2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: Ugh.

Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Cincinnati 1
St. Louis 2

W: J. Garcia (3-1)
L: B. Arroyo (2-3)
S: E. Mujica (5)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Nice outing by Bronson Arroyo: 7 innings, two runs allowed on six hits and a walk. Ordinarily, that should be enough to get it done. Unfortunately, a two-run homer surrendered to Matt Holliday in the sixth was enough to beat him.

–Brandon Phillips had two hits. Shin-Soo Choo had a double and an RBI.

NEGATIVES
–Pretty poor offensive performance once again by the good guys. In the bottom of the ninth, with the Reds down by one, the 3-4-5 spots in the order came to the plate. Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, and Jay Bruce proceeded to strike out to end the game.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–The mighty Redlegs finish the month of April with a 15-13 record. Given all the injuries, I’m actually pretty pleased with that record.

–Not a great performance but, fortunately, it was a quick game (2 hours, 15 minutes). The series is tied and one, and the rubber match will be an afternoon tilt tomorrow. Let’s hope Homer Bailey can put together another good outing.

–Submitted without comment:

Source: FanGraphs

70 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Ugh.

  1. I have this sinking feeling Cozart is Drew Stubbs Part 2. Why not Robinson in the 2-hole? I know, too much speed. June 15th will roll around and Cozart will be hitting .199 and when asked why he’s still batting 2nd, Dusty will say: gotta get him goin’!

    Editors note: Drew Stubbs is actually hitting and playing very well for the Tribe but I digress.

      • Is that a joke? Stubbs is just as bad so far in Cleveland as he was last year.

        Unfortunately Drew Stubbs is still outhitting the Reds’ LFs. Stubbs his hitting well off LHPs and would be a reasonable candidate to platoon with Xavier Paul, if fans could push their …disapproval… of Stubbs aside.

        • @RFM: “…disapproval…” Very diplomatic description RFM. I may have used the phrase “utter disdain” to describe the feelings of many around here towards Mr. Stubbs.

        • @RFM: The list of people outhitting the Reds’ LF gang is pretty long, and includes probably a lot of pitchers.

          My “disdain” for Stubbs is as an everyday player. He’d be pretty good as a platoon player hitting against lefties. But, that’s not that valuable in general. It’d be valuable on the Reds right now, sure. But they traded Stubbs for Choo, a brilliant deal, and I doubt the Indians give him up for free.

  2. How about one of you reporters grow a pair and question this idiot, instead of asking him stupid questions while kissing his butt.

  3. Garcia always gives the Reds fits, if the Reds can pull out a win tomorrow they’ll take the series 2-1 and go a long way towards calming down the angry (and rightly so) villagers. As bad as the hitters have struggled during the month of April, they could just as easily explode in an offensive onslaught in May. Tomorrows May 1st let the onslaught begin. Go Reds!

    • @Sergeant2: As difficult a schedule the Reds had in April, it’s exactly opposite in May. In 27 games, only 8 are against teams with winning records including a 9 game road trip against the Marlin, Phillies, and Met. (Now there’s a cure for what ails you.) It would be great if the team could go 17-10 in May.

  4. Drew Stubbs got crucified on here all season last year. I was one of his most loyal defenders. So I don’t want to here about any desire to have him back. This offense is getting old. It just seems that our pitch recognition is just not there. We are swinging at marginal pitches and watching good ones. And one of the reasons we struggle so bad against the Cardinals is that we do not do well against ground ball pitchers. We just beat the ball into the ground. Bronson should be able to make one mistake and still get the opportunity to get a win. This Reds club is just hard to watch at the plate

    • @mthomas5810: He’s hitting .213/.286/.293 this year… I don’t know if that’s really “want him back” material. About the same AVG, higher OBP, and lower SLG than Cozart.

      • @ToddAlmighty: Which is just about what Cozart has been his entire professional career. He was somewhat better in that partial year at AAA which vaulted him into the majors.

        However, at the time of the Choo trade I did some relative comparisons of Cozart’s and Gregorius’s career minor league numbers. Put them in a bag and draw them out blindfolded and it would have been hard to tell them apart except for Cozart having more reps. Higher OBP for Gregorius; higher slugging for Cozart.

        • @OhioJim: Cozart hasn’t been as bad as Stubbs is this year in his past.

