The weekend of dismal doubleheaders finally comes to an end. The Cincinnati Reds bullpen found another late-game lead to squander in game one while game two saw the only victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in this four-game set.

Game 1

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (63-73)
3 5 2
St. Louis Cardinals (76-59)
4 6 0
W: Martinez, C (4-2) L: Lorenzen (0-4)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

Tyler Mahle pitched a strong 6.1 innings in this no-decision. He held the Cardinals to two runs (one earned) on two hits with five strikeouts. He looked good in his first major league actions since going on the IL for some hamstring issues.

The Reds lineup did that thing where all of their runs come in one inning. In the third they scored all three of their runs thanks to a sac fly by Joey Votto and Eugenio Suarez’s 40th dinger of the year. 


Cincinnati had a shot with Freddy Galvis on second and one out in the top of the seventh, but Nick Senzel struck out looking and Jose Iglesias harmlessly popped out on the infield. They really didn’t threaten, otherwise. The Reds left just two runners on base and only had three total at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Amir Garrett came into the game in the eighth and looked bad. He walked a guy and allowed a hit to set the Cardinals up in position to tie the game. Michael Lorenzen replaced Garrett, who didn’t record an out, and limited the damage to one – but the game was tied. He wouldn’t record an out in the ninth as a walk, a Molina ground-rule double, and a single by Tyler O’Neill walked off the Cardinals third straight win over the Reds.

Game 2

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (64-73)
5 7 1
St. Louis Cardinals (76-60)
3 6 1
W: Castillo (14-5) L: Ponce de Leon (1-2) S: Iglesias (28)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

The Reds finally won one this weekend! Luis Castillo, as per usual, led the way with some stellar pitching. He did cede a home run, and three total earned runs, all in the third inning but was otherwise unscathed. He fanned eight Cardinals on the day – which puts him within 10 K’s of 200. The changeup was a-workin:

On the scoring side, the Reds got a homer each from Phillip Ervin and Nick Senzel.

For once the lineup spread out the scoring with one in the second, one in the third, two in the fifth and one in the sixth. Despite their productivity, the score could have been a lot bigger as the Reds finished 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

Back to Ervin. Dude had a heck of a night. He was 3-for-4 and came a triple shy of the cycle. His season average now sits at .310. The only other Red with a multi-hit night was Votto (2-for-4).

Probably the most important part of the game was a potentially bleak one. Suarez was hit on the left hand by a pitch from Ponce de Leon in the fifth.

There are no specific to report, yet, but it will be a crying shame to see him miss time in the final month of the season with 50 homers a reachable mark.

Next for the Reds

The Reds escape St. Louis by the hair on their chinny-chin-chins. Now they return home for a four-game series against the Phillies, starting Monday at 2:10 p.m. Anthony DeSclafani is slated to face Drew Smyly in the opener.

23 Responses

  1. matthew hendley

    you mean that drew smyly? never too late to start a winning streak

    • Sliotar

      “His season average now sits at .310.” (Ervin)

      OK… but, look under the hood/delve into numbers and you find he is another of the platoon/”Misfit Toy” type of guy the Reds have collected, rather than a core piece.

      Entering today….

      vs. LHP – wRC+ 202, K rate of 14%, wOBA of .487 (very doubtful as sustainable)
      vs. RHP – wRC+ 68, K rate of 29%, wOBA of .282

      The 4 games in STL serve as a reminder that an offensive core, daily guys, are vital to having a winning record in 2020. Cardinals have one, so do the Cubs.

      Comparatively, the Reds doing a platoon/match-up thing feels like a daily scramble.

      • RojoBenjy

        If i’m Dick Williams, i’m shopping Ervin, Winker, Suárez, and Dietrich all offseason. If someone would give value for Raisel—he’d be gone too.

        Suárez could net a lot of value that the team needs. Ervin could be someone’s fool’s gold (even though I root for him that’s more the reality), Dietrich is Dietrich. Out of them all I think Winker would be the one if hold onto unless I got a really good trade.

        Good thing i’m not Williams, then 😉

  2. Great Redlegs Fan

    Series overall were quite even, 20-16 Cards, difference lied in defense and backend of bullpen, which has fallen as domino cards since Hernandez and Hughes couldn’t keep it up. JVM is not an outfielder, if he’s going to be a regular must play 1B or 2B.

  3. doofus

    Senzel’s HR came when he was in what has been his normal stance. Recently, he has been hitting from an open stance. Not has pronounced as Aquino though.

    • Pete

      Totally missed this, you’re correct. Was it mentioned somewhere or did you pick it up yourself? Exactly like his original stance on May 3rd.

