Final R H E
Chicago Cubs (11-15) 6 10 1
Cincinnati Reds (12-13) 8 10 0
W: Miley (3-2) L: Arrieta (3-3) S: Antone (1)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

The Cubs got off to a quick start when Kris Bryant homered off Wade Miley. The Cubs scratched another run across in the second inning to take a 2-0 lead. Miley helped himself in the top of the third with a single. Miley then went first to third on a Jesse Winker single. Nick Castellanos hit what looked like an easy double play, but some nice hustle allowed Miley to score and the inning to continue. The inning staying alive proved to be big as Joey Votto blasted his 300th career home run to put the Reds up 3-2.

The Reds offense was not done. Eugenio Suarez blasted a much needed home run to put the Reds up 4-2.

Tyler Naquin singled and then Nick Senzel homered to increase the lead to 6-2.

The Reds would scratch across two more runs. Wade Miley got through five innings. Things got hairy in the 9th when Fulmer and Sims each walked a batter. Sims should have struck out two batters, but the umpire called clear strikes, balls. Either of those would have ended the game. Tejay Antone came on and finished off an 8-6 win. The Reds have now won 3 of 4 against 2020 division winners.

Biggest Play of the Game

According to Fangraphs WPA statistic (winning percentage added), the most important play of the game was Joey Votto’s  2-run home run with 2 outs in the third inning, giving the Reds a 3-2 lead. That play increased the Reds probability of winning by 23.1% (from 40.3.% to 63.5%).

Positives

Joey Votto hit his 300th career home run during a 3-hit night. It was a very special moment seeing how excited each of his teammates were as they came out of the dugout to greet him.

Eugenio Suarez snapped his 0 for 26 stretch with a home run. That has to feel incredibly good for Mr. Good Vibes. Let’s hope this will help him relax and his season will take off soon. Believe it or not, Suarez is only 2 home runs behind his 2019 pace through 25 games.

Nick Senzel homered to continue strong back-to-back games. Senzel had 4 hits in the final game against the Dodgers. Senzel made his first career start at 2B, and even made a nice play on a tricky slow grounder (more on that below).

Good old reliable Wade Miley showed up again. He gave up a whopping 9 hard hit balls according to Statcast, but somehow, someway managed to just allow 2 runs over 5 innings. Miley now has a very good 2.67 ERA/3.91 FIP on the season.

Negatives

Jesse Winker had to leave the game with some back pain. It seems to possibly be precautionary. The Reds obviously can not afford to lose Winker.

Jose DeLeon had a rocky 2.0 innings, allowing 3 hits and 2 runs. He has a less than ideal 7.56 ERA on the season.

Not so random thoughts……….

Nick Senzel started at second base tonight and it went well. He was moved to centerfield in the sixth inning as part of a double switch (Farmer took over at 2B). I hope this is a sign of things to come. The Reds would make Senzel so much more valuable by moving him around the field. Tyler Naquin at this point seems to be a better option against RHP that at least one of Senzel or India, and Shogo Akiyama is coming soon. The Reds could have Senzel and India split starts at 2B vs RHP, and then whenever the opponent brings in a left-handed RP to face Naquin/Akiyama, you pinch-hit Senzel or India. You can also use Senzel or India at 3B to either give Moustakas or Votto a day off (Moustakas sliding to first base). This flexibility puts your best lineup on the field and simultaneously protects you if an injury happens.

There was some discussion on the Reds TV broadcast suggesting that Winker be moved down in the lineup to have more PA with runners on base. I really don’t see the value of doing that against a right-handed SP. Winker has massive career splits (.942 OPS vs RHP, .608 vs LHP). By batting him leadoff vs a RH SP, you are increasing the probability of facing the RH SP three times. By moving him lower in the lineup, you are at a higher risk of that third PA being vs a LHP. I love Castellanos batting second, a guy who crushes LHP. Tonight, the Cubs actually pulled their SP before Winker, and they had to pay with their LH RP facing Castellanos. One way the Reds could try to get more baserunners on for Winker would be to bat Barnhart 9th when he starts. Barnhart’s best hitting attribute is his ability get on-base.

Up Next:

Cubs at Reds
Saturday, 4:10 PM
TV: Bally Sports Ohio
Luis Castillo (6.29 ERA) vs Zach Davies (9.47 ERA)

30 Responses

  1. 2020ball

    I’ve seen a few Moose should replace Votto at 1B comments here and there, but dont look now, they’re OPS is nearly the same.

    Nice to see Suarez do anything, I continue to hold out some hope he’ll recover since its just 1 month out of 6. Guys to have slow starts sometimes, but its been a verrrry slow start.

