2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: Yes, the Marlins actually beat Aroldis Chapman. I know. I can’t believe it either.

Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Miami 2
Cincinnati 1

W: M. Dunn (1-0)
L: A. Chapman (2-1)
S: S. Cishek (1)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Mat Latos, once again, looked very strong. Latos threw seven innings, allowed one run on six hits, striking out ten and walking just one (he also connected for a double). He doesn’t yet have a decision in four starts this season, but Latos’ ERA is down to 2.73 and he’s looking like an ace.

–Jonathan Broxton pitched a perfect eighth inning.

NEGATIVES
–Aroldis Chapman gave up a ninth inning homer (on a not-particularly-good high fastball) to Justin Ruggiano to lose the game. It happens. Unfortunately.

–The offense only mustered five hits and one run. Joey Votto didn’t reach base for the first time this season, and while I’m not particularly worried about the big guy, he did look pretty bad tonight.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–Four game winning streak snapped. Oh well. Get ‘em tomorrow, Redlegs.

Source: FanGraphs

33 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Yes, the Marlins actually beat Aroldis Chapman. I know. I can’t believe it either.

  1. I have been saying for a while now that I am concerned that the Reds’ ninth inning specialist, who I suppose will be called on reasonably often to protect a zero or 1 run lead, does not reach full velocity for around the first 5-10 pitches. Sometimes even more. Today is the first time it bit them. The pitch was up a bit but only at 94 MPH. That should never, ever happen, theoretically.

    It is just interesting to me that a lot of people say that Chapman is ill-suited for the rotation, which we’ll never know, yet he generally can’t throw an inning in 3 straight days, and he generally doesn’t elevate his velocity until after 5-10 pitches. That seems kind of ill-suited for a bullpen pitcher.

    As to it being shocking that the Marlins beat him, so did the Astros last year, if people remember. It happens. Maybe we can go back to panicking now.

  2. In terms of Hanigan, now they say he has a thumb injury. Maybe he does from that one game a week or so ago. But, it seems to me that either:

    (a) this is just an ex-post-facto excuse, or

    (b) Baker is making a really bad decision putting an injured player into the lineup.

    Take your pick, I don’t like either interpretation.

  3. This offense has performed amazingly well considering what the Reds are getting from the primary starters at LF & C.

  4. Didn’t get to see the game and won’t really have the chance to watch highlights until tomorrow; the box score looks awful (save for Latos). Was the game as bad as the stats make it look or just one of those, “aww shucks, could have gone either way” games?

  5. In the 9th, JoeyV expanded his strike zone with no outs and the tying run on first. Joey struck out on 4 pitches, two of which clearly appeared to be balls. So he was down and Reds had lost an out when the count could have been 3-1.

    Had Joey walked in that situation he would have advanced tying run to 2nd base, Had nothing else gone differently, the subsequent fly ball outs by Phillips and quite likely would have tied the game and brought Frazier to the plate with a chance to win it. Instead they ended the game as a Reds loss.

    I’ll take a walk over an out any day.

    • @OhioJim: I saw Joey’s 9th inning AB. He was badly fooled by a breaking pitch for strike 2. From there Cishek went nicely up the ladder with a fast ball that was just a bit high, a very tough pitch to take with 2 strikes. I’m sure he too would take a walk over an out.

  6. Wonder if what Marty said about Votto walking too much got to him, and now he is trying to hard at the plate to hit pitches that are close to the strike zone, though they may be balls. I agree, I take a walk over an out anytime.

    • @JEFFMO: Nothing Marty says is going to get to Joey Votto, or any of the other Reds. As for the “I’ll take a walk over an out”, look at what you started, OhioJim.

      • @pinson343: Agreed, I can’t imagine Marty having that effect, but about a week ago, Dusty said on one of the pregame shows that he wanted Joey to be more aggressive inside the strike zone, and I can’t help wondering if Joey is trying that philosophy. … And from what I’ve heard the Reds announcers say, Votto has had several plate appearances where he looks fooled on a swing. Expectations are just so high for him …

        • @Brian Van Hook: Yes in the 9th inning AB Joey was fooled by a breaking pitch and took a terrible swing, and the broadcasters said he had taken a few swings like that in the game. That sounds like a problem with pitch recognition, with not seeing the ball well.

          My point is, I’m not worried about Joey changing his basic approach to hitting.
          We put him under a microscope. Expectations are as you say very high for him, and his expectations of himself are even higher. He was really pissed off after he struck out in the 9th.

    • @JEFFMO: If you criticize a guy for taking “too many walks”, you are encouraging him to swing at pitches out of the strike zone, right? By definition?

      All due respect to Marty, but this is crazy. Nuts.

  7. Reading tonights game notes, Hanigan hit into a crucial double play. I love Hanigan as a catcher, but he is struggling at the plate. Wonder if this continues, if Reds need to change to Mesoraco for hitting. Can’t have a dead out coming to the plate all the time….

    The Reds would threaten again in the second. Jay Bruce led off with a walk and Todd Frazier singled. Chris Heisey drove one to the wall in left that Juan Pierre made a nice play on. Ryan Hanigan hit into a 6-4-3 double play.

  8. Latos so far has been the Reds hard luck pitcher. But it’s great to see him pitch so well. The Reds had pitching and defense tonite, but ran into the proverbial “well-pitched game.”

  9. I’m not shocked by the Ruggiano HR. He also homered last nite off a high fast ball.
    Chapman will occasionally give one up to a good RHed bat.

