2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: Wait…you mean the Reds aren’t going to win every game?

Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Cincinnati 3
Philadelphia 5

W: J. De Fratus (2-0)
L: S. Marshall (0-1)
S: J. Papelbon (8)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Jay Bruuuuuuuuuuce continued his hot hitting, going 2-4 with a two-run homer. That blast cut the lead to 3-2; later in the game (8th inning), Joey Votto homered to tie it up.

–Logan Ondrusek and Sam LeCure each pitched a perfect inning of relief.

NEGATIVES
–Sean Marshall and Jonathan Broxton permitted the Phils to re-take the lead, but neither of them pitched particularly poorly, depending on your perspective.

–Todd Frazier went 0-4, and he’s now 0-for-his-last-19.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–I guess the winning streak had to end at some point.

–Tony Cingrani started, and was just okay: three runs allowed on five hits in five innings.

–Let’s hope for Good Bronson tomorrow.

Source: FanGraphs

109 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Wait…you mean the Reds aren’t going to win every game?

  1. Cingrani belongs back in AAA. As of the start of tonight’s game, he was throwing 91% (NINETY-ONE PERCENT!!!) fastballs. That was highest in the majors among starters by almost 20%. The guy isn’t ready to pitch every fifth day in the big leagues – he needs to work on throwing his secondary pitches for strikes and he needs to be doing that in the minors. Solid decision to have Leake stay in the rotation, where he has been well above average for a 5th starter.

    Now let’s all have a moment of silence for Dusty’s sense of reality for batting hands down the worst hitter he has on the entire 25-man roster 2nd in his starting lineup day in and day out. We are more than a quarter of the way through the season. Cozart is dangerously close to not belonglign on any big league roster. I don’t know what else to say about that.

    And how about that $7 million paycheck for Jonathan Broxton! Keep it up, big guy.

    • @eric nyc: Sorry, but you are mistaken. Lance Lynn throws as many fastballs as Cingrani. And he’s pretty good. Detwiler is up near Cingrani also.

      Funny that Cingrani has in fact pitched every fifth day for quite a while now, and his ERA is 3.27. There’s no doubt that he needs to work on both secondary pitches and putting batters away via the strikeout without having so many pitches (these are correlated). But your claims are ill founded, when you basically say that a guy who will probably put up a 4-4.5 ERA is good for a 5th starter, but Cingrani is completely unacceptable.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I never said he was UNACCEPTABLE. But for a contending team with a VERY VERY good rotation, we can afford to have Cingrani pitching in AAA to become a solid starter NEXT year. If we were Houston or Miami or even Seattle or the Stupid Cubs we could force Cingrani into action, but in our position we should have him working on his secondary stuff in AAA. That’s one of the benefits of being a very good baseball team.

        • @eric nyc: I don’t understand the premise. If you are a terrible team, you can easily afford to put Cingrani in AAA. You suck anyways.

          If you are a contending team, it seems to me to be a more difficult decision, balancing now vs the future. (Let’s assume that Cingrani could put up a 0.50 better ERA than Leake. Is it worth it if we also assume it will stunt his development? It’s an interesting question. What if 1-2 games decides who makes the playoffs?)

          You said he’s not ready to take the ball every 5th day. How is that not saying he’s “unacceptable”? I wasn’t trying to misrepresent what you said.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: If Leake was really stinking up the rotation, this wouldn’t even be a conversation. But Leake is pitching above league average a #5 starter. That puts you in an ideal position to take the guy who clearly needs a little work on his secondary stuff and not rush him along. Hell, if Leake was even pitching at a n average #5 clip I would say keep Cingrani, but given the state of the rotation all I’m saying is that it makes complete sense to stick with the guy with a ton of major league experience who is pitching like a #3 in the #5 spot over the guy who is leaning way too heavily on his fastball and who by all metrics could use some ore seasoning. Talk to me in a month and things may be totally different.

          We really shouldn’t be arguing about this when I think we can all agree that Dusty is an idiot for batting Cozart #2.

        • @eric nyc: I don’t understand the premise.If you are a terrible team, you can easily afford to put Cingrani in AAA.You suck anyways.

          If you are a contending team, it seems to me to be a more difficult decision, balancing now vs the future.(Let’s assume that Cingrani could put up a 0.50 better ERA than Leake.Is it worth it if we also assume it will stunt his development?It’s an interesting question.What if 1-2 games decides who makes the playoffs?)

