The Short Version: Cincinnati rides a strong start from Luis Castillo and five hits from rookies (Brandon Dixon and Jesse Winker) — plus a little grand slam from Eugenio Suarez — to a series victory over the Pirates.

Final R H E
Pittsburgh Pirates (27-22) 4 7 1
Cincinnati Reds (18-33) 5 8 0
W: Castillo (4-4) L: Nova (2-5) S: Hughes (2)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score

The Good
–Luis Castillo took a shutout into the sixth inning, and finished with a pretty good line: 6 IP, two runs allowed on four hits and two walks, with five strikeouts. I think it’s safe to assume that the good Castillo is back.

–Brandon Dixon was 3 for 4 with a double. Those are the first three hits of Dixon’s big league career. Have a day, young man!

–Jesse Winker was 2-4 in the leadoff spot with a single and his first home run of the season. He also scored two runs. Eugenio Suarez had the big blast, a third-inning grand slam. Scott Schebler had a couple of singles.

–Jared Hughes used four pitches to collect the final two outs, securing his second save for the Reds.

The Bad
–Adam Duvall: 0 for 4, two strikeouts. .177/.276/.399 on the season.

Not-So-Random Thoughts
–The Reds won a series! Always an exciting development in 2018. In fact, Cincinnati is 10-6 in their last 16 games. #SelectiveEndPoints

–Except for the solo home run by Winker, the Reds did all their damage in the bottom of the third. With the game still scoreless, Castillo walked to lead off the inning. Winker singled and, one out later, Scooter Gennett reached on a throwing error to load the bases. Suarez subsequently drilled a ball to left field for a grand slam, his eighth homer of the season.

–The Reds will be on the road until June 5. Safe travels, Redlegs.

69 Responses

  1. Ben

    I wish you would have included Scooter’s nice defensive work in the good! Otherwise great recap! Thanks Chad

    • Grand Salami

      The improvement of his D in the last 3 to 4 weeks has been overshadowed by his bad. But you are right that it should be noted. I am willing to bet that his performance as a serviceable second baseman versus what he looked like to start the season – a liability – will have just as positive impact on his trade value.

      Speaking of trade value, I was tuned in for his grand slam (grand salami) and it’s sad that my initial reaction of excitement was immediately followed by thoughts of what he’ll garner in a trade.

      The foundation for rebuild is becoming more plain but the trades made this season may be the difference maker between a team returning to +.500 baseball or being a playoff contender.

      Scooter
      Iglesias

      Should both draw top value at their position.

      Harvey is looking like he will actually draw legitimate value and some team will not be able to forget his rookie season when they are kicking the tires.

      Hughes is a bargain but you have to think a team like the Indians could make trading him worthwhile too.

      • Grand Salami

        Correction: His “bat”, not “bad”.

        And I’d love the looming moves to be a big subject of the next podcast!

  2. WVRedlegs

    Several positives from today’s game.
    Good to see Dixon rebound with 3 hits after his base running gaffe last night.
    One negative omission, Garrett giving up 2 runs in the 9th inning on a HR was not good. It was a save situation Garrett was in in the 9th. Not good if they are looking at him while Iglesias is out. Garrett had a really bad outing in the first game of this series and got yanked after 0.1 inning. Today he gets yanked after 0.1 inning. Something to watch.
    Heading out for a second west coast trip this month. Nine games in 10 days. I’d settle for a 5-4 road trip, but these longer west coast trips are usually not kind to the Reds. Three games each at COL, ARZ and SD. Matt Harvey wlll pitch the 3rd game of that COL series. It will be interesting to see how he does at elevation at Coors Field.

    • Reaganspad

      Garrett pitched 1.2 today

      Was dominant to finish the 7th and had a clean 8th

    • Shchi Cossack

      WV, were you watching the game today?

      Garrett pitched 1.2 innings today, not 0.1 inning. Garrett had 4 SO in 1.2 innings today and went out to the 9th with the understanding that he had a chance to finish the game for a save or be pulled quickly. The pitch resulting in the HR wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t the worst either. Meadows is on fire and dominating everyone right now with his bat. He just won that battle.

      • james garrett

        Meadows just squared up 95 mph and it went out.Amir just said hit and he did.

      • WVRedlegs

        No. I checked in on game day. It had Garrett at 0.1 after the game was over. Or my eyes deceived me. Thanks for the correction. Makes me feel better about Garrett and holding down the back of the bullpen. I was worried that Garrett was starting to go the way of Peralta. Good to know there are no worries. Thanks again.

