Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (52-58)
6 8 1
Atlanta Braves (66-47)
4 9 0
W: R. Stephenson (3-2) L: S. Greene (0-3) S: D. Hernandez (2)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

 

“Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper, sprinkle cool patience.”   —Hamlet

When Sonny Gray couldn’t make short work of Adam Duvall in the first, it portended storm clouds on the late inning horizon. This had the look of another bullpen game.

By the third inning, Julio Teheran began relying on a breaking ball he could not locate and the Reds—showing patience—allowed Teheran to walk himself into trouble, loading the bases. However, the Reds couldn’t get the big hit, stranding three, and at the time, this felt significant.

Gray’s bunting prowess came into play in the top of the fourth, plating the Reds second run on a scary play that saw him stumble and fall, attempting to avoid Braves first baseman Austin Riley, who was trying to field the ball and make a throw to the plate. It left me wondering how Gray—an American League pitcher for most of his career—could be so proficient at laying down bunts, while Billy Hamilton never could quite master that skill.

In the top of the fifth with two outs, VanMeter would patiently walk. Patiently wait for the right moment, then steal second. Seconds later, Senzel would patiently take what the Braves infield defense would give him, slapping a single the other way into right field, scoring VanMeter on a nifty slide at the plate after motoring around third at a Nascar-like pace.

By the bottom of the 6th inning, Gray had only thrown 75 pitches, courtesy of a couple of quick innings. But a leadoff walk and a deep ball to centerfield put Senzel’s back against the wall, which he misplayed, putting Gray’s back against the wall. But, then, Gray got down to business, handcuffing Braves batters, keeping Atlanta scoreless and the fans chop-less.

Gray would give way to Lucas Sims in the 8th, and Sims quickly gave the Atlanta faithful life. Sims challenged Josh Donaldson and Donaldson left the yard with two outs, then looked like he put the next batter on base when he hit Johan Camargo. But Camargo swung at the pitch, taking one off the leg for nothing. Sims then struck out Camargo, his third K of the inning.

Amir Garrett came on in the 9th. The Reds clearly are going to get as much use out of Amir as they can before he begins serving his suspension. He walked his first batter before giving up a bomb to Ronald Acuna to tie the game. Robert Stephenson came on and literally attempted to throw the game away  on a pick-off to first base before finding some composure.

Onward to the 10th inning, where Aristides Aquino pinch hit and roped one for a single. Iglesias quickly singled behind him. Then Tucker Barnhart did what no Reds fans could honestly see coming. All he did was slip the surly bonds of earth for his 6th home run of the season.

Hernandez would come on in the bottom of the 10th and get two outs before surrending a home run to Flowers, his ninth of the season, before Freddy Freeman hit a heart-stopping rope that Joey Votto corralled to end the game.

The Good

Sonny Gray. No way I had Gray getting through 7 innings after that nearly 30 pitch first inning. He did walk 4, but being the pro that he is, he was always in control of his emotions on the road bump. He threw 110 pitches on this fine Sunday afternoon, 61 for strikes. Patience, Richard. Patience.

The Bad

Last night, the entire Reds offense came off one swing by Aristides Aquino. Through the first 9 innings, the Reds again could muster only 3 runs on 4 measly hits. This won’t get it done.

Well, the Braves organist thought it was clever to play the theme to Happy Days when Jesse Winker came to the plate. Jesse Winkler. Ha ha ha ha ha. I just can’t stop laughing.

The Ugly

THIS BULLPEN. Gray did everything he could, but Garrett and Sims couldn’t hold up their end of the bargain. The Reds had the 2nd best bullpen in the National League at the All Star Break. Since then, they are next to last.

The Second Guess

Maybe Aquino should have started today?

Sonny Gray continues to troll the New York Yankees. Yeah, buddy.

 

Patience is not just about waiting for something… it’s about how you wait, or your attitude while waiting. –Joyce Meyer

 

Sonny and Tucker could have told you that, Joyce.

78 Responses

  1. Pete

    IMO, AA should bat fourth and play everyday until he plays himself out of a job. Incredible power and this team needs it desperately. Great write Richard.

    • RP

      And JVM every day. His OBP is fantastic. Would love to see him in the 2 hole in a dream world.

