The Short Version: The Reds jump out to an early lead, but the bullpen wastes an excellent start by Matt Harvey.

Final R H E
Cincinnati “Not the Big” Reds “Machine” (63-85) 2 9 1
Chicago Fuzzy Cubbies (86-61) 3 7 1
W: Maples (1-0) L: Hernandez (5-1) S: De La Rosa (1)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score

The Good
–Matt Harvey pitched six shutout innings, permitting only four hits and one walk, while striking out six. Exceptionally strong start for the Dark Knight.

–Jose Peraza and Joey Votto hit solo homers. That was the extent of the Reds offense.

–Votto was 2-4. Eugenio Suarez singled and walked. Billy Hamilton singled and walked twice. Those were the only players wearing Cincinnati uniforms who reached base more than once.

The Bad
–David Hernandez came to the mound to begin the seventh inning, after Harvey pitched six shutout frames. Hernandez proceeded to vomit all over the field.

Hernandez did record one out. But, with a 2-0 lead, he also gave up three runs. That’s not ideal.

–Michael Lorenzen was, ummmm, not sharp in his first inning. But then he came back and pitched fairly well in his second frame. Either way, Lorenzen has really big muscles. So he has that going for him, which is nice.

Not-So-Random Thoughts
–I am writing yet another game recap in yet another September of yet another miserable Cincinnati Reds season. If anyone ever questions our love of the ol’ Redlegs, just point them to this thread. Everyone who comments here gets a free pass. I love all of you.

–Only 14 games remaining in this exceptionally fun Cincinnati Reds season.

Redleg Nation launched in 2005. Since we started talking about the Reds on a daily basis, the franchise has compiled a record of 1073-1181. That’s a sterling .476 winning percentage. Honestly, after doing the math, I’m surprised that it isn’t worse. Go Reds!

–If the Cincinnati Reds go 5-9 the rest of the way, it will be the third consecutive season in which they finish with a 68-94 record. #PositiveMomentum

–Joey Votto has the fourth-most opposite field hits in the National League this season. This has been another edition of “Obscure Stats From The Fox Sports Ohio Broadcast.”

–I dunno, Harvey was cruising and he had thrown 96 pitches. Easy to second-guess, but you gotta wonder if Interim Reds Manager Jim Riggleman (TM) should’ve left him in for one more inning. Because the game went completely off the cliff after Harvey went to the showers. But it wasn’t an obviously bad decision, I must concede.

–Only two Harvey starts remaining in 2018. But never fear: you’ll get to see him at least 25 times next season.

–I prefer it when the Cincinnati Reds win their scheduled baseball game. Perhaps tomorrow? The Reds can count on Cody Reed to beat Jon Lester, right?

Today’s Tweets

Blame Chad for creating this mess.

Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

Join the conversation! 66 Comments

  1. Frustrating game. Not the first time I’ve typed that this season. Can we please not have any more Jim Riggleman? He didn’t do anything obviously stupid tonight, but at the same time the Reds are not playing well for him, and they are not doing the little things consistently well. Hate to see the Cubs beat the Reds in September, in a game the Reds could just as easily have won as not. Sigh. Rooting hard for Cody Reed tomorrow.

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  2. Its orginizational tapout. They just want the season over too. I wouldnt mind having harvey back for a few more seasons. Would fill a hole. Votto has recovered enough that i say woth confidence that he will be mvp next year

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  3. I feel a little for Suarez on the error tonight…it looked like it came up higher than expected after the final bounce. He seemed to indicate that on the broadcast after the play.

    However…this is an aging infield that isn’t stellar defensively now. Assuming Gennett gets extended, we should just expect this going forward and hope the offense overcomes it.

    Tonight’s infields in 2020…

    Reds

    3B- age 29
    SS- age 26
    2B- age 30
    1B- age 37

    Cubs (rental Murphy not re-signed, Russell at SS, Baez at 2B)

    3B- age 27
    SS- age 26
    2B- age 27
    1B- age 31

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  4. It’s been a long year, Chad. Thanks for sticking it out. There will be a Next Good/Great Reds Team™ someday, right? Right?

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  5. If the Rangers hang on to beat the mighty Padres, the Reds move up to the 7th draft slot for the moment (#positive momentum).

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  6. Hamilton with a caught stealing and a pick off at 1B sure didn’t help matters tonight. Just another game where the Reds score a couple of runs early and then go scoreless for 7 or 8 innings.

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    • Nobody steps up to make a game changing play on either side of the ball for the Reds. That’s why they are where they are.

