The Short Version: Luis Castillo is probably the best pitcher on the planet, though Raisel Iglesias has decided to stake his own claim. In other news: Reds score four runs and win their third game in a row!

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (8-12) 4 7 0
San Diego Padres (11-11) 2 7 1
W: Castillo (2-1) L: Lauer (2-3) S: Iglesias (4)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score

The Good
–Luis Castillo pitched six strong innings, allowing just one run on four hits and a walk, striking out nine. He was a bit shaky early, which permitted the pitch count to creep up, but still finished with a dazzling pitching line. This kid is an ace, full stop.

–Eugenio Suarez doubled, walked, and scored a run. My favorite moment of the evening was when Geno struck out swinging in the seventh, though. After the third strike, Suarez turned and sprinted back to the Reds dugout on the third base side. I dunno, maybe you had to be there, but it was low-key hilarious.

–Jesse Winker. Winker is good.

–Raisel Iglesias entered in the ninth, the third consecutive night he’s pitched (it’s the first time he’s done that this season). He promptly struck out the side…which is the third straight night he’s done that. Yep, it’s safe to say that the old Raisel Iglesias is back.

–Matt Kemp walked for the first time since last September 4! Will wonders never cease?

The Bad
–Kemp and Yasiel Puig went 0-6. You’d think they’d be more comfortable hitting on the west coast, but things aren’t getting much better.

–Robert Stephenson’s line wasn’t great, as he gave up a leadoff triple and a walk before being removed with two outs, but he wasn’t completely awful. The triple should have been a double — see my discourse on Kemp’s defense below — and the runner only scored when Amir Garrett allowed a hit later in the inning. So what I’m saying is this: it was Bob Steve’s worst outing of the year, but I’m still pretty encouraged by what I’m seeing from the former #1 draft pick.

The Recap
–There was plenty of sturm und drang pre-game about Davis Bell’s latest silly lineup shenanigans. Specifically, Jose Peraza leading off and Jose Iglesias hitting fifth, along with Joey Votto being on the bench again in favor of Kyle Farmer. Votto is dealing with back stiffness, so that one is understandable. Peraza and Iglesias…well, that’s why I will always love baseball.

Obviously, Peraza is not the strongest choice as a leadoff hitter. So, of course, he began the game by snapping his 0-for-24 streak with a bloop single. Peraza’s reaction on first base after getting that hit was adorable.

Obviously, Iglesias — a career .269/.314/.363 hitter — is not the strongest choice to hit fifth in the lineup. As you might have guessed, he drove in the night’s first run, bringing home Peraza later in the first to give the Reds a 1-0 lead.

Baseball: ya never know.

–After the Padres tied it up in the second on an Eric Hosmer home run, the Reds took the lead again in the top of the fourth. With one out, Scott Schebler reached on an infield single. He moved to second on a Farmer single, then scored when Tucker Barnhart singled to center field.

–In the top of the fifth, the Reds added a run when Eugenio Suarez walked and the next hitter, Yasiel Puig, drove him home with a sacrifice fly. (In between, there was a two-base throwing error by San Diego pitcher Eric Lauer.)

–Cincinnati scored their final run of the evening in the seventh, when pinch-hitter Jesse Winker homered, his sixth of the season (and the first one that wasn’t hit to the opposite field, if I’m not mistaken). Jesse Winker is good. Have I mentioned that?

–I don’t want to get drawn into poor analysis based on small sample size…but Matt Kemp is unequivocally* not good at baseball anymore. I mean, he’s better than I am. He’s better than everyone on my son’s middle school team (except maybe the shortstop, who is small but talented). He’s better than almost every player in the minor leagues.

But I haven’t seen a single thing from Kemp that makes me glad to see him hitting cleanup every night for the ol’ Redlegs. Last night, he couldn’t be bothered to run down the first base line. Tonight, he misplayed a ball in the corner into a triple in the bottom of the eighth. Kemp is “hitting” .190/.200/.259. I’m just tired of watching him, that’s all.

*This is not actual analysis. He’s likely still a decent fourth or fifth outfielder.

–If you add up all the pitches thrown by Amir Garrett and Jared Hughes tonight, you’d come up with the grand sum of … two. Yep.

–So far this season:

Win 1
Lose 8
Win 4
Lose 4
Win 3

Reds will go for the four-game winning streak and a sweep of the San Diego Padres tomorrow afternoon behind Tyler Mahle.

