The American League West is apparently just what the Cincinnati Reds needed to get their season back on track and moving in the right direction. After losing six straight games to Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh last week, the Reds returned home to face the first place Texas Rangers and swept them while picking up two walk-off wins in the process. They then hit the road to face off against the last place Oakland Athletics and in game one of the series it was the pitching staff for the A’s showing why they are the worst in the league by a wide margin as Cincinnati dropped 11 runs on them in a win. Yesterday saw Cincinnati’s offense struggle, but they scored twice in the 9th to pull off a 3-2 win.
Five wins in a row and all of a sudden everything is starting to feel better for the Reds. They’ve moved to 12-15 on the season, the offense that seemed to cease to exist last week has scored 33 runs this week in five games. In the process they’ve put some room between themselves and the last place St. Louis Cardinals, who are 10-18 entering the final day of the month.
Henry Ramos is leading the way
There were plenty of people who felt that Henry Ramos should have made the team out of spring training. But despite hitting .448/.469/.759 with two walks and two strikeouts in 32 plate appearances the Reds sent him to the minor leagues. After serving a suspension to start the season in Triple-A for a fight he was involved in back in 2021, Ramos was activated in Louisville and picked up his hitting ways. He hit .314/.400/.486 in 11 games with the Bats, walking as often as he struck out – five times.
The Reds then called him up last week and he’s started in all five games since. He’s had seven hits and walked four times in those five games. He’s hitting .412/.524/.529 in the process and struck out just once. The 31-year-old outfielder has been a lightning bolt for the offense. As he’s gone, so has the offense. And so have the victories.
Elly De La Cruz mishits a home run
On Saturday afternoon Elly De La Cruz picked up his first home run of the season. It was a surprise to him, initially. And he seemed a little frustrated that he let a pitch he should have crushed get by him in the sense that he should have hit it better.
Look at his reaction. Then look at where the ball goes (well, you can’t actually see where it lands, but you can see the fence it goes over). He thought he popped out. The ball wound up going over the fence in dead center field, which is 400 feet away. And it also landed beyond the batters eye.
Hawkeye is now in all Triple-A stadiums and it is saying that baseball only went 378 feet. We know that simply isn’t accurate. Perhaps it didn’t factor in the super powers of Elly De La Cruz.
It didn’t take long for David Bell to get Matt Reynolds is in the line up.
You beat me too it!!
Line up out and wow
You know he couldn’t resist that.
But, a NL Central mystery:
What in the WORLD is going on with those Pittsburgh Pirates?! 20-8 overall (second-best record in all of baseball) and 9-1 over their last 10 games. First place in the division. I don’t recall anyone predicting that kind of success for them. Of course, it’s still early… but color me surprised–and green with envy.
They have played well, but also won of the weakest schedules in baseball. The Reds have played one of the toughest.
Good point. Still, make it stop …. !
It’s pretty common for bad-mediocre teams to come roaring out of the gate and be in 1st place for awhile only to fade down the stretch. It’s happened to the Reds several times in the past few decades.
The Brewers have a long history of doing well the 1st half and then fading in the 2nd half. I will say they have been a little better about not doing that recently but still.
Pie-Rats will come back to earth eventually! They had an extremely easy schedule in April. Sweeping the Reds in a 4-game series obviously helped!
I’ll believe the Cardinals ending up in last place when I see it. Not likely.
@Melvin We can dream can’t we. Best thing seeing them in last most days this year.
Maybe we should consider that they are about two years ahead of the Reds in their rebuild. Maybe they are better than anyone is giving them credit for. Maybe, the naysayers on this board will begin to realize there is nothing wrong with a couple 100 loss seasons **IF** ownership has the proper goals to make a winning organization… i.e. getting younger, faster, more talented. Trading away to add high end assets… not major league ready… timing trades to get the best return not because you have 10,000 bobbleheads at the stadium… or panicking because your Closer shoots his freezer.
I believe this is the path the Reds are on.
This is how I feel about them. I am excited for the Pirates. They play with so much heart and drive and their manager seems to help push the team too. Since I doubt the Reds are going to be at the top I would love to see the Pirates be the division winners for the first time in a long time.