    And why take the Marlins so lightly ? Even as the worst team in baseball, they’ll win about 1 out of 3. And recall for example the trouble the Reds had with the Astros in the 2nd half of last season. If it weren’t for Cordero blowing a couple of 9th inning leads on Drew Stubbs HRs, the Reds would have had a losing record vs. the ‘stros in the second half.

  10. Votto doesn’t look right. Even when he’s just a bit off, he fouls pitches. Cishek make him look feeble. Long time since I’d see Joey swing and miss plus not look good at all. I still say, with all the walks, bat him 2nd. Never happen but it should. I know, it’s April but there are some little red flags waving with Votto.

    • @sezwhom1: Sez, it is verboten to even intimate on this board that anything is wrong with Votto. But I agree. He looks awful, and is slugging .377. Opposing pitchers are not going to keep walking a guy who slugs .377. I’d love to know what scouts are saying about him, but over the past few days he sure seems to be challenged more, and he isn’t responding.

      It’s likely just the normal pressing that comes with (1) signing a new, big contract, and (2) getting off to a slow start. But almost all great players have off years (Johnny Bench in 1971, for example), and maybe this is Votto’s down year.

  11. There comes a point when early isn’t early any more. Now, I’m in no position to say when that would be, but it seems that three weeks would have to be close. Wouldn’t it?

    I hate the fact that we’re giving Latos no run support……Mat welcome to Johnny’s world. I also hate the fact that we had a chance to move back into first place and didn’t take advantage of it!

    Oh well, early start today!

  12. I watched the whole game and Votto looked way out of sorts the whole night. It looked like he was not seeing the ball well or either was guessing. My guess is he’ll get it together sooner than later.

    Hanigan is another story. His bat is so slow this year that he looks way over matched by just about everyone on the mound. If it’s an injury, I’m not sure what they can do about that. Bummer either way.

  13. I know Joey’s numbers are fine, due mainly to his OBP, but he really looks bad at the plate right now. I don’t have any idea what is going on (mental? physical? bad luck? just normal struggling?), but anyone that simply looks at his numbers and says he’s fine isn’t watching him at the plate. He’s looked worse at the plate this week than I remember ever seeing him.

    I’m not panicing, but in another 2 weeks or so, if this continues, I will admit to becoming concerned.

  14. –Heisey got a perfect hanging curve that he just pulled off. We needed that 3 run homer. Then Hanigan got a fastball up in the zone and couldn’t do anything with it either. At least Dusty didn’t have Heisey bunt w/ 2 on and nobody out.
    –Latos is totally locked in. Just great great stuff that’s located well. He’s in for a monster year.
    –I’ll trade no home runs from Jay Bruce for the walks and hits to the opposite field any day of the week. This version of Jay will be consistent the entire season.
    –Why all the teeth gnashing about Votto??? We’ve seen him do all these same things in a season where he WON THE MVP!

    • –Why all the teeth gnashing about Votto??? We’ve seen him do all these same things in a season where he WON THE MVP!

      Sult- I think most people are referring to here and now not what they anticipate for the 2013 season. Right now the Reds’ three-hole hitter has zero punch in his bat and that isn’t good.

      Why should JV get any special treatment when he is under-performing? Everybody’s gets under the microscope when they are struggling. Even Todd Frazier sometimes.

  15. I’m not here trying to “troll” about the votto subject or what not, i just love watching the guy and am feeling like mvp joey is somewhat of a fading memory (griffey in the same way). Was checking out fangraphs and the batted ball stat is not going in the right direction for joey. Now, if his knee is 100% i have all the faith in the world that he will be ok. But what if knee is at 99% or 98% could that affect a guy to the extent of -15 or 20 homers/season? If so, it’s just a shame and would give anything to get him back to 100%. How many of you would miss playoffs if it meant a guaranteed 100% votto for rest of his career starting today? It’s a silly question but it’s what i ask myself today. Love the reds, love the site!

    • @zab1983: To me it looks like he wants to be the perfect hitter this year and isn’t taking nice strong cuts at the ball. I truly believe it is a “head” not a “health” thing. My prediction is pitchers stopping fearing him so much and starting throwing him a steady diet of strikes just like they do mere mortals. He will continue to struggle with the current approach he has and it could get worse. But then…. he is going to say “what the heck” and just start “seeing the ball, hitting the ball”. Then we will have our Joey back and, IMO better than he has ever been.

  16. Chapman got squeezed on the pitch prior to the homerun – not making excuses, but if he had gotten that two strike call, I doubt he throws such a fat fastball on the next pitch.

    Besides that, though, this is another reason why the Chapman decision was so terrible: it’s not like he’s automatic. If you could guarantee that Chapman will give us 48 out of 50 saves and never lose…well, I still would have been against the decision, but at least it would have made more sense. Instead, we’re sacrificing an ace for a closer who’s numbers are roughly equal to Coco Cordero. I know, beating a very dead horse…

  17. Am I seeing the lineup right? Is Mez catching Bronson? As for Votto.. I think what Charlotte said is going to happen. They’re going to start actually pitching to him soon and when that happens things are going to turn around. Not right away but they will and then people will remember why you don’t pitch to Joey Votto.

  18. I think pitching around Votto hasn’t really helped a whole lot of clubs, as Phillips, Bruce and Frazier have done a pretty good job coming up after the walk.

    It’s April 20th. Votto was hitting .289 with 2 doubles and 1 HR at this point last year.

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