The Kansas City Royals present a dystopic Ghost of Baseball Future for the Reds. Arguably, the Reds new front office used the 2014-2015 Royals as a template for the early phase of the team’s rebuild, assembling a roster around speed and contact hitting.

With tonight’s win, the Reds staved off being tied with the Royals for the next-to-worst record in baseball. /waves tiny Reds pennant/

Cincinnati Reds 5 (24-43) • Kansas City Royals 1 (22-45)

Box Score || Win % || Reds Pitcher Statcast || Reds Hitter Statcast

Sal Romano had his best start of the year and made the longest appearance for a Reds pitcher this year – eight innings. He’s just the second Reds pitcher to go at least seven innings this year. Homer Bailey was the other. Romano gave up four hits and one run – a solo home run to Hunter Dozier. Romano struck out just two Royals but held his walks down to one. He threw 106 pitches. 

It was Romano’s 14th start. 100 major league pitchers have thrown 60 innings or more. Before the game, Romano ranked #91 in strikeout rate and #84 in walk rate. So it’s no surprise his ERA is still 5.75 and FIP is 5.35. It’s hard to know how much importance to put on tonight’s game for Romano as the Royals offense is 26th in the majors in runs scored and next-to-last in power. 

After the Reds tied the game in the top of the 9th, David Hernandez hit the first Royals batter. After a strikeout, Jesse Winker tracked down a long fly ball in front of the wall in left-center for a nice defensive play. Amir Garrett retired the Royals in order in the 10th. 

The Royals Ian Kennedy handcuffed the Reds over 8 innings. He gave up three hits and three walks and struck out five. Kennedy’s won-loss record and ERA are a bit misleading. His xFIP was less than 4.5 coming into the game. 

Tucker Barnhart greeted a 88-mph change-up by Royals closer Kelvin Herrera with a game-tying home run leading off the 9th inning. Herrera then gave up his first two walks of the year. Joey Votto and Jesse Winker were stranded. It was Winker’s second BB of the night. 

The Reds blew the game open against the hapless Royals in the 10th. Jose Peraza led off with a high-chopped ground ball that the Royals third basemen threw ten feet over the first baseman’s head. Peraza got to second. But Peraza was thrown out easily at third when Billy Hamilton’s attempt at a sacrifice bunt stayed too close to the catcher. With Hamilton on first, Scott Schebler lined a single to right. Tucker Barnhart then lined back to the pitcher. Billy Hamilton got caught in a run-down, but not to be outdone, the Royals couldn’t execute it. Hamilton was safe back at third, loading the bases. Joey Votto, who never gets clutch hits, tripled to right center, driving in three runs. One batter later, Eugenio Suarez singled home Votto. 

Stuff to Read Doug Gray has an interesting post at his site about the signing bonuses and potential salary penalties for the Reds recent top-ten draft picks. I like the idea floated in this post at Red Reporter for the Reds to offer Anthony DeSclafani a contract extension. But I wouldn’t go more than the four years proposed in it. 

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 50 Comments

  1. Nice game, even against one of the worst teams, but very entertained nevertheless. Key plays: Barnhart’s HR, Winker’s play at LF in the bottom of the 9th and Hamilton’s rundown which extended the inning to Votto’s 3B. Nice outing by Romano, kuddos to the big guy, every game Duvall looks worse at the plate.

    Reply
    • Hamilton’s rundown didn’t extend the inning. Would have just been two outs.

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      • What a terrible call. Hamilton jumped out of the baseline to avoid the tag. He was on the grass in foul territory.
        And Hamilton can’t bunt at his age.

        Still, the Reds won. Yay.

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        • I believe you are allowed 3 feet on either side of the basepath. Either way it was a brilliant move

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        • And once on the base you create your own path. The three feet is from where you are. Billy was on the outside of the baseline to begin with. I did not measure his movement but I certainly can understand why the umpire did not call him out of the baseline. Too close to make that judgment.

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  2. Sometimes it is good to just be lucky. The pitching was outstanding tonight. A good old fashioned pitchers duel for first 8 innings. Garrett looked good but Suarez knocked him out of a save situation. Hopefully tonight helps Romano right his ship.

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    • Romano appeared to benefit from a large park. The several innings I saw him pitch featured rockets that would have been trouble at GABP.

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  3. I also did not think it was any coincidence that the first 2 batters to work a walk off of Herrera this season were Votto and then Winker.

