ANAHEIM, CALIF. – Home runs spoiled Tuesday’s homecoming for the Reds’ Tyler Mahle as Cincinnati fell to the Los Angeles Angels 5-1.

Mahle – a native of nearby Newport Beach who attended high school just 15 minutes from Angel Stadium – was coming off arguably his best game of 2019, in which he threw seven innings of two-run, four-hit ball in a no-decision against the AL West-leading Astros. On Tuesday night, however, he didn’t make it past the fifth.

The Reds and Angels traded home runs in the first inning. With a 2-1 count and the bases empty, Joey Votto — serving as the Reds’ designated hitter — hit a 94 mph sinker just over the center field wall to put the Reds on the board. The lead would prove to be short-lived. In the bottom of the inning, Angels leadoff hitter Tommy La Stella hit a 3-1 fastball to deep center that a leaping Nick Senzel couldn’t quite glove, and after an Angels-friendly carom, La Stella was able to round the bases for an inside-the-park home run.

A more traditional longball followed in the bottom of the second, when Los Angeles shortstop Luis Rengifo hit a 1-out, full-count fastball into the right-center bleachers to give the Angels a three-run lead that they never relinquished.

Tuesday’s game was just Cincinnati’s seventh ever at Angel Stadium, known locally as “the Big A.” During the team’s previous visit to Orange County in late 2016, the Angels had Cincinnati seeing red, outscoring the visitors 16-4 during a three-game sweep that saw Zack Cozart, Brandon Phillips and Billy Hamilton go a combined 2-for-33.

All-world outfielder Mike Trout, meanwhile, devoured Reds pitching over the course of that series, going 6-for-8 with three doubles and a home run en route to being named the American League’s Most Valuable Player for the second time.

Of course, Cincinnati pitchers aren’t the only ones who have trouble getting Trout out, as he’s having another monster season this year (.307/.466/.642 going into Tuesday’s game). Mahle, however, kept him relatively in check, as Trout managed only a harmless bloop single in three plate appearances before Mahle exited.

The Reds helped the Angels’ cause in each of the first three innings with base running blunders by Suarez and Jose Peraza and a threat-neutralizing double play by Yasiel Puig. Puig was later ejected after objecting to being called out on strikes. Manager David Bell was also tossed.

Mahle wasn’t the only Reds hurler pitching in his backyard, as Anaheim native Michael Lorenzen entered the game in the 7th. He yielded a leadoff single to La Stella to bring up Trout, whose fly-out to the base of the center field wall advanced pinch runner Wilfredo Tovar. Shohei Ohtani subsequently flew out to deep left, where Peraza – moved to the outfield after Puig’s ejection – began leisurely jogging toward the dugout, seemingly thinking that the inning was over. Tovar, however, never stopped running after tagging up from second and was able to beat Peraza’s throw home to pad the Angels’ lead.

Reds-cetera

Tuesday’s game marked the beginning of what is likely the Reds’ final series of the year without Scooter Gennett, who appears on track to make his 2019 debut this weekend following a three-month stint on the injured list.

I was interested to read in Steve Mancuso’s recent analysis of the Reds’ starting pitchers that in 2019, Mahle had thrown a first-pitch strike against 68% of the batters he faced. On Tuesday, he wasn’t quite as sharp to open the count, throwing first-pitch strikes to 12 of 23 batters.

A recent story in The Athletic noted that Joey Votto has a reputation for being a prolific talker. Right on cue, after walking in the top of the 3rd, Votto engaged in an animated conversation with Angels first baseman (and longtime Cardinal) Albert Pujols.

Phillip Ervin made two nice plays in deep left field to collect the final two outs of the bottom of the third.

Trout fouled off a pitch in the 7th that was caught by a gentleman — who was wearing a Trout jersey, no less — sitting directly in front of me along the first base side in shallow right field.

