A year ago, Opening Day was a dismal rain out. The delay postponed by 24 hours a three-game sweep of the home town team by the Washington Nationals. The Reds were on their way to an ugly 3-15 start that got Bryan Price fired. They then lost their next three games under interim manager Jim Riggleman.

Opening Day 2019, however, was beautiful in more than one way. The difference a year can make.

Today, the Reds parlayed a great start by Luis Castillo, a couple GABP-special home runs, important contributions by Jose Peraza and the new guys, and a bit of deft managing to a first-game comeback win over the Pirates.

1/162 | Reds 5 (1-0) – Pirates 3 (0-1) | Box Score | Win Probability

Statcast: Reds Batters | Reds Pitchers | Exit Velocity | Pitch Velocity

Run Prevention

Luis Castillo was magnificent. He made it through the Pirates lineup two-and-a-half times before being lifted with two outs in the sixth inning after giving up a baserunner. He had thrown 90 pitches. Castillo mixed his fastball and changeup effectively, striking out 8 Pirate batters. He worked in 12 sliders starting with the second time through the Pirates order. Castillo’s fastball topped out at 97.4 mph and averaged 95.5. He walked three batters. Castillo left to a well deserved standing ovation.

Jared Hughes relieved Castillo and gave up two singles and a walk before recording the third out of the sixth. He was on the mound for The Bad Play. Hughes got one out in the seventh before manager David Bell brought in Zach Duke to retire two lefties at the top of Pittsburgh’s lineup. 

Raisel Iglesias pitched the 8th. After giving up a lead-off homer, Iglesias retired the Pirates in order to finish the inning. He was less than sharp in the 9th, walking two Pirates before being pulled after 34 pitches.

Amir Garrett was called on to relieve Iglesias. Clint Hurdle left in leadoff hitter Adam Frazier to face Garrett, producing a lefty-on-lefty matchup. Four Garrett sliders later and Frazier was heading back to the Pirates dugout with his head down.

Manager David Bell then made one last move, bringing in RH David Hernandez to pitch to RH batter Pablo Reyes who was pinch hitting. Hernandez was a closer years ago in Arizona. He walked Reyes on four pitches. With Wandy Peralty warm in the bullpen, Bell decided to leave Hernandez in to face LH Corey Dickerson. After a titanic struggle — a 12-pitch at bat — Hernandez retired Dickerson on a routine ground ball to 2B.

The Bad Play

With two outs in the top of the sixth and Pirates runners on first and second, Jung Ho Kang lined a single to left-center field. Jesse Winker ranged over to field the ball as the lead runner scored. Winker looked to the infield and threw to second base. Jose Peraza had his back to the plate and was unaware that the Pirate runner who was on first had rounded third and headed for home. Peraza hesitated for a moment and that was enough to allow the Pirates second run to score.

On the radio broadcast, Marty Brennaman blasted Winker for throwing to second. The video clearly showed shortstop Jose Iglesias and Joey Votto both pointing at Winker to throw to second. It would be fairer to chalk the run up to alert and aggressive base running combined with a split-second pause by Peraza and apparent lack of communication in the infield.

Run Production

Jameson Taillon, the Pirates starter and cancer survivor, is good, one of the dozen best pitchers in the National League. He held the Reds in check for six innings. The Reds scored in the second inning on a single by Jose Peraza and a double off the left-field fence by Jose Iglesias.

The Reds waited five innings to score their next run. Peraza drove Taillon’s 77th pitch for a solo home run that tied the score. Peraza pulled an 86-mph pitch that Chris Welch called “a little bit of a hanger” into the front row of the left-center field seats (391 ft.).

Tucker Barnhart followed Peraza’s homer with a walk, the second given up by Taillon. Still with no outs, Iglesias was jammed on a pitch but bounced it over third base and down the left-field line for a double, putting Reds runners on second and third.

The Pirates changed pitchers and David Bell summoned Derek Dietrich to pinch hit. Dietrich hit the third pitch he saw into the right center bleachers, giving the Reds a 5-2 lead (390 ft.).

Toto We’re Not In Kansas Any More

When Jesse Winker walked in the 7th inning, manager David Bell brought Michael Lorenzen in to pinch run for Winker. Lorenzen made it to second base on a passed ball on a heads-up play. Lorenzen then stayed in the game to play center field the final two innings. Scott Schebler moved to left field.

Bell also wasted no time using Raisel Iglesias outside of the 9th inning, bringing the Cuban reliever in for the 8th and 9th.

Reds Transaction

Before the game, the Reds claimed RHP José López off of waivers from the Giants and designated LHP Brandon Finnegan. The Giants had claimed Lopez off waivers from the Reds in February. Lopez (25) pitched for the Reds at the AAA level last year. In 141 innings, he had a 19.5% K-rate, a 6.8% BB-rate and a 4.29 xFIP.

What’s Next

The Reds have an off day tomorrow. I understand why they have it in the schedule, but after a win like today, I’m ready for another. The series continues at 2:10 p.m. on Saturday. Sonny Gray faces Trevor Williams.

112 Responses

  1. Mark Moore

    Bottom line … we won. That’s the way to start 2019.

  2. Tom

    I wonder if every NOL Central game will be like this? If so, I’m gonna need some heart meds.

  3. Ashley Davis

    I was listening and I’m 90% sure it was Jeff Brantley who first blamed Winker for the second Pirates run that scored. Marty echoed it though.

