The Cincinnati Reds had not made it to the All-Star break with a winning record in seven years. That changed on Friday night in Milwaukee. The Reds clinched their first winning record in the first half since 2014.

Tucker Barnhart got his first start of the year against a left-handed starting pitcher, and got the Reds on the board in the 4th inning.

The game remained close throughout. Wade Miley was sensational and would remain in the game into the 9th inning. The Reds defense helped him out late in the game. Jesse Winker drove in a big insurance run in the top of the 7th. He nabbed Jace Peterson trying to stretch a single into a double for a big first out in the bottom of the 7th.

Kyle Farmer topped Winker with a big play.

The Reds defense was not done. Eugenio Suarez made an incredible play that ended up being a double play on runner interference. For all the calls that went against the Reds yesterday, they all seemed to go their way on this night.

David Bell decided to let Wade Miley hit in the top of the 9th. Miley was at 103 pitches. It was clearly a move that Bell would not have made if he had more faith in his bullpen. Miley allowed a leadoff double in the bottom of the 9th and was pulled. He left with a 8.0 shutout innings, but there was still an uneasy feeling. Heath Hembree came out and put those feelings to rest quickly. He struck out the side for a Reds win.

The Reds are now 23-14 in their last 37 games, and they are 6.0 back in the NL Central. The Reds are also now 31-14 vs the NL Central since September 13, 2020.

Final R H E
Milwaukee Brewers (53-37) 0 7 2
Cincinnati Reds (46-42) 2 6 0
W: Miley (7-4) L: Lauer (3-4) S: Hembree (5)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

Biggest Play of the Game

Source: FanGraphs

According to Fangraphs WPA statistic (winning percentage added), the most important play of the game was Wade Miley’s leadoff double (reach third base on an error) in the 7th inningThat play increased the Reds probability of winning by 10.8% (from 69.7% to 16.8%).


Wade Miley is just incredible. His final line tonight: 8.0 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K. Miley has now lowered his ERA to 2.80. Miley also doubled, reached third base on an error and scored a huge go-ahead run. It was the biggest win probability added play of the night, and the hardest hit ball of the night (104.8 EV). Miley should seriously get some consideration as an NL All-Star alternate. He now has the 12th best ERA in the league.

Heath Hembree was nails. He struck out the side in the 9th after Miley’s leadoff double. Yes, Hembree’s 4.97 ERA is nothing to be lauding. However, his xFIP is now down to 3.05. His expected ERA entering the night was 3.10. Heath certainly should not be the Reds closer, but he could be a really nice option when the Reds get Antone, Sims and Lorenzen back. He would be an even better options if they add a reliever or two on top of that.

Jesse Winker entered play hitting .069/.182/.069 in the month of July. Winker was able to work a walk in 1 of his 3 PA vs the tough matchup against Lauer, but in the 7th inning he drove in a a big run with a double.

Aristides Aquino reached base twice tonight (single, walk). Jonathan India reached base three times (2 hits, HBP). That dude is incredible. He now has the 7th highest OBP in all of baseball at .395.

The Reds defense flashed some serious leather tonight. Jesse Winker threw out a big runner trying to stretch a single into a double. Kyle Farmer kept doing his thing, as he made a really slick play going to his right and throwing in the air to nab the Brewers catcher. Eugenio Suarez made an incredible play in the 8th to get the Reds out of the inning.


Haha. No. Nothing here. Go Reds.

Not so random thoughts……………….

David Bell decided to let Wade Miley hit in the top of the 9th. Miley was at 103 pitches and the Reds were up 2-0. It would be a no-brainer call to pull him if you have Antone, Sims or probably even Lorenzen. Bell decided to let Miley hit. It backfired, as Miley promptly allowed a double to lead off the inning. It’s really one of those lose-lose calls for Bell. Please get this man some better relievers.

I know that just about everyone on social media hated the YouTube broadcast. I didn’t think it was that bad overall. Ya, Dan Plesac mispronounced a couple guys names, but I thought that play-by-play guy Stephen Nelson did a nice job. It was mostly a fun listen. The only thing that stinks about streaming a game is being pretty far behind the action if you are following on MLB Gameday or Statcast.

Up Next: 

Reds at Brewers
Saturday, 7:15 PM
Vladimir Gutierrez (4.67 ERA) vs Freddy Peralta (2.23 ERA)

124 Responses

  1. Grand Salami

    No comments yet. Odd.

    Great win with a featured game status. Geno stepped up and this team looked the opposite of last night overall.

    Reds are doing great but in no man’s land with castellanos. Best hope is he continues to be just okay to end of season while the team compensates and he forgoes his option.

  2. kevinz

    Nice to see just a start imo.
    We all have waited for the India’s and Stephenson’s of the world.
    Senzel as well, shame Health, which cannot predict.
    Good Pitching since end of may, has been huge.
    Been waiting for this for awhile.
    Mix of the Young with Good Vets around.
    Plenty season Left, along with Future Positive outlook.

