Seven St. Louis Cardinals runs over the first four innings were enough in the visiting team’s 8-5 victory over the Cincinnati Reds before 14,159 at Great American Ball Park.

Final R H E
St. Louis Cardinals (22-28) 8 12 0
Cincinnati Reds (20-28)
5 9 0
W: Wainwright (2-0) L: Ashcraft (2-3)  SV: Helsley (6)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

Cincinnati rallied to stay as close as two runs after the fourth inning, but didn’t have enough to ever even the score after it was tied 1-1 after the first inning. It was a big night for rookie Matt McLain, who hit his first major-league home run and drove in three runs. In his first game back in the lineup and off the 10-day IL, T.J. Friedl doubled twice to co-lead the home team in hits.

As this post went live at 9:30 p.m. ET, the Reds stood 5.5 games behind first-place Milwaukee and in fifth place, one game behind fourth-place St. Louis and Chicago. The Reds stood five games behind the final Wild Card berth.

The Offense

After Paul Goldschmidt gave St. Louis a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a solo homer off Graham Ashcraft, the Reds came back to tie it in the bottom of the inning. With two out, Jonathan India — batting third in the lineup — dropped a bloop single near the right field line. Jake Fraley followed with a double to left-center field off the glove of left fielder Alec Burleson to score India.

Reds hitters began to square up the soft-throwing 41-year-old Adam Wainwright in the third. Friedl, batting leadoff, doubled to right, followed by McLain’s first major-league homer to right field to bring Cincinnati within 4-3.

Trailing by three in the bottom of the sixth, the Reds got a two-out run on a single by Spencer Steer and a Nick Senzel opposite-field double to pull within 7-5. Wil Myers then walked, and that was the end of the night for Wainwright after 5 2/3. Reliever Chris Stratton ended the threat by striking out Kevin Newman.

In the ninth inning with two out, Newman singled (his second hit of the game) and Friedl walked. That brought up McLain representing the tying run, and he walked on a full count to load the bases. Representing the winning run, India then grounded out to end the game.

The Pitching

Ashcraft struggled big-time. He fell behind hitters consistently in the second inning, and it cost him two runs on three hits and two St. Louis stolen bases. In the fourth inning, he allowed four batted balls of more than 100 mph as the Cardinals scored three to take a 7-3 lead. In five innings, he allowed 10 hits and seven runs, all earned — his second straight very bad outing.

Silvino Bracho pitched two scoreless innings to keep the Reds close in the sixth and seventh. Alan Busenitz finished up by allowing a run over the final two innings.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

St. Louis Cardinals at Cincinnati Reds

Wednesday, May 24, 6:40 p.m. ET

Steven Matz (0-5, 5.05 ERA) vs. Ben Lively (1-2, 2.45 ERA)

79 Responses

  1. JB

    Myers is terrible and that is the only way to describe it. How long does this fiasco continue? I mean next week is June. He has been an automatic out.

    • CI3J

      There’s an old baseball adage that says “Stats don’t matter before Memorial Day.”

      Well, Memorial Day is this Monday. It’s getting into “They are what their stats say they are.” territory with Myers, Newman, and Casali.

      How much better would the lineup look with CES, EDLC, and Robinson in their spots?

      • 2020ball

        So DFA everyone you dont like in May. Anyone care to explain what they’d do if there are injuries the rest of the way? Sounds like y’all want more Matt Reynolds instead. You can think that stats count now but we’re not even a 1/3 of the way through. Call up a bunch of rookies though, who cares about depth.

