The Reds scored three runs in the first inning, but like it has been for most of the season, that was all the Reds could put on the board tonight. The good news is that was more that enough for Sonny Gray and the Reds bullpen. Gray pitched six shutout innings, striking out a season high nine batters. The Reds bullpen did their job like they have done all season and held on to a 3-0 victory.

The Reds have now participated in four consecutive shutouts (two in their favor). It was the Reds seventh shutout of 2019, and it was the first time the Brewers have been shutout this season. The Reds are now just 4.0 games back from a playoff spot, and that could be cut down to 3.5 games with Giants win late tonight against the Braves.

Final R H E
Milwaukee Brewers (28-22) 0 6 0
Cincinnati Reds (22-26) 3 4 0
W: Gray (1-4) L: Gonzalez (2-1) S: Iglesias (10)
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 Curt Casali throwing out Ryan Bruan at third base for the first out in the 4th inning; Grandal advanced to second base, 1 out. That play increased the Reds chances of winning by 10.6% (from 50.0% to 59.0%).

Positives

Sonny Gray had arguably his best stuff of the season tonight as he struck out a season high 9 batters: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 9 K. Gray did walk 4 batters, which is less than ideal. However, the few times the Brewers were able to put the ball in play, there was limited hard contact (only 2 balls hit with xBA of > .300). Gray is putting together a pretty nice first season in Cincinnati as he now has a 3.78 ERA and 3.11 FIP.

Phillip Ervin had an RBI double in the first inning. It had an exit velocity of 111.6 MPH, which was the hardest hit ball by a Red this season (the two previous best were both by Puig at 111.5 and 111.0).

Nick Senzel lead off the game with a triple. He also drew an impressive walk in the 5th inning, taking some very close pitches. He had two pitches hit tonight with EV of 101+.

Joey Votto extended his on-base streak to 11 consecutive games with an excuse me swing in the 8th inning, beating the shift on a 49.6 MPH ground ball. I am sure Votto will take it right now.

David Hernandez pitched a perfect inning, striking out 2. He now has a 3.42 ERA/2.33 FIP with 11.03 K/9 on the season.

Amir Garrett did walk a guy, but he pitched a scoreless inning. He now has a 1.33 ERA/2.15 FIP on the season with 13.72 K/9. You have to start wondering if Garrett might end up finding his way to Cleveland in early July for the mid-summer classic?

Raisel Iglesias did give up a leadoff single and then a 97.7 MPH lineout with xBA of .360. He however then got a strikeout and a game ending GIDP. Iglesias has now has seven consecutive appearances without allowing a run.

Negatives

Nick Senzel was picked off in the 5th inning. It was his first caught stealing of his career. He was 6 for 6 prior.

Not so random thoughts…….

I watched the Brewers broadcast tonight because I am a big fan of Brian Anderson (minus him calling the 2010 & 2012 NLDS as well as a couple brutal NCAA Tournament losses for Xavier). Both Anderson and his partner talked about Joey Votto in the first inning and came to the conclusion that he will get hot at some point soon and end up with a great year because of his track record. It is pretty amazing that a couple of guys that only see Votto a handful of times a year are smart enough to realize that it is silly to think Votto won’t get going because of his track record, yet the local broadcasters and talk show hosts can’t write Votto’s eulogy fast enough.

Freddy?

Up Next:

Reds at Brewers
Wednesday, 1:10 PM
TV: FOX Sports Ohio (also MLB.tv free game of the day)
Luis Castillo (1.90 ERA/2.62 FIP) vs Zach Davies (1.54 ERA/3.73 FIP)

48 Responses

  1. matthew hendley

    Reds garrenteed at least a split, but its castillo so go for the sweep

  2. Pete

    Unfortunately the Braves announcers don’t watch Votto day in, day out. I don’t see any signs of a hot steak but I do pray for one. Not a great day at the plate but like you say, JV will take hits anyway he can get them right now. He should be dropped down in the line up in all fairness to the team.

    • FreeHouse

      Facts, he averages like 3 of those check swings a game. I am the biggest Votto fan but he’s done. Can’t believe Bell continues to bat him 2nd. It’s almost given that every at bat he makes weak contact. Votto and Puig are pitcher’s best friends right now because they both stink right now.

  3. Seat101

    I’m very happy we got the four hits when we did rather than spread out over nine innings.

    Gym day gave an opening to send this out to talk about getting picked off but it was not explicitly asked. He seems to me like the type of player who can be ruthlessly honest about himself

    When was the last time the Reds and did a win with a double play? Does anyone know?