    • HoF13

      Yes – was about to post the same thing. Am listening to the broadcast again right now.

      Brantley: “That’s on Jesse Winker. He came up to throw — looked like he was going to throw the ball to third. He hesitated. Then he turned his entire body and threw the ball to second. As soon as he turned his body, Cora the third base coach of the Pirates began to wave his arm home and that’s just a fundamental mistake.

      Marty: So a big time mental lapse by Jesse Winker in left field after a clean rbi base hit …

      • lost11found

        It was hardly a ‘blasting’. I did not get that impression at all. It seemed the gist of the commentary was that Pitt made a head-up play based on some indecisiveness or a double-clutch on the play. If they point out a less than optimal play its not blasting.

    • donm10

      Welsh made the same criticisms on the TV broadcast. Whatever, the Buccos had a few more defensive howlers of their own, they were just lucky they all occurred between 1st and 2nd base rather than 3rd.

  4. Shchi Cossack

    Just a preemptive strike for all the online managers who question and condemn every decision, in the 1st game of the season, by DB that doesn’t work to their satisfaction…

    Geez, put a sock in it.

    • WVRedlegs

      Why? Bell showed he is a rookie inexperienced manager today. He is lucky he didn’t cost them the game. Dietrich saved his bacon today.
      Now if you want to tell me to relax and he will learn from his mistakes, I am on board.

      • PhP

        You can’t simultaneously say he about “cost them the game” when the Hughes move backfires and say Dietrich “saved his bacon” when the move to have Dietrich bat was his decision.

        You also gave no explanation of why you felt the moves DB made were wrong. Seems like hindsight is 20/20 complaining in my opinion.

      • lost11found

        I wasn’t crazy when he brought in hernandez. When you have good Garrett on the mound, its a good time to leave him in.

        But tomato-tomato.

      • Rich H

        WV, how did he almost cost them? How did Dietrich bail him out when Bell PUT HIM IN THE GAME???

        The things you’ve said range from confusing to nonsensical.

      • Amarillo

        Ehh, first game of the season that Castillo has thrown that many pitches. He looked tired against his last hitter. Hughes was our best reliever last year. Also with an 8 man bullpen and a day off tomorrow, and actual Major League quality players in the bullpen..I was fine with it.

    • jazzmanbbfan

      I realize that criticism of the manager’s decisions is a baseball fan’s favorite past time but it’s so easy when you’re not held accountable. People can complain that he didn’t let Garrett stay in, but if he had been bombed then we could all complain about the stupid decision to leave him in to face a right handed hitter. SMH. Kinda like a few fans calling for Koch to be fired as FC Cincinnati’s coach after their first ever MLS match ended in a loss on the road to one of the best teams in the league.

  5. Kurt Frost

    Marty is so angry. I’ll be glad when he’s gone.

    • Jay

      He’s been like this for 46 years. Its what’s made him such a beloved sports figure and Ford C. Frick winner. He calls it as he sees it. If he has been angrier than usual its because of 4 straight 90 loss seasons. Wouldn’t you just love having to call the same buffoonery on the field every night for 162 games a year if you were in his shoes?

      • Michael E

        True. He was balanced, almost perfectly, by Joe Nuxhall. Since then, he hasn’t had the kind of co-announcer to mellow/balance him out. Part of that is age and experience. Nuxhall had it on Marty, so Marty stood down at times and let Joe take us, lazily, through the game. I miss joe, such a calming voice that could get excited, but man, I loved listening to games on a crackling/fading/Cuban-overpowered, 700 WLW in Atlanta. Some nights I couldn’t pick it up, others it came in quite clear.

        I am glad to see Marty move on, but I hope the Reds get someone that isn’t stale, boring, by the book.

      • Steve Mancuso

        I’d settle for someone who occasionally mentions on-base percentage.

  6. Sliotar

    Two scenarios involving relievers, one for each team…

    Pirates bring back Taillon for 7th inning with lead, on a low pitch count.
    He got knocked out, but if he gets through it….Kela for 8th, Vasquez for 9th….2 absolute hammers to get last outs.

    Until the 9th inning ending, the highest leverage situation was… top of 6th, Kang at plate.

    https://www.fangraphs.com/liveplays.aspx?date=2019-03-28&team=Reds&dh=0&season=2019

    Where was Iglesias? I thought he was pitching high-leverage scenarios?
    Instead, Hughes gives up lead on Kang’s hit.

    A win is nice, but the Reds don’t have near enough high-quality arms in the bullpen.
    Iglesias can’t cover everything, and let’s hope he hasn’t brought his HR-allowed problem from last season into this one.

    A good test on the quality of a win to ask…would the losing team take same chances/situations again and think they could turn it into a win?

    I think the Pirates would favor their odds if this game was replayed.

    • Rich H

      Let’s assume good things for the opposing team, and bad things for the Reds. Replay that game, and that game shows up well for the Pirates.

      Can’t disagree with those numbers, brilliant analysis.

      It is amazing to me that after ONE GAME, that the Reds won, that fans and followers want to bury David Bell and this team. One. Game.

      Sliotar, you have no idea how the Reds will manage their bullpen, or matchups for the rest of the year. None of us do, because this management team has managed one game. Which was a win. And was carried out in DISTINCTLY different fashion from… well, forever. Until you can show us your prediction that Michael Lorenzen would pinch run and play two innings of center field (and Hughes and Iglesias would struggle, bad bullpen arms!!!) on opening day, just stop trying to sound smart and presumptive. Watch some freaking baseball for a few weeks and then get some opinions.

