The bullpen almost did it again, giving up four runs in the 8th inning, but the Cincinnati Reds held on for a 6-5 win to split a 2-game series with the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday afternoon.

Final R H E
Minnesota Twins (45-63)
5 11 0
Cincinnati Reds (57-51)
6 9 0
W: Castillo (6-10) L: Barnes (0-2) SV: Lorenzen (1)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

The Offense

Cincinnati’s offense was rather quiet for the first two innings, but in the third inning they put rookie starter Charlie Barnes feet to the fire, but it didn’t seem like it was going to happen after Shogo Akiyama singled and the next two batters recorded outs. But Jesse Winker walked and then the Reds got three straight RBI hits from Kyle Farmer, Joey Votto, and Tyler Stephenson to make it a 4-1 game. In the next inning it was Akiyama again who got things started, this time with a walk, and he later scored on a Jonathan India single that extended the lead to 5-1. In the bottom of the 7th inning a home run by Tyler Stephenson made it 6-1 and as it turned out that run was huge because the Twins scored four runs in the top of the 8th inning.

The offense had a chance to pad the lead after Shogo Akiyama walked again and got to second on a passed ball with two outs, but Jonathan India grounded out. That left things up to the bullpen to hold a 1-run lead in the top of the 9th.

The Pitching

Luis Castillo served up a 1st inning home run to Jorge Polanco that put the Twins up 1-0. That was the last time a runner crossed the plate while Castillo was on the mound. He was in charge over the next five innings, picking up seven strikeouts on the day over his 6.0 innings where he recorded eight outs on grounders.

Amir Garrett came out for the 7th and walked two batters while recording two outs before being replaced by Brad Brach. He got Brent Rooker to pop out to end the threat and inning and hold onto a 6-1 lead. But he came back out for the 8th and proceeded to walk the first two batters and then give up an RBI double to Miguel Sano. David Bell went to the mound and brought in Luis Cessa who gave up a 2-run double to the first batter he faced and all of a sudden it was 6-4 with no outs in the 8th inning. After a ground out, Ryan Jeffers singled in another run and cut the lead to 6-5. That was it for Cessa as things were then turned over to Michael Lorenzen. He struck out the first batter he saw, but then allowed a double to put runners on 2nd and 3rd. Lorenzen then struck out Rooker to end the inning and mercifully hold onto a 1-run lead.

Michael Lorenzen came back out for the top of the 9th inning. He struck out latest Reds killer Jorge Polanco to begin the inning. But Luis Arraez singled into right field to put the tying run on the bases with one out for Minnesota. But on the next pitch Lorenzen induced a ground ball to Kyle Farmer who flipped to Jonathan India to turned and threw to Joey Votto for a double play to end the game.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Pittsburgh Pirates vs Cincinnati Reds

Thursday August 5, 7:10pm ET

Wil Crowe (3-5, 5.40 ERA) vs Sonny Gray (3-6, 4.26 ERA)

104 Responses

  1. JB WV

    Thank God. Another loss like yesterday could of crippled this team

  2. Reddawg2012

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve seen enough of Brad Brach. He played an important role for a few weeks, but enough is enough. Plus, it seems kind of ridiculous for Santillan to be in AAA given the current struggles of the bullpen.

    • A

      Agree. In fact, I have seen enough of several others in the BP also. This is the worst BP that I can remember the Reds ever having. It has to hang on ownership. If we still had Iglesias we would at least have a decent closer.

    • Melvin

      Brach, I think, will be eliminated soon when Sims and TJA return. I agree though. Santi was pitching well and wish he would have stayed up.

    • Nelson Coble

      He and Hembrich should go after si.s and Antone come back. If anyone can screw this up, it’s Bell.

  3. MK

    When do the Reds Marketing Department start promoting Jonathon India for Rookie of the Year. Team promotion for awards like this are similar to what schools do for their athletes for the Heisman and All American Awards. I see several players being touted in the media but don’t see India’s name mentioned.

  4. Doc

    It is just uncanny how these so called professional pitchers cannot seem to throw strikes early in a relief appearance. This game again was nearly lost by relievers walking hitters in the same way the game was lost last night by walking two. If a pitcher challenges a hitter with strikes and the hitter wins the battle, give him credit and move on but for crying out loud, make him swing the bat and hit the ball.