    Reply
  2. Dennis Westrick

    Miley reminds me of Freddy Norman! Barely throws hard enough to break glass but battles and more often than not gives his team a chance to win.

    Reply
  3. BatsLeftThrowsRight

    Reds need to get some cameramen who can judge when a ball is a homer. So many times this year the camera shows a live shot of the stands only to pan down to the outfielder who has caught the ball ten feet before the warning track.

    Reply
    • VaRedsFan

      That’s been a major problem for years. Just about every away feed that I watch when the Reds are on the road, the camera work, angles, and slo-mo is nearly always superior.

      Reply
  4. Sliotar

    Reds wins are always nice … a little nicer when it’s against the Cubs.

    But … it literally felt any random Reds win at GABP in the last several years:

    -Lots of Reds HRs
    -Votto is near the top of offensive contributors
    -Shaky bullpen … visiting team has a chance to take lead in 9th
    -Game took 3:21

    Also … 12 Ks, 1 BB by Reds hitters

    Entertaining to watch … hasn’t proven to be enough to overcome road woes. At least not yet.

    At least it really feels like the Cubs stink. Keep Rizzo from hitting a HR into the RF seats this weekend and they could easily get swept.

    Reply
    • Rex

      I often feel the spirt of David “Stormy” Weathers lurking around our mound

      Reply
  5. Indy Red Man

    Davies and his 9 era tomorrow! If only Luis could get his act together? I think I’m coming down on Sunday with a buddy!

    Why not call Baltimore about lefty Paul Fry! He’ll be 29 in July and has a sub 1 era. He was good last year too. They’re rebuilding every year. They’d love Aquino I’m sure and we need help in the pen for a few years atleast.

    Reply
  6. Jon

    Was at the game tonight. Was nice to finally see the Reds win in person. They couldn’t make it easy though. The Reds bullpen is downright scary (to Reds fans, not the opposing team). Aside from Antone, it was nerve wracking to watch. At least they didn’t have to go to Garrett or Romano.

    Bob Castellini probably loves when the Cubs come to town. The ballpark was filled with blue…or at least a large chunk of the 16,000-some fans due to social distancing. Luckily the Reds bats quieted them pretty quickly tonight. Let’s hope Winker’s back in the lineup tomorrow and that Suarez will finally get it going.

    Reply
    • Melvin

      I’m not a betting man but If I were I bet good money Winker will not be in the lineup tomorrow. If he did tweak his back he shouldn’t be. That kind of injury can linger for a long time if not left to heal and will probably get worse. Doubt we’ll see him the rest of the series. The way he’s been hitting that’s very unfortunate. It really shouldn’t be that much of a surprise though as he’s had a history of that kind of injury.

      Reply
    • Melvin

      Big Bob needs to suck it up and give the okay to go out and get some bullpen help. It will cost money though most likely. He may have to give up one of his several vacation homes. The pen is really the only thing holding us back as far as talent. Johnson is very good but not a miracle maker.

      Reply
  7. Tim

    Enjoy watching Joey continue to do his thing. He’s not what he once was, but we’re still seeing one of the top 4 or 5 Reds hitters of all time. Rose, Bench, Robinson, Votto, Larkin. A special talent on loan from God.

    Reply
    • Greenfield Red

      I’ve heard of ‘talent on loan from God’ in the recent past. I like it, and I believe in it.

      Reply
  8. Jim Walker

    A win is a win and that’s good. The 9th inning however was anything but good except for the final outcome.

    And the Reds could end up paying a price for the 9th before the series ends with Sims being extended and Atone having to be thrown into the fray to seal the deal.

    Starting that 9th inning with a 4 run lead what became of the concept of just throwing strikes unless/ until it resulted in trouble? Sometimes there is way too much thinking and not enough just going after hitters on the part of the Reds.

    Reply
    • Bruuuuuccceee

      Except he struck out two batters and the ump blew the call

      Reply
      • Jim Walker

        See Broseph’s comment and my reply to it below about what was going on with the Reds which might have influenced these calls.

  9. B-town fan

    Great win, every win is. But it’s looking like the bullpen is going to be going through a lot of machinations this year, Garrett has lost his closer role, if he ever really had it. Looks like Bell has lost a lot of trust in him by evidence of tonight. The strength of the pitching staff is the starting pitching, Bell is going to have to start letting the starters go 6 or 7 innings so the bullpen doesn’t have to cover so many innings, with in reason of course of being blown out or well over 100 pitches. Only letting starters go 80 or 85 pitches is going to kill the the bullpen and end up in a lot more losses in the long run.

