The Cincinnati Reds are coming off of a 4-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates and the team, fans, and even mascots are feeling great. The sweep put the Reds 10 games over .500 for the first time since the 2013 season. That team would finish 92-70, but third in the National League Central and have to play in a wild card game. Cincinnati is currently in second place in the division, but outside of the playoffs as they trail the San Diego Padres by 2.5 games for that final spot.

Fangraphs updated playoff odds currently give the Reds a 36.1% chance of getting to the postseason. They have a 12.2% chance of winning the division and a 23.9% chance of taking one of the wild card spots. Fangraphs, which takes into account future projections as well as estimated playing time and depth charts, projects Cincinnati to finish 88-74 as things stand right now.

The Reds have been on a run lately. Since July 23rd they’ve gone out and 12-4. The schedule the rest of the season is the easiest in baseball if we look at the winning percentage of the teams left to play, but that isn’t the case in the immediate future. Tonight the Reds begin a week long road trip to face off against Cleveland, Atlanta, and Philadelphia. The Guardians we they are now known in my household, are 54-55. Both Philadelphia and Atlanta are over .500 as they battle for the top spot in the National League East (59-53 for Philadelphia, 57-55 for Atlanta).

After that the Reds aren’t scheduled to play anyone with a winning record again, except for a 3-game series with Milwaukee, until September 17th when the Dodgers come to Great American Ball Park.

Healthy, healthy, healthy

On paper the Cincinnati Reds didn’t look bad when they left Goodyear in spring training. There were some flawed areas, but the team looked solid. But the injuries began piling up rather quickly. Michael Lorenzen was initially expected to return in April but didn’t make it back for the first half. Mike Moustakas didn’t play until this week after injuring his heel in May. Joey Votto missed a month. Sonny Gray spent time on the injured list. Tejay Antone and Lucas Sims both have spent six weeks on the injured list. Nick Senzel hasn’t played in two months. All of those guys are now healthy and on the roster with the exception of Antone and Senzel, both of whom are rehabbing with Triple-A.

The bullpen getting healthy, along with the additions of Mychal Givens and Luis Cessa, is coming at the right time. Mike Petriello of wrote about the Toronto Blue Jays bullpen today, noting that they have been in by far the fewest “high leverage” situations than any team in baseball by a wide margin since July 1st. The chart is quite something. But at the other end of the spectrum is the Cincinnati Reds, who have been in significantly more high leverage situations than any other bullpen over that same time frame.

If the team would just listen to Wade Miley and score 10 runs every game, the bullpen would probably face far fewer high leverage situations. Is that unreasonable to ask? Probably. But maybe they should give it a shot anyways.

Rehab Updates

As mentioned above, Tejay Antone and Nick Senzel are still on rehab assignments with Triple-A Louisville. But they aren’t the only ones. Infielder/reliever Alex Blandino, and reliever Michael Feliz are also with the Bats on rehab assignments. Louisville doesn’t play on Monday this season, so no one will be getting any game action tonight unless they are activated in Cincinnati – and that’s not expected.

Tejay Antone has only pitched in one game thus far. He pitched on Saturday and allowed an infield single, a line drive single, a walk, and an earned run in 0.2 innings where he hit 99 MPH twice and struck out two batters.

Nick Senzel has played in six games so far. Saturday was the first game, by design, that he played in center for the entire game. In the previous four games he was in the field (he was the DH for one game) he was replaced after a certain number of innings/at-bats. He’s come to the plate 20 times and has yet to strikeout, has walked twice, but has only three hits in 17 at-bats (.176) so far.

Alex Blandino has played in eight games so far on his rehab stint with the Bats. He’s gone 4-22 (.182) with two doubles, four walks, and three strikeouts in 28 plate appearances. He’s played first base, second base, and third base during his time with Louisville.

Michael Feliz is on his second rehab stint since he originally hit the injured list. He pitched in three games in early July with Louisville, but his arm wasn’t quite recovering as expected following the outings and he was hut down for two weeks from throwing in games. He returned to his rehab stint, though it’s been back-and-forth between Louisville, Dayton, and back to Louisville over the last two weeks. In those seven games he’s struggled, allowing eight runs in 7.2 innings. He’s walked just one batter and struck out 10 of the 36 hitters he’s faced.

