The nightmare continues for the Reds. The Cincinnati baseball team is now 2-11, continuing their worst start since 1955. Tyler Mahle started strong for the Reds, but got beat around in the 6th inning and they were quickly down 5-0. The Reds battled back and cut it to 5-3. They got the tying run to the plate in the 8th inning and the winning run to the plate in the 9th inning, but couldn’t break through.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (2-11) 3 7 2
St. Louis Cardinals (7-7) 5 13 0
W: Weaver (2-0) L: Mahle (1-2) S: Norris (2)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

Biggest Play of the Game

According to Fangraphs WPA statistic (winning percentage added), the most important play of the game was Tyler Mahle allowing a leadoff a solo home run to Dexter Fowler in the 6th inning, giving the Cardinals a 2-0 lead. That play decreased the Reds chances of winning by 11.9% (from 34.3% to 22.4%).

Player of the Game

Luke Weaver: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K

Positives

Devin Mesoraco hit his first home run since June 17th, 2017. He was 2 for 4 on the evening.

Alex Blandino had a pinch-hit single for the first hit of his career. #FreeBlandino

Billy Hamilton went 1 for 2 with a pair of walks. Hamilton now has 5 walks in the last 3 games. That is a positive development.

Negatives

Tyler Mahle was cruising through the first five innings, allowing just one run. He even battled out of a bases loaded jam with no outs (thanks, Cliff) in the 5th inning. The wheels fell off for Mahle in the 6th inning, as he allowed four consecutive hits to start the inning. Mahle looks destined for a really solid rookie season (he has 14 K & 3 BB in 16.0 innings), and tonight was actually mostly encouraging. However, the final line is one to forget: 5.1 IP, 9 H, 2 HR, 5 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 6.03 FIP.

Cliff Pennington committed errors on back-to-back plays in the 5th inning. It is absolutely pathetic of Bryan Price to continue to play anyone at third base other than Alex Blandino. 

Joey Votto fell asleep and got picked off first base in the 8th inning. The tying run was at the plate.

Not so random thoughts………

Jesse Winker was scratched from the lineup because of right shoulder tightness. It is the second time this week that Winker has been scratched from the lineup.

The Reds didn’t call up Nick Senzel today. He started at second base tonight for the Louisville Bats. That might be an indication that they are not planning on calling him up anytime soon.

Up Next:

Cardinals at Reds
Saturday, 1:10 PM
TV: FOX Sports Ohio
Brandon Finnegan vs Mike Mikolas (6.00 ERA/4.61 FIP)

Nick is a lifelong Reds fan who was born and raised in Cincinnati. He acquired his love of baseball from his late grandfather. Nick moved to the Cleveland area in 2014 with his wife, and his currently fighting to convert his beautiful baby daughter Emma to Reds fandom. Nick has been writing for Redleg Nation since 2013. Follow Nick on Twitter @nicholaspkirby.

Join the conversation! 59 Comments

  1. At what point does Price get fired? What will it take?

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  2. I know I’ll draw a lot of heat for this, but I don’t see Blandino or Ervin as being any more “ML ready” than Rainey or Weiss. Or even Romano or Mahle. The absolute of who should be playing at any given position on this team right now only extends to 1st base, catcher, & closer.

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    • They don’t have anyone else. Which teams roster can they steal? Mahle looked good, but he’s got to learn damage control!

      All they need now though is Winker to go down and Joey to pull an Adrian Gonzalez and the 62 Mets are in danger. Surely to God it won’t get that bad but it could

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    • It has absolutely nothing to do with who is or isn’t MLB ready. Blandino and Ervin are younger guys who have at least some chance to be contributors on The Next Great Reds Team. The folks who have been playing in Blandino’s stead (The two-headed monster known as Gosslington) have a zero percent chance of being contributors on the next playoff ready Reds team. Giving them at-bats is a literal waste. It helps the organization in no way whatsoever.

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      • Amen. This team is not going to contend this year. Writing the names of washed up veteran journeymen into the lineup has zero worth. Put the young inexperienced prospects in as much as possible.

