The Cincinnati Reds 9th inning rally came up short in a 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday afternoon. Luke Weaver had his best start of the season, and Spencer Steer extended his hitting streak, but the offense couldn’t come through when presented with multiple opportunities with multiple runners on and St. Louis broke through in the 8th inning to take a lead and not look back as they earned a split of the 4-game series in Cincinnati.

Final R H E
St. Louis Cardinals (23-29)
2 6 1
Cincinnati Reds (21-29)
1 7 0
W: Mikolas (3-1) L: Sims (1-1) SV: Gallegos (5)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

A pitchers duel broke out at Great American Ball Park on Thursday afternoon. Luke Weaver and Miles Mikolas were trading zeroes through the first five innings as neither team could come up with a big hit in the rare opportunity that either side had a baserunner.

Cincinnati got things moving in the bottom of the 6th inning with a TJ Friedl leadoff single. Matt McLain then singled on a hit-and-run to put runners on the corners with no outs. Jonathan India hit a grounder to third base and Friedl broke for the plate on contact and was thrown out easily. Jake Fraley flew out and Tyler Stephenson followed up with a grounder to shortstop for a force out, ending the inning as the Reds wasted a huge opportunity.

In the top of the 7th it was finally time for the Cardinals to get their offense moving in the right direction. Alec Burleson singled with one out and then Luke Weaver hit Juan Yepez with a pitch to put two men on base. That led to a pitching change, with Lucas Sims coming into the game. He struck out Tommy Edman to record the second out of the inning. With Andrew Knizner at the plate, Yepez was caught off the bag at first by catcher Luke Maile who fired to first and was in a short rundown before being tagged out by Jonathan India to end the inning. That put a final stamp on Weaver’s day, throwing 6.1 shutout innings with six strikeouts.

Lucas Sims returned for the top of the 8th inning. After retiring the first two batters of the inning he gave up a single to Lars Nootbaar. A wild pitch moved him over to second base, and on the next pitch Nolan Gorman lined a double into the right field corner to put St. Louis up 1-0. Pitching coach Derek Johnson walked out to the mound and had a conversation with Sims and Maile before they decided to intentionally walk Brendon Donovan to face Paul DeJong. That move backfired as Sims walked him on four pitches to load the bases. With Alec Burleson at the plate, Sims threw a curveball at his feet that got by Maile and led to Gorman crossing the plate to extend the Cardinals lead to 2-0. That was all they’d get in the inning, but those two runs loomed large with just six outs remaining in the game.

Cincinnati got things going again in the bottom of the 8th with one out as TJ Friedl led off with a walk and then stole second base. Matt McLain followed up with a walk of his own to give the Reds another opportunity with two men on. They failed to come through after Jonathan India popped up to second base and Jake Fraley grounded into a force out.

Alan Busenitz took over for Cincinnati in the top of the 9th inning and worked around an infield hit to keep the score a 2-0, giving the offense one final shot to get on the scoreboard. Tyler Stephenson grounded out to begin the inning, but Spencer Steer doubled and after the play was challenged it remained a double and brought Nick Senzel to the plate. He would strike out, leaving the game in the hands of Stuart Fairchild. He came through with an RBI single, making it 2-1 and extending the game. That brought Luke Maile to the plate, but he would strike out on three pitches to end the game.

Key Moment of the Game

Lucas Sims’ struggles with control in the 8th inning.

Notes Worth Noting

Spencer Steer extended his hitting streak to eight games.

Luke Weaver’s ERA dropped to 5.45. That’s the lowest it has been all season following the completion of a start.

TJ Friedl didn’t walk in 20 games from April 19th through May 11th. Since coming off of the injured list he’s walked in both games he’s played in. His 2-hit day raised his line on the season to .321/.371/.489.

