The Cincinnati Reds comeback on Wednesday night fell short as they stranded the bases loaded in the 9th inning as Christian Colon grounded into a double play to end the game in a spot that was once the batting spot for Joey Votto. But the Reds starting first baseman wasn’t available there because he was pinch run for the inning before after drawing a walk. Travis Jankowski went 1st to third on a single that followed, but was stranded there after back-to-back strikeouts.

The move was the ire, one of many moves that drew the ire of social media on the night – particularly after the game ended in the fashion that it did. Manager David Bell was asked about the decision after the game. Here’s what he had to say:

55 Responses

  1. AP

    This isn’t the decision that needs to be scrutinized. As he said, you’re trying to sell out to at least tie the game down 1 in the 8th. Votto’s spot isn’t coming up again for 9 at bats. There’s no way you can possibly think there that when Votto’s spot comes up again, it’ll be with the game completely on the line in the 9th. So, it was the right decision and, actually, it worked. Jankowski goes first to third with one out on a ball that Votto has no chance of getting to third on. It’s not Bell’s fault that Senzel then doesn’t come through.

    The decision that does need to be scrutinized is not pinch hitting for Colon with the game on the line in the 9th. Unless I missed something, Davidson is available and is currently looking like a much better option to come through there. One would presume Bell doesn’t do it because someone then would have to play out of position if the game goes into extras. But, it going into extras at that point is at best 50-50 and, if he applies the same logic as he did for pinch running for Votto (“do everything you can to at least tie the game”), you have to do it. If it goes to extras, you just have Casali (or even Lorenzen) play 2nd. Statistically, it’s more likely than not that they’re not even involved in a play. If they are, and they boot a ball, you have to live with that. This seems like the offensive equivalent of letting your second best relief pitcher lose the game, while preserving the closer for if you take the lead. I wonder if he was asked about not pinch hitting for Colon. Maybe I missed something with who was available.

    • Melvin

      In the previous AB by Barnhart he was up with two on and nobody out. The score was 0-4. That’s the time he should have bunted being the #9 batter and a poor hitter. Had he succeeded we would have had two on in scoring position with one out and the top of our lineup coming up. As it turned out he grounded out with no runs scored. Aki then grounded into a double play to end the inning. Had Barnhart advanced the runners not only would that have taken away the double play but probably scored a run on a ground ball. At that point we would at least have one run with a man on 3rd, two outs, with Casty up next. There is where we had a much better chance of getting the run we were trying so hard to get in the 9th inning. The bunt in the last inning was good except they were playing for it and he bunted it right at the 3rd baseman.

      • Steven Ross

        I agree with you but pretty sure Tucker fouled out by Royals dugout. My thoughts exactly that he should put down a bunt and advance the runners. I respect Tucker’s “D” but he simply can’t hit right now.

      • MK

        Tucker did bunt, straight to third baseman who threw to second in time to start the play.

        I was surprised Davidson didn’t come in to play first base for Bottom. He has more experience there than VanMeter.

        I think this 28 man roster has him confused. Seems he tries to over manage with hem and night. Sometimes he should just let hem play.

      • Big Ed

        MK, that was Barnhart’s next AB, not the one that Melvin is referring to. I thought a bunt was appropriate there, too, because (1) the Reds needed at least 1 run (and I know the stats on it); (2) Barnhart is a good bunter and the Royals would not have defended it as aggressively as they would in his next AB; and (3) Barnhart is slumping badly.

        Bell tends to overmanage, and too often leaves himself with no options at the end of the game.

    • Hanawi

      Well he wouldn’t have had to do that if he didn’t make the decision to pinch run Lorenzen for JVM. That is the one that baffles me. If they make it to extras, wouldn’t they want Lorenzen to be able to pitch, and is he really that much faster to JVM that it would make a difference?

    • ClevelandRedsFan

      Senzel could have played second, Lorenzen in the outfield, Davidson at first.

      • MFG

        You nailed it! That is what should have happened. So many head scratching moves. Why pinch run Lorenzen for JVM? The Barnhart bunt was dumb and you did exactly what the Royals wanted you to do. If TB cannot bunt down the first base line just swing away. If their third basemen is giving you the line then lay one down Senzel.
        I shall call him David Bell “Tinker” Bell because he continues to over manage.

