The Cincinnati Reds (5-19) will go for their first legit series win of 2018 at 12:35 PM against the Atlanta Braves (13-11). The Reds did “sweep” a rain-shortened 1-game series of the Cubs in the first week of the season. The Reds bullpen spoiled a solid start from Brandon Finnegan, and blew a late 4-3 lead yesterday.

Programming Notes: today’s Reds game is the MLB.tv free game of the day for those outside of the Cincinnati Market.

Starting Pitchers

Starting Lineups

Conclusion 

It sure would be nice to get a series win. It might even be nicer to see Homer Bailey continue his nice start to 2018. Go Reds!

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! 120 Comments

  1. Good to see that Pennington was sent down and R. Herrera called up. Also, we might be seeing the beginnings of a platoon at 2B. Smart roster moves today.

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    • Just saw C Trent tweet that R Herrera is also a former top 100 prospect for the Rockies. Could be a nice pickup if he continues to hit well with his defensive flexibility.

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    • Think it’s just a day off for Scooter, conveniently against a lefty. Blandino looks like a solid utility guy.

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  2. Eugenio Suarez also activated from the DL and Ervin optioned to AAA

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  3. Tough break for Ervin. Kid doesn’t do anything wrong, and he’s actually a perfectly respectable 4th outfielder. Let’s see what this Herrera kid can do.

    Also, wow, did not expect Suarez to make it back so quickly. Hope he’s fully healed and doesn’t pull a Brandon Phillips on us, playing a whole season with mediocre output because he didn’t let his broken thumb heal fully.

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    • Ervin can be a 4th OF, but the Reds already have Duvall filling that role and Ervin didn’t exactly force his way into the lineup.

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      • Until the Reds move past this OF rotation scheme, Duvall is not a 4th OF.

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        • I just name him 4th by default, Hamilton is 4th on other days, but it appears Schebler and Winker have earned every day starter roles, or at least most days

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    • I like Ervin. But “doesn’t do anything run” misses his shortcomings in the field and on the basepaths.

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  4. Hamilton and Peraza at the top. If they could only get on base! That would be a nice tandem. Happy to see Blandino starting at 2nd. You never know what your gonna get from Gennett at the plate or on the field. He has that rare ability to keep both teams in the game.

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  5. Can anyone explain the Duvall in clean up and Schebler 7th?

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  6. Winker hurt? Because that’s the only reason he shouldn’t be in the lineup.

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  7. A decidedly RH lineup against a starting LHP. That’s the 1st time this season I recall a matchup lineup to this extreme. Blandino at 2B, Mesoraco catching, Duvall in LF. Gentlemen, it’s time to put up or get out of the way. If lineup construction was even an issue this season, Hamilton and Peraza hitting #1 and #2 would be hard to stomach, especially with Suarez back in the lineup, playing 3B and hitting 5th(?) today. Since the Reds are working on another throw-away season and an interim manager at the helm, it really doesn’t make any difference. I really don’t like to see Winker sitting under any circumstances, even a LH starting pitcher. Winker needs to play every day, until he proves otherwise.

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    • Not to mention that Schebler is hitting 7th! Why? The guy is killing it and hits lefties well. Duvall shouldn’t be hitting 4th. Schebler should at least be there. I am so sick of Hamilton at the top of the lineup.

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    • Or Schebler. Nobody is hitting the ball harder. I would have Billy and Adam on the bench today with Scott and Jesse both in (the regulars versus the bench players).

      Really interesting to see Duvall’s funk. He normally is hot to begin the year. He actually should have been optioned before Ervin to get untracked

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  8. Duvall hitting cleanup make a lot of sense.

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  9. Good to see Blandino remaining up, next guy to get rid of is Gosselin once Sensel is promoted. Hamilton, Duvall, Gennett & Peraza, unless they’re able to significantly improve their performances, should be bench players.

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    • Peraza has been hitting pretty well the last 10 days. He hasn’t struck out in something like 65 ABs and he’s seeing a lot more pitches than he used to. If he can learn just a tad more patience, he could start taking a lot more walks. I feel like he’s on the cusp of a major breakthrough offensively, let’s see if he can break on through to the other side.

      BONUS

      Here’s a stat for you:

      Joey Votto: 13K in 86 ABs
      Jose Peraza: 11K in 88 ABs

      Check it out yourself.

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      • In the last two weeks he’s hitting 296 with a 339 obp, he hasn’t been the problem.

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      • Similar strike out results from two diametrically opposed approaches at the plate.

        If Peraza could produce a .750 OPS and play average defense at SS, he would solve a BIG problem for the Reds. It would then fall on the manager to utilize his productivity for maximum benefit.

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        • I think Peraza’s turnaround the last few weeks has been heartening given how at the start of the season he seemed to revert to his old ways: lunging at every pitch in the same zip code as home plate. I thought he made a big step forward in the 2nd half of last season, so when I saw how he started this season, I thought “Oh, no, he forgot everything he worked so hard to improve last season.”

