The story of the Reds season so far can be summarized in the quick jaunt I took up the block to get some lunch and “all of a sudden” the fifth and sixth innings were over. Of course, I was watching on my phone, but still.

The Reds pitchers have been efficient at getting outs, yet the Reds hitters have been more efficient at giving them away. The result: A three-game sweep with every game decided by a single run.

Final R H E
Milwaukee Brewers (6-1) 1 2 0
Cincinnati Reds (1-4) 0 3 0
W: Peralta (1-0) L: Castillo (0-1) S: Wilson (1)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

THE GOOD:

Luis Castillo was absolute nails today. He struck out the first three batters he faced, all of them swinging over his dastardly change-up. Ben Gamel in particular was made the fool by the pitch multiple times on the day. Walks were Castillo’s one downfall, though other than a walk to Jesus Aguilar that brought home the game’s only run, he worked around them. Castillo finished with nine strikeouts to his four walks and ceded the game to Amir Garrett.

After giving up a leadoff double to pinch hitter Lorenzo Cain, Garrett buckled down and got out of the inning with a pop-up, strikeout, and flyball. In my opinion, of the Reds bullpen options, Garrett has looked the best so far.

You’d really think with the Reds pitching combining for a two-hitter today, there would be more positives. Alas, the bats. The cursed bats.

THE BAD:

The aforementioned Aguilar run was truly a comedy of errors. Castillo walked Aguilar on four straight pitches and then looked to pick him off at first. Except, Joey Votto wasn’t covering the bag. Castillo pocketed the ball but balked Aguilar to second, allowing the slow-footed first baseman to score on Manny Pina’s single.

Later in the game, Chris Welsh chided the Reds first baseman and pitching staff for how they were holding on runners after Christian Yelich stole second with a massive lead. “I’m not that fired up by the way the Reds are holding runners at first base,” Welsh started. “[They’re] almost running without fear and you’ve got to put a little fear, a little hesitation into the mind of the runner.” Lorenzo Cain stole third in the eighth as well.

This offense is just bleh right now. The outfielders not named Yasiel Puig are now 1 for the season, with three walks and 15 strikeouts. Matt Kemp‘s ninth inning single gave the Reds hope, ultimately for naught.

Scott Schebler in particular continues to do himself no favors with a sombrero on the day. Yes it’s early in the season and Schebler has proven himself previously, but with one Nick Senzel nipping at his heels, you’d think he’d make more of an effort to lay off the high fastball.

EVERYTHING ELSE:

Puig came up to pinch hit for Jose Iglesias in the bottom of the eighth and battled well, fouling off pitch after pitch. Eventually, he succumbed and struck out on a curveball in the dirt. Neither good nor bad, just a sad glimpse of hope.

Today is the 30th anniversary of The Kid’s debut. That’s a happy thought. Here’s a happy thread of Ken Griffey Jr. tweets to end this morose recap:

57 Responses

  1. matthew hendley

    Matt Kemp is the best non Puig outfielder ever. (sarcasm) The Bats need to get going, cause the pitching in places looks like it is going to be legit. Not horribly into the season standings so far. Many a team were winning the world in April and were out of it by mid August. Poor batting, poor, poor, poor. Hope we work over PITs

  2. Hanawi

    Schebler has proven himself previously? Not sure I agree with that statement.

    • Wesley Jenkins

      I mean he had a 109 wRC+ last year which is definitely better than average but a fair quibble. I think he’s a worthy bench bat at the end of the day.

      • jim walker

        Schebler’s streakiness makes Jay Bruce look like the leading candidate to be 2nd to Votto as the Reds most consistent hitter since the turn of the century (20th to 21st)

      • ToBeDetermined

        Jim — getting carried away a little there.

        Oh the days of Jay Bruce. Love his production or Hate it. No middle ground.

  3. Kap

    Senzel has to stay healthy for him to be “nipping at the heels”. He’s barely played over the last year now

  4. jreis

    man for all of you old timers on rln does this season remind you of the 1982 season or not? so many close games but the offense just cant generate enough run scoring plays. OF course we only won 61 games that year but it was actually a fairly entertaining team for a 100 loss season.

