Bullpen Struggles, Offense Disappears in 7-2 Loss to Brewers

Bullpen Struggles, Offense Disappears in 7-2 Loss to Brewers

As has been the case too often this season, things were going fine for the Reds until the bullpen got involved. Luis Castillo looked good, and, at times, dominant, while a home run from recently returned Joey Votto and a clutch piece of left-on-left hitting by Jesse Winker gave the Reds a 2-1 lead going into the sixth inning. Things went south from there, however, as the Redlegs would ultimately lose to the Brewers 7-2. With the loss, the Reds lose the series against the Brewers and are now one game further from that elusive .500 record at 29-31.


Facing an early deficit, the Reds’ offense couldn’t do much in the first inning, producing only a walk to Winker. In the second, however, Votto, who recently returned from a 28-day stint on the IL, rocked a fastball into the right center field stands for a home run (102.9 mph EV, 400 ft.) to tie the ballgame at 1-1.

Encouraging for Votto, who had added a little pop to his game before his injury. Through his first 60 plate appearances, he had an ISO (Isolated Power, which is SLG minus BA) of .179. Through his last 58 plate appearances before the injury, his ISO was much improved at .220. Let’s hope he can keep it going.

This would be all for the offense in the second, though, as the remaining batters would all fly out.

The Reds hit the ball very hard through the first three innings, giving Brewers starter Freddy Peralta an avg. EV of 98 mph, but Votto’s homer remained the only hit.

The hard hits kept coming in the fourth, though, as Nick Castellanos led off the inning with a 99.6-mph scorching double into right field. After back-to-back strikeouts and an Eugenio Suárez walk, Tucker Barnhart would strike out as well, stranding both runners.

The Reds offense got going immediately after the weather delay, as Kyle Farmer led off the bottom of the fifth inning with an infield single, after which Castillo would advance him to second on a sac bunt. Then, Winker, who is hitting .200 against lefties with a wRC+ of 48, hit a rocket groundball into left center field, scoring Farmer and giving the Reds a 2-1 lead. Castellanos would strike out to end the inning.

Facing an ever-growing deficit, the Reds offense produced a grand total of two hits, while striking out four times in the final three innings.


On the bump for the Reds was right-hander Luis Castillo, who was coming off perhaps his most encouraging start of the season. He went six innings, allowing one run on three hits and one walk while striking out five batters to beat the Cardinals last Friday.

After hitting lead-off hitter Luis Urías to begin his day, Castillo bounced back a little striking out Daniel Vogelbach on a really nice changeup. After this, Castillo walked Christian Yelich to give the Brewers runners on first and second with just the one out. Avisail Garcia would then hit a first-pitch groundball past the glove of Votto into right field, scoring Urías and advancing Yelich to second. Castillo would limit the damage, however, as he struck out Willy Adames before inducing a groundout from Jace Peterson.

After a 37-minute weather delay, Castillo took the mound again to begin the fifth inning, and he went straight to work striking out Manny Piña on a beautiful changeup. He then struck out Jackie Bradley Jr. before Suárez made a terrific bare-handed play on a slowly hit groundball, to record the final out.

Castillo looked good to begin the sixth inning as he struck out Urías, but then got himself in some trouble with back-to-back walks. Next batter was Avisaíl García, but after a long at bat, Castillo struck out the owner of the Brewers’ only hit to that point, getting an extremely important out.

Through four innings, Castillo looked like the pitcher we have been used to seeing this season, as he relied mostly on soft groundballs rather than great stuff and a ton of strikeouts. His whiff% on both his changeup and fastball hovered around his year averages (28.6% on his changeup and 23.7% on his fastball), that are nowhere near what we’ve seen the last two seasons.

Then, through 1.2 innings in the fifth and sixth he looked like the Castillo of old, as his whiff% on his changeup jumped to 38% and on his fastball to 33%. In this window he struck out four batters.

On the day, Castillo threw 5.2 innings, gave up three runs on five hits, while walking three and striking out seven. The walks were unfortunate, but overall a good day from Castillo. Below are Castillo’s strikeouts.

With runners at first and second, right-hander Lucas Sims was brought in to get the final out of the sixth inning. Despite getting ahead in the count, Sims ultimately gave up a ground-rule double to Adames that scored the runner at second, and then a bloop single to Peterson that scored both runners, giving the Brewers a 4-2 lead. Sims would strike out Piña to end the inning.

Sean Doolittle was brought in to pitch the seventh inning, and it did not go well. After a Bradley Jr. pop out, Doolittle hit pinch hitter Tyrone Taylor before Urías hit into what should have been an easy double play. But after the forceout at second, Jonathan India threw the ball wide of first, allowing Urías to reach. And because you never give the other team extra outs, Vogelbach then hit a 380 ft. home run to give the Brewers a 6-2 lead. Yelich would groundout to end the inning. Since May 1st, Doolittle has a FIP of 5.14.

