Zack Wheeler was on his game on Thursday afternoon and held the Reds to one hit over six strong innings. The Phillies used a big 4-run inning in the 3rd to grab the lead and never look back as they earned a split in Cincinnati with a 5-0 win.

Final R H E
Philadelphia Phillies (16-10)
5 11 0
Cincinnati Reds (14-11)
0 3 0
W: Wheeler (2-3) L: Martinez (0-1)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

The first two innings of the game went well for Nick Martinez, but things went south quickly in the top of the 3rd. He would allow a leadoff single, an RBI triple, a sacrifice fly, a ground rule double, and then a 2-run homer to Bryce Harper to cap off Philadelphia’s 4-run inning that put them on top.

Cincinnati wasn’t going to just roll over. They had been hitless through the first two inning, but Jeimer Candelario walked and moved to third on a single by Santiago Espinal to put runners on the corners to start the frame. After back-to-back strikeouts, Elly De La Cruz worked an 8-pitch walk to load the bases for Spencer Steer. After a 9-pitch at-bat, Steer flew out to the warning track in right field to end the inning and Cincinnati left the bases loaded.

When the 6th inning began, Nick Martinez was still on the mound and had pitched well outside of that 3rd inning. But Philadelphia got to him again in the 6th with another run when Bryson Stott singled in Brandon Marsh. A caught stealing earlier in the inning saved another run, but Cincinnati trailed 5-0 at this point.

Both starting pitchers were out after their respective 6th innings and it became a bullpen game. Orion Kerkering threw a perfect 7th inning for Philadelphia, but when he returned for the 8th he got himself into a jam after Luke Maile singled and Elly De La Cruz walked to put two men on. That’s when the Phillies went to the bullpen and brought in former Red Jeff Hoffman to face Spencer Steer, but just like the last time Steer had a chance to drive in some runs he hit the ball hard but it found the glove of Nick Castellanos to end the inning.

Hoffman returned for the Phillies in the 9th, looking to seal the win. He gave up a single to Nick Martini with one out – just the Reds third hit of the day – but struck out Jonathan India and Jeimer Candelario to end the game and give Philadelphia a series split.

Key Moment of the Game

Bryce Harper’s 2-run homer in the 3rd. While the Reds never scored on the day, a 2-0 game turning into a 4-0 game really put things away for the Phillies.

Notes Worth Noting

The Reds hadn’t been shut out all season until the Phillies arrived at Great American Ball Park. Cincinnati was shut out in both of their losses this week.

With two walks, Elly De La Cruz now has 14 of them in April. That is a new career high for walks in a month, topping the 13 he had in September of last season.

The trio of Nick Martinez, Sam Moll, and Buck Farmer combined to walk just one batter on the day. Moll (1IP) and Farmer (2IP) didn’t allow a hit.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds vs Texas Rangers

Friday April 26th, 8:05pm ET

Graham Ashcraft (3-1, 5.24 ERA) vs Nathan Eovaldi (1-2, 3.30 ERA)

59 Responses

  1. TR

    More good relief pitching, and the Reds take the season series. On to DFW.

  2. RedsGettingBetter

    I guess being shut out by Ranger Suarez , Zack wheeler and a good bullpen is not to be a crazy thing… But maybe we just have to live with the inconsistencies of the Reds offense and the injuries and illness…
    Hopefully they could hit against Eovaldi tomorrow relying on Graham Ashcraft’s good night… keep rolling

  3. CI3J

    Doesn’t matter how good your pitching is if you can’t score.

    Still, the Phillies are a good team, so the fact the Reds could hang with them has to be seen as a positive for this young team.

    Onto the Texas Rangers, who haven’t exactly been setting the world on fire.

  4. Old-school

    Give wheeler harper and a deep lineup credit. Solid ball club.

    Elly and steer had great at bats in that 3rd inning and steer just missed a grand slam

    I was on the extend india and stephenson train after year 1 and that was clearly wrong. But, royals small market extended Witt after year (2) 11/288. Reds can afford that for Elly.
    They have no long term commitments other than Greene and his $80 million isnt an issue thru 2028

    Do the Reds give Elly a brinks truck for a decade+ ???? Boras isnt saying no to $200 million when the Reds control Elly at minimum wage for several years

    • LarkinPhillips

      Elly has a deal with Jordan and Underarmor so he isn’t stressing about holding out for free agency and getting a bigger truck backed up to him at that time. The time to sign him was before the start of last year, but that was a massive gamble at that time as he had major question marks.

