Will Benson’s three-run third-inning homer was the difference as the Cincinnati Reds ended a six-game losing streak, defeating the San Francisco Giants 3-2 before 19,205 at Great American Ball Park.

Final R H E
San Francisco Giants (54-42) 2 6 0
Cincinnati Reds (51-46)
3 4 0
W: Ashcraft (5-7) L: Stripling (0-3) Sv: Diaz (27)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

While ending their losing streak, the Reds continued their trend of playing in very close games. This was their seventh game in the past eight decided by one run. Fortunately, this evening they finally came out on the winning side of a titanic struggle.

The Milwaukee Brewers defeated the Philadelphia Phillies, 5-3, to maintain their 2 1/2 game advantage on Cincinnati in the National League Central.

The Offense

Speaking of trends, slim run production (except last night’s 10-run outburst) has exemplified Cincinnati since the series against Milwaukee just prior to the All-Star game. Tonight’s four-hit team output was not what they’re looking for, but they were fortunate that Benson hit a home run with two men on base.

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the third, when Christian Encarnacion-Strand led off with a single, followed by a Tyler Stephenson hit to put runners on first and second with nobody out. Will Benson, perhaps the world’s best number nine hitter, then launched a home run off Giants starter Ross Stripling to left-center to put Cincinnati up 3-0.

It was Benson’s sixth homer of the year and second in two days.

One out later, T.J. Friedl reached on a double to left-center field. And he was the last Reds batter to reach base in the game, as Giants pitching did not walk anyone and retired the final 19 Reds hitters. It’s a relief to win, but the offense is still a work in progress.

The Pitching

Reds pitchers’ combined line tonight: 9 innings, 6 hits, 2 earned runs, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts. When you only walk two opposing batters as a group, you give your team a much better chance to win than when you walk seven as was the case in Tuesday’s 11-10 loss.

Reds starter Graham Ashcraft held the Giants scoreless through four innings, but in the top of the fifth, the wheels began to come off. With nobody out, Ashcraft hit the first batter of the inning, then walked the next two batters. However, with the dangerous Joc Pederson at the plate, a 3-6-1 double play started by Encarnacion-Strand short-circuited the rally. A run scored on the twin-killing, and Mike Yastrzemski popped up for third out.

Giants catcher Blake Sabol, who was a Reds Rule-5 draftee but then quickly traded to San Francisco, led off the top of the seventh inning with a solo homer, cutting the Giants’ deficit to 3-2. It spelled the end of the evening for Ashcraft, who allowed five hits, two walks and two earned runs over his six innings while striking out three.

Manager David Bell brought in Ian Gibaut, who then retired the three batters he faced to finish the seventh.

Lucas Sims pitched the eighth and Joc Pederson greeted him with a single to right. Yastrzemski then lined out to right, Wilmer “Babe” Flores popped up to shortstop, but Michael Conforto reached after being hit by a pitch. Luis Matos then flew out to Benson in left to end the inning.

Alexis Diaz faced the Giants’ six, seven and eight hitters in the ninth, retiring the side on 11 pitches to end the game.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

San Francisco Giants at Cincinnati Reds

Thursday, July 20, 12:35 p.m. ET

Alex Cobb (6-2, 2.82 ERA) vs. Andrew Abbott (4-2, 2.45 ERA)

118 Responses

  1. RedlegScott

    Needed the “W”, obviously, but it looks like we aren’t yet out of the offensive doldrums. This, too, shall pass? Hopefully sooner rather than later. Nice pitching performance tonight.

  2. Indy Red Man

    Their 5 hitter has 1 Hr. Their 7 hitter is hitting .157 or something. How do these other teams win?

    Super solid win though. It looked like Ashcraft was going to give it all back, but he got the key outs. I feel like the umps are holding back our offense. You extend the zone and screw up the count and every hitter is compromised. Stripling, or whatever his name is, has the experience to keep going out there too when he’s getting gifts.

    • Ted Alfred

      What I don’t understand is how obvious it is that the Milwaukee and San Francisco catchers are consistently pulling the ball back into the zone after catching and getting the calls a lot… how do the umpires not see it?

    • VaRedsFan

      I posted this in the game thread, but it bears repeating.

      Ty Steve has GOT to improve his pitch framing skills. He doesn’t even attempt to frame. Contreras stole a boatload of strikes against the Reds. If anybody is paying attention, the eyeball test will not fail you.

