The Short Version: Sal Romano’s strong start, along with solid work from the Reds bullpen, is paired with another miserable night from the Reds “offense.” Reds drop their ninth game in the last ten. The “rebuild” is stalled.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (3-14) 0 3 1
Milwaukee Brewers (9-9) 2 8 0
W: Jennings (2-0) L: Romano (0-2) S: Hader (2)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score

The Good
–Tucker Barnhart had two doubles in two plate appearances after entering the game in the sixth inning. Joey Votto had a hit and a walk. Jesse Winker walked twice in his return to the Cincinnati lineup.

–Sal Romano was cruising into the sixth inning before things kinda fell apart. But I’m still going to put this in the “good” section, because I saw a lot of good things from Big Sal tonight. He had allowed no runs on two hits before the sixth, but gave up a walk (then tossed a pickoff throw into right field), and surrendered a two-run homer to Eric Thames. When the next hitter reached on an infield single, manager Bryan Price came out to get him.

Final line: five innings, two runs allowed on four hits and two walks; four strikeouts.

–Amir Garrett relieved Romano and gave up a quick single, but induced a double play and got a strikeout to end the inning. Of course he was removed in favor of this Dylan Floro character (aka: Not Ariel Hernandez). That might be understandable, except that Phil Gosselin pinch-hit for Garrett. I think I would have rather seen Garrett hit and then pitch another inning.

–Cody Reed pitched on consecutive nights for the first time in his career, and he was brilliant. Entering with no outs and a runner on second in the bottom of the eight, Reed issued a steady diet of sliders and got three straight outs. That might’ve been the best he’s ever looked on the big league level. Small victories…

The Bad
–Cliff Pennington started at third base again. Pennington and Phil Gosselin have started six of the nine games for the Reds at 3B since the Eugenio Suarez injury. #FreeBlandino

In the seventh inning, with the Reds down 2-0, Tucker Barnhart led off with a double. With one away, Cliff Pennington batted. After he inevitably made an out, your intrepid manager Bryan Price sent Phil Gosselin up to pinch-hit. Yeah, you won’t be surprised to learn that the Reds didn’t score.

Why in the world those guys are playing in crucial situations while Alex Blandino can’t even get into the stupid game makes no sense whatsoever. It’s the reason why I’m losing faith in this organization’s management on a daily basis. Is this a rebuild or isn’t it?

–Devin Mesoraco left the game in the sixth inning after being hit by a pitch in his last at-bat. Bruised right wrist. Ugh. With Mesoraco’s luck, he’ll probably be out for the season.

–Leadoff hitter Billy Hamilton was 0-4 with three strikeouts.

Not-So-Random Thoughts
–That’s nine losses in their last ten games for the ol’ Redlegs. This is getting pretty old, eh?

–The Reds have lost every single game for which I have written the recap. I don’t think I’m alone there, however.

–One night after collecting his 1600th career hit, Joey Votto worked the 1000th walk of his career. Raise your hand if you are surprised that he has more hits than walks.

Related: Joey Votto is really good.

–In seventeen games, the Reds have had three different players injured on HBPs.

Today’s Tweets

Blame Chad for creating this mess.

Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

Join the conversation! 59 Comments

  1. this is becoming a joke period

  2. When Suarez comes off the disabled list he is going to have to beat out Pennington.

  3. If nothing else, and there isn’t much else, it was very good seeing Romano rip through the Brewers lineup for the first 5 innings, completely in control. That was a very good lineup too. Three really good starts in a row. Maybe, just maybe, when we get Suarez, Schebler and Senzel in the lineup, this offense will start to do their part on a regular basis.

  4. Although it was hardly Price’s dumbest decision today, he also let Peraza make the last out with a runner on base and Ervin on the bench. While Ervin hasn’t exactly been knocking the cover off the ball, he’s a legit home run threat and has a higher OBP. So if you’re actually trying to maximize your chances of winning, why is Peraza hitting there?

  5. Offense is last in baseball.
    FSO commercials are about “electrifying” Billy Hamilton. Billy is hitting .195.

    Thom talking about Billy . All of Phil Castellini marketing showing Billy diving catches and his 1 of 300 at bats home runs.

    Keep selling Billy and keep hitting him first.. I called historically awful April in mid-March. I’m now calling 100 losses.

    • It’s marketing pure and simple that’s what drives me nuts. Lets ignore reality and sell this havoc idea thru marketing. They are trying to manipulate perception like we don’t know how to read box scores and stat lines.

  6. Bryan Price has absolutely relegated Amir Garrett and Cody Reed to bullpen LOOGYS. As long as Price is managing, I doubt we will ever see Reed or Garrett in the starting rotation again.