    • Great Redlegs Fan

      Same here, my congrats to the author.

  2. Klugo

    Not only was Barnhart’s HR the game winner, but his chat with BobSteve after his error was that of a Batman and Robin slap-in-the-face meme. Get it together! It worked. Priceless. I’ve been one of Barnhart’s biggest critics and I even gave out an ‘Oh no. Not Tucker’ when he come up for the game winner; but he really came through today, and has been pretty good since returning from the IL. It’d be great to be able to roll with him at C and spend that money elsewhere. Like the bullpen.

  3. Doc

    Maybe while Garrett is on suspension he can spend time with Johnson to focus on his pitching rather than his punching.

    • Colorado Red

      Not sure if he is allowed any contact with the team or not.

  4. Roger Garrett

    Great win after just an awful ninth inning.Just hope we play these young guys.Sad to see AA on the bench after last night and its nothing at all against DD but he needs to set and pinch hit only cause he is a bench player.JVM needs to play every day and at second base period.Our outfield is a position where we have tons of guys here and on the way we are told from the minors.He should not be competing for playing time and right now neither should AA.Last night against a guy nobody else came close to hitting he homered to tie it but his walk and single were even more impressive.

  5. CI3J

    This should be the Reds’ lineup almost every night going forward:

    CF Senzel
    1B Votto
    3B Suarez
    2B VanMeter
    RF Aquino
    LF Winker
    SS Peraza
    C Barnhart
    P

    That is lefty/righty alternating all the way down to Peraza. Senzel has a decent OBP and is probably the fastest guy on the team, so he should hit leadoff. Votto/Suarez are locked in at 2/3. Then from there, 2 young power bats (VanMeter, Aquino), then Winker who can work a count and let the young guys steal, should they get on. Then take what you can get from Peraza/Barnhart.

    My main point: Let the kids play, and play them in the best position to succeed. There is no reason any of Senzel/VanMeter/Aquino/Winker/Peraza should sit for the majority of remaining games.

    • Sliotar

      Flip Votto and Winker.

      The current no. 2 hitter is below league average in wRC+ and has 0.5 WAR this season.

      If 2020 is truly “all-in”, moving Votto down is a move that needs to happen.

      Alas…….

    • BigBill

      Why the love for Peraza? Everything else I agree with you but I just do not see Peraza as an everyday major leaguer. Has no power, questionable defense and strikes out way to much for the lack of power.

      • CI3J

        This is the final stage of the sorting. Any players who cannot punch above their weight will be replaced by trades or FA. Peraza has had his chances, this is his last real shot to show anything before we’re left to conclude that he is a liability and needs to be replaced.

        The only way we’ll know is if he plays.

      • Susan

        I totally agree with you. I am not a Peraza fan and baring a huge miracle, I never will be. Jose Iglesias is a superlative shortstop and a good hitter, especially in the clutch. He deserves to start.

      • Steven Ross

        Lead the Reds in hits last year with 182. One more than Scooter. Some love deserved there.

    • Pete

      Greay lineup up, mine:

      Senzel – cf
      VanMeter – 2b
      Suarez – 3b
      AA – rf
      Jesse/Phil – lf
      Votto – 1b
      Iglesias – ss
      Tuck/Farmer-c

      • RP

        This is EXACTLY how the lineup should be.

      • doofus

        I like this lineup, but would switch VanMeter and Senzel.

      • jbonireland

        Not sure I bat the rookie (AA-only fifteen AB’s or JVM) fourth. Reds don’t truly have a number 4 hitter. Right now the way he is swinging I think I would bat Votto 4th as long as he is swinging a hot bat.

    • Roger Garrett

      Of course and lets hope it plays out that way.These young guys will be better with regular every day at bats.None of them need to set because they never have and we have bench players already who aren’t every day guys.Its not rocket science but like today DD plays because I guess he hits Teheran but who cares.I want to find out if AA can hit Teheran because well he may see him a few times down the road.Data is wonderful but we have young guys tying to get data and the only way is to play them.Right now with 50 or so left to play I would rather lose playing the young guys then win with the bench guys.I don’t care if we win 76 or 73 if we find out about some players for next year.I believe it was Doug that said JVM had a 1000 OPS against lefties in AAA and we don’t want to find out about that.I am very happy we are playing younger guys but we need more of it

    • Don

      Like this lineup.