      Contreras ranked 8th of 59
      Stephenson ranked 53 of 59

      Giants rookie Bailey 7 of 59
      Maile is 30th
      Casali 38th

      • Kurt Frost

        I’m strangely okay with the reds catcher not cheating.

  3. MBS

    Great W, hopefully Mr Krall finds some pitching to help these kids keep on winning. A starter and setup man would be nice.

    • Oldtimer

      The pitching has been good lately. The offense not so good. Why do we need more pitching to improve a dismal offense?

      • Luke J

        Because the dismal offense is a small sample. If you actually look at the larger sample, the offense is just fine. One of the best in baseball in fact. You don’t run a team with knee jerk reactions to short blips on the radar. Yes, the offense is in a slump as a whole. That doesn’t mean the offense is this team’s weakness.

      • jon

        Need to replace Weaver and another LH in the BP.

      • Oldtimer

        Disagree. Rookies hit the wall at some point in their rookie season. Reds offense is heavily dependent on rookies this year.

        It is not just fine.

      • Luke J

        That’s one view. But it is nothing more than speculation and conjecture. It’s not based in fact. Wise decisionmakers base their decisions on the data in front of them. The data says the offense will be fine. If the stars align and all the rookies hit a wall that they can’t get past, I guess you’ll be right. The likelihood of that is astronomical. Most good rookies make an adjustment and are fine. I have no reason to believe any of the Reds rookies will hit a wall and not be productive again, let alone enough of them to make this offense dismal for the long term.

      • Luke J

        By the way, which rookie walls are you expecting to stunt the offense for good? Benson has shown no signs of a wall. McLain slowed down a bit but is still extremely productive with no wall in sight. Steer has nearly a full season in the majors so his slump can’t really be considered a wall at this point. Elly is in a slump (his second of the season) but hit 3 balls over 100 mph last night, all outs. That bad luck won’t continue. And he’s made adjustments at every level, so no reason to think his production will hit a wall. In fact, all indications are he’s just getting started. Encarnacion-Strand is also just getting started, so predicting a wall for him this season is also a stretch. Those are the rookies this often partially depends on. I’m just not seeing a dismal offense ahead when I look at the data in front of me. That’s nothing more than pessimism on your part rather than logic.

      • Pete

        @luke You’re on the money. Are they struggling because lack of talent or perhaps because they are pressing? They hit the ball very well last night and reduced their K’s. Trust the process …. and watch the strikeouts – this will tell the tale.

      • MBS

        @Old, you’re right why would you want to upgrade the pitching? Weaver is great! The bullpen isn’t being overused either because of lack of innings from our starter. Personally I don’t want someone who’s capable of grabbing a save when Diaz pitched the last 4 days.

  4. CI3J

    They need to sign Benson to a multi-year contract. The guy does everything you could ask for, and is still just 25 years old. He might be a 20-20 guy in the future, just like Dat Dude. Speaking of, thanks again Cleveland for giving up on another talented prospect too soon!

    It’s going to be interesting to see what the team does this offseason as far as locking up their young core goes. Steer, McClain, CES, and of course, EDLC should all be considered for multi-year contracts that buy out some of their arbitration years.

    To say nothing of players like Abbott, Ashcraft, and Lodolo.

    Greene got his, who’s next?

    • Jason Franklin

      I agree on Benson. He always gives a good at bat, walks, plays solid defense, hits in clutch situations, has some power and speed. I could see them buying out a couple of his arb years. Maybe 5 years/35m work?

      • Ted Alfred

        Those are the two guys that I would sign soon. They are both going to be really good players for a long time without a doubt. They both have great swings and play the game the right way and don’t have huge egos…exactly what you want in players you sign long term

      • DataDumpster

        Yep. Those are the only two. Some money must be reserved for the 2024 ‘this is the year’ campaign. After all, any long term extension is really just an attempt to save money over the long term by gambling on health, etc. Want to balance those chances against other risks.

    • SultanofSwaff

      Pass out those extensions like Halloween candy. Yes to Benson, CES, McLain, EDLC, Abbott, Lodolo, Steer. I’d include Marte as well. And low key, we’d better sign Maile for another year if defense behind the plate matters.

