Ildemaro Vargas’ fifth-inning solo home run broke a 2-2 tie and was the difference in a Washington Nationals’ 3-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (50-76) 2 5 0
Washington Nationals (43-85)
3 6 1
W: Corbin (5-17) L: Lodolo (3-5) Sv: Finnegan (8)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

Washington’s bullpen limited the Reds to only one hit over the final three innings while striking out three, thwarting Cincinnati’s bid to sweep the three-game series.

The Offense

After Kyle Farmer gave the Reds a 1-0 lead in the first with an RBI fielder’s-choice groundout, Stuart Fairchild put a marker on the board in the second by hitting one much farther:

But that was the end of the scoring for the visitors. Cincinnati had only two hits, both singles, over the final seven innings. Jonathan India’s two hits led the Reds and extended his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games.

The Pitching

Starter Nick Lodolo faced the minimum number of batters through three innings, but the first four Nationals batters in the fourth reached on a double, back-to-back hit-batsmen and then a bases-loaded walk to Nelson Cruz that was unquestionably a bad call on ball four by home plate umpire Jeremy Riggs:

That turned out to be a very big bad call because Lane Thomas hit a screaming liner to third that Farmer grabbed, and then C.J. Abrams struck out. Had Riggs’ call on the ball four pitch to Cruz been a correct strike three, those two outs would have been the second and third of the inning with no runs scored.

Nationals catcher Riley Adams then followed with a bases-loaded single to center which tied the game at 2-2, but T.J. Friedl continued his terrific defensive play by throwing out Luke Voit at the plate with what would have been the go-ahead run.

Then in the bottom of the fifth, Ildemaro Vargas hit a leadoff solo shot to left off Lodolo to give the home team a 3-2 lead, their first of the series, which proved to be the difference.

In seven innings, Lodolo allowed five hits, one walk and three earned runs while striking out five. Not bad, but not good enough today.

Art Warren pitched a scoreless eighth to keep the Reds’ deficit at one run.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

St. Louis Cardinals at Cincinnati Reds

Monday, August 29, 6:40 p.m. ET

Miles Mikolas (10-10, 3.35 ERA vs. Chase Anderson (56-46, 4.20 ERA lifetime)

48 Responses

  1. Melvin

    Lodolo = good pitcher that will only get better and has a bright future.

  2. LDS

    Losing to a 4-17 pitcher is impressive and really not the way to start a home stand against the Cards, with Anderson no less.

  3. Mark Moore

    Offense did what we’ve seen it do too many times. Shot our wad early and folded.

  4. RedsGettingBetter

    I think go with Anderson is not so bad as go with Zeuch, at least. Hopefully he doesn’t make me be wrong…

  5. Old-school

    We re in sorting mode. It’s no longer about the “bullpen”- which is bad…or “ the offense” which is bad. It’s about individual solutions reconstructing and fixing the roster to 2023+ and who needs more sorting and who is already sorted .

    Aristides Aquino turns 29 next April. Hes played most days in August. Hes been a terrible hitter for 4 years now. He’s approaching 200 plate appearances and Playing every day with a terrible lefty pitcher today and he went 0-4 again. OPS is .504. Thats atrocious. Right field is a mandatory big bat position. He’s hitting .175. On base is .220. He has 4 home runs…this year. Thats it. Senzel has 4. Fairchild has 3. He strikes out over 42% of the time. It’s time for an outfield of Fraley, Friedl against righties and Senzel and Fairchild lefties with 1 of those DH-ing while Senzel transitions to a super utility player.

    Aquino is sorted. He cant hit and never will and plays a position that mandates a really good MLB bat.

    • Mark Moore

      I’ve never understood the such and such a position requires a big bat position. It makes zero sense to me and I think it undermines other aspects.

      As for AA, I just don’t see him making adjustments. He already past through waivers once. As you said, he’s 29. What we see is likely who he is at this level.