    • I understand the frustration, but no.. Garrett especially has not been used as a LOOGY

      • Since his start on April 8th, Garrett has been used against fewer and fewer hitters per outing and a higher percentage of LH hitters, typically facing 2 LH hitters and 1 RH hitter. This is the best pitcher available in the bullpen except the designated closer. He is only being used in short stints against predominately LH hitters and being pulled when he faces RH hitters. Price is not making the same distinction for the RH relievers who are less effective than Garrett.

        4/11 L-R-PH-L
        4/12 SW-R-L-R (replaced against consecutive RH)
        4/15 L-PH-SW-R-L (replaced against a RH for 3rd out)
        4/17 L-R-L (replaced against consecutive RH)

  7. The ineptitude continues…

    .143/.280/.143 CCliff Pennington
    .136/.240/.273 Phil Gosselin
    .182/.297/.255 Billy Hamilton
    .233/.246/.317 Jose Peraza
    .254/.304/.270 Joey Votto

    Just one of those players has a track record to support regular playing time.

  8. Anyone giving odds on how long before we see Ariel Hernandez pitching lights out from the Dodgers bullpen?

  9. I’m glad we’re using these games to see what this Pennington kid brings to the table.

  10. In the recap from the Monday night game Steve Mancuso said: “Let’s hope the Reds haven’t adopted a strategy of scoring all their April runs in one game. I would have to question that tactic if they did. ” He was unfortunately insightful.

  11. Blandino hasn’t exactly been knocking the cover off the ball either. 1 for 15 with 5 K’s doesn’t scream start me.

    • Yes, but his career is yet to be determined. They already know Penny and Goose are scrubs.

    • But Rebuild, if that’s really the policy of the front office, does scream start Blandino, not a veteran.

  12. Hamilton did see 22 pitches in his 4 ABs.

    The Reds gotta stop getting shut out by 33-year-old guys with 11 career wins. Makes their offense look bad.

  13. Big Dead Machine!

  14. In more sad news:(

    Didi Gregorius is hitting .333 with 5 HRs (1.268 ops) with 14 walks and only 4 Ks. The Reds scouts said he was all field & no-hit.

    Alrighty then

    • I’m happy to beat up on a Reds management, but come on. Nobody–including the Yankees–ever expected Gregorius to hit like this. And for a lot of years after his Reds time, he didn’t. Whether his breakout is the juiced ball, juiced bats, or simple development over a long time, this is not some terrible mistake made by the Reds. And good for Didi–he came across as a decent guy.

      • Very True Eric. hindsight only gets better as the years get longer. Good for DiDi. Especially in light of who he replaced. He could be getting the stanton treatment right now otherwise.

      • If I’m not mistaken it was either Cozart or Didi at the time. I’m not slamming the Reds per se….but it would nice if they would’ve clung to Didi for his defense like they have with Billy or Jose. Here’s another one…..they saw what Josh Hamilton could do but dealt him after 1 year. He might’ve been able to put them over the top a few years later in the playoffs…..when he was one of the top 3-4 players in baseball. I was crushed for months when they dealt him away. You could see the talent he possessed!

        • I agree here – I’d like to know more about the history of that trade. Does anyone know what happened? I know he struggled with substance abuse in his early career and Jerry Narron was instrumental in helping him get back to ML.

          It wasn’t difficult to see that JH could play baseball at a very high level. I saw him in L-ville (I believe he was re-habbing). He was the best player on the field – by a long shot.

  15. I’m not a Gold Glove catcher, a pitching coach, an assistant pitching coach, an ex-Manager who is a pitching coach, or a professionally employed baseball analyst. But here’s what I saw: Romano was cruising for five innings, mixing his pitches beautifully–in a way he rarely has–to keep the Brewers batters off balance. Barnhart replaced Mesoraco, called for seven consecutive fastballs, and the result was BB-HR and a 2-0 loss.

    Maybe Tucker should have noticed, or someone should have mentioned, that Romano was succeeding by mixing his pitches. I went back and checked, and yes it was seven consecutive fastballs. I haven’t checked, but I’d bet you Romano hadn’t thrown seven consecutive fastballs the rest of the game. Oops.

    When we trade Romano to the Dodgers for a bag of (old) magic beans and they turn him into an effective starter, maybe the Reds brass will start to notice something’s amiss.

    • Ehh. That’s just baseball sometimes. Just glad that the XRays were negative on Mes’s wrist. Romano lost the strike zone and walked Cain, which would contribute to the pitch sequencing in the sense that Fastballs are easier to contol than breaking pitches.

