The Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates were tied at 1-1 as the game entered the bottom of the 8th inning. Then the Reds decided to play the greatest hits album for old time’s sake and the bullpen allowed eight runs before the inning was over as the Pirates put a stamp on the opening game of the final series of the year.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (82-78) 2 5 0
Pittsburgh Pirates (60-100) 9 12 0
W: Stratton (7-1) L: Garrett (0-4)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

The Offense

Offense? There wasn’t a lot of it. The Reds didn’t score until the 8th inning when TJ Friedl walked with one out and scored on a Max Schrock single that tied the game up. Any hopes of winning the game that Cincinnati had at that point were gone by the time they came to the plate in the 9th after three pitchers combined to give up eight runs in the bottom of the game. A double by Eugenio Suárez and a triple by Jose Barrero in the 9th got the Reds their second run of the game, but it was too little, too late.

The Pitching

The good news: After a leadoff triple that scored the game’s first run, Luis Castillo held the Pirates there into the 6th inning. Allowing just one run over 5.1 innings dropped his ERA to 3.98. It’s the first time since the 1st inning of Opening Day that his ERA was below 4.00 on the year.

Lucas Sims and Art Warren got the Reds through the remainder of the 6th and 7th innings with perfect outings to hold the Pirates lead at 1-0. But then the 8th inning happened and saw three releivers combine to give up eight earned runs – capped off by a Kyle Tucker grand slam.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds vs Pittsburgh Pirates

Saturday October 2nd, 6:35pm ET

Tyler Mahle (13-6, 3.54 ERA) vs Max Kranick (2-3, 6.23 ERA)

65 Responses

  1. Mark Moore

    What an appropriate and completely sad headline. Not sure how you have the strength to write the recap. You are the best.

    • Doug Gray

      I’ve gotta keep the water running and the electricity on. Some nights you’ve just got to power through lol

  2. Joe P.

    Once again almost no run support for Castillo. At least Castillo wasn’t charged with another loss.

  3. Don

    key play that cost the Reds the game was Bell putting Stephenson in left for bottom on 8th.
    An outfielder with experiences catches that ball, 2 outs runners 1st and 2nd vs 1 out and bases loaded. Totally different game. Who knows what happens.

    Bell doing his normal great job of putting players in unusually/uncomfortable situations/positions and then acting surprised and shocked when they do not succeed.

    Bullpen did implode by the implosion was the result of the manager decision and putting players in positions where the odds for success are long.

    It is so sad to see it occur again and again and again, one can just laugh at the results.

    I used to never want to see the DH in the National League, Bell’s managing the last three seasons has convinced me that the DH is required for any hope for Reds success as long as he manages. To many times that players are playing unfamiliar positions late in tight close games.

    Just leaves fans shaking their head and mumbling, he did it again.

    • Mark Moore

      TySteve gave a great effort, but that was more than a catcher could manage.

      • Jim Walker

        Agree he did well to get into a position to make the play but then did not know how to finish it. My guess would be he misread the final plunging angle of the ball. I thought his route was right on it but then he sort of looped back a step and had to dive at the end. It was probably a serious top spinner that nearly doubled back on itself on the plunge.

    • CI3J

      I seriously don’t understand why Bell does this. Stephenson is a catcher and a 1B, that’s it. Barrero is a SS, and maybe a 2B, that’s it. Yet ironically, the one guy on the roster who is supposed to be able to play anywhere (Farmer) has been anchored to the SS position for the whole season, even after a superior option was available.

      I guess we should be thankful he didn’t try to turn India into a right fielder.

      • TR

        Agreed. And Bell’s managerial option was picked up so we’ll just have to live with it until…

      • Jim Walker

        “I guess we should be thankful he didn’t try to turn India into a right fielder.”

        Only because they had a glut of OF at that point 😉

      • greenmtred

        Barrero is a shortstop and maybe a 2nd baseman and that’s it ? How do you know this? Because, at a very young age, he’s mostly played shortstop?

      • todeen

        Don’t forget, there will be plenty of time to turn India into a RF over the offseason. Completely agree to stop forcing all players to become utility players. It’s a sickness that’s taking over baseball.

    • greenmtred

      We’ve seen Winker–the regular left-fielder–botch plays. He’s a mediocre fielder, at best, who hits well enough to overcome his mistakes. He also has trouble–lots of it–playing anything approaching a full season. It makes plenty of sense, in a meaningless end of season game, to get some idea about who might fill in for him when he’s on the IL. Stephenson promises to be a good enough hitter to take up a good deal of slack. I also bet he’s as fast as–or close enough to it–Winker. You guys, in your fever to blame every loss on Bell, ignore the large numbers of players who, through the years and with many teams, play multiple positions or switch positions. I understand: You like the narrative and don’t want to lose a talking point.

