The Cincinnati Reds had to come from behind once again, but it’s what they’ve done all year and they made it happen. They would take the lead in the 4th inning and put the game away in the 8th when Matt McLain hit a 2-run homer to extend the lead to 7-3. That would be the final score as the Reds went into Los Angeles and swept the Angels in their 3-game series.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (67-61)
7 12 0
Los Angeles Angels (61-67)
3 6 0
W: Sims (4-3) L: Detmers (3-10)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

Lyon Richardson didn’t have it easy in the 1st inning, walking two batters, but the rookie in his second big league start worked around it to keep the Angels off of the board. Cincinnati would put together some base runners in the top of the 2nd inning after Spencer Steer walked, TJ Friedl singled, and then TJ Hopkins was hit by a pitch to load the bases. But they were unable to come through with a hit when they needed it and stranded the bases loaded.

The Angels got a leadoff double from Mickey Moniak in the bottom of the 2nd inning. Andrew Velazquez would come through with a 2-out walk to keep the inning alive and it paid off as Nolan Schanuel singled in Moniak to put the Angels up 1-0. Shohei Ohtani then lined the ball into left center, but TJ Friedl made a diving catch to end the inning and save at least one run.

Cincinnati got that run back in the top of the 3rd when Elly De La Cruz stole second base and then came around to score on a single by Spencer Steer. The Reds would take the lead in the top of the 4th after TJ Friedl led off with a triple and then scored when Tyler Stephenson hit a 2-run homer. The inning didn’t end there, though, as Will Benson, TJ Hopkins, and Matt McLain put together singles to bring another run in to extend the Cincinnati lead to 4-1.

Lyon Richardson would toss a shutout 4th inning and then return for the 5th – making it his longest outing of the year at any level. He would strike out the first batter of the inning, but then give up a single and a double to put two runners in scoring position. That would end his night as the Reds called on Sam Moll to enter the game. He would get Mike Moustakas to fly out, but then Luis Rengifo singled with two outs to score both runners and make it a 4-3 ballgame.

Moll returned for the 6th and after getting a fly out to start the inning he gave up a single and a walk before being replaced by Lucas Sims. The move paid off as Sims picked up a strikeout and a fly out to strand both runners.

Cincinnati would get a single from Elly De La Cruz and a walk from Spencer Steer in the top of the 7th but couldn’t bring in a run. Sims returned for the bottom of the inning and worked around a walk to keep the score at 4-3.

The Reds went to work in the top of the 8th inning. TJ Hopkins lined a single into right field to get a rally started. Will Benson followed with a single of his own to move Hopkins over to third. Noelvi Marte then grounded out, but drove in a run in the process to make it a 5-3 game. Matt McLain followed up with a 2-run homer to extend the lead to 7-3.

Fernando Cruz came out of the bullpen to make his second appearance of the day and he worked around a leadoff walk to send the game into the 9th inning. Alexis Diaz took over for the Reds in the bottom of the 9th and walked Nolan Schanuel to start the inning. Diaz got Shohei Ohtani to ground into a force out and then got Mike Moustakas to fly out to left field. Things got iffy when Luis Rengifo walked to put two men on with two outs, but Diaz struck out Randal Grichuk to end the game and complete a 3-game sweep in Anaheim.

Key Moment of the Game

Matt McLain’s 2-run homer in the 8th inning that put the game away.

Notes worth noting

The sweep of the doubleheader  put the Reds into the final wild card spot. It also brought them back to even with the Cubs, 3.5 games back in the division of the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Reds pitchers walked eight batters in the game and not a single one of them came back to haunt them.

The bullpen allowed one run in 9.2 innings of relief in the doubleheader.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds vs Arizona Diamondbacks

Thursday August 23rd, 9:40pm ET

Brandon Williamson (4-3, 4.47 ERA) vs Merrill Kelly (10-5, 3.13 ERA)

93 Responses

  1. Tim

    I vote that Friedl plays every game and hire leadoff until he cools off or asks for a day off. He’s the M.U.P. Of this team. Most underrated player.

    • Redsvol

      Tim – I’ve been on the Friedl bandwagon since last year. He needs to play every day, regardless of pitcher.

      Back in 2022 tabs were saying he couldn’t play center field. Even Brantley said his arm was too weak to play there. You don’t need the best arm to play center. You just need to be fearless and run those gap shots down.

    • TR

      T. J. Friedl, in my opinion, is one of those players without an overabundance of talent, but he’s a dedicated hard worker who has made himself an outstanding player. Friedl is exactly the leadoff hitter to stabilize the offense of this young team.