      • Mauired

        Something the Reds should have gambled on. It’s the one and only way for a small market team to keep a superstar from leaving. Kind of like Brewers signing Chourio before his debut. Might not work out but otherwise you get stuck in the loop of guys getting overpriced and leaving.

      • LarkinPhillips

        @MauiRed, I don’t disagree at all. I think Krall’s plan is to remove the up and down though, which means if you take that gamble and miss, there will be a down as the Reds really can only “afford” 3-4 medium to large size contracts at any time.

    • Oldtimer

      Both teams had a lot if warning track flouts today. My quibble is with Reds batter who stuck out looking. Too many if those.

      Delightful day at the ballpark despite the loss. Nice springtime temperature. Little or no wind at seat level. Clear blue sky all afternoon. AND I spent an hour at the Monet art exhibit. Worth every penny. $38 for seniors like me.

      Phillie reliever Jeff Hoffman was throwing 95 MPH bullets. He was a Red a few years ago, I think.

      • Oldtimer

        Fly ball outs, not flouts.

        PS lots of Phillies fans last night and today.

      • VaRedsFan

        Nothing beats a day at the park. Too bad they couldn’t sendyou home with a win. Describe the Scout’s Box seats you had. Do those come with food/drink? Any other extras?

      • LarkinPhillips

        Vareds fan. Scouts box that I normally get have their own private concession and bathrooms and bar. But you pay for it. Lexus club which I sit in sometimes has a meal served before the game and food and beverage including alcohol is included in the seat.

      • Old-school

        @Va

        When the reds have stunk the majority of the time since 2015- my favorite seats are the scout boxes behind the diamonds. Unreal views but access to the club underground behind home plate. Air condition in July humidity for an inning plus tables couches bar food TV’s etc – not included in price… just access

        Getting way more expensive though but AC for an inning in july is great

        In 2022 could buy day before below face value

      • Daytonnati

        Yes, I think I spent $14 for a beer a couple of years ago, but it was a great game with a great view and a walk-off win in extras.

        I was in the Diamond seats several years ago and I advise anyone who has the opportunity to sit there, DON’T. Going to a game in person is never as much fun again.

      • Oldtimer

        Scouts Box seats that I had are directly behind home plate with a view of the whole field and ballpark. Private concessions and bathrooms. The wait staff take your order at the seats and bring to to you. $87 last night, $93 today. Very much worth it.

      • VaRedsFan

        Yeah, I purchased some Lexus seats for my son, his wife and myself for Friday June 21st against the Red Sox.

        I’ve gotten club level, which is nice too, the last 2 years. So I splurged and went all in this year. PLEASE DON’T RAIN!!

  5. David

    In other news…..Brewers and Cubs are winning, so the Reds lose some ground today. Cubs have a lot of energy and youth too, both the regulars and pitching.
    Pirates have had a rough week and are fading.

    Cardinals continue to bring up the rear. Sad!

    And actually compared to most of the divisions in ML baseball, the NL Central looks pretty strong. AL East is probably the best, with maybe NL East and NL Central neck and neck. I think the Braves are probably better than the Brewers, but only time will tell.
    The Reds are not quite at full strength, but other teams “young pitching” is serving them well. Hopefully, Graham Ashcraft can pitch effectively for the Reds tomorrow in Texas. And Frank Montas will be back in the rotation sooner rather than later.

  6. MBS

    Should Espinal be our starting 2B? It really comes down to Espinal’s bat vs Martini, and Espinal’s glove vs India. Martini isn’t an everyday player, he’s been a AAAA guy for his whole career.

    Something like this

    DH Martini 5/9 India 4/9
    1B CES 8/9 India 1/9
    ———————————-
    2B Espinal 6/9 India 3/9
    SS EDLC 8/9 Espinal 1/9
    3B Candy 8/9 Espinal 1/9

    • Tom Diesman

      I start Espinal at 2B only against LH in a platoon with Martini and slide India to DH.

      • Jim Walker

        @TD>>Sounds good. What do you think happens with Benson/ Fraley/ Martini when Friedl is back? My concern is that they jerk Steer around to play both Benson and Fraley in the OF vs RHP. I’d put Fraley at DH Martini is a LH bat off the bench with Thompson odd man off the 26 man.

      • Tom Diesman

        I think we’re on the same page. Thompson DFA when Friedl returns. Martini to bench. Benson/Fairchild platoon in RF. Fraley assumes the DH platoon role with Espinal at 2B and India to DH.