      • todeen

        Every player does not need to be a utility player. Insecurity at a position can lead to insecurity at bat which happened with Suarez. I understand that sometimes it works, exp India. But there are as many examples of failure. Don’t forget that they wanted Barry Larkin to play 2nd and he said no, he was a SS. I wish more players would just say no.

      • Jim Walker

        My gripe isn’t with Bell specifically; and, it isn’t with being able to move guys around *IF* doing so actually makes the team better.

        My gripe is that both these guys, Barrero and Stephenson, spent all the time they did coming up through the minor league system and never once, not once were worked out at the alternate spots they’ve been used at this year at the MLB level. That simply isn’t OK. That’s not the way to run an organization long term or a team on a day to day basis.

        Looking to the future, send them to one of the various fall instructional camps to work at alternate spots. Or set them at with a winter league gig with the understanding they will be used at these spots. Drill them in spring training and use them in St games in alternate spots.

      • greenmtred

        How do you know that that was Suarez’s problem? You don’t. Remember that the poor hitting continued after he was moved back to third. A more plausible explanation is that he was continuing to recover from his shoulder injury. But I don’t know that, either.

  4. Bet on Red

    The good sign is that the releif pitchers that are returning next year did do a good Job, the ones that either may not AG, or are FA were the ones that were not good

    • Redsvol

      totally agree with that. full year of Sims, Cessa, Wilson, Warren, Santillana, and Gutierrez looks like a good start to me. Add Givens and a free agent closer and we’re ready.

      • Still a Red

        Agreed especially signing Givens

  5. David

    I happened to be in a sports bar, eating dinner, watching the end of the game on TV.

    Watching Amir Garrett absolutely not be able to throw strikes (well, he did strike out a Right handed hitter, with three good sliders), then watch Lorenzen do the same.

    And yes, I won’t miss those two guys next year.
    And Schrock got Castillo off the hood, which was maybe the only good thing that happened in the game.
    Will the Reds win any more games this year, or have they finally given up?

  6. JB

    I remember in the spring how Lorenzen was going to hit 100 on his fastball and was throwing nothing but gas. Never seen it. Hoping I never get to see him and AG again in a Reds uniform. The Reds will sign Cory Seager and Bell will stick him in Right field.

    • Jim Walker

      I think back to the days when Lorenzen (by his own account) showed up at the Reds rookie camp thinking he had been drafted as an outfielder only to learn they projected him as a pitcher.

      Maybe it turns out he was correct all along that he was an outfielder who came to the mound to throw fastballs by guys at the end of games in his collegiate career.

      Based on the flashes we’ve seen of ML as a position player, he was probably that CF the Reds were searching for virtually the entire time his body was never quite letting him be the pitcher the Reds thought he could be.

      Just another SS (Barrero) playing CF or future All Star catcher roaming left field or 3b/2b (Senzel) being reimagined as a CF. The Reds way!

  7. TR

    It took quite a while until Schrock came through and then suddenly quite a different ballgame.

  8. Fanman

    Right now is the time to experiment with TySteve in the OF when games are meaningless.

    • Chris Holbert

      Why would you take a potential future All Star Player that plays a position of need, and put him in the OF in the first place…..see…. Jose Barrero….

      • greenmtred

        The Reds need a center fielder next year. Naquin did surprisingly well, but few view him as a full-time starter. Barrero actually looks good out there, don’t you think? They may well need a shortstop, too, but it seems likely that where Barrero ends up playing–assuming he makes the team–will depend upon which players they acquire in the off-season. It’s worth remembering that Sparky had Pete Rose switch positions.

  9. Jim t

    Just curious but I continually read in the comments stating how disappointed many are that Bell was brought back. I guess my question to those folks is who would replace him? You have a ownership group who many of the same people say is not trying to win. They slash payroll and won’t walk away and eat bad contracts. What knowledgeable individual would put himself in that predicament? We currently have a manager that in the last 2 years has dealt with those issues and played above 500 baseball. While like all of you I want more but if your ownership is not committed to winning and putting a competitive product on the field what results are you expecting from a manager?

    • Chris Holbert

      The pieces that he does have, he either rarely plays regularly, or is trying to turn them all into utility guys, playing them out of position. Yong guys to get their foot hold. I am sure it is hard to adjust to MLB pitching, let alone worry about botching a crucial defensive play…That is not putting them is a position to succeed, or working to build their confidence

      • Jim t

        He also has veterans that are on the team. Who were competing for a playoff spot. Not everything is about playing the minor leaguers. The vets have needs as well and quite frankly their career numbers in lots of cases give them a longer leash. How well do you think they would play if they were constantly looking over their shoulder. My point is there is a fine line managers walk that most fans have no clue of. With fans as it’s demonstrated quite often your only as good as your last at bat. It’s obvious to me that if Sparky was managing this team many would post daily how he was screwing up.