      • Old-school

        CF and SS are premium defensive positions. You have to have elite defensive players there. Ideally, yes the hit tool is needed but not mandatory. Catching is a unique position into itself. Framing, pitch calling, game planning with pitchers, blocking and throwing are mandatory. Hitting is a bonus.

        It’s rare to find elite hitting catchers as most are moved off the position and then SS and CF because 99% have been eliminated progressing through the minors as not good enough or athletic enough or toolsy enough to play defense at the MLB level at those crucial defensive position

        You are witnessing first hand when you dont have good hitters at SS, CF, and catcher what happens when hitting elsewhere collapses. RF/LF/3b/1b/DH have to hit as well as 2b. Otherwise…you are the 2022 Cincinnati Reds.

      • wkuchad

        Old-school, if this site had a thumbs up button, I’d be clicking it for your post.

    • Jim Walker

      Not opposed about Aquino but I think we’ve also seen clear signs in the last week that the idea of Nick Senzel as the RH hitting side of a CF platoon has gone by the boards.

      The player himself has already spoken of being in a supersub utility role next season.

      They need to get Fairchild on the field everyday to see exactly what he is offensively and defensively.

      • Old-school

        Nick Senzel isnt the franchise CF. He’s being moved to super-utility role as you need one of those on a 26 man roster when guys are entering and exiting the IL on a weekly basis. Reds are desperate for lefty hitters with Moose awful, Votto injured and Winker/Naquin traded. Give Fraley and Friedl lots of reps. I dont see Friedl as a franchise CF though. Could be a solid part of a 5 man OF though

      • Jim Walker

        I agree about Freidl. I think the “franchise CF” better be the guy they choose to convert from the IF or trade for by 2024. Freidl could turn out to be their solid 4th man at all 3 OF spots versus pitching from both sides.

        I am more concerned about Fraley than Freidl long term. He shows signs of being worse versus LH pitching than Winker and not quite in the same class as Winker vs RH pitching. Fraley can make up a lot of this with superior fielding and baserunning compared to what they got from Winker. However they need a strong RH bat to spell him versus LH pitching. Maybe or maybe not that is Fairchild.

      • Rob

        Agreed on Fairchild getting enhanced playing time. But to be clear, I don’t foresee any of the bunch – Friedl, Fraley, Fairchild, Aquino, Almora – being an outfield starter on the next Reds winning team. Since th trade deadline, we are promoting 230 hitters as studs. To improve beyond 70 wins next year, we are going to have to have more offensive firepower than a trio of 230 hitters. Then again, this management may decide 70 wins is good enough.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        @Rob — I’m mostly with you. I have been surprised by Fraley, and think he could be a platoon starter mostly against righties. Friedl would have to continue what he’s doing now for the rest of the season for me to see him as even a possible starter.

        The minor league bats are at least another season away. In trying to understand the Reds’ decisions on which players to bring up to the bigs, I have to believe that they don’t think Steer is ready yet. Many of us see all of the homers and barreled-up contact videos posted on Twitter, but I don’t watch minor league games at all. I have no idea if he is truly ready. (Same for De La Cruz.) I would defer to Doug Gray’s opinion on both.

      • Old-school

        @ Jim

        Agree 100%

        Should be an interesting September.

      • Votto4life

        I think we probably need to face the fact,
        that Nick Senzel may never become an impactful major league player. If the Reds want to make him a utility player, that’s fine, he may provide some value. For the most part though, I think he is who he is at this point. I certainly wouldn’t extend him. It is certainly disappointing and yet another example of a highly touted prospect not living up to the hype. Too bad though, he seems like a nice guy.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      When I was a kid I remember the Reds playing the Phillies, who had a young kid named Mike Schmidt who I believe batted under .200 and struck out at a very high rate. I kept wondering, why do they keep playing him? He eventually became a Hall-of-Famer and perhaps the greatest third baseman of all time, so the Phillies knew what they were doing. But Aquino has shown over now portions of five seasons that he can’t hit consistently. A sub-.200 career average over half of a decade is never, ever going to cut it. His ceiling is a “Class AAAA” player. The Reds should let him go and blast homers for some other team’s Class AAA farm team.

