Final R H E
Atlanta Braves (12-12) 2 11 0
Cincinnati Reds (10-14) 4 5 0
W: Castillo (3-1) L: Teheran (2-3)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

*Note: All text in italics written after rain delay. If it reads as a touch grumpier, know that the game should have been called and I do not apologize for silly decisions on the part of the umpiring crew. 

The Good

Reds ace Luis Castillo looked shaky his first three innings, giving up plenty of hard contact but working around it thanks to some stellar defensive play. Dansby Swanson crushed a double in the second, and Nick Markakis hit the hardest ball of the game for a single in the third. A little bit more lift on either of those balls, and the Reds are looking at an early hole. Castillo settled down for innings four through six, setting the Braves down in order each time. He was pulled in the seventh after three straight singles to start the inning, but more on that later.

Castillo also collected his first hit of the season with a single in the third, so that’s nice for Luis.

Did this really happen? Luis Castillo, a hit? I’m unconvinced.

On the defensive note, Eugenio Suarez made the appetizer, Yasiel Puig gave us the main course, and Jose Iglesias sweetened it all with a little ice cream sundae in the fourth.

Oh, I long for the time, hours ago, when I felt enough joy to write such a sentence.

To end the first inning, Suarez made a lovely barehand on a slow Ronald Acuna groundball toward the third baseline, rifling it across the diamond to end the inning. Then in the fourth inning, Suarez made a backhanded grab on a grounder that Acuna absolutely toasted (98.3 mph exit velocity). Another strong throw to first and the Reds third bagger had frustrated the Braves wunderkind twice in the early goings.

There was no topping Mr. Puig’s defensive gem on this day though. After Freddie Freeman ripped a ball into the gap, Puig booted the ball initially but quickly collected it and unleashed a cannon to second base. Now, no one will call Freeman quick-footed, but Puig’s throw was money regardless. Right to the bag on the fly, getting the Reds out of the inning and out of danger.

And for the nightcap, Jose Iglesias, positioned perfectly up the middle, fielded Johan Carmago’s 104.6 mph daisycutter on a short hop and threw to first to end the inning. A Michelin-star performance by the Reds defense.

Oh, I forgot to mention: The Reds scored some runs too. Or at least, Eugenio Suarez did. In the third, Suarez destroyed a pitch (99.8 exit velocity, 24 degree launch angle) for what looked like a sure home run, but settled for a run-scoring single instead. It would have been a double, but Acuna played the ball perfectly off the wall to throw Suarez out at second.

Then, with runners on the corners and two outs in the fifth, Suarez again mashed a ball to deep left center, doubling off the wall and bringing home both runners.

As for those aforementioned singles Castillo gave up to start the seventh? Well David Hernandez has some words for inherited runners scoring: “Not today.” Hernandez struck out the side, leaving the bases loaded and the shutout intact. In particular, his three-pitch strikeout of Ender Inciarte was a master class of pitching command and outdueling a hitter.

That could have been the end of it but no. The umpires are cruel gods to me and the other 13 people who stayed the game. “Why?!” I cried out, but heard nothing save the pitter-patter of rain on a tarp.

Jose Peraza walked in the first at-bat after the rain delay. I can only assume we entered a twilight zone and that it didn’t actually happen. I was teleported to a different reality where this Reds game continued while the rest of you got to live in the blissful world where it was called during the single-digit hours and everything felt normal and balanced.

Some baserunning notes:

  • Jesse Winker taking second on a deep Yasiel Puig flyout: Smart.
  • Jesse Winker thrown out at third after a Kyle Farmer sacrifice fly: Not Smart.
  • Reds baserunning all season long: Priceless.

Raisel Iglesias converted a five-out save. It’s confirmed; this is the twilight zone. Or maybe the shadow realm. Regardless, it’s unexplored territory.

The Bad

Joey Votto looked lost at the plate twice against Julio Teheran. In both his first and his third at-bat, Votto struck out on called strikes, seeming as if he couldn’t locate the ball out of Teheran’s hand. Votto did walk in his second at-bat so at least some things are constant.

