2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: Sweep!

Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Milwaukee 1
Cincinnati 5

W: B. Arroyo (3-4)
L: W. Peralta (3-3)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–A strong outing by the old man, Bronson Arroyo, who tossed six and two-thirds innings of shutout baseball. He did get into a spot of trouble in the seventh inning, but Dusty Baker pulled him before any damage could be done (and Sam LeCure promptly entered, recorded a strike out, and ended the inning).

–No Red had more than one hit, but Donald Lutz hit his first major-league homerun, a three-run shot that acccounted for most of today’s scoring. Xavier Paul also homered.

–Aroldis Chapman struck out the side, though he mixed a base on balls in there.

NEGATIVES
–Jonathan Broxton continues to be shaky. He gave up a run on two hits in his only inning of work.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–A sweep within the division is always a good thing. Always.

–Remember when everyone was freaking out about this team? About ten days ago? Well, the Reds just completed a 4-2 homestand, and they’ve now won seven of their last nine. Yes, they will need to play better on the road, but the good guys are six games over .500 and looking good.

Source: FanGraphs

57 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Sweep!

  1. And the Cards are about to lose to the Rockies, so the Reds are about to be 2 games out.

    Yes indeed, things are getting back to where they once belonged.

    I’m ready for the Reds to pull of their patent-pending Super May Hot Streak. I said it back in April, but with this soft schedule, I can see the Reds going about 13-4 the rest of this month.

    We’ll see.

  2. Somehow I missed the Cardinals calling up Carlos Martinez when they sent Boggs down. Interestingly, they’re putting John Gast, a C-level prospect before the season, in the rotation, and keeping Martinez in the pen.

    Martinez is a short righty that throws really, really hard, and has a great curve.

      • @RedinTenn: The Reds were very lucky to be playing them right now. With Corey Hart out, Braun in a bit of a slump, and Weeks falling off the planet, their offense is not hitting on all cylinders. It is very likely the Brewers will be this beatable for the remaining 16 games during the season.

        Cubs gonna cub though is right.

  3. After winning 9 games in a row the Brewers have lost what, 9 of their past 10 games? Yikes. Talk about a turnaround.

    There was some discussion in the Game Thread about what happens when Chris Heisey comes back. Really I don’t want him to come back, but he still will. Donald Lutz has gotten off to a good start with the Reds after being terrible in AA (.211 average, .294 OBP in 76 ABs) and I think he should be the one to go. Maybe send him to AAA as a reward. I don’t think Lutz is fully ready, not to mention that he’s pretty repetitive – a lefty outfielder to split time with Xavier Paul? A 1b to split time with Votto and Hannahan? A pinch hitter to use instead of Paul and Hannahan? In my opinion he can improve with more time in the minors while he offers little to the Reds.

    Derrick Robinson, on the other hand, is different from most of the other Reds’ hitters. He’s a switch hitting outfielder who fields well, can get on base, and can steal bases. He can lead off if Choo gets a day off, pinch run, pinch hit, or provide a defensive replacement. I don’t know why the Reds would consider demoting him to make room for Lutz.

    I was worried that the bullpen would let Arroyo down like they did for Leake the other day. I was thrilled that LeCure was able to get Arroyo out of his final inning unscathed.

    • @RFM: I agree with keeping Derrick Robinson around.

      Not a fan of Heisey, but right he will be back.

      It’s a lot easier for the bullpen to escape a jam with 2 outs than with 0 outs.

  4. The Cards close out the month with a tough stetch of games from May 20-June 9th West Coast swing, rivalry game, finishing in Cincinnati)

    I can see the Reds reclaiming first place between now and then.

    • @CI3J: The Cardinals are three better than the Reds in the loss column and two games in hand to the Reds. Neither is cause for deep concern at this point in the season; but unless the Cards go into the tank while the Reds reel off 12 of 15 or some such, it is going to take several weeks for the Reds to overhaul them.