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    • I”m starting to think that they over rate our prospects and that we fail at all levels to get the most out of these guys or the scouting is poor,pick your poison

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      • Coaching, coaching, coaching! This team I believe needs to be coached up. Defense and focus shows me lack of coaching. The leader of this team got picked off of first last night. C’mon redlegs let’s focus.

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      • Or maybe we shouldn’t expect them to come up to the big leagues and immediately be great?

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      • I don’t know if the organization overates the prospects, but it is clear the fans do. The Reds do seem to have a problem developing pitchers and keeping them healthy. I don’t know if it is coaching, training, or just bad luck; but every year there are a lot injuries and guys in the majors who aren’t ready.

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    • Mahle spent half the season on last year at AA (14 starts) and half at AAA (10 starts) then came up and made 4 starts with the Reds in late August thru September. He should be at AAA honing his craft, building his stamina for a mid season call up to MLB.

      Robert Stephenson and Amir Garrett should both be in the MLB rotati0n right now finishing out the evaluation process which started with both of them in 2017.

      Stephenson made 11 MLB starts from late July thru the end of the 2017 season putting up numbers which suggested he might be on the cusp of being at least a league average starting pitcher. Amir Garrett had a stronger early season run at MLB than Stephenson’s late season run. Garret’s run was interrupted by service time considerations followed on by a hip injury which we now know was much more serious than realized or at least public acknowledged at the time. He came back this spring to have one of the strongest springs of any Reds pitcher.

      The rush to pass these two by for the latest hottest thing (who might have an eventual higher ceiling) is symptomatic of much that is wrong with the Reds.

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      • If they had any sort of pitching staff and coaching to match, Mahle would be fine. He’s getting through lineups twice perfectly well. He should be on a 5-6 inning/75-85 pitch count very tight leash. As it is, he’s the #2 starter so long as Homer is healthy, and as much potential and performance as he’s had, it’s a terrible spot they’ve got him in trying to get 6-7 innings. It’s small consolation, but they abused Homer his first few years as well, but the team behind him was not quite this awful.

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        • Thats true….his pitch count was low and Price can only pay attention to 1 thing at a time. Alot of team would pull a guy there after the 2nd hr and maybe 1 more guy gets on….regardless of pitch count. Its more of a matter of going thru the lineup the 3rd time. Price is Carl from Slingblade slow to react though.

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        • Getting through a lineup the 3rd time is exactly part of learning the craft and art of pitching that can be developed at AAA where every failure isn’t in the harsh lights of the center ring.

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          • True – I guess my point is that if he were the only rookie in the rotation he’d be in a fine spot where they could cover him when he falters the 3rd time thru. Even as is, I think he should be here rather than L Ville, but not if he has no protection. Reed has proven he cannot get thru the order once, and Romano is having his troubles as well. Mahle is right there with Castillo, who is also having expected troubles. They’re just such a wreck they cannot manage around anything at this point.

          • Mahle has already proven he can pitch at AAA and this is already a lost season for the Reds. He can fine tune at the big league level. What the Reds need to do is continue leaving them out to battle through the rough inning. It’s part of developing young SP, and it will be painful all season. They need to even go a step further and leave their butts out there for 100+ pitches every game. I really don’t care if they give up 12 runs. But at least then they’ll start seeing what works and what doesn’t at the big league level and begin making the adjustments. It will also keep the bullpen from getting blown up and wore out every other day. Get the young starters used to throwing 100+ pitches and deep into games. Quit babying their arms and their psyches and let them start sorting themselves out. I’d rather see Castillo/Mahle/Romano/Garrett/Finnegan/Stephenson out there trying to figure it out and showing their mettle than Quackenbush or Floro coming in for them when they get into a jam at 75 pitches.

          • I agree with pretty much all of this. This thread got split a bit; so, I’ll add here what I had said somewhere else. The urgency is to find out about Stephenson and Garrett because of their ages and them being in their final option year. This is why I would have Mahle at AAA for now.

