If you are left asking “what if” right now after the Cincinnati Reds 1-0 loss in 13 innings to the Atlanta Braves, take comfort in knowing you are only one of every Reds fan alive with that going on in their head right now.

What if with runners on 1st and 3rd with no outs in the 1st inning the Reds could have found a way to get that run in? They put three straight balls in play, but none of them got the job done.

What if Joey Votto didn’t strike out with Nick Senzel on second base to end the third inning and instead had come through with a hit?

What if Adam Duvall didn’t make a perfect throw in the 6th inning and get Nick Castellanos at third base? That play didn’t end the inning, but it erased a runner at third with what would have been one out instead of a situation with two outs and a runner at first.

What if the double steal, or whatever you want to call it, situation in the top of the 7th inning didn’t happen and have the inning end with Aristides Aquino being tagged out near home plate in a run down? That play would go on to waste Matt Davidson, who was pinch hitting for Curt Casali, and never even got a chance to swing the bat.

What if the Reds came through with the bases loaded in the 11th inning?

What if the Reds came through in the 12th inning after having the first two batters reach, including getting Aristides Aquino to third base? Pinch runner Travis Jankowski would steal second base later to put two runners in scoring position in the inning.

What if in the top of the 13th inning when Joey Votto was on second base he didn’t hold up and ran from the point of contact on a single by Eugenio Suárez and instead of not scoring on the play, he rounded third and went to the plate? Instead he held up to make sure the ball wasn’t caught on a dive at third and have himself get doubled up.

What if following that the Reds came through with a hit with the bases loaded and one out instead of striking out and grounding out to end the inning and strand the bases loaded?

What if the Reds chose to load the bases by intentionally walking Freddie Freeman and put Marcell Ozuna at the plate? The option could have been to keep Archie Bradley in to face Ozuna in a righty-righty match up, setting up a potential force out at home – but also leaving you open to a walk or hit batter to end the game, while also facing arguably the best hitter in the league. Instead the Reds opted to bring in Amir Garrett to set up a lefty-lefty match up against Freddie Freeman – also arguably the best hitter in the league. We’ll never know how the alternate situation would have played out, but neither option was a good one given who you had to face in both.

What if just one of those things happened? There’s a lot of scenarios today where “what if” changes the game for the Reds. Every last one of them, however, didn’t change the outcome. Cincinnati had more than enough opportunities to come through on the day. The pitching staff should be as unhappy as humanly possible with how the game played out. The hitting, the base running, THE HITTING – it all failed, and it failed miserably. In a short series, that one opportune play that works out is huge. Cincinnati had about 10 of those plays on Wednesday afternoon and not a single one of them worked out for them. Thursday could be the final game of the season if the Reds can’t pull out a win. If they want to do that, they better play a game that leaves a lot fewer “what ifs” than the one they played on Wednesday.

74 Responses

  1. Mark Moore

    The headline says it all. Frustrating loss to a “better team” that didn’t play all that well. Squandered a great Trevor Bauer start.

    Shake it off and take it to them tomorrow. We’re on a streak of winning series. No need to break that just yet.

    • That that had had

      Bell is in waaaaaaaaaaay over his head.

      What a disgrace

    • Tomn

      I don’t know that they are a better team.

      Bauer was excellent yesterday. I hope the Reds make every effort to resign him. He’s the best pitcher the Reds have had IMHO since Mario Soto.

  2. wkuchad

    There’s only 2 potential moves I blame on Bell:
    1) pitch running for Winker (he was not the winning run; that came back to bite us)
    2) that horrible “double steal” or whatever that was; but i need to know if that was a called play or horrible baserunning.

    This game was lost by the players, offensive players that is.

    • RedsMonk65

      And they were certainly offensive

    • 2020ball

      Bell admitted his mistake on the delayed steal. I’m left scratching my head on the call, you either use it to catch the defense off guard and move a runner you absolutely need into 2nd (Albies is standing right there due to the shift), or you draw the throw then send the runner from third. Aquino looks lost on the play, shouldn’t be a missed sign since House is standing right there. No idea still what happened there. Bell burns a PH and a catcher for no reason essentially.

