Imagine you’re a Major League Baseball team with a franchise first baseman locked up long term but little to nothing else. You look to the farm and to trades and to the draft to rebuild, hoping to field a competitive team after about a three-year tank.

No, you aren’t the Cincinnati Reds, you’re the Atlanta Braves — a team just ten hours south that has managed to perfect the rebuilding process while our Reds flounder.

Imagine instead of Gennett, Peraza, Duvall, you had Albies, Swanson, Acuna. Or you know, maybe even Nick Senzel. He could work too.

Cincinnati Reds 4 | Atlanta Braves 7 | 90s Kids 5

The Good:

— Though not his sharpest outing, Homer Bailey did look good through 5.0 innings. He missed two spots pretty badly, giving Ronald Acuna his first big league home run and Ozzie Albies his league-leading 18th extra base hit of 2018. But if not for those, it would be a one run game! And he really should’ve gotten out of that inning too, but Freddie Freeman seems to have the Reds number (2 doubles today) and Nick Markakis put a good swing on the ball. All in all, a no decision seems fitting for Homer here.

— Joseph Daniel Votto has found his wallet, his swing, his power, and probably the cure for cancer. He sent his third homer in as many games deep into center field, tying it at 4 in the fifth. Maybe Joey just needed another hot-swinging first baseman to match wits with.

— After setting the stage for a ninth inning Reds collapse two days ago, Amir Garrett pitched to perfection for 1.2 innings today. The long lefty is Good, regardless of how he’s deployed (but maybe the rotation should be considered).

— Jose Peraza had a sneaky good game, beating out a double play throw to keep the inning alive for Votto’s tying homer. He’ll never be a great hitter and shouldn’t be near the top of the lineup, but he’s starting to win over his critics (me, in this case) on his fitness to play short.

— Jesse Winker doubled in a pinch-hit appearance in the ninth, extending his hitting streak to eight games. We’ve got one kid in our corner at least.

— Apparently hell froze over? That seems good?


The Bad:

— Reds’ pitching does not know how to get Freddie Freeman out. He was 7 for 17 on the series with two bombs and two doubles.

— I mentioned it at the top, but the difference in today’s game (other than Freeman) was the Braves youngsters. Acuna homered and drove in the go-ahead run. A Swanson two-out single added an insurance run. Albies’ homer put the bad guys up 4-0 in the first place and then he doubled in another insurance run in the ninth.

The Braves absolutely stacked their farm system, and I haven’t even mentioned Sean Newcomb on the bump today or any of the other Top 100 pitching prospects they have waiting in the wings. If the Reds want a blueprint for how to rebuild, looking at the Braves sure would do a load of good.

— Billy Hamilton and Peraza had back to back strikeouts to start the game for the Reds. That’s real bad. Lineups don’t win games, but sometimes the Reds’ lineup sure knows how to lose them.

Not So Random Thoughts:

— Rosell Herrera made his big league debut when he pinch hit in the eighth, and while it ended with a ground out to second, I liked the looks he took at the plate. He fought off a nice 1-2 pitch and worked another ball before the groundout. He’s not Nick Senzel, but he’s not Cliff Pennington either.

— The Phil Ervin and Pennington options to AAA this morning weren’t quite what I expected to see, but I have no complaints. Ervin clearly was a bit out of his depth in the bigs and Pennington really shouldn’t be on this team. While the Herrera call up wasn’t the move the fans wanted, I still would rather have Rosell on the bench than either of those other guys.

— In his first game back, Eugenio Suarez made a couple of nice plays in the field, the first an over the shoulder basket catch in the first and the second a quick dive to his right and rifle across the diamond in the fourth. At the plate, Suarez didn’t have a great day, but the hits will come, I’ll bet my life on it.

— This guy knows a cash cow(hide?) when he sees one:

— A couple of fantastic pieces about Luis Castillo were put out into the world today, one by our fearless leader Chad Dotson. The other is by baseball stats writer savant Eno Sarris over at The Athletic, which you should subscribe to if you haven’t already. (Even just the Reds/MLB content has been worth it for me.)

— Castillo takes the mound tomorrow! In Interleague play! Against the Twins!