Walks haunted the Cincinnati Reds pitching staff this afternoon in a 4-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first game of a day-night doubleheader before 28,731 at PNC Park.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (61-58) 2 7 0
Pittsburgh Pirates (53-64)
4 3 2
W: Perdomo (3-2) L: Young (4-1) Sv: Bednar (24)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

While allowing only three hits, Reds pitchers walked five Pirates batters, and three of them scored — two in the decisive seventh inning when pinch-hitter Jared Triolo touched up reliever Alex Young for a three-run homer. The two on base were via walk — one from Lucas Sims, and one from Young.

As this post was set live at 4:40 p.m. Eastern time, the Brewers’ and Cubs’ games were not over. But in the ninth inning, Milwaukee led the White Sox 7-0, and Toronto led the Cubs 11-4. Presuming those scores hold up, the third-place Reds would fall four games behind the Brewers, and the second-place Cubs would fall three games behind. We’re getting close to the point where the Reds risk falling off a cliff if they can’t put things together the way they were in June and early July. A second-game win in a couple of hours is very much needed.

The Offense

For the game, the Reds batted 7-for-33, and drew four walks. They weren’t able to cash in on the opportunities, primarily due to striking out 12 times and grounding into two double plays. Spencer Steer led the Reds offense with three hits, including a double. Matt McLain hit safely twice, including an RBI double. On the other side of the spectrum, Elly De La Cruz took the golden sombrero with four strikeouts in four at-bats.

In the top of the fourth, McLain reached on an infield hit, and Joey Votto walked with two out. Christian Encarnacion-Strand followed with a run-scoring single to left-center to give the visitors the first run and first lead of the game.

In the fifth, Will Benson reached when a ball fell between Pittsburgh shortstop Alika Williams and left fielder Connor Joe. Neither player touched the ball, but it was scored as an error because someone should have easily made the catch. Benson stole second, then scored on a two-out opposite-field double to right by McLain to put Cincinnati up 2-0.

The Pitching

The pitching line for the four Reds hurlers combined: 8 innings, 3 hits, 4 runs (all earned), 5 walks and 8 strikeouts. It overshadowed another excellent start by Brandon Williamson: 5 2/3 innings, 2 hits, 2 walks and 6 strikeouts. He continues to establish himself as someone this team can rely upon for an effective effort each time out.

After KeBryan Hayes led off the game for Pittsburgh with a single, Williamson turned on his ace mode and set down the next 12 consecutive Pirates hitters, six on strikeouts. That streak ended when Henry Davis walked to lead off the fifth, advanced to second on a wild pitch, then scored on Williams’ two-out dying-quail single to pull the home team within 2-1.

In the sixth, Andrew McCutchen walked with two out, which prompted Manager David Bell to remove Williamson after 88 pitches. Lucas Sims entered, walked Joe, but then struck out Davis to put down the two-on, two-out threat.

Sims returned to start the seventh, but walked leadoff batter Liover Peguero. Alex Young was summoned, at which time Alfonso Rivas sacrificed Peguero to second. Pinch-hitter Endy Rodriguez walked, and fellow pinch-hitter Jared Triolo followed with a homer to give Pittsburgh a 4-2 lead.

Derek Law finished up with a scoreless eighth inning.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds at Pittsburgh Pirates (game 2)

Sunday, August 13, 6:05 p.m. ET

Luke Weaver (2-4, 6.75 ERA) vs. Andre Jackson (0-0, 5.16 ERA)

32 Responses

  1. Dennis Westrick

    You summed it up perfectly, Tom! Walks by Williamson, Sims and Young ALL scored! At this point in the season, there is NO EXCUSE for walking the leadoff batter, especially in a game where the Reds have a lead regardless of the size of that lead!

    This team has lost the will to fight! In the past games when the Reds bullpen loses the lead, there have been few comebacks!

    And, for those not paying attention, the Reds are 5-9 since Bell’s 3-year contract extension was announced on Friday July 29th! Three (3) more years of this! Yea!

    Lost opportunity to gain ground on the Stupid Cubs who lost to Toronto!

    • Ted Alfred

      I can only imagine how happy the Cardinals, Cubs and Brewers fans were hearing the Reds extended Bell on for 3 years. They have to be partying in the streets knowing this great nucleus of talent will be pissed away with Bell at the helm.

      Amazing you out hit them 7 to 3… and they have two errors to your zero, yet you still lose 4 to 2 with your starter Williamson pitching great.

    • RedlegScott

      You’re right, Dennis, at this point in the season there is no excuse for it. So, as manager, what do you do? What I would do is pull them if they walk the lead-off batter. Plain and simple. A cause and effect consequence for screwing up. That doesn’t seem to be our manager’s style.

  2. J

    I’m sure Bell is using the time between games to reflect on his managerial decisions. He’s asking himself some tough questions such as “why did I remove my starter after 88 pitches?” “Why do I keep having one of my most productive hitters buried at the bottom of the lineup?” “Why do I insist on making sure each of my best hitters is followed by one of my worst hitters?” “Why do so many of my strategic pitching decisions backfire?” “Do I perhaps give some of these guys a bit too much freedom to make their own strategic decisions about when to steal, when to take a pitch, etc.?” “What can I do better?”

