The Cincinnati Reds bullpen struggled on Friday night after Ben Lively put together a strong start where he struck out eight Yankees. Cincinnati’s relievers allowed one inherited runner to score and four runs of their own as New York won the first game of the series 6-2.

Final R H E
New York Yankees (27-20)
6 7 0
Cincinnati Reds (19-25)
2 6 0
W: Schmidt (2-4) L: Lively (1-2)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

It didn’t take long for the reigning American League MVP to make his presence known. Aaron Judge hit a solo home run 431 feet – nearly hitting the power stacks in center – off of a 93 MPH fastball up in the zone from Ben Lively in the top of the 1st inning that put the Yankees up 1-0.

In the 3rd inning the Reds seemed to get something started when Henry Ramos led off with a walk and Wil Myers singled into left field. But a strikeout, caught stealing, and another strikeout ended any threat that Cincinnati may have had going.

As the bottom of the 5th inning was starting the umpires checked Yankees pitcher Clarke Schmidt and they sent him back to the dugout to wash his hands off to get rid of whatever substance was on his hand/arm. David Bell then came out to argue that Schmidt should not be allowed back in the game, and after a long discussion Bell was ejected from the game.

The Reds got a walk from Wil Myers in the inning but that was all they could get. Ben Lively returned to the mound for the top of the 6th inning and struck out Aaron Hicks and Jake Bauers – his 8th of the night – before walking Aaron Judge. That would be the final hitter that he would face before Ian Gibaut was called in from the bullpen to face Anthony Rizzo. The move backfired as Rizzo hit a 2-run homer off of Gibaut, extending the Yankees lead to 3-0. It also closed the book on Lively’s night, leaving him with two runs in 5.2 innings on two hits, a walk, and eight strikeouts.

Cincinnati tried to get something going once again in the bottom of the 6th. With the top of the lineup starting the frame, Jonathan India singled and then moved over to third base when Matt McLain followed up with a double down the left field line. That would end the night for Clarke Schmidt as New York called on Jimmy Cordero out of the bullpen to come in and face Jake Fraley. The move didn’t work out for the Yankees as Fraley crushed a 2-run double to cut into the lead. He then stole third base as Spencer Steer walked. The Reds were unable to capitalize any further as a ground out and two strikeouts followed.

After a shutout 7th inning by Gibaut, Alex Young took over for the Reds in the top of the 8th with a 3-2 deficit. Young induced two pop ups and struck out Aaron Judge to keep Cincinnati within a run. The Reds went in order in their half of the inning against former Red Wandy Peralta, sending the game to the 9th inning.

The Reds opted to go to Silvino Bracho to begin the top of the 9th inning. He would walk the first hitter of the inning before getting back-to-back fly outs. But Bracho followed up with a walk, which led to a mound visit from pitching coach Derek Johnson. Whatever was said didn’t work as Kyle Higashioka crushed a 2-run double to the wall in left field to extend the Yankees lead to 5-2. Another walk followed for Bracho and that was enough as Cincinnati made a call to the bullpen and called on Alan Busenitz, who just rejoined the team from Triple-A earlier in the day. He gave up an RBI single to Harrison Bader, making it a 6-2 game, before getting Aaron Judge to pop out to end the inning.

Cincinnati needed a big inning to keep the game going or to win it. The comeback wasn’t meant to be. Henry Ramos had a 1-out walk, but Wil Myers grounded into a double play to end the game.

Key Moment of the Game

Anthony Rizzo’s 2-run home run in the 6th inning which put the Yankees up 3-0.

Notes Worth Noting

Matt McLain was the only Red to have multiple hits in the game, going 2-4 with a double.

Jonathan India, Spencer Steer, and Wil Myers all had a hit and a walk in the game.

The shutout inning by Alex Young dropped his ERA to 2.79 on the season.