      • greenmtred

        Wasn’t the 0.1 inning deal the game before?

      • greenmtred

        To answer my own question, it was two games ago–the opener of the series.

  3. Jeff Morris

    Where would the Reds be without the hitting of Suarez and Gennett…That is their power. Wonder if this Dixon can play the outfield? Duvall needs to be on the bench, and working on the side with his swing. With Duvall and Hamilton in the lineup, they are pretty much dead outs. In the upcoming draft, Reds better draft an outfielder!

    • Joe Atkinson

      Have you seen the Reds farm system when it comes to outfielders? Most of them are still pretty far down in the system, but by most accounts, that’s a strength of the lower minors for the Redlegs.

    • Aaron Bradley

      Pretty sure Dixon played OF during ST and he was swinging a good bat too. I am not surprised he found his way to the show, now to see if he can stick!

  4. Jeff Morris

    Where would the Reds be without the hitting of Suarez and Gennett. Duvall needs to be on the bench, and working in practice on his swing. Maybe this Dixon can play the outfield? Lets see what he can do. Maybe Blandino can play the outfield? Duvall and Hamilton are pretty much dead outs! In the upcoming draft, the Reds better draft an outfielder!

    • WVRedlegs

      Check out Oregon St. RF Trevor Larnach. He is climbing up the draft board. Sitting at about #10 – #12 now and could climb higher in next week and a half. It might be a slight over draft for Reds at #5, but not by much. He helped carry OSU while Madrigal was hurt.

    • Thomas Jefferson

      Let me recommend redsminorleagues.com, Doug Gray’s site. You can see Doug’s excellent write-ups on the top Reds prospects (several are outfielders), and check on the positions that Dixon plays (he has played outfield in the minors), as well as who the Reds may draft. And we hope they won’t draft for need; unlike football and basketball, that gives a team a lower chance of being successful.

  5. james garrett

    Let the young guys play and lets see what happens.Today was a good day for them.Got to think that Winker and Castillo will become good major leaguers.Who knows about Dixon but 3 hits in your first big league start is well good isn’t it?One thing about Suarez and that he is becoming our best player and the Reds were smart in extending him.

  6. Shchi Cossack

    I can’t even imagine the joy and frustration of competing at the highest level of your profession, along with the immense pressure and high expectations, but the look on Winker’s face as he rounded 1B after clubbing his 1st HR of the season probably comes pretty close to representing all of those emotions for the man himself.

  7. David

    One fact that soothes the savage soul is that the Cubs lost the first two games to the Indians in Cleveland. 10-1 in the first game and 1-0 in the second game.

    So apparently their mighty offense can be stopped by good pitching.

    Castillo might be turning a corner. And yes, Brandon Dixon has played left field for AAA Louisville.

    The Frazier trade is looking pretty good: We got three parts for Todd (Peraza, Schebler and Dixon), who frankly has not been setting the world on fire the last few years in Chicago and now New York.

    • Shchi Cossack

      What the Reds received for Frazier at the time of the trade was never the issue. The issue has always been what the Reds could have received if they had the baseball sense (or a non-intrusive CEO) to trade Frazier when his value was sky high and they knew they were going to trade him. Instead they waited and to no one’s surprise his value plummeted.

      • Jeff Reed

        But Todd did get the Reds the 2015 All Star Game home run derby flag.

      • Thomas Jefferson

        Cossack, I couldn’t agree more! But I do think many fans overestimate what would have been given by a team when he was at his peak – they have a ton of data and knew it was his peak. The Reds probably would have received a bit more, but not a ton more.

  8. citizen54

    Reds only 10 games out for the last wild card spot.

    • Jeff Reed

      Is it ever too late? Memorial day is not here yet.

  9. Old-school

    Tough loss last night, but the Reds almost swept an NL Central foe. We’ll take it!
    Interesting to see the next few weeks with Disco coming back to the rotation and Lorenzen back.healthy in the bullpen and hopefully Iglesias soon too.

    • Shchi Cossack

      The weakest link in that bullpen chain keeps getting moved up and up and up. Iggy, Hughes, Garrett, Lorenzen, Hernandez, Floro, Rainey, Peralta, Stephens…there’s only room for 8 at the most.

