Reds' bullpen unable to uphold Bell's plan

DeSclafani debuts strong, but Brewers capitalize after starter exits

April 2nd, 2019

CINCINNATI -- The way Reds manager David Bell viewed it in the moment, choosing to pitch to was the best way to go. Bell still held that opinion following a 4-3 loss to the Brewers on Tuesday at Great American Ball Park, when Arcia hit the game-winning three-run home run in the top of the sixth inning.

Starter fanned eight over five innings in his 2019 debut. After he left, it was a 1-1 game in the sixth. Reliever opened with a walk to , and hit a one-out single. With two outs and the pitcher on deck, Bell called on from the bullpen to face Arcia. The light-hitting Brewers shortstop came into the at-bat 0-for-16 on the season. First base was open, and Bell had the option of having Duke or Lorenzen pitch around or even walk Arcia instead of going after him.

"They had [reliever Alex] Claudio up, and they [would've] had [Ryan] Braun and [Eric] Thames available in a tie game with the bases loaded," Bell said after his club’s third straight loss. "I think their starter was at about 80-plus pitches. I think we have to go after Arcia there, especially with Michael. We feel good about that."

On a 1-0 cutter that drifted on the inside of the plate from Lorenzen, Arcia lifted a three-run homer that barely cleared the right-field fence.

"The cutter was supposed to be away, [I] didn’t execute. A guy like him who swings a ton, it's just a terrible pitch on my part," Lorenzen said. "We score a couple of runs after that, and all I have to do is come in and get one out. I do my job, I do what I'm supposed to do, we win tonight. Tonight, that's on me."

Arcia had only three homers and a .576 OPS in 2018, but Lorenzen wasn't too shocked that he capitalized on a mistake pitch.

"Our stadium is tiny. He swings hard," Lorenzen said. "If he puts the ball in the air, he's got a chance. All you're trying to do there is make him chase. It's just terrible execution, a terrible game plan on my part."

Was Arcia surprised that the Reds pitched to him?

"In one way I was, but really, no," Arcia said through his translator, Carlos Brizuela. "They probably knew there was a chance [starter Jhoulys] Chacin wouldn't hit if they walked me. So you knew they were going to come after me. I tried to be aggressive."

Lorenzen realized that he should have adjusted his game plan to account for a base being open.

"A guy who chases, got a base open, don't have to throw him a strike," Lorenzen said. "Let him get himself out, and you throw a cutter middle in when it's supposed to be middle away. Don't execute, and he makes you pay for it. It sucks, but I have to get better."

Lorenzen, who gave up six homers over 81 innings last season, followed the Arcia at-bat with walks to Chacin and before he got to fly out and end the inning.

The Reds got a run back in the bottom of the sixth on ’s bases-loaded groundout, and made it a one-run game with his two-out solo homer to left field in the eighth against . Suarez also had an RBI double in the fourth. But it was Arcia’s homer that accounted for that one-run deficit that the Reds could never fully make up.