When Tyler Mahle exited the game after the 6th inning he held a 7-3 lead and was probably feeling good about his teams chances. The Cincinnati bullpen didn’t care much for that as they allowed the Nationals to score seven runs in the final three innings as they picked up the win and guaranteed themselves at least a split of the 4-game set at Great American Ball Park with the Reds.

Final R H E
Washington Nationals (20-35) 10 16 0
Cincinnati Reds (18-34) 8 10 1
W: Finnegan (2-1) L: Strickland (0-2) SV: Rainey (7)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

The Offense

Cincinnati didn’t waste any time getting the offense rolling on Saturday. Nick Senzel led off with a single and moved to second when Brandon Drury walked. Tyler Stephenson would add a 2-out walk to load the bases before Kyle Farmer came through with a 2-run single to put the Reds on top 2-0.

The offense was pretty quite until the 5th inning. Drury led off with a single and then Stephenson had a 2-out single and Farmer walked to load the bases. That led to a mound visit prior to Mike Moustakas coming to the plate. It’s doubtful that the conversation was throw 11 pitches before walking in a run, but that’s what happened and the Reds tied the game up at 3-3. Things didn’t get better for Jordan Weems as Albert Almora Jr. went deep for a go-ahead grand slam to give Cincinnati a 7-3 lead.

After the Nationals were able to tie the game up in the top of the 8th inning the Reds went in order on strikeouts in their half of the inning. The bullpen struggles continued in the top of the 9th and Cincinnati entered the bottom of the inning down 10-7. Brandon Drury did his part, clubbing a solo home run to make it a 10-8 ballgame. Tommy Pham followed with a single to bring Joey Votto to the plate as the tying run against Tanner Rainey, but he would fly out. Tyler Stephenson was the last hope, but he struck out swinging to end the game.

The Pitching

After holding the Nationals scoreless in the first two innings, Washington was threatening against Tyler Mahle in the 3rd when Luis Garcia singled and stole second base to put himself into scoring position. Lane Thomas followed with a 2-out single into left field but Tommy Pham came up firing to Tyler Stephenson who took the throw and made the tag at the plate to end the inning and hold the Reds 2-0 lead.

The defense couldn’t help Mahle out in the 4th when Juan Soto led off with a 423-foot home run off of the batters eye to cut the Cincinnati lead in half. Washington wasn’t done as they loaded the bases with one out with two singles and a walk. After a mound visit from Derek Johnson, Maikel Franco took the first pitch he saw and lined an RBI single into left to tie the game up. Luis Garcia followed up with a sacrifice fly to make it 3-2 for the Nationals. Mahle threw two shutout innings to follow, exiting the game after the 6th inning with a 7-3 lead.

Alexis Diaz took over for the Reds in the 7th inning and he struggled for one of the only times this season. The rookie gave up three straight 1-out hits that culminated with a 3-run home run to Juan Soto that made it a 7-6 ballgame. Tony Santillan took over in the 8th inning and after getting a ground out to begin the inning he allowed a single and a double before striking out Cesar Hernandez. But then Santillan walked Lane Thomas on four pitches to bring Juan Soto to the plate. Soto wouldn’t get to face Santillan, though, as Ross Detwiler entered out of the bullpen with two men on and just as everyone expected, Detwiler struck him out to end the inning and keep the game tied.

Hunter Strickland entered the game in the 9th and promptly gave up back-to-back ground ball singles to put runners on the corners with no outs. Strickland rebounded with a strikeout of Yadiel Hernandez before Keibert Ruiz lined out to a leaping Matt Reynolds for the second out. But Maikel Franco blooped one into left center to plate the go-ahead run and Franco moved up to second base when the throw to third base bounced away. The advancement was big as the single that followed plated two and the Nationals jumped ahead 10-7. That was all they’d get, but it was also all that they would need as Washington held on for the win.

Key Moment of the Game

Luis Garcia’s 2-run single in the 9th that made it a 10-7 ballgame.

Notes Worth Noting

Joey Votto’s 4th inning single gave him 2049 hits for his career and he passed up Johnny Bench in hits as a Red with it. He’s now 4th all-time in franchise history.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Washington Nationals vs Cincinnati Reds

Sunday June 5th, 1:40pm ET

Patrick Corbin (1-8, 6.96 ERA) vs Luis Castillo (2-2, 3.38 ERA)

60 Responses

  1. Melvin

    Mahle definitely pitched well enough to win and should have. Second good start in a row. Don’t sign him…got to trade him.