84 Responses

  1. AllTheHype

    By my count, Reds have 14 games remaining against teams with (current) winning records. But the Brewers only have 16. So Reds vs Brewers schedules pretty even in terms of difficulty, actually.

    But Pads have 29 games remaining against teams with current winning records. So advantage Reds there.

  2. Klugo

    I find it curious that Moustakas got the day off yesterday with two LHP coming up next. Hope there is no other reason than a scheduled, precautionary off-day for that.

    • Alan Horn

      I think the left on left match up is overrated for aged vets like Moose. By this time in their career they either can or cannot hit lefties. On the other hand, young hitters will never be able to master lefties if they aren’t allowed to go up against them early on. Young lefty hitters are often a victim or over managing in relation to being allowed to master hitting lefties. Especially in the minors and early on in the the majors.

      • Klugo

        We’re talking about Moustakas and Suarez here, though. They are both veterans. And we’re trying to win the division.

      • Alan Horn

        I agree. Suarez doesn’t hit lefties or righties well. My point is that they should know by now whether Moose can hit lefties. If he can it makes the platoon a moot point. I still think they ought to bring up Barreo and move Farmer to 3B for our best chance to win. I guess Barro’s hitting at the major league level is unknown, so they are afraid to take a chance being in the pennant race.

      • Klugo

        Okay.Got you.
        My point is, why did Moose sit yesterday against a RHP? We haven’t heard anything. I just hope his foot is feeling okay and it was precautionary. Suarez was 0-3 with 2 strikeouts. It wasn’t all just Geno’s fault, but it’s hard to ignore his day at the plate in a 3-2 win vs the Pirates.

      • Doc

        If Barrero comes up, who goes down. Roster size dies not change so identify your corresponding move.

        And with Farmer playing lights out offensively and defensively since the ASG, why do you want to bring up an unproven (at mlb level) and anoint him starting SS on a team that is playing at a .750 clip over the past 2-3 weeks. That sounds like the kind of move for which Bell has been roasted mercilessly.

      • Alan Horn

        They can wait a few more weeks when the rosters are expanded. We should have a read on Suarez and Moose by then . I think we already have a read on Suarez. If neither Suarez or Moose are hitting over the next 3 weeks then you give it a shot. Barreo won’t be any worse than the production(if they aren’t hitting) at 3B and Farmer will still be in the lineup. I will say that Barreo will be better than Suarez right now. His bat has been a zero the last 2 nights.

    • beelicker

      Early day game after a night game probably explains not wanting to push it. Cleveland’s bullpen day starter was also still TBD

  3. RedsFan11

    Need to go 10-4 over next 14 which is tough but very doable. That should put the Reds 3-4 games back when they roll into Milwaukee.

    • Doc

      Doable, maybe but highly optimistic. What’s the adage? Play .500 on the road and make hay at home? Given the records of the teams the Reds are playing over the next 10-14 days, the adage might be in play.

  4. Bred

    Good work Doug! This team is entertaining. Despite the cost cutting that gutted the pen this team has heart and did not focus on the team’s short comings and tank the season. They overlooked the short coming and pushed on to win. I respect these guys and see them as winners no matter how the rest of the season plays out. I have been frustrated and angry at ownership because if they had held on to the pieces they jettisoned they be in first place right now. I’m letting that anger go and am just going to enjoy this team.

  5. D Ray White

    At some point the Reds need to move Senzel to the infield. 3rd or 2nd to be exact. His tools play up there, and Suarez/Moustakas aren’t long term solutions. There’s always the Zobrist option too, with rotating starts at 3rd, 2nd, and CF.

    • AllTheHype

      Moustakas/Suarez at 3B and India at 2B. No position for Senzel there. Best place he can help the team, if he gets his bat going, is CF.

      • Alan Horn

        Agree. He has to stay healthy and produce in CF, but I agree that is his best opportunity to play.

      • rgslone

        Agree. I don’t think that Senzel’s bat has ever proven itself to be a MLB starting quality 3B or 2B bat. In CF maybe the bat is good enough, if he is at least avg. defensively and can stay on the field. But, I certainly would not be looking to move any starting pieces around to accommodate Senzel’s return. He has neither earned nor proven he deserves that kind attention.