      The question is more like, who DON’T you extend? For me, only Friedl (injury prone?), Stephenson (won’t stick at C long term), Ashcraft, and Diaz.

      • Pete

        I agree with you. Rather than sign any high price free agents spend that money on our young core players. Lock them up!

        This may sound a little crazy, but I would look at extending Jonathan India. I think you have a perfect buy-low opportunity here. Even if you plan on trading him in the near future, it still would be a wise decision based on the price of the contract. Same with Ashcraft.

      • Chris

        I would never, at least at this point, look to give Lodolo an extension. He has yet to stay healthy for hardly half of a season.

    • Thomas Atwood

      No need to extend Benson yet. He has 2 more pre-arb years, so let time paint a clearer picture. If he continues to look like this and shows some ability to hit LHP (assuming they give him the chance), then they could extend him during or after 2024 without him getting too expensive. And if he doesn’t, then they avoid the mistake some fans would have made in early 2019 when they wanted Derek Dietrich to get an extension. (I don’t expect him to turn into DD, but time is on the Reds’ side right now.)

      I would like to see them talking to:
      – Offseason: India (if keeping him), Diaz, Stephenson, Elly
      – During 2024: Steer, McLain, Ashcraft, maybe Lodolo and Friedl

  5. Jason Franklin

    How many times do we have to wish and hope that Benson gets moved up?? What does the man have to do to be the number 3 hitter? Bell cannot make a lineup to save his life.

    • AllTheHype

      When Benson hit the HR, it was the only time in the game we had 2 runners on. If he was in any spot except 9th, we don’t score 3 there, and possibly lose the game. So, it was the perfect lineup tonight.

      Moving a lineup around because this guy’s had a few good games recently or that guy, never works.

      • CI3J

        This is a bit more than “a few good games recently”. Benson has been one of the best hitters in all of MLB since May.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        We just called up a minor leaguer to do the exact same thing Jason is talking about. Most everyone was for that? Why not move Benson up and get him more AB’s? For all Reds who have more than 3 starts this season, he literally leads the Reds in every important offensive category for the last 30 days!

        And, your justification not to move him up is because of simply what happened tonight? That makes literally no sense. You are literally arguing against the same justification we brought up CES for.

        But, very little Bell does makes sense to me.

      • greenmtred

        One of the things that has been notable this year is production at key points from the guys near the bottom of the batting order. Opponents don’t get much of a break when they get past the first four batters. Benson is thriving where he is, and if you believe that hitters are affected by their place in the batting order, why would you move him?

    • Chris

      I love Benson in the #9 spot. It’s like another lead off hitter with power and speed. No problem with him hitting there especially how deep this lineup is. I also like him batting 9th because he really isn’t much of a lefty on lefty guy. Bell messes a lot of things up, but Benson in the 9 hole is not one of them.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Moving him up gets him more AB’s. That would only be good for us.

        Now, can he handle it, that could be another story. But, there is no reason not to try it, especially when our offense is still slumping.

        Oh, that’s right, Bell is managing.

    • DHud

      Steve CES lives rent free in your head

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        I live free rent in yours apparently.

      • jon

        Don’t forget Steve said the Reds couldn’t find AB’S for CES.

    • Dennis Westrick

      I would like to see Benson moved up to the cleanup spot!

    • Mario

      Consider the psychology of this. Benson is under a lot less pressure in the 9 hole. On the flip side for India, he has put more pressure on himself in the 3 hole than when he was lead off trying to go back to being a run producer instead of a guy who gets on base.

  6. Indy Red Man

    Why not swap Benson with Freidl and call-up Robinson for Casali. Robinson is hot at Louisville and it might carry over a little?
    I’m thinking Elly leadoff will work. He’s got so much talent and just has to hit within the zone

    • Melvin

      Robinson is hitting .332/.398/.506. The problem with bringing him up is that it weakens our catching depth. I’m not saying we shouldn’t anyway. However we cannot send down Maihle or Casali to AAA so if we indeed go to two catchers (hopefully) we’ll most likely lose them both if I’m not mistaken.

      • VaRedsFan

        We can’t turn catching depth from 4 to 2 by releasing Casali and Maile and bringing up Chuckie. Then you are only an injury away from Austin Romine and company again.
        Drop Casali, but Chuckie has to stay at AAA

      • Jim Walker

        But they need to find a way to get Chuckie on the 40 man roster by the deadline date at the end of the season or he will be a minor league free agent and somebody will gobble him up.