    • Andrew Brewer

      I’m glad to see Mahle still around. He was once 5th in the rotation…

  2. Joe P.

    Monster loss. I was hoping the Reds could stack some wins at home but I guess not.

  3. Andrew Brewer

    Reds win the opener 8-1 … who was it that said the Nats suck ? They won 8-5 and 10-8 today…This game had all the great drama you could want, even if we lost … from Almora’s grand slam to the bottom of the ninth… The Reds were massively out hit today, but with a 7-3 lead, it never feels good to let it slip away… The Reds are scoring the runs. The wins will come if they keep it going…

  4. Mark Moore

    I may have to revise my .500 prediction for the next set of 25 games. We seem to be reverting and against a team that ain’t all that and/or a bag of chips.

    Onward to the Sunday getaway (for the Nats) game.

  5. JayTheRed

    I have to say Almora has been a very nice pickup for the team. All I see him doing is hitting and playing good defense.

    Bullpen losing it for us stunk though. Really wanted that win.

  6. JB

    Well I had the bandwagon all washed and shined and ready to go. Unfortunately the 3-22 Reds showed up again. I think I’ll park it for awhile and see what happens in the next week or two. As long as Moose plays every day , I’ll be happy. 8^(

  7. Dennis Westrick

    In a season that’s been tough to stomach this loss tonight can’t be remedied by a whole case of Tums! Once again, D, Bell proved he is clueless when it comes to making decisions regarding the bullpen! Another in a long line of losses due to inept management on the field and in the FO.

    • VaRedsFan

      I’m no big fan of Bell, but he used the best three relievers (of late) he had in Diaz, Santillan, and Strickland, and they didn’t get the job done today. Not Bell’s fault.

      • LDS

        He pulled a guy after 5 pitches who hasn’t been hit yet. L/R matchups don’t justify such decisions. He started a guy at third that didn’t make the plays. Once again, Bell trying to demonstrate how smart/analytics driven he is, instead of letting the game unfold leads to a loss. It’s happened a bunch in the last 3+ years.

      • wkuchad

        You guess are nuts to put this loss on Bell. And your best argument is he didn’t pitch Detwiler more! Ha ha ha ha ha!!!!

        Well, I needed a good laugh after that game.

      • Jim t

        LMAO!!! Yes Bell blew this game. It’s responses like these that make me question the legalization of pot.

      • greenmtred

        Other people have covered this well, but I’ll add that L-R matchups do, indeed, justify such decisions. Splits aren’t made up.

      • Jim t

        @greenmtred you could be right brother. Lol!

    • JayTheRed

      This loss was on the bullpen not on Bell. He did use guys he normally can count on in most cases. They are not going to be good if they are pitching almost every single game. Normally I can’t stand how Bell runs the team but tonight was not his fault really.

      Guys are going to have bad nights when they are getting overused. So miss the days of starters going at least 6 or 7 innings normally and the good starters going longer.

      • Hanawi

        You mention that they aren’t going to be good by pitching every game, but that’s the exact strategy that Bell uses. By pitching guys for only an inning at a time, you’ll have guys getting into games constantly. I’d love to see the analytics on how much a guy can be used before he becomes less effective and more likely to get injured. I think it would be better to have a guy that is going good throw multiple innings. Maybe he isn’t available the next game, but you have a fresher bullpen to go to instead.

      • Doc

        Diaz had not pitched in 3 days. Ditto Santillan. Are we now defining ‘overused’ when a bullpen pitcher throws more than one inning every fourth day, or is there a theory that is not affected by facts?

        What is interesting about baseball is that it seems that when one BP guy loses it the whole BP tends to lose it. Must be some intangible, like the next guy in presses to stop the carnage, and by pressing he loses effectiveness.

        What did Mariano Rivera have that made him, an essentially one pitch pitcher, so effective?

    • 2020ball

      “Another in a long line of losses due to inept FO.”


      I’m not sure what people actually expect a manager to do with a bad team.

