The Reds offense got off to a great start on Wednesday night when they collected three straight hits off Mike Soroka to start the game. The Reds were only able to scratch across one run in that inning and two more hits the rest of the night. Tanner Roark battled through five innings, but a Yasiel Puig error gave the Braves the lead in the fifth inning. They would go on to win 3-1.

Final R H E
Atlanta Braves (12-11) 3 8 0
Cincinnati Reds (9-14) 1 5 1
W: Soroko (1-1) L: Roark (1-1) S: Minter (3)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

Biggest Play of the Game

According to Fangraphs WPA statistic (winning percentage added), the most important play of the game was Yasiel Puig’s error on a single by Nick Markakis off Tanner Roark. Runner from first base scored, Markakis to third base with 1 out. That play decreased the Reds chances of winning by 19.2% (from 37.1% to 30.5%).

Positives

Jesse Winker had two hits, including an RBI single in the first inning.

Joey Votto lead the game off with a walk and had 2 walks on the evening. I really like him in the leadoff spot. Opposing pitchers having to face that tough of an out right away is nice.

Amir Garrett pitched two, no-hitting innings in relief.

Meh

Tanner Roark gave up a home run on the first pitch of the game to Ozzie Albies. Roark survived the night despite 3 walks and a HBP thanks in part to some good luck. Roark had two lineouts against him that had expected batting averages of .920 and .680. Roark’s final line looked decent: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K. Roark’s FIP on the night did not look so good: 6.52

Negatives

The Reds offense got off to a great start with three straight hits, but only mustered 5 for the entire night and just 1 run. This was the 6th time this season that the Reds have score 1 run or less.

Yasiel Puig had a brutal misplay in the 5th inning. He came charging too hard for a ball and let what should be a single (runners on first and second) be a run scoring triple.

Robert Stephenson walked the leadoff batter he faced in the 9th inning, leading to a big insurance run when he gave up a double to Ozzie Albies.

Not so random thoughts……..

One really cool moment in tonight’s game came after the top of the 5th. Tanner Roark went up to Yasiel Puig as the two players were entering the dugout and was clearly trying to encourage Puig after his error.

Scott Schebler had a brutal break in the bottom of the 6th. He pinch-hit with the bases loaded and hit a lineout to Freeman. The exit velocity was 102.7 and the expected batting average was .420. What a tough break for Scott.

Up Next:

Reds vs Braves
Thursday, 6:40 PM
TV: FOX Sports Ohio
Luis Castillo (1.47 ERA) vs Julio Teheran (5.61 ERA)

45 Responses

  1. matt hendley

    The matchup for tomorrow looks great. Let’s win the series

    • Justin Howard

      I sure hope we will! Let’s see if we can get this offense going. Boy oh boy I sure hope we can!!

    • KDJ

      The only games televised where I am are when our guys play Atlanta, so I have been glad to see this series. Roark did not impress: poor control of the breaking pitches, many bad misses, and the fast ball did not look confident. It seemed like Atlanta had 2+ runners on base every inning, yet the only earned run was the one served on a tee to start the game . . . so good battling.
      Glad to see Barnhart working to frame pitches . . . much better job in game two than in game one. Keep working on it.
      Soroka impressed me after he settled down following the first inning. After our first three base runners in the first, our guys at the plate were overly aggressive and chased many pitches well out of the zone to bail him out of trouble. Can’t help but wonder how things would have gone if they had shown better plate discipline and put up 3 in the first.

  2. Steve Mancuso

    Dietrich, Barnhart, Ervin, Pitcher, Iglesias – that’s five pretty easy hitters. I’m not saying those guys haven’t contributed this year – they definitely have – or that they won’t occasionally. But none of them are what you would call good hitters.