The Reds are still in last place, all on their own. A win would have moved them ahead of the Cardinals in the division.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds vs Chicago Cubs

Friday May 26th, 2:20pm ET

Hunter Greene (0-4, 4.68 ERA) vs TBA

80 Responses

  1. LarkinPhillips

    Tough day from the offense, but encouraging day for Weaver and few others. Days like this happen when you are a “rebuilding” team. I would like to see India left in the leadoff position. Becoming a guy who is “supposed to drive in runs” seems to get in his head. I like Mclain in the 3 hole a lot better and Friedl in the 2 hole regardless of left or right handed pitcher. India, Friedl, Mcclain, Steer, Fraley, Senzel, Stephenson 1–7 is a solid start to build around or sub with. Lets go take 2 of 3 from the stupid cubs!

    • Tomn

      I agree. India let a fat fastball go right by with runners on 1st and 3rd, no outs. I would expect him to mash a pitch like that.

    • Still a Red

      Perhaps Friedel leading off signals a more ‘Hit and Run’ strategy. That would be fun…but it is clear I think that India likes leading off and is very effective at it.

  2. Old Big Ed

    India had one good pitch to hit in his AB with runners on 1st and 3rd, no out. It was a 93 mph fastball right down the middle. He took it, and it became Advantage Pitcher. I do not attribute it to his not being a “RBI man”; I attribute it to his having a bad game.

    • Tomn

      I didn’t scroll down to read your comment before I typed mine. I honestly think he wasn’t ready for such a pitch. Still I think he’s more comfortable in the leadoff position. Though as we all know the “leadoff hotter” changes from inning to inning.

  3. Melvin

    “India, Friedl, Mcclain, Steer,”

    I agree.

    • Mario

      I like the sound of that as well. Maybe India is not made to be 3 hole hitter.

      • 2020ball

        As long as the top four of the line up are the guys you want to give the most ABs, sounds good to me. I’m not that concerned about the order. India struggling there one game doesn’t say anything definitive.

      • Mario

        He could well be a productive hitter in the 3rd spot someday but his OPS with RISP is less than .600 so it ain’t one day. Also left the bases loaded with 2 outs in the 9th inning last night.

      • 2020ball

        There’s nothing you can say to me that will convince me the spot in the batting order for him affects his hitting. RISP is not a stat I trust. Give him enough time anywhere at full health and he’ll be fine.

        But sure, bat him leadoff, I have zero problem with him getting the most ABs every night.

      • Melvin

        Some guys just like leadoff the best. He’s a good hitter no matter where you put him.

    • JB WV

      If it ain’t broke…India is great leading off.

      • JayTheRed

        I’m with you leave India along David Bell put him where he belongs at the Leadoff spot.

  4. Melvin

    Two wild pitches really cost us today. If the ball hits the dirt it’s on the pitcher. Maile tried but the ball just bounced away.

    • Melvin

      Besides that the offense for the most part stinks a lot of the time. It really needs more depth and firepower. Can anyone say De La Cruz…or CES….or even Hopkins….or even Robinson? Need to get to something like this soon.

      India 2B
      Friedl LF
      McLain SS
      De La Cruz 3B
      CES 1B
      Steer RF
      Votto DH
      Stephenson C
      Barrero CF

      Senzel
      Hopkins
      Robinson
      Fairchild
      Fraley

      • TR

        The call-ups waiting in the wings and the question of who is to fill the nine daily positions available. The sorting of 2023 continues.

      • wkuchad

        You want Fraley on the bench vs Barrero?

      • Melvin

        Still a Red – Robinson will probably be gone when Votto comes back.

      • Melvin

        wkuchad – Not every time of course.

    • Ted Alfred

      Those breaking balls in the dirt thatSims throws have to be extremely difficult on the catchers because they’re always hitting the dirt three or four feet in front of the catcher ….not closer where he can short hop them which are much easier. Also in the first inning if India would have just stopped and gone back slowly towards 1st instead of running into the double play and letting the 2nd baseman just tag him and throw to 1st for the easy dp we probably would have scored a run there. India just had a brutal game.

    • 2020ball

      They looked blockable to me, still on Sims ultimately. Would’ve rather seen Casali on those blocks instead, I think his defensive acumen is underrated by many on here.

      • Mario

        agreed here and a big reason he is on the roster.

