The Reds haven’t been shut out in three straight games since April 1989. That team had Eric Davis, Paul O’Neill, Kal Daniels, Barry Larkin and Chris Sabo. The Reds have now lost six games since the Opening Day Era of Unbridled Optimism.

7/162 | Reds 0 – Pirates 2 | Box Score | Win Probability

Statcast: Reds Batters | Reds Pitchers | Exit Velocity | Pitch Velocity

Run Prevention

Sonny Gray was outstanding tonight. He had great command of his fastball, routinely dotting the bottom of the zone. His breaking ball was sharp and also well placed. In his first start, Gray gave up four walks and didn’t record a single strikeout. Tonight Gray struck out seven Pirates and didn’t walk anyone. The Pirates managed one hit in the first sixth inning. As Wes Jenkins wrote, Gray’s first start wasn’t indicative.

In the seventh, Starling Marte led off with a single to left. He moved to second on a wild pitch. Francisco Cervelli grounded out, allowing Marte to get to third. With the infield pulled in, Josh Bell grounded hard right at 2B Jose Peraza. Marte broke to the plate and Peraza’s throw was well off line [still not sold on Peraza’s defense] but Marte had stopped short thinking he was doomed. Tucker Barnhart tagged him out. But Jung Ho Kang lined Gray’s first pitch into the left field corner. Matt Kemp lumbered to the corner to retrieve the ball and the relay broke down. Bell scored from first.

Kemp’s lack of speed allowed a bloop double to fall in the bottom of the 8th, scoring the Pirates second run.

Kemp did make a nice defensive play in the first inning on Adam Frazier’s line drive, running forward and diving to put out the leadoff hitter.

Despite much Twitterverse anquish, Jesse Winker playing center field did not precipitate the arrival of the Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse. Winker made the four routine plays that came his way.

Run Production

The Reds bats remained largely silent. Joey Votto had a softish double to right center. Eugenio Suarez lined a double to the left field corner. Jose Iglesias slapped a single to center. Suarez also drew a walk. And that was it. The Reds offense has been shut out for three straight games.

45 Years Ago Tonight

Reds fans can be excused for not understanding the reference in the above tweet to “home run.”

Robert Stephenson Gets A Grip

Bobby Nightengale (Enquirer) has a nice story about Robert Stephenson, where they discuss the pitcher’s solid start to the 2019 season. Stephenson highlights a change he’s made to his fastball grip.

“The (fastball) grip, changing that this year, it just gives me a lot more confidence in my fastball,” Stephenson said. “I think confidence is another big one, too. Just being able to go out there knowing that I have confidence in myself. I think there’s nothing that can make you feel better than having confidence in yourself, no matter how much anyone believes in you.”

Errors

Thom Brennaman may have set a record tonight for mistakes made in a single broadcast. Clean-up duty kept Chris Welsh busy tonight. Most comically, he boasted that the “numbers clearly show” that bunting runners to 2nd and 3rd would lead to “more than one run” scored. The numbers show runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs: 1.45 runs/average; runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out: 1.30 runs/average. This is public information for anyone who cares to look at it.

What’s Next

The Reds (1-6) play the Pirates (3-3) in Pittsburgh tomorrow at 1:35 p.m. The pitching match-up is Tanner Roark vs. Trevor Williams.

72 Responses

  1. ma

    When a singular individual cannot hit, it is probably on them, when a team of hitters is not hitting, it is probably an external influence. Time to take a close look at that hitting coach and that manager. At least they hit with Riggleman

    • VaRedsFan

      Puig and Kemp hit last year with the same hitting coach.

  2. Doc

    Is it time to panic yet? 28 straight innings without scoring.

    Twice in late innings Bell has pinch hit for Winker. Why is Winker here if that is all the confidence he engenders?

    Eat Kemp’s salary and bring up Ervin. Need to shake things up.

      • matt hendley

        Or here is a brilliant Idea, maybe send Kyle Farmer to some place where he can play every day, or at least 4 days out the week and Bring Ervin up.