35,177 was the announced attendance for the night.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

New York Yankees vs Cincinnati Reds

Saturday May 20th, 4:10pm ET

TBA vs Luke Weaver (1-2, 6.26 ERA)

54 Responses

  1. LDS

    At least Lively has been a pleasant surprise thus far. Bracho and Busenitz has surprised no one.

    • Rob

      I personally think this team is on band aids and the bottom is about to fall out. We are playing the Yanks, Cards, and Cubs in the next few series and people are talking tough schedule. That schedule is 500 like. Dodgers and Rays might qualify as tough. Just seems to me that we are always looking for excuses. We are 3 below 500 a week ago and the crux of our season is in front of us in a very weal division. But same old, same old. We have a few injuries and we call up mediocre players from Louisville …. Lively, Williamson, Bracho, Busenesz, etc., and this is after we have tried out Overton, Staudt, SanMartin, etc. a month earlier. Then we sign A players Kennedy and Mills. How long before they arrive and we are singing their praises for 6-8 good innings? Come on. And we are starting guys like Myers, Fairchild, and Barerro who are hitting like 210 with maybe 4 HRs between them. What is wrong with a couple of trades or what is wrong with bringing up guys like DLC, CES, Reynolds, and Abbott who might keep us around 500 until the dust settles? My sad crystal ball says this team with this approach is headed for 10-15 games under 500 by mid June. Then what? Give it up and play the young players? Admitting defeat. That doesn’t accomplish anything that can’t be accomplished today. I thought this team was much better than last year’s but right now I could see us approaching the same 15-20 games under in 2 months. Do you think our sister rebuilders (Cubs and Pirates) are headed to the same territory? I seriously doubt it. As I said, I think we are at the crux of our season in the next few games. Lose a few more than we win and I could see 65-70 wins and 5th place. A trade or two and bringup some talent and I could see us showing signs of improvement and threatening 80 wins. I just don’t understand the why not. We have tons of money coming in next year and an exciting and contending team will put butts in the seats now. Make a trade or two with one of the bottom feeders for a $25M power hitter and a $15M #3 starter.

  2. Tom Reeves

    No comment on the pitcher getting a free pass on a foreign substance? The state was also shared that his spin rate was different tonight.

    • Rob

      Seems like a logical case for a Protest. How many times was he checked? Isn’t it susposed to be an automatic ejection?

  3. Old-school

    The 162 game war of attrition is catching up to the Reds with their 21 man mlb roster. The losses of Lodolo and Friedl hurt.

    Friedl hopefully will be back and take Ramos spot. Id call De La Cruz up for his lefty bat. Send barrero to AAA and play CF. Marte hit 2 bombs in AA. Call him up to AAA.

    Ramos was DH tonight and Barrero CF.
    The Reds would be better with Senzel as 3b/CF and EDLC SS/3b and CES as 1b/DH and McLain SS/2b

    Tough schedule with no 2nd tier depth right now. Kudos to Lively on a great start and McLain for 2 hits

    • Oldtimer

      Senzel at 3B and leave him there except to DH.

  4. VaRedsFan

    Fully rested pen….3-2 game in the 9th
    Bracho is their guy to pitch.

    Curious….Jim T.? WKU? Possible explanation?

    • Dennis Westrick

      I’m guessing the participation trophies were gathering dust!

    • wkuchad

      Not saying I’m agreeing with the Reds choice, but a possible explanation:

      Several teams have certain bullpen pitchers that gets used if they’re winning vs losing. Can’t use Diaz and Sims every game.

      I also didn’t agree with the Reds choice to not score with runners on 3rd and less than 2 outs.

      I also didn’t agree with the Reds choice to continuously watch strike 3 cross the plate.

  5. Dennis Westrick

    Reds have absolutely NO clutch hitting with runners in scoring position! Additionally, their base running is equally horrid!

    • wolfcycle

      This may be a surprise but our hitting with risp is much better this year than last year already

      • Colorado Red

        Not a high bar to get over there.

  6. LarkinPhillips

    4 wins tonight in the minors. Chattanooga and Louisville are both back to 500. Marte 2 HRs. Abbott good start.