    I mean, he HAS to be asking himself questions like that, right?

    • Dennis Westrick

      You forgot “Why don’t we try some Small Ball like the Pirates did and bunt a runner into scoring position?” Oh, that’s right, it’s better to have JV strike out than attempt to bunt in the top of the 6th with the Reds clinging to a 2-1 lead! And, the next 2 batters followed JV’s SO with 2 more SOs!

      • J

        Votto is in such a weird place right now, mentally. He’s been pulling almost everything all year, seemingly by design, but when the team needs him to move a runner from second to third, the one thing he can’t seem to do is pull the ball. He’s a real mystery.

      • greenmtred

        The Pirates are among the league leaders in sacrifice bunts. It really works, too, doesn’t it? Just check their record.

      • Harry Stoner

        Oh, I see the “logic” at work.

        Bunting must not be a good strategy because the Pirates have a bad overall record.

        Not that anything else might be contributing to their W-L stats?

        Coincidence = causation, right.

        I suppose one could imagine what their record would be if they didn’t bunt so often.

        Greenmtred in place as a key advisor to Bell.

        “Bell knows things…..”

    • Ted Alfred

      Now that is funny. I’m sure right now he’s contemplating moving Elly down to 6 or 7 for game 2…. or maybe just give him another month to see if he’ll improve his strikeouts?!? He doesn’t want to hurt his feelings and I think it was about a month of 40% K’s and basically no walks before he dropped Elly from lead off.

    • RedlegScott

      You know, J, I used to think you had no legitimate reason to question Bell to the extent you do. Emphasis on “USED to think”, buddy.

      • RedlegScott

        I’m in. Please fill me in on all of the benefits of being a J- Club member, including the cash perks.

  3. Klugo

    Welcome to the 2022 (and 2015-19) Reds.

  4. Dennis Westrick

    Updated NL Standings! Reds NOW 4 games behind Milwaukee and 1 game out of the 3rd Wild card spot!

  5. Rut

    2023 Reds are the team we thought they would be at the start of the season.

    Bad bullpen, hitters that strike out way too much.

    Flashes of brilliance from the rookies (Benson and Steer today), and uneven play from the other rookies today.

    And in terms of the w-l record, still probably better than almost all but the most optimistic would have predicted for the Reds in mid August.

    But yeah, this team playing down to initial expectations right now

    • CI3J

      I’m starting to feel pretty good about my prediction about the Reds finishing with somewhere from 75 to 78 wins.

      Anyone else feel like EDLC needs to head back to Louisville for a few weeks and see if he can find some of that Benson/Barrero magic?

      • Harry Stoner

        I admit I was a bit impressed with Krall when he optioned Senzel.

        Not sure there’s the collective will to do so with EDLC after the matinee idol fanfare.

        I suppose he will continue to K at an alarming rate while occasionally getting a big hit and otherwise paralyze Bell from making another lineup move.

        It’s going to take Ella a while to work it out. I can’t imagine Bell being disturbed by all the Ks.

      • SteveAReno

        EDLC with four strikeouts so he must be really struggling.

      • MFG

        EDLC belongs with the big league club but should be batting 6 or 7.
        Your top 5 hitters need to be consistent at the plate.
        I realize some injuries are in play right now with India and Fraley.
        Drop Elly in the order and leave him there.

  6. Ted Alfred

    The really amazing part being they have this great nucleus of rookies now playing on the team who weren’t part of the team when the year started, yet even with much better players the results will be the same…hmmmm.

    • Harry Stoner

      Well…minus Greene, Lodolo, India and Fraley at the moment.

      Plusses include Abbott and now Williamson.

      1st half BP success a big part of the story, too.

      2nd half BP return to form a big part of the story, too.

      Bell’s “managing” a constant.

    • greenmtred

      They’re rookies, so you’ve probably already found the answer to your unvoiced question. They have plenty of talent, to be sure, and are being taken seriously by pitchers, and the results are predictable: MLB pitchers are better than AAA pitchers. They change speeds and location by design and often get people out on pitches that are not strikes and not really hittable. That’s a lot for rookies to adjust to, and the Reds’ success has been overwhelmingly dependent upon rookies. Today, though, there was also the issue of the failure of two of the high-leverage bullpen pitchers. It happens–it happened to Mariano Riviera–but it feels like a mini-trend.

      • RedlegScott

        Yes, green, which is why I find the comments about bringing back Barrero intriguing. Everybody hits AAA pitching well. Just ask EDLC and CES.

  7. RedlegScott

    What’s the upside of the game? Williamson. Unfortunately, that’s about it.

  8. Melvin

    Well, let’s see what happens this game and hope for the best.

    • Melvin

      There’s still time to correct things but time is running out.

      • RedlegScott

        Right, Melvin. What this team needs, what we all need, is another 10-game winning streak. Quickly, I might add.

  9. Melvin

    Fairchild’s biggest asset on this team is his speed. Big infield hit.