It started out so well. The Reds jumped out to a 3-0 lead. Meanwhile, the Marlins were down 6-3 in the 8th inning. Those two scores hold, the Reds are somehow, someway back within 1.5 games of playoff spot.

But it’s 2020.

The Marlins rallied to win 7-6. Sonny Gray cruised through the first three innings, but then the rain fell and it fell hard in the 4th inning. Gray walked two batters as it appeared he could not get a good grip on the baseball. The Cubs ended up scoring 5 runs in the 4th inning with a grand total of one ball leaving the infield.

It got worse. Mike Moustakas and Tyler Thornburg both got hurt. Thornburg got hurt after Brian Goodwin dropped what would have been the third out of the inning to add insult to injury.

Oh and you know baby the Reds had some epic xBA/BABIP luck.

The Reds have not won a series since August 7-9. Tonight’s loss ended at 1:38 AM EST.

Final R H E
Chicago Cubs (26-19) 8 13 2
Cincinnati Reds (19-25) 5 8 0
W: Ryan (1-0) L: Gray (5-3) S: Jeffress (7)
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 Nico Hoerner’s 2-RBI double off Sonny Gray in the 4th inning, cutting the Reds lead to 3-2. That play decreased the Reds probability of winning by 20.9% (from 66.4% to 45.5%).

Positives

First inning runs!

Shogo Akiyama had a really good series. He reached base 8 times in the series. He did make a really bad slide in the 8th inning after he drove in a run that might have cost the Reds a bigger rally, but that shouldn’t take away from a really good series.

Jose Garcia definitely looks like an MLB SS defensively. He made several nice plays in the field. He will surely still have some growing pains and throw away a ball occasionally, but he has all the tools to be very good in the field. Tyler Stephenson did throw out Billy Hamilton in his first career start behind the plate and later drove in a run.

Robert Stephenson retired 4 of the 5 batters he faced, striking out two after he was thrust into duty after the Thornburg injury.

Negatives

Sonny Gray and Michael Lorenzen couldn’t get it done tonight. The rain definitely had something to do with it, as it was raining very hard and neither pitcher usually has poor control.

The Reds went 7 straight games without allowing more than 4 runs. The Reds score 5 runs tonight. Reds pitching allows 7 runs. You just can’t make this stuff up anymore.

Jose Garcia definitely does not look like an MLB SS offensively yet.

Not so random thoughts……..

Here are the standings if you feel so inclined. Reds are 3.5 back from both of the final two NL wild card spots and 3.5 back of the Cardinals for the NL Central #2 spot.

Up Next:

Reds at Cardinals
Friday, 8:15 PM
TV: FOX Sports Ohio

24 Responses

  1. GreatRedLegsFan

    Again, another game where Bell played bullpen like in a normal season. After Grey walked Bote to load the bases with one out in the 4th, and the score still 3-0, he decided to let him continue in the game. End of the story.

    • jessecuster44

      David Bell doesnt get it. Every game is crucial now. Maddening.

    • Jrad4reds

      I agree, I was thinking at that time this is probably the most crucial part of the game no matter how early. A shut down relief arm should have been used. I was thinking Garrett since the top of the order was around the corner. Bell still uses his bullpen the traditional way “ I can’t use Garrett ever unless we have a lead after the seventh with lefties coming up……”

  2. RedNat

    Its 2020. Our weather technology can predict the minute it will start raining. There are no fans at games. Player safety is the priority of all priorities. If a player sneezes he must quarantine for 14 days. Why on earth was this game played in a monsoon? The game could have easily been played esrlier in the day. Way to dangerous for the players.

    • 2020ball

      It could have easily been played after they had just delayed the game in the 4th. I know we’re trying to fit games in right now, but if the radar showed any windows after that inning then it should be an easy decision to just roll the tarp out. It’s been the standard routine to do exactly that for years if the weather is unplayable.

  3. Don

    I was watching the Marlins/Phillies while the Reds game was delayed.

    The Marlins down 6-3 in the top of the 8th, overcame a leadoff double (Didi hit behind Realmuto to move him to 3rd for 1st out) on defense to prevent an add on run while on defense then proceeded to get a walk, 2 singles to load the bases with two out and then a 2 out double by Marte to tie the game in the bottom of the 8th. Not one Marlin player tied to swing extra hard in the bottom of the 9th, Marte’s double was an opposite field hit over Harper’s head in RF. Pure good team baseball.

