2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: I Liked Last Night Better

Let’s recap today’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Washington 7
Cincinnati 6

W: C. Stammen (1-0)
L: J.J. Hoover  (0-2)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Shin-Soo Choo has just been out of his mind since the season started. He can’t possibly play this well all year, but I’ll take it as long as it lasts.

–A three hit day for Todd Frazier. Choo, Phillips, and Bruce also had two each.

–Joey Votto tied the games by tripling and then willing a wild pitch with his mind. He also reached base two other times.

NEGATIVES
–A couple of pinch hitters failed to come through when needed. That’s going to happen at times, but if either Paul or Hannahan gets a hit, the Reds win this game.

–The bullpen did not do what it was supposed to do tonight.

–The Reds did not win.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–2, 3, 1, 3, 3. Those are the number of times Joey Votto has reached base in each of the first five games of the season. And it doesn’t even feel like he’s really gotten going. What’s it going to look like when he goes on a little tear? He has an .869 OPS and that seems like his floor.

–A lot of people were piling on Mike Leake on Twitter. You know what? It wasn’t a terrible start. On a lot of teams he would be the #2 or #3 starter. There are some Reds teams from the last decade where that would be the case. He’s our number five. That’s a good thing.

–Chapman sure was good tonight. If only the Reds could find a way to get him more innings.

–I didn’t list J.J. Hoover as a negative largely because I don’t think you can blame the poor guy. Sean Marshall, get well soon, please.

–And about Sean Marshall. If it’s this bad, why not DL him to start the season? If the Reds have depth anywhere, it’s with relief pitching.

–Reds need a win tomorrow to have a winning home stand. Cueto vs. Strasburg should be a good one.

 

 

Source: FanGraphs

58 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: I Liked Last Night Better

  1. Negative: HORRIBLE call in the 3rd when Vottos hit a sharp grounder with runners on the corner. Heisey out at 2nd but did a good job sliding into Desmond to break up his throw – which he did. Tracy’s foot came a full 6 inches off the bag, the ump was in perfect position to see it, and for some reason still called Joey out. Inning over, no run scored. It was plain as day on the replay and it cost us the game.

  2. Biggest positive of the year so far for me? Todd Frazier proving he is a legit big time ball player and that last year was no fluke. I know everyone loves the In Todd We Trust jokes but he kind of came out of nowhere and the outside chance of a sophomore slump would really hurt this team, especially without Ludwick. I’m sure Cozaart will come around to hit more consistently too, but Frazier starting out the season hotter than ever is a very good sign.

    • @Abel: Todd Frazier has that certain je ne sais quoi. It’ beginning to look more and more like Todd would be the perfect clean-up hitter for this team. BP would move back to the #2 hole and Heisey down to the #6 spot.

      An order like this would be awesome, IMO:
      Choo – cf
      Phillips – 2b
      Votto – 1b
      Frazier – 3b
      Bruce – rf
      Hesiey/Paul – lf
      Cozart -ss
      Hanigan/Mesoraco -c

      In a perfect line-up, Cozart would hit 8th.

  3. Even with the loss, you have to be encouraged by the way the team came back against great pitching. Devin Mesoraco hit that ball 400 feet in the tenth inning. A GWRBI would have probably been a nice confidence boost.

    Mike Leake pitched pretty well. He came within a pitch of getting out with two runs in six innings. But he sure does fade fast.

    The management of Sean Marshall has been puzzling, to say the least. Instead of putting him on the DL dated back to March 22 (which would have allowed him to be activated on April 7, he is brought with the club to Cincinnati. While the 13-inning game on Monday was impossible to foresee, the idea of stress on a bullpen in the first week of the season isn’t that far out there. The Reds play the first week a pitcher short. Both losses have elements of bullpen stress as part of the cause. Now, we head into April 7 and Marshall has yet to pitch.

    Marshall said in the press that he was ready on Friday. John Fay reported yesterday that Marshall was available. Yet in two logical situations – yesterday and today – he wasn’t used. Like I said, that’s puzzling.

    Can’t wait until tomorrow to watch the pitching match up.

    • @Steve Mancuso: I’ve heard numerous times that Dusty has his own rule that when a guy is coming back from an injury, Dusty gives him an extra day(s) beyond when the medical staff says the player is ready to go. Maybe that is the case here?

      At any rate, it seems like the Reds always assume the very best possible outcome for an ailing player, so as to avoid using the DL, and then when 5 days turns into 10, they’re in a bind.

      • @Steve Mancuso: I’ve heard numerous times that Dusty has his own rule

        That’s what worries me, also, that Dusty has his own rule. The more decisions he has to make, that isn’t a good thing.