          But then suddenly he seemed to rediscover his 2nd half form, and that’s what we’ve seen for the last 2 weeks:

          .296AVG .339OBP .407SLG .746OPS

          That’s why I really don’t understand why people still give Peraza a hard time. It’s like they haven’t been paying attention at all to what he’s done recently. Yes, he doesn’t walk enough, that’s pretty well known, but like I said, he’s been seeing more pitches. Let’s see if he can learn that little extra patience that will translate into more walks. He’s right on the edge of figuring it out, I feel. Isn’t that the whole point of playing the kids?

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          • Yes it is and Peraza should play. Winker should play. Schebler should play. Blandino should play. The Reds have to find out what these players can produce at the MLB level this season, just like the pitching staff sorting.

          • These are probably the same people that were giving Schebler a hard time last year too. The jury is still out on Peraza though but as you stated he has shown some improvement lately.

        • “solve a BIG problem for the Reds. It would then fall on the manager to utilize his productivity for maximum benefit”.

          Cossack you know better than that.
          When was the last time a Reds manager did something like utilize his players to get a maximum benefit?
          Maybe we have the talent but maybe its not being used to maximize the benefit.

          just saying.

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          • Right now, the Old Cossack is maintaining hope that the Reds get it right, finally, when they hire the next manager. If not, then I don’t think this rebuild will ever get real traction until they punt and start over. By that time, the Votto years will be gone.

      • And, if (it’s a big if I know) Peraza makes a significant step forward as a hitter, will Long get any credit. People have been piling on him all season for the club’s offensive woes.

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        • Really, I haven’t noticed a lot of piling on Long, just the usual, expected short-sighted fans looking for someone to blame.

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          • I guess my comment is more a reflection of my own frustration over the last 20 years or so of people assuming every hitting slump, either individually, or the team, is the “fault” of the hitting coach. I remain convinced that at this level coaches can help hitters tweak things but responsibility essentially is on the guy stepping into the batters box. It goes back at least to when Chris Chambliss was hitting coach and people blamed him for Adam Dunn striking out so much.

    • Right now, the Reds really have only 2 starting quality OF, Schebler and Winker. If the Reds had the foresight to play Schebler and Winker full time and platoon Hamilton and Duvall, that would come close to creating a stable, productive OF with Duvall and Hamilton the 4th and 5th OF, respectively. Duvall would be available to fill in occasionaly as a corner OF and also pinch hit. Hamilton would be used as a pinch runner and defensive replacement during the later part of every game as the situation (runner on base and less than 2 outs) presents itself. That’s not an ideal role during the regular season, but Hamilton could lead the league in runs scored by piggybacking off another player’s ability to get on base. It would also audition him for a post season role (similar to how Dusty utilized him so effectively when Hamilton was first called up during roster expansion) in preparation for a possible trade deadline move.

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  10. Can’t we option Hamilton to Louisville?

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    • The last time I checked, I think both Hamilton and Peraza have one option remaining.

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      • I suppose we could just waive him instead. My guess is that he’s clear waivers really fast. Get it? Hamilton…fast. I’m as funny as Hamilton is a good hitter.

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    • I believe that Hamilton has the service time to allow him to reject an option. However he would forfeit the balance of his contract and immediately become a free agent if did as I understand the rules.

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  11. Good moves today.Hope to never see Pennington in a Reds uniform again. Can Thom be opted to Louisville?

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  12. Is there any way to find out if any other lineup in the history of baseball has featured the three worst hitters (aside from pitchers) at 1, 2, and 4? I would start by checking Dusty’s lineups, but I don’t think he ever tried it.

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  13. I’m very excited to see Suarez back so soon. He is awesome! I love the Blandino at 2b against the lefty.

    I have noticed some improvement in Peraza’s defense at SS.

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    • I wish the Reds had slowed his recovery and rehab for another week before sending him on a rehab assignment. Suarez is a baseball rat and he will probably do or say anything to get back in the lineup as quickly as possible. He’s too valuable to rush back into the lineup before he’s 100% healed and risk agravation or further injury. I hope Suarez is 100% and ready to go. The Reds sure need hi, in the lineup, but I would just err on the side of caution. Another week would not have made or broke this season and I’m also concerned that management may be inclined to look the other way because they do need him back in the lineup.

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      • Agreed Ol’ Cossack. As I said in another comment, I remember all too well when Phillips had a thumb injury and tried to play through it, and all he ended up doing was putting up one of his worst offensive seasons. Hopefully Suarez is smarter about his injury.