      • @OhioJim: Or we’re one home series sweep from leapfrogging them. I just can’t see their starting pitching hold up like this. It’s been otherworldly so far and is bound to come down to earth. We got off to an obscene start too and have seen the correction. They’ll see it too. Those guys aren’t THAT good.

        • @eric nyc: A 2.92 staff ERA is incredibly unlikely (as in, impossible). The real question is what is the expected endpoint for their staff.

        • @CI3J: Gimme the under. You are not carefully looking at what their staff did last year. Wainwright was off TJ and had a horrible ERA year for him. Garcia had his worst year. Shelby Miller didn’t pitch for them.

          In addition, their FIPs are very good. So it’s not luck so far (though they may pitch fundamentally worse, of course).

          They have a correction, for sure, coming. But I am betting not 0.8.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: And last season Lynn went south in the second half, I don’t think he’ll do that this year. Not going to predict the ERA, but I think the Cards’ rotation is a lot stronger than last year. IF they stay healthy.

        • @pinson343: Yeah, I think the Cardinals are in the fight for the long haul. It’s going to be a battle all season down to the wire.

          These are two very evenly matched teams with the slight edge going to the Cardinals at the moment because of their rotation and depth. At the start of the season we were saying the Reds were deep. We’ve seen this as not the case. With Cueto down, the rotation is paper thin and the bullpen has been solid but not like last year. The Reds ARE a better hitting team this year and the bench is light years better.

        • @pinson343: Yup, IF they stay healthy. Westbrook was off to a great start but now he’s on the DL with elbow problems. I never have much faith in Jaime Garcia to stay healthy either.

        • @CI3J: I will also take the under. I had the Cards’ starters ERA’s projected at ~3.44 the beginning of the season. I think they’ll come in right around there and perhaps even a little lower. They seem better than I thought they’d be.

  5. Miller time indeed. Good for what “ales” you. Whaw, whaw, whaaaaww.
    Good job Reds. Keep going. Going is best.

  6. Dusty pulled Arroyo BEFORE things got out of control. Is he finally learning? Fingers crossed!!

    • @ToddAlmighty: I think Arroyo has earned the benefit of the doubt at this point. He pulls himself all the time. Any smart manager would take Bronson’s word for it if he says he has another out in him. Arroyo doesn’t have any delusions he can put up complete games regularly. The way he pitches he subjects himself to some bad luck. He’s the opposite of Cueto, who you have to drag out of a game. If Bronson’s gased in the 5th he’ll let you know.

      • @eric nyc: Exactly, which is something I like a LOT about Bronson.

        Here’s his quote: “After the sixth, I told them those 65 pitches felt like 90 and to just be aware of that to have somebody ready to go. I knew I was getting away with some pitches I normally wouldn’t, and that game could get out of hand quicker than you thought.”

        Because of his willingness to leave a game, some people say he’s not a competitor. He’s actually a fierce competitor. He’ll do whatever he can to give the Reds the best chance to win. And get himself a W, he says straight out how important that is to him.

    • @ToddAlmighty: I still keep hoping he’ll come around, but I’m not holding my breath…I still am in the camp that thinks Aroldis should be starting, but if so, he’d probably be batting near the top of the order.

  7. Lutz has been great. For a team in our position, I see him being a big trade chip at the deadline. Not that I wouldn’t like to keep him, but assuming Dusty is going to insist on sticking with Heisey for the rest of the year I’d be curious what kind of package we could put together with Lutz/Corcinco/Stephenson. Could be a pretty nice haul. And if its not there, I’d hope Lutz makes the bench by next year and has more chances to start.

    On the negative side, Broxton is looking like a HUGE mistake (se pun intended). If he was just some marginally paid middle reliever I wouldn’t care, but for $7 mil/year for 3 more years he’s looking AWFULLY hittable. He certainly doesn’t look like a potential closer. Hope he turns it around because we’re stuck with him.

