The Cincinnati Reds are relying on a lot of young pitchers this season, and it’s expected to have some growing pains along the way. That showed early tonight as Reiver Sanmartin was unable to make it through three innings. Sanmartin was not helped by an extremely tight strike-zone and some sketchy third base defense, but Sanmartin just could not hit his spots with any consistency.

The Reds a season ago had a never say die attitude, and it showed again tonight. The Reds trimmed a 7-0 deficit down to 7-6, and brought the go-ahead run to the plate in Jonathan India. He hit a ball 368 feet, but it was right at Adam Duvall to end the game.

The Reds had some very encouraging bullpen debuts, including an incredible inning for Alexis Diaz.

Final R H E
Atlanta Braves (1-1) 7 8 0
Cincinnati Reds (1-1) 6 6 1
W: Morton (1-0) L: Sanmartin (0-1)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

Biggest Play of the Game


Source: FanGraphs
According to Fangraphs WPA statistic (winning percentage added), the biggest play of the game for the Reds was Reiver Sanmartin allowing a 2-RBI single to Travis D’Arnaud with 0 outs in the 2nd inning, giving the Braves a 2-0 leadThat play decreased the Reds probability of winning by 12.8% (from 35.5% to 26.7%).

Positives

Tyler Stephenson had two hits and drove in a pair of runs.

Jake Fraley reached base twice and had a big 2-RBI single in the 9th off Kenley Jansen to make it a 1-run game. Fraley is a really nice addition to this team.

Speaking of Kenley Jansen, the Reds forced him to throw 30 pitches in his Braves debut. He will surely be unavailable tomorrow, possibly on Sunday.

Nick Senzel ripped a double off the wall. It’s hard to not to get excited about what we saw this spring and through the first two games with Senzel. He also had a really nice catch tonight.

Daniel Duarte and Alexis Diaz had impressive MLB debuts in relief. Each guy struck out two batters without allowing a walk. Diaz pitched a perfect inning.

Tyler Naquin had some tough luck. He had a great swing off a lefty that just didn’t work out tonight.

Negatives

It was a tough night for Reiver Sanmartin. He will have better nights for the Reds. If you would have told me last August that he would be starting the second game of the season in 2022, I’d have fallen out of my chair. Who knows if he will be able to find a spot in the rotation or end up as a quality reliever, but I have faith this guy is a big league pitcher. His final line on the night: 2.1 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 5 BB, 2 K.

Not so random thoughts…………….

Tomorrow is a good chance for the Reds offense to break out. They’ll get a crack at Kyle Wright, a pitcher with a lot of promise, but a guy who has a 6.56 ERA in 21 games.

Up Next:

Reds at Braves
Saturday, 7:20 PM
TV: Bally Sports Ohio / MLB Network (out of market only)
Vladimir Gutierrez (4.74 ERA*) vs Kyle Wright (9.95 ERA*)

*2021 totals

64 Responses

  1. J

    Jeff Hoffman allowing two inherited runners to score, plus two non-inherited runners, is also a negative. And the fact that Bell used him in that situation, when he had multiple better options available, is another negative. Hoffman seems to be a pretty good pitcher when the Reds are up or down by 7 runs, but he’s not the guy you bring in when you absolutely need to shut down the other team. Bell seems to understand this insofar as he knows Hoffman shouldn’t be used to protect a smalllead in the 8th inning, but he doesn’t seem to understand that it’s equally important that Hoffman not be used to maintain a small deficit in the third. Both of those situations are winnable games, which is why Hoffman should be used only when there are no better options available. Teams do better by maximizing the use of their *best* players in games that are winnable, not by making sure everyone gets an equal chance to participate in those games. When you’re up or down by 7 in the 7th inning, bring in Hoffman to finish it up. That’s what he’s there for. This is the first of what I assume will be several losses where one bad strategic decision may very well have made the difference.

