The Cincinnati Reds (44-52) squeaked by the St. Louis Cardinals (50-47) by a score of 3-2 on a hot Saturday evening at Great American Ballpark. The rookie, Josh VanMeter, clubbed his first Major League home run, a two-run homer, to give the Reds all the runs they needed on a night when their ace pitched.

The first five innings saw a pitcher’s duel in which Luis Castillo (ND, 2.36 ERA) and Miles Mikolas (6-10, 4.17) kept the innings moving, quickly. The the third time through the order came.

Matt Wieters smashed a homer to right center on a hanging pitch from Castillo, in the sixth, to put the first run of the game on the board. Right after him, Mikolas doubled off Castillo and the same feeling of dread from Friday started to form. Cardinals lead-off man, Tommy Edman (who put together a three-hit night, anyway) then hit a bloop into left that appeared as though it would drop into no-man’s land. Jose Iglesias, however, has a glove:

That erased that feeling of dread and Castillo buckled down and got out of the sixth.

The Reds came to bat after Amir Garrett (4-1, 1.66) returned to action and pitched a perfect 7th. Suarez led-off with a walk (got on base in all four plate appearances) and was quickly scored on a Yasiel Puig double to deep left center. That brought up VanMeter:

The Cardinals then cut the lead to one, in the eighth, thanks to a walk, double, fielder’s choice combination, because why should the result be anything but a one-run affair? 

Despite allowing the Cardinals second run, David Bell left Michael Lorenzen (6 saves) in to pitch the ninth. He did not disappoint, delivering a perfect final frame and sending Reds fans home happy.

Something worth noting: along with his first homer, VanMeter recorded his second multi-hit game of this, his first year in the Majors.

The Reds will finish off the four-game set, tomorrow, at 1:10 p.m. as Anthony DeSclafani (5-4, 4.29) will try to help earn a series split. Opposing him will be Jack Flaherty (4-6, 4.41) for the Cardinals.

On a side note, what sort of things would you, the reader, like to see in these recaps? We all have our own style, here at the Nation, and I am looking to always be improving. Let me know in the comments section, below!

61 Responses

  1. Seat101

    I enjoy finding out what other people like about baseball and what things that they find interesting. No one can know everything so it’s wonderful to get different points of view about what’s going on in baseball.

    I think it’s most important to know but you riders enjoy what you’re doing. That comes through thanks for all you do

  2. Chuck in Virginia

    Your write-up was perfect for me, and not just because I enjoyed the outcome so much better tonight. Succinct, without being too cut & dry, with enough story and detail to make it interesting.

    I also appreciate the lack of negativity that sometimes prevades the post-game story.

  3. CI3J

    I’m a simple man. I grew up following baseball results by reading boxscores in the newspaper, as I imagine most of us did. I think recaps would be great if they had one part with the story of what happened (like they have now), and one section with an old-school boxscore so we can see how each player in the lineup did as well as how the pitchers did, and also keep track of how the games are affecting players’ stats.

    Also, the win probability graph is great along with the brief description of what caused the biggest points swing.

    Just my two cents!

    • Grand Salami

      The podcast recaps on Locked On do just that. They fill in the gaps. Probably one small reason why the Locked on guy is here!

      • Doug Gray

        Actually Jeff bribed me with pancakes every Sunday (this isn’t rue).

    • TR

      The box scores are available at mlb.com.

    • Jreis

      Maybe the kittens are our good luck charm!

    • Mike Adams

      The problem with kittens is they grow up to be cats!

      • Colorado Red

        Better then silly dogs.
        Also, look at what cats to do cardinals.
        Cats say YUM.

      • RedsMonk65

        A dog person, myself. What about puppies? Or do they not fit the narrative?

  4. Grand Salami

    I didn’t watch. I was at last nights game and needed a break after sitting in section 135 with my 7 and 5 year old and explaining why I was boo-ing Joey Votto on the error to them.

    That said – VanMeter needs to play. The future is now. I said the Reds need to unload Da Wink too. Not so sure. The kid was the first one out of the dugout after the HR and he reminded me of Mr. Casey. He gets folks fired up. Last night he was interacting with the crown in ways I haven’t seen in the OF since Paul O’Neil or Tracy Jones (not good ways whereas Jesse was clean).

      • Grand Salami

        PS. Often give Thom a hard time but love the call on the HR. “And who needs the stinking bunt” should go up on the clubhouse wall! JVM fan club.

    • RedsMonk65

      Agree on Van Meter. Doubt it will happen, but I’d like to see him get some regular playing time–especially with Scooter so gimpy. I like Da Wink. Not the best fielder or base runner, but he’s a pretty smart hitter (despite his struggles early on this season) and plays with passion — and fun. To quote Crash Davis: “This game is fun (expletive deleted)! Have fun!”

