The Cincinnati Reds had one of the most exciting off-seasons in franchise history this winter. The Reds brought in Yasiel Puig, Sonny Gray, Alex Wood, Matt Kemp and Tanner Roark. Bringing in that amount of talent obviously provided excitement for a starving fan base. The Reds were also coming off a 2018 season which featured their worst start in franchise history, when the Reds started the year 3-18. The last thing the Reds wanted this year was a slow start.

The Reds have started the 2019 season 1-4.

This might sounds crazy to some, but I am just as optimistic of the Reds in 2019 as I was last week. Here is why:

The Reds have lost the last three games by a combined three runs. These loses of course came to the team that won the most games in the National League a season ago. If the Reds get literally one more hit in any of those three games, there could be an entirely different record.

Luis Castillo looks like a legit top of the rotation starter. Through first two starts: 12.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 HR, 7 BB, 17 K, 1.42 ERA, 2.12 FIP. Anthony DeSclafani is also healthy for once to start a year, and he had a very good first start as well. These two guys were the holdovers from last years miserable rotation that has been overhauled. Big steps forward from these two will really lengthen the rotation.

The Reds hitter will start…..hitting. The Reds outfield of Scott Schebler, Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp and Jesse Winker are a combined 4 for 48 (.083). All four of those guys are projected to be above average hitters in 2019. They will start hitting, just give it some time. The notion that Scott Schebler has completely forgot to hit seems silly since he is coming off a spring where he hit .342/.490/.579. The Reds are heading to the lovely PNC Park in Pittsburgh today, and the weather forecast is 53, 56, 66 and 72 degrees for the four games. Hopefully some warm weather with a terrific backdrop will get the fellas going.

Raisel Iglesias has not forgot how to pitch. MLB Network’s Brian Kenny ranked Iglesias as the 4th best relief pitcher in all of baseball this off-season and there is good reason for that. When Iglesias gets rolling, the rest of the bullpen will look a lot better.

There are certainly still some questions marks with Sonny Gray and Tanner Roark. The Reds are banking on Derek Johnson being able to fix Gray and Roark has the look of a pitcher who could be on the verge of a major decline. Reds pitcher have also walked 31 batters in 5 games, which is concerning.

One important thing to remember is that reinforcements are on the way. The Reds will be getting Alex Wood, Scooter Gennett and Nick Senzel back at some point in the near future. I know that the first week has certainly been frustrating, but keep the faith Nation! How a team starts the season does not mean a lot over the course of 162 games. It’s a loooooooong season.

The Cubs are 1-4 also.

51 Responses

  1. Jason Marcum

    Well written for sure. I am still optimistic. For me it is/was irritating that their pitching was the main reason they struggled last year overall. Now that has been much better thru the first 5 games and their hitting is why they sit 1-4. It’s like everyone off to a slow start…why couldn’t it be only a couple guys?

    • JayTheRed

      Make the 1 – 5….. Where are the hitters I though this would be a huge year for the offense. So far its like their bats are actually ghosts…

      Kidding aside… Somehow the hitting has to start coming together. Lost by only 5 runs in the past 4 games.

      The pitching has been pretty good so far. I thought hitters were supposed to be ahead of pitchers at this point in the season. We better at least split the 4 game series. The Brewers are going to bury us again early in the season.

  2. jbonireland

    I’ll put my money on Gray and Roarke getting better before I will on Schebler or Kemp. The one guy who has a few hits and I mean a few, Yasiel Puig manages to not start in the 5th game of the season. At this point after five games and it’s only five games, it looks like Bell is the same tinkerer that Price and Riggleman were. Way over thinking managing these games. On the upside, with the exception of Iglesias the pitching looks better.

    • Jeff Gangloff

      The Matt Kemp thing is going to become maddening this year, especially if he doesn’t hit. The Reds need to deal him asap. When Senzel comes back that outfield is going to get even more crowded.

      • matthew hendley

        And yet ‘technically’ Kemp is hitting better then winker.

      • JayTheRed

        Winker finally got a hit tonight. Thank the baseball gods.