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  14. That sure was a quick turnaround on Suarez for a fractured thumb. They must want him on this long 3 game road trip to Minnesota this weekend. Going to be cold in Minnesota Friday night and Saturday. At least Saturday and Sunday games are afternoon games. Mid/low 40’s into the 30’s for Friday’s game, mid 50’s for Saturday afternoon and high 60’s on Sunday. Maybe Blandino plays Friday night and they turn Suarez loose on Saturday. It would almost be 2 days rest for Suarez’s thumb after today’s game til the Saturday afternoon game.

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    • Rosell Herrera probably figures in the mix somewhere. Why else bring him up at this juncture. Remember they will have the DH in Minnesota; so that is a tool they can use to work the PT around..

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  15. With last night’s loss, the Reds remained tied with the 1962 Mets with a 5-19 record.

    It is not all bad, though. The Reds are only one game out of being tied for the Top 25 teams in all of Major League Baseball.

    Seriously, this is the absolute worst I have ever felt about the Reds in my 57 years of being a fan. My first season saw them win the 1961 pennant and play the mighty Yankees in the World Series. This season is the worst season I have ever endured. I am not sure this team can 36 more games. So much for the much ballyhooed rebuild of reboot.,

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    • I listened to most of the games on radio in 1982. Very painful , no hope , nothing. At least now we have young talented players. They will figure it out.

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    • Also a devoted Reds fan since 1960! That makes 58 years including this year! Sad to see what has happened to this once proud (and winning) MLB franchise!

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  16. With ALL of the games being televised this season, I really look forward to these midweek afternoon games. The Old Cossack can kick back in the Old Recliner and enjoy some Reds baseball before the Little Cossacks start strolling home from school.

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  17. It seems to me Suarez is being brought back too soon. What’s the rush and why take a chance the injury may reoccur? Blandino has done just fine at third base until Suarez is fully recovered. And if Winker is not injured, he should be in the lineup everyday batting in first or second position along with Schebler and Votto. If the manager is so taken with Peraza, then put him in the cleanup position or batting fifth. A weak hitter like Hamilton should hit in the lower order like he has lately.

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  18. If you’re going to sit Winker for Duvall against a lefty (stupid!), you should also sit Scooter for Blandino.

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  19. 3 of the top 4 in the order

    wRC+48, 70, 52
    OBP 290 277 244

    The Reds are one clueless organization

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  20. Acuna goes yard and a half.

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    • watching the Braves fan catch the ball and run out to the concourse is the most exciting thing we will see all day

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  21. I’d like to know how may times Hamilton has struck out to start a game.

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  22. Billy Hamilton is a MESS. He refuses to modify his swing, make it shorter, choke up, etc. He is regressing rapidly. Time for him to ride the bench until he figures it out. Although, that begs the question, why wasn’t he doing this in the off season, and spring training. Does he not see what we see ? He has become a automatic out.

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  23. Marty notes Duvalls lack of a pulse in the batters box as compared to other starters. He’s right but it begs the question as to why he’s had the most protected lineup spot besides Joey.

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  24. He’s dealing, we’re swinging. What a time for this to be the MLB-tv free game of the day!!

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  25. Welcome back Geno! Nice glove work.

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  26. Homer’s reaction to Suarez’s play on the reply was priceless. Awesome stuff all around!

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  27. Depressing to see how good Acuna and Albies are. Winker looks good but nothing like that. Those guys could both be 30/30 players. They’re both much younger then Senzel as well. Homer put it on a tee for both of them too. Not good. We lost last night because DW didn’t fix the pen. We struggled vs lefties badly last year and they did nothing to fix that either? Yes Billy’s D is great but he can’t catch upper deck shots like Acuna hit. We need Schebler in CF and Winker in RF….period. Maybe give Herrera some run in the OF. Duvall isn’t as bad as he looks now, but he doesn’t need to be playing every day.

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  28. Good time for Billy to turn this around and make everyone eat their words about him leading off

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  29. Peraza, if you’ve got a HR in you, now would be a great time. Bases loaded 1 out. Please bring in a run, guys.

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    • Ok, I’ll take it. Fielder’s choice is better than a double play. But man, they play it close.
      But….
      Joey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  30. The Reds seem intent on making Hamilton one of the key pieces of the next good Reds team. He will not be, other than his defense. Elite defender, but for the love of God, stop batting him leadoff, and NEVER use him as a pinch hitter.

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  31. VOTTO TIES IT UP!

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  32. Billy walks (good eye), Jose legs out of a DP and then Joey Freaking Votto!!!!

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  33. Vottoooo! Power outage? Ha

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  34. Wow….they intentionally walked Duvall last night and pitched to Joey today w/Duvall on deck. Their advance scouts should be fired!! Joey is warming up though!!!

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  35. And then Duvall whiffs. Sure glad they let Joey hit.

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  36. And Duvall looks completely lost at the plate

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  37. Folks, Joey Votto is back. Where ever he goes in early spring during the season, he’s back and Vottoing again.

