Spring training game to an end for the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday evening as they faced off one final time with Cleveland before both clubs hopped on a plane to head back to Ohio and get ready for games that count in the standings.

Game Recap: Guardians 10 – Reds 7

Cincinnati used a big, 5-run 4th inning to take a 6-2 lead, but two multi-run innings by Cleveland allowed them to score eight of the final nine runs in the game and pull away from the Reds to pick up the come from behind victory.

The Highlights

Hunter Greene retired the first two Guardian hitters with ease, but Jose Ramirez clobbered a high fastball for a solo home run with two outs to put Cleveland on top. The Reds were threatening in the bottom of the inning after Jonathan India singled and Elly De La Cruz walked to start the inning, but they were stranded on the bases after Gabriel Arias made a sliding stop on a hard hit ball from Jeimer Candelario that ended the inning.

Two innings later the Reds were able to tie the game up. Spencer Steer came through with a 2-out solo home run that just cleared the yellow line in dead center. It was his 4th of the spring – tying him for the team lead with Nick Martini, Luke Maile, and Christian Encarnacion-Strand.

Hunter Greene was finished after three innings of 1-run baseball. Cincinnati turned the game over to Brent Suter for the 4th inning. He allowed an infield single to start the inning, but immediately picked off Jose Ramirez. Suter gave up the lead when Andres Gimenez hit a hanging breaking ball back to Cleveland (ok, it cleared the bullpen in right center and landed on the concourse) to put the Guardians up 2-1.

Cincinnati took the lead back in the bottom of the 4th. Jeimer Candelario worked a walk to start the inning and then Christian Encarnacion-Strand hit a 400+ footer to center to take the team lead with his 5th homer of the spring that made it 3-2.

Singles later in the inning from Santiago Espinal, Jonathan India, and Elly De La Cruz added another run as the Reds extended their lead to 4-2. Spencer Steer then came through with a double into the right field corner to plate two more runs to cap off the rally and put Cincinnati up by four.

Tony Santillan pitched a scoreless 5th inning for the Reds, picking up a strikeout and picking off one of the two baserunners he allowed (both were on singles to right field). When Justin Wilson took over in the bottom of the 6th inning an entirely new team came out with him as there was a change at every position for Cincinnati. Things didn’t go well for Wilson as he allowed two singles, two doubles, and a triple while recording just one out before he was pulled from the game as Cleveland had scored four runs to tie the game up and had a runner on third when Michael Byrne took over. He immediately gave up a single that put the Guardians ahead 7-6.

Tyler Thornton came out for the 7th inning for Cleveland and he walked the first three batters of the inning before he was removed from the game and replaced by Alaska Abney. He would get a line out that turned into a double play and a strikeout to escape the jame and keep the Guardians in the lead.

After Lucas Sims tossed a shutout top of the 8th inning with two strikeouts, the Reds were able to get the game tied up in the bottom of the inning. Mat Nelson, who took over behind the plate earlier in the game, crushed his first home run of the spring – a solo shot that made it 7-7.

Alexis Diaz came into the game in the top of the 9th and things didn’t go his way. He allowed a leadoff single and then walked the next batter. Diaz got a grounder next, but on the throw over to first in which he was covering, the ball deflected off of his glove (his fault – the throw was quite good) and led to a run crossing the plate. The next batter then connected for a 2-run homer that made it 10-7.

The Reds tried to get a 2-out rally going with a walk from Alex McGarry to keep the game going. Quincy McAfee did his part, though probably not at all in the way he wanted as he was hit by a pitch. That brought Anthony Alford to the plate as the tying run, but he struck out to end the final game of the spring for Cincinnati.

You can see the box score for this game here.

The Next Game

The Reds will not play another game until Opening Day on Thursday. They’ll be hosting the Washington Nationals, who have their 26-man roster made up of a bunch of former Reds players – Josiah Gray (drafted and then later traded by the Reds) will be their opening day starter. Dylan Floro, Tanner Rainey, and Derek Law will all be in the bullpen. Jesse Winker and Nick Senzel are also going to be on their opening day roster.

