In a must-win game, the Cincinnati Reds came up short. Cleveland scored all four of their runs before the 4th inning was over and the Rally Reds couldn’t quite come back as Cleveland’s defense made several big defensive plays to cut short potential runs in a 4-3 win for the home team.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (81-78)
3 8 0
Cleveland Guardians (75-84)
4 11 1
W: Bieber (6-6) L: Abbott (8-6) SV: Clase (43)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

Cleveland’s offense got to work in the bottom of the 2nd inning when Ramon Laureano doubled to lead off the frame. He came around to score when Tyler Freeman followed up with a single. After Freeman stole second base he scored on a single by Brayan Rocchio to put the Guardians up 2-0.

They would add to it the next inning after Steven Kwan led off with a single, took second base on a wild pitch, and then scored on a 1-out hit by Josh Naylor. That would be the final batter than Andrew Abbott faced as the Reds turned things over to the bullpen in the 3rd inning. The next inning saw another run, this time after a walk was followed up by back-to-back singles with one out as Cleveland jumped ahead 4-0.

Cincinnati didn’t pick up their first hit of the game until Elly De La Cruz singled up the middle with two outs in the 5th inning. He would steal second base before a Will Benson single, but when Benson hit a chopper to first base and it bounced away from Josh Naylor, De La Cruz took off for the plate but was thrown out on a great recovery from shortstop Brayan Rocchio who made a perfect throw to the plate to end the inning.

In the 6th inning the Reds would get on the board when Jonathan India doubled with one out and then came around to score on a single by TJ Friedl. Two innings later Cincinnati was at it again when Nick Martini and Jonathan India led off with back-to-back doubles to make it 4-2. India would go station-to-station and score on two straight ground outs as they cut the lead to a run.

Ian Gibaut took over for Cincinnati in the bottom of the 8th to face the top of the Guardians lineup. He would get a groundout to start the inning before Jose Ramirez singled into right-center, but Will Benson came up firing and it was a perfect throw to Elly De La Cruz at second base where he was waiting to tag out Ramirez for the second out of the inning. Josh Naylor walked on what looked like strike three, but the umpires word is what matters and the inning was kept alive, but Gibaut struck out Ramon Laureano to send the game to the 9th.

Cincinnati needed at least a run to stay alive in the game, and keep pressure on the final wild card’s 3-team race. They would have to do it against All-Star closer Emmanuel Clase. Jake Fraley broke his bat on a little looper that was caught by Josh Naylor at first. Noelvi Marte followed up with a liner down the line in right field and the ball caromed off of the wall right to Ramon Laureano, who came up with the ball and threw a laser to second base to get Marte. The Reds challenged the call and the call was upheld. That left the game in the hands of Elly De La Cruz. He would hit a chopper to first base, didn’t leave the batters box as it appears he thought the ball hit him (which would make it a foul ball), and the game ended. Manager David Bell came out to argue the call but it went nowhere and that was that.

Key Moment of the Game

The heads up and athletic recovery in the 5th inning by Brayan Rocchio to pick up a ball that got away from first baseman Josh Naylor and make a perfect throw to the plate to cut down Elly De La Cruz at the plate. While it was 4-0 at that point, that run turned out to be pivotal to the final score.

Notes worth noting

Elly De La Cruz stole two bases in the game, giving him 35 for the season. That’s the most in a season by a Red since Billy Hamilton stole 59 bases in 2017. It’s the most since 2011 by anyone other than Hamilton – Drew Stubbs stole 40 that season.

For the 4th consecutive start, Andrew Abbott failed to pitch more than 4.1 innings.

The Reds bullpen allowed one run in 5.2 innings of work.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds vs St. Louis Cardinals

Friday September 29th, 8:15pm ET

Brandon Williamson (4-5, 4.54 ERA) vs Jake Woodford (2-2, 5.09 ERA)

205 Responses

  1. J

    Lost by a run and the guy with the highest OPS had three at-bats while Fraley and Elly both had four, because that’s exactly how the manager drew it up.

    I’m already wondering about next year, and whether we’re all supposed to give Bell another pass because the team isn’t supposed to be any good until 2025 (and there will be some injuries), or if we’ll be allowed to start having real expectations.

    • Mark Moore

      You know I won’t be giving HDTBell a pass. Not for this season or next season. Fraley playing was puzzling given how gimpy he is. Certainly could have inserted Joey later in the game.

      • J

        I know some of us will continue pointing out his numerous mistakes. The question is whether we’ll be joined by the others on this site, or if they’ll continue defending his mistakes by saying the team is beating expectations so everyone needs to be satisfied.

      • RedlegScott

        J, is it possible that the “others” you mention don’t agree with you regarding Bell’s mistakes? Just because you consider them mistakes doesn’t necessarily make you right about it, does it? Or are you absolutely positive you have it all figured out? Just asking.

      • J

        Scott, do you seriously believe Fraley was the best possible choice to DH and hit fifth in this game? Are you seriously going to say I’m wrong for believing this was objectively not the best possible choice Bell could make? Are you so committed to Bell that you can’t acknowledge he makes any mistakes, or that it might be possible for an intelligent person to notice some of these mistakes? Just asking.

      • J

        Bear in mind that Fraley was hitting about .150 over the last 15 games, and I believe those hits were all singles. You really want that guy as your DH and hitting fifth with the season on the line? That’s what you would have done if you were creating the lineup?

      • ChrisInVenice

        Scott, J once wrote a college paper on baseball so best to just get in line with him.

      • RedlegScott

        No J, I’m going to say I don’t know what was best regarding Fraley in the line-up. You seem 100% certain, however. And no, I dont believe Bell is perfect, but I don’t harp on his every move, either. New question: How many baseball teams have you successfully managed?

      • J

        Scott, I’ve never managed a baseball team.

        When my doctor prescribed the wrong medication a few months ago, I didn’t defer to his wisdom, I pointed out his mistake and he changed the prescription. Can you imagine? A medical doctor listened to a dummy like me?

        When a hotel recently double-charged me, I called them and told them about their mistake. They corrected it. And I’ve never managed a hotel in my life!

        When my mechanic worked on my car recently, I discovered he hadn’t actually fixed the problem, brought it back, and he fixed it correctly the second time. Guess how many cars I’ve repaired? Hint: it’s the same number of baseball teams I’ve managed, the same number of medications I’ve prescribed, and the same number of hotels I’ve managed.

        See the pattern here, Scott? People don’t actually need to have professional experience to be able to notice mistakes made by professionals. It’s true in medicine, auto repair, hotel management, and baseball.

        If you can’t simply say “yeah, having Fraley hit fifth was obviously a mistake,” then I assume you must have a low enough opinion of yourself to pay double for a hotel you only stayed in once, drive a broken car because a mechanic told you it’s fixed, and take the wrong medication because a doctor prescribed it.

        Oh, I just remembered that Delta recently sent me a message saying they didn’t owe me a refund for a trip I had to cancel, and guess what? I wrote them a message saying they’d made a mistake and DID owe me a refund. This may shock you, Scott, but they didn’t write back and say “oh, you really think so? How many airlines have you run?” Instead, they admitted they goofed and issued the refund. Why? Because I was right. I was right in every one of the examples above. And I’m right about Fraley. A person doesn’t have to be a professional to be right about certain things.

        I hope this helps you in some way, Scott. I really do. Don’t just mindlessly accept everything you’re told by professionals. When you see a professional making an obvious mistake, speak up. And don’t be dissuaded when people question your credentials. If you’re right, you’re right. The people questioning your credentials are just being silly.

      • J

        I must say, though, it’s tempting to adopt your approach whenever my students point out mistakes I’ve made. I should just say “how many lectures have YOU successfully delivered?” or “how many exams have YOU successfully written?” or “how many papers have YOU successfully graded?” Alas, I’ve always been willing to admit my mistakes and tried to improve based on their complaints/suggestions, but now I wonder if I’ve been doing it all wrong. I’m the pro, after all, and they’re just students. Who are THEY to question MY work? This could be a real game-changer.

      • RedlegScott

        J, if you want to criticize Bell, be my guest. But if you want to criticize members on the site who don’t criticize Bell to the extent you do, be prepared to take the heat.

      • BKC

        Well said Scott.
        I’m pretty sure these same guys would whine about Bell if the Reds went 162-0

      • J

        What I asked was whether “they’ll continue defending his mistakes by saying the team is beating expectations so everyone needs to be satisfied.”

        That’s exactly what people say all the time on this site. Some have even said as much in this very thread. If you think it’s “criticizing” them to repeat what they’ve said and wonder if they’ll continue saying it next year, that should tell you something.

      • Tom Reeves

        J, have you considered speaking with the manager?

      • Still a Red

        J, who would you have played instead. And you just can’t say that if they played, what the outcome would have been.
        The game could have gone another way if EDlC did not try to score on that play at home, and/or if Marte hadn’t tried to stretch his single into a double. Of course, that is how this team has played all year, running, running, running.

      • J


        I would probably have played Martini, Votto, or Stevenson. If Fraley really seemed like the best choice to me, I’d have had him hitting 8th to make sure the better hitters hit before he did. Also, I have never claimed to know what the outcome would have been if Bell has used a better lineup. I never claim to know what would have happened if Bell hadn’t made a bad choice. All I ever say is that he should make choices that maximize the chances of winning.

