In baseball jargon, an insurance run is one that is scored in the late innings when the leading team is only ahead by a few runs. The new run(s) insure a margin of safety against a rally. Reds fans are going to need a new term, at least for a while. As we’ve already seen this year, the Reds relief corps is going to provide more ups and downs than Kings Island and those extra runs are necessities, not insurance. Today, Eugenio Suarez’s 2-run blast in the seventh inning expanded the Reds lead from two to four runs. Two necessity runs.Hey, the Reds are one grooved curveball by J.J. Hoover away from being undefeated and alone in first place. I think we’ll all take a 4-1 start.

Reds 5 • Pirates 1  |  FanGraphs  |  That was easy

Iggy Stardust Raisel Iglesias had a pretty good start, getting through 5.2 innings. He struck out five and walked two. Jeff Brantley said early in the game the ball was really moving off Iglesias’ hand. Iglesias spent a good part of the game working out of trouble. This wasn’t as good of a start as his first one (mandatory Phillies caveat), but it was still a positive step forward in Iglesias’ production.

Cole-cocked The Reds didn’t knock out Pirate starter Gerrit Cole today like they did last June. That said, Cole once again didn’t make it through five innings, when Manager Clint Hurdle pulled his ace after 100 pitches. The Reds worked Cole for three walks and only struck out four times. It continued an impressive string of success for the Reds against one of the best pitchers in the National League.

Fast Start Billy Hamilton led off the first by slashing an opposite field double. After singles by Eugenio Suarez, Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, the Reds had struck for two runs off Cole in the first. Those runs would prove to be sufficient for the win.

Suarez Power Explosion Eugenio Suarez hit his third home run of the year, knocking in Billy Hamilton who had reached on a fielder’s choice. Suarez’s blast went 420 feet to left center. Suarez has made a lot of great contact so far this season. Still early, but promising.

Russian Roulette It’s going to be this way for a while for the bullpen. Blake Wood got a crucial out to shut down the Pirates rally in the sixth, but then gave up a walk and a double to start the seventh. He worked out of the jam in part due to a horrible base running mistake by John Jaso and a smart play by Joey Votto. Blake struck out David Freese to end the seventh. Caleb Cotham and J.J. Hoover each pitched uneventful innings to close out the game.

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52 Responses

  1. Andy Mace

    Another promising start by Iggy Stardust. How good can this guy be? Also great to see Suarez rounding into form. His ceiling continues to look higher. You’re definitely right Steve, we’ll all take a 4-1 start. Hoping for that rubber game win tmrw.

  2. Steve Mancuso

    Just received a donation from Florida – can add that to our list of states.


    • greenmtred

      Steve: I had this same problem last year while trying to donate. The system won’t accept my info–keeps asking for stuff (state, zip code, security code) that I entered. Last year you gave me a mailing address and I sent a check. I’d like to do that again, but can’t find the address. Would you mind giving it to me again?

      • wizeman

        would you send me that same address so i can send a check. am having some difficulty with website.
        does your site give you my email or should i send it to your email.
        thanks. enjoy the site every day.

  3. David

    Melville pitching tomorrow, victory unlikely, unless the Reds’ offense lights up Locke.. It will be like this with the Reds in stretches this year; some games will just seem out of reach before they are played.
    Suarez can hit. He has made a believer out of me.

    • vegastypo

      Yeah, I suspect Melville will have to throw a whale of a game tomorrow for the Reds to win.

      • greenmtred

        I ‘ve thought about this and concluded that it will be more difficult for the Reds to go 161-1 than it would have been to run the table. Having lost once, they now realize that such a thing is possible.

      • JB WV

        Where’s Captain Ahab when you need him?

    • Vicferrari

      what was the point of picking up Straily?

  4. vegastypo

    I’d be curious whether Votto already had planned to throw to second before he touched first base on that double play, or whether others were alerting him to the play. Either way, what a game-changer of a play.

  5. Redgoggles

    I would have been happy with a .750 winning percentage, but now that they’re at .800…..

