If you didn’t stay up last night to watch the Cincinnati Reds win over the San Francisco Giants, it’s understandable. The game was on the west coast and ended around 12:40am in Cincinnati. That’s a tough ask for many fans. But if you did get a chance to watch the game you saw Wade Miley and Tejay Antone dominate the Giants lineup for 8.2 innings between the two of them (Lucas Sims came on for the final out of the game to pick up his first career save).

While Miley probably deserves an article of his own – maybe we’ll get into that before his next start – Tejay Antone just sticks out like a sore thumb when it comes to the stuff of a multi-inning reliever. Historically that role goes to a guy who is a swing starter with mediocre stuff that is just trying to fill some innings. That description couldn’t be any further from Tejay Antone if it were on Pluto.

Antone entered the game in the 6th inning with a 3-0 lead thanks to home runs by Jesse Winker and Joey Votto, and five shutout frames from Miley. From there the right-handed reliever (at least for now) threw 3.2 hitless innings with a walk and five strikeouts. He was sitting 95-98 on the night, dipping to 94 a few times.

There has been a progression for Tejay Antone this season. No, not in his stuff – which is absolutely disgusting – but in his pitch count and work load. Antone entered the spring with the hopes of getting a spot in the rotation. He was throwing well until a hamstring injury took him out of action for about a week and set him back. Unable to be ready for the season in time as a starter, he moved into the bullpen. In his first outing he threw 21 pitches in one inning of work. The next time out he threw 32 pitches in 2.0 innings. Last night saw him throw 60 pitches over 3.2 innings. With Michael Lorenzen still quite a bit away from returning to the mound, are the Reds building up Antone to join the rotation (something he wants to do)? Or is he simply going to stay in this long relief role and he was and is being built up to handle 3-4 innings at times during the season? We’re all going to have to find out together, but it’ll be fun to watch in either scenario because that guy is all kinds of fun to watch on the mound.

The Legend of Joey Moppo

This morning we all woke up to a piece at The Athletic by C. Trent Rosecrans, Rustin Dodd, and Jayson Jenks about Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto titled: Joey Votto is playing chess, and the rest of us are playing checkers: Reds first baseman may be the most interesting man in baseball.

It’s a long title. But it’s also missing the most important part of the story in the title. Multiple former teammates talked about how much Joey Votto loves to mop and how they tried to convince him to start an instagram account called Joey Moppo with videos of him mopping his floor. Apparently he sends these kinds of videos to his current and former teammates.

The entire piece is fascinating and gives just another insight into Joey Votto that paints him as just a different kind of dude. Go give it a read (subscription to The Athletic required).

Jonathan India on the Jim Day Podcast

There are some pretty good Reds podcasts out there – including Redleg Nation Radio hosted by our own Chad Dotson – but a close runner up to the most dangerous podcast in the world (TM) is The Jim Day Podcast. With his job he has access to both past and current Reds players. This week he sat down to talk with rookie second baseman Jonathan India. If you’ve got a spare 33 minutes this week, go give it a listen. You can find it at this link, or at just about any place where you accumulate your podcasts.

50 Responses

  1. RedBaron

    LOL Joey Moppo I love it! That would totally blow up on Insta!

    • MK

      Wish he was Joey Glove-o.Give up the mop and carry a glove.

      • Jimbo44CN

        Oh come on. He made a spectacular play falling over backwards and hanging onto the ball and the bag to get an out earlier in the game. The throw he missed from Suarez was very low.

      • Doug Gray

        The first play was good.

        The second play was terrible.

      • Jimbo44CN

        Doug,
        You ever played first? I have, that throw on the second play was no easy play/

      • Doug Gray

        I played first for a few games. The problem was that instead of stepping towards the shortstop, Votto was lateral with the baseline, not allowing him to stretch much at all to receive the throw. It still landed in his glove and he didn’t come up with it. That was 100% on Votto for how he approached the throw.

      • VaRedsFan

        I played 1st base at the college level. Doug is totally correct. His footwork is the problem here. He never wedges his foot between the ground and the bag (he prefers it on top of the bag). This doesn’t allow him stretch properly.

  2. Bred

    If Antone is moved to the rotation like I’m rooting for, who could take his spot? I think Gray starts Friday and Antone starts Saturday with De Leon taking Antone’s spot. Maybe Hamilton clears waivers and goes to the alternate spot, but maybe they flip that and send DeLeon down. What ever they do Antone needs to start.

  3. MK

    Don’t think Billy Hamilton is in the organization anymore and if so can’t pitch.

    I for one hope they leave Antone alone and allow him to succeed in what has become an important role. Maybe he and Miley piggyback for a while.

    • west larry

      I really think Antone has earned a spot in the rotation. When healthy, it looks like Gray, Castillo, Mahle, Antone and Miley. I like Lorenzen, but with that shoulder problem, I see him eased into one and two inning stinks. Who will be long relief? Romano, DeLeon, ???

      • MBS

        I like Antone as is, but I also don’t have a problem with him starting. I think you hit the nail on the head with Lorenzen. It’s really unfortunate he’s had this injury to start the year.

