|Chicago Cubs (3-1)
|Cincinnati Reds (1-3)
|W: Lester (1-0) L: Miley (0-1) SV: Jeffress (1)
|Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread|
In a season in which we did not expect rookies to be key figures for the Cincinnati Reds, they were the bright spots on this evening.
Catcher Tyler Stephenson and righthander Tejay Antone both made their major league debuts in notable fashions. Unfortunately, that happened because the Reds got behind very early, 6-0, after two innings, as the Chicago Cubs rode that early margin and held on for dear life for an eventual 8-7 win. The loss dropped Cincinnati to a 1-3 record in their first four games.
Antone entered the game in the second inning in relief of Wade Miley, who was battered in his first Reds start. Antone pitched 4.1 innings, allowing only one hit — unfortunately a home run to Anthony Rizzo. Facing an 8-1 deficit, Reds manager David Bell brought Stephenson on to catch to give Curt Casali a bit of a breather. Stephenson responded with a 415-foot home run to centerfield, a line-drive single to left and a ninth-inning walk to go 2-for-2 in his big league debut.
The Reds had a chance to get back in the game in a big way in the bottom of the seventh. Stephenson’s solo home run and Nick Castellanos’ RBI single brought them within five at 8-3, but Josh VanMeter struck out with the bases loaded against Cubs reliever Ryan Tepera.
Another opportunity presented itself in the bottom of the eighth. With two runners in scoring position and two out, Joey Votto dropped a hit into right field against righthander James Norwood to bring the home team within three at 8-5. But Eugenio Suarez grounded out to remain hitless on the season and end the inning.
Cubs stopper Craig Kimbrel walked four batters and hit one in the bottom of the ninth, allowing the Reds to score two runs to pull within 8-7 without benefit of a hit. With one out and the bases loaded, Cubs Manager David Ross pulled Kimbrel in favor of the former Milwaukee Brewer, Jeremy Jeffress. Phillip Ervin struck out, bringing Votto up as the last hope. As he has done multiple times in the first four games, Votto hit a line shot, but unfortunately, it was directly at centerfielder Albert Almora Jr. for the final out.
As mentioned above …
1st #MLB at-bat
1st MLB homer
Tyler Stephenson is off to a fast start with the #Reds. pic.twitter.com/YKOpF2hgd1
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) July 28, 2020
Other than Stephenson, Votto was the only other Red with two hits. He went 2-for-5 with two RBIs to improve his batting average to .412. Nobody else among the team’s hitters has yet gone on a hot streak through the opening four games.
You may not have known much about Miley’s repertoire before seeing him pitch tonight, but this graph of tonight’s effort from Statcast paints a very convincing picture. He’s going to rely on location because he doesn’t have the velocity, and he had absolutely no location tonight whatsoever.
On the other hand, here is Antone’s velocity chart:
Antone made a very compelling case that he should stay with the major league team and get some more chances. If he continues to pitch this way, he suddenly becomes one of David Bell’s short list of pitchers to be relied upon, rather than a player who moves back and forth between Cincinnati and Mason. By allowing Antone to pitch 4.1 innings tonight, Bell might have been stretching him out for a starting assignment — either for Miley, or for Anthony DeSclafani if the latter misses more than one start.
Notes Worth Noting
Your “fan cutout” can be in the seats at Great American Ball Park! Cost is $75. More at Reds.com.
The #Reds talked internally of selling 1,000-1,500 fan cutouts.
They sold more than 900 in the first 8 hours.
* When will you see them?
* Where will they be?
* What you need to get one?
(Just don’t call them cardboard, they’re not cardboard) pic.twitter.com/Tl5OlTL8iF
— Joe Danneman (@FOX19Joe) July 27, 2020
Two pitchers waived by Cincinnati both claimed by Miami Marlins …
RHP Justin Shafer and LHP Josh D. Smith have been claimed off waivers by the Marlins. Both were designated for assignment on Friday. #Reds pic.twitter.com/ftRWsLRRfo
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) July 27, 2020
Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds
Chicago Cubs vs Cincinnati Reds
Tuesday, July 28th, 6:40 pm ET
Alec Mills (2.75 ERA, 1-0 in 2019) vs Tyler Mahle (5.14 ERA, 3-12 in 2019)
Losing 3 games counts as a losing streak. The Cubs did everything they could to lose this game yet the Reds still couldn’t take advantage. Few take aways, this team can’t afford to start like the past few years or else they are going to put themselves in a whole they can’t come out of. Back to back one run loss and no clutch hitting something they have lacked last season. Snap out of the loser mentality Reds and go out and win tomorrow!
Frankly I am not high on Mahle. He had a lot of starts last year and a 5.14 ERA. I hope we start scoring earlier tomorrow because we will need it.