    • jreis

      well hopefully soon Dietrich will be spelled Scooter and Ervin will be spelled Nick! lol

  3. Curt

    Since the west coast and now Atlanta watching all these young 21, 22, 23 year olds holding their own (for the most part) against the Reds makes you wonder ?. What the hey is going on down there in Reds farmland? All these years of stinking and our best prospects are all “still a couple years off”. Huh? Thom brought this up and Chris says, “well, the Reds are conservative”…yada yada. Maybe all these teams have better talent scouts? Bad luck? Who knows? Reds got one guy, Senzel and he’s ready, he’s not, maybe…when he learns a new position.
    I’d rather watch Senzel have to learn on the job like Tatis Jr. than watch Schebler strike out 4 times a night…it would at least be something, the future…

    • T Bone

      Frustrating to see that acuna is same age as Trammell with similar minor league numbers. Yet Taylor is stuck at AA while we’re running Schebler out there to swing with his eyes closed.

      • Curt

        @T Bone: yep, and by attempting to make Senzel a CF, aren’t you in turn now blocking your best natural CF in Trammell? ? Can someone explain this logic?

      • Doug Gray

        Ronald Acuna Jr and Taylor Trammell do not have anything remotely close to similar minor league numbers. They are the same age. Taylor Trammell hit .posted a .781 OPS last year in Advanced-A. A year younger than that, Ronald Acuna Jr hit .325/.374/.522 between Advanced-A, Double-A, and Triple-A, getting significantly more playing time in Double-A and Triple-A than he had in Advanced-A. I’m a big Taylor Trammell fan, both as a person and as a baseball player. He shouldn’t be compared to Ronald Acuna.

      • T Bone

        i’m admittedly not a close follower of minor leagues, but Acuna didn’t really break out until he got to AA. Before that he wasn’t even in the Braves’ top 10 prospects. TT seems to be having a similar AA breakout (albeit in only 70 PA) . It would make sense for him to be a year behind Acuna based on when he was drafted, but not 2+ years behind, as he is currently.

      • Doug Gray

        Acuna was the Braves #6 prospect after the 2016 season when he barely played in A-ball as an 18-year-old. And he started to break out in Advanced-A, the league just hides it because it’s so pitcher friendly. That season the FSL had an OPS of .680. His was .818 before he was promoted.

    • Sliotar

      Tonight’s game recap (nice job, Nick) brings up two people and two wacky narratives from the off-season….

      Remember these?

      1) #GotThePitching (in part) with Roark

      $10 million this season for an age 33 guy that grinds (and I mean grinds) through 5 innings, sometimes less. That the Reds had to trade for.

      No matter how his stats end up, he has no business on this team next season, unless they openly are taking a step back in 2020 and need (cheap) innings eater and he takes a pay cut.

      The cliff, when it comes, will be a steep and quick decline for Roark.

      • Sliotar

        2) Ol’ Scheb “beat out” Senzel for the CF job in Spring Training

        Bwahahahahaha

        For those who pushed that (y’all here know who you are), I just shake my head.

        The current system involves lying and service manipulation…and even if Schebler straightens out…he is an age 29 guy with just one above average season of wRC+ (109 in 2017).

        Not worth blocking Senzel for a day, once it is “time” he was called up.

    • Scott Gennett

      That’s a very interesting comment. It makes me remember the last impact player drafted & developed by the Reds I think was Jay Bruce, that hit the majors back in 2008. That’s a dreadful decade of a number of failed prospects and trades, including the likes of Stephenson, Romano, Reed, Finnegan, Lamb, all the forgettable guys that came in exchange for Aroldis Chapman, etc. Now the hope is on Winker, Senzel, Greene, India or Trammel to take over, but still the future doesn’t look as bright as in Atlanta or San Diego that already have promoted players like Acuna and Tatis Jr.

      • Michael Smith

        @Scott

        Great question about impactful guys and after Bruce you had Stubbs, Mesoraco, Frazier, and Leake. Hopefully Winker is the next one from 2012.

    • Big Ed

      Many of the very young stars in MLB are Latin Americans: Acuna, Albies, Robles, Soto, Tatis Jr, VG Jr (debuting tonight).

      The amateur development systems in the Latin countries are different than in the US, with its soul-crushing travel ball. The Latin systems seem to be better at producing young hitters.

      Meanwhile, the Reds are MLB’s most hapless and most inept at signing and developing Latin American hitters. To me, it is the franchise’s biggest deficiency, one that has festered for 50 years. It is the functional equivalent of not scouting California.

