The Short Version: Reds bats are colder than the weather, Sonny Gray couldn’t throw strikes, and the good guys commit four errors as the best team in the National League drops to .500.

Final R H E
Pittsburgh Pirates (1-1) 5 10 0
Cincinnati Reds (1-1) 0 4 4
W: Williams (1-0) L: Gray (0-1)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score

The Good
–Joey Votto was 2 for 4 with a single and a ninth-inning double that was inches away from being a homer. Votto is hitting .375, and I’ll be surprised if that number drops at any point in the season.

–Robert Stephenson began the season like a house afire, striking out three of the first four hitters he faced. Bob Steve’s curveball, in particular, looked great. He was unlucky and did give up one earned run — on a bunt single, an error, a double, another error, and a groundout — but only the double was hit particularly hard.

I have no idea what to expect from Stephenson this year, but I’m encouraged by his first two-inning stint.

–Michael Lorenzen looked pretty good in two and a third innings, giving up one hit and a walk, and striking out two.

The Bad
–The Reds collected just four lonely hits, two from Joey Votto, one each from Tucker Barnhart and Jose Iglesias.

–It was an inauspicious Reds debut for today’s starter, Sonny Gray, as he was unable to escape the third inning. Gray’s line: 2.2 innings, 5 hits, 3 runs (2 earned, though the unearned run was only unearned because of Gray’s error), 5 walks, and no strikeouts. Gray threw 71 pitches, and only 34 of them were strikes.

It was cold, and Gray pitches better when it’s Sonny, so I’m going to remain cautiously optimistic. But today’s wasn’t a good data point in Gray’s favor.

–The Reds committed four errors: Gray, Stephenson, Eugenio Suarez, and Scott Schebler. I fear that center field is going to be an adventure every day with Schebler out there.

The Recap
–Do any of you live near Minneapolis? Can I crash at your place for a couple of days?

–This was just an ugly game from beginning to end, with the cold weather putting a damper on everything. Gray was unable to throw strikes consistently, and the Reds were unable to muster any offense. Not a fun day at the ol’ ball orchard, though the few fans in attendance did seem to have a good time screaming “Woooo!”

–Gray surrendered one run in each of the first three innings, and the game was pretty much over at that point. The Reds were unable to muster any offense whatsoever against Pirates starter Trevor Williams.

–Wandy Peralta didn’t give up a run in his one inning of work, but he did walk two hitters. I’m still baffled about the decision to keep Peralta on the roster early this season.

–Jared Hughes gave up a couple of hits in the ninth, but neither scored. That’s something, I guess.

–The Milwaukee Brewers visit the Queen City tomorrow, and we’ll get our first look at Tanner Roark.

Today’s Tweets

45 Responses

  1. matt hendley

    It was exceptionally cold. I beleive the Reds are better then this. Just needed to get the engines running so to speak. Hope the Sonny Gray contract does not turn into Homer Bailey part 2. Also Tired of people whining about Yellich. The reds have Legitimate players on their roster now. We literally cannot trade for every good player in baseball.

    • Keith

      Agree 100% on Yelich. He was great with the Marlins. Brewers paid a high price for him. Just because some people thought the Reds should trade for him doesn’t mean we need to hear about every hit he has with the Brewers.

      • CI3J

        The thing is, though, the Yelich trade was an absolute, complete no-brainer for the Reds. It had been obvious for a long time that CF was an offensive black hole on this team, and suddenly one of the best young CF became available via trade. The Reds certainly had the pieces to get a trade done without giving up any top 5 prospects, but instead decided to give BHam “one more chance” while the Brewers, Yankees, and Cardinals scooped up the available Marlin outfielders.

        He was there for the taking. The Reds, for some baffling reason, refused to act. It would be like if the Browns passed on OBJ and he went to the Ravens instead. It was a galringly obvious area of need, and the Reds didn’t act on a chance to land an All-Star talent to fill that need.

