The Cincinnati Reds are 5-1, and are in first place in the NL Central. The Reds completed as fun of a week of baseball as anyone could have possibly imagined.

Today’s starting pitcher Tim Melville was making his MLB debut for the Reds. He got off to a rough start after he walked the bases loaded in the first inning. Melville was able to dance out of trouble, and put up a zero in the first inning. The inning however took a toll on him, as it took 37 pitches.

The 37 pitch first inning would limit Melville’s debut to just four innings. Melville only allowed one run on the day, despite allowing nine baserunners in the four innings.

Eugenio Suarez continued his torrid start to 2016 with a solo home run in the sixth inning to tie the score at one. Suarez already has four home runs through the first six games.

There was a huge play in the eighth inning. Adam Duvall threw out Josh Harrison at home to end the inning (Mesoraco made a great tag, and had great positioning). The play was reviewed, and Harrison was confirmed out. That kept the game tied at 1.

The Reds bullpen was huge. They pitched five shutout innings. That set up a chance for a walkoff in the ninth. Brandon Phillips lead off the inning with a single. Two batters later, Jay Bruce stepped to the plate. The guy who wasn’t even supposed to be a Red in 2016, delivered a walkoff double to give the Reds a 2-1 victory.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (5-1) 2 10 0
Pittsburgh Pirates (4-2) 1 9 0
W: Ohlendorf (2-0) L: Caminero (0-1)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score | Game Thread


Biggest Play of the Game

According to Fangraphs WPA statistic (winning percentage added), the most important play of the game was Jay Bruce’s RBI walkoff triple in the 9th inning, scoring Brandon Phillips. Reds win 2-1. That play increased the Reds chances of winning by 36.7% (from 63.3% to 100.0%)

Other important plays (+/- indicates how much each play increased or decreased the Reds chances of winning):

  • +18.5% – 6th inning: Suarez solo home run (1-1)
  • +11.3% – 9th inning: Ohlendorf gets Harrison to fly out to end the inning, stranding runners on 1st & 2nd (1-1)
  • -11.4% – 1st inning: Mesoraco ground into an inning ending DP (0-0)
  • -10.9% – 2nd inning: Melville allows solo home run to Stewart (Pirates lead 1-0)
  • -10.7% – 8th inning: Votto ground into an inning ending DP (1-1)

Player of the Game

Eugenio Suarez: 3 for 4, 1 HR, 0.21 WPA

Suarez has been incredible through the first six games. He already has four home runs, and is hitting .435/.500/.957. Todd who?


Jay Bruce was 2 for 4, including the walkoff triple. It’s so good to see Bruce off to a hot start in 2016. It has to feel good for him. Bruce is hitting .391/.417/.739 through the first six games of 2016.

Adam Duvall had two hits. The platoon of Duvall/Schebler has been good so far for the Reds. Duvall has a 141 wRC+ and Schebler has a 115 wRC+.

Brandon Phillips also had two hits. Phillips is hitting .385/.438/.615.


Tim Melville was far from perfect, but he did a nice job after a shaky start. You won’t be very successful in the big leagues walking four batters and only lasting four innings, but he kept his composure and helped the Reds stay in the game. Melville got some very timely strikeouts. His final line: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 5 K.

The Reds bullpen was nails. They threw five shutout innings today. Dan Straily was especially impressive, as he didn’t even allow a hit in three innings (1 BB, 3 K). The Reds pen has been surprisingly good through the first week of the season.

The Reds had some very nice defensive plays today. Adam Duvall threw out a runner at home, and Jay Bruce made a great recovery on a ball hit off his glove in the 9th, and was able to hold David Freese to a single off the wall.


Chris Stewart hit a solo home run in the second inning off Melville. Stewart hadn’t hit a home run since 2013. He played in 107 games in 2014-15. Baseball can be a brutal game.


There was some really bad baserunning by Adam Duvall in the second inning that cost the Reds. Duvall smoked a ball off the wall in the second inning. Jay Bruce was on first base, and third base coach Billy Hatcher held Bruce at third. Duvall apparently didn’t see that Bruce was held and kept running past second base, and on to third as the ball was thrown home. Duvall couldn’t get back to second in time, and was thrown out. If Duvall had stopped at second, the Reds would have had 2nd & 3rd with 0 outs. The pitcher Tim Melville was up next, and he struck out. The Reds ended up not scoring in the inning. (Some might say it was on Billy Hatcher for putting up a late stop sign, but I don’t think it was on him).