For the first time, I listened to a radio broadcast as I watched a game in person, and despite a two-pitch delay from real time, it was a pleasure to listen to Tommy Thrall and Jeff Brantley call the game. Brantley’s a gifted, engaging storyteller, and Thrall was an excellent foil who coaxed fun-to-hear stories out of The Cowboy. Kudos to both.

What’s Next?

The Reds and Angels play again tomorrow afternoon at 8:07 PM ET. The starting pitching matchup features Tanner Roark for the Reds.

44 Responses

  1. Cyrus

    Up front, I confess my negative leaning when it comes to the current state of the Reds. When you can remember when the organization was the envy of baseball and then see other organizations doing real rebuilds within smaller windows, it is hard to see the glass half full.

    Why is our baserunning so poor? Why does Peraza always have an expressionless dazed look on his face and play in a similar fashion more often than not?

    The Reds have one series win this month. We are back in the cellar of the division. It reminds me of people who diet versus making permanent changes to their eating habits. You live a yo-yo existence that always leaves you where you started…and sometimes worse.

    And while a 6-game winning streak cannot be ignored, the sweep (3 1-run wins) was against a team missing Springer, Correia and Altuve (ok, he returned for the final game). Along with Brantley, that’s their core. So we REALLY caught them at an ideal time…and we were at home.

    Watching the careless baserunning (which is not a novel thing for this team) and the fielding miscues (also an occurrence we are more accustomed to seeing than we care to admit) and some of the at-bats of certain players makes it hard to imagine this team ever turning the corner.

    Four days ago, writers on this site were talking about this team reaching .500 and citing how many games back of first place we were. Well, there are only 7 teams in MLB with worse records. We will be halfway through the season when the Cubs series wraps this coming Sunday. We play good teams from now until late July.

    Will Scooter make a difference? We all hope so but we also know that one player has far less impact on a baseball team than they would in other sports.

    I would like to see better plate appearances, higher OBPs, fewer mental and physical errors and more hustle. I can stomach losses better when I see solid fundamentals and a group that looks like they are fully engaged and focused.

  2. Ethan L

    The Reds are on pace to win the mildcard!

  3. Hotto4Votto

    I understand that last night’s play was more lack of focus than fielding acumen, but I’m ready to stop seeing Peraza in the OF. He’s just not very good out there.

    • Pete

      I’ll one up you, I’m tired of seeing Peraza. He didn’t look any better at 2B and overall plays the game carelessly. To be generous, Jose is not a heady ballplayer.

      He’ll probably be a Red for life so in time I’ll learn to suck it up. He must practice like the world’s on fire.

      • Jim Walker

        The Reds TV crew clearly thought Trout’s short flyball single behind 2B should have been caught by Peraza while he was playing 2B. It was a night to forget for him.
        I understand Peraza being on the team because there is no one else in the org nearly MLB ready to play at SS everyday if Iglesias went down. I don’t understand why he seems to be a preferred choice at 2B/ LF and as the backup CF in the RH hitting platoon. They do have other options, even in a DH situation.

      • RojoBenjy

        Jim, you don’t think Blandino can be a backup SS?

        Not being snarky. I value your thoughts here.

      • Pete

        IDK. VanMeter has started 94 games at SS in his MiLB career. No, I don’t think he could be an everyday SS but he wouldn’t need to be. If Iglesias goes down, they could call up Peraza from AAA. So the Reds might need VM for a game or two, here and there. Jim, you have my ultimate respect but I can’t buy in. JP is a train wreck right now, maybe sometime in Louisville might be just what the doctor ordered.

      • VaRedsFan

        Pete, you really nailed it, he has been careless and “not heady” ever since his arrival. Him being young can explain away year 1 of the foul ups….but not anymore

      • Scott C

        I am with you on that. I definitely am tired of seeing Peraza in the outfield and prefer that he be sent to AAA traded or whatever. He may be a super nice guy. He may be a great teammate but he just does not play well enough to warrant a spot on the 25 man roster. If you need an emergency SS bring Blandino up, bring back Van Meter at least they give you good at bats and keep their heads in the game. The brain freeze in left was not his first mistake of the night. The pop up by Trout earlier should have been easily caught even by a minor league 2’cnd baseman. And I don’t care about the “he was afraid of running into Senzel” nonsense. Senzel wasn’t close enough to that ball for Peraza to be hearing footsteps.

