Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (9-10)
4 8 0
St. Louis Cardinals (9-10)
5 6 0
W: K. Kim (1-0) L: S. Gray (0-1) S: A. Reyes (4)
Statcast | Gamecast Play-by-Play | Game Thread

Prologue

Sonny Gray, deliver us from the evil of the Reds’ bullpen. Gray sticking around for a good 7 innings would be the tonic the Reds needed to begin this series, especially in the wake of the awful sweep at the hands of the Diamondbacks. It’s early, but when Paul Goldschmidt hits, the Cardinals have won. When he doesn’t …

So, that matchup seemed worth paying attention to. Goldschmidt was 0-12 against Gray coming into the game.

Game #19

A hustle double in top of the 2nd by Nick Senzel looked promising early, but the bats would get awfully quiet after that.

Gray gave up the first run of the game on a HR by Yadier Molina. After striking out in his first AB, Goldschmidt got to Gray in the 3rd, hooking a double down the left field line, scoring 2 runs. It would be a harbinger of the ambush to come. Nolan Arrenado would single, driving in Goldschmidt, and Molina would single to make it 5-0, as Gray lost control of the game. He wouldn’t make it out of the 4th inning.

Kwang Hyun Kim, a four-seam fastball and slider guy, pretty much had his way with Reds batters until the 6th inning, when Nick Castellanos would get his 1000th hit, a HR to left-center field to plate the Reds’ first run in the game.

The Reds would mount a major rally in the ninth courtesy of 4 Cardinal reliever walks. Blandino walked and Jonathan India tripled on what really was an error on the Cardinal outfield. Tucker Barnhart would pinch-hit for Tyler Stephenson and coax a walk. When Tyler Naquin walked to load the bases, the scene was set for Jesse Winker with one out. Alex Reyes walked Winker to force in a run and make it 5-3. And guess who was up?

Castellanos, the Cardinal Killer would strike out, but the ball got away from catcher Knizner, allowing Barnhart to score to make it 5-4. But Suárez would take strike 3 to end the game.

The Arms

Gray’s final line:  3.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 W, 6 K.

The last 3 games prior to tonight produced 17 walks by the bullpen, which tied the 1949 Boston Braves for the most in a 3-game series by a bullpen. So, the first thing new arrival Heath Hembree did in relief of Gray was—you guessed it—walked a guy. Still, he survived the inning unscathed.

Ryan Hendrix gave birth to his major league career in the bottom of the 6th and delivered a very poised 1-2-3 inning, striking out 2.

José De León would paint a 1-2-3 inning of his own in the 7th, striking out 2.

Amir Garrett had a 1-2-3 inning in the 8th, taking the first step to turn his season around.

What St. Louis Said

Dan McLaughlin (play-by-play) and Rick Horton (color) took the occasion of the Castellanos/Cardinals dustup to take a trip in the Wayback Machine and revisit Brandon Phillips vs. Yadier Molina.

McLaughlin on Castellanos:  “Well, he’s taken on the role of Brandon Phillips.”

Horton:  “Senzel can play some defense and he runs well. Question will be, does he hit well enough to play every day.”

What Did We Learn Today?

The pitching has suddenly collapsed and taken the Reds’ fast start with it.

Eugenio Suárez continues to struggle, going 0-5 with 4 Ks. In fact, the top of the Reds lineup—Winker, Castellanos, Suárez, Votto—struck out 10 times. There’s almost no way to win games when the top of the lineup can’t put the ball in play.

Blandino continues to impress in a limited role. Senzel had 2 hits tonight.

Final Thoughts

Tonight was the opposite of what we thought might happen: the starting pitching couldn’t deliver, but the bullpen held serve mightily and gave the Reds a chance because of all those walks the Cardinal relievers issued.

Suárez and Gray will feel the brunt of the heat for tonight’s loss, but there’s a lot blame to go around. Whether it’s the starters, the relievers, or the bad defense, the Reds are giving away too many outs. And it’s caught up with them 19 games into the season.

Still, this team never quits. There have been seasons where when the Reds get behind, you can turn off the TV. Not anymore.

So, there’s that.

On Deck for the Redlegs

Cincinnati Reds v. St. Louis Cardinals

April 24 at 2:15pm ET

Wade Miley (2-1, 2.25 ERA) vs. John Gant (0-2, 3.21 ERA)

37 Responses

  1. Jeffrey Oakley

    Man, I thought they were on their way for a comeback. Surez looking at the last strike was heartbreaking. Please either sit him for a spell or at least drop him in the order. He is so inside his own head right now it isn’t funny. Historically he really needs the Cubs to bust his slump. He will be ok once he starts to go to right with the pitch, keeping the hips back, that has been the cure in the past.