  10. Bob Purkey

    At least we can wipe Lorenzen and Garrett contracts off the books for next year.

    • Bob Purkey

      That’s $6MM off the books, plus they were eligible for arbitration which would have added another couple of million. . .

      • Jim Walker

        And if they cut ties with Barnhart too another $5M or so net savings will be realized. Plus,about the only guys left from the truly bottom of the barrel days will be Votto and Suárez.

        We form attachments to players even when the team is historically bad. However, sometimes when their careers are born, shaped and defined by playing on such a team, players need to move on or be moved on to complete a rebuild cycle.

        JV was around for the strong run of 2010-2013. He understands what it takes and finally, this year broke out of his shell to lead when surrounded by the influence of Castellanos and the young comers. The others I am not so certain about.

      • Jim t

        Jim so it was the players who got Joey to change his approach not the coaching staff?

      • Jim Walker

        @JimT>> My sense is that Votto has often been in a world of his own. We know from glimpses he has offered that he studies hitters and hitting. Most notably would seem to be Ted Williams based on Votto’s statements. Coaches have probably helped him and offered advice when asked; but ultimately, he seems to be a self-made guy.

        However, what I was thinking about when I said Votto stepped up this year was that he openly challenged his teammates to dig deeper and do better. He was the guy in July to early August who repeatedly said, regardless that the team was playing well and winning almost 60% of its game over a 6 weeks period, that they needed to do better and play harder. I felt the implication was he had found that higher level in himself and looking around the clubhouse saw it untapped in some other players.

      • Jim t

        @jim Joey changed his approach. Going from working the count and drawing walks to hitting for power and driving in runs. I believe that was discussed by him and the staff. I haven’t run any numbers but I wonder if Bell sitting him last year had a effect in him rethinking his approach.

      • Jim Walker

        @Jim T>> I believe Votto has said on the public record it was watching the games while he was benched which convinced him he had to change. I don’t think he has publicly discussed the specific process he followed to make the change.

      • Reds4ever

        I can bet you AG will be back. Lorenzen will go elsewhere and get paid. People forget AG was a staple for us before this year.. bad year for him but I’m excited for him to bounce back next year..

      • Bob Purkey

        Sorry, Reds4ever. Garrett has never been somebody that you can rely on, as he just walks too many hitters, especially LH hitters. I guess he was OK to come in and face a lefty, but now that you have to face three hitters, he just can’t be relied upon.

    • Redsvol

      Garret is someone you might keep on your team if he is making the minimum salary – hoping that he will turn a corner. But once he starts making $ its time to move on. I expect he will find his way somewhere else because he needs a change of scenery, Its a bummer that he’s coming off such a poor season that he won’t have any trade value and will probably be non-tendered.

    • Reds4ever

      Bob you’re completely wrong. He has been very established and dominant 2019 he was elite and 2020 he was as well. You have to dive deeper into stats more then era. AG was leader in holds 18-20 on the reds relievers get paid for holds if I’m correct he had 51 in that time frame. Next closes was Michael at 30 something. Garrett has dominated lefties besides this year lifetime I believe they are 190 ba righties lifetime are around 225. I’m a baseball guy .I don’t see the reds giving up on him. And if you look across the league or previous years AG is making 1.5 million that’s top tier for a middle reliever who had 1 save. That’s top Monet for a set up man. You say what you want but reds would be stupid to walk away from garrett and he’s cheap.

  11. Gary

    In our lives we’ve all heard the old baseball saying, “sometimes the best thing to happen is a change of scenery”. Perhaps Michael Lorenzen has reached that stage in his baseball career. With his velocity and athleticism, one might think that by now he should have well established himself as a Major League pitcher. Therein lies the enigma, why hasn’t he? Will the Reds let his impending free agency allow him that “change of scenery”?

    • Jim Walker

      It is Lorenzen’s choice whether to stay (if offered a Reds contract) or go (if offered a contract by other teams).

      I’ve said all along, I think he wants a legitimate opportunity to be a 2 way player. The Reds have done nothing but offer him empty double talk right down the line on this issue. There is no reason to believe he is going to give them a second look unless they offer him a huge amount more of guaranteed money than anyone else.

      • Gary

        Of course it’s Lorenzen’s choice to stay or go, provided the Reds want him back. That’s what free agency is all about. Perhaps you missed my point, but that’s ok.

  12. Steven Ross

    If I’m Lorenzen, I say it’s time for a change of scenery. Remember in ST when Garrett struck everyone out. My how the mighty have fallen. Tucker, will always respect your D and aplomb behind the plate but you can’t hit! For all three: time to move on.

    I’ve stuck with Farmer at SS all season long but next year, it’s Barrero time. I could go on, as in what to do at 3B, but that’s enough for now.