  5. Mark Moore

    Frustrating to lose in this way and squander a great start from Weaver. Makes you wish we could have banked some of the runs from yesterday.

  6. GreatRedLegsFan

    Slowly, the starting rotation is finding its stride with Lively, Weaver, Williamson and Greene. I guess it’ll be Ashcraft’s last chance next Sunday against the Cubs to turn things around or be sent down to Louisville otherwise. Not sure how much more for ELDC and/or CES call ups.

    • Mario

      That would not be the best thing for Ashcraft. Maybe a stint in the bullpen but sending him to AAA should be off the table for now. If this was a playoff caliber team sure but cellar dwellers, no way.

      • 2020ball

        There’s zero reason to send Ashcraft to AAA. There’s literally no one except maybe Abbott as a replacement. Major kneejerk reaction to a couple bad outings.

  7. RedsGettingBetter

    India didn’t work as 3rd bat so far as neither Stephenson can’t continue to be in the middle of the lineup. IDK how to fix this with the resources they have but maybe it should be some of creativity…
    Yesterday the Reds had a torrid offense scoring 10 runs along 18 hits previewing today’s offense shortage as commonly it happens…
    Very good outing of Weaver who has been frequently solid thru the first 3 or 4 innings but struggling after that in his last games, however he could go deeper and stay pitching good…

    • Ted Alfred

      Don’t think it’s that hard.
      1. India
      2. McClain
      3. Friedl
      4. Steer
      5. Fraley
      6. Senzel

    • Old Big Ed

      Uh, they scored 16 runs in 3 games with India hitting 3rd. For the year, they are averaging 4.3 runs/game.

      They have the top prospect in baseball, just weeks if not days away from being called up.

      • VaRedsFan

        India batted leadoff yesterday when they scored 10

      • greenmtred

        India is a good lead off hitter. India is a good hitter. He and the Reds had a bad day–one bad day–with him batting third. Consider the chaos if a team changed a player’s position in the batting order every time he had a bad game. And there’s always this: the Reds have lost plenty of games with India batting lead off.

    • Mario

      Maybe Matz isn’t good right now. The casuals can take their Kevin Newman gloats elsewhere.

      • Mario

        That was a post intended for some smack talking Kevin Newman homers. I kind of thought that was obvious. Newman is a decent SS/2B option vs LHP. He has not been a good defensive player anywhere so he should be a last resort option at 3B. But David Bell is the manager so we get some head scratching moves sometimes.

    • David

      Yesterday, the Cardinals pitcher was a crummy left hander.

      While Mikolas season numbers are not great, in his most recent starts, he has pitched MUCH better. He’s hot.

      And Weaver, by the numbers, pitched pretty well today. So, in my dopey opinion, that puts off calling up Abbott, for a while. Unless Ashcraft keeps getting bombed.
      Two of the four starts against the Cardinals were well pitched. The old guys, Weaver and Lively.
      Ashcraft got clobbered because he likely was leaving pitches in the middle of the plate….again.
      Greene, Williamson and Ashcraft against the Cubbies this weekend. What kind of pitching will the Reds get?

    • BK

      India has 10 PA hitting third. Valid conclusions cannot be drawn based on such a minuscule sample size.

  8. TR

    Offense needed to cut down on one run losses. Bring up Encarnacion-Strand for the DH and leave him there.

  9. Old Big Ed

    The Reds need another left-handed hitter. Or maybe a switch hitter?

    • David

      I have a name for you: Elly De La Cruz. Switch hitter.

      He is a minor leaguer for the Reds, and I hear he is pretty good. 🙂

      Soon. ……

      But you’re right, the Reds need another left handed bat somewhere in the lineup, or coming off the bench as a pinch hitter.
      Hal King, where have you gone?

    • Jim Walker

      Agree. For consistency, the guy needs to have at least the power of Fraley but not require platooning. Even the equivalent of the 2021 Votto vs. LH pitching would suffice

  10. DHud

    Disagree – Friedl bad base running and getting thrown out at home with no outs was the key moment today

    • 2020ball

      With a secondary lead I’m not sure he can go back. You really just cant hit the ball right at third with the infield in.