    • CP

      I like Winker and I don’t want to see him turn into a platoon player, but I also don’t want to see him against Felipe Vazquez either. Winker hasn’t hit lefties well in a SSS, but Vazquez has a pretty decent sample now that says he destroys lefties.

      • lost11found

        The counterpoint is that if he is never given AB’s against tough lefties, then he will be pigeonholed to a platoon situation.

        He is supposed to be a key bat in the reds for the next 5-6 years by most estimates.

        His batting eye makes the matchup a little less lopsided than it appears.

    • Cyrus

      Look, I know it’s early but we can still render some comments on what we are seeing. First, there were several writers on this site hyping Votto because of how much work he said he’d put in…newsflash: Yelich is what Votto used to be but will never be again. Also, every team needs an engine. What no one realized last year was that Scooter Gennett is this team’s engine. Matt Kemp is horrible…he should not be on this roster. New managers get your hopes up before the real games begin but then, IMO, play it safe and conventional when it counts. David Bell is no exception and it is disappointing. I think the Reds have led for 3 innings thus far. Peraza is better hitting leadoff and Winker is better in the 6th spot. The Cubs are not going to make the playoffs because their pitching is average to below average throughout. This will be Maddon’s last year.

      • Mike

        Loved your comment. An engine is so true. Complacent, unexciting group of ballplayers. Maybe too uptight, maybe too comfortable. This team hasn’t been exciting for some time.

    • jon

      Ervin is hitting.200 in AAA. Kemp will be traded by aug. Why dump him for nothing?

      • Mike

        Because you are going to get nothing anyway. He’s cooked.

  3. Sliotar

    Nightengale said during the media segment on the radio broadcast that Winker knew 2-3 days ago that he would be the CF tonight; and, Bell makes out lineup days in advance and notifies players

  4. Brian

    So Barnhart gets lazy on a ball in he dirt allowing matte to advance to second. Cervelli’s double play groundball to SS instead gets marte to third. Bell’s groundout to peraza would’ve been the third out but instead they get marte at home for the second out. Then kang doubles down the line on a play kept to an hour to get to allowing slow footed bell to score from first.

    Then Votto messes up on back to back bunts. And you may normally be right on bunting Steve but Thom’s right this time with this team. They literally just screwed up two consecutive bunts in a row. Why not try a third? Also, the second run scores on a double with kemp running at a snails pace. I’m not sure it mattered that our defense game up 2 runs by just overall being awful because we could have played 100 innings tonight and not scored.

    Offensively, I know everyone is gung ho on Winker at leadoff but he’s not a good leadoff hitter. His numbers back that up since he’s been up. He is however, outstanding with runners on base and was phenomenal hitting 5th and sixth last year. Pitchers can attack the zone more when he’s up with nobody on han they can when he comes to the plate with people on base. That causes pitchers to nibble and his eye really plays up in that situation.

    Also Bell, would it kill you to hit and run, or steal, or tweak a lineup once just t shake things up. I mean we’ve dropped 11 runs in 7 games. At a certain point you’re allowed to try to make something happen. Even if only for a single game

    • matt hendley

      Lets not sit here and act like if winker had been in left the ball would have been caught. There has not been a real steal attempt this season. There is no inventiveness. Winker needs to drop in the Order. WIth his ability to draw a walk, what about Votto leading off… I know the Speed is an impediment but….. its not like anything else is working

    • Big Ed

      The rules require a runner to be on base, before a stolen base can be attempted. This, along with this team’s being painfully slow, would explain why this team never steals bases or uses the hit and run.

  5. Gerardo Helguera

    I say this losing streak goes to 10. It’s still too early but not for this team. Put a fork on this season and we are only 8 games in lol.

  6. renbutler

    Reds outfielders are 6-for-80, with only two XBHs (both doubles). Six walks and 27 strikeouts. Three combined RBI.

    • Hanawi

      Meanwhile, Bellinger has 6 HRs for the Dodgers as many hits as the Reds OF, including the 2 cast-offs.

    • greenmtred

      Billy would not be out of place offensivelyin the 2019 Reds outfield. He would be defensively, though.