      • KDJ

        50 years, huh? Three of the Great Eight from the BRM days were Latin American. Today’s roster is about 1/3 Latin American.

      • ohiojimw

        The Reds had their AAA team in Havana Cuba in the era just prior to the revolution which brought in the Castro regime (circa 1960). This led to a steady influx of Latino players which eventually seemed to run dry after relations with Cuba ended.

        Tony Perez was one of the last to get out of Cuba. Some other Cubans were Chico Ruiz (the infamous stealer of home versus the Phillies in the 1964 pennant race).
        Leo Cardenas, who was the Reds SS for most of the 1960’s and a 4 time All Star with Reds.
        Cookie Rojas who broke in with the Reds but was subsequently traded to the Phillies and ended up in KC where he spent much of his career.
        Tony Gonzalez who posted 27 career bWAR was another Cuban guy of that era who broke into MLB with the Reds but was traded early on to the Phillies.

  4. FreeHouse

    On paper the Reds should match up well vs Teheran tomorrow but that doesn’t mean they will hit. Been 5 weeks of baseball and this offense still struggling. I like what I’m seeing from Winker though looks like he’s heating up. As for Schebler he’s probably going to the minors once Senzel is ready.

    • Doc

      Votto walking a lot more now. Possible harbinger that he is getting zeroed in?

  5. jessecuster44

    I’m very worried about the Reds OF defense now. Puig hasn’t looked that great, CF is a question mark, and Winker looks like an absolute stiff in LF. That play in the 9th inning was brutal.

    • ohiojimw

      I agree that in general Winker’s defense leaves a lot to be desired. However, I don’t think his bobble on the Donaldson run scoring double made a bit of difference.

      I’m more interested in why the Reds don’t seem to be playing a “no doubles” infield defense late in close games. Tonight was at least the second time in a week they’d been beaten on line huggers down the 3B line with Suarez stationed well off the line and relatively shallow. Maybe there are advanced metrics which indicate the no doubles alignment was not appropriate in these situations? Wish somebody from the media would ask.

      • Big Ed

        Statcast reportedly showed that Winker had 5.9 seconds to run 108 feet 36 yards) for that ball. That Winker is incapable of running a 6.0 40-yard dash tells you all you need to know about his defensive future. If you can’t outrun Garo Yepremian, you can’t play outfield in the major league. Winker is a first baseman in real life. We know what can of worms that fact opens for the franchise.

        They apparently shifted him to left center, based on spray charts. I believe that teams read too much into spray charts and shift too much in the outfield.

      • ohiojimw

        Big Ed> Agree totally on Winker being out of position as an OF. He and Votto are exhibits 1 and 1A why the Reds should be aggressively supporting the DH for the NL ASAP because one or another it is coming regardless.

        If Winker could have taken a route that got him to the ball earlier maybe he does save a base. I meant from where he bobbled the ball, it would have made no difference.

      • KDJ

        I have wondered why they were not playing the “no doubles” position as well.

      • jay johnson

        I have asked that question frequently lately.
        Also curious as to why winker/kemp are playing left center rather than more towards the line by so much.Winker had a huge run towards the line on that critical pop fly that dropped in and created a big inning the other night

  6. jreis

    man I tell you I miss my Billy and Duvy right now. we were so spoiled by their defensive play and I tell you, if we had those guys on this club we would be a .500 team right now. I know those guys were not part of the future plans but neither are Kemp and Puig. just wish we would have kept them one more year until Trammel and Siri and Friedl were ready next year.

    • jazzmanbbfan

      No we wouldn’t be at .500 and I agree, no thanks. The Reds OF defense was known to be marginal at best this year and unfortunately, marginal is proving to be where it’s at. On top of that, most of them aren’t hitting, although I still think that will change.

  7. Scott Gennett

    After season’s first month it’s clear that it doesn’t make much sense to maintain players like Kemp, Schebler. Duke or Hughes in the roster, they’re just stealing playing time from younger guys that should be in the majors already to prove themselves. Ervin is already up replacing Kemp, so that’s one less, next should be Senzel replacing Schebler. There’re also a few candidates having quite good numbers in AAA as well, like Sims, Bowman and Bass, that should easily replace them.