    • PhP

      I actually like the way he’s getting at ABs for everyone. Getting creative with ways to get everyone starts is something I thought was missing from the last 3 managers.

    • Earmbrister

      jb – I don’t think the Reds need to justify sitting Puig when he’s “slashing”

      .188/.278/.250

      Yes, that is the best of the four rotating OFrs, but hardly a guy who’s name you write in pen on the lineup card. Don’t know why you’re down on Schebler: he’s a good hitter and probably the only option they have in CF at the moment.

      I appreciate that you recognize the small sample size with Puig and Bell.

  3. WVRedlegs

    The 31 BB’s in 45 IP’s by all Reds pitchers is brutal. Unacceptable, especially after the mandate to get the pitching. The Reds only have 1 pitcher with a BB/9 under 3.00. Robert Stephenson is the only Reds pitcher with a BB/9 under 3.00 at 2.25. I repeat, Robert Stephenson is the only Reds pitcher with a BB/9 under 3.00. Amir Garrett is right at 3.00. Sonny Gray at 13.50 BB/9. Iglesias at 11.57. Lorenzen at 10.13. Peralta at 9.00. Hughes and Hernandez at 6.75. Roark at 6.23.

    • lost11found

      Ahh. the joy of small sample sizes.

      In related news. Paul Goldschmidt and Christian Yelich on pace for 129 homeruns each. Alert the Media!

      All kidding aside, I agree that walks haunt and need to be reduced, but take a deep breath WV.

      • Colorado Red

        I remember the old (real old) scoreboard at Riverfront, with the walks will haunt on the scorebaord.

      • Earmbrister

        Kinda ironic that Rob S. is the “control freak “ of this staff to date.

  4. James H.

    Not to be a downer, but man, I am not really pleased with the 4 games hole they’ve created. I am sure they are not pleased either, so let’s just hope it doesn’t become 10…

    • David

      Give it two or three weeks. Then it will be 10 games.

  5. Mark Lang

    I’ve certainly not given up hope – but the type of play (the errors/mental mistakes), the walks by the pitching – the decisions made by the manager – is not indicative of long term success.

  6. matthew hendley

    Not sounding the alarm until at least 18 games in. Guaranteed 3 times through the rotation. Bats will have a significant size. Wood will improve the rotation. If I am not mistaken, Mahle should start tonight. Will be an opportunity for him to show he can knock of one of the other starters when Wood returns. Many teams last year were in 1st Place last year at this time that absolutely tanked by seasons end.

    • Michael Carey

      Last year the team was 3-15 after 18 games and the season was already lost. Maybe this year the team shouldn’t wait to put it self in a 10-12 game hole before it starts to dig out?

    • JayTheRed

      I’m starting to worry about Bell’s Hook the 3rd time through the opposing team’s lineup philosophy. Mahle looked pretty good through 6 innings and then guess what the bullpen gave up the lead. This is the 3rd time I have seen this already in this short season where the starter seemed to be going fine and he gets pulled early and boom we lose again.

      Disco, Castillo, and now Mahle have all given us good starts this season let them play a little deeper into games please.

      • Still a Red

        No choice. The team needed runs!

  7. Matt WI

    The Reds need a palate cleanser… wish they weren’t retreading the Pirates already. But hey, maybe the road will speak to them.

    • ToBeDetermined

      Matt
      Yea, I think they need a change of scenery.
      A Road Trip, outside of the Wooing Fans can help reset a winning attitude.

      • Matt WI

        The “woo” has really overstayed its welcome hasn’t it?

      • doofus

        The “wooing” is as dumb as the Tomahawk Chop, maybe more so.

  8. SultanofSwaff

    (not feeling frustrated, just matter of fact)

    In such a tough division with a divisional opponent heavy schedule in April, it might get late early. I know it’s impossible to quantify, but taking a month to find yourself both for the players and coaches is simply business as usual. If there’s no sense of urgency what’s the point of all these changes?