Asked to keep the game relatively close in the eighth was right-hander Art Warren, who immediately struck out García but then gave up a line-drive double to Adames. Next, Peterson hit another line drive double that went over the head on Tyler Naquin in center field and scored Adames from second. 7-2 Brewers. Warren would get out of the inning, though, with a Piña groundout and a Bradley Jr. strikeout.

Right-hander Ashton Goudeau took over in the top of the ninth. Things started well for Goudeau, who struck out pinch hitter Daniel Robertson. After this, however, Urías singled, Vogelbach doubled and Yelich was intentionally walked to load the bases with only one out. Goudeau would get García to fly out and Adames would line out to end the inning.


Most Valuable Players

  • Luis Castillo: .189 WPA (Win Probability Added)
  • Jesse Winker: .141 WPA
  • Joey Votto: .037 WPA

Hardest-Hit Balls

  • Jesse Winker: 104.4 mph | Groundout in 3rd Inning
  • Tucker Barnhart: 103.9 mph | Single in 7th Inning
  • Joey Votto: 102.9 mph | Home Run in 2nd Inning

Unluckiest Out of the Day

  • Jesse Winker: .760 xBA | Lineout in 8th Inning

Highest Velocities By Pitcher

  • Luis Castillo: 99.1 mph
  • Lucas Sims: 96.3 mph
  • Sean Doolittle: 93.2 mph
  • Art Warren: 95.3 mph
  • Ashton Goudeau: 94.1 mph

Highest Pitch Spins

  • Lucas Sims: 3047 rpm | Curveball

Most Pitch Movement

  • Ashton Goudeau: 61 Inches Vertical Break | Curveball
  • Luis Castillo: 20 Inches Horizontal Break | Sinker

Team Expected Batting Averages (xBA)

  • Brewers: .199
  • Reds: .180
What’s Next?

The Reds will stay in Cincinnati to take on the Colorado Rockies in a three-game series, starting tomorrow. On the mound for the Reds will be right-hander Tyler Mahle, while the Rockies have yet to name their starter. First pitch will be at 7:10 PM EDT.

[Featured Image: https://twitter.com/Reds/status/1120809013594271749/photo/1]

Steffen Taudal

Steffen has been a huge Reds fan since watching his very first baseball game during the 2018 season. Despite the Reds finishing 5th in the NL Central for the fourth season in a row, he found himself drawn to the team's storied past and infinitely likable players such as Eugenio Suárez and Joey Votto. Since then, his love of baseball has led to a deep interest in the game's analytics and advanced statistics. Steffen is from Denmark and recently graduated from Aarhus University. You can follow him on twitter @TaudalSteffen

7 Responses

  1. Mike Adams says:

    I guess I got the answer to my question in my June 6 comment.

    The Reds were not all that in the sweep against the Cards, the Cards are bad right now.

    The Reds will stay in the lower half of the division the rest of the year unless they do something with the bullpen.

    • pinson343 says:

      Definitely. When Castillo struck out Garcia on 10 pitches, it could have been the biggest out in a win. Instead, a player on the Brewers said it led to their win – we know what he meant.

      The horrid bullpen puts pressure on the offense to score and keep scoring. Reds hitters seemed desperate yesterday and had a lot of bad ABs against the Brewers relievers (I’ll disregard how they did against Peralta). All Suter had to do to get a swing and miss was throw his 88 mph fastball well above the strike zone – two of those stuck out India, three of them struck out Castellanos, and then Naquin on a 3-2 count. Boxberry witnessed the carnage and struck out Farmer and Stephenson with the same approach. 

      Striking out 15 times in a game while not facing the other team’s two best starters or their two best relievers is not good.

      • Mike Adams says:

        I agree with “The horrid bullpen puts pressure…”

        Even if the offense gets better when those injured get back, I fear this game would still have been a loss, maybe 7 to 6 or 5.

        I am confused about whether Antone was available or not.

        If he was, it seems to me you have to use what you have in an emergency.

        Not using him at all in the series is like not using tap water on a small fire because you may need to drink it later.

      • Steffen Taudal says:

        Yeah, I have very little to add here. The bullpen needs to get better if the Reds want to have any shot at being competitive this year. The offense, outside of Winker and Castellanos, is too inconsistent to rely on them keeping up with an opposition facing the bullpen. Regarding Antone, though, I think once the Brewers took the lead, Bell probably felt that it would be better to save him for a close lead today, rather than try to keep the game close yesterday.

      • Thomas Green says:

        Apparently David Bell said that Antone was not available. No details provided.

      • Thomas Green says:

        CTrent reporting that Antone will be placed on IL today. Horrible for this team.

      • pinson343 says:

        If Antone were available yesterday, he would have been used in the 6th to get the 3rd out. When Bell was asked why he didn’t was when he said Antone wasn’t available.