The Cincinnati Reds crushed three home runs as they beat the St. Louis Cardinals 9-5 on Friday night to begin the second half of the season. That was the good news. But they also lost star catcher Tyler Stephenson to a broken collarbone in the 1st inning of the game.

Final R H E
St. Louis Cardinals (50-45)
5 10 0
Cincinnati Reds (35-57)
9 7 0
W: Sanmartin (4-4) L: Wainwright (6-8)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

The Offense

After going in order in the 1st inning and seeing the Cardinals take a lead in the top of the 2nd, Cincinnati’s offense went to work. Michael Papierski had a 1-out walk, moved to 3rd on a Kyle Farmer double, and both would score on a Tyler Naquin single that tied the game up. Donovan Solano then followed up with a 2-run homer. The next inning saw Joey Votto crush a solo home run to extend the Reds lead to 5-2.

The Cincinnati bats went quiet for a few innings as the Cardinals clawed their way back into the game, cutting the lead to 5-4. But in the bottom of the 6th inning the Reds offense got things going once again. After Joey Votto flew out to start the inning, Michael Papierski and Kyle Farmer walked and then they both scored when Tyler Naquin tripled. Donovan Solano followed up with a sacrifice fly and it was 8-4 in a hurry.

With an 8-4 lead entering the bottom of the 7th inning Jonathan India felt the Reds didn’t have a big enough cushion and crushed a leadoff homer off of upper deck for his 5th homer of the season to make it a 9-4 lead.

The Pitching

Graham Ashcraft retired the first two batters that he faced. But Paul Goldschmidt came up to the plate and he fouled a ball back that caught Tyler Stephenson in the shoulder. He was checked out by the training staff and remained in the game. Goldschmidt then hit the next pitch about 10 feet in front of the plate and Stephenson fielded it and went to throw to first, but winced in pain as he pulled the ball back, dropped to a knee, and then exited the game without ever making the throw – giving an infield single to the Cardinals 1st baseman. We would later find out he broke his collarbone. Nolan Arenado followed up with a double, but Goldschmidt was held at third base. Ashcraft was able to induce a ground ball to end the inning with no runs coming across.

The next inning didn’t go the same way for Ashcraft. An infield single and a walk with two outs put two men on, bringing Tommy Edman to the plate. He worked a full count against Ashcraft before the right-handed starter thought he had struck him out to end the inning. The umpire had other ideas, calling the final pitch a ball to load the bases.

That call changed the inning. Instead of the Reds coming to the plate, it instead loaded the bases and saw Tyler O’Neill come through with a 2-out, 2-run single to put the Cardinals on top. Ashcraft kept the Cardinals off of the board in the next two innings as the Cincinnati offense put up five runs to take a 5-2 lead. But St. Louis got their offense going in the 5th. O’Neill walked to lead off the inning before Paul Goldschmidt hit a 2-run homer into the upper deck in left field to cut the lead to 5-4. Ashcraft wouldn’t finish the inning, giving up a 2-out single to Dylan Carlson before being removed for Reiver Sanmartin. The lefty would strike out Brendan Donovan to end the inning.

Buck Farmer came out and fired a shutout 6th inning. Alexis Diaz took over for the 7th inning and got the Cardinals to go 1-2-3 on just nine pitches to hold onto what was now an 8-4 lead. After the Cardinals scored a run in the 8th against Ian Gibaut, Hunter Strickland fired a perfect 9th inning to lock down the win.

Notes Worth Noting

Tyler Stephenson broke his collarbone in the 1st inning of the game. How long he will be out remains unknown.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

St. Louis Cardinals vs Cincinnati Reds

Saturday July 23rd, 6:40pm ET

Steven Matz (3-3, 6.03 ERA) vs Mike Minor (1-6, 6.21 ERA)

53 Responses

  1. Mark Moore

    I think this is the textbook definition of a “tough win” for our guys.

  2. Doc

    Diaz threw 9 pitches in a perfect inning and was replaced for the next inning. Just can’t understand the thought process, if there is one.

    • Dennis Westrick

      With Bell, there is no logic!