      • He didn’t lose the strike zone. I’m pretty sure he walked him on a 3-2 pitch, and I don’t recall him falling behind 2-0 or 3-0 or anything like that. (There were definitely six pitches in the AB.) I wouldn’t call it “just baseball” considering the five previous innings of success mixing his pitches, followed quite noticeably by a change in strategy which produced a very common Romano result: a walk and a homerun.

        I’m sure Price would go with it’s “just baseball”, kind of like it’s “just baseball” Pennington and Gosselin didn’t drive Tucker in from second, “just baseball” Hamilton didn’t attempt to bunt his way on against Hader, etc. We can use the “just baseball” excuse, or we can try to watch what’s happening and adjust to get better results. I’m encouraged Romano got good results mixing his pitches, and hope the Reds noticed and try to keep doing that moving forward.

        • The tipping point after the walk was the throwing error. I’ve noticed through the years, supported by data or not, that pitchers tend to throw up a fatty after their own defensive flub, by error, balk, etc. I smelled it coming.

          The tendency will be to place too much emphasis/blame on third-time-through-the-order, when it was more likely bad pitch selection to Cain, followed by a youthful collapse of concentration.

          I like the young arms, but we will all like them a lot more with another year under their belts.

          • I hear you, but in this case the young arm was let down terribly by the experienced Gold Glove catcher and the guys getting paid millions of dollars to notice stuff like “Sal’s doing great mixing his pitches, Tucker. Keep that in mind with Cain and Thames.”

  16. It’s too bad Garrett wasn’t ready to pitch to Thames as a lefty… but I don’t blame Price there, Romano hadn’t given any reason to think he was done just yet when that inning started.

    One thing that might have helped… Mes (I think he was still in when the HR happened) didn’t go talk to Sal after the bad throw to first did he? I was listening to the radio call at the time it happened. Marty went on a rant about Sal “must have a fragile psyche because as soon as one thing goes wrong…” So, I didn’t see it if it happened, but it might have been nice to trot out there and buck the kid up instead of grooving a fastball in anger.

    • I think Tucker was in the game at that point. but with the new rule on mound visits, catchers and other players don’t have the kind of flexibility they once had.

      • Well, I was wondering about that too… if that rule subtly influenced the lack of a visit… but they get 6 every game, he would have had every right to go out there. There’s no way they were out of visits at that point, if they had used any at all. But it’s a problem if they’re afraid to use them.

      • It was definitely Tucker, and it was pretty much a repeat of the start where Castillo lost a game on the pitch after he balked. It was worth burning a mound visit in the sixth inning of a 0-0 game.

    • I disagree with not blaming Price for not having Garrett ready to go sooner. Guerra was also pitching a hell of game, maybe even better than Romano. 2 outs in the top of the 6th, Winker on 1st, Scooter coming to bat. Scooter, who should in no way be compared in any breath with Thames, prompted Craig Counsell to pull his starter and bring in the lefty reliever who promptly got a weak fly ball from Scooter. Counsell did leave in Guerra to pitch to lefty Joey Votto, true. But that makes sense.

      Votto: .991 OPS vs. RHP / .903 OPS vs. LHP
      Duvall: .757 OPS vs. RHP / .810 OPS vs. LHP
      Scooter: .806 OPS vs. RHP / .557 OPS vs. LHP

      So if you’re a manger, Joey Votto’s Joey Votto. He’s elite no matter who you go with, and the best of the next 3 hitters due up. Plus, if you go with a left handed pitcher for Votto, you’re either going to make Duvall more dangerous, or use 3 pitchers for 3 batters. Counsell went with the smart play, took his chances with Votto, kept the RHP to pitch to Duvall, then went to the lefty to turn Scooter into basically Billy Hamilton. I’ll pause here to note that Bryan Price had at his disposal a right handed batting infielder who has hit left handed pitching pretty well in his career in the minors in Mr. Alex Blandino. He posted a .926 OPS vs. LHP last year. Bryan Price did not elect to pinch hit.

      Fast forward to the bottom of the 6th. The walk brings up Eric Thames. In his career, his OPS vs. RHP is .830 and vs. LHP it is .654. Just including his breakout year last year, it is even more dramatic; .918 OPS vs RHP and .658 vs. LHP. Price elects to leave in the RHP to promptly give up a 2 run home run in a game that ended 2-0.

      Three decisions, Counsell makes the smart call and Price makes the dumb calls. And that’s the ball game right there.

      • I have no love for Price. But Romano was pitching a great game, and there was no reason to have Garrett ready to start the 6th, and no reason to pull him after one measly walk. These guys have to develop, and we also could use some length from our starters. Maybe if we were in a pennant race or a WS game I’d say Price should have managed differently.

        Counsell is in a very different situation, with a much better bullpen.

