An axiom cited by managers, coaches, players and executives in all sports is that you are never as bad as you look when you are on a losing streak, and never quite as good as you think you are when on a hot streak.

Keep that in mind as the Reds continue to search for ways out of this horrendous 2-11 start, the worst of any Reds team since 1955. A loss today for the home team would mean the Reds would equal the 14-game start of the infamous 1962 New York Mets, who finished 40-120. On the other side of that spectrum is the 1955 Reds team that started 2-11 and rallied to finish 75-79. While we’re all hoping for nothing less than competitiveness and excellence, we would all probably say that this current team finishing with 75 wins would be acceptable progress.

Every aspect of the team – starting pitching, relief pitching, hitting and defense – has been tough to watch over the first 13 games. And of course, the game management fits into that category as well. It was interesting to hear Jim Day and Chris Welsh talk last night after Cliff Pennington’s wide throw to second base on what should have been a double-play ball that Pennington’s arm was sore after pitching the night before. If the announcers knew that, you would presume the manager knew it. That wide throw could have been completely unrelated to any arm soreness, but during streaks like this, the negatives just compound.

Like Joey Votto getting picked off first base in the eighth inning with the tying run at the plate. That was one of a couple of baserunning gaffes by Votto so far this season that can only be explained by a lack of focus on the game situation. The team leader must set a better example than that.

Redleg Nation hopes a substantial reversal of these early season fortunes will begin today in the 1:10 p.m. Eastern time game three of a four-game set against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Starting Pitchers

Name IP ERA xFIP K% BB%
Miles Mikolas 12.0 6.00 2.48 19.2% 0.0%
Brandon Finnegan (2017) 13 4.15 4.79 7.7% 19.2%

Righthander Mikolas has 103 Major League innings pitched since 2013 with the Padres, Rangers and now the Cardinals. According to Fangraphs:

Mikolas exhausted rookie eligibility in 2012 but has been refining his stuff in Japan before the Cardinals inked him to a two-year deal this offseason. He has a naturally cutting fastball in the low 90s, an average slider and curveball, a fringe changeup, and above-average command. Reports coming out of Japan indicate his command and sequencing have really matured and he now profiles as a solid fourth starter.

Finnegan makes his first Major League appearance of the year after a rehab start in Louisville. The lefthander experienced biceps tightness during spring training after missing most of the 2017 season, and is hopeful that today will begin an effective and injury-free season.

It was not at all surprising that righthander Zack Weiss was optioned to Louisville to make room on the 25-man roster for Finnegan.

Bullpen

Prior to last night’s game, the Reds selected the contract of righthander Dylan Floro from Louisville. Manager Bryan Price mentioned his featured sinkerball as part of the rationale for his promotion. The 27-year-old has a career ERA of 5.11 in 24 innings with the Rays and Cubs over the past two years.

To create a spot for Floro, the Reds sent Tanner Rainey back to Louisville. But a spot on the 40-man roster was needed for Floro, so righthander Ariel Hernandez was designated for assignment. This was the guy with the incredible breaking pitch, remember? Apparently the front office has seen enough of him after inconsistent control in his major league stint last season and in spring training.

The roster moves of the past 18 hours mean that Cody Reed is now in the bullpen.

Starting Lineups

Cardinals Reds
CF Tommy Pham  CF Billy Hamilton
SS Paul DeJong  SS Jose Peraza
1B Jose Martinez  1B Joey Votto
LF Marcell Ozuna  2B Scooter Gennett
C Yadier Molina  LF Adam Duvall
RF Harrison Bader  C Tucker Barnhart
3B Yairo Munoz  RF Phillip Ervin
2B Greg Garcia  3B Cliff Pennington
P Miles Mikolas P Brandon Finnegan

News and Notes

Interesting comments by Bryan Price about his managerial style and outlook during last night’s radio pre-game show:

Join the conversation! 101 Comments

  1. Great. So now both Garrett and Reed are in the bullpen? And Blandino’s not starting today?This team is run by geniuses.

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  2. Man that lineup has virtually no bite to it at all. Votto and Gennett the only above average hitters. No Blandino today…Winker still resting a sore shoulder. Ugh. Glad Finnegan gets a rainy day to make his first start of the year, surely nothing could go wrong with that. Do we just hope for a rainout at this point?

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  3. Blandino makes 1 error and gets benched Pennington makes 2 in the same inning and starts again. Is his shoulder better today? With Votto getting picked off makes me wonder if he’s given up.

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  4. Hard to score runs when you have; Hamilton, peraza, Ervin, Pennington, pitcher as 5 of your 9 hitters.