  5. Cleveland Reds Fan

    I would like to the recaps to have more opinions. I can read recaps from MLB.com and Cincinnati.com.

    But I want to hear the thoughts from the writing staff. For example, is Van Meter someone who can be a solid major leaguer? Do you think the season is over? I come here for those answers.

    • VaRedsFan

      I agree with this. More opinions from the writers.

    • RedsMonk65

      There are no answers. Only more questions.

      (Sorry, couldn’t resist the philosophical butt-head in me.)

  6. Shchi Cossack

    I believe there’s little doubt that Josh VanMeter is (was?) the best hitter in the International League this season. With the time he spent riding the bench at the major league level, he no longer qualifies among the league leaders in the International League, but his OPS (1.097), AVG (.348) and SLG (.669) would lead the league while his OBP (.429) would narrowly (by .003) rank 2nd in the league, if he still qualified.

    The Bats have more impressive offensive performances this season than just VanMeter. Among the elite hitters in the International League, Aristides Aquino ranks 5th with a .972 OPS and Brian O’Grady ranks 11th with a .933 OPS. Neither Aquino nor O’Grady have the complete offensive 2019 pedigree to compare with VanMeter, but the Reds would be missing the riverboat if they didn’t find an opportunity to get a nice look at all 3 of these hitters against major league pitching during the remainder of the 2019 season. VanMeter is obviously already on the 40-man roster, but neither Aquino nor O’Grady are on the 40-man roster and would require roster moves to add them to the 40-man roster.

    Josh VanMeter (age 24) 211 PA; 11.4% BB rate; 17.5% SO rate
    .348/.429/.669/1.097 w/ 14 HR, 8 SB & .321 ISO
    Positions for 2019: 2B-22, 1B-13, 3B-10, LF-6, SS-1

    Aristides Aquino (age 25) 281 PA; 7.5% BB rate, 23.8% SO rate
    .296/.352/.623/.975 w/ 23 HR, 5 SB & .327 ISO
    Positions for 2019: RF-54, CF-5

    Brian O’Grady (age 27) 374 PA; 9.4% BB rate; 29.7% SO rate
    .285/.351/.589/.940 w/ 26 HR, 12 SB & .304 ISO
    Positions for 2019: 1B-59, CF-19, LF-8, 3B-3

    Phil Ervin (age 26) 172 PA; 11.0% BB rate; 19.8% SO% rate
    .290/.384/.483/.866 w/ 6 HR, 6 SB & .193 ISO
    Positions for 2019: CF-25, LF-10

  7. Scott Gennett

    Votto’s contract, running at a $25MM/year 2020-2023 + $7MM buyout, will prevent FO from making any bold moves in the future. It’s WJ & Co.’s legacy. That’s $107MM for the next four seasons for a player that’s now a below average hitter (last for all qualified first basemen in NL), that has always been a below average runner and just an average defender. It’s a really tough bone for a small market franchise. I’d say, best case scenario, he’ll remain as a pinch-hitter, part-time 1st baseman for 2020/2021 at most, and Reds are going to eat the remaining $57MM after cut him loose.

    • Doug Gray

      I went and checked, and it turns out that there’s absolutely nothing in the collective bargaining agreement about the Cincinnati Reds not being allowed to make moves or increase the amount of money they spend on their roster because of Joey Votto’s contract.

      The ownership group is made up of 19 men worth well over a billion dollars who operate a franchise worth over a billion dollars. They can spend more money.

      • Scott Gennett

        Well, let’s hope they do so…

      • Klugo

        Yes. Yes. and Yes. I agree 100%. It really comes down to ownership being CHEAP. In relative terms, of course.

    • Bruuuuuccceee

      Joey Votto signed his contract in 2012, which added money to his existing contract.

      2012 – All Star; Top 14 MVP
      2013 – All Star; Top 6 MVP 5.7 WAR
      2014 – Injured; .8 WAR
      2015 – Top 3 MVP finish; 7.3 WAR
      2016 – Top 10 MVP finish; 5.2 WAR
      2017 – All Star; 2nd MVP; 6.5 WAR
      2018 – All Star; 3.5 WAR
      2019 – Halfway done; wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up around 2 WAR

      Joey Votto since 2015 is Top 4 in oWar (behind Yelich, Goldschmidt, & Bryant), and Top 7 overall, accounting for his less than stellar D, and that’s with next to nothing this year. The Reds have gotten tremendous value out of this contract thus far. Don’t count Joey out just yet. He’s proven he’s capable of adjusting.

      • Scott Gennett

        Let’s hope for the best left of him…

      • SteveLV

        Votto has probably earned the entire amount of his contract already. As Doug points out, if the Reds treated it that way, it wouldn’t be a problem, but I doubt they do.
        The Reds need 4 position players to be top 10 at their position/possible All-Stars to really compete. If they count Votto as one of those because $25 million ought to get you one of those, that’s going to be a problem.
        If, as you say, Votto figures it out, he needs to be the 5th guy in that category, which would really propel them. I hope you’re right and he does figure it out, but (inserting tired cliche) hope is not a strategy.