  2. Jpser05

    It is my understanding that you play to WIN the game, not to tie the game.

    • Frankie Tomatoes

      It is my understanding that you can’t WIN the game you are trailing without TYING it first. But it was my understanding that there’d be no math

    • FreeHouse

      Exactly! Like Herm Edwards said “You play to win the Game! You don’t play to just play”

  3. Alex Reds

    Can’t blame David Bell first when the roster has two bench bats that are hitting .083 Jankowski and .130 Colon. These same players hit .182 and .160 in their last major league season with at least 20 at bats.
    Oh, and then there are another two bench bats VanMeter .059 and Ervin .100.
    The Reds have enough holes in the lineup with Suarez hitting .115, Akiyama .244, and Senzel at .211.
    Without Moose, it’s awfully hard to score enough runs to win.

    The bench is so bad, that David Bell must never take the starters out.
    We’ve waited a long time to have a rotation good enough to win and a shot at going deep in the playoffs. The Reds traded several top prospects and have several of their best players as likely free agents at the end of the year. Time to make some changes to the roster asap…

    • FreeHouse

      Can Aquino possibly be worst than Colon, Jankowski, Van Meter and Ervin? I think not.

      • Melvin

        I agree. The answer is no IMO as I’ve been saying for quite some time. I’ve also been saying that the ceiling is awesome for him to say the least. We already know what that is and should be trying hard to help him get back to that if possible. The ceiling for the other players you mentioned is much much lower.

      • Jimbo 44chi

        Colon should go back down and Aquino brought up. Why he isnt there is mind boggling. The kid is fast , can hit and plays great defense. How is Jankowski better? I just dont get it.

    • Aaron B.

      Does this mean Galvis is no longer the goat?

  4. Melvin

    Something has to change one way or another.

  5. Cubano

    Wouldn’t Davidson have been a better pick in the 9th than Colón? Isn’t he supposed to be the closest thing we have to a big power bat off the bench?

    • VaRedsFan

      Not exactly….Davidson strikes out a lot. You need to at least put the ball in play

      • ClevelandRedsFan

        This is exactly right. Two outs, 2 or more runs, Davidson pinch hits there no questions.

        Colon at least puts the ball in play. Bell was counting on him to do so. Plus he’s not thaaaaaat slow. He did exactly what he was supposed to do, put the ball in play and tie the game. Unfortunately, they turned two.

      • jessecuster44

        if you put the ball in play, you might get a DP. A K gets you one more AB.

  6. J

    When he took Votto out, my reaction was “this is probably going to backfire one way or another.” Maybe I’ve forgotten something, but from what I can recall, every pinch runner this season has either backfired or not made any difference. Unless we’re talking Billy Hamilton, runners’ speed rarely seems to make much of a difference in scoring runs, but replacing your best players with your worst players is often going to make a difference. I’m confident the stats would back this up.

    • Eric Wormus

      I immediately said Jankowski (and then Colon when he came in) was going to make the last out of the game. Even I couldn’t predict just how maddening it would actually be.
      There have been at least two times late in the game where he has gone to a pinch runner only to have the next batter ground into a DP. If you are going to pinch run you’ve got to be trying to steal a base. It’s so asinine watching pinch runners either stand at 1st with their thumb up their butt or watch the next hitter try to bunt them over. I also don’t think it’s clear Votto doesn’t make it to 3rd. The CF was playing no doubles back by the warning track and Winker hit a one hopper up the middle. Jankowski would have made it standing up and didn’t even draw a throw. To say Votto had no shot is a stretch.

  7. Chris

    Here’s how I know it was bad… the move worked… to perfection… when Winker singled sharply to CF, Jankowski took 3rd – on a play that Votto likely would have ended standing on second base. The move was a 100% success. We got everything we could have – a whole extremely base. And yet… an inning later we end up with one out and the bases loaded trailing by one with Christian Colon bating instead of a Hall-of-Famer.