    The batting order is awful and blandino on the bench is poor management.

    I’m ok with moving Reed to the bullpen; but Garrett is more valuable as a starter and has shown the ability to keep working on starting.

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    • Reed’s problems have been home runs and walks. Not sure how that helps in a bullpen role, especially in GABP, but anywhere for that matter. But yes, FREE GARRETT

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  5. Reds look like a team playing out the string; and, they still have over 90% of their games remaining. If a change in the manager’s office would put some spring into their step, that alone is justification for making it given how the team looks this early on.

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    • I agree Jim. A new voice, direction, vibe, whatever. Something needs to change in the Reds dugout. If the status quo continues until May or June, you’d have to think management is clueless. It already feels like we’re done.

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      • With only two weeks of the season in the books, the lack of much spirit in the dugout indicates listlessness is taking over with more concern for what the players are going to say to their family or girl friend after the game. Something has to be done to shake things up or else this season is down the tubes, and that usually means the manager has to go. If Riggleman is the interim, I doubt it could get much worse.

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    • Just depends on who the new manager would be. Would Riggleman change anything? I have my doubts, but he seems like the likely successor as an interim.

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  6. Let’s see if Finny can break 90 with his fastball. If not, he’s not ready.

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  7. Pennington’s “sore arm” was pure speculation (read “excuse making”) by the announcers. There is no evidence whatsoever that his arm was dead or tired. He made a bad throw; the fault lies 100% with Pennington.

    Price is snakebitten, and will be fired soon, but he does not cause lousy infield throws.

    I am all in for Blandino to play more, though.

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  8. Peralta, Garrett & Reed now sitting in Price’s 8-man bullpen and it still won’t be enough. All three will see very limited activity since they pitch LH and need to be reserved as LOOGYs. Price has to have his crutches (roles), in addition to his veteraniness in the lineup. At least Floro should see regular action since he has 56 days of major league experience under his belt, despite having a below replacement level success.

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    • Cossack, you left some numbers at the bottom of the recap from yesterday’s game. Maybe I’m slow, but I couldn’t figure out who you were referring to. Can you help me out? Thanks.

      Unfortunately, I agree with everything you wrote here.

      Reply
  9. I would not fire Price. It serves no purpose and would be pure pandering. Riggleman is not going to make a difference. He should manage until the summer and a full healthy team with Senzel hopefully is up.

    At that point, replace Price with Riggleman as interim/ temporary manager and give Riggleman clear guidelines on lineup construction.bullpen MGMT and development goals heading into 2019.

    Hire the Next manager early in the off-season.

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    • The purpose it would serve — no matter who takes his place — is to let everyone know that poor decision-making and a general lack of focus are no longer acceptable. Allowing Price to keep the job when he’s made one terrible decision after another AND the team seems have generally lost interest sends exactly the wrong message. “Everything is fine, nobody should really question what they’re doing, we’ll get ’em next year” is not what this team needs to be hearing right now. They need to hear “this is completely unacceptable,” and there’s no better way to get that message across than firing the guy in charge.

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      • Price should be fired, just not now. Suarez/schebler/Lorenzen/Hernandez are on the DL and Winker has missed 3 games out of 5. Votto isn’t hitting yet either. Riggleman won’t help any of that. Firing him this summer would fit a bigger purpose- the transition to a different way of doing things heading into 2019.

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      • I agree with your comment but ‘reading the riot act’ would take a GM who is not related to the present ownership group which extends back to the Williams Brothers who were the principal owners of the Red’s terrible teams in the early 1980’s.

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      • I agree that Price should be fired. Nice guy. He is just not a winner. The Reds and their fans need a new start to this season. Let’s start with a new manager. Teams have fired their manager for years for not winning. It is nothing new and would be a very smart move. The General Manager, Williams, should have sense enough to do this. I am being patient with him since he is new. The Reds have been very patient with Price. This team was suppose to be better. It is fair to hold the manager accountable for this.

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  10. Price said on pregame show that Winker hurt his shoulder diving some games ago. It began to hurt more, and by yesterday, it was noticeably affecting his swing during batting practice. Winker hadn’t said anything about it before yesterday, apparently. Price said he could be out another day or two. …

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    • I wonder what it’s like to be Philip Ervin, with a very real possibility that you have a couple of games to try and save your professional life. That must be incredible pressure; which, unfortunately, I think has shown on him in the batter’s box in the last few games.

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      • His first at bat yesterday he struck out on four pitches and never moved the bat off his shoulder.