      • Still a Red

        OK, I’ve spent way too much time on this.

        Looking at last 7 games, Fraley, Votto, and Stephenson have 18, 19, 20 AB apiece, 1, 4, 3 hits apiece, 3, 4 and 2 walks apiece, 3, 5, and 4 SO apiece. Proportionally about the same for last 15 games. Votto and Stephenson somewhat better, but neither overpowering. Here is some difference, last 7 games Fraley, Votto, and Stephenson SLG .056, .211, and .350. Again, none overpowering.
        With these stats, though, you might think it best to have had Stephenson in the line up…but he’s a righty against a righty. And of course, if you have him and Maile in the lineup at the same time is problematic.

        Martini’s numbers above not much different, but SLG over last 7 (15) games .222 (.375) and 0/1 against Bieber with a SO.
        Benson last 15 games 35 AB, 8 hits, .462 slugging, 4 BBs, but 16 SO. Though maybe not last 15 games, Fraley better with RISP.

        Looking at life time stats against Bieber, there is infinitesimal sample size. However, against Bieber Fraley going into the game (2021-2023) was 2 for 7 with a HR and a double and 1 SO. Votto (2018-2022) was 4 for 13, with 2 doubles, 1 SO. Stephenson(2022) 0 for 2, 1 SO. So maybe in this match up you go with Votto, but Fraley has had some success (small sample yes).

        Starting Fraley maybe makes sense. Maybe Martini instead. Maybe going with Votto in 9th probably makes sense. Did sticking with Fraley lose the game? Can’t say that. Would not sticking with Fraley have moved the probability needle a bit positive? Maybe. Every at bat is a roll of the dice. Over 300 rolls, there’s a greater probability of rolling a 7 than a 5 with 2 dice, but any single roll is a random event.

    • jon

      Maybe we should give Bell a pass for taking a bunch of rookies and tons of injuries to the rotation to 80+ wins and a playoff chase to the last weekend.

      • J

        And next season? Does he get another pass because they’re almost still rookies? Or are we allowed to start having higher expectations than what we’ve been watching for the last couple months?

      • Tom Reeves

        +10,000 Jon. That we’re having this debate at game 159 is a luxury and product of Bell’s manager abilities.

      • jessecuster44

        Bell had 1.5 good months where the team hit lights out. He’s managed the same way all year. The Reds were in 1st place at the All Star Break. Where are they now?

        A better manager has this team in the playoffs. Sharpie.

      • cartel

        Kind of what I was thinking. I am not a big Bell fan but this was not a great Reds team and it will be at least .500. If we actually bring in a few good players next year to go along with a solid core and we do no better than I will have concern. The fact we are bitching at game 159 with the expectations early on and the mess we have no at starting pitching means we had a great season.

    • Chris

      J, So after all that went on in that game yesterday, you pick out a tiny tidbit just to bash Bell. LOL. I’m guessing once again you are upset about Benson not batting higher, thus getting just 3 ab’s? .189, .229, .231…take a look at those numbers. Tell us J, what is it that excites you about those numbers, and makes you want to bash Bell? Oh, by the way, those are Benson’s numbers representing his batting average over the last 7, 15, and 30 games. You are so blinded by your hatred of Bell that you are literally making stuff up just to bash him.

      • J

        Chris, if you think it’s a “tiny tidbit” that Bell had one of his worst hitters hitting in the middle of the lineup for the entire game, and allowing him to have one more at-bat than one of his best hitters, then you really know nothing about baseball. You’ve actually reinforced that idea by focusing on Benson’s batting averages rather than his other stats, and you’re including Benson’s at-bats against lefties, which doesn’t apply to yesterday’s game. Please stop embarrassing yourself by arguing about stuff you clearly don’t understand.

      • J

        Over the last 15 games, Benson’s OPS is almost .800, while Fraley’s is about .400. Fraley is playing injured, Benson isn’t. But you’re so blinded by your hatred of me, you can’t simply admit that a good manager would make sure Benson has at least as many at-bats as Fraley in a game such as yesterday’s. Instead, you desperately search for any stat that suggests I might be m wrong and Bell might be right, when it’s clear that I’m right and Bell is wrong.

      • Chris

        J, for starters I certainly don’t hate you. I don’t even know you, and it’s pretty tough for me to actually hate someone, especially a fellow Reds fan who I just happen to disagree with quite often in respect to Reds topics.

        As for Fraley hitting in the middle of the lineup, correct. I don’t agree with that. With that said, I don’t really know if he’s just slumping or if the toe is a factor with his hitting. He came back and hit the ball hard, but maybe he’s sore and can’t hit, or maybe he’s slumping. I don’t know. Regardless, I wouldn’t even have started him. With that said, that’s not what cost the Reds the game.

        Regarding Benson, he has no business near the top of the order. He is hitting horribly bad, and has been for a month now. I didn’t pick a random stat. I picked the most universally used stat in baseball for the last century. You can choose to make whatever argument you want, but over the last 14 days Benson’s OPS is in the 600’s. Seven days it’s in the 300’s. He has just 6 RBI over the last month. When he has hit, it’s with no one on, but fails with men on. Benson is a good player, but not worth your rant of him getting ONE LESS AB.

        AS for my baseball knowledge or lack there of, coming from you, I’m not really offended. I think your status in here speaks for itself.

      • J

        I don’t know where you’re getting your info, but my info says Benson’s OPS over the last 15 games is .786. That’s certainly lower than his season OPS, because he’s certainly not hitting as well as he was earlier, but it’s a far cry from “horribly bad.”

        Matter of fact, I can’t find a single game in the entire month of September in which Benson had at least three plate appearances and failed to reach base at least once. And this is during the stretch you claim is horribly bad! A guy who’s on base at least once every game if he has three plate appearances is bad to have at the top of the order? Please rethink this.

      • J

        Also, how do you know what cost the Reds the game yesterday? How do you know that batting the (currently) worst hitter on the team fifth wasn’t enough of a problem to cost them the game? Putting aside all his other at-bats, if he gets on base to start the 9th inning and Marte follows with his hit, it’s an entirely different scenario and the Reds are in great shape to at least tie it. ONE hit could have been a game-changer yesterday, as it often can be in close games. Do you not know this?

      • Chris

        J, I used Baseball Reference just like most other people. It’s not hard to look up his stats. I also didn’t use “15 games” when I posted his OPS, I used 14 days. Bottom line is that Benson has been miserable, and even worse when runners are on. Yes, Fraley has too. My issues with you is that you make everything seem as though Benson would have been a huge difference in ONE MORE AB than Fraley. And no, I don’t know if it would have made a difference. Frankly that’s a stupid comment on your part because you have no idea if it would have made a difference either, especially since neither of the two players are hitting worth a darn. Again, this is just a petty argument on your part. You are crying about one lousy player being in a key position over another lousy player. And yes, BOTH are lousy players right now. I think both will actually be good players come next season; but not right now.

      • J

        So, there’s the problem with using a small sample size. You’re missing the day he had three hits — including a home run and a double. If you go back a few more days, he had another three hit day with two doubles and a home run. If you leave out those kinds of days when you’ve got a small sample size, most guys are going to have bad stats.

        In the previous game, he reached base 2 out of 5 plate appearances. That was the MOST recent data prior to yesterday’s game. ON September 20, the last time he actually got to play a full game, he walked and had a double. We can both cherry-pick stats to make him look bad or good, but the bottom line is that he’s been good since May, has been VERY good in September, and should not be treated like a #8 hitter.

        I think you forgot your own comment, so let me remind you. You said: “Regardless, I wouldn’t even have started him. With that said, that’s not what cost the Reds the game.”

        I then said: “how do you know what cost the Reds the game yesterday?”

        That’s a perfectly reasonable thing to ask of a person who’s just asserted — as if it’s a mathematical fact — that Fraley hitting fifth didn’t cost the Reds a game that was decided by one run. If you think what I said is stupid, what do you make of your own comment? Does it seem smart?

  2. Mark Moore

    Cue Dandy Don Meredith …

    Disappointing, but the boys did try and mount another comeback. Hard to fault the bullpen. Elly looked pretty good again. Marte making that out pretty much turned the tide, though I could easily see them overturning that.

    So close …

  3. LDS

    So much for getting to Bieber early. Fading is a generous description. The Mets and Braves need to come back or it’s likely fade to black.

    • Harry Stoner

      Well…you had them at 100-105 losses back pre-season.

      You were pretty certain about that.

      Repeated it many times.

      It’s likely they could have had maybe +5 wins with some better strategic decision making.

      Maybe +10 if Bell had followed all your advice.

      Imagine how wrong you’d be if the Reds had won 92 instead of 82?

      But of course, you would never admit having been mistaken.

      That’s the sign of a lot of ‘managerial experience in the business world.”

      • LDS

        @Harry, you do remember I made that projection based on the opening day roster. This isn’t the opening day roster. And yes, a decent manager would have won more games. I could also point out that the Reds were a 1/2 GB on the day the Bell extension was signed. Now they are likely out of the playoffs. Was I off on my forecast ? Absolutely. Did it have anything to do with Bell? Not on your life.

