It’s great to have baseball that counts back. It’s even better that the Cincinnati Reds won that first game that counts. It got tight and scary in the 9th, but the good guys held on, ending the game with the bases loaded to hold on to a 5-3 win.

Luis Castillo looked outstanding. The strikezone was a bit of a mess today. More than a few calls looking like strikes being called balls. Still, he was dominant. He averaged 96.2 MPH with his fastball and topped out at 98.2 MPH. He got 11 swings and misses on his change up during the game. There were another four – two each on the fastball and slider – from the rest of the arsenal. Castillo left the game holding onto a 1-0 lead, but a runner on base was his and that runner came around to score. His final line was 5.2 innings with just two hits, one earned run, three walks, and he struck out eight batters.

Amir Garrett‘s outing was all of four pitches. They were all sliders. And three of the four of them made Adam Frazier look silly as he would go down looking at strike three.

When Jose Peraza arrived in Cincinnati from Los Angeles he had not really shown much of any kind of power in his career. He was only 22-years-old at that point, but power wasn’t a part of his game. And really, it wasn’t expected to be a part of his game much either. Peraza, however, isn’t a small guy despite the power not being on display early in his career. He’s listed at 6′ 0″ and 196 lbs. No one is going to confuse him with Aaron Judge. But they aren’t going to confuse him with Billy Hamilton, either.

Last year saw Peraza start to show some real power. He had never hit more than 23 doubles in a season. He had never hit more than 11 home runs in a season. Those two things came in different seasons, too. Then 2018 happened and he hit 31 doubles AND 14 home runs. At age 24 a jump in power isn’t surprising. Bu the jump was quite big for Peraza. Well, in 2019 he’s on pace to hit 162 home runs after going deep on Thursday afternoon, hitting a 391 foot home run off of Jameson Taillon.

While the Jose Peraza home run tied the game up at 2-2, it was the next Reds home run that had me jumping out of my seat. Derek Dietrich came off of the bench in the 7th inning with two runners on and hit a 390 foot home run off of Richard Rodriguez. It gave the Reds a 5-3 lead, which they would ultimately hold onto. Not a bad way to make your debut with a new team, huh?

Michael Lorenzen played center field today. While I still think it’s unlikely to happen all that often this year, it happened today. And while I question just how risky it is to allow it, from a pure fan of baseball perspective, it’s awesome to see.

No baseball games on Friday is stupid. I understand why it happens, but it’s stupid and I hate it.

About The Author

Doug Gray is the owner and operator of this website and has been running it since 2006 in one variation or another. You can follow him on twitter @dougdirt24, or follow the site on Facebook. and Youtube.

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73 Responses

  1. Optimist

    Country Joe and the tracker had quite a few disagreements. Seems like it’s only a matter of time until automation.

    Some clunky plays both ways, but the Reds were hitting ropes. I expect we see Lorenzen in CF quite a bit more than folks think, particularly if the starters can get 6 or more, and BobSteve can put in some 3-4 innings in relief appearences.

    They are going to have communication issues given all the new faces in new places, but I hadn’t noticed the placement cards before. Scheb and Lorenzen were both using them. Is that new, or am I old?

    • Oldtimer

      Stephenson will rarely pitch 3-4 IP unless in a mop-up situation. He is the 13th pitcher on the staff.

      • Optimist

        I’d hope it would be a bit more than mop up – say, there is a 4 run difference in the 6th – bring him in and let him go as long as he can. May only happen 4-6 times a month, but could be very useful in managing appearances for all the others. Possible 3 inning saves and/or allowing comebacks.

        Weird, but he could become the most valuable 13th pitcher in the game.

    • CP

      I agree that we will see more of Lorenzen in CF that some are saying. Particularly before Senzel gets called up. Lorenzen in the quite possibly the best CF on the team right now. He makes for a useful tool as a pinch runner, defensive replacement CF that wont really hurt your too bad with the bat either. Very helpful guy to have when you only have a 4 man bench. Plus its just really fun to see him being used like that!

  2. Justin

    Starting with Lorenzen in CF then possibly pulling him to the mound is something that I really hadn’t thought of. It seems like everyone always talks about it the other way around.

    Loved the win. Loved the way Bell used the bullpen (though Hughes and Iglesias didn’t pitch as we expected). Loved that most the noise was made by two late in free agency pickups to give depth.

    • Charlie Waffles

      Bell’s bullpen management was atrocious today. Worse than Riggleman. Almost cost them the game, but Dietrich bailed him out.