  6. Chris Holbert

    At this point I am not sure where Blandino fits.

    • Alan Horn

      Me either. Especially when they bring Barreo up.

    • Klugo

      Only if, God forbid, Farmer gets injured.

    • redsgettingbetter

      if Barrero is not called yet…he fits as utility man… and would keep Freeman held in AAA

  7. kevinz

    Want Senzel to be the 1st Pick.
    We all expected.
    But take him Healthy with a role.
    Take him as a beast and a starter.
    But would settle for health and playing a Nice role.
    Playing everyday seems to be a no go.

  8. Indy Red Man

    One thing I’ve never understood. Did they originally see Blandino as an everyday 2nd baseman? Ever since day 1 he’s looked like a utility player to me? Who drafts a utility player in the 1st round?

    • paul olbert

      He barely looks like a major leaguer –1st rounders always get plenty of chances, though, (see Ervin and Stephenson, and Stubbs (can’t remember if he was a first rounder, but he sucked)

      • Doug Gray

        There were only SEVEN players drafted in the 1st round that have more career WAR than Drew Stubbs in 2006. And only five that were significantly better (Kershaw, Scherzer, Longoria, Lincecum, Kennedy). There’s a real disconnect between how much value people think draft picks should be and how valuable history tells us that they will be.

      • Indy Red Man

        I liked Stubbs too. He just couldn’t make enough contact. He was very good defensively and he could steal bases. If Dusty would’ve just batted him 9th then maybe he could’ve performed with less pressure.

    • Kevin D.

      Saw him as a SS in spite of the fact that “experts” questioned that he could stay there. Also Phil Ervin, after he was let go, was defined as a project when the Reds drafted him. Not sure why a first round pick should ever be a project.

      Just goes to show that there were holes in the front office evaluation prior to the last few years. Maybe that is why the Reds had such bad records for a few years?

    • AllTheHype

      Reds certainly didn’t draft him with utility in mind, but often that’s how the profile develops if the tools don’t become elite over time.

    • Doug Gray

      By the time you get to the 10th pick in the draft (as in the 10th overall pick, not the 10th round) the history of the draft results suggests you are no longer acquiring a player who is an every day average regular or an average starting pitcher. That’s a verifiable fact.

      The general rule for a good draft is if you get an every day regular or starting pitcher and ONE utility player or solid reliever from a draft. That’s a good draft.

      • Indy Red Man

        True, but don’t you draft guys with a possible ceiling of a starter? I just can’t see Blandino ever flashing enough talent to be considered a starter.

      • Doug Gray

        You can’t see it now because you’re seeing the end result. His draft scouting reports suggested he was an average hitter with fringe-average power who could play second base. That’s a starter ceiling.

      • Indy Red Man

        Thats all I was asking. I never saw starter talent from day 1, but I’m wrong quite often. I was pretty convinced the Josh Van Meter was going to be our 2B for 6-7 years when he hit 11 hrs (I think?) in April at Lville and then started off hot for the Reds. I just never saw any of that potential with Blandino

    • AllTheHype

      I looked back at the 29th selection for 20 years, from 1997 – 2016 (because the book is still out after that). 9 made MLB. Only 6 out of 20 became MLB regulars for at least one season. And ONLY 3 were MLB regular starters for three seasons or more.

      So really, that’s a 3 in 20 chance of getting a player that contributes in a meaningful way to the MLB team.

      You’re not getting prime talents at #29. You’re getting good players with upside that you hope develops. If that upside doesn’t develop, you hope for utility or relief and anything that can help the MLB team in some way or another.

    • Amarillo

      Blandino was drafted 29th in 2014. Out of the 28 players drafted before him, only 12 have had a better career thus fan, and of those only 7 became a regular player. Some recognizable names : Number 9 pick Jeff Hoffman, Number 17 Brandon Finnegan, Number 19 Nick Howard.
      Alex Blandino has had one of the 20-25ish best careers out of all players in his draft year.

    • RojoB

      How many first rounders even make the show and stay for as long as Blandino? The fact that the Reds have a lot of recent first rounders even make the bigs is a good thing.