    • MK

      Wouldn’t get too set on that platoon. Who goes when Friedl comes back??

      • Wallyum

        At this point, I let Benson sort his head out in Louisville. He looks totally lost.

      • MBS

        @MK, Martini goes back, if not to AAA he goes back to strictly a pinch hitter. The question would be is Martini’s PH more valuable than Thompson’s PR? I could go either way, but speed doesn’t get rusty like a swing does.

  7. doofus

    I do not believe that when the Reds have a bad offensive game it can be summarized as “offensive inconsistency.” It is because most of our hitters are inferior. How many of our hitters strike fear in the heart of the opposing pitcher EVERY game?

    • Tom Diesman

      Reds hitters are not inferior. Currently, Maile and Thompson are the only players on roster that won’t finish the year about MLB average or better. That makes for a solid lineup top to bottom. I’ll let you compute the fear factor. ?

    • greenmtred

      There is an old adage: good pitching beats good hitting. The Reds ran into two outstanding performances from Phillies starting pitchers and bullpen. The Reds lineup is missing some critical pieces and is mostly young and inexperienced, but they aren’t inferior or hopeless. We may be comparing them statistically to our memories, and a check of stats for opponents lineups (Schwarber just made it above .200) will show that lots of players aren’t hitting for average. This is an iteration of the age of the pitcher. Hitters are seeing fresh arms earlier in the game than in former times.

      • old-school

        Kyle farmer in minnesota is getting booed and hitting under .100.

        I remember he had that 0-33 streak a couplie years ago.

  8. Mike W

    Im happy to say the Reds are holding their own despite their hitting, or lack thereof. Look at the 8 (excludes EDLC) Bell played today:
    Benson .195
    Steer .258 (due to 0 for his last 18, but he’s hitting it hard!.
    CES .200
    Martini .203
    India .164
    Candelario .176
    Espinal .216
    Maile .143
    The 8 that played today (which excludes Elly and his .306) have a combined batting average of .194.
    That won’t scare anyone or produce enough runs on average to win 3 of 5. Hopefully Bell will recognize that and have our guys take some more pitches to try and get walks and get rid of the other team’s SP, and also lay down some bunts!
    Despite scoring more runs than most of the other teams in the NL — which I think has come from stealing more bases, HRs and timely hits — we still need to find ways to “create” some more runs and baserunners while our guys true averages show up and we get a few of our injured starters back (who presumably would hit better than “BELOW the Mendoza line”!
    Does anyone know? Are we taking extra batting practice? Are we taking extra bunting practice? Does it appear we’re doing anything more than normal to try and increase our player’s BAs?

    • Daytonnati

      Plus, they seem to have no quit in them. Falling behind does not seem to impact them negatively in any way. They continue scrapping.

  9. SultanofSwaff

    Another nice outing from Buck Farmer. Good pitching staffs need glue guys like him.

    Steer’s AB in the 3rd was the pivot point imo. Just missed a bases clearing double and then grand slam. Still, a great at-bat.

    This next month will be a tough test, but it’s not who you play but when you play them. The Reds are mostly in good health, especially on the pitching side (knock on wood). No reason they can’t play .500 ball. The weight of expectations doesn’t seem to bother these guys.

    • Jim Walker

      +500 for saying the Reds are mostly in good health. An MLB season is a long grind and is about who is on the field and how they are playing, not who may be back in a month or 6 weeks or 3 months or *maybe* 5 months instead of out for the season. The possible exception to this starting pitching.

      Witness the 2012 Reds team which won 97 games despite Joey Votto playing in just 111 games (475 PAs) and Scott Rolen just 92 games (330 PAs). A 26 year old Todd Frazier who had just 121 career MLB PAs at the start of 2012 stepped up to fill those voids with 128 GP/ 465PAs/ 118OPS+.

      Lesser known guys (except to long time Reds fans) like journeymen Chris Heisey along with Xaiver Paul in the OF, middle IF Wilson Valdez, and at catcher, Dioner Navarro in addition to upcoming Devin Mesoraco provided most of the bench depth.

      However, the 2012 team used just *6 starting pitchers, yes only 6*, during the regular season with the regular core 5 making 161 of the 162 regular season starts and pitching 1015.1 aggregate innings.

      • wkuchad

        That was a fun season, until the ending. The one start that wasn’t made by the core 5 was only due to a doubleheader.

