The date was April 21, 2017.

The Reds had gotten off to a surprisingly good start, entering play that day with a 9-7 record and a one-half game lead over the Cubs in the National League Central Division.

The Cubs were the opponent that evening at Great American Ball Park. Behind the pitching and hitting of Tim Adleman, the home team held a 5-2 lead going to the ninth. Adleman pitched six innings, allowing two runs, and his two-run double off Jon Lester gave the Reds a lead which had held up until that point.

Cincinnati had not yet played any teams considered contenders. With a three-run lead over the defending world champions with one inning to go, Reds fans could taste not only victory, but some degree of validation that perhaps there was something legitimate in this unexpectedly good start.

The Cubs had two men on base when Anthony Rizzo stepped to the plate with two outs. Michael Lorenzen was throwing heat and looking like a closer.

Then it happened.

Rizzo cranked a Lorenzen pitch out of GABP, tying the game. That palpable taste of victory in a meaningful game was ripped away, replaced with the sudden doubt that perhaps things were NOT different for this Reds team, and that losing would indeed continue to be a way of life. The Reds went on to lose that game in 11 innings, 6-5. It was the first of five losses in six games, and the season slowly unraveled thereafter.

So there was a certain sense of déjà vu when Anthony Rizzo stepped to the plate last night in the top of the seventh. The Reds had just electrified Redleg Nation with a six-run outburst, highlighted by this:

Jesse Winker’s grand slam helped the Reds take a 6-2 lead. In the seventh, Rizzo stepped to the plate with the bases loaded against … Michael Lorenzen.

But wait. Manager Jim Riggleman made a change, perhaps with last year in mind, and brought lefthander Amir Garrett on to face the lefthanded-batting Rizzo. After swings and misses at a slider and a fastball:

Rizzo watched a 97-mile-per-hour fastball sizzle past him for strike three.

A Reds pitcher took care of one of the Cubs’ best clutch hitters with the game in the balance. As deflating as the April 21, 2017 events were, that moment Thursday was one of several which inflated the spirits of Reds fans in a way rarely seen in recent years.

With seven wins in their last nine games, and a 22-21 record over the past 43 games, the Reds have some positive momentum, for sure. Significantly, Reds players got the best of the Cubs at key moments Thursday with clutch performances in big moments.

Steve Mancuso captured the feeling perfectly in his wrapup story following Thursday’s win: “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we looked back five years from now and were able to pinpoint Jesse Winker’s dramatic home run as the moment that turned around the Reds fortunes?”

Amir Garrett’s strikeout of Anthony Rizzo was also big. Garrett celebrated visibly, as did Reds fans everywhere. That too was interesting because earlier this year, a Garrett celebration after a strikeout of Javier Baez prompted the Reds and Cubs benches to empty:

Last night’s similar celebration by Garrett did not spark another incident.

Did you have the same type of feelings of optimism and redemption? Let us know in the comments below.

We’ll see if there is any perceptible carryover tonight in the second of the four-game series against the Cubs at GABP. Game time is 7:10 p.m. Eastern time.

Starting Pitchers

Jose Quintana 75.1 4.06 4.04 22.8% 10.9%
Luis Castillo 78 5.77 4.01 22.4% 9.1%

Castillo has been in a slump for about a month, with a 0-4 record and 6.97 ERA to show for his last four starts. We’ve seen a dramatic reversal of fortunes for Sal Romano in his last two starts, Matt Harvey looked very good last night …

…and Anthony DeSclafani has pitched well in two of his three post-DL starts. Castillo needs to right the ship and join his rotation mates on the Good Ship Good-Starting-Pitching.

Reds starting pitchers have given up 16 runs in the last nine games. There have been several stretches over recent years when the starting pitchers might give up 16 runs over a two- or three-game span. Many aspects of the team are looking up, but make no mistake, it’s the starting pitching which has allowed the Reds to win seven of nine.


Amir Garrett, Michael Lorenzen and Jared Hughes all combined to put the fire out last night. Jim Riggleman may opt to give some or all of them the night off since they each have pitched three consecutive days. Look for David Hernandez and Dylan Floro in setup roles, and with Garrett, Lorenzen and Hughes all available perhaps for one or two key outs.

Starting Lineups

Cubs Reds
3B Kris Bryant SS Jose Peraza
RF Jason Heyward 2B Alex Blandino
2B Ben Zobrist 1B Joey Votto
1B Anthony Rizzo 3B Eugenio Suarez
SS Javier Baez LF Adam Duvall
LF Kyle Schwarber RF Jesse Winker
CF Albert Almora, Jr. C Curt Casali
C Chris Gimenez P Luis Castillo
P Jose Quintana CF Billy Hamilton

Scooter Gennett gets a rare night off with the Reds facing a lefty.