      • Stock

        I could see Castillo facing one more batter.

        I am not a fan of the two inning save.

      • CP

        Bell also made the call to put Dietrich up to bat. Does he not get credit for that?

        I would have preferred to see Castillo finished the 6th, but they were putting his health first and wanted to pitch count him at 90 pitches. I would preferred to see Garrett finish the 9th, but he was following the analytics. Its a little early to be making sweeping declarations about Bell’s management ability.

    • AllTheHype

      Justin, I don’t think Lorenzen could possibly warm up to pitch in that scenario. Maybe when Reds are batting he could warm but I don’t see the point of playing the field, being in the lineup, and trying to warm in between somehow.

  3. Gaffer

    I look David bell! Winker leadoff, perfect. Lorenzen as PR and defensive replacement, brilliant. People may not know that Lorenzens highest scout rating was as a defensive CF, not hitter or pitcher.

    He is the first manager that plays to his advantages and not just “the book” for this reds team since Sparky (capt Hook).

    • Jon Ryker

      Winker is not an advantage to anyone except the opposition in the leadoff spot, as he demonstrated last year. He is not a center fielder. He isn’t even an outfielder. He’s a first baseman. He will give up a lot of runs defensively. He gave one up yesterday.

      They must find a centerfielder or play 4 outfielders at once, because they are atrocious defensively out there right now.

  4. Bdh

    Reminder that Doug thinks peraza was a below average hitter

    • Roy

      Peraza had 1 awful month last year (May). Every other month he was an above average to well above average hitter. Can’t argue that — the numbers don’t lie.

    • Doug Gray

      In 2018 Jose Peraza had a 97 wRC+, which by definition is slightly below-average. But I hope you feel very good by pointing this out in the comments.

      • Simon Cowell

        Is wrc your only measureme t to define good or bad? On occasion you have even mentioned that one stat is not good enough. The facts laid out… you use stats to reinforce your argument and ignore them when they destroy the narrative. Dont be angry every writer that relies on stats to sell a story does the same thing.

      • Wes

        When u see wrc+ and war to define success and not actual stats you are skewing the headline to fit your narrative. Peraza had a 182 hits last year which makes him 9th in all of baseball and there’s no accurate measure u can make to call that below average for a 24 yr old ss. You are comparing that to other players who played partial seasons while relying on inconsistent metrics of gauging defense.

        Same thing w Castillo. He was very good yesterday but at the same time he didn’t get the win nor a quality start. Stroman, Zimmerman, degrom, Scherzer, fiers, Bumgarner, lauer, Kluber, berrios, ryu, and Keller all pitched equally well while making it through 6 innings to get a quality start. Outstanding is a bit of a stretch to define his performance unless you skew the stats and change them to metrics that does not gauge a whole body of work.

      • Colorado Red

        Technically speaking from a statistics standpoint, the 97+ would be within 1 standard deviation of the mean, so it would be considered average.
        Jose was more then 1 standard deviation below the mean, then he is below average.

      • Rich H

        You guys are mind blowing. Wrc+ and WAR are an amalgamation of a bunch of different stats. Saying that it is just one stat means that you don’t understand this, or are just trying to fit YOUR narrative. Saying that Doug is using just one stat (Wrc+) and then holding up how many hits Peraza got last year, Wes, is one of the dumbest and most instantly hypocritical things I’ve ever read on this site. “You’re only using all of the stats, together to fit your narrative, look at this one teeny part of them that proves my point.” Unbelievable. For the record, Jose Peraza was a slightly below average hitter in MLB in 2018 by Wrc+ and OPS+. He is 24, and I really like him, and expect he continues to improve, but that’s what he was.

        And Wes, citing a pitcher not getting a win is silly, especially when a reliever allows a runner on first with 2 outs to turn into 2 runs. Just stop it man, that’s so wrong. Go back and watch him pitch. He had a WHIP under 1, and 8 strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. If this is June, he finishes the 6th and gets that all important quality start for you.

        Ridiculous.

      • Wes

        Rich,

        Yeah it’s rediculous that I’ll use total hits as a gauge to judge someone’s ability to hit. Rotflmao.

        When Madison Bumgarner and Johnny cueto square off in the first playoffs- it’s a pitchers duel and both guys are going out there to get the win as should be any pitchers mindset going into any game. And when one goes 7 innings and gives 2 runs and the other goes 9 and give up 1 then there’s a clear winner and looser to the game- doesn’t matter if u pitch well- u still lost. Wins matter and quality starts matter too. Love how u blast me for pick and choosing stats yet leave the quality start part out, very hypocritical of u.

