2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: A road win?

Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Cincinnati 6
Miami 2

W: H. Bailey (2-3)
L: R. Nolasco (2-5)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Homer Bailey pitched a complete game, giving up two runs on six hits. Homer struck out ten and didn’t walk a batter. Nice performance.

–Joey Votto reached base four times: 3-4 with a walk, a run scored and an RBI. Zack Cozart had two hits, including a double, and scored twice. Brandon Phillips was 2-4 with a walk, a run scored, and two RBI.

–Xavier Paul had the big hit, a bases-clearing double.

NEGATIVES
–None.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–Wow, a win on the road. Those have been rare this year. Cincinnati’s road record improved to a robust 7-10.

More impressively, the Reds have won four in a row, eight of ten, and the good guys are now a season-high seven games over .500 at 23-16. That’s the second best record in the National League.

–Homer Bailey’s final pitch of the game (his 125th) was a 97 mph fastball.

–I really think Homer has turned a corner within the last twelve months. It’s exciting to watch.

Source: FanGraphs

90 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: A road win?

  1. Win the games you’re supposed to win + play .500 against other good teams + stay reasonably healthy = playoffs.

    There’s a metric for ya.

    • @CI3J: Well, I’d say they’re doing 1 out of 3. They’re 17-3, remarkable, against sub .500 teams, and they are 6-13 against teams over .500. And they’re not as healthy as we’d prefer.

      They’re certainly not going to play 85% all year against bad teams, and they’re not going to win ~30% of games against good teams either.

  2. It might have been the Marlins, but Homer was dealing tonight. There are just not that many pitchers that can still have that kind of stuff that late in a game.

    Only starter I can think about that does this regular basis that I have seen do it a few times is Justin Verlander. (King Felix might have that kind of stuff late often in games, but I NEVER see the Mariners play.)

    • @earl: I was thinking of using the “V” word last night. Glad you did today. Verlander has two no-hitters to Homer’s one. Verlander won a Cy Young award at age 28. Obviously, Homer has a long way to go before he’s actually pitching like Justin Verlander, still it’s nice to be compared.

  3. Agreed…these are the games we HAVE to win – especially if we insist on stupid lineups against winning teams…Hope Leakey does OK tomorrow…

  4. SO I guess if I bring up the idiocy of Cozart batting second, I’ll get the same darts as I did last year when he and Stubbs were batting one and two (we’re still winning games)…so OK, I won’t bring it up :D

  5. I think Baker would trade Choo back for Stubbs or for Juan Pierre, if given a chance…or Darren Lewis, if he can get off the couch in his living room…

  6. “Homer to me has turned into one of those guys where you could maybe consider him the ace of your staff,” -Joey Votto, via the game recap on espn.com

    • @cliff: Bailey’s been awfully good this year. I’m going to wait until the end of the year for any ace talk, though. His FIP is a full point lower (it’s 2.88) than it’s ever been, in any season. Now, he was really good in the 2nd half of last year, so I’d say it’s possible he is a #2 starter type this year. An ace would be a big jump. Would be nice.

  7. Negatives: None

    You don’t think Todd Frazier is a bit of a negative right now? 0 for 4 with 3 K’s. Batting .229! It’s obvious he needs a day off but…..

    Reds finally score Homer some runs. Most since his first start of the season so it’s nice to see him pitch well and get the win. What a concept!

    Name one player on the Marlins? I couldn’t either.

    • @sezwhom1: Yes, we finally scored him some runs. But imagine Corky Miller at the plate in the 2nd inning instead of Hanigan. Things might have gone differently run-wise. If Homer’s feelings had anything to do with him getting Corky instead of Mesoraco while Hanigan was out, then he’d be somewhat responsible for the lack of run support.

  8. Homer is probably my favorite Reds pitcher to watch. It’s really fun to see how far he’s come, and it’s really nice that he’s not doing it for another team, as most every Reds fan (including myself, depending on the trade return under discussion) wished for at some point.

    I agreed with the decision to let him go back out for the ninth, but he threw an awful lot of pitches and looked pretty gassed for the last batter, 97 mph notwithstanding. Made me nervous.

      • @MikeC: 125 is a whole heck of a lot; that’s why I was nervous after about pitch 115. But keeping him out there was defensible because he was throwing well until about that point, and Bailey has always been a guy with high stamina, even in the minors, and he had a couple extra days off this past week.

