The Cincinnati Reds defense hurt them early and a bunch of walks would haunt them late as they fell to 22-28 with a loss to the Chicago Cubs on Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (22-28)
2 5 1
Chicago Cubs (29-22)
10 13 1
W: Thompson (3-1) L: Castillo (1-8)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

The Offense

There wasn’t much going on for the Reds offense early. In the 4th inning a leadoff single by Eugenio Suárez was followed by a 1-out walk from Nick Castellanos to put two men on, but Tyler Naquin struck out and Tyler Stephenson lined out to center to leave both of them stranded.

In the top of the 6th inning the Reds started things with back-to-back walks to begin the inning from Eugenio Suárez and Jesse Winker. That brought Nick Castellanos to the plate to face a left-handed pitcher. This is the spot where Castellanos thrives. But it wasn’t to be in this situation as he struck out. With lefty Tyler Naquin due up, David Bell opted to send pinch-hitter Scott Heineman to the plate to get a better match up. He worked a 7-pitch walk to load the bases and the Cubs went to the bullpen and brought on Keegan Thompson with Tyler Stephenson coming to the plate.

The Cubs may have wanted that one back as Stephenson doubled down the right field line to plate two runs and tie the game up and put runners at 2nd and 3rd with just one out. That was all Cincinnati would get as Max Schrock popped up and Jonathan India struck out to end the inning. That was the last time the Reds would truly threaten.

The Pitching

Luis Castillo hasn’t pitched well this year. But the defense has done him absolutely zero favors all season long and the 2nd inning was no different. Willson Contreras led off with a single and was bunted over to second base. No harm, no foul. But then David Bote grounded a ball to Eugenio Suárez at shortstop, who caught Contreras between the bases and ran at him before throwing to third. Any sort of reasonable throw easily gets Contreras, but somehow Suárez lobbed the ball 10 feet over the head of Max Schrock and Contreras was safe and then Bote moved up to second. The next play was an RBI infield single to shortstop. Then Zach Davis laid down what should have been a sacrifice bunt, but Jonathan India failed to cover first base and it went down as an RBI single that made it 2-0.

Luis Castillo had some things going his way moving forward. That is until the bottom of 6th inning when he walked the first two batters of the inning and was replaced by Amir Garrett.

The Reds caught a break on the first hitter he faced as he hit him with a pitch, but Rafael Ortega was ruled to have missed a bunt – and replay seems to show that he did pull the bat backwards at the time. That was the last break they’d catch in the inning (insert foreshadowing ominous tones). Ortega followed up by bunting the ball foul with two strikes, resulting in a strikeout. Garrett got out to an 0-2 count but would walk Patrick Wisdom to load the bases. The lefty couldn’t find the strikezone once again, this time walking in the go-ahead run before he was removed in favor of Tejay Antone who had to come in with the bases still loaded and just one out. After striking out Nick Martini, Joc Pederson lopped a single just over the outstretched glove of a leaping Jonathan India and two runs scored, making it 5-2. Another run scored when Kris Bryant singled into left to give the Cubs a 4-run lead. Javier Báez struck out to end the pain and suffering in the 6th.

The pain and suffering wasn’t over yet, though. Rafael Ortega hit a solo home run – his first of the year – to make it 7-2 in the bottom of the 7th. The Cubs continued to play add on in the 8th. To quote Harry Doyle…. you know what, I probably shouldn’t. The Cubs scored more runs than the Reds did.

Notes Worth Noting

In the 8th inning Nick Castellanos doubled into left center. That extended his hitting streak to 15 games.

Nick Senzel’s knee surgery went as expected. No timeline for his return was announced, but the knee scope is generally a 4-6 week timeline.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds at Chicago Cubs

Sunday May 30th, 2:20pm ET

Tyler Mahle (3-2, 3.75 ERA) vs Jake Arrieta (5-4, 4.37 ERA)

51 Responses

  1. Melvin

    Well call me silly but when you’ve got arguably your worst defender playing SS and arguably your worst hitter this year batting leadoff it just doesn’t seem wise. Silly me. That’s not the whole problem but it doesn’t help…..at all.

    • burtgummer01

      That worst hitter is hitting .417 since being put in at leadoff

      • RojoB

        Interesting.

        A really good three games for him. Maybe he’s found a groove and can keep it going

      • Melvin

        I hear ya but even with that small sample size of success, while still pulling the ball mostly, he’s still hitting .162 on the season. He’s still a hitter that can only “slug” and nothing else batting leadoff. Bottom line always is if it produces wins great. That’s all that matters.