  11. MBS

    2024 Offense Rotation

    C Stephenson 5/9 Robinson 4/9
    1B CES 5/9 Stephenson 3/9 Steer 1/9
    2B McLain 7/9 Steer 2/9
    3B Marte 7/9 Senzel 2/9
    SS EDLC 8/9 McLain 1/9
    LF Fraley 5/9 Senzel 4/9
    CF Friedl 8/9 Fraley 1/9
    RF India 8/9 Fraley 1/9

    DH Steer 4/9 CES 3/9
    DH Senzel 1/9 Marte 1/9

    That would put the starts for the top 11 players at –
    CES 144, McLain 144, Marte 144
    EDLC 144, India 144, Friedl 144
    Steer 126, Senzel 126, Robinson 72

    Leaving the last 2 spots on the bench with no starts. Making them specialty guys would make sense.

    Siani, as a defensive replacement / pinch runner

    Free, as an emergency C / pinch hitter.

    If you’re not familiar with what’s been going on with Free, he’s been a C his whole career, but so far this year in AA he’s been used as a 1B/DH exclusively. 1 inning only behind the dish. His offense has never looked better, .297 BA . 857 OPS 4 HR in 111 AB’s.

  12. Votto4life

    Tough loss…The line up is starting to come together. With additional help on the way in the minors, this team could probably get by without any major upgrades to the offense.

    I do hope Bob Castellini will give Nick Krall at least $30 million to upgrade the pitching this offseason.

    If Castellini is willing to spend money on pitching, this team could be ready to compete in 2024 or 2025. If he refuses to spend money on pitching, then he is just wasting our time.

    • 2020ball

      The outfield still worries me, I’d be happy with an upgrade there. The pitching is the biggest area of need, however. How to fit Marte feels like it might be delayed until next June/July, but maybe he forces the issue before then.

      • wkuchad

        2/3 of the outfield fine. Need one more solid option for next year.

    • Mario

      I’ve been thinking about free agent pitchers. What a crap shoot. Matz is a disaster for St Louis. Stroman having a good year for the Cubs but Taillon (spelling) is not. Snell is a FA but he has an ERA of 5.04. More failures than successes.

      • JayTheRed

        I was looking it over the other day too. There are not too many good starters out there for Free Agency this winter.

        There are a fair number of good relievers though.

      • Earmbrister

        FA pitching is a crapshoot. Might be better rounding out the rotation from within. Weaver has been pitching better of late and is a viable 5th starter. By season’s end:

        Greene
        Lodolo
        Ashcraft
        Abbott
        Weaver

        Lively (long RP5, SP6)
        Williamson (RP6, SP7)

        Diaz
        Sims
        Gibaut
        Antone
        RP7
        RP8

  13. DaveCT

    86 pitches through 6.1 innings with 60 strikes is a very good outing for Weaver.

  14. Melvin

    De La Cruz hits a 2 run HR. Bring him up now! 🙂

    • Old-school

      2 walks and 0 K’s to boot

      Ops sitting at .999

  15. JayTheRed

    Sorry going to do it. David Bell lost the Reds their game today. Weaver was sitting around 80 to 85 pitches and pitched 6.1 innings. Gave up 1 walk and only 3 hits. Now someone please tell me why he couldn’t have finished at least the 7th inning.

    Then because Bell made an unnecessary pitching change the reliever who I will mention is usually pretty reliable, to come up and give up 2 runs immediately. Why not stick with the guy who has a shutout going. I just don’t get it.

    If a starter has not thrown over 100 pitches and he has done a good job, why pull him. It makes no sense to me. This has happened so many times with Bell. I know Bell is not on the field and making the pitches and so on, but his decisions definitely help the team lose too many times.

    I am not saying the Reds would have won if he didn’t make the change, but too often Bell’s decisions hurt the chances of our favorite team from winning games.

    • BK

      He probably changed pitchers because Weaver gave up a single and hit a batter in consecutive plate appearances in the seventh inning. Of note, Sims stranded both base runners. Pitch counts are the only indication of fatigue, and all of the strongest pitchers in the bullpen were available today.