  4. Baseball_Is_Good

    Agree that the Reds need a more consistent offense in 2020. But saying that the Cardinals have an offensive core as a comparison? Do you watch the games? Both on eye test as well as statistics, the Cardinals offensive is no better than the Reds.

    Their bullpen was the clear difference maker all weekend as well as throughout the last month +. Having more arms makes a mediocre team a threat to win. I remember when the Reds had a great bullpen. Seems like 29 years ago…

    • Sliotar

      @Baseball_is_Good

      I wrote “Offensive Core” needed

      Cardinals and Reds each have 6 guys with above or near 400 PA….”daily guys”….

      By WAR

      Dejong 3.5
      Wong 3.5
      Ozuna 2.4
      GoldSchmidt 1.7
      Fowler 1.5
      Carpenter 0.5

      Suarez 2.9 (maybe hurt)
      Iglesias 1.5 (pending free agent)
      Winker 1.0 (hurt, maybe for season)
      Senzel 0.7
      Puig 0.6 (traded a month ago)
      Votto 0.5 (a high BB% rate masks awful decline. no longer a #2 hitter, IMO)

      • Sliotar

        It is pretty clear to me which team has an Offensive Core and which doesn’t.

        The one who does has a 3-game lead in the NL Central.

        (I watch plenty of games. Plenty. My girlfriend is a second-shift surgery nurse, so I watch the Reds and MLB.TV while she works. Thanks for asking.)

      • Slicc50

        Calm down Sliotar, you are absolutely right. LOL. The single biggest difference in the Reds and Cardinals right now (IMO) is….that offensive core you are talking about. The Cardinals hitters are able to put up tough ab’s against the bullpen pitchers. The guys with the nasty stuff you are only going to face once. The Cardinals hitters make you work to get them out! The Reds hitters do not! It’s that simple. How many more games could this team have won this year if they could have just gotten in 1 or 2 more runs? I am not saying there isn’t much improvement that needs to made with the defense and bullpen! The Reds just have to find that everyday 6 or 7 guys. I believe JVM is one! Aquino is impressive. Senzel will get better. What do they do about Joey though?

      • Pete

        Not unusual for a young team sorting through things.. Wong looks to be the Cards only All-Star caliber everyday player. Goldy, Molina, Carpenter, Osuna, and Fowler are all past their prime. The Reds best players are their younger players.

        Game #1 of the second double-header was just brutal but I’m not going to flush down the baby with the bathwater, I sure felt like it at 5 pm yesterday.

        If Bauer and Rasiel are playing at peak performance, we probably sweep. Not that far off.

      • Mason Red

        The hate of the Cardinals slants the view of some here. Top to bottom there is no comparison between the Reds and Cards as a team or as a franchise. They are superior. Case closed.

    • Jim Walker

      I was semi off the grid yesterday afternoon. Picked up from a quick phone peek that the Reds had lost game #1 by 4-3 and that the Cards had scored single runs in the 7, 8, and 9th. I finally got a chance to look at the play by play several minutes ago; and, it is disgusting.

      First Cards run (2nd inning) 2 out single. runner advances on a WP then scores (from 2nd) on a botched cover of 1B by Mahle.

      Second Cards run (7th inning) Man HBP (by Mahle) with 1 out and nobody on base. Steals 2nd and scores on a single

      Third Cards run (8th inning) Lead off BB (by Garrett). advances to 2B on wild pick off throw Garrett) , 3B on a single, scores on a SAC fly

      Final Cards run (9th inning) Lead off walk (by Lorenzen). double, single> game over.

      So, Cards 4 runs.2 officially unearned but 3 of the men who scored got free passes to 1st base.

      Christmas in September!

      • Pete

        Talent wise I don’t see much difference in the teams. The ability to play crisp, smart baseball with great execution is a Cardinal tradition. It’s almost if they just hang in there until the Reds implode.

        Rasiel looked like a new man in the ninth of Game #2. Everyone is down on him, rightfully so, but the Reds need for him to step up. Same with Bauer. Two of the Reds most talented players are in the tank, we can’t afford it.

      • Mason Red

        Pete the standings say otherwise. I admire you’re spirit but the Reds aren’t close to the Cardinals and it showed this weekend.

      • RojoBenjy

        @Jim Walker

        Missed you in the first game thread, but you had the better idea to do something else with your time.

        “First Cards run (2nd inning) 2 out single. runner advances on a WP then scores (from 2nd) on a botched cover of 1B by Mahle.”