      • Jim Walker

        I wouldn’t really disagree with sending Peraza down for a spell. I should have made that clearer by saying I understand the reasoning for keeping him up but my patience is getting as thin as a lot of other folks about him.

        As I said, there are options. And sending him down is one of them but one the team doesn’t seem to consider very favorably.

        We are going to learn a lot I think with the move made to create a 25 man spot for Scooter. If I am counting bodies correctly, the choices are Ervin, Farmer or Peraza to be sent down unless they bite the bullet and drop a pitcher.

      • Jim Walker

        @Rojo re:Blandino
        Think he was very marginal at SS before the knee injury. Kind of guy to give a regular SS like J.Iggy a couple extra days off a month but not take over if he went on IL. Post surgery who knows if he is even up that, at least yet.

    • Shchi Cossack

      Peraza is a bad OF period. Hes’ a bad CF and a bad LF. I understand the benefit of positional flexibility, but positional flexibility requires some degree of positional capability, not fitting a square peg in a round hole. Peraza is simply a bad OF.

      I can understand a platoon arrangement for Winker in LF with Ervin on the 25-man roster, but not for Peraza.

      The issue of a regular defensive SS on the 25-man roster is a non-issue. The team needs 1 regular defensive SS on the 25-man roster and at least 1 additional defensive SS on the 25-man roster to fill in temporarily or short term, not permanently or long term.

      Jose Iglesias is the starting defensive SS on the 25-man roster. There are multiple temporary, short term options for a defensive SS on the 40-man roster (Blandino, Dietrich, Peraza, Suarez and Trahan). Trahan is the only good defensive shortstop of that group with Peraza a distant runner up defensively.

      Any of the short term SS options on the 40-man roster could fill in at SS as an in-game emergency replacement and probably for a single, occasional game. If a need emerges to replace Iglesias as the regular starting SS , Peraza and Trahan are the only options on the 40-man roster, but as long as they are just a phone call away, they do not need to be on the 25-man roster. The Reds do not need Peraza on the 25-man roster while Iglesias is the starting SS.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Farmer is another name to add to the list of possible SS fill-ins. He’s much more valuable than Peraza.

      • Old-school

        Do not forget Alf-rod. He’s a AA all star hitting over .300 and like Siri , could be an elite defensive back up in a year.

        Peraza is an expensive utility player who doesn t do anything well x run.

  4. Klugo

    “One Mistake Mahle”. I guess it’s better than 3,4,or 5 mistakes, but Mahle seems to always make one costly mistake that costs him. Now, the Reds have to score more than one run to expect to win and Mahle never batted. So it can’t all be hung on him. However, he kept putting himself into hitter’s counts, just like Disco the other night. Bad things are eventually going to happen there. I’m starting to think that both of these guys may better fit for the bullpen. Surprise,surprise.

    • Pete

      All I want to know is can they hit? They’re not the problem. For #4 and 5 starters, they’re not bad. Do I hope for better? Yes but it’s not debilitating to the team’s fortunes. There is a problem with this team and it’s an older team, really needs to be rebuilt from the ground floor up. First, they must find a place for Jose Peraza and it’s not on the team’s 40-man roster.

    • RojoBenjy

      If it’s “One Mistake Mahle”, can we also have “Plentiful Mistakes Peraza”?

    • Jim Walker

      Yep.
      Angels 2nd inning:

      Batter#1 from 2-0 count 6 more pitches to get an out.

      Batter#2 from 1st pitch strike to 2-1, then a single at 2-2.

      Batter#3 From 2-0 to a walk on 6 pitches.

      Batter#4 1st pitch strike to 1-2 then runs the count to 3-2 and give up the HR on the 6th pitch of the AB.

      Mahle needs an out pitch to shorten ABs and end them on his terms.