        Show me a GM in baseball that believes peraza is a below average hitter- bet u can’t ! Perazas hit tool has been his premier tool his whole career which made him a top 30 prospect as a teen and it’s what allowed him to break majors at 21. The same metric system you use to tarnish peraza makes Scott Schebler look like an all star when he’s never proven anything and anyone who doesn’t frequent this site has never heard of the guy.

        To qualify for a batting title, get this, you actually have to log at bats- 502 minimal. Scott Schebler hit that mark once in his career. He hit 233 w 30 homers (which ranked him 33 in mlb in homers). And couldn’t even muster 70 rbi (unranked). Peraza logged that many at bats once and he’s ninth in total hits. He has a legitimate chance in his career to be the batting title champ. What’s rediculous is calling him a below average hitter in 2018 and whatever metric u use to create that therory is obviously flawed.

      • Norwood Nate

        Personally I find trying to discuss baseball on here, when there appears to be two distinct camps between traditional stats and advanced stats, is like trying to have a conversation speaking two different languages. The times I provide advanced metrics wRC+, xFIP, etc to back a point, and someone comes back with counting stats, then the conversation is pretty much done for me at that point. It’s obvious we’re not on the same page.

        I get that people want to cling to what’s familiar. What they read on the back of a baseball card or what they remember on the scoreboard. But things evolve and advance. People get better at understanding the world around them. At one point humans thought the sun revolved around the earth and the earth was also flat.

      • wes

        Sooooo……Nate, since you brought it up, and completely just for fun here, but there’s a lot people who still think the earth is flat. I’m not one, but have you ever actually seen the curvature of the earth? NASA says it’s 8 inches per square mile. On a clear day you can see 30 miles out of a window of an air plane, so by NASA’s estimate, you should see a 20 foot dip on the horizon from left to right. Ever seen that ?? I haven’t and I have been looking for the curve for a while now. According to NASA the earth spins at roughly 500 miles at poles and a 1000 a the equator. You can feel the wind blow at just a couple miles per hour- does it feel like we are spinning at some 700 miles per hour or if you travel north or south you ever feel the earth spinning faster or slower? If we are spinning than how can you fly from east to west and west to east in the same time when you leave the surface of the spinning planet? Do you really believe in your heart that our solar system is hurling through space at several thousand miles per hour- or are you just taking some guy at NASA’s word for it that you can’t name?

        From what I gather people were A LOT smarter a long time ago than those of today….just look at the pyramids which man still could not reconstruct today and many scientists now say they were a source of wireless electricity. Compared to today, It’s more like intentional de-evolution imo.

        Oh and traditional stats are the way to go ; D

      • Norwood Nate

        You do you Wes, you keep it interesting around here. :)

      • Tampa Red

        Gosh bless it Nate, that is easily the most condescending paragraph I’ve read on this website, and that’s saying something!

        “I get that people want to cling to what’s familiar. What they read on the back of a baseball card or what they remember on the scoreboard. But things evolve and advance. People get better at understanding the world around them. At one point humans thought the sun revolved around the earth and the earth was also flat.”

      • Bdh

        Nate – Last year wRC+ has schebler an above average hitter and peraza a below average hitter. If you needed one hit to win game 7 of the World Series and you had to choose between last years schebler and peraza to have at the plate who would you choose? I would assume you would want the better hitter at the plate. Do you believe that schebler was the better player of the two as a hitter last season? Curios to read your response

  5. Gregmlb

    The only issue I had was not starting Amir in the 8th to face the lefties and hand ball over Iglaiais after that. Other than that I loved the way he managed.

    • Norwood Nate

      I honestly would have liked to see Castillo face one more guy to try and finish the inning. He was rolling and the hit he’d just given up wasn’t hit hard. But it’s the first start of the season and I can understand getting him out in that situation as well.

  6. Tom Seaver

    How fun was today – fun enough that it would be such a blast to watch all summer?

    Definitely, the Reds being relevant again would be huge – and in Marty’s final rodeo, you can’t beat it!

    • Jon Ryker

      I do not want to watch that outfield defense for one more day, let alone the rest of the year. I also do not want to watch a lineup with all the slowest people at the top…..ever again…

      They got lucky they got a 3 run pinch hit homer which saved them. Don’t count on that very often.

  7. Andy

    Really nice to be able to choose between Dietrich and Kemp when pitcher slot came up with two on/ no outs.