    • Sliotar

      Prior to 2019, Suarez’s K% rate was always under 25%.

      Last 3 seasons …

      2019 – 28.5%
      2020 – 29.0%
      2021 – 35.9% (not including 4Ks tonight)

      Age 30 season (aging) … playing out of position.

      Sure … he’s likely to hit a hot streak, lots of MLB players do …
      but keeping him at no. 3 in order feels … stubborn by Bell.

      If Votto can be benched, and was last season … there is no reason not to move Suarez down until he gets on a run.

  2. Sliotar

    The Reds have had plenty …. plenty …. of Garbage Time/Late offense the last few days to pad everyone’s stats and make offensive totals not so bad.

    Until the 9th inning tonight … Reds had 13Ks and 0BBs.

    Winker and Castellanos are effective as 1-2 … but, Suarez has to get going and Votto does, too, away from Coors Field East (GABP), which is masking his steep decline in road games, starting in 2019.

  3. GreatRedLegsFan

    Time to shake the line-up once Moustakas is back. Can Blandino play SS? Sit Suarez and Votto for a few games and try Moose 1B, India 2B, Senzel 3B and Blandino SS. Winker LF, Naquin CF and Castellanos RF. Today 0-9 from 3rd & 4th spots w/7 K’s!!!

    • RojoBenjy

      Yes, if Suárez is playing SS the. Alex Blandino can sure as taxes play there. And he has, and he looked better than Suárez defensively when he did (in a small sample size at the MLB level).

  4. Hanawi

    Big Votto defender here. He’s still got some left in the tank and has been unlucky, but his numbers against LHP have been brutal the last few seasons and the cause of most of his poor numbers overall. Would be good to give him more rest days against lefties.

  5. jim walker

    Poor plate appearances by both Castellanos and Suarez at close out the game with the tying (and then) lead run in scoring position.

    The 3-0 pitch to Suarez was right there to drive and he took it. It is hard to seriously fault him for taking the 3-0 pitch in that situation but then the following pitch appeared to be ball 4; and, he swung at it for strike 2.

    After he took a hitter’s pitch he did on 3-0, it seems to me he has to play the hand out and take the worse than borderline pitch at 3-1 too. Even if he didn’t get the call he still had a full count pitch coming. But then of course he got locked up by the breaking ball at 3-2 and that was all for the game.

    As for Castellanos, he swung at 2 pitches in the dirt, both on an even count (1-1; 2-2). Nuff said there.

  6. RojoBenjy

    Will the manager move Suárez either down in the lineup or over to the bench?

    I’ve been told that that isn’t how anyone runs their major league ball club. Just curious

  7. Old-school

    In 2020, the Reds were an elite SS and a hot streak away from competing for a championship. That’s no longer the case. The Reds cut payroll and have huge holes in their bullpen, huge holes in their starting rotation and they still have a suboptimal situation at SS and an aging Votto at 1b. Barry Larkin isn’t walking through that door. Trevor Bauer isn’t walking through that door and neither are the Nasty Boys. This 2021 team is who it is.

    I would disagree with those arguing for change at SS or even dropping Suarez in the lineup-there no better internal options. Sure, give him regular days off -the get away day game at LA this road trip for starters. Sure, let Blandino get some reps a day or 2 a week. But Kyle Farmer and Alex Blandino and Tyler Naquin and Mark Payton and Max Schrock aren’t solutions for the Reds big problems this year or next year.

    This team isn’t doing anything if Votto and Suarez combine to perform at replacement level. They need to play every day and let the chips fall where they may. Garcia needs a year in AA/AAA and that is the SS plan and the Reds cant deviate from it. Moving Suarez off SS undermines the development plan for India- that can’t happen. The Reds committed to Suarez at SS as much to give India crucial every day playing time.The Reds cant deviate from that. Nick Senzel appears to be playing most days in CF despite the early fireworks from Naquin-who appears to be returning to the back of his baseball card. The Reds cant deviate from Senzel playing and developing every day in CF.
    Tyler Stephenson looks great and is developing and the catching situation with Barnhart looks great. The Reds cant deviate from that.

    Let Suarez hit third and play SS and let Senzel/India/and Stephenson develop and play and get comfortable hitting 6-8 in the order without pressure. Let Garcia play a full developmental summer at AA/AAA and if those 4 young guns populate the lineup card everyday in 2022 and perform, then at least this 2021 summer did something.

