After 3 runs in the first inning, the starting pitchers settled down and produced the duel we were all expecting. The Reds took an early lead as Yasiel Puig homered off of Clayton Kershaw in his first at-bat as an opponent in Los Angeles. Luis Castillo battled against a potent Dodgers offense and the Reds bullpen pitched beautifully until the 9th inning as Joc Pederson crushed a Raisel Iglesias hanging breaking ball to steal a victory from the good guys.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (5-10) 3 7 1
Los Angeles Dodgers (10-8) 4 5 0
W: Jansen (1-0) L: Iglesias (0-3)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score | Statcast

Key Plays


Castillo was working hard straight from the get-go. He went to 3-0 counts against Joc Pederson (walk) and Justin Turner (single) before giving up a double to Cody Bellinger to put the Dodgers on the board. He did come back and strike out A.J. Pollock and Max Muncy to end the inning, so good job by Luis to limit the damage.

Castillo ran into more trouble in the third after issuing a walk to Justin Turner and then hitting Bellinger square in the knee with a 95-mph fastball. It was very similar to Ryan Madson’s pitch that hit Joey Votto last year. Castillo was noticeably upset at himself for potentially injuring Bellinger, who stayed in the game at the time (he was removed after the inning). Castillo then struck out Pollock and Muncy back-to-back for the second time in a row to end the inning.

After a 1-2-3 4th inning for Castillo, he ran into his biggest jam of the night in the 5th after singles by Pederson and Turner and a walk to Alex Verdugo to load the bases. Castillo then walked Pollock to tie the score at 2-2, but got out of the jam with Max Muncy’s third strikeout and a Kike Hernandez flyout. More damage control in a key situation to keep the Reds in the game.

Michael Lorenzen and Wandy Peralta pitched the 6th, allowing one runner on an error by Kyle Farmer. Peralta threw two very nice sliders to strike out Corey Seager after falling behind 3-1. Robert Stephenson came on to pitch the 7th and 8th and retired all six batters he faced, including two strikeouts to end the 8th, accumulating 0.182 WPA, good for his 4th best game ever.

Raisel Iglesias continued his free fall that began last year. After walking the leadoff hitter, pinch hitter David Freese, a Joc Pederson no-doubter gave Iglesias his third loss of the year.


The Reds offense went quiet after the first inning fireworks. Kershaw did not allow a baserunner again until a Matt Kemp single in the 4th. Jose Peraza grounded into a fielder’s choice and was then picked off stealing second. A leadoff single by Jose Iglesias in the 5th was squandered by a Scott Schebler double play.

The Reds were retired in order in the 6th via three strikeouts. Puig led off the 7th inning with a very hard hit single (107 mph exit velocity), but the Reds were retired in order after that. Kershaw was pulled after 84 pitches with a final line of 7.0 IP, 5H, 2ER, 0BB, 6K. Strong game from the future Hall-of-Famer.

After a 1-2-3 8th, Curt Casali popped a double to the right field gap off of Kenley Jansen to start the 9th inning. After a Suarez strikeout and a Puig flyout to advance the runner, former-Dodger Matt Kemp delivered the goods with a bloop single to right to give the Reds the lead.

Key Players

It is no secret that Yasiel Puig has struggled the being the year, but the first inning blast off of Kershaw back in L.A. was a great moment in this young season. Puig has now homered in back-to-back games, and while his wRC+ is still a mere 56, a hot steak on this road trip would help Reds fans forget all about his slow start.

Luis Castillo had his swing-and-miss stuff tonight with a swinging strike rate (15.3%) just under his performance so far this year (16.7%), led by his changeup and a good outing for his slider as well. On the other hand, he also allowed five walks and hit a batter, bringing his BB/9 up to 4.74 this year, well above league average of 3.53. Some credit is due to the Dodgers strong plate discipline (11.3% walk-rate, 3rd in MLB), but Castillo could have been sharper. Still, a solid overall performance that should continue to encourage Reds fans about his future.

Robert Stephenson looks like a completely different pitcher so far this year. I agree with those in Reds Country calling for Stephenson to pitch in higher leverage situations. He delivered nicely tonight and now has 12 Ks and 1 BB in 9.1 innings so far this year.

Who else but the other former Dodger to punch home the go-ahead run off of Jansen in the 9th inning. Matt Kemp has had an even rougher start to the season than Puig (current wRC+ is up to 17). It will be interesting to see what happens to his playing time when Nick Senzel returns.