      Senzel is much better when leading off than anywhere else in the lineup.

      Winker not fast enough to leadoff. He should be driving in runs.

      • doofus

        I do not think it is a matter of him being fast enough, but one of him being a bad baserunner.

        Suarez and Votto are also bad baserunners, but they seem to have lessened their blunders on the bags lately.

        I hope I did not jinx them.

  6. Sidney

    Call me crazy – this series has me thinking just maybe this team isn’t too far away. Definitely held their own against one of the best on their field. I’m not worried about the pen long term (next year). Just a big bat or 2 with this starting pitching crew and I really like their chances.

    • Pete

      Yes! Haven’t felt this this since, mid-June. Three questions: how good will Bauer be, how good is Aquino and can the BP be revived?

      • Pete

        5-1/2 games back of the second Wild Card spot. Nearly 2 months left, a really good team could easily make up this ground. Are we? We have a real chance with this starting rotation.

      • Colorado Red

        Pete,
        Lots of teams to pass, is what concerns me.
        If it was 2 or 3, yes, but 6 not so sure.
        Never the less, GO REDS.

      • Pete

        CR how I see it. are these upgrades? If so, how big? Big enough to turn a decent team into a very good, or better, team? Not out of the realm of possibility.

        Bauer>Mahle
        Wood>Roarke
        VanMeter>Scooter/Peraza/DD
        Aquino>Puig

        Bullpen arms that may come to the rescue: Kuhnel (R), Reed (L), Finnigan (L), Collins (L), Bowman (R)

        Possible position players to help out: Crook (OF), Blandino (INF), O’Grady (1B/OF), Tromp (C)

        There is a lot to be encouraged by.

    • steven ross

      At some point though, they have to reel off 8 or 9 wins out of 10. Can’t play .500 ball until September which is exactly what they’ve done since starting 1 & 8.

      • greenmtred

        Yes, and that’s the fly in the ointment. They’re improved over the past few years, and that’s probably what most of us were expecting for this season–around .500 with a discernable plan to be in contention in 2020–but the unexpected failure of the teams at the top to run away with it are giving us hope for more, and the inconsistent hitting and the running-on-fumes bullpen will be hard to overcome. This was a good win, but the problems I cited forced it into extra innings, and only unlikely heroics from Tucker made it possible.

  7. Jeff Morris

    The Reds bullpen is tired, after the starting pitchers go 5-6 innings and then pulled by D Bell, in favor of the bullpen. I know D Bell and the pitching coach want to do what they did last year for the Milwaukee Brewers, but what works for one team, does not necessarily work for another team. If the Reds want to use this formula, they have to make sure they spend money for a solid bullpen, especially in tight games, where they are ahead 3-2 or 4-3. Lets just hope Garrett is going through just a tough period. He has regressed since the all star break.

    • Roger Garrett

      Garrett’s slider is for the most part not a strike and hitters are laying off more.Fastball command for him then becomes more critical.Freeman did not and will not chase and he was up there to get on however he could and he did.Garrett’s stuff is nasty but just have to throw strikes and he will bounce back.

    • ToBeDetermined

      Jeff
      “The Reds bullpen is tired”
      I don’t think they are tired. But, the league is using its analytics to see what pitches the Reds relievers use and when. It looks like it’s time for some adjustments as to pitch selection for some of these guys.

    • Mike Adams

      Reply to Roger Garrett and TBD:

      Tired or not I think TBD is correct in the need for some adjustments, either in pitch selection or location.

      As Mr. Fitch stated above first half the Reds BP was second best in the NL, and now they are next to last.

      So many times the BP guys get ahead in the count and our catcher calls for a waste pitch that is six inches off the strike zone, or the pitcher misses by that much.

      From what I can see batters are laying off those waste pitches in the second half.

      I think our guys have to throw it close enough that it could be called a strike because it is one (red stitches of the ball catch the black striping around home plate) or because the ump thinks it is close enough.