      • Frostgiant

        I don’t know if I agree with putting Geno in the leadoff spot but maybe it has forced him to change his approach. He seems to be more willing to go the other way and isn’t pulling out so much. He has had a couple of walks to. Maybe it gets his swing right.

    • Gary Fissel

      Need to keep Suarez at 3B and put Farmer at SS. The Reds need to limit their errors.

  2. Sliotar

    50 games in … the Reds have run out of spare runway with regards to the record.

    -If they go .500 over the remaining 112 games (which isn’t a lock) … that’s only 78 wins.

    – To reach 90 wins … they need to win 60% of the remaining games.

    Tomorrow’s game with Mahle pitching, expecting to be competitive because of him, feels about about of a “must win” game as you can get before Memorial Day.

    • Nelson Coble

      Turn out the lights, the party is over as Dandy Don would say on Monday night football. A clueless run teams with a clueless organization. Dump Bell and play the youngsters.

      • JayTheRed

        You know some of the best managed games the past few years have been from Freddie Benavidez.. I honestly don’t know if he is still here this year, but If they want a cheap manager who actually tries to make intelligent moves maybe he could be the new interim manager.

        Suarez needs to stop playing SS. Honestly why not give Rodriquez a shot. Suarez has been so much more comfortable looking while playing 3b.

        I don’t know how many more times we can go out and let Castillo and Garrett lose games for us. They just don’t seem to have it. I don’t know maybe they are tipping their pitches?

        Not sure why Naquin needed to be pinch hit for either. Seems odd.

        I was really hoping we would win the next few games. Mahle give us hope…

    • Hanawi

      This is a team that started 6-1 too. 11 games under .500 since then, and I mentioned before, they’ve played a pretty easy schedule so far with lots of games against the bottom teams in the NL (D-back, Pirates, Rockies, Nats).

      They should be looking to sell. Castellanos and Barnhardt would be at the top of my list. If they can find a taker for Moustakos, I’d sell low on him and Akiyama. I could go either way on Gray, who still has lots of value. Probably have to hold on to Suarez and Castillo and hope they rebound.

      • ohiojimwalker

        They need Sonny Gray to anchor and mentor the kid starters for a couple of seasons. The Reds had their share of wandering in the pitching wilderness from 2015-17. Who knows of some of those highly touted guys would have fared better with some mentoring at the MLB level? To hear Barnhart tell it now, nobody was giving effective help to anyone in that era; and, he had to learn along with the pitchers and try to help them at the same time.

        Gray’s deal is a good team contract too. The total cost of 2022-23 is $22-24M (2023 is a $12M team option). That is part of what makes him valuable; but, I think he is more valuable to the Reds than whoever he would bring back.

    • ohiojimwalker

      Mahle has come up with 2 big road performances in a row under similar circumstances. Let’s hope he has a trifecta in him or at least enough the Reds can eventually emerge with the W.

    • ALLAN C

      The only people who see tomorrow as must win are smart fans.

      • greenmtred

        Must win for what? If this team, as constructed, is actually a serious contender, then yes. A really good winning streak would make them viable. But it has been clear since before the season even started that the intention was to cut back this season. Winker and Castellanos have, perhaps, clouded our judgment, but I’m officially in wait until next year mode–hanging on in hopes of seeing some of the young talent later in the season.

  3. Tomn

    Garrett chokes in the clutch. Needed him to shut the door and he opened it wide. If it wasn’t for the call of the K on the batter who was trying to bunt (and actually looked to be pulling his bat back), he wouldn’t have gotten anyone out. He couldn’t throw his slider for anything approaching a strike and his fastball was all over the place. Castillo was actually as good as he’s been in a long time, until the Reds actually managed to tie the game, then he went in the crapper. Nerves? The game was actually back in his control and he let it go. All in all, so disappointing. Especially after the series in Washington.

    • RedsKoolAidDrinker

      Has Garrett just been choking in the clutch or had he since been bad no matter what the situation ?

    • BatsLeftThrowsRight

      Shut down innings, Shut down innings……What do Reds’ pitchers do the very next half inning after their team scores? Usually walk guys and or give up some runs. I just don’t understand why they seem to be so mentally weak in this part of the game.

      Shut down innings are not only extremely important, they are character builders and momentum swingers.

  4. Mark Moore

    Unmitigated disaster our there. Yes, a couple of bright spots, but they don’t help the overall picture today or other days. Glad Castellanos keeps up his streak. Time to tear down whatever you can and figure out what comes next. Biggest tear down should be Bell and selling the franchise IMO.