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        • His fielding has been surprisingly bad as well. I had some hopes for him being at the very least a solid backup but so far this year I’m completely underwhelmed.

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      • Could Mr. Ervin be another “Mottola” in the Red’s history of first round blunders? Yeah, I’m sure there will be those that say well what about Bruce, Larkin etc. To that I would reply yes they hit on those choices, but a team like the Reds with their financial resources CANNOT miss with their 1st round choices.

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  11. And Finnegan can’t throw strikes. Shocking.

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  12. Only one in that inning is a nice recovery. Hope that was just season debut nervousness.

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  13. Irvine and Wenker I’m not ready for the major leagues defensively

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  14. Today is Peter Edward Rose’s 77th birthday. Happy Birthday Pete!!!!

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  15. Finnegan….walks and HRs….big shocker. I was wrong about him. He was throwing 96 when he opened the season last year. Where’s that at? Ervin….wrong about him too. He plays flyballs like a softball league guy with a beer (his 5th or 6th) in his other hand. You get behind a can of corn when you know you have to throw and get some momentum behind you. No…..not our guys. They have their own way of doing things. The 62 Mets way of doing things:(

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  16. It sure seems like we give up a surprising number of homeruns while ahead in the count, and a surprising number to the #8 hitter. (Today it was both at the same time. And with two outs.) Another sign of problems with focus?

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  17. Jim Day can gush all he wants, but today should be game 4 of Molina’s 5 game suspension for manhandling an umpire.

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  18. Cards signed Mikolas to 2 yrs/15.5 mil. He’s not great, but can hit 96 mph and decent breaking stuff. I would guess 175 ip with 3.75 era. Pretty good for a 3rd-4th guy since they can score runs. Dick Williams should’ve known that the Reds couldn’t count on Disco or Finnegan. We could really use a guy like Mikolas. They just never get off their rear end and do something? So we get what we have now!

    What we’ve got here is failure to communicate. Some men you just can’t reach. So you get what we had here last week, which is the way he wants it. Well, he gets it. I don’t like it any more than you do.

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  19. This team has gotten use to losing. I find it hard to believe any manager with a three year record that price has had would have a job. And for a guy who is supposed to be a great pitching coach why is it his pitchers give up so many hits when up 0-2 or 1-2 in the count. Hire someone who actually hates to lose. I’ve seen no improvement in this team in four years. The team they are putting on the field is unwatchable

    Reply
    • This team has gotten use to losing.

      Exactly. This is why I suggested above that a change managers was justified if a new manager could put some spring into the step of the players.

      We’ve had a lot of discussions here at RLN over the last too many years of rebuilding about the respective roles of the front office, the managers and the players during the process.

      On a day to day basis the manager has to give his all to try and win each game. The players have to give their best every day. Never, never , is it OK for either to ever accept losing and be comfortable with it; and that’s what I see going on right now.

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      • I agree. There is no way Price comes back in 19′. Get the ball rolling now and possibly give us a better chance to begin playing well this season.

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      • Good point, Jim. Everyone involved with the team has accepted losing because it is a necessary part of the rebuild. Even as fans and followers, we have built up a emotional wall to shield our hearts from the full disappointment of losing nearly every day. As a devoted fan, you can have hope every day, but you can’t have a belief that your team can and should win, because your sports fan heart would be ripped out every day. We all can relate to that, I think. Maybe the players and management have to build up such emotional shields to keep their hearts from being ripped out every day, as well.

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  20. I continue to believe we may have 7 or 8 young guys who could develop into solid major league pitchers. But I don’t see why Finnegan should be considered to be ahead in the race. Almost all of them have flaws and can’t be counted on to go deep into games, and Finnegan is right in that group.

    Reply
    • I’m a big fan of Jose Perez. But he looked like he was thinking about anything by Baseball in his last at bat

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  21. Tom did you go to beaver creek high school My uncle taught there for years

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    • Yes, I did! A proud 1980 graduate. Who is your uncle?

      Reply
      • Gene Koverman

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        • Eddie, I thought the world of your uncle! I was active in intramural sports of all kinds which he ran. I considered him a friend. Am I correct that he passed away sometime in the past few years?

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          • A year ago in January thanks for the kind words Tom

          • Eddie, your uncle had a very positive influence on so many people over his career. He was one of my favorites from high school, and I know of many others who feel the same. I was very sorry to hear about his passing.

  22. Finnegeed? Reennegan? I wouldn’t give up on either of them, but they both have a lot of developing to do. Garrett, too.

