Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (15-16)
2 7 2
Cleveland Indians (18-14)
9 11 0
W: Civale (5-0) L: Castillo (1-4)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

Last night’s good vibrations did not carry over for the Cincinnati Reds, who were pounded by the Cleveland Indians, 9-2, today. As wonderful as the Friday Wade Miley no-hitter felt from a Reds fan standpoint, today’s steamrolling by the light-hitting Indians brings up some questions that this team will need to consider if they truly hope to contend.

The Offense

This is a question nobody has asked out loud yet, but …

How much is the presence of Eugenio Suarez in the lineup hurting the Reds?

Before today’s game, his 2021 offensive WAR according to Fangraphs was -7.4. According to Wikipedia, a player’s WAR value is claimed to be the number of additional wins his team has achieved above the number of expected team wins if that player were substituted with a replacement-level player: a player who may be added to the team for minimal cost and effort.

So if that number is to be believed, Cincinnati would have seven more wins with a replacement-level player other than Suarez playing. (And if I am interpreting that incorrectly, please let me know.)

His wRC+, a numeric value signifying a player’s offensive value compared to an average number of 100, is 49. So he’s contributing half as much offensively as the AVERAGE player.

In the third inning, Chris Welsh referred to Suarez’s “little slump.” Unfortunately, it is anything but that.

His combined statistics for 2020 and 2021 before today’s game:

55-for-309, .178, 114 strikeouts

Like Lance and Marty, I’m going to reject the small sample size argument. Like the rest of Redleg Nation, I want Suarez to regain his batting eye and become the power and RBI threat he has been in the past. But until that begins to happen, it’s time to move him down in the lineup — and I mean WAY down.

The Pitching

And speaking of key players not producing …

Luis Castillo had another rough outing. He had no help from the defense, but he hurt himself with bad control both in and out of the strike zone. This team will not contend if he doesn’t rediscover his form of the past.

Ryan Hendrix was introduced to major league reality, giving up three runs, two hits and two walks in two-thirds of an inning.

Notes Worth Noting

This tweet brought back some fun memories from childhood …

But I’m not going to suggest that Suarez or Castillo should get into a dryer. Seems dangerous.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds vs Cleveland Indians

Sunday, May 9, 1:10 pm ET

Tyler Mahle (3.23 ERA, 1-1) vs Sam Hentges (5.00 ERA, 1-0)

47 Responses

  1. Melvin

    HMM. I’ve heard stories about Concepcion and the dryer. For Suarez is may be time. lol

  2. Mark Moore

    I’ll admit, I chose to Clete when we were down 6-1. The only surprise on the final is that we mustered 7 hits and scratched out another run.

    Tomorrow we play for Ohio Cup bragging rights or a sister-kissing tie for it. The only thing I’m 100% certain of is that I’m smoking a pork butt … everything else remains to be seen.

  3. Redsfan4life

    At this point as bad as Farmer is Bell has got to bench Suarez for a week. It helped with Votto last year. And if Votto can be benched Suarez for sure can be.

  4. Hanawi

    Maybe time to bring up AlfRod for a spell to at least help the infield defense? He can’t hit any worse than Suarez.

  5. Klugo

    How many games is that in a row since the suspension that Bell has not needed Garrett. 4 or 5 now, right? That’s good.

    • Jon

      Makes sense. Sit Garrett on the bench now while he’s available, then not be able to use him later either when he serves his suspension. David Bell logic.

      • Matt WI

        Bell will be all surprised that suspensions can’t be back dated like the IL.

    • greenmtred

      Castillo had already put the game out of reach before the bullpen was used. So unless Bell was going to start Garrett, it wouldn’t have helped, and probably wouldn’t have anyway.

      • VaRedsFan

        But when it was 3-1, and Castillo was in trouble, Bell had the 1 and only Cionel Perez warming up…nobody else. It goes unnoticed because Castillo gave up a 3 run triple. Why Perez in a 2 run (at the time) game?

  6. Jon

    Not only is Suarez not hitting, neither are Farmer, India, or Moustakas (or Blandino for that matter). I still think the Reds should do whatever it takes to acquire a SS ASAP. Trevor Story is certainly going to be dealt. The Reds need to acquire him and sign him to an extension.

