Nolan Arenado’s two-run homer in the eighth inning off Lucas Sims gave the St. Louis Cardinals a come-from-behind 6-4 over the Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (75-68) 4 6 0
St. Louis Cardinals (72-69)
6 11 0
W: Reyes (7-8) L: Sims (5-3) SV: Gallegos (7)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

Cincinnati’s loss puts them, for the moment, one-half game behind San Diego in the race for the second National League Wild Card berth. As this post was set live, the Padres were tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-2 in the fourth inning at Dodger Stadium.

St. Louis pulled back to within two of Cincinnati in the Wild Card standings. With their 6-1 win over Colorado, the Phillies pulled within two and a half of the Reds.

Tomorrow, the Reds face a challenge they have failed to meet in each of the last five series — win the series. We’re at a point of the season where star players will make plays, hits and pitches that make the difference in big games. Cincinnati must turn around the trend of losing series if they are going to make the Wild Card game.

The Offense

St. Louis starter Miles Mikolas made it through the Reds batting order once without any damage, but that ended in the third inning. After Tucker Barnhart singled with one out and Luis Castillo bunted him to second:

Max Schrock followed with a single, and then:

But what started as a promising evening ended meekly. The exit of Mikolas after five innings was essentially the end of the night for the Reds offense. Cincinnati went hitless against the St. Louis bullpen over the final four innings. India was the only Reds batter with two hits.

This offense is going to have to find a way to manufacture runs against decent pitching. That, in this writer’s opinion, is the key factor as to whether or not Cincinnati can finish strongly.

The Pitching

Luis Castillo was the beneficiary of the early 4-0 lead, but could not hold it. He went seven innings, allowing four runs on eight hits.

Castillo benefitted from this gorgeous double play turned by India, Jose Barrero and Joey Votto. It ended the bottom of the third after the Cardinals had scored two and had a runner on first:

Unfortunately, the Cardinals tied the game in the sixth on a scary play that involved a collision between Barrero and Tyler Naquin on a ball looped by Dylan Carlson to center field. Nolan Arenado scored the fourth St. Louis run on the play after having driven in the third run moments earlier. Naquin, playing center, left the field under his own power. Later in the game, it was announced on the Reds telecast that Naquin suffered bruised ribs. Barrero stayed in the game at shortstop.

With the score tied in the bottom of the eighth, Lucas Sims allowed a double to Paul Goldschmidt and then a two-run, two-out blast to Nolan Arenado to give St. Louis a 6-4 lead. Sims has been dominant in his past seven appearances, but tonight was when that streak came to an end.

Notes Worth Noting

Tyler Naquin has nine plate appearances this year of 10 pitches or more, the most in MLB. The most recent was in the top of the fourth inning tonight, when he finally flied out to left field.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals

Sunday, September 12, 2:15 p.m. ET

Sonny Gray (7-6, 3.88 ERA) vs. J.A. Happ (8-8, 6.24 ERA)

48 Responses

    • Jim Walker

      Winker would help the offense but he won’t make the clutch pitches Castillo couldn’t make to protect a 4 run lead or Sims couldn’t make to keep them in the game.

      The offense gave Castillo a 4 run lead and he gets burned for 2 in an inning started by extra base hits from #7 and #8 (off a 1-2 pitch). Then in the 6th from 2 outs and nobody on, he gets dinged for 2 more. That’s not how a shutdown ace pitches in mid September in a playoff race.

      • LGR

        A lot easier to win games if the 4 run lead is a 8 run lead instead, ay? I also don’t consider Castillo as a ‘shutdown ace’. The pitching coach really screwed him up at the beginning of the year trying to make him a high ball pitcher for NO REASON. 9 times out of 10, if he’s getting hit, it’s off something high. He needs to hit bottom or slightly out of the bottom zone to be effective. Definitely with his 2 seamer that sinks and his changeup that also sinks. Now if they don’t ground out in the first two strikes, that’s when you can go high fastball for a strikeout, but he needs to make sure it’s high enough to where his 2 seam movement doesn’t drop back into the zone. That’s what killed him at the start of the year.

      • Redsvol

        Couldn’t have said it better. Castillo needs to pitch like our ace and he didn’t. He’s a very good pitcher but he’s not an ace which is why we shouldn’t pay him like one. If he can’t shutdown a team in a crucial game then you cant pay him 25 million a season. Also strange decision to bring Simms in on back to back nights when bullpen is rested. Offense played well enough to win.

      • Jim Walker

        A true top tier pitcher has to own the count at 1-2 and 0-2. Too often the Reds pitchers seem to back off and nibble for a couple of pitches then try and make the 2-2 pitch the pitch of decision as Chris Welch likes to call it.