    • RojoBenjy

      Even ONE timely hit or walk from last game’s third or fourth hitter may have meant a win for the team.

      I don’t like where those chips fell

    • Roger Garrett

      I agree but for only a couple of things.Garcia manning short next year puts somebody presently playing to the bench and if he was ready today or at the start of 2022 we know who that is.We have 3 vets in the infield that make a bunch and aren’t going any place via trade so next year becomes this year again.I agree the Reds can’t deviate from the development of their players but they will because of who their manager is and his or maybe the owner’s position.I won’t disagree about Suarez other then he needs to be dropped down until he get going but it concerns me that he gets vet treatment that the young guys don’t get.I will close with a positive comment.Wink has finally or so it appears convinced Bell and others he is a starter every day in left but I have to wonder what happens when he slumps does he still hit lead off or is he dropped down in the order or platooned.This is what I mean when I say the vet treatment or maybe he is a vet now so it won’t happen.

      • Old-school

        Moose is a player the Reds overpaid for but if he stays healthy and hits and defends as he has so far, he would be of tremendous value to a super team who needs a bat and infield glove at 2b/3b/1b or DH.
        The Mets/Giants/Red Sox and 4-5 other high budget teams could absorb Moose’s contract for 2022/23 when the trade deadline comes.
        Castellanos is a great player but will very likely exercise his opt out for 2022.

        The DH is likely coming to the NL next year as well- so the infield can and should be India at 2b and Garcia at SS in 2021 providing health and development, even if Suarez and Moose remain with Votto at 1b/DH.

        Stay the course in 2021 and let Votto and Suarez hit 3/4 and play SS and 1b and see what happens. There’s simply no other viable options in 2020 and their lack of performance cant impact the development of the future positional core of this team, which is looking promising in Winker, Senzel, India, Stephenson, Garcia.

      • Still a Red

        Interesting to see what happens with Wink and/or Senzel when Shogo returns

      • RojoBenjy

        @Old School—

        The only thing I differ with from you on this is that I don’t think it would hurt to stay the course but with Suárez batting 6th or 7th and make him work back up

  8. 2020ball

    Tough losses this week, but they’ve been in all these games. Thats all I ever really ask from a team. I tuned out mid-game because of some prior plans, but they almost came back. Nice to see. The Reds are an interesting team this year, whether that vibes with you or not is up to you.

  9. Matt O'Neal

    I know it’s April, but it feels like they have to win the next two vs. the Cardinals.
    The Dodgers series will pit Mahle, Hoffman, and a so far ineffective Gray against Urias, Buehler, and Kershaw. It’s been over a week since the LAD scored >3 runs in a game, so naturally they’ll break out against the Reds Monday.

  10. Doc

    It was below the belt to include Winker in the maligning comment about the 10 strikeouts by the top four in the order. While the statement was factually correct, there is a big difference between hitters who are 0-4 and 0-5 with 7 strikeouts between them and a hitter who is 2-4 with a BB, an on base percentage of .600, who struck out once. Strikeouts will happen to the best of them, and a single strike out in a game is not a travesty, nor is it what is ailing this team at present. Jesse Winker’s offensive performance thus far is All Star caliber and no way does he deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as the Suarez and Votto performances of last night.

    • JB

      I caught that as well Doc and thought it was lame. Suarez and Votto stunk last night and there is no business lumping others into their mess. For me Winker is the one guy in that lineup who will be the most consistent all season long.

    • Greenfield Red

      Agree with that. The pitching is hurting this team right now and Suarez and Votto are hurting this team. 0-9 with 7 strikeouts for your #3 and #4 hitter should be mentioned specifically. To include the first two hitters who are producing is just not right.

  11. Doc

    It was below the belt to include Winker in the maligning comment about the 10 strikeouts by the top four in the order. While the statement was factually correct, there is a big difference between hitters who are 0-4 and 0-5 with 7 strikeouts between them and a hitter who is 2-4 with a BB, an on base percentage of .600, who struck out once. Strikeouts will happen to the best of them, and a single strike out in a game is not a travesty, nor is it what is ailing this team at present. Jesse Winker’s offensive performance thus far is All Star caliber and no way does he deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as the Suarez and Votto performances of last night, especially not when you praise Blandino and Senzel, neither of whom did as much offensively as Winker did.

