The Cincinnati Reds have Thursday off. When they return to the field on Friday they’ll welcome the last place St. Louis Cardinals to Great American Ball Park for a weekend series. As things sit heading into the games on Thursday, the Reds are a half-game back of the final wild card spot with 20 games left.

The wild card race seems to be down to Philadelphia (+5.0), Chicago (+3.5), Miami (0.0), Arizona (-0.5), Cincinnati (-0.5), and San Francisco (-2.5). No one else is within six games of the final spot. San Francisco has the toughest remaining schedule of the bunch with their opponents having a .537 winning percentage. The Reds have the easiest remaining schedule with their opponents having a .470 winning percentage. Miami is just in front of Cincinnati with their opposition having a .475 winning percentage. Chicago (.527) and Philadelphia (.510) both have schedules remaining against teams with a combined winning record. Arizona is just below that at .499 for their remaining schedule.

The Reds will face St. Louis, Detroit, New York, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and St. Louis once again to round out their season. Only Minnesota, who leads the American League Central with a 73-67 record, is above .500 among the teams remaining. The Twins will be in Cincinnati for a 3-game series from the 18th through the 20th.

Hunter Greene returns

Following his last start, Hunter Greene caught Covid. He was pitching with it, he just didn’t know it, and began to have symptoms following the game. He would wind up on the Covid injured list and he remained in San Francisco until things cleared up. Greene is now back in Cincinnati and he’s been listed as Sunday’s probable starter.

Cincinnati’s front office didn’t make any trades for starting pitching at the deadline. One thought, though not expressed by the front office, was that the club had guys returning from the injured list soon and that would be able to fill the need. Well the Reds certainly need Greene to step up and pitch like he’s capable of doing if they’re going to reach the playoffs. There are three weeks left and every game counts. When he’s at his best, Greene can match up with anyone in the game. That’s exactly the kind of guy they need in the next 3-4 starts to end the regular season.

Alex Young’s 1st rehab appearance

Last night the left-handed reliever was in Louisville to make a rehab appearance. He has missed the last two weeks with a hamstring injury. Young pitched a perfect 5th inning with a strikeout for the Bats. He threw 13 pitches with nine strikes in his inning of work against St. Paul. Young is eligible to return from the injured list on Friday.

123 Responses

  1. Rednat

    i seem to remember us having an “easy schedule” in september of 2021 as well. We all remember how that turned out so we have to remain on our guard

    • Eddiek957

      Yeah me too. Getting a play-off spot is not going to be a cakewalk

  2. LDS

    I agree with @RedNat, “easy schedule” is the kiss of death for the Reds. Coincidentally, 2021 was also the last time the Reds gave Bell an extension. Does history repeat itself this year? And will it be 2020 or 2021? Neither of which are particularly noteworthy.

  3. RedBB

    Seems like a bit of false hope to me. Cards, NYM, Twins and Guardians are all capable teams. Even the Pirates and Detroit aren’t that bad. Too bad we don’t have A’s, KC, White Sox or Rockies as those teams are much worse. One positive I see is we don’t play any hammers like Atlanta or LAD.

    • Jim Walker

      Or have 7 games with Brewers and 3 with the Braves (like the Marlins).

      Or 6 with the Cubs, 3 with the Astros, and 2 with the Giants head to head (Like the Snakes)

      Or 7 with the Dodgers and 2 with Snakes head to head (Like the Giants)

  4. Mark Moore

    We’re all going to hold our collective breath just a little bit through this first weekend and then see where we stand. Several moving parts here that aren’t even remotely within our realm of control.

    Bottom line here is win, baby, win … and the rest takes care of itself.

    • Redgoggles

      +1000 to just win, baby, win. One game, one series at a time. And hope heath returns fully, ASAP!

    • Jim Walker

      “..Several moving parts here that aren’t even remotely within our realm of control….”

      To paraphrase an infamous statement by a former POTUS, the sentence above sort of depends on the meaning of “our”. 😉

      If “our” means we followers of the Reds, I agree 100%. If “our” infers the Reds team, the only thing they don’t control is Marlins because the maximum number of possible total wins by the Reds and DBacks are the same with the Reds holding the tiebreaker and by the Giants less than the Reds. However, the Marlins can still win more total games than the Reds at least until the end of their game tonight.

      • Mark Moore

        Both, Jim.

        And our Reds can’t control any of the other teams. Especially the Stupid Cubs.

      • Jim Walker

        True. Stupid Cubs.

        BTW Fish trail Dodgerooties 10-0 in the bottom of the 8th in Miami. So that’s one game closer to ending the nightmare 3 games in hand scenario of Marlins over the Reds. After tonight, their max possible wins fall to 94, which is still 1 game better than the Reds max win potential.

        And I think I miscounted earlier and the DBacks can actually also get 94 potential wins pending their outcome tonight.

        I am going to have to write a spreadsheet macro to comp this stuff.

  5. Jeff K

    “Easiest schedule” is a false sense of security.