      Some of our guys’ stuff is so effective (Garrett’s slider) that I think rather than throwing another pitch he needs to adjust by putting it a little more over the plate. Easier said than done especially by a fan who is not making a living by pitching.

      Has the BP control suffered from tiredness, or just overuse in the first half? I don’t know but I hate to see waste pitches so far out that the batter easily lays off them. The starters do this sometimes too, which leads to some of the high pitch counts by both starters and BP.

      Reply to Sidney: I also think this series indicates signs of no longer bottom-of-the-division for this team. To come back today and win, after yesterday’s game and
      today’s Braves/Acuna comeback, shows grit, guts and “we ain’t dead yet”.

      I really, really look forward to the rest of THIS season. There may be six teams to pass for the wild card but those teams ahead could tank and give the Reds a chance. The Reds can’t control how the others play, but they do control how they themselves play.

  8. Jeff Morris

    Also…the Reds need a big bat in the outfield, something like Ryan Ludwick did for them some years ago. Duvall did not work out, Puig did okay, but they need to pursue a free agent that is consistent at 25 homers and 90 rbi’s per year. Unless, they think Ervin, Winkler, or Aquino can get close to this? If not….the Reds will still be same offense that is near the bottom of the league. Reds are good as far as emphasizing starting pitching, picking up pitchers like Gray, Wood, Bauer, and Roark. But…you have to be balanced! Just like the Reds are bold on trading for pitchers like Trevor Bauer, they are going to have be equally bold in trading for a proven consistent hitter, that plays shortstop or the outfield. When you think about competing in the same league as the Cubs and the Cardinals, you are going to have to strive to be equally balanced in starting pitching and hitting as well!

    • Pee

      This is AA’s purpose but Can he do it? Only time will tell but he hit two fouls balls in his second game, one landed in upper deck (112 mph) and the other nearly left the park. He hits massive HR’s. He has the power you’re looking for, can he do it in the major leagues is the question. So far so good.

      His single today was 106 mph. This is a different level than Puig, Duvall, Ludwick, Jay Bruce. Maybe Adam Dunn but honestly I believe Aquino has more pure power. I always compare him to Dave Kingman and I haven’t changed my mind. Kingman had more raw power than any hitter I have ever seen.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        If he has this much power, he probably doesn’t need to swing that hard to hit a HR. So, I hope they work with him to simply stay within himself when he hits.

        I mean, I remember when we had one batter a while back, I believe he had the name Francisco, a big strong batter himself. Could probably just try to touch the ball and it would go for a HR. One time he swung so hard, it seemed like he did a double twist and fell over at the plate.

        I mean, seriously. We aren’t asking for 700 HR’s. We aren’t even asking for HR’s, necessarily. First, just get your feet wet. Just keep everything simple. Then, when things come, they will come.

      • CI3J

        Wily Mo Pena comes to mind. But I hope AA can succeed where Pena did not.

      • Pete

        Steve – good assessment, AA’s natural swing will generate HR’s from what I’ve seen. He hit for a very good batting average at AAA (.299).

        Something to consider in relation to the need for HR’s. Reds rank 9th in the NL for homers and 11th in ISO. These ratings I think are too low given we play home games at GABP. Another food-for-thought item, Puig and DD account for 41 of the 148 HR’s hit. With Puig traded and DD riding the bench, this leaves a large deficit. Thirdly, Joey Votto is a station-to- station runner as are Winker and Suarez, home runs should help put them cross the plate with greater frequency.

        My theory is most good/great offenses have a hitter in the middle of the line up striking fear in the opponent’s hearts. I don’t see it with the Reds. Like a centerpiece who makes those batting around him more productive. AA could be this guy, will he is the question. Let’s keep watching and find pout.

        Note: The next two games the Reds face mediocre, to awful, SP’s but each’s best pitch is the curve ball. If Aristides struggles, it might give us an early indicator CB’s are going to cause him problems.