    • Alan Horn

      They dig themselves a hole to start with. That usually leaves them behind the 8 ball as they are not SO pitchers.

    • 2020ball

      I agree with all this, but this blog for sure isnt one to give credit and move on

    • TR

      It seems like this bullpen has to walk at least one hitter before they get in the groove. It used to be that late relievers concentrated on the fast ball in the strike zone to rap it up or get beat by the hitter. Free passes are not the way to get it done.

  5. Rednat

    i know these games have been tough to watch but boy we are really developing a nice nucleus of young players. Stephenson, Winker, India are all really good hitters,. wow!!!.. i still have some hope for Aquno and Senzel. i think Barrero is the real deal.

    i hope we can squeeze in the playoffs this year but if not i think the future is still very bright

    • earmbrister

      I agree. In the meantime, let’s try to win a playoff spot. No need to mortgage the future, we just need to allocate our resources/players to the best effect. The offense is potent, we have quality starting pitching, let’s fix the BP once and for all. Bring up Santillan, bring up anyone who can bridge the gap to the returning IL players, and have Greene and Lodolo ready for 9/1.

  6. doofus

    I thought Farmer was going to fall on his face making that DP feed to India.

    • Alan Horn

      He must have been taking a lot of kidding as he was laughing all the way through the line during the team celebration after the game.

    • CP

      I think Farmer’s injury is what made that play hard on him…..

  7. Indy Red Man

    Some teams you would think Stephenson’s late HR to make it 6-1 was unimportant, but we know better. The pen stinks, but if they had more blowouts like Sunday then our quality guys could get enough rest to really help Bell out.

    I still feel like Lorenzen could be a very good starter. Just model himself as Lance Lynn with muscles and trust that heavy sinker. That last one was 97mph to Sano and all he could do was beat it in the ground for 6-4-3. When you have a guy pounding the sinker then you don’t worry about cheap homers so much like Mahle or Vlad or these flyball pitchers. I hope the Reds step up and resign Lorenzen and Givens. We need them both!

    • beelicker

      Lorenzen’s making $4,437,500 this year so what do you envision it would take?

    • Alan Horn

      I don’t blame Bell for the BP. I doubt any manager could do any better with the makeup of the pen. Too many of the pen have been castoffs from other teams. He is trying to make a closer out of one of them and he has never been a closer to my knowledge. Throw all the key injuries in and it is an almost impossible task to get the pen to perform.

      • jon vera

        I laugh at people blaming Bell after they say how bad the BP is.What can he do?

      • Hal

        It is equally funny when people don’t hold Bell accountable for his part; using the pieces he does have, w maximum effectiveness.

      • greenmtred

        It’s pretty clear that it’s time for one of us (not me, though) to take over managing the Reds. After a suitable period to get over the shock of learning that the players aren’t numbers or shadowy figures on a screen, the new manager could lay down the law and hold everyone accountable: no more days off! Bullpen guys will have to suck it up and be ready to pitch several innings every day, since half the pen was DFA’d. Can the WS be far behind?

      • greenmtred

        I forgot to add a crucial piece of advice for the new manager: stop reading RLN for the duration.

  8. Klugo

    Shogo has been pretty bad this year at the plate and is now hitting .211.
    Gives you an idea of just how bad Suarez has been. He’s still hitting .178. The way they keep throwing him out there, someone must’ve been happy to see Shrock’s O’fer yesterday.

    • beelicker

      Hey Geno is surging .222/.323/.481 for his last 7 games featuring a suddenly torrid .273/.385/.545 August … gotta ride that hot hand

  9. Arthur

    Garrett has an ERA north of 6.50. Brach is now over 5.00.

    Is that really the best we can do in mist-win situations??

    And now, The Big Man is out for tomorrow. Who is going to close if we have a lead late tomorrow??

      • RedsFanInFl

        How about Bell try this:

        When you have a very efficient reliever who uses less than 10 pitches to get through an inning. Let him go back out there for a 2nd inning. That concept was done for 100+ years in baseball before modern analytics.

        In so many games, he has used a pitcher in each the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th. 3 of them could have been good but only takes 1 to bad to blow the game. Ultimately that wasted good relief outings by 2 or 3 other pitchers.