      That notwithstanding, not sure Blandino was the right pick in their slot. And I doubt they were counting on him as only a utility guy but the Reds draft strategies seemed different back then, just a few years ago it seems lol

      • Amarillo

        @RojoB not many. I read an article that said on average, 82 players in an entire draft class reach .1 career WAR. For players who become Major League regulars, less than half that number at best.
        Looking at that draft, it looks like Blandino actually was the correct pick in that spot. Kopech and Flaherty were taken 4 and 5 picks later, but the next hitter taken who even made the majors was Connor Joe at 39, and then Alex Verdugo being the next notable position player at 62.

  9. Indy Red Man

    I keep reading over & over about how letting Iggy-reliever and Bradley go was such a travesty. I think thats revisionist history because I didn’t start reading it til the pen went to Defcon 5 in June. What I do remember was everyone (including me) criticizing Iggy because he decided he could only get people out in save situations and racking up 12 losses in our last full season.

    Nobody knew Lorenzen, Antone, and Sims would all get hurt and Sims/AG would struggle after being good in 2020.

    Nevertheless the pen is pretty darn good now! They’re not throwing 98 and striking everybody out, but they can pitch!

    • Jefferson Green

      Bradley was (and still is) in decline. No second guessing there for me. Iggy was expensive for what he brought, but the problem was that there was not enough other talent to develop to have a good pen. Injuries have to be planned for – the norm is for a team to need 2-3 extra starters and numerous extra relievers. This team couldn’t even fill out the opening day bullpen without some bad retreads. And due to the bad bullpen, they opted to make the fifth starter slot a retread crap-shoot, as well. I am a little surprised that DJ and company didn’t get more from some of the projects that they were handed – I thought their crap- shoot odds were higher than other teams.

    • Jimbo44CN

      Isnt’ Iglesias leading the league in saves, and was reliever of the month? If we still had him we could quite possibly be tied with the Brewers. Havent seen much on Bradley but Iggy was a big loss.

      • Indy Red Man

        Easy to say now, but my point was he was overpaid w/the Reds for what he produced the last few years. Closers have to pitch in tie games or 1 run down. Things happen and you still have to get people out. 12 losses in 2019? Adios and if you do great post-Red then good for you.

    • RojoB

      Count me as one that didn’t miss them. Perhaps Iglesias is doing better because his manager is different too.

      I had no reference point for Bradley since he didn’t really even pitch as a Red.

      So I don’t fault Reds for letting those two go but it seems they could have done better with making up for them.

      Although your point that they were counting on Lorenzen and—ahem—AG is a very salient one

      • Alan Horn

        We only missed them because of all the BP injuries and AG’s under performance. On paper our BP was set at the beginning of the season.

    • old-school

      The problem with those trades is the Reds dumped salary and got nothing for Iglesias and dumped salary after trading prospect capital for Archie. JVM had no place but Stuart Fairchild was/is a solid prospect. Injured some this year with hamstring and I guess covid protocol now but really solid AAA numbers and the Dbacks brought him up.

      Trading Fairchild for 1 month of Archie and then non-tendering him? makes no sense.

      • Jim Walker


        Gets lost lots of times that Fairchild was actually picked 11 players sooner in his draft than Winker was in his despite Winker technically being a first round pick at #49 overall and Fairchild a second rounder at #38 overall.

        The discussion of the value of draft picks above here notwithstanding, imagine the hubbub if Winker would have been traded for someone at the 2016 deadline who was subsequently nontendered. That’s about when Winker was at the same level as Fairchild this time last year.

  10. LDS

    Wasn’t expecting much from Blandino but Senzel’s current batting line isn’t promising. Hopefully, he turns it around and stays healthy but history sure seems against that.

  11. SultanofSwaff

    Pretty crazy that just 10 days ago Hembree was our closer and now he’s probably #4 on the bullpen depth chart. While he’s done a good job I hope he falls further down the pecking order when Antone returns……and further when Greene and Lodolo come up. A team weakness is turning into a strength rather suddenly.

