Luis Castillo did not have his best command on Friday night, but he gave the Reds another dominating outing as he held the Giants scoreless for six innings. The Reds bats continued their recent surge of late, minus the no-hitter on Tuesday. Nick Senzel and Yasiel Puig lead the Reds with two hits and two runs batted in each. Road wins have been difficult for the Reds this season, but they have now won back-to-back road games and improved to 8-14 on the road.

Final R H E
San Francisco Giants (16-22) 0 4 2
Cincinnati Reds (17-22) 7 9 0
W: Castillo (4-1) L: Rodriguez (3-5)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Statcast | 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 Nick Senzel’s 2-RBI triple with 2 outs in the 2nd inning, giving the Reds a 3-0 lead That play increased the Reds chances of winning by 17.7% (from 61.4% to 79.1%).


Luis Castillo didn’t have his best command (he walked 5 batters), but his stuff was still electric as he struck out 11 batters over six scoreless innings. The Giants only had two balls hit off Castillo that had an expected batting average of greater than .110. He lowered his season ERA and FIP to 1.76/2.78.

Nick Senzel had two hits, including a 2-RBI triple. Senzel on the night had three balls hit with an exit velocity of > 101 MPH.

Yasiel Puig had two hits and drove in two runs also.

Zach Duke now has 5 consecutive scoreless appearances.

Joey Votto reached base three times (2 walks, 1 HBP).

Tucker Barnhart reached base twice, including driving the first run of the game with a slick single down the left field line.


Nothing to see here.

Not so random thoughts……

The Reds picked up a game on both the Cubs and Cardinals today!

Up Next:

Reds at Giants
Saturday, 9:05 PM
TV: FOX Sport Ohio
Anthony DeSclafani (3.65 ERA) vs Jeff Samardzija (3.16 ERA)

76 Responses

  1. Don

    Worth staying up late to watch.
    Multiple players tried to bunt against shift which moved infield defense some and there were a couple of hits through shift. 2nd win of year without home run. Good team win.

  2. Old-school

    2 consecutive enjoyable reds wins. Castillo gets a win.. Lorenzen solid. Iglesias again a defensive weapon… He may be better than Hamilton.
    Offense good.

    Only negative is mentioning Zach duke. He was not good ..2/3 inning with 2 hits against lefties- his only role. Lorenzen rescued him. Time for Cody Reed.

    Go reds

  3. Sliotar

    Duke “scoreless appearance” streak extended. Hmmm.

    Sometimes I think Nick showcases his ability to spin, so the Reds will hire him in the PR department and he can return home. LOL.

    Unlike the last 4 seasons, now the time-honored tradition of Reds Garbage Time offense is actually fun when it’s wrapped up, rather than “where was that in the 1st?”

    • Mason Red

      Yes the headline to his post proudly proclaimed “second consecutive road win”. Definitely Reds PR worthy….lol.

  4. CI3J

    Games like this are why the Reds have a +30 run differential but are 6 games under .500. It seems like the Reds either blowout the other team or lose a close one, with a lot more close losses than blowouts.

    Just to be clear, the Reds’ run differential is 3rd best in the entire NL, behind only the Cubs and the Dodgers. Despite this, they have the 4th worst record in the NL.

    Strange days.

    • Fish

      I havent seen a stat on this, but I would love to see a workup on standard deviation of scoring. All runs are not equal and I would expect that a team who scores above average runs with a low standard deviation would be preferable to a large amount of runs with a high standard deviation for just this reason.

    • coachgates

      and 3-8 in 2 run games…

      That’s 20 losses in “close games”. Oh what could have been so far.

      Castillo is really something special

    • PhP

      But I keep hearing one run games are essentially luck…..

      • Doug Gray

        That’s because they are essentially luck.

        One run games are not repeatable as a skill. It’s not a managerial skill. It’s not a player skill. It’s just random variance. There is no evidence, anywhere, ever, in the long history of baseball, that it’s a repeatable thing to be good, or bad, in 1-run baseball games.

      • PhP

        So you’re saying the 2015-2019 reds should perform the same as the 1972-1976 reds? Or do you think better players perform better in all games?

      • Pete

        I’m hoping Doug is saying W-L records will be proportional over time. If a team wins 55% of its games, it should, more or less, have the same ratio in 1-run games as all others.

        Maybe Doug can weight in on a team’s scoring differential. If a teams is scoring 30+ runs better than it’s opponents, say 120+ over a season, will their record over time catch up to the difference? Seems to me it would, expect maybe the rare outlier.

