Final R H E
Milwaukee Brewers (27-27)
3 5 2
Cincinnati Reds (28-28)
2 4 0
W: Anderson (4-3) L: Antone (0-3) SV: Hader (11)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

Cincinnati’s 3-2 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers tonight sets up what can only be described using the inimitable words of Marty Brennaman as a “titanic struggle” Wednesday night.

The Reds and Brew Crew are back to being virtually tied with .500 records. The finale of the three-game series and of the home schedule for Cincinnati will pit right-hander Trevor Bauer pitching on only three days rest against Brewers righty Adrian Houser. Whichever team wins Wednesday’s game takes one big step toward a playoff berth, while delivering a swift kick to the other team’s hopes.

With the teams virtually tied after tonight’s result, Cincinnati still holds a lead over Milwaukee in the tiebreaker, which is the record in NL Central division play. After tonight’s result, the Reds’ division record is 20-19, and Milwaukee’s is 17-17. A win over the Brewers Wednesday would put the Reds’ intra-divisional record at 21-19, and that’s where it would stay since the last three games are against American League foe Minnesota. A Wednesday loss would drop Milwaukee to 17-18 in the division, meaning they would need to sweep five games from St. Louis this weekend to overtake Cincinnati in the tiebreaker.

And, a win Wednesday would put the Reds one game ahead of Milwaukee in the overall standings, but in essence, two games ahead because of the tiebreaker going an additional game in their favor. However, if Milwaukee wins Wednesday, the unfortunate truth is that the Reds will be fighting for their lives and no longer in control of their own destiny.

There are many more permutations to what can happen, but let’s just make it easy. If the Reds win out, they are all but in with 32 wins. If they don’t … hold your breath.

The Offense

It didn’t take the Reds long to get on the scoreboard tonight. Aristides Aquino led off by reaching on an error, and Nick Castellanos followed with this:

But unfortunately, that was all she wrote for scoring on this night for the home team. Mike Moustakas smoked two pitches for doubles, but that was really all the Cincinnati bats produced after the first two batters.

The Pitching

Sonny Gray pitched about as well as could be expected in his first start back after spending time on the injured list. He went five innings, allowed only two hits, including a solo Tyrone Taylor home run. Tejay Antone had an off-night in two innings, allowing three hits and two go-ahead seventh-inning runs to the Brewers in taking the loss. Amir Garrett pitched a scoreless eighth, and Anthony DeSclafani, in his first relief appearance since 2014, pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.

Notes Worth Noting

In winning eight of their last 10 games, the Reds have scored 49 runs, with 31 coming on home runs, or 63.2 percent — the continuation of a season-long trend of home-run or no-run. Prior to the winning streak, there were many complaints about the lack of putting hits together for runs and “small ball.” When you’re winning, everything looks better.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Milwaukee Brewers vs Cincinnati Reds

Wednesday, September 23, 6:40 pm ET

Adrian Houser (5.33 ERA, 1-5) vs Trevor Bauer (1.80 ERA, 4-4)

43 Responses

  1. VaRedsFan

    I think the biggest mistake tonight was not bringing in AG to face the lefty Sogard, who eventually knocked in the go ahead run.
    Garrett pitched the next inning. If you are going to use him, why not in the biggest spot of the night, with the score tied and a man on 3rd?

    • Gene Kehoe

      Agreed. Really, 7-8-9 should have been Garrett, Bradley, Iglesias. By the way, Tom: “lefthander Trevor Bauer pitching on only four days rest”. Uh, I think that requires some editing!!

      • Tom Mitsoff

        Correction made. Thanks for the heads-up, Gene.

      • Davect

        Plus one. Why let TJ struggle? Go to the big guns. Go big or don’t go do not go at all.

      • Davect

        Plus one. Why let TJ struggle? Go to the big guns. Go big or don’t go do not go at all.

    • Hotto4Votto

      I agree, I was surprised Antone came out for a second inning, more so that he wasn’t lifted sooner after getting hit hard.

  2. jim walker

    Reds had several opportunities and did not capitalize. That was the game more than trying to nurse their way home through 24 outs with a 2 run lead.

    Otherwise, my opinion is that Bell could have played the bottom of the 7th better. I agree that with Hader looming they needed to make a maximum effort to (at least) tie the game right there. I just feel Bell didn’t make best use of his resources in doing so.

    Was Akiyama not available tonight? If he was; lead off with him and play the inning from there versus burning the best longball threat off the bench (Winker) then having him out of the game for a pinch runner (a move which I do think was necessary once Winker reached as lead off in the inning).