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  4. I gave up for a while and came back just in time! It didn’t look like tonite would ever be the least bit entertaining but thats baseball! Question….why did KC have the 2B/SS playing in on Tucker’s rip up the middle? Thats another easy easy doubleplay if they’re where they’re supposed to be. I get that the corners should be in but you want that shot at a doubleplay and they blew it.

    Negative Nelly time but I’m going to keep hammering until they do something. Jose was 1-4 with the 1 hit being that swinging bunt. He failed to hit the ball deep enough and got a guy thrown out at the plate earlier. If you want to keep Billy around for a while for defensive purposes thats one thing but Senzel needs to play and he needs to play this year! Peraza has no instincts…he didn’t even get a rolling start on Billy’s bunt? He didn’t step on the gas until the bunt was made and got thrown out easily.

    Scheber looks good. Worrying about Winker’s defense is much ado about nothing. He’ll be ok…no better then average and no worse. I just want to see him drive the ball more often and he’ll be a contributing player!

    Reply
    • The difference in effectiveness between Jesse Winker’s contact and Jose Peraza’s contact…

      Jesse Winker hits a line drive out over the CF’s head, allowing Scooter Gennett to tag from 2B and move to 3B with less than 2 outs.

      Jose Peraza hits a line drive out in front of the CF, resulting in Scooter Gennett being thrown out at the plate after tagging fron 3B.

      Reply
  5. Id put Senzel in cf now.

    I would sign disco to a team friendly long term deal now

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  6. Hamilton and Peraza are both on the MLB roster for one reason…speed.

    With Peraza on 2B and no outs and Hamilton at the plate in the 10th inning, Riggleman orders a sac bunt by Hamilton. The end result is Peraza thrown out at 3B om a fielder’s choice. There’s just too many holes in the Reds lineup for the team to be effective against anyone but the worst of the worst teams.

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  7. BUT NEVER, EVER WHEN IT COUNTS…

    With the bases loaded and 1 out in the 10th inning, Joey Votto rips a bases-clearing line drive triple(!) to the LCF wall then scores on Suarez’ line drive single to LF.

    Joey Votto is now 10th in NL OPS among all qualified hitters,

    Reply
    • Yeah, but did Votto do it in April and May when it would have REALLY COUNTED? (note sarcasm)

      Reply
      • Everyone knows the only games that count are April and May

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        • Not the only games that count, but they do count as much as any other games. Votto is a great hitter and produces in clutch situations as often as could be expected, but he has had a fairly prolonged power outage lately.

          Reply
          • I guess you didn’t get the memo. It has been determined that any games after May don’t count. Also any at bats that Votto has that don’t give the Reds the lead or tie the game don’t count. June-Sep are just practice games for Votto to pad his stats

    • Joey Votto, who never gets clutch hits, tripled to right center, driving in three runs…..

      Joey Votto, finally got a clutch hit, tripled to right center, driving in three runs. A go ahead, bonafied clutch hit, that won the game for the Reds

      There…fixed it.

      Reply
  8. Guess I am the last little Indian to post but I did get to watch the game on non- traditional equipment. Just got in. I enjoyed seeing Sal go 8. When they showed him in the dugout he looked whipped. Was it a thing of beauty, as they say, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. It was a win, the guys who can, did, the guys that can’t, didn’t. Chalk up one for the guys that can. 🙂

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  9. Hopefully last night performance it’s a sign that Romano is turning the corner. Along with Disco, Mahle & Castillo we’d finally see some starting pitching consistency.

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    • Unlikely that Romano has really turned any corners. The Royals are a pretty bad hitting team. There were a few shots hit last night that were just long outs in KC, that might have been out of GABP.
      But it is a positive, and I’ll take it. He seemed to work ahead in the pitch count for most batters, and didn’t walk anyone (?).
      Who knows?

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  10. Message to SEAT101 from the Game Thread:

    Romano came close to your prediction of a no hitter (one hit in eight innings).
    Yes, Peraza started a new streak with a hit.
    Nobody came close to hitting for the cycle but Joey got the hardest-to-do hit, the triple.
    I don’t know if you said that stuff tongue-in-cheek, but two out of three ain’t bad!

    Reply
    • Mike, Thank you for the shout out! I hoped that the KC pitcher would’ve been run off by the end of the third inning, after letting Billy bat twice. The extra at-bats would’ve given someone a chance for the cycle.