        They need to be more like Bronson Arroyo was on the mound. He was very situationally aware and competed fiercely against each hitter based on the situation and the hitter’s strengths and weaknesses.

  1. Roger Garrett

    Tom,your right we need to score some runs without homering and that will make or break the rest of the season.Bell will have to play his best hitters and he will never do it so its up to the first 3 or 4 guys in the lineup to get it done and I just don’t see it happening.Wink helps if he gets back but if he keeps playing the same guys on the left side of the infield and Tucker gets the majority of the starts then I am positive it will not happen.Cabrera for Barrero in the 9th told me all I need to know as to his thoughts going forward.No way this team makes it in.

    • Bet on Red

      And what did barrero do tonight besides decommission our CF

      • LGR

        That’s.. not even close to the point.

      • JB

        And what did Cabrera do? Or what has he not done since he got here? At least go with the guy who has been playing for 9 innings over a guy who had sat on his butt for 9 and has done nothing since being picked up.

      • steve p

        Since Barrero arrived you have posted negatively about him. Why the disdain? Give him a chance.

      • Luke J

        His clutch hit the night before was more hits than Cabrerra has TOTAL as a Red.

    • MFG

      Cabrera is yet to have a hit as a Red! Farmer at 3RD and Barrero at SS the rest of the way. Cut Cabrera when Winker returns.

    • greenmtred

      Looking at that batting order, Roger, I’m curious: who were the better hitters who didn’t play last night?

  2. Slicc50

    Man, tough one to lose tonight. Another night of just one good inning from the offense. Let’s face it, the Reds basically have a roster of just 20 or so MLB players. VERY top heavy on offense! They are going to have to land two good hitters after the season is over. Then there is the bullpen that needs fixing.

  3. LT

    Lost opportunity. I am satisfied with how Indian and Castellano bounced back. Indian is amazing for a rookie, ability to figure things out and not going in a long slump. To me the difference is the 8th inning: Votto flied out with man on, he gave the ball a good ride, and Nolan homered with man on. Sometimes that’s how baseball is. Let’s go get them tomorrow. Without Winker, Joey needs to bang for this team to have a chance, and he didn’t today.

  4. Christopher Hoeb

    Why are we pitching to Arenado with 1st base open we should have walked him he is a clutch hitter.

    • Jim Walker

      Ask Johnson, Bell (or maybe Barnhart or Sims about selection and location)?

    • Alan Horn

      Agree 100%. That is on Bell. Plus, it would have set up the double play to get out of the inning.

  5. DataDumpster

    The homer or nothing approach, the manager mess aka David Bell and the lack of security with a lead reminds me what this team has been for most of the last 3 years. With the ridiculous schedule advantage and sorry state of the WC competition, the Reds still have an odds on chance to secure a playoff spot. It’s hard to keep interest though in this “competition” and I am more excited to follow Nick and Jonathon in their impressive pursuits of the batting title and ROY.

    • burtgummer01

      The last 3 years ? Might want to count again

  6. SultanofSwaff

    Five straight changeups to Arenado in the 6th before his ‘triple’. Seriously, does that make sense on any level much less pitching to a perennial All-Star? Barnhart strikes again.

    I would have liked to seen Stevenson pinch hit for Barnhart in the 7th against a left-handed pitcher…. You could have gotten him two at bats instead of one.

    Barrero look like a rookie tonight— a couple of inaccurate throws and he gave away a couple at-bats. I’m totally cool with that because the ceiling is so high. We need to get comfortable with the idea that consistency won’t be his calling card at least initially. In that sense he’s more like a true rookie rather than the super polished India.

    • JB

      And at the beginning of the year India looked like a true rookie and was about to be sent down. With playing time every day he has become a ” super polished” player. Sitting on the bench and not playing for a week or whatever will not make Barrero better. Being in the lineup every day will.

      • Tom Reeves

        Yep — we need Barerro to play every day. He’ll be a mess for a while and that’s okay. To allow Barerro to play everyday, we need Farmer at Third. That means sitting two very high priced players but I think that’s what’s necessary for this team to make the playoffs.

      • Alan Horn

        I agree but I will say that right now Farmer appears to be a more consistent SS on defense. Barreo needs to work on his throwing. Some of that might be youth.

    • Jim Walker

      Yep, the 7th was no win baseball. Barnhart bats against the LH pitcher then with 2 outs it was justified to let Castillo hit for himself and pitch the bottom of the inning.