    • Mark Moore

      +50,000 for the smoking fish avatar

      • Melvin

        hahaha It will be your fault if the “easiest schedule” doesn’t work out. lol

        Just like it was your fault in 2021 that the second “easiest schedule” didn’t work out……I don’t think so. lol

        Bottom line is really pretty simple. If out hitters keep our strikeouts down and our pitchers keep our walks down then we’ve got a pretty good chance against any team. If not we’re in trouble against any team. Perfect example is our last series. It really doesn’t matter much who we play.

  6. DataDumpster

    The table is all set for David Bell to prove to the fans that he really belongs and is not just a Buddy play. When you get to some real odds that just take into consideration pure game results and strength of schedule, the Reds rank 1st for that 3rd wild card spot over the Marlins, DBacks, and Giants. If you want to believe in the Fangraphs player projection system (I don’t) and its ESPN knockoff, then the Reds are just above the bottom and rank about 15 point lower than the Baseball Reference poll that relies on actual statistics.
    Still not a fan of David Bell but if they pull through this I would have to tip my cap and acknowledge that he’s doing something right for the performance of the team (even if we don’t know what it is).
    BTW, did anybody see how FanGraphs “projected” Nick Martini and the myriad players we brought up from the minors this year?

    • Ted Alfred

      “Still not a fan of David Bell but if they pull through this I would have to tip my cap and acknowledge that he’s doing something right for the performance of the team (even if we don’t know what it is).”

      Grudgingly agree….although I think a repeat of the epic collapse of Sept 2021 is more likely. Hope I’m wrong.

    • Doug Gray

      It’s September 7th, the Reds are a half-game out of the playoffs, and the team has used multiple pitchers who were not even in affiliated professional baseball when May began and there are still people questioning if David Bell is doing something right.

      I dunno, guys, it’s probably time to just admit that he’s probably doing something right.

      • JB WV

        Thanks Doug. My thoughts exactly. And this is a team that never gives up. The manager has more to do with attitude than making second-guessed moves during games.

      • Jim Walker

        Working for a GM that except for blinking at the deadline is doing everything he can to give his manager what he can to compete. 😉

      • J

        By this logic, when last year’s team went 3-22 despite having a much higher payroll and several veteran players on the roster, and when it wound up losing 100 games despite having starters such as Castillo, Mahle, Greene, Ashcraft, Lodolo, and a $10 million free agent, I guess it’s fair to say Bell must have done absolutely nothing right, because almost nobody expected that team to be THAT terrible. He must have really figured out a lot about managing between last year and this year.

      • Doug Gray

        I don’t agree with the logic you are suggesting that I’m using here, but for the people who do use that logic, yes. And I’d venture to say that 85% of the whiners and complainers in the comments section here use that logic.

        My logic: The manager doesn’t matter all that much unless they are a complete buffoon (which also means that they would not be hired in the first place) or they happen to be the greatest manager of all time.

        It’s the players. It’s the health of those players. The end.

      • greenmtred

        And just how good were those veteran players? Managers who have good players have winning teams. Those same managers with weak rosters have losing teams, Parse that however you like. This is not to say that managers have no importance, but in-game decisions–the thing that most of you guys focus on–mean little without players who execute. Last year’s team was abysmal. This year’s team has an unprecedented number of rookies starting every game and a pitching staff utterly decimated by injuries and illness and is, as Doug points out, in contention when nobody thought it would be. It also leads MLB in come from behind wins. But keep beating the drums. By all means, keep beating the drums.

      • BuzzKutter

        In the end it’s all a chemistry thing. How well all of the moving parts mesh together. It’s the basis for any unit coming together and getting the job done.

        In our everyday work environment lives I believe we can all relate. When everyone is working together things fall in place.

      • redfanorbust

        Hey Doug. Agreed. See my post.

      • J

        According to the site’s commenting guidelines:

        “No personal attacks. This covers other commenters, the post author, players, agents, coaches, journalists and front office personnel. This includes renaming people in a derogatory manner. In general comment on the Reds, not other commenters. Treat people with respect.”

        Now that I understand “whiners and complainers” is a term of respect, I wonder what disrespect would look like?

    • Tampa Red

      We’ll just for the record, he doesn’t need to prove anything to this fan. What he’s done with a incredibly young, inexperienced group of position players and a makeshift starting pitching staff to go with a ragtag BP, and then to blow past their expected win total of 66 with 20 still to go….yeah that’s impressive. I hope like hell he gets manager of the year because he’s earned it.

      • Earmbrister

        Here here Tampa! It’s remarkable what the Reds have accomplished considering the numerous injuries and ragtag pitching. Kudos to Krall and Bell for a job well done.

    • redfanorbust

      Hey DataDumpster. Not sure if I would be happy or not with Bell if we made the playoffs as a criteria. With the insane amount of injuries to key players I think I would just tip my cap to him to have seen us this far. IMO Bell has never been that big of an issue either way anyway. If I was really unhappy about Bell I would focus my unhappiness at Krall and Castellini since they do the hiring and sign the checks.

