Graham Ashcraft struck out eight batters in 6.2 innings, but the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead he gave them, nor could they hold a lead that the offense supplied them in the 8th inning, either, as the Pirates came from behind twice to beat Cincinnati 5-4 in Pittsburgh on Friday night.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (46-71)
4 7 0
Pittsburgh Pirates (47-72)
5 13 2
W: Crowe (5-7) L:  Kuhnel (2-2)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

The Offense

After going in order in the 1st inning the Reds got to work in the 2nd. Mike Moustakas led off the inning with a single in his first at-bat since coming off of the injured list and he scored one pitch later when Nick Senzel crushed a 410-foot homer into left field to put Cincinnati ahead 2-0. That’s where the score remained until the top of the 5th inning when TJ Friedl cracked a home run of his own to extend the lead to 3-0.

After the Pirates tied the game up at 3-3 in the 7th, Cincinnati’s offense went back to work in the top of the 8th, but they got some help from Pittsburgh. Michael Papierski reached safely after a throw from Oneil Cruz pulled Michael Chavis off the bag at first. Jake Fraley grounded into a force out and then moved up to second base when Jonathan India followed up with a single. That led to a pitching chance to bring in Wil Crowe to face Kyle Farmer and after falling down 0-2 he lined a slider into right field for a go-ahead RBI single.

The Pitching

Graham Ashcraft was dominant through the first five innings, not allowing any runs as he held onto a 3-0 lead. But the Pirates got on the board in the 6th with two singles and a wild pitch that brought in Kevin Newman. In the next inning they would get back to work as Greg Allen, Bligh Madris, and Bryan Reynolds all singled. Alexis Diaz entered the inning with two on and two out, but he gave up a game-tying single to Ben Gamel before getting a ground out to end the inning. That closed the line on Ashcraft at 6.2 innings, three earned runs, a walk, and eight strikeouts.

When the 8th inning began the Reds held a 4-3 lead and Reiver Sanmartin took the mound and he made quick work of things, needing 11 pitches to retire the Pirates in order and hold the lead.

Joel Kuhnel entered for the 9th looking to pick up the save, but it wasn’t going to be easy after allowing a leadoff single. Pinch hitter Tucupita Marcano came off the bench and laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the tying run up to second base and also turned over the lineup for the Pirates. Kevin Newman then lined a double into center past a diving Albert Almora Jr. that tied the game up. That would be the final pitch for Kuhnel as David Bell called on Ross Detwiler out of the bullpen with the winning run now standing on second base with just one out. He would intentionally walk Bryan Reynolds to face Ben Gamel. Detwiler ran the count full before hitting Gamel in the arm to load the bases. Michael Chavis then lined a walk-off single into left field.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds vs Pittsburgh Pirates

Saturday August 20th, 7:05pm ET

Justin Dunn (0-1, 8.64 ERA) vs Tyler Beede (1-2, 3.72 ERA)

98 Responses

  1. Moon

    Josh Kuhnel is not going to make it. In fact, the Reds should clean out the entire bullpen sans Diaz and start over. The stench is worse than the augean stables.

    • MBS

      I get that sentiment, but I think we have a few pieces, some are injured, and some are being used in the wrong situations.

      FA (Closer)
      FA (Setup)
      Diaz (high leverage)
      Antone (high leverage)
      Santillan (medium leverage)
      Sims (medium leverage)
      Hoffman (low leverage)
      SanMartin (short use)

      If we add a closer and a setup man the pieces would fall into place. Obviously this assumes healthy returns for Antone, Sims, and Santillan, but even 2 of 3 would be big.

      Plus we have pieces like Williamson and Stoudt who might transition to the pen. I would try to keep those 2 as starters, at least until Phillips, Abbott, and Boyle reach AAA. Then you can sort out the “starters” from the “relievers”.

      • RedsKoolAidDrinker

        What makes you think SanMartin should stay even for short stints?

      • Luke J

        Sanmartin has the best ERA on the team as a reliever. Why wouldn’t he stay? He was a failed starter, but makes a very nice lefty out of the pen.