      I understand if they needed Castillo to pitch the 7th but if Stephenson had batted and reached, Castillo could have bunted; and, India would have had a shot to drive Stephenson in,

  7. TR

    A win today to take the series and then an off day in Pitt before 13 straight games. The Reds can’t afford to overlook any game, but especially the Dodger series next weekend at home.

  8. Old-school

    2021 Reds starting pitching
    Luis Castillo Tyler Mahle
    Starts 30 29
    Innings. 170 159
    K’s 171 188
    ERA 4.24 3.76
    WAR 3.1 3.0
    W/L 7-15 11-6
    W/L NL Central 4-8 5-0
    Team W/L as SP 10-20 19-10

    Castillo has had a decent year but something is off preventing him from pitching at that next level. The REds are losing a high percentage of games he starts as well. His walks are up and his K’s are down. Why is his K% down to 9.05 while Mahle is striking out far more hitters? I’d think with Castillo 99 mph and best change up in the NL he’d be up like his 2020/ 2019 K rates of 10.67 and 11.44.

    • Jim Walker

      Just to be clear, the numbers listed here are K per 9 inning rate. Castillo’s K% for 2021 is 23.5% which is in line with his 2018 % but a marked drop off from 2019 (28.9%) and 2020 (30.5%). So the point made is valid regardless. He is striking out markedly fewer batters this year.

      He has the highest WHIP (1.36) of his MLB career and his BABIP is high at .315. Both are bad signs given that he is allowing substantially more balls into play.

  9. Votto4life

    Tough loss..just need to grind it today and win the series. A win today puts the Cardinals in a big hole and puts pressure on San Diego.

  10. Mark

    I’m sure Cabrera will be starting at SS today I can hear Bell now, well Barrero is a little dinged up today…….we got to get drubels going at the plate

  11. Votto4life

    I’m not sure the value of sending Winker out on a rehab assignment. Even if his timing is off, he is still better than anyone they could replace him with.

    By the time Jesse has completed a rehab assignment the season could be over.

    • Jim Walker

      I can see both sides of this. It sucks that AAA and AA and A+ have the night off on Monday because they probably are hoping for just a game or two in order to see how he swings and recovers overnight.

  12. RedsMonk65

    Lineup for this afternoon’s game (look who is at SS):

    Jonathan India (R) 2B
    Tyler Stephenson (R) C
    Nick Castellanos (R) RF
    Joey Votto (L) 1B
    Eugenio Suarez (R) SS
    Aristides Aquino (R) LF
    Asdrubal Cabrera (S) 3B
    Delino DeShields (R) CF
    Sonny Gray (R) P

    • Votto4life

      What a sad line up. I don’t want anyone who is truly hurt to play but otherwise you should be playing your best players at this point in the season.

      Either the Reds are lying and both players are hurt more than they are saying or David Bell truly believe this line up gives the team the best chance to win.

      If it’s the former it would not be such a surprise because it has happened before and it’s the latter then the Reds need to part ways with this manager in 3 weeks.

      • RedsMonk65

        If both Barrero and Naquin are injured and unable to play (we know at least one likely is), then that leaves us with a REALLY short bench, too!

      • Jim Walker

        And it is all of a 4 hour drive from Louisville to St Louis per Google maps. No excuse for not having somebody there. I guess the backside is they would have to make an early commitment to losing (presumably) Naquin for 10 days when they are not sure Winker will be back by mid to late week. {snark on} That is unless they could actually get by on 13 pitchers for a day {snark off}

    • Alan Horn

      5 of 9 almost automatic outs. Maybe lightening will strike and some will surprise us.

    • Old-school

      That’s a great lineup for the charity softball game.
      Reds would crush the Cards.

    • Mark Moore

      Just saw it posted … UGH!!! We know Naquin is banged up. I’m suspecting Barrero is as well. As others said, if that’s not the case, this points to Tinker’s line-up construction as truly deficient and devoid of common sense and urgency.

      Here’s hoping Happ gives up a ton of Crooked Numbers and we catch some lightening in a bottle ahead of a day off and trip to play the Pie-Rats.

  13. Bet on Red

    Its Happ, the reds have destroyed him every time this year. Padres lost last night so still tied for WC2.

      • Mark Moore

        We’re tied, but the Friars have 2 less games overall than we do to date.

  14. Mark A Verticchio

    I think the last 17 games, 11 losses, at the worst time has shown that David Bell, who the players seem , to like is not the right man for the job. He simply is more of a friend than a leader. Today’s line up is an example of his inability to coach at this level.

  15. Michael B. Green

    Joe Morgan, during the Big Red Machine run, had more SB’s than the current entire CIN team. They are dead last in SB. We need guys to get on base and we need guys to run bases. Sitting around waiting for a home run has wasted the money tum this team had in July and August.