      • Jim Walker

        @wkuchad>> The injury to Votto (knee) probably cost him the MVP as he was not the same player when he got back as before he went down. His BA/OBP/SLG/OPS line when he went down in mid July was .342/.465/.604/1.069 in 370PAs. After his return following Labor Day it was .316/.505/.421/.926 in 105PAs which while still outstanding featured a different profile to get to the OPS number.

  10. Mark Moore

    4 of 7 is the positive takeaway. And this split was HUGE in my book. Phillies are a good team top to bottom. Now let somebody else deal with them.

    • Jim Walker

      +1K on that 4/7 vs Phillies. That cannot be taken away and could loom large as a tiebreaker come the end of the regular season. The Phillies cannot get in ahead of the Reds come what may in a simple 2 way tie or a multi team tie in which both the Reds and Phillies have the head to head advantage over every other team in the tie.

    • Redsvol

      Plus 1. Phillies are an excellent team. And their pitching staff top to bottom is phenomenal. Zach wheeler probably top 3 pitcher in mlb currently.

      – recall Reds had a young assistant pitching coach who was involved with developing Castillo, Mahle and helping Gray get back on track. He has been the Phillies pitching coach the last 3 years. Wish we could have hung onto him somehow.

      Going thru a stretch of games every single day and a bunch of guys sick or recovering from nasty viral infection. We need a day off and everyone to get back to feeling well.

      Looking forward Fraley, India, and Freidl getting back on the field. And hoping marte is working hard to come back in June.

  11. Nick in NKY

    Didn’t watch today, but I continue to be buying stock in Steer. I haven’t checked the advanced stats, but my carefully calibrated eyeball says he does the two things that a hitter must do to remain successful long-term: he doesn’t chase too much, and when he makes contact it’s solid. The other night I saw him fly out twice and thought that if it were 20 degrees warmer, he’d probably have had a two-homer game. Some of the hitters have taken some pretty close third strikes which I’m not a big fan of, but it’s hard to know for sure from the telecast angle how some of them look.

    Anyways, gotta tip your cap to a team like Philly. Get ’em tomorrow.

    • Doc

      A lot of people wanted Steer moved up in the lineup. That move isn’t working out at the moment.

      • Harry Stoner

        A lot of reasons why that could be the case.

        The above message makes note of Steer’s good ABs.

        I’m sure you have a better idea of who to bat #3.

        Or more likely, you don’t.

        Of course, being the late-to-the-conversation critic is too easy to stop now, isn’t it?

      • MBS

        @Doc, Steer is fine, I think he’s a middle of the order bat. Should he be 3, 4 or 5? IDK, but he should be 1 of them.

      • Melvin

        He’s hitting the ball hard more often than not. That’s really all that matters. He certainly shouldn’t be batting 7th at any time like he was.

    • BK

      @Nick, all great points. Steer has made a lot of loud outs recently … that’s part of the game.

  12. Andrew Brewer

    The biggest stat that jumps out at me is that the Reds are +19 in the Scoring column.
    Last year we struggled mightily to get out of the negative territory. We just haven’t had the lopsided blowouts this year. So even though our batting averages are shockingly low overall, the Reds are doing very well with what they can produce. Good hitting is an unconscious act. There is no time to think about it. You have to have developed your instincts over time, and then just re-act when the pitcher delivers. It’s a good game, and an impossible game. Just don’t let the losses get you down…

    • Jim Walker

      +500. Last year they had to pile on runs and then hold on for dear life in hopes the pen could stop the bleeding a run short of being tied (it behind). The game on Wednesday was an example of the positive change so far this year. More often than not, in 2023 a quality team like the Phils would have blown them out in the 6th inning or erased the deficit and taken a lead on them with the situation they had in the 7th. Not only did this not happen, the Reds tacked on in both the 7th and the 8th.

  13. CI3J

    The NL looks like it’s going to be dominated by the Dodgers, Phillies, and Braves.

    The next tier down includes teams like the Mets, Padres, and Diamondbacks. There are probably some NL Central teams that belong in this tier too, but I’m not yet sure who they would be. All I know is it’s definitely not the Pirates or Cardinals.

  14. 50thyearRedsfan

    I was impressed with Elly’s at bat with 2 men on and 2 outs when the game was still in reach. He took some tough pitches and refused to chase what Wheeler was throwing. Getting a walk and bringing Steer up with the tying run was a great outcome. So Steer battles and just misses a bases clearing double and a possible grand slam, we were so close and Wheeler was lucky to escape this time. If we see him in the playoffs I have hope maybe we break through.