News and Notes

Good news from Greeneville …

Two of a kind …

Nick Senzel continues as the Bats’ top bat …

64 Responses

  1. Shchi Cossack

    Wow, Riggleman is throwing down the challenge to Castillo tonight…

    1. Jose Peraza (R) SS
    2. Alex Blandino (R) 2B
    3. Joey Votto (L) 1B
    4. Eugenio Suarez (R) 3B
    5. Adam Duvall (R) LF
    6. Jesse Winker (L) RF
    7. Curt Casali (R) C
    8. Luis Castillo (R) P
    9. Billy Hamilton (S) CF

    How cool would it be for the young man to step up to the challenge and keep this train rolling along!?

    Go Reds…beat the stupid Cubs…humiliate the stupid Cubs! I’m going to place a special request with Mrs. Cossack tonight for a exception for good behavior and allow the Old Cossack to watch the game. The Old Cossack is stoked for this series.

    • Old-school

      If you need any references or help with Mrs Cossack…let RLN know.
      Go Reds. Go Castillo. Go Senzel….yeah.

  2. bouwills

    Actually, Luis has fared well vs the cubs. Keep it close & let our offense, shred that weak Chicago bullpen to shreds.

  3. docproctor

    Looks like rain is about to rumble through the area, but radar shows it ending about game time. Might be a delay in the first pitch, but good to go for the rest of the evening.

  4. citizen54

    I didn’t like Garrett as a starter but I love him as a reliever.

  5. Shchi Cossack

    The youngest Cossack is competing in the state meet at the OSU Jesse Owens Stadium this weekend. A big victory by the Reds would make a nice lead in for the track meet! If anyone is in the vicinity and wants to see an absolutely fabulous competition, you might want to consider spending some time at OSU this weekend. Opening ceremonies are tonight with events scheduled all day Saturday and Sunday. We were told that all surface parking at OSU was free this weekend.

  6. docproctor

    Scooter is hitting .360 against lefties, with a .964 OPS (both higher than against righties). I don’t like giving him a day off against our divisional rivals, in front of the home crowd.

    • Shchi Cossack

      Especially with Schebler, slashing .351/.393/.491 against lefties, on leave and out of the lineup tonight. That’s 2 huge weapons scuttled against Quintana.

      • docproctor

        Seriously, you rest star players (and fan favorites) when you’re on the road against non-divisional teams.

  7. Shchi Cossack

    Uh Oh! The warnings have begun from RLN. Apparently Vista is no longer being supported and some content is blocked. It had to happen at some point. The Old PC may finally have reached retirement.

  8. Seat101

    Didn’t Vista come free with your Commodore 64?

  9. Wayne nabors

    Both managers did that this year,price sit votto against cards and now scooter against cubs,these are teams you have to beat,have to play ur starting 8

  10. Indy Red Man

    I don’t want to trade Billy anymore:)

  11. Indy Red Man

    How do the Cubs do it? Top 5 in team era with Hendricks throwing 87. Lester and Quintana at 92. Chatwood walks 8 guys per 9. Crazy?

    • Jack

      They are 25 -14 against .500 and less teams . They beat the teams they are suppose too. 17-16 against the rest.

  12. VaRedsFan

    Nice AB by Blandino….down 0-2 draws the walk to load them for Votto

  13. Broseph

    Votto is still my favorite, but good grief man, get the bat off your shoulder.

    • Jack

      Blaargh. Sometimes he seems to be totally clueless.

    • Indy Red Man

      Yeah….don’t want to draw the wrath of RLN but a bunch of walks are diluted when you can’t score from 2nd on a 2-out hit to the outfield. Love the guy…great personality and hitter but I want to be realistic. I was shocked that was only his 3rd career granny the other night.

      • BigRedMike

        Getting on base 3 out of 4 times is a bad thing

  14. VaRedsFan

    Castillo was cruising , until a little bit of adversity emerged.

  15. Indy Red Man

    Senzel in the lineup then pulled before his first atbat? More vertigo or coming to Cincy? Scary?

    Castillo? Rolling along then gives up another meatball? He has to limit damage….way too many bombs and crooked numbers off him. Also 95 mph? I believe he averaged 97.8 last year. That 3 mph makes a huuugge difference.

    • musicclown

      Senzel did get pulled while The Bats are losing 10-0 after 3 innings. Not a good night for Finnegan 10 earn runs given up.

      • Indy Red Man

        Why did they put Finnegan in the rotation to begin with? I saw his first fastball at 90 and I knew he was meat. He needs superior stuff because he’s always getting behind in the count and walking guys. He was throwing 95-96 in April 2017….depressing

      • Demontooth

        Finnegan sucked tonight 10 runs, 9 hits, 2 hit batters, a wild pitch, every ball they hit was a rocket .