Freedie Freeman crushed a baseball to center field off of Zach Duke, reaffirming my prior belief that this game should have been called during the rain delay. Also, poking a hole in the whole twilight zone theory. Freddie Freeman does tend to hit home runs after all.

Rain-delayed games are no fun, but this is my new favorite tweet. (Note: This tweet did not make up for the nearly three-hour long delay, during which I was forced to contemplate football, a sport which is simply not my forte.)

Not So Random Thoughts

Jesse Winker is, and forever will be, the most delightful player on this Reds team. Puig claims the crown of most fun, Votto most entertaining, and Suarez most endearing, but Winker is just something else.

Kyler Murray was taken first overall in some draft tonight? But not the MLB draft where he was already taken ninth overall? And it was by a team named the Cardinals but not the St. Louis one? Somebody help me, I’m confused. At least his suit was fresh.

More draft-related content: I watched the Vandy-Auburn game during the rain delay, reminding me that FanGraphs released its first mock draft yesterday. They forecast the Reds to take Vandy right fielder J.J. Bleday with the seventh overall pick. Having watched a lot of Bleday lately, I fully support that hypothetical. He’s a power lefty, with decent quickness in the outfield. Reminds me of Oregon State’s Trevor Larnach from last year, another power lefty outfielder who I was super high on. Point being: Bleday is a name to watch.

Up Next

The Reds travel to St. Louis to play the Kyler Murray-less Cardinals. Game time at 7:15 CST.

Anthony Desclafani (0-1, 5.59 ERA) vs. Miles Mikolas (2-1, 4.97 ERA)

And now my watch has ended.

40 Responses

  1. Sliotar

    Maybe the game should have called, but once the Braves saw the old left-hander (no, not THAT one…R.I.P.) …. they must have figured it was really Game (Back) On.

    Candidate for the worst Hold given to a Reds reliever in 2019 may have already been “won” by Duke tonight….

    1 out, 2 hits, 2 runs (both earned) = Hold.

    Yikes.

    Big series next in the Heart of Mordor, grappling with Devil Magic.

    • lost11found

      Holds are an even worse stat than the save…

      at least they got rid of the ‘Game winning RBI’ stat

    • ohiojimw

      And the Gollum personified aka Yadi! Into the fire with him!

      • lost11found

        As long as he doesn’t bite any fingers off first!

        And MBE has to do the Game threads. She is our Eowyn! Shieldmaiden of RLN!
        🙂

  2. Roger Garrett

    Just a nutty game but its a win.Reds just do some of the most nutty thinks on the bases,at the plate and on defense it looks like little league sometimes.Joey never swinging at a pitch with a guy on third striking out and looks upset,Puig swinging at the first pitch 3 times and goes out and where is Winker going in the eighth inning right after a good tag and advance to second.Is or does anybody coach these guys or even ask them why?Yet they won with 5 hits and a bunch of walks.Should have swept just like in San Diego.Man this team could be great if they start to hit and stop the little league stuff

  3. Scott Gennett

    Saw Hernandez’s three-up, three-down via K’s in the 7th, just amazing!!!

  4. Doc

    With Garrett and Peralta in the pen and both pitching well, how does Duke keep getting run out to the mound in meaningful situations? ERA now over 11. When will he be relegated to mop up duty in blowouts or, better still, to looking for a job? I’d rather see a pitcher of the future rather than one of the past anyway, though even better would be a 12 man staff. They’re effectively 12 man anyway given Duke’s sorry outings.

  5. matthew hendley

    Couple things to address about this game. 1. It should have been a 7 inning game with Hernandez getting the Save. 2. Duke is in his final look with the reds. I don’t think he is coming around and I think the reds will attempt to dump him off onto someone shortly. I don’t even think he will last until wood. I think that they will DFA him when they are ready to bring up Senzel (need the 40 man spot). 3. Votto while yes, did SO a few times last night, was absolutely also the victim of yet another horrific strike zone. He walked 3 times the night before. Both of the SO I saw were questionable, not only on strike 3, but on all the non swung strikes.

    regardless, the Reds won, not only the game, but the series as well. Moving in the right direction.

