor leagues, that hasn’t translated to the majors (42.5 percent). The slider is Kuhl’s primary putaway pitch, generating an elite 20.6 SwStr% in 2017.

Kuhl vs. Reds

Lineups

Reds

Pirates

RF Jesse Winker (133 wRC+) 2B Josh Harrison (153 wRC+)
3B Eugenio Suarez (117 wRC+) RF Adam Frazier (106 wRC+)
1B Joey Votto (41 wRC+) CF Starling Marte (141 wRC+)
2B Scooter Gennett (107 wRC+) 1B Josh Bell (156 wRC+)
LF Adam Duvall (70 wRC+) LF Corey Dickerson (133 wRC+)
CF Phillip Ervin (94 wRC+) C Elias Diaz (122 wRC+)
C Tucker Barnhart (149 wRC) 3B Colin Moran (142 wRC+)
SS Jose Peraza (-25 wRC+) SS Jordy Mercer (123 wRC+)
P Sal Romano (5.57 xFIP) P Chad Kuhl (3.42 xFIP)
  • Billy Hamilton is out of the lineup tonight. Phillip Ervin is getting his first start of the season in center field.
  • Scott Schebler is out of the lineup for a fifth straight game with an elbow injury. It’s yet another instance of the Reds playing shorthanded and leaving an injured player on the roster instead of placing them on the disabled list. Hard to figure out now that the minimum stay on the DL is just 10 days.
  • Gregory Polanco was a late scratch for the Pirates with discomfort in his right foot.

News, Notes, & Pre-Game Reading

I’m sure most of you have read it already, but in case you missed it, Chad had some good thoughts on the current state of the team and Bryan Price:

More thoughts on Yovani Gallardo, his strange usage, and his inexplicable inclusion on the roster:

A Schebler update:

Stat of the Day

The Reds are the only team in baseball that hasn’t scored a run in the first inning this season.

Final Thoughts

Nothing will wash away the taste of yesterday’s debacle like a win. Let’s hope the Reds return to their winning ways against the Pirates tonight.

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! 108 Comments

  1. I assume they thought Schebler would be able to play after a day or two, but it’s still frustrating. I wonder if others teams play shorthanded like this as often as the Reds do or if it’s only because we follow the Reds it only seems worse.

    • Totally anecdotal, but from what I read in MLB. TR National League teams seem to play short handed more than teams in the American League.

    • I think the Reds have a track record of playing short handed which magnifies a situation like this. There have been multiple instances over the last few years when it was obvious a guy needed to be on the DL, but I don’t think they are the only ones. Watching the end of the Cubs/Brewers game today it sounded like both those teams were playing shorthanded due to injuries. The announcers mentioned Yelich was only available to run and play defense and the Cubs had to use a pitcher to pinch hit late in the game.

  2. When things go wrong, they go wrong. It just snowballs. The team has no confidence in the pitching, or ability to win. The losing will likely continue. There is really nothing at all exceptional about anything about this team. Joey will likely start hitting, when the team is 15 games out of 1st place, which should be about 3 weeks from now.
    Face it, last place again in 2018. The rebuild continues. Maybe next decade they might have a winning season again. Maybe.

  3. It’s not all bad for the Ol’ Redlegs….Winker picked up two outfield assists last night! Just don’t look too closely at why he was in a position to get those assists 🙂

    • Any chance your last name is Davis? 🙂 Yeah, he’s a bit rough out there but his offense already covers that and learning to read the ball and take better angles will let him improve. Considering he was a contact tool only guy two years ago (according to skeptical scouting reports that ignored power-sapping wrist injuries) he’s doing okay.

  4. And the streak of not scoring any runs in the first inning continues.

  5. Scooter refuses to take ball 4–it would have been his first BB of the season–and then strikes out. He’s been a big part of why we can’t keep any rallies going.

    • Hard to get too upset about that, since what should have been ball 3 was called a strike. What bothers me more is Duvall taking strike three that definitely looked like a strike.

    • Before last night he was 2-7 RISP.
      He hit 2 line drives last night in that situation. 1 at the 3rd baseman, 1 at the left fielder. N
      Not sure what you have been seeing.

      • He likes to jump on Scooter despite all the clowns from the owner down to the last guy in this organization

      • He has one RBI. I believe he’s 0-5 with 2 outs and RISP. He has zero walks. Yet he completely escapes anyone noticing he’s helping kill our offensive momentum.