      JEEZ.OL.

      • Sliotar

        @Rich H,

        I can handle any criticism, even the insults thrown into your reply.

        What I do mind is….

        -“Watch some freaking baseball”? LOL. Check in here regularly and you will figure out that I watch a lot of MLB….all the teams. It is a fun and very profitable side hobby for me.

        (Javy Baez and Jose Berrios were prime plays today…and I had them in all my lineups.) (And I don’t give out tomorrow’s plays. Do your own research.)

        – No one who posts regularly here questioned the quality of this bullpen over the winter like I did.

        See below my reply to @hanawi about why it’s not “burying” anyone…Hughes and Hernandez are old, and other bullpens in the NL Central are just deeper and better.

      • Rich H

        Sliotar, I’m not implying that you don’t watch baseball. What I’m telling you, directly, is to stop being presumptive about a brand new coaching staff’s bullpen philosophy until you watch them for a few freakin’ weeks. Because you can’t accurately criticize them until you see how their coaching and direction takes shape in what the relievers do, and are asked to do.

        I find it very hard to believe that you, sitting at home, have a better read on the Reds bullpen situation than David Bell and Derek Johnson have. I find it very hard to believe that a person who watches a lot of baseball would honestly criticize a management staff because, in hindsight, the highest leverage moment came in the 6th inning. And they should’ve known the only other higher leverage point would’ve come in the 9th, because, hindsight.

        I don’t care about how much fantasy baseball success you have, as nobody would care about my fantasy football/hockey/quidditch success. It just bothers me that your takeaway after one winning game is that it could have been a loss, assuming a few things went differently. You may be right; but given the general year-to-year volatility of relievers, and the unknown nature of the coaching staff, don’t you think it’s prudent to watch a few weeks before you start raining on an otherwise awesome and enjoyable start?

      • lwblogger2

        Many bonus points for your Quidditch reference.

  7. Indy Red Man

    Great game!! We had 3 doubles and 2 Hrs while they had 1 HR. Thats going to win alot more then it loses!

    Iglesias obviously had a big game but I don’t know how they keep Dietrich (.859 road ops) last year on the bench? Thats basically Scooter #’s. Of course they can also play Dietrich in the OF some. Overall he just seems like too good of a LH bat vs righties to sit on the bench.

    • The Duke

      Interestingly enough, Dietrich only has 4 years 151 days service time, so the Reds can offer him arbitration next year if they so choose.

  8. WVRedlegs

    Peraza was surprised by Cervelli going home. It was the Catcher running from 1st base. But when Peraza got the ball he threw as he was pivoting and didn’t get a lot on the throw. It was great base running by Cervelli and the 3rd base coach was waving him around as soon as Winker released the ball.
    Deft managing by Bell? He made a few good moves but more bad moves than good. His bullpen management was horrendous today. But he did pinch hit Dietrich at the right time.

    • Tom

      In the Reds defense, Pereza just moved over to 2B. I know he’s played there a lot but it’s still an adjustment.

    • Steve Mancuso

      I think I’ll go with Bell’s judgment over your second-guessing.

      • Indy Red Man

        I think its safe to say he over managed today. Cmon? Closers throwing 34 pitches on Opening Day is not exactly ideal. Its not October?

        At the same time….win and its a learning opportunity. I like him already for moving Lorenzen around.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Day off tomorrow. They want Iglesias to be a 2-inning pitcher.

      • Brian

        You would be wrong to do so. Plus it was more like first guessing for the majority. Castillo finishing the 6th seemed like the obvious call. Plus idk why Iglesias was brought in the 8th. I get the high leverage argument, but 3 of the 4 hitters up were lefties. And he’s not quite as sharp against lefties. I would rather have garret for that clean inning. I have a feeling he’s gonna take a tremendous leap this year. Pleased with the win though

      • Steve Mancuso

        Bell said Castillo was on a 90-pitch limit. Iglesias isn’t a handedness match-up guy. He’s going to pitch 2-innings a lot this year and not always the 9th. That’s why they signed him to the extension. Better get used to that.

      • lost11found

        So the only second guessing allowed on the site is that of the writers and staff.

        Probably not what you mean but that’s how it came off.

      • Jay

        You could second guess David Bell for throwing Iglesias out there with majority lefties in that inning, but otherwise it seemed like Bell was trying to play the statistics in his team’s favor. Lets not rush to judgement after game 1 of 162. Give it a few more days at least 😉

      • Steve Mancuso

        Yep, nothing wrong with using Iglesias for 34+ pitches with an off day on Friday.

      • Michael E

        Agree with Steve here. Think about what you’re saying, that 34 pitches is too much. Geez, our expectations have atrophied along with analytics. That minimum two-batter faced rule can’t come quick enough.

        Iglesias should be able to throw 50 pitches without blinking an eye. 34 pitches is just getting good and loose. Now, if they did that three straight games, maybe worth questioning, but gee whiz, this usage today is what we have been BEGGING for the past 10 years. No more robotic Lefty-righty-lefty, three pitches to try and get three outs. That just means more chances to hit on an RP that is having a bad day.

        I thought Bell did a great job today all things considered. No manager gets everything right, at least not two games in a row anyway. Certainly a much better vibe and feeling with him than Price and Baker.