      • LDS

        And yes, decades of experience in the real world @Harry, for companies that expected and rewarded results. Any manager that fails to hold their team accountable, etc., is simply not a good manager. I’ll stand by that statement all day long.

      • Tom Reeves

        Every prediction is made based on the opening day roster. If you failed to anticipate the tremendous prospect talent and player development of the Reds in your prediction, that’s still a quality of prediction problem.

        You expected this real to fail massively. It didn’t. Then you moved your goal posts for acceptable performance to a point they didn’t reach (and probably won’t unless there’s a miracle). Just own it. It’s cool. Your superior expeditions will keep you warm.

      • Chris

        LDS, it appears you haven’t learned a whole lot in all your business experience. I would love to watch you sell the idea of firing Bell in a board meeting for a company that had earnings so far above projected earnings (in other words take won games and act as if they represent millions of dollars). I have major issues with Bell, but the fact is he took a projected terrible team and kept them in the hunt all season long, while having the majority of his starting staff injured, and many of his key offensive players. Bell drives me nuts too, but in the end he clearly beat expectations, which is almost unexplainable. I personally don’t know how he did it, especially watching him make decisions.

      • Melvin

        Chris – An argument could be made that he’s the “luckiest” manager in the world having all of these rookies come up in the same year and play so well.

      • Chris

        Melvin, I’m not so sure you can call Bell lucky. His team has been obliterated with injuries. A shaky pitching staff to start with, and 3/5 of it has been injured most all year. It’s among the worst in all of baseball. Yes lots of rookies have come up, but much of his position players have been hurt so often as well. I’m not a Bell apologist. I don’t think he’s a good manager. That said, I can’t explain how it is he gets results from this team, but he does. You can’t ignore the record. You can’t ignore the comeback wins, and you can’t ignore the 1 run wins. This is a team that has found a way to win when more often than not it shouldn’t have. Bell drives me nuts with his in game decisions, but overall somehow he has achieved results. Results don’t lie; not in business nor in baseball.

      • LDS

        It’s fun to watch the Bell apologists. As for making th3 argument to fire Bell to the BOD? Not really much of a challenge really. I guess some here are happy when their financial adviser reports that they’ve only lost a quarter of your money instead of half.

      • Tom Reeves

        The Reds just had their best financial year in a decade. They went over 2m in attendance with a low payroll. After losing $47m in 2020, breaking even in 2021, and losing in 2022, this has to be a huge boost to the team.

        Ultimate, Bell has two jobs. Win games and butts in seats. Well, he succeeded at both this year with a bunch of rookies and a year after losing 100 games. Hard to say that’s not a massive success. And the team is well positioned for the next several years. Why on earth would we complain?!

      • Chris

        LDS, what does your post about a financial adviser suggesting? Your comment makes no sense, please enlighten us to the comparison you are trying to draw.

      • LDS

        Actually @Chris, it analogous to claims that the Reds drew 2m fans and made money so all is good. The fans showed up to see the young guns and the payroll was zip, so making money was to be expected. But, profits are only part of the goal. Product is the other. And the product, while more fun than years past, is still defective.

    • Jim Walker

      I thought things faded to blue 😉
      As in “All alone at the end of the evening when the bright lights have faded to blue….. Put me on the highway and show me a sign. Take it to the limit one more time.”

      Reds sadly ran out of chances tonight, in the game and the season,

      • LDS

        I went with film instead of music. I’m ready for the WS to be over now so we can start seeing the roster machinations

      • Jim Walker

        Hear Randy Meisner singing his song his way and not Don and Glenn’s. The feeling in the lead vocal is the difference even if the backup vocals aren’t quite as tight.

        Search on You Tube for “Randy Meisner Take It To The Limit Live in Dallas”

  4. RedsMonk65

    Lots of thoughts. No words. (sigh)

    • Jim Walker

      +1,000,000×1,000,000. Back then when I was still into the National Fools League, I used to stay up past my bedtime when games were well past decided just to hear the Danderoo sing it.

  5. Colorado Red

    Painful yes, but how many of us, back before the season started, would be looking at elimination with just 3 games to play, as opposed to 30 or 40.
    I had them at 102 losses. The future is bright.
    Abbott is out of gas. Graham and Nick are on the DL.
    Young guys where up and down.

    • Dewey Roberts

      We just had too many injuries and too many rookies this year. They will grow up. Just 3 more victories anywhere along the way and things would be looking good. They improved by 20 or more games from last year. The future is bright.

  6. Melvin

    Braves tie it in the 8th. Still hitting.

  7. Melvin

    Braves just tied it back up in the 9th.

    • GPod

      maybe…..just maybe…..hanging by a thread!

  8. Don

    So about that trade deadline when the Reds were surprisingly quiet despite just holding a half game lead in the NL Central…

    • Greenfield Red

      They made one astute trade.

      Who did you want them to get at the time that they didn’t get? Now, go see how that guy did with his new team. Do you still want them to have made that trade?

      • Luke J

        Not sure how astute that trade will turn out to be. Boyle is looking awfully good in the major leagues and the Reds wouldn’t promote him past AA.

      • Jim Walker

        And if Boyle had been elevated to the Reds in August and thrown innings at the same rate per game he has with Oakland, the Reds pen might have had enough juice remaining to bring it home for the Reds in several crucial failures in the last 10 days.

      • Chris

        It was a great trade. No one in their right mind would have promoted Boyle to the Reds team, so using that logic is ridiculous.

  9. Indy Red Man

    Matt Moore pitching for Miami. Didn’t realize they got him too. They made a lot of effort for the worst home attendance.
    I think they’d have a shot vs Milw if they make it

  10. Melvin

    Braves tie it back up in the 10th. Still hitting.

    • LDS

      Braves just did it. Now the Mets need to

  11. Hanawi

    If the Reds aren’t going to make it, watching the Cubs miss out to the Marlins with some brutal losses of their own would be a nice consolation.

  12. Mark A Verticchio

    Marlins about to win, Reds on life support. The tragic number for Cubs is 3 but for the Marlins it will be down to 2.

  13. Indy Red Man

    Miami pulling away. Reds almost done.
    I just hope this “potential” or “ceiling” shows up? HG? Hanging sliders for 3 run bombs. Lodolo? AWOL. Ashcraft worst starter in NL for 2 months. Abbott? Mediocre stuff all along….maybe a mirage

    Hitters? Could go on and on. All these “studs” and we often get shutdown thru 5-6 innings

    • Hanawi

      Reds competed much better than I thought they could this year, mostly due to the early arrival of some of the hitters. McLain exceeded expectations I have had from him as he was moving through the minors. I thought Elly and Marte were both a year or more away. No idea what to think of CES before spring training started.

      I’m still hopeful on the pitching side. Green has shown the flashes but needs to be able to weather the bad inning and not let it snowball. I still think Lodolo is going to be the best of the young pitchers. But Abbott arrived early as did Williamson and Philips. All valuable experience and I think the Reds will be much better suited next year to have depth.

      Key pieces for me in the offseason are OF that can play every day and hit in the middle of the lineup. Experienced starter to help eat innings (or as many as Bell will let him). And one more high-end late inning reliever.

      • Indy Red Man

        Steer, Freidl, and Benson in the OF though? Is Marte ready for 3b? Hasn’t shown power yet. I agree with you and I’m excited about our potential, but all the baseball talking heads we’re excited about the White Sox 2-3 years ago

      • Hanawi

        That would be a pretty rough OF defensively in my opinion. I’m on team Elly as the long-term CF. Someone has to go from the core (Marte, McLain, Elly, India, Steer, CES) or at least one has to go to the OF. That still removes the DH flexibility from other OF or C options.

      • Chris

        Not sure I’d say that outfield would be bad defensively. Friedl is excellent in CF. Believe it or not, Steer played his best defense in LF. I think he will easily be an above average LFer. Benson, well he’s average at best, but I’m not sure he will play every night anyway.

      • MBS

        This is how I’d like to see the OF work at some point in 24.

        RF Benson 6/9 Dunn 3/9
        CF Friedl 6/9 Dunn 3/9
        LF Steer 6/9 Hurtubise 3/9

        That’s assuming Dunn, and Hurtubise can continue their success into the MLB level. Fraley would be moved to the full time DH role.

    • ChrisInVenice

      How was Abbot’s stuff mediocre? Cmon. His pitch execution was elite.

      • Mike

        @Chris, Abbott’s pitch execution as elite and still yielded last night’s results—-as it has often, since the end of July. He needs to reinvent himself, because being a Tom Browning clone will only get him pummeled in today’s MLB.

        For me, he has to prove himself next spring, and I wouldn’t mind if we find 5 or 6 better SP’s

    • Luke J

      Interesting assessment. Literally the most pessimistic view one could take.

      Let me try: Greene? Had a rough last outing, but struck out 14 the start before and looked as dominant as it gets. Lodolo? Unfortunate injury. Was the best pitcher in baseball his first 4 starts before injuries began to creep in. Ashcraft? Went through injuries of his own in the middle of the season, but both before and after the injuries was seriously dominant. Abbott? Was one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball until he exceeded the most innings he’s ever thrown in a season and had nothing left in the tank.

      The problem seems to be your perspective more than anything.