Interesting thoughts, all. I am wary of the Pirates. What if they are for real, leaving last place to us (if we want it)? I realize they have had a much easier schedule this month than the Reds, but success tends to breed success. If a young team starts winning (regardless of how or why), they may just continue to do so because they “don’t know any better.” We’ll see, of course, after game No. 162.
“but success tends to breed success”
Another way of saying momentum? 🙂
This team will not continue to win with Bell and this personal. Newman, Reynolds and ,I think, Fairchild need to go. In time CES, Mclain and EDLC need to be up as well as Abbott. I also think Bell needs to go as well.
Line up is out and all I am gonna say is .
What the heck
Too many wins lately.
Bell trying to “fix” things.
How can anyone support this kind of “management?”
The real Wayne Knight or the fictional George Costanza would at least field their best players.
The Cincinnati Reds’ toughest 2023 opponent:
Manager David Bell
This is the worst possible line up Bell could put out there.
Newman leading off???
Senzel back in CF???
Reynolds STARTING and playing 3B???
No Fraley (Bell “punishing success again?), Friedl, or India?
The only good thing I’ll say about this lineup is at least Barrero is playing SS… Otherwise, just… Wow.
Waldichuk against RH hitters is yielding .333/.408/.656, versus an OPS against LH hitters that is .296 lower, so it is hard to knock loading the lineup with RH hitters. (Not disputing it would be preferable to use better RH hitters against him, such as CES and/or McLain.) Fraley’s career OPS against LH pitching is .463, and it is .336 this year, so I am good with his not being in the lineup.
Bell is obviously given India a scheduled day off, but they will have India, Friedl and Fraley to pinch hit against a RH reliever.
I think that I would have led off Senzel or Reynolds, but …
Ha, Newman leading off produced 2 RBIs, more than any other player!
Looking at today’s lineup, it’s clear Bell doesn’t like winning. And contrary to claims otherwise, he does punish success – Fraley saved the day yesterday and is on the bench today. Friedl has the best average on the team and has very balanced splits – bench. India, Friedl, and Fraley all on the bench so that Newman, Reynolds, and Casail can play? Maybe Casaili for Lodolo works but Newman and Reynolds over Friedl and India, in what weird Bellverse is that sensible.
The only thing I can think of is he wants to rest them before the San Diego series.
With Thursday and the following Monday as off days nonetheless. 😉
Instead of catching their breath, they should be looking to maximize the advantage of another game versus A’s ahead of going to SanDiego for three.
There’s a lot not to like about the lineup today but Friedl not playing again is the worst. smh
As noted, Fraley’s career OPS against LH pitching is .463, and it is .336 this year, plus Waldichuk struggles against RH hitters. Bell is justified in saving Fraley’s stick for a key point later in the game.
I don’t mind using Friedl at all against LH pitching.
India has started 26 of 27 games this season, and played the other one. Sitting him today gives him about 48 hours between games. Gotta rest your horses some time; I’d rather McLain be there instead of Newman, but Bell doesn’t have that choice.
Good points as always OBE!
He doesn’t punish success. That is silly to suggest otherwise.
Keep saying that KevinH, and maybe someday you’ll convince me. But, don’t bet on it.
Manager Bell is all about the process. People, we must trust the process!
I know bench players do need to play occasionally, but why mess with your hot hitting lineup. I am so sick of the excuse’s others give for Bell’s mind games. Knowing my luck, we will still win, but why take the chance. Start the guys who are doing well then if we are winning by like 6 or more runs then make substitutions to get the backups some playing time. How hard is that to figure out. Take a deep breath it will be ok. Maybe!
….or at least not take out several at the same time. To me moving Senzel to CF today, the way he’s been hitting since playing 3B, is kind of like taking him out too.
I dont mind giving india a day off, but do you have to have friedl out as well? I disagree with handedness always trumping the actual players involved in the lefty core player never plays against a lefty starter. Reds top 2 hitters in OPS are sitting.
