The Cincinnati Reds fell behind 3-0 early on Thursday night with an assist to some tough luck to opener, Luis Cessa. The Reds for all their flaws, never quit.

Aristides Aquino had looked as bad as you possibly could in his first two trips to the plate, but battled back from an 0-2 count to make it a 1-run game in the 6th inning.

Brandon Drury would tie the game with a home run of his own in the 7th.

The Reds bullpen would unfortunately get lit up in the 8th inning, and turn a close game into a lopsided final score. The Reds have now lost 3 straight games to fall to 2-5 on the young season with a brutal schedule still to come.

Final R H E
Los Angeles Dodgers (4-2) 3 6 0
Cincinnati Reds (2-5) 9 14 0
W: Treinen (1-1) L: Wilson (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 was Brandon Drury’s solo home run 7th inning with 2 outs off David Price, tying the game at 3That play increased the Reds probability of winning by 22.2% (from 21.5% to 43.7%).

Positives

Aristides Aquino looked about as bad as you possibly could in his first two at bats against Walker Buehler. He fell behind him 0-2 in his 3rd AB, but battled back and smoked a ball into the leftfield seats. It was the first home run that Walker Buehler allowed in his last 22.2 innings dating back to last season. Aquino has clearly struggled with making contact this early season, but when he does, you understand why the Reds don’t want to give up on this guy. Aquino is responsible for 2 of the Reds 5 balls hit 400+ feet this season. The other was a 402 foot out on Opening Day against the Guardians on Tuesday.

Brandon Drury replaced India after he had to leave the game and hit a massive game-tying home run in the 7th inning. What an incredible unexpected start to this season from Drury.

Reiver Sanmartin was incredible in his 5 innings as the “bulk pitcher” tonight. His final line on the night was 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K. He only allowed 3 hard hit balls according to Statcast. This might be the best way to use Reiver to take some of the pressure off him early in the game and possibly create some platoon advantages with the opponents lineup for him.

Negatives

Jonathan India had to leave the game after an infield single in the 5th inning with a right hamstring injury. He walked off on his own and looked to moving around in the dugout. I’m not going to speculate on anything. The Reds obviously can not afford to lose India.

Luis Cessa was the opener for the Reds today. He had about as tough luck of outing as you could have. He did not allow a single hard hit ball according to Statcast, but the Dodgers were able to score 3 runs off him. I hope this doesn’t discourage Bell from using Cessa as an opener in the future. This could be a really nice role for him.

It got ugly for the Reds bullpen in the 8th inning. I would recommend reserving much judgement for this bullpen until they are playing someone other than than the 1926 Yankees.

Not so random thoughts…………..

I love doing an opener with Reiver Sanmartin. It didn’t work tonight – or maybe it did. We will never know what Reiver might or might not have done starting the game. It’s a different concept that I think could take some pressure off a young pitcher like Reiver. I hope the Reds try this more.

Up Next:

Reds at Dodgers
Friday, 10:10 PM
TV: Apple TV+
Vladimir Gutiérrez (4.15 ERA/1.85 xERA) vs Tony Gonsolin (3.00 ERA/2.77 xERA)

64 Responses

  1. Votto4life

    I would be surprised if the Reds see .500 again this season. I have never been so discouraged this early in April.

    Phil’s comments not only insulted Reds fans but they confirmed that nothing is going to change. Ownership is not going to invest in this team, they focus on developing talent and should that talent win a championship while earning the league minimum, otherwise they will be shipped out.

    Mahle and Castillo will be moved at the trading deadline if both are healthy. Next year, Stephenson and India. Terribly discouraged.

    • VaRedsFan

      I’m not sure what young talent that they’ve shipped off that you are referring to?

      • realist

        Jesse Winker, Josiah Gray, Jeter Downs and Talyor Trammel. All top 5 prospects at some point in the Reds farm system, what do they have left in on the major league club for those players?

        Go back a few years for the worst trade of all time.
        Yonder Alonso, Brad Boxberger, Yasmani Grandal, and Edinson Volquez for Mat Latos.