Joey Votto is really struggling to start 2016. He grounded into two double plays today. Votto is hitting .174/.269/.174. I wouldn’t worry too much about our hero though. He’ll get it going soon, and when he does…watch out.

Not so random thoughts………….

The Reds could be 6-0 if not for that grand salami that Mr. Hoover gave up on Friday night. Could you even imagine?

Around the NL Central

That looks good……

Cincinnati Reds 5-1
Chicago Cubs 4-1 0.5 GB
Pittsburgh Pirates 4-2 1.0 GB
Milwaukee Brewers 2-3 2.5 GB
St. Louis Cardinals 2-3 2.5 GB

Up Next:

The Reds will head to Chicago for a three game (all night) series against the Cubs. Tomorrow will be the Cubs home opener. The two teams will take the day off Tuesday, and finish the series Wednesday and Thursday.

Reds at Cubs
Monday, 8:05 PM
TV: FOX Sports Ohio
Brandon Finnegan (1 GS, 3.00 ERA/3.02FIP) vs Jon Lester (1 GS, 1.29 ERA/2.21FIP)

74 Responses

  1. Steve Mancuso

    Great recap, Nick.

    We received donations after the game from Louisville, Cincinnati and Virginia.


    If you want so support Redleg Nation, please use the DONATE button in the right column. It’s easy, fast and greatly appreciated.

  2. JB WV

    I was giving Duvall a hard time too until I saw the replay. Bruce rounded third at full speed and even continued for a few strides after he hit the bag. Duvall was watching him and assumed he was going home. If he was at fault, okay, but at least he was hustling. He certainly made up for it on the throw home.

    • Carl Sayre

      I will take a mistake made hustling any day. I was squalling when it happened but a team will score 4 and a half or 5 runs to every out they make with HUSTLE.

      • Chuck Schick

        I don’t think anyone is opposed to hustle, but I’m not sure how you can possibly quantify the 4.5-5 runs to 1 out claim you made.

      • Carl Sayre

        You are right it is probably closer to half that. I exaggerated the upside by pulling a number out of the air. The point I was trying to make is hustle plays have a significant upside as opposed to the occasional “oh sh…oot” moment.

  3. Patrick Jeter

    Good stuff, Nick!

    I agree. I feel very happy for Bruce. If/when he gets traded, I’ll be a sad panda. I’ve always liked the guy!

    • JB WV

      Sometimes the best trades are the ones not made. Bruce has always kept his head up when he struggles. Wouldn’t it be great if this was the year we’ve been waiting for from him?!

      • Patrick Jeter

        Sure would be fun! Although, I have a feeling it he has a great first half, he’ll definintely be flipped at the deadline for a decent prospect.

      • greenmtred

        Do you think that happens if the Reds are still in contention, Patrick? Should it? That scenario would provoke some interesting discussions here and elsewhere: Do you scuttle an improbably promising season because you believe it to be an anomaly, or do you embrace it and compromise the rebuild? I hope the Reds face that dilemma. But, yes, it’s early days.

      • lwblogger2

        Answering Greenmtred here and thinking that if by some miracle the Reds are in contention at that time, I doubt Bob Castellini will give the green light on trading away one of the guys who’s been productive on that run.

      • Shchi Cossack

        I would hope that any potential trade when the Reds are competitive will be reviewed on its merits, rather than outright rejected or accepted based on the owner’s whim.

        I don’t care how well Bruce is performing when the trade offers come rolling in, if someone offers up a package like the Cubbies obtained from the A’s for Samardzija, take it and run. The Reds have Winker waiting in the wings to step in for Bruce, unless the LF situation deteriorates beyond acceptability, and a boatload of top tier prospects for 1+ seasons of any player should make that an easy decision.

        The other side should be equally obvious. I no one wants to ante up such a compelling offer, then a simple no thanks or a similar extravagent counter offer should be a equally easy decision.

        I am comfortable in taking 2 more seasons with Bruce in RF and the compensation pick for the 2018 draft if the Reds are competitve in 2016 or 2017. Of course, any compensation pick would be subject to the new CBA and who knows where that might be headed.

      • Reaganspad

        Everyone probably is sick of me saying that Jay will hit 40 HRs soon. The way he is hitting to LF right now makes him look like Votto. He is also much better so far with2 strikes.