    I love that Lorenzen is getting his chance to play some outfield. It really is a fun wrinkle to the season. That said, I know he is very athletic and in great shape, but I worry that our outfield defense is shaky enough that a relief pitcher that hasn’t played outfield in 5+ years is the late inning defensive replacement. In Center Field!

    I wonder if this experiment lasts after the first time he crashes into a wall. I wonder if he’s been told not to do that.

    • Jon Ryker

      I agree. They also don’t have any bench flexibility, because none of the guys on it can play defense.

  8. Stock

    For everyone insisting Senzel needs to be in Cincinnati on opening day, your fears were unfounded.

    If the Reds decide to start the season with Senzel on the roster when Gennett goes down, who does he replace on the roster? Iglesias? Dietrich? My guess is Dietrich. So count the Reds one up in the decision to keep Dietrich in the system by sending Senzel to Louisville.

    • Alpha Zero

      I’m pretty sure that Senzel would have replaced Kyle Farmer on the 25 man. And Scooter could have been shifted to the 60 day IL to make room on the 40 man. So I don’t think Senzel to AAA had much bearing on Dietrich’s spot with club.

    • A.B.

      Farmer with no hesitation. Guessing you just forgot about him…

  9. Ryan

    You have to be encouraged with Castillo’s start and i really liked the line-up. Dietrich is going to be Scooter 2.0. Dietrich and Jose Iglesies were huge pickups. Nice seeing Votto start of with a double too, he can start icy cold sometimes.

    Negatives would have to be the bullpen. If Hughes and/or Hernandez struggle, they will have a major problem. Kimbrel would be nice if they can find the money. 1 year deal 20 mil, half deferred for a season or 2.. Player option for 8-10 mil. Who says no at this point.

  10. Simon Cowell

    This was a fantastic game. Pitching was better than expected both from Castillo and from the bullpen.
    The clutch hitting was not a surprise. This team stands a chance of leading the NL in several offensive categories. If Castillo pitches like that all year I will happily eat crow.

    • MK

      No Negatives. Who are you and what have you done with our Simon

  11. Cguy

    Pirates shouldn’t have scored 2 runs on Kang’s base hit. Runners were on 1st & 2nd. Neither Winker or Iglesias(?) played that well. Then there’s Suarez trying to steal 2nd base & out by 5 feet. Other that that, Reds looked good.

    • Norwood Nate

      Peraza was the one who took the relay throw. But yes, neither played it particularly well or with much sense of urgency.

  12. Andrew

    My takeaway. I love the way Dietrich plays and his fire. And he loves being in Cincy. Reminds me of Jonny Gomes a bit. Seems like a guy you want in your clubhouse and with those guns someone you eant on your side in a bar fight

  13. The Duke

    I hope the Reds are talking to Peraza about an extension right now. Lock him up the next 6-7 years like Suarez. We have nothing close in the pipeline at SS, and Peraza has been trending up.

    If we have that Castillo all year, good things will happen. His stuff was nasty yesterday. I have a good feeling about Castillo and Sonny at the top of the rotation.

    Until Senzel is up, i’m all about them using Lorenzen in CF as a defensive replacement, especially since we have an 8 man bullpen. Can get creative with double switches too.

    The Reds are undefeated and my 173-0 preseason prediction is still alive!

    • Bill

      I agree; I think Peraza will breakout big-time this year!

    • Simon Cowell

      Peraza is my pick to be the next great hitter after Joey V.

  14. cinvenfan

    Nice way to start the season in front of one of the biggest crowds in GABP history. Very important to keep momentum going.

    Peraza – despite the doubters- is growing as a potential star ala David Concepcion. Very similar bodies at young age. Not sure Jose will be as good defensively though.

    Iglesias and Dietrich show the importance of depth.

    Castillo is a big part of the Reds success or not. Good early returns.

    My main concern has been the relief corps and yesterday didn’t make me more comfortable. I fear an important regression from Hughes. Iglesias velocity and command is down. Lorenzen, Garrett. Peralta and Duke are big question marks. Stephenson is an enigma as always. Hernandez is perhaps the most consistent but he ain’t no Chapman. The FO needs to keep an eye on this.

    • AllTheHype

      Reds depth would have been Reds starters in years past. Shows you the strength of the roster in this team.

    • Bill

      I saw Iglesias hit 98 mph yesterday; his command looked off, but his velocity seemed normal.

      • Doc

        As a technical scientific point, velocity is a vector that has two components: speed AND direction. Therefore, his SPEED was good, but his velocity was not good since he couldn’t throw it over the plate.