      • As for Garrett and BobSteve – I only hope they’re slow on Garrett to get him totally past the hip issue, and plan to lengthen him out to start by mid-season. Agree about BobSteve and hope he returns around June 1.

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      • I can agree totality with that statement. I really think Mahle is going to be good. It was poor defense that killed him last night.I know he got out of that inning but it added st bats for the cards and pitched to Mahle. I could see the sixth inning disaster coming. Too bad price couldn’t. I do agree though that Mahle ought to be in AAA getting some more grooming and bob Steve and Amir ought to be starting for reds. That might not make any difference in wins and losses but it would make s difference in the sorting.

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  3. You know its going real bad when the Jeter, er Miami Marlins have a better record. Ugh, baseball is suuuuch a long season. Numb me, please. 🙁

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  4. fireworks/bobblehead night reminds me of “The Jerk”. You just, have taken in fifteen dollars and given away fifty cents worth of c…, which gives us a net profit of fourteen dollars and fifty cents

    Ahh..? so It’s a profit deal?

    Sorry to be negative. I really have big hopes for Mahle, once he gets his stamina.

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  5. Brandon Finnegan to end the six game losing streak? We shall see. I’d be more confident with Amir Garrett.

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  6. Not to be nitpicky, but Fowler’s 6th inning HR decreased the Reds’ chance of winning by 42%. It was an 11.9 percentage POINT decrease.

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  7. I’m going to call Pennington “Maverick” just for fun. I’m a little worn out already with Goose and Maverick. They’re not exactly top guns:) Goose takes strike 3 right down broadway and can’t catch a simple throw to 1st last night. Pennington brings back memories of Edwin Scissorhands tonite at 3rd base. You play in a bandbox and you’re always behind in the last innings…wouldn’t it be nice to have a pinch-hitter that might close their eyes and hit a 360 ft GABP hr like Meso’s tonite. Brandon Dixon anyone? I just don’t get DW? If a franchise owner at a McDonalds orders meat from corporate then they don’t try to bring in a truckload of broccoli? We need actual players? Is this going to continue for a decade? Where’s Chris Heisey? Steve Selsky is back at Lville. He can hit a little and prob catch a throw at 1b. That would be an improvement

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  8. To the discussion above with Jim Walker and Optimist…

    Small sample size and all, but every Reds SP so far has allowed as many or more HRs as they have had starts, with the exception of Bailey:

    http://www.espn.com/mlb/team/stats/pitching/_/name/cin/cincinnati-reds

    That is a lot of mistakes for young SPs to overcome and still show well. But, we can hope that the HRs per start go down as they learn to truly pitch and get guys out and not rely on raw stuff.

    IMO, what is more interesting is the K:BB ratio. Of the guys who have 3 starts, who has shown “swing and miss stuff” and shows control:

    Mahle – 14Ks, 3BBs
    Castillo – 13Ks, 4BBs
    Bailey – 12Ks, 6BBs
    Romano – 7Ks, 9BBs

    Mahle probably was rushed to the Reds, but given that K:BB ratio, he’s probably better off staying in Cincinnati. Being protected, on a pitch count, don’t leave him out to get shelled, but he won’t learn more getting lesser guys out in AAA.

    Romano? He looks overwhelmed, IMO, and this stat shows it. Maybe he should go to Louisville now. It’s not like there isn’t someone else to throw into this Ring of Fire that is Reds SP.

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    • The urgency with Garrett and Stephenson is about age and minor league options. Garrett is within a month of being 26. Stephenson is 25 plus ~2 months. Both are on their last option season. Mahle is 23 plus ~7 months and has a full compliment of options remaining.

      Important to remember is that the Reds aren’t looking to find out in the short run who the very best guy among their starting prospects is. They are looking to build the best possible staff from 1 thru 5 plus hopefully some depth. Bailey is almost certain to be gone after 2019. Aside from Castillo (hopefully) where does that leave them?

      It would be fool’s gold to count on Disco for anything at this point until he has pitched a major part of a season, shut down for the winter and been able to come back the following spring. Add in that he has 2 years of team control left after this season. Finnegan? Still auditioning at the MLB level in 2020???