    • msanmoore

      Same here … and we were an out away from what should have been 1.000. Odd feeling.

  6. Michael

    Just getting back from the game. I was really surprised how many stayed throughout the game. It was cold and the sun was hiding behind the clouds and the wind was absolutely brutal. Thankfully they were giving away fleece blankets which helped (somewhat).


    Nice to see Votto get back on track. His strikeout swing was goofy but getting on base 3 times will hopefully get him jump started.
    Iglesias pitched decent overall. The defense bailed him out twice with double plays but he looked good in the cold weather.
    I don’t know how it looked on TV but that home run by Suarez was absolutely crushed. That thing was out of the park in a heartbeat. What a hitter he is.

    • JB WV

      Suarez is well ahead of Frazier at this age. Time will tell about the power numbers, but he should hit for a better average. And like Frazier, a converted ss playing third. There’s some old guy from the Orioles that made the switch seamlessly late in his career.

  7. Indy RedMan

    Tim Melville’s minor league career 4.75 era, 1.47 whip

    Dan Straily’s milb #s 3.88, 1.26 whip

    I don’t get the choice of Melville? Even Straily’s #s in the majors of a 4.60 era, 1.31 whip are better than TMs minor league #s? Wouldn’t a guy with experience in the show (and better #s) be a safer play then a guy with shaky #s making his first big league start? Oh well?

    • Shchi Cossack

      I’m not sure with the Reds are doing with Straily. Straily pitched just 12 inning in 5 games before waived by the Stros and claimed by the Reds on April 1st. Straily hasn’t appeared in a game since the season started. The Reds could be streching him out through a pitching regime while holding him in abeyance or he might just be sitting in the bullpen.

      • Jonathan Morgan

        Starting to wonder why he is even on the roster. Could of just had Strailey start isneasted in Bob Steve, or tomorrow. Should of had him in AAA if not going to pitch. Give Diaz, delabar, or Hayes a shot instead.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Straily has been assigned the “long relief” role in the bullpen. Note: He has been assigned this role without the Reds having seen him pitch much at all. The Reds love their roles.

        The Reds are probably looking at having to use a long reliever tomorrow in Melville’s game. Would be surprised if Straily doesn’t get at least two innings. We’ll see, though.

      • pinson343

        Exactly. Price said how Straily is the long reliever and there are strict rules about when to use a long reliever, and he’s not going to break them.

      • Vicferrari

        I honestly believe they think having a candidate to come in after their starter goes 2 or 3 innings to mop up is a better option than starting that reliever.
        I see no way that Mellville is a better choice than Straily or Sampson or 50 other guys on the waiver wire

  8. Shchi Cossack

    Let’s consider the state of the season through 5 games…

    The entire starting pitching rotation was slowed in spring training (Iggy & Finnegan) or on the DL (Bailey, Disco, Lamb, Lorenzen & Moscot). Votto and Mesoraco have yet to start hitting. The Reds are in 1st place in the NLCD!

    Yesterday’s game flat out stunk, but the Old Cossack watched the HR of Marte’s bat with acceptance rather than the usual angst. Such is going to happen in 2016, especially during the 1st 6 weeks of the season. The weather has been more atuned to bobsledding and slalom racing than baseball. The Reds are in 1st place in the NLCD!

    Votto will hit. Mesoraco will hit. Cozart and Mesoraco show no ill effects from their off season surgeries. In fact both look fabulous except for Mesoraco being a bit rusty at the plate. In 4-6 weeks the starting pitching rotation will begin to take form and gel. There are only 5 starting rotation slots available and still 7 pitchers vying for those 5 slots. Two of the starters will be optioned to the Bats to continue preparations as starters or begin pitching from the bullpen. If the Reds can maintain a record hovering around .500 through the first 6 weeks, this season may exceed anyone’s reasonable expectations. the 2nd half of the season, if not sooner, will begin a bullpen overhaul.