      • Indy Red Man

        34 pitches is too much for Iggy….even with today off. If you have a pen like Houston with Devenski, Peacock, Presley, etc. then its fine if your closer goes 2 innings regularly and is down for 2 out of 3 games. The Reds don’t have that luxury? Maybe if Amir and Lorenzen suddenly blossom? As it is…Bell would be putting way too much on Hughes & Hernandez. We’ll see? I have full faith that Bell will figure it out. He’s a bright guy and I don’t anticipate throwing things at the TV this year because we went into a bunting frenzy:)

      • VaRedsFan

        Bingo Michael E. I get so tired of pitch count snowflakes. 34 pitches!!! OMG!!! Little leaguers get to throw 35 pitches.

        Little League Rule
        If a player pitches 21 – 35 pitches in a day, one (1) calendar day of rest must be observed.

      • Indy Red Man

        Little leaguers aren’t throwing 97? 16 year olds drive all over the place, but are they ready to go 230 mph at the Indy 500. Human beings aren’t meant to throw this hard? You must be the kind of guy that ignores the NFL guys that are in their 50s and crippled up like 85 yr olds? The new NFL rules are for sissies….says the guy that never played a sport in his life!

      • VaRedsFan

        It’s all relative. 13 year olds that weigh 105 lbs…have smaller physic, and muscles. In other words kids throwing 70 is as much a strain on their arm as adult men throwing 95.

      • Jefferson Green

        There are many factors that cause a manager to switch pitchers in an inning. Pitch count total, pitch count in the inning, high leverage pitch count (vs. total PC), match ups – both current pitcher and the one that could enter the game, effectiveness in the game or inning – i.e. losing arm slot consistency, struggling/not struggling with command, desire to have a pitcher go out with success to start the year, and more. It is very difficult – close to impossible – to know all that went into each pitching change decision, and DB (or DJ or DW) would be foolish to share all the data with us fans, as it would also be sharing it with opponents who will use it against our team.

        Given the expertise and apparent high level of communication and trust on the current staff, I recommend trusting them unless and until they demonstrate over time that their decisions are not working.

    • Rich H

      What bad moves, WV? What good moves? Please, tell me your insider information. As an apparent member of a brand new coaching staff, that not a SINGLE PERSON here can analyze because they’ve never worked together or with these players, give us your insight. Let your hypotheticals flow as freely as a fart into the wind; because until you watch a few weeks of this staff with this team, you can’t properly analyze a thing.

  9. Mason Red

    Congrats to the Reds. Always great to win opening day.

  10. steve stevens

    Very good win to start the season.
    Kind of worried about the BP.

  11. Klugo

    Taillon was treated like a bona fide opening day star. Castillo was treated like a bona fide up and coming bona fide star. I don’t disagree with how either was used by their managers. It was good to see Castillo keep up.

  12. Shchi Cossack

    Excellent matchup of starting pitchers.

    Castillo avg exit velocity => 84.0 mph
    Taillon avg exit velocity => 90.4 mph

    The Reds were simply hammering the ball off Taillon today, just too many line drives finding leather or the game was over early.

    • Darren

      My thoughts exactly during the game.

  13. Roger Garrett

    Reds get it done on a pinch hit homer and lots of wacky stuff in the ninth but a win is a win.Way too many walks by our guys and when you walk 3 in the ninth well you are just asking for it.Great battle that Hernandez won against Dickerson.Bottom of order wins it for the good guys and Castillo was great in start number 51 in his career.This could be his year.

  14. Shchi Cossack

    DB & DJ were cautious and conservative, by design, with extending the starting pitchers during ST. Castillo threw 87 pitches in 8.2 innings during ST. DB & DJ obviously had a predetermined pitch limit of 90 pitches for Castillo. That seems very reasonable under those conditions. Unfortunately, Castillo’s lack of control resulted in reaching his pitch limit prior to the end of the 6th inning.

    With 2 outs and a runner on 1B, DB & DJ had a full bullpen to tap into. He chose to bring in his ground ball machine, Hughes, with his best defensive IF alignment on the field to face the bottom half of the lineup. That seemed like a very reasonable decision. Unfortunately, Hughes sinker wasn’t sinking, resulting in 2 runs scored before he got the ground ball he needed for the 3rd out.

    • Darren

      Castillo’s command was good. Joe West strike zone was erratic.

      • Shchi Cossack

        No question the strike zone was pitifully inconsistent and flat out bad, but Castillo was missing badly. When pitches are missing by more than a foot, you can’t blame the results on the catcher or umpire.

    • VaRedsFan

      Excellent observation Cossack. Bringing Hughes in was definitely the right call. He was near automatic last year.

      My hypothesis on Hughes. His arm is actually too strong right now, causing less sinking action. Sinker ballers always say that their pitch reacts better with a little arm fatigue. Hope he bounces back. He is a vital piece in the pen.

  15. Shchi Cossack

    With the Reds up 5-2 going into the 8th inning, DB & DJ brought in Iggy to face the #3-#6 hitters in the lineup. That represented the hands-down most dangerous hitters in the Bucs lineup today. Iggy had a very rough ST, but he’s the best reliever on the team. If he can’t be trusted to get the big outs, then the Reds have a possibly insurmountable problem. Iggy threw more innings and more pitches than Castillo this spring and the Reds had a scheduled off day tomorrow.