      • RojoBenjy

        that was the worst thing of the game, too

      • AJP

        Not so sure it was a double steal. Think it was a given stolen base of 2nd gone totally wrong. Think Farmer either missed a sign, or feel asleep at first base. Would think if it was a double steal Aquino would be heading for home as soon as the catcher threw to 2nd base. It looked like he was going back and forth towards home plate 2 different times until he finally decided to go all out for home. Think Bell covered Farmer’s you know what, by saying it was Bell’s mistake for being to aggressive.

  3. Bob

    David Bell is the worst manager in baseball. He has NO intuition or “feel” whatsoever. We never should have lost this game.

  4. Jim

    Fire Bell now.
    Awful managing!!!!
    I did a better job in T Ball.
    Leave Lorezen in. Not even close to rocket science. 2 innings 4 ks….no lets get someone in who has been off.
    Starting Farmer???? .220 no homers or hope.
    Galvis is a vet. Clutch hits and some power.
    I looked at that lineup and saw the loss. I saw in to the future and Bauer leaving.
    Fire everyone but Pitching coach.
    Owner down to Manager.
    Im not upset at the loss. Upset little logic is used to fill out the lineup card.

    • Steven Ross

      Glavis looked at 3 strikes. Never took the bat off his shoulder. Heck, Garcia is a rookie and at least he swung and grounded out.

      • RojoBenjy

        Yes. Would have rather seen Garcia there. But who would have guessed that Galvis’ approach was to imitate a statue?

    • Dewey Roberts

      Bell was probably thinking that he might want to use Lorenzen again this series so he didn’t want to use him up. If so, he was overthinking. Win the game In hand and then worry about the future.

  5. vared

    “What if” the Reds missed out on the playoffs? Well, my heart wouldn’t have been ripped out today, I would have already moved on, and just maybe there would be a better manager for next year. Instead I’m ticked tonight and stuck with Bell.

  6. Ron

    4 hours and 39 minutes of total frustration. The only way the Reds were going to score today was if one of Atlanta’s pitchers threw a wild pitch with a runner on third base. This game will affect the Reds in one of two ways. It will fire them up and inspire them to win tomorrow OR they won’t be able to shake off such a frustrating loss and get swept. I hope they shake it off.

  7. coachgates

    Fire Manager Bell
    Fire Hitting Coach Zinter
    Do it now
    Don’t wait til Winter

    Hey I’m a gym teacher not a poet…

    • RedFuture

      I loved the hitting coach that was fired at the end of 2018.

  8. Scott C

    What if Freddie Galvis actually swung the bat at one of three strikes down the middle of the plate.

    • docproc

      That was the most frustrating AB of the day. Runners on second and third. Fat pitches. The bat never moved.

  9. Wayne Nabors

    Been a reds fan since 1970 but this is really testing my patience,this team invents ways to lose

  10. seadog

    Well said Doug,

    We saw the NL cy young winner and the NL MVP in one game. What an amazing game. They both did there job… 150 years of MLB and we saw records broke…. Just incredible to watch and be a part of.
    It still “HURTS” as a Red’s fan. Takes me back to the playoff/play in game against the Mets. One and done. I think it was Leiter at that time. Fried today. All of the sybermetrics out the window. This team is not/nor will it in current status win against “lefties”, just not built to win that way.
    On a GOOD note. This team seems to like to come back from the grave. They can do it.
    We are watching “MLB history” develop before our eyes. Be proud to be a part of it, Bad or Good. 2020-history/first Reds pitcher to win Cy/BABIP for this team/K’s in a playoff game.

    • RojoBenjy

      “ We saw the NL cy young winner and the NL MVP in one game.”

      And in THAT matchup, at least, the Cy Young pitcher dominated.

    • 2020ball

      That was a crazy game, I’ll never forget it.

    • jazzmanbbfan

      Good post Seadog. The negativity has been overwhelming. Fans are frustrated. Much as I wanted the Reds to win yesterday, it didn’t happen but I STILL got to see them play a game that a month ago we never would have dreamed they would be in. I’ll take it for what it is, great pitching holding down one of the best offenses in the league for 12 innings, Bauer showing why he should be (is) the Cy Young Award winner, the bullpen being lights out. Great game and I’m not going to waste my time whining and complaining about it. Move on to today and see what happens.