          You said he’s not ready to take the ball every 5th day.How is that not saying he’s “unacceptable”?I wasn’t trying to misrepresent what you said.

          Leake has pitched well the last couple of times out, but over the long haul I would take Cingrani every day of the week. It’s not close. Cingrani misses bats, Leake does not. That can not be overlooked.

        • @AnnapolisHoosier: Right now, I’ll take Leake every day of the week. Look at the numbers. Cingrani’s strikeout numbers have gone down.so the comment about Cingrani missing bats isn’t exactly correct. Over the last 3 starts for each, Leake has more strikeouts than Cingrani (15 to 13) and in strikeouts/9, Cingrani only has a slight edge (7.8 to 7).

          Also, Cingrani has given up 7 HR in 33 innings, 5 in his last 15 innings pitched.That is beyond Milton bad. Leake has given up 5 HR all season (48.3 innings) and 2 in his last 3 games (19.3 innings).

          The numbers say Leake is better right now.

        • @HOF-13: Are you seriously claiming that over the long haul, Leake will strike out about the same number of batters that Cingrani will? That’s unbelievable. Leake will strike out about 6 per 9 over the season. He’s incredibly consistent there. Cingrani has struck out an incredible number of hitters over his 6 games, and has incredible K numbers in the minors.

          Again, there’s an argument for Leake, but that’s not it. Homers, for example, are an issue for Cingrani, but I do think part of that is a bit of bad fly ball luck. Still, he’s given up too many homers.

        • @HOF-13: Are you seriously claiming that over the long haul, Leake will strike out about the same number of batters that Cingrani will?That’s unbelievable.Leake will strike out about 6 per 9 over the season.He’s incredibly consistent there.Cingrani has struck out an incredible number of hitters over his 6 games, and has incredible K numbers in the minors.

          Again, there’s an argument for Leake, but that’s not it.Homers, for example, are an issue for Cingrani, but I do think part of that is a bit of bad fly ball luck.Still, he’s given up too many homers.

          This. LOL if anybody thinks Leake is going to strike out more batters than Cingrani over the long haul.

        • People need to drop this Cingrani stuff. The guy has (I believe it was) 19 minor league starts above single A. Let him go down and get a bit more seasoning. We have no need to bring him up right now; no need to do a “Homer” on him. Shoot, the guy hasn’t even been around the league a second time yet. Cingrani is a solid 6th man when we need one. Leake has shown to be a solid 5th man, having been through the league several times and still able to get players out. I will say, Cingrani probably does have a higher upside, but that by definition is in the future. As of now, Leake will be better for this team. If Leake has any struggle, from what I can tell, it’s pitching when the team’s behind. But, that’s a trend true of many if not most pitchers in the league. Always easier to pitch with the lead that coming from behind. That’s why closers aren’t that rare of a commodity.

          “Cingrani misses bats, Leake doesn’t”. Tell that to Cueto, Maddux, others throughout the history of the game. If you rely on missing bats as the reliable stat for measuring pitchers, you will be disappointed. I don’t think there’s ever been any 5-10 year pitcher in the league who’s K’ed every hitter they faced.

        • @steveschoen: Batters currently have a .307 batting average against Leake this year, and it’s not like it was great last year either at .287 and it was .292 in 2010. He was only good in 2011. Comparison to Cueto on missing bats? Cueto in 2013 it’s .194, in 2012 it was .252 in 2011 it was .220 and in 2010 it was .257….

          …so missing bats aside, Leake just gives up a LOT of hits. He’s going to have a .290 or so batting average against at the end of the day.

          The next highest batting average against in 2013 for a Reds starting pitcher after Leake’s .307? Arroyo at .256. It’s really that big of a jump. People just tee off on the guy.

        • @ToddAlmighty: I never said Leake was an All-Star. He’s a #5 guy. What you described is pretty much what a #5 guy is. If you also consider, if I recall what I posted the other day, Leake is also tied with 11 others for 49th in the league in quality starts (4th lowest ERA amongst those) and 32nd in the league for ERA. Leake is not an automatic out as a hitter, either. As a 5th man, he’s doing fine.

          As well as, oh, yes, BAA as you describe, Cingrani’s 212 would put him better than Bumgarner, Strasburg, Hamels, Cain, among several others. So, Cingrani must be better than all of them as well? Unlikely.

