Cincinnati Reds: David Bell’s decision to stick with Tyler Mahle was correct

GOODYEAR, ARIZONA - MARCH 19: Manager David Bell #25 of the Cincinnati Reds talks with the media prior a spring training game against the Chicago White Sox at Goodyear Ballpark on March 19, 2019 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
GOODYEAR, ARIZONA - MARCH 19: Manager David Bell #25 of the Cincinnati Reds talks with the media prior a spring training game against the Chicago White Sox at Goodyear Ballpark on March 19, 2019 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /
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David Bell chose not to pinch hit for Tyler Mahle when the Cincinnati Reds were trailing early in last night’s game. Though hotly debated on social media, it was the right call.

With the bases loaded in the top of the fourth inning and two outs, David Bell chose not to pinch hit for Tyler Mahle and let his starting pitcher swing away. The Cincinnati Reds left the bases juiced and failed to score any more runs the rest of the way. It’s fair to question Bell’s decision, but in the end, he made the right call.

I’m sure I’ll get a lot of disagreement on this one, but hear me out. While it’s fair to question a manager’s decision, leaving Tyler Mahle in the game with the opportunity to pinch hit for him was the right call.

Could Bell have pinch hit for Mahle? Absolutely. Mahle had thrown a lot of pitches early on and as a result, his team was in a 4-1 hole. To be fair, the only run the Reds scored last night was on a Joey Votto double up the first baseline that plated Mahle who hit a double in his first at-bat. But I digress.

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David Bell had José Iglesias, Kyle Farmer, Curt Casali, and Scott Schebler on the bench last night. Aside from Casali, who eventually struck out swinging against Kenta Maeda when he replaced Mahle in the seventh, those aren’t the best bats to turn to this early in the ball game.

Sure, Michael Lorenzen could have come in and hit for Mahle and then replaced him on the mound. However, Lorenzen came in during a similar situation in the sixth inning of Monday’s game and struck out on three straight pitches.

Yes, Bell could’ve absolutely pinch hit for his starting pitcher, but then he’s got six more innings of work to heap onto an already questionable bullpen. Robert Stephenson, who surprisingly has been his best reliever, went two innings during Monday’s contest.

Stephenson is one of the few pitchers you can count on in the Reds’ pen to go more than one inning and was unlikely to get work last night. Lorenzen and Amir Garrett could probably give you more than one frame, but both hurlers were used Monday night as well and the Reds have a day game today.

While Tyler Mahle struck out during his at-bat, he rewarded David Bell’s faith in him on the mound. Mahle allowed two hits over the next three innings and didn’t walk a batter or allow another run.

Now, if you want to question David Bell’s decision making, I’ll gladly entertain the idea of turning to Zach Duke when the game is still within reach. Duke has given no reason to believe that he’s going to get an out.

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Duke worked just one inning, walked a batter, allowed two hits and two earned runs. The Dodgers went up 6-1 heading into the eighth inning and the game was essentially a wrap. So, if you want to debate Bell’s decision to go with Zach Duke over Wandy Peralta, I’ll join the conversation. However, I’m not going to question his decision to keep Mahle in the game with the bases loaded.