  7. TJ

    Any news on India? Not sure who had a COVID designation. Do we know anything about those players? How about Votto? No news whatsoever on him. Is he out for the year?

    • Doug Gray

      Last Votto update was he was taking swings in BP and still doing some strengthening stuff. It does not sound like he’ll be out for the year, but we’ll know when we know.

      India was said to potentially be ready to go on a rehab assignment within a few days if he didn’t have any setbacks.

  8. doofus

    I will be honest. I am tired of the constant David Bell bashing. Does he make mistakes, yes. WE ALL DO. Not one of us is perfect.

    • Jim t

      @Doofus what drives the site is the manager wannabes. I don’t put much stock in their post but at times it is very comical.

      • doofus

        “Comical, redundant, nauseating, dumb, illogical, outlandish, childish” can all be used to describe some of the rants. I get it, we are all Reds fans, but some of us need to get real.

        David Bell has lead a squad of mostly rookies to a position in the standings that most of us, me included, did not think possible this season. Why can’t we just enjoy what has happened and what will happen.

        We have a good young team and with proper guidance from ownership (wink, wink Big Bob) and astute maneuvering from the front office this success will be greater and continue in the near future.

      • J

        What I get sick of are all the people who constantly need to complain about other commenters on this site instead of talking about Reds baseball. It’s supposedly a violation of the site’s rules to do that, but for some reason that rule seems to be ignored whenever someone is insulting anyone who criticizes Bell.

      • wkuchad

        @J – I really struggle with trying to figure out if you’re serious in your posts or just trying to troll for a reaction. If you are trying to troll, kudos to you.

      • J

        wkuchad, that’s funny, because I feel the same way about all the people who insist on complaining about those of us who criticize Bell. It seems to serve no purpose other than to start arguments. Isn’t that was trolls do?

    • Eddiek957

      I think we should judge Bells managing post the last extension. Like many managers and players it takes multiple seasons to hit their stride. I liked when Bell used Law as an opener early in the season. Wished he used it more. I think Barrero kind of got hosed. But I really don’t think any other manager could have won more games with this team. Our rotation is held together with duct tape and crazy glue. Yet this team persists. Took two out of three against Seattle. How many games does this team with Proce as manager? Go Reds

  9. Jim t

    Not overly concerned about schedule but very concerned about the health of our pitching.

    • JB WV

      Same. I was optimistic until Ashcraft went down. Any word on Williamson?

    • Jim Walker

      +1000 The smoke is running low and and mirrors are getting tarnished.

    • Redsvol

      yes, I agree. Ashcraft’s revival coincided with the team beginning to playing much better in June. Without him, I’m afraid the staff doesn’t really have a leader to lean on.

      Greene will eventually become one but he just has so little experience. Abbott and Williamson are out over their skis but are gaining valuable experience for ’24. And Lively is just a “steady Eddy” that gets zero credit for eating innings.

    • Kevin H

      Thanka for sharing. I don’t know about war, however I do know the rookies are very talented.

    • Doc

      Thanks, doofus. That is an excellent article and shows just how much has been accomplished by players with so little MLB experience. No matter what happens over the next several weeks, this is a team for the record books. And they are not done yet!

  10. Kevin H

    To me David Bell has done a good job. The team is still in the playoff chase. Played multiple rookies, and a pitching staff that has been patch work at best. Not to mention a bullpen that has been lights out till recently, however still doing a adequate job.

    Bell is the right manager for this team.

  11. Stoney

    The path is there for the playoffs!! If not now when? Everything is lining up nicely between the schedule and key players returning. Won’t be easy by any means but this group seems to be different than previous teams. I could be wrong but I’ll enjoy September baseball for a change!! Reds windows of opportunity are always very small. Hopefully they’ll take advantage!

    • Doc

      Regardless of the outcome of the next three weeks, this team will gain tons of valuable experience in the cauldron of playoff pressure that make the next 4-5 years look very promising.

      • Rob

        No doubt the experience of the next 20 days will pay dividends down the road. But let’s be careful to not to downplay the importance of getting into the playoffs vs falling short. I would think getting over the hump would be of great value to the confidence of the players and team going forward.

    • Redsvol

      Just about all of the world Series winners over the last 20 years made the playoffs the year prior – gaining valuable experience. This experience isn’t just for the players, because the coaching staff needs it also.

      I wouldn’t expect us to get very far in playoffs but I really hope this team gets to taste it this year. It would make them very hungry for it again next year. Bader and Renfro both have valuable playoff experience. Pitching staff – not so much.

  12. wkuchad

    I have really enjoyed the positive nature of this site today. Some great discussion, even the disagreements have been civil and great comments on both sides. And all this after a loss last night. I don’t know what changed or happened, but let’s keep it up.

    And I’m really hating not watching a Reds game tonight. I am so addicted.

    I don’t know, I just feel like this season has been a success no matter what happens at this point. Anything extra is just gravy. And no matter what happens, I am already stoked about the possibilities next season.

    • RedlegScott

      Perhaps what happened is Doug spoke up about Bell, those who agreed piled on, and the contrarions stayed silent (for once). Doug is right – Bell hasn’t been the complete disaster many say he is on this site.