Today’s Tweets

65 Responses

  1. mat

    GOod Game Good Recap. Kemp was a little sloppy tonight.

  2. jreis

    Thank you Chad. I would like to see Winker get some time at first base when Joey is out. He is got the body type for it. that 7th inning homer looked like a Ken Griffey Jr swing. He has to be in the lineup everyday at this point.

    • Matt WI

      Interesting thought of Winker at 1st if he can handle the grounders… worth exploring for sure.

  3. Sliotar

    Bell is burning through a lot of bullpen “seed corn” to keep a semblance of a competitive season alive in April.

    After tonight…. Iglesias has now appeared in 9 of 20 games, Garrett 11 of 20.

    I am not criticizing, there is likely no other choice….when you have hacks in the starting lineup like Kemp and J Iglesias, you are literally giving away outs each time through the Reds lineup. Tough to blow the other team out.

    However, the current bullpen will likely be overexposed and possibly, prone to injury, if this rate of usage goes on.

    • VaRedsFan

      So Jose Iglesias has the 3rd best average among the regulars….Your suggestion would be???? And don’t say Peraza.

    • Scott C

      I have no problem with J Iglesias being in the lineup. His defensive value over Peraza is worth it, even if Peraza was hitting better than he was, which he isn’t. Kemp, yeah, I would rather not see him out there. Anyone who thought Winker was a poor defensive outfielder, has to be changinging their opinion. Kemp is far worse.

  4. Aaron B.

    Iglesias threw that game against the Dodgers, and is trying to make up for it. I don’t think these guys have a choice when their number gets called to throw a game they do it. Then they go back to dominating so no one notices it. But come on. Vs the Dodgers a pathetic walk not even attempting to throw a strike and then a meatball served up to Pederson. Suddenly he is filthy. I don’t buy it. Sorry, the guy is suspect and I will wait till the next time he just looks like he isn’t even trying to make my case.

    • Matt WI

      So are we talking the mob here or just a cabal of bigwigs writing the scripts in NY and letting teams know? Where on Youtube can we learn more? Or, dare we say it History Channel style… could it be ancient aliens rolling their cosmic dice and this is just a simulation for them?

      • greenmtred

        I think it must be the New York cabal. No proof (as if any were ever needed), but the theory has the ring of truthiness.

    • VaRedsFan

      You figured it out. Winker hit a HR tonight….now every time he doesn’t homer, he isn’t trying hard or enough, or he obviously is in on the fix to throw the game.

    • Servo

      It was Scott Boras wasn’t it?

      Or maybe Jim O’Brien, or maybe the ghost of Marge Schott. Has anybody seen Pete Rose lately? C’mon, somebody has to be responsible for rigging these games; that makes way more sense than a guy finally getting comfortable.

  5. Sliotar

    Did anyone catch the “Good Grief” Thom uttered under his breath when Garrett was removed after one pitch?

    The new rule next season of a 3-batter minimum is going to be called the “Bell Rule”, the way things are going.

    While it is legal, change as needed, especially with the hole the Reds have dug.

    But, changing a guy after one pitch isn’t good entertainment, especially for a regular-season game in April.

    I feel like down the road, people will look back at this new incoming rule and say, “it should have been done sooner.”

    • JayTheRed

      I too have not liked the way Bell has handled both the starters and the relievers. Starters are getting pulled a little early I feel like and this business of pitching to one player seems very old fashioned in todays game. I honestly can’t wait for the 3 batter minimum rule next season.

    • ohiojimw

      Agree pretty much down the line on the rule change. Yes, exploit any and every rule to help your team win. However the 3 minimum batters faced rule has been too long in coming.

      I hope the roster limit on pitchers is set at no more than 12 when that also comes into force next season. Along with the roster expansion to 26, that would make for 6 bench spots. That’s a very good thing too.

    • Big Ed

      Bell broke my rule against taking out an effective pitcher for no apparent reason. Hernandez had used only 10 pitches in a scoreless 7th, but was replaced for the 8th ((Tatis) with Stephenson. It all worked, but it required 4 more pitchers to finish the game, instead of 1 or 2.

      My position on the 3-batter rule is that a 2-batter rule would accomplish the same thing. I think MLB should try the 2-batter rule first. Maybe MLB is positing the 3-batter rule now, so as to have the union “agree” to the 2-batter rule next off-season.

      • Reaganspad

        He did the same thing with Stephenson on Thursday

    • Don A

      I will be happy for this new rule. DB has been driving my wife and I nuts with the pulling of the starters and overuse of the bullpen!!!