  2. Jason Franklin

    Let’s go boys!!! Go Reds! Great sweep of the Angels. I think McLain really loved laying some hurt on those boys from Cali.

  3. RedlegScott

    Could we just play out the remainder of the season on the road somehow?

  4. Mark A Verticchio

    As a Bell critic let me be the first to say he did a nice job in this series. Team seemed a lot loser and ran all over the place, keep it up in Arizona Mr. Bell. With all these rookies there should be no pressure on this team.

    • RedlegScott

      Especially his management of the pen. Case in point – yanking Moll, even with a lefty coming up, when he walked a batter which put a runner in scoring position. Sims then came in and got two outs to retire the side. One of many instances of good decision-making in this series. Congrats, Bell.

    • Ted Alfred

      Yep, and he finally handled the pitching really well all the way around…maybe his best series of the year in that regard. However, still makes zero sense not to hit Friedl leadoff. Just put Marte back to 7th and Friedl 1st.

      • RedlegScott

        Agree. Hopefully, it was just experimental.

      • Jim t

        Not so far fetched considering they stated a lefty.

      • David

        Marte leading off? A lot of pressure on a young guy, also playing a little out of position, as he was nominally a SS through most of his minor league days.

        Yeah, maybe David Bell thought he would catch lightning in a bottle, but don’t put Noelvi Marte in that kind of spot again. The Reds will get a lefty again with Arizona this weekend.
        If he wants to leadoff with a right hand bat, why not Hopkins then?

      • 2020ball

        Because of all the same reasons you just said about Marte?

    • Doc

      I’d say the team seemed a lot looser, and more like a winner than a loser.

  5. Rick

    Let’s go skin us out some snake.
    3 of 4 games sets us right.
    Proud of our entire team ie; the staff.
    Young guys found some June magic(energy and hustle)!
    Even Abbott & Richardson kept us competing with each guy battling different roadblocks & left still with the lead. Well done.

  6. Melvin

    BIG sweep. On to face the scorpions, I mean the snakes, I mean the Diamondbacks. 🙂 Keep the momentum going.

  7. Andrew Brewer

    It’s still all about winning each game, one at a time. Who cannot be elated with what happened in Anaheim ? The D’backs have always been meat for the Reds… This is our Time ! The Rookie Reds are running rough shod over the rest of the League. Here we come !

    • Jim Walker

      +1000 on each game one by one. Take nobody or no situation for granted. And they could use some hockey-like honesty. As the last month of the NHL season unfolds, coaches and players on the playoff bubble do *NOT* shy away from uttering the word desperation when describing the qualities they need to exhibit on the ice. It is that time for the Reds; and, no one should be shy or ashamed to admit it and play that way.

      • 2020ball

        What in the world does a hockey mentality have to do with anything, let’s just ignore that they’re two vastly different games I guess. Same reason igetirkedwhen people try and bring up football in a baseball discussion, you really don’t think the team already feels that way? This just sounds like another veiled criticism of the coaching staff, one where you literally have zero idea of how the players feel and approach their jobs.

  8. TR

    As September is around the corner, each game is important to remain in the playoff race. What a pleasant surprise, overall, the bullpen and it’s management has been this season. They are needed and come through almost every game.

  9. JB

    Ohtani with the UCL tear. An unfortunate injury for the soon to be free agent.

    • VaRedsFan

      Yeah, that’s not good for him…nor for baseball. What a great player. His pitching days might be over, unless he wants to do Tommy John.

      Mike Trout played 1 game and went back to the IL also.

      • Doc

        Ohtani and Trout, just two more examples of the pitfalls a mid market team would face in mortgaging the future with high priced guaranteed contracts. Not to mention Moustakis, Griffey, Votto (most of the last five years), Bailey. Still waiting to see on Greene.

    • Doc

      He already had TJ surgery in 2018 so this does not portend well for the pitching part of his career.

      • Jim Walker

        Agree. The first decision is probably whether Ohtani shuts down completely until whatever can be done for the elbow is done and healed or does he play through it as a DH? And of course, layered with that is his free agent status.

        I think there will be questions as to whether his elbow will eventually impact his swing and specifically his slugging production. Also, teams will want to know if he will be limited to DH or have enough arm remaining to play 1B or perhaps even corner OF.

  10. Amarillo

    Angels went all in at the deadline and then immediately tanked. We had a rough patch but are back in a playoff spot. Baseball is an unpredictable game.