    • Brennan

      I thought it was brilliant to use Diaz in that situation given it was the toughest part of the Cards lineup, Goldschmidt and Arenado. If the lead was any smaller maybe you second guess not bringing him back but having thrown so few pitches Diaz will surely be available when we need him the rest of the weekend.

      • greenmtred

        Exactly. The Reds don’t have enough–any, really–reliable relief pitchers to burn them up and have them unavailable for the next game or two. The logic is obvious.

    • 2020ball

      Not sure y’all realize you could actually do this for almost every game today, or any day really –

      Go look at the box score and look for the bullpen of the losing team. Find the pitcher that gave up some runs and write “(pitcher who pitched before said pitcher) threw a good inning and was replaced with this bum the next inning. What in the world was the manager thinking?” If you did that for every game today or even every day, I think eventually you’d get tired of doing it.

      • Earmbrister

        Yes 2020. I have always been amazed at the 2020 hindsight AFTER the game. The armchair GMs would surely win 120 games each season if only someone would recognize their extraordinary vision …

    • Reddawg2012

      I feel like the thought process is pretty simple. By only pitching one inning yesterday, Diaz is fresh and available to pitch again today.

  3. Redsvol

    such a shame about Tyler. I think this has to be the tipping point to move Stephenson to a different position. His bat is too valuable to risk to foul tip injuries behind the plate every night. He could be a very good left fielder or first baseman. I don’t buy the argument that a left fielder or 1st baseman needs to hit 30 home runs- 20 will do just fine with an OPS of .850.

    It takes 6-8 weeks for a clavicle to heal – especially for an athlete. I can’t wait for David Bell to tell us Tyler will be back in 4 weeks – don’t believe it.

    • Dewey Roberts

      I broke my collar bone 63 years ago and that bone has never felt normal to this day, I can still feel a little twinge in the area where the. I’ve was broken. I hat this for Tyler. He is the Reds’ best player.

    • Dewey Roberts

      I broke my collar bone 63 years ago and that bone has never felt normal to this day, I can still feel a little twinge in the area where the bone was broken. I hate this for Tyler. He is the Reds’ best player.

    • MFG

      Totally agree REDSVOL. Instead of trading for a shortstop, we should trade for an MLB ready catcher. Tyler is too good of a bat and team leader to have him get banged up constantly while behind the plate. First base/DH would make sense.

      • Greenfield Red

        No major league ready. Many are tired of seeing me type this. It was the reason the last rebuild failed. If the Reds go for MLR guys again, this rebuild will fail.

        Teams do not trade MLR prospects they really believe in. They are too valuable.

        They trade the ones whose warts are seen only to them and not as visible to other teams. It could be anything from work habits to diet to hidden injury to staying out late or anything else.

        It is the kiss of death.

      • 2020ball

        No one is trading this magical Tyler Stephenson replacement y’all keep thinking exists. Teams hold on to those types of guys, its crazy to think they can “just trade for one”. If you wanna trade for an established guy thats probably the better route if you’re looking for a replacement.

        If he wants to catch, I say let him catch, and after this latest injury we now have the quotes to prove that. This sucks obviously no matter your opinion on the matter, but let the man live his life the way he chooses and if thats as a catcher I say so be it. It’s his body and his career, not the Reds’ or the Reds fan’s.

    • TR

      Those in authority will do what they want, but my opinion is why the hesitancy to move Tyler Stephenson to first base and alternate him at DH starting next season. An average .275 to .315 hitter at first base will do just fine for the offense. A ‘Big Klu’ slugger at first is not always a necessity, a timely hit will do. I’m impressed, certainly defensively, with the backup catchers the Reds now have. Let’s not let injuries get the best of Stephenson as has happened to Senzel.

      • Still a Red

        Hope we don’t have another Mesoraco…tho’ I think Stephenson is a more consistent hitter than Mesoraco was. Stephenson wants to catch, but it sounds like he’s willing to consider a move. If you ask me, first base would be the best, especially if he’s clavicle hinders his ability to throw from home or LF.

