With few games remaining in the season the Cincinnati Reds need to win as many as they can, and on Friday night they had ample opportunity to do just that…. but the bullpen and defense came back to bite them over and over as the Pittsburgh Pirates took a late lead and held on for a 7-5 win.

Final R H E
Pittsburgh Pirates (73-81)
7 9 0
Cincinnati Reds (79-76)
5 7 1
W: Stratton (1-0) L: Gibaut (8-4) SV: Bednar (37)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

The Reds threatened early on, loading the bases with two outs in the bottom of the 1st inning thanks to walks to TJ Friedl and Christian Encarnacion-Strand, and then a hit batter (Joey Votto). Noelvi Marte hit the ball hard twice, but both times the ball was foul. All three runners would be stranded when Marte grounded into a force out.

Pittsburgh put some pressure on Andrew Abbott in the top of the 2nd after a leadoff double from Miguel Andujar and a single – one that didn’t advance Andujar who had to hold up to see if the ball was caught – from Jared Triolo to start the inning. The Reds young left-handed starter then took things into his own hands and he struck out the next three batters to strand both runners.

Elly De La Cruz led off the bottom of the 2nd with a single. He would then steal second. Later in the inning he stole third. That helped make Jonathan India’s fly out a productive one as De La Cruz tagged up and scored on the sacrifice fly that put Cincinnati up 1-0.

Ke’Bryan Hayes would tie the game up two innings later, cracking a solo homer to lead off the top of the 4th inning. The next inning it was the same thing, but it was Henry Davis with a leadoff homer this time around and it put the Pirates up 2-1.

Cincinnati got to work in the bottom of the inning with a 1-out single, a fielders choice that recorded no outs, and a single by to load the bases. Joey Votto grounded out, but tied the game up when TJ Friedl scored on the play. Noelvi Marte then picked up an infield single that drove in Spencer Steer to put the Reds up 3-2.

The lead didn’t last very long. Pittsburgh got two solo home runs off of Buck Farmer in the top of the 6th to tie things up and then take the 4-3 lead. Luke Maile picked up a 1-out single into shallow center and that set up a go-ahead, 2-run home run from TJ Friedl with two outs that put Cincinnati back in front 5-4, and Friedl let his dugout know about it, too.

Ian Gibaut took over for Cincinnati in the top of the 7th and saw Ji Hwan Bae reached first on a single that was initially ruled an error on Jonathan India but changed to a single two innings later to lead off the inning. Gibaut would strike out Connor Joe, but Bae stole second base in the process to put the tying run into scoring position. Three pitches later he’d come in to score on a flare into shallow left by Bryan Reynolds and the game was tied up once again. Pittsburgh executed a perfect hit-and-run as Ke’Bryan Hayes slapped the ball to the vacated spot as India moved to cover the bag to put runners on the corners. Miguel Andujar then grounded one to India, who flipped to the bag for a force out, but Elly De La Cruz threw low over to first and it got by Votto to keep the inning alive and allow the go-ahead run to score.

A walk followed and that ended the night for Gibaut as the Reds called on Fernando Cruz from the bullpen. He’d get a strikeout to end the inning. Cruz returned for the top of the 8th and he struck out all three batters he faced. The bottom of the 8th began with a walk from Jake Fraley, who was then pinch run for by Stuart Fairchild. Tyler Stephenson followed up with a strikeout before Jonathan India grounded into a double play to end the frame.

Daniel Duarte took over for Cincinnati in the 9th inning and things did not go well as he walked the first batter he faced, hit the second one, then walked the third one before Derek Johnson made the walk to the mound to talk to him. The first pitch he threw after the visit nearly hit Jack Suwinski. Five pitches later Suwinski hit a sacrifice fly to extend the Pirates lead to 7-5. Another walk followed and David Bell, finally, decided to try another pitcher. He called on Derek Law and he got out of the inning without allowing any further damage.

The Reds got a leadoff walk from TJ Friedl on four pitches in the bottom of the 9th. Spencer Steer hit a grounder to third and Ke’Bryan Hayes came up with it and fired to second, but Friedl beat the throw to the bag and everyone was safe. Christian Encarnacion-Strand grounded into a double play to follow, moving Friedl over to third and leaving the game in the hands of Joey Votto. He would do his part, walking and keeping the game alive. Noelvi Marte came up next, but he struck out to end the game.