      My guy Ervin had 2 big chances and put up, decent ABs in both but in the end K’ed when a ball in play other than a line drive right somebody or a pop up would have probably plated a run. He did get jobbed out of a BB the one time though on a terrible full count strike call.

      Scheb also missed some chances and despite going 2/4, so did Casali.

      Then there was BHam with the pick off/CS and getting doubled off on the liner to the 1B. maybe he was running on that one, I couldn’t tell for sure. If so, not his fault.

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  7. It’s good to see Votto getting some power back after time off. I wonder if his back has been more of an issue this year than has been let on.

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    • Votto said that he has changed his approach, that he had adjusted more than he needed to for aging, so he was going to hit for more power again. And he is!

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  8. I’m only here for the free pass.😜

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  9. I got to thinking how well Curt Casali has worked out for the Reds; and, for some reason that drove me to check in on Devin Mesoraco.

    He hasn’t played for going on 2 weeks due to a bulging disc in his back. He received an epidural but apparently that hasn’t helped much despite the lead title in the link about it…..

    https://www.northjersey.com/story/sports/mlb/mets/2018/09/07/ny-mets-get-positive-news-devin-mesoraco-has-bulging-disc-inback/1227319002/

    Seems like his body went from 26 to 40 (or older) almost literally overnight.

    I’ve never read and will always wonder whether Reds led with Yasmani Grandal in the package for Mat Latos or whether the Padres specifically asked for Grandal versus Mesoraco in that deal.

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  10. It’s a good thing that sabermetrics enthusiasts have concluded there is no such thing as clutch hitting. Therefore the fact that Ervin can’t is immaterial.

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    • I’d love to begin a philosophical debate on this at some point.

      I posit that clutch hitting does exist, but that it is offset by clutch pitching. If we replaced pitchers with a machine, or hitters with a machine, then the remaining human element would then produce statistically significant clutch data.

      The human human matchup is simply too “dirty” and intertwined to tease them apart.

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      • Ervin sure went down on 2 nearly perfect “pitcher’s pitches”.

        I think it would be a very short list of guys (RH Votto types) who could get their bat to that high inside pitch he was called out on to spoil it. Did it move inside after nicking the front corner? Was it ever low enough to be in the strike zone? The ump apparently thought it was both simultaneously. I suspect Hamels was looking for a swinging strike with it; and, as Welch always says was making sure if he missed, he missed inside and not toward the plate side.

        The change up by Hamels on the other AB was simply a filthy pitch PE couldn’t get his bat on even though he didn’t appear to be particularly fooled by it. Leading off the 9th, he made pretty good contact off a similar pitch from De la Rosa but the Cubs had the 3B playing right on the line and deep to play it. If he hits the similar Hamels pitch in the same location there’s a very good chance it is an RBI hit.

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      • Whenever I hear someone say there is no such thing as a clutch performance, I suspect that person has never played a competitive sport. Clutch performance is very real, but as you well said, is difficult to measure in baseball because it is clutch for both hitter and pitcher. Fickleness of umpiring can come into play as well.

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        • Clutch hitting in MLB is very, very rare and that a case could be made that it doesn’t exist at all. To say I’ve never played would be fallacy as not only did I play but played at a fairly high level. That said, at all the competitive levels I played there was indeed clutch hitting. I posit that MLB players are all pretty clutch. They don’t get particularly rattled in any situation. It’s why no studies have been able to prove that clutch hitters exist over a large enough sample.

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    • This conveniently cherry picks one game, and one player when many others came up in the game with runners on and everyone else failed to knock anyone in as well. It also ignores the fact that Ervin was called out on ball 4 in one of those ABs. If he walks, as he should have, in that situation his OBP is .500 in those two situations. Pretty clutch huh?

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      • The idea of clutch hitting is based on selective memory. That one time Votto didn’t get a hit in the 9th inning means he is not clutch, but childhood memories of Tony Perez mean he is clutch; despite every statistic showing Votto is better with RISP. Which doesn’t make Votto a more clutch hitter, he is just a better hitter.

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        • Truth.

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        • There is certainly truth in that as well as in SSS observations, but there are hitters who perform significantly better with RISP than their baselines. I don’t know that there’s any useful way to evaluate “clutch” and don’t really care, because it’s a fun concept. The thing is, there are people–known to many of us–who are not ballplayers, who don’t panic, stay calm and concentrate in difficult situations. That’s clutch, so why should it be absent in baseball?

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          • It’s not absent in baseball but it is nearly absent, or perhaps entirely absent in MLB. Why? These players have all performed under a lot of pressure. If they hadn’t, they wouldn’t be in MLB. I propose all MLB players are “clutch” players and that’s why there have been no studies showing proof of clutch hitting in MLB.

