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