Key Moment of the Game

Take your pick: Jonathan India not coming up with the grounder in the 7th that led to two runs scoring that wound up giving the Pirates a lead, Daniel Duarte allowing four of the five batters he faced in the 9th to reach and have Pittsburgh pad their lead, the two home runs Buck Farmer gave up in the 6th that erased a Reds lead they had just gotten back in the previous half-inning.

Notes worth noting

According to the Reds television broadcast, Elly De La Cruz is the first player in their debut season to have 30 steals for Cincinnati since Chris Sabo in 1988. He’s only the 4th to ever do it for the Reds. The wording of “debut season” is a bit strange, because some guys would be called up in September the year before their “full season” as a rookie. Guys like Billy Hamilton, who stole 56 bases as a rookie don’t get counted because he had been called up the previous September. Still cool, but he’s the 14th Reds rookie to get 30 steals in a single season.

The loss, combined with a Cubs win earlier, puts Cincinnati 1.5 games back of the final wild card spot with just seven games remaining.

TJ Friedl went 2-2 with 3 walks, his 25th steal of the year, 2 runs, and 2 RBI. He did his part.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Pittsburgh Pirates vs Cincinnati Reds

Saturday September 23rd, 6:40pm ET

TBA vs. Connor Phillips (1-0, 5.74 ERA)

75 Responses

  1. Hanawi

    Reds had chances in both the 8th and 9th inning to get the tying run into scoring position with one out. But, instead of showing urgency and trying to extend the game, they let it ride and were killed by double plays in both innings. To me that’s a bigger issue than any of the pitching decisions. Though leaving Duarte in after the first 3 batters was completely baffling, though it ultimately didn’t mean anything.

    • Jim Walker

      The Reds were home team, right? Recall one of the first things my dad taught me about strategy, was that at home a team could play to be tied because being tied meant they always had more 3 outs in the bank; but, the road team had to play to win because they didn’t have any more certain additional outs if tied in the 9th or extra innings.

    • Dewey Roberts

      Too many rookies on this team for a pennant race, plus injuries to several key players. It is hard for rookies to deal with all this pressure.

  2. Melvin

    Friedl stepped up tonight big time.

    • Jim Walker

      Yes he did. Beating those 2 force plays at 2B should have been even bigger than it turned out to be. I feel for him tonight like I felt for Hunter Greene on Wednesday.

  3. Moon

    Reds are 29-35 since the all star break and have lost 4 of the last 5 in crunch time. They are just not a very good team right now. I think all the injuries to the pitching staff has caught up with them. Votto now hitting .199 but at least he can still find a way to get hit by a pitch.

    • Greenfield Red

      Question is, will all of those who beat up on Nick Krall for not trading for one of the available starting pitchers at the deadline own up to the fact they were dead wrong? I doubt it. They’ve all been terrible and would not have helped the Reds at all.

      I was squarely on the the do not trade side of the ledger as were several others.

      A good outfield bat or a good starting pitcher this winter, in free agency, should be the Reds top priority. Then add another bullpen piece or two. They have 40 mil per year to spend for the next three or four years.

      • Moon

        I have posted before I think it is amazing, given the injuries to the starters, that the Reds were in the race as long as they were this year. The only starting pitcher in the rotation at the beginning of the year that is still in the lineup in Hunter Greene. And even Greene has missed several months. The fact the Reds had to use Luke Weaver to start so many games this year is a clear indicator of just how bad things have been. For the record I did not want the Reds to make any trades at the deadline for rental players. I think they are better off right now sticking with what they have and sorting things out in the offseason.

      • Tom Reeves

        I think Krall made the right choice. Time will tell but I think this franchise is very well positioned over the next 4-5 years. This year always had to be about player and team development and that mission has largely been accomplished.

      • Jon

        Who do the Reds target though? Sonny Gray and the outfielder Hernandez from Seattle would be the two obvious free agent picks. Yet they’re both going to likely cost a premium due to the poor quality free agent market this winter. If they can’t convince Gray to return, Krall will have to add via trade and use a bunch of his prospects. (Because Senzel, India, Fraley, and Barrero won’t bring much of anything in return.)

      • Jim Walker

        How were we wrong? This bullpen is fried because of the way it has been overtaxed covering for a lack of starting innings eaters. Games have still been lost doing what they were forced to do. So, if they had picked up a guy or 2 that would have given them 5 innings into the 6th, even if the team lost, the bullpen would not have been as abused. Consequently, they might have avoided meltdowns like Wednesday and tonight.

