2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: Ah… The Cubs

Let’s recap today’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Cincinnati 6
Chicago (N) 5

W: M. Leake (2-1)
L: C. Villanueva (1-2)
S: J.J. Hoover (1)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–The Reds scored six runs today. Something which I’m sure greatly relieved all of us.

–J.J. Hoover!

–The Slumping Joey Votto™ continued his struggles by reaching base in four of his five plate appearances.

–Shin-Soo Choo and Xavier Paul were also on base three times each.

–Mike Leake did not quite get through six innings, but he still had a very solid start. 5.2 innings, with 2 runs is not bad at all.

–The defense had a couple of very nice double plays that might not have seemed extremely significant at the time, but made a huge difference given how the night finished.

NEGATIVES
–Aroldis Chapman was not good tonight. I mean, that’s going to happen sometimes. Reds won anyway. Get ‘em next time big guy.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–I would have said this if Chapman had pitched well and I’ll go ahead and say it since he pitched poorly: Chapman, four-run lead, waste of talent. Dead horse, beaten.

–If the Reds can manage a sweep of the Cubs, this will have been a .500 road trip. That’s not bad.

–This game feels really dramatic, but on any other day, this is a very standard and relaxing win. Chapman isn’t going to melt down like that very often, and it’s nice that the Reds have someone the quality of J.J. Hoover to come in on the rare occasion Chapman can’t get it done.

 

Source: FanGraphs

35 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Ah… The Cubs

  1. I think we just witnessed a rare sight:

    Cesar Izturis had 2 walks in a single game. That’s got to be some type of personal record.

  2. I hopped in the car and turned on WGN just in time for Hoover to start pitching. Listening to the two out, bases loaded at bat of Barney to end the game was enough of a thrill for me. Glad I missed the rest of the 9th.

    The Cubs announcers made a few comments to wrap up the game. They pointed out the Cubs had 15 hits to the Reds 9, but were out scored 6-5. Then they blamed the loss on the inability of the Cubs to hit with …………………………………………………………………………….
    RISP!

    But in looking at the box score, the Cubs were 5-15 (.333 isn’t shabby any time at the plate) with RISP while the Reds were 3-12 with RISP. Just another example of how important this statistic is.

    • @MikeC: I know that everybody says that risp is an unimportant stat, and perhaps it is–certainly yesterday’s game supports that theory. Perhaps it’s the timing of risp hitting that matters, though, and perhaps we simply don’t interpret its significance correctly. Intuitively speaking, doesn’t it have to matter how well a team hits with risp?

      • @greenmtred:
        I think there can be individual games or stretches where the failure of a team to hit with RISP does stand out. This game, which occurred in the heat of the 1964 pennant race, was a particularly painful one to watch. I remember it to this day while watching it as a 9 year old kid. The Reds twice had a runner on 3rd with less than 2 outs and failed to score in a 16 inning game. The recent Jim Maloney interview posted on this site brought back the memory. He shutout the Pirates for 11 innings.

        http://www.backtobaseball.com/blog/cat/11/post/250/

  3. Where are all the folks who wanted Hoover sent down?

    He’s now had 7 scoreless innings in a row and has 13 Ks and 5 BB in 13 innings. Too many walks, but take away the overuse, and it might have been better. Of course we can’t know that, but it’s unlikely overuse helped.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Pretty sure “all the folks” who wanted Hoover sent down consisted of Dusty Baker, Ondrusek, and Arredondo.. of course Ondrusek is back in the majors, so now it’s just Dusty Baker and Arredondo.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Totally agree with you there. There are many posts here that are really bright and insightful. Then sometimes the posts fall into two categories. 1. Unless the Reds pitched a 10k, 1 hit shutout, all the hitters didn’t go at least 2 for 4 with 2 walks, and the Reds didn’t win by at least 7, then they’re under-performing which is clearly Dusty’s fault. 2. All the stats show that Dusty has no idea what he’s doing.

  4. Nice recap! Although…not sure about the Chapman with a 4-run lead is necessarily ALWAYS a bad call – the conundrum is, do you only save him for save and late-inning crucial situations and run into the problem of non-use? Sadly, we’re not run by someone who can handle this situation well – see Hoover/Broxton, early April…
    Nice to see Leake have a decent game, and our “big defensive catastrophe” in center got on base 3 times and scored twice. Hoover could be a future closer, when and if Aroldis moves to the rotation (which is to say, when we’re managed by someone else or Aroldis heads elsewhere)…

  5. Leake pitched a good game through 5 innings. In the 5th inning, Leake started through the lineup for the 3rd time while facing DeJesus for the 3rd out of the inning. Despite inducing DeJesus into an infield pop out, Leake’s pitches to DeJesus were very tenuous. I have no idea if anyone was up in the bullpen to start the 6th inning, but if not, there should have been someone up and ready to go when the 6th inning started.

    Leake is notorious for his struggles when he starts through the lineup for the 3rd time and when the hitters figure out Leake, he loses it quickly and severly. Leake was facing the heart of the Stupid Cubs batting order. The bullpen was completely rested and ready to go with multiple off days scheduled for the next 2 weeks.

    As soon as Rizzo doubled, the bullpen should have been in the game. Why wait until after the runs start showering across the plate to replace Leake when history is so clear. If Leake shows any sign of trouble and he’s working through the lineup for the 3rd time, especially with a fully rested bullpen on call, get him out immediately. The idea is to win baseball games, not to give the other team a fighting chance.

    • @Shchi Cossack: Mike Leake and Bronson Arroyo remind me of each other in soooo many ways. Unfortunately, this might be the way they resemble each other the most….