        • @Travis G.: Depends upon what you consider “high stamina”. It looks like Homer didn’t average over 6 innings per game until he got to Louisville. Then, that was still only around 6 innings per game, which is about what he did last year with the Reds. Given he has a history of injuries as well (I believe last year being his first for a full season of no injuries), I wouldn’t quite call him a high stamina guy. But, I would call him a pitcher who wants to be a high stamina guy.

      • @MikeC: I think somebody in the game thread noted that it would have been an opportune time to get Marshall some work… I agree. With the rest of the bullpen rested, let Marshall pitch. Pitch him again tonight if it were needed, rest him on the 3rd game of this series for the Phillies left-handers.

  9. Choo has really cooled off. I think it wouldn’t hurt to give a day off and give Robinson a start. I think if that happens Choo will hit great again.

    • @ckerie: We have to temper some of that though… Choo was playing out of this world, he was due for some regression. He’ll get hot again sure, but he was at an unsustainable pace for awhile. And if “cooled off” is still getting on base 2-3 times, I’ll take it. Always.

    • @ckerie: Choo has a .474 OBP the last 7 days. (With a .091 BA.)

      He needs a day off like Bruce does, now and again, but I want that guy in the lineup every day possible.

  10. “I really think Homer has turned a corner within the last twelve months. It’s exciting to watch.”

    I agree. I’ll tell you this, the trade for Latos really lit a fire in Bailey. They are very similar pitchers and I don’t think Bailey wanted to yield to him. A friendly competition arose, and really arose among all the pitchers. It has made all the starters just a little bit better. Especially Bailey. Couldn’t be happier for Bailey.

    • @WVRedlegs: Just wondering, why does it always have to be some emotional reason why things happen. Isn’t it possible (read: incredibly likely) that Latos arriving and Bailey’s 2012-3 have nothing to do with each other? In fact, Bailey’s 2011 and 2012 are eerily similar, just he had bad luck in 2011 and good luck in 2012.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate:

        Possible? Yes. Probable?? No. I don’t believe in coincidences very much. And it wasn’t any coincidence that the “light bulb” goes on with Bailey right after the acquisition of Latos. I said at the time of the Latos trade that Bailey may very well be the biggest beneficiary of that trade. Other than Latos getting out of San Diego and on to a contending team, of course. And I believe he has been.

        • @WVRedlegs: You sort of ignored HAT’s point that Bailey’s stats were pretty much the same in 2011 and 2012. That kind of blows a big hole in the Latos-motivation theory. I’m on the side of “players often get better” theory.

        • @Steve Mancuso:

          No sir, I didn’t ignore that tidbit. But you’ll never convince me otherwise that Latos” tenacity, reputation and solid work ethic did not rub off onto Bailey during spring training last year and the first half of the season. Bailey has gained 15 pounds in each of the last two off-seasons. He never worked out like that before. Just chalking it up to “bad luck/good luck”, or “just getting better” over-simplifies the issue and demeans and insults the hard work these guys put in to get better.

        • @WVRedlegs: I think it’s much more Cueto’s effect on Bailey. Homer saw how effective Cueto was with ace stuff and still not K’ing everyone. So, Homer decided to “cool it” with trying to K everyone and work on keeping the hitters off balance, aka Cueto. He still has some stuff where if he needs a K, he can still reach back for it. But, he seems to be pitching much more in control.

        • @WVRedlegs: The 2011 season was before Mat Latos became a Reds player. If Homer’s underlying statistics didn’t improve from 2011 to 2012, how could his breakthrough be credited to the intangible qualities Mat Latos inspired? And how are you aware what Mat Latos’ “work ethic” is compared to any other pitcher? Are you saying that Homer had a poor work ethic before Latos arrived and a better one afterward? If so, I wonder what reporting you are referencing for that claim.

        • @Steve Mancuso:

          By only choosing stats, you are only getting part of the picture. I’m looking at the whole picture. Demeanor-wise, confidence-wise, maturity-wise, work ethic-wise and maybe even pitch location-wise Latos has helped Bailey.
          I never ever said “poor work ethic” about Bailey. Can’t a guy have a good work ethic and then crank it up a couple of notches to a great work ethic?? And put on 15 pounds in each of the last two off-seasons when he had never done that before??

          Hell’s bells, man, arguing over what has made Bailey a better pitcher. Stupidity on our parts. Lets be thankful for the pitcher he is, however he got there.

        • @WVRedlegs: Correlation vs causation. Sorry, I’m not buying.