        Sparky Anderson’s theory was that no matter what a manager or the players did, a team was going to win a third of its games, lose a third, and, the how the final third broke separated winners from losers.

        Nevertheless how you lose that inevitable third can make a difference in the contested third. One of those ways is having an innings eater or two that saves the bullpen. Lorenzen, one of the guys who is supposedly a disaster, is right on 6 innings per start.Giolito is at 5.2 innings. The Reds would be in better shape with either of them even if the team lost every game they started.

      • Greenfield Red

        Jim, they were wrong because all the starting pitchers traded at the dead line have been terrible. You can’t count on any of them for 5 or 6 innings as you mention. They would not have helped the Reds win anything.

        A guy to possibly look to this Winter is Giolito (SP?). If he checks out health wise, he could be a steal. Because of his bad second half, he should be discounted. Next Spring will put another 6 months between him and his divorce. It may take a little longer than that to get past it, but if signed for 3 or 4 years, the long view could really pay off.

      • Jim Walker

        They likely would have helped the team win by saving bullpen innings to be used in other games.

        I didn’t invent those numbers, I went to BBRef and divided their season appearances into season innings pitched. Giolito warts and all has pitched 28 innings in his last 5 appearances and that includes a 3 inning stinker. Lorenzen has pitched 26 innings in his last 5 starts.

      • Jim Walker

        BTW, The Philles are 4-3 in games started by Lorenzen.
        The Guardians (and now Angels) results have stunk in games started by Giolito (2-7) but then they stank before he arrived too.

      • TR

        The Reds are exhausted as the season winds down. I’ve been a fan since the old days of the late 40’s at Crosley Field and have never been so optimistic about our favorite team even before the BRM broke forth fifty plus years ago. Of course, the media today is much different now than in those days. How about a crowd of almost 40 thousand in late September? That’s a good omen. One thing, among many, I’d like to see done in the offseason is the acquisition of an outstanding hitting coach. The potential of the Red’s young hitters is incredible, but they need some guidance on one of the toughest things in sports to do, and the Reds have always been known for their offense going back to the days of Big Ted Kluszewski.

      • BK

        The last two bullpen implosions have come from pitchers who had been recently well rested. Possibly, they are running out of gas from a long season, but also possible they were not sharp from a lack of recent usage.

      • AllTheHype


        “BTW, The Philles are 4-3 in games started by Lorenzen.”

        And the Reds were 11-7 at the deadline in games started by Weaver. You should know that is NOT a good argument.

        Weaver has a 2nd half ERA of 5.63. Lorenzen post deadline ERA is 6.02.

        There is NO GOOD argument to be made that the Reds should have traded for Lorenzen versus just kept Weaver.

        Yet Krall took a lot of abuse here, for nothing really.

      • Greenfield Red

        I agree Hype. That’s why I brought it up. I think he should be GM of the year. Look how much they over performed this year with all those rookies… many of whom he brought in since being GM. So many people forget, this team should have lost 90 or more games. Despite all the rookies and all the injuries, they will beat that by at least 10 games. All the while NK has continued to fill that pipeline from the bottom. Getting several guys like Hector Rodriquez and Victor Acosta rather than guys like Rookie Davis in trades will pay off big time down the line. Cabrera, Lin, Duno, Collier, Steward, Petty, Aguiar and others are a few years away, but they are real.

        I think the Reds will spend this Winter. I think Giolito should be a top target as long as his physical health checks out. There are legitimate reasons for his second half downturn that will ease in time. Sonny Gray is another option. Or in the Outfield there could be options… although turns out, Freidl, Benson, and Steer is a pretty good offensive outfield.

        I like the idea of Giolito 4 yrs/80 mil with annual opt outs. Give him reason to outperform and leave in a year or two. The opt outs bring the price down from 4/100 or 7/200.

      • AllTheHype

        @greenfield, the most important thing you have to remember about signing a guy like giolito is not the dollars, but the years and commitment to playing time. A 4 year contract with Giolito is a 4 year commitment of starts every 5th day, regardless of performance. The dollar value of his contract dictates that he WILL play, regardless of performance.

        If you get the version of Giolito we’ve seen in the second half of this year (6.64 ERA), then that contract (Gilolito starting every 5th day) will single handedly make it VERY difficult for the Reds to make the playoffs in any of those years.