    • redfanorbust

      Agreed. Us poor Reds fans have been starved for any significant good news for so long that if we get good news finally and it looks like it might be slipping away some can lose perspective at times. Next year (if ownerships spends a serious amount on FA) looks really bright. Go Reds!

  13. Indy Red Man

    The Bell stuff has been overwhelming, but it’s a sports blog/portal/site. That’s how they work. The “yeah rah” types turn the game off and probably don’t think much about it until the next one. Bottom line is Doug is right. Bell has kept them together. Yeah battling Benson 8th-9th is crazy and there is no hit-n-run in Bell’s world, but that’s just his style. A big chunk of the dumb stuff like holding CES down for 4 months isn’t even on Bell. The kid has only improved month by month.

    So here we are. Watching a playoff race in September while rooting hard for the Cubs just like we all expected

    • Jim Walker

      And the Dodgers tonight, Phillies over the weekend, and Brewers starting Monday because we someone, anyone, to stop those Marlins.

      • Indy Red Man

        And Atlanta and 3 at the Mets (like the Reds) who have a winning record at home. I’m really only worried about Arizona or the possibility that our kids are too immature to play the bottom feeders as hard as they just battled Seattle

      • Indy Red Man

        The Fish have been fileted. Arizona up 3-1 but they have 6 more with the Cubs, 2 with SF, and 7 in New York (4 Mets, 3 Yankees). The Reds don’t have to be perfect to get it done

  14. Urban Cowbuck

    I wish easy schedule meant like college football Alabama vs Illinois St. kind of easy schedule.

  15. RedBB

    Cardinals Wainright is getting bombed by Atlanta and they are down 5-3 yet the Cardinals are keeping Wainright in (it was 3-3). Almost seems like they don’t care about winning tonight and are resting their BP tonight in anticipation of the Reds series. Feels like the Cardinals care more about spoiling the Reds playoff chances than winning.

    • RedBB

      6-3 now and another HR off Wainwright. That’s 3 HR’s in the last 2 innings and 2 outs were also warning track great plays against the fence by Edman. Could easily have been 5 HR’s in 2 innings.

    • TR

      It makes sense. The Reds are not quite the big Cardinal rival the Cubs are, but there’s still a long rivalry between the two river towns that goes back to the beginning of ML baseball with the Red Stockings and St. Louis first ML team, the Brown Stockings, now the Orioles.

      • greenmtred

        And let’s not forget Brandon Phillips and the “whiny LB’s.” The Cardinals seem, for years, to have saved their best for the Reds.

  16. J

    On April 6, 2022, Doug Gray wrote a piece about where the Reds were projected to finish the 2022 season. He wrote: “The team isn’t – on paper at least – a world beater by any stretch of the imagination. But the idea that they are on par with the Pittsburgh Pirates, which was something that was espoused quite a bit, just doesn’t seem to be based in reality.” He noted that PECOTA projected the Reds to finish in second place, with an 80-82 record. Fangraphs predicted 75-87. Zips said 74-88. ESPN said 77-85.

    The Reds, in fact, wound up tied with the Pirates at 62-100. No serious person predicted they’d be that awful. No serious person predicted 3-22 start to the season. Doug specifically said it was “not based in reality” to imagine the Reds could wind up being as bad as the Pirates.

    So, if the current record is a reason to say Bell must be doing something right, last year’s record must have been a reason to say he did absolutely nothing right? And I guess this means he must have learned how to be a good manager in the last few months? Is that how this evaluation stuff works?

    • LDS

      Hang it up @J. Let the Bell supporters have their day. Reality is lurking. You don’t have to convince them. The “easy schedule “ will likely take care of that. Sit back and enjoy the ride.

    • greenmtred

      And didn’t Doug write that before most of the starting pitchers were traded? And before India and Stephenson were injured?

      • LDS

        The 3-22 occurred before the trades. But, an A for effort.

    • greenmtred

      The early predictions last season weren’t accounting for the players–including the key starting pitchers–who were traded for prospects.

      • J

        It’s true that the pre-season projections didn’t anticipate the Reds would be so hopelessly behind in July that they’d decide to trade away their most reliable starting pitchers and a few of their most productive hitters.

        Fun fact: when the Reds started making those trades, they were already on a pace to lose 100 games. Just to pick one pre-trade date at random — after losing on July 15, the Reds’ record fell to 34-56. At that pace they would have finished 61-101. What does this teach us? They didn’t lose 100 games because of the trades; they made the trades because they were going to lose 100 games.

        You’ll have to come up with a better reason why Bell isn’t responsible for the Reds failing to live up to expectations in 2022 but deserves credit for the Reds beating expectations in 2023.

        It’s kinda pathetic watching people (even Doug!) twist themselves into knots trying to figure out how to say the record of this year’s team is at least partially due to Bell’s good management, but the record of last year’s team can’t possibly suggest he was terrible at managing. (And if the team collapses down the stretch, I’m sure it won’t have anything to do with poor managing. If they win, however, it will prove that Bell did some good things. I understand how this works.)

