The Reds scored six runs in each of the first two games. Those two games the Reds faced two of the better starters in the National League in Max Fried and Charlie Morton. Tonight the Reds offense was shut down in a game started by a pitcher with much promise, but one who had a career 6.57 ERA coming in. That’s baseball.

Vladimir Gutierrez gave up two runs in the first inning, but the Reds pitching held up their end after that. The Reds bullpen has only allowed 4 runs through 13.1 innings this season as they held the Braves scoreless for 4.2 innings tonight.

The Reds fought back in the 9th, just like they did 24 hours ago, but once again were one run short. Pham walked with 2 outs and Votto drove him in, but Aquino popped out to end the game.

Final R H E
Atlanta Braves (2-1) 2 8 1
Cincinnati Reds (1-2) 1 3 0
W: Wright (1-0) L: Gutierrez (0-1) S: Smith (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 Vladimir Gutierrez allowing an RBI double to Marcell Ozuna in the 1st inning, giving the Braves a 1-0 lead with runners on 2nd & 3rd with 1 outThat play decreased the Reds probability of winning by 13.6% (from 41.5% to 27.9%).

Positives

The Reds really showed off their new improved defense, minus Moustakas (see below).

-Nick Senzel made an incredible catch where he covered a lot of ground in the 6th.

-Jake FraleyKyle Farmer and Aramis Garcia executed a perfect relay in the 3rd inning, and it was big at the time, saving a run to keep it a 2-0 game.

Aristides Aquino got Matt Olson thrown out for a second time at home plate on Saturday night in the 8th inning.

 

Vladimir Gutierrez gave the Reds a pretty solid start tonight. He had some fairly tough luck in the first inning when he gave up two runs, but settled in and got the Reds into the 5th inning. His fine line on the night: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 4 K.

Tommy Pham has yet to record a hit for the Reds, but has walked in all three games (twice tonight). You can really see his good plate discipline in the quality of his plate appearances. Pham also stole a base after walking tonight.

Hunter Strickland retired all 5 batters that he faced in his Reds debut. He did give up a couple of hard hit balls, but he didn’t walk a batter.

Negatives

Mike Moustakas is really starting to get concerning. He has yet to have an official error this season, but there have been multiple plays so far this season that a good defensive third baseman probably makes. He is really struggling at the plate too (.100/.091/.100). Moustakas came up in the 2nd after the Reds got their first baserunner of the game on, and he immediately hit a first pitch weak popup. You have to hope that it is just a slow start to the season for a player that was never healthy last year, but there is certainly reason for concern.

The Reds offense was only able to collect 3 hits on the night. They only had 3 hard hit balls according to Statcast, and 2 walks (both from Pham).

Not so random thoughts…………

The consensus pick to win the NL Central has started the season 0-2. The Brewers top two starting pitchers did not fair well in their season debuts against the Cubs. Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff combined to allow 10 ERA in 8.2 innings. It would be silly to make a very big deal about this right now, but this is at least something to keep an eye. Could the Brewers young star pitchers regress a little bit in 2022?

It’s never fun to drop back-to-back games in the first week of the season, but if the Reds can find a way to get a win tomorrow, you would have to consider this a successful weekend.

Up Next:

Reds at Braves
Sunday, 1:35 PM
TV: Bally Sports Ohio
Hunter Greene (MLB debut) vs Ian Anderson (3.58 ERA/4.27 xERA in 2021)

44 Responses

  1. Steve Schoenbaechler

    Trademark of a young team, losing close ones. I do like how they seem to fight to the end, so far.

  2. Greenfield Red

    The entire system is 3-10 in the first week. It’s not exactly what we had hoped for.

  3. JayTheRed

    I have a bad feeling 1 run games are going to haunt us again this year.

  4. LDS

    At least they weren’t shut out. Will they have a winning record again this year? Maybe, if they win tomorrow. Bell was back to L/R substitutions. Not ideal IMO but we’ll see if he’s back to being himself. Let’s hope not.

  5. Mark A Verticchio

    I think the injuries to Solano and Schrock really hurt this team. They are not great players, but give more than Moose who is awful.

  6. Jon

    Losing both Winker and Castellanos is going to be what sinks this team. The Reds foolishly dumped Iglesias and Bradley last year and that tanked their chances of making the postseason. This year it’s the lack of power bats. Expecting Pham and Moustakas to revert to what they were three years ago is a stretch.

    • MBS

      Not having Winker likely saved us 2 defensive runs today. The Aquino put out, and the Fraley relay to Farmer. Neither one would have happened with Winker in the field. Look I’m not saying I wouldn’t still like to have Winker, but it’s not all doom and gloom. We are a far better defensive team this year, and that will be big with all the young pitching we have.

      • burtgummer01

        Good candidate for dumbest post of the year.You have no idea what would happen if Winker was playing.SMH

      • Tom Reeves

        He’s right – Winker doesn’t make either of those plays.

        So please tell me my comment is now the dumbest!