    Could there have been a weaker choice to bat than Barnhart with Lorenzen at 1B and no outs? Again why not Akiyama or even Goodwin in that spot? Put a play on with the runner moving.

    Maybe Bell just got out maneuvered? Perhaps he was sending all the LH hitters up as bait to get Hader into the game early and get a shot at someone else later or at least burn Hader from appearing tomorrow? If that failed miserably as they didn’t even need Hader till the 9th.

    • jim walker

      My last sentence was meant to be If so, that failed miserably as they didn’t even need Hader till the 9th.

    • Gene Kehoe

      Indeed, why Barnhart? With Shogo’s ability to put the bat on the ball and go to all field he would be ideal for a hit and run with Lorenzen on. But Bell rarely takes any risks with baserunners, probably because the Reds have so few of them he feels better just waiting for the home run.

      • jim walker

        Just let Lorenzen just stand there while we all hold our breaths and hope Barnhart doesn’t roll one over for an easy GIDP. Probably did the Reds a favor by K in that situation, at least the catcher missed it and ML got to 2B on the play.

      • Still a Red

        Lorenzen was probably put in to steal…he did eventually on the strike out in the dirt, but the pressure would have been different if he was there with no outs. Agree that Shogo would have been the better PH. Also missed a chance earlier (in 4th) with Moose on third with 1 out. Senzel struck out…needed contact there…SF or make them make a play.
        14 strike outs, 1 walk (winker’s). Bats have to do better tonite.

    • Paul B

      Why was Shogo not even in there to begin with? Is he not one of our better hitters right now. We need all the offense we can get. Five games left – put your best lineup in there. I don’t want to hear how everyone needs to contribute. If Shogo was not hurt, it is criminal that he put in Aquino instead to start the game.

      • Jimbo44 CN

        Come on. He has been getting on base more lately but has shown he has problems with left handers. Aquino scored one of the only two runs and let’s face it, when the Reds dont hit, they all dont hit.

      • Ronald Drennan

        Can’t the Red’s ever bunt. Dusty Baker would call for suicide bunts. Joey Votto should bunt when the left side of the infield is open.

    • KDJ

      Counsell impresses me as an in-game manager. Bell . . . ?

  3. Indy Red Man

    I’m proud of our pitchers. Luis has really shined and Bauer/Gray get everything they have out of their ability. Lorenzen has really rebounded and Antone is promising.

    This hitting though? I probably sound like negative Nancy, but they’re most likely getting rolled 2-0 and 3-2 if they get in. I saw a spray chart during the game a few weeks back on Joey’s hits. A grand total of 2 to left and we were like 40 games in. TWO? What in the world? A gapper to left-center for a double or gabp hr was his bread-n-butter for 10+ years. What happened? Anderson threw a change-up down and away to Senzel with men on…..rolled over for a weak grounder to short. If he always hit like that then he wouldn’t have hit .350 at Tennessee. SEC has some pitchers. Those are my fav 2 whipping boys but they have PLENTY of partners in crime. Suarez is going to golf the ball out of the park with his big looping swing or die trying. It doesn’t matter what the pitchers intentions are. Where is their baseball IQ? Manny Ramirez probably couldn’t spell his name, but the guy instinctively knew how to hit. Jose Abreau is another one. Joey used to be one. Aquino rolled over on a couple tonite too.

    I watch SD, White Sox, or Atlanta and they shoot the ball the other way religiously. The Reds are lucky if they get 5 oppo hits a week? Something has gotta change for next year?

    Ball is still in their court for tomorrow though. Get the W and move along. We beat Woodruff and thats the hard part.

    • Indy Red Man

      EuROBio DEERez is at .199 now. Love the hrs, but cmon man? You’re better then that

    • Gene Kehoe

      If you try to pull everything at this level you’re going to hit .210. And guess what–the Reds have a whole TEAM of .210 hitters (some a little worse, some a little better, but .210 hitters is what they are!). I see Suarez and Senzel have both now dropped below .200! Wow, that does NOT look good on the back of your baseball card!

      • jim walker

        I’m OK with cutting Senzel a fair amount of personal slack because of the illness situation he has been through. I’m much less inclined to cut much slack to the org which is sending him out there in the midst of a playoff chase when he appears so far off his game. Seems they should have a better RH hitting option.

    • VaRedsFan

      You nailed it Indy. I watch a ton of other games too, and you see other teams driving the ball the other way against he shift.
      The Reds hitting philosophy is so maddening.
      Moose, Castellanos, and Galvis at least attempt it on occasion.
      Votto’s oppo approach is usually a pop out to left….rather than hitting ground balls the other way.