    • Grand Salami

      Senzel carried a lot of expectations. Like Bruce or Winker these guys were watched and waited upon. Now that India and Stephenson are here and surpassing expectations, hopefully he can return without pressure and play within himself. I think he’d be healthier and better for it.

      I don’t want to see another Mesoraco

      • RojoB

        I’d love to see Senzel doing well at third base for the next 10 seasons

      • kevinz

        I agree Salami with all your Points.
        Like how he was Controlling the Zone before got Hurt.
        So just hope for good health at this Point.
        Talent is not the issue for sure with Senzel.
        Same here Rojo that would be the dream.
        Just need him Healthy moving forward.

  3. BatsLeftThrowsRight

    Reds must get at least one of next two here in Milwaukee.

    For all those that think the Brewers starting pitchers are far above the rest of this division and rated as elite, I want you to look at each one’s maximum innings for a season, besides from Anderson the rest will be in uncharted waters come the next week or two. Let’s see how their arms respond/hold up to what will be a massive increase in innings total by the end of the year.

    • Nick Kirby

      Wow, love this comment. This really gives me hope and wasn’t something that I really thought about.

    • RojoB

      Another reason to add to why the Brewers are a fragile team.

      Good stuff

  4. Hanawi

    Miley really an unsung MVP of this team. He’s had a few gems like tonight but mostly has just been really, really solid. Keeps them in games and provides innings that the bullpen doesn’t need to cover.

    • Grand Salami

      4.4 WAR on an 8 mill deal this year. Team option for 10 mill next year. This turned out to be a fantastic signing.

      Last year at this same time we all thought it was a big miss but at least the Moose signing was solid.

  5. Bet on Red

    Could not stand the announcers. Will take a split here and win the series after the break. Still astonished no one has been thrown out yet after these two gamea

    • Earmbrister

      Counsell was close to getting tossed. Didn’t mind the announcers, but how in the world does Dan Plesac start the game with his keys to the game including Jesse Winkler and Joey Votti? He made a second Winkler reference later in the game.

      Heckuva an AB (10 pitches?) on the Fonz’s double.

    • BZ

      These umpires have been bad. Thursday night was dreadful with O’Hara. It was the 8th worst accuracy rating and had the 3rd most missed calls in any game this season. I’ll be curious to see how last night is scored.

  6. LGR

    It’s weird. I swear Suarez makes the harder defensive plays and errors the easier ones. I really hope to see Lopez get a start in one of these next 2 games. Guy needs a chance to play.

  7. J

    Apologies if people have already discussed this, but has anyone noticed Winker stopped doing his backward bends prior to each pitch? I’m not sure when he stopped, but I noticed it in this game. Not sure what to make of it.

    • Tim

      I’ve been thinking recently that it has been making him late and unstable as the ball arrives. I said a month ago that it was interfering with his timing.

      • JB

        I thought the same as well. He doesnt seem to be set as the ball is getting there. His timing seems off.

  8. Slicc50

    Nice win tonight! Could have easily lost this one after losing a tough one lastnight. Wade Miley is the man! Hopefully that fine AB by Jesse will help get him going. How about Jonathan India? .395 OBP! That is getting it done! Imagine how good they could be if Geno could get going! Big if at this point though

  9. Rcsodak

    Will they please sit Suarez! How many k’s with risp does it take for bell to say enough is enough! He is a walking dichotomy…either hits a homer or strikes out(more X’s) and either makes a crazy defensive play or an error.

    • Slicc50

      What gets me is Geno’s struggles vs. left handed pitching. I mean he is 8-68 on the season with a .461 ops I believe. Just doesn’t make sense to me. Until last year, he always hit lefties very well.

      • Hanawi

        It makes sense if the lefties are just pounding the outside against him. He doesn’t hit line drives and doesn’t go the other way anymore. Both of those rates have declined quite a bit the last two years. His EV numbers have also fallen quite a bit this year and are similar to when he first came up, but those years he was more of a line drive to all fields hitter.

  10. Rednat

    Our pitching is strong. Our hitting is top tier in the league. Our defense is solid and improving on a daily basis. Our weakness is our baserunning and it is really hurting us. We are leaving way too many
    Runs on the table. We are like a basketball team that has all the weapons but cant make their free throws.

    I would really like to see Bell coach 3rd base. Clean up the baserunning errors combined with more aggressive intelegence on the bases and we can score more runs for sure.

    • BZ

      House seems like a nice guy and the players seem to love him BUT I’ve been thinking for awhile that he must be the most conservative 3B coach in the league. It is maddening sometimes.

      • Earmbrister

        Aquino getting caught off third-base was either over aggressiveness or just carelessness on Aquino’s part. We lost a big opportunity there.