          You have to look at what we have, what we look for from the pitcher, and what the players need. Leake is a solid #5 guy, there is no doubt about that. He isn’t and may never be an All-Star, but I know of no #5 guys that would be. But, he’s getting the job done. Cingrani needs to learn to be more efficient with his pitches. K-pitcher is fine, but averaging only 5 1/2 innings per start (Leake at just over 6) isn’t getting the job done and can put a tax on the other relievers if some aren’t ready. Cingrani needs some seasoning, needs to work on his breaking stuff. If he can get those down this season, I see him stepping right over Leake next season.

          Don’t get enamored with the K stuff. All the K pitchers I’ve ever seen have said they never really learned how to pitch until they learned control and breaking balls. I haven’t seen either from Cingrani.

        • @ToddAlmighty: I never said Leake was an All-Star.He’s a #5 guy.What you described is pretty much what a #5 guy is.If you also consider, if I recall what I posted the other day, Leake is also tied with 11 others for 49th in the league in quality starts (4th lowest ERA amongst those) and 32nd in the league for ERA.Leake is not an automatic out as a hitter, either.As a 5th man, he’s doing fine.

          As well as, oh, yes, BAA as you describe, Cingrani’s 212 would put him better than Bumgarner, Strasburg, Hamels, Cain, among several others.So, Cingrani must be better than all of them as well?Unlikely.

          You have to look at what we have, what we look for from the pitcher, and what the players need.Leake is a solid #5 guy, there is no doubt about that.He isn’t and may never be an All-Star, but I know of no #5 guys that would be.But, he’s getting the job done.Cingrani needs to learn to be more efficient with his pitches.K-pitcher is fine, but averaging only 5 1/2 innings per start (Leake at just over 6) isn’t getting the job done and can put a tax on the other relievers if some aren’t ready.Cingrani needs some seasoning, needs to work on his breaking stuff.If he can get those down this season, I see him stepping right over Leake next season.

          Don’t get enamored with the K stuff.All the K pitchers I’ve ever seen have said they never really learned how to pitch until they learned control and breaking balls.I haven’t seen either from Cingrani.

          Cingrani is already better than Leake and will continue to get better. Leake is what he is. Leake’s stuff will never compare to Cingrani’s.

        • People need to drop this Cingrani stuff.The guy has (I believe it was) 19 minor league starts above single A.Let him go down and get a bit more seasoning.We have no need to bring him up right now; no need to do a “Homer” on him.Shoot, the guy hasn’t even been around the league a second time yet.Cingrani is a solid 6th man when we need one.Leake has shown to be a solid 5th man, having been through the league several times and still able to get players out.I will say, Cingrani probably does have a higher upside, but that by definition is in the future.As of now, Leake will be better for this team.If Leake has any struggle, from what I can tell, it’s pitching when the team’s behind.But, that’s a trend true of many if not most pitchers in the league.Always easier to pitch with the lead that coming from behind.That’s why closers aren’t that rare of a commodity.

          “Cingrani misses bats, Leake doesn’t”.Tell that to Cueto, Maddux, others throughout the history of the game.If you rely on missing bats as the reliable stat for measuring pitchers, you will be disappointed.I don’t think there’s ever been any 5-10 year pitcher in the league who’s K’ed every hitter they faced.

          He has more minor league starts than Leake, right? Bad argument.

        • @AnnapolisHoosier: Even assuming that Cingrani would generally strike out more batters than would Leake, I’m still not certain that a pitcher who relies so much on the k is the best fit, because he will, by definition, throw more pitches. The Reds have excellent infield defense: use it. My hope is that Cingrani quickly learns to use other pitches in critical situations.

        • @greenmtred: That is not true. Striking out hitters does not lead to more pitches in general. For a given pitcher, it could lead to more or fewer pitches.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: And just for the sake of argument, let’s say Cingrani and Leake both pitch a hypothetical rest of the season, assuming no progression or regression from either. Leake is likely to put up at least 1.0 – 1.5 IP better than Cingrani, who is likely to put up about 0.50-0.75 fewer ERA. For a #5 starter, that sounds like at best a wash to me, and when you factor in the dropoff in offensive production you get from Leake batting and the opportunity to develop Cingrani’s secondary pitches in AAA with no pressure it sounds like a no brainer to me. Cingrani is a shoe in to take Bronso’s spot in the rotation next year and is obviously the #6 guy this year if/when someone else gets hurt. Pretty good spot to be in.

        • @eric nyc: With the pen the Reds have, I’d take 5 better innings from Cingrani. Assuming, of course, it doesn’t harm his development.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: And just for the sake of argument, let’s say Cingrani and Leake both pitch a hypothetical rest of the season, assuming no progression or regression from either. Leake is likely to put up at least 1.0 – 1.5 IP better than Cingrani, who is likely to put up about 0.50-0.75 fewer ERA. For a #5 starter, that sounds like at best a wash to me, and when you factor in the dropoff in offensive production you get from Leake batting and the opportunity to develop Cingrani’s secondary pitches in AAA with no pressure it sounds like a no brainer to me. Cingrani is a shoe in to take Bronso’s spot in the rotation next year and is obviously the #6 guy this year if/when someone else gets hurt. Pretty good spot to be in.

          The drop off in production from when Leake is batting? Come on. You aren’t going to use that as a reason why Leake should stay are you?

        • The drop off in production from when Leake is batting? Come on. You aren’t going to use that as a reason why Leake should stay are you?

          So, hitting isn’t part of the game? It would be nice to have the extra pinch hitter when you need one, much less having one less auto out.

        • So, hitting isn’t part of the game?It would be nice to have the extra pinch hitter when you need one, much less having one less auto out.

          Not when it is determining who the fifth starter is. Now you are getting silly.

        • @AnnapolisHoosier: How can you say that? The 9th spot in the batting order is nearly one ninth of the potential offense in the game (nearly, because of pinch hitting, etc)? If a pitcher is a good hitter it should, in the National League (the real league), be a factor in deciding how to use him.

        • @AnnapolisHoosier: Not a MAJOR reason, but I’m saying that if you’re looking at the two of them as basically a wash for 2013 and you need minor reasons to make the decision, Cingrani needing a little more seasoning and Leake’s hitting (also as a potential PH off the bench in extra innings) aren’t the worst things to consider.

          I think Tony Cingrani is a much much better pitcher than Mike Leake, but I don’t think he would have a better 2013 major league campaign with the Cincinnati Reds than Mike Leake. He’s going to be a cornerstone of our rotation for a while, god willing, and I’m already starting to see some frustration on his face as big league hitters are beginning to figure out his minor league approach. All I’m saying is that it’s the right call to send him down right now, and by July things might be totally different. Leake could be in the tank, Cingrani could be throwing breaking balls for strikes, or someone could get hurt. Having Mike Leake and Tony Cingrani as your 5A and 5B starting pitchers ain’t half bad.

        • @AnnapolisHoosier: Not a MAJOR reason, but I’m saying that if you’re looking at the two of them as basically a wash for 2013 and you need minor reasons to make the decision, Cingrani needing a little more seasoning and Leake’s hitting (also as a potential PH off the bench in extra innings) aren’t the worst things to consider.

          I think Tony Cingrani is a much much better pitcher than Mike Leake, but I don’t think he would have a better 2013 major league campaign with the Cincinnati Reds than Mike Leake. He’s going to be a cornerstone of our rotation for a while, god willing, and I’m already starting to see some frustration on his face as big league hitters are beginning to figure out his minor league approach. All I’m saying is that it’s the right call to send him down right now, and by July things might be totally different. Leake could be in the tank, Cingrani could be throwing breaking balls for strikes, or someone could get hurt. Having Mike Leake and Tony Cingrani as your 5A and 5B starting pitchers ain’t half bad.

          I guess that is where we differ. I don’t look at them as being a wash the rest of the season.I think Cingrani would be better. I hope I’m wrong because there is no doubt they are keeping Leake up and I will be happy if Leake wins every start.

    • Cingrani belongs back in AAA. As of the start of tonight’s game, he was throwing 91% (NINETY-ONE PERCENT!!!) fastballs. That was highest in the majors among starters by almost 20%. The guy isn’t ready to pitch every fifth day in the big leagues – he needs to work on throwing his secondary pitches for strikes and he needs to be doing that in the minors. Solid decision to have Leake stay in the rotation, where he has been well above average for a 5th starter.

      Now let’s all have a moment of silence for Dusty’s sense of reality for batting hands down the worst hitter he has on the entire 25-man roster 2nd in his starting lineup day in and day out. We are more than a quarter of the way through the season. Cozart is dangerously close to not belonglign on any big league roster. I don’t know what else to say about that.

      And how about that $7 million paycheck for Jonathan Broxton! Keep it up, big guy.

