Final R H E
Chicago Cubs (3-1)
8 8 2
Cincinnati Reds (1-3)
7 6 1
W: Lester (1-0) L: Miley (0-1) SV: Jeffress (1)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

In a season in which we did not expect rookies to be key figures for the Cincinnati Reds, they were the bright spots on this evening.

Catcher Tyler Stephenson and righthander Tejay Antone both made their major league debuts in notable fashions. Unfortunately, that happened because the Reds got behind very early, 6-0, after two innings, as the Chicago Cubs rode that early margin and held on for dear life for an eventual 8-7 win. The loss dropped Cincinnati to a 1-3 record in their first four games.

Antone entered the game in the second inning in relief of Wade Miley, who was battered in his first Reds start. Antone pitched 4.1 innings, allowing only one hit — unfortunately a home run to Anthony Rizzo. Facing an 8-1 deficit, Reds manager David Bell brought Stephenson on to catch to give Curt Casali a bit of a breather. Stephenson responded with a 415-foot home run to centerfield, a line-drive single to left and a ninth-inning walk to go 2-for-2 in his big league debut.

The Reds had a chance to get back in the game in a big way in the bottom of the seventh. Stephenson’s solo home run and Nick Castellanos’ RBI single brought them within five at 8-3, but Josh VanMeter struck out with the bases loaded against Cubs reliever Ryan Tepera.

Another opportunity presented itself in the bottom of the eighth. With two runners in scoring position and two out, Joey Votto dropped a hit into right field against righthander James Norwood to bring the home team within three at 8-5. But Eugenio Suarez grounded out to remain hitless on the season and end the inning.

Cubs stopper Craig Kimbrel walked four batters and hit one in the bottom of the ninth, allowing the Reds to score two runs to pull within 8-7 without benefit of a hit. With one out and the bases loaded, Cubs Manager David Ross pulled Kimbrel in favor of the former Milwaukee Brewer, Jeremy Jeffress. Phillip Ervin struck out, bringing Votto up as the last hope. As he has done multiple times in the first four games, Votto hit a line shot, but unfortunately, it was directly at centerfielder Albert Almora Jr. for the final out.

The Offense

As mentioned above …

Other than Stephenson, Votto was the only other Red with two hits. He went 2-for-5 with two RBIs to improve his batting average to .412. Nobody else among the team’s hitters has yet gone on a hot streak through the opening four games.

The Pitching

You may not have known much about Miley’s repertoire before seeing him pitch tonight, but this graph of tonight’s effort from Statcast paints a very convincing picture. He’s going to rely on location because he doesn’t have the velocity, and he had absolutely no location tonight whatsoever.

On the other hand, here is Antone’s velocity chart:

Antone made a very compelling case that he should stay with the major league team and get some more chances. If he continues to pitch this way, he suddenly becomes one of David Bell’s short list of pitchers to be relied upon, rather than a player who moves back and forth between Cincinnati and Mason. By allowing Antone to pitch 4.1 innings tonight, Bell might have been stretching him out for a starting assignment — either for Miley, or for Anthony DeSclafani if the latter misses more than one start.

Notes Worth Noting

Your “fan cutout” can be in the seats at Great American Ball Park! Cost is $75. More at Reds.com.

Two pitchers waived by Cincinnati both claimed by Miami Marlins …

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Chicago Cubs vs Cincinnati Reds

Tuesday, July 28th, 6:40 pm ET

Alec Mills (2.75 ERA, 1-0 in 2019) vs Tyler Mahle (5.14 ERA, 3-12 in 2019)

25 Responses

  1. FreeHouse

    Losing 3 games counts as a losing streak. The Cubs did everything they could to lose this game yet the Reds still couldn’t take advantage. Few take aways, this team can’t afford to start like the past few years or else they are going to put themselves in a whole they can’t come out of. Back to back one run loss and no clutch hitting something they have lacked last season. Snap out of the loser mentality Reds and go out and win tomorrow!

  2. Jack

    Frankly I am not high on Mahle. He had a lot of starts last year and a 5.14 ERA. I hope we start scoring earlier tomorrow because we will need it.

  3. Sliotar

    These 2 things can’t be in the same sentence and taken seriously ….

    -The Reds are serious playoff contenders
    -Age 31 season journeyman Christian Colon is starting at DH, hitting 6th … with Winker and Shogo on the bench

    There is a lot of baseball left (hopefully), and Suarez is still hitless and Moustakas and Senzel are out … but why just give away outs starting Colon?

    Too many non-difference-making guys getting too many at-bats at the moment.

    • Melvin

      Yeah. Everybody doesn’t have to play. Just the ones who help you win THAT DAY….. 60 games….that’s all….down to 56 already….. 1-3 (2.7-8.1) record to start at home no less. SMH…..we’ve seen Davidson, Jankowski, and Colon. If these were crucial games in the playoffs would we be playing these guys? That’s what David Bell HAS to ask himself because that’s the way we need to approach each and every game. These guys in there don’t concern me near as much as the mindset. The three just mentioned are not the only reason we’ve been losing my any means. I just don’t believe Bell has the proper definition of urgency. I hope our manager is not over his head and not able to handle this very short season. Honesty, he acts like it I’m afraid. We cannot afford to wait even one game to get going. I’m not anti David Bell. He does some good things. I am anti losing though. Six season of being at or near last place. Spending millions and millions of dollars in the off season. Like it or not, fair or not, David Bell is under the microscope maybe more than any other manager. That’s the nature of the beast. There is only one cure for all of this…..WIN.

