My fajitas took a bit longer to prepare than expected. By the time I had finished my lunch and settled in for the Reds game exactly eight minutes after it had started, Tyler Mahle had thrown 15 pitches. One had left the yard. 1-0 Tigers. Welcome to Reds baseball, where it feels like the hope and promise of a fresh game can disappear in just eight minutes.

Luckily, Tyler Mahle settled in and the Reds sent souvenir after souvenir after souvenir into the stands, sweeping the Tigers in the process. And yes, my fajitas were delightful and worth missing those eight minutes, thanks for asking.

Cincinnati Reds 5  |  Detroit Tigers 3  

Box Score | Win % | Live World Cup Standings 😉

The Good

— Tucker Barnhart is some kind of hot. After reaching base in all five at-bats yesterday, Tucker began today’s game with a HBP and a single up the middle. In the seventh, Barnhart ripped another single, this time driving in Billy Hamilton to extend the Reds’ lead. I don’t know if the Reds expected Tucker to be such a boon in the lineup when they extended him, but the backstop has been a more than serviceable two-hole this year.

— Outside of two solo long balls, Tyler Mahle had another solid outing. As I said at the beginning of the season, this kid has the makings of an ace, but he needs some refining. Michael Fulmer seriously outedueled Mahle for five innings today, but Fulmer’s outing could be a lesson for Mahle. Work ahead and pump strikes. I was going to say avoid the long ball, but that proved Fulmer’s demise, so no lesson there. Still, 15 dingers across 80.0 innings pitched for Mahle is not a long-term recipe for success.

— Scooter scooter’d in the bottom of the sixth, saving the Reds from squandering a leadoff double by Scott Schebler and preventing Mahle from taking a loss. I still think the Reds should trade him, but boy is he making that position harder and harder to hold.

— BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE: Eugenio Suarez thwacked a homer right after Scooter’s, giving the Reds a lead and putting Mahle in line for a win. Vote Geno, Vote Scooter, Vote Votto. All these guys deserve to play in the nation’s capital come July.

— Amir Garrett, Michael Lorenzen, Jared Hughes, and Raisel Iglesias shut down the Tigers for the final three innings of this game, allowing one baserunner on a weird in-betweener to third who then scored on a Baltimore chop. Those two hits were baseball at its weirdest, but not really a reflection of Hughes effectiveness. Hey, maybe one or two of those guys might make for a good trade chip?

— After giving up a run in the top of the eighth, Adam Duvall took it right back in the bottom of the frame with an opposite field yam. Billy Hamilton added a groundrule double behind Duvall that didn’t amount to anything, but Billy did have a nice day at the plate (2-4, 2B, R).

The Bad

— With bases loaded, no outs in the seventh, Scooter hit a hard liner to right that couldn’t get a run home and Suarez hit a short pop-up to left with the same result. Alex Blandino struck out on a full count, stranding all three runners and preventing any more insurance runs from crossing the plate. Even though Scooter and Geno were the heroes today, you just have to score with bases loaded, no outs.

— Other than that, not much really. I guess two singles through 5.0 innings isn’t great, but it all worked out in the end?

Not So Random Thoughts

— Jesse Winker made a head’s up play on the bases in the second, seeing his liner to center booted by the centerfielder and hustling safely to second. We give Jesse a lot of grief for his lack of wheels, but at least for today, he made up for his lead feet with a decent bit of savvy.

— I like this kid, a lot:

— Sort of related to Senzel’s tweet, but The Atlantic ran a really cool feature on the value of team chemistry in baseball. It’s definitely worth the read.

— Other fun, encouraging and/or hilarious tweets:

53 Responses

  1. Den

    Just wondering, where might the Reds be if they had a top 5 starting rotation.

    • Jeff Reed

      I know nothing of the reasons why not, but Garrett and Lorenzen should each get a chance to start in this last year of the rebuild. Building a bullpen is fine but it should come last after the starting rotation.

      • David

        No, no, no. Please stop feeding this pipe dream. Lorenzen has had his chances at starting and gets hurt. He’s a stud, but does not have the make up for starting.
        Garrett might be a starter someday, but let’s get him through this season after his hip injury last year. The Reds are still iffy about that hip and pitching 6-7 innings every 5th day.

      • TomN

        I know it made sense for this game, to bring in Lorenzen for Garrett, but I would REALLY hate to see Garrett pegged as a LOOGY. It’s bad enough that he’s in the bullpen. Agree with the comment above. He and Lorenzen deserve a chance to show their stuff as starters. They’ve got arms and composure and the ability to get outs. Love to see how they’d do.

    • Jeff Gangloff

      Hopefully we get the chance to find out next year…

  2. Jeff Reed

    A well played ballgame and the Reds win a series.

