2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: That Game Was Crazy

Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Milwaukee 7
Cincinnati 13

W*: Latos (4-0)
L: H. Burgos (1-1)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Let’s start with Jay Bruce. He put on a show tonight with a homer and two doubles. You know with Bruce it’s always just a matter of time.

–Seven of the Reds starters reached base at least twice tonight, including Mat Latos.

–J.J. Hoover is a good pitcher. He was good again tonight.

NEGATIVES
–Mat Latos had a bad night tonight.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–Reds win the series against Milwaukee and move to 5 over .500 for the first time this season. The Cardinals also won, so no ground was gained, but I do feel like the Reds are picking up steam lately. They certainly have a relatively easy rest of the month. I’ll be interested to see how they come out of it.

–I was mostly listening to the game today (yard work called as it finally stopped raining), but it seemed to me that there were a couple of almost double plays that would have made the night much easier for the Reds. It really highlighted for me how much of a difference the infield defense typically makes for the Reds. Frazier is the weakest of the four, and he can still pick it at times. Pitching lines get helped a lot by them. A lot.

–We here at the Nation have been known to take issue with Dusty Baker’s choices. Thus, it is probably only fair to say that I agree with pretty much every decision he made in this game. Not that he had a lot of tough decisions, but Dusty and me, we can agree about today. Baby steps.

–Some people continue to insist that there is something wrong with Joey Votto. The man is hitting .367/.486/.533 in May. If loving Joey Votto is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

–Latos really wasn’t good today, but it seems only fair that he get picked up by the offense has he’s had his share of bad luck this season.

*Wins are stupid.

 

Source: FanGraphs

55 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: That Game Was Crazy

  1. I would say a negative is Chris Spier’s coaching at 3rd base. There have been too many instances of bad decision making on base running at 3rd base for it to be all the different players. The only consistent factor is Spier. Players not scoring when they should, not tagging when they should, etc.

    I would take issue with the user of Hoover in the 9th. I’d have used Marshall, after his stuggle the other day, to get him back on track. But that’s minor…I predicted Hoover.

    • @Bill Lack: I knew Dusty would go with Hoover. Marshall’s “struggle” the other day ? You mean when he faced one batter, Freddie Freeman, and gave up a single ?

    • @Bill Lack: There has been a lot of confusion this season when runners round 3rd and are headed for home. I don’t usually know whether it’s the player or Speier, but as you say, it’s happened so often that part of the problem has to be Speier.

      I put a base running mistake today on XPaul, but maybe Speier had a hand in it. On Choo’s fly ball to LF, all Paul had to do was tag up on 3rd base. If it falls in for a single, he can score. If Braun is able to make a sliding catch, he can still score. Instead he has to run back to 3rd when Braun catches the ball. Cost the Reds a run.

  2. I was watching MLB Now the other day when I was home sick. Watching Harold Reynolds try to defend pitcher wins gave me diarrhea.

  3. I’m really not that concerned about the Cardinals. They are on fire right now in an extreme sense, but it won’t last. Some of their players are going to come back to Earth.

    I have no doubt that come season’s end they’ll be looking up at the Reds.

    • @CI3J: Before the season, everyone saw them as a fading team. Which is really ridiculous given the state of their farm system.

      As a whole, their pitching staff will definitely come back to earth. But their hitting? I think they are as a whole, underperforming there. Their bullpen has some issues, which is something easily fixable in July, just like they got Mujica for nothing last year.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: And a lot of people didn’t see them as a fading team, mainly because of their young pitchers. I think this Cardinal team is better than any they’ve had in a long time. Their starting rotation is scary, and you’re right they’ve been underperforming on offense.

        The Cardinals had their postseason magic in 2007 and 2011. I see this as a Cardinal team that – if they stay healthy – could win 95+ regular season games.

        BTW I like this Reds team a lot too.

        • @pinson343: This Cardinals team, I think, is definitely better than either of the last two WS champ teams. Of course, both of the last two had no business winning the WS—they were very lucky.

          It’s more than the pitching, it’s the depth that the team has, as well as a minor league system they can pull from that the Reds simply cannot match at this point.

          For this year, I think the Reds can give them a good battle, and I see it as a tossup who ends up better. For the future, I’m fairly concerned just because the Cardinals have such an incredibly strong system. They’ve got about twice the B-level or above prospects than the Reds, and they are much stronger on the high impact side. They have four A-level prospects (well, two are on their team, but rookies; Miller and Rosenthal). The Reds have one, Hamilton, who I don’t view as in the same league as Taveras, Miller, Martinez, and Rosenthal (assuming he starts someday).

    • @CI3J: And, moreover, to say you have “no doubt” the Reds will finish ahead of them, that seems really extreme. What kind of odds would you lay?

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate:

        Before the season began, many (myself included) were convinced the Reds were the better team and would be odds on favorites to wi the central. The first month and a half hasn’t changed that perception much. TheReds got through the most difficult stretch of their schedule minus their ace and cleanup hitter with .500+ record. What’s not to like about that?