        • 4-4 off Scherzer….he can’t control the fact that nobody got on in front of him. 0-5 wow….you really come to some kind of a consensus with all that to work with

          • Nobody on in front of him? Two in the first inning tonight. Two in the first inning last night. And plenty of others. He’s gotten very few hits when it counted, with plenty of chances.

          • and he hit 2 line drives….are you even watching?

          • or just reading box scores?

        • on tuesdays? during night games? that start at 7:38?

          • I’m definitely watching. For example, I’d hardly call last night’s first inning failure a line drive. And it’s not a small sample, except of course everything at this point of the season is a small sample. The guy has 1 RBI.

        • You win. Scooter is the main reason this team is failing. You should make another 17 posts about it tonite just in case anyone missed that indisputable fact.

          • Not the main reason. But it’s worth noting. (And then there’s his defense….) But no more tonight, I promise.

    • I’d say take it easy everyone; it’s early. Votto is definitely more to blame. Anyone really want to point fingers at Mr. Votto? He’ll probably end up slightly plus in every version of WAR – as will Gennett.

      Castillo has had two disappointing outings and our pen has been bad or mediocre half the games plus.

      Scooter is a waiver wire pickup, non-factor. 27 homers last year and some hits (w/RISP or not) this year are all gravy and he’s far from the biggest problem. In fact, our biggest problem probably can’t be evaluated until we cross at least the 5% of the season mark (or 25, imo). Please step back from the ledge. 🙂

  6. And Duvall looks at strike three with two runners on base…..The trend continues: swing when you ought to take; take when you ought to swing. This team’s low baseball IQ is its worst enemy.

  7. Who gave Corey Dickerson the Adam Eaton jersey?

  8. 2 more gift runs. Bell hits a normal ball to SS but they’re in some stupid despite the fact the pitcher is throwing 96 mph away? Typical

  9. Poor throw by Scooter, or they would have pegged the runner at the plate.
    Are Dickerson and Eaton related?

  10. Two out, nobody on for the Pirates, so of course they string hits together and score 2 runs. It’s early, but it’s also quite frustrating.

  11. This team is a joke. They haven’t been able to hit with runners on for the past 3 years. They make average pitchers look like cy young award winner

  12. 1st inning runs….we can get ’em…but we sure give ’em

  13. Man Peraza can’t hit to save his life. Who would’ve knew we would miss cozart this much

  14. ball 4 to Moran was called strike 3 on Duvall

  15. They’re trying to give us an out, and we STILL can’t get one. Next time there is a home game, some fans should be wearing paper bags over their heads. This is embarrassing.

  16. Not a Romano fan….he has no put away pitch and throws too many fastballs. He’s a 4th-5th starter at best. Another beatdown tonite….nobody makes a play. Nobody can scoop a short-hopped throw? Ervin swings at a 3-2 at his neck.

    Mahle needs to save the day again or its 6.5 games out on April 8th. Thats embarrassing as hell

    • First, the toughest pitch is well-located fastball (see Mahle, Sir Maddux). Second, when it warms up you’ll see Romano has a nasty slider and changeup waiting. Trust me, he’s gonna be a #3 (160 IP, 3.80ish), absolute worst.

  17. Peraza was way closer to that popup and didn’t call off Ervin. I think its stupid to worry about Senzel at SS when Peraza is horrible and they have no problem running him out there. He gave away a run last night on an error.

  18. Peraza HAS to take that double play himself, he was 2 steps from the bag

  19. I hear Peraza killed Kennedy too

    • I don’t know about Kennedy, but Peraza and some of these other guys are killing me !! Fans deserve better.

    • What in the world????? WInker has to score on that triple. What are these guys doing?

      • I was wondering the same thing. Was Winker expecting that to be caught, and afraid of even going halfway?

        • Its unbelievable? Thats almost as crazy as Votto last night? He should be almost halfway then see the guy overrun the ball and he should be rounding 2nd by the time the guy turns around to chase the ball all the way to the wall. He needs to score standing up there…even with mediocre speed.

    • Yeah….no reason to complain. Reds fans have been getting it Deliverance style from the Reds front office for 4 years running but hey….just squeal like a pig when they tell you to. Trust in the process. All that other corporate bs

    • The only thing Peraza kills are rallies. And I’m not talking about burgers…

    • 🙂 🙂 🙂 Thanks for the good belly laugh, LOL.

  20. How did Suarez not go 3rd on the sac fly? throw went to the plate

  21. Senzel 2-5 last night. 2-4 tonite. He needs to get called on the first day he’s available. He won’t because Price “has to get Jose going” or they really need Pennington’s grit and veteran qualities.