      • LDS

        Don’t have to DFA them, just don’t play them. Right now I’d go with Barrero or Fairchild either one before Myers. And Casali or Maile one needs to go. And pitchers. Where are they going to find pitchers? And a pitching coach. The big 3 don’t seem to be progressing. Dumpster diving isn’t working. See if there’s interest out there in Myers or Senzel. If they are going to lose anyway, go with the young guys. And either fire Bell or handcuff his choices. Newman should very rarely start, maybe DH against a LH or PR. Two hits tonight doesn’t change who he is. And again it’s known McLain is better at 2nd than SS. Move India to the OF or DH. Start Barrero every day for 200 straight ABs or so. Let’s see what happens. This was supposed to be a sorting year, not the Bell shuffle. Starting Newman or Myers for that matter answers no questions. And next year will be no better. And when Votto returns, it becomes a bigger mess.

      • Melvin

        Newman has options. Don’t necessarily have to DFA him. Keeping him in AAA would still give depth in case of injuries. Marte is not too far away from AAA too.

      • earmbrister

        LDS, I don’t understand your love affair with Barrero. You complain about Myers and his 43 OPS+. Well Barrero’s is only 71 (way below the 100 point average). Career wise, it’s 109 vs 32. Barrero has never even been in the same area code as even average.

        Barrero would need to make HUGE strides just to become average at the plate. Doesn’t seem likely.

      • Votto4life

        The big difference between Myers and Barrero is age. Will Meyers will be gone in a couple of months, Barerro is going to be a Red for four more years.

        So many people here likes to argue the Reds are not suppose to win this year. If that’s the case, what is the logic then of starting Myers over Barerro?

      • LDS

        @Earmbrister, do you willfully misinterpret what I write? It’s not a love affair with Barrero. It’s recognition that young players frequently take time to develop. Barrero has around 400 ABs. Mike Schmidt, through his first 400 ABs was hitting .196. That doesn’t tell you anything about his potential. Factor in injuries and Barrero is simply a big question mark. The Bell approach of frequent bench time and utility positioning handicaps development. Myers on the other hand is 32 has 10x the ABs and 10x the salary. He has no excuses for not hitting at one of the most hitter friendly parks in MLB. Again, the Reds are a poorly managed and cheap organization with, fortunately for them, a fan base suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.

      • earmbrister

        LDS, what did you write that I wilfully misrepresented?

        You are banging the drum for Barrero and I’m saying that he hasn’t shown much reason for your optimism. You have brought up the batting averages of power hitters like Oneil Cruz and Mike Schmidt while ignoring the power that they provided while STILL outhitting Barrero. Schmidt in his first full year had 440 PAs with an OPS+ of 92. Barrero has a career OPS+ of 32. Night and day difference.

        As for Myers, V4L, yes Myers will be gone in a couple of months, that’s why he’s getting playing time: to rebuild his trade value. He has a career OPS+ of 109 and was a legit offseason pickup for a very young and inexperienced OF. I’m not a fan of how he’s played to date, but I understand why they’re playing him for now.

      • LDS

        @Earmbrister, about everything apparently. It’s not Barrero specifically. It’s the lack of the Reds commitment to developing the younger players and Bell’s management ineptitude. That and the fans impatience with the rebuild. If the Reds continue with the pattern of player usage thus far, it’s not a rebuild, it’s more the usual Bell shuffle. And 5 years down the road after another failed rebuild and the prospects have moved on, we’ll be right back to having the same discussions. This time is different, right? Not so far.

      • MFG

        trade cassali, meyers and newman. maile is a good backup catcher.
        bring up the players you mentioned but replace robinson with abbot.

    • LDS

      @Earmbrister, Barrero has a high ceiling, coming back from an injury, and playing only sporadically. Again, it the Reds approach to a rebuild more than the individual. In 5 years, when all the hot prospects have been traded or signed elsewhere, we’ll be having the same debate because the Reds blew yet another rebuild. Guys like Newman and Myers aren’t part of the future, sit them down or trade them. Myers was a total waste of money. And someone somewhere, please tell Krall that if no other team in the league wants a certain player, there’s a reason. Don’t sign them.

  2. Moon

    Not the best game for the good guys. Jeez the big three have been more like the big zeros over the last month. Hope they can turn it around. I like our chances tomorrow, go Reds!