        So I’d be strongly against signing a guy like that, not because of the dollars but because of the commitment to playing time. Giolito comes with way too much risk to hand out guaranteed playing for 4 years.

    • LDS

      Actually they were 1 game under .500 between the All-Star break and the Bell extension – 1-5 against Milwaukee immediately after the All-Star break. Did pretty well against SFG & AZ. They finished 2 of 3 against LA straddling the announcement . They then lost 10 of the next 13 against such powerhouses as the Nats and the Pirates. That started immediately on August 1st after the meaningless trade deadline. So the Reds got Bell for 3 and nothing at trade deadline – this is the result.

      • Tom Reeves

        Also, the rookies were in their league honeymoons and hadn’t really got into the eventual slumps all rookies face. That was going to happen regardless of the trades Krall made or didn’t make. The only way through those slumps is to play through them.

        But man we’ve seen some exciting baseball this year and I think there’s more to come next year.

      • Harry Stoner

        Can’t make it any clearer than that.

      • Greenfield Red

        Actually, they got Sam Moll for the bullpen. That’s not nothing. The point of my post is/was, there was nothing else to get. They have all been terrible.

      • Harry Stoner

        The Boyle for Moll trade was a full price deal.

        No discounts, no Bull Magic, no Steer + CES for Mahle.

        Paid a good price for a valuable, if not tide-turning, reliever.

        Moll’s long term value vs Boyle’s will be worth tracking

        A good harbinger of what the Winter might hold for those clamoring for some substantive trades.

        Krall the Buyer is going to prove more challenging than Krall the Seller.

        That was at the heart of the controversy around the 2023 trade deadline.

        That debate isn’t going to go away even through ST 2024.

      • LDS

        Hopefully, next year is better. But for that to happen ,they have to let Votto go and spend some money. And work on approach. They are too comfortable with sloppy.

      • Harry Stoner

        “Hopefully, next year is better. But for that to happen ,they have to let Votto go and spend some money. And work on approach. They are too comfortable with sloppy.”

        Broad brush, non specific and thus unarguable suggestions.

        I’ll be surprised, and likely pleasantly, if Votto hangs it up, but disappointed that Cincinnati bungled the arrangement.

        The city and JV deserve better.

        But I was at Riverfront when Rose hit his record breaking hit and Marge Schott gave him a red Corvette from her dealership to signify the event.

        A stunning lack of imagination and class.

        Sure, playing CES over JV at 1B next year will be an upgrade.

        The rest of the vague, “work on approach” critique needs a work on its approach in order to be useful.

      • Greenfield Red

        Harry, like your posts, but in this instance I agree with LDS.

        Let Votto go. Absolutely. Save 13 mil to use for a Pitcher. We don’t know the Reds have bungled his exit. It could just as well be that JV plans to be here next year. Nobody knows because it hasn’t been talked about publically.

        Spend money. Agreed. A good starting pitcher or a good outfielder and 1 or 2 good relievers. That should cost about $40 mil a year for the next 4 years. That’s what they are saving going into 24.

        Clean up the sloppy play. Agreed. All these rookies are awesome. But they also make a ton of mistakes and strike out way too much. The young Pitchers need to learn from this year too. It all needs to be worked on over the Winter. They can improve. Who steps up? Don’t know. Let’s find out.

      • Jim Walker

        @ Harry>>>
        “Krall the Buyer is going to prove more challenging than Krall the Seller.

        That was at the heart of the controversy around the 2023 trade deadline.”

        We agree on this. However, I think Krall has gotten an undeserved hall pass on his handling of the starting pitching in 2023 aside from the deadline fiasco.

        Everybody knows there are 162 games in the season. To have followed a plan that came up so short of arms, quality aside, to cover enough innings not to burn down the bullpen by the end of August would get a person fired in many organizations just on its own.

        Counting on recoveries and getting innings from the likes of Overton, Dunn, and Guiterrez was fools’ gold from the get go, just like believing neither Greene, Lodolo, or Ashcraft would miss significant time and believing at the deadline that somehow Lodolo was still going to make it back in 2023.

        Even if this season had turned out to be the tankathon they probably planned on it to be, they didn’t have the arms to keep from overextending valuable bullpen arms looking to the future.

        And that left them with Cessa, Weaver, who himself was out with injury at the beginning of the season, et al.

        Abbott fell to them from the sky. Lively turned out to be the only semi reliable organizational depth guy etc.