      • MBS

        Track record, look at his game logs. He has given up 8 ER’s as a reliever in 26 games, and 5 of those ER’s were given up in that 1 game the other day. Even with that blow up, he has a 2.48 ERA as a reliever, prior to that game it was in the low 1’s. Bell sacrificed SanMartin that day, after giving up 2 in the 8th, there was no excuse to bring him out in the 9th.

      • Moon

        I wonder about the bullpen makeup given the way Bell uses it. I don’t think what we would call a traditional closer really fits. Bell used a bunch of guys for one inning. He doesn’t have a setup guy. He doesn’t have a closer. He uses his best RP in a critical situation later in a game no matter the inning. Since they all pitch one inning, the best guy puts out the fire in the 6th, 7th, 8th, or 9th. Then he throws the other guys for their one inning depending on matchups. Then you need a couple of inning eaters when game is out of hand early and your starter out in third inning with game already lost. A Mike Minor type without the 10 M pricetag. What we don’t have is enough guys that can give you that one inning enough to make them effective in this staff. Guys like Kuhnel and Strickland need to go.

  2. Doc

    We finding out what we’ve got, and what we ain’t. BP we ain’t. It seems that so often when one fails, many fail.

    7 hits in 35 AB as a team often won’t get it done.

  3. Melvin

    Fun to watch Ashcraft anyway. The thing is with Ashcraft, Greene and Lodolo, if they invested in a good bullpen and one or two more starting pitchers, as funny as it sounds, we could compete for a playoff spot even next year without breaking the bank. That would make too much sense though. Big Bob and Son really don’t care about winning.

    • Rednat

      that train left the station when we traded Mahle and Castillo to go full in on the ” Rays way”. i agree, next year would have been our best chance to make the playoffs for a long time. at trade deadline, if we weren’t competitive then we could have traded them. maybe the return wouldn’t be quite as good but who cares, at least we tried. Now we may never have a chance to see the playoffs for a long time

      • VaRedsFan

        They were 20-25 under .500 WITH Mahle and Castillo. Where are you finding 30 more wins from the rest of the club to make the playoffs with?
        I’ll wait.

      • Still a Red

        Would have still Needed hitters. India, Stephenson (hopefully), Senzel maybe, Farmer (not if people here have anything to say about it), Votto (that’d be nice).

      • Rob

        I would look at it this way. With Mahle and/or, we would have no starting pitcher needs in 2023 but we would not cash to resign 1-2 of these guys. Without the two guys, we need both starting pitching and a plethora of other needs. Either way we are talking free agents and trades and cash. We need to accept that Friedl, Aquino, Fraley, Lopez, etc. are not starters on playoff competitive teams. Not disagreeing with anybody but we don’t have 4-6 major league ready guys in the minors. Minus injuries, you are seeing the core of the 2023 team right now. If we are going to compete in 2023 or 2024, a good half dozen guys comparable to Mahle, Drury, Naquin, Suarez, etc. are going to have to be signed. With Moose and Votto’s contracts on the books, I really don’t expect this, and to the tell the truth, I am not real optimistic we are even going to meet half the challenge. I can convince myself this management is going to spend any serious money to improve the team next year. We could see a repeat of Friedl, Papierski, Fraley, Dunn, Aquino, etc. and we all have a pretty good idea that isn’t going to work.

    • Redsvol

      I think it’s a wise franchise that realizes the goal is not to make the playoffs but to win in them. Reds weren’t talented enough to compete with cardinals, braves and Mets on consistent basis.

      Problem is, rebuilds hurt. And they take longer in baseball than other sports. The key will be can ownership and front office develop the talent and bring in correct pieces to augment it at the right time. Obviously, lots of doubts.

  4. Jessecuster44

    Please someone tell me why SanMartin didn’t come back out for the 9th. Pitch count not the issue. And was pitching well.

    Absolutely maddening to replace and effective pitcher with a horrid one for NO REASON.

    • jon

      It took the same coaches this long to figure out Diaz should be the closer. Think of that for a second. Nothing surprises me with this staff.

      • Luke J

        I don’t think they figured that out yet. They literally used him last night for one out in the 7th.

    • VaRedsFan

      The bigger question is why didn’t Diaz pitch the 8th inning after only 2 batters in the 7th. Then RSM could have pitched the 9th.