        Rather than twisting yourselves into knots this way, you could just acknowledge that a team’s win/loss record isn’t a very good way to judge a manager’s performance. If he beats projections by 15 games one season but falls 15 games below projections the next year, he probably didn’t suddenly get a lot worse. And the same is true in reverse. He probably didn’t suddenly get better this year. There are smarter ways to think about this question than just examining the record and comparing it to pre-season projections.

      • greenmtred

        I’ve had a better reason all along; one I’ve already mentioned and the same one Doug stated above. I understand that you and LDS and some other commenters feel strongly that MLB managers are major driving forces of a team’s record. We have a difference of opinion.

      • greenmtred

        knots as intractable as the people who insist–presumably with straight faces–that when the Reds win it’s all because of the players and in spite of Bell, but when they lose it’s Bell’s fault?

    • Redsvol

      So what you’re saying is that fangraphs and other baseball prognosticators were wrong about how good a baseball team would be before any baseball games were played.

      Well that’s news. I wonder if that’s ever happened before.

  17. VegasRed

    Way too any complaints by way too many about how other posters choose to fan. Personally, I really don’t like Bell. Like I don’t like the astellini owner group.

    But some on here actually like and/or believe in both. They are the lucky fans imo. Because those of us who don’t like either are stuck with both!

    So fan on everyone! The Reds are exciting this year and entertaining. And there is hope for a better team in the near future, which we probably all can agree as Reds fans, we simply have not always had the hope.

    Btw, I like the Bell second guessing even if I don’t always agree with all of it. It makes the game more interesting and I learn things from the different posts. Even when I don’t agree.

    Fan on. Rant over. For now.

  18. TJ

    Reds set a team record last year for using 66 players. I couldn’t find it anywhere, but remember an announcer saying the Reds used 7 catchers last year. Injuries, trades, and lack of depth helped immensely to the Reds losing 100 games. Krall helped with the position player depth. Months ago we all talked about how there was no room for all the position players. Now, it’s up to Krall to work on the pitching depth. Oh and Cody Bellinger wouldn’t be a bad free agent signing. When David Bell has had talented players, he has won more games than he has lost.

  19. TR

    It’s been quite a season, win or lose in the wild card race, but the future looks good. One game at a time with the Reds getting on base, using their speed, and the amazing bullpen coming to the rescue. Time will tell.

  20. Brian Rutherford

    I think the basic format of J’s discussion is fair. If he is to be congratulated for the Reds success this season, should he not also be blamed for the failures of last season? That seems fair.

    It has been said by many that a manager receives too much blame when things are going bad and too much credit when things are going good. I agree with that statement.

    Last season the ream was hamstrung by injuries and poor performance but they also had Aristides Aquino batting second(?) in the opening day line up. Using hind sight, that wasn’t a great decision. That’s the thing though, hind sight is always easier isn’t it? Two of the five OF the Reds had to start last year (Aquino and Naquin) aren’t in MLB now. Neither are Colin Moran, Hunter Strickland, Luis Cessa, Ryan Hendrix, Aramis Garcia and more.

    All of that is to point out that the players they have now are vastly superior to last year and the beginning of the current year. When you upgrade the roster the team plays better. To me it isn’t rocket science.

    It’s fun to debate roster construction, line ups, etc. What isn’t fun is personal attacks, insults and constant negativity. The narrative has been wrong at multiple times. How about the classic “Bell won’t play the young guys”? One of my favorites is when he gets berated for taking a pitcher out too early but when he leaves a guy in and that guy gives up a run(s) late then it’s his fault for leaving him in too long.

    Yesterday we were told we “need to get over Votto” as if wanting to see one of the greatest players in franchise history get some AB’s down the stretch is unacceptable. I just want the evaluation to be fair. I think being positive and rooting for success is more enjoyable than negativity and nitpicking losses. We all get frustrated with losses. Losing is disappointing. Acting like the manager doesn’t care and isn’t intelligent isn’t fair evaluation. It is just name calling and being a knucklehead.

    • J

      I agree with most of that. (Especially the part about my assessment being fair! Thank you.) What bugs me are the numerous assertions that people on “my side” of the Bell debates are finding fault with “everything he does,” and “never give him credit for anything.” I don’t think this actually exists at all, and isn’t fair. Everyone I’m aware of will compliment him periodically when they’re impressed by something he’s done, and obviously nobody complains about “everything” he does. People just don’t seem to notice all the things he does that nobody complains about. They focus on the complaints and ignore the thousands upon thousands of decisions Bell makes as a manager that nobody complains about because we all think they’re perfectly fine. We complain when we see him do something that seems really obviously wrong to us, which really shouldn’t bother people on a Reds blog, but some people seem way too sensitive. I wish people would simply say “I disagree that this is wrong” and explain their reasons and have reasonable discussions/debates. But not too many people do that. Instead, many just periodically lash out and insult us for being so “unfair” to Bell, and for basically being bad people, as can be seen above and elsewhere on this blog.