          I really get unhappy watching Cozart hit. The ball jumps off his bat. He could, if he swung a bit more under control and had any sense of plate discipline, be a reasonable hitter, especially for a SS. Yet the Reds organization seems pleased enough with him as he is. Do they work at all with young hitters?

      • @ToddAlmighty: Actually, he’s hitting .241/.307/.354 with 2 homers and 4 stolen bases. He also has 0 errors in CF and a dp to his credit. He plays the kind of D in CF that Choo can only dream about. Having said that, I would love to have Choo in LF and Stubbs in CF, but that’s hindsight which is always 20/20. With Ludwick apparently not returning until August (and I doubt a power hitter will have much power after that injury until next season) the REDS need an immediate upgrade over what they have in LF. We still have May, June, July, and at least part of August until he, hopefully, returns.

        • @hoosierdad: If anyone but Baker was managing, maybe. But .241/.307/.354 is good enough to earn Mr. Stubbs a stop in the 2-hole in Cincinnati right now.

        • @hoosierdad: Early season. You are both right. Stubbs’ OPS+ went from 65 to 86 after a 3-4 night. Stubbs cannot hit. Long term, he’s going to be a bad hitter.

          It would have been hard to have Stubbs in CF and Choo in LF as it required Stubbs to get Choo. If Ludwick hadn’t have gotten hurt, you’d never have thought twice anyways.

    • And one of the reasons we struggle so bad against the Cardinals is that we do not do well against ground ball pitchers.We just beat the ball into the ground.

      Very true. Even Westbrook, a ground ball pitcher, shut out the Reds this season. The Reds plate discipline/pitch recognition against low sinking pitches is especially bad.

    • @mthomas5810: man I agree 100 percent with your hard to watch comment. Is the pitching around MLB really as good as the reds “hitters” make it look. They all (with the exception of choo) look clueless at the plate, just swing hard and hope..they just swing away wildly at bad pitches and take or swing right thru fast balls in the middle of the plate. Right now they all look frustrated and tired. Maybe it’s the 20 straight days of playing for the regulars,, or they really just that overrated? Man it’s painful to watch right now

  5. I have a sinking feeling that this is the Reds offense: a big bunch of nothing. The starters better hold the opposing team to less than two runs.

    • @MrRedlegs3900: That Keith Law article is nonsense. Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton are entrenched in the #3 and 4 spots, respectively, for the Angels like Votto and Phillips are for the Reds. Mike Trout got bumped from the leadoff spot on a star studded Angels team that scored runs and Keith Law thinks the Reds should try to copy them – Trout hits second because Pujols is entrenched, so what? The Angels offense has been a huge disappointment. The article drives me crazy.

    • @MrRedlegs3900: Wow. The bulk of this segment was a dump on Dusty’s lineups. Votto to #2 and Frazier up in the order. No more SS as the default #2.

      It wouldn’t have made a difference last night but over the course of the season – increasing the number of ABs for Votto and Todd while decreasing Coz’s will benefit the team as a whole.

  6. The No. 2 hitter doesn’t much matter when the 3-4-5 hitters all fail to put the ball in play. We can argue about who should be hitting where and who should be getting more plate appearances than who, but until this team learns to score in some other fashion than when they hit home runs, they will not go anywhere. This is what they have, no moves are going to be made, Dusty is not going to alter the way he constructs a lineup in any form or fashion, and if Votto, Bruce and Phillips aren’t driving in runs, the Reds will not score.

    • @Sam Jackson: Home runs are a good idea. I knew that the old “need to score without the home run” would be brought up.

      Personally, I’d prefer to hit more homers. The Reds are just barely above average in the NL in homers, which is pretty bad when you play your home games at GABP.

      • The Reds are just barely above average in the NL in homers, which is pretty bad when you play your home games at GABP.

        Ouch!

        But one month with 2 homestands is not much to go on.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: It’s not as much as hit more HR’s. It’s be more productive hitting all pitchers. I believe it was Thom last week who said the Reds are in the league leaders in scoring 10+ runs in games this year AND in the league “leaders” in scoring 2 runs or less in games this year. The Reds offense for a couple of seasons now has been feast or famine. I don’t care about averaging 6 runs a game if they are scoring them as 11 runs and 1 run. I would rather see them average 5 runs a game and score 5 runs every game. Some bad nights are understandable, of course. But, that’s not this team. It’s been feast or famine for too long.