  5. Jeff Morris

    D Bell screwed up again! Should have saved A Diaz for the save in the 9th. Farmer in the 7th. Can’t believe we have to tell Bell again who his real closer is, A Diaz. Even a 3 year old child understands this!

    • Frankie Tomatoes

      Cowboy doesn’t agree with you. He said during the game that Diaz needed to be used in that situation in the 7th inning.

    • Kevin H

      Famer isnt with team right now. Bereavement list. Bell doesn’t listen to us fans and no a 3 year old child wouldn’ t understand what a closer is.. Be realistic please

    • greenmtred

      And I agree with Cowboy: Two on, two out, close game, you bring in the guy most likely to get the out because the game is on the line and you don’t know whether or not it will be in the 9th. A team with a loaded bullpen might reasonably have a designated closer who only pitches the ninth when his team has the lead or, maybe, is tied, but the Reds have one or two guys who are likely to succeed, and you need them to put out fires. That’s probably why SanMartin–the other guy with some reasonable chance of success–didn’t pitch a second inning; you need him available because the cupboard is bare. The Reds also need to keep evaluating BP guys. We, in our wisdom, have seen enough of Kuhnel and the rest, but the reality is that they haven’t pitched many innings and it won’t be easy or cheap to replace all of them, and, also, wins are pretty much immaterial at this point, and we all know this.

      • Luke J

        I disagree with you and cowboy. First, Ashcraft should have stayed in to get the last out of the 7th. But this whole idea that 1 out in the 7th is higher leverage and more important than 3 outs in the 9th is bogus. There are no outs after the 9th. Which means whatever happens there is permanent and can’t be fixed. The Reds have 2 more innings after the 7th to fix bullpen mistakes. This was proven last night. Diaz allowed a run to score when he came in. The Reds were able to rally the next inning to take the lead again. If you have no one reliable for the 9th, it matters not what happens in that “high leverage” spot in the 7th. And even if you buy the red herring of the high leverage out in the 7th, you bring Diaz back for the 8th. In a tie or 1 run game, getting only 1 out from your closer is poor strategy, period. There is no valid argument for defending the way Bell handled the bullpen last night.

      • greenmtred

        The 9th, for the closer, is a clean inning–nobody on base, nobody in scoring position. Making the 9th automatically your best pitcher’s inning doesn’t take into account who is hitting for the other team, either. Plus, the closer usually is used when his team has the lead. As for Ashcraft staying in, we, as fans, have no idea how he’s feeling and he has innings limits. And it’s a meaningless game. I remember that Bell got lots of heat from us for not using Antone enough or for long enough. Then Antone got hurt and we criticized Bell for over-using him.

      • VaRedsFan

        If he was under-used, and he got hurt, how was he overused?
        The answer is, he was under-used, and he still got hurt. Is your solution to use him even less? 2 innings per week? 1 inning?

      • greenmtred

        I wasn’t commenting on Antone’s use, I was commenting on the contradictory criticism. Neither you nor I know whether Antone was used too much or too little. We view this strategically: He was good last inning, he’ll be good next inning. He’s our best; he should pitch more. Makes sense in the absence of complete information. Why would any manager do things to reduce his team’s chance of success?

      • Luke J

        We do know how Ashcraft was feeling. He seemed pretty annoyed after the game questioning why he came out (even though he was diplomatic about it).

      • greenmtred

        We don’t know his condition. Players want to play. Votto played with a torn rotator cuff. We also don’t the particular regimen for Ashcraft.

    • Still a Red

      Boy lots of second guessing going on. Bell’s right when it works and wrong when it doesn’t.

      • Luke J

        Wrong. People have been complaining all year when Bell uses Diaz in the 7th, whether it works out or not.

  6. Roger Garrett

    Game was lost in the 7th.Diaz obviously is our best reliever but Bell was only going to use him for 1 out and it was big one that he did not get.Reds score in the 8th and Sanmartin our next best reliever gets them in order on 11 pitches.So Bell uses his best 2 guys for less then 20 pitches and 4 outs.Diaz last pitched on Wednesday and threw 2 innings and I believe on less then 25 pitches.Sanmartin last threw on Tuesday.Kuhnel or Strickland do not need sorted they already have been.Cessa and Warren maybe or maybe not need sorted.Doesn’t matter much cause who cares about wins or losses.We could also talk about why no Aquino in right or anybody at first with a glove in the ninth.Doesn’t matter just saying.

