The Short Version: Reds offense breaks out the bats in the club’s first-ever visit to Target Field in Minnesota, and the good guys come away with a comeback victory despite a horrific outing from starting pitcher Luis Castillo.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (6-20) 15 20 1
Minnesota Twins (8-13) 9 14 1
W: Hernandez (1-0) L: Duffy (0-1)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score

The Good
–Down 7-3, the Reds seemed to be dead in the water. But they weren’t!

–Where to start? The offense was incredible tonight. Let’s run through the highlights, one by one:

Jose Peraza had two home runs in a 4-6 night, scoring three runs and driving in two. Peraza is now hitting .286/.311/.408, which seems impossible.

Joey Votto was, well, Joey Votto. He reached base six times: 3-3 with a homer, a double, two walks, and a hit-by-pitch. Votto is now hitting .280/.393/.430, which is much more Votto-esque.

Eugenio Suarez was 4-6 with a double, two runs scored, and an RBI.

Billy Hamilton had a triple, two walks, two runs, and an RBI.

Scooter Gennett had three hits, a walk, an RBI, and two runs scored.

Adam Duvall had two doubles, two RBI, two runs scored.

Scott Schebler had two hits, two runs, two RBI.

–After disastrous outings from Luis Castillo and Kevin Shackelford (see below), the Reds bullpen got 4.1 innings of shutout relief from David Hernandez, Amir Garrett, and Jared Hughes.

The Bad
–I wrote a piece for Cincinnati Magazine yesterday in which I did a bit of a deep dive into Luis Castillo’s early-season struggles. Things didn’t get better tonight.

Castillo got just three hitters out in his shortest-ever big league outing, surrendering five runs on six hits and two walks. His fastball was as live as ever — 97 mph — but he couldn’t control either the four-seamer or the sinker. It was ugly.

–Kevin Shackelford was not much better after he took over for Castillo. Shack gave up three runs (two earned) on four hits and a walk in 2.2 innings. Shackelford’s ERA after two outings since returning from the disabled list: 12.27.

–Another brutal play on defense for Scooter Gennett tonight. Scott Schebler threw a ball back to the infield and instead of taking the cutoff throw, as he should have, Scooter just did some kind of crazy jump-kick in an attempt to avoid the ball and let it roll back into the infield. It was really a bizarre and embarrassing play.

Not-So-Random Thoughts
–That was one wild baseball game. They looked like the same old Reds early, then the bats woke up and it turned into a slugfest. It wasn’t pretty, but the result was fun.

–Fifteen runs and twenty hits are both season highs for the Reds. I’ll have to check, but that’s probably more runs and hits than they’ve had in every other game combined. Probably.

–Tucker Barnhart was the only Reds starter without a hit, but he did collect two runs batted in, both on sacrifice flies.

–Last time the Reds won in Minnesota was 1999, if that’s the sort of thing that interests you.

–Votto’s on-base percentage before the game: .358. Votto’s OBP after the game: .393.

–I don’t want to alarm anyone, but here are the Reds team leaders in walks:

1. Joey Votto 16
2. Jesse Winker 14
3. Billy Hamilton 13

–Hernandez (who made his Reds debut tonight) and Hughes, the only actual baseball players acquired by the Reds in the off-season, were good in relief. One thing stands out to me about both of them: the movement on their pitches is insane.

Today’s Tweets

40 Responses

    • Mike Adams

      Doesn’t matter, he has a free agent contract and a donkey!

  1. GreatRedLegsFan

    Seems like Peraza is finding his groove, more likely Sensel will replace Gennett at sometime. I’d like to know what’s wrong with Castillo. Shackelford looks too shaky for me. Go Reds!

      • jazzmanbbfan

        It always has been, even before he came to Cincinnati. Last year it was somewhat negated by his offense. Even so, it seems like he is even worse this year but maybe that’s just my short memory.

    • Jim Walker

      I’m wanting and hoping what we are seeing from Jose Peraza is real and sustainable. Time will tell. Good comment from ThinkPitch tonight that nobody batting in front of Votto is going to get walked anyway unless the pitcher is totally wild; so, maybe that’s an ideal spot for a guy like Peraza who nearly always put the ball into play.

  2. Jim Walker

    Another less than stellar inning from Iggy even if it was otherwise meaningless.

    He is running high pitch counts and walking too many in the process so far this season. He was a big part of a 4 run Reds meltdown on Tuesday (1H; 2BB; BS). Although the Reds eventually won that game in 12 innings, the meltdown set the stage for the blown game on Wednesday and perhaps also negatively influenced the Reds pitching lineup in Thursday’s loss.

  3. Jreis

    When the reds are really good again their bench will consist of Peraza, Gennet, Hamilton, Winker. Not bad at all!!!!

  4. DHud

    I’m done with all the “kids will gave up and down nights” talk.

    Enough. If you want to be competitive then you need to go out every night and actually be competitive. You either get it done or you don’t. And if you don’t, time to move on

    • DocBagel

      So you want to get rid of Castillo?

      • lwblogger2

        Less than 30 MLB starts under his belt. Still young, with great stuff.. Yeah, that’s the kind of guy the Reds should totally give up on. /*sarcasm

        I tweeted that he may have been injured all year. RLN replied that his velocity seemed really good, and it was. I noticed he had his best velocity of the season but sometimes injuries reflect in command more than velocity. I’m hoping that he’s fine and it’s just some growing pains combined with him mechanics being out of whack. I didn’t see anything obvious but I haven’t watched him enough to know and it’s hard when you really only have that one view (CF camera). I’m used to seeing pitchers from behind the plate.

  5. CI3J

    Want an even more mind-blowing Jose Peraza stat? If you exclude the two games in March, where Peraza struck out 5 times in 8 ABs, he’s hitting:

    .311 AVG, .337 OBP, .781 OPS.