    • mac624

      And the Angels wagered their prospects to go all in. Now they are in real trouble. For posters clamoring on and on about what the Reds didn’t do, the Angels are a case study example of why it’s so risky for a small to mid-market team to wager that much for a flash in the pan shot. I’m glad the Reds did it the way they did it and will use the off season when prices aren’t so high to remain competitive for the long and short term. The Angels are going to be rebuilding for quite a while now.

      • wkuchad

        Most didn’t want the Reds to mortgage the future for this year. All most wanted was a starting pitcher better than Weaver. We still need a starting pitcher by the way.

      • DaveCT

        Weaver debuted for the M’s last night out of the pen in a multi inning role, which seemed to be his best destination. 2 innings, 0 hits, 0 runs, 0 BB’s and 5 K’s.

  11. Klugo

    Gotta give it to this team. Theyre not going quietly into the night. Theyre scratching and clawing to stay alive. They havent quit and I like that.

    • Rednat

      +1000, this team can be frustrating at times but they never quit!

    • David

      Well, in all honesty, the Angels, right now, are a pretty crummy team, definitely on a downward slide.
      The Tuesday night game was won because of poor defense.
      Ohtani torn up his elbow in the first game, and will likely be out for the rest of the season. Their relief pitching was lousy.

      Second game starter was lousy, too, for the Angels.

      The Diamondbacks were on a down tick the last time the Reds played them at GAPB. They seem to be better now. Their starter tonight is probably their best pitcher, and will give the Reds some fits. The rest of the starters for the D-Backs this weekend are not so good.
      Will the REAL Hunter Greene show up to pitch on Saturday?

  12. Jim t

    Nice start to the 10 game road trip. Would love to finish at least 7-3.

    We spend a lot of time on this site berating the team and its Coaching staff. I must admit that I am very much enjoying this season. Last night in the second game our first 5 hitters were rookies. An extremely rare occurrence. I would ask all, myself included to judge the team on its results. This team is fun to watch and is exceeding all expectations. They all deserve our support. Win or lose for the rest of the season they got mine. They all have earned it.

    • BuzzKutter

      A sweep sure makes it easier to get back to reality and realize how little major league experience these guys have. I sure hope the strikeout bad at bat stretch is over. When they go up there hitting good pitches for contact they are fun to watch.

    • wkuchad

      Thank you Jim for the positivity throughout the season. This season has been such a pleasant surprise and enjoyable to watch. I’ve barely missed a game.

      The game chat has been taken over by so much negativity and constant Bell criticism. I just don’t understand when you look at where this team is versus where it was suppose to be.

      We may or may not make the playoffs this year, but 2023 is still a success either way. And man I’m excited about the next few years. It’s been a while.

      • Jim t

        @wkucchad, thanks for the response and kind words. I agree with you completely

      • J

        Some people seem to think it’s impossible to enjoy a season and individual players’ performances, and to appreciate the team’s successes, while “constantly” criticizing the manager’s many bad decisions and/or the organization’s lack of urgency to win. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. I enjoy the games but also want to point out Bell’s stupidity whenever I see it. That makes me feel a little better. I also hope sooner or later it will sink in with certain people that I might be right about Bell no matter how many games the Reds win.

        Some people seem to need everyone to respond to every game exactly the same way they respond to it, or else they just can’t enjoy the site. I don’t get that. I see all sorts of stuff on this site (and many other places) that doesn’t interest me at all, and in some cases I find it offensive, dumb, irritating, etc. I either roll my eyes and move on, or I might point out a flaw in a post if I see an obvious error, but I don’t constantly tell people to stop talking about whatever interests them or insist that they aren’t properly responding to the season. I have occasionally suggested that people should stop insulting commenters like me (which is a site rule that never seems to be enforced from what I’m able to see), but otherwise I just live and let live. And I think most of Bell’s other “constant critics” have behaved the same way I have. Rarely have I seen anyone say something like “you’re enjoying this season too much — you should just focus on all the bad stuff and be depressed about the future.” But the “constant critics” are frequently told we should ignore all the bad stuff and just be happy because the team has won more games than most people predicted. It’s an almost totally one-sided conversation with one side expressing their feelings about the games and the team, and the other side saying this is the wrong way to discuss baseball and everyone should behave more like they do.

        Just something to think about!

      • 2020ball

        And here we are wondering when you’ll realize you’re wrong in whining about everything a manager does when you clearly don’t know squat about managing a MLB team, but tell yourself whatever you want I guess.