      • Chris

        Spot on Luke J. Also, Williamson and Phillips look to be very solid as well. I personally would not chase down another starter unless he was a #1 or maybe a #2. I would invest money into the current team with team favored contracts rather than trying to buy guys in free agency. Add a top notch lefty in the pen and strengthen the bench, and this team will be the Orioles of this year with lots of money available if needed.

      • MBS

        I’m bullish on the quality of our rotation as well. I do think we need to sign a #1 starter to anchor it. I also think Lodolo’s injury history might make him a good candidate to move to the pen. Then we’d have Phillips, and Richardson sitting in AAA as depth.

  14. Indy Red Man

    HG has pinpoint control with that slider. It’s like a world class darts player. He can hang that thing dead smack in the middle of the plate with men on.

  15. Amarillo

    The scenarios are now very simple. There are 2 scenarios left.

    Reds win all 3, and Marlins lose 3/4 and Cubs lose 2/4.

    Reds win 2/3, Marlins lose all 4, Cubs lose 3/4.

    While it’s basically impossible at this point, in many ways this season has been a miracle. To think we lost all 3 of our big three starters for much of the season, started 5 or more Rookies in several games, and still are alive for the playoffs in the last series of the year. This has been the most fun season to watch in a very long time, and I feel really good about the direction of the team.

  16. GPod

    Just think if we had just one more win….we would go into tomorrow only 1/2 game out of that last playoff spot…..and the one win i keep thinking about is the 9-0 lead that you just cannot give away

    • Jim Walker

      +10000 It’s sickening, isn’t it?

    • Daniel Kals

      Actually the one I think about is earlier in the season. Bell left Ashcraft in, when it was clear he had nothing, to give up not 4, not 5, not 6 or 7 or 8 or 9… but 10 (TEN!) earned runs in 3+ innings. The bullpen was rested at the time. Contrast that to what happened today when Bell made the right move to yank Abbott early, because he was trying to win the game.

      This was before the energy influx of EDLC, McLain and others who basically forced Bell to wake up and actually try to win games.

      ANYWAY… in that game, the Reds came back and lost 10-8. And this is just one example of moves made by Bell earlier in the season which seemed way more focused on… what… teachable moments? Saving the bullpen? Playing for the future? Or some other concept other than winning games in 2023.

      At least I won my Over 64.5 wins preseason bet.

    • Stoney

      Exactly! And there’s a few others that were simply given away during the course of the season. I’m still rooting for them of course but every game matters!!

  17. DataDumpster

    My interest in this race has dwindled markedly since the Bell extension when the team hit its peak and then followed with the slow but steady (and predictable) decline since then. There is still a reasonable opportunity if the Reds sweep the Cards while the Marlins and Cubs both split their remaining games. Then, we have 3 teams at 84-78 girding for one position. Has anybody figured out who gets it if that happens?
    Otherwise, the Reds will handily beat my 72-74 win projection and I credit the minor league coaching staff, Krall, and maybe even ownership for strategic purposes on getting a very decent core team together for very little spend. I do believe they will bring the payroll back to the 110 mil range and then we might have something for 2024 (and no more excuses for David Bell). Maybe I’m more optimistic than most simply because I have not followed this team for most of the current regime’s tenure.

    • Melvin

      “If no team has a winning head-to-head record against each of the other two, then the team with the best overall winning percentage in games among the three tied teams finishes first. In either scenario, the second and third teams are separated using head-to-head record.”

      • Ted

        A surprising season but still disappointing because the Reds couldn’t close it out. Too many blown leads in late innings. Too many losses to bad teams. Too many injuries to pitchers. It’s still mathematically possible, but do any of you really believe we still sweep the Cardinals in St. Louis?

      • Melvin

        “If the Marlins, Reds and Cubs tie for the third wild card, then the Marlins advance. “….according to Google.

      • Jim Walker

        Melvin>>> I think MLB has a way to go in figuring out this tiebreaker stuff. I’ve seen multiple interpretations of what would happen in a 3 way tie among the Marlins, Reds, and Cubs for the final spot. Here’s the rub.

        The Marlins would clearly better both the Reds and Cubs in a two way tie with either because they won their season series vs. the Cubs 4-2 and split six games 3-3 with the Reds but took the secondary two team tiebreaker of intradivisional record over the Reds.

        However, in a three way tie among the teams, none of the three have a “winning” record versus the other two because the Marlins record versus the Reds was an even split.

        So, how does that three way tie get resolved? Are Cubs eliminated because both the Reds and Marlins had winning head to head records versus them and then the Reds are eliminated because the Marlins hold the secondary two way tiebreaker versus them?

        Or since none of the 3 teams hold a winning head to head record over the other two, does it revert directly to the best round robin head to head record among the three? And what defines the best round robin record? If it is winning percentage, the Reds .635 (10-6) versus the Marlins and Cubs tops the Marlins .583 (7-5) versus the Reds and Cubs.

      • Jim Walker

        Excuse me. I got my math and fingers messed up again in my zeal to promote the Reds! The Reds combined winning % versus the Cubs and Marlins is .526 (10-6) not .625. Thus the Marlins at .583 (7-5), have the Reds covered on round robin play among the Marlins, Reds, and Cubs.

  18. Gpod

    I just saw on ESPN a replay angle that showed there was definitely no tag on the left hand of Marte on the slide into 2nd,… it comes down to the tag on his chest & there was no question, on the other camera angle, that the tag on his chest was after he had his hand on the bag….why wasn’t that overturned!?!? what is the point of replay!! What a screw job!!

    • Tom Reeves

      Kinda looks like MLB played favorites.

  19. VegasRed

    If you are Bell fan then I u derstand how thrilled you are right now because no question the Reds entertained this year and made huge strides over the 100 loss season.

    And any reasonable Reds fan has to feel that there are better days ahead, and probably next year included. It is actually remarkable how much young talent there is in the organization when it seemed so barren and hopeless just a season and especially two seasons ago.

    I am looking forward to an interesting offseason and 2024 hopes for a very competitive team with some much needed experience gained this year.

    If the team does spend $100 million next year I will be very surprised and literally thrilled, too tbh.

    My personal hopes are restrained by my perception of the long odds against Bell as a potential championship manager, and the poor track record of the current ownership group, but I know many fans feel otherwise about Bell, and probably even the owners. Reasonable minds can differ on the managers/owners and everyone can and should fan how they want to.

    I wish I felt differently about the latter entities because it would then really feel like happy days are here again, especially with the young talent in the organization.

    Go Reds, Go!

    • J

      I don’t have tons of faith in this organization’s ability to identify good major league players that are worth signing, but I’m at least optimistic that they’ll TRY to sign a couple good players. I think they almost HAVE to spend some money with the big contracts coming off the books and attendance being so much higher than expected. It would be such a terrible PR blunder if they try to claim they’re still in rebuilding mode and/or don’t have money to spend and/or there was nobody worthwhile available. I don’t know if they’ll make smart choices, but I’d truly be shocked if they don’t try make at least one or two significant acquisitions in the off-season.

    • Jim Walker

      +1000 Vegas. I am in the same place as you about the future given the ownership, baseball front office, and on the field manager and coaches.

      This year, I saw a bunch of talented young guys who were hungry and willing to bust their butts to the last out. However, what I didn’t see was any sign they were being led and counseled (or should that be Counselled) to be more situationally aware and play smarter.

      The front office was clearly a bust at the trade deadline after loud public talk ahead of it. They couldn’t decide which high level prospect(s) to part with for top level needed pitching and failed to mine second level depth guys in the ilk of Ben Lively who could have been had from other orgs for mid level prospects.

      The preseason plan for starting pitching was a complete bust by mid June because it depended on questionable returnees from injury and did not budget for new injuries.

      What we do not know is to what degree the Front Office was limited in the off season or at the deadline by budgetary constraints from ownership.

    • Chris

      I’m curious, what do you want the Reds to spend $100 million on? The infield is set, as is the outfield. The starting rotation, assuming they are healthy looks outstanding. The bullpen and the bench should not cost much money. Unless you are suggesting they spend the money on extending some of these young players beyond arbitration, I’m perplexed as to where you think this money should go.

      • wkuchad

        One above-average starting pitcher and backend bullpen help.

        The starting rotation, assuming health, has much potential, but no doesn’t look outstanding. Look how many starters have we needed this year. Heck, we could have used four the last couple of weeks.

        Not bringing in one good start (either via FA or trade) would be a big gamble for next year.

      • Chris

        WK, presumably at the beginning of the year there will be 6 or 7 legitimate starters ready to go (Lodolo, HG, Ashcraft, Abbott, Williamson, Phillips, and Lively). Sure, Phillips can start in AAA and Lively can start there too, or in the bullpen. The 1st five is an outstanding rotation IMO. Yes, they need to stay healthy, but if you bring in another starter where does one of those 5 go? I would use money to buy ARB years out, not pay for expensive starters. I do agree with you on bullpen help though, but that shouldn’t cost that much.

      • MBS

        @Chris, you’re asking for the team to make the same mistake they made in 23. They need to do exactly what @WK said. The way I look at it, Lodolo, Greene, and Ashcraft are HUGE injury risks, all 3 have missed major time each year on the Reds, and also in the minors.