      • Tomn

        Thank you. My feelings exactly. Because of the start time, I was unable to watch any of it until about the 9th inning. I thought it was excellent baseball with two very good teams. Yes, we didn’t score but Atlanta’s pitching had a lot to do with it, just as they were unable to do anything with Bauer, Iglesias and Lorenzen.

        Would have liked to have seen Lorenzen stay in the game longer. That was BS, taking him out.

        I like Bell, but we need a different manager. Where is Sparky when you need him. Or Pinella. Or Davey Johnson…

  11. Rut

    Utter lack of situational hitting… almost validates the season long team batting avg and makes babip irrelevant.

    This is not a blip, but continuation of the norm

  12. Charlie Waffles

    Fans are going to be let in for the NLCS and World Series in Arlinton, TX. About 11,500 fans will be allowed in.
    What if the Reds could have been there?
    What if the Reds lose tomorrow and get eliminated 2 games to none, how angry will the fan base be?
    Rushing to the forefront of many fans minds are the 2010 playoffs to the Phillies, getting no-hit and getting bounced 3-0. The 2012 playoffs of going up 2-0 and then losing 3 straight at home to SF. And then the 1 game wild card humiliating loss to Pittsburgh. And then today.
    The Reds playoff history under the Castellini ownership is super humiliating. It not just the 2-8 record that is humiliating. Castellini has to sit down and do a lot of introspection and some soul searching. He cannot let this David Bell experiment go on any further.
    I wish someone could dig up that photo of Castellini after the loss to Pittsburgh in 2013. It was a classic.

  13. RedNat

    This is a sad day for the reds but a happy day for baseball. I just read where fans will be permitted to watch the world series and national league championship in person. Yes fans will be back in the stands!! Albeit in a limited capacity. But I think this is a HUGE step in ” getting back to normal” for our American society.

    Also I love Joey Votto as a person but he is such a terrible baserunner which is amplified because he is so slow. I wonder if his baserunning will be the kryptonite to his resume for making the hall of fame. I just think it has to at least be a factor.

    • RojoBenjy

      Has baserunning ever been considered for HOF?

      Not mocking you, i just think it’s an interesting question.

      • RedNat

        For babe ruth baserunning doesn’t matter. But for Joey Votto, whose super power is ” getting on base” I would think poor baserunning has to at least be a factor. Just curious to see what the younger sports writers.,who will be looking at advanced metrics to make their voting decision , will say about it

      • 2020ball

        Good baserunning yes of course, but more for things like SB totals. Bad baserunning probably not much.

  14. Steven Ross

    If they win tomorrow and then the take the series, all is forgiven but to squander so many golden opportunities today leaves a sinking feeling.

    • Indy Red Man

      How often do small market teams blow games and then recover? My Pacers never do. Paul George was killing Toronto up there in Game 5 and we were +15 in the 4Q. Vogel takes PG out and they got on a roll and came back. It got Vogel fired so now he gets a cheap LeBron ring. Little guys & underdogs don’t get 2nd/3rd chances…..or 11th chance in the Reds case. Castillo was bad last start. They saw all our pen today. I’ll be shocked if we win. The Anderson kid is pretty good for them.

      Hope I’m wrong

      • Da bear

        Castillo wasn’t bad. Twins hit well, couple tough at bats and hitting pitches in the corner of the zone

    • RojoBenjy

      Agreed, Steven, only if they win this series will a lot of us be able to forgive this loss.

  15. RedsMonk65

    “If ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ were candy and nuts, wouldn’t it be a Merry Christmas?”

  16. seadog

    This team has “established” an MO—They can’t beat a lefty. They come out of the dirt at the last minute. All of that is now out of the way for this series…
    They will beat Atlanta next two games. Mark my words….

    • CFD3000

      That’s certainly possible Seadog. The pitching matchups favor the Reds, and you know they’re going to be fired up. I think it all comes down to which Castillo shows up. But if he pitches as well as he has recently (save his very last start) it’s all even and I like the Reds chances with Sonny Gray.