    • Redsvol

      totally agree Jim T. This season has exceeded all expectations. I live 5 hours away and I’ve been to more games this year than I have in my life – and I’m not retired!

      I get the quibbling over the lineup and the bullpen management, but it takes over this site too often – even sometimes after a win!

      Fact is that this team is fun and has a super-exciting future. All teams have a clunker and cold streaks throughout the season. We have to keep in mind this is the 2nd youngest team in baseball and probably the least experienced starting staff (I haven’t checked) in all of baseball. They’re going to make mistakes and have failures.

      The next 4-6 years are going to be very fun to be a Reds fan!

    • RedlegScott

      Agree, Jim. Bell did a great job this series, and credit must be given where credit is due.

      • 2020ball

        Yall could try not criticizing at all, just something to think about. When the team is successful it sounds pretty dumb if you ask me.

  13. AMDG

    I’m confused why my comment got deleted which simply stated that the Angels seem to be in bad shape, with a lowly ranked minor league system, and their best player likely gone in free agency?

    • Jim t

      AMDG check your email that you submitted it under. Once I had that issue and it was because I entered it with a misspelling in my email I normally use.

  14. Jim t

    @Grandslami and MFG, thanks guys. 34 games left. If we win 19 of them we finish 86-76. Quite a season considering all the injuries to starting pitchers and the amount of rookies that came up and played.

    If and that is a big if, ownership takes the next step and invest in the team it could have a nice run.

  15. RedlegScott

    The D-backs are 8-2 in their last 10, back in 2nd place in the West, and on a roll. Who do we have left in the pen? Maile and Bell? Go get ’em, guys.

    • wkuchad

      After that double header and off days, I’m worried about the pen this week. Wondering if we send anyone down and bring up a fresh arm.

      • Redsvol

        would not be surprised at all to see Young or Cruz take a 10 day trip to Louisville. Neither one deserves it but that sometimes happens in pennant race baseball.

      • 2020ball

        The pen is fine, and why that is such a crazy opinion to have I don’t know. They’ve been doing it all year, I seeno reason to worry.

  16. SultanofSwaff

    Excellent 24 span for the Reds. You gotta feel bad for the Angels fans, but as we all can relate, some seasons are just unforgiving which is why I appreciate this year so much.

    Great 2 out hitting all series to protect leads. Elly and MattyMac were huge. Impressive mound presence from Richardson. I think it’s apparent that Bell is limiting the pitch counts for Richardson and Abbott…would be shocked to see either go over 85-90 the rest of the way.

    Was watching the Angels broadcast and they remarked that Bell went to yank Moll for Sims before the pinch hitter was introduced. They thought the Angels outmaneuvered him there.

    Was hoping the Reds would give Diaz the night off with a 4 run lead, but alas. Has anyone else noticed in his last 2 appearances vs. certain lefties he’s been throwing a ‘slider’ (according to pitchtrax) but it has the shape of a changeup? Way more north-south movement instead of his elite sweeping movement. He got nice results from it—cool in-season adjustment if true.

    • AllTheHype

      Angels and Rockies, worst FOs in baseball for a fairly long time.

    • RedlegScott

      I thought he yanked Moll for walking a hitter and putting the tying run on 2nd, Swaff.

  17. Soto

    I am completely convinced that big money, long term contracts for pitchers, is a mistake. Even though pitchers are protected more than ever, injuries almost seem inevitable for starting pitchers. I think a better return on investment for the Reds would be a strategy of trying to lock up our really talented young position players like Elly, McClain, Steer, CES, to mid level contracts. For pitching I would concentrate on drafting and fast tracking quality collegiate pitchers. I would also look to carry fewer “traditional” starters and more bullpen arms, then rotate bullpen pitchers to the Big Leagues to stay fresh and ride the hot hand.

    • Redsvol

      @Soto – this is close to what the Rays do regarding pitching. It is understood there that if you are in the bullpen you are going to be sent up and down the maximum amount of times in order to bring up fresh arms. They also move bullpen arms to starters and openers more than anyone. It does seem to work during the season. It has yet to really work to the max in the playoffs, but hey, they make it!

      This and they also reload their farm often by trading under control players well before their 3rd arbitration year.

  18. Redsgettingbetter

    To be honest, I was expecting the Reds went to take just 1 game of this series and if would take 2 it would be great but instead they swept so wow that’s really amazing.. I think it will be fine if the series against Arizona is gonna be splitted… We”ll think about the games vs SF later

  19. Mark Moore

    Watched through the 1-1 tie and then went to bed. Maybe that’s our “lucky charm” since I woke up this morning to more happy news.