      • docmike

        No, the 2015-19 Reds were bad in one-run games because they were bad overall.

        It’s the same tired argument that there are “clutch” hitters. That a batter may be just some average schmo during any other situations, but once the game is on the line he dons his cape and becomes the superhero, Captain Clutch.

        Nonsense. The best hitters in the clutch are almost always the best hitters, period.

      • PhP

        That was my point. The 2015-2018 reds were bad in 1 run games because they were a bad team and not because they were unlucky. The way it is phrased around here makes it seem like they were unlucky in those games, which I disagree with

      • da bear

        Doug – it’s luck only in the sense that everything in this life is ruled by probabilities. All one can do is enhance the probability curve as much as possible. What isn’t ‘luck’ is the continued inability for Reds hitters to hit when it matters. Poor defense (except Iglesias at shortstop and Suarez at third this year after a poor 2018) is the norm, bad inattentive baserunning, slowness in general (Votto, Suarez & Winker). Bad managerial choices.

        Things will get better. Bell is leaps and bounds better than Price. As Votto continues to the downside the upside of Winker, Senzel, hopefully youngsters like Trammel will overcome. And continued shrewd front office moves such as Hernandez & Hughes last year plus Dietrich & Iglesias & Farmer this year makes all the difference in the world for the close games.

        Many hitters hit well once the outcome of a game is already predetermined, or the same with the playoff picture (Reds are no longer in contention). No pressure, free to hit. Too often that’s been the case the past five years.

    • VaRedsFan

      Yes, it is a known situation. Anybody that watches and can observe knows that the current hitters on this team do not churn out the big hits late in close ballgames. But when they are up or down big, they have no problem tacking on some runs in wins or a few meaningless runs in losses.

      • streamer88

        Understand what you’re saying here: that making it 5-0 when it’s 3-0 isn’t meaningful. If you win the game 5-4, then that was pretty meaningful right?

        The clutch argument is weak for the fact that the evidence doesn’t support it. But it’s also weak because most of baseball’s outcomes are innocuous and “at the time” inconsequential. But all of it is consequential.

      • da bear

        Streamer88 – have to use situational analysis to determine even WITHIN game how well someone performs. Performing well when it is 5-0 means far less than when it is 2-0. Even if later on the final score is 11-10….because 98% of the time the score doesn’t contract, doesnt get to 11-10; performing well at 2-0 will always be more meaningful than performing well at 5-0.

        Just as performing well at 2-0 in the second inning is more meaningful than performing well at 2-0 in the top of the ninth.

        The WPA is a good start to measure clutch performance vs. non clutch performance.

        For anyone to say the ‘evidence’ points yea or nay regarding clutch is probably weak….because I wholeheartedly doubt there has been a well constructed study to examine ‘clutchfulness’ to make any meaningful determination. It’s too involved and difficult to construct one, especially given the data limitations of historical data.

  5. DHud

    Only reason Duke has been scoreless is because Bell yanks him before he has a chance to completely screw things up

    Make Zach Duke go away.

  6. Jayzee

    When is the last time the Reds enjoyed back to back shutout wins on the road, west coast no less?

  7. Indy Red Man

    The Reds desperately need a sweep here with 11 straight vs the Cubs, LA, and Milw.
    Have to admit I feared Senzel was overhyped, but he’s fun to watch! He sprays the ball around and will take a walk. I’m not sure if I like him at leadoff, but he’s probably the best option they have right now.

    Turner Ward needs to work on getting Joey and Winker to shoot for left-center again. Too many 4-3 groundballs. Everyone is trying to pull HRs now, but obviously the ball goes out easily to the opposite field in GABP. I think Joey in particular must of let last seasons 12 hrs get into his head? He rarely ever hits it hard the other way anymore?

    • lwblogger2

      Definitely agree about Winker and Votto needing to go to LCF more but will disagree on the ball going out easily for LH hitters at GABP. This is true of RH hitters with driving to RCF but LH hitters have a much tougher time getting them out to LCF. Votto used to do it regularly but I think he struggles to hit the ball hard the other way these days because he simply doesn’t have the power to hit the ball hard the other way anymore.

  8. KYPodman

    Maybe we can pull a reverse Beetle Juice and say Zach Duke’s name 3 times and he will go away….. 🙂

  9. Roger Garrett

    Good win with two out hits doing the damage.Senzel’s ball in the ninth to right center is out in most parks.Duke is a mop up guys in blow out games but that will take care of itself in time.Lorenzen is good,not flashy but that power sinker plays and this team needs to sign Iggy at short right now.Lots of walks given up but Castillo’s ball moves like crazy so its hard to barrell up.Thought it and said it early in the year this could be his break out year and so far so good.As his slider gets better he becomes an ace.Bottom line is the Reds scored and they won.Pen is good enough,starters are good enough,defense is good enough,just have to score.First 3 are just as good if not better then our division foes.Data proves it.Go Reds and keep on scoring.