    • Rex

      trade the great Nick and build for the post Joey era

    • Tom Reeves

      Sell to who?

      Cincinnati isn’t stocked with billionaires who would be loyal to the city.

      Bob C is the least wealthy owner in the MLB with one of the smallest market teams. Until the MLB evens out the revenue, Cincinnati has a very narrow opportunity to win.

      Any billionaire that buys this team has to consider relocation as a way to maximize revenue.

      So, be careful what you wish for.

  5. JB

    This team is becoming unwatchable again. There is no Trevor Bauer to help them this year. June 2nd is “opening day” again.? Laughable.

    • JayTheRed

      Honestly the way they are playing why would anyone want to go to a game for Re-Opening Day. The Owner has made it difficult for this team to win games consistently but like on the podcast here they said why would he make an effort to create a winning team.

      • TR

        I thought the Reds were going in the right direction a couple years ago with Dick Williams as the president. There must have been something organizationally he couldn’t deal with for him to apparently cut ties. Us fans need to hear occasionally from the GM and the Castellini family regarding the state of the Reds.

      • RojoB

        Reopening old wounds is about right for now

  6. Dennis Westrick

    If the Reds had won just half of Castillo’s 8 losses they would be 26-24. Most of the losses fall on Castillo’s poor performance. He was OK today until the 2 walks to lead off the 6th. A decent bullpen should have been able to limit the damage but AG and TA both failed miserably! If this team has any fire or heart they will come out tomorrow and score early and often. More than 2 runs for TM please!

    • CFD3000

      I was going to make this same point Dennis. I actually like this team, especially when healthy. But Castillo (and Suarez) have been really bad. How long do you keep running them out there, and in key slots. One way or the other that’s got to change.

  7. BatsLeftThrowsRight

    A very depressing team to watch. Don’t see what is going to change this team this year. Sure would like to see Greene and Lodolo in the next month.

    This organization does nothing to help itself. Fans shouldn’t care about a team that the Owner doesn’t care about.

  8. Old-school

    Amir Garrett is the most overrated Reds pitcher in decades. A weak fastball and a solo slider that every team knows is coming.

    Hes right there with Cody Reed and Robert Stephenson and Sal Romano.

    • Reddawg2012

      100%. He’s just louder than those other guys.

    • Doug Gray

      The difference seven weeks makes in an opinion……

      • ohiojimwalker

        Don’t believe anything that happens on a baseball diamond in spring training or September games with teams not still in a playoff race.

      • Old-school

        Robert Stephenson would be the most overrated of the last decade as a top organizational prospect and # draft pick. But Garrett made the Futures games 2 years in a row, was the #3 Reds prospect in 2016 and #69 overall in MLB and #2 Reds prospect in 2017.

        Then he couldn’t handle starting pitcher so was demoted to a reliever. Bell functionally demoted him in the bullpen to Loogie status since day 1 of the Bell tenure……….Opening Day 2019 in the 9th inning when Bell pulled Garrett for David Hernandez after he got out one lefty hitter.

        In 2021, the Reds let Iglesias and Bradley go and Lorenzen is hurt and MLB rules have changed such that lefty pitchers have to stay for 3 batters and get out righty hitters.

        Garrett just isn’t very good outside of a very defined and limited role…….. situational lefty pitcher against a lefty hitter for a batter or 2. He was my favorite prospect in 2017 and thought he would be a dominant SP-but that’s a steep fall to bad bullpen pitcher who cant get out right handed hitters and only has 1 pitch. He used to throw a 2 seam as a sinker and a change up but now only has a mediocre 4 seam FB and a good slider that isn’t effective without the other pitches because everyone knows what’s coming.

    • BatsLeftThrowsRight

      Why is Garret still pitching in high leverage situations and why is Castillo still a starter with an era over seven with one third of the season gone?

      Zero accountability for two guys who continue to get a pass, I’m sick of the excuses.

      And they keep playing that commercial with Castillo over and over, I mean really is Castillo the only player on the team?

  9. GreatRedLegsFan

    Out of the 28 losses so far, 8 are in Castillo’s record, while several others can be directly linked to Suarez poor performance. It’s almost impossible to determine, but WAR is a good stat to take into account (-1.1 and -0.7, respectively). The more they play, the deeper Reds will sink.

    • TR

      Unexpected falloffs from Castillo and Suarez plus injuries find the Reds in the familiar NLC fourth place.

      • BatsLeftThrowsRight

        How many games has this “major league” bull-pen cost them?