    • RojoBenjy

      However I’d like to point out that from that list, Moustakas has continued to have productive at bats. Moving the runners and sacrifice flies for RBI

      What are Story’s away splits? Always risky to take a Coors Field Phenom—ask St. Louis about Arenado

      • VaRedsFan

        Nolan’s splits were certainly worse on the road…but he’s been hitting well for the Cards this year. Stupid Cardinal magic dust.

        Story splits
        Home – .305/.369/.619
        Away – .250/.318/.447

  7. AllTheHype

    Not that it would have helped this game, but wish there was a way to get this manager to put forth a more optimal lineup, analytically speaking. It is ironic how analytical the organization has become in recent years in every area except lineup optimization.

  8. Jon

    Anybody else worried about India? Starting to think he’s another one-month wonder, much like Aquino was (and Dietrich in his first month).

    • Melvin

      He hit the ball hard at least once tonight.

      • JB

        Yeah he got robbed by the shortstop. Its hard to come out of a slump sitting the bench.

    • Matt WI

      No… he was just never going to be that amazing as he started. Almost every rookie goes through a come back to earth phase. Far too soon to know what he’s really going to settle in like.

    • RojoBenjy

      I keep reminding myself that he never played AAA and it makes me feel better about his regression being no time to panic, and liking the idea of letting him drop down to L’ville for a spell, especially if AlfRod stays hot and they can bring him up. Gotta get something for the $6 million they gave him

    • Steven Ross

      It doesn’t take long for advanced scouting to write a new book on how to pitch someone and we’re seeing that unfold with India. Hopefully, he’ll adjust because he’s seeing a lot more breaking pitches versus early April when it was powder river.

      I feel for Suarez. He’s lost so yes, it is time to drop him down the order. This is painfully obvious. It’s also painfully obvious Castillo is a shell of his past few years. He can’t get out of the 1st without with giving up a run or two.

    • Roger Garrett

      Nope.He is 24 years old,he can play defense,he has some speed and some pop.He will be just fine if he is allowed to play.

  9. JB

    Mark Derosa on MLB Central supposedly fixed Javy Baezs swing when he was slumping. Maybe somebody should send a message on twitter to see if Derosa can fix Suarez. I would but I dont have twitter. Fixing Suarez might be the ultimate achievement.

  10. donny

    Having Castillo going out there to pitch is really frustrating right now. He has been that bad. Is it just me or is he hurting this team right now. I don’t hear to many people talking about it.
    All i have heard is that he likes to pitch in warm weather ? ”WHAT” So he is the only pitcher that can only pitch in warm weather ? He’s the worst pitcher on the staff right now.


    E Suarez not hitting has been a repeat comment or comments here on redlegnation for a while now! Not sure if he can get it together. Maybe Mark Derosa or Reds hitting coach or SOMEBODY PLEASE HELP be a miracle worker, and try to fix his swing! He is not doing the Reds any good by being in the lineup. I would sit him on the bench, and work on the side to try to improve his hitting or probably needs a change of scenery and trade him to see if another team can help him. Anybody the Reds have, or bring somebody up from farm league can do just as Suarez doing , what would it hurt. Just trade him, see what you can get for him.

    • Melvin

      I’d be glad to help him without any pay. lol It would save my sanity a little. It ain’t rocket science. If he wanted to be helped he would have by now. He’s just stubborn. Let’s face it. All it takes is a different hitting approach and philosophy. He’s not adjusting on his own and NO-ONE is making him (Mr. Bell). The talent is still there but unfortunately the willingness to humble himself and put the team first is not. Obviously.

      • RojoBenjy

        I’m not ready to lump Suárez in the Homer Bailey as far as stubbornness goes. But regardless of his heart, or work ethic, or team commitment—the results aren’t there.

        I said in another thread—a major league club serious about contending would not keep running Suárez out there right now unless he was batting 7-8-9

  12. GreatRedLegsFan

    Problem with those two guys is they aren’t easy to replace, one was a major offensive cog from 2017 until 2019 and the other has shown flashes of an ace since joining the rotation fulltime back in 2018. Management is not supposed to just continue throwing them up in the 4th/5th spot everyday, in one hand, and every five days in the other: Suarez shall be sent down in the order or benched for a few days and Castillo shall be skipped at least once or sent temporarily to the bullpen. India has also landed and has just flat out to major league pitching. I don’t foresee much playing time for Akiyama either, the current OF lineup is solid and that’s already excluding Aquino in IL. I guess that sooner than later we’ll see Garcia back and either Greene or Lodolo (or both) will be promoted. For the time being, and while Votto is out: Barnhart/Stephenson, Moustakas, Senzel, Farmer, Suarez/Blandino, Winker, Naquin, Castellanos.