    Reds offense when down 2 in the 5th after the lead off single, Fly out center, fly out left, walk, strike out

    Reds offense down 4 in the 6th, double, walk, 3 Ks in a row

    No attempts to hit behind runners, have productive outs, overall poor team baseball offense and just way below MLB average defense, only reason to not have some errors on the Reds is home field score keeping to pad the Cubs hitter stats.

    Anything but a 3 game sweep of the Cards in a desperate attempt to get to 2nd in the division puts out what little hope is left as there are just to many teams to pass for the wild card. Cards and Brewers still play each other 10 times so the Reds cannot make up games on both of them those 10 games.

    There is always hope but not much. Fangraphs has the Reds at under 7% for 2nd in the division and 11.9% for the 2nd wildcard which is 12th of 15 teams.

  4. JB

    This is a terrible team. Offense , defense , pitching and coaching. This team is so bad in all those facets of the game it would be hard for them to win 2 in a row and literally impossible to win 3 in a row.

  5. CFD3000

    Nick –
    It’s not clear to me what the various columns mean in the xBA / BABIP data you tweeted. Can you give me the primer on those numbers please?

    On a slightly related note, I know the Cubs played in the same weather as the Reds but it did not look like a baseball game should have been played in Chicago last night…

  6. AWA85

    This is really going to be a big stretch here. 3.5 back of getting into the mix for Kumar Rocker!?! Any chance we catch the Pirates, it really will start with this next series. Each game is big.

  7. NorMichRed

    Like the Tin Man, this Reds team has once again shown that, alas, it has no heart.

    • jim walker

      But as the old song lyric says “Oz never gave something to the Tin Man he didn’t already have”. The Reds just need to dig deeper.

  8. jim walker

    I’ve been thinking a lot about Bill Russell lately, not the former Dodger shortstop from the 1970s. No, the BIll Russell from a decade or so earlier who led the Boston Celtics to all those NBA titles first as their all star center and later as a playing coach.

    One of Bill Russell’s signature slogans was that he would rather be good than lucky because the good make their own luck. Notice, he didn’t say there was no such thing as luck; he said the good create their own. I think this is what we’ve been seeing on display when Reds play the Cubs.

    Another way of saying the same thing is that the Cubs time and again are more opportunist than the Reds who always seem on a razor’s edge between competing and being out of a game.

    That one ball out of the infield in the Cubs 5 run 4th inning didn’t beat the Reds nearly as much as the 3 walks and the wild pitch handed to the Cubs to set the table and push the 5th run around from first into position to score on a ground out.

    The Reds made their own luck of the bad kind.

    • Jack

      Yep. Don’t cry about your bad luck when a bloop hit drops in if you walked 3 guys, threw a wild pitch and committed and error before hand.

    • Bill J

      Jim, I read where the Cubs are saying they have been unlucky this season. If both teams are unlucky how have the Cubs got into 1st place?

      • jim walker

        I guess the Cubs are better to begin with, do you think? Or since a team can play poorly and simultaneously be unlucky at least they have played less poorly than anyone else in the division. 😉

      • Doug Gray

        I’d need to hear more about where they are claiming they have been unlucky at, but let’s address where the Reds have been unlucky versus the Cubs.

        When people say the Reds have been unlucky, they are citing the Reds historically all-time low team BABIP, which as of today sits at .240. The Cubs, who are 19th in the league in BABIP, are at .282.

        Some quick back of the napkin math says that if the Reds were simply as “unlucky” in the BABIP department as the Cubs were, they’d have an extra 40 hits this season. The difference is that one team has maybe been a little bit unlucky (the Cubs), while the other team has been so unlucky that it’s historically unlucky (they are far and away the lowest BABIP team of the last 31 seasons, dating back to 1990, by more than 25 points as a team). What is 40 hits worth? It’s impossible to put a real number on it because it does depend on exactly where and when those hits come. But we can estimate that based on the general value of what each kind of hit is worth over the course of baseball’s history. Given the historical value (of this era), those additional 40 hits would be worth an extra 20-ish runs for the Cincinnati Reds this season. Who knows where those runs go when distributed, of course, but that would certainly have led to a few more wins. Not enough to match the Cubs unless it was the perfect storm of run distribution – but probably does put them at the .500 mark.