  3. Shchi Cossack

    If the Reds could arrange the schedule so they only played bad AL teams, they could possibly avoid another 90 loss season.

    • TomN

      If they could also arrange it so all their games with the Indians were rained out.

  4. msanmoore

    I’m happy. My Detroit fan friends? No so much.

  5. Indy Red Man

    Craigslist? 3rd leg I’m thinking:)

  6. roger garrett

    This season is all about finding out about these young starters.Can’t be about anything else but them because this front office did nothing to improve our holes on offense.They made the call and well it is what it is,Always has and always will start with pitching and if we can improve to a middle of the pack rotation then we have something to build on.Long way to go but I am good with 5 or 6 innings from our starters and keeping us in the game.Get that and build from there.No doubt winning 5 out of the last 7 is because we got that from the starters.Yeah I know the Royals and Tigers and even the Bucs aren’t very good but neither are we but 5 out of 7 is 5 out of 7.Mahle at 23 years old continues to impress.

  7. Wayne nabors

    I’m still not sure reds shouldn’t sign gennett long term and move him to outfield and play senzel at 2nd,winker has promise but scooter has shown way more than promise in the last season and half,good teams just don’t trade players who are putting up his numbers

    • vegastypo

      That is exactly, exactly where I’m leaning anymore. Suarez at third, Senzel at second, Votto at first, Barnhart behind the plate, Gennett in left field and build from there. Whatever they do with the rest of the outfield, so be it. But this team simply has to put some guys in places and build around them, rather than leaving so many positions as a free-for-all.

      The sad truth is that the leftover guys don’t have enough trade value, so if Bob is serious about contending anytime soon, he’s gonna need to open his checkbook and get one more big bat either in an outfield spot or at shortstop.

      My thoughts on Mahle are that he is going to give up homers, especially in that ballpark, because he’s around the plate so much.

    • Dewey Roberts

      Or, they could try Senzel in the outfield. I have read that Scooter is not outfield material.
      A lineup of Schebler, Barnhart, Votto, Gennett, Suarez, Senzel, India, Winker would be pretty strong. Schebler would have to play center. But such a lineup would get rid of Peraza and Hamilton on a daily basis. Hamilton would be ok as a defensive replacement and pinch runner but that is all. Of course, India would have to be the short stop.
      If Winker is the weakest bat among starters, such a lineup would be dangerous.

  8. Klugo

    All that OBP doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t win.

  9. Indy Red Man

    Sounded like a great game? Why is it that the Reds seem to play so well in the weekday day games?

    Jim Day on WLW reported Fulmer was hitting 99 in the 3rd inning. I was afraid they were in for a long day, but he does seem to fade a little bit. Mahle doesn’t have ace stuff imo, but he has good stuff with a chance to get better! He’s doing well now and off-speed is definitely a work in progress. He also seems to have that bulldog mentality like Disco and I don’t think that’s teachable.

    • liptonian

      Mahle is 23 and was pretty much on nobody’s radar to make the team out of spring training this year. It might be a little early to say he doesn’t have “ace stuff.”

      • David

        Mahle threw @ 97 mph when he pitched a no-hitter in AA ball. He has pretty good control. I would compare him to Greg Maddux. When he has a good fast ball (velocity) and can control it, he is tough to hit. He hits the corners and up and down in the zone. Nothing is ever in the same location twice in a row. He throws strikes, and people swing. Sometimes they connect. One or two solo homers in a game and no walks and nobody on base is better than nibbling constantly with your control.

      • greenmtred

        It’s becoming clear to me that “ace stuff” is another way of saying command, not velocity. Command was Maddox’s calling card, along with a supernatural understanding of hitters’ proclivities. 99 down the middle gets hit a long way, though there’s no arguing that 99 with great command would be powerful. You don’t often see that, though.

      • Wesley Jenkins

        yup this is what I meant! It’s so unbelievably hard to control where a baseball is going and if you can do that with even slightly above average stuff, you can be an ace

  10. Mutaman

    With all due respect to Dusty, the high five was invented by Dick Shawn in the Movie: It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

  11. Steve Mancuso

    Third time through the lineup for Fulmer. That’s a real thing. Then a terrible bullpen. Good pitching from the Reds and the power showed up.

    • WVRedlegs

      Yes exactly. Brantley said that Fulmer had an ERA of 8-something for the 7th and 8th innings. That is a killer. Fulmer is pretty awesome though.

    • David

      Brain freeze. It happens to pros. That’s why they have drills, so you habitually go where you are supposed to go on certain plays. He probably just froze up.