  12. ClevelandRedsFan

    The Kim at bat in the 3rd was key this game. Gray struck him out looking and everyone in the stadium knew it. Ump blew the call, and Kim singles on a weak dribbler and that leads to a big inning.

    Kim scores and Reds lose by 1. Of course the Reds waste the only good bullpen performance this week.

    Reds have now lost 5 in a row. 4 of those games were either one run games or extra innings…coin flip games. Good management, clutch hitting, and a good bullpen win close games.

    Reds have none of those qualities.

    Reds were exactly where they should have been. Game on the line and your 3-hole hitter up. The problem is Reds have Suarez out of position in the lineup and field. Reds 3-hole hitter is hitting .150.

    David Bell please stop the madness!!!

  13. JB

    You know baseball is a funny game. When Billy Hamilton was playing in this lineup, whenever the team needed a big hit Billy was always up. Never failed!! The weakest link can never be hid. Now its Suarez. I never want to see a person fail and no matter how inept at hitting Billy was I always hoped he would get that hit. Same thing with Suarez. I hope he can turn it around and become the player we think he can.

    • Old-school

      Saurez hit 50 HR in 2019. Every Red was a weak link offensively in 2020. Suarez needs another 300 at bats at least.

      That said, the Cards seem to be running out of patience with Matt Carpenter, frustrated with his inability adjust to the shift while making $20 million. Could John Mozeliak DFA Carpenter?

      • Roger Garrett

        I hope you are right Old school and you brought up some good points but unless they happen its just kicking the can down the road.Moose to a contender or the DH coming or both could be a good thing.

      • Jimbo44CN

        And he’s trying to hit 50 this year and that’s the problem. Every swing is a home run uppercut swing. Sadak got excited yesterday and said he hit a line drive to center. It was an out and not a .line drive. It was a fly ball.
        Three outcomes with him. Strikeout(most likely) Fly ball out, Strikeout.
        Sorry did I repeat myself? There is no such thing as a level swing with King Kong Kingman, I mean Suarez, sorry.

  14. GreatRedLegsFan

    Same line-up for this evening, sans Senzel (Naquin) and Blandino (Farmer).

    • jim walker

      My first thought is that Blandino played a good game, reaching twice in 4 plate appearances and is immediately sat down for a guy (Farmer) who is clearly struggling. Waiting to see if perhaps Blandino has the morning after soreness from that tumble he took catching the foul popup. If not, I’ll go back to scratching my head over his immediate return to the bench.

      • RojoBenjy

        That’s business as usual for DBell

        Consistently demonstrates a lack of instinct and awareness for which of his players are on and which are struggling

  15. Chris Holbert

    Senzel is coming around, so what happens, to the bench young man….maddening. He cannot develop and get in a groove from there. It seems bad grooves keep playing and good grooves, if you are young, hit the pine.

    • Still a Red

      It does seem that every time Senzel starts to find his groove, he has to sit. Gotta think that doesn’t help him…mentally he has to get over it, but physically in terms of getting into the swing of it (pun not exactly intended) is hard to counter. I’d keep him in and try him at #3 (or #5 behind Votto and Moose when he returns)…I don’t think the pressure would be that great for him. And it would take some of the pressure off of Suarez. Also, not sure the odds are playing out with adhering to a alternating lefty-right line-up per se.

    • RojoBenjy

      For a “player’s manager”, DBell sure seems to have favorites. If I was #15 I would not consider him a player’s manager based on the way i’m being treated.

      Naquin and Farmer are Skipper’s tinker toys right now.

      For all the comments about “just leave Suárez at cleanup and stay the course”—how about “just leave Senzel in CF and stay the course”?

      Frustrating

      • Roger Garrett

        Yep but it’s not going to change.Makes for good conversation but does nothing for the younger players and their development or confidence.Have no idea how we can move beyond it other then just accept it.Just never get the feeling that Bell sees what others see or that their is a plan in place.Guess we just pull for whomever he puts out there regardless of how they perform now or in the future

  16. Scott C

    I don’t think that Suarez has forgotten to hit but perhaps he needs to sit for about 3 games as did Votto last year. What I notice mostly is that he is pulling off the ball, refusing to try and take anything to right field, as long as he does that he is going to continue to strikeout a lot.

    • 2020ball

      He does take the ball to right occasionally, I can remember seeing it more than once this year. He does it with outside pitches. His oppo% is in line with his career numbers. Geno’s not hitting the ball hard enough when he does make contact this season, that might actually be hurting him more than the Ks. It’s early still so no panic button yet, but some worrying trends.