  10. gusnwally

    I think the Reds need to contact the Tigers. Work some kind of trade for Mize, Turnbull or Fullmer. Offer them some one to build with, India will be cheap for quite a while. Or some highly thought of prospects. At least see if they are interested.

    • BatsLeftThrowsRight

      India is over-rated. Did you see him whiff on that fastball right down broadway yesterday? He’s done a lot of that. His swing is long and loopy and he always what seems to me to be like searching to hit and almost scoop up the baseball. He has a terrible swing and won’t hit consistently at the major league level.

      There are very few hitters on the team with great plate coverage, a great hitter to me hits the ball where it is pitched when necessary, hits to all fields, works the counts, makes adjustments from pitch to pitch and according to pitch count. A good hitter crushes 2-0, 3-1 pitches, but also knows when to let those pitches go by.

      I seen enough hitters to know India won’t hit more than .240 in the major leagues.

      • gusnwally

        Well, I really was just using him as an example of some one young inexpensive and possibly of interest. But any combo of young guys or anybody they would be interedted in would be fine. But they need help and those young pitchers have promise. But, thanks for commenting.

      • Maloney63

        Agree about India. He needs seasoning at AAA. India, Farmer, Schrock and Blandino are all just basically .200 hitters at this point. Might as well throw Geno in there too. And Moose and Votto haven’t exactly torn it up when they were in there either. Our infield is a mess!! Has to be combined offensively and defensively far and away the worst in baseball. Too bad because our Outfield and Catching is probably among the best, at least offensively.

  11. Doc4uk

    If I was the GM I would realize that I am getting very little from my bench and that includes current starters Farmer , India, and Blandino. This has become a tee ball team ie first four hitters have been doing all of the hitting and the remainder provide nothing except ssspoor fielding,s no power, and low averages. Send them down to Louisville and see if they can do anything there

    Trade Miley and India and Moustakis to get a decent right handed bat at first base and perhaps A proven bull pen arm.

    Bring up Rodriguez and Barrero and see how they do. Same for Lodolo and Greene . Let Castillo work out of the pen and send Garrett and Doolittle down as well to work on their control and maybe in Garrett’s case develop a splitter or change up.

    The future is now. Lodolo, Greene, Gutierrez, Gray, and Mahle.

  12. JB

    Jose Garcia with the call up? I see he is listed on IL report with the Reds on today’s lineup.

  13. BatsLeftThrowsRight

    One major factor why this ownership and front office doesn’t do well, is they never trade from strength but rather from weakness. These other teams are not operated by fools, they are not going to trade for some of the Red’s problems, nor are they looking to help the Reds out. Baseball is a business and the Reds’ organization has shown they are unwilling to pull the trigger at the right time and or spend their money wisely.

    After the Bailey and Votto contracts, this team is either “gun shy” or “snake bitten,” maybe both. Here we go again, a fire sale in June and what will the Reds show for it?

  14. CI3J

    Now, let me start by saying that I’m not a huge fan of David Bell. I don’t hate him, but he’s always just been a “meh” kind of character to me.

    That said, I can’t really fault him for being 6 games under .500 when his expected ace is pitching like Eric Milton. Castillo has started 11 games, and his record is 1-8 in those games. I think it would be reasonable to have expected that record to be exactly the reverse of that by this point in the season (8-1). In that case, the Reds would be 2 games over .500, and probably even more since if Castillo is pitching well, it trickles down to letting the bullpen rest more and not having to pitch in so many high leverage situations.

    I also know that Castillo isn’t the only problem that the Reds have had, but he’s a big one.

    Are we absolutely sure Castillo is not injured? His velocity is fine, right? It’s baffling how he has completely and suddenly fallen off a cliff after being one of the best young starters in MLB for the last few seasons.

    If Suarez and Castillo had performed like expected to date, there is little doubt the Reds would be, at least, a .500 team, and probably much better than a .500 team. Did Suarez and Castillo have COVID and they just never fully recovered?

    It’s really baffling.

  15. Jimbo44CN

    People talking about trading away India to try and get some relief pitchers? Give me a break, this kid is going to be good, and the nucleus of him, STephenson, Garcia, Greene, Lodolo with Winker and possibly Casteanos is the future. Bring up the youngsters, fire David Bell and see what happens the rest of the year. Soon we will have Aquino and Joey back, then you can send Payton, Srock or Heinieman back down.
    We obviously are not going to make they playoffs with Blandino at first and Srock at third. Just get the kids up and let them play. At least that would be better than what we are seeing now.