This is Bellism #1 . Any AAAA player or vet journeyman( Matt Davidson, Matt Reynolds, Scott Heineman, Jason Vosler, Colin Moran, Asdrubal Cabrera) is automatically better than a core roster player due to handedness. The exception of course is if the player has more skins on the wall in MLB than Bell does. See Moose, Votto,
Bellism #2- infield defense is poor again. Reds had the worst in baseball last year. Bell doesn’t believe in continuity and its hurting the Reds. Shuffling the deck on a daily basis undermines continuity and familiarity and development while also undermining player confidence. Only a very few players can rotate IF to OF and vice-versa and do it well. Yes, those very few are valuable but that doesn’t mean every player can do the same Bell assumes he can extract winning value by employing the Bell shuffle day to day and series to series.
Ian Happ, Kris Bryant, Ben Zobrist did it really well. That doesnt mean Jose Barrero and Nick Senzel can or should nor does it mean Matt Reynolds and Kevin Newman give the Reds a winning advantage over TJ Friedl or even Jake Fraley.
All well stated and agreed upon there, Old-School. Bell is resolute in his habits and predilections. Otherwise, I don’t think he has the management talent to read the team and situations while leaving well enough alone. Players doing a juggling act every other day or so in positions, batting order, bench time, etc. does not come naturally to most. Athletes need a consistent routine to thrive and hone their skills. Bell says “believe in the process” but the process as defined by him is decided by a perceived penny advantage through the numbers provided to him.
Great to hear the recent success from Senzel and now Ramos. When players who are in a deep slump or not expected to do great things rise above the occasion, this amplifies the team effort, cohesion, and confidence…until Bell plays the handedness game or figures his best 3 hitters need a rest day (on the same day).
+1000 on continuity, making Friedl a platoon player.
This is one of the best writeups I have ever seen on evaluating David Bell. I also think we need to add that he has very little clue on how to run a pitching staff too. Having somewhat set roles allows a pitcher also to understand when to mentally be prepared to come into a game. Sure, using a pitcher at an unusual time occasionally is perfectly fine. If a guy is pitching good still there is zero reason to take him out. Relievers should know how to attack hitters from both sides of the plate.
Friedl seems to have come back to earth. I don’t mind India and Fraley also given a day off. Surprised Barrero is back at SS, figured Bell would move him to CF and let Reynolds play SS.
I can’t even with today’s lineup.
I can’t remember when bell didn’t destroy a Sunday lineup, generally don’t watch Sunday games because of it
If they win today, will you call come back and correct these comments?
No because there is no need to risk losing by playing most of your backup players all on the same day. Even if they win today Bell didn’t give them the best opportunity to win with this lineup.
Perfectly stated JaytheRed. When the Reds won it is generally despite David Bell, not because of him.
Bell trying to reduce the overstock of participation trophies I see!
Nothing like a Bell lineup Sunday shuffle to derail a thread.
EDLC has (3) 80 scouting tools
Power, arm, speed. For a team that desperately needs power- EDLC and CES can give this team Adam Dunn pop up home runs in GABP
McGarry got demoted to AA so roster construction wise Reds are going to need a big 4 th lefty bat in 2024( primary lefty bat) to add to EDLC, Friedl, and Fraley. Maybe thats a FA or a big trade to a bad team wanting to unload Arb eligible salaries for reds duplicative minor league shortstop types. A’s trading catcher murphy to Braves big win for Braves.
Too bad his hit tool isn’t an 80. I think the strikeout problem will be much worse than any of us realize. Unfortunately.
We may not see Elly’s hit tool become better until he’s several year’s into The Show. But he’s also another guy with sky high aptitude, so nothing about him would surprise me. Batting title? With that speed and power, maybe. Dude popped up to CF and it went 400 feet.
I hope you are correct Mr. CT.
@Old, how about the guy whose name is in the title of this article?
There’s 4 out of 9 spots with a LHB. McGarry has really been a disappointment to start the year, as has Benson, and Siani, but maybe one will start showing up more at the plate.
Anyway, I’d spend whatever budget the team has on pitching in 24. We need a legitimate veteran starter to join the big 3, or hopefully the big 4 if Abbott can live up to that monicker. We could also use some veteran bullpen help.
