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Cincinnati Reds

2018 Battle of Ohio – Part One




© Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

It’s time once again for the Battle of Ohio: Baseball Edition as the Cincinnati Reds (39-51) travel north to take on the Cleveland Indians (49-39). The two teams split a four-game series last year with each team splitting their home field advantage.


You might have heard about the Indians breaking a cool record last year. They won more-than-a-couple games in a row and stirred up a lot of excitement by the lake. You may also remember that they didn’t do a whole lot after that win streak. After going up 2-0 on the Yankees in the wildcard round of last year’s playoffs, the Indians then dropped three-straight and bowed out of the playoffs after one round.


This year, the Tribe maintained their roster. The biggest changes were the departure of an oft used reliever, Bryan Shaw (Rockies) and a fellow by the name of Jay Bruce (back to the Mets), who was, basically, a late-season rental, anyway.


This year, the Indians rank near the top in the American League in batting and in the middle of the road in pitching.


Cleveland is fourth in the Al in runs (440), home runs (119), batting average (.254), on-base percentage (.325), and slugging percentage (.434). Jose Ramirez (24), Francisco Lindor (23), and Edwin Encarnacion (20) all have at least 20 round-trippers this year and all three of them combine for 177 RBIs.


Their pitching is a bit of a mixed bag. All total, the Indians are seventh in the AL in ERA at 3.93 and has the fifth best batting average against in the league at .242. Where it goes off the rails, though, is the bullpen. Only Kansas City has a worse bullpen ERA than Cleveland’s 5.12. Their starters have saved them, though, as the Indians have the least amount of bullpen innings pitched.


The Reds will miss Corey Kluber, but will have to face Mike Clevinger, Trevor Bauer, and Carlos Carrasco, respectively.

Clevinger is coming off a win and is in the middle of a hot streak, having won three of his last four starts. He’s had 30 strikeouts during that span while allowing 31 base runners. He’s got the third best ERA on the starting staff at 3.11.


Bauer has settled down in his career, after being the wild kid in the Diamondbacks’ organization. He sports the best ERA (2.45) on a team with a former Cy Young winner and also leads the team in Ks at 156, trailing only Gerrit Cole and Chris Sale for the AL lead. He’s turned in six-straight quality starts, averaging just a hair under seven innings per start, during that span.


Representing the least daunting matchup, on paper, Carlos Carrasco will face the Reds on Wednesday. Of course, a strikeout per nine innings ratio of 9.6 is nothing to shake a stick at. He induces a slight bit more ground balls than fly balls (1.19) and is currently seeing the least amount of contact on his pitches of his career (72%). Most stat-heads don’t go for this sort of thing, but Carrasco also has the second-most wins on the team with nine.


Cleveland leads the all-time Battle of Ohio 56-47. The Reds have lost 33 times on the Indians home field, having won 20.


Cincinnati will put Anthony DeSclafani, Sal Romano, and Tyler Mahle on the bump to start each game in Cleveland.


Disco is looking to make an adjustment as he has allowed nine runs in his last two starts. The White Sox clubbed three homers off him in his last start as DeSclafani lasted just 5.1 innings before getting pulled. In two starts against the Indians, Disco has pitched 12 innings, allowed seven earned runs, and fanned 10 batters.


Big Sal is coming off a win against the White Sox where he threw five innings, allowing four runs, while striking out six. Romano has struggled on the road, this year, with a 1-4 record and a 6.11 ERA. Opposing hitters are batting .301 against him when he leaves Cincinnati. This will be his first start against the Indians.


Tyler Mahle, on the other hand, has formed himself into, what looks like, the Reds ace. He hasn’t lost in eight-straight starts (winning four of those) and has only twice allowed more than two runs, but not allowing more than four. He needs to trim his walks a bit, but a 22.9% strikeout rate is very nice for the 23 year old.


All three games have a 7:10 pm start time. This is the second to last series before the All-Star break.

Jeff has spent his entire life around sports. From playing baseball and golf in high school to traveling with college softball, volleyball, and men’s basketball teams as their media relations guy, sports have always been his focal point. He’s pumped to be bringing Reds content to the Locked on Sports Podcast Network!

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Cincinnati Reds

The Cincinnati Reds and the 20 Pitch Limit

When it comes to quirky early Cactus League season games, there’s a lot to know. One this is the 20-pitch limit a manager can invoke on an inning his guy is getting clobbered in. The Cincinnati Reds have already done this.





This Spring has seen an interesting beginning in that teams have smaller rosters than normal (though still plenty of players to go around) and they can choose to play shorter games. One other added wrinkle of differentness is the ability of a manager to “throw in the towel” whenever his pitcher reaches 20 pitches in an inning. 

The Reds have already taken advantage of this twice, both during the beat down at the hands of the Athletics. Sal Romano got the curtain pulled on him in the fourth inning while Shane Carl heard the music in the fifth. These don’t necessarily paint a larger picture, as of yet, but it is interesting to note. 

Carle doesn’t factor into the equation that is the Opening Day roster, but Big Sal surely does. He is out of minor league options (meaning he’d have to clear waivers to be assigned a minor league team) and he has shown some flashes of talent in the past. He could be valuable depth for the Reds bullpen, so calling it quits after 20 tosses (which frankly were all a consequence of Nick Senzel misplaying a ball early in the inning) doesn’t mean he’s out, but it is something to watch. 

We’ll keep track here on the blog for more 20-pitch tap-outs. 

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Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds Roster Breakdown: Non Roster Invitees

Let’s take a look at the non-roster invitees trying to make the Cincinnati Reds roster during this Spring Training

Clay Snowden



WELCOME BAAAAAAACK! The Reds kick off the 2021 season on Sunday with their first spring training game. As I do each spring training, I am going to take a look at the non roster invitees (NRI) and how they could impact the team this season.