      • beelicker

        factor today’s Garrett 23 Brach 19 Cessa 11 Lorenzen 27

        Not really in too bad a shape tomorrow besides for Lorenzen, depending on how the 8/9th inning tag team Givens/Hembree bounces back (albeit it’s Sonny Gray pitching) , thanks to the off day

      • beelicker

        “less than 10 pitches to get through an inning. Let him go back out there for a 2nd inning” … considering from the chart there’s only one instance of that happening only, which was Wilson in the 9th after Hembree’s meltdown i’m not seeing that as any too useful advice

      • RedsFanInFL

        Exactly Bell is not doing it. Look at the chart. Lorenzen only used 8 pitches to get a 1,2,3 inning several days back. Absolutely no reason he couldn’t have come back out for a second inning since he was dominant in his 1 inning. Could have saved at least 1 additional reliever. Not that it’s happened often, but there have been games where Garret was actually effective and had a 6-10 pitch inning. Why not have him pitch a 2nd since he is actually “on” that day

      • beelicker

        You’re talking about innings where Garrett has been brought in for specific LOOGY lefty on lefty matchups, a special case, as in r-a-r-e. In those, it would depend on the subsequent quality of the next innings L/R matchups. Garrett lacks command such that he’d rarely pitch less tahn 1o pitches to any 2 batters unless they helped him out by swinging early in the count. Other teams already know he can’t keep it over the plate and to deliberately wait him out so he takes mustard off when he has to throw fastball strikes

      • Redsvol

        Bell has had very little to rely on until the last 7 days. I can cont on 2 fingers the times where I would have sent Garrett out for a 2nd inning. He’s been terrible. Before the trade deadline, the only 2 relievers that were reliable were Hembree and Brach. I can understand why he has relied on those 2 the last 2 days. But post deadline I think its time to rely on Lorenzen (which he is) and Givens more.

  10. Rob

    Man, I’m sure glad they got that bullpen fixed!!
    No stopping us now!!

  11. JA

    I like to comment on the 2 sac bunts made by Castillo to move Akiyama twice and small balled 2 key runs (1–1, and 1-4 i guess). Not quite often seen in this team.

  12. west larry

    Lorenzen saved us again. no pun intended.

    • west larry

      The Angels lost Rondon to season ending surgery. Would they take either Moose or Suarez if we put them on waivers. I’d like to find a way to rid ourselves these older veterans, who are not producing, to bring up a couple of the good kids we have in AAA.

      • Alan Horn

        Agree. We can only hope. They play only because of their huge contracts. When you are in a hole don’t keep digging. Cut bait and move on.

      • AllTheHype

        Revocable waivers are a thing of the past. No longer an option in MLB after the trade deadline.

      • Jim Walker

        Revocable waivers are a thing of the past; so, if a guy is waived, he either clears or is goes to claiming team with the highest priority.

        But my understanding standing is that unless a guy is DFA or the waivers are declared as release waivers, he doesn’t have to be immediately outrighted or released after he clears. The waivers are “good” for a period of time; and, the guy could be outrighted immediately after he clears. or later during that period or not at all.

        For example, suppose the Reds waived Moustaksis. If any team claimed him, he is gone to that team and his entire remaining contract is off the Reds books and onto the books of the other team.

        If he cleared waivers, the Reds could outright him to the minor leagues and unless he had specific protection in his contract, he would have to go or void his contract by refusing thus losing the remaining previously guaranteed money.

        Allen Craig is a recent example of this process. In parts of 5 seasons with the Cardinals, he compiled an OPS/ OPS+ of .803/120 and twice finished in the top 20 of NL MVP voting. At age 29 in 2014, he looked like a Bonafide star and was traded to Boston in a trade deadline deal.

        Long/ short, Craig just totally lost it overnight and was waived, cleared and outrighted by Boston during the 2015 season because there was $20+M left on the contract Craig had signed with the Cardinals. The BoSox ended up paying $21M out over the next 2 seasons as Craig played out the contract in the minors.

  13. SultanofSwaff

    Last night David Bell was seemingly incapable of using a relief pitcher for more than one inning yet had no qualms about doing so today more than once. Funny how his strategy changes when he thinks he’s playing with house money.