      • Jim Walker

        Or make a nice bunch of money doing it in Asia where the pitching median is no better than 4A if even that good.

    • MBS

      @OLD If you’re talking sorting, how has Senzel not been sorted out? He’s been bad with a lot more chances than Aquino. I think both should likely be out in 23, and the Fraley, Friedl combo should remain. Fairchild is not a MLB’er either.

      We really need to sign a FA like Benintendi. Our AAA depth is just that, depth. Gilliam, or Hopkins may make 4th OF status, but I doubt they become everyday guys.

      LF Benintendi, CF De La Cruz, RF Fraley, 4th Friedl, to me that’s our best possible OF combination in 23. If not Benintendi, maybe India transitions to LF, and Steer takes over 2B.

      • old-school

        I think Senzel has been sorted out as an everyday CF/franchise CF. With someone constantly going on/off the IL list seemingly weekly, every team needs a super-utility player and Senzel could do spot duty at 3b/2b/CF/LF. That said, Senzel may be going on the IL today. Bell said they would need to make a decision when they get back to Cincy today.

        Big picture is more players have been sorted out than sorted in as everyday position regulars. I love Benintendi, but hes going to command a contract of 4 years and $80 million( Schwarber comp) as a Gold Glove lefty with great speed and on base skills. I think the Reds will give Fraley the rest of this year and all of 2022 as the primary left-fielder with some platoon rests against tough lefties.

      • MBS

        I think Benintendi will have a hard time finding that contract. 4Y 60M is my guess as to what he’d find as a FA. His lack of power will keep him from the bigger money. Also we could offer him a 2 year deal, let him boost his power #’s in GABP and at his age he could still sign a big 4 or 5 year deal after. That’s why I think the Reds could sign him, I think he’ll be in the right price range, but only time will tell.

    • Jimbo44CN

      Thanks for letting us all know what you think of Aquino, Like we did not know already.

  6. Moon

    Bottom of the Reds order today was brutal. With Stephenson out Reds have big problem at Catcher. They need to find a competent backup. I really like Aquino but sadly he is not going to make it. I want to see some more of Barrero and Fairchildand glad Reds are giving them extended playing time

  7. JB

    Nats can’t beat Minor and Reds can’t beat Corbin. Two terrible teams.

    • David

      As Charles Barkley would say, “Turrible, just turrible”.

      Yeah, the Nationals have also sacked their roster, trading Juan Soto for a passle of young ins’. Of course, Soto was just….24? But he was indeed a franchise player and was going to demand the Sun, Moon, stars and probably a lot more.

      This last month may be kind of tough, but then again, I think in the last few weeks we may see Lodolo, Greene, Ashcraft and Dunn fill out the rotation for a couple of turns.
      That 5-game series with the Cardinals in September (with a double header) is likely to be…..murder. They may lose all 5 games.

      Funny, with as bad as this team is, we WON’T see Santana at 3rd base or see Steve Steer. Funny, isn’t it? And likely, to make room on the roster for Chase Anderson, Alejo Lopez, who is hitting well, will likely be sent down. Funnier and funnier.

      • Redsvol

        Mets failed to score against the Rockies. Phillies failed to score against the pirates. 2 teams fighting for playoff position so everything to play for. It’s baseball, it happens.

  8. JB WV

    Glad to see Lodolo go seven, especially after having tough innings in the 4th and 5th. Part of his learning curve to go through the lineups multiple times and make adjustments, just like the hitters do.