    • Red Fan In FL

      If the Reds offense doesn’t turn it around, Luis Castillo might just become this generation’s Mario Soto

  5. CI3J

    Far be it from me to try to draw any meaningful conclusions after what has been roughly 3% of the season, but it’s pretty ironic that many expected the Reds to have a pretty solid offense while the pitching was still a question mark. Well, the pitching has thus far been pretty good, but the offense has been fully deserving of the “TOS” lable to far.

    I have a feeling all it’s going to take is one big game where they score about 7 runs to really click things into gear, then we’ll all be having fun. But until it happens, just gotta keep grinding and hope to get some wins.

    • jim walker

      I think the pitching looks pretty good mainly because the offense has been so bad. The bullpen nearly blew a lead on opening day; and was instrumental in the first two losses of versus the Brewers.

      I don’t think (at least yet) these Reds are 1982 bad as previously suggested; but, right now they are playing just poorly enough to lose 3 games they had a shot at winning against what looks to be a pretty good Brewers team.

      • CP

        They gave up 9 runs in 3 games versus one of the best offenses in MLB. That is why the pitching looks good.

      • Reddawg12

        I disagree with this. I think the pitching looks good because for the most part, it has been. The Reds have a team ERA so far of 3.00, good for 2nd in the NL and 9th in all of MLB. Obviously, it’s a small sample size, but the offense being bad is also based on small sample size.

  6. WVRedlegs

    And to think, Baltimore already has 4 wins.

    • TR

      How about those Rays with 5 wins and 0-0 against the Rockies today in the 10th.

  7. Big Ed

    I hope the Zion Williamson of baseball is s junior in high school, because the Reds are gonna have a shot at getting him.

    Jesse Winker took the first pitch to him in the 9th inning for a strike. It was in the geometric center of the plate, thigh high. He will never in his career see a more hittable pitch. Couldn’t pull the trigger.

    At least we already know that Puig, Wood, Roark and Kemp will all be gone by late July. Probably Gennett, too.

    • CI3J

      It’s 5 games out of 162. Literally barely more than 3% of the season.

      Relax. This offense is better than they’ve shown so far.

      • Big Ed

        If they are twice as good as they’ve shown so far, they still lose 100 games.

        Today’s outfield was 0-for-41, until Grandaddy Kemp grounded one through the hole. The pitching staff is 5-for-5 in walking at least 5 guys per game. Most high school teams, even in Vermont, have better team speed than the Reds. Barnhart is the only regular who is an above-average fielder, if you don’t call Iglesias a regular. Votto has become Dr. Strangeglove at 1B.

        They have apparently decided to call up Senzel in some undisclosed future year, so that he will be under control of the Nashville Reds in 2025.

        Can’t anybody here play this game?

      • Old-school

        Big Ed pretty much summarizes it.
        Reds can’t beat NL central. 4 more in Pittsburgh. Anything other than 2-2 and April is a lost cause.

      • greenmtred

        Even in Vermont? That seems a bit gratuitous. Care for a race uphill on snowshoes? This year was going to be an illustration of why hitting is more important than fielding and speed, but the experiment will fail unless the “hitters” hit.

      • Big Ed

        Green Mountain, I had a friend in college from New Hampshire who claimed to be a top hurdler in high school. He wouldn’t have made second-team All-Home Room at my school. I assumed that Vermont baseballers were equally slow on firm, dry footing, even if plenty swift on the ice.

      • greenmtred

        BigED: New Hampshire ain’t Vermont, ayuh. If you look at a map, you will note that New Hampshire is upside-down. ‘Nuff said.

    • Seat101

      I believe the previous four pitches to the previous batter were all balls.

      • Big Ed

        So, then, Winker shouldn’t expect at least the possibility of a get-em-over fastball?