    Watched the innings where we scored. Nice job all around.

    Too bad about Ohtani as I wouldn’t wish injury on anyone. But why risk it further by playing in the second game? Halos are sinking quickly and he’ll still likely get a fat contract (from somebody willing to overpay on a gamble) headed into 2024. Not sure which inmates are running that asylum. Then again, we’ve got enough of our own trouble and we’re OUTATHERE with a sweep anyway!!

  20. Jim t

    Big spot for our rookie Williamson tonight. Hope he continues to improve and this game turns into another step in that direction. We need our starters to step up. The importance of these games is huge.

  21. Jim t

    As an add on thought. We really need him to give us some innings tonight coming off that DH’er. Our bull pen needs to cover few innings the next couple of nights.

  22. Michael B. Green

    See that we signed Mancini to a minor league deal. I’m hoping that is viewed as a DH/1B signing. Playing him in the OF will not allow CIN to prevent runs. Our OF should always include speed. Hopefully they can get lightning in a bottle with his bat. Plus, I’ve heard he is a great locker room guy. Good signing.

    • SultanofSwaff

      Terrible signing imo. I saw him twice in Chicago and he’s washed. Must be a depth signing for Louisville, I don’t know. The eye test and the numbers doesn’t make sense.

    • BuzzKutter

      Completely agree. Funny things can happen where a guy takes a pitch to the hand and is out for the year. Adding an experienced MLB player for minimum can’t hurt. (With a WS ring) Mancini could get plugged in and find some rejuvenation and help a lot.

    • Redgoggles

      Maybe he can share the Cubbie cheat codes ahead of next weekend series.

      Otherwise, it’s good to know other teams have their Wil Myers signings too….

  23. MBS

    Weird Benson got 2 hits off LHP last night I thought he couldn’t do that. Friedl got 3 hits, 2 vs LHP yet he’s bumped down to the 6 hole because of a lefty starter. Just play those 2 regardless of matchups. Just try this lineup everyday, and let these kids get into a rhythm.

    1 Friedl CF, 2 McLain 2B, 3 EDLC SS
    4 Steer LF, 5 Benson RF, 6 CES 1B
    7 Marte 3B, 8 Votto DH, 9 Stephenson C

    • Indy Red Man

      You have to love Freidl’s toughness and he’s swinging it well, but he’s only walked twice this month. He’s at .344 obp for the season. To me a small market team won’t have Cy Young/HR leader type guys so they better get obp guys. I’d like to see atleast .375 obp from our leadoff man. Freidl might be the best available now, but I’d go with India if he gets back

      • Indy Red Man

        Fairchild is at .357 obp vs lefties. McLain is so good with risp that leadoff is almost a waste. He is starting to walk more. Heck Matty, Steer, and Freidl are all well well under 6′. Use that smaller zone to your advantage

      • JB

        Indy has a .336 OBP. That’s less than Friedl. There goes that argument.

  24. LT

    Obviously a lot of positive vibes after a great series sweep. To me, the team is still the same in that we don’t have a single reliable hitter. MM is very close but not quite. So the offense is up and down depending on if one or two players get hot. A good offense needs about 3 reliable hitters. Hope that these youngsters can develop and become good hitters. They have the talent, that’s for sure.

  25. LT

    I also saw some good things said about Bell, as strange as it is. Bell is sort of showing some flexibility in the way he manages the bullpen. His trying to find a role for Sims tops the list for me. Sims has shown that he does not have the mental toughness, so it looks like Bell is trying to use him earlier in the game, low leverage situations. But bringing him in with men on for any inning will come back to bite us. Sims needs an oven attached to him to speed up his warm up.

  26. J

    Speaking of the lineup…

    I find it “interesting” that Bell keeps insisting on having Benson hit 7th through 9th even at times when he’s had the highest OPS on the team for the entire season, but Marte hits leadoff when he’s had a major league career of 2-8 with four strikeouts and no walks.

    I’ve heard five main excuses for Bell’s Benson treatment:

    a) Benson is doing great at the bottom, so why change it?!

    -Well, his production had actually fallen off quite a bit, so why wasn’t it time for a change? Maybe moving to the top would have been exactly what he needed to regain the magic. But Bell left him at the bottom.

    b) Bell might be concerned that Benson can’t handle the pressure of hitting at the top.