    • burtgummer01

      No matter who wins or loses you whine and cry about Bell.You clearly know nothing about baseball and you obviously slept through the entire off season

      • LDS

        Perhaps less than some here, but I do understand management and Bell is not a good one. Also, I recognize that most “analytics” aren’t as meaningful as some here would suggest. Many prefer to criticize the roster and say that Sparky couldn’t win with this roster. I look at the roster and the number of players underperforming their career averages and recognize that the problem lies elsewhere. It’s on Bell that guys like Moustakas play regularly despite being woefully out of shape for a professional athlete. It’s on Bell that Votto plays every day despite the fact that he’s 38 and hasn’t hit LH’ers in the last few years. It’s on Bell that a player sits the next day regardless of his performance on the on the current day. It’s on Bell that he prefers player s over 30 years old with less than stellar careers over younger guys who might actually become stars. He’s not calling the shots some here say. Got to play the big contracts. Well, if that’s the case, it reinforces the fact that he’s a lousy manager. A good manager would stand up and say no. Results matter and Bell has yet to get results regardless of the roster construction. Serious teams like St. Louis and Philadelphia take management much more seriously. Philadelphia, with arguably a much stronger roster, and certainly a better record than the Reds, fired Girardi. St. Louis fired Shildt who was far more successful than the Reds & Bell. What did the Reds do? Extended Bell despite a single playoff appearance, in a COVID shortened season, where the team failed to score a single run. Sorry folks no matter how you slice it, Bell isn’t a good manager and will not lead the Reds into competition. You can’t fix a problem until you admit to it.

      • Jim t

        @LDS I do have some experience in management and I can tell you it is a roster that was assembled to be non competitive. Bell has his hands tied behind his back by his employers and it is more then obvious. He is respected by the players for the way he handles the team. He is not walking away. He is trying to blend veterans and youngsters not a easy task. The bull pen is a very good example. He is trying to find the pieces who can execute in high leverage situations. Only way to do that is giving them the opportunity. He uses Analytics as most organization do. He also uses pitch counts again as most teams do.

        The biggest challenge as I see it is finding the balance between aging veterans who have had success and giving playing time to youngsters that have not proven at ML level they can play. While it seems easy to us it is not.

      • LDS

        So @JimT, as a manager, what do you do with your chronic underperformers or those not prepared to perform, e.g., Moose? What do you do with guys that previously were considered high performers but today are much less so and nearing retirement? What do you do with a manager that always has an excuse for missing deadlines, goals, etc? What do you do with yes men? In the large corporations, in which I managed, we fired them or if there was a chance of salvage, reassigned them to tasks not on the critical path and attempted to rehabilitate. At no time, did we keep doing the same thing, day in and day out, and expect magic to happen. That simply doomed you to be added to the failing manager list. Sadly, I’ve fired more than my share, but it’s necessary sometimes to change the trajectory of the project/company. As for the Reds roster, still waiting for that explanation of why so many of the team are underperforming their career averages.

      • Doug Gray

        Sports aren’t like the corporate world.

      • greenmtred

        When you speak of players under-performing their career averages, I assume that you’re not including India, who has barely played, or the young pitchers, who have little MLB experience and are barely started, or Stephenson, who has one prior MLB season and suffered a concussion this season. That leaves the older guys. You aren’t counting Farmer, for obvious reasons, and shouldn’t count Almora and Reynolds, who are exceeding expectations. That leaves the guys who are past their primes; Not matching their baseball cards, and not expected to. In other words, a team of the very young, the injured, and retread veterans, and Joey Votto, who is 38, and is starting to hit. You have very little company in your assessment that this team is much better than it appears.

      • Jim t

        Quit that Greenmtred your making sense. Lol!

      • Jim t

        You really think sports organizations are capable of running like corporations? I bet players would be lining up to play for you. Lol!

      • LDS

        Actually, I published a list of the players compared to their career averages and no it didn’t include folks like India with too short a track record. As for sports differing from the corporate world, yes and no. The endeavor is different but human nature is not. My space was software and product development teams, with every bit the ego and competitiveness of professional athletes. If you don’t have a management background, read any of the literature on the subject, e.g., It’s the Manager. Regardless, we’ll agree to disagree and the Reds have a game to lose today.

      • greenmtred

        LDS, assessing anything on the basis of incomplete information leads to skewed results. Additionally, you’re judging Bell’s decisions on personnel and strategy using your opinion as the template. Your opinion is based upon incomplete information and tempered, I fear, by bile. If you enjoy this, more power to you. As for who isn’t matching career averages, I assume you’re talking about Moose, Pham, Votto and maybe Aquino and Senzel? Do I really have to go over–one by one–why those examples are virtually meaningless?

      • LDS

        @Greenmtred, not bile just an aversion to mediocrity. But hey, I’m glad we’re back on different sides of the issue. It’s like the world is in harmony once again.