      Now about that whole scoring a runner from third with less than two outs thing… Go Reds!

    • Your Cousin From Boston

      What choo talking about Willis?

  17. Steve K

    This game wasn’t lost today, it was lost when Bell was hired. You can’t tell players to concentrate on launch angle and exit velocity all season and then expect situational hitting when it really matters, and you can’t expect most players to excel when they have no defined roles and are constantly moved around in and out of the lineup, up and down the lineup and all over the field. In today’s game would George Foster or Griffey or Davey Concepcion ever had a chance to develop into what they became?? No chance. It’s hard to watch.

    • Slicc50

      I remember a time when I thought to myself, ” I wish the Reds organization would go for a more analytical approach when hiring a manager and building a team.” If this is what that is…….I don’t want it anymore!

      • RojoBenjy

        Someone else posted a relevant comment on this idea, to the effect of, “analytics are meant to be a tool, not an absolute decision-maker.”

        So–you have to have baseball savvy and know how to use the information in front of you in conjunction with what is unfolding in real time on the diamond. That is where I believe the Reds’ current manager will never excel.

      • doofus

        Exactly. I agree with you Steve McQueen.

    • ClevelandRedsFan

      Actually, all Reds needed to win was launch angle.

      Two opportunities in the first to lift a lazy fly ball, and Reds win.

  18. Slicc50

    WOW…….if someone had told you before the game that Reds batter #’s 1-4 would have a combined 8 hits in this ballgame with 0 runs scored, would you have believed them? That seems impossible, but not for THIS team!

    How about Reds pitching would walk only 2 batters and strike out 21? Sounds like a recipe for a win right?????? Again, not for THIS team! As if the losses weren’t bad enough? They always find a way to do it in humiliating fashion. Depressing……

    • RojoBenjy

      It’s the humiliation that Cincinnati sports fans have endured for decades that makes me angry. Cincinnati folks have pride, why don’t our sports teams? They just roll over

  19. GreatRedLegsFan

    Game was overmanaged by Bell and no corrective actions were made to the line-up other than Senzel leading-off. Cannot win a game with just good pitching, 0-12 w/RISP and 13 LOB is not acceptable.

  20. Johnnie Sparks

    There definitely who we thought they were. I made a post couple weeks ago. You can have all the pitching you still have to score a run to win. Bell wasn’t up there choking every time ppl were on base. Offence cost em like alot of ppl thought and knew they would.

  21. TR

    Great pitching from Bauer and 13 innings without a run. Too many runners die on third base and too many third strikes taken. if you’re going to attempt to bunt the runner in from third base, then do it and make some action at home plate that might score a run. Keep Akiyama in the leadoff position and Senzel lower in the batting order. What’s with this constant righty/lefty hitting change? This is a talented team that in big games often plays dull baseball.

  22. Jim Berry

    Keep Akiyama iand Winker in the lineup vs lefties also. You gain absolutely nothingwith the righty/ lefty switches other than the platoon with Casali/ Barnhart. Also why pinch hitting Davidson for Casali- both right handed hitters and Casali’s average and OBP highly than Davidson. Yeas they lacked the clutch hit but with a lefty on the mound Bell has no clue on the timing of changes and looking ahead in the game. Hopefully the fact that the Reds slide into the playoffs as a third place team in a 5 team division does not safe Bell’s job

  23. Don

    I saw in the comments that the Reds cannot beat lefties.

    The 2020 stats do not bear out the statement that this team cannot beat lefties starters.

    vs LH Starter
    AVG = .223, OBP = .328, OPS = .709, BABIP = .266
    vs RH Starter
    AVG = .208, OBP = .307, OPS = .717, BABIP = .238

    The team actually hits better LH starters better than RH starters expect for slugging %.

    Overall
    RHB vs RHP
    AVG = .199, OBP = .295, OPS = .687, BABIP = .249
    LHB vs LHP
    AVG = .167, OBP = .289, OPS = .578, BABIP = .217
    LHB vs RHP
    AVG = .229, OBP = .338, OPS = .766, BABIP = .255
    RHB vs LHP
    AVG = .211, OBP = .281, OPS = .691, BABIP = .223

    These numbers show the Reds are the worst in same sided ABs.