    • RojoBenjy

      How sure are you about them letting go of Duke sooner than later? That would be splendid if it were to happen.

    • Colorado Red

      Not sure I agree about Votto.
      Looking at the first called K, it was right on the corner.
      Call could have gone either way.
      Joey is struggling, Hope he can turn it round.

    • Still a Red

      That second strike out of Votto was tough. Looking at the strikezone location, all 3 were right on the edges…great pitches. However, I would have thought Votto would have tried to foul off that third one, given the first two were called strikes. I really do think the umps are all over the map on the strike zone this year…making it hard for the hitters to know what will be called.

    • RichS

      The box you see on the screen is not entirely accurate according to Welch. A good hitter will pick up on the umpires strike zone. Votto thinks he knows better. To take the strikes he is taking is BS. Loosen those arms and hit the ball. Stop begging for walks. This is a repeat of last year.

      • ohiojimw

        I believe at least 2 things are going on with Votto. First, he takes pitches he thinks he can’t spoil. He has pretty much always done that. I don’t see that as such a bad strategy for a person as good as recognizing and fouling off borderline strikes as JV has demonstrated himself to be.

        Where I believe he is struggling is that he is coming to terms with the fact that he isn’t quite as quick as he used to be at reading and responding late to spoil borderline pitches.

        Time will tell us what sort of solution he comes up with.

    • KDJ

      The first SO of Votto was indicative of the extra 3 or so inches all around the zone that Teheran enjoyed most of the night. The second SO was different; they were all well placed in the zone. How do you take three fast balls in the zone with a runner on third and one out?

  6. lost11found

    Taking 2 of 3 from a team projected to be a mover and shaker in the NL this year is always a good thing.

    I do have some concern with votto. he seems like a two-outcome player right now. Perhaps the back issue he sat with a few days ago is worse than he is letting on.

    In addition to the idea floated in the game thread about DFA’ing duke when senzel is called up, they might toy with DL’ing votto to free up the roster spot (at least on the 25 man) if this continues.

  7. Shchi Cossack

    Zack Duke pitched effectively in his 1st two outings on 3/28 and 4/1, covering 1.2 innings. Since then, he’s made 11 appearances giving up 9 runs, all earned, and allowed 4 inherited runners to score in 5.2 innings pitched.

    Even including his 1st two appearances, Duke has an 11.05 ERA, 42 ERA+, 8.02 FIP and -0.6 WAR. The Reds get more value from Duke by cutting him from the roster than by keeping him on the roster. They don’t even need to replace him in the bullpen, just remove him from the roster and play with a 24-man roster to provide more value to the team. As an alternative, just sit him in the bullpen and ONLY bring him into game action during a complete blowout to avoid using effective relievers in a lost cause.

  8. Shchi Cossack

    Nick Senzel did not play last night for the Bats after playing a full 9 innings on Tuesday (1-5 w/ 3-SO) and a full 6 innings on Wednesday (1-3 w/ 1-2B) in a shortened game. Senzel played CF and batted leadoff in both games. Until Senzel is ready to play CF and hit at the MLB level with a fully healthy ankle, the only position players on the 40-man roster available for promotion are Blake Trahan and Jose Siri. Siri needs to play every day and is not ready to play against MLB pitching ( he has a -0.087 ISO right now and that is not a typo). Trahan could be utilized as the last player off the bench to free up the other 4 bench players for pinch hitting opportunities, but he can not hit at the MLB level…just in case the Reds wanted to add a position player to the 25-man roster and DFA Duke.

    • ohiojimw

      They might be just as well off to bring up a pitcher and temporarily move Lorenzen into a “full time” bench spot as to bring up Trahan?

  9. Redgoggles

    It’s too bad that Cody Reed isn’t lighting it up at AAA; plus are we really expecting Wandy to keep it up the rest of the year? That really leaves us one Amir injury away from being left handed less in the bullpen. I think that is why the rope has been longer with Duke. It will be interesting to see how Bell prioritizes usage, he seems more responsive to results (see BobSteve) than his predecessors.