      • Pete

        @jimI think you’re right. I’m going to beat the Chuckie drum until he flounders, gets called up, or gets dealt. The longer this goes on the more I don’t understand. As far as loosing backups if they let Maile and Casale go, there is a second catcher at Louisville tearing it up. CR has discovered something in his 28th year on the planet. Maybe it doesn’t translate to MLB but perhaps it does. Let’s find out.

        When I see something like this I would like to believe it’s more Bell than Krall…

      • Chris

        The back up catcher at AAA is also raking.

      • Melvin

        You’re right Jim. We need more catching depth at AAA. That’s probably the only reason Robinson hasn’t been up yet but he’ll have to be added anyway to the 40 man if they don’t want to lose him…and they should care about that.

    • Ted Alfred

      Elly had better at bats tonight consistently than he’s had in a long time

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      No need for Robinson.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        For PTNBL

        Then let’s just get rid of all the rest of the Reds and call up the rest of the Louisville Bats. Then, if they start sucking, let’s call up the Lookouts team. Then the Dragons.

        There’s no need for another minor leaguer on this team. The ones who are here need to learn how to be a major league ball player and make the adjustments.

      • PTBNL

        Hey SS,

        If we did that, we’d have a very young and inexpensive team. Big Bob would love that.

        Don’t be so sensitive.

    • MBS

      I like what Robinson is doing in AAA, but I don’t believe that Robinson is an upgrade to Maile. If Maile or Stephenson were to get hurt, yes bring up Robinson. Casali should already have been DFA’d for another OF.

    • Oldtimer

      Swap Benson for Friedl? Why? Call up Robinson? Why? He played for Reds in 2022 and didn’t do much. There’s a BIG difference between AAA pitching and MLB pitching.

    • Tar Heel Red

      I said this once before and Elly got hot…he needs to sit a couple games to re-charge. The game seems to be a little too fast (pardon the pun) for him right now.

      Hopefully he proves me wrong again.

      • Chris

        Three batted balls last night of 100 or more. No reason to sit him, he will get through this just fine. How does sitting and then playing again slow the game down?

  7. J

    Seems like a strange thing to say when only four guys reach base, but I thought the offense looked pretty good overall. Not many strikeouts, several hard hit balls that happened to go directly at fielders, a couple fly balls caught a few feet in front of the wall, and all of this with a home plate umpire consistently calling “strikes” that weren’t over the plate. They could very easily have scored three or four more runs with slightly better luck and a better umpire.

    • Dingo

      Totally agree. It did not look at all like the struggles we were having against the brewers. This was quality at-bats that just didn’t go our way that often.

  8. LT

    Too close for comfort but a W is a W. Seemed like Giants had runners on base every inning. IMO, Reds offense needs to get back to focus on hitting for contact, string singles together. It seems we’re swinging for the fence and strike out a lot.

    • Chris

      Agree. I’ve been thinking this for awhile. I feel like that HR games streak got into their heads and made them swing for the fences.

      • VaRedsFan

        I don’t disagree.
        It’s the only way they have scored lately.

    • TR

      The Reds have more speed in their lineup than any Reds team I can recall. A rival of the young offense will come from getting on base, not hitting homeruns. Elly and others need to return to that concept to revive the offense. The recent stretch of exciting baseball was based on getting on base, using team speed, and upsetting the opposition.

    • Still a Red

      There does seem a statistical change away from stringing singles and doubles toward HRs. That does not mean, necessarily, that they’ve become enamored with the HR and swinging for the fences. I hope not. It does seem that they are getting behind in the count and whereas before they could extend the at bat by fouling off close pitches they are either taking a 3rd strike or missing. It does seem the umps aren’t helping. It could be just superior pitching requiring some adjustment. Things to look for are strikeouts, exit velocities, walks.

  9. Jeff Morris

    Great win for the Reds. They really needed this. Got a tough one tommorrow. Alex Cobb for the SF Giants is tough.