      • KDJ

        I’m a fan of Aquino’s, but watching him get picked off third brought back memories of BP.

  11. Melvin

    If Miley is going to pitch 8 shutout innings he can choose any catcher he wants. I’ll catch for him if he wants, or shine his shoes, bring him water, do his laundry…whatever he wants. He can make out the lineup himself for cryin out loud. Considering he had the hardest hit ball of the night at 108 off the bat I would expect him to move himself up in the batting order. 🙂

    • Lt

      Can’t agree with you more. Hope the bats of position players wake up today. Need to score a few more runs to support Vlad.

    • MBS

      I’m in agreement. If a pitcher feels more comfortable, and gets better results with a catcher why not.

  12. TR

    A big win for the Reds. Suarez throw, late in the game, to get the runner at second was major league. Credit to Bell for going with Miley in the 9th. Hembree came through.

    • JA

      I am not fan of Eugenio Suarez playing everyday. However, That was probably one of the best defensive play of the month in MLB. superior play, ala Ozzy Smith or ala George Brett.

      • Herbert Dearing

        Surface is on pace with other years he will be better the second half of the season

    • beelicker

      Ironic that the ‘black hole’ lost cause gang vs LHP was responsible for all the scoring … Saurez walked and Barnhart doubled him in, Miley ‘triples’ and Winker knocked him in

  13. BZ

    I have to admit, I thought there was about a 100% chance the Reds were losing when Hembree came in. He looked good but I can’t wait for Antone/Lorenzen/Sims to come back. I’m curious to see how things play out with Hoffman and Santillan too.

    • Grand Salami

      I was listening to both the Cards and Royals bull pen implosions in real time. Had I been listening last night, I totally would have felt the same!

    • Alan Horn

      Between those 5 hopefully the BP will straighten out. We still need a solid LH out of the pen. Osich has been ok lately but his track record doesn’t reflect his work of late.

    • burtgummer01

      Sims is average at best can’t figure out the love he gets

      • BZ

        Everyone in the bullpen right now is below-average at best. Sims is an upgrade and makes the team better.

    • Roger Garrett

      He got the benefit of strike 3 that was way out side but he just said here it is hit it if you can.Last night they couldn’t and Reds win.If he keeps it in the park and throws strikes well just like every pitcher then his stuff plays.He closes if it were me until he doesn’t.Guy has stepped up and is 5 out of 6 in chances.

  14. Dennis Westrick

    Sonny Gray has been my favorite Reds pitcher since he came to the club from the Yankees! But if Wade Miley keeps this up I may have to switch allegiance!

    • TR

      Miley has been around the track a number of times since this is his 11th. ML season. I was not impressed when the Reds acquired him, but I was wrong since Miley has been a major factor in keeping the Reds afloat.

  15. Klugo

    The broadcast was modern, and interesting. I enjoyed it. It was like watching American Ninja Baseball.

    One thing I have to give the Reds FO some credit for in recent years is the way they’ve acquired good, veteran starting pitchers. From Straily to Roark to Bauer to Gray to Miley, they’ve chosen not only good arms but leaders for the young arms to learn from.

    • Dennis Westrick

      Well said my friend! That’s why I like the Reds chances if the can get into the postseason!

      • LT

        We can win with good pitching in regular season. In post season, offense wins. I think reds offense is too hard inconsistent for Reds to be a contender in post season. But hey, let’s win this pennant race!

  16. Mark Moore

    It was a joy to watch Miley, especially the “little league triple” he hit. He’s dialed in this year on multiple fronts. Two more days with the Bernies against their best. I want them both but will settle for one.

    • Jim Walker

      I was splitting eye time between the game on a tablet with no audio and something my wife was watching on the big screen when Miley got the “triple.” I thought Shogo had come on as a pinch hitter and was the hitter/ runner on the play until I eventually picked up the #22 on the uniform. 😉

  17. doofus

    Negative: Suarez 4 LOB (3 in scoring position).

  18. DataDumpster

    Excellent game! Miley continues to astound me and its nice to see some sparkling defense from a team that usually surprises on the other side of that ledger. Kudos to Nick K. also. His writing is crisp, filled with relevant statistical data, and augmented with good replays for those who don’t usually watch the game.
    As far as the broadcast, a good idea has already turned stale. It’s probably a mix of second rate broadcasters and the different flow of the action/commercials on a streaming format. Still beats the Sadak drama and before him, Thom’s stupid stories, on the Red’s broadcast.
    Having not watched a game in quite a while, I noticed that Winker looks very uncomfortable at the plate even though he did battle to get that key double late in the game. He seems fidgety, skinnier that I remember, and not swinging with as much authority as before. Nothing to get excessively concerned about, just an observation. Everybody eventually gets in a slump (except maybe Nick C.)