      • LDS

        @Harry, I have a number of specific suggestions, but you’d disagree with them as well. For example, Senzel would be gone, as would Fraley. Yes, Fraley had a good year against RH’ers, but that’s not enough. There aren’t enough players on the roster to play the platoon game day. That’s exacerbated by Bell’s love of handedness which frequently guts the Reds bench midgame. They need everyday position players that hit adequately from both sides. They need pitching. Right now they mostly have talent without consistent results. The everyone is a utility player is a foolish strategy. The power/spin pitching strategy has not succeeded. Bell and his coaching staff aren’t up to managing a young team. The Reds FO thought otherwise and we can expect a trail of disaster to follow. Again, DJ has more blown arms than success stories. They seem to lack the leadership necessary to help guys like EDLC and Greene (who shown better lately) adjust to moving to the majors, whether psychologically, emotionally, hitting, etc. Young guys with that kind of talent have frequently dominated everywhere they have been and then reach a level where they don’t. That’s not something one can just “play through”. Same thing happens in the when outstanding high school students crash and burn at college. There’s little obvious accountability as the team makes the same repeated mistakes, whether too many walks, too many strikeouts, baserunning errors, lack of focus, etc. These problems are systemic. And none of them can be solved without money, new people, and a commitment to change the culture. That’ll likely take new ownership and gutting the FO but maybe Krall steps up. Though I doubt it.

  4. Melvin

    Bring back McLain AND Barrero….NOW.

    • Rick

      They won’t because rational thinking gives them headaches. Lol

  5. coolkevs

    Fun fact – Former Red Connor Joe has a higher batting average than EDLC. Things went downhill after EDLC stole home and was called the “most exciting man in baseball”

    • Rick

      The fastest man in the world on “America’s Team”!

    • Greenfield Red

      Small sample size. 21 years old. You know all of this.

      • Rick

        Yeah, he hasn’t been out of diapers long.
        Has to make a leap forward in 24, and then a big jump from there to 25. Usually year 3 is telling for my eyes. The really good ones show out, and I think he will. To much talent, ability, & want to from him.

  6. IrishMike

    The first thing that needs to be jettisoned is the Viking helmet and cape. This post-dinger “celebration” gives too much value-added to the home run which, for this team, is the kiss of death. There’s a reason that the Reds have a losing record at home. They’re a schizophrenic offensive-minded team. On the road, in bigger parks, they know by default that they have to bring their A-game. That is the “death by a thousand cuts” offense which one of the announcers called it. It works, because that type of offense is well suited for stadiums with deeper fences. At GABP, they revert to swinging for the fences and , hence, put less men on base and are less productive. They should hold a similar “celebration” for accomplishments like Del La Cruz’s manufactured run last night, which was something to behold… have him put on a Superman cape or something… so he goes for contact and gets on base.

    • MFG

      Agree Irishmike,
      I hate those celebrations when you still lose.
      Fundamentals seem to be missing in this era of baseball and with the Reds.
      Our bullpen comes in and walks the very first batter way to often.
      We also strike out way too often and not just the rookies.
      This has been a very exciting season and I never thought we would be in the hunt for a playoff spot this early in the rebuild. Fun team!

  7. Reddawg2012

    The only thing that really separates the Reds from the Pirates this season is that 12 game winning streak back in June. Other than that, these teams are pretty on par with each other.

  8. Mark A Verticchio

    I think the Padres will catch the Reds and if the season was much longer the Pirates would. Bell’s refusal to play with any sense of urgency has put this season to bed. However they are so lucky they only have this man for 3 more years, what a joke of an organization.

    • DK in Erie PA

      I was waiting for it and here it is. Bells fault. You do know that the players are the ones that play the game.
      I’m not even a Bell “fan” but holy cow!
      I think he’s done a great job this year with the hand he’s been dealt. I watch every game and sure he makes decisions that backfire or I don’t agree with, but what manager doesn’t? What a joke comments like above. According to many.on this site the Reds would be 120-30 with anyone else but him. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this season. The team is fun to watch (most part) and doesn’t quit. Has an aggressive style not seen in MLB in years by being aggressive on bases. I’ve was a much more avid RLN reader but this constant Bell bashing wears me out

      • J

        Hate to tell you this, but when you’re going out of your way to post a comment on a blog talking about what a great job Bell has done, and justifying his mistakes by saying “everyone makes mistakes,” you actually are a “Bell fan.” It’s okay to be a fan if you want to be, but it may cloud a person’s judgment.