        I’m not saying we don’t have enough talent, I’m saying we can’t rely that that talent will be there for 162. Why wouldn’t you take a $40M payroll, and turn it into a $75M payroll. This is how we take the next step in 24.

      • BK

        @MBS, if the Reds end up with too much pitching, that will not be a problem. I agree. They must invest in deepening the pitching staff this offseason if the Reds are to compete for the division.

      • Still a Red

        Gary Nolan and Don Gullett were injured often.

      • Chris

        I’m not sure I understand the “mistake” that the Reds made relying on their top 3 pitchers. Doesn’t every team rely on their top three pitchers. Injuries can happen. Sometimes like 2012 there are no injuries, but it’s always a gamble with everyone on the team. That said, are we to collect top starting pitchers now? So you bring in 2 veteran pitchers and then what? What to do if all our young pitchers are healthy and have good springs, then what? I’ll tell you what, Krall and Bell will go with the veterans he spent money on, and you’ll have the likes of Abbott and Williamson in AAA who are most likely better pitchers than the veterans we sign. It’s a catch 22 and in the end it eats up valuable dollars that this club doesn’t like to spend.

  20. AMDG

    Playing hopes FADING?

    That ship sailed a week ago.

    The games the Reds have been playing over the past week are like the battles the Germans engaged in after D-Day. The conclusion was pretty much determined, and just had to play out to become official.

    Although, one could argue they ceased being a serious playoff contender ever since Ely stopped carrying them. In his first 30 games, he had a 0.887 OPS and they were 14 over 0.500, but since then, his OPS is only 0.617 and they are 4 games under.

  21. West Larry

    Good season, sorry it’s ended, I was dumb enough to bet $5.00 on them to win the world series. I didn’t think that they would win it, but 200-1 was too much to pass up. Maybe next year, but they’ll probably be 20-1.

  22. CI3J

    The Reds hold the tie-breaker over the Diamondbacks, but the Diamondbacks have already won 84 games, which is the maximum number of games the Reds could win. That means the next Diamondbacks win or Reds loss means the Reds officially cannot catch them. I’d say that’s pretty much a foregone conclusion.

    So it all comes down the the Cubs and Marlins. Reds hold the tie-breaker over the Cubs, but not over the Marlins. Both teams have already won 82 games. A combination of 2 Marlins wins/Reds losses means it’s all over. For the Cubs, it’s a combination of 3 Cubs wins/Reds losses.

    It’s not officially over. But it’s looking very bleak.

  23. CFD3000

    Five quick thoughts:

    I’m delighted that the Reds will either make the playoffs or, much more likely, be eliminated on the final weekend. Unexpected, but great fun. Can’t wait for 2024.

    IMO David Bell is… not very good at in game management, lineup construction and bullpen use. But I will concede that he may be quite good at motivating his players and bringing a team together to realize their potential. A lot of young players have played really well for him. Bummer we can’t have a manager really good at both.

    The front office will need to focus on pitching for 2024. Injuries and a lack of depth especially in the rotation but also in the bullpen have meant the difference between playoffs and not. There is real talent on the Reds roster, but it doesn’t matter if pitchers are injured or worn out.

    I understand that there are valid arguments for letting Joey Votto go this offseason. As a fan of Mr. Votto AND of the Reds I personally hope he is back next year.

    I will be SO ready for opening day 2024!

  24. JB

    Reds are 8-9 during this “easiest schedule” period. I would have to say again, they fell on their faces with the “easiest schedule” .

    • Mark A Verticchio

      Once again a Bell coached team fails in crunch time. Yes, there are injuries but other teams have injuries as well.

      • Jim Walker

        Yes, but other managers probably don’t continue to play their injured players when the guy says he wants to play but clearly can’t compete to MLB standards.

        In the last 3 weeks in 34PAs Jake Fraley has 4 hits (all singles), 4 BB, 10K and a BA/OBP/SLG/OPS line of .118/.189/.118/.307.

        Yet Fraley was sent out to lead off the Reds 9th last night with them trailing by 2 runs. Was Votto hurt? Was he going to bat for Marte if Fraley had reached? Even if so, Senzel and Fairchild both were better bets to lead off that inning than Fraley in his current condition.

        A real manager would have had the tough conversation with Fraley 10 days to 2 weeks ago, thanked him for his effort above and beyond then moved on with getting his currently best players on the field.

      • RedAlert

        Yep agree with this . Bell has been given a pass for the last 5 years . It ain’t gonna change with him at the helm for the next 3 years either . Terrible extension at the wrong time .

      • West Larry

        Agreed red alert, Maybe Bell would be better off managing a veteran team like the Yankees,

      • wkuchad

        The Reds starting pitching has been terrible in 2023 with a 5.40 team ERA (28th out of 30th in MLB). Our bullpen has been much better with 4.06 ERA, but still ranked #16 in MLB, so second half of the league. Big chunks of our team are made of rookies navigating MLB for the first time, and that comes with inconsistency (sometimes extreme) in many cases.

        Despite all that, the Reds have played meaningful games in late September with essentially one effective starting pitcher. The Reds have more than 80 wins, which no one expected.

        Yes, I can see how Bell must be the worst manager in the league.

      • CI3J

        @ Jim Walker

        That’s probably why players “love” playing for Bell. He lets the players walk all over him. Bell consistently makes decisions that may make players happy, but at detrimental to the team as a whole.

        A good manager would show tough love to his players. Bell doesn’t seem to do that, unless the player is named Jose Barrero. And even then, I don’t think it was so much “tough love” as it was Bell inexplicably just doesn’t like him.

      • Jim Walker

        No one has said here that Bell was the worst manager in the league.

        From a position of strength in the standings, his team has lost 5 of 7 games, including 3 straight of which in one they had a lead in the 9th inning and another they lost leads in the 5th, 6th, and 7th innings. Then for a topper, they found a way to blow an 8 run lead starting in the 6th inning in the 3rd game.

        The last two games of this 3 game streak came after an off day for the Reds against a team with a .468 winning percentage at the start of the series and that had arrived in Cincinnati in the wee hours of the morning of the series start.

        There are no excuses sufficient to earn a pass for this mess.

      • Melvin

        Jim – There is such a thing as managers and players becoming too “close”. When a manager pulls for a player more than the team it’s gone too far. It would seem there needs to be more “separation” between this manager and his payers. On the othere hand evidently the fact that the players like him is practically his only redeeming quality.

      • wkuchad

        Jim, Bell is constantly called the worst manager in the league on this site. I’m not saying by you, but it’s pretty constant.

        The last week hasn’t been much fun (except Sunday), but we have one functioning starting pitcher right now, and he threw a big dud Tuesday.

        I agree Fraley shouldn’t be playing, but there’s not a lot of good options. Votto has been a below average player. India likely playing hurt and struggling. You mentioned Senzel, but he’s below average unless it’s against a lefty.

        As far as the blown 9-run lead, that was terrible, but I sadly watched every second of that game, and the only real disagreement I had with Bell was burning all our hitters so someone like Benson wasn’t available in the last inning versus using EDLC. We just needed someone to hit into contact.

        I have plenty of criticisms of Bell, I just don’t think he deserves the hatred he gets on this site. And hatred is a strong word, but it’s unfortunately valid.

      • Jim Walker


        A manager in MLB has to do more than just manage by some scheme he has devised. He has to be a leader. A huge part of being a leader of human beings is the ability to make tough decisions and then convey them to the players who are impacted by them. Sometimes this involves being the bearer of bad news or even being the outright bad cop who has to tell a player he isn’t performing to standards.

        I agree from all we’ve seen of Bell, he lacks this skill of leading when it requires being the “bad cop” or bearer of any bad news to a player.

        I heard him say a couple of weeks ago that the Reds had more players who “deserved to start” than he had positions to use them in so, he just had to work through keeping everyone ready to go by giving them all playing time.

        I wondered at the time if it ever occurred to him to just tell a guy, “you haven’t done anything wrong; but, I have guys who are playing better than you and I have to go with them right now. Keep doing your work on the side and be ready to step up when your chance comes”.

      • Melvin

        JIm – Doesn’t want to win as much as staying on everyone’s good side looks like. Look at this way. If the players don’t like him what else has David Bell got to keep him as manager….besides Big Bob & Son who don’t know what they’re doing anyway.

      • Jim Walker

        Melvin>>> See what I wrote below. It is easy to be loved when you don’t enforce order (too many TOOTBLANS; lack of situational hitting, allowing lead off walks or walking the 1st batter they face etc) and are never a “bad cop”.

      • Melvin

        Jim – I know. In other words not much discipline and poor fundamentals. The old saying you get what you expect or rather don’t expect. Accountability is lacking big time. No matter how talented these young guys are they will never reach their full potential as players and as a team without it. That’s why, even though this year was a surprise in a lot of ways, it could have and should have been better.

      • wkuchad

        “Allowing lead off walks” – now we want to blame that on Bell too?

        What would you have him do? Punish the pitchers with 100 pushups every time they allow a lead off walk?

        Bell deserves criticism, but it’s taken to ridiculous levels on this site.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      That record makes sense, since they are essentially a .500 team.