      • Kevin H

        Wait a minute, you throw insults at people as well.

        It’s not hard to see why people get annoyed. The Orioles have had the same manager for a few years. Yet now they are in first place.

    • greenmtred

      It’s fair, certainly, but I believe–and managerial records support this belief– that, win or lose, we’re assigning too much influence to managers. They have some impact, to be sure, but the idea that either a good season or a bad season is due to a manager is ignoring what has happened when successful managers had weak teams. I won’t list–again–sterling examples of this, but have done so in the past. Bell undoubtedly has his faults, as do all managers, and undoubtedly has his strengths, as well, and the Reds this year are exciting and in contention for a while longer. That’s sufficient for me and I’m sorry to have gotten pulled into an interaction in which one faction is invested in extolling Bell and the other faction in blaming him for anything that goes wrong. I also acknowledge that–way back when–I probably had a lot to do with starting the whole thing.

  21. Chris Holbert

    Taking into account what everyone has stated, should Krall really have given him a 3 year extension, at this point?

    • greenmtred

      I have no idea, since I know no more than everyone else here does about the factors that influenced the decision. What everyone here, myself included, has stated has no bearing on this.

    • Mark Moore

      Did Krall make that choice, or did it come from higher up?

      Case in point, Counsel and the Bernies haven’t done that dance yet and they are still leading the NLC.

      • greenmtred

        The Brewers are in first becau8se they haven’t given Counsell a 3 year contract? I’d be more inclined to credit the pitching, situational hitting and defense.

      • Melvin

        No one knows for sure but I’d just about bet the farm that it came from Big Bob. Krall has to take the heat for it. I bet he can’t wait to get another GM offer from another team.

  22. Mark Moore

    My only thoughts on HDTBell remain as such:

    1. He still doesn’t rank in the top 29 MLB Field Managers in my book (at last count, he was somewhere in the 90-95 range 😛 )
    2. Yes, he has done more with a patchwork team than the vast majority of us could have imagined. Our record clearly shows that.
    3. In-game management decisions still often baffle me. But I don’t even manage at a lower level and they don’t consult me at all.
    4. The extension and timing reek of the nepotism we’ve seen before from the ownership. There are better candidates. Period. But he’s cheap and so are Bob and Phil.

    • BuzzKutter

      But he’s cheap and so are Bob and Phil.

      That’s pretty much where the Reds are at. If they win it’s going to have to be on the cheap.

  23. Jim t

    Hate to derail such a great conversation but we have 20 meaningful games that will decide our post season fate. Anyone have any thoughts on how this young team will fare under a great deal of pressure? My hope is they embrace the challenge and stay aggressive.

    • wkuchad

      Please feel free to derail. 🙂

      I’m not overly worried about the pressure to be honest. They’re so young and seem to still be having fun and playing loose. My much bigger fear is the patchwork pitching staff, especially the starting rotation. Our offense will be inconsistent – not due to pressure but because we’re very young and inexperienced. Our playoff changes have everything to do with how the starting rotation performs IMO.

      • greenmtred

        Took the words off of my keyboard, wkuchad.

  24. Doc4uk

    Anyone have an update on Williamson and Cruz who are both just as important as Greene. Having India back is also important in my

  25. Jim Walker

    Count me as skeptical about both Krall and Bell. As I said in a recent comment on another thread, the off season planning and preparation for this season was terrible. Virtually nothing they planned fell into place. However, once the wheels started flying off someone or several someomes did a great job of scrambling to avoid a disaster that might have made 2022 seem like nothing more than a warmup act.

    I am happy the scrambling has worked as well as it has; but, I seriously doubt that anywhere in anyone’s planning notes it was foreseen to have Benson and McLain up by Memorial Day with EDLC a ~2-3 weeks later and within a month or 2 more both CES and Marte also at MLB. The fact these guys have done decently to outstanding is icing on the good luck cake. So, Krall and company are not off the hook yet with me until I see them able to actually plan a season and follow through without needing to be in fire drill mode.

    • doofus

      Nice insight JW, as usual.

      I would also add that ownership has to step, and not just dismiss the Red’s fan base. Do something that really proves that they “Know How It Is Done.”

      • Jim Walker

        I would also say IMO for Bell specifically these next 3 weeks are his final exam barring another COVID outburst or a catastrophic injury (or 2).

        Whatever went before, in the last week the Reds went 4-3 versus two teams that look to be playoff bound. The 3rd WC spot is theirs for the winning from here on out. There should be no excuses for anyone.

        The Reds don’t have to make the postseason for Bell to pass. If the Reds miss by a whisker but play hard to the end, he gets a passing mark from me. However, if they go into one of their funky losing streaks and fold, the manager has to be held to account as much or more than the players.

      • greenmtred

        Jim: how about if they miss by more than a whisker but play hard to the end? Given the state of the pitching, I’d say that’s very plausible outcome.