  10. Mike

    Negative: Votto continuing to not hit.

    • matthew hendley

      However his OBP is starting to head back up to his Career norms. 3 times on base last night.

    • Steven Ross

      Agree. Paying $25 mil for a guy to take walks.

      • matthew hendley

        That’s what you want though? For him to get on base? not arguing the contract as an overpay, as long as everyone understands 2011-17 were basically underpays. so it all evens out. The reds had 8 years to plan for this. He looks better at the plate as of late as well. Pretty sure he would have gotten a homer at GABP with one of his outs last night, and the non homer during the No hitter was hit hard too. I am confident that it will improve.

      • Pete

        Joey Votto has three hits in his last 40 at bat. He owns a wRC of 17 for the month of May. Like everyone else here, I hope Joey is going to step it up but there is a very good possibility due to his age he is unable.

      • docmike

        Good thing he was vastly underpaid the first few years of the contract.

      • da bear

        Matthew Hensley & docmike – didn’t Votto miss nearly 1.5 seasons between 2012-2015?

        And didn’t the Reds stink four seasons 2015 (post sell off) -2018? The $25MM coulda been better allocated to three or four solid players than one person.

        Love Joey, hate the contract they gave him.

      • matthew hendley

        True about the contract. in hindsight, they should have frontloaded it or evened it throughout the years. They cleared out the surrounding money though so it is a less of a burden now then say even last year. As far as DL trips, there was a Half year in 12. and maybe a spattering of 10 or 15 day visits. I don’t think it adds up to a year and a half though.

    • VaRedsFan

      Maybe Dietrich taught him how to get HBP

      • matthew hendley

        Joke all you want but their are factors that can increase the likelihood of a HBP. Placement in the Box. action against inside pitches, and since leaning into pitches is illegal, leaning into pitches, while making it look like he isn’t.

  11. Scott Gennett

    At this time I’m not sure if we’re talking about Votto’s prolonged slump or he’s just declining for good. Since late 2017 both average and slugging percentages have been going down, without any improvement signal.

    • Pete

      Same with nearly all stats including exit velocity and walk%. One of the few variables up is K%. No doubt he has been declining this year and the only question is the rate of decline. To his credit, JV is battling to slow it down.

    • VaRedsFan

      Concerning Votto, I don’t believe it is all age-related. To me, it’s his approach. 2017 was a great year for him, as evidence by his 2nd place in MVP voting. He attacked balls in the zone, and pulled the ball with authority. Then 2017 rolled around and he COMPLETELY changed his approach and tried to inside out every pitch for 3 months…numerous check swings…ect. It’s as if he tried to turn into Tony Gywnn. This year, is back to the 2018 version all over again.

      Votto has forgot more about hitting than I will ever know….which is why I can’t understand why such a drastic change in approach after such a fantastic season. I sometimes think that he is just being stubborn trying to prove he can be successful in a different manner than he has before.

      • Pete

        Take a look at Willie Mays last seasons:
        1971, OPS = .907
        1972, OPS = .802
        1973, OPS = .647

        It might make his matters even worse that he has managed to wring out all that his abilities offered. Not much left to draw on and improve upon. Just a hypothetical but not crazy talk.

        I believe Joey Votto is the best hitter the organization has ever had and if this is it for him, I’ll be as saddened as anyone.

      • ToBeDetermined

        Mays’s approach at the end of his career was terrible. He stepped way in the box. Any pitch on the outer half of the plate he couldn’t even touch with his bat.
        I’m not seeing anything like that at this point from Votto

      • Pete

        TBD, good information.

        The point I’m trying to make is Willie got old. The three seasons I referenced,Mays was 40, 41 and 42 years old. Remarkable he was still an effective player in his his 40’s. Joey is much younger than Mays was, if this is truly the end, but Joey had a lot of problems with his legs. I don’t recall Mays suffering the same fate.

        Another thing I’m starting to observe with Joey is he is chocking way up on every pitch. Seems like he only did this in 2-strike situations but this is my memory which can be frail.

    • CFD3000

      I think Votto will be fine. Two nights ago in Oakland he had a home run to dead center taken away to preserve the no hitter. Last night he only had two at bats (the rest BB, HBP) and one of those was a diving stop to snare a one hopper that cost him a hit. Those both look like easy outs in the box score but more like vintage Votto at the game.