      • matthew hendley

        ” The Reds certainly had the pieces to get a trade done without giving up any top 5 prospects,… while the Brewers, Yankees, and Cardinals scooped up the available Marlin outfielders”
        So I am going to assume you mean Stanton, Osuna, and Yelich. Lets get right to dissuading this fantasy. Stanton had a gigantic contract. Part of that contract included a complete No trade clause. So the Marlins had to find someone that wanted to take all that money, AND where Stanton wanted to play. The second part of that ended up being 4ish teams at best. None of them the reds. We could have offered every legitimate prospect in the system. He still would not be a red. Because he didn’t want to be. Ozuna, whose WAR has taken a nosedive since moving to STL. In fact with the exception for the 2017 season where he put up a 6.1 WAR, he has not broken 3. Would the 2018-20 Reds be better with him on the team. Probably, but it wouldn’t be worth the price to pay, even if we could keep the top 5 prospects out of it. Then of course there is Yelich. Yes, he is good, No there is no way the reds could have swung a trade for him without using the top 5. Brinson was the Brewers top prospect at the time (senzel,) the other 2 position players were in the top ten (siri, etc.) AND the Marlins had been destroyed in the Local Press for letting Stanton go at a loss, and Dee and Ozuna go for less then value. That being said, Yelich had actually regressed in his 2017 season and no one could be reasonably expected to assume he would be the NL MVP. The FO cannot be faulted for not breaking the bank for a player of 2017 Yelich’s value. The Brewers and for that manner the Phillies (JT Realmuto) have placed themselves into win now mode with no reasonable reinforcements coming for them (especially the Brewers) would I trade Trammel and Senzel for 2017 Yelich, absolutely not. Expecially seeing the price it took us to get Kemp and Puig.

        One last thing. There is a big deal being made about all these home runs he has hit to start the system. If the Reds were playing in a climate controlled stadium where is was effectively summer every day they would be hitting like it as well. Lets see how he does when he is freezing tonight

      • VaRedsFan

        Stanton was never coming here, and that’s fine…pricetag/no trade…no big deal. But to say it would have taken Senzel and Trammell, is just foolish. I said it then and will say it now, They should have unloaded Senzel, and a few similar prospects (Siri) that the Brewers gave up. No way the Marlins would have taken Brinson over Senzel. You can believe whatever you want to make up. The Reds blew their chance to have CF locked up for the next 6-7 years

      • matthew hendley

        There is no package anywhere, and I mean anywhere that I would have put Senzel in with someone else. Not Yelich, defiantly not 2017 Yelich. The Reds probably did make an offer. The Marlins didn’t want it. The FO don’t have the ability to know what a 3rd Party FO is trading away for it. Oh and by Moving Senzel to CF, We can in fact have it locked up for 6-7 Actual years, not the 4 remaining years that are on Yelich’s current deal. Minus of course how much ever is left when they have to trade him. He is going to the FA Market when it runs out. The Brewers will have to rebuild. Their Farm system is poor, Payroll is as high as its ever been and realistically the highest they can afford without losing money. They will have to win it all within the next 2-3 years or start a rebuild. SO no, the Brewers are not getting 4 full years of yelich

  2. burtgummer

    I know this was only game 2 but the Reds should be embarrassed.
    Defense,offense and starting pitching was just awful
    It can’t get worse than this so it’ll get better

  3. Reddawg12

    Not concerned about Gray yet, and I think the offense will come around (Suarez, Winker, Kemp, and Puig won’t go hitless all season.) My biggest concern at the moment is Schebler in CF. He isn’t strong enough offensively to make up for being such a liability defensively. And I really wish he would just learn how to lay a bunt down ANYWHERE toward the 3rd base side. I just think he needs to be coming off the bench. Hopefully, they can get Senzel up ASAP.

    • Wayne nabors

      Schebler should never have been kept over senzel,no matter how the reds spin it,it was bad move

  4. redsfan06

    Just watched the Brewers come from behind 9th inning rally to beat the Cards. It’s early, but they look as good as they did last year so far.