  4. Mark A Verticchio

    I don’t think he will play again this year unless they want to let him DH some the last few weeks. I think he needs to work all off season at first base or left field depending on team needs. The Reds need to find a catcher in one of their trade deals, he should be major league ready and be given a chance to play with the Reds in August and September.

    • Nick in NKY

      This. While we don’t have details about severity of his break (that I’m aware of), if it requires surgery there’s no sense in even trying to bring him back. Even if it doesn’t, a healing process that affects the geometry of his shoulder may linger for a long time. Given that the season is a lost cause anyway, there’s no reason to expect him back this year at all.

      • JohnnyTV

        Let’s not panic…

        I wouldn’t let this upset any pending big deals.

        Don’t water down your return for Castillo or Mahle with a journeyman ‘major league ready’ catcher.

        That’s what trading a Drury or Naquin or Pham would be for, even if the returns are meager.

        A .220 vs a .140 hitting catcher isn’t going to make that much difference.

    • Luke J

      The logic is poor. Stephenson’s last two injuries are from balls fouled back at 100 mph and just happening to hit a very unlucky spot and breaking a bone. What makes you think that random foul ball would somehow miss someone else and they wouldn’t get injured? The reality is, whoever is behind the plate would have gotten injured. So replace him or not, you are still without your catcher, whether it’s him, or the guy you bring in to replace him.

      • greenmtred

        Good point, Luke J. The concussions are in a different category, though, because multiple concussions make one more susceptible to additional concussions, per the Cleveland Clinic. The other point is that Stephenson is already an advanced hitter with a great, almost Votto-like approach at the plate. Pretty rare, in other words, and virtually non-existent on the Reds. Giving him a better shot at playing full seasons makes some sense.

      • MFG

        The concussions are more concerning Luke!

  5. Randy

    The guy is injury prone at the catcher position needs to be moved elsewhere.

    • Luke J

      Ugh, I HATE the term injury prone. He is no more susceptible to injury as anyone else. The two foul balls that broke bones were just random balls that hit random spots. To think it is something about Tyler that causes it other than just bad luck is absurd. It would have happened to anyone who was back there on those balls.

      • Still a Red

        Kinda hard to characterize Stephenson as injury prone, this being only his second year (even with 3 injuries in this one). That said, it does seem possible that someone’s bones or joints are less resilient that someone elses, or the way someone plays their position puts them at a greater risk. Stephenson is taller than your average catcher, maybe that makes it a little different. It would be interesting to do a real statistical analysis to see what a random chance of injury is for all catchers.

  6. Jeff morris

    Again…Reds have a penchant for injuries wish Stephensen had extra padding on to somehow have extra protection. May have not helped this situation, but again it might have helped. May sound dumb, but especially with all the injuries this year, Reds need to do extra stuff and extra caution to help avoid injuries!

    • Still a Red

      With lots of pitchers now pitching in the triple digits, the whole league might want to consider better padding for catchers.

    • Earmbrister

      I’m not an MLB catcher, I just play one on TV, but I would think that the player is choosing what protection he is comfortable with, not management.

  7. LT

    Tough year all around. But that makes these wins, particularly against divisions, even more enjoyable. If Pham learns to hit in the 3rd hole, this team will pick up a few more wins.

  8. Rednat

    Man, the Marge Schott curse strikes again. when i saw the line up today i thought to myself this team could be dangerous the second half. now with Stephenson out …not so much.

    i really love having your catcher bat in the middle of the lineup. then you can put speed at the back end of the line up like the big red machine did but it just doesn’t look like it is in the cards for Stephenson as catcher anymore

  9. Indy Red Man

    DraftKings cashed my same game parlay despite the fact I included a Stephenson rbi. Player has to have atleast 1 at-bat so that saved me some $. Its too bad for the kid, but he’s got to move somewhere else. His hitting potential hasn’t even been scratched yet.