      • @Jared Wynne: I agree. And for all the things I dislike about Dusty Baker, I agree that putting your soft tossers after the harder throwers confuses hitters. It doesn’t work, however, when a soft tosser starts a series. If the trend is consistent, Cingrani could be in for a solid game tonight. I’m thinking 15 Ks…

      • @Jared Wynne: I don’t see the same trend with Arroyo as Leake. Arroyo has been an innings eater throughout his career. The Good Bronson and Bad Bronson scenario has been fixture in his starts, but not necessarily related to the length of his start, just his overall performance. The Good Bronson has been more prevalent, but he can certainly lose his effectiveness quickly, just not regularly. Leake is usually pretty consistent regarding when he starts losing his effectiveness.

    • “Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”

      ― Narcotics Anonymous (apparently not Einstein! Who knew?)

      • @Jared Wynne: It never made sense that it was Einstein, a mathematician, instead of, for example, Freud. And, just maybe, it’s a better bumper sticker than it is a guide to life.

    • @Shchi Cossack: I believe some of Leake’s problems have also been pitching from behind, not only him giving up runs first but also the Reds not scoring runs first when he pitches. It’s a lot easier to pitch with the lead than without it.

  6. Frazier can flat out play baseball. He continues to hit the ball hard with limited results to show for his effort, but today he was 1-4 with 1 BB & 1 RBI. Oh, and a couple more absolutely stellar defensive plays. The man can flat out pick it at the hot corner.

    Votto played Votto ball today going 2-3 with 1 BB, 1 HBP & 2 runs scored. Put someone in the #2 hole who gets on base regularly and Votto will add some RBI’s to his game.

  7. XP started against a RHP and went 1-3 with 1 2B, 2 BB, including an IBB with 2 outs, & 1 run scored. If opposing pitchers and managers view XP as such a threat at the plate against RHP to justify walking him intentionally with 2 outs, he should be playing against every starting RHP.

    The Choo Express just keeps rolling along, today going 2-4 with 1 2B, 1 BB, 2 runs scored & 1 RBI.

  8. I can’t wrap my head around why you would take Broxton out with a 4 run lead after he threw 7 pitches in the 8th and having a 4 run lead. It’s just not economizing the bullpen. It makes absolutely no sense to me.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Because he wanted to give Chapman some work, which he clearly needed, in a non-critical situation. It got critical, though, didn’t it? Glad I hadn’t had my first drink yet, or the tv would have been in peril.

  9. I really liked the offensive performance today under very tough weather conditions in Wrigley. The cold, the rain and the biting wind made playing conditions miserable. The black hole in the #2 lineup position continues to be a severe drag on the offense, even today. Cozart spent the entire season in 2012 miscast as a top-of-the-lineup hitter and is suffering the same dogma this season.

    Cozart is in his age 28 season and he is established as the hitter he is and will be, nothing more, nothing less. I’m OK with that and I’m OK with him as the starting SS on the Reds, just not hitting at the top of the order. Did the trials and tribulations of Stubbs not teach anyone anything? Square pegs and round holes simply don’t mesh. Geesh, the situation couldn’t be more plain and simple.

    • @Shchi Cossack: I agree about Cozart but, barring a trade, don’t see who bats 2nd instead. Philips, of course, but I think we’d really suffer if he weren’t batting 4th at this time. He may not be a prototypical clean-up guy, but he gets it done, and I don’t think that either Bruce or Frazier would do that on a regular basis.

      • @greenmtred: With the current 25 man roster intact, XP/Robinson (in a LF platoon) would be an excellent option to hit 2nd. Frazier would also be a better option to hit 2nd than Cozart, if Phillips stays at clean-up, with Mesoraco/Hanigan hitting 6th and XP/Robinson hitting 7th. I also think (and I understand we disagree) that Frazier would handle the clean-up position behind Votto just fine, but until he is given that opportunity on a regular basis, everyone’s opinion is equally valid. The bottom line is that a .224 OBP is completely non-functional in the #2 hole.

        • @Shchi Cossack: Good points. I’m certainly not positive that Frazier couldn’t be a productive clean-up guy, but he is very streaky, and with Votto on base so often, it seems to me our clean-up guy should have consistency, to the degree that such a thing is possible. I certainly agree that Cozart is killing us batting 2nd.

  10. Suggestion for a new title: “Titanic Struggle Recap: Well, that was close”.

    Glad to see the Reds pull victory from the jaws of defeat. I’m still waiting for one of those defining wins. In my mind, the Yankees series last year was big. Reds went into the Bronx flirting with .500 and came out on top for the series. I know they’re dinged up, but so far the offense has been feast or famine. Other than the usual complaints that started in Game 1 and won’t go away by Game 162, I’d just like to see a little more consistent focus at the plate. I think there are only three professional hitters in the lineup right now. The rest are pretty much listless in the batter’s box.

    That’s not a reason to run for the sharp objects. The boys will be fine. But with the Cards offense and apparent pitching, there’s not a lot of margin for error. Right now, this isn’t the kind of offense I want playing a one game wild card. :?

  11. I personally never said Hoover should be sent down but I did say his arm would fall off by June 1st if Dusty didn’t give him a break. I was just glad Dusty came out and got Chapman. I heard echoes of him saying after a blown game: he’s my guy! I believe it was mentioned the Cubs are the worst in the league with RISP. Around .190 or so? Ouch! Their starting pitching isn’t bad. Today’s game should be a corker!

    • @zab1983: He’s 9 for his last 13. His OBP is .340 because his BA is high, at .284. Any takers for “Drew Stubbs finishes with a BA over .280″?

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