      Concerning Romano: My prediction was from the heart rather than head. But I believe he and Tucker were “pitching to the park.“ Pointing out that some batted balls in one park would be home runs in other parks doesn’t really say a lot. For example: remember how a pitcher would pitch on Astroturf versus grass? Different tactics for different ballparks.

      I will reiterate that the only reason Peraza was sent home attempting to score on a sacrifice was because the third-base coach knew that the next hitter was Billy Hamilton and the likelihood of scoring in any manner would’ve been near nil.

      I am confident, by the way, that our current shortstop will show that he is an above average major-league shortstop before the end of the season.

      Thanks again for the shout out!

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  11. I could see the Reds extending Disco. I think they would love to have that one veteran guy in the rotation and Disco probably doesn’t command a contract as expensive as Bailey did. A healthy Disco would be a significant boost to building a rotation.

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  12. A good win but too many holes on offense with the fast guys playing every day

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    • It’s not the fast guys that are the problem, it is the guys who can’t hit. Replace Hamilton or peraza with a better hitting player, move Barnhart to the bottom part of the lineup and the normal lineup is more than adequate. If you improved either SS or CF the other could stay.

      Reply
      • Good thing Tucker wasn’t at the bottom of the order in the 9th…when he hit the game tying homer

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    • Ain’t it the truth. The Reds really need to get rid of the fast guys and make sure that they never acquire any more. That win featured effective pitching. That must be a coincidence.

      Reply
      • We could discuss fast guys that can’t hit such as our short stop or center fielder but it really doesn’t matter because they will continue to play. We could use data to show how little they contribute to this team but well speed excites everybody and it always will

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        • I think you missed Greenmtred’s point. They didn’t win because the fast guys carried the offense. They won because of great pitching, and that should be the focus of what the Reds need to focus on the most. You can stand some poor hitting if you pitch great.

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          • Yes, thanks, VAREDSFAN, that was my point. The Reds don’t do anything very well as a team, but their hitting is probably better than their defense or, certainly, their starting pitching. They will win a good share of games when they get good starts, but the focus here has been so weighted towards improving the hitting and ridding us of the anti-Christ in center, that a Martian (or a Vermonter) could be forgiven for believing that a major league team doesn’t need pitching or fielding. The game is still not slow-pitch softball or home-run derby.

  13. So what happens if a team does not sign one of their draft picks? They just lose out? And the idea of losing next year’s 1st round pick is scary. Hopefully that’s enough incentive for the Reds to clear their budget for signing their draft choices.

    Reply
  14. It’d certainly a game of chicken on extending Disco. I think I fall onto the side of don’t extend him. The injury risk is always a factor with any player, but with Disco it is a huge reality. If he still has two more arbitration years, at least wait until this time 1 year from now, and let him prove he is over his current ailments.

    2 starts back and people want to throw him a 4 year contract? No thanks.

    Reply
    • Yes, that is a little nuts. If I were a betting man, I would bet that Disco ends up on the DL again sometime before October. And it may just be something minor.
      I would like to get Stevenson up here, and get Keury Mella promoted to AAA.

      And that’s my story.

      Reply
    • Agree 100% on Disco. I want to see him finish this year strongly AND then be able to come into spring and successfully recycle, something he hasn’t been able to do since 2015, before they consider sinking multi year bucks into him.

      Recall that he looked like a world beater after missing the first 2 months of 2016 with his oblique issue only to break down again in the spring of 2017 with an elbow issue and miss the entire year then again this year the oblique cost him 2+ months of of the chute. That’s a history to heed no matter what he does between now and October..

      Reply
  15. Doug Gray’s article is very informative.
    I’m wondering why the 8th,9th, and 10th picks signed for 10K, 10K, and 5k, when their slot said they could get 177K 152K, and 142K ???
    How did that happen?

    Reply
    • I had the same question last night. The guys with low bonuses are college seniors who have no leverage. Larger bonuses go to the HS kids to stop them from playing in college. I imagine clubs draft a mix of players in the top ten to help out with meeting the $$$ limit. Not just about taking the best prospects, but also making the money work.

      Reply
      • Doug believes it is quite possible that the unofficial “agreement” with high schooler Mike Siani (#4 pick) at $1.4M over slot to buy him out of going to college is partially contingent on the Reds being able to get #1 Jonathan India signed low enough under his slot to make the budget work. That answer won’t be known for sure until India’s team, Florida, is finished playing in the college world series.