I know it is early, but Raisel’s current FIP/xFIP is 6.90/5.22, continuing a downward trend that lasted nearly all of 2018. He is allowing more hard contact and more home runs than he ever did during 2015-2017. I am not sure what the root problem is, but Iglesias clearly is not the same pitcher we are used to seeing.

Game Notes:

  • Dodger fans gave Puig a nice ovation before his first at-bat. Reactions were a bit more mixed after the home run
  • Per the Reds broadcast, Bellinger’s first inning double was the first extra base hit against Castillo this year. Pretty good run for the young pitcher to start 2019
  • Also per the broadcast, tonight was the first time the Reds scored in the 9th inning of a game this season
  • Curt Casali’s wRC+ is up to 141 on the year. That is turning into a real nice pickup by the Reds
  • Derek Dietrich entered the game in the 7th inning, replacing Kyle Farmer. Nice to see him back after a tough HBP on the ankle in Mexico.
  • Castillo unofficially got a hit off Kershaw in the second inning after a broken bat bloop to right field. Castillo lost track of the ball, appearing distracted by the cracked bat and did not leave the batter’s box for a few seconds, getting thrown out easily. According to Statcast, it had a 95% hit probability

Random Thoughts:

Pretty cool words from Puig regarding Joey Votto

In honor of Castillo’s bizarre play, another baseball play that I had never seen before

Up Next:

The Reds and Dodgers are back at it for more #latenightbaseball tomorrow at 10:10pm EST. Tyler Mahle and Kenta Maeda are the probable starting pitchers.

20 Responses

  1. Aaron B.

    This is West Coast baseball… these hitters are more patient, looking for something they can drive a long, long way in the cold night air… as such Reds pitching needs to attack more, as Roark mentioned after his trade, and nibble less. And when you do decide to give in and leave something in the zone it shouldn’t be a breaking ball in Joc Pedersen’s wheel house. If Iglesias didn’t intentionally throw that game he mine as well have, that was not a winning formula. So discouraging. The Reds had every opportunity for trading this guy last off season.

  2. Ed

    Anybody think that maybe Raisel Iglesias is just upset because there is another Iglesias on the team?

  3. Matthew Habel

    Understand the frustration but Kershaw was in control after the first inning. Don’t think that base runner would have mattered, but I agree it was a little annoying seeing Castillo laugh about it in the dugout.

  4. Reddawg12

    It would appear that the bullpen is going to be a problem. Not good.

  5. TR

    Since last season, it’s obvious that something has changed with Raisel Iglesias. Giving up a walk, which often occurs, is not the way to shut the opposition down.

    • Doc

      With a WHIP of 1.95, it is much more than just giving up a walk. No one can survive at this level putting two men on base every inning, which explains an 0-3 record.

  6. FreeHouse

    Iggy the 2019 version of Coco Cordero!

  7. SultanofSwaff

    Derek Johnson has yet to assert a positive influence on Iglesias so far, but something has to change because he’s the same guy as last year—too many walks and too many homers for an ‘elite’ closer. Here’s my 2 cents: stop throwing 4 different pitches from 3 different arm slots. If he wants to be that guy then he should’ve stayed a starter. I’ll say the same thing I said last year—he needs to pare down his repertoire.

    Instead, do 2 things really really well—locate the fastball and slider from one arm slot. The walks and home runs will go down. Sure, mix in the change when necessary, but he’s simply being clever for clever’s sake and it’s hurting the team.

  8. SultanofSwaff

    Yes Jim, I wasn’t enamored of his outing either. His fastball location was really lacking. What concerns me moving forward is the pitch sequencing. As good as it is, the over-reliance on the changeup is stunting his development in my opinion. He has a good not great slider, but using it more often (even as a waste pitch) will keep hitters guessing. Right now in most counts they have a 50/50 chance of being right.

  9. Roger Garrett

    Good point on Bob Steve and you really had to see it coming in regards to Iggy.Three losses and he has given up at least 1 run in 4 of 6 appearances.I have noticed he seems to be trying to be cute rather then fastball/slider mix and well what’s the purpose of a hanging curve which is his third best pitch and maybe his fourth.Most if not all closers appear to be laid back to begin with but he seems to be more so even bordering on the whatever look.Castillo battled and I am not worried because this is his year and he will,just like all the rest have a stinker of a game here and there over the course of his 30+ starts.This was not a stinker just had a high pitch count but Hernandez is the worse ball/strike umpire in the game and the Dodgers are very very disciplined.Iggy got extended to be our closer and he isn’t getting it done so far.Maybe a change coming.