    Leading off the 8th.- we have six outs to go. That’s more than 1/5 or 20% of the game remaining. We removed the best reds hitter in 30 years for a faster base runner with 1/5 of the game remaining…. and not to steal a base… just to have a guy who’s a little faster and who’s OBP is 200 points lower in a close game with six out left. It’s bad.
    I’m sorry. It is. It’s no comment on David bell as a manager overall… at all… but tonight, he over-managed us into a loss. That’s a fact.

  8. Chris

    It’s like if you have Tom Brady at QB, and your up by a field goal late – and you replace him with a QB who’s better at handing off and kneeling… in the 3rd quarter… bad move. Very bad move. I hope we never see anything like this again as long a Bell is the manager.

  9. Indy Red Man

    I don’t have a problem with pinch-running for Joey or anything in the 8th inning. The guy just snapped off some great curveballs. The 9th inning is something different though. No reason whatsoever to pinch-run for JVM…in fact Lorenzen almost got picked off. All that does is weaken your lineup if they go extras. JVM finally put together a few good at-bats. I also have a problem bunting Tucker with their corners crashing down. I think they said on the KC broadcast that TB had 15 career sac bunts? Either way…its hard to bunt off a guy throwing 98. Bell was lucky the throw one-hopped or its probably a doubleplay.

    You go with Davidson or Ervin for Barnhart. Then the other one for Colon. You absolutely cannot let Colon lose the game. Inexcusable really. Davidson and Ervin are better hitters then Barnhart and Colon. For that matter, we had HR, BB, HR, HR to start the 7th so he could’ve pinch hit Ervin for TB right there. Nobody out so thats basically like leading off the inning down 1. Instead TB & Colon combine for 4 outs from 7th-9th. Game over and Davidson’s 1.125 ops vs KC never comes into play. Guys are human. They have memories….hey I like hitting against this team, I just homered off them yesterday.

    Bell has no feel for the game. He doesn’t seem to get analytics either or Colon wouldn’t be on the team. Sometimes its not that hard. Try not to let their best guys beat you and try not to let your worst guys beat you.

    KYP Know Your Personnel

    • Roger Garrett

      Your last sentence says it all Indy.I may add sometimes the best thing to do is nothing at all.I believe players win or lose games but I also believe that managers sometimes just need to show or try to prove how smart they are.Now with the DH what does a NL manager really have to do?The pitchers spot doesn’t hit so that takes the double switch and hitting for the pitcher out of the equation.On back to back nights we have to question some of Bells moves and just for the record I had no problem with Joey being removed in the 8th for a pinch runner.The rest of the moves especially the bunt,the pinch running and letting Colon hit with the game on the line was just awful.Finally what bothers me most of all is Bell does not put his players in position to do things they can do.Tucker can’t hit and do you think he or anybody else on this free swinging bunch we have could get a bunt down.Nobody could have got that bunt down with the corner guys shaking hands any way.Colon may be the one guy you wouldn’t want up with the game on the line and he was.

    • Chris

      Indy, your comment in there, that showed the HR, BB, HR, HR, says everything about WHY the pinch running move was a bad move. The game has changed in such a way that your chances of an HR, BB, or K, are so common, that taking Votto out for a faster runner is just ridiculous, especially late in the game where one of those three results is most likely going to occur against a late inning reliever. There is just NO excuse for that. And yes, the 9th inning decisions were just as utterly ridiculous. Reds will not win anything with this clown at the helm.

  10. Tom

    It is not Bell’s fault for all the whiffs, popups and weak grounders. But he is the one overmanaging. To go with the lousy pen and automatic outs, now the Reds have a pathetic bench. What once looked like a promising season doesn’t anymore. Who can say that this team has looked good so far?

    • TR

      Game after game with 1 or 2 hits after three or four innings. Not the formula for a winning team regardless of the Reds overall improved starting pitching. I thought Shogo would solidify the Reds offense but it hasn’t happened.

    • Steven Ross

      I agree. He over-manages. Will this team ever get over .500? Hope so but I honestly doubt it.

  11. centerfield

    Is JVM slow or was he hurt? That substitution made no sense to me. Besides he had hit his first HR of the season. Someone commented that Bell has “no feel” for the game. I would qualify that to say that he has no feel for the game in progress. The Votto substitution seemed questionable at the time, but pinch running for Van Meter was insane.