    • Tom Diesman

      I actually have a much different take on this The Reds have a well stated and published plan that is for the most part ignored in this forum for whatever reason is chosen by those who do. That plan is essentially the following:

      The Reds are trying to eliminate peaks and valleys by continuing to build through their player pipeline, player development and scouting. That will be the base of everything they do. That’s how they’ll build long-term success and sustainable success.

      In light of that as the teams stated goal, I see all of the items you listed above as scrambling to avert disaster to actually be the plan that was put in place to be working out as they hoped it would.

      I expect a lot of people here to be mighty disappointed this winter when the Reds don’t go on the FA shopping spree that they are expecting. They may target a mid tier FA to fill a hole the organization can’t yet back fill or possibly target a trade for a younger controllable player to fill the hole. I expect any big dollars they spend will be to target a few of their existing young players to sign to contracts locking them up through their peak seasons, similar to the Hunter Greene contract.

      • Pete

        Tom, I think you nailed it perfectly. This is an organization on the rise. It is almost impossible to see it otherwise. Now, we can think this all just happenstance or it is part of a plan.

      • Redgoggles

        This, or at least I hope this is the plan. I think they expected 2023 to be a developmental/sorting type of year, and if they “had a plan” going in it would have likely prevented some of the rookies from getting their opportunities. Rookies that Krall knew were ready, way more than we did.

        Krall is looking pretty brilliant imo. I’m cautiously optimistic with Bell, but I still have reservations.

  26. Jim t

    @wkuchad, that is a huge concern of mine as well. Seems like most nights are bullpen nights. Hope to get some pitchers back this week. Need at least 2-3 against the cards. Sunday will tell a lot with Greene on the hill.

    Anyone seen any updates on Williamson and Ashcraft?

  27. doofus

    When I read some of the comments today I am reminded of some quotes from Mark Twain and Abe Lincoln. They were both baseball fans by the way.

    • J

      I’m reminded of one of my favorite movie lines of all time. From the film Broadcast News, when Holly Hunter says “No, it’s awful.” The context of the line is what makes it so good.

  28. redfanorbust

    I know every team has injuries but IMHO Reds would be in first place in this division by now if we did not have the ridiculous amount of injuries/illness of key players and if that were the case a further musing would be little to no lengthy threads about how bad Bell or Krall is/was. 🙂

    • J

      Another way or thinking about this is that the Reds got somewhat lucky when Myers, Casali, Votto, Senzel, Newman, and India got hurt, because those injuries created roster spots and/or more playing time for McLain, CES, Elly, Marte, Friedl, and Benson. Abbott and Wilamson also benefited from injuries to guys who’d otherwise have been taking their spots. It’s quite possible the Reds would be in a WORSE position if all of their projected starting players had remained healthy all season. Hard to say.

    • J

      Just a friendly reminder that the Reds started the season believing their typical September starting lineup would feature an infield of Votto, India, Barrero/Newman, and Steer, and an outfield of Myers, Friedl/Fairchild/Barrero and Fraley/Senzel. Casali would often catch with Stephenson at DH or first on those days. There were no definite expectations for any of the other guys to play major roles this year. I think we (and Bell) dodged a bullet.

      • greenmtred

        I agree. Luck has certainly played a part in this as it so often does in baseball. But recall, too, that the Reds weren’t anticipating being contenders this year but, rather, 2024 and beyond. The luck was in the premature readiness of so many rookies and there was skill involved in their acquisition and development which, evidently was part of a plan which appears to be working. Thanks to Tom Diesman for reminding us of this.

      • J

        It’s certainly true that a lot of these guys seemed to be ready for the majors before most people expected to them to be, but I’ve often wondered how many guys are actually held back due mainly to some sort of totally unscientific and unrealistic sense of how long guys “need” to be in the minors before they’re “ready” for the majors. We’ve seen many examples of guys who spent *plenty* of time in the minors and then failed once they reached the majors, and other guys who spent very little time in the minors and did great from almost their first day in the majors. And everything in between. I think we get way too hung up on these projections of when guys are “supposed” to reach the majors, so we’re just *shocked* when they seem to be capable of handling it before they’re “supposed” to be ready. I just don’t have much faith in the people who do these evaluations.

      • AllTheHype

        J – how do you know what they were projecting for September, based on April? Did they tell you there were no expectations for other guys to play major roles? I would think “they”, the FO, were thinking just the opposite. But if you have inside knowledge please share.

      • J

        It’s true that maybe their expectation was to sit Votto and India and Barrero and Myers and Senzel in favor of Benson and four guys who hadn’t even played in AAA yet. I don’t know for a fact that they weren’t planning to do that. One never knows! I just have a feeling some of those guys weren’t expecting it to happen.

      • Redgoggles

        I don’t agree. I think they “bought” Newman and Myers (and possibly even Weaver) as buy low/sell high trade targets (akin to Naquin and Drury last year) hoping , allowing – and maybe even counting on – their rookies to develop without bringing them up too soon, which is what they did with Senzel and Berrero, imo. (With that added benefit of building more farm depth.) It didn’t work out this year, unless you consider that McClain/EDLC/Abbott/CES were forced to prove they belonged with extended success at AAA, by cutting down SO rates, increasing BB rates, etc.