      • jim walker

        I don’t pretend to know why it is; but, if there is a wrong time to walk a guy or throw a wild pitch or grove a pitch or have a defensive lapse or baserunning mistake, these Reds find it and do it. And they often do these in clusters. I’m not sure neutral or even positive BABIP luck would make that much difference in their bottom line W/L record.

  9. jim walker

    I was encouraged by what I saw of Tyler Stephenson last night. He very nearly ignited a Reds comeback starting with a big defensive play in the Cubs 7th when he threw Billy Hamilton out on an attempted steal of 2nd base and followed on with an 0-2 RBI single in the Reds 8th.

    • Jack

      I really like the way he looks at bat. He is balanced and under control when he swings. Not like so many Reds who are just flailing away so hard I wonder how they can even keep their eye on the ball.

      • jim walker

        Given how often they strike out, they probably aren’t keeping their eye on the ball as long as they should.

    • Charlie Waffles

      I was too. At 6’4″ and 225, he looks good behind the plate. As you also note, he looks good in the batters box. I think he has a Catcher’s spot locked up for next year. Garcia, maybe has not locked up that SS spot yet.
      As for any free agents this winter, JT Realmuto at C looks like a very, very long shot at best. SS may be a spot to shore up free agent-wise with Gregorius (age 31), Jose Iglesias (31), Andrelton Simmons (31), and Marcus Semien (30) all to be free agents. Maybe an OF if Castellanos bolts. Maybe someone like George Springer or Michael Brantley. LH bullpen arms are a must get this winter. But the free agent list is very thin right now on LH relievers. However, there will be dozens of non-tenders this offseason that will certainly enrich the free agent lists.
      The Reds could see some non-tenders this winter. Iglesias, Barnhart and Miley cannot be non-tendered with guaranteed contracts. Lorenzen could be if the Reds desired that as he will be in his last season of arbitration eligibility. Lorenzen will see his salary jump from $3.75MM to about $5MM to $5.5MM for 2021. Those with 2 seasons of arbitration left are Casali ($1.46MM in 2020), Bowman ($0.86MM), and Jankowski ($1.05MM). All 3 could be non-tendered.

      • jim walker

        The Reds need to go on and bite the bullet by playing Stephenson like they are playing Garcia. Every team they play from here on except the Pirates figures to be in a playoff race right up to the end making it a good chance to see how the young guy adapts and plays under pressure. So, playing Stephenson sets them up to make the best informed decision at C over the winter.

        They can probably keep Casali through 2022 (arb controlled) for the same cost as 1 year of Barnhart plus his buyout ($500K) for 2022 when his salary would jump to $7.5M.

        At any rate, unless Barnhart is their lead catcher for 2021, this is the off season to move him because the combination of 2021 salary and 2022 buyout is $4.25M. That’s too much for a backup catcher who doesn’t hit or offer utility at any other spot. If not Casali, there will be other cheaper backups available.

  10. Mark Moore

    Got home from dinner with friends just in time to check the score and watch the first two AB innings for our Reds. Went to “live” just in time to watch it all melt away, Cleted, and headed to bed with a faint glimmer of a whisper of a shadow of a hope that the outcome would be better than I knew it would be.

    Baseball is done except for watching a few youngsters (we can hope) do their things. I don’t watch the NFL anymore, so I really don’t care that they started or will likely crash into a wall in a couple weeks. Never been an NHL or NBA fan. My new #embracetheweird will be some college football for however long that lasts.

    I say let Trevor pitch every 4 days if he wants to. We’re not keeping him next year and any strain on his arm is all on him if it happens.

  11. Charlie Waffles

    Reds free agents to be this winter and their 2020 salary before being pro-rated.
    RHP Trevor Bauer ($17.5MM)
    RHP Anthony DeSclafani ($5.975MM)
    RHP Nate Jones ($1.5MM)
    INF Freddy Galvis ($5.5MM)
    And if he chooses to opt out OF Nick Castellanos ($16MM).
    Already gone from 2020 are
    Pedro Strop ($1.825MM)
    Matt Davidson ($1.0MM)
    Brooks Raley ($1.0MM)
    Christian Colon ($1.0MM)
    Phil Ervin ($0.6MM)
    Cody Reed ($0.6MM)
    Josh Vanmeter (0.6MM)

    There is money coming off the books for after 2020 for the 2021 season. It just depends on how the Reds re-invest that money. Hopefully a good portion will go to re-sign Trevor Bauer and get some top flight LH bullpen arms.