    • Chris

      Not sure I agree with you here. It’s the 3rd inning, and you are looking for a long man to bridge the gap. Not too many games are won when your starter leaves in the 3rd inning. Personally, I think Hoffman stinks, but this is the EXACT spot he’s gonna be used in, and should, if he’s on this team. Did he stink it up? Yep, but that’s not on Bell, and trust me, I’m not Bell apologist.

      • J

        The “long man” pitched less than 3 innings. How crucial could that really be? When he entered the game, there were (I believe) six pitchers in the bullpen who hadn’t pitched a single inning this season, and 4 who’d pitched a grand total of one inning each. It’s the second game of the season! There’s absolutely no reason at this stage to worry about “saving” anyone’s arm. There are plenty of games where teams come back from 3-run deficits in the third inning. There aren’t many where they come back from 7-run deficits. That was the time to use better pitchers and see what the offense could do. If it’s 0-7 in the 6th inning, then bring in Hoffman to finish up. Whatever. Don’t bring him in a 3-run game unless you really have no better options. Bell had multiple better options.

    • MrRed

      J, you’re arguing for the sake of arguing. It’s a long season and all of these guys are going to be needed in these situations. Trust me. Or don’t. You can instead watch how things play out. But most of these guys are not fully ramped up and it’s going to be a struggle in the early going (to say nothing of the rest of the year). My advice – relax a bit and keep some perspective. It’s not a good team as currently constructed. You think there’s things to complain about now….

      • J

        Why are you complaining about a silly blog comment? Relax, MrRed. Life is too short to get so worked up about blog comments written by people who obviously don’t have the proper perspective. You should just ignore my comments from here on — for your own sake.

  2. MBS

    Having so many young pitchers means, we will probably go through a lot of games like this. However, the offense didn’t give up, and that comeback attempt was against a very good team. I like the lineup, but I think flipping Stephenson and Pham might be a good idea. Stephenson is maybe the 2nd best hitter behind Votto. I’d like him to get more AB over the year in the 3 hole.

    • Chris

      I’m worried about Pham, period. Not sure why he’s batting this far up in the lineup, when he stunk last year, and had no time this spring to get ready.

      • Votto4life

        The Minor and Pham signings both worry me. There is a fair chance that one and maybe both will be a bust based on their recent performance. The money used could have helped extend Castillo or Mahle. This front office is just baffling at times.

      • Jimbo44CN

        Yep, Pham is not showing much, except his defense is decent. Fraley missed and easy fly ball that should have been caught, but did come up with a big hit later. Like Aquinos defense better, but I know , I know.

      • greenmtred

        This was the second game of the season. It’s certainly possible that Pham will prove to be a bad signing, and also possible that he will hit well and help the team and, possibly, be a good trade chip at the deadline. It’s much too early to draw conclusions.

    • Melvin

      I’m with you. Put your best hitters at the top back to back to back and go from there. Have to have someone protect Votto or he’ll never get another good pitch to hit all year.

      India
      Senzel
      Votto
      Stephenson

      • Tom Reeves

        Senzel will be there.

        I’m thinking Bell is lighting a fire under Senzel and giving him a way to earn his way into the top of the lineup. He did the same with India last year.

        The other guy to add to that list is Farmer – he simply has no quit.

      • Greenfield Red

        Farmer will only be with the Reds 1 or 2 more years. When that time comes, someone will look back on his time in Cincy and wonder why he wasn’t appreciated more. Dude is not spectacular, but he is steady, and he is steady at SS… a very important position.

      • Steven Ross

        Bingo! Senzel should bat 2nd. This seems so obvious.

  3. CFD3000

    I was at the game – my apologies to RLN for not bringing home a win. The bad – Sanmartin struggled through his entire outing, though we couldn’t see whether the strike zone was generous or not. Apparently not. But 5 walks and only 7 outs is just not good. He didn’t look major league ready. Hoffman was ineffective, obviously. When he came in I thought it was a reasonable choice, so I’m not going to bash Bell for that one, but clearly in hindsight it wasn’t the right call. And Moustakas looked bad – lost at the plate with a critical misplay at 3rd. He looked like he was deciding whether to try to get the the bag, or throw to 2nd (or first) before finishing job one and catching the ball. Huge play there.