      • Shchi Cossack

        Now if the Reds would just fill those holes in the lineup and move the weak links up that chain…

        OBP / OPS

        .356 / .924 Eugenio Suarez
        .360 / .893 Scooter Gennett
        .399 / .816 Joey Votto
        .350 / .767 Tucker Barnhart
        .323 / .750 Scott Schebler
        .353 / .694 Jesse Winker

        .276 / .675 Adam Duvall
        .284 / .608 Jose Peraza
        .288 / .580 Billy Hamilton

      • Mike Adams

        After reading Chad’s THE BAD on Duvall I got to wondering, just how long do they start him and give him a chance to get out of the slump? Another day? week? month? longer?
        Then that led to the thought well one can ask the parallel question about Homer Bailey.
        Waiting to see if they perform better to “improve their trade value” is futile.
        Other teams know Duvall has slumped since last year and that Bailey had the major surgery.
        Other teams won’t take a chance on them or offer very little in return based on recent performance. They won’t trade based on these guys’ best two or three years.
        How long do you keep playing guys like this?

      • Jim Walker

        For the month of May, Duvall’s OPS is .780 and his wRC+ is 111 and that’s actually dropped considerably over the past several days. Even after his golden sombrero day over the weekend his May OPS was above .800 and his May was wRC+ 125-130 which was head and shoulders above any other Reds OF for the same period. Unfortunately he is seems to be swooning again. If he could get on another upswing and maintain it for a month, he might bring a surprising return.

      • Old-school

        It just seems the reds can’t get past SS or CF…. Doug gray writes a great article about Jeter downs success, but seems he’s destined for 2b.

        Most folks also seem to say Trammell doesn’t have the arm for RF and profiles better in LF than CF.

        Shed Long or Nick senzel in the CF?

      • Jim Walker

        Along with pitcher and catcher, SS and CF are the most specialized and difficult skill sets, yes?

        Shed Long is a converted catcher. While I don’t know for certain, I’m guessing he doesn’t profile well at all in CF.

        And where does Jose Siri fit in? That one ranks right up there with Trammell. I think the org is hoping one of them is a passable CF. TJ Freidl I think is also potential CF material. He’s tearing it up offensively right now at A+ which is where Siri and Trammell are both at for now also.

      • lwblogger2

        As Jim said, Freidl is a legit CF and I think Siri is as well> Pretty far down the line but they can both handle the position defensively. Shed Long probably isn’t a good fit. Senzel in CF could be an interesting idea. He’s a good athlete but as far as I know he’s never played OF. Reds will eventually need to figure out where to play him and if Scooter or Herrera end up at 2B, maybe CF or RF is the answer.

  10. TheJMO

    Winker RF
    Tucker
    Votto
    Suarez
    Gennett
    Dixon in LF
    Schebler CF
    P
    Blandino SS

    • Indy Red Man

      Totally agree with these changes to the lineup! Of course they’re going to Colorado so they’d Billy to cover some ground, but there is no reason they can’t give Blandino and Dixon regular playing time. They could also run Scooter out to LF and play Senzel/Dixon/Herrera at 2B. Tucker can hit 2nd but I want Suarez getting more atbats then Tucker? Tucker 7th and Blandino 9th makes sense!

    • JoshG

      that would be a brutally bad defensive outfield

  11. docproctor

    Went to the game today and it was a perfect baseball afternoon.
    BTW, Suarez is currently tied for the NL RBI lead with 38, even though he missed *16* games with his thumb injury.

    • Matt WI

      And the Reds have him locked up! That’s a great stat.

  12. Scooter Rolen

    Nice to see the Reds take the series against a Division foe! I’m also glad to see Scooter making some nice defensive plays lately, as him being even just an average fielder would help the Reds tremendously in the field. Hopefully his shoulder was the reason for him looking awful in the first few weeks.

    • Gary Sweeney

      I have had previous postcregardding Scooter moving to CF, especially when Nick arrives. It would take pressure off his arm, but he could go get the ball much better than Schebler. Gives you a .300 hitter with power. Guess who isn’t a .300 hitter. The man with the new teeth. Outfileld of Winker, Scooter, Schebler with Billy as a defensive sub and pinch runner. Votto, Senzil, Peraza, and Suarez. Of course Tucker. Bench of Cruz, Blandino, Dixon, and Hamilton. Blandino plays 2B, as, 3rd, Dixon plays 2B, 3b, Lf and probably 1b, and Cruz C. Now you have versatility. Now if you can just batters out consistently. Duvall odd man out. Other than an occasional HR, the league has figured him out. Not due for another hit until after Memorial Day.

      • Thomas Jefferson

        Scooter will ‘go get the ball much better than Schebler’: how do you figure? He’s much slower and has almost no experience reading the ball or running the routes in the outfield.