R.J. Alaniz, Matt Ball, Cam Bedrosian, Jesse Biddle, Shane Carle, Josh Osich, Branden Shipley, Bo Takahashi

You might recognize a couple of these names. Alaniz has been around the organization the past couple of years and pitched 11.2 innings with the Reds in 2019. Biddle was a guy who was around last year, but the others are new. Carle (76.1 in), Osich (206.1 in), Shipley (100 in) have experience in the show with moderate results. Cam Bedrosian is the name to know here. The fact that he was signed on with a minor league deal is surprising. 277.2 innings with a 3.70 ERA has been a solid MLB pitcher. 2019 batters hit .207/.283/.336 and in 2020 they hit .196/.276/.255. His spin rate is gritty darn good honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a minor league deal that really is a promise on the roster. Think Jose Iglesias who was also a NRI a couple years back. This allows the Reds to delay their decision on making a 40 man roster move.

For a team that lost Rasiel Iglesias, Bradley, maybe Antone and Lorenzen to the rotation, Bedrosian will have a chance to really earn a legit role with this team. You don’t have to squint too hard to see a scenario where Shipley or Carle get innings this year.

Bittle and Osich are lefties that would have battled for the other LHP spot in the pen, but the signing of Doolittle bumps them to depth roles.



Rocky Gale

A 33 year old catcher with 37 at bats and a career .108 avg. Id say that there is not much to see here. Stephenson and Tucker are the one two punch and the offseason addition of Deivy Grullon will provide a younger depth option with a higher upside than Gale.



Cheslor Cuthbert, Dee Strange-Gordon (not listed on Reds roster yet)

Cuthbert isn’t a household name, but he does have over 1,000 at bats in the MLB. He had a decent season in ’16 with the Royals batting .274/.318/.413 and 12 HR, but he hasn’t shown enough to be a full time MLB player. Corner infield depth.


Here’s where I stand on Dee….If he is here to battle for a utility role, that’s fine with me. If he is here to be some variation of an answer at SS, we are in trouble. A 32 year old poor defender (who on the Reds isn’t at this point) who doesn’t have any power and doesn’t get on base. Yeah, he has stolen some bases. We all know speed is one of the first things to go when you age, and he still has some jump, but I don’t think it’s game changing speed at this point, and it’s useless unless he’s on base. I’m not high on Strange Gordan making an impact.



Nicky Delmonico, Tyler Naquin, Dwight Smith

I was worried about the Reds outfield depth. It’s a sneaky need, especially of Aquino doesn’t bounce back. This group of NRI is a group I am excited about. All have MLB experience and have had their moments. Delmonico had a nice (small sample size) rookie year with the White Sox in 2017, but has been worse each year since then. It’s the other two that catch my eye.

Dwight Smith has shown he has some pop in his bat. He is the type of player that you want to have in AAA ready to fill in if needed. Tyler Naquin is a guy I think could actually contribute to this team. We know 2020 was a small sample size, but look at the hard hit and exit velo. And his outfield jump/Outs above avg. fit in well with the team that doesn’t seem to care about defense.



He had a great rookie year in ’16, and has had moments since. .288/.325/.467 10 HR 19 2B in 2019 would be a good bench bat. The question is…is he better than Aquino/Heineman/Payton? Him and Payton are the two leftieis of the group. At the very least, I think he is great organizational depth, and I think his floor is a higher floor than the group listed above (maybe Aquino can make me eat crow there)


This list is different than most years. Not as many players listed, and no prospects. The number of players at Spring Training will be smaller than years past. Overall, I think theres 2-3 guys who could earn a role on the Reds 2021 roster.

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Cincinnati Reds

Monday Morning Manager: The Snell Effect

David Bell has many things he needs to go right in order to win games and get a contract extension. One thing he can control is a decision-making process that should not be made entirely analytically.





In case you lived under a rock last year (and that might be Truer than in any other year) then you know how the World Series went down with the Rays falling to the Dodgers. You may even know about Blake Snell’s improbable removal from Game Six when he was absolutely on fire. This is something David Bell cannot mess up in 2021.

Ok, so in the grand scheme of things, I’m talking about the correct managing of the bullpen and rotation in pressure situations. Most people will look at the Game Six managing of Kevin Cash and see two things: a man sticking to his system that got him there and a man over-thinking things. Neither thoughts are incorrect.

In this day and age of baseball, most people understand statistical evaluations on pitchers favoring removing a starter before they pitch to the opposing lineup for the third time in a game. Well, maybe, because the numbers are a bit different in 2020, small sample size, and all. In fact, the Reds pitching staff held opponents to a .599 OPS in 253 plate appearances the third time through the order, last year. That may be a smoke screen, though, as the 2019 Reds pitching staff (largely similar to 2020) allowed an OPS of .892 in 799 PA. That’s a bit of a more reliable sample size, which would leave me to believe a starter pitching a third time through the order isn’t the most favorable idea.

Also something David Bell must consider is the overthinking aspect. In this Player’s Tribune post by the man, Blake Snell, himself, he points out the immense effect that simply seeing someone warming up in the bullpen had on him. Now, you can say “Well, that shouldn’t have been an issue, he should have sucked it up and pitched!” The dude is a human being. If you saw the person management was likely to replace you with if you messed something up at your job, are you going to just keep on keeping on with no thought to look over your shoulder? If you are, you might be a Jedi. Most of us mere mortals have problems with worrying about what might happen if things fall apart. Baseball players are not totally immune to this, either.

In order for Bell to garner a contract extension, he will have to adeptly manage a pitching staff that has talent, but also has human egos. Just because the numbers say that a decision should go one way, the human element must also be factored in. Last I checked, theres no button for that on a calculator, which leaves it up to his own decision-making skill.

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