        If you recall, Benson actually won a starting job in SP so I’m sure they were hoping/counting on him in the mix…..just like he is, lol.

        Maybe this year is 100% luck, but if you consider the moves that Krall has made over the last couple of years, I’m believing it’s the strategy and worthy of giving him the credit he deserves. Considering the ratio of your anti-Bell/Krall posts, I can imagine this may be difficult for you.

        Either way, we’ve been treated to an awesome year…..hopefully with more high points yet to come here in September. It certainly wasn’t expected in April.

      • J

        I don’t agree that was the plan with Newman. He was an inexpensive player who could play multiple positions. I don’t think they were imagining he was suddenly going to become a hitting star. I think they imagined he’d be a good guy to have on the team this year and/or next. But we shall never know!

        Benson won the job because he had an amazing spring training, which I suspect came as a bit of a surprise to almost everyone in the organization, because his OPS last season was .450, and Cleveland was willing to trade him for a relatively little in return because they didn’t think he’d be good enough to get much playing time in their outfield. When he struggled in his first 25 at-bats the Reds sent him to the minors, and didn’t bring him up until Myers got hurt. If they really expected him to be a regular starter with this team in 2023, that was a weird way to go about it, and the Reds must have known something about him that his former team didn’t know anything about. Everyone agreed he had good potential and might be able to contribute this year, but I don’t think anyone expected the kind of year he’s had, or really anything close to it.

      • Tom Diesman

        That interpretation of the prospect status and situation of Will Benson sure is imaginative and leaves out nearly all of the pertinent information. There is much better story there if anyone cared to take the time to look.

  29. DataDumpster

    As I said much earlier (to start off this kind of messy but rather productive discussion), I will tip my hat to Bell if they pull through this and get to the Wild Card. Then, the crowing for Bell will result in a crowning of Bell for better or worse. However, I cannot overlook all the slow starts and failed finishes but maybe the team will correct part of that in big time fashion this month. As @Jim Walker elaborated in more detail, the success of this team has largely come from the largely talented and well prepared rookies that no one was forecasting to have a major role in the team’s success. To this, I give Bell little credit and as such is a recipient of a lot of good fortune from Pat Kelly’s Louisville development system. Perhaps Bell has kept his team together with a fighting spirit and that’s good but what else would you expect from a bunch of young and aggressive guys fighting for their place in the big time. You can count on Steer, Abbott, and McClain being mainstays and Delacruz and CES having more raw talent than any of them. I can’t even name the several pitchers that with some missteps have made the rather lackluster seasons of Greene and Lodolo hardly a detriment to this team. Meanwhile, our emerging leader and still a very good ballplayer, India, seems an almost certain trade chip. This has been an exciting season that was on the verge of flopping in mid May until the horses were let loose maybe earlier than planned in some cases but provided all the lift to get the Reds in that position. I’m glad that Fraley is back but many of the injuries have just expedited better players to emerge from Louisville. That is what happened, David Bell’s role as a big game manager has not yet been seen in the second half against their direct playoff competitors but the chance is at hand against the also rans (and don’t think about 2021).

    • DaveCT

      One clarification. It is not Pat Kelley’s development system. It’s a system-wide, top to bottom development system. Kelly is responsible, with his coaches, etc. to implement it. Otherwise we’d be back where we started with different development approaches at each minor league stop.

    • Redgoggles

      I think it’s less “crowing for Bell” than it is defending Bell against folks who have consistently blamed him for everything (even when winning!) At least that’s how it strikes me.

      I do still have mixed feelings about Bell primarily from their 2021 “collapse”, but he’s earned quite a bit of respect in my boat for being a trooper last year with that roster (and idiot owner/son that turned the fanbase against the team), and navigating the veterans/rookies egos and by all accounts overseeing a very healthly clubhouse chemistry.

      I think using speed and hitting tools (not 3 outcomes) more aligns with his offensive strategies, which provides me with hope that the GM/manager are on the same page and we actually are building some organizational momentum. It just takes time to cycle through past player contracts/drafts when that wasn’t the case.

  30. LWBlogger

    If you would have told me in April, that the Reds would be a half game out of the final wildcard spot after the first week of September, I would have laughed by rear-end off. I’ve been way less invested in this team since they blew it up yet again and after the Castellini comments. I was also VERY disappointed that the front office failed to add anyone to a surprisingly good and exciting team at the deadline, but I am impressed by how the team has continued to play; and the team’s apparent attitude. They don’t seem to give up, so I guess the least I can do is not give up on them this year. I think they may fall short but hey, they are in the hunt and very well may earn a 3-game WC series. I’ll take that.

  31. tim

    i guess what is amusing to some of us is the notion that the bell-complainers, none of whom have ever managed a team of professional ballplayers (not to mention many being millionaire ballplayers) could somehow, consistently, make better decisions than a man who has been in and around baseball dugouts his entire life. i have no idea if david bell is a good, bad or ugly manager – i do know that i could not do his job; and he has the team in the thick of a wild card race nobody thought they would be in this year.