    And…. He’s only struck out 7 times(!) in 90 ABs, for a 7.8 K%. For comparison, Joey Votto’s career K% is 17.6.

    I keep saying this, but I think Peraza is right on the cusp of breaking through and figuring out how to take walks too. He’s obviously seeing the ball well, since he’s not striking out enough, all he needs to learn now is to how to temper his aggressive hit tendencies. For about the past 20 days I’ve notices he seems to be seeing more pitches per at-bat, I really believe it’s only a matter of time until that translates into more walks.

    I don’t think it’s out of the question that Peraza hits .290/.330/.420 for the season.

    • CI3J

      Oh, and if you think the .420 SLG is too high, here’s my reasoning behind it: Peraza is 23, and still has room to develop some power. He already has 6 2B this season after hitting 9 in all of 2017. I’m expecting him to finish with about 25 2B and 10 HR.

    • lwblogger2

      I hope you’re right. With his improving defense, if he can contribute at the plate to the tune of a league average OPS+ (for a SS), then he becomes a solid player. If he can post a league average OPS+ (across all positions) and continue to improve his SS defense, then he’s a potential All-Star.

      I’m not a Peraza fan as he isn’t my type of player. He’s hard to root against though because 1) he’s a Red 2) he’s by all accounts a hard-worker 3) he seems to be a nice guy

  6. big5ed

    As I have been saying, loudly, Jose Peraza can’t hit and Joey Votto is rapidly declining.

    • DetroitRedleg

      This is why the internet needs sarcasm font…

    • Bill

      If Peraza can prove us all wrong that is a great thing for the Reds. Put Senzel at 2B, trade for a CF and if pitching comes around there is hope. There is no hope for Votto, he can’t hit when it counts, only walks, injured Disco, causes cancer, and isn’t worth the $50 million a year contract; or maybe he is fine and is one of the best hitters on baseball who always starts slow

      • Wobaisnotyoda

        Yippy hoorah!!!

        6 and 20. SIX AND TWENTY. That’s of course their record, The worstinf baseball. NOW he’s coming around like predicted not WHEN IT COUNTS. So the team is excusable too, just a slow starter.

        Good thing they’ll have yet another top 5 in next year’s draft and Votto’s numbers will be enough for the koolaid fantasy club. Hoorah!

      • Bill

        My mistake I forgot the first two weeks of the season determine the final standings. I’m glad that rule change was made so we can use May to September to practice for the offseason

  7. Jack

    I believe Jose Peraza after being knocked down mentally is crawling back into something special. Maybe all the kid needed was confidence that he could do it. He is progressing well and I love how he puts the ball in play. I want a team that has a roster full of OBP’s above the league average. They are getting there.

    • docproctor

      I was his loud critic, but he’s (finally) looking like 2016 Peraza. His two home runs were nice to see last night–not because I expect him to hit for much power, but because he was whipping the bat head through the zone. A far cry from the halfhearted swings he was taking at the beginning of the year, and in most of 2017.

  8. docproctor

    It’s nice to see the team nearly at full strength. DL guys who had big games last night included Suarez, Schebler, and Hernandez. And Winker has been tearing it up after coming back from his shoulder injury.

  9. Hotto4Votto

    What was the temperature in MN last night? I believe I read it was supposed to be 37 degrees. As soon as I read that I figured Castillo would have a rough start. Didn’t think it would be 1 IP bad, but the kid just hasn’t seemed to pitch well in cold weather. Seems to struggle more with his control when the temp. drops. Maybe I’m completely misrepresenting this, but it sure seems that way.

    Was never worried about Votto turning it around, but a 6-6 on base game is a thing of beauty. A triple shy of the cycle.

    • jazzmanbbfan

      I think mid-40’s for most of the game. Marty commented at one point that it was a balmy 46 and that was mid-way through.

  10. Scott Carter

    I think that Scooter got to thinking, “I can’t throw I better let that ball through to Joey.” But then he couldn’t get out of the way.

  11. sezwhom

    For the first time in years, the Reds don’t hesitate to make obvious moves. Price, Gallarado, Pennington, to name a few. One would think Gennett’s “D”, or lack-thereof, makes him a trade candidate to open up 2B. I can see it already.

    • Bill

      I am a strong advocate for Senzel at 2B, but hopefully Gennett’s defense isn’t too horrible and the bat holds up enough for a contender to offer up a good prospect to replenish the pipeline.

  12. Jeff Reed

    Hernandez was impressive in relief. He gets the ball over the plate with good movement. Peraza is not a ‘work the count’ type hitter but as a hacker he’s getting it done.

  13. WVRedlegs

    Toronto has a big black hole at 2B. And they employ the DH. Toronto has had a nice start so far. They need a DH too. DW needs to start sowing some trade seeds. There are 2 or 3 players that might fall in the Need a Change of Scenery category like Duvall and Stephenson.
    Is it possible that MIN’s pitching is even worse than the Reds?

  14. Shchi Cossack

    The middle mashers (3-7):

    14-25 w/ 1-HR, 4-2B, 4-BB & 1-HBP

    That’s what the Reds have been missing.

    Combine that with a good dose from the table setters (1-2):

    5-12 w/ 2-HR & 1-2B

    And sprinke with a little bottom contribution (8-9):

    1-8 w/ 1-3B & 2-BB

    You end up with:

    15 runs and a dramatic come from behind victory. That was fun. Let’s do it again…

  15. JB WV

    With Peraza hitting and Hamilton at the bottom of the order this is a tough lineup to navigate. Castillo must be in an early season mental meltdown; he was bound to have a tough period, hopefully it’s short-lived. But they have to get 6 innings out of Sal today, the bullpen is getting worn out.