  12. Klugo

    Votto hit into more game ending outs and even a DP as he’s had game winners in those opportunities this year. So, it was no guarantee that he was going to come through there. BUT, I agree that you have to have the foresight to want Joey Votto in that position rather than Colon. That’s one reason you bat him at the top of the lineup.

    • Johnnie Sparks

      David Bell would burn a 40 man roster in 1 game. He’s awful ,time to move on. If they keep losing trade neuter Castillo an Nick c

  13. Ron

    The Reds are in second place because a) the Brewers aren’t that good b) the Cardinals haven’t been playing and c) the Pirates are terrible.
    After today’s game, one-third of the season will be gone. The Reds need to right the ship by starting with a sweep of the Pirates. Anything less than a sweep is unacceptable.

    The Reds have given at least 3 or more games away already this year. That has to stop. While there is no need to panic, the players that have been struggling, need to make adjustments, clear their head and start getting the job done.

    As for Bell, he needs to take a page out of Sparky Anderson’s book and put his best 8 players out there every day and leave them alone. Regardless of who’s pitching.

    As for yesterday’s game, I would have only pinch-run for Votto if game were tied or Reds had a lead. Van Meter would have stayed in and I would not have Barnhart bunting.

    • Klugo

      And Barnhart shouldve known better than try to bunt up the 3rd base side. KC did a great job of countering our game plan there. They pitched Barnhart exclusively outside and had Franco in to play that bunt. If Barnhardt didn’t think he could get it up the 1B side, then don’t bunt it. It was a trap and we walked right into it despite seeing what they were doing for like 3 or 4 pitches. Just terrible management of that particular part of the game. In a shortened season, those plays are magnified. And here we have a manager learning as he goes. Worst possible scenario for Reds fans.

  14. Indydoug

    Great managers look to next inning possibilities too not just first things first. That loss is on him. Don’t get me started on the bunt

  15. SultanofSwaff

    Love how Bell says the first priority in the 8th was to tie the game, yet doesn’t entertain the squeeze in the 9th with a AAAA player. Inconsistent logic yet again. I mean, Colon (savvy veteran, right?) should know to not roll over on the outside pitch and try to pull it yet that’s what he did instead of punching it the other way. Colon absolutely should know better, and Bell should know that you don’t put your trust in fringe major leaguers in crunch time. You take the decision out of their hands and call for the squeeze. At least that way, the manager (smartest guy in the room, right) controls the outcome.

  16. CFD3000

    Arrrrgh. So many questionable decisions. David Bell does understand that if you never get past tying the game, you can’t ever win, right? With the bases loaded in the 9th Joey Votto is statistically twice as likely to reach base safely than Christian Colon. Was Travis Jankowski twice as likely to score in the 8th as Votto? Was Lorenzen really enough of an upgrade over JVM to burn him as a pinch runner? Was Colon really the best choice to hit in that spot? (okay, I grant you that having burned Jankowski, Ervin, and Lorenzen already – unnecessarily – maybe he was). But between lineup management and roster management (hands up, who would have been happier with Alex Blandino, Tyler Stephenson or Aristides Aquino batting instead of Colon?) the end of that game was a train wreck. Frustrating.

    • Indy Red Man

      Oh by the way….Derek Dietrich had 3 hits and a hbp last night. If you’re going to score 90% of your runs by HRs then you might want to keep bench pieces with some power. Rosenthal was nibbling and missing to Castellanos, but Colon comes up and its center cut…right down the middle because he knew he can’t hit.

  17. Klugo

    Just imagine how crazy this guy is going to make us, IF we make the playoffs.

  18. Old-school

    David Bell does overmanage.
    BUt, the Reds are what their record says they are- 2 under .500 and not better by the eye test than any team they’ve played this year except the Brewers.
    The ne’erdwell Tigers and Royals were pretty much even. The Cubs were better.

    Situational baseball has been awful. Some elements of the bullpen have been poor. Some aspects of the bench have been poor and your 3b hammer and Allstar is playing sloppy defense and in the worst slump of his career. Until the players start playing sharp clean baseball and perform to their talent level and improve on situational performance, the Reds will continue this frustrating pattern of a shade less than mediocre.

    • Klugo

      I would argue that both the Royals and the Tigers are/were better.