    I don’t see the pitching strength going away next season either. I think you’d be crazy not to pick up Miley’s option (if even just to package him or Sonny in a trade with Moose or Geno for salary relief), but even if you don’t the depth is there. Vlad’s discovery of a true changeup bodes very well for his ability to remain a starter. So that gives you:

    Castillo (extension!)
    Gray (possible trade candidate)

    We’ll need good pitching because you’ll have to assume Castellanos walks and Votto declines and thus this top 5 offense might drift into the middle of the pack.

    • Indy Red Man

      I don’t think they’re assuming Castellanos walks?

      Home ops = 1.143
      Road ops = .769 with only 4 hrs
      Career ops = .810
      Slightly below average defensive outfielder

      Of course it only takes 1 team to fall in love, but I don’t think he’s getting big money like $25/mil a year elsewhere. Reds might have to match $90 mil/4 or something?
      We have a ton of young talent too and I think he likes it here. Why go to NY and risk catching a AA battery upside your head when you go 0-4 with 3 Ks

      • SOTO83

        You say you don’t think he’ll get 25mill and then follow up with possibly having to match 22.5mill AAV… Splitting hairs there aren’t we?

    • wkuchad

      I don’t trade any starting pitchers. Injuries will happen next year. Start the year with the top 5 you have listed, and Greene, Lodolo, and Santillan pitching at AAA ready as soon as there’s an injury.

      Then one or two of them can join the rotation in 2023.

      • Alan Horn

        Agree. You could shift some to the BP or trade them when Greene and Lodolo are ready. Neither have mastered AAA yet although Greene is getting there.

    • JA

      Playing at GABP half of the season, Reds always need from solid pitchers, otherwise they will struggle like the Pirates just did (btw, their BP looked pretty decent in comparison with their SPs)

      Need at least one or two LH SPs.

  12. Jefferson Green

    The Reds backup SS right now is Suarez, and was Freeman before that. Blandino is a better shortstop than Geno and a better hitter than Freeman. Given the roster crunch, I’m not sure he gets a call up before September unless there is an injury, but I would have preferred to have a healthy Blandino on this roster for the last couple of months.

    • Indy Red Man

      Better SS then Geno and better hitter then Freeman. Wow….that rules out about 7% of anyone about Single A.

      I’m just teasing))

      • Jefferson Green

        Yes, Indy, it’s a low bar, indeed! But also a fact we had to watch play out in a bunch of real MLB games…

    • Chris Holbert

      Have we ever seen Blandino play SS. 1B, yes, 2B, yes, 3B, yes, SS? I have always read he did not enough arm for SS

      • beelicker

        Listed 1 game there this season … probably endgame emergency last resort situation

  13. Fanman

    thanks Doug for the information regarding draft picks and what constitutes a successful draft I was a Drew Stubbs fan he had a nice combination of speed/power. Really good CF.

    • Indy Red Man

      My fav regular season game ever…..Votto got tossed in the first inning, but the Reds went on to hit 7 HRs in Wrigley with Stubbs hitting 3 (2 on to Waveland Ave). Getty Lee with Rush was in the first row in Cubs gear and dropped his head in shame))) I was at a bar with my Cubs buddy too. That was fun)))

  14. kevinz

    More Info to work with.
    But Drafting will always remain Hard.
    Just hope to Hit on few Players.
    Some draft better than others for sure.
    Even good drafters hit a dry spell.
    Which why using other avenues are Important.
    Trades, Intl, and Smart FA signings are huge to hit on.

  15. Indy Red Man

    July 4th, 2010. Wow. Geddy Lee from Rush.

    Think I was at a cookout in the bars parking lot now that I think about it. I forgot it was on July 4th. Stubbs 3, BP, Gomes, Janish, and Corky Miller. Corky went Waveland too I think. Might’ve been the longest bomb he ever hit.

  16. JA

    LU (from

    Votto (DH)
    Stephenson (1B)
    TB (C)

    • Jpser05

      Moose getting the Lopez/Schrock treatment? 🙂

    • JA

      As curiosity, I checked the last LU that lost to Cleveland in the last game (9-2) and the pitchers

      Senzel (CF)
      Winker (DH)
      Castellanos (RF)
      —- Akiyama (RF)
      Moose (1B)
      —- Blandino (1B)
      Suarez (3B)
      Naquin (LF)
      Stephenson (C)
      Farmer (SS)
      India (2B)

      Luis Castillo (4IP, L, 1-4)
      C. Perez

      Does the LU matters?