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      • You raise excellent points, and it’s a weakness of this re-build, IMO, with having so many SP “guys”…unproven, clocks running, little trade value. Especially when the AAA and AA positional prospects are so thin. Organizationally unbalanced.

        I would propose this…
        Bailey (obviously), Castillo, Mahle get every start they can handle the rest of this season.

        The last 2 slots are auditions/welcome backs from injuries/whatever. Plenty of starts left for someone to show their worth. Better to leave slots open to be grabbed and give several a chance. Checkbook Baseball to fill SP slots will give Uncle Bob sticker shock.

        I would take the risk that Mahle can make it, and that he and Castillo are the top 2 guys, post-Homer, for the 2020 season.

        2 guys can be a good base of a staff (deGrom/Syndergaard…Kluber/Carrasco…Greinke/Ray…Spahn/Sain and Pray for Rain.) (LOL).

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      • Jim, I agree. We need to see what Stephenson and Garrett can do before it’s too late and we don’t have the option. The other guys have a little more time. It’s not like neither of those guys would be rushed either, and each has found some level of success getting guys out in the Majors. Unleash them! I’m honestly fine with Garrett being a back end high leverage reliever, and I think he’d excel there, but if you don’t have better options, and you’re losing your option to find out on Garrett, it would seem imperative to at least explore that some more.

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        • I don’t mind Garrett as a high leverage end of game reliever except 1 he isn’t being used that way. And 2 they need to see if he can start ( I think has already been proven). A starter is inherently more valuable.

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    • Good observations and helpful stats to make the case for Mahle to pitch for 4-5 solid innings like tonight if possible. Use Garrett then as a “super reliever” to possible give 3-5 innings like Andrew Miller if he’s going to left in the bullpen. Mahle seems to lose a bit of mental and physical stamina to maintain his command after facing a lineup two times. What’s more Amir can be used a lot more regularly.

      This is not ideal, but at least two promising pitchers are getting regular productive work that helps the ball club’s bottom which is establishing a winning culture. It could have worked well tonight in my opinion – Mahle: 5 IP, 1 ER – then bring in the fresh, lively arm of Garrett to go at least 3 innings. Who knows?

      Of course, the offense needs to wake up and wake up early in a game.

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      • bottom *line* – sorry guys for the typos and other mistakes. Late night… Enjoy reading all your takes.

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      • Yes make Garrett a Super Reliever and don’t send him down to try and make him a starter. He said it best , “I’m a baller”and I will do whatever. Cody Reed said “I should be a starter” so let him start in AAA and when he shows he can be a starter , then keep him there as a starter.

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    • Send Romano down to L-ville and bring up BobSteve

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  9. I’d like to extend Steve’s tweet…”I no longer have any idea what the organization is planning wrt” fill in absolutely freaking anything!

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    • Here’s a great Cinco de Mayo promotion. Imagine Castellini, Jockety, and Williams all up on horses dressed in Mexican garb….. “Plan? We don’t need no stinking plan!”

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  10. I’ll say it already. Little sense in sending Finnegan out there this afternoon.It’s going to be a rain-soaked mess in GABP. Brandon re-injuring himself today is pointless.

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  11. My reading of the tea leaves with Senzel is that they expect Suarez back earlier than first feared, that they intend to put Senzel at 2B when the call him up in a couple of weeks, and that Gennett and his god-awful defense will be relegated to a lesser role.

    This would also make them less vulnerable to LH pitching. They now have Votto, Schebler and Winker as lefties, plus both Hamilton and Barnhart are worse against lefties. This would allow them to lose 7-5, instead of 7-3.

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  12. This year is about starting pitching and from that aspect it’s going well. Keep running the same guys out there.
    Everyone is finally healthy( x Disco). Mahle looks great except for that third time through the lineup or that one bad inning. That’s the last hurdle for good prospects to jump over. How do you make that pitch to get out of the inning or how do you execute the right pitches to get guys out that third time through and how do you have a good outing when your stuff isn’t quite as good as normal? Cueto and Bailey took time as well. Most elite pitchers aren’t King Felix at 22. They are late 20’s or even 30’s with lots of mileage and experience and some failure under their belt.