      • Doc

        Won’t be long and Bell will be spewing the mantra of his bullpen being tired from over work. He has one of the top five starting staffs in MLB through the first 20 games, yet burns through relievers like he has an unlimited supply. Yesterday was not the first instance of a reliever throwing one pitch.

        Count me in as eagerly awaiting the three batter rule, and hoping for a 12 pitcher limit on the roster. Then maybe we’ll see some strategy with some thought behind it.

        Bell seems to be shuffling the roster just for the sake of shuffling the roster. Earlier Winker had HR in back to back days. His reward was to sit the next game. How does anyone gain traction at the plate? And I’m not buying the saving them for later bull. Votto played all 162 games and hit .400 in the second half a couple years ago. How can guys half his age get worn out so quickly this early in their careers?

      • greenmtred

        It might be the case that the starting pitching has been so effective, in part, because Bell pulls them before the hitters see enough to hit them. I also doubt that the intent is to have relief pitcher come in for one pitch. It’s probably for one specific batter. Still micro-managing, but isn’t this just a manifestation of the general trend in MLB?

  6. Big Ed

    The Twins yesterday against the Orioles (2nd game) scored 16 runs without drawing a walk. They hit 8 homers and 5 doubles, while going 19-for-46 and striking out only 5 times. (Twins pitchers gave up only 1 walk, struck out 2, yielded and 7 runs.)

    The game only took 2:50 to play. Probably not throngs on hand at Camden Yards after 6 hours of that.

  7. Mason Red

    Since it’s Easter will the Reds raise from the dead?

    • Doc

      Raise what from the dead? Or did you mean rise from the dead?

    • greenmtred

      They’ve won three in a row. Not floating yet, but certainly climbing up instead of down.

  8. TR

    What a nice change with the good starting pitching, although I am worried about the overuse of the bullpen come mid-season. We’re waiting for the duo of Puig/Kemp to add some firepower to the offense. If that happens, I think the Reds could surprise a lot of people.

  9. Grand Salami

    This team has its flaws but they are superficial at the moment. With almost no ‘good’ hitting from the OF positions or Peraza, they are still just 4 games under.

    Bottom line is the that the rotation is officially solid to good as is the pen. I’ll take the other problems for now over starters that can’t pitch 5 innings without surrendering 5-6 runs.

    Happy Easter.

    • Tomn

      I’d say our SP is good to very good. If Disco really comes around, it will be interesting to see what happens when Wood is ready to pitch. My guess is either mahle, or disco becomes a long man, assuming wood is effective. I’d also like to see peralta a bit more. Hopefully he can give Garrett a break.

      Finally, I think it’s past time to dfa Kemp. Accept the dollars spent and bring up Ervin.

  10. Old-school

    Great win and recap. Go reds.
    Might as well get the 4 game road sweep now.

  11. scotly50

    I believe a quick fix to the outfield woes would be to call up Ervin. Either DFA Kemp or send down Farmer, or even Schebler.

    Nice recap. Experience shows. Loved the Castillo pitches. That nasty fastball appears just as effective as his change-up.

    • Matt WI

      Inclined to agree with the anti Kemp crowd. He perhaps had his last gasp during the 1st half of last season, much like Rolen did for Cincy when he first came. I can’t think of a better person for Senzel to replace, but that’s not soon enough.

      • Amarillo

        I’m on the release Kemp bandwagon. Puig hasn’t really been hitting either but Puig clearly looks frustrated and trying his best. Kemp looks like he couldn’t care less. Once Senzel is game ready I have no interest in seeing Kemp anymore.

    • Reddawg12

      Agreed with getting rid of Kemp. He is so slow in the outfield and has no discipline at the plate.

  12. Roger Garrett

    Great recap.Kemp is really a bad MLB player now.Age has got him but it will happen to most.He should spot start only cause the Reds have guys that are younger and better and its not even close.Castillo could have gone quickly last night because he had nothing the first two innings.At one time he had thrown 17 balls and only 16 strikes BUT he righted the ship and did what he does and that was dominate.His ball right now is moving big time.Change has always dove down and away from lefties but his fastball is running,rising and just exploding in the zone.If and its a biggee right now the hitters just match what it says on the back of their card the Reds will make some noise.Just remember they are in the best division in baseball so they could win 75 games and still finish last.