33 Responses

  1. RedsGettingBetter

    Is a little concern that Alexis Díaz performed bad in this game and the ST overall? I know the stats aren’t important at this point, but He had a 10.50 ERA and except the first outing he just struggled the rest
    Well, just wait for opening day and go for it Reds!

    • DaveCT

      I suspect the issue will be if his stuff has diminished after his heavy use last year. We may not know that for awhile.

    • GreatRedLegsFan

      I wonder if there’s a more deep issue with Diaz, he’s lost effectiveness since late last season.

    • Rob

      Know it is only ST, but I am very concerned about Diaz. His 2023 second half was not good (tired?) but putting spring training on top of that is worrisome. With the Reds non moves at the August 1 deadline, I almost wish we would have listened to the trade overtures. Just hope this wasn’t a missed opportunity. Way too early to call that but things better look a lot more sunny by mid May. Just an amateur opinion as I know, or at least hope, that others can evaluate these things better than me but I have registered.

    • Hanawi

      He was never the same after Bell overused him in Houston when he didn’t need to at all.

    • DW

      His velocity really seemed to drop off for the last couple months or so last season when he struggled. I guess we will see where things are when we can get data again.

  2. DaveCT

    Santy Espinal is gonna be a fan favorite. You heard it here first, folks. Kid just knows how to play.

    And that was quite a play by youngster, Leo Balcazar.

    • Greenfield Red

      Despite all the injuries and the suspension, I remain optimistic about this year.

  3. Laredo Slider

    Earth to Bell: Put CES in the four hole and LEAVE HIM ALONE! Hitting him 6th, 7th, 8th is bizarre and ridiculous.

    • MBS

      I liked CES for the 3 hole, but I think the plan is 1 India, 2 EDLC, 3 Steer. If that’s the case I’d suspect Bell will put Candy, or Fraley in the 4 hole, with CES maybe in the 5.

      Either way, I think CES is going to rake for us this year!

    • Jason Franklin

      I agree on CES is not being used correctly in the batting order. Is it because Bell sees him as a youngster and doesn’t want to put all that pressure on him in the 4th spot? CES needs to learn how to handle that spot because he should be hitting there.

      • 2020ball

        How does a guylearn a spot in the batting order? The top of the order mayyyybe, but really you just have to hit no matter where your name is written

  4. LeRoy

    Spring training is over. What great things have we learned? We’ve learned that a full winter’s rest didn’t help Diaz from still pitching as he did the last part of the season when everyone said he was just tired. We also learned that whatever pitch or what Greene was working on this winter hasn’t kept him from throwing his fastball in the home run lane. We’ve also found out that Fraley and Benson still can’t hit left hand pitching even if it’s against minor leaguers. And last we found out that injuries and things happen that change your chances of winning that you can’t control. Everyone says that De La Cruz adjusted his approach and swing and had a good spring, but he still struck out over 40% of the time against a lot of minor league pitchers. And lastly, the manager still doesn’t know how to stretch out his starters to be ready for the season and doesn’t seem to be getting any wiser.

    • VaRedsFan

      I’m not sure you’ve watched how Spring training works.
      Guys start and get their 2-3 AB’s against other MLB’ers, and get removed before they the see the mop-up minor leaguers.

    • DaveCT

      Standard trolling.

      1. Make statements virtually no one has said.
      2. Make broad, sweeping allegations that cannot be defended because … they are broad sweeping (nonsensical) allegations.

  5. AMDG

    Good to see Diaz is already in mid season form for the start of the season.

  6. MK

    Greene reminds me more of Homer Bailey on the mound. He can be absolutely dominate one game, and even one inning and below average the next. Neither handles adversity of an inning well and think if they overthrow their fastballs all will be OK. of course over throwing straightens it out and makes things worse. Nether seem or seemed to learn that harder isn’t necessarily better.