    Bailey is healthy and at times pitching beautifully. I think Castillo and Mahle will show improvement as the weather warms and they get into their routines and comfort zones. Romano needs more movement/better location on his fastball but give him another 4-5 starts and if the same pattern continues, send him to AAA and he knows what to work on and bring Stephenson up. I don’t have a problem with giving Finnegan the next 8 starts and letting Cody Reed pitch every 5th day in AAA. IF Reed cant prove in 2018 in AAA he can consistently get guys out and go deep in games, then move him to the bullpen for the second half of 2018 for good and bring him up to the Reds. He strikes me as the perfect guy for the bullpen. Simplify his job, shorten his job and maximize his strengths- hard fastball and slider for 3 innings a week. Garrett is the big question. He needs to throw 110-120 innings at least this year and its not looking like he will get there. But its a long season and he could easily slide into the rotation at some point and get 15-18 starts. Maybe they are just managing innings now.

    I have no data to back it up, just an opinion. Long term, Reed and Finnegan could be effective lefty bullpen guys who get guys out from both sides of the plate and pitch more than an inning. Garrett looks like a rotation guy.

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  13. Billy Hamilton has more extra base hits, and a higher OBP, than Joey Votto. Meanwhile, Adam Duvall has completely collapsed, and probably needs to be in AAA.

    The Reds have a 1-game lead now over the ‘62 Mets, but the Mets won their next 2, so it will continue to be neck-to-neck.

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  14. One thing overlooked is also the way the FO handled Schebler’s injury so the DL was probably a longer stint than necessary.

    In watching the roster shuffle and the picks coming out of Spring, Dick’s major deficiency seems to be in the realm of active roster management and promoting players. It’s a nightmare. The Cards let their best AAA players earn spots in spring but you don’t see them as bench players – Ervin. He has a lot to learn still but he’s nearly there – will playing every 3rd or 4th game help him get there?

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  15. Bring up Stephenson. Give Garrett, and Reed,(gulp), some starts.

    Call up Dixon, Senzel, and Williams.

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  16. Guys, you’re all overthinking this. Castillo, Mahle, Stephenson, Reed, Garrett, Romano, and Finnegan might develop into starters. So they should be starting at Louisville and Cincinnati, because cost controlled starting pitching is the most valuable thing a team can have. You’d have to be nuts to give up on a young potential starting pitcher, especially as many of our guys have fewer innings than their ages would suggest. You’d have to be a pitching coach or GM to truly know where each guy should be starting, but they should be starting.

    They all MIGHT develop. Even Mahle is hardly a sure thing. Many are worried about his third time through the order; I’m more interested in his third time through the league. Let’s see how he adjusts, how he manages on nights the ump isn’t giving him the corners, etc.

    Answering the questions about these starters is the most important thing for the organization.

    It’s probably a blessing for Reed that he isn’t going to have to start today vs such a patient RH-heavy lineup, but I hope they send him down soon to work on starting rather than trapping him in the bullpen. Good luck to Finnegan.

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    • I’m more in line with this thinking than I am with the sky is falling crowd. I’m so much happier seeing starts go to prospects and younger guys than last year’s parade of wasted opportunities. I would like to see Blandino and Senzel and lose the Gosslington but I’m not unhappy with who has been pitching, especially now that Gallardo is gone.

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      • Well-thought string of posts.

        We all know that pitching is the centerpiece of every solid team – and we are not there yet. Last year’s SP was a train wreck, despite a manager that has had success as a pitching coach.

        The hope was that Storen/Feldman could be the 2017 versions of Strailey. And Arroyo was a fan favorite that just may have been crafty enough to make some quality starts. If those guys could hold the fort and give the younger arms time/reps to mature at the lower levels – then it’s a positive. If the veterans find success and the Reds are able to “flip” them, then it’s a double-positive, a la Strailey-Castillo.

        The Strailey experiment worked.
        The Feldman/Soren/Arroyo experiment failed.

