2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: The Reds Continue to Go (Go Reds)

Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Miami 1
Cincinnati 11

W: T. Cingrani (1-0)
L: J. Fernandez (0-1)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Tony Cingrani, in his debut as a starter in the big leagues, threw a pretty good game. Cingrani went five innings, and allowed one run on five hits, striking out eight and walking three. He wasn’t necessarily sharp (102 pitches), but he showed flashes of why the kid has impressed so many over the last couple of years. Congratulations, kid!

–For the second consecutive game, the Reds scored 11 runs. That’ll do, Redlegs. That’ll do.

–Todd Frazier was 2-3 with a homer, a walk, three runs scored, and two RBI. The Toddfather is hitting a stout .298/.369/.614 for the season.

–Shin-Soo Choo continued to mash the baseball: two hits, including a double, a walk, two runs scored, one RBI. Choo’s season totals make Frazier’s look poor: .345/.472/.569.

–Zack Cozart had two hits, a walk, and 2 RBI. Joey Votto and Jay Bruce reached base three times; Bruce scored each of those times, as well.

–Good work by the Reds bullpen: four shutout innings by Sam LeCure, JJ Hoover, Alfredo Simon, and Jonathan Broxton (who didn’t look good, but somehow didn’t allow a run).

NEGATIVES
–None.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–Cincinnati’s offense has just been crazy good this season. I thought Choo would make a difference, but this is insane. The ol’ Redlegs have now scored 10 or more in a game four times this season. That’s exactly the number of 10-run games they had during 2012. Wow.

–After everyone freaked out because of the losses to Pittsburgh, the Reds have reeled off four wins in a row. As we (and Wooderson) say every April: patience, darlin’.

–The Marlins flat-out stink.

–The Reds have won eight of ten at home, the best home record in the league.

–I love it when the Reds go. Go Reds.

Source: FanGraphs

64 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: The Reds Continue to Go (Go Reds)

  1. Nice compliment to Bruce by Marty tonight in regards to his adjustment at the plate of being more selective.

    I just don’t understand why according to Marty .. Bruce deserves (and rightfully so, IMHO) compliments for walking more/being selective and not swinging away at pitches. But Votto is “not paid to walk” and is criticized for being selective on pitches. So Bruce IS paid to walk? Confusing commentary from the Hall of Famer.

    • @Love4Reds: Marty is a HOFer and deserves to be. But he has his pet peeves and can be irrational. The other nite he was praising Bruce for his BA with RISP (something he’s obsessed with) and a sentence later took a dig at Jay for not having any HRs yet.

      • @pinson343: Yeah, Marty is Marty. But he’s earned the right to be the way he is. To criticize him is like criticising the sun. Sometimes it annoys you, but it’s never going to change.

  2. The Marlins are simply a Triple-A club right now. Similar to Houston last year, only with a greater reliance on retreads. Austin Kearns (a player I loved 2002-2005 even when he got hurt) should be the mark of loser on which ever team is putting him out their as a warm body. Same for John Maine. We really didn’t get to see their bullpen much with Maine sucking up (pun intended) so much of the mid innings work, but my guess is that it is as bad as the rest of their club. Cingrani was good but would have gotten picked apart by a better line up.

    • @brynhoe: Kearns was hospitalized for irregular heartbeat a few days ago. I hope he’s OK. I too was a big fan of his when he was with the Reds. In 2002 and the first quarter of 2003, he hit and played like a star.

      Then he made that head first (grr) slide into home in May 2003 and a hard tag from Ray King injured his shoulder. He never really got back on track, sad story.

    • @AnnapolisHoosier: I agree he will be the real deal. It was one game. One game does not a career make (or even a season). I’m just glad he wasn’t up there against a real offense like the Cardinals. The results would have been VERY different. There was a very slim margin between his 1 run dream and a 6 run nightmare. And that was against the Marlins. It’s not meant to be a criticism. Just an observation that while he’s got some great stuff, he’s not ready.

  3. I wasn’t impressed by Cingrani. But, hey, he is our #6 guy. You can’t expect much more from him. He still probably needs a little bit of seasoning or something. It also may have just been nerves or something. I do see potential in him. Can he make it? Sure. Will he? Only time will tell. I would bet yes.

