Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (11-13) 4 2 0
St. Louis Cardinals (7-8) 2 3 2
W: Lorenzen (1-1) L: Cabrera (1-1) SV: Iglesias (3)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

David Bell pulled the right strings on Friday night. The Reds manager pinch hit for two batters in the top of the 6th inning, first with Phillip Ervin and then with Matt Davidson. Ervin reached the bases after he was hit by a pitch, and then Davidson hit a baseball to another state (449 feet, according to Statcast) for a go-ahead grand slam. The bullpen was strong, too, with Raisel Iglesias picking up the save with a perfect 9th inning that required just nine pitches.

The Offense

The Reds offense seemed to be in a hurry to swing the bat. Both Joey Votto and Nick Castellanos swung at the first pitch as they recorded outs. Jesse Winker took the first pitch he saw of his at-bat, but lined out to left field to end the inning. The next inning forced Dakota Hudson to work a bit more, with Eugenio Suárez seeing three pitches to lead off the inning with a single. A strikeout,a ground ball that erased Suárez, and another strikeout put the offense away in the 2nd. The Reds threatened in the 3rd inning with two walks, but a ground out to third base by Winker ended the inning.

Mike Moustakas was hit by a pitch in the 4th inning, but that represented the only baserunner the team had between the 4th and 5th innings.

Trailing 2-0, the Reds seemed to catch a break with two outs in the top of the 6th inning. Eugenio Suárez ran into a curveball and hit it to dead center, but Harrison Bader should have caught it, but misread where he was on the warning track and jumped before the wall and had the ball glance off of his glove in what would wind up being a 3-base error as the Reds third baseman wound up at third on the play. That brought Mike Moustakas to the plate, who walked on five pitches to put runners on the corners. David Bell then chose to pinch hit for Shogo Akiyama with Phillip Ervin, who would be facing a left-handed reliever. He would eventually trot down to first base after taking a 98 MPH pitch to the leg.

The Reds then went to the bench again, bringing in Matt Davidson to pinch hit for Josh VanMeter to play the match up of right-handed hitter vs left-handed pitcher. Did that move ever pay off. After getting ahead 2-0, Davidson clobbered a 4-run homer over the bullpen, over the seats, and onto the concourse. Statcast called it 449 feet with an exit velocity of 113 MPH. It looked every bit of both of those en-route to giving the Reds a 4-2 lead.

In the 7th inning, Tucker Barnhart led things off with a walk, but the top of the lineup went 1-2-3 to strand him on the bases. Cincinnati went rather quietly in the 8th inning. It was more of the same in the 9th as the offense hoped the bullpen could hold the 4-2 lead they were handed.

The Pitching

Anthony DeSclafani worked around a 2-out single in the 1st inning, needing 14 pitches against the four hitters. The 2nd inning started out with a nice play involving Freddy Galvis playing the ball behind the 1st base bag (defensive shift) and DeSclafani covering the bag for Votto who dove for the ball.

The bottom of the 3rd was a stressful one for DeSclafani. After getting Yadier Molina to fly out to start the inning, Harrison Bader walked, Kolten Wong bunted for a single, and then Tommy Edman was hit by a pitch to load the bases. The Reds righty struck out Paul Goldschmidt for the second out of the frame before walking Matt Carpenter to put the Cardinals up 1-0. He jumped ahead of Brad Miller with a strike before getting him to ground out to end the threat.

The 4th inning saw DeSclafani work around a 1-out single by Dexter Fowler without any damage done. In the 5th he began things by walking Kolten Wong on four pitches. After Tommy Edman flew out to center, Paul Goldschmidt also walked and that spelled the end of the night for DeSclafani. David Bell turned to Michael Lorenzen, who came in and walked Matt Carpenter to load the bases. Brad Miller followed up with a chopper to second, scoring a run as the Reds were only able to get a force out at second on the play. Tyler O’Neill popped out to end the inning.

Aftera  huge pinch-hit grand slam by Matt Davidson, Michael Lorenzen returned to the mound in the bottom of the 6th inning with a 4-2 lead. He struck out Dexter Fowler, got Yadier Molina to fly out to right field, and then ended the inning with a strikeout of Harrison Bader to hold the lead.

Tyler Thornburg came out for the bottom of the 7th inning to try and hold onto a 4-2 Cincinnati lead. Tried and accomplished. Thornburg needed just eight pitches to retire all three Cardinals in the inning and send things to the 8th. Amir Garrett took things over from there, tossing a perfect frame with two strikeouts along the way.

Holding onto a 4-2 lead, Raisel Iglesias came out to try and close the game out – something he failed to do in the exact same situation 24 hours prior. The first batter went down swinging on a change up just under the zone. The next batter, Yadier Molina, hit the ball hard but Nick Castellanos tracked it down for the second out of the inning. St. Louis went to the bench to try and get something going, bringing in lefty Dylan Carlson to face Iglesias. He started him out with a 96 MPH strike before taking a change up in the dirt. The final pitch of the at-bat was grounded right back to Iglesias, who tossed over to Joey Votto to seal the win for Cincinnati.