    • beelicker

      Except for the last inning of the game, there were also no split innings last night (i.e. where one pitcher took over for another) like today, plus higher leverage Hembree and Givens both weren’t likely available

      Cessa breezed 1-2-3 through the easy 7-8-9 bottom of the order in the 6th

      Lorenzen efficiently dismantled the more challenging #s 1-2-3 in the 7th, leaving himself available for today’s heroics

      Givens fortunately escaped on 23 pitches vs #s 4-5-6 thanks to a DP in the 8th

      but instead of him turning over what could have been a less challenging bottom of the order to Hembree in the 9th, Givens left him vs #s 9-1-2 … to blow

      I’d imagine Bell would much rather the pitchers he put in successfully finished their innings today too

    • greenmtred

      Considering the overall weakness of the pen, I think Bell feels that he has to be very careful not to make a pitcher unavailable for the next game.

  14. RedsGettingBetter

    It is weird but i didn’t feel good winning this game… This was a really ugly win though it was very huge too… This BP is taking years of our lives… I can’t see the day coming when Antone, Sims, Senzel and Blandino return so they can DFA Freeman & Co..

    • Alan Horn

      Sims might add something in the short term. Antone is about a month away. Blandino doesn’t add anything if we bring up Barreo(which we should at anytime). Farmer would be the backup SS even if he moves to 3B. Give Lopez and Schrock more playing time to see what we have in them. I don’t see much of a solution for our BP other than Antone which may be to late. Calling Santillan back up would help for now.

  15. Mark Moore

    I watched precious little … and still about went into cardiac arrest.

    If we treat the visiting Pie-Rats this way, we’re doomed.

    OK, positive thoughts. Really need a big old sweep.

  16. Fanman

    Bell got blown up in first game of series against Mets because he didn’t leave Hembree in after a leadoff walk, a wild pitch and then a couple of strikeouts. Now, he is one of leading candidates to get boot out of Cincinnati!

    • Luke J

      Correction, Bell got blown up for bringing in Doolittle.

    • TR

      The fact the Reds are still in the hunt during August is the basic reason Bell will not get the boot out of Cincinnati.

  17. Joey Oreos

    Where has Jeff Hoffman been? Since he got pushed to the bullpen he’s made two appearances without allowing a run, the most recent one coming LAST TUESDAY. That’s over a week. With the revolving door we’ve had you’d think he would at least get his shot to blow a few games before he gets put in the back of the line.

  18. Dennis Westrick

    First of all Doug, the Reds bullpen did blow another big lead! Only this time Mikey Biceps was able to save it for a win for LC.

    • beelicker

      By the skin of his teeth (and threat of Aquino’s arm) from the RF corner on that double he gave up!

  19. Dennis Westrick

    News flash! The A’s just beat the Padres in a walkoff win in the 10th inning! Reds back to within 3 games in the loss column for the 2nd NL Wild Card spot!

    • Bet on Red

      Saw that. Rallied from a 2 out 2 strike 2 run deficit to tie the game and force extras

      • JA

        As tied the game from 3-1 score Against Melancon in the 9th.

        It feels good

    • TR

      Cheer up, the Reds are still in the wild card hunt in spite of our put together bullpen.

  20. Jim Walker

    So, a former work colleague called about dropping in this afternoon for a periodic visit. I said sure and was relieved the game had gone to 6-1 as he arrived and seemed very safe as he is not a sports guy. Never under underestimate the ability of this Reds pen to squander leads.

  21. west larry

    san diego bp gave away a couple of leads and the reds are 4 games behind them.

    • TR

      Even the loaded Padres have bullpen problems.


    Reds got to completely remake the bullpen! That means they have to get rid of relief pitchers you know are not reliable, Brach, Hendrix, Osich, maybe Hembree…if he keeps pitching like he does. You have to look at the past track record of these guys. Look at the past for Cessa, Givens, and Wilson. You have to go with that. They are not going to be perfect and will give up runs sometimes, hopefully not a lot. But look at the track record of Brach, Hendrix, and Hembree in the past with other teams. If the Reds management gives 100% effort on putting the best possible pitchers out there, then at least they are making an effort. But, if they continue to put players like Brach, Hendrix, Osich, De Leon, and Hembree out there thinking the outcome would be different, than they are greatly mistaken. If they really want to contend, they have to match as much as possible, the Brewers relief pitching.

    • beelicker

      Hendrix is pitching in Louisville since 7/29 and Osich chose free agency 7/3o after they DFA’d him 7/28 then assigned him outright to Louisville

    • Randy in Chatt

      You are aware that they DFA’d De Leon and Osich, correct?