    • ToBeDetermined

      Sultan
      Good point about finding yourself for both the players and coaches.
      I remember when DB (Dusty Baker) came in, it took him an entire year to really get a handle on the players that he had and how to properly use them. Hopefully, this doesn’t take an entire year.
      We have 30% + change over in player personnel.
      We have a brand new Head Coach. Hitting Coach. Pitching Coach.
      That’s a lot of changes all at once.

      • PhP

        Actually based on opening day rosters from 2018, they have over 50% new players. I think it was 13 player’s on last year’s opening day roster are no longer with the team.

    • David

      I’m sure the players want to win. I’m sure the manager and his coaches want to win. And I am sure the ownership wants to win.

      Having said all that, losing and playing poorly is not winning. Playing poorly is
      1) too many walks
      2) too many fielding errors
      3) no timely hitting with men on base

      If you subtract Dietrich’s pinch hit home run, the Reds are 0 – 5. Was that home run and winning that game an outlier to how the Reds have actually played this year? And frankly, they did not play that well in Spring Training (cue the comment: But Spring Training Games don’t matter!).
      No they don’t. But it doesn’t seem like the team has sharpened up much from then.

  9. Eric Wormus

    These next 8 games with Pittsburgh and Miami are going to be huge perception-wise. The Reds only have 6 more games at GABP in April; 3 with Miami and 3 with Atlanta.

    If they can take 6/8 from Pittsburgh/Miami and head out on the long road trip with at least a winning record, they may be able to whether 2 games against St. Louis in Mexico, 3 in LA and 4 in SD.

    If they can only manage 4-4 or 3-5 at best in the next 8 game stretch, things could get incredibly ugly come May.

    But hey, maybe Bob can just use that as an excuse to keep Senzel down in AAA this year so they can play service time games with him for a 3rd consecutive year.

  10. Klugo

    Scooter and Senzel will provide a boost. By the time Scooter gets back, it may be too late, though. Whoda thought that the best chance for Scooter to get an extension would be by getting injured.

  11. TR

    The Reds are only a game and a half out of 2nd. place, so I’m not worried yet.

  12. Moses

    Totally agree on the thrust of the article. And like the Reds, my hope is that Redleg Nation proofreading will also improve as the season goes on. Way too many errors but the season is still young, isn’t it?

  13. doofus

    The Reds do not have the overall pitching and hitting talent to hide their inability to play fundamental baseball. They are still throwing to the wrong base, committing dumb baserunning mistakes, not holding runners, etc.

    I saw sloppy fundamentals from principle players in Arizona. The mess continues 5 games into the regular season. One might ask: “Where is the coaching?” Yet when you think of it Puig never saw a baserunner heading for home that he thought he could not throw out from deep RF. Suarez and Votto seem to enjoy being the poster boys for TOOTBLAN. Votto does not like baserunners to visit first base, he is afraid of getting 2-minutes for “holding.”

    It is with curmudgeonly like cynicism that I proclaim the Red’s will be another sub-70 win team…again. Hopefully, I am wrong.

    • Don A

      You would think professional athletes getting paid millions of dollars would be able to play fundamental baseball!!!

      • Doc

        Perhaps it is because players are making millions that they don’t attach priority to fundamental baseball, especially when they can get seven figure raises through arbitration for below average seasons.

  14. doofus

    I can understand Nick’s optimism. However, you can change the date on this article to 4/4/2018. I remember reading similar thoughts back then. After 5 games, nothing seems to have been changed with this team.

  15. doofus

    It is with my fingers crossed that I hope Mr. Williams and Krall stay busy trying to find talent for this team. Perhaps they will find a player or two to provide a spark for this team. Maybe a pitcher or hitter; or, several of both?

    Do they look at Bumgarner? Do they revisit Kluber or Bauer? Do they stop screwing around with Nick Senzel and stick him in CF or 2B; and, make Winker an everyday starter?

    The front office must remain proactive.

    • Indy Red Man

      Kluber is too old and thrown too many sliders. Now Bauer or Clevinger might be another story.