    • Optimist

      Several players continuing to force the issue. Aguiar’s numbers looked good as well, and Lyon Richardson had an interesting line – likely on a pitch count, and too many into the 4th, but keeping his stats very nice. These are second and third wave players.

  7. Melvin

    Maybe they should have taken Lively out maybe they shouldn’t have. His quote after the game, “I felt fine. It was their decision to take me out”.

    • SteveAreno

      He should not have been taken out. The move backfired.

      • Still a Red

        Note: Yankees similar move backfired too.

      • greenmtred

        And, of course, leaving him in might have backfired, too. His performance was impressive, though, and is a piece of good news in the midst of the bad.

  8. CFD3000

    I was at the game, up from Atlanta. Frustrating night: baserunning, pitch selection, situational hitting, bullpen management. I saw no reason to pull Ben Lively – he pitched a really solid game and showed no signs of fatigue. The walk to Judge was just the result of a cautious approach to a really good hitter. Nice night for Matt McLain – he looks comfortable. And even though Barrero didn’t have a good night at the plate I was pleasantly surprised by his jumps, range and seeming comfort in CF. If only he can learn to lay off the breaking ball low and away…

    In the end, another winnable game that ends in a disappointing loss. On to tomorrow.

    One other note – the City Connect gear was all over, in the shops and on the fans. I don’t love the designs, but it was cool to see the Cincinnati faithful decked out already. Go Reds!

  9. DaveCT

    It’s hard to get upset at relievers who should be pitching middle relief in AAA giving up the runs they did in the late innings in the show.

    However, …

    A competitive club would have closers at the ready in AAA. That’s just not the reality in a rebuild.

  10. Protime

    Bell or Benavides absolutely clueless to have taken out Lively with 8K’s after walking Judge. Lively had command of the game and it backfired. The rest is a letdown. Lack of clutch hitting opportunities, with weak hitting is a recipe for not ever able to mount a comeback. Meanwhile, EDLC, and CES still in Louisville. Not able to see the game in front of him, Removing Lively, and Bracho pitching in the 9th with a 3-2 score is the hallmark of Bell’s ineptitude as a manager…

    • oklared

      Bell gets blame in clubhouse for all decisions, lol. When he is gone will he still be to blame due to culture he created, Ohhhh, it never ends. Fire Dusty. Maybe part of this is players and front office.

      • wolfcycle

        Bell is out of his depth, bottom 5 manager in the league, we know it and he knows it

      • VaRedsFan

        Bell blew it when he had players too.
        Have you forgotten 2021 already?

      • greenmtred

        I haven’t forgotten 2021, but apparently your memory of it is selective: Reds bullpen in 2021 was historically bad. Castillo–the #1–got off to a bad start. Suarez, counted on as an important power hitter, was terrible from start to finish. The Reds led or nearly led MLB in injuries. Because Suarez, besides not hitting, proved again that he couldn’t play shortstop, the Reds had Kyle Farmer–admirable in many ways, but still a below-average shortstop–as their starter, Despite this, they still exceeded most predictions for the season. The late-season swoon could be on Bell, at least partly; if nothing else, he was unable to head it off. But that sort of event is complex and we have no real knowledge of cause and effect.

    • SlippinJimmy

      But see, that’s what “The Master of Baseball Strategery” does: if a guy is pitching a great game, his pitch count is low, he throws some good pitches to and walks a great hitter, well… that’s it. His little “Strategery Guide” says “I MUST PULL MY PITCHER! — Also, note to self: check DVR to make sure my episodes of Melrose Place are still safe!”

      And yet, when Ashcraft is out there getting destroyed, he just looks the other way. The only line in his little guide for that situation is: “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!”

      • greenmtred

        Benevides was the manager at that point. Bell had already been ejected.

  11. Jeremiah

    First game I’ve watched in awhile. Was really impressed with Barrero’s D/smooth movement in CF. He looks like a potential upper echelon CF defensively with experience. If he could learn to hit, he’d be an exciting CF.