    • CFD3000

      Agree on Reed but last I saw he had only pitched 7 innings. What’s up with that? He and Romano should be starting every 5 days and working through any early season issues. They will be needed.

      Didn’t see this game, a rare miss for me because of the Atlanta area blackout. Ridiculous but if I had to miss one… I feel your pain Wesley. Happy for any win. Can’t wait for Duke to leave and Votto, Puig and Schebler to arrive. On to St. Louis. Go Reds!

      • Shchi Cossack

        I believe Romano has fully demonstrated his ineffectiveness as a starter at the MLB level. He was brought up thru the minors exclusively as a starter, but only produced moderate success even then. He’s had 41 games and 218 innings as a starter at the MLB level and failed to demonstrate any potential for success.

        5.07 ERA; 6.9 SO9; 1.3 HR9; 1.456 WHIP; 1.94 SO/W

        He has just limited opportunities (14 games & 14 IP) as a reliever at the MLB level, but his production played up as a reliever.

        3.77 ERA; 6.9 SO9; 0.6 HR9; 1.256 WHIP; 2.75 SO/W

        Romano’s only role at the MLB level will be as a reliever, but he needs more experience working from the bullpen at AAA before another foray at the MLB level.

    • Shchi Cossack

      Over his last 2 outings (3.0 IP), Reed may have turned a corner…0-H, 2-BB, 6-SO, 3-GB, 0-FB. I would still like to see Reed replace Despaigne in the Bats starting rotation, rather than committing him to the bullpen, but if he could help the big club right now by pitching out of the bullpen, then make the move. Sims is the only other pitcher on the 40-man roster who might help the Reds at the MLB level and I also want to see him stay in the Bats starting rotation. With Duke completely toast, Hughes struggling to get hitters out and Wandy playing with smoke and mirrors, an additional reliever in the MLB bullpen might be useful.

      • MA

        You are on a roll today! I couldn’t agree more.

        I am currently ruminating about Romano’s body makeup change this past off season. At one point I read he had lost 20+ lbs. I am wondering if that has anything to do with his increased struggles this year.

      • CFD3000

        Cossack – Lets hope so (Reed and his corner) but I am strongly in the camp of starting Reed. I think that’s still his best use, mostly because starters are simply more valuable. Giving him starts at AAA doesn’t preclude him coming out of the bullpen in Cincinnati, but relieving in Louisville means he can’t start (at least right away) for the Reds. That feels short sighted. As for Romano I agree that he’s not a future starter, but I want him to get as many innings as possible in AAA until he finds pitching success, then joins the Reds bullpen if and when needed. But if you believe he is more likely to find that success coming out of the Bats pen I can’t say that’s obviously the wrong choice – you could be right. And if only one can start in Louisville it’s Reed by a mile. I’d really hate to see him relegated to relieving just when it looked like he was really starting to figure out the starting gig for the Reds late last year.

  10. DocProc

    Fun recap–thanks!
    Can’t believe the game started back up. Stupid call by the umps that could have gotten someone injured.

  11. Old-school

    Great win and series win #2 in a row.
    Huge road series at St Louis. Win 2/3 again. Go reds.

    • Shchi Cossack

      The Dirty Birds have worked their way to a 2.5 game lead in the NLCD. A series victory this weekend (or a series sweep!) will not only bring the Reds closer to .500, but closer to the division lead. The NLCD is going to be bloody this season and the Reds certainly appear to have the pitching to compete with anyone in the division. This could still be an exciting season. How about a 5-team race for the NLCD crown during September?!

      • lost11found

        Yeah. It looks like the Brewers pitching isn’t as strong as it’s was last year (unexpectedly). Add to that, if Yelich and Agilar both had career years in 2018, then the little bit of regression will hurt the O as Moustakas and Braun have another year on the odometer.

        The Cubs pitching has been a bit of a dissappointment and Bryant is still struggling. Although yesterday after a loss to LA, MLB network discussed at length about the cubs returning to dominance. So maybe I’m missing something there.

        The Cards, Pirates and Reds all fall into 8-ball category of ‘ask again later’ for me. too many early season ? marks for me to say one way or the other.

        Its shaping up to be a fun summer!