    • Bill

      Injury to his index finger in top of the first

  16. VaRedsFan

    India due up in the bottom of 1st. on ESPN

  17. WVRedlegs

    It is amazing the regression being shown by Castillo this year. I was a little worried about a sophomore slump but this is ridiculous. 18 HR’s given up already, just over 80 IP’s. He no longer looks like a top of rotation starter. A #3 ceiling looks to be the case, if that. This is really disheartening.
    On Schwarber’s HR, I heard the crowd and thought a Reds player did something good. Two disheartening things already tonight. Ugh.
    At least Castillo had a good 1-2-3 rebound inning. That helps.

    • Indy Red Man

      I’d send him down. He might just throw 95-96 right past them and learn nothing, but he needs a 3rd pitch. He was giving up a .903 ops to lefties coming into tonite? Thats not good. If he never gets back 97.8 on the heater then you might be right about his ceiling? Everyone throws 95 now….hitting speed is prob 94. Homer dumped the curve for the split years ago and it helped him….maybe Castillo should dump the slider for a split?

  18. Jack

    I’m pretty sure if you don’t swing the bat , the odds are low that you will win.

  19. VaRedsFan

    Votto bounces back with a nice rbi single

  20. VaRedsFan

    Geno!!!! flips the script with a 2 run bomb

  21. Indy Red Man

    6/22/18 7:10pm MLB Baseball 956 Cincinnati Reds Over 3½ -125* vs Chicago Cubs (J Quintana – L must Start L Castillo – R must Start)

    My inner Pete Rose is happy:)

  22. VaRedsFan

    Nothing better than watching Rizzo bumble the rundown throw.

  23. Indy Red Man

    Its hard coming off the bench but Blandino now under .600 ops with only 3 doubles & 1 hr in 100+ atbats. I think I’d move Dixon ahead of him in the pecking order.

    Hernandez? Do we try to compete next year and keep Hernandez/Hughes or trade them now? Doovie with a nice catch as usual:)

  24. Shchi Cossack

    With Brice and Peralta shipped out to Louisvulle, the Reds bullpen just got even better. Crockett with a SO against Schwarber in his 1st appearance for the Reds followed by Hernandez drilling the zone with strikes, mowing down the Cubs in the 7th with 2 SO.

    The Reds are looking like a professional MLB baseball team. This is fun again.

    • Jack

      Yeah its weird how good things happen when you throw strikes.

  25. VaRedsFan

    Big insurance run delivered by Duvall

    • Shchi Cossack

      Then Riggleman orders up a sac bunt with runners on 1st & 2nd and no outs…inning over, no runs scored.

  26. Luckeydad

    Why would you have Winker bunt? SMH

  27. Indy Red Man

    It could easily be 7-1 or 8-1. The Reds really look dominant tonite! I was really wrong on Hernandez. I thought he was washed up, but he’s been outstanding. It doesn’t pitch that much so I don’t know how he stays so sharp? He throws some really slow stuff which makes the 93 mph heater look better then it is. Very crafty and confident out there!

  28. docproctor

    FO gets a lot of props for picking up Hernandez and Hughes, both on 2-year deals. Some good scouting right there.

    • Shchi Cossack

      The Old Cossack was excited by both signings, but not so much for 2 years each. Both have far exceeded any expectations I had and the 2 year contracts look brilliant right now.

  29. Jack

    I think Ervins days are numbered. With Cruz getting DFA’d that makes the next guy a hard choice. I would say Ervin or Stephens.

    • George

      Activate Homer then DFA him. The reds may have tp pay him but at least they won’t be paying for losses.

  30. Shchi Cossack

    Peraza walks and steals 2B. More please!

    • Shchi Cossack

      An error off Rizzo’s glove and another run. More please!

  31. VaRedsFan

    3 SB’s for Jose tonight. Could be big if Blandino could get a 2 out knock.

    AND HE DID!!!! Big hit

  32. Indy Red Man

    Peraza manufactures a run….he’s been impressive. I’ve been on him like the drill sergeant in Full Metal Jacket but he’s been mostly good lately!

  33. Luckeydad

    Another solid win by the Redlegs……..they actually look like a competitive team……love listening to our fans cheer, screw the Cubbies.

  34. msanmoore

    2 against the Stupid Cubs. I’ll take that.

  35. Shchi Cossack

    The Reds shutdown bullpen embarrasses the Stupid Cubbies!

    Warning to anyone who comes calling for bullpen options at the trade deadline…the price is going up!

  36. Indy Red Man

    Watching WGN and the discomfort in their voices leaves me feeling this:




    pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune.