2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: Do Not Like

Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Cincinnati 1
St. Louis 5

W: L. Lynn (1-0)
L: B. Arroyo (1-1)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Shin-Soo Choo reached base two more times, and gunned down Matt Holliday on a play at the plate. Current OBP: .512. That’ll do, Choo. That’ll do.

–Bronson Arroyo retired the first fifteen hitters, and was rolling right along. Then…

NEGATIVES
–…the wheels completely fell off for Arroyo in the sixth inning. The Cardinals scored four runs, putting the game away. On the day, Arroyo had the following line: 6 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 2 K, 1 BB.

–Ryan Hanigan went 0-3. He’s now hitting .043/.148/.043. I’m not worried about Hanigan, as he’s a smart player and a hard worker. But sheesh, he has really struggled thus far.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–Choo has had at least two hits in each of the last four games.

–While it was clear that Arroyo had lost it, Dusty Baker and Bryan Price decided to leave him in to let the game get away from them. Baker is taking some heat from fans for that decision, which isn’t surprising, given Dusty’s long-standing affinity for leaving pitchers in the game for a batter or two too long.

If I’m being honest, however, I can’t say that I wouldn’t have left Arroyo in, as well. Bronson was just rolling through five innings; classic Arroyo. Of course, when Bronson gets tired or begins to struggle, things usually go really bad in a hurry. Heck, I don’t know what I would have done in that situation, but that’s why I’m not the manager. I’m just a dumb guy with a dumb blog.

–Can’t win ‘em all, or so they say. Hope the Reds get them tomorrow afternoon.

Source: FanGraphs

68 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Do Not Like

  1. Disappointing game compounded by my not feeling very well. :/
    Reds just couldn’t come through with the clutch hits tonight in the couple situations with RISP .. let alone keep from striking out against Lynn. Way too many S/O’s recorded tonight.

  2. The Reds have a bunch of starters who people here perceive “lose it” quickly. Arroyo and Leake for sure, Latos has had the “implode quickly” label too. And of course Bailey is a head case who can lose it in seconds.

    The problem is that if you always yank the starter upon a couple baserunners in the 5th or 6th inning to avoid an implosion, your bullpen will probably blow their arms out. So it’s not really so easy for Baker as people think it is, IMO.

    Now, on playing Mesoraco never, that is indefensible, IMO. Batting Cozart 2nd, ditto.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I don’t know if you can call that inning “a couple baserunners”… it was a double that without Bruce’s arm would be a triple.. then a groundout, then a 2-run HR, then a single, then a single… then they had Arroyo intentionally walk a guy.

      Done.

      He should have been pulled out right then. Sam LeCure was completely warmed up in the bullpen. 1 out, bases loaded, already 2 runs given up. The people Arroyo were facing, he was facing them for the 3rd time that day, which he notoriously often struggles going through the lineup a third time.

      Instead a groundout drives in a run, and then he gives up another single and only Choo’s gun of an arm kept the inning from continuing. Even with Stubbs’ arm or a lesser throw by Choo, it’s a 5-1 game and the inning continues. Arroyo was blessed that they got greedy and went for two on Choo’s great throw.

      There’s really no question about it. Once the bases got loaded with two runs already surrendered, Arroyo is working on his third time through the lineup, and Sam LeCure is warmed up, gotta make that switch.

      • @ToddAlmighty: I think the key here is, as you note, the “third time through” argument. I would be curious to see a breakdown on Arroyo’s starts from last year to learn how he fared the first time through, the second time through, and so on. Though I could be wrong, I suspect that his stats the third time through aren’t too great.

  3. I think Dusty was playing with house money tonight after the win yesterday and looking to ride Arroyo as far as he could to rest the bullpen. And he did just that. None of the “A Team” bullpen crew pitched tonight.

    By all accounts there is a very good chance the game Wednesday will not be played due to the advancing spring storm(s). Like the Reds, the Cards are off Thursday; so, a rain out Wednesday could well just be pushed back a day. So with the possibility of losing the off day, it made even more strategic sense to rest the pen tonight.

    • By all accounts there is a very good chance the game Wednesday will not be played due to the advancing spring storm(s). Like the Reds, the Cards are off Thursday; so, a rain out Wednesday could well just be pushed back a day. So with the possibility of losing the off day, it made even more strategic sense to rest the pen tonight.

      Jim, they are not losing the off day, it’s getting moved up a day. To me, this makes it even more nonsensical to ride Arroyo too long.

      • @RiverCity Redleg: Having two days off in a row for the bullpen guys is huge for recovery based on what I’ve heard Creeper and Cowboy saying over the last week. That is what I was trying to refer to

  4. Another big positive is that the important guys – Chapman, Broxton, Hoover, LeCure, Simon – got a day to rest. The Reds lost the game but, with Parra’s help, they achieved their goal of having a well rested bullpen for Wednesday afternoon’s game.

    Anybody else see on TV Dusty getting up as though he was going out to remove Arroyo, only to have Bryan Price grab Dusty to let Arroyo face another batter? Everyone wants them to go all-in for 162 games but, yeah, you can’t win ‘em all. It seemed like innings out of Arroyo and resting the bullpen was a priority today. I’m fine with that if they win tomorrow.

    Five runs allowed to the Cardinals’ offense by Arroyo and Parra – I’ll take that. It was only the second time this season that the Reds hitters produced fewer than 5 runs. Overall the game was more unremarkable than it was disappointing.

  5. “–Ryan Hanigan went 0-3. He’s now hitting .043/.148/.043. I’m not worried about Hanigan, as he’s a smart player and a hard worker. But sheesh, he has really struggled thus far.”

    Baker, “We have to get Hani going.” Um, but then, isn’t there another catcher, you know, the one remodeling the clubhouse right now. His spring training numbers were, what, 326/535/955 (BA/SLG/OPS). A former AAA All-Star, did you ever think he could possibly do an average job at this level for more than just once every 5 games?

    I would have to think, with Arroyo’s history, I would have looked to pull him after the homerun. A tired bullpen? Again, not a strength of Baker, bullpen management. He’s pitched relievers for more than 1 inning 4 times. Parra (the loogy) twice including tonight’s game, and Hoover and Lecure both on the first game of the season (the 13 inning opening day game). Parra’s only been in 2 games, Simon 3 games. With 8 games into the season, Hoover and Chapman have been in 5 games, on pace for over 100 games so far; Broxton and Lecure in 4 games, on pace for over 80 games so far. With 6 out of 8 quality starts, which means the starters have been doing their jobs. Yes, a small sample size. But, not a trend you want to be dealing with.

  6. Hi, long time reader, first time commenting. I believe with Hanigan that Baker has the pitching staff in mind when he starts Hanigan. Point blank…Hanigan calls a great game, one of the best. His D is also top shelf. If he keeps Cueto, Bailey and Latos rolling along…he pretty much gets the nod 4 out of 5 starts.
    Mesoroco has traditionally only caught Leake and I wanna say Bailey. Bailey will improve with hanigan…Meso needs to refine his game calling abilities….GO REDS!

    • @RedlegFanatic: I’m not sure what is going on with Mesoraco and Baker. I get that Hanigan’s defense is better than Mesoraco. Unfortunately, I remember back when the club had both Hanigan and Ramon Hernandez that either of those catchers seemed to wear down and play worse when either one got more than 50-60% of the playing time.

    • @RedlegFanatic: I agree. But, you can’t get better with “game calling abilities” if you don’t get “game playing time”. How is Devin going to improve his game calling abilities by not playing. By going down to AAA? That is still a level down from the big leagues. He was an All-Star down there. If I recall correctly, he was the catcher of the pennant winning team his last season down there. He has literally nothing else to learn down there. Baker just isn’t going to let him learn up here.

  7. There’s really no excuse for leaving him in with 2 runs in and the bases loaded. Zero. The bullpen was relatively rested and there’s a real possibility of them not playing today, due to rain.

    Maybe the bullpen would be even more rested if they weren’t plaing one man short for the first week.

    Para is just not very good.

  8. Last night was the same as always for Baker. Arroyo gave up the double, ground out, homer, single…and at this point, Thom or Chris informed us that the Reds don’t have anyone up. This is my biggest argument….after the homer, in a 2-1 game, I’ve got someone up before the game gets away. I’m not sure at what point Baker got someone up (and to give them a little leeway, apparently there was a problem with the bullpen phone), but he let this game get away from him. And he wasn’t even doing this b/c Arroyo was up next inning, we were in 5-6-7 in the lineup. It was obvious watching on TV that there was a ton of indecision in the Reds dugout…he doesn’t not handle the pitching staff (and the decisions therein) well at all.

  9. Did the issue of multiple visits to the mound in the 6th inning get answered last night after the game? Did Baker/Price get away with one there?

    I remember Price visiting the mound just prior to the 2-run HR, then Baker went to the mound later that same inning, but Arroyo stayed in.

    • @Greg Dafler: Price came out of the dugout, but didn’t visit the mound. He went out to tell the 3rd base ump that the bullpen phone wasn’t working.

      • @RiverCity Redleg: If I recall, that bullpen phone issue happened after the homerun. Did Price not visit the mound prior to the homerun? Maybe it was just Hanigan and Phillips on the mound with Arroyo to discuss defensive strategy, but I thought I saw Price out there, too.

        • @Greg Dafler: It was all very confusing. Remember, Hanigan took a ball to the finger, and a bunch of guys were out for that. Then you had Price talking to the ump. Then a real mound visit… No wonder the umps lost count.

        • @Greg Dafler: Price definitely visited the mound before the Adams AB. I didn’t remember one way or the other but I replayed it on my DVD and Price was out there. I figured they were talking about whether or not to walk Adams or how to pitch to him. I think the Adams visit is a separate one from the bullpen phone problem, which occurred after the Adams home run.

  10. Somehow people here are forgetting that in general, it appears that when Jocketty makes a move with which Baker disagrees, Baker simply refuses to go along by not playing the person in question.

    As I remember, Jocketty wanted Alonso to play in 2011, calling him up, and Baker barely played him. There is another example outside of Mesoraco slipping my mind. And now, Baker is going against what he himself said–that Hanigan will wear down if he plays too much–and I am wondering if it is to spite Jocketty’s decision to get rid of Olivo.

    It also makes me ill if Mesoraco catches only Leake, who’s the worst pitcher on the staff. It’s setting him up for failure. People will point out how much better Hanigan is with the pitching staff. Heck, why not put Mesoraco in every time Parra comes in too.

    • Heck, why not put Mesoraco in every time Parra comes in too

      That would be, in it’s own twisted way, hilarious. Dusty’s Ultimate B Team Tandem!

  11. It’s hard to measure what benefit Dusty’s decisions have towards winning games, but his stubbornly bad decisions are easy and often to spot. I honestly think he’s an overall negative.

  12. I’m not going to kill Dusty for last night. To some degree, he was clearly listening to Bryan Price, and I can live with that. And I’m not going to say Baker punted last night’s game, but it’s also fair to say that he didn’t pull out all the stops to win it. In a long season, that’s okay.

    After the Adams HR, the Reds’ win expectancy was down to 28%. Let’s say you start warming someone up at that point. Well, Jay singles and now you’re down to a 25% chance of winning. Now, Carpenter singles, and you’re at 17%. This is the first point at which you even could’ve pulled Bronson.

    Is it worth pulling out all the stops for a 1/6 chance of winning? How much do your chances improve with LeCure instead of Bronson? Even after giving up the run-scoring groundout and hit, the Reds’ chances only dropped to 10%.

    • I’m not going to kill Dusty for last night.To some degree, he was clearly listening to Bryan Price, and I can live with that.And I’m not going to say Baker punted last night’s game, but it’s also fair to say that he didn’t pull out all the stops to win it.In a long season, that’s okay.

      After the Adams HR, the Reds’ win expectancy was down to 28%.Let’s say you start warming someone up at that point.Well, Jay singles and now you’re down to a 25% chance of winning.Now, Carpenter singles, and you’re at 17%.This is the first point at which you even could’ve pulled Bronson.

      Is it worth pulling out all the stops for a 1/6 chance of winning?How much do your chances improve with LeCure instead of Bronson?Even after giving up the run-scoring groundout and hit, the Reds’ chances only dropped to 10%.

      This.

      Sometimes, you just need to know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em. Arroyo started falling apart so quickly that even if Baker had taken preventative measures, it probably wouldn’t have made a difference.

      And, might I point out, even if the Reds DID hold the Cards to, say, only 3 runs, they still would have lost. The Reds only got 1 hit after the 6th inning.

      So great, Dusty could have played so they only lost 3-1 instead of 5-1. What would that have accomplished?

      • @Bill Lack: I don’t know about that. Again, I think this decision was pretty defensible. I think we risk fitting the data to the theory – seeing every questionable/borderline decision as part of a pattern.

        I think this is just a case where a pitcher went from perfect – literally – to inept, in the span of 3 batters. No manager in the world would’ve been able to avoid it.