  13. RojoBenjy

    How much does it deflate Castillo that (seemingly) EVERY game the defense makes errors behind him? What’s the data this year on which of the Reds starters has the worst defensive support?

    It has to get on a guy to look up after two innings and have 2 unearned on the scoreboard. It all started on opening day with the 6 spot after Henny’s gaff. So perhaps some of that psychology is working against him.

    He could emulate Mahle as far as even-keeled temperament goes— although Luis doesn’t show much, there has to be something internal, don’t you think?

    • VaRedsFan

      The problem is, he is not striking guys out anymore. More batted balls, more errors. Missing bats has always been his M.O….now his command is off, and his misses are in the middle of the plate.

  14. Old-school

    Weather looks like a rain out in Cleveland today. “Bang it”.

    Reds are 15-16 after 31 games. While Suarez has been dreadful and not giving competitive at bats, the Reds have had a lot of non-competitive losses and a lot of close wins. There’s only been a handful of games where his futility can be directly linked to an L.

    Throwing out the 15 wins-(they won after all)and throwing out blowout losses or losses where the opponent scored more than 5 runs, (Suarez offensive futility doesn’t impact a 9-2 Indian loss or White Sox 9-0 loss or Dodgers 8-0 loss) there are 6 games to date where offensive futility in close games cost the Reds an opportunity to win.

    Looking at games where the opponent scored 5 or fewer runs and the Reds lost- that’s where the Suarez futility can be directly correlated with losses and its not surprising “super” games against intra-divisional rivals magnifies the futility.

    1.) Cueto’s 3-0 masterpiece at SF- would not have mattered.
    2.) Dbacks 5-4 L with Mahle and Antone up 3-0 with 1 out to go. Bullpen implosion- not on the offense or Suarez
    3.) Cards sweep: 5-4 L, 2-0 L,5-2 L
    -Geno went 0-12 with 5 K in that series. Ouch.
    4.) Cubs loss 3-2: Geno went 0-4 with 3 K.

    Drop Geno to the 7 hole and keep him at 3b and give him 2 games off. With Votto out though, he needs another 30-40 games before you do something drastic- like replace him in the starting lineup.

    Bullpen or SP melt-downs against bad teams can’t happen, 1-5 against the Dbacks. Seven road games against the Pirates/Rockies coming up. Coors field.

    Offensive futility in close games against divisional rivals by Suarez cant happen( 0-16 with 8 K’s).

    • greenmtred

      Very interesting data and analysis, Old-School. I’m glad that you were careful to say “direct” impact: it would be impossible to figure out how much difference it would have made in even the blow-out losses if Suarez had been on base a time or two per game, or even if he had homered, since different events can set a different set of consequences in motion. I will note, as a Billy Hamilton fan, that Suarez right now is hitting worse than Billy did, and Billy could field his position. We howled about Billy being a starter.

    • VaRedsFan

      There’s a little truth to that, but what if he contributed something in the early innings, to keep the game close, or give the reds a lead. Then you don’t get the trash bullpen pitchers that lead to the eventual blowout.

    • Roger Garrett

      I agree.It is a team game and its about teams wins and not individual stats from my point of view as a fan.Your data is solid and appreciated and valid.I agree with dropping him down and giving him more time but at some point and I can’t say when something must be done and I can’t say what that is.I don’t watch the game so I can’t even comment on if he is doing anything different at the plate.All I know is based on his numbers and they are just awful.One could argue that with a punch out percentage in the high 30’s that he isn’t even competing.Its also hard to imagine that he is being overmatched at the plate so soon in his career or for this extended period of time covering last year and this year.One has to assume that he isn’t willing to make the adjustments that he needs to make in order to compete at the plate.Everybody pitcher knows the book on the hitters they face and they will and do keep doing the same thing until the hitter adjusts.Again I don’t have the answer but if he refuses to or no longer can make the adjustments then how can he be of any value to this team going forward.We need and I feel for him but its up to him the way I see it.