    • Mason Red

      They are a WS contender. It’s impressive what that franchise has accomplished.

    • VaRedsFan

      Amazing what picking up an MVP for a prospect will do.

  5. Hotto4Votto

    Even though the end results weren’t great, just ok, I thought BobSteve showed a lot of good today. He was dealing through his first four batters, I think the Suarez error putting the guy on second may have got in his head for a second, as evidenced by the wild throw into CF shortly after. But he settled back in and got the last two outs.

    Overall 2 IP, 3 K’s 0 BBs (which may be the most important stat of the day) and 2 H. You’ll take that sort of outing more days than not.

    • WVRedlegs

      I thought there was some good take away from Stephenson’s outing. He really only threw one bad pitch and that was to Matte on the double. And the one bad throw to the CF, of course.
      Next 2 games will be in cold temps too but Wednesday afternoon will be nice, 60’s.
      Will it be Mahle Wednesday or Castillo on Wednesday?? Will they skip Mahle? Or would having Castillo do 6 or 7 days between starts be good early on?

      • Hotto4Votto

        I had wondered the same about Mahle making the start after the postponed game. But, got to figure that’s too long for Mahle to sit out and he’ll need to be back on the 7th.

      • ToBeDetermined

        WV

        In the pregame DB said they wouldn’t skip anyone. But, did say it was subject to change.

  6. Old-school

    If the reds are to win 85 games, they need to win series against the NL central. On paper, this was a game the Reds should win. The Pirates have SP and a bullpen and today’s game wasn’t close.

    Defense matters but so far the vaunted new outfield offense hasnt shown up. It’s only 2 games but I agree with CF defense concerns. SS and CF are key positions. Jose Iglesias looks like a GG shortstop and makes this team better. I didnt see Suarez error today but he looked good on Opening Day. Suarez needs to play good defense at 3b in 2018 and the Reds need to find a long term CF. Senzel gets a chance but I’m not sure that’s his best position.

    • Shchi Cossack

      Schebs’ error today was an effort error. He was charging a line drive in RCF and trying to keep the runner on 1B from going to 3B. He made an ackward reach and reverse-turn move to come up throwing in one motion, but booted the ball in the process, allowing the hitter to reach 2B.

      He had little to no chance of stopping the runner from reaching 3B and would have been better served to field the ball cleanly, keeping the hitter at 1B.

  7. Oldtimer

    LOL at Stephenson being best P in NL this year. Hilarious. Not even best P in Reds bullpen.

    • Matthew

      Chad Dotson’s middle name is facetious. His parents didn’t do him any favors with that one.

  8. Shchi Cossack

    BD & DJ have done a good job of getting their 8-man bullpen involved over the first 2 games. Lorenzen and Stephenson pitched multi-inning stints today. the key will be keeping the entire bullpen involved on a regular basis so no one gets buried and stagnant from inactivity. The scheduled 7 games without an off day should provide ample opportunities during the coming week, but off days during the following week could mean someone sits for a week or more without any game action.

    I understand DB’s desire to field a 5-man starting rotation and staff an 8-man bullpen even with multiple early scheduled off days, but I believe his effort to provide pitching flexibility and a less strenuous pitching schedule early in the season may get counterproductive.

    • ToBeDetermined

      Shchi

      Clearly they are looking to provide as you say “a less strenuous pitching schedule early in the season”

      The Reds bullpen has run out of gas at least the last 3 seasons. Hopefully that’s not the case this year.

  9. Daytonian

    Was at the game today. Good seats right by Votto. (Lots of good seats were available). Two thoughts on Sonny Gray.

    1. It was cold at GABP. Very cold. I’m not worried. Sonny will be a different pitcher in warm weather–in baseball weather.

    2. Sonny actually had the first inning under control, but the fielding unnerved him–including his own error that led to a run and an amazingly prolonged pitch count in the first inning. Someone above mentioned Homer Bailey. I hope Gray can show greater composure and, unlike Homer, does not let the little things on the field rattle him.