    The good. Duarte and Diaz looked great. Outfield defense was strong. And the offense didn’t give up. Except for Senzel looking over eager, all the 9th inning at bats were solid. And I liked what I saw from Jake Fraley (though apparently he dropped a ball while I was out for a burger). The Reds got dominated but still made it a ballgame. I like that tenacity.

    The awful. It was really cold. 40’s and windy. I’m not going to read too much into the results from this one except to hope that the Reds don’t have to play any more games in that weather. I’ve never seen so many fans in blankets. It looked like a Buffalo Bills game had broken out. I’ll give Sanmartin and Hoffman a pass for tonight, but really want to see a lot more from them both next time out. So back home disappointed but with a little optimism too. Go Reds!

    • Jim Walker

      I came here just to check if anyone had noted the Moustakis misplay in the 3rd. If he gets that ball quickly and cleanly to 2B (Farmer was there in plenty of time on the cover), the Reds get to GIDP instead of the single out on the force at 2nd; and the ultimately decisive 7th run which came home from 3B on the play is negated.

      • VaRedsFan

        They way I saw it. I think he gets the force out at 2nd only. Not enough ground to turn two….IMO

      • Jim Walker

        Sure looked to me like MM double pumped or stumbled/ stagger stepped on the lateral to Farmer at 2B then they missed the out by half a step at 1B.
        As CFD3000 suggested, MM’s 1st thought may have been to run the ball over to 2B himself (for those who didn’t see, the Reds were in a severe shift, and MM was lined up in basically a SS DP depth position with the ball hit right to him). If this was the case, it was another instance of MM not having his head into game as happened Thursday when he was nearly forced at 2B himself because he lost track of how many outs there were (2) and wasn’t running from the get go on a blooper which dropped in for a Reds hit.

      • MBS

        Are our 3B’s both on the DL, Solano / Schrock combo? Moose’s D seems very DH worthy to me.

    • Luke J

      Have you been to Ohio in April? I can guarantee they will play in that weather again. ?

  4. Votto4life

    Any chance the Reds would pick up Justin Upton?

    • Jim Walker

      I think the Reds only hope was to have traded for Upton by sending the Angels a middling prospect as cover for the Angels paying all or the lion’s share of the payout. Plus, in addition, the Reds might have needed to be willing to take on at least a million or 2 of the salary (recall the minimum is now $730K so whoever signs Upton will have to take that on in addition to any signing bonus or option buyout they attach to the contract they give him to sweeten the pot as a a free agent signee.).

      I thought the Reds should have tried trading Shogo Akiyama ($8m in sunken cost to them) and a lottery type draft choice to the Angels for Upton and $20m of the salary. That would have been salary neutral for the Reds. Who knows if they tried and failed or there was something in one or the other of the contracts which would have gummed the works.

      • Luke J

        No thank you. The last thing this young, exciting team needs is another washed up vet. Pham’s 0fer nights are enough.

  5. JayTheRed

    Real quick just want to say that I am proud of what most of the Red players did tonight. Diaz looked lights out, and I love how the team fought back to get back into the game. Good effort by the team. Morton has a record of doing well against the Reds. Hoping for better luck tomorrow.

  6. Rednat

    Gutierrez and Pham are 2 guys that need to have big years for the reds if we are going to be competitive this year. Gutierrez really struggled at the end of last year and this spring. Pham looks shaky up there through the first 2 games. I hope both can start turning it around tomorrow

  7. J

    I don’t really understand why they seem to be so high on Pham, but I will say that his main strength seems to be drawing walks, and he’s walked in both games. He’s certainly not the ideal #3 hitter, but a guy with a high OB% and a little speed hitting ahead of Votto isn’t the worst thing in the world.