  7. Steven Schoenbaechler

    Alright. I can’t help considering things. As in, the batters are pretty much the same. In fact, we supposedly got rid of the worst starting hitter on the team in Hamilton. The only thing different are the coaches. I’m wondering if something is going on.

    At least our pitching seems to be tremendously improved.

  8. WVRedlegs

    I thought Stephenson has been carrying himself more confidently on the mound. He has looked pretty good so far.
    28 consecutive scoreless innings. I would have bet the ranch that the pitchers would have thrown 28 straight scoreless innings before the offense went 28 straight scoreless innings. Baffling.

  9. ohiojimw

    David Bell should begin studying John Tortorella’s post game pressers and emulate them. Then at least there would be some interesting buzz around the Reds team.

  10. Davy13

    It is official: I am a loser fan. All of my favorite teams are losers. Tonight: Reds (lifelong fan) lost tonight (shutout), Marlins (raised in Miami) lost tonight (shutout), Miami Heat lost tonight, and my Dolphins are losers. All of my teams have losing records.

    I am drawing up a charter and becoming the founding member of the Loser Team Fan Club: where misery loves company. Even the name of the club sucks like a loser. Membership fee is free. Painfully admitting allegiance to your loser team(s) is pledge enough to be accepted. Bring a paper bag to be put over your head for club meetings.

    Do you want join?

    • Steve Mancuso

      To avoid the lefty-lefty match-up.

  11. Indy Red Man

    The young SD Padres are finally showing some life at 5-3! 20 yr. old Tatis Jr. hit his 2nd hr to beat the Cards today. If the Reds drafted Tatis he’d only be 5-6 years away from actually playing for them.

    • Ernie e Howerton

      Just think if Gullet had played today,we would still be waiting another 5 yrs. to see him pitch

  12. Scott Gennett

    Amazing, I think nobody expected it. Common sense calls for a line-up shake up, but with just a few bench options it doesn’t make much sense.

  13. Jreis

    I think,the slow start is actually a blessing in disguise. Obviously this years version of the reds aren’t going anywhere. No reds fan is going to pay money to watch Kemp and Schebler go 0-4 at this point so this wil force ownership to bring up our young guys this year even if this means “losing the dreaded one year of control.” We are going to see Trammel, Siri and Friedl this year instead of having to wait for 2020

    • matt hendley

      You are not going to see Siri this year, its not an issue of team control, its an issue of him not being MLB ready. Trammel….Maybe, but I am sure they want some sustained performance in Double A to justify Skipping Triple A. Friedl…..maybe. Probably not though. I would keep an Eye out for Ervin soon, Senzel as soon as the ankle has healed. That is realistic. Any front office that has given up on a season that they aimed to compete in after 7 games should and would be fired En masse. Since most of the money now is collected through other means, the impact of fans coming or not to the games is not as much as an impact as it was 20 years ago

    • CP

      I don’t think that’s obvious at all, and I don’t agree about the fans. Just because you are a sad sack, doesn’t mean everyone else is. Senzel is the only young guy that is objectively good enough for the Reds to care about control close enough to the majors to call up, and that situation resolved itself.

      And if you see one of those three, it will be an emergency and it will be the guy with the lowest ceiling. It darn well won’t be Trammel.

    • Jreis

      No I am telling you SirI and Friedl are ready now for the big leagues from a defensive and base running prespective. I agree Trammel may not be quite ready defensively but he will give you better effort out there than KEmp.

      • jazzmanbbfan

        If you are correct that Siri and Friedl are ready from a defensive and base running perspective but this team needs hitting, then there is still no reason to be bringing them up.

      • greenmtred

        Billy Hamilton was certainly ready from defensive and base-running perspectives, but we got rid of him. The Reds are poor defensively, but it’s clearly the nearly total lack of hitting that is making them irrelevant and unwatchable.

  14. Cyrus

    What the Brewers have done organizationally should embarrass Redleg Nation. You want a best in breed for small to mid-market MLB teams? Milwaukee…already two years history to back up the claim. And they’ve done it while losing key players during those years as well.

