Reds held meeting to 'set the tone' ahead of series vs. Milwaukee

April 10th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Mark Sheldon’s Reds Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

CINCINNATI -- Reds manager David Bell prefers not to discuss team meetings or sometimes even acknowledge that he held one. Such was the case before Cincinnati opened a four-game series against the Brewers on Monday.

“We do that from time to time. It was more just conversation," Bell said.

The gist of that conversation: the Reds were 3-10 vs. the Brewers last season. Milwaukee won the National League Central division at Cincinnati's expense. Don't let that happen again.

“Before that game, DB said, 'Let’s just set the tone and let them know who we are right away,'" outfielder Will Benson said. "We came out in the game and did that. Me personally, I love playing the Brewers because of that little chip. So it’s obviously good we came out and did that today.”

Benson hit a second-inning solo home run as the Reds jumped out to an 8-0 lead after four innings. They had to hold on in the late innings for a 10-8 win -- aided by two home runs (including an inside-the-parker) by Elly De La Cruz. But the bottom line: they still won.

“I was really happy with the way we came out," Bell said. "We played our style of baseball, really. It’s pretty simple.”

Was it sending a message to Milwaukee?

“It’s certainly nothing personal," Bell said. "It’s absolute respect for all the teams we play and definitely the Brewers are at the top of that list.”

Reliever Fernando Cruz was motivated by Bell's conversation as he pitched a perfect eighth inning with two strikeouts.

“You want to beat the guys that gave you a hard time last year. They’re the reason we did not make it to the postseason. We won three games against them," Cruz said on Tuesday. "It’s a matter of him being behind us every time in every situation. It’s the most important thing for me, personally. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, he’s behind me.”

The Reds were beaten by the Brewers on Tuesday, 9-5. Two games remain in this series and 11 are left in the season series.