        • @steveschoen: This is the same discussion that every fan base has every year. The Reds aren’t going to continue to have 10+ games and tons of 1 run outputs. If they do the same thing the rest of the year, let me know. But every team’s fans complain about feast or famine. Again: if you average 5 runs/game, and there is no upper limit but there is a lower limit of how much you can score, you are going to necessarily have a good number of games where you don’t score runs.

  7. Is it Rolen time? Frazier out in left and occasionally getting a start at 3rd. Rolen and Hanahan share 3rd with more PT going to Rolen. Could(should) be an upgrade over Robinson/Paul. Idk how well Paul will hold up to regular at bats and I really dont want Robinson getting anything close to regular PT to find out with him.

    If we were closer to the trade deadline then maybe deal for a solution, but its too early and the Reds have no leverage for a deal right now.

  8. Tough night for the Reds’ offense, but it’s silly to blame it all on Cozart. Unfortunately I guess we need a new scapegoat in Stubbs’ absence and Cozart has inherited that role. It’s all Cozart’s fault. Todd Frazier going hitless was irrelevant.

    Somebody asked in the game thread why Dusty would consider letting Cozart bat second, and what he thinks Cozart will do there. Here are the reasons I see:
    1. Cozart hit well in the #2 spot last year, and Dusty wants to see if he can do it again. He’s hitting .273 as the #2 hitter this year, whether that is a success is debatable.
    2. Cozart hits well against lefties who give Choo trouble. He’s hitting .286 so far against LHPs, although he was hitless against Garcia tonight.
    3. Cozart can bunt. He can move runners over for Votto and Phillips to drive them in. Dusty doesn’t have to feel guilty about asking Cozart to give up an out like he might with a better hitter (Phillips and Frazier get paid to hit, not bunt!). Dusty will play for 1 run, even if it drives fans crazy.
    4. Cozart is a relatively fast runner. He can score from first on a double, which I think Dusty feels is a big requirement for a #2 hitter, and a requirement that some other guys (including Hanigan) don’t meet.

    Clearly there are reasons to disagree with any of those points, but there’s more to his decision than an insane desire to give the worst hitter more ABs. It’s not as simple as shortstops needing to hit 2nd and catchers hitting 8th. People might not like the strategy but there is SOME strategy involved.

    Overall it was a good game, like last night. A pitchers duel, like last night. Another strong start by a Reds pitcher against a good hitting team. Hopefully the Reds can win the series tomorrow.

    • @RFM: You’re even outdoing yourself here. You’re the one who said definitively that Cozart is a better hitter in the 2 spot and will hit a lot better there. Now that that’s being debunked, you have a new one. Actually, no, you’re still clinging to the better hitter in the 2 spot theory, which frankly is silly. Also, Cozart for his career barely is better against lefties. His OBP vs them is .292. Pitiful; and, he bats there versus righties also, so your point is off. And bunting? How often do you really want Cozart bunting in front of Votto?

      You must admit there’s something to the SS batting 2nd with Baker. When Izturis plays, he often hits second. Why would that be? Because he’s fast, a good bunter, and good vs lefties?

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: In the case of Izturis batting 2nd when he’s at SS, you are onto something. It isn’t that it’s “The SS bats 2nd” though. Dusty is very big on having players, especially his regulars, on a routine. When Izturis plays he’s going to hit in Cozart’s spot regardless of where Cozart is hitting in the lineup. Dusty’s thinking is that it is disrupting the lineup as insignificantly as possible. He’s always done it. Now the fact that Cozart has been hitting 2nd in the first place can be debated and has been debated. My question though is “Who should be hitting 2nd if not Cozart?” Maybe BP with Frazier 4th? I don’t know if Dusty wants to move BP from the cleanup spot though because he’s 2nd in the NL in RBI.

        • My question though is “Who should be hitting 2nd if not Cozart?” Maybe BP with Frazier 4th? I don’t know if Dusty wants to move BP from the cleanup spot though because he’s 2nd in the NL in RBI.

          Todd Frazier is in a big slump – 4/31 now, Zack Cozart has outhit him in the past week but Frazier should become the new cleanup hitter to get Cozart out of the top of the lineup. It makes sense, right? Not to me, actually.