    Iggy threw 21 pitches in the 8th, thanks to an 8-pitch due with Kang for the 3rd out, but Iggy was throwing strikes. A decision to change pitchers to face the bottom of the lineup would have been reasonable, but bring Iggy back to face the bottom of the lineup was also reasonable. Unfortunately, Iggy was unable to throw strikes in the 9th and left with 1 out and 2 runners on base.

  16. Reddawg12

    Great game, super tense at the end! Can’t wait for the top of the order to start rolling.

  17. renbutler

    I thought I heard that Iglesias had the most MLB saves of 4+ outs last season. Why would it be considered a different kind of thing this year?

  18. Shchi Cossack

    The 9th inning got strange. Any time a reliever comes in from the bullpen, his efficacy represents an open question. DB & DJ opted to play matchup after replacing Iggy. Garrett struck out the only batter he faced, LH Frazier. DB & DJ replaced LHP Garrett with RHP Hernandez to face RH Reyes. Hernandez immediately walked Reyes on 4 pitches, loading the bases with LH Dickerson coming to the plate. DB & DJ had now backed themselves into a tough corner. Fortunately Hernandez hitch up his stirrups and won the 12-pitch battle against Dickerson.

    DB may have panicked a little in the 9th inning or he may have used the opportunity to learn something about his bullpen that he cataloged for future use. The Old Cossack certainly doesn’t know what motivated DB to make the 9th inning decisions he made, but a half inning in the 1st game certainly doesn’t provide any definitive information or trend regarding DB’s decision making process going forward.

    • lost11found

      I agree with the last paragraph Cossack.

      Overall a solid game by the whole team.

      Strong start by Castillo, decent AB’s overall, no major miscues on D, solid baserunning. Bullpen was okay overall, but the walks gotta stop. Duke and Garrett get the best grades there.

  19. Shchi Cossack

    The start of the 2019 season is in the books and the Reds are tied for 1st place in the NLCD with the Cubs and Brew Crew. I’m with Steve. After tonight’s glorious victory, I wish the Reds were playing again tomorrow.

  20. Indy Red Man

    SF is going nowhere and has little to no talent….why not try to pick up their closer Will Smith? He’ll be 30 in July and the Brewers are already in the mix to pick him up. The Reds need some help in the pen!!

    • TomN

      Agreed. Him or Kimbrell (if he’s still available).

  21. matt hendley

    I understand the day delay on the game. Anyway, Really liked the curtain call for Detrich….. not just the action himself but the PRIDE he showed in his uniform and the Reds Emblem. The last couple years have either been has beens who are only taking the job cause it is their last chance or the regulars who are just beating the path. Team Pride that is good. 1 Game is not enough to make a determination on any of the Bullpen. Will decide in a few weeks.

  22. MK

    Thought most of Bell’s questionable moves were analytics driven and not by his eyes. The thing I was most disappointed about was not using a pinch runner for Barnhart his last time on base. There are benefits for having three catchers.

    • ToBeDetermined

      Mk

      Your succinct comment just popped up as I was typing my tome below.

  23. ToBeDetermined

    There does seem to be a lot of “second guessing” of DB decisions.
    I think there is going to be a plethora of opportunities for second guessing of DB this year, since it appears (just in a small sample size here – 1 game) that DB is going to be aggressively managing the game.

    He is going to take chances. Hopefully those chances he takes in order to outperform will be tempered by minimizing risk. I ask isn’t that ultimately what all this Analytics boils down to anyway. Hopefully he will put the players in the best position in order to perform at their maximum potential.

    In my book — Ultimately, it comes down to wins and losses and do the players and the Front Office continue to buy into his managing style. Only time will tell.

  24. CFD3000

    Mostly good with a little wobbliness. Peraza looked good at the plate, the bench contributed big time (including Jose Iglesias in that), Castillo was quite good but needs to limit the walks and therefore his pitch count, but he gets a pass for Opening Day. Garrett looked unhittable, and Hernandez stepped up big against Dickerson. Votto had 50 AB without an extra base hit, then lined one off the top of the right center wall his first at bat that counts – spring training stats don’t matter. I won’t second guess DB – the Reds won after all – but I loved the use of Lorenzen to pinch run and cover CF. And Dietrich’s home run and subsequent enthusiasm were, in a word, awesome. A beautiful day indeed. Can’t wait for Saturday afternoon. Go Reds!

  25. Matt WI

    I figured it out! People are complaining already because they see “DB”… it triggers knee jerk trauma based questioning of the manager. It isn’t Dusty Baker. It’s safe to come out and enjoy the win.

  26. Reddawg12

    Bummed that Saturday seems almost like a sure rainout. Might have to wait 2 more days for another game.

    • renbutler

      I was just noticing the same forecast.

      It will be interesting to see if they play a DH on Sunday. It’s going to be chilly, but dry.

      There are two other good chances to make up the game when Pittsburgh comes in either May (Memorial Day) or late July.

  27. James Johnson

    Loved seeing Dietrichs passion and energy. That’s something this team has been lacking. Also someone else mentioned the pride he has playing for the reds. I second that. I loved seeing him actually care about the team.

  28. jessecuster44

    WE WIN. Period. Let’s Go Reds!

  29. ohiojimw

    The bullpen performance concerned me. Yes, they have tomorrow to regroup. However there will be many days during the season when they don’t have the built in day of rest.