    • Jim Walker

      I agree EDLC took some big BBs in the Phillies series. Now they need to get somebody cooking behind him to minimize the value of pitching around him.

      • Optimist

        Keep Steer behind him, and have speed in front of him. Gives him good pitches to see, and clears second for a SB. Put CES behind Steer.

  15. old-school

    checking out Doug’s other site and Carson Spiers went 7 strong innings last night and threw 100 pitches. ERA is down to 3.24 for the year. Looks like Reds have 1 arm in AAA now pitching well and capable of making a spot start or giving long innings out of the bullpen should they need it soon.

    • Optimist

      He’s clearly got the claim to be the 1st spot callup, but Phillips and Richardson are also available – unless they’ve got severe issues, disregard the stats, they could still be available for a week or 2. Unless Williamson’s return drags out or the injury lingers, they are only exposed for another 4-6 weeks. It shows the benefit of Martinez and Suter so far – we should see the remaining benefit after July.

  16. Mauired

    It’s puzzling to me bascially every start Hunter Greene makes there is a barrage of negative commentary even if the start was just decent. But Nick Martinez gives up 5 in 7 (not decent) and not one thing is said when he’s making 10 million more than Greene. In fact he gets a ton of praise despite having a 5 and a half ERA overpaid at this point 33 year old swingman. Greene meanwhile is a 24 year developing pitcher with an ERA a whole run lower.

    • MBS

      #2 pick, and current #2 in the rotation vs a swingman creates different expectations. Martinez has done much better so far in the pen, and hopefully he only need to start 1 more time before Montas returns.

      • Mauired

        I don’t think number of rotation spot matters as much as compensation. Whether a guy is number 1 or number 5 is irrelevant if the 5 is getting paid 10 million or 4x more than the 1.

      • Mauired

        He has not pitched well out of rotation so far. Definitley not for a 14 million dollar pitcher. He’s been better in the bullpen, but for 14 mill, Reds should get more than a decent bullpen innings eater. And when you combine that with the salary of a decent middle relief pitcher they are paying to Pagan as well, you have enough to pay one of the top front of the rotation arms in all of baseball that was considered to expensive and traded away. But my main query is why Greene who gets 3 million and all kinds of hate despite being younger, better, and way cheaper than Martinez who is favorite by many of the same people that complain about Greene.

    • Oldtimer

      Martinez had 1 bad inning out of 6. He pitched well except for that inning. I was there.

      • Mauired

        Yeah you could say the same thing about Hunter Greenes bad starts. But for some reason you choose not to.

    • LDS

      Clearly, Martinez isn’t a starter. I was out of pocket the last two games. Nonetheless, last night reflected one of my concerns with Bell’s management approach. Every game counts. Bell never displays any sense of urgency and consequently neither does the team. Last year, the Reds missed the playoffs by only 2 games. “We’ll get them next time” is Little League thinking. Letting the pitcher be knocked around for 5+ innings to “save the bullpen” is a clueless approach to the game. It’s giving away games that may have been winnable with a more aggressive approach. Yes, the Reds may well have lost regardless, since obviously good pitchers are causing them problems this year. Regardless, pulling Martinez in the 3rd would have been the best thing. Going six innings saved the bullpen but he flirted with disaster the whole time. Eleven hits and five runs in six innings does not constitute a good game. Yes, Greene is better statistically at this point and may develop into a great pitcher. He’s not there yet and may never be under this regime. Martinez? Another thirty something journeyman with a career ERA above 4.00 and ERA+ below 100. Certainly, he wasn’t worth $14 million per year. Then again, Candelario hasn’t been worth $45 million either. I think Suter is probably Krall’s best season signing. Though not popular with folks here, I think Krall could have done much better this off season.

      • Mauired

        For some reason that every game only counts the same theory is only when the Reds win for many. When the Reds lose, there are excuses galore why it’s acceptable. Probably part of the reason our Reds franchise has been so bad so long. There’s just not enough accountability from the fans. When someone is accountable they are labeled toxic and negative.

        Money or small market isn’t the issue. St Louis is the basically the same city as Cincinnati but has 100 years of mostly successsful baseball and have an argument of historically being the best team in National League history. No way their fans would put up with half the losing the Reds fans do. Tampa annually does better than the Yankees with a fraction of the resources, so money is not the reason for Reds lack of wins over the years.

      • Mauired

        When I complained about Bell someone said Bell was the Reds going the Cardinal Way. That’s as delusional as it gets.