        I wish we would have extended him, but I will take an all star year from him with 280/40/125

        He will be so valuable to us in THIS seasons playoffs that we will not need to trade him

  4. Shchi Cossack

    Straily looked very good today. He looked like a pitcher in control on the mound. Melville looked shaky from the 1st pitch. Giving up 1 run in 4 innings is a good result, but his performance merited a shellacking. Maybe the overabundance of bad luck the past 2 seasons is turning around. If the Reds want a long reliever who will only pitch once every 7-10 days and usually then only when the game is out of hand, then let Villarreal have that role. Straily can pitch and right now the Reds need another starter, preferably someone who can pitch effectively. If the Reds insist on keeping Straily in the role of a long reliever, make him the 1st reliever out of the bullpen and let him pitch at least 3 innings every time he sets foot on the field.

    • jazzmanbbfan

      I was far more impressed with Straily than I ever expected to be. Only one game but he looked good.

    • Vicferrari

      I believe the Reds will need 2 starters if Disco cannot go by this weekend. I would imagine its Finnegan tomorrow, Simon (Wed) followed by Iglesias, Finegan could go Saturday but you would need 2 starters. Friday and Sunday. I would think you will not try to push your luck with Mellville and Straily starts Friday and you find someone to pitch Sunday. But I also thought it was stupid to start Mellville today

    • Carl Sayre

      Yeah what the Cossack said!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Chuck Schick

    How could this be possible without the Home Run Derby Champion, Todd Frazier ?

    • RedsFanCT

      Todd who?–the guy who used to play 3rd?

      • Gaffer

        Suarez has been better than Toddfather so far.

      • greenmtred

        So far, yes. But not unless you choose to ignore the half of the game when they’re in the field. On the other hand…5 and 1..

  6. Shchi Cossack

    I don’t fault Hatch for holding up Bruce even though it resulted in an aggressive Duvall being caught between 2B & 3B for the out. I also don’t fault Duvall for his aggression. Hatch waited for the last instant before putting up an emphatic stop sign for Bruce. Bruce ran hard until he got the stop sign. The play at the plate would have been close if Hatch sent Bruce. With no outs, why risk a close play at the plate when you would have 2nd & 3rd with no outs? Duvall should have founds Bruce and Hatch before over committing and going to 3B, but he reasonably assumed Bruce was headed for home and was trying for the extra base (which he would have had easily).

  7. Steve Mancuso

    Two more contributions celebrating the Reds 5-1 record. One from Carmel, Indiana the other from Charleston, West Virginia.


  8. Steve Hanshaw

    Any word on when playoff tickets go on sale?

  9. RedsFanCT

    With the exception of Melville’s 1st inning jitters(to be expected)Reds bullpen did a stellar job!II believe this is a game we would have lost last year.Just hope we saved
    some in the tank for the little cubbies

    • Shchi Cossack

      I think every Reds fan had the same thought coming out of the Phanatics series and heading into the Bucos series. Well the Reds beat the Bucs and faced the best the Bucs had to offer. Bring on the Cubbies.

  10. Steve Mancuso

    Our first donation from Las Vegas, Nevada! Thanks.

  11. TR

    Quite an opening week. I know chemistry is downplayed but I see something happening. Not talking about the playoffs but just some solid baseball.

  12. wildwestlv

    Ain’t scared of no Cubs. Bring them on.

  13. why oh why

    I am still having a hard time letting go of what Hoover was thinking with that pitch Friday night. Marte looked foolish every ab since that GS. At 6-0 Reds would have been THE story of week 1.

    • Vicferrari

      It is hard to let go, especially with using Cingrani like he is Zach Duke. Anybody got a take on lack of use in Cingrani??? He looked like a true talent based on minor league stats and a stellar 2013 season and know he has injuries but they never seem that serious from what I remember but then he just gets shut down

      • Marvin

        It’s either due to Cingrani being in the doghouse again this year, or the manager having about as much baseball sense as Latka Gravas. The two are also not mutually exclusive.

      • greenmtred

        I hope I’m wrong and you guys are right about Cingrani, but what I see is a guy with a hitting-speed fastball, underused or non-existent secondary pitches, and periodic lapses in his command. The more exposure he gets. the more other teams will hit him. As I say, I hope I’m wrong.

      • vegastypo

        I said this on the game thread, but for what it’s worth, I wonder if Price was saving him for an at-bat against a lefty hitter, since Cingrani is the only lefty in the pen. … Price said when he took over for Dusty that he didn’t care as much about matchups — all of his pitchers should be able to get outs — but I don’t trust Price’s words. He also said he’d use Chapman more for four-out saves, and gee, that didn’t happen.