  3. old-school

    Reds are 20-28 and tied with the Rockies for the worst record in the NL. Ashamed to be a Reds fan with David Bell, Oliver Marmol and Aaron Boone sword fighting and cussing the most to trump each other who can get kicked out at GABP the most. Every game a manager gets kicked out for dropping F bombs….Bell and Boone kicked out the most since 2019. Can the Reds corporate community stop the f bombs and sword fighting of David Bell and Phil Castellini and Bring in a manager who has some class and dignity and consistency??? David Bell needs to be fired. His record is terrible and his behavior is terrible.

    • 2020ball

      Class and dignity? Jeez, its just a cuss word, wonder if there’s even one single guy in the clubhouse that agrees with you.

      I just want wins, bring in a guy that’ll get me those.

      • old-school

        Bell got kicked out of 2/3 games against the Yankees at GABP. That happened and isnt ok. He’s been kicked out of more games since 2019 than any manager in baseball. Sure, win games. He doesnt. He just drops F bombs when he cant win.

      • Doug Gray

        So he’s like most of the commenters at Redleg Nation (though they keep it clean in the comments…. but under their own roof is another story)?

      • Melvin

        “I just want wins, bring in a guy that’ll get me those.”

        Can’t argue with that.

      • TR

        Verbiage under our own roof and that in a public arena like a ML baseball game is a bit different.

      • Jonathan Linn

        @2020Ball or anyone else —language matters. Leadership Matters. Tony Dungy should be the example to follow. F Bombs shouldn’t have any place in a business/professional atmosphere. its disrespectful. I get so annoyed at F Bombs on sports talk radio/Sports podcasts. My daughter is 4. I don’t want her hearing it when she is in the car with me. Go look up Danny Silk for a good leadership example and his “culture of honor”

      • JB

        It’s just a cuss word? Tell that to all the moms in the crowd with little children every time a player or coach says the F word. I cringe everytime a batter walks back to the dugout screaming the F word. People who swear have a weak mind and even weaker character. The only reason people use bad language is that they aren’t smart enough to express themselves properly. So it’s only a cuss word describes the person you are.

      • 2020ball

        Ohh no I’m unclassy and have a terrible character according to people on the internet.

        It sounds like you’re completely disconnected from what actually happens on the field, I bet every player cusses at some point. If you dont, which I have a hard time believing, good for you. But don’t ride your high horse in to try and insult me and put me down, that shows me all the character I needed to see from you.

      • 2020ball

        JB has called me clueless, stupid, disconnected, and now tries to drag my character through the mud. I never do any of that, I’m just here for debate.

        At least I know I’m an (expletive), sounds like you should try taking a long look in the mirror sometime.

      • 2020ball

        Oh yeah, he called me fat too. So hypocritical I can’t even fathom.

    • TR

      David Bell is following a recent Reds manager who gained some notoriety with his F-bomb explosion.

    • MichaelA

      I am pretty certain that the Reds last World Series winning manager, “Sweet” Lou Piniella, never uttered an unpleasantry in his tenure. **Tongue planted firmly in cheek.

      • earmbrister

        Pinella was the first manager I thought of when this topic was brought up.

        I understand both viewpoints.

      • 2020ball

        Wonder how “classy” Sparky was

    • LarkinPhillips

      The horse is very high for a few of you on an anonymous comment board. Better hope that you don’t fall off that horse.

      For the record, I agree with the guys not cussing. I hate when I hear the hot mic on home plate pick up a hitter yelling GD or something else. But no need to personally rebuke others on here who might not agree with your worldview. Lots of good people cuss and lots of bad people don’t. It goes both ways.