  8. WVRedlegs

    Bats are afraid.
    Ask Jobu to come, take fear away from bats.
    Offer him cigar, rum. He will come.
    Here is to Jobu.
    It is very bad to steal Jobu’s rum.
    I need to stop on the way home and get a bucket of chicken, a cigar and a bottle of rum to exorcise some bats tonight. Before they get to Pittsburgh.

    • Charlie Waffles

      Hey bartender, Jobu needs a refill !!

    • ToBeDetermined

      WV

      I figure after reading your post.
      Either a person is laughing their rear off OR they think your from another planet.

      • WVRedlegs

        I’m from over around Rigel.
        We had a nice little ceremony last night. We sacrificed a small bucket of chicken, and drank and smoked to Jobu. Lets see if it helps the bats tonight.

  9. wizeman

    Looking at the positives. With the exception of Gray pitching in frigid temps… the starting pitching has been a vast improvement. After a shaky first Roark found some rhythm.
    Am I concerned about the bats… sure… who isn’t. However Winker hit a couple of shots and Votto already has more hits than he usually does in April.
    I am sorry they found no takers for Gennett but maybe they miss an intangible that I know nothing about.
    Now Schebler…; that is another story. Don’t believe in him.. sorry. Leash has to be short. Ready for Ervin if he does not come around… quickly.
    Senzel pronto when ankle fine. Fracturing a finger diving for a ball and rolling an ankle sliding aren’t a symptom of an issue.
    I am lucky enough to be around high level athletes daily… sometimes you just get hurt playing the game or practicing.
    We are better than last year. What I was hoping for.

    • ToBeDetermined

      wizeman
      You are being a wiseman.
      As badly as they have swung the bats so far they have been more competitive than last year. If they can get the bats going some and they keep getting fairly good pitching they can start to put together a little win streak.

  10. Mason Red

    So are there still those who think Scooter isn’t that important???

    • Bred

      Agreed! He did seem to provide the spark to ignite the offense, but I don’t have the math to prove it. If there were such a thing as a clutch hitter, I would say he has been that guy for the Reds.

      • VaRedsFan

        Without a doubt. He would always come up with a big hit in a big situation. Suarez might have had better stats at the end of the year, but I want Scooter at the plate when you really need a big knock.

      • BigRedMike

        In 2018, Gennett had a wRC+ of 92 in High Leverage situations. A 142 wRC+ in Low Leverage situations. 117 wRC+ with runners in scoring position.

        Suarez had a wRC+ of 148 in High Leverage situations. 150 wRC+ with runners in scoring position.

        Votto has a wRC+ of 146 in High Leverage situations. 170 wRC+ with runners in scoring position.

      • Slicc50

        Scooter has been very good as a Red getting runners Home. He is a BIG loss. What kills his WRC+ numbers in those situations is his bb/k ratio is roughly 1/3. Votto and Suarez are more around the 1/1 bb:k ratio. As far as getting the hits and driving in the runs, he is right there with those guys. Not quite as good at extending the inning for the next guy in line though. So you probably don’t want him hitting near the top of the line up. Darn good hitting middle to lower part of lineup!

  11. SultanofSwaff

    Up and down the lineup this offense has been simply awful at hitting the fastball so far.

    • ToBeDetermined

      Sultan
      I haven’t seen any of the games. If that’s true and continues then this is going to be a long season.
      Most major league hitters should be able to hit a fastball.

  12. BigRedMike

    It is a long season, but, there are some concerns.
    Losing 4 of 5 at home to division teams is not good

    The pitching will be decent this season, maybe not enough with this inconsistent offense.

    31k in attendance for a 3 game series has to be concerning to ownership. The start will not help.

  13. Darrel

    I hate being 1-4. But, man, if we complain this much this early…it gonna be an extra long year.

    • vegastypo

      Yup, agree here. … I never quite bought into this being an 80-plus win team, so everyone can feel free to mock me if that actually happens. I think the target has to be 2020, when even more money comes off the books. Expecting too much this season is overly ambitious.

      But still, it’s five games. The four losses have been by a combined eight runs. … We haven’t seen Alex Wood yet, Senzel will be up in due course, and Scooter in a few months.