Notes worth noting

Matt Davidson has three home runs in his last four at-bats. All have come against left-handed pitching. Matt Davidson really likes left-handed pitchers.

The Reds only had two hits in the game. They still won.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds vs St. Louis Cardinals

Saturday August 22nd, 8:15pm ET

Wade Miley (0-2, 16.20 ERA) vs Kwang Hyun Kim (0-0, 3.86 ERA)

27 Responses

  1. Tom Mitsoff

    Davidson’s career splits are not in front of me, but they are the reason he hasn’t played regularly in the past and doesn’t play regularly now. St. Louis is pitching a lefty tomorrow in Kim, so Davidson will be in there.

    Despite Davidson’s past splits, I would sure give him a chance to see if somehow he can hit righties — rather than left-handed batters who are hitting below the Mendoza line.

    • Mark Moore

      The JVM I’ve seen is so far below the Mendoza line, he’d need scaffolding to stretch up and reach it. Give Davidson an opportunity. The results could not be worse than what we’ve seen.

    • Roger Garrett

      Tom,your right about giving him a chance but Bell’s decisions about who plays and where they hit is pretty much scripted even though very inconsistent.Sometimes its about the data and sometimes its about track record.Our DH stats are just awful and what can you lose with Davidson or even Aquino playing against righties.Short season should dictate if it ain’t working after a few games we need to try something or somebody else

  2. seadog

    Doug, 4 runs 2 hits and a win. How do the Cards pitchers feel after throwing a 2 hitter and losing 4-2?? Man that is an UGLY win. But, we will take it

    More importantly, what do the Reds do with Disco? I am 100% on the fence. Do you sign him? Do you trade him?

    • RedsDownUnderer

      I think the Disco issue is an interesting one. I am assuming the FA market is going to be suppressed for obvious financial reasons this year, which means he might be willing to take some security if it’s offered to him, in some form. Despite his patchy injury history, he’s a “high floor” pitcher I feel like (as a 4 or 5 starter). I think if he’s willing to take a lowish pay, long-term or a slight overpay for 1-2 years, then it’s worth the risk.

      • RojoBenjy

        If i’m Disco I run as far from this organization as possible.

  3. Amarillo

    I’d try -Van Meter, -Jankowski, -Reed, + Stephenson, +Garcia, +Aquino. Part of the bullpen’s problem is there are too many guys, so some guys aren’t getting enough reps.

  4. Amarillo

    Most things that can go wrong, have gone wrong so far. Yet, we are still only 1/2 game out of playoff contention right now. I’m not ready to give up on the season, like it seems some are. We’ve had a bunch of trash losses and are still not in an awful position.

  5. Eric

    So, you don’t like Bell. Ok. I’d like an explanation…

    What’s wrong with Jankowski for Winker in this game?? I don’t know a single person who knows baseball that wouldn’t make that substitution in that situation, even if all they had to reference was the box score.

  6. mudpuppie

    The win last night does not mean Bell is a good manager. Inserting Jankowski for Winker is the type of move that Bell has made several times and it circles back to bite him when the other teams ties and Jankowski is batting in the ninth inning instead of Winker. Like was stated, Davidson or Ervin should have been the starting DH instead of VanMeter. This is what makes Bell a bad manager.
    Solitar is absolutely correct, as he most often is.

  7. ClevelandRedsFan

    I really do think we’ve seen the last of JVM starting (either at 2B or DH), which is disappointing. Last year, he had an OPS of 1.097 in AAA, and it looked like he could be a really solid utility player for the next few years.

    He’s still only 25, so I’m not ready to give up on him. But right now David Bell can’t keep rolling him out there, even against RHP. I’d give Davidson some chances. He at least has plenty of power so pitchers might fear him and walk him a bit.

  8. Tampa Red

    I’ve watched just about every inning of every game so far, and it’s gotten to the point that I just really can’t stand to watch Joey Votto attempt to hit any more. His entire approach, body language, weak swings, check swings, choking up, all of it is just awful.

    Apparently the Reds and Bell feel compelled to run him out there every day, and I don’t see how that’s going to change at least through the end of this season. I’ve enjoyed watching his unique and special talent over the last 13 years or so, but hoping he’s going to rediscover the magic is not a plan. At some point, that big, huge elephant in the room is going to need to be addressed.

    • Jefferson Green

      Votto is surely just a shell of his former MVP self, but he still gets on base at a better than average rate and is a useful piece if he continues the current pace. He has always been a cerebral hitter, tinkering with everything about his hitting. I’m OK with that, even if it would be more fun to see a different style. He has earned my respect to be who he is. At some point, yes, this team will have to address his performance as it continues to decline with age. No way around that. Father Time always wins in the end.