        Shed Long was a great trade.
        Suarez and Castillo also great

      • realist

        Also the Reds traded Aroldis Chapman for Rookie Davis, Eric Jagielo, Tony Renda and Caleb Cotham

      • MuddyCleats

        I always thought Reds missed big on Paulie Konerko. Casey 4 Burba was a great trade, but as a first baseman, Konerko was much better w/ power and Rbi production. Konerko for Mike Cameron never produced for Cincy. Encarnacion was another big miss. He seemed immature – unwilling to work hard – until traded fm Reds? Trades for Danny Graves and Brandon Phillips were good. Signing Josh Hamilton was a windfall for the organization, but they didn’t get much when they traded him. Dittos for Mike Remlinger, who once in Atlanta and Leo Mazzoni, became an All-Star Closer. Reds seem to do much better when they target one or two guys; the 4-5 player thing almost never works out

      • DHud

        Over the long haul, yeah the Latos trade was pretty lopsided

        But to be fair Latos had a pretty good couple years at a time the Reds were pushing to contend so I have no qualms with the move

    • David

      I do not see them moving India or Stephenson. They have control for the next 4 years. Depending on how they are doing at the all-star break, they will likely trade Castillo or Mahle. Krall is going all in on 2024. That explains the 1 year contracts to Minor, Pham, etc. He wants to get the high salaries off the books so that he has some flexibility at that point. This is at least a strategy that might work. The strategies pursued by Jocketty and Williams were not going to work. Krall will wait until the young talent is in place then you can go and get 4 or 5 free agents with the payroll flexibility. Long term contracts have hurt the Reds. Votto’s has worked out best but still was not wise. Phillips, Mesoraco, Bailey, Suarez, and Moustakas have really put them behind the 8 ball.

  2. GreatRedLegsFan

    The gap between these rosters is abysmal, a sweep is very likely and this month’s schedule shall set the tone for the rest of the season. Hopefully, with the return of players in IL and an easier schedule, Reds shall improve later.

  3. Joey Red

    I remember when the Reds vs Dodgers was the best rivalry in baseball. There is light years between the franchise’s now. The Reds might be the most dysfunctional franchise in professional sports. And worse Reds fans were lectured by ownership on opening day. Dysfunctional and disgusting.

    • Luke J

      Slow down a bit there. The Reds, for all their dysfunction, aren’t even the most dysfunctional franchise in their own 5 team division. I know we all think the sky is falling, but let’s get a reality check here.

    • Colorado Red

      And the Dodgers TV contract is 250 Mil per year.
      A bit of a difference.

    • realist

      I agree Joey Red, it is crazy that some people just won’t see it.

  4. VaRedsFan

    The bullpen has looked decent for the most part this year, but everybody crapped the bed in the same game tonight. Hunter Strickland is this year’s Doolittle. Bell will continue to stick him in close games despite results

    • Colorado Red

      Did you see the 9th vs the Guardians?
      The is 6 runs in 1 inning 2 times in two games.
      It is going to stink this year.

    • realist

      The most part this year? we are seven games in they lost 5 of 7. They had a good series versus Atlanta in the first series of the year.

  5. Klugo

    Havent won since Castellinin’s remarks.
    It was cool to see Sanmartin find a rhythm and find a rhythm he did. But this is a team game. Our team isnt good enough right now. Too many people ready to let you down.

  6. Mark A Verticchio

    Schrock, Barrero, Solano, Sims, Castillo, Dunn, Minor, Pham, Senzel, now India. This team was going to be average at best, but with all these injuries and an unbelievable tough April schedule this season is most likely over. Some of Bells strange moves have not helped either. Sad that for me this baseball season is most likely over on April 15.

    • Jim Walker

      So, while all the talk surrounding the shorted spring training centered on pitching issues, maybe outfielders needed the extra time to get their legs going, infielders to get their fielding timing up to snuff and all position players to really find their batting strokes?

      When folks aren’t quite up to speed, talent rises to the top even more quickly (and vice versa).

    • CI3J

      The season was over before it even began. Didn’t the fact the Reds spent all their free agent money on washed-up, mid-30-year-old players with either low .200 BAs or 4.50+ ERAs tip you off?

      Seriously, we have to try to convince ourselves to be excited about someone like Tommy Pham. TOMMY PHAM! That’s the best the Reds could do.

  7. Klugo

    Hate to say it, but injuries are the best thing to happen to this FO. It provides them with a nice, taylor-made, gift-wrapped excuse. Again.
    But I do agree, those guys would help.

  8. Steven Ross

    I’ll be Captain Obvious: Drury needs to play everyday until he cools off. We’ve seen enough to know the bad outweighs the good with Aquino. Strickland has been giving up bombs for years.

    I know, only April plus we have a lot of injuries but it sure feels like this is going to be a long season with little hope of long-term success.

    • MBS

      You say Captain Obvious, but playing the hot bat somehow eludes Bell.