  10. Show Triple Slash

    Cubs fans’ comments will be interesting tonight. That pitching to date…..

  11. Jreis

    Reds fan since the 1960s here and I got to tell you I don’t know if I can take another year of this Bad News Bears routine. I mean this is going on 6 years people.
    4 errors. Lazy base running, confused swings. Just worries me that this is the second game of the season and there is already a lack of enthusiasm that was present during the Price/ Riggleman era. I’m just worried that Bell may not be the guy that can motivate our reds team!

    • Indy Red Man

      Teams always look lethargic when they have nobody on base. Its not a question of motivation. Its just a team that has some bad defenders and some bad/slow baserunners and a thin bullpen. It will be an interesting team in the end, but they’ll be doing well to get close to .500.

      My worries are Senzel’s health and where they go after all these contracts expire at the end of the year?

      Will most of their guys in their mid to late 20s blossom? Guys like Castillo, Disco, Garrett, Sonny G., Lorenzen, Mahle, Peraza, Schebler, and Winker. They can’t afford to miss on too many of those guys. The Cards have too many strong arms and Milw scores a ton and has good arms. The Cubs are loaded with an everyday 8 and $$, and the Pirates always seem to play a little smarter and a little more fundamentally sound then the Reds do.

      • Jreis

        And I agree with you Indy Red man we probably don’t have the talent to compete right now in the nl central and honestly may never really compete for a World Series again with the changes in the game and huge contracts. And honestly I am fine with that but come on man I just want to see more effort and desperation, that’s all.

        Like take the 9th inning. I know we are down 5-0 and the game is probably over but Joey needs to make that double a triple. He was just staring at the ball and jogging into second base. I mean he is the leader of our team. At least bring a little excitement to the game!!

      • Rich H

        Jreis I was out in left field, good angle to watch it, and he’d have been out by a country mile. And losing a baserunner there does way more to kill the momentum and sends the wrong example.

      • Jay

        Jreis. Sure we need to manage our own expectations about this being a transition year, but i dont think you could say a WS is never gonna happen. The Royals and Astros are good examples in recent memory. If the Reds can at least get back to some semblance of a .500 team the key pieces will be in place for a PS run in 2020.

  12. Earl

    Pirates are going to have decent to good starting pitching.

    Too bad they did not play on Friday, the weather wasn’t bad that night.

  13. Rich H

    Those bleachers were COLD today. It looked like Sonny just didn’t have his curve at all today, tough for him to be successful without it. It looked like almost all of them were going about 55 feet. Just guessing on the pitch selection from the outfield, but that’s what it looked like. He was really spinning ’em in Arizona though, bet it’s tougher in a cloudy 36°. Here’s hoping to a rebound next time.

    Stephenson looked great until everything got shaky, he made at least 3 guys look SILLY. Joey is swinging with authority, looks a lot more willing to pull the ball so far this year. Might have 2 HR so far if this were June weather.

    Still excited about this team!

  14. Jay

    Welp, definitely a lackluster performance all around. However, hats off to Trevor Williams on doing a great job of not allowing the Reds to get anything going. I don’t know what he does to make that 91 mph fastball look like a 98 mph fastball but the Reds bats looked like they couldn’t catch up to it at all today. It’s already been noted that the defense performed poorly so not going to beat a dead horse. Its early, its cold, and guys like Schebler/ Peraza are not in same positions they were in last season. Sonny Gray really looked nervous out there. Not sure if it was the weather, or first game jitters, but he was off his element. The bats didn’t have it today, though its encouraging to see Votto lacing doubles deep into the outfield again. Hopefully all his work in the offseason pays off and he will once again be an MVP frontrunner. Not concerned right now. I still think this team is going to score a ton of runs. This series against the Brewers is going to be a tough one. I don’t want to put much of an emphasis on it, but it may provide an early litmus test for how well the Reds handle big teams all season. Don’t fret Reds fans, the team will not go 1-161 this year.