  19. Roger Garrett

    Not to worry about Wink at the plate.Guy was platooned against lefties for goodness sakes even last year.Just need to pencil him in the 2 or 3 hole every day for a few years and move on from him.No way he and Casty were going to carry this team all year long but again he gets a big hit late and a big throw late.HH just needs to keep the ball in the park but what else is new playing in GABP.Reds still doing it with smoke and mirrors.No reason to think it will be any different the rest of the way.Bell is handicapped with whom he has to play every day and the pen he has to deal with.We just watch and play on and wonder how good we could be if the best players played and we had a pen that was just average.Amazing we are even in second place at this time in July.

    • TR

      Well said regarding The Wink. Downs happen. He’s a natural hitter

  20. Beaufort Red

    Not gonna be popular but I think it’s time move Suarez, let Lopez play third until Moose is ready and eventually move Senzel to his natural 3rd. The future infield could be Senzel 3rd, Garcia ( don’t remember new name) SS, India 2nd, and Votto at 1st then Stephenson. All young and controllable for a while.

    • Jim Walker

      Jose (Garcia) Barrero

      I am not averse to migrating Stephenson to 1B; but, it might be a lot easier to find someone (else) to be a 1B masher than to find another catcher with TS’s offensive ceiling. This is certainly a key decision the Reds will need to make.

      I hope Senzel can eventually stay healthy and find a place on the field, but I am not holding my breath for that to happen.

      For sure it is better to have a lot of options involving good players versus dumpster diving for AAAA fill ins as the Reds have seemed to do the last too many years.

    • Old-school


      Bell has tried everything with Suarez. Moved him to the lead off spot. Took him off SS and moved him back positionally to his comfort zone at 3b. Dropped him in the order. Stuck with him for months with steadfast support and encouragement. Gave him a 2 game mental break.

      The broadcast last night showed a graphic that Suarez has the worst BA of all time any Reds player who qualifies with the 3.1 AB per team game played. His 2020 season was the 4th worst ever. The #2/3 worst were from the 1800’s

      I don’t know that Moose is close. He could have an injury that drags on a long time. I’d certainly give Lopez some looks after the break.

      Senzel has been oft-injured but it’s not as if it’s the same recurring career threatening injury say to a pitcher with shoulder issues. It’s been a motley assortment from shoulder meets wall in OF, to freak finger at 2b to tweaked knee on a great play @3b to vertigo to COVID that short circuited the majority of his 2020 season

      He’s only 26. Moose is 33 and Suarez is 30. I’d rehab Senzel at CF and 3b. A 2022 infield w/ Senzel,Garcia,India would be exciting.

      I still believe Nick Senzel will be a very good mlb player

      • Indy Red Man

        Or Max Schrock? He’s been killing it and did well til he got hurt w/the Reds earlier. He could be a tough out Tommy La Stella type

  21. Jim Walker

    Just as an aside wondering how folks watched this game? Tablet, phone, PC/Laptop or smart TV? I watched it on a tablet.

    I typically watch on a tablet or PC anyway; so, it was just another day at the game for me albeit not in my regular seat so to speak.

    • Mark Moore

      Laptop first (sound off while watching other stuff with the wife on TV) and then switched to TV feed from MLB Network (sound on) for the end of the game.

      • Jim Walker

        The “PC” I sometimes watch with is a 23″ All in One, so basically a hybrid PC/ Laptop. That screen size at 18″-24″ works better for my eyes than the big screen TV at 10′-15′ anyway.

    • RojoB

      Smartphone when I did watch, using the MLB app

    • Dennis Westrick

      Watched the YouTube feed on and off on my Chromebook (laptop) w/ 12-inch screen!

  22. Ben Walden

    If Suarez must play …so as to field 3B right now (and even his fielding has not been reliable this year -9 errors), why does David Bell persist at batting him 5-6 in lineup. Why not 8th! Barnhart and Farmer give us a much greater chance to win at plate. Suarez looks hopeless at this point. No light at end of tunnel. Weak exit velocity. No power. SO SO SO!!! He is personally responsible for leaving the most LOB in the Major Leagues this season. He has been a “rally killer” all season long with rare exception…and making a gazillion dollars in that role. Needless to say I am so frustrated with this guy. It does not matter that he is so likable. He needs to go to Louisville indefinitely until he gets straightened out. David Bell is oblivious to how much Suarez has hurt this team this year.

    • Indy Red Man

      I don’t think you can say he has no power? He just a 3 run tie-breaking hr in KC that almost left the stadium. He has been horrible though((. No disputing that.

      What about Max Schrock? He’s 10 for 20 with 3 hrs in July at AAA! He had a .824 ops with the Reds earlier and he has a .302 lifetime average in the minors. He can hit! Bell could platoon him with Suarez and also play Suarez at SS to lighten the load on Farmer. Farmer has never played every day. Send Lopez back down and let the kid play every day in case somebody gets hurt.