      • Chris

        Those are great statistics and accolades, and nobody that follows baseball would argue that Joey hasn’t been a great player, nor would they argue that he was underpaid when he was 29 or 33. The problem is, as was voiced by so many at the time(including myself and I’m a lifelong Reds fan and always will be) we are a club that couldn’t then nor can now afford to give anyone a 10 year contract. You don’t give ANYONE(pujols, a-rod, Heyward, Harper etc) a contract that runs that long….especially when you are foolishly expecting and hoping(and it’s a definite hope) that they might be alive and producing even decently at 36-40 years of age. It’s dumb for the angels, Yankees, and it’s even more dumb for the reds. Period. It’s not debatable. For those who say he was worth every penny and more, he was underpaid, the lengthy contracts work this way, etc…..I’m aware how they backload them….and even though I’m aware, that doesn’t make it sound business for the franchise. Whether a guy is worth way more than he’s paid when he’s 26(Castillo) is the way the team control and contractual situation is set up. It would be dumb for the reds to sign Castillo to anything more than 5-6 deal as dominant as he’s been and as he’s looked. Joey votto is not worth 25m on our payroll this year, and he won’t be the next FOUR ignorant years of this asinine contract. Should have given him all the money up front if felt he was worth it, rather than tie an albatross to him and your franchise that will end up one way or another being a dead position and dead money in our lineup for almost half of the contract!!!

      • RedsMonk65

        Perhaps the problem is that many of us have been spoiled so long by Votto’s consistency that we have taken him somewhat for granted. Now that his numbers have come down to earth, so to speak, we take notice.

        I have been a Reds fan all my life — going back to the early days of the Big Red Machine. Other than Pete Rose, perhaps, I have never seen a better overall hitter in a Cincinnati Reds uniform. He is special — though I acknowledge it is difficult to watch him struggle right now.

      • Doug Gray

        Joe Morgan was a better overall hitter than Pete Rose. So was Frank Robinson (though he was before your time – mine too!). In fact, they were both significantly better than Pete Rose was.

      • RedsMonk65

        Can’t really argue with that. The entire BRM was comprised of great hitters. Morgan, in my opinion, was a better overall player than Rose. More power, more speed, great clutch hitter. But Rose pounded out hit after hit after hit. Usually had well over .300 batting average throughout his career (lifetime .303). He seemed to always make something happen. Never got to see Robinson play, unfortunately.

      • RedsMonk65

        Copying a post of mine from another thread on this tangent:

        I think the argument can reasonably be made that both Morgan and Robinson were better all-around PLAYERS than Rose (and Votto, too, perhaps). For instance, both had more power than Rose. And who can forget Morgan’s prowess on the base-paths? It was a thing of beauty.

        But, in terms of pure hitting (players who were/are “students” of the “science of hitting,” both Rose and Votto are right up there. Both lifetime .300+ hitters (Morgan .271; Robinson .294). Rose had 4,256 hits over a 24-year career. Morgan had 2,517 hits over 22 years. Robinson had 2,943 hits over 21 years. So, service time is comparable. Votto, by the way, has 1,817 hits over 12+ seasons thus far.

        If you wanted to compare on-base %, Rose is at .375, Morgan .392, Robinson .389, Votto, .423. None of those are anything to sneeze at, and Votto is simply astronomical in that regard.

        In any event:

        All Reds (though Rose, Morgan, and Robinson also played for other teams). All great. All Hall of Famers (in my book, at least).

  8. Jreis

    I still think Votto will be a valuable piece of this team for the next few years. I dont like him the 2 hole anymore. I would like to see him in the 8th or 7th hole( if the pitcher is batting 8th). He will get some more rbi chances and at the very least turn the lineup over with his high obp. I always thought Davey Concepcion was an excellent 8 hole batter at the end of his career and votto could fill that role.

    • Scott Gennett

      That’s OK for another position but not for a first baseman, where major offensive production is expected, I’d say above .900 OPS. As of today: Bell .983, Alonso .963, Freeman .950, Rizzo .933, Hoskins .916, Muncy .907…Votto .748 (last). Reds will have to sacrifice a major chunk of the expected production from a single position.

      • Don A

        Old school thinking. As long as you have production from someone else, it does not matter what position you play in the field.

    • Don A

      I would like to see Votto moved down, but there is now way he would allow it, so it will not happen.

      • Colorado Red

        That is one area, where he does not have a choice.
        Tell him he is dropping, and if he does not like it, he can retire, and give up the rest of the money.
        (Will not happen)

  9. Mike Adams

    Always like to see the box score tied in with the Recap.

