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Cincinnati Reds

Tigers Reviews & Cubs Preview

Let’s put a bow on the weekend and look forward to the series with the Cubbies.

Clay Snowden

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Friday night was incredible. After months of doom and gloom, we finally were able to sit back and watch the team that we all have been talking about for months. And they delivered. However, the following two games felt worse than your ex dating your best friend. Here is the recap and preview of the next series.

Friday: W 7-1 Vs. DET Saturday: L 4-6 Sunday: L 2-3

Friday was such a tease. The team looked determined, focused, and sharp. The bullpen went 3 hitless innings. The offense flexed its muscles for 7 runs. However, the rest of the series was painful. Disappointing. A reminder of the years Reds fans struggled to get through.

The starting pitching was second to none. Gray went 6 and had 9 K’s. Castillo went 6 with 11 K’s and Bauer went 6.1 with 13 K’s and only gave up 2 hits. Most teams that get starting pitching like that are looking at 3-0, not 1-2.

Let’s start with the bullpen. Brooks Raley, Nate Jones, and Lucas Simms did their job on Friday. Garrett and Strop came in and were effective. However, Lorenzen, Stephenson, and Iglesias all struggled, and it ultimately cost the Reds the game and series. These are the three guys you lean on to hold leads and close out games. Iglesias has not shown he can be trusted, and he should be on a short leash. Lorenzen did pick up some MPH on that fastball, but his pitches were simply too hittable.

What David Bell did was “play the numbers”. Subbing players in and out depending on match up. When it works, he looks like a genius. But often it does not, and it leads to criticism and upset players. In my opinion, players need to get in a rhythm and gets reps as quickly as possible. Taking them out after 2 AB won’t do that. What if this leads to players always worrying about getting replaced, and they struggle because of it. Bell is far from a proven manager, and the only thing shorter than this season is the patience fans have with him.

Trending Up: Casali and Galvis. Both showed patience at the plate, took walks, made solid contact. Getting plus seasons from them could go a long way.

Trending Down: Suarez/Bullpen/Injury. Suarez is sitting at 0-11. Yikes. But he could go off at any moment. Concerned, but not scared. I touched on the bullpen. Moose, Senzel, and Davidson have all missed time. Injuries could derail this season quickly. Watch out for them.






Preview: Chicago Cubs (2-1)

7/27 Lester vs Miley 7/28 Mills vs Mahle 7/29 Hendricks vs Gray 7/30 Darvish vs Castillo

Enough of that American League BS, bring on the hated Cubs. The Cubs won their series versus the Brew crew (W 3-0 / L 3-8 / W 9-1). This four game series against a divisional rival could set the tone for the rest of the season. 36-year-old Jon Lester isn’t the same threat he was a few years back, but a solid #4. Miley will have a chance to show what him and DJ have been working on. Mills posted solid numbers last September in 9 games, but Mahle is out to prove that he belongs and is more than a depth option.

Wednesday is the day you circle on the calendar. Hendricks vs Gray. Hendricks is one of my favorite pitches to watch. He also had 9 K’s on Opening Day and gave up only 3 hits. That could be a HUGE game. Darvish Struggled in his first start allowing 3 runs and 6 hits. Castillo should be able to lead this team against the aging Darvish.

What to watch for:
1) Bullpen Bounce Back
2) Suarez getting on track
3) Bell’s managerial adjustments
4) Reds injuries/ Tucker’s return(?)

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Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds Alternate Site Game: April 6, 2021

The Cincinnati Reds are currently playing some games with their alternate team against other alternate teams. Clay Snowden had a chance to attend one and gives a report.

Clay Snowden

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78 degrees with a few clouds in the sky was the perfect day for the perfect game of baseball. My first in person game since 2019. I never knew just how much I missed it until I experienced the sights of sounds of the game for what felt like the very first time (again). Enough about me, let’s talk about the game. The alternate site Reds (that’s what we will call them) took on the Royals on Tuesday night. I want to provide a recap of the pitching and hitting while highlighting a few players.

 

Pitchers:

Riley O’Brien started for the Reds. Acquired in the Cody Reed trade, O’Brien is an interesting pitcher with some obvious upside. He has a lot to like but can struggle to find the zone at times. He struck out Bobby Witt Jr (One of MLB top prospects) while causing him to whiff on back to back strikes. He also gave up 2 home runs, 4 hits 4 runs in 3 innings while striking out 5. At times he simply over powered hitters and at times they squared him up. I still like him as a possible bullpen guy at some point.

Claiborne Snowden on Twitter: “Riley O’Brien (@RileyyOBrienn ) striking out one of the best prospects in all of baseball Bobby Witt #Reds https://t.co/YVQOpuIKby” / Twitter

Brandon Finnegan, who came out of nowhere this spring and impressed, looked pretty solid tonight. Struck a guy out looking while allowing 1 hit in one inning. His breaking stuff had some life on it. Doolittle, Perez, and Garrett will make it tough for him to find innings, but if injuries happen he’s more than capable of filling in. What a great story his comeback is.

Finnegan was followed by uneventful innings from R.J. Alaniz, Edgar Garcia, Hector Perez, and Ryan Hendrix. Garcia was hit hard and hit often. Perez has a fastball that is noticeably faster than others, but the radar gun was not on. Hendrix really pops the catchers glove, but location was an issue.

Claiborne Snowden on Twitter: “Finnegan (thread) https://t.co/a8pYMq0JuI” / Twitter

Batters:

Mike Freeman, a utility infielder brought over from the Indians, provided the only real offense tonight with a home run off a LHP (Lynch) to right center. In my mind him, Blandino, and Schrock all are battling for the same “utility infielder” position. Schrock was quiet at the plate tonight.