  9. Roger Garrett

    The sort continues and why not.Not sure if anybody we are running out there in the outfield is more then 4th or 5th outfielder but let them play.Plenty of time this year and next to see what we have and what we may need for 2024.Hopefully Krall directs Bell to do just that and not be concerned with wins and losses.Lots to do but there is time.Maybe Steer isn’t ready as Tom said but I would sure like to see him in GABP getting regular at bats sooner then later.Guess I am wondering if he can be the thumper we need at 3rd going forward.I like what Krall has done and I don’t know if it will work out but I sure like some the videos of these young guys.We have been so slow for so long in the field and on the bases I had forgot what real speed and athleticism looked like.More of the same is on the way.Go reds

  10. DataDumpster

    Give them the benefit of the doubt on the “grow your own” strategy but I didn’t realize that the cupboard didn’t have many good “owns” and that the bounty of prospects recently harvested (11?) need to silently toil quite a while before we see any MLB impact.
    Meanwhile, the real goals of this season, the “sorting” as Old-school cleverly muses upon, seems to be just as much unfinished business as it was at the beginning of the season.
    Hopefully, this won’t cause management to go on a veteran bake sale as they did last year, but I think that the “sorting” of the remaining veterans will determine whether 2023 leads to a respectable rebuilding record or is prelude to a major bust before our prospect and development capital matures (or doesn’t). Will they pay Farmer handsomely now (I don’t think they have a choice), will Solano go the route of Drury (probable offer not taken), and is there anybody else worth keeping? Where is the leadership and mentoring?
    If this team comes into next season with the same management and AAA guys still fighting for a place on the team while lowly veterans or poorly developed players fill in the lineup (just to keep 9 guys on the field), how many fans will tolerate that for another year without any certainty that 2024 will usher in a serious attempt for deep playoff aspirations?
    There is credit to be given all round for a respectable performance and development of a possible Big 3 rotation and some bullpen improvement, but the last two years have seen all time records in players used (a sign of failure), likely injuries (that almost has to be systemic in nature) and the same fundamental baserunning, K, BB, and defensive lapses that seems to be endemic at this point.

    • David

      Farmer may be pretty well along now, and demand a lot more money in arbitration.

      There is always the possibility that he might be non-tendered. I am not that attached to Farmer, although people keep saying he’s a “great guy” and a “leader”. I mean, where would the Reds be without Farmer? They’re on the way to losing 100 games (or more). Sarcastically, he is not a perennial All – Star; he just an a little above average utility player.
      Solano has at least proven in his career he can hit pretty good.
      Do the Reds keep one of them, or neither.

      There is also the possibility that Senzel will be non-tendered. Think about that.
      I think Aquino gets waived, or designated for assignment, or whatever, off the 40 man at the end of the year. Almora too. He’s a good defensive outfielder, but I don’t think we have much need of him.
      Dugger, Minor, Chase Anderson,T. J. Zuech, Hunter Strickland will also be waived or non-tendered and off the 40 man. Or they should be.
      If Stephenson is healthy and back, I don’t see the reason to keep Romine, either. He’s 32 years old and no great shakes at hitting.

      • Votto4life

        It would be baffling if the Reds keep Farmer around. They have a ton of middle
        Infielders. I just don’t see them paying Farmer $5 million a year. I also think you are right that Senzel may be non-tendered. Although, they may keep him around another season. The Reds have a lot of fourth and fifth outfielders. The problem is they don’t have any first, second and third outfielders. Really that could be said of the whole starting line up, with the exception of Stephenson when he is healthy.

        I mean, how many players in our starting line up, would be starting on a first place or even winning team? I would suggest very few.

      • Steven Ross

        Votto4life read my mind. I’d be surprised if Farmer was on the Reds next season. I like him a lot but we have so many infielders. I still say not much changes until 2024. Two big contracts come off the books. Then we’ll have $$$ to spend.

    • Optimist

      I repeat this theme every few weeks, so here goes –

      Since just before the 2016 season, their off-season pick ups have included Scooter, Casali, Dietrich, Iglesias (SS), Galvis, Naquin, Drury, Solano, and Pham. All of these picks have worked out well, and in a few cases excellently. They all been fairly low cost ,if not outright league minimum. There have been others that didn’t work out, but they’ve done well cutting or limiting them as they didn’t perform. They’ve shown they can find value amongst easily available means.