  4. He’s only 23. He was not great today but he should improve. The Marlins however are not a good test.

  5. Sorry to insert a negative here. Butthe attendance for the first four games of this home stand is very very hard to understand. Where are the fans?

    • @littleleo1: It bugs me. I wonder if it is:

      1.) the Boston incident
      2.) a losing road trip
      3.) everyone made plans for the first home stand instead of the second.

      Personally, I fall in to the 3rd category. I try to go once a month (with a few extra trips in April if I can). Heading down to see Angels/Nationals seemed much more exciting than seeing the Phils/Marlins/Cubs.

      Not to worry. The Stupid Cubs will fill GABP with their stupid fans.

      • @TC: It’s a combo of #3, economy still stinks & games are expensive, general lack of draw for Phils/Marlins, and the fact that the weather has stunk.

        I’m a diehard baseball fan, usually watch MLB.tv all night…I’m not going down to a weekday game in April when it could storm.

        …though I went Wednesday night. :P

  6. Was at the game tonight. Attendance was abysmal, but that wasn’t exactly a surprise (see Tuesday and Wednesday). Cingrani looked OK. As far as a first start in the bigs goes, I don’t think the young man could have asked for more. Could he haven given up fewer hits? Sure. But in our small park it could have been so much worse.

  7. Well, I thought that was an impressive start by Cingrani. We’re already seeing some of the argument that the Marlins are a AAA team and what not, but come on, 5 hits, 3 walks, 1 run, 8 strikeouts in 5 innings? That’s a great starting point. Whether or not he is ‘the real deal’ or not is debatable, but he definitely had a successful debut, in a situation in which you might expect a guy to be very nervous. I’m excited to see how he does against the Cubs, both because the pressure of a first start will be behind him, and because the Cubs have better hitters.

    I heard a lot before the game about young phenom Jose Fernandez, about how he was one of the best young arms in however long. The Reds flat out pounded him, and Cingrani outperformed him.

    So, Zack Cozart, is he benefiting from some magical bonus of hitting second or did his move to hitting second just coincidentally coincide with the end of his slump?

    Dusty invoked the MLB version of professional courtesy/the mercy rule… again. I’m sure Izturis, Hannahan, and Robinson all enjoyed the opportunity to finish the game. I like seeing that.

    • @RFM: Cingrani made his first start against the Marlins, the worst (hitting) team in baseball. Then they move up to the worst team in the NL Central, then he gets his biggest test against the Washington Nationals. It’s nice that they’re easing him into the big leagues like that.

      • @RFM: Yeah, I agree. I think judging Cingrani against the Nationals is as unfair as judging him against the Marlins. How he does against the Cubs will be of particular interest to me. (Geesh, I’m kind of sounding like Goldilocks)

    • @RFM: Very likely coincidence. Do we really believe that Cozart will get on base at a .370 clip if he just bats second? I believe that’s what he did last year in 100 or so PAs in the #2 slot, while he had a well under .300 OBP for the season.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: So far all the evidence we have suggests that he can pull that off and I say that he’s innocent (of being bad) until proven guilty. Somehow hitting second puts him in a position to succeed. Cozart has seemed excited about it – returning to the role he filled in the minors – in interviews.

        It seems kinda unfair to Cozart to allow his performance in roles in which everyone agrees he was mis-cast (leadoff last year) to be a big drag on his expectations.

        • @RFM: He didn’t get on base in the minors either. I’m okay with Dusty playing the hot hand, but Dusty’s MO is to start turning the ship well after it hit the iceberg.

    • @RFM: We can all be pleased with his inital start, it was good to get off on a good foot.

      But the Marlins have scored 33 runs in 16 games this year. If you are giving up more than a run or two against them, you’re doing something wrong.

      The strikeouts were good, but he was working out of jams the whole night, and it was pretty east to see that a better hitting team probably would have gotten to him.

  8. Attendance is tracking ahead of last year, which tracked ahead of the year before.

    Midweek game, school’s still in, bad opponent — this is just what you get in this part of the year.

    At least they didn’t get under 10,000, as the Indians did earlier in the week at home against Boston.

    • @renbutler:

      Attendance is tracking ahead of last year, which tracked ahead of the year before.

      Midweek game, school’s still in, bad opponent — this is just what you get in this part of the year.