        The Cards will have their tough stretches later, while for the Reds, the only potential pitfall going forward is the West coast swing. I don’t doubt the Cards are going to hang around, but the Reds are really just the superior team and they will show it.

        • @CI3J: I of course have a strong bias for the Reds, but I feel both teams are very strong. I’ll feel the Reds are better than the Cards when I see Ludwick back and hitting with power (along with other key guys staying healthy).

        • @pinson343:

          To be truthful, I don’t feel the Reds even need Ludwick to be considered “better”. They are better than or equal to the Cards at very nearly every position, and the Reds pitching is so much better it’s not even a contest.

          Yes, you can talk about how the Cards have played so far, but we all know they won’t keep this up over a full season. They are hot right now, that is all.

          Over the course of a full season, the Reds’ superiority will show.

        • @CI3J: This doesn’t wash. Note: I think both clubs are quite good. But your analysis is missing a lot. It’s true that the Reds have had Ludwick and Cueto out, though Ludwick is going to be out most of this year. But most importantly, you say the Reds have had their tough stretch and the Cards will have theirs later. Is that even true? I can’t easily find opponents’ record, but I think the Cards may have a tougher set of opponents to date based on record. In addition, they have played 21 out of 34 games on the road, while the Reds (who are the best home team in baseball so far) are 20/36 at home.

        • @CI3J: The Cardinals schedule has been tougher than the Reds thus far. Take a look. The statement that the Reds have played a tougher schedule than the Cards doesn’t hold water. The Cardinals have done well and have the #1 SOS in baseball thus far. Scary. The Reds rank is #14. Just the facts.

          http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/rpi/_/sort/sos

    • @CI3JD:

      Did anyone else hear Marty/Jim talking about Carpenter throwing bullpen pitches with no issues. Possiblity of him returning?? I almost gagged. I thought he was done … I’m so tired of him and his attitude.

        • @pinson343: I agree. Who would they even take out of the rotation? Westbrook’s FIP is 2.5 points above his very low ERA, but it seems he’s always like that. If they want to remove Lynn or Garcia for Carpenter, be my guest.

    • @CI3J: wish I had your confidence, and hope that you can say I told you so in 4 months or so. The Cards are a remarkable organization and, while it would be folly to predict an unbroken continuation of starting pitching dominance, they seem to find fixes and rise to occasions better than other teams. Reds better make hay while the sun shines.

  4. I have been one to express some concern about Joey Votto thus far this year. His numbers are certainly solid (although the slash line in the Recap isn’t correct – .312/.448/.471 after this afternoon), but they aren’t obvious all-star, MVP candidate, world beater solid as we’ve come to expect. More importantly, he still doesn’t look quite right at the plate to me. I’ll be really excited about Votto when I start seeing opposite field home runs and doubles cranked into the right field corner. Don’t get me wrong. If this is Joey Votto not quite right, he’s amazing. But I can’t wait to see him “on” and I’ll be a whole lot happier when I do.

    On a brighter note, Jay Bruce looked like he was seeing a really big baseball today. That could be the start of something really fun from him. Can’t wait to watch it as long as it lasts!

      • @Jason Linden: That’s pretty selective. 10 days.

        I’m a Votto supporter, though a bit worried about the knee still. However, it seems like cherry picking just a bit; I like to look at the whole season. I suppose we will see over time.

        Couldn’t you similarly say that Mat Latos’ troubles are coming back, just looking at May?

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Yeah, it’s totally cherry-picking. So is 37 games. In one game today, Jay Bruce raised his slugging percentage 39 points.

          Votto is getting on base a ton and hitting at a power level that is not outside what we would expect from normal variation in a small sample.

          He. Is. Fine.

        • @Jason Linden: Yes, 37 games is small also.

          I’d reply, though, that while his power is certainly within what one would expect from normal variation, it’s also potentially explainable by someone who’s not quite 100%.

          We will possibly never know. You can keep the certainty/snarkiness, but I prefer to accept and embrace uncertainty. For example, for all I know, Logan Ondrusek will emerge as a really good reliever this year. I don’t think it will happen, but I’m not certain that it won’t.

          As for Bruce, I see no compelling reason to believe that he won’t end up near his typical numbers (e.g., he seems 100% healthy). And if I had to bet, I’d bet that Votto will end up within reasonable range of his pre-season expectation. But until he does, I will have lingering concerns about the knee (especially when I watch him move around out there).

      • @earl: In one sense I wish you hadn’t told me that. I want today’s Jay Bruce playing a lot more, so if he can only hit like that against the Brewers then I’m bummed. If on the other hand the Brewers just give Bruce a chance to start seeing the ball really well and he can then take that into other parks, then thank you Milwaukee!

  5. Is Sean Marshall hurt again? I’m trying to understand why he wasn’t used today.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Marshall wasn’t used today because it “wasn’t his role”. If Dusty were asked, that’s the predictable answer.
      I was certain (not in a “snarky” way, just based on knowing Dusty) that Ondruskek and Hoover would finish the game.