  15. Reddawg12

    It’s getting harder to remain positive and telling myself that it’s still early is getting old. They were off to a better start through 7 games last season! I realize the offense can’t possibly be this bad for a 162 game season. But if the Reds are 10+ games out of first place by the time the bats wake up (which is a real possibility if this play continues for another week or two) it is going to be nearly impossible to catch a team like the Brewers. And once again they will be playing meaningless baseball all summer.

    • Steven Ross

      I agree 100% Reddawg. Watching last night and feeling the same. No spark, no interest and another long, meaningless season. I know, it’s early but I’ve also seen this too many times. I already question many of Bell’s moves plus his lineups. Like here we go again.

  16. Mason Red

    The pitching is a bright spot that actually surprises me. The lack of offense is a surprise too but if the pitching is legit eventually the offense will come around. They might not be an offensive juggernaut because Votto is showing his age and they miss Scooter. But Puig and others will start hitting at some point. This team isn’t this bad offensively.

  17. Jim t

    After getting off to a 3-18 start last year I couldn’t imagine that it could be worse this year. I may be wrong. Goodness!!!!

    • LWBlogger2

      They’d still have to go 2-10 over their next 12 to match that futility.

  18. lost11found

    Don’t know what is going on with the offense, but the pitching has been delightful.

    Hopefully that can continue after the bats wake up.

  19. steve stevens

    This team is heartless. Plain and simple.
    Since the horrible disaster in 2012 I’ve noticed a laid back attitude in the dogout, as expecting defeat. I hoped new guys like Puig, Suarez or Barnhardt could change that but not happening. You never hear about team’s meetings or any kind of dogout burst, or a heartbeat for that matter. They seem content to look ‘nice’ and ‘funny’ to the fans. Bunch of softies who smile after a strikeout or leaving the bases loaded with no outs.
    About the lack of offense, nobody can be surprised. For years now they have been hackers. Swing at everything, No clutch hitters, no situational hitters. One day they hit 15 hits and score 12, then the next 3 can’t hit anybody, miss chance after chance. The stats will show they are ok, but they don’t tell the whole story. Like those 6, 7 pitches innings that allow a Musgrove to look like Cy Young. OBP means nothing if they don’t score runs.
    Then, there are those idiotic mental errors and tootblants. Beginning with Votto. Great hitting analyst but one of the dumbest runners and defenders I’ve seen in my life and it’s not he’s declining, he’s always been like that. And it’s contagious. Missing cutoff men, throwing to the wrong bases, horrible running.
    Yes, I’m mad and tired of being the joke around the league. It’s my right as a fan. Many -including me- were really hopeful that things were going to change for good. It’s early, but the signs are clear and loud.

    Rant over. Thanks RLN for the chance to get it out.

    • Don A

      I agree, it seems as though most of these “professionals” are just happy collecting a hefty paycheck!

  20. matt hendley

    Drawing the positives out of this, Puig has impressed me with his effort. Going all out on defense, running out plays (we all know he was safe, yesterday) and while he is having issues at the plate right now, when he does make contact it is a good swing and solid contact.

    • steve stevens

      Another positives, the starting pitchers and Garrett and BobSteve.

  21. Don A

    Hurry back Scooter!!! We need you!!!

  22. TR

    Starting pitching is a big positive so far. If Turner Ward cannot get the offense going in the near future, is it time to bring back Don Long as hitting coach? He at least had the Reds offense up and running during the Price/Riggleman era.

  23. Kettering Reds Fan

    A theory, preceded by a disclaimer:

    First, the disclaim. I supported and continue to support the greater use of analytic techniques to better prepare the batter, especially in a time where shifts continue to expand and proliferate.

    Now, the proposition: I’m assuming that the Bell/Ward era brings greater focus on analytic-based game preparation. (1) It’s a big change – especially if it challenges pre-existing patterns of behavior at the plate. If not resistance, there will still be struggle while new patterns are established. (2) It depends on how and how intensive the preparation is put in place. Even the best of strategies can be undermined, suborned or compromised by less effective tactics and implementation.