    • Seat101

      Sorry! My Bell’s palsy has really confused the VR on my phone today. I’ll be better about editing

      Jim Day gave an opening to Senzel.,,

  4. Indydoug

    Just curious-have you ever seen Votto look this clueless and slow batted ? Does your eye really tell u he’s gonna have a great year? The year is nearly(6 games away) 1/3 over and he’s not hitting his weight and has 8 RBI. 40+ K’s too.

  5. Reddawg12

    Despite looking mostly lost at the plate, I always love a Redlegs victory. Sonny Gray has some nasty stuff.

    On a side note, it seems pretty fortunate that the Reds didn’t give up a top prospect (i.e. Senzel) for either Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. Kluber has been on the IL for at least a couple weeks and was ineffective before that. Bauer has an ERA, FIP, and xFIP around 4.00 and is giving up way too many home runs. Hardly worth a top prospect. Gray looks pretty good in comparison so far.

    • Pete

      Good observation. Sonny’s upside is very high and if he reaches it, he and Castillo will make a tremendous one-two punch. Really nice win after a disappointing game Sunday.

  6. Matt WI

    Nick… the Brewer tv crew is strong, agree 100%.

    Great win tonight. I’m sneaking away and going to the afternoon game tomorrow. Castillo! Though Davies has been no slouch either. Could be a 1-0 game. As long as it’s the Reds, I’m looking forward to seeing that change-up in person.

    • Reaganspad

      Hey Matt,
      I was able to walk up and get section 122 row 6 tonight. Winker and Scooter were a treat in the dugout. Winker was clapping above his head for a bet of Korean War. Very cool. Also he was just having fun all game

  7. jreis

    can we talk about Phil Ervin. the guy has all the talent in the world. when the ball comes off his bat it sounds like it is being shot out of a cannon. the only other players that can make that noise that I can remember were Eric Davis and Griffey Jr. he plays good enough defense to be an everyday player.

    The reason he is in AAA still was on full display tonight. on his first inning double, did he think it was a home run? did he want to see if it was going to be caught? why on earth was he standing in the batters box watching the ball for like 3 seconds? he was nearly thrown out on that play and that could of cost us the game. with his speed he should of easily made it to 2b.

    so frustrating!

    • Pete

      Ervin looks like he has the raw potential to play up here but he has to decide, at age 27 and a career MilB, if it’s time to get serious about his career. You want to stay in The Show? Quit messing around or it’s back to AAA. Reds need this guy to perform.

    • RojoBenjy

      Ervin earned his spot on the Active Roster in Spring Training. We’ll never know how the first 8 games this season may have unfolded if he had been kept rather than Schebler—or if the Reds has simply cut bait with Kemp. Either move would have kept the 2013 first round pick with the Reds.

      • RojoBenjy

        Someone said it on another blog—never seen such disrespect for a 1st round pick before.

        And BTW that off the bat is from quick hands—both of which ED and Junior has as well. Good call, @jreis!

  8. Teddy

    I guess we’ll all see who’s right or wrong about Votto as the season wears on. I do not see the same guy as before. He looks very tentative and his swing does not seem to have the power and authority it used to have. It looks like his decisions on pitches are just a tick slower and thats making hitting the fastball a problem for him… which makes every pitch a problem for him becauae he has to hedge against the fastball. He doesn’t look like the guy who wants to be at the plate with the game on the line and I have never thought that watching him play until this year. The Reds need him to start being good now and producing like a 25m/yr team leader when the games matter. Hitting .315 with a .420 on-base in the 2nd half doesn’t do much for me or the team if it doesn’t happen until mid July when the pressure is off and they’re 15 games out with the season over. If his hitting doesn’t change for the better very soon I really think David Bell needs to drop him to number 6 or 7 in the lineup and bump Iglesias up to 2. Maybe taking some of the pressure off him will help him to relax and get his stroke back. He can always get moved back up if he starts to hit again.

    • ben

      “The Reds need him to start being good now and producing like a 25m/yr team leader when the games matter.”

      Bet you weren’t clamoring for the Reds to pay him more than his contract value when he was outperforming it.

  9. Teddy

    One more thing, I really think the change of scenery was great for Sonny Gray. He looks like a guy who really wants to be in this organization and is comfortable in his role on this team. I think he can be a really effective #3 type starter for the next three years and I think it was smart to sign him to a 3 yr deal before the season started. He might be able to eventually be a # 2 if he can cut down on his walks.