Ramos is 31 and played in the Far East last year but hes contributing his first week for sure. Im open minded. Reds had a winning week so all aboard!
I think Ramos may be a late bloomer who could have a solid 3-5 years at the ML level.
I keep going back to his story. He was a soccer and tennis athlete in high school more than baseball. After being drafted by Boston, he was making his way up in their system when he broke his kneecap. After that he got lost a bit while coming back, the type of thing that happens all the time. Other guys step up while the injured guy is gone.
And he’s big, strong, athletic, with a decent batting eye.
Currently watching Blue-Jays vs. Mariners. Taylor Trammel just hit a grand slam.
Currently, Mike Scioscia, Joe Giradi and Don Mattingly are NOT managing baseball teams. Just saying…
Interesting. I’d love to see what Scioscia could do with this roster.
Yeah, he won 2 rings as a player with the Dodgers and then won 1 with the Angels as the manager. He knows how to win.
But you see, they would cost MONEY to manage the Reds.
Bell is willing to muck around for a very low price, and it shows. You get what you pay for.
I appreciate the info on available managers, but my usual question is: who in the tight front office circle is going to make the Red’s manager job available, especially with the current five game win turnaround.
Former ML catchers seem to make the best managers! Like them all over Bell but would prefer Scioscia despite his Dodger heritage!
Scioscia will have good memories of the Reds having been plowed over by Charleton. lol He very well could be a good manager for us though.
The line-up … UGH!!!
I get guys need to rest … but THAT many hot hitters at the same time?
It looks like a true “giveaway” line-up today. Hoping Lodolo can keep things close and doesn’t have to rely too much on the IF defense. Not exactly how I would have drawn it up. But then I don’t have the baseball smartz or knawlidge of Handy DT Bell.
I like the lineup. Lots of RH’ers against a lefty. Let’s get 6 in a row today.
David Bell is that you? lol. Sorry couldn’t resist
Hilarious that De La Cruz hit a ball 378 feet that went over a 400 ft. fence. I don’t claim to be the brightest bulb on the tree but I’m scratching my head right now. lol 😀
It turns out that the technology everyone wants to use to call balls and strikes isn’t always right…..
But with this specific home run I think there’s something more going on, too. The 378 feet is an estimate from the system. Hawkeye attempts to track the ball all of the way until it lands. It usually does do that. But not always. This was one of those times and it was to the extreme. It only tracked the ball for 58 feet. So the system then attempted to estimate how far the ball went based on the exit velocity and launch angle. It didn’t factor in anything else.
I guess technology doesn’t always work better than the “eye”. 🙂
It is not the most egregious one I’ve seen, not by a long shot. I’ve seen them be off by hundreds of feet before lol.
So I am guessing that means a pop up trajectory is still a pop up trajectory when Hawkeye loses sight even if it is a super pop up going 400 + feet? 😉
It would seem as though Mr. Bell is playing with his “toy” again called the lineup. When it comes to building momentum for his players and his team he’s honestly the worst I’ve ever seen.
The team is on a 5 game win streak. Isn’t that momentum? This team has played a very tough schedule to start year. They are playing better than many on here predictied.
“The team is on a 5 game win streak. Isn’t that momentum?”
That’s my point. Don’t you think it would be a good idea to keep that going if possible? Today’s lineup does not support that.
It most certainly does. He has been managing this way since the start of the season. It may be why we are on a 5 game win streak. This team doesn’t have the personnel to run a set lineup out there.
Maybe you are on to something Jim as Reds late game performance in 3/5 wins stole victories from the jaws of defeat.
Back to back multirun comebacks against a texas bullpen that was 14-0 in such situations and then fraley gets the big hit yesterday when nothing was going right.
Need Lodolo to give them a good start
I just dont like friedl benched 2 games in a row for journeyman. Friedl isnt done developing as a player and hes earned the opportunity to hit against lefties
Jim t, there is NOTHING at all that justifies Kevin Newman leading off.
Jim t – So this is the lineup you would use to have your best shot at extending the winning streak to 6?
Having Reynolds in the line up paying off already.