    • Doc

      Of course, the pitchers could be as good now as the offense is bad, and also match the back of their cards by season’s end. This matching the back of the card thing is not a one way street where only those below card average improve while all those above card average remain above average.

      • greenmtred

        The backs of the cards also reflect what younger versions of the players did. Older players may not match their cards.

  13. Matt WI

    Keep the streak alive. Winning streaks are better than losing streaks. (Seems like the kind of analysis Thom! would bring).

  14. CFD3000

    Nice win to set up a sweep on the west coast. Castillo looks solid right now – that overlay GIF is awesome. It seems clear that the only way to hit him is to guess fastball or change and then look silly if you’re wrong. There’s nothing in his delivery, arm angle or release point to differentiate the two pitches and I’m guessing they spin the same as well. Nasty. Hoping the Votto back situation is nothing, especially if he thinks he’s about to break out. Finally, I have to agree with the Kemp doubters. The Reds will have to make room for Senzel and should promote Ervin. Farmer and Kemp should be on a very short leash. Easter sweep please. Go Reds!

    • jay johnson

      Why Farmer?
      Looks like when teams hitting slump ends,he will be part of the resurrection
      Farmer over Ervin til proven otherwise.

      • matt hendley

        Farmer has options, is hitting under .200 and his defensive versatility is replicated elsewhere. Better to send him down and get him everyday at-bats to see if he can be a future starter. He will be replaced by an IL member or Senzel, not by anyone else in LOU

  15. Jeff Gangloff

    I don’t love Matt Kemp either, and it wouldnt bother me if I never got to see him play another game for the Reds again…but if we’re going to get on him then Puig deserves some criticism as well. Both have been putrid so far this year.

    • Amarillo

      The difference is Puig is clearly trying his hardest and is frustrated by it. He also plays pretty good defense with a cannon arm. Kemp looks like he could not care less and lets doubles turn into triples.

      • vegastypo

        So, if Kemp started firing his bat down after strikeouts, or displayed some other needless emotion, you would assume he is then trying harder and really does care?

        It’s entirely possible that he’s done, but I don’t think you can read too much into mannerisms. What’s next? You want more emotion from Votto as his strikeouts pile up?

      • greenmtred

        Fair point, Vegas, but Kemp’s defensive ineptitude–be it due to lack of ability or lack of effort–makes him look much worse than Puig does.

    • VaRedsFan

      Puig has at least delivered several clutch hits in the young season. He’s running hard, and hustling. I think he will turn it around.

      I could throw a curve ball to Kemp and he would swing and miss.

  16. gusnwally

    There have been many at RN who have railed against Jesse Winker for having no power. In honor of the Easter holiday, I suggest these non-believers wear sackcloth and ashes for 3 days.

    • vegastypo

      I guess we’ll never know for sure, but Winker said that when he finally has his shoulder injury resolved, he couldn’t believe the difference. Maybe that has been robbing him of his power in years past. Petco isn’t the easiest place to launch home runs.

  17. matt hendley

    Kemp is not getting DFA in APR. Its not happening. Senzel, who is still a week or 2 away from being available, let alone even called up, will cause Farmer to be sent down. This will push Kemp to a 4 OF position. Wood will force movement on a Pitcher, more than likely Mahle. It is when Scooter returns in late may (ish) that the question will come to a head. Kemp is being given every opportunity to break out so his trade value can increase and the Reds can get something, anything in a Trade.
    Ervin will come up only in the case of an injury. No point in bringing him up to sit the bench. And that is what he would do. A Reds win today will provide a winning road trip and put the NL central back to a 5-way battle. The reds are currently better than the Red Soxs right now. Let that sink in

    • matt hendley

      On a side note, the quick hooks on the Relief pitchers allow for their use in multiple games that they wouldn’t if they were left in. Any complaints on Pace of play or garbage like that fall on deaf ears, when they are not willing to make an effort on the real culpret. Commercial breaks

      • Doc

        How many warmup pitches does the typical reliever throw to get ready? That seems to me to be the bigger determinant of how frequently they can be called on. Throwing an extra 8-10 pitches in the game is still a relatively small percentage of the total pitches thrown per outing, and not likely the major determinant of when they can pitch again.

      • Big Ed

        Right, Doc. Just getting the arm warmed up and pitching briefly takes its toll. Bell is definitely running a risk when he uses 4 relievers to get the last 6 outs.

        They have some depth at AAA.