    If the supposed top 3 of Iggy, Hughes and Hernandez get used and abused like they were today, the Reds are going to have issues keeping their top tier guys available.

    • Hanawi

      Honestly, I don’t think the bullpen has enough top-tier guys in it. I think both Hughes and Hernandez will be hard-pressed to match last year, and Iglesias is maybe not quite the shut-down closer that he is portrayed as.

      • Sliotar

        @ohiojimw
        @hanawi

        Reasoned responses from you both, per usual.

        Hughes and Hernandez are both in their age 34 seasons. Hughes had more WAR last season than he had in his entire MLB career to date. Prime candidate for regression in 2019.

        Both were scrap heap-type pick-ups….to expect them to be 2 of the top 3 bullpen guys for a contending team feels a bridge too far over a whole season.

        Not a David Bell problem, per se…until he made the call on not spending to upgrade the bullpen…and certainly Iglesias can’t cover 9 outs, but he need to stop the trend of allowing HRs.

      • The Duke

        I don’t think Hughes and Hernandez are expected to be the 2 and 3 in the bullpen. I’d imagine Garrett ends up the #2 guy, and you can argue that Lorenzen is in there somewhere in the 3-5 range. Peralta has the arm talent to break into that group, as long as he can maintain some control. Same argument for Bob Steve. His pure stuff is amongst the best on the team, but control is the big question.

      • ohiojimw

        @duke Agree if BobSteve manages to hang in and finds control his ceiling is virtually unlimited.

        However I believe Peralta is what he has been, hot and cold.

    • PhP

      I agree that H&H most likely won’t match last year’s success. The optimist in me hopes Garrett, along with one (hopefully 2) of BobSteve, BigSal, Reed, or Herget can play a successful role in the bullpen of this team.

  30. scottya

    3 run blast by dietrich does in the pirates on opening day! Castillo with a nice start. What a fun and exciting team.

  31. Not Scooter Gennett

    Pitching depth is very thin, by watching at all pitchers in 40-man roster you can tell there’s not much to choose from if anybody else in 25-man roster is injured.

  32. Scott Gennett

    Pitching depth is very thin, by watching at all pitchers in 40-man roster you can tell there’s not much to choose from if anybody else in 25-man roster is injured.

  33. Shchi Cossack

    Special shout out to @Seat101 from the game thread…

    Seat101 03/28/2019
    …By the way my prediction is that Jose Perez a hits the first homerun for the Reds today

    • Seat101

      Thank you!

      Now let’s see if my three and 15 prediction comes true

    • ohiojimw

      It was great to see Peraza pick up where he left off last season. It will be even greater if he turns out to be like another Reds Venezuelan middle infielder folks originally thought could never hit enough to stick around who is now in the Reds HoF. This would be Davey Concepcion for those born too recently to have been in around in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

  34. TR

    It’s always nice to win on Opening Day before a full house with an engrossing game and a bit of a nail biter to get that last out.

  35. Eric the Red

    Go Reds! Great win. I won’t criticize any players or coaches after an opening day win. But…we need to talk about THOM! On top of everything else, a tiring Castillo is pitching in the 6th. The first indication anyone was warming up and ready to step in was when Bell came out to the mound and THOM! finally told us that Hughes was warming up. From the start of the inning I was wondering if Bell has anyone getting loose, but as usual THOM! didn’t bother interrupting himself to give the viewers this information.

    • renbutler

      Although Thom is dead weight, is that really his responsibility to notice? He has a lot of things to do, and their spotter should be feeding them this kind of info.

      • Eric the Red

        It’s a constant problem with the Reds telecast. THOM! lacks awareness of anything except his own voice. If he had a head for baseball, he’d be more likely to think about the questions an engaged viewer might have (like, “I wonder if Bell has anyone warming up at the start of this inning?”). But you’re correct, the director could probably break the pattern by showing the guys warming up at the very least, taking the issue out of THOM’s! hands.

  36. Phil

    There can always be things to nit-pick and managerial decisions to second-guess, but I’ll take a 1-0 start to the season anyway we can get it.

    I wonder if we’ll see Dietrich getting some starts at 2B with Peraza back at SS against right-handed starters. Iglesias is the best defender of the 3 and came through with a big hit yesterday, but has hit much better against lefties than righties in his career.

  37. lost11found

    WIth lindor out for the Indians, I wonder if there is any interest ‘up nort’ for Jose Iglesias. Once Blandino is healthy he could slot in at 2B, if Senzel remains in the OF rotation.

    I’ve not heard when Blandino is due back. He’s only on the 10 day DL not the 60, correct?

    • Shchi Cossack

      All 3 of the IL residents are on the 10-day IL, pending the need for 40-man roster space. When the Reds claimed Lopez off waivers, they opted to DFA Finnegan rather than moving anyone to the 60-day DL.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        Very interesting point. You’d think Gennett could/maybe should be on the 60-day DL considering his ETA was 8 to 12 weeks.