    To me the issue is Bell’s early usage of “platoon” players which force left vs left or right vs right situations in the “clutch” inning 8 and 9 at the end of the game where the Reds perform the worst.

    Clutch stats from Baseball Reference
    Late and Close
    AVG = .148, OBP = .277, OPS = .512, BABIP = .221

    My evaluation for judging leadership of an organization:
    Are the leaders (Manager in this case) putting the employees (players) in the best position to succeed.

    For this fan the answer so far in two seasons of watching Bell manager this team is a resounding NO.

    Do the players need to be better in “clutch”? Yes. It is the managers responsibility to know and understand the players capabilities and assign them tasks that their skills will allow for the highest probability of success.

    • Jim t

      They were 1-12 with runners in scoring position. His management of the game put his players in many situations to win that game. This loss falls on poor execution by players. When much of your roster is not hitting their weight it is easy to blame the manager. Many of those opportunities didn’t require a hit but just a fly ball. Players lost this game.

      • RojoBenjy

        The point Don makes is that Bell didn’t put the right players in the situations suited for their success over the whole of the season. The other thing Bell does is take out his better hitters and rob them of a chance at success in later at-bats.

        As to your point, yes, yesterday it was “my kingdom for a sac fly!!!!”

      • doofus

        So true!

        “The other thing Bell does is take out his better hitters and rob them of a chance at success in later at-bats.”

  24. Westfester

    Having Davidson back on this roster instead of T. Stephenson is a fireable offense. Listening to the broadcast, it sounds like the Reds should talk to A-Roid about a future management opportunity. He was certainly salty watching both teams fail miserably at basic baseball strategy.

    • RojoBenjy

      ARoid also called it that the Reds would be sorry they wasted the first inning opportunity.

      Why Votto, with supposedly elite bat control, couldn’t wait to lift a fly ball to score Senzel, is a really sore spot for me.

  25. SultanofSwaff

    So much to unpack from that game, but man, for someone who has been rather forceful in his talk about what a good team the Reds are and how he lives for playoff baseball, Joey Votto had an awful awful game. If it were nerves or a physical error, I’d be the first to forgive because we’ve all been there. However…..

    –not making a productive out in the first.
    –deliberately positioning himself to the side of the ground ball to one hand it.
    –not freezing on the line drive in extras.

    What’s most troubling is that his mistakes are mental and utterly little league in nature. He gets so much positive press for his dedication to his craft, but if that were true these things simply don’t happen.

    At this stage of his career he cannot be trusted to field or run the bases competently. Bowing to veteran privilege had real and damaging consequences yesterday.

    • RojoBenjy

      It was Joey’s time to shine–the only remaining player from the last Reds playoff team.

      And he soiled himself on national TV. That’s all there is to it.

    • That that had had

      “ SultanofSwaff 10/01/2020
      So much to unpack from that game, but man, for someone who has been rather forceful in his talk about what a good team the Reds are and how he lives for playoff baseball, Joey Votto had an awful awful game. If it were nerves or a physical error, I’d be the first to forgive because we’ve all been there. However…..

      –not making a productive out in the first.
      –deliberately positioning himself to the side of the ground ball to one hand it.
      –not freezing on the line drive in extras.

      What’s most troubling is that his mistakes are mental and utterly little league in nature. He gets so much positive press for his dedication to his craft, but if that were true these things simply don’t happen.

      At this stage of his career he cannot be trusted to field or run the bases competently. Bowing to veteran privilege “

      Post of the year!

  26. Tomn

    I guess a squeeze bunt is truly a thing of the past. Looked like Barnhart at least had that in mind. But is he the only one on the team who can bunt?

    All we needed was 1 run.

    • Doug Gray

      Come on, Tomn – you know you can’t curse here.

  27. realist

    The San Diego experience wasn’t entirely positive. Zinter was released from manager Andy Green’s coaching staff after a 2017 season where the Padres were ranked at or near the bottom of the National League in most categories.

  28. Nkr

    Bell just isn’t very good. Completely embarrassed.