      • Beaufort Red

        Suarez should never play SS again. It was an experiment that failed on every level. Schrock is a good option at 3rd. Senzel mostly was injured by his aggressiveness in the outfield. He belongs with his feet in the dirt. Votto has 2 years left. We have quality catching in the minors. Save Stephenson from injuries and the wear and tear of catching. As Suarez goes, he’s not even putting the ball in play. Like Barry Larkin says if you put the ball in play you have a chance, if not you don’t.

      • Indy Red Man

        They had Suarez penciled in at SS last week, but something happened. I’m sure they’ll try him there again when/if Moose ever comes back.

      • Jim Walker

        Think the issue with Schrock vs Freeman off the bench is that Schrock does not play SS. And as somebody else has said, Suárez at SS is probably only going to happen in case of Farmer (and Freeman) being unavailable at the same time.

        Agree it really does look like the left hand and right hand are not playing off the same page of music when Lopez is brought up then left to rot on the bench.

        And it appears more and more penny wise and pound questionable that they did not do whatever they needed to do to get a “real SS” on the roster. Thank goodness Farmer has turned out to be something of a missed gem there defensively; but, as noted above, one has to be concerned about his shelf life as the season grinds on.

        As for Moose, I will believe him back on the active roster and playing regularly when it is happening before my eyes.

    • MBS

      Suarez should bat 7th, then Farmer 8th. Really though, both of them shouldn’t be in the lineup at the same time. They are creating a huge hole in the order.

      Over a 9 game schedule

      Lopez 3B (6 games) Schrock 3B (3 games)
      Suarez SS (6 games) Farmer SS (3 games)

      Really the break down above doesn’t matter, who plays, how many games. The only thing of consequence is the principal of not playing Farmer and Suarez in the same game.

  23. beelicker

    I’m curious as to what you project Stephenson’s offensive ceiling to be and what you’re basing that on … because his 2o2o actual production only just at 1st base so far has been .163/.368/.186

    6 singles, 1 double, 11 walks, 3 HBP, 8 runs, o RBI in 57 PA

    Hardly evocative of Masherville …

    • RojoB

      Sounds like what everyone was saying about Winker in 2019…

      Watch his plate approach—he’s still learning. He more often takes what he’s given more than any other hitter not named Castellanos. That approach only gets better with experience.

      This will be his first full season. I can’t predict his ceiling, but I expect him to be a big offensive contributor

      • beelicker

        He hits like an accomplished catcher, which is to say with exceptional plate discipline because every game is spent judging the flight of the ball and where the ball crosses the plate from behind on defense, i.e. he has naturally developed a ‘good eye’. Probably not much more development to be had in that aspect, he’s expert already

        Plus he knows how pitchers think and how they want to accomplish what they want to do, so he anticiates well and rarely gets fooled. And he doesn’t overswing much, in part because he has such a huge strike zone and he pefers bat control for plate coverage. I’d imagine his home runs come mostly when he guesses right and takes the occasional shot but that he’s more prone to plate protection and coverage than hunting the long ball

    • beelicker

      His full season numbers to also include PH are 5 HR, 13 2B in 218 PA which a homerun per 43 PA … also not Mashervillian … what he does do is get on base well and hit like a #2 hitter seemingly only when he catches: .336/.407/.504 3HR, 12 2B in 14o PA

    • Indy Red Man

      He struggled when Joey went down in May, but then Stephenson had a superstar like .996 ops in June. He goes the other way primarily, but his power will develop! He’s a perfect #2 hitter and Wink struggles vs lhp so I’d bat him 2nd vs lefties and drop Winker down. They have to hold India on and that leave a huge hole on that side.

      • beelicker

        That’s because of all the BB (18 hits, 13 walks) and he hit 2 HRs, catching vs LHP in June and 1 PH vs RHP

        You’d also much rather feature a LH 1st baseman for numerous reasons. He can spot in at 1B for roster versatility’s sake over his career but making him a 1B is not something to really be desired

      • Indy Red Man

        Votto is right-handed? Its a tough decision on what to do with Stephenson long term. Wasn’t Craig Biggio a catcher originally? If Stephenson’s defense was really strong behind the plate then it would be an easy decision, but he’s too big/tall back there.

    • Jim Walker

      Stephenson’s overall OPS is 800+ and OPS+ 110 for 2021. His slugging is lower than most expected to this point; but, I am surprised he is pulling high OBP, especially given his irregular use. I like Rojo’s Winker comparison. Also, Votto is on the public record that TS is the real deal and will be a star. As JV doesn’t speak out a lot along these lines, I take these comments very seriously.

      As I said elsewhere, they no doubt could find someone who could out mash him at 1B; but finding someone who brings the same offense as him at catcher would be a job. How much power TS exhibits before 1B is an open spot may play big in what the Reds do with TS then.