  10. David

    Hunter Greene MAY be back sometime in August. It now looks like the earliest Lodolo will be back is late August.
    Starters #1 – #4 are good to ok. Ashcraft has had four consecutive good starts.
    Abbott may come back to earth, as more teams get scouting reports on him.
    Williamson incrementally improves.
    Lively is Ok.
    But Weaver is just plain lousy. The Reds have to find somebody to step in that rotation spot. A better starter in the game last night, and the Reds might have won. I mean, they scored 10 runs…and still lost.
    At this point, would Connor Phillips (young guy) or Michael Mariot (old guy) be better?
    The losing streak is over, and as much as it has upset people, I don’t think the Brewers are so good they are going to run away with the division. They just happen to be a “hex” team for the Reds this year. Against the rest of the league, the Reds have actually played better than the Brewers.
    In 1975, the Reds won 108 games and finished 20 games ahead of the 2nd place Dodgers. But the Dodgers won 13 out of 18 games against the Reds that year. And…..it didn’t really matter, did it?

    • Ted Alfred

      In 1975, the Reds won 108 games and finished 20 games ahead of the 2nd place Dodgers. But the Dodgers won 13 out of 18 games against the Reds that year. And…..it didn’t really matter, did it?

      Great point…. which is easy to lose sight of when you’re struggling like we have been against Milwaukee.

      • Melvin

        “the Dodgers won 13 out of 18 games against the Reds that year”

        I didn’t know that.

      • Harry Stoner

        Except the Reds are now 2-1/2 out of first after losing to Milwaukee, not 20 games ahead.

        The only way you can guarantee your rival will lose in a tight race is to beat them.

        1975 was ~50 years ago.

        Not fooling anyone by pretending that losing 5 out of 6 to the Brewers wasn’t huge.

        The guy who calls other people “Chicken Little” has his head stuck firmly in the sand.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        For Harry

        Can’t say that losing 5 out of 6 to the Brewers was the end of the season. The last I looked, there’s still almost 60 games left.

        Ummm, those first 2 games against the Giants meant nothing?

        Sit down, Harry.

    • Chris

      Also, after losing 6 straight and 4 to the Brewers, we are literally just 2.5 games back. Had the Phillies won, wed be just 1.5 games back. Reds have played their worst, and are barely out of 1st place. No need to panic. We should get Giolito though, and then sign him long term as well.

  11. bug

    I’ve been on Bell’s case for years now, but he made a good call tonight taking Ashcraft out when he did. He was losing it. Perfect call at the perfect time. Wish we could count on him for that kind of management day in and day out. Jmo.

    • Chris

      Completely disagree. He just sailed through the 6th inning, and first batter hit a bad pitch. Should never have yanked him. If we want to save the bullpen we have to stop taking pitchers out after 5 and 6 innings when they are throwing well.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        I have to agree with Bug. I’m not going to argue 1-2 batters, though. But, it was a good time to take Ashcraft out.

        And, trust me, I am not a Bell fan.

      • Thomas Atwood

        Ashcraft was also at 96 pitches.

        In today’s game, 2 runs over 6 innings in 100 pitches is great work. Bullpens are built to cover 3 a night. It’s covering 4 or 5 every night that becomes a problem.

    • Harry Stoner

      FWIW, two of the next three Giants up were sub Mendoza.

      • Chris

        Exactly. Ashcraft had just sailed through the meat of the order in the 6th, and for some reason, Bell thinks he couldn’t handle sub mendoza line hitters. I think Bell’s biggest flaw is that he will not rely on his starters longer when the option is there, thus not building stamina and confidence in his starters when it is really needed.

  12. wolfcycle

    we walk too many guys, including the bullpen

  13. Steve Schoenbaechler

    I’ve had confidence in Ashcraft since last year. The only question for me was his learning process.

    Like this year, when he came back, was he going to have “the stuff”. First game or 2, no. But, after that, he found some.

    Even at that, one thing good pitchers can do is, if they don’t have their best stuff, they can still get the outs. The last 2-3 times, I believe, Ashcraft didn’t seem to have his best stuff. But, he was able to still get the outs. Job Well Done.

    Now, I just hope Ashcraft gets his good stuff going.

    Move Benson up. For all Reds who have more than 3 starts, he literally leads all the Reds in every offensive category. And, he’s our #9 hitter? No competent manager would do this. There is literally no reason to be batting him 9th this long. But, there was no reason to move India off leadoff and leave him in the 3 hole (and now 5 hole) and simply do poorly for 2 months now.

    But, then, I rarely understand why Bell does what he does. I think he tries to use “the Force”.