    • Joey

      I don’t know, he looked pretty ticked when he gave up that leadoff walk.

  10. Tom Mitsoff

    One aspect of Bell’s managing I have liked so far is that no player is beyond reproach. For example, Votto sitting last night against Kershaw. Some questioned it, but with the way Votto is currently (not) hitting, I saw the logic in getting a righthanded bat in there. I hope that this mindset will carry over to Raisel Iglesias. If he isn’t closing with regular success, give someone else a shot. As Cossack said above, Stephenson’s stuff and location are looking filthy. Amir Garrett has been impressive, as has Lorenzen. I’d try Iglesias in the seventh and eighth for awhile until he rights himself, and make the ninth inning a bullpen by committee of the others listed above, based on matchups.

    We can say the bullpen has been a weakness so far, but a bullpen ERA of 3.64 ranks tied for ninth in the majors with Tampa Bay. The biggest weakness of this team so far is the inability to score runs consistently.

    • Matthew Habel

      Win Probability Added by group:

      Position players: -2.21
      Starters: 0.95
      Relievers: -1.24

    • Roger Garrett

      You are correct Tom.We can talk about Iggy and the pen and Disco etc etc but if they had scored more when it counted(they all count) they easily could be10-5 rather then 5-10.Got to turn up the offense some how and some way.Bell seems to be a manager that won’t give guys a pass when they don’t perform and I like that because it should be all about now rather then last week or last year.

  11. Tom Mitsoff

    I agree. Casali has looked good both at bat and defensively since they acquired him last year. There are so few lefthanded starters in the NL Central that if it’s a straight platoon, Casali won’t see much time except for day games after night games.

  12. CFD3000

    Positives / Negatives:

    Plus: Puig, Casali, Kemp’s key opposite field hit, Castillo’s results, Lorenzen, Peralta, Stephenson.

    Minus: Castillo’s control / pitch count, Iglesias (again)
    Of these the only one that’s truly troubling is Iglesias. Runs allowed in 4 of 6 outings is really really bad. Most closers are good for something like an 85% save rate. Raisel’s results won’t translate to more than about a 50% save rate. That’s potentially disastrous. He either needs to right the ship or step aside very soon.

    Like you said, Matt – a fun game until it wasn’t.

  13. Reaganspad

    To quote jreis above, we are about to see Senzel, Trammell, Siri and India reach the big club. Not sure why we would extend Scooter.

    When he gets zero offers next year, you can sign him for peanuts and cracker jacks to fill out the bench if need be just like they got Dietrich this year

  14. BartInLA

    I was at this game last night and a few thoughts:
    Jackie Robinson Day, many notables in the house, Scully, Robinson Family even jazz great Herbie Hancock spoke. All this and the stadium was nearly full despite a cold (for LA) Monday night in April.
    The ex-dodgers/now Reds were given a big screen tribute and standing ovations from all. I was sitting in Puig country up the RF line and the love for this guy was impressive, “we love you Puig” was a constant yell all through the game. Decision to start them paid off, as it was Puig and Kemp offensively who won the game for us. The game was ours until Inglesias gave it back with a walk and a bomb. The game was ours.
    Watching Puig make his way back to the dugout at the end was painful, he was so bummed. Walking slowly, head bowed, even with fans yelling appreciation. There was no one else left on the field and he was still just passing first base. I think he wanted so badly to win that game for his new team and old fans. Such a passionate dude, the wild horse. Reds are lucky to have this kid.
    With all the shifts, and outside the box thinking happening in baseball, why is the idea of “closer” still being clung to so tightly. Dodgers are in a similar situation with Jansen who has been in decline since last year and blew the hold last night before Iggy blew the save. Yet, they keep getting run out there even when you know what’s probably going to happen. Head scratching.
    Peraza is failing in every way. Lame at bats. Picked off at first and caught stealing. The other Inglesias should be starting at SS for his glove alone. Dietrich at second.
    Schebler is also doing much of nothing.
    Castillo not realizing he hit the ball was a joke, the whole stadium was nonplussed. No one seemed to be screaming at him to run, run!!! Yeah, he’s a pitcher but gets paid too much to brain fart like that.

    This was a game that we absolutely should have won and could have been a huge shot in the arm for the team and the new guys, as well as deflating for an old rival. Instead, Kershaw is hero again and Jansen’s blown hold is forgotten. Puig and Kemp denied a triumphant return.

    And so it goes…next game