    • Jim t

      Steve that will be a good thing. If we are able to use Farmer in a utility role it means the starting 8 are playing well. Barrera is a very good prospect. I hope he can turn promise into production. We still need outfield help though. Naquin and Nick C maybe gone next year.playing Jose out there is more about seeing if he has that ability. I don’t think Farmer has that ability

    • Gary

      Yes, but make no mistake, Barrero’s bat has got to come around. Just the other day I heard Jeff Brantley say on the broadcast that in the majors it doesn’t matter if the guy plays superb defense at short, if a player can’t hit at this level he simply cannot be up here.

  13. Steven Ross

    If I’m Lorenzen, I say it’s time for a change of scenery. Remember in ST when Garrett struck everyone out. My how the mighty have fallen. Tucker, will always respect your D and aplomb behind the plate but you can’t hit! For all three: time to move on.

  14. RedBB

    Art Warren should be given a shot at the closer or setup role. Mikey Biceps is just way too hittable and wild.

  15. LDS

    Lorenzen, Barnhart, Garrett, Castellanos, and likely more gone. But not Bell, fans are stuck with him for the foreseeable future. And thus more young prospects will be ruined by playing out of position, platooning L/R, etc. But not JV, not Suarez, nope. Probably not Farmer, the SS of the future. They are veterans and Bell’s partial to aging veterans. Hope the off season proves me wrong. I’d like to be but history is against it at the moment. Maybe Doug can write us a good post on what to expect this off season. He’s far more informed than I. But right now I’m not optimistic.

    • Jim Walker

      Guess you don’t follow Doug on Twitter (@dougdirt24). Yesterday he tweeted this:
      “On a different note, even though I’m insanely confused by the direction of this organization and so many of the things they’ve done this year, I’m very much looking forward to watching these final three games.”

      • LDS

        No, I don’t do Twitter. To me, it seems to be a political cesspool. Perhaps a necessity for some but I don’t have a business to promote/build. Ah the joy of retirement.

      • Jim Walker

        @LDS, Yes, the political stuff can get old, even the stuff I agree with. But it is not that difficult to block stuff you really don’t want to see and quickly recognize and move past what comes through. Overall, at least for myself, I have found Twitter to be a good aggregation portal once I figured out who/ what to follow and what to block.

    • Roger Garrett

      I share your concerns.Only way Bell doesn’t bow to veteran privilege is if they aren’t on the team.The guys you mentioned should move on and I like them all but its time to play these younger players.I would hope Moose or Suarez can get moved as well.Reds just have to re set this roster and if we don’t well it will be just awful to watch this team next year.

  16. AMDG

    Lorenzen has been channeling his inner Amir Garrett, allowing 14 ER over his last 12.1 IP.

    Ideally, next year they give Barrero an actual shot to be the full-time SS, and if Bell loves Farmer immensely, perhaps slide him to 3B. With India at 2B and Votto at 1B, that basically locks up the infield.

    And since it’s unlikely they will be unable to unload the contracts of Suarez or Moose, hit them some fly balls in the off season and see if they can land a spot in the OF.

    • Jim Walker

      Moose in the OF would make even the late career version of Adam Dunn look like a Gold Glove lock.

    • TR

      I question whether Moose has enough speed for the outfield. Suarez attractive contract should be used to trade for a well-rounded centerfielder or a replacement for Castellanos in right field. Farmer should backup the infielders of Senzel, Barrero and India plus any position where he is needed.

  17. Hanawi

    Lorenzen isn’t coming back regardless. He has been very clear about wanting to be a starter and the Reds are not going to give him that chance. He’ll find a team that will.

    • Bob Purkey

      He has to stay healthy to be a starter. He spends too much time working on his physique, and not his craft!

    • burtgummer01

      Quite a few guys not returning,
      Castellanos,Barnhardt,Givens,I think Sonny will be traded,Miley and Lorenzen
      They might try Greene other than that that scrubs like Barrero and AA

      • Chris Holbert

        Barreo a scrub, you are just looking for arguments… always…

  18. Bob Purkey

    He has to stay healthy to be a starter. He spends too much time working on his physique, and not his craft!

    • Redsvol

      2015 – 113 innings, mostly in rotation, not terrible for Rookie on bad team.
      2016 – sprained UCL, 50 innings
      2017 – 83 innings
      2018 – team committed to a rotation spot but major spring training injury – teres major strain, 81 innings – most of it in bullpen
      2019- 83 innings out of bullpen, probably his best year
      2020 – COVID & better starting pitchers available
      2021 – team recommitted to rotation spot, spring training shoulder strain, hamstring injury 1 game back, 29 innings
      Other than his rookie year, the results say his body couldn’t handle a starting pitching role. If you’re not a starter, its pretty much impossible to be a 2 way player