    • Ted Alfred

      Yep… the India thing at 3 was even more baffling than leaving Benson at 9… but neither one of them make any sense no matter how you look at it. And if you move Benson up and he struggles with the extra pressure or whatever then you can drop him back down, but to intentionally give the guy that’s putting up the best numbers the least amount of at bats makes no sense. So move Benson up to 5 where he’ll be put in a lot more RBI producing situations. He doesn’t hit into double plays and he usually makes contact when you need it. If you want to use the 9 hitter as a second leadoff hitter then put India there for crying out loud so he can’t keep circumventing all these great scoring opportunities hitting into double plays on a regular basis or striking out when you need to make contact…just swap him and Bensin at 5 and 9. Pretty simple and solves both problems simultaneously. With the higher percentage if quality at bats that Benson generally gives you it just makes no sense not to put him in higher leverage situations, which generally the five spot is going to see a lot more of than the nine is.

      • Ted Alfred

        The one caveat to moving him to 5 is when Fraley’s playing if you keep him at 4 that gives you three lefties in a row with Votto at 6, so you may have to tinker with that a bit.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Exactly. If Benson doesn’t produce, you move him back down. You don’t keep him there for 2+ months expecting something will change.

        It can be tough to find someone to bat last with this lineup. Arguments can be made for all to be moved up. Even India. . .he was one of the better leadoff hitters in the league, from what I remember. Maybe not BA, but OBP and runs, exactly what you want from a leadoff hitter. There was no reason to move him out of there.

        I’m not saying Benson will hit. But, if the guy is hitting, you should be looking to get him the most AB’s you can.

      • Still a Red

        Everyone seems to be forgetting that Friedl outperformed India in the number 1 spot until recently. Given Friedl’s slump, maybe you bring India back to No. 1. Not sure batting EDlC No.1 works well…given he’s trying to adjust to how pitchers are attacking him, putting him lower with men on base might force pitchers to give him more to look at.

      • Chris

        Once again, these guys are not robots. You move Benson and he struggles, you can’t just move him back down and think he’ll be like he was. No, at that point it’s in his head that he failed, and may do even worse. I would agree with moving Benson up if we didn’t have a completely stacked lineup, but at this point, I see no reason to do that. Last night, the only part of the lineup that even hit was the bottom three.

    • Dennis Westrick

      Bell will never be described as a competent manager!

  14. Mike

    I have a feeling Elly is going to have a big game tomorrow, hit the ball hard today.

    • LT

      I really hope you’re right. He has not done anything since moving to lead off spot. We really need a breakout game from him to energize the offense. He brings so much energy that when he plays well, I feel like the rest of the offense follows.

  15. Andrew Brewer

    The Reds broke their terrible hitting slump in the 11-10 loss the other night. Today’s 3-2 win is reminscent of their multiple 5-4 wins. No, the Reds are not quite as hot as they were, but if they are doing enough to win 2 out of 3, then that will be enough. The Dodgers are next, and will provide a real litmus test. Kershaw shut them out the last time they played.

    • Tar Heel Red

      Actually the Reds host the D’Backs next for three games then go on the road for three in Milwaukee and three in LA. These next nine games should tell us what the Reds do as they get closer to the trade deadline.

      My opinion, if they don’t win 6 of those games the push for the playoffs this year is over. I expect them to bring in another starter, but not a big name like Giolito. More likely a Lorenzen/Chirinos type who can be acquired for a mid-range prospect and/or a bench player like Senzel.

    • Still a Red

      True, but more troubling is many of those 5-4 wins were come from behind where they scored in multiple innings. If not for the Benson inning, they would have been shut out again!. Could the youngsters be tiring.

  16. SR

    The only time Benson is number 9 is the first time through. After that he is an extension of the top of the order. With Freidl McLain and EDLC to drive him in. He also forces better pitches for Votto and Stephenson too. Why move the only really consistent hitter we have at this point? He could do an India and change his approach to trying to swing for power. India’s hitting funk began when the moved him and he is still in it 2 months later. Like it or not, changing batting positions gets in a batters head. I believe he also benefits from being down the order as pitchers don’t expect that good a hitter in the 9 hole. Pitchers expect the last guy to be an easier out, and when the guy goes 8 pitches deep, as he often does, it wears on the pitcher too.

    • Harry Stoner

      I agree wholeheartedly.