    • @Chris Garber: Down 2-1 in the bottom of the 6th and our next three innings were going to be against their unimpressive bullpen. I’d hardly say that sounds like a good time to punt.

    • I’m not going to kill Dusty for last night. To some degree, he was clearly listening to Bryan Price, and I can live with that. And I’m not going to say Baker punted last night’s game, but it’s also fair to say that he didn’t pull out all the stops to win it. In a long season, that’s okay. After the Adams HR, the Reds’ win expectancy was down to 28%. Let’s say you start warming someone up at that point. Well, Jay singles and now you’re down to a 25% chance of winning. Now, Carpenter singles, and you’re at 17%. This is the first point at which you even could’ve pulled Bronson. Is it worth pulling out all the stops for a 1/6 chance of winning? How much do your chances improve with LeCure instead of Bronson? Even after giving up the run-scoring groundout and hit, the Reds’ chances only dropped to 10%.

      All well in good except, just the night before, we came up with 9 runs in the ninth and won the game.

  13. I thought “You play to win the game” no matter what the percentage is that you are citing. I channeled my inner Herman Edwards there. I am glad the Reds didn’t take this approach the game before. With that attitude there would be no rallies and no wearing of the rally caps.
    I know the Edwards quote is football, and this is baseball, 16 games vs. 162 games. But still, I don’t run up a white flag in the 6th inning.

    • @WVRedlegs:

      I mostly agree with you, the fan in me wants to win every game, especially in the division.

      But as I was following the game on MLB.com, it became clear that Price and Baker were following a plan to rest the bullpen and get as many innings out of Bronson and Parra as possible last night.

      Even with that, I thought they might have another comeback in them up until the Heisey GIDP.

      Bailey will get ‘er done either today or wednesday.

    • @WVRedlegs: But it’s not like he pulled the starting eight. How much benefit would there have been to replacing Arroyo with LeCure, down 2-1? *That* is all he gave up.

  14. I checked out the “third time through the order” stats and Bronson’s career numbers are eerily similar the second and third times through the lineup. And looking just at last year (we’re getting into sample size issues here), he’s actually better the third time through than the second. Both of those things surprised me.

    Baseball Reference also says Bronson’s nickname is “Saturn Nuts” which (a) I’ve never heard before, and (b) have no idea what it means.

    • I checked out the “third time through the order” stats and Bronson’s career numbers are eerily similar the second and third times through the lineup. And looking just at last year (we’re getting into sample size issues here), he’s actually better the third time through than the second. Both of those things surprised me. Baseball Reference also says Bronson’s nickname is “Saturn Nuts” which (a) I’ve never heard before, and (b) have no idea what it means.

      Ex-teammate Curt Schilling called him that in 2004 ALDS. He wrote that Arroyo had nuts the size of Saturn in regards to his performance.

  15. Mes is starting and originally was batting 8th, behind possibly the worst hitter in all of baseball in Cesar Izturis.

    Someone must have pointed this out to Dusty*, and Mes was flipped to #7.

    *went behind Dusty’s back and changed the lineup

    • @CP: It’s the same person who inserted him in the first place into the game and crossed out Hanigan.

    • @CP: I am just elated the SS isn’t automatically batting 2nd. I do like Cozart getting spelled but I hope Walt doesn’t endure Caesar too much longer.

      • @rightsaidred: Has the SS automatically batted 2nd this year? It’s only happened one game – with Cozart – this year.

        Is anybody here willing to give Cesar Izturis a fair chance, or has he been written off because he’s a veteran? I’m interested in seeing how he does, both in the field and at the plate. I hope Izturis justifies Jocketty and the Reds giving him a roster spot.

  16. You most certainly do “fold ‘em” during a 162 game season. There was a lot of complaining about bringing in Parra in a 4-1 game, with the Reds having 2 chances left. I don’t care how bad a team’s bullpen is, the chance of making up 3 runs in 2 innings is not good.

    If you never “folded” in a game, you’d blow your bullpen out.