    • Pete

      Jeff, follow this link, about a third of the way down the page is AA hitting a HR before he was called up. He hits HR’s so far and high they can be hard to follow. Focus on a green garbage container, left hand side of your screen about a third of the way up, and you can see the ball land, “across the street” near the grassy knoll. Maybe Doug Gray can estimate how far that is if he has been to Louisville’s park.

      https://redsminorleagues.com/2019/07/29/narciso-crook-homers-twice-other-reds-farm-system-notes/

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      The thing with the RBI’s, we need people to get on base. When we had Choo and Votto getting on base at a 400+ clip for the year, we had two 100 RBI guys. Right now, we stuggle to have one player above 350 OBP.

      So, I wouldn’t worry that much about the HR’s for now. I believe there can be enough power out there right now for plenty of power. It would be nice to get a more dependable bat out there, since most all of them are young studs right now and, thus, in my book, still relatively unproven. But, if they can stay within themselves, I don’t believe power will be a problem at all.

  9. DocProc

    For all the people lobbying for Peraza to play SS:
    –Do you know which Reds player (100 ABs min.) leads the team in BA at .285?
    –Did you know that same player has more RBI than Votto, Senzel, Winker, or Peraza, despite batting at the bottom of the order most games?
    –Are you aware that player is only 29?
    –Have you watched that wizard play shortstop?

    • Mike Adams

      Yeah, we gotta dump this guy and get Peraza in there.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      I can’t believe people are still looking for Peraza to be a starter. Sorry, the dude is no better than a bench player. He’s had his chance and didn’t learn a thing about hitting.

      • doofus

        Peraza- 182 hits in 157 games in 2018. He just needs to play. Second base looks like his best position.

    • greenmtred

      I agree. The defense has looked better this year than we had reason to expect, and Iglesias is part of the reason. I’m confident that the pitchers would like to see him continue to start.

    • BigRedMike

      Not a defense of Peraza, but, not sure Iglesias is that good either. RBI is not a great measure to evaluate a hitter.
      Iglesias is 23rd out of 25 qualified SS in wRC+ at 83 and a career wRC+ of 83.
      He does have a good clutch factor in 2019 and an impressive wRC+ of 219 in high leverage situations.
      If the Reds can upgrade offense at other positions, then Iglesias at SS is not a bad option. It still appears that SS is an area that can be improved if the Reds expect to contend in the future.

      • VaRedsFan

        Since the Reds lack in the clutchiness department, Iggy need to be the SS now, and extend him for 2 years.

      • greenmtred

        Agree, really. Surrounded by consistent thumpers, Iglesias might be worth it for his glove, and he does hit better than Billy, after all, but he’s not a threat at the plate, and the consistent thumpers haven’t shown up yet. For now, if Peraza is going to play, I’d rather see him at second, since he really does seem to be a liability at short.

    • Indy Red Man

      Yeah except 150 of them were singles….atleast it feels that way w/Peraza. He also doesn’t walk and isn’t stealing bases either. Liability as a starter….that’s all their is to it

  10. FreeHouse

    Reds should designate David Hernandez for assignment. I would rather see Big Sally or Chad Khunel given the chance. David Hernandez just hasn’t been the same and looks like he’s done.

    • ToBeDetermined

      FreeHouse
      He probably won’t be resigned in the offseason.
      And (I know there were some rules changes) but don’t rosters expand in Sept. ?Definitely could see some relief reinforcements at that time.

      • Colorado Red

        If I recall, the rosters do expand, but to be called up you have to be on the 40 man roster, this was not the case last year. (If my little brain is working)

  11. Doc

    Don’t know if it is this year or next, when the rosters expand to 26, that you can only bring up two players in September.

    • Don

      Rule changes for September roster expansion are for 2020 season.

      From what I can find, 2019 is still the 40 man roster for September.

  12. earmbrister

    And in other news …

    Our good friend Tanner Roark pitched a solid game for the A’s, and got the win against Satan’s team (in the NL).

    • ToBeDetermined

      ear
      Got to root for anyone who can beat Satan’s team.
      PS: I’ll need to look up that game. As I started to write this I immediately thought of the NYY. But you wrote NL. But, it is 6:30am and I’m not a morning guy.

      • earmbrister

        Yes, Satan has a team in both the NL AND the AL. And I hate both.

        As Bill Murray said, the NL team members are “Satan’s messengers on earth”.

      • g

        Minor demons, at best. Clint Hurdle might be Satan.