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  38. You hear that sound? That’s the the Votto haters scurrying back to woodpile to hide for awhile. What will they do without the “lower OPS than Peraza” fun facts?

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    • I notice at least one person absent from the site today telling us Votto ruined the entire season and should have been traded

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  39. Easy choice to double switch … but why not Jesse-the-Man?

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  40. How do you get 416 feet on Acuna’s HR? It was 4-5 rows deep in the 2nd deck to left? Its like 375 to the fence so thats only 40 feet more?

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    • Just saw the replay. During the derby, that would’ve been 430, 440. The science behind it should be much better now but distance still seems subjective

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  41. I know it’s a single case, but Perazas fielders choice is where speed helps in the top of the order. If some outside him or Hamilton hits that ball, it’s a double play, inning over. Instead, Votto gets a chance to tie it up and he does.

    Not smart by Atlanta pitching to a potential HOF that is getting hot with Duvall struggling

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  42. Let’s not lose sight of who got the ball rolling in the bottom of the 5th. Alex Blandino with a single got the 1st hit and scored the 1st run.

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    • I like guys that can take a walk and have some pop. I complained last year that they should’ve gave Blandino a shot in September to reward him for a solid year. He looks like he could be a nice player! Everyone but the Reds FO knows he should’ve made the team over Pennington or Goose.

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  43. I like it. Brice was great last night for 2 innings…bring him right back the next day. Enough of the coddling.

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  44. Good job by Riggleman there to spot Brice vs some righties. He comes from the side a little bit and that has to be tough on righties. I don’t think Brice is late innings worthy, but he could be pretty useful!

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  45. I think Price leaves Homer in the game to hit in the bottom of the 5th. He would’ve been thinking about saving the pen. He was always thinking about tomorrows game while losing todays. Props to Riggleman!

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  46. So how long does Amir go today?

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  47. Work your way back from 4 down to tie it at home. Trying to turn around the season. Bottom 7 and you bring in the legend Phil Gosselin to pinch hit.

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    • Oh, you mean he had a weak groundout? Where is Winker? I saw him standing in the dugout with a bat earlier in the game. Is Gosselin really the best they can come up with?

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  48. Oh Goose? Such a nice at-bat then he swings at a couple of ball 4s.

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  49. Well c.r.a.p. … now we’re back to catch-up mode

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  50. Eventually the Reds are going to realize being left-handed isnt as valuable as being a good pitcher. Probably not this year, but eventually.

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    • Peralta had a zero era til the other day? These 2 runs were a bloop double on a jam job and a seeing eye groundball. Peralta’s not great but he’s pretty decent.

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  51. Just was able to check up on the game from work… glad to see Riggleman still thinks Mesoraco can hit.

    He needs to bat 7th or 8th until he proves he isn’t terrible. Schebler batting that low in the order is a crime.

    Go Votto! Big fly.

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  52. How deep does Schebler have to play on a right hand hitter ? When Bruce, and Philips manned right field, and second base, respectively, we did not see so many bloop hits in right field. Just saying.

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    • I thought that at first but Acuna first 2 atbats yesterday were deep drives to RF. That hurt for sure. This one will not belong to the Reds…..unfortunately

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  53. This is setting up nicely for BH to make the final out of the game as the potential tying run.

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  54. On the MLB network last night they were talking about how Texas may just blow up their team at some point. They have some older guys with big contracts and not enough in the farm system. I wonder if the Reds could work something out for Joey Gallo? He’s Adam Dunn to some extent, but he isn’t as slow and he’s only 24. 55 Hrs in 655 career atbats. They probably have to eat someone else’s contract but they have Mesoraco’s 13 mil coming off the books. Gallo can play LF, 1st, and 3rd.

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    • It seems like if an owner/GM is going to blow up the team, they would hang onto the young studs and cut bait with the older guys. I would think Gallo would be one of the centerpieces of the “next good Rangers Team” and is one of the last people they would be unloading.

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  55. Shouldn’t Votto play the right filed line on a left hand hitter (Albies), in a close game ? Fundamentals 101.

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  56. Sure am glad they sat Winker today and didn’t pinch hit him until the game was out of reach. I’m sure his BA against lefties is so much lower than Duvall’s and Gosselin’s.

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  57. See Winker come to bat…see winker hit the ball. See Winker come to bat…see Winker walk. See Winker sit on the bench!

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    • Winker can hit ! No question. At what point do you think the Reds Mgmt/Manager will modify its current plan of mediocrity, and adopt a NEW plan to have the best 25 folks on the roster, and play the best 8 in the lineup?

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  58. So Gosselin goes in as a double switch so he can hit in lieu of the pitcher rather than substituting Winker, then when Gosselin comes up in the 9th inning, the Reds send up a pinch hitter because Gosselin can’t hit. That’s soo stupid!

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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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