      • RojoB

        Votto also talked up Senzel like that when he came up as I recall.

        I mention that to say that I still hold out hope that with some prolonged health, Senzel may develop into what we’ve desired

      • Jim Walker

        Rojo, I felt like the impetus for the Votto comments about Stephenson may well have been that when Votto was out injured, for the first time he saw somebody in his slot he could envision playing there long term and matching or coming close to what he himself had done over time.

  24. SteveLV

    It’s been a maddeningly fun, interesting year so far.

    In March, I thought they would be a mediocre team with an outside chance to win 83 games, but projected 78 and a 4th place finish. I figured Castillo and Gray would lead a very good starting staff, the bullpen would be solid, the offense would be below average but between Suarez, Senzel, Moose, maybe one or two of them would step up.

    I you would have told me then that:
    Castillo would be one of the worst pitchers in baseball for the first 2 months
    Gray would be on IL a couple of times
    Mahle would continue to “hang in there” for 5 innings every game
    The bullpen would be simply terrible in April and May and then,
    Antone, Sims, and Lorenzen would be on IL at the same time for a month
    Senzel and Moose would miss most of the first half
    Suarez would be hitting .170 at the all-star break,
    And everyone would be clamoring for Bell to get fired –

    And asked me what I thought their record would be at the break, I might have guessed, what, 38 – 50?

    Here’s to Castellanos, Winker, India, Stephenson, Miley – and a who’s who of who are they – Gutierrez and Warren and Osich and Brach and Hembree.
    And as much as I can’t figure out the individual decisions David Bell makes, either, I doubt there is a team with a wider gap between wins and expected wins given the events throughout the first half than the Reds. He has to get some credit for that.

    A tip of the cap for a crazy 46 – 42 first half, boys.

    • Indy Red Man

      Well said. Don’t forget Joey missed a month as well! Its hard to keep track of all the calamities with this team)), but people think we’d be 55-33 if it wasn’t for Bell.

      • Indy Red Man

        The Brewers big 3 of Woodruff, Burnes, and Peralta will average 100 innings apiece at the break. Sonny has 62 innings. Maybe their guys will break down, but Bell is having to make do with rookies & scrap parts far far too often!

    • RojoB

      I’ve alternately both cussed and cheered myself hoarse so far!

      The season of the heart pills!

      It’s good to actually care again, “because there’s a chance…”

  25. Tom Mitsoff

    The Suarez situation is truly puzzling, and there is no one obvious answer.

    We’re long past the point where we can say, “He’ll come out of this slump soon,” with any degree of confidence or sanity.

    He flashes moments of brilliant defense (such as Friday night), but still has those occasional what-the-heck moments to the extent that you can’t play him every day with the expectation that brilliant defense will more than offset the lack of hitting.

    Lack of hitting, you say? Seventeen homers and 49 ribbies at the All-Star break doesn’t sound too bad. But the .176 batting average and .256 on-base percentage (fourth lowest in the majors among players with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title) won’t cut it. Pittsburgh shortstop Kevin Newman, Brewers center fielder Jackie Bradley and the Royals’ Hunter Dozier are the only MLB players below Suarez in OBP.

    Bradley is an everyday player because of his defense only, and he bats eighth nearly every game. Suarez has flashes both offensively and defensively, and Manager David Bell keeps him in a run-producing position in the batting order.

    I don’t need to tell anyone here that Suarez has almost no command of the strike zone. He’ll swing and miss at pitches out of the zone in all quadrants — up, down, inside, outside. My eyeball analysis says he has turned into a guess hitter. On each pitch, he guesses what it will be, and prepares his swing for that pitch, unable to adjust to any variants. Why he has had to change his hitting style in this way after his 49-homer season in 2019 is one of the bigger mysteries in baseball.

    In most professional sports, coaches and managers who are faced with situations like this, particularly with teams in contention, will default to the veteran. They will hope that experience will trump the spark that a younger player (Lopez? Schrock?) might bring to the table.

    This post has been a very long-winded way to say that I believe Bell will stay with Suarez and give him a chance to turn things around like Joey Votto did after his “benching” last year. However, I also think that if Bell pulls Suarez again this season, it might not be for just a game or two. That might be the point where someone who can swing the bat and make some contact occasionally will become the more obvious choice in the manager’s mind.

    As others have said, there might be some very gut-wrenching decisions for Bell when Mike Moustakas and-or Nick Senzel are ready to come off the injured list. As a fan, all I ask of the manager is to give the team the best possible chance to win. The choice of Moustakas and-or Senzel over Suarez, at least as things stand currently, is clear for a team trying to contend and win.

    • RojoB


      A very good summary that is fair in most respects. It also is worth mentioning that if Bell had available either one of Senzel or Moustakas, then Suárez would probably not have gotten this much run.