      At least they didn’t get under 10,000, as the Indians did earlier in the week at home against Boston.

      Also weather reported was calling for strong storms possible. Historically, the Reds don’t pick up in attendance until school gets out…

      And I say this every year, but when you put all your games on tv, if I was living regionally, why wouldn’t I stay home and watch it on tv?

  9. I’m continually amused by the “Votto’s problems are mental” line. What would cause the best hitter in the game to all of a sudden lack the mental part of hitting?

    If Votto is to slug around .400 for the year, it’s because he is not 100% physically. Yet when I suggest that, many people say that he’s physically fine and it’s all mental. That’s making two separate assumptions that one knows nothing about. From my end, I certainly don’t even know if he’s hurt. It just seems way more plausible, if Votto is to have an off-year slugging, that it’s because he’s having physical problems.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I don’t think Joey has a mental or a physical problem. I believe Joey is physically fine because he has said (in an interview posted on mlb.com) that he is 100% physically. I might not believe another player just because they say so, but I believe him. I could be wrong.

      “If Votto is to slug around .400 for the year,…” The thing is, that hasn’t happened yet. If he slugs .400 for the season, I and just about everyone else will no longer believe that he’s physically OK.

      • @pinson343: Just to be devil’s advocate here, Joey said he was fine last year to keep playing after the injury and even to play in the All Star game. His self assurances cost him maybe 3-4 weeks of DL time especially if you factor in the second surgery. Joey’s as competitive as it gets. If there’s one player I WOULDN’T believe when they told me they were 100%, it would probably be Joey. That’s just speaking to what a great player he is.

        That being said, I think he is physically fine. He showed the power in spring training, even if those were “swings he wouldn’t take in a real game.” So I’m inclined to think he’s just not locked in yet. People keep posting his April numbers from last year and they’re shockingly similar to this month only he’s just walking more now. If he’s still struggling to hit the ball with power in 3 or 4 weeks then I’ll be more concerned. I do think that when Ludwick went down, pitchers got extra careful with him. Even this week he was intentionally walked to bring up BP in the 8th inning in Pittsburgh. How many competitive teams do you EVER see have someone intentionally walked to bring up their cleanup hitter with the bases loaded? That’s crazy. And that was AFTER Brandon had been tearing the cover off the ball in the 4 spot for a week and a half. Eventually they’re going to have to start respecting Brandon more (I know the season is extremely young, but he’s putting up MVP numbers right now) and when Joey locks in it should be something to see.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: There are more possibilities than just to the two you presented. So I reject “if it’s not physical it must to mental” and the other way. Maybe he’s just not seeing the ball right now. Maybe he’s trying to get walks so that people will pitch to him. We’re 16 games in. Talk to me in a month.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Votto has looked (very) bad on some (very) hitable pitches he went after. With Phillips as hot as he is, I don’t think it makes sense for Votto to extend his strike zone either to try to “cure” his swing or for the good of the team. The test will come when the Reds need more from Votto.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: it’s possible that a player can have a problem in their swing while not being hurt and not having “mental” issues, whatever those might be.

      have you ever played baseball? or even golf, or bowling, or really any sport/game where you’re trying to do the same thing all the time, while constantly making adjustments? sometimes you over adjust in one way or another and mess yourself up.

      votto is still contributing a ton during a slump. that’s good. he will come out of the slump.

  10. Was happy to see good outings from LeCure and Hoover. Broxton was not sharp but that’s OK. He was better (obviously) than on Sunday and this outing will help him regain form.

    I would have complained if Dusty had not gotten him and LeCure some work, so I have to praise him for getting both of them in there.

  11. Reds doing much better hitting. Anyone know how hard Cingrani throws? Is he a power pitcher and throws 94-95, or a pitcher that throws 90-91 like Arroyo or Leake that relies on good location to get hitters out?

    Also, anyone knows when Marshall comes off the DL?

    • @JEFFMO: He cruised last night in the low 90s. (Funny how we no longer consider that power pitching. The difference Aroldis makes.) I didn’t see any pitches above 93, but I could have missed some.

      Location?… not sure about that. As Doug Gray an JD Sussman put so well, “he is effectively wild”. They say it’s deception, but watching him last night, I noticed he hangs his arm behind his back in his windup long enough to pike up grip.