    Mclain reminds me of Jose Altuve. I don’t know, maybe he is going to be a real star. Would not have thought that a year or so ago. I thought Major Leaguer, but now thinking higher abilities.

    Couldn’t help watching thinking man they need De La Cruz in this lineup. They need an infusion of talent and hitting.

    Pretty frustrating game though, poor move to pull Lively at that point…Ramos getting thrown out at 3B on stolen base attempt pretty bad. Almost seemed like the lights, playing the Yankees, in the Reds new unis, maybe got to them a bit, the nerves and all.

    They’re playing with smoke in mirrors many games with this pitching staff. Honestly, I’m surprised they’ve done as well as they have. The bullpen overall this year has been decent I’d say. This team has a certain feistiness to it I like even when they are losing…I think the fact it seems they have so much potential talent at the MLB level and Triple A makes them an interesting watch moving forward…add 2-3 legitimate above average talents (De La Cruz, Abbott, Strand, etc.) to this squad and they may be a .500 or above team.

    • Tar Heel Red

      Even though a manager gets ejected, don’t kid yourself…he is still calling the game, just from a different location. Usually they hang out in the tunnel between the dugout and the clubhouse. It has been this way for decades and teams even have a coach monitor the field so they can alert the manager if the umps come to look down the tunnel. Enough said there.
      As far as I am concerned Lively should have stayed in the game. He was in control, had retired 15 consecutive Yankees before walking Judge…which by the way was the correct thing to do. You could tell he was not happy when he left the mound (Brantley on radio call said he was livid). Unfortunately this has been a recurring theme in Bell’s tenure as manager, but it seems to be reaching a boiling point this season. Several starters have not appreciated being removed and have not hidden their displeasure when exiting the field.
      Last comment…analytics is a useful information tool, but it is NOT gospel. The Reds neeed a manager from outside the organization who will manage the game in front of him instead of a spreadsheet!

      • greenmtred

        I lack the inside information apparently available to you. I’ll just note again that throughout MLB starters don’t pitch as deep into games as they used to. Pitch counts? Decreasing effectiveness after second time through the order? It might be hard to find a qualified manager who doesn’t rely on analytics. As for Lively, I agree that from my position in a chair watching the game on tv, he looked fine. I hadn’t had any conversations with him, the catcher or the pitching coach, however, and it seems safe to say that none of us did. Things can fall apart quickly for starting pitchers–Ashcraft in his last start, for example–and I can imagine the scorn that would have been heaped upon the decision to leave Lively in had his walk to Judge been followed by more hits.

      • Redsvol

        they had a manager that managed by feel/gut – his name was Dusty Baker And the overwhelming majority on this site felt he didn’t manage with enough feel for analytics and would never play the young guys and would leave his young starters in way too long – thereby exposing them to injury.

  12. wolfcycle

    I like the future of our talent, feel like Krall is already looking out for next manager

    • MBS

      I’m not much of a Bell hater, although I’ll always disagree with moves by any manager. Saying that, I do think we need a new manager for 24. It just feels like a new era, and with such great talent coming up, it deserves a different hand guiding them.

      Go get a proven winner like we did when we got Dusty, or Piniella.

      • redfanorbust

        Replace Bell with a proven winning coach? That sounds like it will cost big money, something not in the playbook of this ownership.

      • oklared

        Funny thing is that this board was all over Dusty’s old school ways and believed the game had passed him by. Glad to see the manager assessment capabilities of this forum have proven out so far. I don’t particularly agree with all the managers decisions but acting as if we have more knowledge every game is ludicrous when few to none of us manage professionally.

  13. TR

    A good crowd. Nice to not see so many empty seats. Not crazy about the uniforms, but I like using the abbreviation ‘CINCY’ on the front although it should stand out more. Similar to Bearcats and ChiWS. Lively was getting it done; why take him out? I’m looking forward to more young player callups as this sorting year proceeds.