    It’s also interesting to term the Cards’ bullpen as “terrible”. With 3 innings to go, you’re probably going to always get Mujica, Rosenthal, Boggs. (With Motte it was Mujica, Boggs, Motte, last year, pre-Rosenthal.) I’d like to understand how that’s so bad. Boggs is a reasonable setup type who was very good last year. I’d take Rosenthal over any pitcher in the Reds’ bullpen outside of Chapman. Mujica is certainly not great, but he’s pitched very well for the Cardinals.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Yeah, I don’t know what people are trying to say. Dusty’s job is a mix of winning games in the short/medium/long term (which is why how he handles Mesoraco is so bizarre, even if Hanigan is “better” right now-which is somewhat questionable, at some point he has to give Mesoraco the chance to improve since the players are heading in opposite directions on their aging performance curve).

      The manager’s job is more than just winning battles, he has to win the war. And the war is 162 games long, plus the playoffs.

      I probably do take Arroyo out, but let’s be honest, you’re significantly unlikely come back against the Cards. I would have taken out Arroyo, double switched for someone like Cozart, and let Parra/LeCure/Simon finish out the game. If the Reds improbably come back, it’s just an unexpected bonus.

      • @CP: Bring LeCure in when the score is 2-1. If he holds the Cardinals, you dont’ use Parra. If LeCure gives up a run or more, you can still use Parra the last two innings.

        • And if you repeat that strategy day in and day out (including on days when your bullplen is already stretched) your bullpen becomes . . . ?

          @CP: Bring LeCure in when the score is 2-1. If he holds the Cardinals, you dont’ use Parra. If LeCure gives up a run or more, you can still use Parra the last two innings.

        • @Steve Mancuso: That’s fair. But people seem to always clamor to win every game.

          Once it’s a 3 run lead, though, I have no problem with Parra in an April game, even vs the Cards.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: The thing is, Baker is blowing out the pen right now, even before last night. After last night, the Reds have had 6 quality starts out of 8 games. That states the starters are doing their jobs. Before last night, only 3 times has a Reds reliever gone more than 1 inning. Once was Parra, the other two by Lecure and Hoover opening day. All the others have been one inning or less. Hoover and Chapman are on pace for over 100 games this season, Broxton and Lecure for over 80 games. While a small sample size, you don’t want to get into this kind of trend.

  17. Is the #2 spot going to be this year’s leadoff spot?

    It seems destined to be filed by OF #4 or OF #5 or SS regardless of the ability to move BP back and elevate Todd to cleanup.

    If Baker treats the 2 hole as I fear, then it will be as unproductive as lead off was last year.

  18. Dusty’s tenure has coincided with the rebirth of the Reds as a formidable team. A baseball team is an engine with a lot of moving parts-players, minor leagues, front office, manager, stadium, etc. and assigning credit or blame to any one part for any one perceived strength or deficiency is usually going to involve over-simplifying. Bashing Dusty for everything that goes wrong while claiming that things go well in spite of him is irrational. Maybe the Reds would have been better the last few years if one of the commenters who knows better than Dusty had been managing, but I doubt it. The Reds are a small market team and have astutely assembled a good roster, but they won’t win many games when they aren’t hitting and, while Dusty in his prime as a player could have helped with that, there’s little he can do as a manager when your lineup strikes out in the double digits.

    • @greenmtred: Agreed. But, the Reds success in the recent years also coincides with the talent the last several managers have brought into the organization, all the way from Rookie A ball to the big club. So, to give Baker total credit for the turnaround wouldn’t be telling the truth. As a matter of fact, given Dusty’s rep of not being an x’s and o’s guy as well as not developing young talent, one can question how much Baker has meant to the turnaround of the team.

      We don’t bash Dusty for everything. That’s just speculation. But, we do hold him accountable for his decisions that put the club in the best or not the best positions to win the game.

  19. Hate to hear that about Marshall. Lets hope Ondrusek’s trip to AA was for a check-up from the neck up and he responds accordingly. He has a chance now to do some good. Hope he takes full advantage of this chance.

  20. Obviously, I have no inside info, but this sure seems pretty lame by the Reds’ crack medical staff.

    Then there’s the decision to call up Ondrusek. Why not Arredondo? He is better.

    Just watch Ondrusek take the key, high leverage innings that are competently being handled by Lecure and Lecure get lower leverage innings. You can count on it.

  21. Did anyone else think it was “convenient” that the Reds bullpen phone went out tonight? The day after they destroyed the WLBs on their own opening day? Maybe it’s just me, but it seems to me a little more than a coincidence…

    • @NastyBoys3: The broken bullpen phone seemed like a sign of the type of game we’d see – Arroyo and Parra being relied upon for innings to allow everyone else to rest.

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