    • @Steve Mancuso: I heard Dusty’s statement about Marshall in the pre-game interview. He said that on Friday afternoon Marshall had a “100% bullpen session” that went OK. He said that Marshall would be available on Sunday and he’d prefer to not use him in today’s game.

      I’m not going to 2nd guess Dusty on this one. I hope Marshall is back tomorrow, he’s such an important piece of the pen.

  4. Leake pitched well right up until those PO attempts. He lost something after that and it cost us big time.

    Still game 5 of 162 … must remember to breathe. Let’s light up Strasburg tomorrow. :mrgreen:

  5. “–A lot of people were piling on Mike Leake on Twitter. You know what? It wasn’t a terrible start. On a lot of teams he would be the #2 or #3 starter. There are some Reds teams from the last decade where that would be the case. He’s our number five. That’s a good thing.

    –Chapman sure was good tonight. If only the Reds could find a way to get him more innings.”

    I’m assuming these back to back postings were tongue-in-cheek LOL

  6. Just back to the hotel room from the game. It was awesome. Sure it was a loss but I am pumped. It was a true titanic struggle that we were playing short handed.

    Does anyone have a thought on why Dusty did not double switch when bringing in LeCure so that he could pitch more than one inning? Would have solved all sorts of problems later.

    How long before Hoover ends up on the DL? I worry he is getting way overused right now.

    It seems the Reds have an organizational philosophy that favors playing with 24 rather than putting one guy on the DL. How many times did we see this with Rolen?

    Can not wait until tomorrow!

    • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Bruce frustrates me almost as much as Stubbs did….. I could see that last strikeout coming.
      Takes the first pitch right down the middle, then swings at the next two out of the strike zone. When Bruce is not hot, which is most of the year, he is Stubbs Lite. By the way, laziest umpire job behind the plate that I have ever seen.

  7. Chapman threw an eye-popping 12 pitches. Good thing they got him out of there before things went sour.

  8. Hoover looks like he’s really stressed out there from all the work. Game itself was very encouraging though. Our starters are going tit for tat with theirs and our offense is definitely not asleep any longer like it felt in some of the Angels games (and a lot of last year). Todd is just scorching the ball right now and Cozart looks like he’s relaxed down in the order. Devin didn’t look bad either, especially defensively behind the plate. It was good to see him smiling a few times during the game.

    Tomorrow should be something special.

  9. Nice recap, Jason. Thank you for defending Leake. He’s a very solid #5, and he pitched reasonably well today (one last good pitch away from a 6 innings, 2 run appearance), but the offense didn’t get going until he left the game.

    With Bruce, the issue of him “starting cold” is probably really just a sample size issue.

    Choo is my new hero.

    • @BenL: Maybe it’s just selective memory on my part (though his walk off in 2010 to clinch the division will always be one of my favorite Reds memories) but he just doesn’t seem to come through in the clutch often. It seems like when opposing pitchers REALLY need to get him out he is one of the easiest strikeouts in the majors. When guys go to sleep on him a bit or when he’s on one of his tears he’ll knock a bunch of solo shots or pile onto a lead. But that AB to end the game today with Phillips in scoring position was beyond embarrassing. The big bat on a team with championship aspirations has to at LEAST put together a competent AB in that spot. He was totally lost, and even the announcers were straight up predicting every pitch. The strike 3 pitch was the exact same pitch he used to K Choo and Heisey. Bruce has all the physical gifts you can want in a hitter, but at this point in his career he needs to be getting a LOT smarter. I wish Votto would take more of a leadership role in terms of teaching guys hitting technique. Hell – flash some signs from the dugout.

      • @eric nyc: I think you are indeed having a selective memory, because he’s had a lot of big hits. But he definitely doesn’t have very good strike zone judgment.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I know he has. I’m being too hard on him. But in that spot it shouldn’t have even been about judgement. Everyone watching knew exactly what pitch was coming: a slider out of the strike zone. I would have bet $1000 on it. I would have rather seen Bruce strike out sitting on a surprise different pitch than whiffing at the obvious pitch. That tells me Bruce doesn’t do his homework or even pay attention to the batters ahead of him. That’s lazy. Lazy can be fixed. It just hasn’t been up to this point.

      • @eric nyc: Yes, even I saw that last pitch coming, and I’m not exactly a baseball genius. It wasn’t a pretty AB. That said, Bruce actually had a nice day at the plate. You can’t judge a guys hitting off of one AB or even 5 games. That’s sort of my point. Before we all freak out about Bruce being “cold” to start the year, let’s wait and see if it’s actually true.