  15. Jack

    I’ve seen enough the past 2 years to convince me that Suarez is never going to make enough contact again to be worth starting. Bench him tell him he needs to totally retool his approach if he wants another chance. Whoever replaces him will be subpar because the Reds have no ready prospects but there is subpar then there is whatever Suarez is.

  16. ClevelandRedsFan

    Reds need to make moves with India and Suarez.

    Suarez’ swing looks like John Daly’s in a long-drive contest. He looks like he’s trying to hit driver with his long, looping, uppercut. His plate coverage is atrocious and pitchers know to just throw him outside. Bell and Zinter need to force him to make adjustments. Be quicker to the ball and stop uppercutting. Sit him for 3-4 days and have him work on his approach. It is mind boggling that he still hits in the middle of the lineup everyday.

    I love that they brought India up on opening day. But, he’s not an everyday player right now at the big-league level. Send him down to AAA to make the adjustments Bell says he needs to make. Let Senzel start everyday at 2B.

    • Maloney63

      Agree with everything you said. Senzel needs to play every day at 2B, India needs to go to AAA, Suarez needs to be dropped to the bottom part of the order and if he doesn’t straighten himself out be benched once Votto comes back. Right now I’m amazed every time he DOESN’T strike out…I never expect him to actually get a hit!

      • ClevelandRedsFan

        These moves allow both Naquin (CF) and Senzel (2B) to play every day. Naquin has earned the right to play every day, and will likely replace Castellanos in RF if he walks. Reds still need to give Senzel regular playing time to see if he can live up to expectations, and he is starting to come around.

  17. Old-school

    Looks like game postponed on mlb starting lineups

    On to pittsburgh and Colorado
    Gotta make some hay next 7 games

    • LDS

      Excellent, at least the Reds won’t lose today.

  18. RedsGettingBetter

    It is intersting to review and compare Suarez’s stats before and after the shoulder surgery …I think it is a key point…i don’t know but all this long slump comes after that surgery..

    • RojoBenjy

      If that’s the case then he has a bad shoulder and it’s bad break for him that he hasn’t made it back from it. At what point do you say the shoulder has washed him out?

      Getting impatient.

      Again, as a friend, you want to give him every chance. But they don’t hand out pennants or the Commissioner’s Trophy in MLB for being a loyal friend

  19. MBS

    I get the panic on Suarez, but why are people not more worried about Castillo? We are talking about an “Ace” that put the Reds in losing situations every 5th game. He has literally 1 start where it would be considered a “Quality Start”. You can hide a slumping hitter in the lineup by putting him in the 7 or 8 hole. You can’t hide a starter.

    • Doug Gray

      I guess I have two things here:

      1st, how on Earth are you not seeing people freaking out about Castillo? I feel like I’ve seen it 10,000 times.

      2nd, he’s got a 4.75 ERA in the last month. That’s not good, but it’s certainly not so bad that the team is out of every game before it even starts. April 7th he won. April 13th he left the game with the Reds leading. April 20th he left the game trailing 3-2. May 1st he left the game trailing 3-2. Not what you want from your top guy, but he hasn’t been handing out complete clunkers every game.

      That said, check back at 5pm. I wrote about Castillo, what’s wrong, and how he isn’t the guy he has been in the past.

      • MBS

        1) there is talk, but not at the same level as Suarez, look at you article for example. It’s 100% about Castillo and the first comments are about Suarez. It’s just a higher degree of panic.

        2) He hasn’t been able to get out of the 6th inning but 1 time. If Bell left him in longer who knows how bad it would be. W and L on a starter are not good measures of success. If you play the game one of these things is not like the other, it looks even bleaker. You take out his 7 inning performance (which is the anomaly) and he’d have a 8.10 era. The thing about stats are you can manipulate them by picking favorable outcomes to your arguments. Eyeball test still says Castillo performances have been real bad, like if he were the 5th man in the rotation, he’d be in AAA by now. Obviously that’s not the way to fix Castillo, just illustrates how bad he’s been.

        3.1 IN, 7.0 IN, 5.0 IN, 4.0 IN, 5.0 IN, 5.1 IN, 4.0 IN

    • Mark Moore

      Panic? No. Extremely concerned that he’s performing the way he is? Absolutely. If Suarez is predictably an automatic out, then Castillo is right now an assumed loss for us and win for the other team. He’s just not the pitcher we’ve seen in the past. And you are correct: you can’t hide a starter.