  4. Indy Red Man

    Ashcraft basically throws 2 pitches, same as HG. Look at a guy like Sonny Gray who has half their arm talent, but mixes up 4-5 pitches like an artist. Of course he was young once too. No reason to panic, but there is a failure in teaching these kids imo. Gabp doesn’t help either. Goldies hr barely cleared, move back the seats like Baltimore and that’s an out. Young pitchers gain confidence with outs

    • Indy Red Man

      Lively throws 6 different pitches. You do what you have to do to stay ahead of the game. It’s hard to beat professionals

    • Tar Heel Red

      The problem is not his pitches. He is throwing just the same as her was earlier in the season. The problem is his location has drastically changed. He was living at the bottom of the zone, but lately most of his pitches have been up…and those pitches get pounded.

      Many on this site are blaming pitching coach Derek Johnson for the Reds faulty pitching, but he can only work with what he has been given. The team chose not to bring in veteran pitching of any consequence, instead opting to go with a staff made up almost entirely of youngsters who, not surprisingly, are struggling. Compounding the problem is a manager who cares more about info on a spreadsheet than what is happening in front of him on the field.

      • greenmtred

        He does seem to be getting his pitches up. It doesn’t help that those low strikes aren’t being called lately but the high strikes are. Also, Ashcraft mentioned that he’d been having some trouble with his sinker, and he didn’t seem to be throwing it much last night. A sinker that is up in the zone and doesn’t sink is an extra-base hit.

      • DW

        I think it is both. He is no longer throwing his sinker and he has been living in the top of the zone. He needs to throw his sinker again to set up his other pitches and keep hitters guessing. He certainly needs to change locations much more, including hitting the bottom of the zone more often.

  5. Melvin

    The Big Three are still the Big Three. They’re just going through growing pains like most every other young pitcher coming to the “Big Show”. They’re far and away the best we got and we expect a lot out of them maybe more than we should at times.

    • Votto4life

      I agree Melvin, the Reds should have never counted on the big 3 alone. It was a terrible idea to depend on three pitchers coming off their rookie season.

      Coming into the season Hunter Greene had 125 innings pitched, Lodolo had 106 innings pitched and Graham Ashcraft had 103 innings pitched.

      There are some here who refuse to blame ownership for the current state of Red’s pitching. But to me, not adding pitching this past off-season was willful neglect.

      • Rob

        I think this is close to hitting the nail on the head. They are not doing as well as I expected ….maybe 10-12 wins each …. but I don’t know if that is a particularly meaningful long term data point. How about a comparison against other second year starters picked for stardom. That may be a little scarier. Gore? Strider? But most importantly perhaps, considering theReds current situation, is probably the 2H workload. We absolutely must get these guys stretched beyond a measly 100-120 innings. 120 innings is only 2/3 of a season at best. If we are thinking these guys carrying the load in September and October in 2024, then I would think the Reds target for these guys has to be like 150-160 innings this year. So they are struggling now but possibly the equally important thing to continually improved performance is pitching a bunch of 6-7 inning starts in September.

      • Rob

        One further comment about management negligence. If the Reds did not expect the big 3 to carry workload of Mahle, Castillo, Gray, et al, who in the heck did they expect to pitch 32 starts and 160-180 innings in 2023? Overton? Cessa? Weaver? You absolutely can not put a starting rotation together without 3-4 of the guys pitching 150 innings. Any bullpen would be overworked/tired/injured by mid season.

      • capnhook33

        100%. They traded every valuable pitcher they had this past season and did nothing to replace the innings. And what’s crazy is that somehow the AAA pitching staff is worse off than the big league club, so there are 0 reinforcements available to help.

      • earmbrister

        Rob, I would say that the FO DID expect that the big 3 would carry the load of Mahle, Castillo, & Gray. You talk of 32 starts and 160-180 IP, but that wasn’t really what the previous vets provided.

        If you throw out their first seasons and the current season (partial years) you have the following:

        Mahle: 23 GS, 118 IP
        Castillo: 32 GS, 154 IP
        Gray: 25 GS, 147 IP

        These pitchers didn’t go deep into games (who does anymore?) and Mahle plus Gray are known to be brittle. Greene and Ashcraft are tied for the team lead with 10 GS, and both are averaging 5 IP or more (about what you would expect from two young players).