  13. Pete

    Reds face LHP Patrick Sandoval tomorrow night. Sandoval is making his MLB debut for the angels and will oppose Luis Castillo. Sandoval numbers at AAA are brutal. Need to paste this guy and pick up a game in the W column:

    ERA: 6.41
    FIP: 4.97
    xFIP: 5.00
    HR/FB%: 15.9
    BB/9: 5.22

    No excuse to lose this game. In the AL, Angels are 12th in pitching WAR and 9th in xFIP at 4.76. 2-8 in their last 10 games.

    • CI3J

      Suarez, AA, and Ervin should have a field day. If that trio doesn’t hit get at least 6 hits in tomorrow’s game, something will have gone very wrong.

    • VaRedsFan

      The exact type of pitcher that the Reds struggle with.

  14. Steve Schoenbaechler

    I thought a “good thing” by the Reds was the small ball work. At least that’s what it looked like to me. I had to work and missed the actual viewing of the mid-innings. But, from the line of plays, it looked like good small ball to me. And, against good teams, a lot of times, what’s what it takes to win. Like if Winker never tries to run on Duvall last night, you just never know.

    Frankly, if I was this FO, I wouldn’t have a problem tying up Gray for a couple more years. I’ve been impressed with him.

    • Aaron B.

      The thing about that play with Winker trying to score, he was going full speed into 3rd base, which I know for him is slower than most, but honestly he had a full head of steam and was only a foot from the bag, if the 3rd base coach suddenly holds him up I think there is a chance he is nailed at 3B for going past it and trying to dive back, it took a perfect throw to nail him at the plate I can’t blame the coach for sending him… maybe Winker should have played station to station and not gone into 3B so hard but that was an opportunity to take the lead but I agree with 1 out you can’t get nailed at the plate. The Reds know Duval has a gun out there, but maybe Winker hasn’t seen much of it in his brief career.

      • Rich H

        Aaron I had similar thoughts watching it, it seems like kind of a tough call to make. It looked like Winker was between a third and halfway to home already when Duvall actually threw it, so I imagine he was past the base when Duvall picked it up. I can understand the the call to send him being tougher than it looks you don’t know if one of the infielders is gonna get it moving away, or if there’s a collision or confusion or a rough transfer/the ball gets away.

      • ToBeDetermined

        Hearing it on the radio (I think Mary called it) I thought it was a completely stupid decision by JR House.
        But, watching the replay I was not so critical of House. Good play by Duval (not necessarily great). I figure if House had to do it all over again he’d probably hold him up there with all the factors that were going on.

  15. Great Redlegs Fan

    Bullpen corps need an urgent refresh, Lorenzen, Garrett and Iglesias cannot hold all the workload. From the other five guys (Peralta, Sims, Hernandez, Hughes and Stephenson), maybe Hernandez, Sims and Stephenson are more suited for low-leverage situations, while Hughes and Peralta are definitely a liability.

      • da bear

        Hernandez has pitched better than his numbers, just as Lorenzen has pitched worse than his numbers.

        Definitely think Bell overused Hernandez in the first half. Given his poor stats, Hernandez probably can be retained cheaply and it’s a pretty good bet his luck in 2020 will be better than in 2019. In the first half he was the victim of several cheap hits. After his arm and shoulder tired the gopher balls increased. He is striking out batters at an elevated rate which is promising for a turnaround or reversion to his norm.

  16. VaRedsFan

    “the Braves organist thought it was clever to play the theme to Happy Days when Jesse Winker came to the plate. Jesse Winkler. Ha ha ha ha ha. I just can’t stop laughing.”

    The organist also played Mr. Robotto when Votto came to the plate

  17. Indy Red Man

    Peraza > JVM tonite vs a lefty. I’ll go ahead and get my complaint in early and get it over with:) JVM has already walked more then Peraza and should pass him in steals shortly.

    • Pete

      Winker against a lefty?? JVM thing is a puzzle, I don’t know what to think. As long as they win…..

  18. Matt WI

    Saw a highlight of Acuna Jr with a heart bat flip in the 9th. Somewhere in Pittsburgh, Clint Hurdle just ordered a hit job.

  19. doofus

    Ronald Acuna is a player. He is real.