      • Mark A Verticchio

        DK I to watch every game and while you may be right that the players deserve some of the blame, Bell is the manager and like it or not he deserves a lot of the blame for the 2nd half. The problem is if you want to give Bell credit for the 12 game win streak, fine, he must also be given a lot of the blame for the 2nd half.
        I have a question for you when is the last time the Reds have had a hit and run or what manager gives his hottest hitter a day off in the middle of a playoff chase with off days coming. Last night Bell left Duarte in way too long. I could go on and on with poor decisions this man has made. The Bottom line look at his overall record and what he has done when it was all on the line September of 21 and so far this September 10 and 10 and both against teams with losing records.

      • Jim Walker

        @DK>>> You must have missed RLN when Dusty was the manager; and, the team won 90 or more games in 3 of 4 seasons in 2010 through 2013 😉

        You are correct that Bell did not make the physical misplays on ground balls, or serve up the meatball pitches, or make a bad throw to 1B. But when a team has meltdown innings in back to back leverage games like in the 9th inning on Wednesday and the 7th (not to mention the additional run in the 9th) on Friday, neither does the manager get a free pass in my book.

        This volatility has been present in the Reds performance all season. In addition to the 12 game winning streak, the team has 3 times lost 6 consecutive, 2 times won 5 consecutive, and at least 2 other times had 4 game losers.

        These streaks came in roughly equal proportion before and after the rookie influx. Additionally these streaks have often come in opposite directions in close proximity as if someone threw a switch and the outcomes reversed. They comprise just a tenth less than 30% of a full season. They suggest to me the lack of a steady hand on the tiller.

      • DK in Erie PA

        J (real J) and Mark – Valid points. When it comes to bullpen decisions, Bell does have some blame but honestly it’s not like he has a ton of BP options. I think Cruz and Diaz are the only relievers that I have any confidence in. Yes bully is burned out, but let’s look at starting pitching this year. It has been banged up and mediocre at best. Abbott is exhausted but what are options? As far as benching hot hitters who knows who,s feeling what on each day?
        How many Reds pitchers would be pitching for other contenders?
        You have both been critical of Bell this season. Let me ask this; pick another manager and tell me what you think the Reds record would be
        BTW This I enjoy.

      • Melvin

        Jim – That’s putting is nicely.

      • Melvin

        DK in Erie PA – From what I’ve read the Braves manager doesn’t like giving days of period much less when a player is hitting well. According to him the hitters have to readjust every time after coming back. The Braves, I’ve heard, are a pretty good team.

  9. doc4uk

    Reds will need to add at least two free agents to the team for 2024 including a power hitting RH Outfielder and a proven starting pitcher. They save 50 million between Votto and Moose so they have some money to spend.

    I really do not see a place for India going forward and I think Votto’s 7 million option should be paid to be the new hitting coach.

    I think Senzel is a good utility player and hits lefties well so they keep him if possible. I am not as sure about Fraley but I am sure EDLC needs to start the year in Louisville to see if he can cut down on the strike outs and to learn CF. McClain is the future at SS and Marte is locked in at 3B. Arroyo may be the future at SS but he is a year away. Of course CES at !B and for now Steer at 2B.

    The Outfield is a little trickier but hopefully Dunn plugs into CF along with Friedl and Benson and a free agent with power in the OF mix. I am not sure about Hurtubise but he does seem to be a contact hitter which is a huge positive. Lopez should be given another shot to back up as well since he too is a contact hitter.

    We have six pitchers who should be in the mix barring injuries including Ashcroft, Greene, Lodolo, Williamson, Phillips, and Abbott. One of them might serve as in a “long man” role and backup starter. A free agent innings eater would also be nice.

    There is a lot to be hopeful about for sure but a couple of free agents will be important and learning to make consistent contact is a key. And of course stabilizing the starting pitching staff. I am also convinced that Cruz becomes our new closer . He seems to have much better stuff at this point than Diaz.

    • TR

      I have the feeling Diaz was named THE Red’s closer a little too soon before other considerations or acquisitions.