        Yes, injuries happen and you try to plan accordingly. I would imagine that they expected both Williamson and Abbott to be up at some point this year, and that seems to be a reasonable expectation. Weaver seems to be improving and may be at least a #5 starter. It’s a young staff and there will be growing pains, but you don’t have to squint very hard to see a very good starting rotation in a year or two.

      • earmbrister

        Those 10 GS have Greene and Ashcraft tied for the LEAGUE lead.

      • greenmtred

        Those trades mostly brought back position players, and they needed (and need) those, too. I’m not sure that many teams are willing to part with good pitchers so, yes, lack of pitching depth is a problem that needs to be addressed.

    • DW

      Agreed. Should have either kept one good veteran starter or signed one during free agency. Having a veteran who has had success around to mentor the young big three has so much value. What example do the big three have to follow now? Who are they around on a daily basis to learn from?

      • Rob

        I did a little cursory research on the big 3 vs other Reds top pitching prospects. For those that want to feel optimistic, Bailey and Mahle did not really produce Wins and Innings Pitched until their FOURTH full season. Alternatively, Cueto and Leake were pretty much winning games and pitching innings in their first and second full seasons. Both the stats and my memory seem to indicate that both Bailey and Mahle had some injury hiccups in their early years. And the overall game is slightly different today than it was 15 years ago with Bailey, Cueto, and Leake. No conclusions here. Just pointing out that some prospects are ready to go in their initial full seasons. Others , especially those with injury hiccups, take a few years before they are logging significant wins and pitching significant innings. Personally, I am not concerned about the big three in Year 2. That said, I certainly did expect that 1-2 of these guys would show us something closer to the final product some time this year. And that still may happen.

  6. Votto4life

    One day closer to David Bell being fired.

    • Jim Walker

      Just an attempt at a bit of levity here. Do you recall the Tennessee Ernie Ford classic (cover of the Merle Travis coal miners’ song) “16 Tons” from the 1950s with the line,
      “You load 16 tons and what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt.”?

      The quip about being one day closer to Bell’s departure popped that line into my active memory for 1st time in decades. It just seems to fit long standing Reds followers from the 20th century. including of course myself.

      • greenmtred

        I do indeed remember that song, Jim. Written, I believe, by Merle Travis, a coal miner and accomplished guitar player.

    • greenmtred

      One day closer to EDLC retiring. One day closer to everybody dying. One day closer to the sun being swallowed by a black hole. I could go on….

      • PTBNL

        Thanks for brightening everyone’s day.

      • greenmtred

        It is a difficult job, commenters at RLN being such a sunny and optimistic bunch, but I try my best.

      • greenmtred

        I don’t really consider that a world view, DW; more of a meditation on the nature of time and mortality.

      • greenmtred

        And besides, Votto4life started it.

    • LDS

      @V4L, Bell fired? Extended seems more likely. Never forget his connections.

  7. Gpod

    David Bell on Ashcroft: “we’ll have to dig in and continue to help him figure it out”….Ashcraft last 4 starts: 0-3 with a 12.97 ERA …please don’t “continue “ to help him out Mr Bell…by the recent results you obviously have no clue what your doing

    • greenmtred

      No clue? You expect that if they were helping Ashcraft he’d immediately fix what’s wrong? How should they be helping him? And how do you know that they aren’t?

  8. Reddawg2012

    When you consider the overall body of work, has Derek Johnson done a good job with the Reds?

  9. Kevin H

    Struggles are going to happen with young pitching. You take the good and the bad. As mentioned when you count on second year pitchers to carry the team that in my opinion is unrealistic. They didn’t address the starting rotation and here we are.

    Newman is actually hitting better average wise than Barrero and Fairchild and Myers. While I agree playing Barrero more, I don’t believe Newman is as bad as some say.

    I still believe Reds are better than last year. It’s been more enjoyable to watch and follow.