  10. FreeHouse

    Davies will probably pitch a shutout tomorrow. Reds can’t seem to hit off these type of pitchers. Reds should put Puig on the DL and give Ervin a chance to play. Let’s be real about Votto, he may be done but at least his glove is still great.

    • Matt WI

      It’s not out of the question. Davies has had huge success so far. But the Reds got to Gio, who also had been rolling. I feel like Winker has a HR in him today.

  11. Scott Gennett

    About Votto, I’ve seen his approach at the plate getting weird ever since mid or late 2017, for some reason he started to grab the bat shorter and to cut the swing midway, I hope he’ll be able to readjust or the bench is on his way. About Ervin, he deserved to be with team since the beginning of the season, at least as the 4th outfielder. I like the Puig guy, great personality and very positive attitude, but his numbers so far don’t justify a contract beyond this season.

    • Satchmo

      Its almost like he’s obsessed with outsmarting the shift by poking the ball to the left side. I don’t mind that approach with two strikes, but early on the count you’d think he would be looking to drive the ball.

      • Matt WI

        But that’s the point of the shift… to cover a player’s source of authority. We can’t have it both ways… people complain about players not hitting away from the shift when they hit into it, complain about trying to hit away from it because of less power. If he was going to hit a bunch of HR’S he’d do it.

      • VaRedsFan

        Maybe you didn’t see the game. It wasn’t an attempt to guide the ball to the left side (slap hit). He was fooled on the pitch, went into the now famous check-swing mode that we’ve seen for the last 2 years, and the ball hit his bat.

  12. CI3J

    Reds back to 4 games under .500, and with a loss tomorrow will be back to 5 games under .500, where they have been since April 16 when they were 5-10.

    I’m really hoping the Reds can string together something like a 15-5 streak before the All-Star break and claw their way over .500, then just play .500 ball for the rest of the summer. That will keep them in contention, which should draw more fans, which will mean more money, which means they can sign better players They are really close, all they need is about 20 days where they catch fire.

  13. joshtrum

    Votto was ‘done’ before and put up one of the the second best halves of baseball… ever. I won’t write him off until the season ends. He keeps in good shape, has a good eye, and NO ONE on this team really shot out of the gate.

  14. Scott Gennett

    Nick Senzel is a real deal, saw his triple in his first at bat and the guy has swing & wheels, something Reds haven’t have I don’t recall since when.

  15. Steven Ross

    Glad Captain Hook 2 didn’t pull Gray in the 5th. The starters mentality should be “I’m going 9” and not have to worry about being pulled if the game is close. I still feel Ervin should get more PT. As for Votto, I really didn’t consider him a positive on an excuse me check swing hit. He rarely makes solid contact anymore. Honestly, I hope the man finds his swing but he looks lost. No way he should be batting 2nd.

  16. Big Ed

    I wonder what opposing team’s scouting and analytics reports say about Votto right now. It is probably pretty ugly. Challenge him with fastballs in the higher and inside part of the strike zone. LHs now just do the simple “hard stuff in, breaking pitches away” on him.

    The Dodgers, who know Puig better than anyone, kept pounding high fastballs to him. The NL Central teams pretty much know how to pitch to Votto now. Votto had a good homer off Kyle Hendricks, but Hendricks has a top fastball of about 87, and is one style of pitcher that Votto can still handle.

    He may break out of it, but he isn’t going to break out of it if he keeps up the Matty Alou approach.

  17. Tampa Red

    Sometime during the off-season, one of the writers asked what the biggest offensive concern the Reds had going into 2019. There was all of the usual stuff about Regress Gennett, some OF concerns, getting a better bench and a little about Pereza and Barnhart. Not one mention of Votto. So I chimed in with, I know this RLN heresy, but the Reds biggest offensive concern heading into 2019 should most definitely be concern that 2018 Votto is the new normal.

    I know as well as all of y’all do that Votto has a great track record. And I’m hoping for it as much as anyone. Ain’t easy being a Reds fan in Tampa Bay. But man, he can’t catch up to a good fastball anymore. He’s totally lost at the plate. His K rate is extremely high. And while there have been some questionable calls, he isn’t walking as much despite clearly hunting walks.

    Boy I hope he turns it around. The Reds NEED him to. But I wouldn’t bet a nickel on him getting back to 2017 Votto. I think 2018 is going to be the new normal, and that’s the best case scenario.