    As for Drury, Naquin, and Farmer:

    Drury = IDK? Could be a Scooter Gennett type deal, but I think his swing is repeatable and should be signed for 3 years. He’s still only 29

    Naquin = Underrated by RLN and maybe most teams, but he’s proven he can hit rhp. You just don’t see guys going oppo left-center in Cleveland over that gigantic wall. Maybe Alvarez or a big dog once in a blue moon. He also strikes me as a guy that wouldn’t shrivel up in the playoffs. If I was a contending GM I’d love to add this guy.

    Farmer = See Naquin. Kills lhp and you’re out if he reaches the ball. Threw a guy out at the plate in NYC and had a beautiful 360 doubleplay to win a game there…same game I think? He’s a winner for the right squad. The Reds should try to deal them both and get some young pieces for the future

    • Indy Red Man

      The Reds are now 8-3 in Graham Ashcraft’s starts. Coincidence? Maybe, but I like his competitiveness even though he’s strictly a thrower at this early stage as opposed to being a polished pitcher.

    • Roger Garrett

      I agree and I like both of them.They will both be 32 years old and will continue to fade in the field at the plate with more time out for injury

    • Redsvol

      Indy – I’m actually the complete opposite on these 3 players. And its due to what we have behind them or coming from the minors.
      Drury – appreciative of him but he has priced himself out of Cincy and we have some corner infield positions on the roster who can cover third base. If he takes reasonable extension sure but I think his agent will want him to get to free agency.
      Naquin – there are plenty of 30 something outfielders producing in platoon situation in the major leagues. Sign him to reasonable extension – 3 years 12M$ or 2 +option.
      Farmer – sign him to similar 3 year, 12M$ or 2 plus an option. I like him as a super utility player and I think he is a leader. I also think he takes this extension.

      I like the idea of having a couple older players (Farmer & Naquin) on reasonable contracts as hold overs who can help be team leaders until the next wave of younger players is established. We have no help coming for the outfield for next 2 years in my assessment. We need Naquin or someone like him who can cover all 3 positions until some outfielders develop. Or we can simply trade for Juan Soto I guess.

      • JohnnyTV

        I don’t see Farmer or Naquin going anywhere in the near future.
        Noone is going to interested in either until ST 2023 at the earliest when folks are seeing how rosters shake out.
        Neither will get any more playing time anywhere else than they have with the Reds barring some injury on some other team, but there are too many younger and cheaper options at their positions.
        As tempting as it seems on paper, Bell will never use Farmer as some kind of ‘super sub’.
        Not with the glut of infielders the Reds have.
        Commiting to Farmer means not committing to Barrero.
        If that is the Reds intention then just be done with it.
        My outside hunch is that Barrero winds up being included in one of the upcoming trades if they happen.
        Teams must see that the Reds are ambivalent about him and he’s worth prying away and giving him some greener pastures.
        Another Didi Gregorious trade in the making.

      • greenmtred

        I’m not at all certain that Bell wouldn’t change Farmer’s role if a credible option were around. Last year the Reds were in contention, and I doubt that many managers, past or present, would replace a solid vet with a relatively untried rookie late in the season under the same circumstances. I hope the Reds don’t trade Barrero: It would likely be selling low, as he’d be essentially a throw-in, and, like many here, I believe he has a lot of potential.

  10. Reddawg2012

    Bring back Tucker Barnhart next season, let him catch and hit ninth. Stephenson can DH. Yes, his injuries have all been fluky and unlucky. But if he was playing any position other than catcher, none of them (from this season at least) would have happened. They’ve all been a result of him taking abuse behind the plate. Maybe I’m just overly emotional right now but I am so tired of seeing our team leader and best player get hurt.

    • Redsvol

      I don’t think TB will be in our price range or pick up the phone from a Reds GM. I’m not sure why chuckle Robinson doesn’t get and pub but he has more than held his own in Louisville and Chattanooga this year. Perhaps he, papiersky and kolasvary could hold it down for a couple years with Stephenson playing a combo of first base, DH and catching 2 games a week.

      I’m with others on trading for a major league ready catcher- don’t do it. They’re either in the majors already or no better than the options we already have on our 40 man roster.

  11. Hotto4Votto

    Really stinks about Tyler. Kid is having a tough year.
    Thought the umpire missed a bunch of ball/strike calls tonight. Pretty bad.