    -Yeah, but Benson has handled pressure well all season. When he returned to the team after flopping early, he must have felt tremendous pressure every time he got a chance to hit. He handled it amazingly well. He’s handled many high-pressure at-bats quite well. He’s acted like a leadoff hitter in almost every one of his at-bats all season. There’s absolutely no reason to believe he’d suddenly wilt if he were hitting higher than 7th.

    Oh, and how does this argument apply to Marte or ELDC hitting leadoff? Why did Bell assume they could handle the pressure with absolutely no evidence they could handle pressure? (Also, previous examples of guys moving from the bottom to the top have usually worked quite well. For example, India was hitting at the bottom in his rookie year, proved he could hit, got moved to the top, and continued to hit.)

    c) It’s good to have a great hitter at the bottom because the pitcher doesn’t get any breaks.

    -Except, the pitcher DOES get a break. He’s facing the same 9 guys no matter where they hit. As it is now, he gets his break in the first or second inning. And he’s often getting that break in a situation where a hit would score runs. And, because guys at the top are more likely to have at-bats than guys at the bottom, Bell is actually maximizing the number of breaks the opposing pitchers will get over the course of the season.

    d) It’s great to have a speedy guy on base when the leadoff hitter comes to the plate.

    -I agree, that’s great, but in that case why is Maile hitting 9th? And why not simply have Benson leading off and move everyone else down a notch? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a speedy leadoff hitter on base followed by the guy who currently hits leadoff? Is there something less great about that?

    e) The Reds have been winning with Benson hitting at the bottom. Why mess with it?

    -I can’t even list all the reasons why this argument is wrong, but I’ll try listing few. Let’s start with the fact that the Reds were also winning with Weaver and Lively pitching every five days instead of Green and Lodolo. Should they sign those guys to long contracts and forget about Greene and Lodolo, because why mess with a formula that works? Don’t we all agree that teams should always look for ways to improve, even when things have been going well? And now that the recent record has been pretty bad, isn’t it be time to rethink a couple things?

    There is simply no rational explanation for what Bell has been doing with Benson. It’s all just nonsense to justify nonsensical behavior. This is like the manager of a restaurant arbitrarily deciding the restaurant’s most popular and profitable items can only be served after 7pm, and never even experimenting with the idea of making those items available earlier in the day even though it would be incredibly easy to do, and people are justifying the policy by saying things like “well, the restaurant seems to be making money with this policy, so why mess with it? Maybe those foods won’t taste as good if they’re served earlier in the day — ever think of that? And isn’t it nice to have really happy customers after 7pm?”

    • J

      *EDLC (I keep reversing those letters for some reason, which is why I usually call him Elly. Still dreaming of an edit button.)

    • RedlegScott

      With all of the shifting of other players, I, too, wonder why Benson hasn’t been moved around experimentally, at least a few times.

    • Mark Moore

      +5,000 for the insightful essay and questions. I’m also baffled and I don’t really dive into analytics or line-up construction or such. What I do know is the guys in the top slots get more AB’s on average.

      Your little restaurant analogy reminds me of the series I’ve been watching on the History Channel – “The Food that Built America”. Mr. Bell (not ours, mind you) was struggling with his Taco Bell stores until he began offering service until 11PM. He broke a long-standing mold by doing something different and the results are pretty obvious to see.

      This wouldn’t be just change for the sake of change. If we’re serious about October, you seek to gain every advantage you can against your opponents. Every. Single. One. The old saw about repeating the same things over and over and expecting different results come readily to mind.

      Or, to quote one Albert Einstein – “We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”

      Let’s go kill some Snakes, shall we?

      • J

        Well, the really funny thing is that Bell (our Bell) is actually doing something that probably no other manager in the history of baseball has ever tried. He’s ignoring an industry-wide norm that actually makes perfect sense, i.e., you generally want your highest OPS guys near the top of the order. If you look at teams that have won championships, I doubt you’ll find a single case in which one of the most productive and consistent hitters never cracks the top half of the lineup. Bell is basically having his version of Joe Morgan hitting 8th all season. Who does that?

        There are a lot of baseball norms that I think managers would be smart to ignore (such as yanking starting pitchers out who are cruising along but have hit some magical pitch count, or dropping a lefty down in the order because of some blind faith in handedness even though it’s clear the guy can handle lefties), and Bell follows most of those. But with Benson, he’s apparently decided he understands something that nobody else has ever understood in the history of baseball, and he’s apparently not even willing to question it for a single day.