  4. Davect

    In its own, very strange way, leaving ty steve, nick n jose in to face hader is empowering, as in younger stronger faster better

    • jim walker

      Well yeah, but there was nobody left by then anyway. I am really interested to hear why Akiyama did not appear. By my count, he and Galvis were the only 2 not used.

  5. jim walker

    So did the Reds not have intelligence that Brewers righthander Devin Williams was throwing a backup changeup which looks a lot like Castillo’s? He surely cut a swath through the Reds LH hitting batters with it.

    Bobby Nightengale, @nightengalejr, of the Enquirer Tweeted this about Willaims’ success:

    “Devin Williams threw 15 changeups vs. #Reds tonight, 9 for strikes. Four called strikes, 5 swings and misses, 0 fouls or balls in play”.

  6. Aaron B.

    We are close enough to the finish line now where I think we can safely crunch some data plus observation and draw some conclusions to where this is all headed. Bell is going to be stubborn about platoon switches and subs throughout the game. Personally I can’t stand it … Shogo lost tons of at bats due to platoon differentials… they sent Ervin away and imported a guy no better than Ervin… meanwhile Shogo gets hot as a firecracker and they still platoon him. But Votto is not platooned, mind you. LOL, this is insanity. Bell is like a bad program sent but the Cardinals that infected our database. Good luck!

  7. GreatRedLegsFan

    Gray did enough to win last night’s game. With such a weak offense there’s no room for delaying bullpen decisions, immediately after Vogelbach’s single to open the 7th and the score 2-1, it was time for another call. Going 1-8 w/RISP didn’t help the cause either. Must win tonite behind Bauer and against Houser.

  8. Keith

    Offense clearly shut it down after the 1st. Pretty sad effort tonight – the Goodwin at bat was a fine summation of the evening. The last two pitches couldn’t have been closer to the heart of the plate. With a man on second and one out, he just stood there waiting for something to happen. Reds have been determined all year to waste this great pitching and they’re on the cusp of achieving that. If this is what watching this team will be line in the years to come, I’ll resort to checking box scores.

    • Jimbo44 CN

      That’s what I saw too. Just standing there watching.

  9. Hal

    Haven’t looked much but imo the key to the game was the badly missed called 3rd strike on Vogelbach. Antone through a perfect 1-2 pitch that was a strike, period. He sorta flinched in frustration and Vogelbach ends up slapping a nice 97 mph fastball away to left field. If he is rung up I am not sure the Brewers score. Reds O stunk but man that was a very bad call at a very big moment.

    • docproc

      Couldn’t agree more. I screamed at the screen on that missed call. Terrible and game-changing.

  10. Indy Red Man

    Well this is it! Loser is probably on the outside looking in

    Bauer on short rest vs Houser. That setup man from Milw went 2 so he’s pretty limited. Houser has a 7.13 era over 4 starts in September. I’m sure they’ll pull him pretty quickly if we get a few runs. Bauer probably won’t have much velocity, but he knows his stuff! Offensively Hauser has been walking people so be patient! Get some guys on so our HRs aren’t all solo shots. Thats it. No time to change now….just swing for the downs and see what happens! Biggest game of the year!

  11. Don

    Perfect Headline

    Cards won, Marlins lost, Phillies lost 2, Giants won

    current standings for #5 to #8
    #5 Cards 27-25
    #6 Marlins 28-27
    #7 Reds 28-28
    #8 Brewers 27-27
    #9 Giants 27-27
    #10 Phillies 27-29

    Division records for WC tiebreakers & Div games left
    Marlins (20-18) 2 Braves
    Phillies (20-19) 1 Nats
    Reds (20-19) 1 Brewers
    Giants (16-18) 2 Rockies, 4 Padres
    Brewers (17-17) 1 Reds, 5 Cards

    Last 20 intradivsion games of season (2nd tiebreaker) record
    Marlins (11-7) 2 vs Braves
    Phillies (7-12) 1 vs Nats play
    Reds (11-8) 1vs Brewers
    Giants (7-7) 2 Rockies, 4 Padres

    The Phillies losing two was huge for the Reds.
    Cards winning actually make the odds of Reds getting to #2 so long (Reds win every game and Cards lose every game) that it is really not a reasonable expectation anymore (3 losses back plus losing the tiebreaker)

    Reds win tonight vs Brewers and they have head to head tie breaker over Brewers and the tie breaker over the Phillies no matter what the Philles do.

    Reds win tonight and they control their own destiny (mostly, Giants could win out an take it from them) to the #7, WC #1 position.