  11. This anti Riggleman view is laughable. Put any manager in that position and the Refs still have limited winning chances without quality SP. Until ownership and magt address that problem there is no one that can manage this team to a division title.

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    • Riggleman is an analog manager in a digital world. Hooking Harvey was silly. At least give him a chance to get thru 7.

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  12. I have no problem with Harvey pitching 25 more times for the Reds next season. Who on this team is better than him? Maybe Castillo? Do you feel confident enough with Stephenson,Reed,Sims,Bailey,Mahle or Romano? I dont. Disco cant stay healthy . Are you confident that this Front office will spend the money on a number 1 starter when basically 25 other teams are looking for one and they will out spend this organization? Whoever they sign will not be better than Harvey. As for trading I dont see this front office trading anybody worth a beans to get a number 2 or a 1. You have to trade some top prospects or major leaguers for that.

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    • I agree. Not that it matters but Harvey was cruising. If he gets into trouble in the 7th, then take him out but I would of left him in. I’m in the camp the Reds should offer Harvey a FA contract. We must address the SP! Harvey throws strikes. Make a trade, sign another FA pticher. Patrick Corbin would be nice. Something. No faith in other pitchers except Castillo. Good post Jack.

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    • I have a problem with the Reds overpaying for Harvey, which it seems like they might do. He’s serviceable but not a #2 or #3 starter.If you need good pitching, then go get good pitching. Don’t get so-so pitching.

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  13. Fundamental breakdowns (TOOTBLAN’S, unfocused baserunning, failure to hit cutoff men or cover bases, lazy fielding) are, to me, on the manager when one considers that EVERY Major League team has players of presumed elite capabilities. FAR too much of that all season long, particularly since the All-Star break, when this team has looked almost entirely unfocused for the most part. All signs that a fresh start is needed as soon as this season’s 93-95 losses are in the books. “NO” to Riggleman…all one can say about him is that he’s been better than Price. But there will not be a rebuild of any importance if his watch is continued. I see Reds’ ownership at a crossroads starting in 2 weeks if this franchise’s fan base is to be rescued and rejuvenated. There isn’t tolerance out there (out here) for another screw-up or misuse of resources. A small market team CAN compete…just not via the current model.

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  14. I am reluctant to say this because it would hurt, but if the Reds want to trade for a 1 or a 2, the deal could be a 1 or 2 SP for Sauez. Then Senzel would have his spot. I think ES’s contract and his play make that kind of deal possibly.

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    • True but the front office isn’t trading him and do you feel confident enough in Senzel to put up the numbers Suarez has? So far he has shown nothing in the Majors to answer that question with a yes.

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    • Rebuilding team want prospects. Trade Senzel for your top flight pitcher. (Snell?)

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    • I don’t see that happening. Suarez is a 5 WAR player controlled long term for about $11 million a year. It should be a consideration, but I think a FA SP is probably the route they go . Senzel is learning the OF, hopefully that means Hamilton is no longer the starting CF and Winker, Schebler, and Senzel man the OF.

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  15. Dick Williams has said the Reds are adding players, not trading away major league talent.
    Add Senzel in May.Gennett and Hamilton stay. Winker gets healthy. The hitting will be ok.

    The bullpen is light years better than 2 years ago but there are still question marks. Garrett hasn’t been good since Atlanta. He was lights out the first half. They need a solid lefty FA.

    Castillo and Disco will be in the rotation.
    The issue with Harvey is how much and how long. 2 years and 18 million seems abiut right. He and Castillo lead the rotation in WAR at 1.5 and then lots of replacement level and below replacement pitchers. Harvey is clearly above replacement level. He throws strikes. His BB/9 ratio is 1.99. that’s upper echelon of NL starters. He also isn’t home run prone like some other reds SP.

    Hard to imagine Mahle and Reed become good enough such that the Reds can overtake the Brewers/ Cards/ and Cubs.i will be rooting for them though.

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  16. Harvey gave the Reds six scoreless innings. No problem there. He must be on a regimen to get him back to full strength and the pitching coach, Danny Darwin, seems to be a key. Other teams have had a couple chances to get Harvey and nothing’s happened so I’m sure he’ll be a Red next season. it seems to me this season the offense has missed many chances to score with a runner on third with less than two outs and a flyball needed. Ervin didn’t come through on a couple occasions last night.