        I think De Leon and Hoffman can be a lesser, but effective “Antone” in the pen. Either guy can go once through the lineup and get 2 to 3 innings. We have a lot of guys who are not going to go 6 to 7 innings this year. Hopefully Lorenzen can get healthy and joint De Leon and Hoffman in that role.

  4. Rob

    Considering his .171 batting average and continuing decline, a more appropriate name might be Votto-matic Out.

    • Frankie Tomatoes

      Considering the lasers he’s hit right at guys all year that doesn’t seem like a good name. If he were hitting weak ground balls to second base all day every day then your witty nickname would be clever.

      • MBS

        Low E Babit, I love me some Joey Votto, but the bad luck routine got old after last season. I’m not a bench Votto guy, but he shouldn’t be in the 3 hole. Let continue to improve his “luck” in the 5 or 6 spot.

      • 2020ball

        Joey’s shown an uncanny ability for loud outs so far this year. I’m willing to be patient with him, especially after the splash hit yesterday.

    • realist

      Yeah but he swings his bat really fast when he makes an out and he is a notorious slow starter and we all know the games in April and May don’t count.

  5. Frankie Tomatoes

    I would download instagram for videos of Joey mopping.

  6. Roger Garrett

    Antone needs to start when ready.Yes I worry some about our starters only going 5 or 6 innings but Antone can’t come in to every game when that happens and we know that.It worked last night but he is done for a couple of days and maybe 3 days so why not put him on 5 days rest and lets move on.Its up to the starters to go deeper in to the game and I believe they will but until baseball gets away from this pitch count rule we better come up with some more relievers that can go multiple innings unless teams want to burn out their entire staff by July.Using 3 or 4 relievers every night to cover the last 9 or 12 outs won’t get it done.Thats why I like Hoffman and Deleon going to the pen or at least one of them.

    • MBS

      He can’t come into every game, but throwing 2 innings he could come into 2 to 3 a week. That being said I’m fine with him starting, but he’s also going to be a guy coming out after 5, so you need someone or someone’s who can effectively fill the role he’d be abdicating.

    • Chris

      Castillo
      Gray
      Mahle
      Antone – Hoffman piggyback
      Miley – De Leon piggyback

      That’s what I’d to. Limit Antone and Miley to 20 batter or so – maybe 80 pitches and utilize De Leon/Hoffman to bridge to the late guys. You figure your top 3 can pitch without restriction – up to 100 pitches or so… hopefully 6 – 7 innings.

      Doolittle, Perez, Garrett, Sims (CL) are you high-leverage guys. Fulmer and Romano can eat up the rest until Lorenzen comes back. You also might re-order the above rotation to avoid having the piggyback guys go back-to-back.

      • Kevin Patrick

        Switch the piggy back from Miley and put on Mahle and I think it would be a bit more accurate. Mahle is going to throw a lot of pitches and not get through a ton of innings…unless he surprises me…which would be fine…he’s capable. I just don’t think they’ve had enough of a look at guys like Bedrosian, Fulmer, and Hoffman to not send DeLeon down…even though he’s probably better.

      • MBS

        Reality is all, but Castillo are likely to go less than 6. If you keep Hoffman and De Leon as piggy backers (2 innings) they can cover the other 4. Throwing 2 innings, you’ll only need 1 day off. Obviously you don’t want to rely on them that much, but in a pinch or a bad week they could cover.

  7. Tom Reeves

    Joey Votto continued his streak last night of hitting the ball incredibly hard right at people.

    Only, last night, it was right at a guy in a kayak.

    • Doug Gray

      Except for those other two 100 MPH liners he hit that were caught in both left and right field.

      • Tom Reeves

        I know but it’s funnier to say it my way lol

      • RojoBenjy

        C’mon Joey, bounce back! Hope last night was the beginning.

        I’ll take the credit if he does because it was the first time I’ve cracked on him lol and he wanted to show me up i’m sure 🙂

  8. CFD3000

    In my opinion there are two smart ways to use really good pitchers, and a lot of dumb ones. Antone by the way looks really good. Put him in the rotation and let him rack up 200+ innings. Use your best pitchers the most. OR use him as a high leverage reliever (NOT the same as a closer). That’s fewer innings, but more more important innings. The problem with long relief is that even if those 3 2/3 innings last night were important, he’s unavailable for at least two games. I really hope Antone gets slotted into the rotation. He’s too good to waste in his current role unless all or most of your other pitchers are nearly as good. They’re not. Let him start.

  9. Klugo

    Where did Antone come from? How did we get him?

    • Jefferson Green

      Reds 5th round pick in 2014, has especially improved the last couple of years under the tutelage of the Reds’ new pitching development and coaching.

  10. Daytonnati

    The Joey Votto article in The Athletic was worth this year’s subscription. Very funny. Reminded me of some of Jim Bouton’s stories in “Ball Four”.

  11. BK

    My one concern is does Antone have the endurance to start? He only made it to 5 innings once in four starts last year. Last night, he noticeably hit a wall between the 50 and 60 pitch mark. He’s only pitched 6 innings thus far–about 3 less than Hoffman and DeLeon, but there weren’t many high-leverage situations in the first 6 games.