          Maybe in Latos’ next salary drive, he can say that he’s worth two very good pitchers.

  11. We could think of letting Super Todd play the Marlins as the same as spending time in AAA, or it could be a great time to get Hannahan a couple of starts in a row.

  12. I really wish Choo’s walk-up music comprised of the crowd repeatedly chanting, “Choo, Choo, Choo” for about 10-15 seconds only to end with the PA system blaring a really loud train whistle. How…awesome… Any one else “on board”?

  13. Does any body see the Reds making a move for a left fielder? The Reds need to pile up the victories. I know a lot of people hate the Cardnials here. They will be there with the Reds this year. I still say the Reds win the Central. The Cardnials have impressed me so far.

    • @Larry1980: I don’t. Mainly because what do you do with the new LF once Ludwick comes back? If we get a new LF now, it would probably include Choo or Bruce, in order to keep a spot for Ludwick open when he comes back. Or, if the front office determines by trade deadline that we are going to need one. But, then again, who would we give? Not much in the minors. If we give just bench players and B/C level minor league prospects, we probably aren’t going to get anyone back as good as who we are putting out there right now.

  14. I’m perfectly fine with letting Homer go out for the 9th. What I don’t understand is why Chapman was warming up behind him, instead of Marshall.

  15. Interesting tidbit I saw:

    Over his last 31 starts, Travis Wood has pitched 191 innings at a 3.50 ERA.

    How does that make you feel?

    • @Sultan of Swaff: He’s been unbelievably lucky this year, that’s for sure. BABIP of .186.

      Wood certainly would serve as depth for the Reds, but that’s about it. He’s the lefty Mike Leake.

      On the other hand, the Reds waste Sean Marshall…

    • @Sultan of Swaff: To emphasize the luck point, here are the stats for the past two seasons (since the Reds traded Wood):

      Travis Wood: 34 games started, 4.56 FIP

      Mike Leake: 37 games started, 4.39 FIP

      Close call. They remain very similar pitchers.

      • @Steve Mancuso: with the nod going to Wood because he is left handed, at least for the rotation that the Reds have (being all right handed).

        Just my perception, but I thought Wood had a little more bulldog in him than Leake.

  16. I disliked trading Wood, but it was necessary to get Marshall. But Wood’s 2.02 ERA and 4-2 record this year as opposed to Leake’s usual pedestrian 4.32 ERA sure would have made the Reds starting rotation that much better.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate:

        Don’t let your mouth write checks your butt, or wallet, cannot cash.
        I’ll take a condo in Cincy instead of a house. That way I can travel to all the weekend games. And a nice Jag to travel to those games would be nice.
        What are the parameters? How serious of a regression are you talking about??
        Maybe Leake has the regression, and is busted again for shopping at Fast Freddies Five Finger Discount T shirt store.
        Or we can just bet a Coke or a beer on who has the better record and ERA at the season’s conclusion??

        • @WVRedlegs: If I’m reading that right HAT isn’t contesting that Leake will have better stats, he’s saying that Wood will regress. The reason he’s willing to bet houses and puppies is because it’s almost a statistical certainty that it will happen. If he was making a bet of Leake vs. Wood he wouldn’t do that because as Steve just posted they are almost identical pitchers.

        • @Mwv:

          He said “a serious regression”. I don’t have an issue with Wood regressing some. Like you said, it is probably inevitable. However I do take issue with “serious” regression. I think Wood is a better pitcher than what HAT wants to give credit to. I just took exception to his subtle and not so subtle shots he took at Wood.

  17. On the broadcast last night, Marty and I think John Fay had a lovefest for Lutz. In the middle of the lovefest, Marty said two ridiculous things. First, he said that “lots of” hitters hit better in the majors than the minors (and the meaning was “significantly better”), and then he followed that up (I think it was him, or maybe Brantley) by saying that guys that swing at strikes will hit better at the major league level because pitchers are better (as in, they aren’t as wild).

    So, I guess, if we sent Choo and Votto to AA, they’d hit worse than they do for the Reds.

    • On the broadcast last night, Marty and I think John Fay had a lovefest for Lutz. In the middle of the lovefest, Marty said two ridiculous things. First, he said that “lots of” hitters hit better in the majors than the minors (and the meaning was “significantly better”), and then he followed that up (I think it was him, or maybe Brantley) by saying that guys that swing at strikes will hit better at the major league level because pitchers are better (as in, they aren’t as wild). So, I guess, if we sent Choo and Votto to AA, they’d hit worse than they do for the Reds.