    • Shchi Cossack

      Hughes and Barnhart were both guilty of becoming spectators after Barnhart threw to 1B.

  12. citizen54

    Kind of ironic for Red Reporter to be tweeting about OBP when a couple of writers there last year were defending Price for having Hamilton leading off instead of a high obp guy.

    • Bill

      No one ever accused Red Reporter of having good writers.

      • Joe McManus

        I will. They’re hilarious and generally knowledgable. My 2nd favorite Reds blog. Also find Wesley’s writing quite entertaining.

      • Bill

        There are a couple of people who are knowledgeable, but overall they are horrible. The writers here are far better and don’t attack the commenters on the site

  13. Shchi Cossack

    Today’s game was a perfect example of how import avoiding holes in a lineup can be. When those holes contribute to the offense rather than providing much needed outs for the defense, especially in a tight game, losses become wins. An offense simply can’t function when the same 3-4 hitters are the only production in a lineup.

    The 7th inning was a classic example. After Votto walked to load the bases with no outs and a run scored, both Scooter (hard, sinking line drive to RF) and Suarez (bloop fly to medium LF) barely missed base hits that went as outs without scoring a run. Even the best hitters will make outs 60% of the time, so automatic outs cripple the offense.

    • roger garrett

      Holes on offense kill you but when those guys come through as they did on Tuesday well you score a bunch.Well said Cossack and it is so obvious where the holes are at on this team.We are two guys away from an awesome offense which we will need to out score teams at home.

  14. bouwills

    Today was a good example of why as a starter you want to keep your team close. With Votto, Suarez, Gennett, Duvall, & Schebler, the Reds are in the game if they’re within 3 runs- especially at GABP.

    • Indy Red Man

      CF- Schebler
      1B- Votto
      3B- Suarez
      LF- Gennett
      2B- Senzel
      SS- India
      RF- Winker/Duvall
      C- Barnhart
      SP- Lorenzen

      Roll that lineup out there and see what happens?

      • Bill

        It’s a little early to plug India into the lineup before he has even signed. The outfield defense would be horrible, but probably be above average on offense. I don’t think Lorenzen would be any better than anyone currently in the rotation.

        I would much rather fix the pitching via free agency. Trade everyone not signed beyond 2019, hopefully for a SS or CF

      • Indy Red Man

        I was really just pointing towards mid-summer next year….what if’s? Also Lorenzen more for his hitting then pitching. Just putting together an imposing lineup.

        Have to say though….Harvey’s era is 5.09 with the Reds. Sal is at 5.18 and Castillo at 5.77. You don’t think Lorenzen could beat that? Also the Reds don’t do real free agency. They do Bronson Arroyo’s and Matt Harvey’s. Basically dumpster diving….too cheap for real pitchers! They’re still paying Homer Dimwit Bailey $20 mil next year too!

      • Bill

        His ERA as a starter is over 5 and last year as a reliver was 4.45, so I don’t think he is going to do much better after not starting for three years.

  15. Walt S.

    I do not understand the love for Lorenzen and Stephenson. Both had multiple chances and failed. They cannot start.

    • Indy Red Man

      Thats not true with Lorenzen. He got rushed up in 2015 with less then 200 ip in the minors….not to mention he only closed in college and didn’t pitch that much. Its a different story now and there isn’t 3 guys with better staff in the organization….let alone 5.

    • Bill

      I think Stephenson has the talent, just not sure he will figure it out. Lorenzen’s problem is that he was never really a starter and wasn’t even a good reliever last year. He needs to prove he can pitch more than a month or two out of the bullpen successfully before he deserves a shot at the rotation

      • Indy Red Man

        “Deserves” is a strange word with the Reds. They pick-n-choose and its not based on results. For instance Romano had a 4.45 era in 16 starts last year. BobSteve had a 3.30 era in 11 starts. Bob Steve was better in the minors as well. Bob Steve is in AAA and Cody Reed gets 1 start per year vs the Cubs but Romano can get crushed for 5 starts in a row and no problem. Lets work on some things. Now maybe they’re right? Romano is definitely better then Reed but I see no consistency there?

        Bottom line….Harvey is a gimmick. Castillo has been terrible and deserves to be sent down to work on some things. Lorenzen is as deserving as anyone else? Garrett too? Just watch them….they have better stuff then the rest. Lorenzen’s ball drops like a rock when he’s on. Stats can lie, but anyone will tell you that they rushed Lorenzen up too fast in 2015. Since then he’s allowed 14 HRs in 150 innings. Castillo has given up 28 in 167 innings. They need to give Lorenzen and Garrett a shot at some point. They don’t have better guys to fall back on.