  18. Steven Ross

    I like seeing Peraza leading off. A lot! He had 182 hits last year with 23 SB. He also had 31 Doubles to Votto’s 28. Votto had 143 hits and 2 SB. You can spin the OBP all you want but it makes no sense to me batting Votto leadoff. He runs like he’s pushing a refrigerator. He’s better off batting 3rd. Now if we can just slot Ervin 2nd who is tearing up Triple A while Schebler is doing nothing except being a rally killer and striking out all the time.

  19. Scott C

    I do not get all the anti- Bell sentiment. What we want most is to win and at my count right now we are 5 games at this point than we were a year ago.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      My perception is that Bell acts quickly when he perceives the need to make a move, particularly with in-game pitching moves. I don’t remember off-hand any occasion he has allowed a pitcher to get in trouble by staying in too long. Some would call that a quick hook, but I think it’s a manager who knows the strengths and weaknesses of his players and puts winning above massaging egos.

      • Roger Garrett

        I agree Tom.I really like that when he sees a chance to win he does all he can to win.If he needs Iggy today to save it in the ninth he goes for it unless Iggy says he can’t go.Win today and lets worry about tomorrow,tomorrow.Which is an off day by the way.Personally when he brought in Hughes I thought this may not work out but he made the pitch and got Myers to kill some worms.He is here to win and as a fan I like that.

  20. Rich H

    I honestly don’t understand what the people complaining about Bell want.

    You are tired of old school managers not following the analytics trends, and then when a manager comes in and does things differently nobody can understand why.

    The starting rotation has the best numbers it’s had in forever, but you want them to stay in a third time through the lineup despite every metric telling you that’s when they should get shelled.

    You’re angry when he uses the teams most dependable relievers for two innings and they’re unavailable the next day, you’re angry when they throw one pitch.

    You want him to save his bullpen for later in the season, but when the Reds started 1-8 the season was almost over and they were the same old Reds. With 13 of their 20 games being decided by two or less runs, where managers should be more aggressive in fighting for a win.

    The off-season moves this year for the first time in recent memory seemed quite competent and forward thinking. Yet many can’t wait for the equivalent of 2 NFL games to try and see what the new coaching and front office philosophy will be. Or team performance.

    There are so many more reasons to believe the pitching should be this good (or at least closer to it) than there are reasons to believe that the bats will be this bad. Keep an open mind for a little while longer and enjoy the wins!!!

    • Big Ed

      No, but most of us found it silly to use Amir Garrett’s fabulous arm to throw one pitch yesterday.

      My rule – don’t take out an effective pitcher without an excellent reason – was ignored by “old school” managers as well.

      • Jefferson Green

        It is useful to remember that we do not know the reasons, and the manager (and GM) are not going to tell us most of the reasons. Bell and DJ certainly have reasons, and we do not know if they are good or not.

  21. SFRedsFan

    I don’t love every move Bell makes, but I think we have to trust the process. I’m a hell of a lot happier than last year.
    Here is what I am excited for…we are still in reach of the lead in the toughest division in MLB and the following things are going to happen soon:
    -Wood joins the rotation
    -Senzel gets called up and plays CF (Farmer goes down)
    -Hopefully, Kemp gets DFA’d and Ervin comes up
    -A mixture of Votto, Puig, Suarez, and Peraza start hitting
    -Scooter comes back

    -If you told me 3 months ago that the Reds would have a top 3 rotation in the NL and BobSteve and Wandy would be really good and Winker leads the team in HRs despite starting 1/3 of games, I would have fallen out of my chair.
    Let’s enjoy the wins a bit more and lay off Bell (other than please, please bench Kemp if you aren’t going to DFA now)

    • jay johnson

      Nice post.Agree, lets enjoy the Reds for the first time in years.
      Every game has been enjoyable, though frustrating in some of the tough losses.
      One exception was the 3-2 loss to the Dodgers in the bottom of the 9th.That was excruciatingly painful.Harsh loss.

  22. Oldtimer

    1961 Reds started 5-10 then won their next 9 games in a row.

    2019 Reds started 5-12 then won their next (?) games in a row…

    It’s possible.

  23. Tom Mills

    It’s great that Winker has 6 homers. But the fact he has only 11 hits total and 6 were homers that were literally all hit in the first or second row (last night’s bounced on top of the the fence area), concerns me that this is luck and not good hitting yet.

    • VaRedsFan

      Do you get more for hitting them 6 rows??? upper deck???

  24. Old-school

    It appeared Bell lost the 6 th inning.He didn’t. Go reds.