    It seems that this Reds team as soon as it has things going well and possible can put things in their own control they falter.
    We are watching a team trying to figure out how to win right before our eyes.

    The Reds are still in very good position to make the playoffs.

    Very exciting and as a fan hoping/cheering for them to succeed.

    • jim walker

      Yes, unless the Phillies or the Giants turn things around, the Cards, Reds, and Brewers could all end up squeezing in. Or at least I think so. Those 5 head up games between the Cards and Brewers might mess with the math of that. NL Central fans got to hope the Rays (vs Phillies) and Padres (vs Giants) play it straight this weekend.

  12. Steven Ross

    Goodwin is a strikeout machine lately so maybe just drop down a bunt to change up the routine. Try something, anything differently. No way I PH Tucker. Come on. You don’t have a better option? As in Shogo! However, won’t criticize Bell too much because he’s been pushing the right buttons lately but he stayed with Antone too long. From this point on in the 7th: Sims, Garrett, Bradley and Rasil.

    • Rob

      The plan was for 2 innings from Antone. It didn’t work out. No guarantee other possibilities would have worked out. The two primary problems here were the lack of clutch hitting earlier in the game, and having to face the Brewers relief core. Boy, did they look unprepared and unprofessional here. Same possible situation tonite. You better be ahead by several going into the late innings. It is coming down to If they don’t hit, they ain’t going to make it! We all know this. The odds are in our favor but they can skip away.

  13. Mark Moore

    Who would have thought just a week ago that the NL Central has at least a possibility of sending FOUR teams into the post season. And good for the WLB’s if they get to go visit Slam Diego and get their feathered tails kicked back home for the off season.

  14. TR

    And now that the Reds have Bradley, use Iglesias only when he’s in line to get a save. A late inning bullpen core that has the makings of a repeat of the Nasty Boys.

  15. PhoenixPhil

    1. Why did DeSclafani pitch the 9th inning? Is he out of the starting role?
    2. How likely is it that 4 teams from the NL Central make it to the playoffs?
    3. TOS.

    • Gene Kehoe

      Disco is done as a starting pitcher with the Reds. Just out of the bullpen now for the rest of his time here, which is short. Mahle and Lorenzen both ahead of him. It is possible for 4 teams from the Central to go! And stop and think how amazing it is that the Reds, who might end up with the worst team batting average in the HISTORY of baseball, could make it into the playoffs! What a crazy year!

  16. Rob

    I am not totally onboard with this decision to use Bauer tonite. No question, tonite is by far the most important game of the next 4. But don’t you weaken yourself for the final 3 by using Bauer tonite instead of Friday? I like the idea of Bauer Castillo and Gray pitching the final 3. Instead it looks like it will be Mahle, Castillo, and
    Gray/Bauer with Lorenzen available early. If this 3 day rest stuff doesn’t work out tonite, we are not going to be real enthused about using it again on Sunday. Tonight’s game is extremely important but we are definitely not finished with a loss. We still need to win 2-3 of the last 4. Just kinda putting a lot of eggs in one basket. We could very well have a 7-5 game tonight.

  17. Jack

    The formula for the Reds team is set in stone by this time. Get a great start, hope you run into a couple walks and homeruns. Its a 50-50 crap shoot which is right where this team is. I hope they make the playoffs but they won’t go far.

  18. Roger Garrett

    The Reds are just who they are in their approach to hitting and have been for a long time.This is an organizational flaw because if it were taught to hit it where’s its pitched or cut down on the swing with two strikes we would see it and we don’t.We wasted great pitching last year and again this year because we aren’t willing to or able to change.Two teams who do it well are the Cards and Braves and neither have the starting pitching the Reds do but they are much better teams.Its just a shame to lose games when hitting a ground ball or a fly ball scores a run and we just swing for the fence.It wouldn’t change if we play 60 games or 162 or 250.Tom has brought up several times about this team learning how to win and until the players are willing to give them self up at the plate in order to move a runner or hit behind the runner or lord help me bunt when the left side is wide open they will never win.

    • jim walker

      In the 4th inning with Moose on 3B and 1out, I thought Senzel was trying to just put the ball in play through most of the AB but then at 3-2 he took a big swing at the worst pitch of the AB and K’ed.

      Senzel is not the first or last guy who will do something like this. I’ve been trying to figure out for years how so many guys who are decent even very good hitters sell themselves short and basically give away an out at 3-2 when they’ve taken better pitches to get the count full, often even with 2 strikes already against them.

    • TR

      Vogelbach (I’m not sure about the spelling of a German name) did his team a big favor yesterday by tapping the ball to the opposite field for a base hit.