  38. WVRedlegs

    I watched the game again on a re-broadcast on the Pirates channel last night. At first I thought Bell was a little too quick with the hook on Castillo and should have given him the chance to finish the inning. But Castillo was getting the ball up waist high on some of his pitches in the 6th and the movement on his pitches was getting less. A batter or 2 before he was removed he put one pitch to Dickerson belt high on the inside part of the plate right in Dickerson’s wheelhouse. Dickerson crushed the ball about 400 feet down the right field line that curved to be 10-12 feet foul. I bet that made Bell and Johnson take notice and be a little concerned.
    I’m sure Bell and Johnson had first game jitters like the players probably had. He made some fine decisions and some questionable ones too. It was just a first game but Bell has a ways to go to being a good manager. Describing Bell’s first day as “deft” was absurd. Giving him a free pass because he is viewed as an “Analytics” manager is just plain irresponsible. It was his first day. He did good, and he did not so good. To only acknowledge the good, ignore the bad or questionable and to place subjectivity over objectivity is a disservice to the readers. But he guided the team to a win, and that is what counts. Bell has much to learn, but he has a great deal of time to do so. Acknowledge the good, but also acknowledge the bad and open it up for discussion. Bell is going to have his good days and he is going to have his bad days. To gloss over the bad like it never happened is dumb.
    Deft = Skillful, polished, masterful, impressive. And Bell was none of those yesterday. It was his first game for crying out loud. Not every decision/move he made was a good one. Bell had a good and bad day, average, it certainly wasn’t “deft”. Polished he was not. Give him time to grow as a manager without hoisting him up on a pedestal. It will come.
    I hope RLN doesn’t become the David Bell Cheerleader blog just because he is viewed as an “Analytics” manager. No free passes.

    • Steve Mancuso

      Here’s what I thought was deft about Bell’s game handling.

      1. He pulled Luis Castillo at the right time, at his 90-pitch limit and not having him go deeper through the lineup the third time.
      2. He brought Zach Duke in to face two left-handed batters.
      3. He brought in Raisel Iglesias for a two-inning save, which we’ve been clamoring for Reds managers to do for years.
      4. He pulled Iglesias when it was obvious he was struggling, instead of stubbornly leaving him in to get the save.
      5. He brought Amir Garrett in to face a left-handed batter.
      6. He brought David Hernandez in to face a right-handed batter.
      7. He left Hernandez in to face Dickerson even with Wandy Peralta warmed up, because Peralta stinks.
      8. He used Derek Dietrich as a pinch hitter, knowing Pittsburgh was warming up a RHP and got the good matchup.
      9. He pinch-ran for Jesse Winker with Michael Lorenzen, then moved Lorenzen to CF for defense.

      All in all, that to me is a nimble, open-minded manager.

      Instead of attacking wording and opinions as “absurd” “irresponsible” “a disservice” “dumb” “cheerleader” (noting a bit of dull repetition here) how about if you explain his questionable decisions and stick to talking about the Reds.

      Some of Bell’s decisions worked, some didn’t. If your standard for evaluating a manager is that every move has to work out, good luck with that. Moves should be judged independent of the results, otherwise it’s just rank hindsight. One other thing to note: When you write the recap here, you publish within minutes of the game ending. No luxury of going back and watching a re-broadcast to figure out that the opinions you spouted during the game were wrong. If you want straight reporting, with no opinions offered, I recommend the beat writers.

      You can count on “Redleg Nation” (as if there’s a unified voice here on anything) to not give Bell a free pass. And I hope our writers won’t resort to knee-jerk criticism, either. Instead of dwelling on words in and advice for the recap, stick to talking about the Reds, if you want to keep your commenting privileges. If you feel the writing here does a disservice to the readers, you’re free to turn the channel to the right.

      • David

        Steve,
        Not to sound like “me too”, but I think you have a very detailed confirmation of the day.

        A manager “pushes a button” to put a player or pitcher into a situation to win for the team. David Bell has got to find out who he can rely on. Sometimes decisions go south on a manager because frankly, the player in question just doesn’t do it. The more talent you have, the more likely that when the manager pushes the button on YOU, the team succeeds.
        Decisions look bad when the player fails. Decisions look good when the player succeeds. That is what David Bell has to find out about all the guys on the roster.

      • WVRedlegs

        I agree mostly with your 1 thru 9. Though 6 and 7 I am not so sure about. The way R. Iglesias struggled some last year, the way he struggled in spring training, and the way he struggled in the 9th inning yesterday the Reds are going to need a 1A closer if Iglesias is the 1. I had hoped all winter that the front office would build a formidable bullpen over the winter a la Milwaukee’s last year. That they would sign a very good reliever to close when Iglesias wasn’t available and be the top set up guy. Not one of the Reds relievers has risen to that 1A spot so far. Many struggled through the spring. That is why I saw a great opportunity there by leaving Garrett in to face the righty with a lefty following him. I thought it was a great opportunity wasted to give Garrett that shot. To be a lefty compliment to Iglesias. Garrett has pitched in high leverage situations. The boos that rained down when Hernandez walked the righty on 4 pitches were not all directed at Hernandez, some were for Bell for not leaving Garrett in. It ended well for the Reds as Hernandez came out on top of that epic AB with Dickerson. But with Dickerson up the Pirates had a good chance to tie the game or go ahead. It was risky but it worked this time. Barely. There were a few other things that I thought were somewhat questionable that I didn’t like to see, but they were little things. There were a lot of positives to build off of from yesterday. But there are some things that need tightened up too.
        I get it that Bell has to feel his way around being a rookie manager to see what works and what doesn’t. Some decisions are going to be golden and some are going to go to crap, that is the nature of it. He isn’t perfect and he won’t be. Nobody should expect him to be.
        Give him credit when credit is due, and when he falls short of the mark, say so. He has so much to learn in the manager’s seat. He will go through his trials and tribulations. Don’t elevate him to Sparky Anderson-status after just one game. I know you didn’t do that, but many places I saw comments that Bell is the best Reds manager since Sparky. Not that he will eventually be, but he is now. I kept finding that hard to take. Overall, I like what he did as he delivered an opening day win. Those are always sweet. But now the hype and hoopla is over for opening day and Bell has a lot of hard work ahead of him. As does his coaching staff. I want to see them succeed just as much as you do and everyone else. Too many people were getting carried away on their comments last night, some here, but mostly at a couple of other sites in elevating Bell to immediate greatness. When I saw you use the word “deft” my first thought was not you too. I thought that as a fan base, we shouldn’t get that far ahead of ourselves as many seemed to do yesterday. I saw it as overall a pretty good job, not great, but with some hit and miss in the mix too. There was a lot to like and there are some things to have concern about. I liked his lineup and a majority of his in-game decisions, but not all. You’ve often said that managers are not responsible for many wins and losses in a 162 game schedule, maybe only a handful. But I believe this year Bell is going to be a big outlier regarding that. His decisions are going to play into many games’ outcomes, maybe as much as 30-40 games.
        To your credit, glad to see there will be NO free passes, and no piling on too if it were to come to that. FWIW, how much do I like/love the Reds? I watched the game twice yesterday on TV.