Simply put I don’t believe the reds prepared their pictures properly for the start of the season. Miley was clearly rusty….maybe he should have pitched in the exhibition last week! Lorenzen, Stephenson, Iglesias…. too many days off before being thrust into high-leverage situations and not having command.
More to the point, what’s with Bell fretting about the pitch counts for the starting pitchers when no one has topped 100? That should have been the expectation communicated to the players so they could adjust their workouts accordingly. Everyone knows you have to hit the ground running but he manages like the team has all the time in the world to get it together.
Bauer: Oh, and he struck out 13 hitters along the way on 105 pitches. From Sunday’s recap but your point is valid nonetheless. The bullpen has imploded out of the gate. The losses to Detroit can NOT be blamed on the starting pitching by any means. The manager, possibly for pulling them too soon but in 162 game season the usage would be similar, imo.
Yeah. Everybody doesn’t have to play. Just the ones who help you win THAT DAY….. 60 games….that’s all….down to 56 already….. 1-3 (2.7-8.1) record to start at home no less. SMH…..we’ve seen Davidson, Jankowski, and Colon. If these were crucial games in the playoffs would we be playing these guys? That’s what David Bell HAS to ask himself because that’s the way we need to approach each and every game. These guys in there don’t concern me near as much as the mindset. The three just mentioned are not the only reason we’ve been losing my any means. I just don’t believe Bell has the proper definition of urgency. I hope our manager is not over his head and not able to handle this very short season. Honesty, he acts like it I’m afraid. We cannot afford to wait even one game to get going. I’m not anti David Bell. He does some good things. I am anti losing though. Six season of being at or near last place. Spending millions and millions of dollars in the off season. Like it or not, fair or not, David Bell is under the microscope maybe more than any other manager. That’s the nature of the beast. There is only one cure for all of this…..WIN.
After leading off with three sterling starting pitching performances, a 1-3 record is not what we expected from the get go in this short season.
This nonsense of trying to get everyone playing time is a losing philosophy. The Big Red Machine played the “Great Eight” virtually every game. Even the ‘90 team played mostly the same lineup the entire season, with the exception of 1st base. David Bell needs to quit managing like it’s a travel team and everyone “paid to play” so you have to play them. Shogo sitting two of the 1st four games is inexcusable. Davidson and Cologne as the DH is pathetic. When healthy, Shogo, Senzel, Castellanos, Votto, Moose, Suarez, Galvis, and Winker as the left-handed DH against righties. That still gives Bell a chance to play “a little” with the lineup at catcher and right-handed DH and gives us the best chance to win. If he can’t grasp this concept, then he needs to GO.
Shogo Akiyama should be in the regular lineup each game in this two month season. He’s the leadoff man and sparkplug the Reds have needed for sometime. Winning baseball comes with a set lineup with substitutions only due to injuries or a needed day off. Shifting players constantly does not make for stability. I’m increasingly concerned whether David Bell has the managerial touch the Reds need to be a winner.
Our Designated Hitters are 1-14. Maybe they should just let the pitchers hit.
Disappointing. I thought I read that Miley had looked great in (both) preseasons. What the heck happened there? For a change the bullpen was excellent – 2 runs in 7 1/3 – but that’s too big a hole Wade! I do question some of Bell’s lineup choices early on – Colon? Davidson? But missing Moustakas, Senzel and, apparently, Suarez means a third of the lineup is greatly diminished. Suarez hasn’t even hit a single ball hard yet, let alone have an actual hit. Maybe Farmer at 3rd base tonight to give him a chance to catch his breath. Oh, and Free Shogo please! The Reds have had three of the best starts in the league so far from Gray, Castillo and Bauer but nothing to show for it. Time to start winning boys. Go Reds!
Bell does appear to be lineup challenged. Is it really that hard? I guess so. Penciling in Shogo at leadoff would be a good place to start.
On the plus side Joey Votto has convinced himself that its 2017.
Yeah. His hitting is definitely one of the brightest spots. 🙂
Speaking of analytics, does a 60 game season change the overall strategies for winning, since it’s a sprint and not a marathon?
Does it make sense to invest in higher risk moves for the higher payoff? Is that even a thing in analytics? Just wondering since Bill James bases all his stuff on economics whether or not that’s even a fair analogy.
Perhaps someone that knows these things can comment.
Yes, the strategies do change. Mostly with how you use the bullpen (more often, sooner) and your bench for match ups. Turns out that most people actually think that’s the dumbest things that the manager could actually do given the response to doing it just as one should based on the percentages over the first four games of the season.
So the strategy goes in the opposite direction of what I was thinking. Glad I asked
It isn’t so much that I think its the dumbest thing you could do- far from it- I just question the depth of characters being used to get the job done. We all had the opportunity during the second half of 2019 to see what it looks like when the Reds lean on JVM, Aquino, Farmer, Ervin, etc- they’re growing players and I like ’em but they aren’t any sort of driving engine for the offense.
Yeah. I agree.
In response to Eric The Red