      Benson is thriving in this position for a multitude of reasons, some of them may be rational, others not.

      The tired shibboleth of “move him up!” is just that: tired.

      Compared to 2022 (and many previous years) the Reds don’t have a string of weak hitters positioned 6-7-8-9 in the order. Look at the Giants lineup by comparison.

      Stretching out your lineup, as Votto called it, makes great sense and so far it is one of Bell’s better ideas, and it seems to be working.

      Benson makes things better for CES and TS hitting in front of him and can be on base for EDLC and the top of the order.

      He’s scored a lot of runs for a guy hitting 8 or 9.

      Besides, according to the main know-it-all / gaslighter here, why should a ‘minor leaguer’ take ABs away from a veteran hitter? 😉

      What have they done to deserve that?

      Why would anyone come play for the Reds if they knew they would have their place in the lineup changed?


      The absurdity of Head-In-The-Sand-Man’s arguments are only made clearer when you write them yourself.

    • Optimist

      I’ve liked him at 8 or 9 from the start. It’s natural to put a new bat there, and good if they have power to act as the second cleanup hitter in the order.

      The fact that he has an excellent eye/OBP also means that if there’s any action ahead of him they often get thru the order in 2 innings. That really plays info the difficulty of opposing pitchers facing the order the 3rd time.

      Analytics shows that order of the lineup doesn’t make too much difference, especially when you have enough talent to fill it in top to bottom, which is what makes him very valuable where he is.

  17. Mark Moore

    Loved watching Benson’s interview. A very humble, disciplined approach. Great point about how a passive approach won’t cut it, especially in The Show.

    • Harry Stoner

      Benson is poised to have a long productive career in the Reds’ outfield.

      Could imagine 12-15 hrs 60+ rbis 60+ runs scored, good D on a regular basis.

      A junior, if taller, version of Ken Griffey.

      Not Ken Griffey, Jr.

      • Mario

        I like that comparison, if Benson can match Griffey Sr career, that is a heckuva accomplishment

  18. Pete

    Don’t look now, but Reds look like they may have another hot prospect in the pipeline. Keep your eyes on Kate Hunter, who is now in Dayton. Left-handed hitting catcher who also plays the outfield.

      • Optimist

        Son of Mariners front office executive, i.e. grew up in the game.

  19. RedsGettingBetter

    Tom, you wrote “the Reds continued their trend of playing in very close games. This was their seventh game in the past eight decided by one run.” I think the true stat is 5 of the past 7 games have been by 1-run result. These games are 0-1, 0-1, 0-3 and 3-4 against Brewers and 2-4, 10-11 and 3-2 vs Giants…
    It’s incredibly after back-to-back singles, a home run and a double around 1 out in the 3rd inning, no one was able to reach on base anymore along the rest of the game….

  20. Indy Red Man

    I keep seeing Weaver, Weaver, Weaver in the Reds future schedule.
    He had a 97 mph fastball and still got hammered? What does he have to do to get cut loose? He has a 6.12 era since 2020. He doesn’t have a pitch to put guys away and he grooves way too many pitches center-cut. Move on already? To literally anyone else

    If they get thru July and they’re still within 2-3 games of the competition then they might have a shot, but they have to make good decisions on personnel. I know Joe Public on RLN knows nothing, but haven’t we been calling for CES all season? News flash….he can hit and would’ve helped

    • Harry Stoner

      Weaver might be like Bell’s lucky t-shirt or something. Can’t bear to break the spell.

      Weaver gets shelled every time out but the Reds have won or played close in most of his games.

      I’m not suggesting that’s a reason to continue….

      Bell and Krall have been slow to part with their veteran acquisitions.

      But Krall seems willing to unceremoniously say Adios when the time has come.

      I imagine the inaction is tied to Krall’s current shopping for alternatives.

      Kennedy was up for one start and did well enough…I thought he would stick around.

      They brought up Marion but didn’t give him a try.

      Face it, I don’t think Krall is going to shell out this summer to get someone who will throw 7 innings every start.

      How many of those guys are out there anymore?

      Abbott Ashcraft Williamson Lively haven’t been responsible for the recent swoon.

      Lorenzen wanted to start and the Reds couldn’t accommodate him. Now that he’s established himself as a starter maybe a homecoming is worthwhile.