    • @eric nyc: If they could get anything for Lutz I’d be fine with trading him. I think he’s pretty worthless to the Reds, kinda like Neftali Soto.

      Good thing they didn’t make Broxton the closer, eh? I said it all winter. I think he could still close but he’d look like Francisco Cordero – he’d get the job done, but it wouldn’t be pretty. Overall despite some mediocre numbers I think he’ll improve as the season goes on. He’s better than what we’ve seen. Same wit JJ Hoover.

      • @RFM: You said it all winter, and it still isn’t a very good argument. Also, if he could get the job done, why isn’t that sufficient?

        In any case, he’s not as good as Hoover, who for some reason you are saying is better than he’s pitched. He’s done well aside from overuse which would not happen in a Baker bullpen if he were the stopper. Marshall could close also. I think Lecure would be all right there. You’re cherrypicking one of the weaker pitchers in the pen to be the stopper to once again advance your Chapman theories.

        I’m glad you’re enjoying Chapman pitching in his low leverage role. I’m not.

    • @eric nyc: In my mind, Broxton is the 5th best pitcher in the bullpen. He’s certainly not bad or anything, I just like Chapman, Marshall, Hoover, and Lecure more.

      There’s no doubt in my mind he was a waste of money.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Yeah, I have to say.. I was really upset when they gave him 3yr/$21m. I really didn’t think he was worth it, but I was willing to accept it as the price for Chapman being in the starting rotation. Dusty clearly wouldn’t let that happen, so I am hoping that they managed to offload Broxton in a trade at the deadline this year, or in the offseason next year. Including this season, three of his last four years have had an ERA of 4.00 or higher. That’s not $7m/yr material.

        Plus on a more personal note, his pitching style just annoys me. So slow and rarely clean.

        • @ToddAlmighty: I agree…investment may have paid off if CHapman weren’t being buried in the ‘pen. Daugherty is even starting to come around a little – read his article today about how Chapman should be used differently. He was wanting them to tweak his efforts as a reliever, so he’s still wearing Dusty’s brown lipstick, but at least SOMEONE in the local media is questioning the status quo! Hope springs eternal…

    • @eric nyc: I’d hate to trade that much young talent. None of the 3 are nearly far enough along in their development to bring in a trade a player who would be a significant upgrade over people we already have. Sustained excellence is not the outcome of looting the farm system for short-term band-aids. I’m in the minority, evidently, because I thought that Broxton looked pretty good. Everybody gives up hits. His run came on a passed ball (could have been called a wild pitch, for sure). If closer is insignificant and any pitcher with one decent pitch can handle it, then Broxton certainly could.

      • @greenmtred: I’m not saying you’d have to give up all three, but something like that could start to look like a Stanton trade if Lutz keeps it up. Lutz looks like the kind of player a rebuilding team would drool over. Hell – he kind of looks like Stanton. If we end up keeping him around to develop that’s fine by me, but he could be really attractive to a team a couple years away from contending.

        • @eric nyc: Understand your point. Two things, well, three, though: Who besides Lutz would have to be included? Stanton is going to be out for awhile and, three, if Lutz turns into the real deal we, potentially, would get a few years of him at low cost; too late for that with Stanton. We’re not in rebuilding mode, except to the extent that every good team always is, so I think development of young players is a better course than trading for a big name.

      • @greenmtred: Donald Lutz? ‘Young’ talent? He’s a 24 year old who hit .211 in AA. With those kinda numbers he looked like he deserved a demotion, not a promotion. I guess I don’t put as much faith in 19 MLB at bats as some people.

        I agree that trading top prospects like Robert Stephenson would be a long term mistake.

    • @ckerie: Chapman has pitched less innings than Simon and Hoover and as many innings as LeCure. You’d be best served trying to find Marshall on a milk carton.

    • @ckerie: With all those RHed bats, I guessed Marshall wouldn’t be used against the Brewers, unless as a LOOGY against Aoki.