  8. RedsGettingBetter

    To be honest, this kind of game is lost because they do not have a reliable setup and closer. It is the reality ,among other facts, for this 2022 Cincinnati Reds .

    • William

      Almora is playing better than Senzel so far. I am not convinced he is better than Senzel, but just observing the performance. I keep expecting Senzel to break out, but it has not happened, yet. I think it will still come this year, if he stays healthy, but I could be wrong. Did you know Almora was the sixth player drafted in the 1st round in 2012? He had a few good years (better than any of Senzel’s), but did not perform well the past few years. He is only one year older than Senzel. The Reds will have him next year as well. Good pickup by the GM.

      • wkuchad

        The good news is right now we have the room/availability to play them both. I’m hopeful Almora can sustain this level of play, but we shall see. This year needs to be all about figuring out what we have for next year(s).

      • JayTheRed

        I too have been impressed with Almora Jr. Whatever he had lost for a few years he has seemed to have found again. He has consistently hit for the Reds since being called up. Played good defense too.

        I just don’t see Senzel ever putting it together at the MLB level. Guy has great tools and skills but just has not been able to put them on the field other than his defense which has been really good. He really hasn’t proved he is anything better than a 4th OF’er in the majors.

      • TR

        A major Red’s mistake, taking #1 draft pick, Senzel, out of his natural position, the infield, and putting him in centerfield. Since there was no room in the infield when he came up, Senzel should have been traded for a young centerfielder.

      • greenmtred

        Pete Rose was moved. Babe Ruth was moved. Many of us hope that Tyler Stephenson will be moved. A lot of these guys were pitchers or shortstops at some point, just because of their athleticism. I’m not sure what a “natural” position is. Probably the one the guy was playing at some important point, but physical tools can’t be ignored. Senzel is very fast, has a good outfield arm, and is turning into a good defensive center fielder. He hasn’t stayed healthy enough to stay in the lineup for extended stretches, and doesn’t that seem like a more plausible explanation for his disappointing (so far) hitting?

    • TR

      The Reds last won the championship in 1990 when they had a strong bullpen. They will not win again until they have a strong bullpen.

  9. Rednat

    the bullpen is the reason we did not make the playoffs last year and why are record will be embarrassingly bad this year. whenever ownership decides to “compete ” again all free agent money really needs to go to the bullpen to try to get some veteran relievers. reds ownership has shown ability to develop young starters and has done a decent job of ” dumpster diving” ( i love that rln phrase) to get serviceable position players over the past few years. all we need is a good bull pen and at least we should be mediocre every year

    • greenmtred

      I agree, but I hope that some of that money–mythical though it may be–could be spent on a good-hitting outfielder or two.

  10. GreatRedLegsFan

    The bullpen has been very inconsistent at best. With so many arms still injured, these kind of results will continue happening very often.

  11. Michael B. Green

    Mahle could have pitched to at least 2 batters in the 7th – but the made up 100-pitch count came into effect. You would then have normally had a LHRP face Soto. CIN ownership did not spend money for depth at that spot.

    Brooks Raley at 2 years for $10M would have fixed this. $5M per year. Even TB could afford (and did afford) that.

    The Justin Wilson injury hurts.

    Looks like CIN is positioning themselves for Dylan Crews.

    Less than 60 days away from trading away more talent.

    • Jim t

      So Mike it was the pitch count not the fact we couldn’t preserve a 4 run lead entering the 7th inning? Thanks for sharing your logic.

  12. Jim t

    This site should be renamed to second guess nation.com

  13. Kevin H

    This loss isn’t on Bell. He put the right guys in. Diaz followed by Satallian. It didn’t workout. Those things happen and to the ones who r saying it’s Bell’s fault. The reds could win 10 in a row and or would be Bell’s fault they lost the 11th game.

    I am not a Bell fan, however this loss falls on the bullpen. Days like this happen

  14. Indy Red Man

    Last year they were counting on Antone and Sims and it didn’t happen. They got Lorenzen back and Givens and it improved until September. This year they looked short again out of the pen, but some of the young guys have been stepping up until yesterday. Again no Justin Wilson or Sims when they’re needed. I don’t know how a modern baseball team can survive without a decent lefty? Cessa hasn’t been very good either.

    Personally I think eliminating the double switch has taken Bell mostly out of the equation. Casey Stengel, Sparky, and Houdini could only get so far with a poorly constructed roster like this. Bottom line the young pitchers are getting plenty of opportunity and it doesn’t really matter if you lose 94 or 86 games.