      • Reaganspad

        I was thinking about the slam and realized if Chapman was with the team, he would not have been brought in in that situation as it was in the 8th inning

      • Jack

        Right. He even said he brought Hoover in based on his match-up with Marte. But, if I remember correctly, in 2014, Hoover was his most ineffective being brought in in the middle of the inning under pressure. I also remember Price disagreeing with Dusty, thinking Dusty overused his bull pen. Then the Reds went from one of the better bull pens (w 470 IP, 3.29 ERA) to one of the worst (422 IP, 4.11 ERA), when Price took over, with many of the same pitchers (Ondrusek, LeCure, Broxton, Parra, Hoover, Chapman). Altho, Simon did move from BP to SP in 2014.

  14. Vicferrari

    Do the Pirates not get scouting reports, they manage 1 run off pitchers cut by other teams. These guys are not replacement level they are the replacements for the replacements. After Friday’s meltdown I would have taken split Saturday in a heartbeat.

  15. Vicferrari

    Was it my imagination or did it look like Polanco put in minimal effort on Bruce’s walk off hit, not sure why he is playing that far off the line anyway but I guess Jay hits everything to left these they had to shade him that way

    • Shchi Cossack

      I had the same impression about Polanco’s effort. Glad to see that extension signed with the Bucos is paying off.

    • Matt WI

      I agree… it took Polanco awhile to get to that ball. Wouldn’t they have been in more of a “no doubles” situation and playing the line more? Especially Right Field?

  16. Nelson Coble

    I just saw the replay, Phillips completely missed third base. I’ll take it. He was busting his butt. I’m looking forward to going down to see them.

    • John Walsh

      Also, best part of that play (IMO) is Hatcher running down the third-base line with Phillips.

      • doctor

        yes, I thought that was funny when I saw a replay. I was waiting for him to pull a hammy or something like he was the one trying to score. LOL

  17. Doug

    Great stuff Nick.
    Keep up the good work.

  18. John Walsh

    I think that our 2016 Reds are a little underrated. I’m not saying that they’ll win the division, but I do think that they’ll be moderately competitive. This team has noticeably more hustle and better fundamentals. I really like the upside potential of the young pitching, and think that our bullpen will improve as non-starters are pushed out of the rotation.

    If Bruce, Mesoraco, and Votto have the seasons that they’re capable, I think that 2016 will at least be more bearable than 2014 or 2015.

    • RedsFanCT

      John, Well Said–I totally agree with your observation regarding more hustle
      and better fundamentals-It’s noticeable to me, too and i hope it has staying power,

  19. David Potteiger (@DavidPotteiger)

    I said this before the season, but when the Reds had difficulty trading Bruce, they should have used that as leverage to extend him to a 3-4 year deal in the 25-30 million range. If he has a strong season, his trade value will remain depressed, but he will have a better argument for a market rate extension.

  20. Earl Nash

    It would be nice for the Reds to go and spoil the Cubs home opener and plant seeds of doubt.

  21. WVRedlegs

    Bruce just looks like a different hitter at the plate this year so far. A lot of hitting the other way with Bruce and all the Reds hitters this year. Organizational philosophy evolving before our eyes, perhaps.
    I’m worried about DeSclafani and Lorenzen. With DeSclafani and his lat strain issue congers up memories of 2011 and 2012 with Cueto. A lot of time missed those two seaons by Cueto. With Lorenzen having the PRP therapy shots on his elbow means that it appears as it is more than just tendonitis.

    • lwblogger2

      I’m a bit worried too. Tendonitis is treated with rest, not with PRP injections. It’s my understanding the PRP injections are supposed to help the body heal injuries, not reduce inflammation, which is basically what tendonitis is. I think DeSclafani should be ok but they are being extra careful with him, especially considering the cold weather.

      • WVRedlegs

        I may have misspoke on DeSclafai’s injury. I believe I heard it once as a lat strain, but more recently I have heard it being called an oblique strain. I hope a couple more weeks and he is fine.
        Lorenzen, I don’t think we’ll see him until next year. I hope I am wrong. This mono thing he’ll be weak from for the next couple of months. But the elbow is a much greater concern. When I heard Sheldon tell Marty yesterday that Lorenzen had the PRP shots a couple of weeks ago, my heart sank. I knew it could be a more serious injury then.