    • Alan Horn

      Hendrix hasn’t played with any other ML team. He is a rookie that was rushed. He isn’t ready but I wouldn’t give up on him.

      • Bet on Red

        +100 hopefully we will have the time for Louisville to polish him up for the next time

  23. Bet on Red

    ultimately this is a result-oriented enterprise and today’s result is a win. Over in California, the result was a san Diego loss. The reds are closer to the playoffs today than they were yesterday. Some questions about bullpen pieces were answered. Do not blame David Bell for trying to rest the more important peices of the bullpen in the middle of the game. The results are to blame to the pitchers, who must be aware that space will need to be cleared for returning injured players, and if they do not improve those spaces will come from their spot.

    Would bet even money there is a roster transaction before tomorrow. I bet we activate a player whose name rhymes with blastionos

  24. Tim

    Give me your opinion on this…Today’s baseball is different than previous years. When a reliever has to go three batters, that raises the risk factor of a reliever not having his stuff and causing damage by three hundred percent. If you use four relievers, you are rolling the dice by another factor of four. Each reliever can cost you three runs. Logic would say that if you have a reliever performing well after three batters, you then reduce your risk by 200% if you pitch them to the next batter because you can pull them at any time.

    If you are winning a game and you have a hot reliever, keep him in. Even if he cannot pitch for another couple of days, your percentages of victory remain much higher with every batter he faces.

    • RedsFan11

      Not sure if I agree with your numbers but I do think Bell pulls pitchers to early when they do well. Seems if a pitcher gets 3 outs and less than 15 pitches Bell still won’t bring him back out

    • Rednat

      my ideal pitching staff would have
      1. 5 starters
      2. 3 man rotation that is designated to pitch at least 2 innings every 3rd day
      maybe- Mahle, Lorenzen, Antone for next year
      3. i think you really need to have 2 closers
      4. then you have your fillers for long relief etc.

  25. Bet on Red

    Lodolo destroyed suring AAA debut. Glad we have AAA to find these things out. Senzel DNP. Moose with a hit. They are close

    • Luke J

      LOL he was not “destroyed”. He gave up a 2 run homer in his very first inning in AAA ( remember Greene gave up THREE homers in his first inning). Then a reliever let an inherited runner score in the 3rd. That’s hardly destroyed, especially for a first outing at a new level. And against a team that hit TWO homers last night against Sims in a single inning. Pump the breaks a bit on the criticism of Lodolo.

      • Jim Walker

        Lodolo was apparently on a pitch count of 50 which led to him being pulled in the midst of the 3rd inning. They probably hadn’t planned on him going any longer than 3 innings anyway.

        The heavy damage that led to the lopsided (12-2) final score against the Bats was the work of 4 guys who followed Lodolo. 2 runs each allowed by Tim Adelman (yes, the same guy from years gone by), Pedro Felix (on rehab). Lucas Sims (on rehab) and 3 runs by Ryan Hendrix (recently sent down).

        Hunter Greene is the probable tonight. He had been throttled back to the 75-80 pitch range himself but went to the mid 90s in his last outing. Keep an eye on this.

      • Jim Walker

        MIchael Felix, not Pedro above. Actually checked it before I typed then my brain typed Pedro regardless. oh well.

      • MBS

        @LukeJ, I think you took the comments the wrong way. That was not criticism. Lodolo did get destroyed in his short outing, but it’s not uncommon for someone to get hit hard when they face more advanced batters. Most progress comes from adversity, so now he can make adjustments.

      • Luke J

        @MBS In what sense of the word is 3 hits in 2.2 innings being destroyed. It’s just flat out an incorrect assessment.

      • MBS

        I’m extremely excited for Lodolo, and so is probably every Reds fan. That doesn’t mean you can’t acknowledge a bad game. It’s part of the maturation process.

        2.2 IP, 3H, 3ER, 2BB, 1HR, 10.33 ERA = “Destroyed”

        No one is expecting this to be the norm, or is upset by this. It’s one bad game.