      Cleveland is a mystery to me? They were so close to winning it all and they have a fantastic rotation, but they let Brantley, Andrew Miller, and Edwin E. go? Now they may not have enough offense to get by Minnesota….esp w/Lindor out. I think there could be a great fit with the Reds at some point? They’re behaving like a seller and not a buyer. I’d give them Senzel for Clevinger in a heartbeat myself.

      • doofus

        Tom Seaver was about the same age as Kluber when he was traded to the Reds in ’77. Seaver also threw many sliders. I know: Kluber is not Tom Seaver.

        How about MadBum? Is he young enough?

  16. jreis

    honestly I am most worried about David Bell. He is too analytical and lacks the intensity this club needs to turn things around. he is putting the cart before the horse with the 4 outfielder shifts and not holding base runners on. we are not good enough fundamentally to be resorting to trickery.

  17. Indy Red Man

    I want to be optimistic, but my patience is thin. Yesterday I was home, but Castillo balks a guy to 2nd when Joey wasn’t holding him on, then Schebler lollipops a throw to the plate with 2 outs when he 0.00 % chance of getting the guy and the hitter strolled into 2nd. I was done for the day. Fool me 4 years in a row or whatever and shame on you….but this year its shame on me if I keep watching the same nonsense.

    • Indy Red Man

      I will say its got to be better to be a Reds fan then a Cubs fan at this point. Their posers/fans pack Wrigley to the rafters every game and yet their management made zero attempt to improve in the off-season. Its not like Brandon Morrow hasn’t been hurt before. I’d be furious if I was a hardcore Cubs fan! Atleast we can enjoy some schadenfreude with every bullpen meltdown they have!

    • Don A

      Probably why there are so many empty seats at the ballpark!

    • Doc

      Does the pitcher not notice that no one is covering?
      Was Votto instructed by the manager to play back?
      Bad fundamentals from outfielders is inexcusable.

  18. Jefferson Green

    Reminder: if this were a football season, it would still be in the first half of the first game. Almost every ‘trend’ and ‘hot take’ is merely an exercise in over-extrapolation. Of course, we all want to see a strong start, but a team’s fortunes rely much more on how they react to their situation – strong or not – and build a good year. I dislike a set of things that I have seen, so far, but am not swayed into gloom by them, and will enjoy watching DB and the staff, the players, and the front office build a good team, even if it takes two seasons.

  19. CI3J

    Lads:

    IT’S ONLY BEEN FIVE GAMES!

    As I said in another thread, that is literally BARELY more than 3% of a season. That would be like judging an NFL team after watching them play the first half of their first game.

    This team is not as bad as they have shown. The offense is collectively hitting .167/.244/.269. THAT WILL NOT CONTINUE.

    I know in this modern era everyone likes instant results and instantly jumps to conclusions, but I thought we as baseball fans knew better than this.

    I repeat: this team is NOT this bad. They are very likely a .500 team, perhaps even slightly better. They are currently 3 games under .500. with 157 more to play.

    Relax, folks.

    • Don A

      I am sure that it what they players are being told why still earning their paychecks! Next thing you know, you are 12 games out with 3 other clubs to climb over. They can relax in the off season!

    • Indy Red Man

      If I had Andy Dalton then the first half of the 1st game (from a game 6 years ago) would be all I need to know. Sorry….love teasing Bengal fans. You did get us last year.

      As for the Reds. They will score runs and I think Bell will figure it out, but lets look at reality. I’d feel the same way if they were 4-1. Cubs are better or will use their financial advantage to be better. Milw is better. St Louis just picked up a hitter thats top 10 in the game plus Andrew Miller. Reyes is also back. The Reds are just climbing uphill. Its going to be tough. I love them. We all love them, but they need a bunch of young guys to break out to be competitive!

  20. matthew hendley

    A real reason to be optimistic prior to the Pirate series. Corey Dickerson is heading to the IL. Another pirates series, another Pirates injury

  21. Jefferson Green

    Big strike zone tonight. Making it easier to pitch well. And get through a game before the rain (or cold) gets too intense.