    He should either start or pitch ~3 innings every 3 games. Both yield a similar workload. His usage last night was optimal and he came very close to a 4 inning save. He’ll be ready to go again when the series opens with Cleveland on Friday.

    • Doug Gray

      He’s thrown 150 innings in the minor leagues three times. And a reminder that their season only lasts 5 months, not 6 like the big league year does.

      So yes. He has the endurance and he’s shown it many times.

      • Doug Gray

        To note that he “hit a wall at 50-60 pitches” – of course he did. That’s what happened when you are not yet built up for the season. The same thing happens to guys in March during spring training when they got from 15-20 pitches in start 1, to 30-35 pitches in start 2, to 45-50 pitches in start 3, to 65 pitches in start 4, to 80 in start 5. You build those things up. Antone didn’t get a chance to do that this year yet because of the hamstring injury in the spring.

      • BK

        He was a different pitcher last year than he was when he was prior to to 2020. His stuff went to an elite level of velocity. Has that changed his endurance? I’m not saying it has, but to date, he hasn’t shown he can go 5+ innings every 5 days. With his injuries in ST, it’s understandable that he is “stretched out” at this point. Just something to watch moving forward. We know he can be elite going ~3 innings every 3 days or so.

  12. docmike

    I just shake my head at some of the Votto hate on here. You can always tell who is watching the games and who is just looking at box scores.

    Person who only looks at box score: “Wow, Votto only went 1-4. He isn’t getting many hits this year. He needs to hang it up.”

    Person who watches the games: “Wow, Votto is smoking the ball right now. If those 2 screaming liners had just gone 3 feet to the side, they would’ve ended up as doubles. I can’t wait for those line drives to start dropping in for hits.”

    • MBS

      Participation ribbons are not given out at the MLB level. It win or lose, perform or get replaced. Very few people are advocating that JV is benched, but if you consider people wanting him to be dropped down the batting order as hate, then count me in. If he starts to find more grass and less gloves then maybe move him back up in the lineup. Winker was our best hitter last year, and he showing it again this year. Winker should be the 3 hole hitter, Votto 5 to 6.

      • Chris

        Senzel
        Winker
        Castellanos
        Suarez
        Moustakas
        Votto
        India
        Barnhart

      • BK

        I agree, results are what matter. I am absolutely open to dropping Votto in the lineup, platooning him or benching him if the results don’t come. However, that type of decision shouldn’t be made over the small data set collected from 10 games; especially when the data says indicates JV has been pretty unlucky. As @Docmike stated, from watching the games, he looks pretty good as a hitter–solid contact, swinging a hittable pitches, etc. We know results normalize over larger data samples. As for Winker, Bell is hitting him leadoff which means our “best” hitter is going to get the most chances.

      • Doc

        His game BA last night was 80 points above his season BA to date. Better than a lot of players in the lineup last night. Sounds as though he is on a hot streak!

      • JayTheRed

        @Chris

        I like that lineup best too.

  13. Don

    watched last night’s game after lunch today and Antone looked to run out of gas in the 9th after having about a10 pitch AB where he swung the bat like 8 times.
    Brantley even mentioned on the TV broadcast for Antone to just take a strikeout and go rest, he is wearing himself out, go sit down and save energy to pitch the 9th. He then said, if Antone wants to get paid in the future he should not worry about hitting as pitchers are not asked the hitting stats during contract negotiations. I found that very insightful commentary from Brantley and turned out he was right on.

    • Optimist

      May be true, but how hard is hitting? Or is there that much difference between a statuesque 3 strikes and a 10 pitch AB? Perhaps a hustling triple would be taxing but I wonder if these guys are at that fine an edge.

      • Optimist

        Correction – how physically taxing is hitting? Of course it’s the most difficult task in team sports.

      • Don

        No clue, just repeating what Cowboy said he would know better than me

      • greenmtred

        We’ve probably all hit at some point. Swinging a bat hard seems roughly equivalent to swinging a splitting maul, but through a different plane. Pitching–major league level power pitching–is not something many of us have done, though, and my guess is that it takes a lot out of the person doing it. There’s a reason that power pitchers now are routinely lifted after 5 or 6 innings. Adding a bunch of horizontal swings with a splitting maul equivalent might be more taxing than we think, watching from our armchairs.

    • JayTheRed

      Don I was thinking the same thing watching the game he just seemed to run out of gas in the 9th inning.

      Also to those talking about pitchers hitting, If they can contribute to wearing a guy down some or if they can somehow get a hit themselves I am all for it.

  14. Jonathan Linn

    The article about Joey was amazing. Hot-Cold charts for umpires? wow….

    • Daytonnati

      Karaoke farewell ballads crooned to Bronson Arroyo 🙂

  15. Hanawi

    Votto is currently 10th worst in baseball in bad luck (difference between batting average and xBA). One of those with even worse luck than him is reigning MVP Freddie Freeman, who is currently hitting .143.

    FYI, Tucker is 2nd in good luck and India is 7th.