  16. Old-school

    Anyone else see weaver as a poor mans Sonny gray?
    Physically on the smallish side but competes every pitch near the zone

    • JayTheRed

      A very poor man’s apparently. Gray’s results have been a lot better than Weaver so far.

      What I am hoping is Williamson is going to put it together giving us another solid Starter.

      • Old-school

        Gray was atrocious with the Yankees and left for dead.
        His career was resurrected in Cincinnati

      • JayTheRed

        Oh, that is what you meant. I think Gray may have been younger though than Weaver is.

        Sure do miss Sonny Gray though.

      • MK

        Gray really had only one outstanding year with the Reds. The others were average.

        Broadcast said Votto is going on team road trip. If he is ready just who would be replace, on roster or in lineup. I sure don’t want to sit Steer, and Senzel has looked great and stayed healthy at third. Friedl not coming out of center. Votto could play DH but who does he replace on roster. Fairchild and Cassali are probably 25 and 26 on roster but they need an outfielder.

      • Melvin

        Votto will have to go to AAA for 20 games or so first most likely.

  17. Steve Schoenbaechler

    I will put this out there for discussion.

    For example, if a team isn’t performing well, then the owners look at the players and get new players, whether through trade, FA, draft, etc.

    Then, if the players still don’t perform well, then the owners have to be looking at the coaching.

    Then, if the players still don’t perform well, then the owners have to be looking at the general manager

    And, up and up and up.

    Well, for the past several years, I recall very well that I’ve talked about how many injuries we have out there. I mean, we have 12 players on the IR right now. That’s essentially half a 25 man roster. We have the most players on IR in our division, given an entirely unscientific search I did.

    Initially, with players getting hurt, you can look at the players, their mechanics, their efforts, etc. If they are still getting hurt, then you can be looking at the coaching.

    But, when are we going to be looking at the medical part? I’m talking about the doctors, the trainers, the nutritionists, etc. These people are suppose to be the ones getting the players healthy and prepping them to stay healthy. But, it seems every year, we are having “injury problems”.

    I can understand some injuries, sure. That’s part of the game, some injuries. But, when they are always there, in this number? I can’t help thinking there’s something going on.

    • rednat

      I Think it a weight issue. Look at the 1975 reds roster.Bench and Norman were the heaviest guys on the team at 200lbs. on today’s roster they would be lightweights. alot of these guys are pushing 230-240 lbs. At that weight I think it is easier to get injured and takes longer to recover.
      what happened to the good old 15 day DL? NOW it seems like these guys are out for at least 2 months with many injuries

      • Jim Walker

        I don’t know that the issue is simply the weight they are carrying; but, in most situations, the increased weight is a result of the players being conditioned to razor’s edge which they weren’t back in the day.

        In other major sports, the players on have to go full tilt through a game once a week (football) or perhaps 2 or at the most 3 games a week (NBA, NHL, MLS) while in baseball position guys are going 5, 6, or even 7 days week.

        Meanwhile, pitchers train their bodies to the edge, even working through much of the winter on mechanics and the like then take to the mound and push their bodies past the breaking point performing one of the most unnatural set of motions in sports, throwing a baseball overhanded while imparting breaks and movement to the pitches.

    • capnhook33

      It’s been a long running joke in the MLB circle that our medical staff is exactly that – a joke. Look no further than down the street at the bengals and you can see how much of a difference a good medical staff makes. Nick Cosgray is one of the best in the biz and their strength program is exceptional. The reds…well i guess they’ve still got Doc hollywood.

  18. Jeff Morris

    Just don’t get mlb players and Friedl todayheading for home on a ground ball in front of him. Everybody knows, when ball is hit and grounded either at ss or 3rd..you stay put!

    • Melvin

      There are times when I runner is told to go on contact. Not sure if that happened today.

    • Jim Walker

      There were runners on 1st & 3rd with no outs. The man on 3rd broke on contact to take away the GIBP because historically the run expectancy is greater with men on 1st &2nd with 1 out than with a man on 3rd with 2 outs. Perhaps this sounds counterintuitive but the MLB historical data says it is accurate.