      I learned a long time ago to take a lot of what Marty says with a grain of salt. But, still, it’s interesting that in 6 minor league seasons, Votto only batted over .300 twice, while in 5 full major league seasons he has only failed to hit over 300 once and that was .297 in his first full season, 2008. In his initial September call up in 2007 he batted .321 and so far this season he is batting .322.

      • I learned a long time ago to take a lot of what Marty says with a grain of salt. But, still, it’s interesting that in 6 minor league seasons, Votto only batted over .300 twice, while in 5 full major league seasons he has only failed to hit over 300 once and that was .297 in his first full season, 2008. In his initial September call up in 2007 he batted .321 and so far this season he is batting .322.

        No idea if the numbers back Marty up, but I can see where he’s coming from. In my very limited experience, I can remember facing an awful pitcher – who just about shut my team out… Afterward, I said “he was so bad we couldn’t hit him”. Sounded silly, but then I heard Jeff Kent say virtually the same thing about a major league pitcher some years later. There’s something to it.

        • No idea if the numbers back Marty up, but I can see where he’s coming from. In my very limited experience, I can remember facing an awful pitcher – who just about shut my team out… Afterward, I said “he was so bad we couldn’t hit him”. Sounded silly, but then I heard Jeff Kent say virtually the same thing about a major league pitcher some years later. There’s something to it.

          We used to have a saying “He’s just wild enough to throw a no-hitter”.

        • @PRoseFutureHOFer: I can understand that, also. Not in baseball, but I have experienced that plenty in other sports. It doesn’t happen often at all. I would bet against it more than for it.

          But, I do like Lutz. I do think he is going to be a good one. I believe he may even replace Bruce sometime soon. I believe he was the one who hit the winning HR that allowed the Reds Minor League All-Stars to beat the Reds in the last ST game last season.

      • @JCTENRED: Yes, Votto is one who has outperformed, but he was very good in the minors.

        What about players that can’t perform in the minors? For example, the Cardinals media idiots claimed just a month ago that Pete Kozma was such an example; an incompetent hitter in the minors, who started with a bang in the majors. And of course now he’s matching his minor league numbers. How often to bad minor leaguers become good major leaguers—excluding pitchers who learn a new pitch such as knuckelballers or Mike Scott’s split-fingered (or spit fingered!)

  18. What I don’t understand is why the RBI stat is so popular, but rarely do I ever see anyone talk about runs scored. It seems like if you like one you have to liek the other, right? Getting an RBI (especially on a single) is often only the last part of a much larger process.

    So, with that in mind, let’s remember also that Choo is 2nd in the NL in runs scored (30) and Votto is 7th in the league (27).

    • @al: Good point. Most would say the guy on base doesn’t mean anything until the guy brings him in… it’s the more exciting part of the process. But of course, they are entirely symbiotic.

      • @Matt WI: How about this: since many seem to believe there’s a special skill that allows a hitter to do better when runners are on base, is there a special skill that allows certain players to get on base only when they know someone will drive them in? Wouldn’t want to waste those times on base…

    • @al: I’ve pondered here in the past why broadcasters (Reds and others) always go with AVG/HR/RBI when a batter comes to the plate. If the bases are empty or you’re at the beginning of an inning, why not cite the batters OBP. I realize that is too much to ask. To your point, what is the significance of RBI if someone is batting with the bases empty or leading off an inning? Why not cite the player’s runs scored there instead of RBI (if those are your only two options.)

      • @Greg Dafler: Yeah, I’ve had a very similar thought. The one that drives me crazy is when they show a player’s stats vs. that team instead of something actually interesting.

        It’s the 5th inning, Cozart comes up for the 3rd time leading off, and they tell me that he’s 10 for 45 against the whoevers. Who cares? It was a bunch of different pitchers, and bunch of different years, and a bunch of different defenders. That tells me nothing.

        Why not show how many times he reaches when leading off? Or how many times he scores when leading off an inning? Or how his BA changes on the different times through the lineup? Does he tend to get better or worse during a game? Does he hit more HRs off of starters or relievers?

        There are so many interesting things they could present in those little boxes, or by having the announcers talk about them, but it seems like they go out of their way to pick the least informative things.