  6. I figure this game will stop the Mat Latos for Cy Young brigade. I really like Latos, and I’d like to see him take a step up this year from a really good pitcher to a great one, but the evidence people have used seems weak to me.

    That is, the logic I’ve read here is that since he had a good April and he usually struggles in April, it’s all smooth sledding. Now he’s having an “April-like” May. I’ve just seen this before, where a guy who usually struggles early doesn’t, everyone assumes he’s going to have an MVP or Cy Young year, and then it turns out he ends up near his usual performance level.

  7. I think a big thing that would help Votto is if Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier start punishing clubs like they did those first two weeks of the season. Clubs are still avoiding Votto left and right.

  8. Dusty won’t do it, but they should just go ahead and move the lineup up one spot and have Votto batting second and get rid of all of those outs out of the front of the lineup.

  9. Speaking of MVP, if the season ended right now, wouldn’t the Reds MVP be Shin Soo Choo? (As opposed to Votto or Phillips.)

  10. I’ll add a negative. Paul was positively dreadful in the outfield. Not only the rror he was charged with but at least 2 other plays I think in the same inning were also misplayed. Was at the game so don’t know what was said by radio/TV. Fortunately all of the Brewers left their gloves at home.

  11. Sean Marshall has been active 15 days (since April 26), and he’s thrown 4 innings in that 15 day span.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Either he’s still not 100% healthy, which is bad, or Dusty Baker is wasting a terrific pitcher, also bad. I HATE the whole concept of strict bullpen roles, other than using your best pitchers when it matters most and your weakest ones when it matters least. Every time Baker says something to the effect of “he hasn’t pitched lately because the game situations haven’t dictated using him” I cringe. If what he meant was “I haven’t used a great reliever like Marshall because we haven’t been in a tight spot lately” that would be fine but we all know that’s not how he looks at it. So wasteful…

      • @groujo: @Chris DeBlois: Oops, above I repeated your comment. That is, that Dusty would have said that Marshall wasn’t used today because “not his role, game situation didn’t dictate”, etc.

  12. I was wondering if, with the big lead, Latos was just laying them in the zone, making the Brewers hit the ball.

    • @MikeC: But Latos wasn’t just laying them in there, he was walking batters.

      Pitchers do say that it can be tough to pitch with a big lead. But Latos pitched poorly today, however you slice it.

  13. On the Brewers’ side, that was some of the worst LF/CF play I’ve seen. Both guys overthrew the cutoff man by a mile (and the catcher too), and Bruce’s double probably should have been caught.

  14. When healthy this lineup up and down isn’t too bad. Having Mesoraco hitting this year only helps it. Cozart is at least driving in some runs and he’s so steady in the field. Frazier has that knack of driving in runs so having a .244 average isn’t hurting the Reds. The young bench players have played well in XPaul, Robinson and now Lutz. This club is still finding itself and will continue to play well all season.

    The bullpen maybe calming down a bit now. Simon, Lecue, Andrusak all pitching well most the times. The other end is pretty good with Chapman, Broxton, Marshall, Hoover.

  15. Big plus for me was Frazier hitting. He’s been better the last three days, so now Marty can stop the “we wonder if he’s ever going to come out of his slump” stuff.

      • @pinson343: I’m guessing that title came from the Sergeant. And if renaming the city Shinsoonati (or whatever the above suggestion was) would get him to re-sign with the Reds, I say convene a special City Council meeting …

  16. Poor luck for Latos this season though. The Reds as a team have only given up 9 unearned runs this season. No pitcher has more than 1.. except for Latos who has 4.

  17. “*Wins are stupid.”

    Haha, it would seem by listening to the Reds stable of awful announcers that the only two stats that matter are BaRISP on offense and Quality Starts by pitchers.

  18. Jason: I certainly agree with you about infield defense–defense in general: it’s an often underrated facet of the game. People remember how great the hitting was for the BRM, but forget how solid they were defensively. As for Joey, I am one of the people who persists in feeling that something is wrong. The stats don’t show it, admittedly (maybe the power stats do), but watching his at bats leaves me uneasy. He’s a great, highly selective hitter who, counter-intuitively, strikes out a fair number of times. This year it seems to me that he’s swinging and missing at pitches he would ordinarily let go. On another matter, people (Big Ed, I believe) were complaining about the length of the games lately, and I agree completely, on a visceral level. Fell asleep in the chair twice on friday night (whisky before dinner and too much food might be involved as well). However, consider how long the games between the Red Sox and Yankees used to be when they were both legit contenders. The reason usually given was how selective the hitters were–very few first pitch swings, 8 and 10 pitch at bats. Some people posited this as the reason for the alleged superiority of the AL. I think that we’ve all noted that many of the Reds are starting to take more pitches (even Brandon! Even Jay!). I have to believe that this is a good thing in the long run. If Cozart would get with the program…

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