  9. PhoenixPhil

    Optimist: The lead off spot went 3 for 4.

  10. MuddyCleats

    Agree w/ the opener idea, been championing this for a few yrs now considering all the young arms. Nice to see Sanmartin bounce back. Perhaps Hoffman could b the ideal opener for Sanmartin? Hoffman has shown an improved change up to get hitters off his FB which too often catches too much plate. Hoffman is good when his pitch mix is good. Too often he falls behind and gives in w/ a fat FB which has been very hittable in the past. Luv to see him add a two seamer to his mix to attack RHH on the hands. Likewise, a cutter away to bridge his FB and CB mix.

    • Chris

      So an opener is a good idea? Yeah, because baseball has been around 100+ years, and only a few years ago, someone decided that they are much smarter than managers have been the previous 100 years, and decided it’s good to start one of your lesser pitchers in a ball game. Sure.

      • Luke J

        A closer isn’t a “lesser” pitcher than a starter. He is a more specialized pitcher. In fact, most starters would make terrible closers. Does that mean they are “lesser” pitchers? Of course not. And the closer is a role that has been developing much more recently than 100 years ago. The whole bullpen is more specialized now than ever before. So yeah, there are going to be ways to manage a pitching staff that are different than they were before. It’s not that anyone is smarter than people who came before, just that the circumstances are different.

      • MuddyCleats

        IF…..the Reds had stud SPs, NO it wouldn’t be my preference. However, Reds have a lot of young guys who still need time to mature and grow and learn at the ML level. Of course, Tampa has used the Opener Philosophy for a few yrs now and been a playoff team doing it. Red Sox have went w/ a tandem start using an older LHP Rich Hill to start and then flipping to a young RHP, Whitlock very effectively. Plans r to use this for an extended period of time. A few other teams R going to a 6 man rotation 4 various reasons. I could see Reds using Minor as a tandem starter. He’s a very good strikeout pitcher for 3-4 innings. Not nearly as good as 5-7 inning guy. When you don’t have the horses….u got to think outside the box……IF u want to compete that is

      • MuddyCleats

        Using an Opening or Tandem SP is also a good way to control innings for guys like Green and Lodolo….etc

      • Matt WI

        Whoa, Chris. The Opener idea has been beneficial for teams even if it looked bad for one night. Craig Counsell and the Brewers rode it into the playoffs quite effectively when needed.

        The Reds can’t afford to get stuck in “this is how it always was done” thinking. The game has changed a lot in 100 years.

  11. Dennis Westrick

    Wash, rinse and repeat! Reds fall behind, battle back to tie the game and the Bullpen fails! Where have I seen this script before? Oh, yes! About 30+ times during the 2021 season! Earth to Reds FO! Or, more appropriately, McFly!

    • CI3J

      More like every year for the past decade.

  12. LDS

    I have expected a fourth place finish with a bit of a challenge from the Pirates but looks like the Reds may be trying for last place from the outset. Roster holes and lousy field office, FO, and ownership. Long, long year ahead.

  13. Mark A Verticchio

    Well I guess it’s time to start rooting for my 2nd favorite team, who ever the Cardinals are playing. That would be the Brewers this week end. I live 40 miles from St. Louis so you can only imagine how sickening this final year of Yadi, Albert and Wainright is being played up. It is very similar to the Coach K sideshow in college basketball. As a big UNC fan i can only hope that the Cardinals self appointed greatest show on earth ends the same way.

    • Luke J

      To be fair, Coach K’s season ended with a trip to the final four, a success even by his standards. I doubt you wish the cardinals the type of success where a banner is raised the next season. 😉

      • Mark A Verticchio

        You are right about the final four trip, but his overall season ended in disaster losing his last home game and in the final four to UNC his biggest rival. Duke will never live that down. I wish the Cardinal season would end with a similar embarrassment.

    • LarkinPhillips

      I live in that area for years and we share the same favorite “second team.” I’m glad I’m not there any longer than hear about those three.

  14. Indy Red Man

    And here I thought Will Smith was just a slap hitter.

    MLB? Dodgers won the WS 2 years ago and added Tre Turner and Freddie Freeman since then. Thats like squaring off with Mike Tyson in a fistfight and someone hands him brass knuckles too. Cubs spend $85 mil on a Japanese AS while we spend $21 mil or whatever. Thank God for gambling, but this isn’t watchable

  15. Chris

    You hope to try this more? Good gosh, this was the dumbest idea ever by whatever manager started this a few years ago. It’s still a foolish idea. Starters have routines for one thing, and having them come out of the bullpen is just foolish. There is NOTHING smart about doing this, and last night was a great example of why it doesn’t work. Yeah, let’s start the game with the, what, 8th best pitcher on the team, 9th? Ridiculous. Sorry.