        • @BenL: I’m not saying the guys going to have a bad year. I’ve said it before, Bruce is mathematically likely to put together a season full of his “On” months at some point and if he does that he runs away with an MVP. But I think a lot of us have been hoping that with his maturation would come an improvement in his hiring for average. At this point, I’m inclined to think he’s never going to hit north of .270. So while he may win an MVP (or two) he’s not going to be the guy some of us hoped he would be.

  10. Can we have a list of the teams on which Mike Leake could be the “#2 or #3 starter”? Are any of those teams ones who have designs on the postseason?

    Just because the Reds were terrible in the 2000s and Leake would have been one of the better starters on those teams doesn’t mean that he’s a good pitcher, because he isn’t. He’s a below average NL starter, a reasonable #5. We’re going to say he was one pitch away from 6 IP, 2 ER, but of course, he has issues missing bats, so I don’t know that that’s a fair evaluation.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Well we’re not asking him to be a 2 or 3 on a postseason team. We’re asking him to be a 5 on a small market team with $225 million tied up in their franchise player just to name one current/prospective contract. I mean I’m firmly in the Chapman to the Rotation camp but that ship seems to have sailed. I could very easily see Cingrani unseating Leake before June. That’s really not that bad of a scenario for a team in our spot.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate:

      Can we have a list of the teams on which Mike Leake could be the “#2 or #3 starter”?Are any of those teams ones who have designs on the postseason?

      Just because the Reds were terrible in the 2000s and Leake would have been one of the better starters on those teams doesn’t mean that he’s a good pitcher, because he isn’t.He’s a below average NL starter, a reasonable #5.We’re going to say he was one pitch away from 6 IP, 2 ER, but of course, he has issues missing bats, so I don’t know that that’s a fair evaluation.

      With his bat, I think Leake would make an excellent long man. Especially that LeCure seems to elevated himself into more of a set-up type pitcher.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I didn’t see the actual sequence but he walked the guy in front of Ramos, so he was one pitch away at least 4 times.

      After the way he put down the first two guys, one has has to think it may have been a classic case of losing his focus a batter early from knowing he was going six for the day and done for the day.

      Seeming to lose his focus with some regularity is a prime reason he is what he as you described.

      • @OhioJim: Brantley was saying shortly after that inning ended that Bronson Arroyo would have done whatever it took to not let that homer happen, even if it meant walking Ramos and dealing with the pitcher despite pushing the lead runner to second base.

        It sounded like he was saying Arroyo wouldn’t care about getting criticized for walking the guy as long as he got out of the inning, but Leake didn’t feel that same self-assurance.

        • @Brian Van Hook: Exactly. Brantley was upset that the HR pitch to Ramos was not a breaking pitch down out of the strike zone. If he swings, you’re out of the inning. If he takes it, then get the pitcher out.

          He added that Bronson would have made that (right) pitch, not worrying about walking him, and that Bronson (unlike Leake) is not worried about what the manager, general manager or anyone else thinks – it’s only about getting out of the inning without a run being scored.

      • @Jason Linden: And his profile doesn’t look good to me. He had his worst year last year, which was more than a tick below average. He should have been getting better, not worse, in his third year.

        I’d be very surprised if he’s near average this year.

  11. I would add another possible positive for the day: Votto’s last two ABs. Time will tell but after smelling the joint up early game in leverage opportunities, hopefully they were a sign that Joey got himself mentally locked in.

    After the triple and scoring on the WP, if he wakes up tomorrow and his leg feels OK, he will truly know there is nothing left to hold back over.

  12. I thought Meso looked like an entirely different guy behind the plate than when seen toward the end of last year. He was receiving the ball much more cleanly and concisely than I recall him doing so in the past and making good blocks on the bouncers. He was also showing some signs of beginning to effective frame.

  13. The elephant in the room? I think we are all going to feel a whole lot better after Joey goes deep a couple of times. I know I will. Barely missed today.

    By the way, a difference between Harper and Trout: Trout catches that ball that turned into a triple.

    • ……By the way, a difference between Harper and Trout: Trout catches that ball that turned into a triple.

      I don’t think Trout catches that ball. It hit the yellow line at the top of the wall; and that’s a 12′ wall.

  14. Talk about a slow start: Josh Hamilton was 0-4 today and stranded 6 base runners. Josh is hitting a paltry .050. We wishes he was “struggling” like Jay Bruce.

