Cincinnati Reds: David Bell cannot continue to make this mistake

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 09: Manager David Bell of the Cincinnati Reds walks across the field (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 09: Manager David Bell of the Cincinnati Reds walks across the field (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Reds manager David Bell inexplicably removed Jesse Winker from the game.

David Bell is not immune to criticism. In fact, he’s a lightning rod for it. Many Reds fans take to their social media accounts on a nightly basis to openly bash the team’s manager. Many times I feel as though the criticism is widely unfair, but the Cincinnati Reds skipper made a move during last night’s game against the Kansas City Royals that he cannot do in the future.

In case you haven’t been paying attention, Jesse Winker has emerged as the Reds best offensive threat. While Joey Votto saved the day last night and Nick Castellanos has powered the team to a few wins, Winker has been getting the job done night in and night out for the past seven games.

Winker, who’s been primarily used as the team’s designated hitter, is 11-for-19 (.579) in the last seven games and has a ridiculous .652 on-base percentage. Jesse Winker is seeing the ball really well, and last night was no exception.

Winker singled in his first at-bat in the bottom of the second inning and his solo homer in the third inning gave Cincinnati a 5-1 lead. In his third at-bat, after the Reds lead was trimmed to just two runs, Winker worked overcame an 0-2 hole to draw a two-out walk with his team leading 5-3. Then David Bell did the unthinkable and replaced Winker with Travis Jankowski.

Now, do I understand why David Bell went to Jankowski? Sure. Jankowski provides speed on the base paths and better glove in the outfield. Fine, we get it. But it’s the sixth inning, you’re only nursing a two-run lead, and the bullpen has not been good at all this season.

At that point, the decision had already been made to remove Luis Castillo from the game. While La Piedra hadn’t played up to his lofty standards, he put the team in position to win the game and had already thrown 96 pitches. He wasn’t coming back into the game.

David Bell trusted the Reds bullpen and it backfired.

That meant that in order for the Cincinnati Reds to get the win, the relief corp, with a collective ERA of 7.52, would need to put up zeroes for three more innings. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like those odds.

David Bell turned to Nate Jones, who promptly loaded the bases and was bailed out by a superb defensive play by shortstop Kyle Farmer. In the eighth inning, the reliever that Reds fans have been clamoring for on nightly basis, Amir Garrett, entered the game. Garrett surrendered a two-run big fly to pinch-hitter Ryan McBroom and the game was knotted at five runs a piece.

Thankfully for the Reds, Joey Votto stepped up to the plate in the tenth inning with two runners aboard and his rocket to center field allowed Nick Senzel to score from second base and Cincinnati walked off victorious by the score of 6-5.

But back to David Bell. As the manager of this ball club, knowing that your bullpen is below-average, you cannot remove your best offensive threat with three innings left to go. Especially for a player who’s batting just .083 on the season.

I’ve reserved criticism of Bell throughout the majority of the season, as I’m a firm believer that players have to perform. So when a starter has thrown 90-plus pitches and is lifted for a reliever, it’s the incoming pitcher’s job, not the manager’s, to get the opposing batter out.

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However, I think it’s completely fair to criticize David Bell for last night’s mistake. By the way, Jankowski struck out in the eighth to end the inning with a runner on first base. Had Jesse Winker still been in the game would the result have been the same? We won’t know.