      • JB

        Exactly,Tom. The Reds played like the team they are. Saying that they had the easiest schedule and thinking they were going to the playoffs by other teams laying down for us is ludicrous. The Reds lost during this streak in so many ways as Jim Walker pointed out. They don’t deserve to be in the playoffs. They had a fine year and I can’t wait for next year but the writing is on the wall. They aren’t ready yet if they can’t be better than 8-9 with a easy schedule.

    • Melvin

      Yep. Excuses can always be made by every team. No team is exempt from adversities. Facts are facts. We’ve faltered down the stretch again. Only this time we didn’t have the second easiest schedule. We had the first.

  25. Tom Mitsoff

    Milwaukee clinching the division last night casts a whole new light on the Brewers-Cubs series coming up. The Brewers will be preparing for the playoffs, and that may mean getting starting and relief pitchers into some sort of queue. Everyday players will probably rest. The Cubs will be pulling out every stop they have. The intensity of play will likely very greatly on the two sides.

    • Melvin

      I have to think they’d much prefer playing the Reds instead of the Cubs though. That’s motivation.

      • JB

        Doesn’t really matter what happens in that series because the Reds can’t take care of their own business. How many people actually think the Reds will sweep the Cardinals? I think there is a better chance of the Cards sweeping the Reds. Cards hate the Reds and would love nothing better than to put it to the Reds. It’s over. The Reds had a 1000 chances and screwed themselves.

      • Melvin

        Reds sweep the Cardinals? Of course they will. 😉

        Just saying if by some miracle it’s still undecided the Brewers would most likely want the Reds in the playoffs. I think they figure they have much better strategy and are much smarter….and they’re probably right. Not to mention they have three starters and a backend bullpen we can’t hit. 😉

      • Votto4life

        I think the Brewers would much prefer to play the Reds than the Cubs, however, I don’t think the Brewers respect the Reds enough to think they could sweep the Cardinals. That being the case, the Brewers will rest their starters.

  26. Mark A Verticchio

    I agree that letting Fraley bat last night, not only in the 9th, but period was just plain stupid. I am sorry but I can’t think of any other word.

    • Jim Walker

      The question Bell would have been asked back in the day was if Votto was available in the 9th (and if yes) then why wasn’t he used?

      Looking at the Reds lineup, there was nowhere else in that inning but lead off to use Votto except for Marte if the lead off batter reached (looking for a 2 run jack) or for EDLC with LT 2 out and the tying run on 3B (lesser K risk, better sac fly chance). Stephenson had to bat because the Guardians were going to hit in the 9th if the score was tied or the Reds were ahead, and Maile had been subbed out. India would have batted 6th in the inning but ?????

      • Chris

        I do agree about Votto, but let’s face it, if Votto had hit and K’d or weakly grounded out, you and I both know Bell would have been bashed for using Votto there.

  27. JB

    Going to be an interesting off season. You can draw up a million scenarios for this team on what will they do so Im going to sit back with my popcorn and watch the front office. Spend the money and sign or trade for some guys or scream poverty and sit on the young guys and cheap contracts. What they do this off season will give you all the blue print of how this team will be ran from now on.

    • Indy Red Man

      Yeah it is. The general consensus on RLN is the Castellini’s are super cheap, but then Castellanos, Sonny, Moose, Shogo, ex-Indians starter, and Miley all cashed big checks. Kind of defeats the narrative, but then they also shed those guys fast too.

      Imo they only need 1 solid starter, 1 high leverage in the pen plus another solid lefty and lastly a big stick OF that will also DH so they can move Steer around. The rest of them are still so young that you have to see their careers unfold. Too early to make a decision or block them with some gritty Newman type

      • Chris

        I pretty much agree with that sentiment Indy. Not sure they need a big stick in RF because I think Fraley and Benson will hit well, and I wouldn’t even be opposed to have Senzel in there against lefties. One platoon isn’t all that big of an issue.

      • Jim Walker

        Or as Tony Perez stated his goal in MLB during his early days as he was learning English, they need a RH “Beeg Steeck” in the outfield to go with CES at 1B. 😉

    • BKC

      I’m expecting another off season of excuses
      Worst ownership in MLB

    • Votto4life

      I expect to read how the Reds almost signed someone really good, only to lose out at the last minute. Not to worry though, because we will be told that the money saved this winter will allow the team flexibility, if they need to add payroll at the trading deadline next summer. Of course, when the trading deadline actually arrives, we will be told we have all the players we need just as soon as they all come off the IL in mid August, or mid-September or whenever.

    • Chris

      They should sit on the young guys. At worst there is one hole to fill in RF, and that assumes Benson/Fraley isn’t the guy. They have an excellent group of 6 starters to choose from as well, assuming they are all healthy which they are expected to be.

    • Gpod

      Still a chance….D-Backs have to play a Houston team that has to win this last weekend….Hope Dusty can help out an old friend the next 3 games….of course Reds have to do their part in St Louis….but there is still a chance thanks to the White Sox today

      • Jim Walker

        1999>>> The Metz had to sweep the Pirates while the Reds won fewer than 2 games in Milwaukee to tie or top the Reds for the NL Wild Card. Metz swept. Reds lost 2. Metz won the tiebreaking game play in game. Wild Card fates owe the Reds!

  28. BKC

    There are a few posters here that are beyond obsessed with David Bell
    They refuse to acknowledge that the Reds were expected to lose 100 games again but are still in the playoff hunt
    Obviously he’s done something right but they won’t recognize it,I expect he’ll get votes for manager of the year but they’ll just keep on

  29. Votto4life

    I am by no means a David Bell hater, but I truly don’t understand how a field manager with such a mediocre record, after five seasons, is awarded with a three year extension. What other organization would make such an offer?

    It’s just another example of a flawed organization. Until ownership changes, these bonehead type of decisions will continue to hamper this organization and prevent it from fielding a championship caliber baseball team.

    • J

      I’ve said before, and I’ll probably say again: in many ways, this organization doesn’t feel major league. They bring back a guy who loses 100 games, then reward him the following season with a three year extension based on having a couple good months. Even if he deserves an extension, there was no good reason to make that decision in the middle of the year, and no reason to give him three years. Nobody is trying to steal Bell away from the Reds. Where’s he going to go?

      Then they allow him to continue making bizarre decisions game after game after game. No matter what one thinks of Bell, there’s no good argument for Fraley hitting fifth yesterday. None. Zero. How is a major league organization allowing that to happen?

      The TV crew consists of an annoying guy and a boring guy who says absolutely nothing of any value. Could they really not manage to find two entertaining and competent people to fill those positions?

      The media essentially refuse to ask questions that are even the slightest bit confrontational. It’s basically just “tell us whatever you want to tell us, and we’ll report it.”

      The crowds have often been much smaller and quieter than they ought to be for a team in a playoff race.

      The whole organization just seems very “minor league” in many ways. It’s so different than the Reds I remember growing up, where everything always seemed very major league.

    • VegasRed

      This explains my feelings very well.

      The current long time regime/ownership group is worse than a bad joke. It just totally lacks any credibility whatsoever.

      A heck of a way to run an organization.

  30. J

    Just to continue a point I was making above…

    Although it sorta feels Benson has been in a terrible slump lately because he’s been striking out a lot and hasn’t been getting a ton of hits, his numbers for September are really quite impressive: .269/.350/.558. He’s also stolen 3 bases in 3 attempts. He has a sac fly, and if I’m recalling correctly, I believe he was robbed of a home run on that fly ball. The last time he’s had at least three plate appearances without reaching base at least once was August 31, which was probably the peak of his slump.

    Yesterday he was 1-3. He was the only starter who played the whole game and didn’t have four at-bats. That’s often what happens when you hit 8th. Fraley, whose OPS is 300 points lower than Benson’s in September (and whose last couple weeks have been absolutely dismal), had four at-bats.

    These numbers are obviously available to Bell, but Benson remains stuck at the bottom nevertheless. Bell prefers having Fraley hitting fifth because Bell has a theory about where Fraley should hit. And let’s not forget Renfroe hitting third the day before he was cut. Bell had another theory.

    It really could turn out to be the case that one or two runs over the course of this season (say, for example, in yesterday’s game) might be the difference between making the playoffs and not making the playoffs. And people wonder why I’m so annoyed by these “little” decisions Bell makes day after day after day? It’s because of this. All these “little” decisions can add up to one huge difference by the end of a season. It’s might be tempting to disregard them as they’re occurring because they seem “minor” or “trivial” at the time, but these are the kinds of things that can make or break a team over the course of a season.

      • J

        You’ve literally just copied and pasted a previous negative comment about me. At least you get points for irony.

  31. Mark Moore

    The Stupid Cubs are in the process of Cubbing vs. the Bravos. At this point, I’m about ready to say “Go Phish!!!” just so the Stupid Cubs get frozen out. Us topping both of them would be the best case scenario, though I have to think that first round with the Bernies would be brutal.

  32. Jim Walker

    I’ve been looking at highlights from the Wednesday Reds/ Guardian games and as they say, upon further review the Guardians stepped up and made a couple of outstanding plays which in all probability won the game more than the Reds losing it.

    On the 5th inning play that nailed EDLC at the plate, that was the Guardians SS who grabbed the deflected grounder out of the air almost halfway between 2B and 1B running toward 1B, stopped on a dime, turned 90 degrees, and fired an almost blind perfect throw to the catcher who then made a blind pivot to make the tag.