    • Mike V

      I hate to say this .. but I agree with you . In fairness he is not alone in looking overmatched. We just keep the hope alive that there is something left . We need more than just a relatively high OBP

      • Roger Garrett

        We need more from everybody offensively.This lineup has just not performed but if it does,there is no reason to think it will cause its basically the same guys as last year,then we can talk about Joey.He and Wink are the only guys getting on base primarily because they will take a walk and aren’t trying to hit it out of the park.Rest of the team with exception of Shogo does just that.

  9. Steven Ross

    Honestly, thank St. Louis for bringing in back to back LH pitchers Cabrera and Webb. That forced Bell to PH for JVM. Obvious decision so I won’t give him that much credit.

    There’s just no way this team can continue to roll out JVM. I expect a transaction to happen soon. Bell won’t change so Dick Williams will change it for him.

  10. Still a Red

    Gotta give Bell some credit for running Iggy out again…risky, for sure, but if you’re trying to fix Iggy’s head that’s the way to do it…and we all have said when Iggy is right, he’s right.
    Alot of where’s JVM, JVM last year from this crew…not so much anymore.

    • Doug Gray

      Last year the Reds didn’t have Jesse Winker (injured), Nick Castellanos (on the Cubs), Shogo Akiyama (playing in Japan), or Mike Moustakas (Royals) all ready and available to play the spots on the field that Josh VanMeter plays. Instead they had Jose Peraza and Derek Dietrich (who hit under .100 from June through the end of the year) available at second, and a mishmash of outfielders. There’s a reason you heard a lot of people asking why he wasn’t playing more last season, and why – even before his struggles this year – not many were saying to play him a bunch this year. It was pretty clear last year he was the best option at second base, and at times, in one of the corner outfield spots. This year? He’s not.

  11. Jefferson Green

    That image made me chuckle. Here’s to more Cards fans muttering to themselves after tonight’s game! Thanks, Old School.

  12. Roger Garrett

    Bell was never going to remove Iggy from the closer role.Last year and this year his inconsistency has cost this team several games and it will cost them more.They tried to use him in other roles and he openly said he wasn’t being used properly.Bell and the Reds caved in and here we are today and we remain until he is no longer on the team.The Trevor Hoffman’s and Mariano Rivera’s don’t come along very often which is why you always trade closers.Reds missed their chance and will live and continue to pay with losses for that mistake.I realize closers have the reputation of being a rare breed and the last 3 outs are the toughest but how hard can it be to get them up by 2 or 3 runs facing the bottom of another team’s lineup.Last I looked it was way over 80% and probably up by 3 runs its in the 90% range.

  13. jim walker

    With 2 outs and nobody on Cardinals allow> error, walk, HBP, 2-0 count Grand Salami.

    Just like with the Reds meltdown Thursday, free passes and advances spelled the difference.

    Managers are going to manage but players lose (or win) games on the field more often than not.

    Recall Sparky Anderson’s axiom of the thirds> Every team is going to win a third of its games and lose another third of its games regardless of what the manager does (or does not) do. The manager’s job is to put the team in the best position to win as many of the remaining third as possible. Usually this means staying out of the way of the players and letting them decide things.

    • RojoBenjy

      I heard that was Tommy Lasorda’s saying?

      Maybe it was Albert Einstein

  14. Matt WI

    Eric, I had Bell harmless for a long time. But he constantly makes baffling decisions. Really hard to defend VanMeter as a designated hitter, what with him currently w/o a hit tool. If he couldn’t play infield, it should be just about anybody else’s roster spot. Reds have had pitchers with a greater likelihood of getting on than VanMeter.

  15. Eric

    As suspect as the bullpen has been so far, you guys do realize that the odds are still better that the Reds win that game if that exact move is made though, right? You can’t deny that. It’s a statistical advantage to put a defensive replacement in at that exact scenario, ESPECIALLY when you only have one hit from your starters.

    As for VanMeter, I’m equally disappointed in him this year, but there’s a reason we picked Davidson up off the scrap heap after a full year in AAA. He’s awful against RHP, awful in low-leverage situations (which is precisely why 4 ABs/game is a bad idea), and is taylor-made for situational pinch-hitting. He’s not the answer.

  16. Eric

    Oh, and Mudpuppie, what on earth gives you the confidence that Ervin is a better option at DH against a RHP than VanMeter? Total crapshoot, if you ask me.

  17. mudpuppie

    Eric….. I am not a Ervin fan…. But JVM has two hits all year and is striking out at a 45% rate. I bet Ervin with a wiffle ball bat could do as well. Personally I would DH Casali, but alas that would be against the the “law of Bell” as he too hits right handed….

  18. Eric

    I’d be more apt to call it law of reason…

    I’ll pass on Ervin’s ONE hit and 46% strikeout rate against RHP, and Casali being a DH from the right side when we have other right handed position players like…well…anyone.

    You guys are grasping as straws and placing the blame on the wrong people. Collectively, this team has the historical data to be better than they are. We are talking about Bell (among others, btw) making sound statistical decisions based on far more data through which anyone on this website has looked.