      As it stands, it seems a paradox as far as how many RBI he has. At least there is that still, and the not infrequent web gems on defense.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        As you were writing your comment, I was amending mine to refer to Moustakas and Senzel. 🙂

      • RojoB

        Ok— I thought I had just missed it.

    • B-town fan

      Yes Suarez has been an enigma, Dan Uggla type enigma, to have fallen from the heights that Suarez has fallen. If it wasn’t for his contract he would be at the least on the bench or completely off the team. I agree that the next time he is given time off it might be for more than a few games, maybe just become a big bat off the bench.

    • Jim Walker

      @Tom> I’m also morphing over to the side that something has to be done about Suárez.

      In the Reds current offense, I can live with his numbers because of the RH power his HRs represent on the backside of the lineup. It is hard to walk away from 30-35 HR in a season, especially coming from the #6 slot.

      What I can’t live with is sweating out his erratic defense in the late innings of close games. Even after his brilliant play in the 8th, I sat worrying whether he’d cost them the game on defense after the Brewers got a man on in the 9th.

      He needs to be a back end of the lineup DH moving forward in a park and division which supports his HR power. Maybe that is the Reds after the smoke clears from the coming off season labor fuss; or, maybe it is somewhere else. What the Reds do keep his defense from derailing this season is beyond my pay grade.

      • Roger Garrett

        He will go back to short once Moose return so get ready for his defense to cost us some games.No way he is benched.They will put him at 7th or 8th in the order and hope he runs into one every 20 to 25 at bats.Moose and Eugenio vs Farmer and Eugenio will be the comparison.

      • RojoB


        That is unless someone ties up Bob and hides him in a closet

        A shrewd businessman should not be such a sucker for the sunk cost fallacy

    • Hanawi

      It looks to me like the 49 homer season is the aberration. He definitely changed his approach that year. I assume that was Ward’s doing, as he constantly preached launch angle. The last two years he’s just taken that approach to the extreme. His pull percentage continues to go up and his line drive percentage is going down while his fly ball percentage goes up. The biggest difference this year compared to the 2019 season is the amount of hard hit balls. So, those homers are turning into fly outs and pop outs. Everyone just hammers him away and he tries to pull everything in the air.

    • Melvin

      Suarez is a good guy with talent. I’m in the camp, however, that says the best thing for him and the Reds is to part ways. He needs a fresh start. If that’s possible it needs to happen even if it means paying part of his salary. We can debate whether or not David Bell is a good manager or not but one thing that’s not debatable is the fact that for whatever reason(s) he’s not getting the most out of Saurez.

  26. kevinz

    Suarez fall reminds me of the Toddfather.
    Had a AS type of year.
    Then fell of a cliff.
    Got hammered few years back, when said was worried.
    When Geno signed contract he signed with us.
    Was mostly seen as a steal at the time.
    Both started just swinging for the fences.

  27. J

    By the time Moose and Senzel are back, someone else will be hurt. These things always have a way of working themselves out.

    What’s been consistently driving me nuts about Suarez is that his problem seems so obvious, but nothing is being done about it. He’s taking a big looping swing almost every time, so he has to start early, and this is causing him to swing at too many bad pitches and pull almost everything. He should be switching bats (maybe a lighter one, maybe a heavier one — I’m not sure) and/or choking up and/or changing his mindset. But I see almost no real effort to do anything differently, as if he’s convinced that somehow it’s all going to magically work out after several hundred “unlucky” at-bats.

  28. LDS

    So against an actual good pitcher, the Reds go with a .172 hitter against RH’ers (Freeman)? Slide Suarez back over to SS and start Lopez. Find out what he really has or send him back down so that he plays regularly. If Bell is actually being told who to play and when, he should man up and resign. If he’s making the decisions himself, he should be fired. His bias for older and in many cases below average players is rather well established.

    • J

      I’d much rather see them play Lopez at third and let Suarez sit. But I guess in big games like this they can’t trust a rookie to perform as well as Suarez has.

    • John C Humason

      You aren’t understanding how the MLB Manager’s job has evolved in recent years, particularly how the Reds are doing it. It is more collaborative than it once was, in both directions. The field manager has more input into front office decisions and the front office will give input to the field staff. It is much more nuanced than being “told who to play.” Also, there are valid reasons for staying with Suarez – mostly that they haven’t had able-bodied replacements – but also because of his potential to change a game and the overall strength of the lineup.

      The “fire the coach” knee-jerk reaction is not what the team needs now. What the team needs is reinforcements, particularly in the bullpen. The results of these seven games (now five) with the Brewers may determine if the Reds are willing to do that.

    • RojoB

      I see Freeman at SS in the lineup. The thought of Suarez at SS about to give me a stroke.

      Good post otherwise. My favorite part:

      “If Bell is actually being told who to play and when, he should man up and resign. If he’s making the decisions himself, he should be fired. His bias for older and in many cases below average players is rather well established.”

