David Bell is an easy scapegoat for Reds fans.
I’m sure I will come across as a David Bell apologist, but that’s not the intent. The Cincinnati Reds lost Game 1 of the Wild Card Series to the Atlanta Braves in 13 innings yesterday. While you’d think a majority of the frustration throughout Reds Country would be directed at the players, a large portion of the fanbase are looking to Bell as the reason for yesterday’s 1-0 loss. C’mon!
I’ll admit it; I’ve come to David Bell’s defense early and often this season. But, there’ve also been times when I, like you, have sat back scratching my head and wondered what in the world the Reds skipper was doing. Yesterday, outside of that odd decision to pinch hit for Curt Casali only to execute a failed double-steal, was not one of those times.
The only takeaway that fans should have from yesterday’s game is that the Cincinnati bats did not execute when they needed to. It’s not to say that the bats went quiet, as the Reds put 11 hits on the scoreboard. But the team didn’t get a clutch hit from anyone over the entire 13-inning affair. That doesn’t lie at the feet of the manager, but with the players themselves.
Amir Garrett fell on his sword, taking to social media after the game and proclaiming that Reds fans should hang the loss on him. That’s a great teammate right there, but we all know that the game should have been over long before Garrett entered in the 13th inning with the winning run 90 feet away.
However, Garrett is onto something. Though he wasn’t ultimately responsible for Cincinnati’s loss, the team as a whole was. Even Trevor Bauer, who threw 7.2 innings of shutout baseball and struck out 12 Braves hitters knows that it’s on the players. Here’s what Bauer had to say after the game via Jeremy Rauch of FOX19:
“We had plenty of chances. You’ve got to execute better. That’s not a postseason thing or a regular season thing. If you don’t execute, you don’t win ball games.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself. The Cincinnati Reds had plenty of chances, and they didn’t execute. Cincinnati was 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left 13 runners on base. Heck, in the first inning, both Nick Castellanos and Nick Senzel reached base safely, and the heart of the Reds order couldn’t bring them in to score.
And while Reds Country is smarting from yesterday’s loss, let’s not forget that there’s a game today, and a win makes yesterday’s loss meaningless because Cincinnati will head into Truist Park on Friday with Sonny Gray on the hill with a chance to advance in the postseason for the first time since 1995.
Look, I’m as upset as you are that the Reds are in an 0-1 hole with their season on the brink. However, this is nothing new, as Cincinnati has been fighting for their playoff lives for the last three weeks. But let’s stop blaming the manager when the players fail to do their job. David Bell did not cost the Reds the game yesterday, the players did.