Reds manager David Bell can no longer excuse his players’ careless defensive effort

The Reds defense has been abysmal this season.

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jake Fraley
Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jake Fraley / Harry How/GettyImages

In terms of effort, Jake Fraley is one of those players who usually gives 110%. But on Tuesday night, the Cincinnati Reds' outfielder made an uncharacteristically lackadaisical play that resulted in an extra run scored by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

With the bases loaded and no outs in the top of the third inning, Pirates outfielder Edward Olivares looped a single into right field that fell in front Fraley for a base hit. All the Pirates runners moved station-to-station and Pittsburgh went up 4-0.

Fraley really had no shot to catch the ball — even if he was running full-speed. Had the Reds' outfielder attempted to make a diving catch, the ball likely would've squirted past and allowed three runs to score. But rather than throwing the ball to first baseman Spencer Steer, Fraley lollypopped a throw to Elly De La Cruz at second base and allowed Pirates' shortstop Oneil Cruz to score.

Reds manager David Bell can no longer excuses his players’ careless defensive effort

The inexcusable error on the part of Fraley allowed the Pirates to go up 5-0. After the game, Reds manager David Bell was asked about the play in question. Per beat writer Mark Sheldon, the Reds' skipper said, "Jake threw it softly into Elly, and they were tracking it the whole way and took advantage of it,"

Bell went on to say, "It’s something that we’ve done on the bases, and they did a nice job. It’s just one of those plays where you either come up and throw it hard into Elly, or maybe even better to Spencer [Steer] since he’s the cutoff man there.”

No, no, 1,000 times no! This isn't the time to casually criticize the nonchalant effort of one of your players. This was the opportunity for Bell to openly call out his team's poor effort.

Jake Fraley's miscue comes on the heels of Stuart Fairchild's gaffe

And Fraley isn't the only player who's made a mistake in the field of late. Most Reds fans will remember Stuart Fairchild's noodle-armed throw to the plate that failed to get the runner at the plate during this past weekend's series against the Boston Red Sox.

After the game, Fairchild went as far to blame Jeimer Candelario's positioning for his inability to see home plate. News flash, home plate is in the same place it always is. Airmailing the throw would've been better than three-hopping it to the catcher.

As a team, the Reds' outfield is worth -8 defensive runs saved (DRS) according to Fielding Bible, and Fairchild is the only Cincinnati outfielder who has a positive rating in both DRS and outs above average (OAA).

The production has been bad, the results have been worse, and the losses are piling up. Bell needs to stop handing excuses because he'll be the one sent packing this offseason if Cincinnati is unable to turn things around.

More Cincinnati Reds News and Rumors