      • Luke J

        I’m not suggesting it was a good game. Obviously it was not. But it was FAR from “destroyed”. I don’t see how that is debatable. You must really have a strange definition of a pitcher getting destroyed. I don’t even think I’d call 3 hits in one inning being destroyed. But 3 hits in 2.2 innings, 2 runs on a single mistake pitch, and a third run that a reliever let score (Lodolo strands 83% of his runners this year, so he likely wouldn’t have scored if Lodolo wasn’t on a 50 pitch limit), is NOT being destroyed. To me, being destroyed is giving up a bunch of hits, especially a team stringing a bunch of hits together against you. That simply didn’t happen with Lodolo last night. You are blindly looking at a stat line to make your assessment, which clearly doesn’t tell the story.

      • MBS

        Fair enough, you can call 5 people on in 2.2 innings with 3 ER, bad instead of destroyed. I didn’t make the initial statement, but I do agree with it. However you can’t speculate what Lodolo would have done if he was allowed to continue beyond 50. His next pitch could have been a 2 run HR, or a pop out to the catcher. It’s beside the point anyway, the good news is a bad outing usually results in adjustments. That’s what we want. AA wasn’t giving Greene or Lodolo any real challenges, but AAA is helping them develop. Also I can’t wait for Ashcraft to join the AAA roster. It’ll probably be next year, as there is already a logjam of Starters with the Reds, and in AAA.

  26. kevinz

    Another Heart Pounder type game.
    Glad found a way to Pull it out.
    Shame big Leads are not even safe.
    Fun team either way.
    Pitching for this Core.
    Equals scary team.
    Go reds onto tomm.

  27. Michael B Green

    We need RP’s that don’t come into games and walk the first or the first two batters they face, especially to start an inning.

    Our pitchers are either trying to get too fine by nibbling or the catchers are emphasize microscopic locations without any real success. Either way, whatever the strategy is, they need to immediately stop, change the approach, and start anew.

    First pitch strikes and taking pride in not walking hitters should serve as the primary, secondary and tertiary focus. The rationale that throwing too many strikes leads to lots of hits and bombs is flawed because those events are still happening anyway.

    I still believe in this team and I really like the drive and fight. Hopefully we get a boost with Castellanos coming back and the eventual returns of Moose and Senzel.

    If the bullpen steps up, we go to the playoffs. The 2007 Colorado Rockies remind us all that a team has to just get hot. This team has much better personnel than that squad.

  28. Michael B Green

    Last 14 games (prior to today):

    Hembree 5 walks in 5 innings
    Brach 2 walks in 3.2 innings
    Garrett 2 walks in 1.2 innings
    Hoffman 2 walks in 3 innings
    Givens 3 walks in 4 innings
    Doolittle 2 walks in 2.1 innings

    • west larry

      That’s not a hall of fame list of relievers. I think Givens and Garrett belong on the staff. Not sure any of the others you listed should be on this team. Once we get back our relievers from the I R, I’m sure a few of these will be DFA.

  29. Hotto4Votto

    Three things about the bullpen at the moment:
    The more we see of guys like Hembree and Brach the more it becomes clear as to why they were available when they were this season. Each guy may have had a bright spot or stretch, but now they are showing us who they are. They are who we thought they were.
    For whatever reason, the Reds in the midst of the playoff hunt, would rather keep sending those same ol’ guys out to the mound rather than call up a top prospect who they transitioned to the bullpen specifically to help for this season. Santillan had found success in his brief time out of the pen. He’s not helping this current team or his future as a starting pitcher relieving in AAA while we continue to blow leads at the ML level.
    For whatever reason the Reds decide to shorthand the bench to keep Hoffman in the pen only to have him pitch twice in the last two weeks. To what end are they keeping him around if he’s not going to be used?

    • Jim Walker

      Maybe Hoffman is not quite hurt enough to put on the IL but is being “rested”? Maybe one of the starters is battling through a nagging injury and Hoffman is being held back in reserve (Sonny Gray, come on down?)?

      Hoffman does not have a remaining option which may be why he instead of Tony Santillan is still around at MLB. Since they well could lose Hoffman on waivers, they probably are not going to make a move with him until they need his roster spot for somebody else Maybe that is Nick Castellanos as soon as today (Thursday) or maybe it is pitcher (Sims) on down the line.

      • Hotto4Votto

        If he’s hurt and occupying the 9th bullpen spot, then they should just IL him. It makes no sense to keep him around when they could obviously use that spot for someone who may help a struggling bullpen or provide an extra bench bat. Being on the IL means they could keep him around without DFA. If they’re holding him back just in case a starter comes up short, I don’t understand why Santillan couldn’t fill the same role (and likely be more effective in it). It would seem to me that if you’re serious about being in the playoff hunt, you but your best foot forward and configure your roster to have the players on it that give you your best chance or at the very least players you’ll actually use in a game. Honestly, if we DFA Hoffman and lose him on waivers, it’s not really a big loss.