    So now the question: Are these guys, at least for the moment, overprepped?

    .

    • Jefferson Green

      Interesting thought. Until they get used to the new prep, they could be thinking instead of reacting, being a bit passive while they adjust. But the phenomenon, if it is real, is only affecting the hitters, not the pitchers. Most likely, it seems to be pressing across the lineup as they know they need hits and runs desperately.

  24. Bill J

    Maybe teaching launch angle is confusing the hitters. I thought fielding was taught in little league, but they may they forgot.

  25. Warren Leeman

    We are dealing with sss, but this is just weird.

    Starting Pitching (NL rank among 15 teams):
    ERA=2.17 (2nd), FIP=2.22 (1st), xFIP=3.39 (4th)
    K%=27.9% (4th), WHIP=1.13 (4th), HR/9=0.0 (1st)
    SOFT%=19.6% (8th), HARD%=29.3% (1st)

    Relief Pitching (NL rank among 15 teams):
    ERA=3.80 (5th), FIP=4.52 (9th), xFIP=5.19 (9th)
    K%=15.1% (14th), WHIP=1.65 (11th), HR/9=0.8 (5th)
    SOFT%=11.8% (15th), HARD%=35.5% (7th)

    Hitting (NL rank among 15 teams)
    OBP=.234 (15th), SLG=.253 (15th), OPS=.488 (15th), ISO=.097 (15th)
    K%=27.2% (12th), wRC+=31 (15th), wOBA=.221 (15th)
    SOFT%=23.7% (15th), HARD%=32.9% (12th)

    The Reds have played 7 games and in 2 of those games, the starting pitchers were dealing with horrendous weather conditions.

    The starting pitching has been excellent.
    The relief pitching has been average, despite the ‘sky is falling’ perception.
    The hitting has been non-existent.

    • CFD3000

      This is actually cause for optimism Cossack. The Reds will hit. But there’s no guarantee that they’ll pitch. If we had to pick the cause for a slow start I’d much rather see the bats slow to wake up (since I know they will) rather than the pitchers struggling. I’m still nervous about the bullpen but I’m very pleased with the starters. When (not if) the bats awake, the wins will follow. Bring on some warmer weather and some wins please.

      • Warren Leeman

        If you look at the individual bullpen performances, a picture emerges of an evolving bullpen and a sorting process by DB & DJ. Again, sss is at play here, but…

        The bullpen leaders are Garrett (3.1 IP), Stephenson (4.0 IP) and Hughes (3.1 IP). Peralta has been successful (0.00 ERA) but unreliable (6.50 xFIP). Duke, Hernandez, Lorenzen and Iglesias have been unsuccessful and unreliable.

  26. Reddawg12

    I’m shocked I’m writing this, but I think Bell should (at least temporarily) swap Winker and Peraza in the lineup. Winker started raking last season once they dropped him down, and it would take some pressure off of him. Peraza would also get some better pitches to hit being in front of Votto, assuming Votto returns to his normal self. Just think you have to try something to spark the offense before we look up and the Reds are 10+ games out before May 1st.

  27. Scott C

    Besides the lack of hitting in any way shape or form, the most troubling thing to me is that the Reds have been plagued by poor fielding. Yes we knew Kemp was no good so that pop fly double falling last night was no surprise, but two messed up bunts or what caused that to even be important. Then the base running, Iglesias getting picked off on a botched bunt, whether that was fault of bunter or runner is really irrelevant, it was poor execution. That is what bothers me more than anything. I believe the hitters will come around, a complete team slump is unmaintainable

  28. Centerfield

    How about bunting practice? If teams are going to employ shifts, it wouldn’t hurt to get a few baserunners. This may not be a great long term plan, but right now we need to make the opposing pitchers perform under a little more pressure. To that end, Peraza should be bumped to leadoff followed by Schebler then Votto. Keep Kemp on the bench. I agree that Gennet is the missing piece but I would rather see Dietrich at second than anyone else. Stephenson looked very good the other day. If Roark doesn’t pitch well, I’d like to see them give BobSteve another chance in the rotation. It is way too early to panic, but it has been a big letdown from our early optimism for the season. Reds should also offer some half price weekday, walkup tickets to fill the stands. A few fans might boast the players.