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  23. I’m like Pete in that I won’t bet the Reds to lose, but I did take Cards Over 2.5 runs in the first 5 innings today. My only surprise is that it took til the 4th. Finnegan can’t hold people on. Fastball is straight and hanging breaking balls. He’s still young but just another guy that is unpolished. I think he could throw 95 in short bursts out of the pen. That might be his future. Its not as a starter. Hopefully Lorenzen will come back and get another shot in the rotation. They’ll be 17 games out by the time he comes back anyway.

    Garrett needs a shot. Stephenson….even lefty Justin Nicolino might earn a shot.

    Reply
  24. May as well leave them alone and just root for them to get better. Not happening any time soon. There is no quick fix. Woulda shoulda coulda yes. But they didnt. I believe they are going for a few more years of high draft picks. Then when Hunter Greene arrives and Senzel has a few years under his belt then maybe they can be competitive. Right now Louisville would have one more games. Probaly looking at a 4 year window from now.

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    • Raisel is 28 now. They’re so bad that 2020 is probably not realistic either. Trade him, Scooter, anything of value thats not bolted down. Some rich team might want Billy for speed/defense. Massive garage sale of baseball misfits

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  25. You know the Reds are in a bad place when 4-0 after 4 innings feels insurmountable in the band box that is GABP, but sure feels that way today.

    Last night, the Cardinals “Matheny’ed” that game around to let the Reds back in, keeping the kid out for 100 pitches into the 7th for the Mes HR…and starting an inning with a LH reliever, even though Votto was 3rd up.

    Otherwise, the Reds 2 wins are 1-0 vs. Cubs and Suarez’s 5 RBIs at Pittsburgh. Scary, but true.

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  26. I’m for moving on to an interim manager and begin working on a list of solid manager candidates. They need something to change to create some energy and expectation going forward.

    This team w/out Schebler and Suarez is a terrible team on offense.

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  27. The only part of today that was unpredictable was Garcia hitting 2 homeruns. Otherwise, there was nothing in Finnegan’s rehab start or history that suggested he would do well against a RH heavy lineup, especially a patient one.

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  28. I’d say that was not the return Finnegan was looking for. 2 homers to the only LH batter in the lineup and too many walks. Ervin didn’t help in the OF either.

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  29. Any truth to the rumor the Reds are going to change their name to: “The Washington Generals”?

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  30. Blandino would be worse how, exactly?

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  31. Finnegan will never be more than a bullpen peice,and Bryan price has been over his head since day 1,been following reds since 1971,and ain’t never seen this much ineptitude,reds were behind when season started cause he refused to play regulars the last week of st when most teams were,and the fact Pennington is now our 3rd baseman should help dw with his decision

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  32. Said I would be back after the break in July but I can’t resist joining in today.This start of the season should not be a surprise to us.All of the starting pitching sorting should have been done last year so we have to go through it this year.Our offense was not going to be as good with Zack leaving and management doing nothing to help out the holes we had at short and in center plus we lose Suarez and Schebler.Scooter is not going to put up the numbers from last year and Joey has already left the building.Three things need to happen.A change at manager has to take place even if it doesn’t translate in to wins and losses because Price just has to go.Continue to sort these young starters by giving them the ball every 5th day and please let young guys like Winker,Blandino and Senzel when he arrives get the bulk of the playing time.Lots of games left and many chances available this year to position this team for next year and beyond.It will be painful but only if guys like Pennington and Gosselin see the field.

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    • James, don’t stay away. At times like this, we Reds loyalists need to both vent and provide a place where we all know we can hunker down, hang together and hang tough.

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    • Really well said. Agree.

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  33. It’s somewhat amazing to think that ownership would not be able to see a correlation between empty stands and the losing culture they have allowed to be built on this team and not want to change it. I understand injuries happening and having to play inexperienced guys but Votto getting picked off flatfooted in the 8th last night is a clear indication that something in the clubhouse needs changed.

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  34. Any out of the box, not in the fold, manager possibiliies? Pete MacKanon?

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  35. Tony LaRussa?

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  36. You guys and gals having fun?

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    • It just feels like all of these guys have left all of their baseball skills and track records at home or in their hotel rooms before arriving at the stadium each day. We’re learning some disappointing lessons about certain players, particularly Adam Duvall.

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    • um, define ‘fun.’ please ??

      Reply
  37. GABP (too) is a factory of sadness

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  38. That was a heck of a play by Blandino at shortstop!

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  39. Any truth to the rumor there was a funny moment before the game when they opened the suggestion box and found that the hitter requested to be able to hit against the Red’s pitchers and another slip was from the pitchers asking if they got pitch against the Reds hitters.