  15. Someone on the ESPN board made the comment that he’d take the Nats 5 starter over the Reds ace. While he was clearly an idiot, it got me thinking…

    LeakeHaren
    Arroyo_Strasburg

    From what I can tell, the Reds pitching as a whole is slightly better. Now, if only it were Chapman instead of Leake…

    • @rhayex: ESPN is full of idiots and they also love the Nats. They have no love for the Reds. The bias against the Reds supposedly started when Marge Schott battled them over taking the major league opener from the Reds. Whatever it is, it’s been an ESPN tradition. Their coverage of the Reds-Cards brawl a few years ago still has media people saying that Cueto kicked a defenseless man who was down in the face. Actually of course Cueto was on his back against the backstop and getting crushed.

      It doesn’t matter, ESPN sucks in any case.

  16. Leake is worse than Detwiler
    Bailey is better than Haren
    Arroyo is less than or equal to Zimmerman (depends on which Arroyo shows up)
    Latos is equal to Gonzalez
    Cueto is greater than Strasburg.

    Since algebraic symbols don’t work, hopefully this will.

  17. My highlight of the game had to be Chapman vs Harper. That was just criminal abuse and I was laughing the whole time. I just kept thinking “HE HAS NO SECOND PITCH RIGHT GUYS????” So funny.

  18. Hoover’s arm is probably lying on the ground outside GABP. I feel for the guy. If Marshall is that bad, DL him. Get somebody else up here before Dusty burns-out Hoover before May 1st. My arm hurts now when I see him coming into the game.

  19. There was an interesting transaction today involving two exReds.

    The Dodgers sent Aaron Harang to the Rocks for Ramon Hernandez who had been designated for assignment by the Rocks on 29 March. Following the deal the Rocks immediately DFAed Harang.

    I thought this was a very curious deal. The Rocks were running out of DFA time on Hernandez and looking at eating his $3.2M salary for 2013. However, now they’ve taken on the risk of Harang’s $7M salary for 2013 plus a $2M option buyout against Harang’s $8M option for 2014.

    The Dodgers must have wanted Hernandez badly enough to send along some money with Harang to avoid risking having somebody else get Hernandez on a waiver claim. For their part, the Rocks say they know the Dodgers were shopping Harang and that he was drawing considerable interest; so, they feeel they will be able to trade him.

  20. Great way for Reds to battle back, but Bruce stuck out again, with the game on the line. Reds strike out too much as a team. One thing I notice is Bruce mostly takes the first pitch which is probably the only fast ball he sees, then gets behind in the count, thus swinging at sliders down in the dirt. Also, not sure what the deal is with JJ Hoover. He is not pitching well now. Bruce is becoming like Stubbs in striking out, but we have a long way to go.

  21. Great way for Reds to battle back, but Bruce stuck out again, with the game on the line. Reds strike out too much as a team. One thing I notice is Bruce mostly takes the first pitch which is probably the only fast ball he sees, then gets behind in the count, thus swinging at sliders down in the dirt. Also, not sure what the deal is with JJ Hoover. He is not pitching well now. Bruce is becoming like Stubbs in striking out, but we have a long way to go.

  22. Boy, I had that one called before Hoover ever threw a pitch. Let’s see, Hoover and Chapman go 4 of the first 5 games. How many want to be that we will see Hoover and/or Chapman in Sunday’s game?

  23. Man, I have always joked that one day the Reds would end up with a 13-man pithing staff under Baker.

    This is how Dusty manages with an 11-man pitching staff. Is it too much to ask to plan ahead & pitch LeCure another inning? The Reds have got decent starting pitcher and the bullpen is stretched to the max. Imagine if there had actually been a bad start mixed in…

    • @CP: That’s right. The Reds have played 5 games in 6 days, and the bullpen has pitched a total of 18 or 19 innings, I think. Somehow, Baker has screwed up one of the bullpen arms already.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: RR posted the team leaders by pitch count are Cueto (105), Leake (102), Latos (100), Bailey (98), Hoover (96), Arroyo (93). 1 of these guys’ spring training workloads did not match the others…apparently 2 extra inning games is enough to destroy all the carefully planned progressive workloads MLB teams harp on all spring training.

  24. Reds lineup today: 4/7: Choo CF, Paul LF, Votto 1B, Phillips 2B, Bruce RF, Frazier 3B, Cozart SS, Hanigan C, Cueto P

    Mesoraco…one start and back to the bench.

    • @Bill Lack: Mes is not going to catch Cueto or Arroyo. Given Homer’s history vs how he’s pitched lately with Hanigan….I like Mes, but I wouldn’t mess with that chemistry unless/until Homer turns back into a pumpkin. He should be catching Latos, and I hope he will be tomorrow.

      • @Eric the Red: According to Baker, he’s going to mix it up, because each catcher and pitcher has to be ready for the others. Which is true. I just wonder when he’s going to mix it up?

  25. Tough to pile on JJ Hoover. He’s pitched a lot in the first week. He better not pitch today or tomorrow…

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