      • Bill

        I don’t understand the Scooter to CF desire either. If any of the 2B candidates were to be given a shot in CF it would be Senzel. I am not sure moving Scooter to a corner OF spot is really an option either, unless it is just to get Senzel or Herrera’s bat into the lineup at 2B. Scooter has played a total of 16 games between RF and LF in the majors, not one in CF. He also is not fast, I believe someone showed earlier in the week he was the third slowest on the team, so covering more ground than Schebler is not likely.

        The real problem is the reds have too many 4th OF, too many 2B, no CF. If we ignore reality it is easy to throw Scooter in the OF, put Herrera at 2B, watch Winker win rookie of the year in the other corner spot, convert Senzel to CF, sign Machado, and extend Scooter on a team friendly deal. However all of that happening is not reality. It’s more likely that Scooter’s performance price’s him out of the Reds and into a trade, Winker and Schebler continue to man the corners, Senzel gets a shot at 2B , and the Reds attempt to trade for a CF prospect in AAA

      • Shchi Cossack

        I agree…Scooter is not an OF candidate and certainly not a CF candidate. His defense at 2B is much better than his OF defense. Long and Senzel might be CF options, but they are unproven and inexperienced.

        I don’t believe the Reds can win the bidding war that will develop for Machado, but they might be able to sign A.J. Pollack to a FA contract, unless organizations get crazy with years and dollars for a player with his age and injury history.

      • greenmtred

        The Reds actually have an outstanding centerfielder, but he doesn’t hit well. They have a first baseman who is one of the best hitters in the game , but he doesn’t field particularly well. Actually, when you get past BH, Tucker, Suarez and Duvall, there aren’t any excellent fielders getting regular playing time. It might be smart to balance offense and defense: A swing to either extreme won’t end well.

      • DHud

        How would a move to CF take pressure off his arm? If anything it would only magnify the fact that Scooter either cannot throw or still has a bum shoulder. Every throw from 2B is sidearmed and he’s had more than his share of throwing errors. How would that play on the long throws from CF??

      • lwblogger2

        I have my doubts that Scooter could go get the ball better than Schebler. He’s never been an OF really at the professional level so his reads and routes are likely not going to be very good. He’s also slower than Schebler both to my eyes and according to Statcast. It definitely won’t take pressure off his arm. Fewer throws in CF but lots of high-effort throws and you really need to come from over-the-top in the OF.

  13. Aaron Bradley

    we hqave 3 legit NL all stars offensively in Votto, Scooter, and Suarez,,, that’s more than enough, but we need more than what we are getting from Hamilton/Duvall/Schebler. Something has to be done about that logjam and maybe seek outside help in the process. But maybe this kid Dixon is the answer I sure hope he is.

    • VaRedsFan

      Votto?? All star?? Or do you mean former all star?

      • Bill

        Technically there are no current All Stars since the selections have not occurred. So you would be somewhat correct in saying former All Star

    • Shchi Cossack

      Dixon has a role as a pinch hitter and utility player, but not as a starter. If you don’t like Scooter’s defense, you really won’t like Dixon’s defense.

  14. cfd3000

    This seems a bit odd to say, but I was more encouraged by the game they lost than the two they won against the Pirates. The April Reds would have been stick a fork in them done down three late. But the May Reds fought back and sent the game to extras. And if Dixon stays in the running lane they probably win that game. And if Dylan Floro hadn’t had to bat with one out and Votto on 3rd, they might have come back again. That’s the game that gives me hope that the Reds might be fun to watch the rest of this year. Bring on the Rockies!

  15. Jreis

    The Calvary is coming as far as help for the outfield with the likes of Fairchild Friedl Trammel and Siri.
    I agree with the posts that for this year and next year we should experiment with different outfield combinations. Dixon, peraza, Blandino, and Gennet should all get some time out there

    • Jim Walker

      It was good to see Winker come through today. He needs to get himself established if he is going to be around through a contention window opening in 2020/21 because the coming wave you referred to are all guys who best him in athleticism. Winker is going to need to be more than an OBP guy but with substandard speed, defense, and power to hold a spot among them unless multiple of them washout and/ or are traded.

  16. Den

    I find it funny how people who probably never played the game at a level higher then probably HS think you can just put players anywhere at any position or how what someone did in college or HS or even in the minors translates into success on the highest level. We know Scooter can produce on the major league level yet we can’t trade him fast enough so we can get more unproven talent. We think a player can just play any position no matter thier background.