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  17. Bobby Nightingale with a long article on Senzel in the Enquirer.
    DW says they view him as elite infielder long term, but cite Kris Bryant and Cody Bellinger as examples of players giving teams flexibility.
    He’s starting off learning LF? But, the Reds think he is athletic enough for CF. No mention of RF.

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    • There were several curious DW statements in that article. Do you really think LF is more difficult to play than CF? That’s one thing DW suggested. And if a guy is good enough to play CF why start him teaching him LF? Most often it works the other way. Teach a guy with CF skills CF and slide him to a corner if a need arises. And the Reds are deep, deep, deep in corner options and not so much so at CF. He also called Senzel an “elite” infielder and says he sees that as Senzel’s long term future. Is “elite” a code word for middle IF?

      https://www.cincinnati.com/story/sports/mlb/reds/2018/09/14/cincinnati-reds-top-prospect-nick-senzel-learning-play-outfield/1306504002/

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      • I agree with your thoughts on the OF situation in regard to Senzel. If he can play CF, have him learn CF because that’s the one spot in the every day 8 that could use an offensive upgrade. It’s the one place he could slot into seamlessly. CF is harder to play than LF. Otherwise why did we wast Adam Dunn in LF? (sarcasm in case anyone missed that). The ball can be harder to read in the corners is a fair statement. But that doesn’t make the position harder to play. It takes a lot more athleticism and skill to play CF than any other OF position. Just an odd statement to make, and not very inspiring.

        So is Senzel being added to the OF that already includes Schebler, Winker, Ervin, and Hamilton? And it is being reported the Reds want to add 1 or 2 more OF’ers to that mix. What?

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        • And it could be that Senzel is one of the outfielders they will add and/or that they plan to move on from BH as an everyday starter. Could be.

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        • I played all three OF positions and center was the easiest by far—provided you have the speed for it. You get a much cleaner read of the ball off the bat and you have priority on gappers so you don’t have to think all that much. You can pretty much go for everything in reach if you are so inclined. It’s just quick acceleration and straight line top speed. The LF read is much, much harder and you have to have really good footwork to handle the topspin hook on a pulled ball to left.

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          • I get everyone has anecdotes about playing in the OF. But there’s a reason why a team’s best OF typically plays CF and a team’s worst OF typically plays LF on a regular basis. Not everyone has the speed or ability to do it. That’s why it’s harder. Not everyone has the range to play SS, which is why it’s more important than 2B even though both are up the middle INF positions. The guys who can’t stick in CF move to another position. The guys who can’t stick at SS move to another position. There’s a reason those two positions are above others when it comes to defensive importance.

          • I’ve shared that experience, even though I only played a few games in CF due to very limited speed.

      • This could be a statement about Jesse Winker’s shoulder.
        If he isn’t 100% by ST, then he starts the season on the DL.

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      • More difficult overall? Probably not but the reads in LF are probably the hardest.

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  18. Harvey pitched very well last night. I don’t fault Riggs for taking him out, and Hernandez has typically come through for us this season. At the same time, I’ve long been a proponent to stop using the arbitrary 100 pitch count mark as the point where pitchers must come out. It can really be extended up to 120 pitches without showing any more signs of arm fatigue. Stressful, high pitch count innings are a better barometer of pitcher fatigue than the actual number of pitches up to that point, and Harvey had pretty clean innings overall.

    Is it a coincidence that as soon as Peraza tied/goes ahead of Votto in HRs that Votto’s home run power starts to return? It’s almost like he said, there’s no freaking way Jose’s going to have more homers than me. Peraza hits #12, Votto hits #12. It’s almost like Tokki 1 and Tokki 2 again, but with home runs.

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  19. Votto pop-up home run to left was reminiscent of the ‘ole’ Joey Votto. Glad to see. He claims there is no back problem and that he made some adjustments (that he was giving too much away). It’d be great to hear what that was all about. Also curious that he made the adjustment just days, perhaps hours, after
    Chad’s ‘Whats Wrong with Joey Votto’ post.

    Nice to see Peraza apparently learn how to hit and get good at bats. Still looks a little ‘patty-cake’ in his stance, but seems to be extending his arms and getting rotation better. Maybe he turns into a mini-me version of Suarez in time (meaning someone coming into their own, not someone to hit 30 HRs).

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  20. I just don’t understand all of the sometimes aggressive, sometimes passive-agressive criticism of Matt Harvey. Outside of “possibly” Disco, he’s the only starting pitcher on the 40-man roster that:

    1. Has more than two above average pitches.

    2. Has consistent command of all of his pitches.

    He’s healthy now or damn close to it, and getting more confident each start. He’s a true big leaguer who has a presence on the mound that’s been lacking around here for a very long time. Wherever he plays next season, someone is going to get a stud, and probably for a reasonable price. I hope it’s the Reds.