  12. Art

    I know that it worked out ok in this game, but why have Farmer pinch hit for Lorenzen?

    • lwblogger2

      When I read the boxscore the next day (I didn’t catch the game the night before) I thought exactly the same thing.

  13. Pete

    Reds had 19 batted balls projected to provide a batting average of .250 or better. Big time hitting, keep it up guys. Giants only 7. Winning baseball.

  14. Steve Mancuso

    The Reds pitching staff has been nothing short of terrific so far. I really don’t understand complaints about David Bell’s management of it, other than people not liking change. He’s been great. Keeping starters out of trouble, learning his bullpen.

    Second best ERA. Second best FIP. Third best xFIP. Third best K%. Second highest average pitch velocity. Below average number of innings and total batters faced by the bullpen.

    Hasn’t been luck. BABIP (.290) is in line. HR/FB (10.8%) in range. 4th best ground ball rate. Third lowest xwOBA (.298).

    • CP

      How many games did the Reds lose over the years because their manager(s) let them slip away in the 6th and 7th innings? The reaction of some fans is bewildering…

      • VaRedsFan

        Yes indeed…Previous managers turned 1 run deficits into 3 and 4 run deficits, by leaving starters in too long.

        My only minor gripe with Bell is pulling a RP going good, to let another reliever come in and get 1 out….and using Duke in close games

    • WVRedlegs

      Yet David Bell’s over-managing has snatched no fewer than 6 or 7 games from the Win column and and placed them firmly in the Loss column. And yet the Reds are still firmly in their comfy confines of last place. Not liking change? I’d like the view to change. Tired of looking at the rear ends of the Cubs, Cardinals, Brewers and Pirates. Lets see some change in the standings for crying out loud.
      We want to see change. But can Bell deliver?
      The Reds changed the welcome mat out front. But the house is still termite ridden.
      The canvass was blank for David Bell. All we asked for was for him to paint a pretty picture. So far all we have gotten is kindergarden style finger painting.

      • Pete

        An argument could be made that the Reds are the weakest hitting team in major league baseball. Steve is right, Bill is doing an incredible job with the pitching staff in the handling of any management. It’s an objective fact.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Your claim that his over-managing has cost them 6-7 is laughable. That means there was a decision you second-guessed after the fact that didn’t work out because of how the player performed. Again, Bell is managing the pitching staff well. Their overall performance shows it, beyond refutation. I know this doesn’t fit comfortably in “blame David Bell for everything” ethos, but the players are mainly responsible for winning and losing.

      • docmike

        Would be awesome if there was any objective data to prove that Bell has cost the Reds 6-7 games with bad managerial decisions.

        But let’s say you’re right though. I’m going to say he has gained the team 9-10 wins through his management of the pitching staff. So that means he has been a net positive 3 wins overall. Good job Bell.

      • matthew hendley

        So obviously we have entered the Make things up portion of the argument.
        While we are at it, I am going to say that my rooting for the reds also led to 3 victories.

    • Pete

      Steve, first I want to thank you and many others here at RLN for helping me understand the proper evaluation of baseball. I fought you guys hard due to my stubborn attitude. Everything (Billy Hamilton) you guys tried to explain to me was/is true.

      Bell is doing a terrific job of managing the pitching staff. All objective evidence, as you lay out, proves this. There is no reasonable argument to refute this. Yes, perhaps the bullpen will burn out but we don’t know this now but I’ll take Bell’s approach and roll the dice.

      The Reds own the record the have because they have not been proficient hitting a baseball.

      • Pete Snow

        Ive been reading these game threads since 05 or 06, however, recently it seems overrun with knee jerk reactions as opposed to adherence to facts. Sad. Be that as it may, I still love the articles and analysis.

      • Pete

        I was one of “those” until Statcast. Keep telling the assembled Billy Hamilton was destined for greatness. Found out Billy can’t hit the ball hard enough to even be a mediocre hitter. After that I discovered all the rest the savants were saying was true. Never argue with Steve Mancuso unless you have a bullet-proof argument. I’m embarrassed for my previous narrow-minded thinking but thankfully now I’m in recovery.

    • GoRedsGo

      The 2019 Reds are in games and the difference is due to pitching. 2019 isn’t 25% complete, and the close games show this team can compete in the NL Central.

      2016-2018 were horrific and the Reds pitching stats and 90 loss seasons prove it. Cossack shared those stats last week – and those were not the good ol’ days!