Mark Payton had a decent night at the plate. I really like his eye for the strike zone and patience at the plate. He had a strong single up the middle and worked a count full on another at bat. He had a ton of balls hit to him in center and he covered a lot of territory well. One ball he tried to rob a HR and it hit off of him and went over the wall. From my vantage point it looked like he might have helped that ball go over.

Jose Garcia made solid contact in his two balls put into play. I am far from a swing expert, but his swing looked a little off tonight. Maybe a little slow? I don’t know. He also swung and missed several times. A full year in the minors will do him well.

Claiborne Snowden on Twitter: “@TooKold2 https://t.co/YJgnyWHl7Q” / Twitter

The last player that caught my eye was Alejo Lopez. The 24 year old switch hitting infielder just knows how to hit. He has logged over 1,000 minor league at bats and has a slash of .297/.367/.746. In his two at bats he made great contact one leading to a single up the middle and one a sharp lineout to end the game.

Claiborne Snowden on Twitter: “Alejo Lopez single. A player who isn’t listed as a super high prospect but has been producing https://t.co/FydDrk2kjd” / Twitter

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Cincinnati Reds

Eugenio Suarez at Shortstop Makes the Cincinnati Reds Very Interesting

The Cincinnati Reds have announced that Eugenio Suarez will start Tuesday’s game at shortstop which opens up so many possibilities that make the Reds lineup dangerous.

Jeff

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The Cincinnati Reds dropped a Geno-sized bomb on Reds Country and the result is mass excitement.

We are all aware of the swings-and-misses with free agent shortstops the Reds front office had this offseason. In fact they struck out, if you’re counting, as there were three bonafide shortstops who all went elsewhere. So we’ve spent all Spring Training squinting our eyes to see if we could maybe see the fringe possibility of someone on this roster playing shortstop. Then the Reds stopped pretending.

Coming into camp, Eugenio Suarez just looked different. He was way more fit, trim, cut, whatever word for in-shape you want to use. You could say he was in the best shape of his life (many have). Geno planned for this, and management noticed. They’re reportedly been giving him more practice reps at shortstop and getting him comfortable fielding back there again. You don’t do that just for kicks, they were on to something.

Then Jose Garcia showed a continued lack of confidence at the plate, Dee Strange-Gordon proved there was a reason he hasn’t played shortstop, exclusively, in eight years, and Kyle Holder showed some skills but ultimately proved he needs more seasoning. Kyle Farmer has shown promise at the plate but the defense isn’t any sort of revolutionary development and he still shows more value as the do-everything guy off the bench. Insert Suarez.

Immediately some of you are thinking “Isn’t there a reason they moved him away from shortstop in the first place?” You could go that route, but let me answer your question with a question “Is there really a good reason to keep Jonathan India, or dare I say Nick Senzel (when Shogo Aliyama is healthy) out of the starting lineup for Kyle Farmer, or any of the other options they’ve tried at shortstop?”

This is the Reds thinking outside the box! This opens up so many possibilities with the lineup. With injuries, this is what the Opening Day lineup could look like:

CF Nick Senzel
LF Jesse Winker
SS Eugenio Suarez
3B Mike Moustakas
RF Nicholas Castellanos
2B Jonathan India
C Tyler Stephenson
1B Tucker Barnhart
Pitcher

I like that lineup. Now, there’s more than a chance that someone else plays first base and Tucker is the catcher on Opening Day, but this is the optimal lineup with Joey Votto on the COVID shelf. Once he is back, this lineup just looks dangerous:

CF Nick Senzel
LF Jesse Winker
SS Eugenio Suarez
3B Mike Moustakas
RF Nicholas Castellanos
1B Joey Votto
2B Jonathan India
C Tyler Stephenson
Pitcher

Here’s hoping the Eugenio Shortstop experience lots all year long!

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Cincinnati Reds

Monday Morning Manager: The Cincinnati Reds and Things Being What They Are

David Bell has too many outfielders, or does he? An injury to Shogo Akiyama could make lineup decisions easier, but could hurt the overall team potential.

Jeff

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Today on the Monday Not-Morning Manager I want to look at how the chips fall. There’s a line of thinking in sports that pertains to rosters. If you’ve got four players for three spots and it’s hard to differentiate between them, something always works out. Something beyond the making of a lineup card happens that makes making the lineup card slightly easier (so far as filling the three spots). One wonders if this is what has happened with centerfield for the Cincinnati Reds. 

Shogo Akiyama had an encouraging September, last year. He got on base roughly 46% of the time and became the leadoff hitter that Reds fans felt he’d be when he signed. He showed his prowess in the outfield and sound fundamentals that lead you to believe he can be a defensive asset. He looked to be showing he could bring value to the lineup. 

Nick Senzel has had a heck of a Spring. Hitting the ball all over the field, taking what the pitcher gives him, and making solid, powerful contact. He’s overcome some early spring mishaps on defense and is back to his athletic range in centerfield. When healthy he has shown to be an asset for the team. Barring some creative decision-making on the part of David Bell, he’s going to play in the outfield, come he’ll or high water. 

So what then? Shogo and Senzel cannot both start of Nicholas Castellanos and Jesse Winker man the corners. How does David Bell figure this out? That may be taken off his plate. 

Today (Monday) Shogo is getting his left hamstring examined. He left Saturday’s game after just one at-bat. If he is to miss any amount of time, the decision who the Opening Day centerfielder will be will be easy, but this isn’t a statement of relief. The best version of the Cincinnati Reds lineup includes all of Shogo, Senzel, Castellanos, and Winker and you’ll have a hard time convincing me otherwise. I want Bell and the Reds managerial staff to find ways to get all four of them in the lineup as much as possible. Hopefully, Shogo is fine and Bell will begin the 2021 with too many players rather than too few.

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