Phew. That’s all I can say. Phew.

I didn’t have the energy to write a column with the Reds 2-12 or whatever. But 5-9? Yeah, that’s not ideal, but it’s within the normal range for what can happen at the beginning of the year. (I’m writing this before the late Monday game. It’s a school night, after all.)

It is, of course, still very early and it’s essential to not let narrative get in the way. Lots of analysis tells us, for instance, that 1-run games are a coin flip and 2-run games are almost coin flips. Seven of the nine losses have been by one or two runs. Only two of the five victories have been. The Reds have outscored their opponents such that they “should” have a record of 8-6.

The pitching has been fabulous. The offense has been adequate. The Reds – the Cincinnati Reds – have allowed the second fewest runs in all of baseball. Can you imagine?

So what looks good and what doesn’t to this point? What do we feel confident about?

What really matters is the pitching. This team will hit, one way or another. So I asked about Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, and Tyler Mahle.

People generally seem to believe that all three of these guys are legit. If they are? Well, 5-9 or 9-5, this team is gonna make noise.

Put another way: All of the projection systems had the Reds as a legit offensive team with a middling pitching staff. But if three starters – and we haven’t even seen Alex Wood yet – pitch like they belong at the top of a rotation, then they become one of the better teams in the National League. And I don’t just mean for 2019. Castillo, Gray, and Mahle will all be Reds for a while.

Is this team going to make the playoffs this year? I have no idea. But if these three guys continue to do what they’ve done, the Reds will be a force in the National League for the next 4+ seasons.

Now, if they could just find one more outfielder who could hit.

28 Responses

  1. matthew hendley

    Reds, despite the results are not in panic mode…. but I wouldn’t say everything is fine either

    • CI3J

      I think “everything is fine” in that the offense HAS TO improve, while the pitching has been better than advertised. Granted, the bullpen is still getting sorted, but given that the Reds will have an above-average offense, and if this above-average starting pitching continues, this team is just fine. In fact, they may be good.

  2. Andy

    It’s not time to panic but no not all is fine.

    Primarily a continued acceptance of subpar performance based on previous years results.

    I’m talking about this bullpen. Continuing to give Raisel, Hughes, And Duke any high leverage innings should be met with skepticism. Garrett, Stepehenson and Peralta have been lights out. Start moving them up to these situations and moving others back.
    You have to earn your opportunities. If not then move on. 5 years of losing has blinded us to having patience. I’m out of patience and want accountability for ineffectiveness

    • Youwish

      Well seeing as Duke was not with the Reds, Hughes had a fantastic year, and Raisel has had numerous reliable seasons, I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt, seeing as we are 9% into the season. Let’s calm down and let them pitch furhter than two weeks into the season. Kthanks.

    • FreeHouse

      Right on! My question is why not got after kimbrel since his asking price dropped? We know Bob doesn’t do signings like these but better us have him than the Brecrew. Offer a 3 year 45 mil

  3. Oldtimer

    5-10 start. DYK that 1961 Reds started 6-10? Finished at 93-61 and won NL Pennant for first time in 21 years. This when most other teams (LAD, SFG, STL, MIL, PIT, etc) had Hall of Famers in the lineup. Reds had just one HOF (Frank Robinson).

  4. Eric Wormus

    I might be tempted to agree that things aren’t so bad if this team was built to contend in the long haul. Instead what we have is a team constructed like a one year band-aid in an attempt to mask just how poorly this organization has been run for the past 10 years. And two weeks into the year, that band-aid fell off.

    Despite giving up the 2nd fewest runs in the NL, the Reds are 5-10. There are all kinds of reasons for that, and bad luck may even deserve the bulk of the blame. Though as the newest UC basketball coach reminded us “fortune favors the bold.” The Reds handling of free agency and Nick Senzel perfectly displayed just how “bold” this organization is willing to be.

    So now the Reds will muddle through another season lost before the Easter Bunny makes its yearly visit, and we will spend the rest of the season finding new ways to fool ourselves into thinking 2020 will be any different. There may still be some peaks, and there will certainly be more valleys, and we’ll say things like, “Wow, since May 1, the Reds have been 10-9! That’s an 85 win pace!” But it will be just as meaningless as it was last year and the year before that and the year before that and the year before that.

  5. Aaron B.

    We have won one series vs the lowly Marlins. Everything is definitely not fine. The pitchers are afraid to throw strikes and the hitters are over matched so far. They feasted on one mop up pitcher that is pretty much the extent of the offense so far. Winker looks good recently though, I will say that much. I don’t really understand sitting him against lefties, you don’t want this guy to be a platoon hitter. Kemp will not be here in the long run, he needs to ride the pine.

    • Eric Wormus

      Wei-Yin Chen’s vs. Reds: 45.00 ERA
      Every other pitcher the Reds have faced: 3.11 ERA

      • Indy Red Man

        Everybody have fun tonite
        Everybody Wei Chen tonite

  6. VaRedsFan

    People keep thinking that 1 and 2 run games are the result of luck. Mostly, not true.
    The Reds had the WORST record in the majors last year in 1 run games, and the 2nd WORST record in 2 run games. Similar results are starting to trickle in again this year. “Clutchiness” is real…as much as numbers guys don’t want to admit it. The players are just not coming through in the biggest situations late in the games. Maybe the conclusion is that they just aren’t that good.