    • Nick Carrington

      I’d be thrilled if he was 2018 Votto for the next 3 years. In 2018, he hit 31% ABOVE the league average. Guy turns 36 this year. Good chance the MVP level production is over. But, I’m not counting out Votto being a 20%-30% above league average hitter. At least not yet.

      So far, the bat sure does look slow.

      • Roger Garrett

        I agree.Last year wasn’t what we have come to expect but give me 8 guys with those numbers and we win a bunch.

      • Tampa Red

        I get what you’re saying, but man, we’re 25% of the way through the season and he looks WORSE at the plate than he did to start the season. Like I said, 2018 Votto is the BEST case scenario.

    • lost11found

      Its the classic case of decline phase vs back-of-the-card. and in the end father time always wins. Does that mean it happens this year? Don’t know, but I think the brewers TV crew was being nice just for the sake of being nice. No need to bury an opposing player for declining level of play.

  18. scotly50

    The positives I took away from the game, The Reds scored without the homer. They had to string together hits. They have struggled doing this this year. Then….nothing again. The bats went back to sleep after the first but it was enough to hold up.

  19. Roger Garrett

    Gray is a keeper and it was a great move to extend him.Never thought for a second we would be talking about how good the pitching has been although I expected they would be better.I also expected our hitting to hang around middle of the pack as it has been simply because Senzel and Puig would make us better and offset the fact we really weren’t that good to begin with.Hitting has tanked in a way that nobody really expected and until we hit better its going to be a win and a loss etc etc.Today’s game is yet another chance to get to 3 under again.If we score 4 or 5 then I like our chances.If not well I don’t.Winker and Dietrich I assume play today so that helps.Need somebody on this team to step up and lead by example at the plate.Always give a good at bat,take what the pitcher gives you and understand what a productive out is.

  20. Matthew Habel

    Crazy how important Braun’s caught stealing was!

  21. jessecuster44

    Re: Votto. This is his first BAD year. He’s in his own head. Those check swings are almost like a tic. This isn’t about a decline, or a regression it’s about something being wrong. When (not if) Votto figures it out, He’ll hit well again. The problem is that it might take a while, because I’ve never see him struggle like this.

    BTW – he still has a .321 OBP, so batting him at the top of the order isn’t dumb.

    • Pete

      In my heart I’m with you, I’m my mind I’m not. If we use objective analysis, the signs do not point north going forward.

      I don’t believe there is any problems with Joey’s head: he probably knows more about hitting baseballs than any man on the planet and works his craft doggedly. If there is a problem that can be fixed, he’ll fix it. He knows what he’s doing but will his physical skills allow it? Last 162 games played Joey has a .259 BA, 10 HR’s and the trend is not good. If he is not declining, he’s doing a great job of hiding it.

      A .321 OBP is pretty decent; however, it’s an empty .321. Joey offers no speed, no power and of the .321 only .210 is batting average. Billy Hamilton with a .321 OBP would be valuable at the top of the line up. A guy like Rob Deer with 35 HR’s with a .321 OBP would have value. Joey’s .321 isn’t really worth much and is compounded by his high K-rate (~25%).

      Supposition: Joey amasses check swings like no one I can remember. Could it be he’s cheating by starting his bat early to catch up with fastballs? So by the time the pitch reaches the plate, he’s committed himself? Would this also leave him susceptible to change ups? Last years numbers versus offspeed pitches : .241 BA /.345 SLG, 2019 – .080/.209. Breaking balls: .242/.352, 2019 – .138/.276.

      Right now the smart money should bet it’s not his head but rather his aging curve.

  22. SultanofSwaff

    Went to the game last night:
    –Votto’s 3 defensive gems were difference making plays.
    –Garrett’s slider is FILTHY.
    –Nick Senzel is FAST.
    —such a treat watching Gray warm up in the bullpen 6 feet above Casali. His curveball is ridiculous.
    –Phil Ervin will be an important piece of the team before the season ends.
    –You have to admire how finely tuned these guys are to play this game everyday for 7 months. Not easy! To that end, Votto’s struggles seem to be from the neck up. Didn’t see the guy take a real swing in the on deck circle all night, just that dorky cricket match half swing he does.
    –Thank goodness Miller Park has a roof! Beats Wrigley easily the first 2 months of the year.

    • ToBeDetermined

      Sultan
      Thanks for your observations.
      It really is a different perspective to see the game in real life verses the Tele.