        We can always argue that the young guys deserve to be the first option in a rebuild. I think most people on this site would prefer to see the younger players. If indeed the Reds farm is in the top 10, then we should start to see those players rising to the ML level. Ervin, Blandino, Stephenson, Reed, Garrett, Peraza all need to play – and the list is longer when we include Dixon, Tanney, Weiss, and soon enough Senzel, Herget, Trammel, Greene.

        It is clear, NOW is the time for youth – accept it! It takes time for young players to “figure it out”. We can’t be worried about W-L records, we have to focus on day-to-day improvement, learning and finding the next group of competitors. Eugenio Suarez has risen during the losing years, so we will find them – we just need to not eat each other alive while we go through the painful process of watching a young team make mistakes.

        The rough start is a blessing. No premature dreams of wildcard hunting in 2018. The cold, hard reality of young players that must learn to become ML players over the course of a season is upon us.

        The FO/Manager seem to be perennially stuck in between youth commitment & veteran presence (or flip potential) – they seem to want to hold onto the aging veterans (the Gosselton thing is the most pointless). Their recent track record record on picking up solid aging veterans is not good. I don’t blame Coach Price for the fact that the everyday lineup is injured/weak, but the pitching progress (or lack of) is where he better get it together soon. Reed, Garrett, Stephenson, Mahle, need to be pitching at the ML level and LEARNING – even if it’s tough to stomach at times. He’s a pitching coach – and that means he better know how to develop young talent.

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  17. The way it’s been this year the Reds chances to win is when they take the field.

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  18. I know there are alot of Meso fans on this site, but shouldn’t he bear some of the responsibility for Mahle’s breakdown third time through the order. Hard to say watching what Meso might have been calling. Also hard to say watching, but it looked like there wasn’t much movement on Mahle’s pitches in the 6th…that would be on him and maybe stamina being the issue.

    Reply
  19. (.286/.328/.492)

    OPS=.820; ISO=.206; K%=7.5%; FP=1.000
    wRC+-133; wOBA=.358; fWAR=0.5

    Just sayin’…

    Reply
  20. (.262/.367/.452)

    OPS=.820; ISO=.190; BB%=14.3%
    wRC+=129; wOBA=.357; fWAR=0.2

    Just sayin’

    Reply
  21. For those critics of Homer Bailey, he’s the only thing keeping the starting rotation from sinking irretrievably in to the quagmire of this 2018 season.

    Joey Votto is playing without his head in the game, simply going through the motions. That is a VERY hard statement for the Old Cossack to type, but the pickoff from 1B yesterday was inexcusable. He was NOT caught leaning as the taking heads tried to spin the event. He was caught NOT paying attention and simply got burned, and embarrassed the team and his teammates in the process.

    Jay Bruce was traded for less than a bag of used baseballs. Zack Cozart walked as a FA with no return at all. The Reds are coming off three seasons of record ineptitude and are losing at a franchising embarrassing rate. Could Votto’s performance on the field be related to those events?

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    • Couldn’t be, he is tired of losing.

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    • He wants two rings….reportedly IN Cincinnati. But watching his face in the 6th as the game went south (yet again), you gotta wonder if he’s willing to stick it out. Also, has anyone ever seen Votto put down a tag on a throw over to first from a pitcher? I haven’t. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a devoted Votto fan!!!

      Also, letting Cozart go was a mistake. It was well debated on this site, but I think they could have gotten him. In regard to Bruce, we didn’t get anything, but not many thought he should have stayed…his current production notwithstanding.

      Reply
  22. Could this be what I fear, something that all baseball fans fear, not a young team, but a bad young team.

    Reply

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About Nick Kirby

Nick is a lifelong Reds fan who was born and raised in Cincinnati. He acquired his love of baseball from his late grandfather. Nick moved to the Cleveland area in 2014 with his wife, and his currently fighting to convert his beautiful baby daughter Emma to Reds fandom. Nick has been writing for Redleg Nation since 2013. Follow Nick on Twitter @nicholaspkirby.

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