        However it would seem likely that the Reds have had contact with India’s “representatives” and feel confident he will sign low enough to keep them from losing Siani. If not, I guess that frees up Siani’s slot, $500K, to go after some other high schooler drafted lower because he looked certain to go to college.

        Reply
    • They probably agreed before the draft to accept that small sum and didn’t have much leverage because they were college seniors. If they were high school guys they could go to school or return to school if they were college guys with time left.

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  16. College seniors have very little leverage being drafted in those rounds. I believe all 3 of those were college seniors. That money saved here is then given to the over slot drafted players. That 2nd round, 4th round and probably 14th round picks that signed or will sign above slot.
    In the case of the 2nd round player, the over slot bonus got that player to forego his college scholarship to Florida.
    The 4th round pick and his way over slot signing got him to forego his college scholarship to UVA. His bonus was equal to the slot value in the early 30’s, the compensation picks.
    India will probably sign a little below slot to help and they probably already have an agreement on the amount. He’ll sign once Florida is through with the College World Series.

    Reply
    • I am very excited by India. I don’t want to compare him to Kris Bryant or Alex Rodriguez (Seattle in the 1990’s) but I see him playing shortstop and being up in the Bigs pretty fast. Maybe 2019.

      Dilson and Senzel should be up pretty soon. I think the Reds have to roster up Billings, and then move bodies around to fill the gaps.
      They really do need to get Dilson up here this summer, because he is out of options.

      At this point, I wouldn’t care if Hamilton and Duvall were outrighted or just DFA’d. Poor offensive players playing for a pretty crummy team.

      I would also be willing to see Gabriel Guerrero at AAA come up to play some CF for the Reds. He seems to have some skills.

      Reply
  17. Interesting to read that Krall said Senzel’s vertigo is triggered by ‘jarring’ movements. Even more interesting to read that he won’t get called up until there is a position of need where he can play every day. WAIT, WHAT? Is he watching the same team???

    To me, that reads as though the outfield, with its dives and wall collisions, is not an option. Among the infield positions, second would have the highest chance of one of those plays and we have multiple options there already. Geno is our third baseman. Shortstop is seemingly the logical conclusion, but if Krall says there’s no need yet, one would have to infer that he’s satisfied with the construction of the team as is.

    *head explodes*

    Reply
    • I assume the Reds have decided Senzel is not a SS, which is why he has only played 2B and 3B this year in Louisville. So the position of need would have to be 2B or 3B and both of those positions happen to be filled by guys with over .900 OPS

      Reply
    • First base is probably the “safest” spot on the field to avoid those vertigo triggering events. Head explodes some more!

      Reply
    • If Senzel’s vertigo is triggered by “jarring movements,” think of what that means for an athlete who may have to dive to attempt to make a play on a ball, or to slide into a base. (And, think of what it means if a player knows if he dives or runs into a wall or is faced with a close play at the plate while trying to score, he risks a recurrence.)

      I think it was a diving attempt while playing second base that triggered this most recent vertigo incident. I hope that what Krall is saying without saying it is that Senzel is in Louisville until he proves he can play every day without a recurrence of vertigo. And, a middle infielder is not exactly the best baseball defensive position to avoid contact. Maybe eventually a move to the outfield?

      Reply
      • Wherever he is in field there are going to be those moments of truth where every honed instinct is going to propel him to dive after a ball or go up against a fence to pull one in. And the same will be true running the bases only perhaps less frequently since they’ve made the changes to limit contact in DP situations at 2B and tag plays at the plate. Let’s hope it is not a long term risk but rather fall out from an infection as originally stated last year and that over time his inner ear regains more stability.

        Reply
      • Not sure if there is any defensive position where this wouldn’t be an issue. Did he suffer from this in collage or is it a more recent development?

        I still think this is why he wasn’t called up when Suarez was hurt in April. The vertigo was already a concern then so he stayed down at AAA.

        Reply
        • There is no place on the field where it would’t be a possibility. He could trip and fall in the shower and set off his vertigo. From what I have read there is some new routine in place to help him deal with it, but it will always be a concern. Supposedly Lebron James suffers from this as well and he has been able to overcome it. There could be a collision with other defenders at any position, collisions with base runners in the infield, collisions with walls in most positions, diving plays at any position, collisions while running the bases, he could get hit by a pitch, There is no where that you can put him that would prevent it from happening. All the Reds can do is play him in Louisville and find out. There is no reason to rush him to the majors right now.

          Reply

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About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

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