    • Centerfield

      boost — spell check didn’t CATCH IT

  29. Hotto4Votto

    I can only blame myself. Even after all the wheeling and dealing I was standing strong in my stance that while improved, the Reds hadn’t done enough to truly compete in the division. I stated several times that at best they would be still be battling Pittsburgh for 4th place in the division. Then I started listening to the arguments about how much better the Reds got on offense and in the rotation, and I started squinting hard and seeing a team that could compete on the fringes of the wild card. I was told to be happy that the Reds were going to bring exciting and competitive baseball back again. I started to see their point. I started reading projections that put the Reds around .500 and thought, if the Reds caught a break or two things could get really interesting. I started to convince myself having good hitters in unfamiliar positions wouldn’t take too much of a toll on the defense. I started to convince myself that the bullpen would continue to be a strength, even though relievers are the most volatile in year to year production.

    I don’t know. The starting pitching has been great. Better than I expected. The offense has fallen into a category I couldn’t have predicted. It’s still early. But 3-18 was still early, only 13% of the season, and we were out of it at that point too. Another summer of meaningless baseball stares us in the face. It’s disheartening.

    • Jefferson Green

      Perhaps it is just you, Hotto…So if we blindfold you and you walk the plank, the Reds will score 10 runs today?!

  30. CP

    I agree that all managers (and leaders in general)need to have different tools in their tool belt to succeed, but 7 games isn’t nearly enough to judge him on. In addition, no single managerial-style seems “better” than others. Fans, particularly old school fans, have decided that one way is more entertaining. Lou had him some pretty rough years in his career too…it just turns out his tirades were fun to watch.

    Also, Lou Pinella’s 1990 team had a 8 game losing streak and a 2-11 run. The difference it occurred in late July/early August and the Reds were fortunate to get off to a great start in a lousy division so it just gets buried.

  31. Jefferson Green

    Very interesting post. Thanks. Question: Would the most effective ‘prevention-based’ messages be best handled in a direct manner which would be one-on-one, or small group – and behind the scenes/private instead of the broader, public messages to reporters after a game? This would seem to more in line with the ‘praise in public, but criticize in private’ philosophy.

  32. Jefferson Green

    Sonny Gray pitching well is great to see. Given his three year deal and the Reds’ need for starting pitching, his emergence as a solid starter – or more – is important to this team’s progression towards contention.

  33. Streamer88

    Batters bat, not hitting coaches, but I’ll add my take that the season schedule was known far in advance. The starters and relievers we faced were mostly with these teams last year. We play these teams more than any others. We see these pitchers more often. Did Turner Ward prepare our hitters? Trevor Williams works off the 2 seamer, Vasquez loves to throw first pitch curve balls, even to righties. DJ: I coached the brewers pitchers last year, here’s how they’re gonna attack you.

    Any prep? Anything at all to get our guys ready to go? Hitters go cold, we all know that, but the entire lineup looks lost.

  34. ohiojimw

    Ar 28 years old Schebler is what he is. If he stays healthy and gets the plate appearances, he will likely end up with offensive numbers similar to what he has put up to date in MLB. Those numbers say he is a league average hitter.

    Whether he is deserving of an everyday job based on them is open to debate. In the situation the Reds were in prior, probably yes, at least until somebody better came along. In the situation they seek to be in, almost certainly no. An apparent “somebody better”, Nick Senzel, is currently healing from an ankle injury and hopefully will be ready to go in early May.

  35. Daytonian

    Billy H. with KC is hitting .182 with 0 RBIs and 3 Runs (in only 22 ABs). So we didn’t lose anything here. It he had a power surge, we’dfeel worse in Cincy. (Okay, compared to some in the Reds OF thus far, some may be tempted to argue that these are “good” numbers).