by Steve Mancuso

Slumping Reds lose three of four from Cardinals

The last two days, it’s seemed everything that could go right for the Cardinals did. That’s not to say the Reds didn’t have their chances today, or that they came out flat yesterday. The Cardinals are a good team, built by a front office that has been at the top of their game for more than ten years. The past two days they put it to the slumping Reds. Their veterans came through and their young players performed.

Tyler Mahle made his first appearance since August 12 and first start since August 4. He stranded two runners in the first by striking out Matt Carpenter on a nasty splitter and Tyler O’Neill on a slider. Mahle was disadvantaged by the umpire not calling the high strike, which is Mahle’s preferred fastball spot. He gave up three runs in three innings. He struck out five and walked two. Mahle is lined up to pitch again next weekend, possibly in the doubleheader on Saturday against the first place Cubs.

Manager David Bell was quick to go to the bullpen, replacing Mahle at 71 pitches. Michael Lorenzen came in for the 4th and 5th and while he allowed base runners both innings, he was able to work out of it for two shutout frames. Lorenzen had no strikeouts and a walk. He’s pitched seven shutout innings in his last three starts. Tyler Thornberg pitched another solid inning in the 6th, his third shutout appearance since making the club. Nate Jones pitched the 7th and gave up three big runs on four hits. Cody Reed worked around two walks for a shutout 8th. He struck out two.

Eugenio Suarez gave the Reds a brief 2-0 lead in the 1st inning with a mammoth 434-foot home run to left field. It was his fourth of the season and drove in Nick Castellanos who had walked.

The Reds had chances. They had two on in the second, but Joey Votto flew out and Castellanos grounded out. In the 5th with two runners on, Suarez struck out looking and Mike Moustakas flew out. The Reds squandered leadoff runners in the 4th and 7th. The latter when Votto hit into a double play. Votto didn’t have a hard-hit ball (> 93 mph EV) in the series. He’s 3-24 since returning from the break and being installed in the leadoff spot. Votto has one extra-base hit, a double, walked twice and struck out five time.

Somehow, the lineup of Phil Ervin, Travis Jankowski and Freddy Galvis didn’t produce a rally in the 9th (although Jankowski walked).

The Reds just aren’t hitting: Votto (.207), Moustakas (.212), Suarez (.149), Shogo Akiyama (.224), Tucker Barnhart (.178), Freddy Galvis (.216), Curt Casali (.167). Nick Castellanos is batting .133 in the last 14 games.

The Reds made a couple nice defensive plays. Barnhart took a one-hop throw from Moustakas and blocked home to get an out at the plate. Castellanos made a terrific over the shoulder running catch toward the RF fence.

Hardest-Hit Balls
  • Eugenio Suarez 108.0 mph | home run
  • Nick Castellanos 106.2 mph | double
  • Shogo Akiyama 103.1 | single
Highest Velocities by Pitcher
  • Michael Lorenzen  98.1 mph
  • Nate Jones 96.8 mph
  • Cody Reed 96.8 mph
  • Tyler Mahle 96.3 mph
  • Tyler Thornberg 94.3 mph
Unluckiest Out of the Day
  • Jesse Winker 49% hit probability | ground out
What’s Next?

The Reds leave St. Louis and head for Milwaukee for a 4-game series with the Brewers. All are night games with 8:10 pm ET starts. Trevor Bauer, Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray  make the first three starts for the Reds. The fourth game starter hasn’t been announced.

The Reds will face lefty Brett Anderson on Monday. Anderson started against the Reds on August 8 and went 3.2 innings, giving up 2 earned runs, striking out 2 and walking 2. 

Steve Mancuso is a lifelong Reds fan who grew up during the Big Red Machine era. He’s been writing about the Reds for more than ten years. Steve’s fondest memories about the Reds include attending a couple 1975 World Series games, being at Homer Bailey’s second no-hitter and going nuts for Jay Bruce at Clinchmas. Steve was also at all three games of the 2012 NLDS, but it’s too soon to talk about that.

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pinson343
pinson343
7 months ago

Set aside the afternoon to watch the game, so I watched the whole thing, even though it got boring toward the end. Puzzled by a few things. Molina either took or waved at every breaking pitch he saw today. He was on top of every high fastball he saw. So he gets 4 hits on fastballs up in the zone (OK, the one from Lorenzen was a cutter).

Reed is always a puzzle. He walks 2 LHed hitters on pitches that are way way outside, making no adjustment at all. He faces 3 RHed hitters, including Goldschmidt and Molina, challenging all three. He dominates Goldschmidt (!) and retires all three. Today his slider breaking away from LHed hitters and toward RHed hitters was an advantage for LHed hitters.

pinson343
pinson343
7 months ago

In the first inning against Carpenter, Mahle was squeezed by the ump on both a high strike and an inside strike. So the count is 3-0 when it should be 1-2. He comes back to strike out Carpenter and then strikes out O’Neill to get out of it. After that first inning, I thought this would be a big day for the Reds. But pretty much the only highlights from there were the two defensive gems that Steve mentions.

Thomas Green
Thomas Green
7 months ago
Reply to  Steve Mancuso

This is one of my real complaints about Bell. He says that he understands that pitchers need work, but doesn’t follow through with many of his actual usage decisions. Mahle is a young, improving pitcher. Making him work against the lack of regular use is especially hard (for any younger player on an upward development curve). Even when the bullpen was pitching like they had lighter fluid on the ball, Mahle didn’t get much use. I mostly don’t mind the quick hook, but don’t understand the lack of use for certain pitchers. Bell mostly has flexible, undefined roles for guys in the bullpen, but he seems to make his closer and long relief guys far too rigidly pigeon-holed.