    • Kevin H

      Opps, I looked at Newman’s splits, he doesn’t hit right handed pitching well.

    • AMDG

      To be fair, most people hit better than Fairchild (except maybe Myers).

      Regarding Barrero v Newman, Barrero has the higher OBP and SLG, not to mention better defense. Really, the only advantage Newman seems to have going for him is he is not named Jose Barrero.

      • greenmtred

        For all of that, Newman made some nice heads-up plays last night. Went 2 for four. Scored a run. One of his hits–bottom of the ninth–gave the Reds a shot at tying or winning. Nice game. Generally, the Reds didn’t give up, but Ashcraft’s struggles put them at a disadvantage against a pretty strong Cardinals line-up.

    • Mario

      Newman and Barrero both have negative WAR – both offensive and defensive. McLain is already at positive 0.2 WAR.

  10. SR

    I reviewed the splits for EDLC and they show him hitting in the low 200’s this year versus right handed pitching? Did I misread that info? If not,I am pretty sure coming from a triple a league where many of pitchers appear to be human batting tees, that split number will not translate well in MLB.

  11. CFD3000

    Barrero vs. Newman is not apples to apples. Even if Newman’s stats were as good as Barrero’s (they’re not) Jose has so much more upside that it’s silly even debating who should play. If the Reds were a playoff contender this year then maybe the “who gives us a better chance to win now” question matters. But they’re not. Barrero has potential to get better. A lot better. Newman is who he is. Play Barrero every day. I’m fine if he’s a future CF – he actually looks good out there – but he needs at bats. I’m seeing improvement in pitch recognition and walk and K rates, but he needs at bats to learn. Two or three starts a week won’t work. Free Jose.

    • BK

      I agree. This year is about sorting. Barrero needs to start playing more. However, I’ve noticed that Barrero tends to let things snowball a bit, both in the field and hitting. I’m not sure that the Reds wouldn’t like to play him more, but they feel a need to help him avoid another prolonged slump as he went through last year.

  12. CFD3000

    Graham Ashcraft has a reputation as a ground ball machine. He needs to get back to pounding the bottom of the zone. He has a great grinder’s mentality, but with just two pitches he can’t be successful pitching belt high and up. Surely he and DJ will figure it out, but it’s been hard to watch since that 5 run inning in Denver.

    Also, congratulations Matty Wheels on home run number one. A fun highlight on a rough night. Go Reds!

    • Jim Walker

      There has been a dramatic change in Ashcraft’s pitch mix so far in 2023 versus 2022.

      In 2022 he was Cutter 50.7%/ Sinker 21.5%/ Slider 27.1%
      In 2023 he is Cutter 57.0%/ Sinker 6.3%/ Slider 36.6%

      The velocity of the cutter and sinker are almost identical, in the 95-96mph range. The slider is about 6-7mph slower. In 2022 if a batter saw the faster velocity, he still had a 20%+ chance of guessing wrongly between the cutter and sinker.

      This year that chance is barely 6%. Also, with the sinker virtually out of the mix in 2023, the batter knows from the speed whether to look for a flat break/ movement (cutter) or a sharper vertical break (slider).

      • CFD3000

        This is great info Jim, and I hadn’t realized how little he’s using the sinker this year. But the math is worse than you’ve stated. In 2022, 30% of his fast pitches (cutters and sinkers) were the sinker. In 2023 only 10% are sinkers. So you had to be ready for the sinker last year. This year you can ignore it entirely. Surely the Reds know this too – how about an adjustment to the pitch mix, Graham?

  13. Mark Moore

    I stuck it out until the bitter end. And it was VERY bitter to me.

    Back at it this evening because, where else are we gonna go?

  14. Rednat

    stephenson worries me, at the plate and behind the plate. just doesn’t seem himself this year. Ashcraft hasn’t been the same since his grandmother died. some of it may between the ears at this point.

    the bullpen has made this season a lot more enjoyable than last year. at least the games are more competitive even though we are still coming up short