  7. Melvin

    Ashcraft said post game he would have liked to stay in kind of shrugging his shoulders. I think he only had 85 pitches. With our bullpen I don’t blame him.

  8. GreatRedLegsFan

    With Dunn and Minor opening the next two games, and also considering how difficult is to score a run nowadays, this one was the game to win.

    • TR

      I’m saying the obvious that Drury, the Reds best hitter this season until traded, was missed in this game. Oh, I forgot, Drury will likely be reacquired in the offseason.

  9. Old-school

    Reds lose. They were better than the Pirates with Castillo Mahle and Drury for sure. I dont know now but thats ok. Ill take a higher draft pick.

    Outfield roster priority for 2023
    #1 Fraley-lefty hitting Corner OF with good plate discipline and needs another 600 at bats playing mostly every day. Very Cheap
    #2 Almora-GG CF who can play all 3 positions. Not an everyday CF unless Ronald Acuna is in RF and Juan Soto is in LF, but reasonable cost and part of a 4 person MLB OF for sure.
    #3 Nick Senzel- decent CF and proving healthy-ish and needs more at bats on a team that isnt loaded with AAA outfield prospect. Reasonable cost
    #4 TJ Freidl- need another lefty hitter and he is like Almora in that he can play all 3 positions. Earned an opportunity to be part of a 4 man OF on a last place team. No reason to play in AAA and cheap.

    Aquino – I gave up on him last year. Yes- he has a cannon but 42% K rate and .173 batting avg again???? DFA him

    Id give the top 4 every day reps the rest of the season and see what you have. With Votto out, the Dh can be used to give guys DH at bats and rotate the 4.

    • Oldtimer

      You may have DFA-ed George Foster in 1973 then. The Reds sent him to AAA instead. He came back in 1974 a better player. He really improved in 1975 then exploded in 1976-77-78.

      • Old-school

        George Foster was 24 in 1973
        Aristides Aquino is 28 in 2022.
        George Foster was an MVP at 28 with 52 home runs, 149 rbi and 5 Allstar years in 6 seasons.
        Aquino at 28? .173/.209/.293/.502

      • Oldtimer

        Age doesn’t matter.

        The Reds dumped Claude Osteen, Mike Cuellar, and Joaquin Andujar at a young age.

        They got nothing of value in return.

    • Redsvol

      I like it OS but lets not sell ourselves too short. Lets hope for a solid free agent signing (I’m hoping Beintendi, like others) and then use Fraley, Friedl and Senzel. I see no reason to keep Almora. He is what he is, which is very little offense and good defense. His kind are available on a minor league deal.

      I’m conflicted on Aquino. I’d like to evaluate him after another 40 games but understand why others are done with him. It would certainly be unusual but its possible Senzel would be more valuable if he played the field less and was in a platoon in DH slot. I don’t think his body can handle the rigors of playing in the field for 100 games, much less 162.

      • Old-school

        I love the idea of adding Benintendi to LF, a GG winner in 2021 and only 28 with great on base skills ,speed and a Cincy kid. I’m also for spending money in 2023 if it ties in with controllable pieces in 2024+

        I looked at Benintendi and estimates are he will get a contract similar to Kyle Schwarber who got 4/79 million. I dont see the reds committing $80 million to an OF. If they do, pencil in Benintendi in LF for 2023-2026. He’s a good one.

      • Still a Red

        Being a Madeira High School alum, I’d be over the moon if the Reds were to land Beintendi…I just don’t see ownership straying from their strategy of playing home-growns for 5 then trade.

    • greenmtred

      Friedl’s career OBP is under .300. He might, with time, become a serviceable 4th outfielder, but is it clear now? What have you seen that makes you think so?

      • Luke J

        Maybe watch a player play instead of looking at small sample size stats and drawing sweeping conclusions.