  10. RedBB

    Pretty amazing that we are still in it after blowing the last 2 games. Once again everyone except the Cubs lost last night. Still not optimistic but at least there is a reason to hope…

    • Jim Walker

      That’s about the size of things. I just commented above about the Reds penchant for streakiness throughout this season. In addition to the 12 game winner, they have 3x lost 6 straight and 2x won 5 straight. Now it would behoove them to even that ledger by winning 7 straight. 😉

      • J

        What’s weird about the streakiness is that if there’s one thing we might expect Bell would be good at, it would be keeping the guys from getting too high after wins or too low after losses, since he seems to take everything in stride, to the point where he almost seems indifferent about winning or losing. (And many of his decisions seem to be consistent with that philosophy.) But, even as he remains calm no matter what, his team goes through lots of stretches where they either seem invincible or incapable of winning.

        Maybe it has nothing to do with him whatsoever, but perhaps a manager who’s more emotional (a guy who really gets mad after losses and really gets excited after wins) would be more successful at keeping everyone focused. Bell’s approach may be more appropriate for a team full of veterans who really don’t need any leadership.

      • Jim Walker

        @J Dusty Baker had an edge that occasionally came through in public. It was plain to see that the guys understood the bargain was know your job, bust your butt trying to do your job right, and you will be spared experiencing the private wrath of that edge. We don’t know what goes on in private; but, I have never seen any indication of the same edginess in Bell.

        To be clear, I don’t think Dusty was a loud guy, just the opposite in fact. When he would get riled in public his volume would drop; but, his almost jovial tone would turn to hard steel.

        And Dusty didn’t shy away from calling players out in public. His typical rebuke would be “(whoever) knows he didn’t handle that situation well and wishes he had done better. Next time he will (pause and then with a chuckle), or at least he better know that”.

        Bottom line is the players understood playing in the environment Baker provided was an earned privilege. From what we see from Bell, it is just the way things are regardless.

  11. Indy Red Man

    Am I supposed to enjoy this because I don’t? Yeah they’re better then expected, but then expectations go up too. That’s reality. Even with the youth & injuries I don’t see them as being inferior to these teams they lose to. They got swept by the Nats and went 1-3 in Arizona. A disappointing but predictable 2nd half

    • Jim Walker

      Amen, Indy. They are losing because they are not as prepared as the other teams. My best guess is that some of it is physical but a large portion is mental preparation and getting into a competitive state of mind.

      If that Reds dugout was filled with guys as focused as Greene was on Wednesday or Friedl last night, the Reds would have found a way to win both those games. And may I suggest that winning focus also has to be present in the manager and every member of his coaching staff?

      • Daytonnati

        Jim – as a fellow Buckeye / Reds fan, who gets watched and who gets recorded tonight?

      • Jim Walker

        Hopefully, the Spectrum backbone is going to be up to running at least 3 simultaneous streams at my location because my wife will be watching neither 😉

        Unless my wife abandons the big screen for her vintage game computer back the hall, I’ll be trying to stream the Reds and Bucks both. One will be on a 22″ PC driven screen, the other on a 10″ iPad (unless I get ambitious and get a larger laptop out of the closet).

        Last week I actually did a dry run with baseball/ football games in separate side by side windows on the PC. That turned out to be too confusing when there was moving action simultaneously on both screens.

        Enough of the Corso stall. Time for my hat. My main attention will be on the Buckeyes when neither game is on commercials.

        GO BUCKS! GO REDS!

      • Melvin

        Wow. You said a lot there Jim. Minds aren’t sharp that’s for sure. It’s easy to tell just by the lack of execution of basic fundamentals. It’s not about learning. The players have been playing baseball all their lives and the basic fundamentals don’t change from one level to the next. It’s about focus, discipline, and commitment. It’s about a manager who demands accountability from his players but also from himself whether the owner does or not.

    • J

      I’m sort of envious of all these people who don’t seem to care if this team makes the playoffs because their expectations were so low that finishing slightly over .500 and almost being the third wildcard team is enough to satisfy them. I wish I could have such low expectations, but alas, when this team was 10 games over .500 and in first place more than halfway through the season, I allowed myself to believe they were actually a playoff caliber team. They’ve had lots of pitching injuries, obviously, but they just lost a game where the starter threw 7 innings of one run baseball and could probably have thrown at least 8 if the manager had let him. They’ve lost a lot of very winnable games to mediocre and bad teams that can’t all be blamed on injuries.

      • VaRedsFan

        I agree J.
        I’ve been vocal a lot here about setting low bars, just so you overachieve and feel good about it.

        Raise the bar folks…when they were 10 over, the bar had to be moved from “let’s get to .500” to “let’s win the division”

        The guys that make it over the opening height at the Olympics are still good, but there are no medals for such small achievements.