      It’s a waste. I like Broxton more than most here, but Marshall is a whole lot better.

  8. I’m not complaining about Chapman’s striking out the side while walking 1 guy. He’s been throwing his slider for strikes, getting ahead with it. Then he’ll throw fastball after fastball. Why not mix in another slider ? No one ever hits it.

  9. I have to wonder if Lutz’s early struggles are a reaction to his getting sent down or to WHERE he was sent to. One of the last cuts on the big club and he gets sent to AA…maybe pouting some? Be interesting to see where he goes back to, I think it’s a given he goes and Robinson stays.

    • @Bill Lack: I agree with people who like Lutz: he’s an intriguing combination of power and decent speed and, according to the little we’ve seen and Cowboy (on more than one occasion), defense. He probably will go down when Heisey is ready, and that probably is the right decision, considering how little he’d play with the Reds and how few years he’s been playing baseball. I’ll share with all of you that I’m happy that today is an off day: flakes of snow in the air and predicted lows in the 20′s make it hard to embrace the game of summer.

      • @greenmtred: I would love to see Lutz play well for another couple weeks so that some teams get excited about him. I get the unusual trajectory and all, but he’s relatively old, he’s raw, he doesn’t walk. I’d love to include him in a deal that gets the Reds something this year.

    • @Bill Lack: I wonder if the coaching Lutz is getting at the major league level vs AA is helping. We really have no idea what goes on between the players and the coaches, but because of lack of progress of guys like Cozart we often blame Dusty and Jacoby. Maybe a guy batting .211 at AA who comes up and looks awfully good is getting some help from video, instruction, etc. (I’m quick to bash the coaches–Speir is the latest example of a guy I think is hurting the team, at least in the publically-visible part of his job–so I thought I’d at least throw out the possibility they’re helping Lutz.)

      • @Eric the Red: Maybe Lutz is off to an unsustainable hot start and benefiting from a small sample size (19 ABs). Like, say Jack Hannahan, who hit .368 with a .400 OBP through his first 19 ABs. Or Zack Cozart, who hit .381 through his first 21 MLB at bats (back in 2011).

  10. What kind of sadist made up the Reds schedule this year? No off days for almost three weeks at the very start of the year, and now three off days in a week. A little balance would be nice.

    • @Eric the Red:

      I got no problem with it. I’d rather get the tough stretch out of the way early, when everyone is fresh and before injuries pile up. (Oh, the irony)

      But now that it’s done, the Reds can rest up a bit while other teams keep grinding it out. This is bodes well for their chance to make up for their late April/early May stumbles.

      The signs are already starting to show: Bruce and Votto are heating up. If either one of them catches fire, the Reds offense is suddenly going to be a lot more dangerous. Throw in a rested bullpen and a relatively soft schedule, and the Reds should be ready to make some noise. I think they’ll be about 10-13 games over .500 by month’s end.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate:

          There is more to how difficult your schedule is than just the quality of your opponents.

          I was saying that the Reds got through their tough stretch of playing 20 games in a row. No matter if you’re playing the Astros, Cubs and Marlins during that stretch, 20 games in a row with no day off is tough. Your players are going to be tired, and games they should win are suddenly in doubt. If you notice, that’s what I’m commenting on in this thread, not the quality of opponent.

          I don’t think strength of schedule takes this into account. This is something that stats can’t and don’t quantify, the “human element” of the game, if you will.

          I’m not ignoring anything, I’m saying there’s more to it than what stats tell you.

  11. An update on the “Feast or Famine” offense that both the inconsistency calming down as would be expected.

    The Reds offense in May has scored: 2, 6, 6, 7, 4, 5, 2, 4, 13, 5 runs. After 12 April games in which the offense scored 3 runs or less they have only scored 3 runs or less twice in May so far.

    After May, I will revisit their “Famine” games as I did after April was completed. So far, May is looking much better than April and I’d imagine their overall “Famine” games are now more in line with the rest of the NL.

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