    • Senzel needs 200 at bats at AAA
      Keep hitting young man.

      Not sure 2b is his position

      • Right now his position should be SS. I guess they had Suarez play some SS last night. I quit and didn’t see it. EIther one is fine…just get Billy/Jose out of the lineup

      • I’m not either. Senzel is a star coming down the road. Forget working him into a new position at second and leave him at third base where he was comfortable at UT, and move Suarez to shortstop where he has experience. The Reds have plenty of possible 2nd. basemen, so let that work itself out. Peraza sees few pitches he doesn’t want to swing at but he is versatile and can be the utility guy a good team needs.

    • Service time, that’s all. See him in June.

      And who cares which plays where – neither is likely a stud defender at SS and both are excellent at third. Both rake, so mediocre D, even at shortstop, is plenty forgivable (by which I mean their offensive WAR/other measures of production far outstrip any mediocrity or deficiency at short – they hit enough to cover their D, as Jeter did for about a decade).

  22. That was a nice inning, Sal! Let’s get at least two more of those.

  23. This is no longer about anyone except Bob Castellini. This team is failing and headed towards 90 losses for the 4th straight year. Bob is the owner and the only person who can answer questions.

    Bob??????

  24. Screw the outfield rotation. Winker leads off. Everyday.

    • No doubt about it. Suarez pumped his obp way up last year. Once Votto heats up then they’ll 1-2 guys on base in front of him and not to mention some of Suarez’s HRs will 2 run shots now instead of solos. Schebler or Duvall could probably be a decent 6th hitter but that still leaves a hole at 4th-5th to really become a top offense!

  25. Thom said last night it’s not how you hit but when you hit after Winker hiccuped on his 4th at bat after 3 hits… Now what?…well Thom talking about how slow winker is after he rips a ball to rf to drive in a run….

    Reds continue with the organization hit job on Winker. Keep it up BOB . Clearly Winker….your best hitter…. is why are losing .

  26. Winker picking up where he left off last year, getting on base at a high rate or high percentage…wonder if Price is paying attention to that! Need to be taking notes!

    • Quote from Price today “Even on the days where he doesn’t get a hit he somehow finds a way to get on with a walk, a couple walks, or whatever. Really looking for as much as he showed some power potential last year he hit some homers up here, really looking for him to give us quality at-bats and find a way to get on base, a base hit, a walk, whatever it may be to get us into that middle of the order and he’s done that. He’s done a really nice job of that and he has throughout his career. For a guy that isn’t really a plus runner, the fact is he’s on base a lot, he gives us some opportunities to create some scoring opportunities.”

  27. Gennett swings at slop. Good Lord.

    • Scooter and Duvall look bad right now. If a righty has a decent slider then Duvall has no chance. He just can’t pick those up? He does ok against hard throwing righties but if they can mix it up then he’s hopeless. Schebler needs to be in LF. Price should know that by now…but of course Schebler is out

    • That’s why, despite being a big prospect for the get Brewers, he was disappointing and cut. It’s also why he could learn from Votto/Suarez/Winker and continue to improve.

  28. Winker OBP .543.

  29. When the Reds get runners on base, the pitcher has them just where he wants them.

  30. Romano pitching well .
    He and Winker aren’t the problems. They are the solutions.

    • Romano 11 ip with 2 Ks….he needs a put-away pitch. The Cozart/Billy strong defense is over. Winker is shady defensively. Scooter isn’t great. Schebler is bad too.

  31. Big Sal has actually pitched ok…that stupid shift on Bell cost them 2 runs in the 1st.

  32. I’m hoping they don’t lift Sal, unless the bases are loaded or something. It would be nice to see him make i through 6.

  33. Now steal 2nd base Peraza!! Schebler has a steal…that might be the only one for the Reds?

  34. I wonder how long Peraza can stay above the Mendoza line?

  35. They should lift Sal, we need runs, but the bullpen is a worry because Price ran out his setup man in a blow out last night.

    • except Pennington isn’t much better than a pitcher hitting. Sigh.

  36. I am not so sure Duvall’s late season problem (lack of hitting) last year was fatigue.
    I think pitchers figured out how to get him out.
    His last at bat when the count got to 1-2 I thought, okay, here it comes.
    Breaking pitch low and away. He can’t fight them off, he can’t get a piece of it, he only can swing and miss. That is what happened.