          Like with the leadoff situation from last year I think Dusty is back to having no good option to hit second. He can choose from a variety of bad options, and everybody has conflicting opinions about what he should do. There’s no correct option. He knows that there will be outrage over any decision he makes. That’s why he gets paid the big money.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I wanted Cozart to get a shot to hit second to see how it went when he first entered that role, then I wanted the Reds to reevaluate based on how he performed. Well, the results have not been as good as I hoped, or as they were last year, so I think it’s time to consider other options. Unfortunately the other options aren’t much better.

        Izturis often hits second? Izturis has started 1 game in the #2 spot and has a total of 5 ABs in that role. Izturis fits those 3 reasons I explained: he’s better against LHPs (than RHPs), he can bunt, and he’s a relatively fast runner. Also, as LWBlogger points out, Dusty values stability in the lineup, even when a player (Cozart) gets a day off to be replaced by a similar (Izturis) bench player.

  9. It’s not Rolen time, but the Reds do need a RHed bat off the bench. Last year it was no LHed bat off the bench.

  10. Day game after a night game tomorrow. And before a day off. I guess Rolen won’t be playing.

  11. Earlier this season Homer got bombed by the Cardinals and Lynn dominated the Reds. Let’s reverse all that tomorrow. I have confidence in Homer, not so much right now in the offense.

  12. Pirates and Brewers have a couple of really nice looking young players in marte and segura. This division is certainly not going to be gift wrapped for the reds

  13. Just for a little perspective: The Reds are 2nd in the NL in runs scored so far and they are first in runners LOB. They are 3rd in run differential. I’m not sure what everyone’s expectations were at the beginning of the season, but if you offered me that for the first month, I would have taken it in a heartbeat.

  14. I agree with Chad… 15-13 for April given the schedule and all the injuries is pretty darn good. The injuries are so bad that Baker had to use Izturis for a right handed pinch hitter. What does that tell you?

  15. That may illustrate that stats can be deceiving. As others have pointed out, many of those runs have come in huge blowouts, followed by games where the hitting disappears. If the Reds replicated this all year and finished 2 games over .500, it’s unlikely that they make the playoffs.

  16. April is finally behind us, whoo! Last night was disappointing, but it was nice to see Good Bronson on the mound. Only 2 team in MLB played 28 games in April, Oakland and Cincinnati, and Oakland played 6 games against the Stros (won all 6) and 4 games against the Mariners, a much easier schedule than the Reds played. As TC mentioned previously, May is another animal entirely. The Reds have 3 off days scheduled in the first 2 weeks with another off day later in the month and a much easier schedule in May. Cueto is ready to go out for a rehab assignment. Hanigan is making good progress on his recovery and should also head out for a rehab assignment soon. This is the time for the Reds to get healthy and hot and make some hay.

  17. The game threads, message boards, and talk radio shares are just additional evidence that fans (& the local media who successfully trolls those fans for ratings purposes) only remembers the last 10 games.

    Whatever the results of the last 10 games are, they’re always indicative of how good the team REALLY is, am I right? :x

    I am not concerned. Even if the offense somehow collectively regressed (highly doubtful), the Reds’ pitching staff has shown amazing strength. Teams with pitching don’t generally collapse.

    I will say, that even with the injuries, this team has not been placed in the best position to succeed by all levels of management. The regular season has natural ebbs and flows where players don’t perform. These are largely outside of the manager’s and GM’s control. But the Reds need to focus on things within their control: roster construction, playing constantly with a short bench, sub-optimal lineups, using your best relief pitcher more creatively…all things the Reds have direct control over.

    • @CP: Who is talking about collapse? Are some people really that concerned?

      Their run differential is fantastic. The losses are typically a much smaller margin than the victories. I am just concerned about consistency. This team has gone ‘en fuego’ more often and been listless more often then last year’s squad over the whole season.

      My ‘fan’ reaction is to replace the hitting coach. We’ve discussed it before but Jay, Coz, Heisey, (Stubbs) – none of them have improved at all in terms of offensive productivity. The offense is inconsistent and plate discipline seems to be the heart of the issue.

      • @rightsaidred: Perhaps MLB hitting coaches don’t do what you think they do?

        They point out technical issues, but they can’t force a hitter to make the changes, plus, some hitters develop so many technical issues, you can’t fix the player all at once. Heisey is an example of a guy that has some major issues, and if you notice, constantly has a different set up.

        I have a hypothesis that a hitters’ approach can only get worse. Someday, maybe I can find the time to test it (though I also wonder if it can be tested).