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    • Here’s what Brooks Baseball has to say about 2018 Luis Castillo compared to other RHP:

      His fourseam fastball has some natural sinking action, has well above average velo and has slight armside run. His change generates a high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers’ changeups, is slightly firmer than usual, has slight armside fade and has some natural sink to it. His sinker has an obvious tail, is blazing fast and has some natural sinking action. His slider has primarily 12-6 movement, results in somewhat more groundballs compared to other pitchers’ sliders and has some two-plane movement.

      That reads to me that he has more than two above average pitches. My eye test would confirm that to be true as well.

      Castillo has a 6.8 BB% which is a below league average rate. So it seems like he consistently commands his pitches well.

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      • Agree about Castillo’s pitch quality, generally. His command in the strke zone sometimes seems a little shaky, but he’s still learning his craft.

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      • There is a lot more to command than walks though, which really falls under the control category. I will concede, however, that I probably don’t give Castillo his due. Just frustrated by his propensity to give up runs in bunches I guess. He definitely has big league starter stuff. Probably the only one of the group that we’ve all been counting on for years.

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        • There is some nuance to command/control, that’s true. I just wouldn’t know how to quantify it, and I thought walk percentage would demonstrate that he has some ability to find the strike zone. The HRs are frustrating, I agree, but Harvey and Disco both have some of those issues as well. Some of that is probably due to playing in GABP, but not sure how much.

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  21. About the thought of sending Harvey out for the 7th with a pitch count of 96… I guess the Reds want to save his arm for next year and are hoping it is them he will be pitching for then.

    IF there are 2-3 years of the Harvey we saw last night left in his arm and a scaled decline, he might not be a bad signing IF the $$$ and year terms aren’t ridiculously high. That’s 2 big IFs; and, to add a third, IF other teams also believe he’s got it left in his tank, somebody will bid the terms up to where they might not make sense for the Reds. It only takes one other believing and perhaps also semi desperate team to jack up the ante.

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    • They may still view Harvey as building himself back up post-surgery, and his progression this year certainly points to this. He had two major surgeries which, while concerning, also have given him, in an odd sort of way, less wear and tear than he would have had otherwise.

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    • If I’m Harvey, and I’m taken out of the game while throwing a shutout after only 96 pitches, then I’m probably less enthused about pitching for this team in the future.

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  22. The game was just an example of what we continue to do as a team and its been that way for a long time.Winning teams pick each other up with a timely hit or pitch or fielding play and we just don’t do that often enough.Ervin battled on each at bat and Hamels just beat him.Others had chances as well by just putting the ball in play we get a run.When you don’t do that it is just going to come back to cost you and it did,Our offense is middle of the pack based on stats but because we are last in picthing we are out of the game a lot and get cookies to hit which does pad those stats.However our offense could become elite and all of us know where the weak link is but will anything be done.The starting pitching has to be addressed and we all know that but will it?The rest of our division has beat us up and they will not stand pat but rather have shown they will try to improve their team while we look for the home run in trades or the draft they go for a single here or there.We have some good players and if we want to improve some will have to be traded to acquire what we need.Sadly this organization falls in love with players and continue to believe they can win with them while losing 90+ games for the 4th straight year

    Reply
    • Well stated. Reds fans and many on this site seem to indicate that no player on the team should be replaced. The Reds would just completely fall apart if Hamilton, Gennett, Schebler, Winker, Paraza, Harvey, DeSclafani, etc. were gone.

      Based on this, I figured if I looked at the standings that the Reds would be on pace to be like Houston, Boston, Chicago, New York, Milwaukee, you know, teams that are good and attempt to improve their roster. Instead, I see the Reds in last place with one of the worst records in baseball. As noted 17 of the last 22 seasons and 4 straight 90 loss seasons.

      The Reds have one of the top prospects in baseball, yet, they are just too good to find a place for him to play. Appears that other top teams have been utilizing their younger players.

      The Reds have 2 players signed to long term deals, the rest of the roster should be open to change and improvement. Running the exact team out there next year is not a plan and is just an insult to Reds fans.

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      • Preach it.

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      • I agree.

        That said I understand that many fans are hungry for stability/ familiarity as well as a winner. Perhaps they feel the former 2 will beget the latter. I do not agree in this case.

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  23. Chad, loved the Bill Murray Caddyshack reference. Appropriate vs the Cubs.

    Reply

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About Chad Dotson

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine. You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

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2018 Reds, Titanic Struggle Recap

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