  14. Vada

    Like Jreis I am an ‘ole timmer Reds fans. Commentators on RLN are expecting another BIG RED MACHINE. Never happen. Big Red asks if any RLN can play the game. At 70 I can drop a foul ball, forget to cover first, and especially strikeout just as graceless as Votto does. All without being paid a cent. At $136,000 per game Votto should return his paycheck to the owner for games like today.

  15. Mark Lang

    Every pitcher we’ve seen this year looks like the 2nd coming of Cy Young.

  16. Oldtimer

    1961 Reds started 6-10. 1961 Reds finished 93-61 and won first NL Pennant for Reds in 21 years.

    It’s 5 games into the season.

    • Big Ed

      Frank Robinson in his prime is not walking through that door.

      Another analogy is that last year’s team started 1-4, on its way to 3-18 and 95 losses. Frank Robinson didn’t walk through the door last year, either.

      The rosy scenario thus year was 81 wins, and maybe a hair better. The only question left now is whether Puig, Wood and Roark will bring enough in trade to make up for losing Rainey, JoJo Gray and Jeter Downs. That would be a miracle.

  17. VaRedsFan

    Last year the Reds were DEAD LAST in 1 run games.
    They were NEXT TO LAST in 2 run games.

    I know people believe it’s nothing more than a statistical anomaly.
    People also believe there is no such thing in clutch hitting.

    I tend to believe that many players perform different when the pressure is on.
    Last years close game record is indicative of how most of these Reds perform in these situations.

    I understand that you don’t stop playing the game when you are down 8-1 (or up 8-1) and those hits and HRs you get, count the same towards a players final stats. But when it’s crunch time in a close game, those hits just aren’t coming.

    • CP

      And yet a bunch of the Reds hitters hit well with RISP. Votto, Gennett, Suarez all hit really well with RISP in general.

      The reason the Reds lost a ton of 1 run games was the putrid pitching, particularly out of the bullpen.

      I get it, a lot of the fans overreacting are trying to extrapolate last year’s results to reach some type of dumb pessimistic hypothesis. about this season. The 2019 Reds might be a bad baseball team, but so far, they haven’t indicated they’re going to be a bad baseball team for the same reason they were bad last year.

      That said, if their pitching can perform this well, but the offense stinks, they’ll still be in a good position to win a lot of games. They could easily be 4-1 right now instead of 1-4. People don’t like to hear it, but variance and luck play a huge factor in close games.

      • VaRedsFan

        Skill and will play a bigger factor than luck. Let’s call it 90%-10%… the skill luck/factor. Or maybe you think Billy was just unlucky the past 4 years

  18. ToBeDetermined

    I hate to bring this up. Especially only 5 games in but, we do have a new hitting coach. Maybe there is some growing pains going on there?

  19. Reddawg12

    Small sample size, but the pitching has been decent. 3.00 ERA which is 2nd in the NL. They are doing a much better job of keeping us in games than last year. They actually did a really great job of holding the Brewers offense down, but that was overlooked because of the silent bats. The offense will turn it around, not a matter of if but when. Not sure they have the firepower to really compete for the division, but they are better than this.

  20. Bill J

    Big Ed mentioned Jeter Downs, evidently Jonathan Mayo doesn’t realize he was traded because in an article on the REDS web site Mayo listed him as the Red to have a breakout season.

  21. Still a Red

    Schebler’s routine…takes awhile to find his groove…goes on a tear…gets injured. Lineup is full of hitters…getting off to a relatively slow start. The problem is, they could find themselves out of it by the end of the month.

    • SultanofSwaff

      Precisely. It could get late early. With so many division games in April, a good start is a must.

    • Big Ed

      “Relatively slow start” doesn’t do it justice.

      Winker has been unlucky of late, having hit a few bullet at ’em balls. Suarez is hitting the ball well. Nobody else among the big sticks is doing much of anything.

      They simply have to get off the schneid, soon, or the year is over.