    • DataDumpster

      Jim’s analytic factoid is probably true by a few percent but this is where situational management and player judgment should be used but often isn’t with this team. The batter was India (better than average runner) and the ball was not hit very hard (big bouncer). A DP around the horn is hard to do in this circumstance. Fraley was on deck (best RBI man). I would guess Freidl did what his training instructed and was out by several feet. Fraley’s flyout then produced nothing. Allowed to use some judgment would have fared best in this situation. This is a good example of the pitfalls of the blind use of analytics. Same reasoning explains who are the best poker players (where expressions on faces and game sense can rule over the well known odds). Also, in football season, I am amused when early in a game, the coach will try a 2 point conversion just because the expected value of 2 or 3 of these conversions is better (if those opportunities become available). Just my opinion. You don’t lay out your runner on 3rd with no outs with a bouncing ball to 3rd.

      • Still a Red

        agreed…also noticed how he stayed on the field side of the line coming in to get in the way of the throw…probably best he could do and a good play by an All-Star 3rd baseman.

      • Jim Walker

        @DD>> I agree 100% with your 1st sentence. I almost appended this thought to my comment. However, the hour was so late it was probably early to some folks; and, I had only seen the play in highlight form. So, I wasn’t sure just how good a shot they had with for the DP or if Friedl had gotten a large secondary lead.

        Overall one of my biggest gripes with the current management is the strategic outlook which seems so rigid that it defines tactics that amount to playing in a straight jacket. There seems to be little or no space for situational awareness and adjustment. The shenanigans in the Cards 8th inning were another reflection of this.

  19. William

    Bring up De La Cruz. He is going to be one of the greatest Reds to ever play the game. No more delay.

    • Indy Red Man

      They’re near the bottom in HRs and can’t execute small ball most of the time as well. Should’ve swept Oakland easily, but dropped that finale with 1st/3rd nobody out and 2nd/3rd nobody out. Guys like EDLC put the ball over the fence. You don’t have to string together offense that way

      • Jim Walker

        EDLC put a no doubter over the fence Thursday evening in the 6th inning for 2 runs to give the Bats a 3-1 lead which old friend Joel Kuhnel frittered away in the 8th inning.

        Fortunately, Kuhnel slipped a punch to get out of the 8th even then survived a lead off walk in the 9th which opened the way for the Bats to plate 2 in the 10th and make them stand up through the bottom of the 10th for the win.

  20. DataDumpster

    Saw an article which hit on some theme that’s become rather obvious lately but not sure what it means. The SP (with all deference to their inexperience) have the 2nd worst ERA. Those guys (chiefly the “Big 3” and Cessa are Reds “products” with Cessa in his 3rd year with the team). The bullpen of course has the Red’s farm product Diaz as an elite closer but still has had to log the 2nd most innings in MLB. That effort has been carried out most successfully by Farmer, Gibault, Law, Young and Herget (all guys picked up on the cheap by Bull Krall). As mlbtraderumors notes, “this has been a godsend for David Bell, all these journeymen experiencing their first real success at the same time.” The dichotomy just noted between the SP and bullpen is remarkable but does that really mean anything?
    Are the Bull’s acquisitions really uncut gems, are the relievers still getting the “new guy” benefit that wears off in time for many, or are they benefiting from coming from different organizations, applying their own game sense, and not getting fully indoctrinated with the Red’s “style” of development and strategy?

  21. SlippinJimmy

    So I guess the “Big 3” are really the “Little 3,” and the “Little 3” are really the “Big 3…”

    I have to wonder if “hype” has anything to do with that. It seems everyone’s been so quick to anoint Greene, Lodolo and Ashcraft as superstars before they’ve actually done anything to become one. Meanwhile, Weaver, Lively, and Williamson are just happy to be in the big leagues and are making the most out of every pitch.

    Too bad Sims gave up those 2 runs, but in reality, you gotta score to win games. Really a missed opportunity for the Reds there.