      • Indy Red Man

        Keeping 14 pitchers is normally kind of dumb? Hoffman and Wilson have barely pitched and can’t be expected to be sharp. That also means they’re a man short on the bench. We play 1 run games 4 times a week so the bench matters. Pinch running or a defensive replacement for the OF

      • Jim Walker

        @Hotto> My best guess is that the Reds see Hoffman as their 6th starter overall in the organization and don’t want to (possibly) lose him to waivers in order to outright him or have him unavailable when needed because he is on the IL.

        This theory will be tested not only with the soon return of Castellanos but also the (hopefully soon) pending return of Sims.

      • Jim Walker

        @IRM> I agree with you. I was hoping the 13 pitcher limit which got put on hold by the pandemic last season would be in force this year. Next year (whenever that is given the CBA situation) with presumably universal DH along with the 3 batter minimum, there is no excuse on this green earth for 14 pitchers anywhere in MLB.

      • Hotto4Votto

        Jim, you’re probably right about how the Reds view him. And that’s probably why he’s around.

    • CP

      Agreed. I think health and high end prospects transitioning to bullpen for the stretch run are the last hope to right the ship for the bullpen now.


      Only problem is I don’t have great faith in any of our lefty options out of the bullpen. Garrett has stuff but in inconsistent at best, Wilson greatly struggled with NY before we acquired him, Doolittle terrifies me, Cionel Perez is just like Garrett but worse, and Lodolo still likely needs seasoning in AAA.

      Hopefully some combination like this can help the Reds push their way into the playoffs and go on a run!! Never know, just gotta get in playing good ball and ride the momentum. Cards did it in years past, and the Nationals just a couple years ago…..

  30. Redgoggles

    I think the Reds management has valued the experience and (small sample size of) relative early 2021 success of Brach/Hembree, and let’s be honest they did carry the bullpen for about a month plus after Sims/TJ went down and before reinforcements were brought in. (An absolute garbage bullpen as opposed to the current mediocre one. Side note – THIS WAS NOT BELL’S PROBLEM NO MATTER HOW MANY INNINGS HE LET PITCHERS PITCH.)

    However, I think the glitter is off and the league has adjusted to them to the point where even the pitchers know that and that is why now we are seeing them paint around the corners instead of pitching agressively, which has certainly shown up in the results in the past couple of weeks. I think they are 6/7th inning guys if you squint really hard, but certainly have never had the stuff to be late game relievers. Perhaps pitching them earlier would allow the offense more time to regain the lead they lost but hey, that’s an improvement right?

    I think we see Brach gone with Sims coming up and Doolittle gone as soon as Wilson shows he’s a reliable LH option. I think keeping Hoffman here is right – now and future – for the long/spot starter role, and personally would favor Santillian over Brach, but not sure over Hembree at this point if HH is used differently.

    Seeing Mikey Biceps back is huge, as are the other recent additions. Adding Sims/TJ over Brach/Doolittle would go a long way to stabilizing the bullpen day to day. My heart doctor (wife) has prescribed less stress about this topic, but I’m so hoping Sims/TJ return to full health and soon!

    • Indy Red Man

      I’m not sure I have much faith in Sims either? He gave up 2 hrs yesterday for Louisville. Almost every at-bat he throws one pitch that tests Tucker or Stephenson’s vertical leap to keep the ball from going to the backstop. He’s an improvement over Brach atleast.

      • Redgoggles

        I probably shouldn’t say this out loud, but the timing/effectiveness of Sims/TJ does make me worry that their grip/spin rate has been impacted by MLB crackdown. Or, simply injury related. Regardless – and this goes for the rehabbing position players as well – I think they should keep them at Louisville until they are healthy and good to go. I don’t think results are the best indicator of readiness as they could be working on certain pitch/locations, etc. that they wouldn’t be doing for the Reds. I just hope it’s that and not the fact that they can’t bend their sliders as effectively as before or things along that line…….