      • roger garrett

        Amen Indy.The Reds anoint or throw guys under the bus at the drop of a hat.Young pitching takes time to develop but nobody should be excluded from being given a chance such as Bob,Amir and Lorenzen.Bob nor Reed has anything to prove in the minors unless it is to throw more strikes which is what every pitcher trys to do.How many did Mahle and Romano walk these last two games?

      • Nick Carrington

        Lorenzen was a fantastic reliever in 2016 and for 2/3rds of 2017. If Lorenzen isn’t a starter, it’s because of health or concerns about a swing and miss pitch. But we won’t know unless we see it.

        He hasn’t started a regular season game since 2015 before he had two of his better pitches. He’s completely changed the pitches he throws.

        And Indy is right about him being rushed. Go look at how many starts and innings he had in the minors. He was a full-time starter for one year (2014) and in the Majors in April of 2015.

      • Indy Red Man

        Exactly. He might get bombed, but then they could put him back in the pen. The Cubs and Brewers are both top 5 in era. The Reds can’t slug there way into contention with a bunch of guys with 4.50+ era’s. I could see Disco and Mahle getting to 3.40 or something, but everyone else is struggling? Not to mention…is anyone penciling Disco in for 2019? You can’t at this point? He might be another Garrett Richards….nice pitcher w/good stuff but can’t stay on the field.

      • Bill

        He may have been rushed, but so was Castillo, Mahle, Romano, and others. His 2015 numbers were no better than any of those guys first year. He had a good 2016, a good April and May in 2017, June 2017 was mediocy, and after that horrible. He also had an ERA over 9 this year in spring training. I understand he has little starting experience, and there is a reason for that. He was part of the Reds failed plan to convert college relievers into MLB starters.

        Lorenzen’s might succeed if given the chance, but he has not done anything to proihe should start. I could point to Hughes and Iglesias’s numbers and say they should be starters if we are going to base the ability to start on relief appearances

      • Nick Carrington

        Mahle and Romano each pitched 4 full seasons as starters in the minors. They were younger when drafted than Lorenzen, but they had a lot more development time as pitchers.

        And Lorenzen had a 2.93 ERA and 3.90 FIP at the All Star Break in mid July last season.

        Spring Training stats?

        Again, I think there’s a good argument for him not starting, but they are more health and secondary stuff related than him struggling for 2.5 months as a 25 year old when he’s only been a pitcher for 4 years.

  16. Old-school

    Fortunate to watch a Rockies game in Coors field against the Mets.
    Todd Frazier at 32 is done as an elite player. Loved the guy in 2015- but I’d rather have a young Eugenio Suarez. Nolen Arrenado may be the MVP….but at 18 million with FA imminent I’ll take Suarez.

    For those who want to sign Scooter for 4 more years…..look at 32 yo Frazier. He was a supreme defender at 28 as well. Hes fading fast.The Reds must get younger and focus on Senzel and Trammell and India as the next core. That said, Mesoraco is a nice back up catcher and RH bench bat. He had 2 hits and a walk and 2 rbi. I don’t see him as a primary catcher in FA, if he’s a back up????

    Phil Castellini….take a flight to Denver and stand in the RF upper deck at Coors field. Amazing place, dynamic city, and packed on a Wednesday night. It’s time to reconfigure RF at gabp. It’s a great place, but so much more could be done in RF to attract a younger group of fans.

    • VottoMatic125

      Phil is working hard to make GABP attractive to the younger fans. He’s added numerous bars and restaurants in the last few years. Your criticism should be directed at BOB, Cincy is a baseball city that only shows out for a good team. Build a good product (on the field) and they will come. If an reconfiguration needs to take place, its raising the OF walls to help with HRs. Clearly the Reds pitching staff would benefit.

      • Old-school

        The experience at GABP is good and winning indeed matters. The Rockies are under .500 though and usually finish below the Dodgers and Giants and Dbacks and they still pack them in.

        I’ve never been to a sporting event where thousands of young people were the farthest away from the action…yet that was the place to be.
        Not a criticism but a suggestion, especially with FC Cincinnati. Transform RF to be more pitcher friendly and also a destination spot at the upper levels for the outdoor casual younger fan. Rockies also had $1 hot dog night.

    • Jeff Reed

      I agree that right field at GABP should be extended to make the ballpark more pitcher friendly. It would take away a couple thousand seats, but so what since an attendance of 30,000 + fans is not very frequent. It’s been talked about before and I think the organization is hesitant to lessen the capacity to 40,000+ from 42,000+. But the benefit to the pitchers should be front and center.

  17. Rich H

    Anybody else catch that sigh (or huff) and thigh slap in the TV booth when they realized Garrett was being pulled for Lorenzen? Had me dyin’ laughing.