    Reply
    • greenmtred

      My understanding is that most teams pull their starters early now. Some of it the third-time-through-the order thing, and some of it the maximum effort pitches that are more common now than before. You need a good and deep bullpen to succeed with that strategy, though.

      Reply
      • B-town fan

        That’s why in my comments above, the key passage is “The strength of the pitching staff is the starting pitching”. You play to your strengths, not your weaknesses.

  10. Mark Moore

    The ump was squeezing hitters all game until he flipped a switch and started squeezing Sims. Once again, the ridiculous inconsistency from MLB umpires and this time within the same game. Beyond frustrating to watch, so I know it’s far worse for the players.

    A win against the Stupid Cubs is always sweet. Hope Wink can get some rest and that we stick it to ’em again today.

    Reply
    • broseph

      They were definitely strikes but almost all the time when a pitcher switches up a catcher the ump never calls it, even if it’s the inner or outer 1/3 of the plate. The fact that Sims threw the ball completely across the plate from where Tucker and the ump were set up is atrocious.

      A ball is a ball and a strike a strike, but your an MLB pitcher and to miss your target by 2ft is ridiculous.

      I am a firm believer in having a robo strike zone and the umps can still be in the game to make calls, especially when the system has errors such as balls that bounce to the plate, but Sims was doing himself no favors last night showing up like Ricky Vaughn.

      Reply
      • Jim Walker

        +1000
        Exactly. The calls Reds did not get were absolute pitchers’ pitches, at the edges of the zone in multiple dimensions. The catcher either wasn’t expecting them to be where they were or was late or clumsy in getting his body and glove into position to receive them which most likely figured in the Reds not getting the calls.

        Were the pitcher and catcher on different pages about the pitch and location called? Did the pitcher miss the spot he intended the ball to go to by that much? Or maybe as was suggested at least once during the games on the last road trip, was the catcher playing a game within a game trying to hide the intended pitch location from an opposition base runner lest the runner signal it to the batter?

        The pitcher and catcher working relationship is a 2 way street. Scuttlebutt to date has been about certain starting pitchers not being comfortable with the guy who was behind the plate last night. That does not mean that relievers might not have issues too.

    • RojoBenjy

      Do you know of any other “profession” that is never held accountable for poor performances?

      MLB Umpires–a protected species

      Reply
      • Mark Moore

        +1000

        I know it isn’t a popular PoV, but we need to get to technology assisted zone sooner rather than later. The variability between umpires, same umpire over different games/pitchers, and especially within the game for the same umpire is ridiculous. And sorry, but I’m not buying the new pitcher/catcher/positioning. The umpire has one job and is supposed to be consistent in executing it.

        Rant over … I just want consistency based on established rules. Those that cannot need to move along.

      • RojoBenjy

        If an umpire has to rely on the positioning of the catcher to do the job, i don’t think the umpire is qualified to judge the best baseball players on earth

        But i do think the points made about it have merit, because of human biases.

      • Jim Walker

        Mark, Agree with you technology “assisted” but not a robot ump with the final call. Just a little birdie in the ump’s ear to let them know how the radar, gps, or whatever “saw” it.

        Rojo, an ump is not going to call a pitch a strike if they don’t see in it the strike zone. In other words like a runner is safe until the ump sees an out, a pitch is a ball until the ump sees a strike. We see the replays in slow motion and the graphic representations as still “photos”. The umps don’t have those aids. Catchers moving their body and their glove in the ump’s field of vision disturb the concentration of the ump and may even obstruct vision as these things are happening at live speed.

  11. I dunno

    This is late,but here goes,Jim,Jim dayWalker,per usual articulated the Ninth correctly,and other reply’s were emotionally accurate,but remember that when a pitcher is on the mound he is part of a battery.If you go back to homer off Miley,and homers he gave up last start at home,you will see perfectly executed pitches to exactly were the glove (target )is placed.Now back to the unarticulated self,I dunno ,maybe they miss the glove on purpose cause when a short dude stands up to waste a pitch ,or shuffles twice to outside edge of plate,the hitter knows ,and they decided to miss the spot.

    Reply
  12. Mark Moore

    The Reds FB page posted the following video of all 300 HR’s Joey hit (1-minute watch).

    I noticed his shoulders and hips were almost always on the same plane. I’d say that’s consistency. I also loved his post-game interview where he didn’t really stop to celebrate 300 but simply said they have to keep pressing and find a way to win.

    https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=5434619613280117

    Reply
    • RojoBenjy

      Watch it a second time to see which hand the pitcher throws with. That’s kind of fun too.

      It’s kind of like a home run strobe lol

      Reply

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