  4. SultanofSwaff

    Simply put I don’t believe the reds prepared their pictures properly for the start of the season. Miley was clearly rusty….maybe he should have pitched in the exhibition last week! Lorenzen, Stephenson, Iglesias…. too many days off before being thrust into high-leverage situations and not having command.

    • SultanofSwaff

      *pitchers

      More to the point, what’s with Bell fretting about the pitch counts for the starting pitchers when no one has topped 100? That should have been the expectation communicated to the players so they could adjust their workouts accordingly. Everyone knows you have to hit the ground running but he manages like the team has all the time in the world to get it together.

      • Jeffrey A Lamb

        Bauer: Oh, and he struck out 13 hitters along the way on 105 pitches. From Sunday’s recap but your point is valid nonetheless. The bullpen has imploded out of the gate. The losses to Detroit can NOT be blamed on the starting pitching by any means. The manager, possibly for pulling them too soon but in 162 game season the usage would be similar, imo.

  5. TR

    After leading off with three sterling starting pitching performances, a 1-3 record is not what we expected from the get go in this short season.

  6. Bob Moore

    This nonsense of trying to get everyone playing time is a losing philosophy. The Big Red Machine played the “Great Eight” virtually every game. Even the ‘90 team played mostly the same lineup the entire season, with the exception of 1st base. David Bell needs to quit managing like it’s a travel team and everyone “paid to play” so you have to play them. Shogo sitting two of the 1st four games is inexcusable. Davidson and Cologne as the DH is pathetic. When healthy, Shogo, Senzel, Castellanos, Votto, Moose, Suarez, Galvis, and Winker as the left-handed DH against righties. That still gives Bell a chance to play “a little” with the lineup at catcher and right-handed DH and gives us the best chance to win. If he can’t grasp this concept, then he needs to GO.

    • TR

      Shogo Akiyama should be in the regular lineup each game in this two month season. He’s the leadoff man and sparkplug the Reds have needed for sometime. Winning baseball comes with a set lineup with substitutions only due to injuries or a needed day off. Shifting players constantly does not make for stability. I’m increasingly concerned whether David Bell has the managerial touch the Reds need to be a winner.

  7. JB

    Our Designated Hitters are 1-14. Maybe they should just let the pitchers hit.

  8. CFD3000

    Disappointing. I thought I read that Miley had looked great in (both) preseasons. What the heck happened there? For a change the bullpen was excellent – 2 runs in 7 1/3 – but that’s too big a hole Wade! I do question some of Bell’s lineup choices early on – Colon? Davidson? But missing Moustakas, Senzel and, apparently, Suarez means a third of the lineup is greatly diminished. Suarez hasn’t even hit a single ball hard yet, let alone have an actual hit. Maybe Farmer at 3rd base tonight to give him a chance to catch his breath. Oh, and Free Shogo please! The Reds have had three of the best starts in the league so far from Gray, Castillo and Bauer but nothing to show for it. Time to start winning boys. Go Reds!

  9. Wayne Nabors

    I said last year on this site that bell was over his head,but I was wrong,the person that hired him is the one that’s in to deep.even the gm has to wonder why one of the last 2 guys added to team is in the opening day lineup and 3 games later their dh is a 31 yr old with 1 career homer and 26 total rbi’s,not to mention Philip Ervin has as many starts as shogo does,most mlb sites had reds the favorites but I dont think they considered the bell factor

    • Steven Ross

      Bell does appear to be lineup challenged. Is it really that hard? I guess so. Penciling in Shogo at leadoff would be a good place to start.

      • Grand Salami

        We used to be begging Dusty to sit Tavares or Someone that he Jammed into the lead off role. Now it’s the opposite.

  10. Michael Smith

    On the plus side Joey Votto has convinced himself that its 2017.

    • Melvin

      Yeah. His hitting is definitely one of the brightest spots. 🙂

  11. Eric the Red

    I thought the analytics revolution would lead to more nuanced decision making than “RH batter with a pulse” is the best choice for DH against a LH pitcher. (Not to mention, if you refuse to use Shogo or Winker why not use Lorenzen as DH or CF? To avoid hurting Colon’s feelings?)

    • RojoBenjy

      Speaking of analytics, does a 60 game season change the overall strategies for winning, since it’s a sprint and not a marathon?

      Does it make sense to invest in higher risk moves for the higher payoff? Is that even a thing in analytics? Just wondering since Bill James bases all his stuff on economics whether or not that’s even a fair analogy.

      Perhaps someone that knows these things can comment.

      • Doug Gray

        Yes, the strategies do change. Mostly with how you use the bullpen (more often, sooner) and your bench for match ups. Turns out that most people actually think that’s the dumbest things that the manager could actually do given the response to doing it just as one should based on the percentages over the first four games of the season.

      • RojoBenjy

        Thanks, Doug.

        So the strategy goes in the opposite direction of what I was thinking. Glad I asked

      • Cubano

        It isn’t so much that I think its the dumbest thing you could do- far from it- I just question the depth of characters being used to get the job done. We all had the opportunity during the second half of 2019 to see what it looks like when the Reds lean on JVM, Aquino, Farmer, Ervin, etc- they’re growing players and I like ’em but they aren’t any sort of driving engine for the offense.