      • greenmtred

        Oh? Friedl’s getting on base a lot and it’s only evident to people who are watching? It is a small sample size, but 130 AB’s is not minuscule. And, of course, I didn’t suggest DFA’ing him, just that maybe he hasn’t shown enough to be handed the job. I hope he does, by the way.

      • Luke J

        130 AB spread over 2 seasons and multiple stints is absolutely miniscule. It’s mind blowing you don’t think so. I think I’m just going to have to accept that you and I have fundamentally different understandings on the game of baseball.

      • greenmtred

        I reiterate: I wasn’t suggesting that he be dfa’d. And since 130 at-bats is miniscule, do you think it’s a solid basis for anointing him the 4th outfielder.

    • Jimbo44CN

      Everybody on this board knows you have given up on Aquino. I am a fan but realistic. Either he pulls it together this year or he doesn’t. He really does need to change his stance a bit.

    • Tom Diesman

      Almora is a known quantity and we shouldn’t be wasting any more PA this season on him. Fairchild has a .901 OPS in AAA over the past two seasons and needs to facing MLB pitching the rest of the season.

  10. Old-school

    I’m not a Bell Supporter or thinks he is all things wrong with the Reds. Yes – Messed up many times pulling Antone after 8 pitches and bringing in Garrett to blow the save or bringing in designated vet to lose-Hernandez, Doolittle, Strickland, etc,etc,etc

    But- fundamental reds problem for 3 years is bullpen roster is bad.

    Buy a bullpen..invest in a bullpen. Acquire a controllable bullpen in FA and add some entering arbitration from bad franchises ( AJ Puk Oakland). The status quo aint working and thats not on David Bell. Diaz is a centerpiece. Find 3 more bullpen pieces externally.

    Bullpen isnt fixed internally.
    Krall can t win a World Series in 2023 but he can acquire a controllable bullpen from 2023-26 that starts to fix the Achilles heel of this franchise.

  11. Doc4uk

    Kuhnel and Strickland throw hard but look at batting averages against them

  12. Rednat

    If I had to rank the reds problems I would say 1. lack of offense. 2. Bullpen. a close third would be lack of leadership. You have to do what ever it takes to win that game. I just don’t see the desperation in this team

    I would like to see Kyle Farmer extended and named team captain. I really think he has earned the title. He durable ,versatile and a good clutch hitter. Plus I think the players respect him. He seems like the only red that consistently plays with desire and understands the situation he is in. 8th inning, down 0-2, he simply changes his approach and lines a single to right. i know he is a little older at 32 but I think that was the around the age Davey was named team captain as well.

    • David

      Barry Larkin, is that you? 🙂

      Seriously, Kyle is a solid guy. Everybody seems to like him. There are WORSE things the Reds could do than extend him and make him Captain.
      What bothers me a lot more is that we will still have Moustakas next year. The Reds Top Men will not let him go, DFA him and eat the last year of his contract.
      Next year should see Steve Steer in the line-up everyday, playing 2nd or 3rd or 1st or something. I wonder if he will even be on the team after Spring Training.

      And yeah, the bullpen stinks, and has for years. And sometimes, it’s a crapshoot getting guys from other teams. But their bullpen is crap right now.

      • Old Big Ed

        I actually believe that they will DFA Moustakas in the off-season or spring training. They have to pay him one way or the other, so unless you think sophisticated businessmen don’t understand the sunken cost fallacy, then they will release him.

        ABs given to younger players going forward help the Reds more than ABs given to Moustakas. Management can learn useful info from watching Speer or Alejo or McGarry or others hit, but a Moustakas AB gives them no useful or valuable information. So, they will ditch him.

    • Still a Red

      I understand the apparent lack of leadership on the field, but we don’t know what happens in the locker room. That said, India shows some fire. But, Castellanos said something ominous when the Reds played Phila. and that was he talked to India and told him not to get down as the Reds rebuild. Did India say something, or did Castellanos pick up on something? If I were India and Stephenson, I’d have to be thinking I have 3 more years with the Reds, and how fun will those years be.

  13. Jeff Morris

    I think the POINT is all us Reds fans are tired of reds management just “winging” it with the bullpen, No Roles! Will the Reds ever get defined roles of their bullpen! Will they ever invest in a solid bullpen?