    • Harry Stoner

      Grist for the mill.

      I’ve turned into a big Benson fan and think he’s got huge potential growth ahead.

      I was liking him batting 9th initially and not sure if or how that influenced his turnaround.

      So just for fun in response:

      a) Sure, but his .300+ avg was clearly unsustainable. Check his stats, he’s at around .270 for the last month, striking out more again, but still good eye, drawing walks, hitting.

      b) Only makes sense if Bell tries to move him in the order…but Bell said, for whatever reason, that he doesn’t like juggling the order because it might upset the players. Sounds nutty, I know.

      But…Bell tried McLain at #3 and moved him back to #2 with good results.

      EDLC was a disaster at leadoff and that experiment ran too long. Not to say in ST 2024 it shouldn’t be tried again. Marte leading off? With Newman on the IL Bell obviously looking for a RH to lead off…despite Friedl’s pretty good performance against LHers. But it’s Bell.

      c) Not really following your argument here. This is the most abstract of debate points on the topic.

      d) I think this is “Bell Logic” at work. Trying to avoid a ‘dead zone’ in the lineup at 7-8-9 or like 2022: 5-6-7-8-9. Granted that sequence doesn’t come up maybe but on the lineup card, but of all the possible rationales, this one has the sliver of sense.

      Maile has been a productive hitter on and off. Benson was at #9. Not sure about the switch.

      d + e) I agree in principal. Why not move Benson up and give it a try? (see ‘b’ above)
      Comping it, though, to use of pitchers isn’t a good argument at all…only rhetorical.

      Votto’s position in the order is likely the roadblock to more creative shuffling. Moving Benson to #7? Doesn’t do much. Leadoff? Friedl is pretty productive there. Also LH.

      Well, despite the sweep of LA, Reds haven’t been winning that much of late, and they need all the offense they can get.

      Benson has been a pleasant surprise. To me at least, him batting way low in the order has been an interesting and pleasant surprise.

      Why not give him a shot higher in the order? Friedl would bring all the same +++ to #8 or 9 that Benson does.

      Keep in mind, “Bell knows things!” Benson spoke about how surprised and pleased he was by his role in an unexpected / unattractive # in the lineup.

      I disagree that “there’s no rational sense…” You may not agree with it, but that’s a different matter. Your restaurant analogy makes better sense than simple negation.

      Why not give it a try? “Friday Special: Leadoff Benson”.

      I’m no fan of Bell, plain and simple. There’s numerous other things about his ‘managing’ that bug me worse than this.


      • RedlegScott

        Agree, Harry – avoid a dead zone in the order.

      • J

        I won’t try to get into all of that, but I’ll respond to “I disagree that ‘there’s no rational sense…’ You may not agree with it, but that’s a different matter.”

        By this standard, I can come up with a “rational” argument to support virtually anything. If Bell chooses to have Maile leading off tonight, I can say it’s “rational” because “this will lull the pitcher into a false sense of security, he’ll make a mistake, Maile is good at hitting mistake pitches, so he’ll probably hit a home run,” or “Bell is messing with the opponent’s mind by making them think Maile is way better than he is, and they’ll probably walk him out of of fear. If he’s hitting 9th, they’ll know he’s not a very good hitter and they won’t walk him. This is Maile’s best chance to reach base.”

        It’s easy to say any decision is “rational” if all you mean is “I can think of an explanation for this decision that sounds logical to people who don’t know anything about this topic.” But that’s not what I mean by rational. I mean a decision that actually makes sense based on real-world facts and information, math, logic, etc.

        Why are you eating lunch today? One possible explanation is that you’re trying to eat as much lunch food as you possibly can so that you can deprive other people of lunch, because you’re an ogre whose main goal in life is stopping other people from enjoying lunch. That’s a “rational” explanation in the sense that it makes sense. I can see how X and Y are logically causing Z in that explanation. But if someone actually believes that’s the reason you’re eating lunch, I’d say they’re being irrational because it just doesn’t fit with anything I know about you, about human behavior, or about lunch.

        We don’t have to pretend we don’t know anything about how baseball works. We don’t have to invent explanations. Bell is simply being irrational about this.

      • J

        Why did Morgan hit 8th all season between the #7 hitter and the pitcher? To avoid a dead zone in the lineup!

        Why did Eric Davis hit 8th all season? To avoid a dead zone!

        See how easy it is to say these things about a guy who leads the team in OPS? And how crazy it would have been to actually DO those things even though the explanation sounds perfectly reasonable?