    • J

      I’m not sure it’s a good idea, but “starters have routines” isn’t a good reason not to try it. If a starter often struggles in first innings, then something to break him out of his routine may be the best thing for his career. The “starter” yesterday had the best outing of his young career, and the idea that you can use a relief pitcher to get you through the 7th inning but must avoid using him in the 1st inning doesn’t make much sense. Statistically, Cessa has been far better than 8th on this team, and nobody would argue if he were brought in to pitch the 7th inning of a 0-0 game to face the top of the order.

    • MuddyCleats

      Well you would think a pitcher w/ Cessa’s experience could get through 1 inning w/out giving up runs no matter when he pitches in the game. The change in game plan certainly helped Sanmartin. Essentially he pitched on par over 5 innings w/ one of the best SPs in baseball and did it vs one of the best hitting teams in all of baseball. Results were like night and day between his two appearances. Now is Sanmartin a SP when Minor and Castillo return – very doubtful IMO. Kid has to improve his FB velocity, and he may as his body matures?

      • MBS

        I don’t think Sanmartin’s good outing was due to using an opener. It wasn’t even the 1st inning where he fell apart against ATL, it was the 2nd and 3rd. The lights were just too bright in ATL, and he could clearly read the names on the backs of the World Series Champs jerseys.

    • Matt WI

      Wait… Chris, are you really Marty Brennamen in pseudonym? That’s exactly the kind of lines he’d be delivering. Again, go check some Brewer games logs. It isn’t the worst thing in the world in some cases. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

  16. Beaufort Red

    Wow. Guys been a fan since 1961 and I didn’t realize there was this much angst in Reds fans. Can we ever talk about strategies, breakdown of games or real baseball talk. Face it the Castallinis aren’t selling the team. I agree that the way they presented the obvious was a horrible, snarky PR nightmare. But if we could stick to baseball instead of rolling out the the same old crap it would at least be more enjoyable to digest. Oh yeah I also think maybe bringing in Sanmartin in the 2nd or 3 rd might work. Sit Moustakis let Drury play. When players get we’ll let Aquino go anthe same with Moose. We sucked it up with Aquino why not Moose.

    • greenmtred

      For the time being, at least, RLN has been largely taken over by folks who a.) hate Bell and want to talk about it, b.) hate ownership and upper management and want to talk about it or c.) both of the above. I get that this is driven by anger and disappointment and don’t blame anyone for feeling that way. What puzzles me, though, is why they haven’t found something else to occupy themselves. Something fun. Following a better team, for example. Their are 29 MLB teams that aren’t managed by David Bell or owned by the Castellinis.

      • J

        From my perspective, the worst thing about this blog is having to wade through all the comments where fans tell other fans how “real fans” ought to behave, and/or wonder why the complainers won’t do something more constructive to do with their time. These same people seem to see nothing wrong with spending their own time complaining, repeatedly, about comments on a sports blog. If only there were a Lack of Self-Awareness Award, I think we’d have some good nominees here.

  17. Beaufort Red

    Sorry I meant Akiyama. I’ve always said the biggest difference in huge payroll discrepancies is not only the ability to sign free agents or extend contracts but the ability to ditch the same contracts.

  18. DHud

    Senzel conspicuously absent in 2 games since his collision with Pham….weird. Almost like we’ve seen this episode before. Expect them to come out next week saying he’s been battling *insert injury, then wait another 2 weeks before finally putting him on the IL, only for a mid-August return to mediocrity

    • old-school

      He finished the game and seemed ok.
      Reds were the last team to name a lineup yesterday in MLB and by a long shot.

      There are some Covid cases impacting sports again. Mets have 2 outfielders now out today and headed to the IL and Paul George is now out for the Clippers play in game. Hoping Senzel and Pham are both in the lineup tonight. Would expect some news from the beat writers this afternoon.

    • old-school

      Alejo Lopez is on the Reds taxi squad for this trip.
      That doesnt sound promising for someone.