    Simon and 2 pitchers currently considered as starters (Lorenzen & Moscot?) will move to the bullpen to join the best of the current relievers (Cingrani, Cotham, Ohlendorf & ?), leaving Hoover, Jumbo, Staily & Wood competing for one, low-leverage relief slot. That’s the much needed bullpen makeover. Hoover, Jumbo, Straily, Simon, Ohlendorf & Wood could all be available for pre-deadline trades in 2016. Cingrani, Lorenzen & Moscot could form the high-leverage trio going forward. Cozart and Bruce could be at the top of virtually every contender’s wish list prior to the trade deadline, with a corresponding asking price in prospects. Reed and Stephenson may not even have an opportunity to break the 25-man roster and have to wait until roster expansions in September before getting a call up.

    • WVRedlegs

      Yes, early April and cold weather. It is early. But one thing is very apparent, this team will need a new closer not named Hoover, Jumbo, or Wood sometime before the settling in of the rotation and bullpen begins. I like Hoover, but he ain’t it.

    • JB WV

      Cotham looks like a keeper. Throws strikes. Disagree about Reed. He’s just about ready and should enter the rotation shortly, after the service time thing expires. But I’m excited and really happy for Cozart. Moving well and still hitting! We’ve become trade-happy, and speculating on what guys like Cozart, Bruce, and Phillips could bring. If these guys can keep it going, what’s the rush? I’d like nothing more than to see that punk team (Pirates) sweat some about the written-off Reds.

  9. mikemartz

    I’m loving the young guys! I’m not sure if it’s just the excitement of the new season but it sure feels like we’ve had more base runners in the first 5 games this season than we had in the entire last month of last season put together! I think the Reds may over achieve this season……..

  10. Steve Mancuso

    Hey, we’ve had a nice run of donations this afternoon. A couple from Ohio, and one from North Carolina, New York, Florida, Oregon, Texas, a couple from California (Napa Valley!), and one from London, UK!

    Thanks everyone!

  11. Carl Sayre

    I am not a shrink so this may just be hot air but I think I have figured Suarez out. I have stated quite often he looks scared even on routine plays or the real good plays that he makes. That is what I think it is, he is scared that he will make a mistake. The coaching staff or maybe a veteran player needs to assure him he is alright. His hitting makes up for any fielding shortcomings and last night you can chalk it up to nerves or the weather.
    I know it is a small sample size but does it appear to anyone else that the entire team is taking a better approach at the plate? I would bet that had I told the casual fan that the Reds would be 4 and 1 to start the season with JV just above the Mendoza line and Mez below it they would have thought I was nuts.

    • Patrick Jeter

      Yes, I have although thought the team, overall, has a slightly better approach this year.

      Have a post planned for later in the season (once data is significant) to explore just such a thing.

  12. Steve Mancuso

    New donations from New Jersey, New Mexico, Alabama, North Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky, Washington and California.

    Thanks, we really appreciate it!

  13. RedsFanCT

    I know its a small sample but impressed with Suarez-looks like he worked to make himself a better hitter over the winter—-but not sold on Hoover as closer, if he continues
    to implode and is still paraded out there then i suspect he is hiding the pics on someone in upper management

    • preacherj

      Maybe Corey Patterson gave them to him.

    • pinson343

      Hoover’s the closer by default. People talk about his good season last year but he was terrible in August and September. He walks too many, gives up too many HRs, and a low K rate for a reliever.

      Suarez has added about 15 pounds of muscle and with that smooth swing of his, he might hit 20 HRs. What a trade that was. And we even get Simon back.

      • JB WV

        At this rate he’ll have 20 at the AS break.

      • vegastypo

        Walks are my concern with about anybody out of the bullpen, along with the gopher balls that come when Jumbo and Hoover leave a pitch anywhere near the strike zone.

        But somebody has to be the ‘closer,’ so that Bryan Price has one less decision to make. “Oh, it’s the 9th inning, gotta go to the closer. I did what I’m supposed to do.”

        Price would be a good candidate for Jeopardy! if one of the categories was: Pitchers and Their Roles.