  7. Alex Reds

    Very worried about Diaz, Suter, and Abbott. Meanwhile, Santillan somehow doesn’t make the MLB team when he’s been the best reliever. Unless it’s temporary for some roster moves prior to the season, this is a huge mistake if the team wants to win. Santillan 5 innings, 1 hit, 0 walks, 10 strikeouts, and no runs. Nick Martinez also doing very well.

    • Old Big Ed

      I’d have to study his game log, but Santillan seemed to be used a lot in later innings, especially earlier in the spring. If so, he was facing a lot of MiLB hitters. In this last couple of outings, some of which were in the middle innings against some regular MLB hitters, he had to work his way out of jams, which he did well.

      I am high on Santillan, but I don’t think it is a bad call to give him a few weeks of steady work at Louisville.

  8. Rick

    Diaz started looking tired just prior to the AS brake last season. He seemed to drop his arm angle just a fraction. Somethings amiss.
    CES needs to be in that 4 hole all season to see a higher amount of ab’s over the course of a long season. He didn’t seem to be on the manager’s favorite list when called & thus where he frequently in the order. To much rbi potential in that players bat. And, don’t yang him from the game in the 7th or 8th inning for defense or double switches unless it’s totally sensible.

  9. Hanawi

    Reds didn’t seem to change their spring training approach this year even though they have been poor out of the gates more often than not under Bell. You would think they might do something different to make sure they are ready for the season.

  10. Old Big Ed

    Part of me thinks that Diaz was doing it with mirrors last year, that he was continually getting too deep into counts all of last year, and that Santillan and others will be seen as better by the end of this season.

    The other part of me thinks that Diaz is a slider pitcher throwing in 14% humidity in Arizona, without his usual “save-situation” adrenaline rush, and that he will be fine in normal weather and in the heat of real competition.

    Part of me should be right, one way or the other.

    • Jim Walker

      Yeah, let’s hope Diaz was “just getting his work in” as pitchers default to saying when they get pounded in ST.

      Per Fangraphs, Santillan has no options remaining. Given the way he performed late last year at AAA then ST, the chances of getting him through waivers can’t be good. So, it makes sense to be sure he is good to go in a regular season rhythm at AAA before bringing him up.

      • AllTheHype

        Ahhh, Santillan signed a MiL deal back in Nov so that explains it. He can be sent to AAA in that case, and called up (and added to 40 man) when the Reds want to. I was missing the MiL deal he signed.

  11. Old-school

    We will have to wait and see on Diaz. His first half K rates in 2023 were the best in baseball at ~ 17 per 9 innings. He seemed to lose velocity and command and his K rates plummeted in august and September. Hopefully, just fatigue. Im high on Santillan but I am a little confused on his status. Can he or can he not be sent to AAA Louisville to start the year?

    • Jim Walker

      At some point, Santilan was outrighted off the 40 man roster during the 2023 season while he was at AAA. He would have cleared waivers for this to have happened.

      In the off season, he signed a minor league deal with the Reds and was invited to ST as an MLB` nonroster player. Thus the Reds were able to send him back to the minor league camp without waivers.

      His contract can be “selected” by the Reds for MLB duty without the need for waivers. However, per Fangraphs, he is out of options which means once the Reds bring him up, they cannot send him back down without passing him through waivers,

    • AllTheHype

      Relievers are volatile year to year. Reds may need to adjust if he isn’t what he was. Only time will tell. Pagan has closed games in the past.

      • MBS

        @All, Yes, Pagan seems to be the back up plan, so hopefully we don’t need to overwork Diaz this year. I don’t think it was too many innings for Diaz, but maybe he wasn’t getting the proper rest between uses.

        His IP only went up 4 from the previous season, but his G’s went up 120%.

  12. Indy Red Man

    Any news on Gibaut? I’m expecting a ton of Overs with this Reds squad. Starters might be slightly better, but I’m expecting the pen to revert back to the glory days of David Hernandez