    • jay johnson

      How bout Ian Krol instead of Puke,I mean Duke?

  8. Old-school

    Schebler had an .821 OPS and wRC+ of 120 in first half of 2018. He ran into the St Louis wall the game before the All star break and missed most of July. He was never the same player, struggled mightily at the plate in the 2 ND half and had some really bad throws as well. I wonder if perhaps that shoulder isn’t 100%. He hit 30 HR in 2017 and was a good hitter in 2018 until that St Louis wall.

    • RojoBenjy

      What is a reasonable amount of time to give him to determine whether or not he can regain the pre-injury performance?

      No sarcasm here. Just thinking that if a player is yet genuinely capable of a full return to his top form, that we should find out how much longer to be patient.

      • Old-school

        The question is could his shoulder still not be 100% and being injured accounts for his performance decline. Players may not fully disclose symptoms hoping to continue playing and avoiding the DL and giving up their spot. Scooter had a bad 3 weeks last spring with a shoulder. Garrett did this 2 years ago with a hip and Schebler was obviously hurting the second half of last year. Perhaps his off-season rehab helped but not enough. Winker said he had shoulder issues for 3-4 years until injury last June was the final piece. Just a theory on why he could be struggling so badly when he’s had periods of good performance. He could just be bad this year.

      • ohiojimw

        Winker said last year his shoulder had been an off and on issue for literally years. You’d think with a property as valuable as Winker and with his power output having fallen into the toilet (hint hint), the team would have been more aggressive about fixing his shoulder before he reached MLB.

  9. Klugo

    Nice to see Winker hitting singles again, as odd as it seems to say. I wish Puig would follow suit. He reminds me of Devin Meseraco the way he swings for the fences every at-bat.

    • RojoBenjy

      You mean get ‘em on, get ‘em over, and get ‘em in can win ballgames in 2019?

      • WVRedlegs

        Not in Cincinnati in 2019. Those words are nowhere near the philosophy of hitting coach Turner Ward. Unfortunately, launch angle means much more to Turner Ward than getting on base does.

      • RojoBenjy

        @WVRedlegs- I see you understood my point exactly! Would love to know the players’ take on their new hitting coach. So far the only comment I’ve heard is from Winker saying he helped him with his power. We’ve seen the early power from Winker, but it has been at the expense of his real talent of getting on base.

        I don’t like it, either.

  10. Don A

    It would seem that he more things change, the more they stay the same (at least when it comes to offense). This is going to be like the last few years. At the end of the season, they will probably end up in the upper tier of total scoring, but this will be a rouse because they will score in spurts during some games, but get nothing in many others… The Braves young pitcher last night was consistently hanging his off speed pitches, yet the Reds batters looked clueless and were swinging and missing what was right there for a bomb! I see other teams crushing those type of pitches when our guys throw them.

  11. Big Ed

    1. The Braves are way more athletic (and aggressive) than the Reds. They turned a double into a triple on a grounder into the left-field corner, because the Reds LF isn’t quick enough to prevent it. Several times the Braves took extra bases, or the Reds did not do so. The speed and energy of the Braves’ offense is missing from the Reds.

    2. The single worst play last night was in the bottom of the 7th, with the Reds down 2-1. Votto had walked, and Suarez was facing Luke Jackson, a 27-year-old who in limited duty with the Braves over 2018-19 had averaged about 4.5 BB/9. Saurez hooked the first pitch (a slider) into a 5-4-3 DP. Suarez needed a much better AB than he gave there.

    • SoCalRedsFan

      Exactly! The Reds hitter’s insistence on swinging at the first pitch immediately following a walk is mind-blowing. Schebler did it too in his at-bat and I’ve noticed it all season. It seems like they’re going up there with zero regard for what just happened in the AB before them. Not to mention, they’re swinging at first pitches in every other AB at a very high rate.

    • ohiojimw

      I missed the Suarez AB but along the same lines thought Barnhart could have made more of an effort to get into his AB in the 1st inning when he topped the first pitch he saw to end the inning with 2 men on base.