  12. SteveAReno

    No one mentioned Reiver Sanmartin was named player of the game by CBS Sports, got the win, and now has an ERA of 1.04 in July. He has four wins in July! His stint back in Louisville must have been really helpful.

  13. Still a Red

    Agree with some of the comments above re: MLR players, namely that teams are not going to let the go. I think that’s true, unless they have one that’s being blocked by someone already playing…or if they really need to fill a hole and feel they’re better off with filling it. It use to happen pre-free agency. You don’t have to look any further than the Astro-Red trade bringing Morgan to town. If the impact on payroll for both sides is negligible, trading equal talent to fill mutual holes should be possible.

  14. Ron

    Call the Rangers and see what it would take, outside of Castillo or Mahle, to get Jonah Heim. He could take over immediately. I believe he’s a switch hitter. Not sure about his defensive abilities.

    • Greenfield Red

      Why do the Reds need someone to “take over immediately” on a last place team that will be a last place team again next year?

      They can fill in with anyone from AAA and still be a last place team this year and next while they avoid making a bad trade that compromises the trades that need to be made in order for them to be a WS challenger in 25 and 26.

  15. Bill J

    Doug, just a question, is this kind of break hard to detect? You said the training staff checked him and left him stay in the game evidently not noticing anything serious.

    • Doug Gray

      I’m not a doctor, so I have no idea. But I’m paraphrasing what Tyler said after the game: Tomas (the trainer) wanted me to throw and I said I was fine. And then the next pitch I threw the ball back to Graham and there wasn’t much behind it. When I had to field the swinging bunt and had to try and throw I felt it pop.

      Given that, here’s my guess of what happened – he broke it on the foul ball. But the force exerted when he really tried to throw broke it even further. That’s just my guess based on how he was describing the chain of events.

      • JohnnyTV

        That’s a good speculation, Doug.

        When I broke my clavicle in a classic over the handlebars bike wreck it was broken way way out of position.

        Pretty obvious even though it didn’t puncture the skin.

        My guess was similar to yours:

        That the foul ball broke the clavicle but it remained in position.

        The throwing attempts would then have exerted enough strain to begin to move the break out of position…even a little bit would be excrutiatingly painful.

        If they can get it realigned to heal without invasive surgery for a pin or something that would be a blessing.

        This is not a minor injury.

        Shut the man down until 2024.

        Too valuable to risk during the Reds’ September playoff run.

      • Doug Gray

        Tyler noted after the game that there’s no belief he needs surgery so long as it heals as expected.

      • Mark Moore

        Not a doctor either, but this tracks with what I saw. It wasn’t until he had to throw with some mustard on it that the injury was fully felt. We can all wish it was his catching side or didn’t happen, but reality bites hard here. Maybe he gets in some DH work in late September; maybe he doesn’t. He knows his value and will seek the right treatment plan.

      • GreatRedLegsFan

        I hope he’ll have a full recovery, but I guess the sooner the better they switch him away from catching duties, his bat is just too valuable to continue risking his career. Moreover, at 6’-4” he’s a big guy in comparison with the typical catcher frame, most catchers are below 6’ height.

  16. Roger Garrett

    Sorry for sure but from a win/loss perspective for this year well it just is what it is.As far as him playing first base or DH before 2024 won’t happen cause we have Joey and Moose.No need to for him to be considered at either position.Reds had no plan for a back up for him just like they had no plan for a bull pen.We play on and look to what happens at the deadline and during the off season.Trading for a back up catcher is way way way down on the list of holes needed to be filled.Pap and Garcia are good enough for the rest of this year.Bad luck for him and truthfully I have never heard of a catcher being injury prone cause its expected he will get beat up just because of the position.Two foul balls that break his thumb and his collar bone is well just bad luck.

  17. Steven Ross

    Look, Votto has been a great player but he’ll be 39 in September & let’s be honest, his numbers this year are not cleanup caliber. It’s time to move him to DH next season & put Stephenson at 1B. Go get a new catcher via trade. Is it really that hard? I don’t think so.