      In the meantime, if Weaver is hurt, or even if he only ‘caught’ gastritis from Newman, it’s worth putting him on the IL and giving Kennedy another go.

      Certainly, we know what to expect from Stoudt.

      I don’t know if Lorenzen is still two-way, but that could also fit into the Bell shuffle.

      • Optimist

        Don’t mind Stoudt coming up. He’s still much more of the future than the older guys. If Weaver has an sort of injury that may slightly complicate releasing him, but have to believe he’s gone after the deadline one way or another.

    • Chris

      Weaver won’t go inside to hitters with that nice fastball. Even Larkin who won’t say anything remotely negative about any player on either team, alluded to this issue. The problem is compounded by his propensity to live solely on the outer half of the plate. He has good stuff, but he seems to pitch scared.

    • Mario

      Indy, the team stubbornly stuck with Newman over CES for 3 months. Newman is not a bad player but CES will be so much better than him. I got tired of repeating myself since May clamoring for him. Very interesting what they do with Newman as he has extremely little trade value.

  21. Steve Schoenbaechler

    Yep, pretty much the same lineup for Thursday. Bound to break out today.

    • Jim Walker

      Not a lot of choice for Bell as long as they are tied to the 3 catcher plan.

      Friedl has a 28 day OPS of .636 and trends downward from there in his 14 day OPS (.425) and 7 day OPS (.304). And he must be feeling that collision with the wall on Wednesday night whether or not he is hurt enough to admit it. If they had another OF they trusted to Play CF and have a respectable OPS vs RH pitching, he might benefit from a day or two off ahead of the road trip.

      • Chris

        I don’t think he’s feeling anything. He almost hit one out in the deep right field alley last night, and he had a really nice stolen base. Like most of the Reds, he’s been scuffling a bit, but I doubt he’s hurt.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Friedl hit the wall after the long drive and stolen base he had.

        I wouldn’t be surprised he is feeling it a bit. It has knocked him out of the lineup before. Luckily, not today.

  22. Still a Red

    Watch out…here come’s the Cardinals!

  23. MBS

    Game 1 off Steer next day 2 for 5
    Game 2 off CES pinch hit HR 1B, next day 1 for 4
    Game 3 off India (we’ll see today)
    Game 4 off McLain
    Game 5 off ?

    Getting guys days off helps them clear their hear and rest their bodies.

    • old-school

      Tomorrow is a lefty so all the righties will play. Benson/Fraley take a seat. Senzel and the 2 headed catcher make an appearance with Stephenson probably at DH. See what happens with Votto.

      • MBS

        That’s a fair guess, I’m hoping naively that Bell will let one of Fraley or Benson start vs a LHP. Especially Benson, he doesn’t need to be pigeon holed into a platoon only hitter.

    • Melvin

      When you have a lineup like the Reds have you can afford to do that.

  24. old-school

    The Tyler Mahle for Spencer Steer, CES and Hajjad, who was then flipped with 2nd round OF pick for Benson may be the greatest Reds trade ever.

    • Jim Walker

      A person gets the feeling the Reds knew the Twins and Guardians MiLB players better than their former teams did.

      The Reds gave more for Joe Morgan, Cesar Geronimo, Jack Billingham, and a sweetener (Ed Arbrister) back in 1971 but that’s got to be the standard to top.

      Gettting Tom Seaver for Doug Flynn, Pat Zachary, Steve Henderson and Dan Norman has to rank up there on the highway robbery scale with Benson.

      • old-school

        Even when Benson was struggling, I still liked what the Reds were trying to do by acquiring Benson. While I will always root for the Reds, they’ve not been particularly enjoyable to watch the last 5 years, save the Castellanos/Votto led team for a few months summer 2021. From the 3 outcome K fest, to the bad defense, to the station to station basrunning to just simply some players that were just not fun to root for( looking at you Moose).

        Benson is athletic, fast, does a lot of things well, but like many of his teammates…..brings the energy. Elly is struggling a bit, but I still enjoy watching him play defense and he will emerge again offensively. Whatever happens the last 70+ games, this is a fun young high energy team to watch.

      • MBS

        I almost feel bad for the Guardians as they’re trying to build a young team, and picked the wrong piece to let go.

        Not so much with the Twins, they were trying to win now, and I get it, sometimes that’s going to cost you good players, this time it cost you 2 seemingly very good players.