    • Doug Gray

      Alexis Diaz has a role: The Fireman. His job is to come in during the biggest spots and that can’t be defined by a specific inning.

      • Kevin H

        I disagree with that. He is the best pitcher and should be the closer. At least that is how baseball use to be. Reds don’t have any defined roles in the bullpen. You use Diaz in the 7th then who is gonna close the game out? I mean years ago the bullpen had defined roles. Since Bell has taken over that has been out the window. Say what one will but the 9th inning isn’t just another inning when it comes to closing as evident by what we have seen the last few times Reds bullpen has blown the 9th..

        My thoughts anyway..

      • burtgummer01

        It doesn’t matter who the closer is unless the starter can go 8 innings
        Some people need to wake up

      • greenmtred

        Used to be? For a while, yes. But before that became a fetish, relief pitchers came in when there was trouble; there weren’t defined roles. The relief pitcher award is Fireman of the Year. The Reds do not have enough good relief pitchers to afford them the luxury of saving their best for the 9th.

      • Luke J

        Doug, that’s a fallacy that requires all outs to be equal to start. They aren’t. Outs in the 9th are automatically more important than outs in the 7th before you even consider circumstances. What happens in the 9th can’t be fixed, therefore the permanence of the result of 9th inning outs means they are higher leverage by default. There are only 27 outs in a game. Using your “fireman” for only one of them, no matter how important you think it is, is poor strategy. Several guys could come in for a single matchup and get one out (Ashcraft remaining in at the top of that list). Very few can come in for 3 outs in the 9th reliably.

      • VaRedsFan

        I don’t disagree GreenMTR…but Diaz has to throw more than 1/3 of an inning.
        Counter-view…..If a lesser reliever blows it in the 7th, they still have have 2 innings to fight back. If the lesser reliever blows it in the 9th, there are no more innings to come back

      • Steven Ross

        Sorry Doug. Disagree. Diaz is my 9th inning guy period. It’s maddening to watch Bell constantly misuse him.

      • greenmtred

        I get your argument, VaRedsfan, and it has merit–enough to be the probable rationale for the closer role. If the Reds had enough shut-down guys in the pen and enough offensive fire power to make late-game comebacks likely, it might be a good model for them. But they have neither of those things, and giving up the lead in the 7th or 8th comes close to dooming them.

      • Doug Gray

        A lot of you guys seem to be confused.

        That is his role. Love it, hate it, don’t care about it – whatever you feel – that’s the role he has been assigned by the manager.

        Jeff said he is tired of the team “winging it” with regards to the bullpen and wants guys to have roles. Diaz, the only good reliever the team has, actually has a role.

      • Old-school

        I thought we were past this years ago. Your best available reliever pitches in the highest leverage situations to win the game….whether that be the 7th/8th/9 th inning.

        That was the problem with Iglesias. he threw a temper tantrum if he wasnt pitching in the 9th,,,,even it was a 4-1 game with the 7/8/9 hitters coming up. He didnt want to pitch the 8th, even if 3/4/5 were up. Lorenzen embraced that role. Antone embraced that role, Givens did, Diaz is embracing that role.

        The problem is folks are focusing on rigid roles instead of the fact the Reds dont have any good bullpen pieces to surround Diaz to backfill important high leverage roles.That doesnt mean you pitch anybody anywhere but you need a stable of high leverage guys capable of getting tough outs based on the situation.

        IF you had Diaz and another good righty- say David Bednar for the pirates and then 2 other good lefties- Gregory Soto tigers and AJ PuK A’s- you would script the game around using those 4 high leverage relievers to get the final 6-8 outs on a given day. Handedness and batting order and rest would dictate who pitched when. If Diaz was available but it’s the 9th inning in a one run game against the Brewers and its Yellich Adames and Tellez, I’m using Soto. If its the Cards and Goldschmidt/Arrenado/Gorman in the 8th inning I’m using Diaz.

        Reds need to add 3 good external pieces to complement Diaz- 2 of which need to be lefties and fix this 3 year mess of a bullpen.