      Compare that with the young talent they’ve brought up thru the system. Since they’re not going to buy stars in FA, they’ll need to develop them. So far India and Stephenson have shown promise, but they await the rest.

      Now look at the pitching – the starters are finally developing, and they’ve done very well with acquisitions – is Mahle the only system starter to succeed since Cueto or Leake?

      The bullpen – well, we’ve continually aired that out.

      So – where are we? Waiting until 2024 to see if the farm sends up 2 or more stars, and if 2023 shows a starting staff worth keeping. If they get lucky one of the current OFers finds success next year, and they quit trying to find a good final year from formerly effective veteran relievers. Otherwise, another off season acquiring solid bottom of the order/bench types useful to contenders, but not able to carry a team into contention.

      That, or complete turnover of management and ownership.

      • DataDumpster

        Good post. I remember all the hoopla around David Bell in 2019 and the promised complete overhaul of player development, training, and alternative methods (biometrics, yoga, psychological interventions, etc.) throughout the organization. Is 4 years too soon to evaluate the results of that effort? Has the incidence of minor soft tissue injuries that turn into 2-3 month IL stays and the slow player development now endemic? Can this organization turn to outside expertise for implementing their vision of competitiveness instead of relying on an insular group of hometown heroes of yore?

  11. Rednat

    i don’t think there really is anything to “sort out”. Aquino, Fairchild, Friedl,Lopez, Barrero, Almoro all are going to give you the same tool set basically. Some may hit for a little higher average than others but basically they give you little power a lot of strike outs and good defense. ( the classic 3 and D model of players, 3 homers, 3 stolen bases/ year and good defense)). i got a feeling these top prospects we acquired from Seattle and The twins, Arroyo, Marte, Encarnacion are going to have similar skill sets too. (that is why the Castillo and Mahle trades bothered me so much). (players with these skill sets will be just as available next year as this year).

    I think the big question is , can you win consistently with these type of players? i actually think you can, but the pitching has to be top notch and the defense and base running has to be as close to perfect as possible.

    • Alex Reds

      Steer who was the headliner prospect with the Twins. Steer and Marte are more bat first prospects than defensive prospects so they don’t generally fit the 3 and D model. The skill sets are actually pretty different between Arroyo and Marte. The Reds added alot of farm value where the prospects have a chance at developing or they can trade the prospects.

  12. GreatRedLegsFan

    I think OF is the biggest question mark entering next season, as starting rotation, bullpen and IF are almost set. So many AAAA players but none a truly ML caliber in Fraley, Friedl, Aquino, Fairchild and Senzel. I believe Siani will also enter the equation. At this time it’s safe to say that Aquino cannot hit at ML level and Senzel is more a super utility player type of 300/400 AB per season.

    • Optimist

      Yep – at this point they don’t have a MLB regular with 500 PAs ready for the outfield and they’ve all but said they’re not waiting for a full year from Senzel.

  13. MBS

    OK after reading the above, and rethinking things. If the Reds go 0 veteran, and 0 FA in 23 with the exception of Votto this would be my 13 man. Also maybe being a bit (a lot) aggressive on promotions.

    1B McGarry
    2B Steer
    SS Barrero
    3B Strand
    DH Votto
    C Stephenson
    LF India
    CF De La Cruz
    RF Fraley

    C Robinson, U Lopez, U Schrock, OF Friedl

    For the record I want them to spend on FA, not a little bit but a lot bit.