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  40. 2-0 and Pennington swings at a pitch on the ground.

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  41. Does MLB.tv give refunds, I think they should. This is just brutal.

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    • I hear you,at least I went with mlb.tv this year instead of extra innings,not out as much

      Reply
  42. I’m not sorry, but Billy Hamilton has one of the ugliest swings left side and right, but definitely right side I have ever seen. It like he’s trying swat a bug with a broom….zero fluidity in the swing

    What this team sees in him is beyond me. His defense isn’t saving any games this year

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  43. May be a dumb question but interested to hear from people who understand financials in MLB. Do multiple losing seasons and/or horrific starts hurt ownerships’ pocket book?? I mean is there a clear financial incentive for the ownership to put a winning product on the field, other than the desire to win for winnings sake.

    Reply
  44. Yet another runner(s) stranded by The Perfect. This at bat in great fashion. Well, at least it wasn´t yet another idiot tootblant.

    The good news for the followers: The Reds will be 10 games out by next week, so he’ll start hitting by the end of the month, so you can preach all over him again.

    Reply
  45. How do we know that Price will be fired shortly or this summer? It’s not like the front office has showed us that they are unhappy with him? Do you think those tightwads would part with their money for somebody like Girardi? Hell no. Not really sure why they are happy with all those empty seats every game and will get worse as the,season goes on. How these idiots made enough money to buy the Reds is dumbfounding.

    Reply
    • “How these idiots made enough money to buy the Reds is dumbfounding.”

      Vegetables and baseball are two different things?

      Reply
    • Love the thought of Girardi managing the Reds

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      • Girardi interviewed previously Im almost certain during the Dusty Baker hire. He is a friend of Paul Oneill who I believe is still in Cincinnati. Girardi should be a top candidate if he is interested.

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        • I can’t imagine Girardi or any manager who wants to build upon his ‘legacy’ ever wanting to come to an outfit like this where the team can’t or won’t spend money, and has a recent history of not even getting aggressive at trade deadlines when they had clear chances to contend. I think I’ve got “We’ve got Jack for that” seared into my brain.

          Reply
        • Girardi grew up as a Cubs fan and played for them. He might be interested in the Red’s job. I believe Paul O’Neil does color for the Yankees broadcasts. He’s a winner with a certain firmness of personality that might work as the Red’s manager.

          Reply
    • Kind of remember an ex yankee manager doing a great job in Cincinnati

      Reply
  46. Not everything is lost. It’s simply about identifying what spots you have and what spots you don’t on the 25 man roster.

    Tucker Barnhart is quietly turning into a great Reds player and elite catcher.
    Eugenio Suarez is a great 3b
    Shortstop is a hole.
    Apparently, Nick senzel will play 2b but will be elite.
    Joey votto is the franchise at first base
    Jesse Winker should be the LF and leadff hitter.
    CF I don’t know.
    RF I don’t know.

    How’s the offense with Hamilton and Peraza hitting 1/2? I thought that was established.

    Biggest area of serioussconcern positionally is Adam Duvall. Unlike JV….this is not a bad 3 weeks. Hard to envision a 4 man rotation in the OF going forward. Schebler and Winker should play the corners with Duvall playing against lefties . I don’t see Duvall as part of the 2019/20/21 teams.

    Reply
    • Pitching is the serious concern in my mind. Have been near last in baseball for years. And apparently so far this year, pitching is still a dumpster fire.

      Reply
    • Old School, I share your concern about Duvall. I no longer think he is a building block. The issue with Winker is his terrible defense. I think Schebler will establish himself as a building block provided his elbow injury isn’t more serious than we have been led to believe so far.

      Reply
      • I don’t see Winker as anything other than LF. I agree. He should not play RF. In this weather of offensive baseball though, I still think his advanced hitting approach trump a mediocre to below avg LF. Defense can be improved though. He is still a rookie. The Reds put him in RF and that’s a different unfamiliar position. I do believe schebler needs to be in RF and Winker every day in LF and leading off. See how it goes and perhaps both schebler and Winker improve.

        Reply
        • Agreed. Winker should be in left field hitting leadoff. Schebler in right field with Duvall as the backup: neither have a Jay Bruce rifle arm but so be it. Hamilton in center hitting lower in the order and Ervin as the backup.

          Reply
  47. These Reds. They lollygag the ball around the infield. They lollygag their way down to first. They lollygag in and out of the dugout. You know what that makes them?!

    Reply
  48. Is it just me or does Floro look like a young Eric Clapton

    Reply

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2018 Reds, Game Thread

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