      • Old Big Ed

        The issue is not how Bell uses Diaz. The problem is that Bell doesn’t have any other reliever upon whom he can rely. If he had a healthy Antone and Sims, it wouldn’t matter who pitched what inning.

        And Luke, if somebody other than Diaz had given up a bases-clearing double in the 7th, then they couldn’t really fix that, either. They could grimace harder while batting, but doing so hasn’t really been shown to generate 3 runs.

      • Melvin

        As stated here before, pitchers themselves generally would like to pitch in save situations because that is tied to larger contracts. That may be less of a factor these days though.

      • Luke J

        I’m absolutely not confused Doug. I am saying they are using him wrong.

      • Luke J

        Old Big Ed, what you fail to understand is that if the scored 3 in the 7th there would at least be a non-zero chance they come back and win. If they score in the 9th there is a zero chance thwy come back. It’s basic logic.

    • Still a Red

      Presumably the Fireman role is backed by stats! I think the problem is you need more than one.

      • Luke J

        It’s backed by misusing stats. That’s the problem. You can manipulate stats to show whatever conclusion you want.

      • Luke J

        Um, you have to tell me the stat first before I can tell you why it’s misapplied. LOL

        But no, the stats don’t say use your best reliever before the 9th. Most teams agree. Only a handful of losing teams are trying it.

      • Doc

        How many firemen are in the HoF?
        How many closers are in the HoF?

        Does that give a clue to which role is considered more valuable?

      • greenmtred

        I don’t know any stats on the subject, Luke. I didn’t bring it up. I assumed you did because you stated they were interpreted incorrectly. Perhaps the losing teams have bullpens with few if any good pitchers? Like the Reds? To be clear, it’s great having a dominant pitcher for the 9th. But when you only have one, doesn’t it make sense to use him when there’s an actual threat instead of saving him for a theoretical threat in the 9th?



        I like it . A theoretical threat. The converse would be how do you hide 7 of your 8 bullpen guys every game, pitching all of them in low leverage situations only?

      • greenmtred

        Doc: Closers get saves, a very imperfect stat for evaluating pitchers. Firemen generally don’t get many, and fireman is not a formal role. Closer started to become a thing in the late 70’s, and prior to that, relief pitchers were just relief pitchers, with the best one on a team generally being the guy they used in dire situations. Without a one word stat to amass, those guys lacked the recognition that would influence HOF voters.

  14. Indy Red Man

    The Reds don’t score enough. Yeah they could possibly get a wildcard in the future with a solid investment towards the pen, but their arms will fall off by September if you never blow anyone out

    • Redsvol

      We needed a big hit to break it open and we didn’t get it. Barerro almost had a big one if not for a great play by Gamel. For this team to win, Farley and India are going to need to hit. And a healthy Stephenson greatly improves any lineup.

      Great game by Ashcraft. I think if I was going to extend one pitcher I’d would be him. He’s been the most consistent. Eno saris at the athletic picked him and lodolo as 2 of 5 pitchers who he thought could make a huge leap in performance next year based in their “stuff”. I’d like to see Lopez play more next 40 games.

  15. DHud

    Diaz and Sanmartin

    After then I really don’t know what’s stopping the reds from completely blowing up the bullpen and trying 6

    At least it wasn’t Strickland this time?

  16. MBS

    As much as I like Krall, and don’t like Bell (in their jobs, not as people), I have to blame Krall, and let Bell off the hook. Bell simply doesn’t have the bullpen necessary to win games consistently.

    Krall’s biggest mistake of the offseason was trading Garrett, and getting Minor. If we kept Garrett, and used that 10M we spent on Minor, on the pen, we’d be in better shape right now.

  17. Doc

    Bell is not off the hook. He brought in Diaz in the 7th for 7 pitches, then SanMartin in the 8th for 11 pitches. That used up his two best relievers. I know there is a philosophy to use your best reliever in a crucial situation, but that strategy backfires when you have to go to your third or fourth best guy in the ninth to hold a one run lead. There is a reason Kuhnel is not the established closer on this team, nor is Detweiler. The strategy used backfired, but it is not the common ‘book’ strategy. Therefore, Bell bears part of the blame, though most of it falls on the pitchers who failed. I disagree that it falls on Krall, especially when one excludes hindsight, and conveniently forgets the number of quality relievers who are on the 60 day DL, relievers whom Krall had stocked the BP with at season’s beginning.