    • ohiojimw

      Brewers series = when the going got tough, the tough got going. ‘Nuff said.

    • David Ward

      THIS IS COMMENT IS 100% ACCURATE! The truth is that there is no reason to believe that Mahle and Gray will continue to pitch well and Disco is steady starting to fall apart before his next serious injury! This combined with Bell’s inability to execute simple BB strategy (Catcher leading off, Best OBP hitter leading off the next day, Best RBI hitter leading off for virtually every game prior and putting struggling bullpen pitchers in high leverage situations before they have time to get right) means that the only thing we can look forward to is Bell’s firing and ANOTHER very high draft pick!

  7. wkuchad

    Championship Track: Everything Is Fine With the Reds (Except Their Closer)

    fixed the title…

  8. KELLY GREEN

    We’re 4-2 since the Pittsburgh brawl…and definitely should be 5-1. Look for us to go 4-2 on this west coast swing, if the good pitching continues. I get the feeling something is wrong with Iglesias that he’s not telling us about. I wouldn’t be against moving Garrett into the closer role or going after Kimbrel. If we’re trying to win a division and the rebuild is indeed over, let’s go all in!

    • Indy Red Man

      Iggy hit 98 mph in Mexico. I think he’s just off. That was a horrible hanging breaking ball last night

  9. scottya

    I agree that the 50 runs given up is an indicator of where this team is headed, barring any significant injury and that’s without alex wood. The offense will get going and hopefully soon. I loved the almost all right handed lineup we put on the field against Kershaw last night (could be 100% right handed when Senzel finally arrives against tough lefties).

  10. wizeman

    I am enjoying watching them play. So many nights last year it was over in the first three innings. The starting pitching has been greatly improved and one can only hope that Wood gets back soon.
    Disco has been inconsistent but has had more good innings than bad. Great first start… lousy second and one bad inning in Monterrey. Jury out.
    Castillo and Gray solid along with Mahle. Roark no better or worse than we expected,
    Stephenson and Garrett solid parts of the bullpen. No way I pay for a reliever. Have Romano Reed and Herget waiting for a shot. We have already committed significant money to Iglesias and jury out there also.
    Plus… would rather save money to see if Wood is healthy and swoop in with a contract like Grays.
    Next…; hope that Gennett can build value before July 31st… but doubtful. Nobody wants him… obvious. Why give a guy absolutely no one else wants 30 million for 3. If Senzel is not the CF next year he will be at 2B.
    Kemp gone at the deadline if not sooner.
    Winker has hit the ball hard… the hits will even out.
    Puig has never hit in April. Hope he gets hot… loves the place and we can sign him for two at a high AAV.
    Trammell in 2021.
    Best story so far… BobSteve. Think he will be in rotation next year.
    Really looking forward watching them every night. First trip home to Cincinnati first weekend in May. Three games. Buckets of chili.

    • Indy Red Man

      “I am enjoying watching them play”

      Man you’re easy! Frisch’s Big Boy isn’t a big night out for you is it?:)

      • wizeman

        was when i was a kid. a gazillion years ago

  11. TR

    The bullpen worries me in this age when few starting pitchers complete a game. Depending on how rested they are and if more than one inning is not in the cards, I would use Romano or Reed in the 6th., Robert Stevenson in the 7th., Garrett in the 8th. and Iglesias as the closer. Hernandez, Hughes, Peralta and Lorenzen would fill in as needed.

  12. Tom Mitsoff

    Votto batting leadoff tonight:

    1. Joey Votto (L) 1B
    2. Eugenio Suarez (R) 3B
    3. Jesse Winker (L) CF
    4. Yasiel Puig (R) RF
    5. Matt Kemp (R) LF
    6. Derek Dietrich (L) 2B
    7. Jose Peraza (R) SS
    8. Tucker Barnhart (S) C
    9. Tyler Mahle (R) P

    • Pete

      Best lineup yet. I would be tempted to switch camp with Dietrich but can live with it.

    • TomN

      Winker in CF? Mind blown! Seriously though, glad he’s back in the lineup. He needs to be in there almost every night. He’s starting to hit AND with power. I agree with above. Swap Deitrich with Kemp. Move Peraza to 2b and bring in Iglesias. I’ve become an Iglesias fan. Better than solid at SS. He’s gold glove material. Peraza is a huge upgrade over anyone we have in Cincy at 2B and Deitrich is better than Kemp all around in LF.

      Time to win, guys.

      • matt hendley

        . “Peraza is a Huge upgrade over….. any healthy individual currently on the roster only when facing LHP and event then its a sketchy maybe.”

  13. matt hendley

    Interesting lineup. I think we have passed through the start phase and David Bell is actually making decisions on his lineup. I def like Votto leading off.

  14. doofus

    This team is on track to win 54 games. I actually believe that it will win 10 more games than that, which is unacceptable.

    At what point do we collectively acknowledge that this team STILL needs an infusion of talent. Sending Nick Senzel down WAS NOT taking the best 25 north.

    “We will bring championship baseball to Cincinnati.” Still waiting.