    On the Marte play in the 9th the Guardians RF had to make a tough pickup off the barrier, turn slightly more than 90 degrees to his throwing side, and put the throw exactly on the 2B bag. If the throw had been even foot off in either direction, the tag could have not been made (especially given it looked to be missed as it was).

    Sometimes stuff just happens.

    • J

      We all have a tendency to look at big highlight plays and say “that’s the difference right there.” It’s natural to do that. But every play matters in a game like that. If a guy hits a double to lead off an inning instead of making an out, that could make a huge difference. If a guy just puts a ball in play rather than taking strike three, that could make a huge difference. Games aren’t won or lost on one or two plays; they’re won or lost based on everything that happens in the game.

  33. Mark A Verticchio

    Marlins now lead in 9th looks like the Reds tragic number will be 1. The Cubs are also in big trouble with a tragic number of 2.

  34. Indy Red Man

    So of course the Mets put in some scrub with 0 career saves in the 9th with a 1-0 lead.

    Thats what you get when you don’t take care of business. They got Chisolm back while we lost McClain. Thats life

  35. Ozzie

    Mets down 0-1 going into the 9th. I’m thinking this is awesome. Then they score two runs in the top of the 9th. With 2 outs the umps call for the tarps. That’s crazy.

  36. Redsvol

    This board is getting too negative again. Critiquing every at bat and every substitution like a 162 game season depends on a batting order change or two.

    I’m not real wild about the Bell extension, but fact is the man guided a team many predicted to be out of it by May 1st to a very over-achieving result.

    Players need to produce. Fact is, most players’ 2nd half performance is below their 1st half. The starting pitching has been a joke for 4 out of 6 months. The number of players required to get thru the season due to injury and poor performance is close to last year’s record. The number of players playing without major league experience this year has to be some sort of record.

    Bell and this coaching staff have coaxed enough performance from all that to keep us in the playoff race until practically the last day of the season. If you can’t see this then you’re just focused on baseball minutiae instead of the big picture.

    • Jim Walker

      The big picture is winning. Folks are focused on winning because the Reds had inside position for a playoff spot; and then, in the last week plus the Reds lost 5-7 including blown leads in several of the games.

      Whatever else happened in the weeks and months leading up to now is irrelevant. The reality is the playoffs were there for taking and the Reds came up short and in large part because they shot themselves in the foot in one specific game versus the Pirates when they historically blew a nine run lead and not once, not twice, but 3 times gave up the lead in another game.

      Does a manager’s choice of who to play impact game outcomes, yes.

      Do a manager’s in game decisions sometimes go as far in deciding a game as what the players do on the field, yes.

      Do some folks go too far sometimes with criticism? Yes.

      If the Reds should miraculously still get into the playoffs would that be baseball minutiae? No, it will be a part of baseball history.

      If the Reds miss the playoffs because people got hurt but they still won more games than they have for a while, will that be baseball minutiae? Yes.

    • J

      Bell took a team that many people assumed were a virtual lock to make the playoffs and it was only a matter of whether they’d win the division or have to settle for a wildcard spot — and guided it to enough August and September losses that we now we find ourselves hoping the Mets can miraculously beat the Marlins and save the Reds from yet another Bell-led disaster.

      That’s another way of looking at it.

  37. Jim Walker

    Braves just closed out their sweep of the Cubs. The Cubs ceiling is now 85 wins. They have to sweep the Brewers in Milwaukee to make that ceiling.

    Marlins and Mets are delayed in top 9th at 2-1 top in favor of the Marlins in NYC. Marlins ceiling will be 86W with a win, 85W if they lose. They finish with 3 vs Pirates in Pittsburg. Go Mets! Go Bucs!

  38. J

    “Bell did a great job given the fact that he had to rely so heavily on rookies this season. Also, Bell had to overcome some really tough breaks when McLain got hurt and Elly stopped hitting, so he was forced to rely on a lot of veterans.”

      • J

        Just paraphrasing a lot of the comments I’ve read.

        The Reds started winning when the rookies started playing. People act like Bell deserves such credit for winning with rookies, but in reality the rookies saved Bell from yet another awful season, and probably got him the extension. People have the cause and effect backwards.

      • Melvin

        “People act like Bell deserves such credit for winning with rookies, but in reality the rookies saved Bell from yet another awful season, and probably got him the extension”.

        I have to agree with that as being most likely the case.

      • Chris

        So let me get this straight. Actually, let me just ask the question. Can anyone name a manager that was successful that didn’t have really good players? Again, I don’t care much for Bell, but it seems with some in here he can’t win no matter what. It’s Bell’s fault that the team was horrendous before the youth movement, but when the youth movement arrived, all the sudden the success was NOT Bell’s fault? Just how does that work?

      • J

        No, Chris, there has never been a manager who’s won playoff games without having good players. However, are you aware that some managers with good players don’t win, and that those managers get fired for not winning? Are you aware that other teams don’t just say “well, he did his best, and the problem was obviously the players didn’t perform.” Other teams say “we expect better results than this, so you are fired.” Are you aware this happens quite often in Major League Baseball, and in other professional sports as well? Do you think it’s always unfair to the manager/coach because it’s always the players who actually play the games, and all the manager/coach can ever do is play the guys he’s been given? Should managers ever be held responsible for any team’s losing seasons or any team’s failure to make the playoffs?

      • Still a Red

        Was Sparky a good manager?
        What did he really do…1970 102 wins, lost WS. Line-up Pete Rose, Bobby Tolan, Tony Perez, Lee May, Johnny Bench, Tommy Helms, Bernie Carbo, Davey Concepcion…4 .300+ hitters, Bench 45 HR, Perez 40, May 34, Bench 148 RBI…team pretty much ran on automatic pilot pretty much same lineup game after game.

        1972, flip Morgan for Helms, Geronimo for Carbo, Menke for May…automatic pilot. 95 Wins, Lost WS.
        75 108 wins. 76 102, Take away Menke add Foster. Take away Tolan add Griffey Sr. Automatic pilot. Pretty much same line up game after game.
        He probably wasn’t that good of a manager because his players did all the work.

      • J

        When a team is loaded with superstars, the manager’s job is certainly a lot easier. I think Sparky’s main role with the Reds was dealing with personality clashes and making some pitching changes. When a team isn’t loaded with superstars, strategic decisions become much more important. Bell might have been a great fit for the 1975 Reds, because he might be good at managing personalities. He could have had Morgan batting 8th all year (because he seems to be really thriving there!), let Geronimo lead off against lefties, rested Rose every Sunday, played Bench 4 out of every 7 games, and that team would still have been great. Sadly, he doesn’t have so many luxuries with this team, but he acts as if he does.

      • Still a Red

        J, I guess my point here is that managing ‘people’ is as important as tactical and strategic decisions during games/season and I think Bell deserves some credit for managing a bunch of rookies through injuries and slumps. Could this team have won more games with better tactical moves. Maybe. Could they have lost much more under a different manager, very possibly. Is he a great manager. Probably not…we’ll probably never know unless he ends up managing for 20 years and at least wins some division titles. Sparky was blessed with a fantastic bunch of battle tested players his entire Cincinnati career (and probably beyond). Was he great tactician (one of the first Capitan Hooks, so maybe he was). He could have been fired after losing the ’70 and ’72 WSs. Great teams…they didn’t get it done.

    • BK

      Reds are current plus 6 vs. the Pythagorean projection. This doesn’t explain why, but it does provide an actual data point against the many opinions that see the Reds as an underperforming team.

  39. MBS

    Snell (5Y*$20M)Hader (5Y*15M), not my numbers, but estimations by spotrac. Those contracts would have us around a $75M payroll range. You could obviously pick other guys, but these seem to be great option for the Reds with their super low payroll.

    1) 2B India 7/9 Marte 2/9
    2) 3B EDLC 7/9 Marte 2/9
    3) SS McLain 7/9 Marte 2/9
    4) CF Friedl 6/9 Dunn 3/9
    5) LF Steer 6/9 Hurtubise 3/9
    6) RF Benson 6/9 Dunn 3/9
    7) 1B CES 7/9 Stephenson 2/9
    8) DH Fraley 7/9 Stephenson 2/9
    9) C Maile 6/9 Stephenson 3/9
    SP *Snell*, Greene, Abbott
    SP Ashcraft, Williamson
    HL *Hader*, Diaz, Lodolo
    ML Young, Sims, Gibaut
    LL Duarte, LS Moll

    Then at the end of the 24 season they could sign a HG style contract on 2 more guys. HG’s deal without escalators is HG $1, $3, $6, $8, $15, $18, Club option $21M. My picks would be Abbott, and McLain, but CES, or Marte could also be a nice pick to doll out money to.

    By the time these extensions hit $15M, the 5 year deals to Snell, and Hader would be coming off the books.

    • Jon

      I would target a second veteran SP as well, given the rotation’s lack of experience and need for quality depth. Stick one of the other guys in AAA if necessary until needed.

      I would also upgrade over Fraley. You know Bell will continue to play him in RF and platoon him and Benson if Fraley is still on the roster. Acquire another RH outfielder and trade Fraley for a quality reliever with control (similar to the Moll trade).