    • Indy Red Man

      Well Scooter hit .267 with 2 hrs in April (.700 ops) while also butchering 2nd base. That will turn some people against you. I get what your saying about position changes as well….remember how well Mesoraco to LF went:) At the same time…Scooter to LF makes some sense! GABP is pretty small and he can’t mess up the infield defense from LF! Of course that would free up a spot for Senzel as well!

      • Grand Salami

        Did Scooter log many games in corner outfield in his time with the Brewers? I know he was billed as a utility player when we picked him up.

      • Thomas Jefferson

        Nope. He was really only a second baseman – he only had one appearance ever in the outfield for the Brewers. My recollection is that he said he was willing to be a utility guy when he was claimed by the Reds (but it’s not that he had done it before).

      • Matt WI

        He’s logged more innings for the Reds in the OF than he ever did with Milwaukee! In fact, the Crew tried to make Rickie Weeks an OF to make more room for Scooter as 2B.

      • Jeff Reed

        GABP is often made out as an easy place to poke one out of the park. That’s not always the case. Center and left-center are not short distances, and many stadiums down the line have equal or less distances, including Yankee Stadium.

  17. WVRedlegs

    The Red Sox have DFA’d Hanley Ramirez owing him almost $16MM. He has a $22M vesting option for 2019 that won’t be realized now. The Twins DFA’d Phil Hughes owing him $22M for this year and next year.
    Homer Bailey ought to be keeping a watchful eye out for a pink slip. Teams are biting the financial bullet to open a roster spot. What is Bailey’s roster spot worth to the Reds front office?

    • Indy Red Man

      Homer is blocking Bob Steve for one….and they really should be looking into giving Lorenzen and/or Garrett a shot at the rotation as well! Harvey is atleast pitching well and could bring them a valuable return.

      • Matt WI

        I think “blocking” Bob Steve is a stretch. He’s “available” to be called up but not exactly knocking down the door. I’d rather it be Garret or Lorenzen getting a look.

      • Indy Red Man

        He’s been pitched pretty well at AAA for what that’s worth. At some point…either have to give him a real shot or let him go.

        Here’s your random factoid of the night: Scooter Gennett now has more 6-RBI games with the Reds (2) than Joey Votto (1), Tony Perez (1), Joe Morgan (1), Pete Rose (1) or Ken Griffey Jr. (1). Wow!

  18. SultanofSwaff

    Not to pile on Peraza, but 2 of his at-bats yesterday were about as horrible as you can get (half swing ground out to 2B, weak pop up)……until you compare him to Tony Cruz. The front office better pray that Tucker doesn’t take a foul tip off a finger because the lack of depth now at C will be completely exposed.

    Other thought for the day–regardless of service time considerations, does anyone doubt that Trammell, Tyler Stephenson, and Senzel could put up better numbers than Hamilton, Cruz, and Peraza? SAD.

    • greenmtred

      I certainly doubt that it it’s a sure bet. Senzel is in AAA, but the jump for the other two is a big one.

  19. james garrett

    Good point Sultan and because I don’t know anything I always wonder why guys such as this don’t get a shot.I hear what is being said about them not being ready or protecting their super 2 status or getting that 6th year of team control but I just fail to understand how that plays in to a team that has been and is as bad as we are based on our record on wins and losses the last several years.I am all about finding out who can play at this level right now or who can’t.To me if a guy can play at this level it would be foolish not to sign him long before that 5th year anyway or if a guy isn’t ready and shows he isn’t then he knows what to work on.I am not referring to pitchers but to position players as you mentioned.If they can run well they can run and if they have a good glove then they have a good glove so either they can hit or not which is what it all boils down to anyway.Guys that can hit always will have a job.Wonder where Hanley Ramirez will land after Boston released him.Must be nice to say bye bye and potentially eat 40+ million and not blink.

    • greenmtred

      There is the 40-man roster to consider. If you sign or call up somebody who isn’t on it, you’ve got to get rid of somebody who is. Since we aren’t talking about sure things, or anything close, we might want to consider how we’d feel if things got even worse than they are.

  20. james garrett

    Good point I am sure and I can’t speak for everybody else but by getting worse you mean losing 100 vs 95 then I can live with it.In fact I would suggest if we exposed any of those 3 guys that Sultan mentioned that there would not be very many teams to even give it a second look.I would also suggest that every team has on their 40 man rosters players that are just roster fillers to keep from exposing players that others may claim.But again I don’t know anything about that sort of stuff.