    • Joe Blow

      What is good is there are a number of closely grouped options. Some of the relievers won’t cut it, but they have others to plug in. They haven’t had this the last few years.

  15. Colorado Red

    Just a note,
    Bu the jump seems a bit odd.
    Think we are missing a “T” there.
    Not that I never do that myself.

  16. Cbus

    Very clever use of Lorenzen, I liked it a lot and he’d still be available to pitch if it went extra innings, he could warm up in between innings.

    The one mistake I think Bell made was pulling Amir after one batter, he looked nasty and it’s not like he was going to have to pitch to some slugging RH next. Should have left him in with Dickerson on deck, it all worked out ok but I think that was Bell’s one mistake on the day.

  17. MK

    Many are concerned about the future of Lorenzen in center when the rules on two-way players goes into place in 2020. It says a two-way player has to start 20 games on defense to be considered a two-way.But I thought that is more about fielders pitching than pitcher playing the field. Rule should not stop that.

    • Norwood Nate

      That’s the way I read it. The rule was more about position players coming into games to pitch. Not pitchers going out to the field. I don’t think the Reds would have to designate Lorenzen as a two-way player, just as a pitcher, and then he could go into the field as much or as little as determined by Bell.

  18. wutinthehail

    Why does it happen that there is an off day after opening day?

    • Bill

      The day off provides a backup day in case “opening day” gets rained out. It protects fans that pay a premium to get the “opening day” experience.

  19. Northern Ky Reds

    I’ve said it a million times, and I’ll say it again!

    Peraza will be way better than advertised. He’s another Jose altuve. He’s got it in him and he doesn’t know how good he is. Neither do the reds. I see a plus .300 hitter with .370 plus OBP. Sign up with the 7/70

  20. Moses

    Hey Doug–both you here and Steve on your other site reference there being no game on Friday, saying you understand but dislike it, or something like that. I’ve never understood why the Reds play their first game of the season and then always have a day off. Why is that?

    • theRickDeLux

      I believe it is built into the schedule in case the game is cancelled due to rain. It allows the club and city to move the game to the following day without having to do a makeup game.

    • Doc

      Think back to last year’s weather across the nation when a whole bunch of games got weathered out. When we have 30, or 32, domed stadia, there will be no uniform day off after opening day. Hope y’all enjoy it; I won’t be around when that happens.

    • Doug Gray

      Opening day tickets are more expensive, and it’s an event. Teams and fans don’t want to have to deal with the mess of opening day being rained out and then the 2nd game becoming opening day by default. The people that paid big money for opening day tickets get screwed because their “make up tickets” can’t just be had for that 2nd game in many cases. Plus, it would be a nightmare to deal with 40,000+ rainout ticket exchanges. It’s just a lot easier, and sensible for all parties, to have the off day built in for this scenario. It just sucks.

      • Moses

        But then why doesn’t this happen in every other city in the major leagues? No other team seems to do this, and it just doesn’t seem like Cincinnati’s Opening Day is as sacred as it once was, rarely if ever being the actual first game or even on the first day of play.

      • Doug Gray

        Because in other cities it’s not as big of a deal to have opening day. It’s not as sacred as it once was, nor should it be, honestly. But it’s still a really big deal here, so they do it this way because it’s a much larger deal here than most other places.

  21. Simon Cowell

    Let’s clear something up. Strikeouts are the #1 stat to determine an ineffective hitter. I”m not talking about being an effective baseball batter I’m talking about actually being able to make contact with a baseball. Walks is the #1 stat to demonstrate patience. Also doesn’t give credence to being a good hitter. Combine a good hitter with a good batter and you get magic.
    The most difficult event in any sport. IN ANY SPORT is making contact with a thrown baseball. The very best can’t succeed even 4 out of 10 times. The difference between mediocre and good is half an average point. The batting average is absolutely the best metric to demonstrate a good hitter, but not necessarily a good batter. A good batter you measure by OBP. Peraza is an outstanding hitter but an average batter. Joey Votto is an above average hitter but an outstanding batter. If Peraza improves his patience even slightly he would be considered an elite infielder by anyone’s measure.

    • Michael Smith

      @simon I do not understand base on your thesis how Peraza is an outstanding hitter (288 average last year, struck out 50 more times than he walked) but Joey is just an above average hitter (284 last year, walked just a hair more than he struck out).

      • Andrew

        Because pereza is one of the beat at not striking out. Read his first line.