  12. Tonite Cingrani threw fastballs in the 89-93 range. But hitters and scouts say that it’s hard to pick up the ball out of his hand, which in effect adds to his velocity.

    He’s not at all a Bronson style pitcher, he’s a strikeout pitcher. But he’ll still need good location. He only threw a few breaking pitches, was glad to see him end his outing by striking out Dobbs with two sliders.

    I read that Marshall is expected to be off the DL on April 23, so he should be ready for the Washington/St. Louis road trip.

    • @pinson343: His pitch count worried me more than it seems to be worrying others. The scouting report on him said that this year he had upped his velocity a couple ticks on the fastball but given up control in the zone. So he used to be striking guys out by painting the corners with 90 mph fastballs in A and AA, now he was fooling guys with a deceptive 93 mph fastball but it was all over the zone. In the bigs, that means a lot of foul balls and eventually hits.

      If Chapman wasn’t ready to start because he relied too heavily on his fastball, I don’t know why on earth the organization thinks Cingrani is ready. I like Cingrani and I hope he turns into a top of the rotation starter – he’s put up the numbers to say it’s possible – but I just don’t get this team sometimes. He’ll have one more start against the stupid Cubs, but then the Cards or Nats are going to have a lot of tape on him and I expect him to get rocked on that road trip. Could be really bad for his development. Here’s hoping I’m wrong…

  13. I was really glad to see Broxton get an inning tonight. I was just waiting to fire off a post about how he had thrown 1 inning in 2 weeks and it was the disaster in Pittsburgh. Didn’t think there was any way Dusty would bring him in with the rout on, but glad to see he did. That being said, Broxton clearly needs more regular appearances to keep himself sharp. He didn’t look good last night and a better team would have made him pay for it. We just have too much money tied up in him to let Dusty limit him to such a precise role (8th inning with a lead and a minimum number of lefty batters due up) when it’s obvious that extended downtime turns him into a big fat mess.

    On the positive side, maybe we can all stop complaining about Cozart in the 2 hole for a while? I was as big a disbeliever as anyone, but damn if the kid isn’t proving us all wrong. All he does is rake from that spot. Maybe it’s the Joey factor, maybe it’s something else. He still seems to be getting plenty of breaking pitches and stuff out of the zone regardless of Joey, so maybe he’s just comfortable there knowing all he has to do is get on base and he’s got a pretty good chance to score without the pressure of leading off. Who knows, but it’s sure working. Hope he keeps it up.

    • @eric nyc: Cozart hasn’t proven anything. He’s had on the order of 30 plate appearances out of the 2 spot. People are reacting to small numbers, just as when people who thought the season was in jeopardy when they were 5-7.

      It just seems impossible to me that a guy’s going to have an OBP nearly 100 points higher just because of the position in the lineup that he’s put at.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I said “for a while.” I don’t know that he can keep it up throughout a season either. Just saying that everyone was shouting about the sky falling when he got moved up there last week (I was one of them) and he’s completely turned it around from that spot. And he did the same whenever he bat in the 2 spot last year, so it’s not just 30 AB’s this season I’m drawing it from. Still a small sample, yes, but statistically he has thrived in that position more than any other.

        • @eric nyc: Look, if the guy puts up a .350 OBP out of the 2 spot this year, I’ll be the first to say I was dead wrong. The problem is that he’s more likely to do well for a short period and then just kill the team for a much longer period by making outs in front of Votto at a high rate. As we know, Baker is very slow to make changes, and my concern is that the good performance we’re seeing from Cozart at #2 now will end up hurting the team in the long run.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate:
          Wasn’t there an article on one of the Reds blogs that said he had spent a lot of winter working on his plate discipline though? I mean, I don’t think he has a Larkin style ceiling; but with a bit better selection on what he does on the plate (which was his problem a lot of last year, I think), I don’t think a .310+ OBP is out of the question.

        • @Zach: I haven’t seen that. Do you have a link?

          In any case, he’s on pace for about 20 walks this season. It’s not clear to me that whatever he did helped. Obviously, there’s more to plate discipline than walks, but walks are a reasonable indicator.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: There is zero chance he’ll have an OBP of .350 for any sustained period of time. His walk rate is terrible (2 walks in 60 PA) so he’d have to hit about .330 to achieve that OBP and he’s never hit for anywhere near that high an average.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Cozart hasn’t disproven anything either, except that he hits better as a #2 hitter than a leadoff or #7 hitter. His few ABs in the #2 role last year demonstrate that this is a continuation from last year.