    • Jim Walker

      Just knew the DH was going to end up leveraged to get either Barnhart or Akiyama into the lineup even versus a LH pitcher. But then on 2nd thought, they don’t even a RH batter on the bench they could have used instead, do they? What they do have is 9 relievers with the switch hitting Lopez sitting down at AAA. With 3 lefties scheduled to face them in the next 4 games, maybe it was time to swap a reliever for Lopez (options or no)?

      • Jim Walker

        Actually, they have Lorenzen on the bench but his arm is mostly fresh and apparently, the decision has been taken to not risk him at bat or on the field anyway.

      • Jim Walker

        @WKUChad> Don’t think Senzel is near being ready either with his bat or convincing the powers to be his leg will stand up over the long hall. Sunday was a big step forward on the leg at least day to day but how it is today will be a truer test

    • Indy Red Man

      God forbid someone plays with a .833 career ops in less then 350 at-bats. Plus he’s good defensively. Shogo picks one up on the warning track in a big park like Cleveland and the relay man is going to have to run halfway to get it.

      • burtgummer01

        And some people are blind to the fact that his one good month 2 years ago really skews his stats.Open your eyes

      • Jim Walker

        So what has Aquino done for them lately?
        2021= .819 OPS/ 106 OPS+ including .330 OBP component.
        2021 vs. LH pitching .873 OPS/ 138 OPS+ .360 OBP.\

      • Grand Salami

        2021 is .819, how is that skewed?

      • Grand Salami

        Jim, you beat me to it and were more complete. The Reds have three guys that are arguably ‘must plays’ against lefties and Castellanos is a must play regardless.

        The other two are Aquino and Stevenson.

  17. beelicker

    Stephenson hasn’t crouched catching since the hamstring. With Miley going tomorrow this is how you get Stephenson’s bat in there and keep that going

    And they didn’t even risk Lorenzen hitting for himself his first inning pitching after his hammy thing

      • beelicker

        Oops lol I had even predicted it pregame due to early day game principles … you know how it is with us mad scientists

  18. Eddie

    I hope we beat the indians tonight. I don’t like votto at DH tonight his defense been good. I would put Suarez at DH instead him playing at 3rd base tonight. moose needs to get more chance to showcase why he should be our every day 3rd baseman. Hope this lineup tonight does some good hits

  19. Bet on Red

    So with the lefty on the mound Stephenson wins the “whose the DH” Game. Alright i can dig it. True platoon game with suarez, really hope it doesn’t come back to harm us. The pitchers 7 something era seems to indicate that the Indians may be expecting a loss.

    • MBS

      I’m a bit concerned that Moose isn’t in there today. With the DH it could have been him over Barnhart. Plus he was off yesterday vs a righty, you’d think he’d be in there today.

  20. Chris Holbert

    If they are going to have to use Barnhart to catch(L), they should have let Moose play 1B, and put Stephenson catching, I think Moose has a better chance against lefties then Barnhart

    • beelicker

      Along with the paucity of available RH bats it validates resting TS’s hamstring from catching 2 in a row especially since it’s Miley/Barnhart tomorrow … their pitcher was still TBD until late yesterday and let’s hope Barnhart only faces him once

    • MBS

      I’m just hoping he’s not still injured, or re injured

  21. Steve Schoenbaechler

    500 ball the rest of the way, they finish 86-76. Same winning percentage the rest of the way, they finish about 88-74. Do those make the playoffs?

    To make 90 wins, they have to go 29-21, 58% winning percentage the rest of the way.

  22. Melvin

    There is no place for Blandino now. It’s going to be hard enough figuring out who to let go for TJA but even harder for Senzel. Are they going to cut one of the 14 pitchers so it gets down to 13/13. If so who? I can’t see Bell letting them cut one of his lefties. So who are the two that go? Also, if Senzel can’t play infield, that only leaves Saurez as your backup on the dirt. That’s scary. By the way I don’t think we need five outfielders much less six.