  12. SultanofSwaff

    Boy, if this team can keep inching it’s way back to .500 the additions of Gennett and Senzel (and hopefully Reed) will be huge boosts. I’m talking like wild card playoff contender.

    The next 6 weeks will be HUGE.

    • Old-school

      Absolutely. Keep the momentum going. Those Padres the Reds just took 3/4 from, took 2/2 from the West leading Mariners- previously 17-9.

    • Shchi Cossack

      Don’t forget Wood…

      I’m really satisfied with the current starting rotation, but if Wood can upgrade the starting rotation once he’s healthy and ready to pitch effectively again, then so much the better.

      I know we’re only 24 games into a 162 game season and Castillo has only started 6 games, but …

      1.23 ERA (1st in NL)
      361 ERA+ (1st in NL) … REALLY???…that’s just stupid amazing!
      2.51 FIP (3rd in NL)
      36.2 IP (2nd in NL)
      3 wins (tied for 2nd in NL)
      0.2 HR9 (1st in NL)
      10.6 SO9 (8th in NL)

  13. Wayne nabors

    My biggest complaint when reds play pirates is I think hurdler challenges everything,always looking for a break,but I’m seeing bell not really challenging a lot of questionable calls that have happened this year.looked to me last night that the snowcone tag of dietrich was actually touching the ground,which I would think would render I’m safe.no guaranty but I thought it should have a 2nd look

    • KDJ

      I thought the replay clearly showed him safe. The tag was to the ground and then the left leg . . . after the right foot was on the bag.
      Gotta love the DVR.

  14. WVRedlegs

    I was nervous when they brought in Hernandez with no outs and the bases loaded. But Hernandez ended up being super tremendous by striking out 3 in a row and not letting a runner advance. That was the pivotal point of the game. I had no visions of the game remaining 3-0 and thought we would be looking at a 3-2 or 3-3 game by the time the inning was over. If Hernandez can stabilize his spot in the bullpen like that it will be huge. Iglesias>Garrett>Stephenson>Lorenzen>Hernandez make a good five-some. That shows how important it is for Hughes to rebound, to make it six. That leaves the unpredictable Peralta and the Run Whisperer Zach Duke, both lefties, as the areas of concern for the bullpen.
    I agree with Cossack that if the Reds are not going to have Cody Reed starting at Louisville, then they should just go ahead and bring him up and DFA Duke. If they do that though, I hope Reed is used more than just as a LOOGY. Having 3/8 of the bullpen as unpredictable or just plain sucking is a big drag on the bullpen, even with 8 relievers. Hughes has to rebound. Reed can stabilize Duke’s spot, and then move Peralta to being the 8th reliever. They also have Bass (RH) and Krol (LH) doing well out of the Louisville bullpen so far, as both of them were brought into spring training on minor league deals. The Reds have options depending on what course of action they want to take with replacing Duke. But they need to replace Duke.

    • WVRedlegs

      David Hernandez’s comment to CTrent after the game last night. “It was one of my favorite appearances of my career, for sure.”
      It was a monumental inning for Hernandez. I hope that is the spring board to having a much better season for him.

  15. ohiojimw

    I’m with you Wes. I was moping around after the CBJ managed to cough up a late lead then lose in a walk off in extra minutes only to discover the Reds were about to start playing again at some point later than 2330 EDT.

    When Freeman hit that 2 run dinger I was thinking why are they even playing and that I couldn’t take a replay of the script I’d just witnessed on ice. Thankfully Iggy was up to the big save which averted it.

  16. RedleggsAndHam

    Complaint: Not enough recaps from Wesley.
    Solution: More recaps from Wesley.

  17. SoCalRedsFan

    Don’t care who comes up, it could be literally anybody…Duke needs to go and he needs to go now.

  18. WVRedlegs

    SF Giants are in dire need of some Outfielders and are looking. They have some good relievers.
    The Reds are in need of a reliever or two, at least one LH to take Zach Duke’s place.
    The SF Giants will be in Cincinnati next weekend with Farhan Zaidi in tow.
    Good bye Scott Schebler. Helloooooo Will Smith.