After Eugenio Suárez struck out to end the fifth inning during last night’s game, Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell inserted Mike Moustakas at third base and placed Geno on the bench. While I’ve defended Bell for the majority of the season, this is one of those moves that I fail to understand.
Okay, I understand it a little bit. Moustakas pinch hit for Tony Santillan earlier in the inning, so by leaving Moose in the game to play third base Bell was able to move the pitcher’s spot to No. 5 in the batting order with the No. 6 hitter coming up to bat in the top of the sixth inning.
Fair enough. I also understand that the Detroit Tigers pulled their starting pitcher, left-hander Tyler Anderson, in favor of the right-handed Kyle Funkhouser. Of course, Bell loves to play the lefty-righty matchups, and I’m sure he was looking for an opportunity to get Moustakas into the game. After all, Moose is pulling down $16M this season.
But, what’s inexcusable to me is removing Suárez, who finally seems to be hitting some semblance of a stride, for a player who’s been struggling. Suárez was inches away from smashing three home runs in his last two games and had already launched a homer into the seats in left field last night.
Reds manager David Bell made a mistake pulling Eugenio Suárez.
We all know how badly Eugenio Suárez has struggled this season. It’s easily the worst season of Geno’s career, and after posting a batting average of just .202 during the 2020 season, many wonder if and when Suárez will ever get his swing back.
But after a pinch hit double on Wednesday afternoon, Geno seemed to turn things around. The right-handed slugger mashed a double off the wall in left-center field that fell inches short of a home run, then Suárez sent a no-doubter over the wall for good measure during the Reds’ thumping of the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 2 of Wednesday’s doubleheader.
It was no surprise that Geno drew the start last night versus the left-handed Anderson, and he promptly rewarded Bell’s faith with a deep drive to left field that put Cincinnati on the board in the bottom of the second inning.
Later in the game, Suárez had a heckuva plate appearance against Anderson that effectively chased the southpaw from the game. Suárez worked an 11-pitch walk that put runners on first and second in the fourth inning with a chance to tie or take the lead. The Reds’ rally fell short and the game got out of control after Detroit exploded for six runs in the sixth inning.
When a player like Eugenio Suárez, who has struggled mightily all season, finally appears to be trending in the right direction, the last thing David Bell should’ve done was replace him with a player who’s been equally as bad this season.
Mike Moustakas, who’s been injured for the majority of the season, didn’t help his cause with an error in the sixth inning after replacing Suárez at third base. A single to left field by Victor Reyes resulted in two runs, as Moustakas tried to make a play and ended up throwing the ball into the outfield, allowing Jeimer Candellario to score and Reyes made it all the way to third base.
I understand David Bell’s dilemma. When you have two players who are supposed to be the big boppers in your lineup and both are struggling to hit above the Mendoza line, you want to do everything in your power to help get them on the right track. While Mike Moustakas certainly needs more at-bats, Eugenio Suárez needs ABs as well. Geno should have stayed in the game.