    • What I don’t understand is why the RBI stat is so popular, but rarely do I ever see anyone talk about runs scored. It seems like if you like one you have to liek the other, right? Getting an RBI (especially on a single) is often only the last part of a much larger process.So, with that in mind, let’s remember also that Choo is 2nd in the NL in runs scored (30) and Votto is 7th in the league (27).

      I’ve always preferred the “Run Created” stat (RBI + Runs – HR). It gives equal credence to runs scored and RBI. After all, as far as offense goes, creating runs is what it is all about.

      • @JCTENRED: I mean, clearly I prefer the stats that aren’t team based at all. RC is better than either runs or RBI alone, but why use a team-dependent stat at all if you don’t have to?

        How often does a guy make outs, and what does he do when he doesn’t make an out. Those are the fundamental questions you want to know about a player. The easiest ways to measure those are OBP and SLG.

        If I were a GM, of course then I’d want to know how many line drives a guy hits, and all kinds of things that would help me to guess how many outs a guy is likely to make in the future, and what he will do when he doesn’t get out.

        But yeah, if you go in for RBI, I really don’t see how you can’t also like the Run Scored.

    • @al: Seems to me that the rbi stat is being steadily discredited. Good point that you raise about runs. I understand that rbi alone–even combined with runs–doesn’t tell you a players full impact or the circumstances surrounding those numbers. But, of course, neither does obp, and runners on base only help a team win when they score.

      • But, of course, neither does obp, and runners on base only help a team win when they score.

        But that gets into HAT’s sarcastic comment about “getting on base when you know you’re going to score”… The best single process for scoring runs is getting lots of runners on base. With that, one has to be comfortable with leaving men on, and recognizing it as a part of the process. People like Marty get tied up in the results end “what good is that base runner if Bruce can’t bring him in?” Well, Marty, how else do you suggest they score a lot of runs? Solo shots all around?

        • @Matt WI: I was stunned when it happened, but in one game over the weekend, Brantley actually corrected Thom when Thom was bashing the Reds for so many runners left on base. Brantley said that lots of runners on base was a good sign for the offense and that eventually it would pay off. It was kind of like he knew this to be true, but couldn’t say it in the radio booth with Marty, but was eager to make the point when he wasn’t in that situation.

      • @greenmtred: I think there’s a pretty good argument to be made that guys on base do help a team even if they don’t score.

        First, you’re making the pitcher throw more pitches in an inning, making it more likely that the starter will tire and either give up runs later in the game or have to be pulled early.

        Also, you’re turning the lineup over more times, getting more chances for your best hitters.

        If Paul and Hannigan get on with two outs, and the pitcher gets out and they don’t score, it’s still a good thing that they got on. The Reds get to start the next inning with Choo, rather than having the pitcher in the middle of the order.

        • @al: You are right about this, and I was oversimplifying, certainly. I will say, however, that a walk is as good as a single only with the bases empty, often. A hit ball forces the other team to field and, as we see to our delight when we play the Cubs or Marlins, sometimes they don’t. And, yes, I’m oversimplifying again.

  19. Top 5 NL OBP Teams: Cincinnati, Colorado, LAD, St. Louis, San Fran.
    Top 5 NL in Runs: Colorado, Cincinnati, St. Louis, San Fran, Atl.

    Only LAD drop way down in runs scored, and that gets explained when you see they are second to last in SLG.

    You have to trust the numbers and the process: Get runners on, runners tend to score.

  20. Izturis starting at SS tonight — and batting second. Hannahan starting at third. Guess the Marlins are so bad we can play anybody. :D

    Xavier Paul gets another start in right. I guess Baker is finally aware of the fact that the Reds are 14-1 when Paul starts in left.

  21. Bruce is playing… renbutler just made a little oops… Tonight’s lineup:

    1. CF: Shin-Soo Choo
    2. SS: Cesar Izturis
    3. 1B: Joey Votto
    4. 2B: Brandon Phillips
    5. RF: Jay Bruce
    6. LF: Xavier Paul
    7. 3B: Jack Hannahan
    8. C: Devin Mesoraco
    9. SP: Mike Leake

    • @LWBlogger: Stupid lack of an edit button.

      It wouldn’t be so bad if I weren’t a technical writer, judged on the accuracy of what I write on a daily basis.

  22. Wonder if Walt & Dusty ever have a meeting on Dusty’s lineup or pitching changes. I would think being the GM, Walt should hold Dusty accountable for any moves he makes and question his moves, like we do here on this blog.

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