    • Kevin H

      Don’t you find it interesting how Rainey has developed into a good pitcher and a closer. If I remember right the Reds rushed him to majors and well his 2018 results weren’t good.

      Also Jimmy Herget of Angles is doing well. Two former Reds pitching well.

  15. Old Big Ed

    Mahle needs to trim about 3-4 pitches per inning, so that he can get through 7 innings. (All the starters do.) Going 7 innings instead of 6 gives the bullpen 33% less chance of blowing the game.

    Mahle reminds me of Homer Bailey, in that he will get ahead 0-2 or 1-2, then end up in a full count. Those add up, and he gets to 104 pitches in 6 innings. Mahle is also the undisputed king of the utterly absurd “waste pitch” — one that is about 14 inches out of the strike zone, such that it is nothing more than a waste of time and energy.

    It is a team game, and Mahle’s team needs him to go one more inning.

    • Old Big Ed

      It would make Mahle a ton of money, too, if he could squeeze out an extra inning every start.

    • Kevin H

      Unless they swing and miss. Then it was a brilliant pitch. I wonder what the statistics are as far as swing and misses in the “wasted pitch” you bring up a interesting point of view

    • Jim Walker

      Yes. I used to cut Mahle slack and blame his pitch count issues largely on Barnhart with his ridiculous head high or foot outside truly wasted waste pitches on 0/2 and 1/2 counts. They are not going to these extremes anymore, but they still fail to exploit favorable counts and end up letting batters back into PAs they should have been done with.

      Sometimes it seems like the Reds as a team chase the latest bomb crater with their pitching strategy. Wednesday Greene was untouchable as a pure power pitcher on the first pass through the lineup then couldn’t come up with outs in the 4th on the second pass despite having 0/2 or 1/2 counts on almost every batter he faced in that 4 run inning.

      Saturday, Mahle also came out smoking but also mixed in a few well timed and well placed splitters as he blew through the lineup on his first pass. Then on then on the second pass, he was suddenly leaning heavily on his splitter and predictably having issues getting strikes with them. I found myself wondering if this switch in tactics was a reaction to Greene’s situation Wednesday.

  16. JohnnyTV

    Is it me, or does it seem like the bullpen does well together or craters en masse.
    It felt like there was some contagion last night…Garcia, Santillan and Strickland all looked off their game…..when you’d think any one of them could have stepped up.
    Same with the B squad.
    If I were Mahle (or just about any other of Reds starting pitchers) I’d be pixxed, yet again.
    Do the starters put any pressure on these guys to come through?
    I don’t get the feeling as if Bell holds anyone accountable.

    • greenmtred

      Not sure why you have that feeling. But hold them accountable how? Tell them they can’t pitch for a week? The pitchers know what happened, and accountability follows poor performance naturally: Fewer opportunities to pitch, reduced leverage at contract time, etc.

  17. JohnnyTV

    I don’t see how your description of tacit / long term accountability would be plausible or effective at all in a strategic sense of trying to win games or series.
    We have only seen ‘reduction in pitching opportunities’ in the most extreme cases. How long did it take to shed Heath Hembree last year?
    Reduced leverage at contract time? What, a year or two later?
    Accountability might begin with one another on the field or in the dugout.
    Who knows, maybe Bell or someone is having a talk with someone in the locker room and saying “Keep the ball down” or “Throw strikes”.
    “Next time somebody walks the first batter coming in from the bullpen there’s a $1K fine waiting for you on the dugout bench.”

    • Kevin H

      Omg, that is just ridiculous. This isn’t little league where u run after committing a error.

    • greenmtred

      Beyond long-term accountability, these guys are competitors and as such, I expect that they know when they’ve screwed up and want to remedy it. I doubt that the threat of a fine will make pitchers stop walking guys, because they really don’t want to in the first place. We don’t know what is or isn’t said to players who under-perform because it isn’t–and shouldn’t be–public information.

  18. MBS

    Echoing what everyone said we need a better bullpen. I know the Reds aren’t going to spend crazy money, but if they do spend money it should be on a closer, and if they would be willing to a setup man as well.

    Having defined roles for the young pitchers would help out a lot.

    • Jim Walker

      Agree on the roles given the guys are so young.

    • greenmtred

      At some point, maybe, but don’t they need to find out who can best fill each role?