    • Jim Walker

      I don’t think management providing a bad pen and Bell making poor decisions on how to use it are mutually exclusive. Twice since the All Star break, once at home and once in the road, Hembree has been used in the 8th inning after the lead has been blown in earlier in the inning. If Bell is going to risk using Hembree in the 8th (pre- Lorenzen return), it needs to be to try and hold a lead, not slip into the 9th tied, particularly on the road.

      • Redgoggles

        I agree it doesn’t have to be mututally exclusive, but I bet Bell would make a lot “smarter” decisions with a bullpen with more than 2 even “average” pitching options on a day-to-day basis. I get the frustration, but how would you like to have a management job say in construction that has to use old/outdated tools with maybe with no electricity at times? We can whine about his use of Pitcher A instead of Pitcher B for 1 inning or 2, but really I wouldn’t want to be held accountable for my job because I have nothing to work with.

        He drove me crazy last year, but I think his willingness to use his “stronger” relievers against the tougher section of the lineup (regardless of the inning) is smart.

        I think his mostly limiting the relievers to an inning or smaller samples lines up with this (the pitcher may have gotten lucky the first inning, but the other team could adjust or get to the tougher spots in lineup in his second inning.) It’s pretty well documented – at least for certain RP – that inning 2 doesn’t always work like inning 1, no matter how good they look in inning 1. See Garret, Amir….even when he was good.

        Further, it does give him “better” options in multiple games rather than blowing a good arm in one game and then not available for another 3. As many close games as they have and as many arms as it takes on any given night means he needs as many options as possible. I think that is trying to win as many games as possible, even though you may be reducing the odds slightly in the current game. I think that is smart.

        I realize this is not the common opinion, but it’s mine. I’m also not suggesting that Bell is a great bullpen manager. I’m saying that it is absolutely impossible to judge him on his bullpen usage so far this year and if anything he’s gained quite a bit of respect from me for continuing to fight when I would have wanted to publically call out the front office for making my job impossible. Injuries happen, but we all knew our bullpen had a bit of shakiness going into the season even if all went best case scenario. I’ll go out on a limb and say it hasn’t.

      • Jim Walker

        For the most part, we agree. I just think given the Reds situation if there is any circumstance where Bell is going to use his de facto closer in the 8th, it needs to be with the lead and not after someone else has given up the lead earlier in the inning. He comes in with the lead and takes you as far as he can, 3 outs, 4, 5, or all 6. If he gives up the lead before you can pull him then worry about that after it happens.

      • Redgoggles

        That’s fair. I just think there is a valid reason to use the “de facto closer” (do we any of those, lol) in the 8th if that is the high leverage/lineup inning than save them for the ninth when the tie has been lost using a lesser reliever. I think that is part of Bell’s decision making process at times, and I do think it is smart regardless of the outcomes due to the extreme limitations of the arms he has available.

        For example, if Lorenzen is now the closer (hopefully) and HH is moved to 8th inning (for this example, I realize the new guy is probably here). If the top of the lineup is up in the 8th I choose Lorenzen even under a tie as I trust our offense to score and HH to be more successful the lower in the lineup he gets for either the save or to preserve the tie.

        Closer rules (9th inning with a lead or tied if at home only) are out-dated, and I think that is at least partially why Iggy is no longer here (along with the $$$)……Bell wanted to use this approach and Rasael wasn’t receptive/effective.

        I think we collectively need to spaz out on the ownership more and the manager less with the hand he has been dealt. Frankly, he’s made a massive improvement over last year, IMO. (Small exception/test is Suarez, but we are close to seeing how he handles that when Moose comes back.)

  31. RedsMonk65

    Lineup for tonight is out — Castellanos is back! Farmer batting 6th, Suarez 8th.

    Jonathan India (R) 2B
    Jesse Winker (L) LF
    Nick Castellanos (R) RF
    Joey Votto (L) 1B
    Tyler Stephenson (R) C
    Kyle Farmer (R) SS
    Tyler Naquin (L) CF
    Eugenio Suarez (R) 3B
    Sonny Gray (R) P

    • Rednat

      strong lineup. only thing i would change is Shogo for Naquin. he is showing sings of coming around. Naquin seems lost at the plate right now

      • JA

        Shogo is showing some progress…
        In addition, he improves this team on speed.
        He scored twice yesterday , on which earlier advanced to 2B on sac bunts by Castillo.
        Good to have options to play with

  32. LGR

    BY FAR, the best lineup he’s made all year.