  14. Eddiek957

    I’ve watched more innings of Reds baseball this year than last season. Lively was getting around 90 pitches and Gilbout has been really good. I’m getting a feeling I had as a boy with the reds producing exceptional ball players from their farm system. I’m hoping this version of the reds will be as successful

    • TR

      And Lively had just given up his first walk. And, of course, the bullpen needed more work.

  15. SlippinJimmy

    “He Who Rules the Reds Baseball Club” did a good thing by getting himself ejected… However, even when he’s gone, HE’S STILL THERE! Such is his ultimate poowweerr!!

    • greenmtred

      Always good to have a chuckle on a Saturday morning.

  16. RedsGettingBetter

    Well, I think the “Key moment of the game” was when Tyler Stephenson, Senzel and Ramos stranded the runners meaning the tie-up and go-ahead run in the bottom of the 6th….

    • Tampa Red

      Yeah this, three straight non-competitive AB’s.

    • oklared

      More reasonable place to place blame if you must. Really just need to up all areas by a notch then this team is interesting. No one area is performing so high you cannot see room for attainable improvement.

    • Jim Walker

      That’s at least a close 2nd for me.

      Whatever Stephenson seemed to indicate he was offensively in the past and whatever he may be down the road when his shoulder has been given a chance to get back to where it was in the past, he is not a 3/4/5 hitter now.

  17. docproc

    Yankees hit two HRs in cozy GABP.
    Reds hit none. Again.
    There’s an easy fix for this in Louisville.

    • Mark A Verticchio

      If everybody keeps repeating this maybe somebody will listen.

      • MBS

        I wouldn’t leave Hopkins off that list, he hits the ball hard, and is having a good year.

  18. Still a Red

    A couple of references here to poor base running, and I get it. But it seems that that is a team strategy, to be aggressive on the bases. They have the speed. But of course, you need to be smart about. It would interesting to see if this aggressiveness has worked more than it hasn’t. I suppose you can tell when it works, but its more difficult to tell when it doesn’t, since you don’t know what might have happened.

  19. Mark A Verticchio

    For the Reds to have success at GABP they can’t continue to get out homered so bad. I am not sure if EDLC and CES would help but I can guarantee they have a better chance at success than Ramos, Fairchild, Myers and a few others.

  20. MBS

    Will Benson is making nice progress in AAA. He had a terrible start here, and in AAA, but in May he’s .259/.468/.556, good for a 1.024 OPS with 8 SB. If we see another month like that, he’ll probably be back up. Ideal world Benson, and Hopkins continue what they’re doing in AAA for the Reds, and we option Fairchild, and Ramos back to AAA.

    • Votto4life

      Apparently, they need Fairchild to hit for Jake Fraley late in the game.

  21. Votto4life

    Great effort by Ben Lively. I can’t say I must liked the idea of taking him out of the game just to bring in another right hander to face Rizzo. I was at the game and you could just feel that Rizzo was going to go deep.

    I also didn’t much care for Fraley being lifted for Stuart Fairchild.

    The Reds are were they are because they didn’t try to improve their pitching over the winter.

    There are people here who will tell you that is because the Reds wasn’t planning on winning this year. If I was the GM anyone who thought that way would be fired on the spot. Do you think the Cardinals GM would say “We are not going to win this year, so there is no reason to try”. Do you think Tampa’s GM would think along those line?

    Some teams win, some teams lose. The one prerequisite for winning is trying to win.

  22. Ron

    The Reds need more offense. They have it in Louisville. I hope they don’t wait too long to make those moves. I don’t see Myers, Newman, Ramos and Fairchild helping this year or beyond. Bringing up McLain was the right move but they shouldn’t have stopped there. Bring up De La Cruz, CES and Hopkins.
    C Stephenson
    1B Encarnarcion-Strand (DH)
    2B McLain
    3B Senzel
    SS De La Cruz
    LF Fraley/Barrero
    CF Friedl/Hopkins
    RF India
    DH Steer (1B)