      • vegastypo

        “And we even get Simon back.”

        Yes, eat some innings, build a little value, and trade him again!

    • Redsfan48

      Heard somewhere that Suárez added some weight and muscle over the offseason, that’s likely going to lead to an uptick in power from last year, and we have already seen a little of it in this small sample.

      • Redsfan48

        Missed the post above from Pinson343, but in response to that, I can see Suárez maybe hitting 25+ this year because he’s playing half his games at GABP.

  14. preacherj

    Admittedly the role of closer is overrated and misused (i wish they would really go old school and let them pitch the last two frames on the regular, if you insist on keeping your best arm until the end of the game), but the angst i feel at the end of games where we have the lead is unbelievable. It was nice to be able to consistently hand the ball over to a fairly consistent win……I miss him……i miss David Weathers.

    • ohiojimw

      I liked Stormy too. He was what he was; and, nobody understood what he was better than he himself.

      I suspect the entire back end of the current Reds pen excepting Cingrani is just keeping the seats warm until there are enough healthy bodies in the starters derby to push a couple of guys to the pen.

      Also, given the latest on Lorenzen (ill with mono) to go along with his elbow issue, I would not be surprised if the only place we see him pitching this year is from the bullpen.

      • pinson343

        It’s too bad about Lorenzen. I believe he could help the bullpen. Only a few relief outings last year but he looked very good, throwing harder than when starting, up to 97. I think he and Cingrani (if he stays healthy, keeps developing his breaking pitches, etc.) are the two best candidates (stuff-wise anyway) for closer after Hoover has blown too many.

    • pinson343

      I miss Stormy too, was thinking about him after Hoover gave up the 8th inning grand slam. Actually, it reminded me of Stormy giving up an 8th inning grand slam to Pujols to blow a 3-0 lead after Homer Bailey had pitched 7 shutout innings.

      But mainly it reminded me of how, with nothing but an 87-88 mph fastball and a mediocre slider, he would only blow about 5 games a year as closer.
      As they would say: he knew how to get batters out. Except Pujols.

  15. citizen54

    LOL you guys guilted me into donating. J/K the material here is well worth my dontaion. Keep up the great work!

  16. pinson343

    Some comments about Votto’s defense and base running. He’s made some terrific plays at first base, his turning McCutcheon’s ground ball into a double play may have saved the game for the Reds. His off balance throws to 2nd scare me but so far so good in the first week.

    As for his base running, he’s one of the worst I’ve ever seen. How could a smart guy be so stupid on the bases ? On BP’s single, Marte had no play on Suarez at the plate, but Votto tries to take 3rd ??? He was thrown out easily and was within a split second of costing the Reds a run.

    Bottom line: he’s stupidly aggressive on the bases and someone should tell him so.

    • earmbrister

      Seems like a job for Marty … after he corrects Joey’s hitting.

  17. GreatRedlegsFan

    I guess the bullpen staff must be tagged “under construction”. As long as the new guys show their strengths/weaknesses and others return from the disabled list, it should change deeply within the next two months or so. For the time being, it looks like Wood and Cotham are on the right path along with Cingrani, Diaz and Hoover.

  18. Dan

    It is very early in the season but this team seems more focused than last years. We we all wrong in thinking that our active roster would be stinkers? I am very curious to see where we will be in one month. If we are still riding the waves of success how will it impact the future of Bruce? Will it save Cozart from being dumped? There is always the possibility that when June rolls around that the Reds find a way to put themselves in first place. I guess the millionaire dollar question is always ” Are they real or an illusion of greatness?”. So far this team has been a very pleasant surprise here is hoping we actually have a competitive team from beginning to end of this season. Let’s knock out the Cards in the very least!

  19. JB WV

    The sad thing about Hoover is if he would excel as a closer what a nickname! The Vacuum Cleaner, Sweeper, etc. ‘Course the opposite, The Sucker.

  20. Moses

    Steve, I think you mean “ensure”…