    • greenmtred

      Does it seem that they’re particularly high on him? I think I read here that he hit very well against the Reds, and if that’s true, they may figure that GABP will bring out his best. Aside from that, he has been a fairly solid MLB outfielder, and the Reds may well have wanted some additional depth. I know, why did they trade Winker then? But Wink never played anything approaching a full season and was expensive part-time help.

      • J

        I’m inferring they’re high on him from the amount they’re paying him, plus the fact that he’s been hitting third, and I believe they’ve made it clear that they view him as an everyday player — whereas three other outfielders are clearly not considered everyday players.

      • greenmtred

        Reasonable deductions, but we’re only three games in at this point. My cautious take is that they’re trying to see what he is. There will be a lot of that for the Reds this year. Votto, Farmer, India and, maybe, Naquin might be the only position players they have any certainly about.

  8. SultanofSwaff

    Sanmartin doesn’t have top shelf stuff so he has to throw with conviction which he didn’t do tonight. On the other hand Diaz and Duarte did pitch with conviction. It appears that the bullpen is markedly better than last April.

    You could tell from his first at bat in spring training that Senzel just looks different. You have to figure it won’t be long before he slides up to the number two spot in the batting order, similar to what India did last year.

    Just win series. It’s never easy on the road so let’s hope they can steal the next two games and come home with momentum.

    • Jim Walker

      Is it just my old eyes or does Senzel upper body and core look much bigger built up and better conditioned this year than in the past?

      • Old Big Ed

        Not just your old eyes, Jim. He looks a lot stronger.

      • Reaganspad

        Maybe your old eyes are stronger…

        He does look good though

    • TR

      A split on the road with the World Champs would be a good start followed by a sweep of the Guardians.

  9. CallowayPost

    Can we take a minute of going over the negatives of the second game of the season…and just appreciate what we are seeing with Senzel?

    We’ve seen what he can do the past two years…and even though that hunger and playing style hasn’t helped his health…he looked genuinely hungry, and happy, to be in Center field.

    I see those frustrations of the past few seasons in his eyes…baseball better watch out.

    • Slicc50

      No doubt about it. Nick is a key player on the team this year. He could have a really big year if he can stay healthy!

  10. Old-school

    Reds werent sweeping the Braves on the road in a 4 game series

    Ill reserve judgment on Pham
    And give him 100 at bats. Revier didnt have command. Moose looks the same. He needs a hot April after his 2021 fiasco.

    I am encouraged with the idea of India Senzel and Stephenson playing healthy every day as a young core.

    • TR

      The young core will be completed with a young shortstop.

      • Old-school

        @TR- I’m a huge fan of young talent and yes, I would love to see a middle of the diamond of Senzel CF, Barrero SS, India 2b and Stephenson C for the next 5 years. Why not throw McClain in at 3b this time next year?

  11. AMDG

    Negatives

    Moustakas playing at 3B was, as it has been, a negative.

    Unfortunately, Drury and Moran aren’t any better, and Barrero is injured.

    • PTBNL

      Yeah, I hated that Drury homer on opening night.

    • Jim Walker

      I thought it was interesting that folding Winker into a deal was enough to get Suarez’s $35m in sunken cost from 2022-24 off the Reds books but apparently not enough to get Moose’s sunken $38M off their books over the same term.

      Given the two players’ ages and recent production, a person has to believe the Reds would have preferred it to be Moose, right? Mariners probably wanted more back for taking Moose or for the Reds to send some money with him???

      • Old Big Ed

        It may just be that they didn’t want another LH hitter.

  12. Joekr

    This loss is squarely on David Bell’s shoulders. He stuck with Sanmartin too long. I know it was early, but it was clear in the second inning he didn’t “have it.” He only pitched 4 innings they said in spring training also, so he wasn’t ready to give them much length anyway.

    Moose also, as a previous poster commented, was slow getting the ball to second in the third inning. We might as well get used to this, he is no Suarez at the hot corner. Maybe when Barrero comes back, they can move Farmer to third, assuming Barreo can adjust to MLB pitching.

    • Kevin H

      Relax it was game 2..