    • He’s got to pick those up….nobody can hit a slider that breaks 2 feet outside like that. His obp was better in spring training but that never seems to translate. Alot of righties don’t feature the slider. Like Mahle and Castillo are mostly fastball/changeup pitchers. He can hit those but slider? Forget it

    • To my way of thinking….Price has to really crack the numbers and he could manipulate a decent to good OF for the Reds. Duvall in LF vs lefties…no slider featuring righties. Schebler in LF in that case or CF as much as possible. Billy in CF occasionally vs RH but batting 9th with Ervin or Schebler in CF vs lefties. Winker in RF as much as possible unless he struggles vs lefties? Billy as def replacement/pinch runner. 4-4 game like tonite….Billy could steal that winning run!

      • Hamilton has led off 3x against lefties. That alone has me off Price…241 OBP last year is AA, at best. You’re right about “could” but, so far, reality isn’t matching potential. 🙁

  37. Winker on base 4x . Let’s not read too much into that on a team that can’t score runs and is in last place. No correlation with run creation or tie score

    • Huge correlation with potential (and thus, eventual) run creation, though. I’m not reading in – good production (eventually) leads to good results. He’s improving and has stud hitter written all over him.

  38. Huge hit, Eugenio! Go Reds! (If Quackenbush is the pitcher Price brings in, my head may explode.)

  39. Tie game! Baby steps …..

  40. Quackenblast….prove me wrong sir

  41. Even if this works, it’s madness. How can anyone justify this bullpen management?

    • Don’t blame price. If Peraza doesn’t get that hit they don’t take out Romano

  42. Can Price find an opportunity to pinch run Billy?

  43. I’m really looking forward to winning this game when Billy pinch runs for Tucker, steals second and third, and scores on a foul ball caught just beyond the 1st base bag 🙂

    • Of course Price double switches Billy into the game so throw out pinch-running. Billy has to hit his way on now

    • Of course Schebler is hurt but not on the DL. Dick Williams carried over the short-handed roster nonsense from Jocketty. If they put in another OFer then Billy could pinch run and you’d have a better hitter coming up in his spot.

  44. Bunting a guy over with Hamilton coming up next? Really? Please prove me wrong, but eeks.

    • Theres the hit from Tucker. If they weren’t short-handed then you pinch run Billy….steals 2nd then bunt him to 3rd or try to drive him in? Then you have Gosselin or Mesoraco hitting instead of Billy now. Organizational failure….as usual

  45. You guys do know there’s an exciting baseball game going on, don’t you?

  46. Not Reds-related, but the sheer stupidity of the Save rule came into play in the Marlins/Phils game. Philly was winning 19-1 & pulled their starter after 6 IP. Reliever ends with three IP and gets credit for a save.

  47. Talk about some bad luck, sheesh.

  48. SUAREZ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  49. Finally the key blow!!!

  50. Reds needed that big hit. Would be a nice comeback win

  51. If all else failed…they get could always try Peralta as a starter! He was a starter until 2016 in the minors. He has incredible stuff….97 mph fastball and good changeup/curve

    • I have no idea whether that would be a good idea, but it’s a moot point with these guys. Any left-handers are automatically slotted into the bullpen first.

      • Bailey will probably stay in the rotation but they have atleast 6-7 guys with better stuff.

        My rotation would be Castillo, Mahle, Garrett, Romano, and either Finnegan/Lorenzen/Disco/Peralta. Actually think those guys all have better ceilings then Romano too, but it will play itself out at some point?

      • Peralta was pretty bad after the 1st 2 months last year

  52. Please don’t say Big Sally pitched a good game. Two games 3k’s, 5 walks, 7 runs , 11hits , 11innings. He’s did ok but not good.

  53. Finally, a win !!!!!

    • Yesss!!! The Reds front office deserves the grief they get, but they absolutely robbed Detroit for Suarez and also Luis Castillo from Miami. Bad teams make bad trades usually. They should try to rob Detroit again for Nick Castellanos. Thats the slugger we need in the 4th-5th spot

  54. Good job Romano and the bullpen.

    Great job Winker, Suarez and Tucker.

    Chad is the one that brought this team alive. Gice him the C.

    • 4 runs in five innings with an error is not what I call a good job. Bullpen, Winker, Suarez, Tucker, Votto, Perraza, and Hamilton all did their job.

  55. Romano is a work in progress and I’m not convinced he’ll be a part of the starting five down the road. I see him, eventually, as a solid reliever who reminds me a lot of Clay Carroll.

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, Game Thread

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