  17. Does anyone know who calls the pitches? Sometimes I hear the catcher, manager or pitching coach.

    • The catcher calls the pitches. The pitcher can shake them off. The only time the catcher looks to the dugout is to see if the manager wants a pick-off attempt at first base.

  18. Judging by the reds pitchers team era its the batters that make that call

  19. I’ll add, that Duvall hit some rockets tonight despite his 0-fer. Let’s hope the recent trend from him continues.

  20. A thought experiment: If the Reds called up Senzel to play 3B while Suarez is on the DL, and Price chose to instead play Pennington and Gosselin, we would all expect the GM to force him to play Senzel. Nobody in today’s baseball world would be surprised, or defend the Manager’s Sacred Right to fill out the lineup card. Senzel would play, or Price would be gone.

    There’s really no reason to treat Blandino any differently. He may be in the organization in the future and be expected to contribute at the ML level, whereas the same is not true of Gosselton. Every AB he gets, and every play he makes in the field, helps us in the future. Maybe not as much as Senzel, but the principle is the same.

    I don’t know how valuable Blandino will be in the future, but I do know that the worst way to find out is to play him sparingly at this point so his timing rusts and every AB and game played he feels he has to play like Superman. (And nothing Pennelin is doing with the bat or in the field makes a clear case that we’re likely to win more with them in the short term, anyway.)

    • This times 1000.

    • This is what they did with Winker last year, so why should this year be any different?

    • This is the same situation as Scooter last year with opposite results.

      It makes you wonder if Scooter ‘earned’ the starting spot or Price was just going Dusty on us and falling in love with veteran-y grit on display. Price just avoided any scrutiny b/c Scooter was mashing.

      Those three choices for third all offer the same expectation of performance in the present but only one offers a likelihood of increased future performance as a result of playing time in the present.

  21. Why pitch to Thames? 1st base open after the bad throw, right? Am I missing something?

    • Short answer: there were no outs in a tie game, and the 3-4-5 hitters were behind Thames. But that doesn’t mean they had to groove him a fastball….

  22. Just one word about last night “BLECCHHHHHH!!!”

  23. They can’t implement electronic strike-zone umpiring fast enough.

  24. I just double checked. It wasn’t just seven consecutive fastballs that Tucker called for, it was seven consecutive four seam fastballs. All game Romano had success mixing two kinds of fastball, a changeup, a slider, and even a curve according to Gameday. They weren’t all great pitches, but it was working. Seven consecutive four seam fastballs to Cain and Thames, after five terrific innings mixing things up from Romano? Sorry, that’s just not smart.

    • Romano had also just threw the ball away on a pickoff attempt and probably lost concentration. The same thing happened to Castillo in Philly when he balked and then served up a 2 run HR to their 8th hitter. Price should be aware of this next time but I doubt it. Hopefully they’ll learn.

    • Don’t be sorry. It was a lapse in attention and judgment by the team. It gets harder to excuse when this organization already has its work cut out for it in terms of developing its young players. Putting them in a position to learn and succeed would seem to be paramount if they really are concerned with rebuilding. But it’s getting hard to find good examples of the Reds following this strategy.

    • I wonder what splits are on pitchers getting a new catcher mid-game. I imagine that they are generally not good due to chemistry, etc. In that same vein, if it’s Tucker’s ‘off day’ then one has to wonder how carefully he was watching Sal’s approach with Mes. It sounds like he came in cold and the pitching coach didn’t adequately brief him. Romano’s just a rookie but he should be shaking off the call on 4 seamer #5 or so as he should know his own rhythm at that point.

      The silver lining is that Mes was working well with Sal and barring a long stint to the DL that is a catching duty to stick with in the future.

      • You get paid , you pitch to whoever the catcher is!! The pitchers battle is against the batter and Sal had seen him 3 times. Handle it!!

  25. Sal’s problem is between the ears. He walks Cain and then gets frustrated and try’s picking off Cain while he is standing on first base catching Joey Votto completely off guard and the runner advances to 2nd base. Now he is really frustrated and he tries striking out Thames with a fastball right down Broadway. Come on is anyone reading the scouting report? Thames feast on Reds pitchers including you Sal. Price should had walked Thames but once he hit the home run the wheels fell off and Sal was done. Garrett came in and stopped the bleeding with a double play and a strike out.

    • Can’t walk Thames there. It was a 0-0 game and the 3-4-5 hitters are coming up… You try to get him out. That doesn’t mean you have to groove one. I’m doubting Romano was trying to groove one though. Looks like he missed his spot by a lot.

Comments are closed.

About Chad Dotson

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine. You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

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2018 Reds, Titanic Struggle Recap

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