    • MBS

      Fair enough on hindsight, but really how many people were excited for Minor? I am a fan of Krall, so I’m not bashing him. I’d give Krall a B on his job so far. Very good moves given the budget he needs to manage.

      But Bell is darned if he does, and darned if he doesn’t. If Bell waited to use Diaz for the 9th, there probably wouldn’t have been a game to save. We just don’t have the enough good arms. Plus Diaz went 2 innings 2 days prior, probably wanted to protect his arm.

      • greenmtred

        Exactly, MBS. It’s easy to critique decisions in hindsight, particularly when somebody else had to make them in the first place.

    • BK

      The “root cause” to the problem you are describing is not the Manager, it’s a lack of quality arms in the bullpen. Bell is consistently using Diaz in the highest leverage situations (few disagree with that notion). The problem is he has more “high leverage” situations than he has consistent bullpen pitchers to cover.

      If we back up the bus a few years, many here complained when the Manager saved his closer for the end of the game and refused to use him when the game was clearly on the line in an earlier inning. Often this meant the closer would sit for several days waiting for the right time to use the closer in the orthodox manner–when he could earn a “save.”

      We have a poor bullpen, FACT! Our best reliever is being used in high-leverage situations, FACT! Bell’s utility of Diaz also is maximizing his value to the team, very few relievers have 2.4 bWAR. The solution is not to use Diaz in a more traditional closer role–that has several unintended consequences. The solution is to improve the quality of pitchers in the Reds bullpen.

      The Dodgers just DFA Reyes Moronta, solid track record as a reliever with a low WHIP. Place a claim when he hits the waiver wire.

  18. Bill

    I didn’t realize so many people were in love with having a closer. To me saves are a worthless stat and saving your best for a lead you may or may not have in the 9th inning is not maximizing your resources.

    • Indy Red Man

      I agree, but Bell does deserve alot of criticism. Example last week…Buck Farmer has been pitching pretty well and retires the side on 7 pitches (or 9?), but Bell has to remove him next inning for Strickland to give the other team a shot at a comeback. Of course Strickland gets lit up immediately.

      As for saving Diaz for the 9th every time? All the other scrubs will have already blown the game in the 7th so what good is the 9th in that scenario? “Get off my lawn” guys from the BRM era (I’m one of them too) have to realize the game has changed. Maybe not for the better in some situations, but it is what it is.

    • Luke J

      Bullpen pitchers are failed starters. Maximizing resources is relying on your starters for the lead and your best relievers to hold it. If there’s a better time to use your closer when losing, use them. But not with a lead like last night. He needs to close.

      • Bill

        Why would you use the closer when losing? What good is the closer concept of you are losing?

        This team doesn’t have the Nasty Boys to run out for innings 7-9

  19. Ron

    1 Gregory Soto
    2 Taylor Rogers (free agent)
    3 Brad Hand (free agent)

    Adding 2 of these 3 this off-season to go along with Diaz, Sims, Sanmartin and Antone would be sweet.

    • LDS

      Antone and Sims may not recover to effectiveness. Their injuries weren’t trivial. And it’s Antone’s second TJ

  20. Kevin H

    Call me stubborn but I still believe in defined roles out of the bullpen. I also know Reds don’t have enough good pitchers were a role can be defined.

    So let’s all hope Reds bring in some bullpen help. There are glimpses right now with Sanmartin and Farmer. Let’s hope that continues.

    • Indy Red Man

      Defined roles are preferred of course, but Bell has 1 man! Not a pen but 1 lonely guy. Everyone else fails over and over unless the opponent agrees to only use lefties vs SanMartin.

      You can fault Bell over Strickland, but not how he uses his only solid reliever.

  21. Indy Red Man

    Adames with a go-ahead HR for Milw in the 8th. The Reds needed a SS and had the resources to get him and wouldn’t do it. That stinks. He’s really a clutch player

  22. Roger Garrett

    Bell chose not to use his 2 best relievers to get 6 outs to close the game.I am sure he had his reasons.