      • Roger Garrett

        I commented right after the game about things being a little wacky in the but they got wacky because we walked 3 guys.Bell did as you said played the percentages except when he left Hernandez in to face Dickerson.Right again Steve when you said that Peralta stinks and on more then one occasion you have brought it up that he has had one good month in two tears working out of the pen.Nobody would have brought him in that has a clue and most including Dusty and Price would have left Iggy in even after the two walks.Some days your best doesn’t have it and Bell saw it and pulled him.Thank goodness we have a guy managing that is actually watching the game and has no closer rules or uses a book to manage.Great job Steve and great job wiith reminding us all about the good things Bell did in his first game.Every game that we have a chance to win should be managed just that way.Lets worry about guys getting tired or over used when it actually does happen.

      • Indy Red Man

        Nobody is really wrong here imo. Its much ado about nothing. The Reds won and we’re all happy about that! Personally at the time I thought Bell over managed somewhat by using 5 pitchers (including Iggy’s 34 pitches) for 3.1 innings, but it wasn’t a big criticism. In reality today is a day off and they’ll probably get rained out a few times in early April. Its not a big deal really…except we should win the game when only 1 of our opponents best 4 OFers are available to play. Overall I think Bell is going to be good and I’m estatic that we’re FINALLY moving in the right direction!

  39. Shchi Cossack

    As @SultanofSwaff observed prior to yesterday’s game…

    SultanofSwaff 03/28/2019
    This division is going to be a bloodbath!

    I don’t expect the Reds to come out of the NLCD any more bloodied than the other 4 teams in the division. This really could be a historically fun baseball season. No baseball fan or Reds fan can legitimately claim that they weren’t living and dying with every pitch in the Hernandez/Dickerson duel that ended the game.

    • matthew hendley

      I am willing to say that the reds will come out less bloodied then the pirates at this point

    • Matt WI

      Well said about that final at-bat Cossack… holy cow. That was agonizing.

    • WVRedlegs

      Today at lunchtime on MLB Network radio, Jim Bowden and Mike Ferrin, especially Ferrin, called that AB one of the better highlights from all the opening day games. It was indeed great baseball. And Lorenzo Cain’s leaping catch at the wall to end the MIL-STL game as well. Both in the NLC.
      The NL Central is going to look like that big fight scene from the movie Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. It is going to escalate quickly and really get out of hand fast. Reds have 15 games in NLC before end of April.

  40. Bradley Ways

    This site has become so toxic in the comments section. Cringe.

  41. matthew hendley

    Thom Had a good broadcast yesterday. I was very pleased by his work. It looks like Jim Day has lost some weight as well, good for him, maybe gym with Jim was a actual thing. He sounds a little better this year as well. Hope the game gets played Saturday

  42. Old-school

    A couple observations from my vantage point at GABP on Opening day.

    1.) Best Opening Day I’ve attended. Record crowd,(44000+) great atmosphere, great weather,great win.
    2.)Winker/Votto/Puig/Suarez/Schebler went 1-18. Gennett is hurt. Senzel isn’t on the roster. The 2 best relievers had bad days. The Reds still beat an NL central rival with a talented young pitcher.
    3.) Castillo was missing bats and fooling hitters. If Castillo can get a little more pitch efficient, year 3 could be special for him.
    4.) Suarez played a sharp clean 3b.
    5.) Lorenzen is an imposing presence in CF. He made Schebler look small. Both players were pulling cards out of their back pocket between hitters and talking and re-positioning. At one point, Iglesias looked out to wait for Schebler, who had moved 15 feet closer to the line and in 10 feet.
    6.) Jose Iglesias and Dietrich could be very impactful players, especially Iglesias. Only 1 game, but Iglesias looked like a complete SS.

    7.) I would have let Garrett stay but it all worked out. The Reds have an off today so all hands on deck in the opener. I thought Bell did a great job.

    Go Reds.

    • VaRedsFan

      Thanks for the insight, especially #5 about the index cards. I’ve seen other teams do it, but not the Reds. The Fox game production is just so inferior to coverage by other TV broadcasts