    • Don

      I agree with you Old-School. The Reds are their results.

      3-3 vs Tigers and 1-1 vs Royals.
      1-3 vs Indians and 1-2 vs Cubs.
      2-1 vs Brewers.

      They are better than the Brewers, the equals of Tigers and Royals and are not as good as the Indians and Cubs.

      They are an under 500 team.

      1) They figure out how to have more than one person be hot at the plate at a time, they will finish the year more under 500 than 2 games.
      2) They also must tighten up the defense a lot. They are 10th worst in runs allowed per game, and lead the league in most unearned runs allowed per game. 0.833, the league average is 0.37. That is just AWFUL defense. If they had the league average defense for unearned runs per game they would be the 11th lowest in runs allowed per game.

      Poor hitting and poor fielding they look like the Durham Bulls before the manager yelled at the team in the shower and threw bats at them.

  19. Mudpuppy

    Rats….. I keep checking in to see if they have given Bell his walking papers. If I remember correctly, it seemed that the team played so much better and not nearly as tight under Freddie B. Last year when Bell was suspended. Am I right?

  20. Charlie Waffles

    David Bell is the worst and most lame manager in MLB. Lots of bad decisions in last night’s game. And if all came to a crescendo in the 9th.
    I agree with Sultan that not having Colon bunt on a safety squeeze with only 1 out and bases loaded was criminal negligence. Complete stupidity. The Royals were giving the Reds a run but Bell wouldn’t take it. A bunt down the first base line ties the game. The Royals first baseman was not holding the runner on. The first baseman was 20 feet off the line and 10 feet behind the runner. A decent bunt down to first base scores the run. Easily.
    Bell has to go. Now. The Reds will have to pay him in 2021 not to manage, but it will be well worth it. Well worth it.
    Bell’s managing style is quite clear. Paralysis by over- analysis. It is well past time to take the keys to the machine away from Bell.

  21. FreeHouse

    The way the Reds have been playing and the way the Pirates have played the Reds the past few years, we will be lucky to split the series.

  22. burtgummer01

    A lot of you armchair managers were also crying about benching or dumping Winker not so long ago I don’t even need to add anything else
    Bell didn’t hit into a game ending double play and he didn’t give up any hr’s.I’m not even a Bell fan but this is crazy

  23. Chris Holbert

    The playoff question is will 30-30 get them in? With the current setup of the team and the way it is managed, that seems like the outcome. With the playoff scenario perhaps coming down to winning %, that may not be enough.

    • Ron

      I agree with you Chris. I think the Reds will have to finish in second place to make the playoffs. I don’t see them making otherwise.

      I don’t think anyone is catching the Cubs in this division, so it will be a battle for second place between Reds, Brewers and Cardinals.

    • Don

      I would think that the 2nd wild card team will be 29 to 31 wins. (480 to 520 win %). I doubt the Cards get close to 60 games, probably not 50 and they will change the rules to go by winning % for the playoffs.

      2nd place in the central division will be right around the same win %s

      Cubs only need to play .400 baseball to get to 30 wins in their last 45 games.
      The Cubs are the 1990 Reds right now, 0.500 baseball the rest of the season has them at 35 wins. Cubs should easily be the Central division winner.

      Reds need to play 0.640 (27-15) baseball to get to 35 wins and 0.523(22-20) to get to 30 wins.

      Reds are playing for 2nd place or a WC spot at best.

      Very sad to say just before the 1/3rd mark of the season

  24. Doug Jenkins

    Bell doesn’t have a clue as to what he is doing! Until the organization figures that out we don’t have a chance of winning with him as the manager. Fundamentally we are horrible. Can’t bunt, move runners, make to many errors. It’s baseball 101 and we can’t do that!

  25. Jimbo44chi

    Is it possible the one thing everyone is overlooking is the attitude in the clubhouse? It just seems to me that unless they are ahead that bench looks and acts dead. Maybe I’m wrong but the way Bell makes change after change and removes starters too soon is just one of the signs. Also, and I have said this before, why isn’t Aquino not on this team? How can he do worse than the slew of underwhelming bench players we have now. I’ll take my chances with him ahead of Ervin, Davidson, Colon, etc.