        Sure, you’ll see some rookies struggle at first, adjust to MLB pitching, and then a light switch goes off. But this isn’t “development” so much as it is returning to their MiLB stats. They don’t suddenly become a drastically different player. I’m thinking of someone like Alex Gordon, for example.

        Approaches are well established by the time a player hits the majors. If there is any change in approach, it typically only goes one way, for the worse, as players get older & they start cheating more. The only guy I can think of that drastically changed his approach for the better was Jose Bautista. Perhaps someone can identify some players who dramatically improved their approach at the instruction of a hitting coach? I can’t think of any.

        Brook Jacoby is the fans’ fall guy. The real guys to blame are the ones that drafted and developed hitters like Zack Cozart, or constructed a roster that simultaneously has too many hitters with crap approaches (Cozart, BP, Heisey, and to a lesser extent, Jay Bruce.)

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: True, especially for April. Fans are so emotionally invested in April that every win/loss feels much more important than it really is.

        Around late June or July, things start shifting. Some of the crazy ones go back to whatever it is crazy people do when they’re not sending players’ twitter feeds (or their wives’ twitter feeds) nasty comments.

  18. Well, we know one guy that isn’t worried about the Reds scoring runs. Corky Miller is playing 2 of every 5 games.

    Corky Miller is getting more playing time than Mesoraco did before Hanigan’s injury.

    Love the guy, but he shouldn’t really be a MLB player anymore. Dusty is really trying to get him that pension…

  19. I have a theory on the whole feast/famine thing. I don’t have the time/ability to research this, but maybe somebody out there wants to take up the challenge :-)
    Here goes: The Reds struggle against starting pitchers. Once they get into the bullpens–which are terrible more often than not around the league–then we start to “feast”. Unfortunately, our organization’s hitting philosophy places no value on driving up pitch counts, so we don’t get into those terrible bullpens as often as we might. Last night’s game is a perfect example of this: if we’d driven up Garcia’s pitch count, perhaps we could have gotten into the Cards’ shaky bullpen and “feasted” late. Just a thought.

  20. Reds starting lineup for today (5/1):

    Choo CF
    Cozart SS
    Votto 1B
    Phillips 2B
    Bruce RF
    Frazier 3B
    Lutz LF (First career MLB start!)
    Miller C
    Bailey P

    Against Lance Lynn

  21. The Cards will go with:

    Jay CF (and his .293 OBP) (Jay’s career mark is a robust .354 however)
    Beltran RF
    Holliday LF
    Craig 1B
    Molina C
    Carpenter 3B
    Kozma SS
    Descalso 2B
    Lynn P

    This Cards’ lineup doesn’t look like a “Getaway day special” to me.

  22. Jay Bruce apparently let disgruntled fans get to him over Twitter. Hopefully he doesn’t get distracted.

    • @RFM: What Bruce said is exactly right. However, feeding the trolls never works. He apparently graduated with honors from the Jamie Ramsey social media school. Geesh.

      I’ll never figure out how/why a professional baseball player worth millions of dollars gives a darn what anyone thinks of him on twitter!

  23. After last night the Reds are 7-5 in 1-run games. They are 1-3 in 2-run games. So that is a 8-8 record in games decided by 2 runs or less. Average at best, even with the tough April schedule. The Reds easily could be 20-8 if the offense would bother to show up. Or they easily could be 8-20 with a little bad luck. The Reds overall are average. They have played average baseball so far in 2013, thus a record barely over .500, 15-13. The pitching is above average and the offense is below average. Even with the addition of Choo to the lineup, the Reds are average so far. Phillips can flourish in the #2 spot and WJ needs to go out and acquire a legit #4 RH cleanup hitter. No matter what the cost is because it won’t come cheap. Someone who can drive runs in. Can’t rely the whole season on Phillips. Bruce is a lost cause. Frazier has hit the wall again and is struggling. Even Votto is striking out at a Bruce-tonian rate now. WJ has got to do something soon, bite the bullet and go get a Mark Trumbo from the struggling Angels. Trumbo batting 4th and hitting 475-foot HR’s and Frazier batting 6th hitting 480-foot bombs. Thats what we want to see. Not Jay Bruce flailing away at anything a pitcher throws to the plate.

  24. Bailey is pitching today so that == no run support.
    In 9 frames today, how many Zeroes does the Reds alleged offense put up today??
    The over/under is 6.

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