  10. Mike Adams

    Right now the Reds are kittens when they play the Cardinals.

    Need them to grow up into cats and do what cats do to birds!

    • greenmtred

      A friend of mine saw a bird–a Bald Eagle, to be sure–eating a cat in the meadow adjoining Lottery Road a few years ago. Not a prediction, just a cautionary tale.

  11. Klugo

    Highlights. I like to see highlights.

    • Colorado Red

      Go to mlb.com right after the game (5 or 10 minutes).
      Great highlights/lowlights.

      • Doug Gray

        I think he’s just being a “I want the Reds team to produce highlights” kind of Debbie Downer rather than “show the highlights” guy – since there are highlights/game clips in literally every game recap.

      • Klugo

        No. I like to see the highlights, whatever they may be. I can find highlights but I like watching them and I’ll watch them multiple times if they are on multiple sights I check. I especially like to see them when I’m unable to see the game.
        Jack.

      • Klugo

        The kid asked what we like in the recaps. I like highlights. If you put highlights, great. If not, I wish you would. That’s all.

  12. Scooter Rolen

    Looking back at this game, that incredible catch by Iglesias was very important in the Reds’ win. If that ball had dropped in for a hit, that inning could look very different and Cards might have built more momentum. As it stands, his catch gave Castillo a boost to finish the inning/outing strong and gave VanMeter a chance to play the hero. Despite his slow offense of late, he does give Reds really solid defense at SS.

    Great win for the Redlegs overall to bounce back from our worst loss of the season. Even when we were losing last night, it seemed like a different team – better pitching out of the pen, especially.

    • RedsMonk65

      Yes, he atoned well for his ill-advised toss the previous night that helped along the disaster that was the 6th inning.

  13. Jreis

    I loved the big crowd last night. The reds are near the middle of the pack now in attendance. I hope this continues. Reds fans are the best and this franchise needs to be ” buyers” every year. No reason we cant

    • TR

      Based on the size of the population, Cincinnati is usually in the top 5 of the best ML baseball towns. And why make rebuild a special occasion? Rebuild should be every year to put the best team possible on the field.

  14. Hot Chili

    Fellow poster Chris summed it up perfectly.
    It’s not about the money he already earned or not. It’s his production, level of play and flaws that hurt the team dearly. Young players look up to him and see constant baserunning mistakes, poor fundamentals, laid back attitude. And that my friend, it’s contagious.
    His contract comes into the conversation when you see he’s untradeable and would take a big monetary commitment to just cut ties and play someone better. In that way he’s a big liability.
    Votto is a nice guy with great work ethics. That explains how much he has accomplished with so little tools to work with. But now, it’s not enough. Period. Hopefully the decent, proud guy he is tells him it’s enough and calls it a career before he deteriorates even further embarrasing him and the team working some kind of agreement with the Reds.

    • Jack

      If they pay him every cent they agreed to then maybe we can talk

      • Hot Chili

        I don’t know. He’s been paid lots of money already and perhaps he doesn’t want to go out booed by the fans and with his numbers/performance in such a steep decline.

    • Jack

      They knew he would decline, that was part of the deal with every player. They got the value up front and essentially spread the cost. Booing says more about the fans than it does about Votto.

      • Hot Chili

        So they commited a huge mistake as many posters have stated. That’s what the Cards understood over a greater player (Pujols) and the results are evident.
        At some point the Votto fans must stop the worship and think what’s best for the Reds. Enough with the name calling and attitute toward the fans that just want to see the team winning again.

  15. Hot Chili

    Now about the future….

    Extension for Castillo and build around him, Gray, Senzel, Suarez (unless a huge offer). Priority to keep the pitching strong.
    Guys like Mahle, Barnhardt/Casali, Vanmeter, Ervin, Desclafani, Peraza, Aquino, Winker are role players until someone better replace them.
    Like I said yesterday, I’m not sure about trying to extend Puig. The team has the money to resign him, Wood, Iglesias and Roark. Not sure it’s worth it.

    • Pete

      I’d hold off on some of those role players for now, let’s see more before making this crucial judgement. Could be that Senzel, VanMeter, Winker, Ervin, Peraza and Aquino are the core of 2020’s team, at least I hope so.

      Senzel still out today and probably to VanMeter’s benefit. Josh is batting fifth today.

      • Hot Chili

        Agree. I’d like to see more of Mahle working with Johnson before decision is made. Romano has been picking it up lately in AAA. Reed may contribute out of the bullpen.
        A stud SS (OFF and DEF) is a priority since they don’t have one in the minors.
        The OF situation must be solved. Not sold at all on Winker overall play.

      • Pete

        HC – IMO, for JW to be of high value to the Reds he is going to have to a perennial challenger for a batting average and on-base titles. Just so one dimensional and probably never going to a true power hitter. If he hasn’t already, I hope he figures this out. Or trade him to the AL.