    • Indy Red Man

      Its going to be a fun year! I think Puig will be a star in Cincy when he gets going! I think Bell has shown that he’s willing to look outside the box. Personally I’d like to see Lorenzen in the rotation at some point and maybe a few starts in CF once in a while? The guy has unusual talent for sure. I feel like he’s always experimenting out on the mound instead of sticking with a certain delivery and selection of pitches. If the new pitching coach can find a way to get him to just pound the zone with power sinkers then he could be a guy that could get doubleplays and get thru 5 ip with 60 pitches. BobSteve has raw stuff…and Mahle, Garrett, and Reed. Senzel and Winker on offense. We have talent but this is the year to sort it out and polish it up!

  15. WVRedlegs

    Looks like Alex Wood isn’t coming back by mid-April. No setbacks at least. Maybe end of April. It will take that long to get him to build up innings. Mahle might get 4 or 5 starts.

  16. CFD3000

    Come on folks. This was one cold, blustery game against a pitcher who was dealing, with either a generous strike zone or Cervelli getting an A+ in pitch framing. The defensive lapses are disappointing, but perhaps it gives DB an opportunity to clarify the effort and mental attentiveness that he’s expecting. The Reds did not just go from World Series favorites to obvious cellar dwellers in one rough game. Patience everyone.

  17. jay johnson

    Observations taken from today.
    Grey had no curveball or breaking pitch AT ALL.
    Grey was afraid to put the ball over the plate,he was nibbling and home plate ump did him no favors,not once.
    Tucker is the worst framer in the league.He needs to learn to bring the ball into the strike zone ,not just to the black.
    Weather was a huge factor .Reds looked like,from first pitch that they didnt want to be playing.
    Suarez needs more ST.He looks like he is a bit late on every swing at the plate.
    Joey is going to get back to hitting over 25 maybe 30 bombs this year.
    Had to mute our beloved broadcasters about 5 times today.Cant stand how the opponent is the topic 90% of the broadcast.

    After reading comments here:
    We need to back off on criticizing Schebler.He has pretty much done everything that Senzel would have in the field.
    Our offense needs to get going,RIGHT NOW.
    Lorenzen seems to be a few steps ahead of the rest of the pen.Could break into the rotation if anyone fails.
    The team will be just fine when 1-6 hit like capable,pitchers start putting the ball in the strike zone and the temperature goes above 60.

    • VaRedsFan

      Ditto on Tucker framing. Jt Realmutto would have looked great as a Red. His catching abilities could have at least given our pitchers that small edge. All edges count!

    • Still a Red

      Hard to frame when pitches aren’t even close.

  18. Klugo

    Pirates have put together a surprisingly nice team. If they stay healthy, they may make a little noise.

  19. lost11found

    Enjoy the Cavs in the Final Four Chad!

    They did me a favor by beating Purwho. The bucket to tie the game in regulation was nuts. Edwards and cline finally ran out of rabbits.

  20. Still a Red

    Hard to frame when pitches aren’t even close.

  21. Vada

    Jreis’s comments earlier today are RIGHT ON !!!

    I too have been a fan since the early 60s.

    Is the problem LAZINESS or a lack of enthusiasm? You tell me. How do you think the 8 starters feel playing with Votto who makes more per game/year than all 8 COMBINED. Especially when the 8 typically out-play Votto on a regular basis. Huge contracts do tend to create RESENTNENT especially when their performance does NOT justify the income.

    Replace Votto with Pete Rose at Votto’s age and the Reds are an absolute CONTENDER.

    Show Votto the Door. Votto 2 for 4 BIG DEAL. The money he makes per game ($136K) that should be a daily expectation.

    The path to a WS is NO MORE HUGE CONTRACTS. Instead, seek out as many CHARLIE HUSTLES you can find.

    No manager can instill enthusiasm within a team like the Reds as it currently exists as long as RESENTNENT fester’s in the mind of players making LOW income.

    How would you feel if a co-employee of yours earned over 10 times your pay and you out performed him on the majority of days? Enough said.

    • Steve Mancuso

      About the same as I do about this comment.