        If you look at the game thread, after that play I gave you a shout to say that’s what tipped me into fan indifference mode.

      • RojoBenjy

        @Pete

        You adroitly observed, “The ability to play crisp, smart baseball with great execution is a Cardinal tradition.”

        I will add that such play SHOULD be the norm for all PROFESSIONAL baseball teams. Alas it is not. That comes from the coaching and managing.

        Tom Browning says that the first day of spring training with Pinella, the team was taking infield, and a guy missed he cutoff. Too says Lou went absolutely ballistic on the team.

        Obviously it set the tone for that season.

      • Jim Walker

        @rojo
        Must have been particularly grating in real time too that the “runner” was Yadi Molina. Looks like the grounder happened on a full count pitch but with no one on behind him 1st Yadi wouldn’t have been running on the pitch. How in the world did he get all the way around to score?

  5. Hotto4Votto

    First things first, I think Derek Johnson’s a good pitching coach and I’m glad he’s on the Reds staff. But I do wonder where his effect on the bullpen has been. Are relievers just too volatile year to year for Derek Johnson to make a difference? And exactly how much of a difference has he made with the starting staff and why is that not playing out in the bullpen?

    Castillo has improved from last season, but many young pitchers improve as they get more innings/seasons under their belts. Castillo has performed at a similar level to 2017 (ERA+ of 144 in ’17, 141 in ’19) when he first came up. A lot of pitchers struggle in their second go-round as the league adjusts. Castillo has made the adjustments to the league. Would this have happened regardless of DJ, because Castillo is really talented?

    Gray has had a resurgence. He’ll give a lot of credit to DJ, and that goes back to their relationship at Vanderbilt. I do think a lot of credit should go to DJ in getting Gray back closer to his former production. A lot of people thought getting him away from NY would help regardless, but what Gray’s done is statistically better than he’s been.

    Disco is having a nice bounce back season. It’s his first fully healthy season since 2015. Though this season is not quite as good as his 2016 season, but it’s certainly an improvement over anything since then. Some thought this is exactly what we would have seen once Disco demonstrated he was back to health.

    Mahle has made slight improvements this year from last. Again, the assumption is that young talented pitchers do tend to improve with innings/experience under their belts. Wood hasn’t been healthy enough to really have much of a true sample. Bauer also hasn’t been here that long, but seems to have regressed from even what he was doing in Cleveland earlier in the season.

    Meanwhile in the bullpen, Hernandez, Hughes, Iglesias, Duke all regressed a significant amount from the previous season. Lorenzen’s been slightly better, very similar to his 2016 numbers, and Garrett has taken a big step forward. Garrett is also very talented and young, and many could have expected him to take a big step forward with innings/experience under his belt. Stephenson has found a role, but he’d never done much relieving before this year to compare to, and when he did he was used so inconsistently it’s hard to gather much information.

    All of this to say, the starting staff has been a lot better than previous years. Health and consistency of starters alone help explain some of that. Quality of starters also helps explain some of that, running out Castillo, Gray, and Bauer is a lot better in itself than running out Wojechowski, Bonilla, and Adelman. Young pitchers getting more experience helps explain some of it.

    How much credit goes to Derek Johnson and how much may have happened regardless? I don’t know. How much credit lies with any coach as opposed to the player? I don’t know.

    I still wonder though, if Derek Johnson had an effect on the rotation why hasn’t that effect shown fruit in the bullpen? Is it because those guys are more talented than the relievers and it’s easier to coach more talented players? Does it just take more time and more of a relationship (as evidenced by Gray)?

    Just some thoughts I’m pondering as the season winds down. (sorry this post is sort of all over the place)

  6. RojoBenjy

    One more observation; notice that the Cardinals have no problem moving their former greats down in the lineup in keeping with their actual performance? Witness Molina and Carpenter batting 6th and 7th. And they perform well as hitters in those slots should. Current performance doesn’t fit in the first four slots, so they are moved down for the sake of the team.

    The lineup is made based on performance, not on paycheck.

    • Jim Walker

      I follow some Cardinal bloggers on Twitter to keep track of what’s going on and their thinking. Believe me there has been something of an uproar over Carpenter’s playing time and line up placement. But Shildt did what needed to be done.

  7. Rut

    WLBs strike again last night… Freddy had the temerity to cross the mound when he flew out, Mikolas didn’t know how to explain it to his son, Cards bench had to show their ruffled feathers.

    These are the times I miss Puig. Not for the “brawls” themselves (term used loosely for those scrums), but because if anyone would do it again today and laugh in the WLBs faces, it would be Yasiel.