      • Steve Mancuso

        In fact, one of Mahle’s biggest areas of improvement in 2019 is his strikeout rate. He’s increased it from 21.7% to 24.4%. MLB average for starting pitchers is 22.1%.

      • Jim Walker

        An out pitch isn’t necessarily for strikes outs. They save pitches by ending ABs on a pitcher’s terms typically with shortened ABs. They are more often pitches which result in poor contact than whiffs.

        Recall Cueto’s pitching to contact evolution.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Sure, but now that we’ve established Mahle has more strikeout pitches (nearly a quarter of the AB) that end at bats than average, it raises the question of whether you have any real backing for your claim, other than the four AB in one inning. Since none of them were strikeouts, the examples you chose may not have been representative. Also, Mahle’s P/PA is 3.97, which is awfully close to the league average of 3.89. Over 25 batters, that’s 2 pitches more per game.

        What would you have thought if my reply had been:

        Mahle did this to seven consecutive batters:
        Jonathan Lucroy – 3 pitches, out
        Tommy La Stella – 6 piches, out
        Mike Trout – 6 pitches, out
        Shohei Ohtani – 2 pitches, out
        Justin Upton – 2 pitches, out
        Kole Calhoun – 4 pitches, strikeout
        Albert Pujols – 3 pitches, out
        That’s seven batters, which is three more than your example of four. See, he does have an out pitch.

  5. matt hendley

    A poor effort all around. Angels pitching was mediocre at best and the after JV in the first the reds did their best to not advance in the game. Jose Perazas continuing blunders are no longer funny and if it was anyone else on the team would have led to a benching or a demotion to the minors. It will be interesting what roster move will be made when scooter returns

  6. Mason Red

    The Reds are blowing what was gained by the 6 game win streak. I don’t believe like some that they got lucky with a depleted Astros team. You’re supposed to beat a team in that situation especially when you’re at home. They however blew their chances to keep it going against the Brewers especially before heading west. Unfortunately this is an inconsistent team and that’s because of the lack of overall talent. The mental mistakes also continue to cause lots of problems. I still see a .500 team unless the Reds are sellers at the deadline. Then it could get ugly. But that’s part of the “plan” right?

  7. docproc

    I watched a few innings and didn’t like what I saw.
    And let the record show that Puig (and then Bell) got tossed for arguing a pitch that was clearly Strike Three.
    TOOTBLANs, defensive lapses, 13 runners left on base. Looked like the Reds were still playing in EDT.
    Oh, and every team in our division lost yesterday. Would have been a great time to make up ground. But we weren’t even close to winning that game.

    • Matt

      Puig wasn’t arguing the called strike 3, he was arguing the first called strike, which was clearly out of the strike zone.

  8. Satchmo

    Peraza just strikes me as a guy that lack self-confidence and needs playing time and moral support to maintain a high level of play. The problem is that there is nowhere on this team for him to get that playing time.

    Physically, he’s ideal for a supersub role-speed, contact hitting, and versitility. Mentally, though, he’s simply not tough enough.

    • Steve Mancuso

      It looks like the demands of having to play four positions is wearing on Peraza as it would most players. Add erratic playing time to not being able to focus on one position and it leads to inconsistent play. Now, that doesn’t excuse base running lapses and forgetting how many outs there are.

      • Pete

        Steve, you had me on Billy Hamilton – you made the right call and I hope I learned the right lessen. In fairness Hamilton>Peraza. I don’t want Billy back but I would like to see Peraza moved on too.

        Objectively, why is Jose Peraza consuming a spot on the active roster? Other than his age, I personally can’t find anything. He’s probably not good enough to be anything but a super-utility guy but if as you say he’s worn out from the burden, than apparently he has so little value, why not try alternatives?

      • Roger Garrett

        The Reds seem to think that is going to be his job but since he has played in more games then anybody not named Suarez it truly could be more then he can handle.If he is going to play pretty much every day then it makes sense to put him at one position and let him go for it or to reduce his playing time.I realize his age and his numbers from last year say he needs to play but trying to make him into a player that he isn’t does him or the team no good.