    • RojoB

      It has just come to my attention that in 2021, the Reds are 9-0 in all of Freeman’s starts.

      • LDS

        Yeah, that’s an analytics benchmark that’s predictive

      • RojoB

        Isn’t that why Bell is starting him tonight?

      • LDS

        Sadly RojoB, there are some in the analytics crowd that believe that to be the case.

  29. Old-school

    Fangraphs has a splits tool that allows one to pick the split of a regular season and then see best/worst for any defined period of time.

    Barry Bonds has the top 3 WAR seasons ever with Yaz in 1967 4th and some guy named Joe Morgan #5 all time season 1975 with 11.2 WAR.

    If you flip to worst seasons of all time since 1960 by fWAR, Jerry Royster’s Braves 1977 season takes the cake. Filtering however into modern seasons and offense and batting average and then at bats of 450 or over, Suarez is getting into some dubious company.

    Most teams bail on players at some point during the season. The 2011 White Sox waited till late August before benching the Big Donkey. He is the absolute worst in batting avg @ .159 with 496 at bats. Chris Davis 2018 season is there, Dan Uggla’s 2013 season is there but Uggla beats Suarez as of now in batting avg @ .178 compared to Suarez’ .176. Uggla hit 22 home runs, had a decent walk rate and OBP of .308. His fWar was 0.5.

    If Suarez gets another 100-150 at bats and continues at his BA pace, he will stand with Adam Dunn’s 2011 season, Dan Uggla’s 2013 season, Melvin Upton Jr 2013 braves season and Chris Davis 2018/19 seasons as worst BA of all time.

    Let’s bring back Nick Senzel from rehab as a third baseman.

    • RojoB

      Brutal. Poor Suarez

      My favorite part of this post is, “Let’s bring back Nick Senzel from rehab as a third baseman.”

    • AllTheHype

      Nice work on that analysis! And I’ll add, what ties all those players together? Big guaranteed contracts….

      Dunn had 3 years left with $31M remaining
      Uggla had 3 years left with $39M remaining
      Upton had 3 years left with $32M remaining
      Davis had 5 years left (in 2018) with $106M remaining
      Suarez has 4 years left with $44M remaining

      Bad contracts are double headed monsters. They zap payroll and guarantee playing time to bad players.

      • B-town fan

        Oh my I didn’t even think about that with Suarez, “4 years left with $44M remaining” WOW what are the Reds gonna do geez.

  30. Ron

    If the Reds were leading the Brewers by six games instead of trailing by six, the situation with Suarez might be more tolerable. This is simply another case of a player’s contract dictating his playing time.
    The Reds should be giving playing time to Lopez and/or Schrock right now, but I don’t think that will be happening anytime soon.
    It will be interesting to see what happens when Moose and Senzel return. Whatever happens I hope it doesn’t include Suarez moving back to shortstop.

  31. MBS

    How should the rotation be set out of the break. I’m hoping Miley as the 1, Castillo 2. The rest would be harder without knowing Grays status.

    • Old-school

      Miley might just be in Denver throwing an inning tuesday once MLB sorts out who can actually pitch tuesday

      If Im nick Krall – im exercising 2022 options on No hit gamer Miley and GG barnhart

      • AllTheHype

        No doubt, assuming no significant injuries, that those options will be exercised.

    • JA

      Miley is the only LH SP in the 5th pitchers rotation.
      Need to intermix in the returning series to prevent the brewers repeat line up and gain momentum.
      By the boOk,
      RHP – LHP – RHP is better than LHP-RhP-RHP or RHP-RHP-LHP

  32. Dennis Westrick

    I have been patient with the Suarez situation, waiting for him to catch fire! Unfortunately he’s a live-action dumpster fire thru the halfway point of the 2021 season. If Bell insists on playing Geno PLEASE put him in the 8th spot in the batting order or even 9th! Miley or Lorenzen are better options at this point! Don’t hate Geno as he does have his moments like the defensive play he made last night! Just frustrated with his performance to date as I assume many Reds fans are!

  33. Ron

    Miley has been the most consistent starter this year. Definitely deserves to be first after the break.
    Today’s lineup includes Suarez (.176) and Freeman (.189).

    • RojoB

      If i read this comment as Miley deserves to bat first over Suarez or Freeman it still makes sense.

      • Jim Walker

        Imagine if Lorenzen was back and working in situations that got him plate appearances! He probably would not only best Suárez in average and OBP, he’d also give him a run for his money at Slugging%

  34. BatsLeftThrowsRight

    Bring up Max Schrock and let him platoon with Saurez at third base. Schrock is tearing up AAA. I think he is Lopez with way more power. Schrock has a nice short compact swing, doesn’t look like he has many wholes in his swing.

    Contrasting Schrock and Suarez day to day should open up a lot of eyes on how many holes Geno has in his swing.