        (Fun fact: Eric Davis didn’t actually lead the 1990 Reds in OPS. Hal Morris did. I’m pretty sure Morris also didn’t hit 8th.)

        Yes, I understand Benson isn’t Davis or Morgan. But this team doesn’t have Rose, Bench, Perez, etc. It has Old Votto, Stephenson, Friedl, and a bunch of rookies hitting ahead of him. The guy with the highest OPS should not be hitting 8th. Period.

      • J

        Update: Hal Morris hit in every spot in the lineup in 1990, but had just five at-bats at #8. Despite his rookie status, and despite the presence of many veterans on that team, young Mr. Morris and his .880 OPS started most games hitting #2, #3, or #5. That seemed to work out pretty well. But the only way Piniella found out it worked was to actually try it.

      • Harry Stoner

        J, you’re kind of being a bit overwhelming here, vato.

        I can’t get caught up in your level of rhetorical argumentation, it’s not my thing.

        It seems to be yours.

        I enjoy your posts, so don’t read that as a negative at all.

        But you do make a lot of rhetorical arguments along the way, which are pretty much dead ends for discussion.

        Eric D and Morgan are irrelevant to the discussion at hand. The played decades ago on completely different Reds teams with completely different lineups.

        Same with your comp about Benson by relating to Bell’s use of pitchers. It’s fun and reads well on RLN, but it’s an irrelevant argument to Benson in the batting order.

        Same with my lunch. If you’re going to value “rationale” over “reasons” you’re going to have to more clearly define your terms….but it will likely be so rooted in your own values to not be valuable as a shared standard.

        But at least I / we would know where you stand.

        If it’s an objective standard, then you can’t throw out Red herrings with comps to 40-50 years ago players.

        Do the detective work. Go through all of Benson’s ABs in each game and map out what the #6 or #3 or #1 hitter did in each game and comp how you think Benson would have performed better.

        Benson has been up ~200 times so you could track it all down and put up a spreadsheet and maybe you’ll have the info you need ‘ want.

        Otherwise, you are just trying to leverage a POV based on anecdotal references and what you “feel” might be right.

        More power to you on that.

        Surely, you enjoy the debate here and evince an argumentative side. I’ve got no problem with that, I like your posts by and large.

        I’m not with you on the Benson thing, clearly, but if you want to move to crunch the numbers (and not simply say “look at what Schmergel is doing with the Tigers!” then roll with it.

        India did hit at #1 and #3 so one can comp his production, though other variables are involved, too.

        We’ve seen numerous lineups with 3 stiffs in a row at the bottom of the order for in an inning or two. I ultimately think that’s what Bell is trying to avoid.

        But like I said, he can get after that and still try Benson at different locations in the order.

        FWIW Votto gave his round about nod to the order ‘spreading out’. It wasn’t specific to Benson at #8 or #9, but maybe implicit. Or maybe I wanted to read it that way.

        You won’t spoil my dinner by disagreeing with any of the above.

        I’m not up for a prolonged debate. I feel like I may be poking a stick in the tiger’s cage.

        Pero, suave, suave…que no tengo dientes.

    • 2020ball

      I’d have had Benson top 5 in the batting order since july, buti don’t see a pressing need to gripe about it or as yet another reason to type the managers name in a negative post like most around here.

      • J

        I apologize for talking about Reds baseball so much on this Reds baseball blog. Let’s talk about happy things, like bunnies. I like bunnies. They’re cute and nice. Bunnies are where it’s at.

    • RedlegScott

      Any chance you’re taking this a tad too seriously, J? Just asking.

      • J

        Any chance you’re being a jerk? Just asking.

      • J

        What’s your take on bunnies? Do you like bunnies? I like bunnies.

        Is this better?

  27. RedlegScott

    The D-backs have won 9-11 and four straight. Better bring our A-game to the dez.

  28. redfanorbust

    With our injuries and rookies playing amazing how well we are still playing and in the hunt for the playoffs. To add to my amazement I also i did a rough estimate of our bullpen salaries and it seems to be total just north of $8M. Not sure where that ranks with all MLB teams but probably in the lower third for sure. Next year after JV’s .200 BA and $25M and aprox $34M to people not even playing for the Reds anymore come off the books and a HEFTY increase in payroll to quality free agents and the bad luck injury bug squashed we should see the Reds in position not just to make the playoffs but to get past the first round.

  29. Red Lasso

    Let’s try to simply enjoy this unexpected ride in 2023! Playoffs or no playoffs!