      Plus relax it was game 2.

      And last relax it was game 2

    • burtgummer01

      On Bells shoulders?? Really ???
      He didn’t play defense very well,he didn’t pitch very well and he didn’t play defense very well
      Smh

    • greenmtred

      Young pitchers can’t develop if they aren’t allowed to face difficulty. This is a young team, overall, and trending that way. They need to find out who is going to be part of the team going forward.

  13. Wendell Booten

    Can someone explain to me blackout games? I have mlb.tv and was able to watch several spring training games, but have been unable to watch any of the Atlanta games due to blackouts. I live in Southern WV. Will there be many of these blackouts and how do I know which games I’ll be unable to watch ahead of time. Thanks

    • Old Big Ed

      Wendell, I’m not sure anybody on the planet can explain blackout games. Doug is as good as anybody at attempting to explain it.

    • Randy in Chatt

      I live in Chattanooga and all mlb.tv package Reds games are blacked out because we are in the Cincinnati “market”. We are 5 hours outside of Cincy. They, not only blackout all Reds home games (fortunately we get many {not all} of the Reds’ games on a re-broadcast of Bally Sports Ohio–to Bally Sports Southeast—we have to compete with the Braves, Predators, Grizzlies, Hawks, Atlanta United FC, etc.–so we don’t get as many games as we should) but they black out all AWAY games too. Simply unbelievable the greed MLB has. I don’t even bother purchasing the MLB.tv package. Waste of money.

    • donny

      Wendell Booten , Trust me on this .
      When I go on mlb.tv normally . I am blocked out of all the reds games. ”All of them”.
      When I then get off the web site and go to my VPN and come back to mlb.tv website I can watch them.
      I use my antivirus software VPN. I have heard last year that some VPN don’t work , but mine did and it works this year also. Works 100%.
      When the reds play in the South, East, or Midwest . I set mine up for American West.
      When they play on the West coast , I set it up for American South.
      It’s a shame we have to go through this , but i hope this helps .

      • donny

        YES, Meaning that I watch them live and I don’t have to wait and watch them 5hrs later on mlb.tv.

      • donny

        Wendell Booten , YES
        I pay 40 $ per year for my antivirus.
        These days most Antivirus software have VPN available for extra charge .
        I pay a extra 30$ for the VPN from my antivirus software.

      • donny

        You’re thinking is it worth it ?
        Heck Yeah it’s worth it. Every bit of it . Think about it.
        From the antivirus software to the VPN to the mlb.tv package .
        It all rounds out to 200$ , about the same cost as going to a couple of reds games. I would easily pay 500$ up to 1000$ for that luxury.

      • donny

        PLUS, you get to watch every single MLB game . Think about that ?

  14. Mark Moore

    Didn’t think I’d be saying this during the evening, but it was a tough loss. Really stuck in there against a tough bullpen. Here’s to hoping we can pull out either today’s or tomorrow’s game. I know we’re on game #3 today, but I’m still optimistic with this bunch. The NL Central is the place to be if we are going to make this happen.

  15. Eric the Red

    Duarte looked really good. Maybe it was my imagination, but it looked like he had tremendous movement on his pitches. Diaz wasn’t too bad, either.

    Get your “Killer D’s” merchandise now, before it goes up in price 🙂

    • Randy in Chatt

      I like that….the “Killer D’s”. Didn’t think they would be in the BP but they did look good.

      Fellow RLN’ers: Let’s give Pham a few more AB’s before we label him a bust. He’s proved it at the professional level. He didn’t have many AB’s this spring. Give him 100+ AB’s and then let’s see. I’d rather have him that Upton at this point.

  16. kevinz

    Thing for Pham is health.
    Struggled at home with SD.
    Played well enough on the road though.
    Like can draw a walk when not hitting.

  17. MBS

    So todays lineup is plug and play as well. It seems like a more stable way of managing the BA. I was hoping they’d play Stephenson as a DH when it was his off day, but it looks like a solid lineup.