  12. LeRoy

    EDLC has had some time to adjust. His reach back swing and trying to hit the moon on every pitch is still there and he hasn’t made any two strike approach changes. Is he still going into batting practice and swinging for the fences or are the coaches actually givings him good instruction by letting him face actual pitching trying to get him out in practice or working on location of pitches in the batting cage. I’ve coached a lot in my life and my motto was always that practice is only good when it is practice that works on improving not just practicing the same way you always have. EDLC and the other rookies need good practice working on improving with good supervised instruction which I’m not sure they are getting.
    Next year I would like to see the Reds have their regular starting five, 2 long men that will go 3-4 inning per outing, and then six reliever to fill in the remaining innings.
    The Reds whether they trade for a starter or not will have sufficient numbers if everyone is healthy to do this next year. Hopefully next year the Reds will have Greene, Lodolo, Ashcraft, and Abbott plus the other young pitchers and players like Lively to pick for the fifth starter and long relief men. The long relief men can pitch 3 or 4 innings and rest 2 or 3 days in between plus fill in as a tempory starter when needed or go an inning if they’re not getting any work. Bell will never like the idea of long relief but it worked back in the 50’s and 60’s when I used to follow every Reds game on radio.
    Next year should be really good and if the right moves are made it could be a great year.

    • Jon

      I just don’t know if I trust Krall to make them. There’s just not many upgrades available via free agency this year. With the increased number of playoff contenders looking to upgrade, the price for any quality player will be through the roof. Even a guy like Miley, who has had significant injury concerns the past couple years, is likely to get paid far more than what the Reds are comfortable with.

      Meaning the Reds will have to go the trade route. And that will likely require a haul similar to what netted Latos.

  13. Mark Moore

    As I see it (and it’s just my opinion, not fact-based … yet) we have to finish off the Pie-Rats today and tomorrow, then go 4-5 against the Guardrails and WLB Dirty Birds. So 6-1 over 7 games. It’s going to take a significant hot streak, a bunch of luck, and probably about a half-dozen miracles of varying sizes.

    I’m also bugged by the MattyMc decision as there is no time to waste. They could do everything in Cincy except for live game action. So play him one of today or tomorrow, give him Monday off, have him as a PH option for today or tomorrow where he doesn’t start, and take your best shot.

    I’ll be on the small screen without sound for most of tonight since my Notre Dame loving First Wife and DD#1 will be watching the game against OSU. I can always plug in some earbuds if need be … 😀

  14. Mark A Verticchio

    As to naming another manager who could have done more with this team than Bell, there is no use because the list is way to long including the guy in the Pirates dug out.

    • Mark Moore


      HDTBell is currently #98 (out of 100) with a bag of lead sinkers on my list of 30 MLB Field Managers. One playoff series is all that could keep him from hitting the bottom. And I know he had a bunch of rookies, some injuries, no tangible SP help at the deadline, etc. He also has a nepotistic 3-year extension in the middle of the season where a Manager who actually has a team leading the NLC and sitting in a much better position for October wasn’t extended in the middle of the season.

      I still think a different manager/coaching staff would have been worth more than a couple wins in the tightest of games based on decisions made and what I still interpret as a disconnect in coaching the kids to different/better approaches. I’m not talking about the old-style hard @$$ types … but it isn’t juice boxes and orange slices at this level.

      • Mark A Verticchio

        Today’s line up handedness, Bell will never change. With the season on the I would rather have Benson than Fairchild, no matter the pitcher.

      • VaRedsFan

        Benson can’t hit lefties, you just can’t have him in there to start.

      • Jim Walker

        “Benson can’t hit lefties, you just can’t have him in there to start.”

        And therein lies the fatal flaw of a lockstep platoon system. A team cannot afford more than 1 platoon without hog tying its bench with RH batters who are terrible vs RH pitching.

        Why? Since 70% of pitching is RH, a RH batter who hits league average or better vs RH pitching and >.900 vs LH pitching is going to be an everyday player. This leaves only guys who are not good vs RH pitching but are outstanding vs LH pitching as platoon partners for LH hitters who don’t pull their weight vs LH pitching.

  15. Mark A Verticchio

    Looks like no help today, the end is near.

  16. Mark A Verticchio

    Benson needs to learn off lefties Fairchild is no part of the future.

    • Jim Walker

      This is not exactly the time for him to learn 😉