      • Matt WI

        Burt… we don’t see Winker’s name on the statcast list above with the hardest thrown balls from the OF. It’s safe to say Aquino was the only one of the 2 who makes that throw. We all miss Winker, but it isn’t “dumb” to acknowledge he had some defensive weaknesses. You’re right that we can’t literally prove it, but it’s a very legit statement based on observation and some data, which seems like fair territory for a blog about a baseball team.

      • greenmtred

        Most of our comments make the same sort of supposition. Of course we don’t know what would happen if player X were playing in place of player Y. But we’ve seen the oft-injured Jesse Winker for some years now, so can you seriously question that he wouldn’t have been able to make the throw that Aquino made?

  7. Beaufort Red

    I can’t even imagine what else other teams were asking for to take Moose off our hands.

  8. B-town Fan

    The Moose looks overweight and slow, don’t want to say he’s mailing it in, but he needs to get his act together and get with it. Right now he is looking like a player that was playing for that one big contract before he got to the Reds and now that he’s
    got it, he’s lost that hunger. Hope he improves, boy we need him.

    • Melvin

      There is no excuse for a professional athlete not being in the best shape of his life. It’s irritating to say the least when you see one like Moose with guaranteed millions of dollars. It’s disrectful to everyone including us fans. Those guys have all the resources they could possibly ask for to be the best they can be. Sometimes they just don’t have the integrity to use them. Shameful. It does make one appreciate Joey Votto even more….a consumate professional.

    • Doc

      Encouraging that they ate Akiyama’s contract. I would just as soon see them eat Moose’s contract if this continues another few weeks. Clear the slate and put the best team on the field, including hungry youngsters as one characteristic defining best.

  9. Klugo

    Ive never seen a player pop up as much as Moose.
    At the other end of the spectrum, nice piece of hitting by Votto to get that lone run across.

  10. Jeff Morris

    Aquino is good defensively, and has a great arm. But….he really struggles at the plate. He has never really got going offensively in the last couple years. He is only going to be able to be a defensive late inning guy in the outfield. I am wondering if Moose will be like Suarez last year, minus the high strikeout rate. I don’t believe Moose will strike out as much as Suarez did last year, but his batting average and on base percentage looks so far likes it will be low! Also….his defense at third base looks like it will be an issue. He is getting too old! When Berrero comes back, hopefully soon….I believe Farmer has earned a right to start at 3rd Base. Moose can be an occasional DH.

    • TR

      Aquino came up as an open stance hitter. IMO, the partial closing of his stance by one of the hitting coaches has affected his hitting and strikeout rate. Otherwise, with some speed and good defensive skills, he’s an asset. The Reds miss Suarez defensively at third base; Moustakas is not agile enough. Eventually, Farmer can get it done at the hot corner.

    • Doc

      A defensive out saved early in the game can be as big as one saved late in the game.

  11. Dan

    I’m wondering if Solano (when healthy) might be the best 3B on this team. I thought he was actually a sneaky-good pickup.

    Agreed, though, that the outfield defense was fantastic tonight!

    • Hanawi

      Could use any one of Barrero, Solano or Schrock right now. If Barrero was healthy, they could shift Farmer to third. Each would be a huge defensive upgrade and a significant offensive upgrade.

      I really like what I’m seeing from the bullpen minus Hoffman and Hendrix. The young arms look particularly good. If they end up moving Sanmartin to the bullpen as well, they might have a pretty good set of arms for the next few years.

      • Melvin

        Lopez seems to be a forgotten talent.

  12. MuddyCleats

    Tyler Stephenson’s bat has 2 b IN the lineup! If not catching, then at 1B or at DH.
    Aquino may never hit consistently. Right now, he’s getting himself out by squaring his stance on the pitch & then getting Jammed. Simple stay open & hope the pitcher makes a mistake middle in. Braves r pounding him & he’s helping them. Ambush a few guys by staying open, and the he’ll get some pitches away

    • Melvin

      I agree about AA and keeping his stance open. That’s what he was using when he was on a roll anyway. An open stance helps a batter see the ball better anyway.

  13. Hanawi

    In addition to the three guys I mentioned above, they could also just bring up Lopez. He had a couple of hits tonight in AAA. If Moran isn’t going to play, then might as well have him on the team instead.

  14. GreatRedLegsFan

    No way Reds can afford much of Moustakas and Aquino offensive deficiencies, either they start to produce soon or by the time Shrock, Barrero and Solano return from IL they’ll be long gone. Also, Lopez and Friedl are just longing in Louisville.

  15. Reddawg2012

    I have seen enough of Moose and Aquino to last me a lifetime.

    • scotly50

      Aquino the Reds should cut. Moose, I’m afraid , is here for the duration of his contract. Unless we give away some young talent and throw him in.

      • Jimbo44CN

        And replace him with who? Pham can walk but has yet to hit the baseball. Fraley is pretty fast but have seen him drop balls he should have caught. I agree Aquino is struggling at the plate, but they don’t have much else and his defense is very good.