      • Matt WI

        Yeah, it’s been an oblique… and for whatever reason teams always say the guy will be right back, but obliques ALWAYS seem to take at least a month to heal, if not more. An unavoidable muscle group for pitching or swinging the bat.

  22. vegastypo

    I watched that replay several times of Duvall throwing Harrison out at the plate. I still couldn’t tell whether Harrison’s lead foot might have tipped a part of the plate before popping into the air. … Which is the point, I guess. Even if the Pirates were sure that his front leg touched the plate, there was no way to see it conclusively enough to overturn the out call.

    • Westfester

      I saw the same. He may have touched the black edge of the plate. Good for Chris W. to call that out immediately, reminding everyone that the black part of the plate is NOT considered a part of the plate.

  23. ohiojimw

    There’s been some talk from Price that Disco may not be ready by Friday; and, I’m guessing Moscot is still iffy for Sunday the 17th.

    I’d guess realistically the rotation on the trip is going to be Finnegan (Mon), Simon (Weds), Iglesias (Th), Melville (Fr), Finnegan (Sat), Disco/ Moscot/ Straily or a call up on Sunday.

  24. mikemartz

    Man I love this team! Gotta think that the BP/Bruce trade/no trade was a win/win for the organization! BP gets a little ego adjustment letting him know they are tired of his act (outbursts to media, and general prima donna attitude) allowing him to work on being a team leader in the clubhouse to the rookies. And maybe Bruce is trying to up his value just in case a trade gets done. This could be the beginning of a great season! Sure hope Votto finds his wallet soon!!!
    The current team has just enough veteran presence to lead a team of young lions hungry to get wins and show they belong in the big show!
    They are playing their guts out right now and it’s paying off in a big way!

  25. sezwhom

    The guy who wasn’t even supposed to be a Red in 2016, delivered a walkoff double to give the Reds a 2-1 victory.

    And the guy who was supposed to be a National but used his right to veto the trade got the inning started with a single then scored the winning run.

  26. Kyle Farmer

    Had the family down in Cincy for both weekend games! As usual, the Reds are just amazing when it comes to fan experience. The Kids Opening Day was fantastic.

    Still curious about the new hitch in Votto’s swing. I’d love to hear him talk about it, but that probably isn’t going to happen.

    I’d put Jumbo’s outing in the negative column. If it weren’t for a great throw by Duvall, great dig and block by Mes the Destroyer, and a poor slide by the Pirate runner, the Reds would have likely lost the game. It was a very shaky performance by Jumbo.

    Suarez looks like the real deal!

    How are get-away games scheduled? The Reds do the Phillies a favor by playing early on Thursday even though the Reds don’t have to hit the road. The Cubs screw the Reds by playing the get-away game at night. If it’s up the the clubs, I’d make sure I never played a day game that helped the Cubs again.

    • greenmtred

      I don’t think that the schedule is made by the teams.

      • TR

        I think that’s true. With inter-league play, the schedule for the 30 MLB teams is probably drawn up by the Commissioners office. The only thing the Reds are given, schedule-wise, is to open each season at home since they’re baseball’s oldest professional franchise.

      • Matt WI

        I’d imagine TV has a pretty big say in some start times too… may not be the case this time, but it does happen, especially the Sunday Night Baseball schedule.

        In this case, it’s not like the Reds are really traveling far before their next game in St. Louis after they finish Thursday night.

  27. Westfester

    Really enjoying the more disciplined approach I’m seeing with the hitters this year. It looks like they actually have a plan when they come up to bat. Maybe with all the young players on this team, Price is able to get them to buy in to his message (Relentless, be the team NOBODY wants to play), unlike having to deal with a lot of players leftover from Dusty.

  28. brmreturns

    Bruce 2016 RISP :
    5/6 (.833BA), 1HR, 7RBI. OPS = 2.167 ops+ 493

    Rest of team :
    8/33 (.242BA), 1HR, 14RBI. OPS = .681 ops+ 148

    It’s only 6AB, but Bruce’s numbers are insane.

    • Eric The Red

      Sure, but his last hit wasn’t with RISP, so I guess it won’t “count” when people talk about his clutchiness (or lack thereof) later in the year 😉

      The guy is one of the best power hitters in the game–even against LHP–and he has a cannon for an arm and a team friedly contract. I’ve never understood the pressure to trade him for anything other than a King’s Ransom.