    • LDS

      Reasonable, but I don’t see any reason to hold on to Fraley. L/R stats are far worse than even Winker. Senzel, who should be traded, offers a better return. Given the state of the hitting on this team, before I wholesale dumped a bunch of folks, I’d revisit the hitting instruction in this organization, starting with Zinter. Too many guys on this team can’t hit, regardless of what they’ve done previously. It would be interesting to know what went on in Seattle with Suarez who, while not back to his 2019 form, has improved over his last two years as a Red. For example, his L/R splits differ by only .016 and both are above .220. Not great, but better than with the Reds. Winker, while not close to last year’s performance, is actually hitting LH’ers better than RH. Part of his decline may be in the head though. I’ve read he didn’t take being traded well. So before throwing away a bunch of players, get some decent hitting instructors and fix the obvious problems that the baseball technicians on here have identified.

      • MBS

        I like it, we went heavy on pitching instruction, by getting DJ, and even though he is gone now KB. I would love to get that aggressive and get the best hitting instructors out there, they’ll cost money, but if the Reds really go to the Tampa Bay model, they need to improve in all aspects of player development.

      • Jim Walker

        The explanation for Suárez’s rejuvenation could be as simple as his shoulder is finally right and strong again after the injury and subsequent surgery in January of 2020.

        The Reds would do well to keep this in mind where Barrero is concerned. Also, although Aquino’s age means the clock is running down on him regardless, it is worth noting he had hamate surgery just over a year ago and was recently out 6 weeks with a high ankle sprain,

      • LDS

        That could be the Suarez explanation, but I’d be willing to best it’s not. Zinter’s history is pretty unambiguous. Regardless, they aren’t hitting so it’s a problem that needs fixed before the young guys are up. As for AA, yep, he’s knocking on baseball old age. Few have “broken out” at his age. Nonetheless, given the weakness of the Reds’ OF’ers, I’d keep him around, if for no other reason than a late innings defensive replacement. Not that I expect late innings to matter much in the near future.

      • LDS

        As for hiring really good hitting instructors, Zinter & Bell have history going back to SF. Odds of that happening without cleaning house seems slim. I know that Eric Davis is a roving hitting instructor (or was) and that Jr. was around as well. Either or both of those guys could do wonders for the Reds hitting.

    • Optimist

      Ouch – that’s a 110 loss team with a team BA around .225. Perhaps worse if the pitching falters or there’s an season ending injury on offense.

      • MBS

        Ouch indeed, but it’s just a scenario if the Reds decide to completely shed veteran players. I don’t think that’s the best scenario for the Reds.

        I’d resign Solano, hang onto Farmer, and sign FA’s Benintendi, a vet C, a Closer (Chapman/Jansen), and a set-up man. Doing all of that, we’d still be under 120M which seems to be Bob’s pain point.

      • LDS

        Benintendi is already making $8.5 million. Figure what $12-15 AAV, or more, for some number of years? Does anyone really believe Bob will spring for that? Jansen will be 35 in a couple of days and makes $16 million now. Chapman is also almost 35 and making $16 million. Not a bad suggestion, but unless these guys came off what is likely their asking price, it’s hard to see Cincy forking over the dough. I think MBS that your roster starting this thread is more likely than your signing proposals. Though I’m not sure that clinging to Fraley is a good decision. He’s like a poor man’s clone of Winker.

      • MBS

        @LDS, It will be interesting to see what Krall does. He seems to have been given the latitude to do things his way. I’m sure he’s been given a cap, but who knows what that cap is? My guess is 120M is the max. I think we can get one of those closers at 15 x 2 (30M), based off of age and current earnings. Benintendi 15 x 4 (60M) or 18 X 2 (36M), the 2nd year might need to be a mutual option.

  14. MBS

    I was just reading about Greene’s rehab on MLBTR, and saw a paragraph on Miley, he had just 4 starts this year for 18 innings, and is still trying to make it back this season.

    I had a thought. The Reds might be able to sign him to a minor league deal next spring. If he’s healthy at the end of Spring Training he could be our 5th, if not nothing has been lost. If he could only gave us 1 or 2 months of healthy starts, it might be enough time for 1 of our AA, or AAA starters to take the next step and compete for a ML rotation spot.