  16. Doc4uk

    Agree. Moose is simply not agile enough to play 3 B and can only DH

  17. Hotto4Votto

    Why Moose is considered anything other than a DH is beyond me. (And if he doesn’t start hitting, not sure you could consider him a DH either). When Barrero comes back, I’d slide Farmer to 3B. Probably play Drury until then.

    • Doc

      Barrero has not proved he can hit at the majors league level.

      • Hotto4Votto

        Hasn’t had enough of a chance. Not enough PA’s to come to any conclusion on his hitting ability in ML, especially when spread over two years and inconsistent starts, PH appearances.

  18. Old-school

    Opening series at Atlanta is a tough one. They need to find a way to scratch out a W and split the series.

    Moose is out of the lineup today but he’s going be a regular. I would separate out his defense from his hit tool. We know he cant play 3b but we don’t know he can’t still hit in GABP against righties and be a DH. 81 games at GABP still to be played and the runs come a plenty when the weather heats up. Best case Scenario is Moose gets hot in June and July and the Reds trade his bat as a DH or 1B at the trade deadline. Moran is starting at 3b today.

    Things have a way of working themselves out. With Solano and Barrero out, Moose is going to be in the lineup 6 days a week so he will get every opportunity to prove he can still hit for the next 2 months. If he hits , great- trade him at the deadline. If he doesn’t hit, Barrero, Farmer, and Solano can cover SS/3b when the 3 are all healthy.

    2-2 seems a lot better than 1-3. Go Reds.

    • Jim Walker

      Solano was on the field taking batting practice swings Saturday afternoon. He could be close. ASAP get him on the field at 3B. Aside from better defense, his career splits indicate that he should be in the vicinity of 90 for OPS+/ wRC+ versus RHP pitching and slightly better versus LH pitching. Moose achieving this level currently looks like a pipe dream.

      I get the idea of hoping to reduce some of their financial loss on Moose. However, Moose’s OPS+ for 2021 was 66 and his wRC+ was 70. 11 PAs into 2022 his OPS+ is -42 and his wRC+ is -61. Recouping any dollar losses isn’t going to happen with these levels of performance.

      They need to cook up some injury (shouldn’t be too hard) to get Moose on the IL. Put him on an intense conditioning program for several weeks then send him out to AAA on an extended rehab, not just until he has a decent game (or 2) , to see if he can hit while absorbing the wear and tear of playing every day. If he can’t pass this test just eat the contract.

      • Melvin

        I don’t know if it’s possible with these long term contracts but doesn’t it seem wise to add in a weight requirement? lol

      • Jim Walker

        @Melvin> Moose will be 34 years old in September. I don’t know that he is playing at a heavier weight than he did in the past. It is possible his body is just worn down by 12 seasons in MLB and the 1240 MLB games he has played in. Just get him into what trainers feel is the best possible playing condition for his body at his age and with the wear it has absorbed then see if he can produce or whether it is time for him to call it a career.

        And yes the team will have to make good on the sunken cost; but, that is the way the system works. Everyone knows this in advance. If Moose has given his best effort to be in shape and tries as hard as he can, I have no issue with him personally over being paid out.

      • Melvin

        I understand your points Jim. Honestly, I never remember watching him play before coming to Cincy but he looks “plumpier” to me since his arrival. I agree. If he actually IS giving everything he’s got he should be paid. We both know he will regardless anyway, If he’s not able to help just let him go and try to be wiser before handing out the next big contract. I will say if he is the same weight as he’s always been then that should have thrown up a big red flag to DW before signing him. Playing at that weight, at 2B, which is what they signed him for, past 30? Not wise to pay him that money.

  19. Mark Moore

    All our hopes for a split hinge on a good performance by Greene today and just a few more hits earlier than we’ve mustered them the past two nights. Let’s hope Moose is no more than a DH or PH this afternoon. He just seems outmatched at 3B right now.

  20. Steven Ross

    Only 3 games played so need to reign in the concerns but Moose just doesn’t look right. He’s hurting the team defensively & to put it bluntly: terrible offensely. Nobody’s going to take that contract. A conundrum indeed. Thankfully, he’s not playing today.

  21. Scott C

    Moose is a black hole at 3rd base and is really that at the plate. It is my hope that the Reds don’t take too long to come to the conclusion that he is not going to get better and eat the contract. Of course it is not my money but it is painful to watch. And except for the walks I don’t see Pham contributing much.

  22. MBS

    My biggest problem with Moose is his D. Hitting normally has it’s ups and downs. Defense shouldn’t, you can always play good D, unless you just can’t anymore. I’d move him into the DH role, and see if taking away one struggle (defense) helps him focus and improve on his other struggle (offense). Lots of older out of shape guys move to the DH, it seems as if it was designed for a man like the Moose.

  23. Old-school

    I had good seats to a late August game against Marlins last year( gem by Gutierrez to beat Alcantara 3-1 and put the Reds 12 over .500) and Moose was obviously not able to play 3b at that game. Ive not closed the door on his hit tool at GABP yet and perhaps he can re-invent himself as a DH and occasional 1b.