      I’m with Steve – let’s enjoy some good baseball. We can question moves and second-guess (because it’s fun & we look like geniuses), but let’s not lose sight of the fact that we have a much better baseball team than the past 3 years.
      Our manager may be learning, but I like his growth curve much more than I like the past 2 managers. Plus, we can see that he’s smart enough to surround himself with some good coaches.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Yes, exactly. The Reds are a better team than they have been the past few years. My initial comment was about how great the pitching staff has been. When the bats catch up, their record will improve. They also have a smart manager and coaching staff that is extremely well informed and uses that information in the context of up-to-date thinking about how to win baseball games. I’m optimistic.

    • ToBeDetermined

      Agreed. Bell and Johnson need to be given a lot of credit for their handling the pitching staff this year. Seeing Cincinnati near the top NL pitching amazes me.

  15. Eric the Red

    Can anyone help explain the Statcast expected batting average stuff to me? If I’m reading it right, Castillo’s ball that was caught in right field had a high expected batting average—as if he were robbed—yet Vogt’s double late in the game had a very low expected batting average, as if he were lucky. Yet Castillo’s ball looked routine, and Vogt’s looked like a perfectly legit double. What am I missing?

    • Pete Blowers

      At least one factor would be Castillo’s EV was 96.8, were Vogt’s was 89.8. I would guess a batter will get many more hits with ball with EV of 97 rather than 90. The two other factors, I’m guessing, are angle and distance.

    • Steve Mancuso

      Expected hit probability is based on how similar balls (based on exit velocity and launch angle) have fallen in the past. My guess is that Castillo’s ball was hit a distance that usually falls in for a hit. Maybe it didn’t in this case because the OF was playing in because he was a pitcher. Vogt’s double was the distance and launch angle that is usually caught in the OF, but it happened to fall in for a hit. It’s not a perfect system and there are outcomes I don’t understand either, but that’s how it works. It’s an interesting demonstration of the vastly underestimated role that luck plays in baseball.

      • Pete Blowers

        Steve, I rate my Statcast by xBA and nearly all the hits are in red and outs in blue and white. There is variance (exceptions) to this, and although not rare, it is certainly the exception to the rule. Hitting the ball hard is a good thing, trying to pool cue one in the pocket is not what you want to hang your hat on.

      • Eric the Red

        Thanks to both of you for your explanation. Vogt’s double was really surprising to me, because nothing looked unusual—the outfielders seemed to be in normal positions, the ball seemed to travel a normal path, etc.

        On a related note, given how rapidly defensive positioning has evolved in the past few years, do you have any thoughts/insight into how quickly a system based largely on past data points will be able to adapt to reflect our new reality?

      • Steve Mancuso

        This is an excellent question. My understanding is that the system is a constant dynamic loop. As teams use more and different kinds of shifts and subsequently affect hit probability it will feed back into new estimates.

      • docmike

        Some on here would like to believe that luck has nothing to do with baseball. That whether a ground ball finds a hole or goes right at an infielder is completely within the batter’s control.

      • da bear

        A batter most definitely can adjust and hit the ball in a certain direction. Not under their total control, but if you ever watched Pete Rose hit, there is definitely a skill involved to hit the ball where they ain’t. Most batters don’t have that skill, it’s dumbed down to see ball hit ball hard, especially power guys like Adam Dunn or Joey Gallo.

        The great hitters like Rod Carew, Pete Rose, Ichiro Suzuki – they can hit them where the defenders aren’t. Imagine if tennis players were simple ball bashers and didn’t take into account where his/her opponent was….

        Sure there’s luck involved. But there’s skill involved too beyond hit ball as hard as possible.

    • docmike

      I assume it’s like this: a batter can smoke a line drive for an out that looks like a routine play, because the outfielder was positioned perfectly and never had to move. The ball had a high expected BA because if it was hit pretty much anywhere else it would have been a hit. Whereas a ball can be hit with much less authority but look like a legit double because it fell perfectly in between two OF’s and neither ever had a shot to catch it. That ball would have a much lower expected BA, but the batter got lucky.

      • Eric the Red

        But is xBA literally just exit velocity and launch angle? Or is where the ball is hit somehow taken into account? A ball hit with a particular exit velocity and angle that is within 2 feet of the foul line is going to have a very different real-world chance to fall in than the same ball hit 25 feet from the line where the outfielder has (traditionally) been positioned.

      • Steve Mancuso

        I think that’s right. It doesn’t take into account direction.

      • Pete

        Eric – distance as well, I believe.

  16. Eric the Red

    Good stuff. Thanks for your patient question-answering everybody!