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Cincinnati Reds

Reds Swept, Now Welcome Padres to Town




© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Just as quickly as sure as they won the first two games of the month, the Cincinnati Reds (59-81) reminded all of us fans why September is the longest month of the year, for a team on the outside of the playoff race.

The Pittsburgh Pirates (69-71) inched ever closer to .500 with their series sweep of the Reds. Cincinnati was mathematically eliminated from the Central Division race, last night, and sits on a four-game precipice of being eliminated from the wild card.

This is nothing new, few Reds fans, if any, believed they were real contenders for October baseball, but it still stings a bit to know there is literally no chance of catching the Cubs. Remember when the Cubs were the ones on the bottom looking up at the Reds? Those days were nice…

Homer Bailey (1-14, 6.09 ERA) unceremoniously led the Reds to their 19th loss in games started by him. He tossed five innings of three-run baseball. I am unsure as to the exact number, but few Pirate hitters got through an at-bat without reaching two strikes, but Bailey failed to seal the deal. He did strike out his counterpart, Jameson Taillon, in the fourth inning for his 1,000thcareer K, for those of us looking for any positives.

Jose Peraza got the Reds started off, early, with a solo shot to the deepest part of PNC Park of Taillon (12-9, 3.40 ERA). But the Redlegs endure seven-straight scoreless innings before Dilson Herrera knocked an RBI-double in the top of the ninth to wake up any Reds fans still tuned in. Cincinnati would then load the bases, but Scott Schebler struck out to leave em juiced at the end of it all.

The Reds now return home to face an opponent with as many October aspirations as them, the Padres. San Diego (55-86) has recently called up some of their young studs, Francisco Mejia (acquired from Cleveland in the Brad Hand trade) being the most recent to get the Major League promotion. They also have their second baseman of the future in the majors (Luis Urias) and have enjoyed powerful production from their 23-year old outfielder, Franmil Reyes. You know, they’re rebuilding.

The four pitchers the Padres will run out on the mound are 23 years old, 24, 27, and 22, respectively. Eric Lauer will pitch the opener for San Diego, with Brett Kennedy following in game two, Robbie Erlin, and then Jacob Nix to wrap up the series on Sunday.

Lauer was the Padres 1st round pick in the 2016 draft and made his Major League debut against the Rockies on April 24th of this year. Colorado spoiled it for him, though, as they shelled him for seven runs (six earned) on six hits and four walks. He has, since, settled down a bit and pitched five shutout innings in his last start (oddly enough, against the Rockies).

Kennedy, not that Kennedy, is also coming off a stellar start in which he allowed Colorado to score exactly zero times. This, also his inaugural season (he debuted August 8th), that was the first time he had pitched six innings and the first time he kept a goose egg on the scoreboard. In his last three starts, his ERA has shrunk from 11.00 to 5.76. He boasts the typical repertoire for a pitcher with a fastball that averages 92 MPH, a decent changeup and slider, and a curveball he peppers in, on occasion.

Erlin is the most experienced starter the Reds will face from the Padres and he is still just 27 years old. He has put together a solid year, going between the bullpen and the rotation, keeping his walks to minimum (less than a walk per nine innings) and compiling a 3.87 ERA. His average fastball velocity is just a tick under 91 (90.9) which is the best it’s ever been, and he has added a sinking fastball in this, his fifth season in the majors. He faced the Reds on June 1st of this year and allowed a homer to Scooter Gennett, in his only career appearance against the Redlegs.

Nix will end the four-game set on Sunday for the Padres. He will be the third pitcher in this series that made his debut just this year. He pitched six shutout innings against the Phillies on August 10th in his debut and also had an 8.1 innings outing against the Mariners in which he allowed just one run. Nix doesn’t walk too many batters, but does give up a lot of hits (27 in 26 IP). Fun fact, Nix was drafted by the Houston Astros in 2015 but did not consent to the pick, later going to the Padres.

The Reds will counter with Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, Matt Harvey, and Cody Reed.

@lockedonReds and @jefffcarr have all your daily Reds content and look out for quick pitching previews before the games!

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

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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Cincinnati Reds

The Cincinnati Reds Optimal Lineup

Let’s look past the Opening Day Lineup to the lineup the Cincinnati Reds could have, if everything is going right.





There will be many things said/written about the Opening Day Lineup and what that should like for the Cincinnati Reds. With the first full team workout happening Monday, let’s take a look at what the lineup should look like if things are going well for the Reds, this season. I’m going to exclude positions for this experiment and you’ll see why.

  1. Shogo Akiyama – Ideally, Shogo will be getting on base much closer to the clip he posted in September than the one he did in August of last year. If he does this, he will be producing what the Reds hoped he would when they made him the first Japanese-born Cincinnati Red.
  2. Jesse Winker – He broke out in a big way in 2020 and was the Reds best hitter. There’s no reason to think that won’t, at the very least, continue and probably will even get better.
  3. Eugenio Suarez – He should be the Reds best hitter and I believe he will regain that title in 2021.
  4. Mike Moustakas – Moose has always been a run driver-inner and, if things are going well he will continue to do so.
  5. Nick Castellanos – he could be the third hitter, but it would be an amazing season, indeed, if he gets on-base at a higher clip than Geno.
  6. Joey Votto – this isn’t meant to be an insult, just realistic. I’ve seen and heard takes putting him in the three-spot. That’s a great idea in 2017. Now, any power should be considered a bonus with the main expectation of him being an on-base catalyst for the bottom of the lineup/turning over of the lineup.
  7. Nick Senzel – him being down here is more a hope that the top six indeed prove worthy to be top six. This is also hoping he’s healthy enough to play everyday, or almost everyday, and build up enough momentum to produce at the level he is capable of. Also, the not labelling defensive position thing is because he should be in the running as a shortstop option, but it sure feels like that’s not the case. Before you say, “Jeff, he’s not a shortstop…” who on this roster is? Get the best eight (nine if the NL miraculously gets the DH) in the lineup and worry about defense later. That’s pretty much how this roster is built, anyway.
  8. Tyler Stephenson – in a few years, he should be hitting in the middle of the order. In 2021, let’s keep the pressure on low and watch him thrive in the box.
  9. Pitcher (again, we’ll reassess if the players and owners ever get together and figure this out before the season begins, but we aren’t holding our breath).

This lineup could be pretty good…maybe. As fans we can hope, the folks who run the Reds should not lean on that. The lineup I propose should only be if each player is performing to the level that is expected of him. More than likely, this lineup will not happen, because it is doubtful every single bat bounces back in 2021.


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