    • Chris

      No one is putting Lodolo in the bullpen. He was among the best starters in the game prior to his injury.

      • MBS

        @Jon, I’m all in on adding depth to this team, so a 2nd vet starter is a great idea. I do like Fraley as the DH because he hits very well there, .265/.363/.442. Those are better numbers than he hits when he plays in the OF. Having said that I like Soler, and the rumor is he’ll opt out of his final year with the Marlins. He’d also be a fantastic DH option.

        @Chris, it’s not a talent issue with Lodolo, it’s a health issue.

        2023, 7 GS
        2022, 19 GS
        2021, 13 GS MILB
        2020 Covid Year MILB
        2019, 8 GS MILB

        I’m hopefully that a move to the pen will keep him on the roster and contributing. People get moved to the pen all the time due to similar issues.

  40. Votto4life

    If the Marlins end up as the third WC team, then congratulations to them. They deserve it. The Brewers just might have their hands full in the first round.

    • Jim Walker

      I agree 100%. The Reds need look no further back than August 8 and 9 to see why the Marlins have bested them. In both games the Reds blew leads vs the Marlins on multi run HRs, in the 7th inning on Aug 8 and the 8th inning on Aug 9 in games they eventually lost to the Marlins 3-2 and 5-4

      • Jim Walker

        Melvin>>> On the 8th of August, with the Reds leading 2-1, Buck Farmer retired the first two batters of the 7th inning. He hit the 3rd batter and Lucas Sims was brought on to face Jorge Soler who jumped his first pitch to give the Marlins a 3-2 lead which held up.

        The next day, with the Reds leading 4-1 in the 8th, Gibaut allowed a single between striking out the lead off batter and the 3rd batter of the inning. Moll was brought after the second K of the inning. He allowed a single on a 2-0 pitch to his first batter. The next batter, Josh Bell, jumped the 1st pitch he saw for a game tying HR. Moll then K’d the ensuing batter to end the 8th at 4-4.

        The Reds 1st hitter in the bottom of the 8th reached on an error but then the next three Reds batters K’d

        Diaz came on to pitch Reds 9th. The Marlins leadoff hitter, Bryan De La Cruz, jumped Diaz first pitch for a HR to make the score 5-4 Marlins. No more runs scored in the top of the 9th. The Reds got a 2 out single (Fairchild of all people) in the bottom of the 9th but EDLC then K’d on 5 pitches to end the game.

        Here is the link to Aug 8 game on BBRef. You can toggle between using the buttons next to the team logos/ names on the final score display

        Scroll to the bottom of the page for the play by play

      • Melvin

        Seems like I remember that. It was a crazy game (s). We should have won.

      • J

        Those are the kinds of losses that make me think the Reds’ issues can’t all be blamed on Bell having to rely on rookies, or on all the starting pitchers getting hurt. They’ve lost numerous games they could have (and probably should have) won, and often the biggest problems seem to occur immediately after “strategic” managerial moves that didn’t have to be made. And this is on top of the fact that I don’t believe the ideal lineup was used in a single game all season. It was just too much for this team to overcome.

  41. Soto

    While watching the Guardians series I couldn’t help but think “what would this team have been like with a quality manager like Tito at the helm?” Talk about a great manager. I rarely find myself jealous of anything about or from Cleveland, but I have a great deal of respect for Tito. I love how he honestly communicates with the media. What a breath of fresh air. I wish I could listen to our manager do an interview, but unfortunately that ship sailed for me a long time ago.

  42. J

    I’m not sure anyone really understands the rules, but I think it’s possible that if it keeps raining for a bit longer in New York, the Mets may win that game.

    • Melvin

      It reverts back to the last full inning if I’m not mistaken after the 5th inning. They will wait a long time though since so much is on the line. It would be cool if it turned out that way. 😉

      • Jim Walker

        Melvin, see my comment below. My secondary email jumped my primary email so my avatar did not display but it is by me. JimW

    • Jim Walker

      Because the lead changed hands to the Marlins favor in the top of the 9th, with the Mets as the home team, the Mets cannot lose the game without getting their last 3 outs.

      In days gone by if the weather made it impossible to continue, the score would have reverted back to Mets favor; and, they would have been the winners. However, for a number of years, the MLB rule has been that once a game is an official game (5 innings minimum) runs cannot be taken off the board in a situation such as in NYC Thursday night. Instead, the game is suspended to be continued at a later date from the point where play was stopped.

      Given this is the last weekend of the season, if the game cannot be finished tonight, my guess would be the Marlins will move on to Pittsburgh for their weekend series with the Pirates and then return to finish the suspended game on Monday if and only if it still has a bearing on who gets the final wildcard spot. The only other option I can imagine is that the Marlins would stay in NYC and finish the suspended game on Friday then play a double header in Pittsburgh on Saturday.

      • Melvin

        Yeah. I think I remember that rule now. Not sure why they changed it. Anyway it just adds a little more suspense to the whole thing.

      • Jeremiah

        Reminds me a bit of the Reds in Milwaukee was that 99 with Greg Vaughn when they had to play the rain delayed game late in the night with only a few games left in the season? I feel for the Marlins, almost would like to see them get a spot if not the Reds, they haven’t had it easy here.

      • J

        I just managed to find the rule, and see that you’re absolutely right. Oh well. It was a nice thought while it lasted.

      • Melvin

        At least it might make the Marlins a little more tired and possibly throw them off their game. 🙂

      • Jim Walker

        I used to be the IT maven and responsible for the billing software at a community wellness center. We would joke sometimes, it is never over till it is over but even if died wasn’t over unless their insurance claim was settled.

      • TR

        I lived in Miami when the Marlins came into the NL in 1993 and thought at the time it should have been an AL franchise with many Yankee fans retiring there from NY, NJ and Conn, and eventually that Tampa BAY would become a NL area with more retirees from the Midwest, but that was not to be. For a team only around for 30 years, the Marlins have won two WS’s but the original owner, whose main business was the Dolphins, broke up the WS teams and they’ve basically struggled ever since. If the Reds don’t make the playoffs this year, which is likely, I’ll pull for the Marlins.

    • Jim Walker

      The Marlins/ Mets game has been suspended as of 1AM Friday morning. The score is 2-1 in favor of the Marlins with 2 outs and runners at 1b and 2b with the Marlins batting in the top of the 9th.

  43. Jeremiah

    A lot of fans want to trade Fraley and I understand he’s mostly a platoon player, and does seem to have injury history. But man he was kind of the rock for the Reds getting big hits, and had over 20 stolen bases before getting injured. I also think he has al little bit of veteran leadership ability from what I’ve read, so I think maybe he’s someone the Reds keep.

    Cubbies fans probably ready to get rid of David Ross I wonder!

    Best way for the Reds to get in now is sweeping the Cards, Dbacks getting swept by Houston, and Cubs only winning 1 of 3 vs. Milwaukee. Not likely but still small possibility!

    • Melvin

      Yeah. It ain’t over till it’s over…..I just thought that up. Feel free to use it. 😉

      • TR

        The singer is doing his or her scales waiting to perform.

  44. Matt WI

    Listening to Chicago sports radio this morning… they are all mad and sad and it’s winderful. But, as they discussed weekend scenarios, they focused 10 min on the Marlins and never once mentioned Cincy. Typical. Prove ’em all wrong this weekend, Reds. Take all the games and see what happens.

  45. Mark A Verticchio

    Actually if the Cubs lose only one time to the Brewers and the Reds sweep, very unlikely, the Reds will pass the Cubs. They also need either the Marlins, by Pirates, or the Diamondback, by Astros, to be swept. Both are very unlikely but I think the Astros are a better bet.

    • Jim Walker

      The Reds vs Cubs situation is simple The Reds are a game back of the Cubs and both have 3 games to go. Any combination of Reds wins and Cubs losses this weekend that gives the Reds 1 more win in the last 3 than the Cubs win in their last 3 ties the Red and Cubs with the Reds holding the 2 team tiebreaker.

      If the Cubs get swept, a single Reds win would suffice. If the Cubs win 1 then the Reds would need 2 wins to tie them. If the Cubs win 2 the Reds could still tie them with a sweep. If the Cubs sweep the Brewers, the Reds cannot catch them,

      The larger problem for both the Reds and Cubs is the Marlins. The Marlins have a ceiling of 86 wins which neither the Reds nor Cubs can reach plus hold the 2 and 3 team tiebreaker over both.

      If the Marlins win 2 of their 4 remaining games (3 vs Pirates plus the suspended Friday game versus the Mets which they lead 2-1 in the top of the 9th), the Reds are closed out regardless of how they fare against the Cardinals.

      If the Marlins win 1 (or none) of their final 4; and, the Reds sweep the Cardinals and the Cubs lose at least 1 to the Brewers, the Reds are in over both the Marlins and Cubs. Let the Cubs fans figure out how dire their situation is. 😉

      Should the DBacks fall back into a 4 way tie with the Cubs, Marlins and Reds putting 2 spots into the balance, as nearly as I can figure, the Marlins and Reds would advance on the tiebreakers.

      And lest we be like the Chicago radio and forget to check for exits behind us, the math says the Padres could get to 83 wins with a sweep this weekend. I have no idea how they would fare on tiebreakers against the 4 teams now ahead of them if th bar falls that low.