        If Cozart stops hitting we can get worried and object. While he IS hitting, like he’s doing now, I think we should just enjoy it. I am.

        • @RFM: We’re totally exaggerating the effects of lineup position. Why would a hitter bat significantly better in one spot rather than another? “He seems excited” batting second is about the weakest justification ever. He’s not trying when hitting first or seventh?

          I’m enjoying his few good nights, but realistic.

        • @Steve Mancuso: For the most part, I agree that lineup position has little effect. Unlike a simulation however, it can have some effect based on comfort and the hitters around the batting-order position. While it is a rather small sample size, Cozart does seem to thrive in 2-hole, hitting in front of Votto. For his career in 179 PA batting 2nd, Cozart’s slash line is: .337/.379/.530/.909

          Based on his MiLB career and his young MLB career thus far, we can’t expect those numbers to come close to continuing. However, at least to this point, the numbers would indicate that he is a better hitter in the second spot in the order. Is he better to the extreme the numbers show? Most definitely not but better nonetheless.

          All that said, what needs to be considered is even if he is a better hitter in the 2-hole, does hitting him there help the team as a whole? As I think it highly unlikely that he can keep up anything close to his production in the 2-hole over an entire season, my answer is no. Cozart should ideally hit 7th or 8th in this lineup. At the moment however it is working and I can’t think of anyone more suitable for the role at the moment unless you really wanted to shake up the lineup.

        • @Steve Mancuso: Seeming excited/comfortable in the #2 spot is the weakest justification ever? Heck, I’m willing to justify it as magic. I’m just concerned with what the results are rather than why the results happen.

        • @Steve Mancuso: I’m not sure I need more of a rationale for doing better in the 2 spot than the guy in the on deck circle. Pitchers are going to go after Cozart aggressively (ie. throw him a lot of strikes) just so they’ll hopefully have a nice place to put Votto when they walk him.

  14. I swear, they should keep Teddy around for every game. There’s a visible difference in the clubhouse. The guys seem to be more upbeat and hold on to anger less after screwing up. That might wear off if Teddy was there every game, I dunno.

    I still think it just shows how classy this ball club can be.

  15. For tonight’s game Sloey (SP?) has faced Choo 24 times (I think) and held him to a .167 BA – wow.

    He is another decent pitcher . . .

  16. I suspect that Marty praised Jay for plate discipline because he has lacked it in the past. Joey has not. I get frustrated (unreasonably) by walks instead of hits but, of course, it’s not either/or, particularly considering the paucity of hittable pitches Joey sees. He’s making lemonade out of lemons. That said, he looks uncomfortable and, to my eye, isn’t making as good contact as often as usual when he does swing. He’s smart and hard-working, though, and it seems inevitable that he’ll add power to mix. In general, it has seemed that most of the lineup is being more selective and making the opposing pitchers work harder. Joey and Choo’s influence? Good, whatever it is.

  17. So far so good on the homestand. Understated, I know, but after the road trip, I am glad to see the team rebound well.

    Tony C did what he had to last night, undoubtedly has things to work on but not an uncommon trait with young players.

    Another thing, is it just me, but does the ball seem to just jump off of Fraziers bat. The homer last night is one example, as was the line drive that fooled Revere (followed by a great catch) on Monday night.

    Just keep playing hard and stockpiling wins.

    • Todd has always been that way. He takes some odd swings and still just kills the ball. It’s really impressive and fun to watch. When you add in how much he seems to visibly enjoy the game while he’s out there it makes him an instant fan favorite.

    • @Lost and Found: I think the reason the ball jumps off Todd’s bat is that he is probably amazingly strong. He just doesn’t appear that way with his likeable, aw-shucks demeanor, and laid-back body language. I bet there are few, if any, Reds that could best him in arm wrestling.

    • @Lost and Found:

      The list of Reds that I can remember having that type of ability. Larkin, Davis, Griffy.

      Guys like Parker and Dunn could tatoo the ball as well but the swing a body type hinted at it. Frazier has some sneaky power to his stroke.

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