  19. LDS

    Shaping up to be another 2018. At least in 2018, the Reds fired Price after he opened 3-15. Riggleman finished up. Which led to 2019 and the start of the David Bell era which so far has yielded a terrific 191-200 record to date. Even Dusty Baker had a winning record with the Reds. Lose a fewer more games and get a new manager? Nah, not going to happen. At least, not the new manager part.

    • Indy Red Man

      Dusty is probably slightly better then Bell, but Dusty has also probably managed a greater collection of talent then any other manager in the history of the game.

      Players win and players lose. Criticizing the manager nonstop on a daily basis when they might win/lose 3-4 games is really pointless. And tiresome. And repetitive

      • LDS

        So is excusing mediocrity. Players don’t decide who plays or when. Who pitches or how long.

  20. VegasRed

    I am not a fan of Bell by any means. He just seems to have no feel or instincts as manager and “the moment.”

    But no way is Bell the biggest problem on the Reds. Dodgers fans don’t like Dave Robert’s for many of the same reasons Bell is criticized. But Robert’s has the most talented roster in mlb. Bell, not so much.

    The Reds FO/owners are doing a reset for financial reasons of their own making in large part. It’s going to be ugly for a while folks.

    My continued interest is just habit, and wanting to see how JV, the young veterans and the developing rookies play out. I don’t watch the games, just peruse the outcomes. This year is mostly unwatchable other than first game in Atlanta, which I did see.

    Tough time to be a Reds’ fan for the past couple decades and no relief in sight.

    • TR

      If the Castellini family does not cash in it’s ownership profit by the next offseason, I see a trend of the Reds becoming the Rays of the N.L. by eliminating multiyear contracts and using the relief pitching staff in a nontraditional way like was done last night. The game began with Cessa giving up six singles in a row and the Reds were down 3-0. Then the previously announced starter San Martin took over for five pretty good innings with the Reds tying up the game, eventually to lose. It could be, and probably will be, a more interesting season than we expect.

  21. DaveCT

    GreatRedLegsFan above nailed it, IMO. The disparity in talent IS abysmal.

    Look at the top five Dodgers hitters vs the top five Reds. Look at the top five Braves hitters vs. the Reds.

    Betts/Freeman/Turner/Turner/Muncy. Cody Bellinger batting 8th

    Albies/Olson/Riley/Ozuna/Duval
    Dansby Swanson batting 9th

    India/Naquin/Fraley/Votto/Stephenson
    Senzel in theory batting 7th

    I like our guys. They play hard. They play the right way. And none of them is elite. Cincinnati and other towns like it are pass-through towns for elite talent. At least the vast majority of it. And, if you think elite talent was difficult to attract before … thanks, Phil.

    Nick Castellanos is a stand up guy. So is Wade Miley. They both stated exactly what the problem is.

    Ownership

    • MBS

      The mid and small markets are at a severe disadvantage. If they do everything right, and for a long time they could become STL. However no amount of smart baseball moves, and winning will ever be a match for LA / NY where they have basically endless money to throw at their problems. If the sport really wants to be competitive it needs a salary cap and floor, and enough revenue sharing that can keep the the floor high enough so you can’t have a huge spending discrepancy.

      • DaveCT

        No argument from me re: the disparity in wealth and the impact on the game. None. The Myth of Sysiphus is in play. And … with this club and this ownership, ineptitude if not fraud reigns, especially when that term is tied to their stated goal of competing at the highest level possible. Its both. Just made much worse given this ownership dream team.

        As always, thanks Phil.

  22. Hanawi

    Haven’t really looked into the stats regarding the effectiveness of openers, but I would think that the Dodgers would be a poor team to try it against. They are one of the deepest teams in baseball and have good hitters from both sides of the plate. Seems it would work better when a team is loaded with one side or the other.

  23. Roger Garrett

    Things are the way they are so I am just looking for a couple of things this year that gives me some hope as we go forward.Just play the young guys as much as possible.Give them a legit chance to see what they can do at the plate and on the mound and who knows maybe we uncover another India or Stephensen.Second please oh please do not sign any vets to any long term deals.Year after year the ownership fails in both of these areas in search of a few more wins and for me losing is losing and we have had a bunch of that for years.I know for the most part the cry has been yes we can and yes we can but the reality is we can’t.Its not even a fair fight when we face some of the best in the league as has been noted so why pretend

  24. Roger Garrett

    I didn’t mention Bell and won’t this year because he isn’t the problem.You could switch him and Dave Roberts and Bell would win and Roberts lose.Bell would still do what he does but its the players that get it done or not.The more talent you have to call on the better chance it works regardless.