      • RojoBenjy

        If he can’t handle the demands, he should not be on the team. The two other teams that passed him over on his way to Wally J’s roster a few years back let him go for a reason. Perhaps they were unwilling to deal with the between-the-ears emotional/mental performance issues?

      • RojoBenjy

        Ben Zobrist and Kris Bryant seemed to be able to handle playing different positions every day.

  9. Steve Mancuso

    Thanks to Clay for pinch-hitting with a late-night west coast recap — especially covering from the game in person!

    • RojoBenjy

      Yes, thanks. I’m sure the other writers were glad to not have to put in late-late duty.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Yes, we were grateful. Also, Clay’s son is named Bronson.

  10. RojoBenjy

    The performance last night should tell us that this team doesn’t take their jobs seriously enough. There must not be a clubhouse leader that can grab them by the shirt hairs and tell them, “Look—we have a two game series in the west coast. The travel and time differences are going to Jack with our focus and preparedness. We need to stay on task and work extra hard to get two wins here. That means no field trips, no sight-seeing, get sleep, eat right, get to the park early and put in work.”

    So instead we got to see the unfocused, uninspired, disinterested, stupid performance of last night.

    Michael Lorenzen has repeated this quote:

    “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”

    This team has talent. Will they put in the work? So far it doesn’t look like it.

  11. Don

    Based on comments and reading articles about the game this morning, I am glad I went to bed and did not stay up to watch last night and was able to get up early and play golf sunrise golf before work today.

    Sounds like a great game to not watch for a reds fan as everything that could have been done right was not.

  12. Roger Garrett

    Easy to blame a lot of folks for last nights little league performance.Senzel leads off the third with a double and we don’t get another hit until a lead off double in the ninth.Can’t beat anybody with that kind of offense.Same thing has happened countless times such as Saturday’s one run loss when the Reds went down in order the last 4 innings.Last night was the 16th time they have scored one run or less in a game this year which means it happens once every 5 games.Reds offense is just awful most of the time and the data supports it.Base running blunders and mental mistakes continue to happen because its allowed to happen and its not just a guy here or there cause its happened to almost everybody on this team at some point this year.Easy to make excuses for all of them.Some are rookie mistakes,some because guys are tired,some because guys are playing multiple positions etc etc.The reality is they are being made and made and made and as long as there are no reaction to them other then making excuses then they will continue to happen.Mahle wasn’t sharp but because of the offense being so bad every starter pitches in a high leverage situation every inning and when they do get a early lead its so foreign to them they don’t know how to pitch.Exciting year so far but 6 wins followed by now 3 losses kind of remind us how far we are away from actually competing.I still say we need to shop anybody and everybody at the deadline.

  13. Old-school

    Reds are 25 th in team wRC+ at 84.
    Last night’s starting lineup.

    Senzel 110
    Votto 103
    Suarez 103
    Puig 86
    Iglesias 94
    Ervin 61
    Peraza 58
    Casali 100
    Farmer 83.

    That’s with a DH.

    • Reddawg12

      This right here is why the Reds are a below .500 team.

  14. VaRedsFan

    Maybe the guys that keep doing look aheads on the upcoming schedules, to see where the Reds are going be winning their future games at, will stop with such nonsense. The level of competition that they face doesn’t matter, as they can lose to the worst of them as well as beat the best of them.

    PLEASE….no more of…”we need to win 4 of the next 5, because we are facing Cy young on Friday, and Nolan Ryan on Sunday”

    Win the game game they are playing today is all that us…or the Reds, need to be concerned with.

    • TR

      All is forgotten if your team wins. Why do many people hate the Yankees? They have a winning tradition.

  15. Sean Burdick

    Not a single comment about Puig failing to back up Senzel on that inside-the-park homer. Had Puig done his job (a la Davis in the ’90 NLCS vs. Bonilla) he might have nailed La Stella at third.