      #2 is Ross Detweiler and #3 is Lance Lynn as far as percentage of fastballs thrown. Those two are doing OK. Choo should have caught the ball that scored the third run.

      • #2 is Ross Detweiler and #3 is Lance Lynn as far as percentage of fastballs thrown. Those two are doing OK. Choo should have caught the ball that scored the third run.

        And, they have other pitchers they can go to. They can hit their locations better. Just because they are doing it, that doesn’t mean it will work every time.

    • @eric nyc: Cozart certainly isn’t hitting, but he’s not the worst of the 25. Even among the non-pitchers, he gets some competition from Frazier, among others.

      • @greenmtred: Should have weeded out the pitchers. But no WAY is Cozart a better hitter than Todd Frazier. I don’t even know where you’re coming up with that. Even with Frazier’s horrible skid right now he’s still batting 20 points higher than Cozart. The only position player I would bat Cozart ahead of is Izturis and it wouldn’t take a whole lot for me to swap them, too.

  2. I’m done with Baker. It is completely obvious that Marshall is a LOOGY for the season. He’ll pitch to multiple batters only if most of them are left handed, or if a game goes 15 innings and he’s the only guy left.

    I’ve had it with a manager who cannot properly manage the talent on hand. He’s just not a smart person. I don’t care how many different kinds of music he has on his iPod.

    I really don’t care about losing a game. But I don’t like when it’s for a stupid reason, such as the manager thinking that the second best reliever is not a good player. Walt Jocketty made a huge mistake re-signing Broxton.

    I also think that Tony Cingrani will not crack the starting rotation (barring injury) while Dusty Baker is manager. No evidence, just a hunch. I believe (again, no evidence) that he’s made his mind up on Cingrani. And we know what happens when Baker makes his snap judgments.

    And we haven’t even gotten started on Cozart. I don’t think they should be getting rid of him, but they’ve got to bat him 8th.

    In the end, though, this falls on Jocketty. He has the ability to put his foot down about certain things. But he has not.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: You’re wrong. Castellini wants Baker here. I doubt that anything short of a mutiny by Jocketty would have made a difference. And Baker is not behind some conspiracy to screw Tony Cingrani. He’s done a great job filling in for Cueto. But his future and his value to Reds is directly related to his ability to take what he has learned up here, and make himself a pitcher who can do more than be effectively wild with one pitch. As long as Baker is the manager, the GM is not going to meddle in lineup construction, no matter how stupid we think it is. He just isn’t and you can’t expect him to.

      End of story. Blaming Jocketty is just flat wrong.

      • @Richard Fitch: What conspiracy? The manager has every right to evaluate the players and request decisions be made. I am simply stating that I believe that Baker is not going to want Cingrani in the Reds’ rotation. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the manager doing this. It’s up to upper management to overrule. I believe the same thing about Mesoraco: he will never be the everyday catcher with Baker at the helm, unless forced. I’m not precluding the possibility that Baker’s right about Mesoraco, that he isn’t a good player. I think he’s more likely wrong than right, but he certainly could be right.

        Are you seriously saying that Jocketty couldn’t have put his foot down about Chapman starting? About Marshall (one of Jocketty’s prize acquisitions) being used as a LOOGY? Seriously? I don’t expect the GM to tell the manager to bet so and so 2nd, but it should come up in discussion. I do expect the GM to tell the manager how players are used though (e.g., who starts, and who is or isn’t a LOOGY). Or is your claim that Castellini will just overrule Jocketty?

        Another example, Jocketty brought up Alonso a couple years back, stated he wanted him playing, and Baker rarely played him. Is it really not the GMs purview to tell the manager that “we are taking a look at Alonso, you need to play him”?

        • Uncle Walt’s influence on who plays – he can say who is and isn’t on the roster, pretty much nothing else

          Bakerman’s influence on who plays – he makes the decision with what he’s given

          So, yes, pretty obvious that Walt signed Marshall to be a top set-up guy. Bakerman is using him as a LOOGY.

          I do believe we overpaid for Broxton. I really don’t know why we went after him last season. My only guess, Uncle Walt was thinking of Chapman being a starter.

          Now, the GM’s only other recourse with the manager is to tell him what to do or the manager loses their job. That rarely happens and, thus, most likely won’t be there. It would be more likely for the manager to make suggestions or influence the GM’s decisions as to what to do with the roster.

          As for Cozart in the 2 hole, if not him, who? No one else is really hitting good enough right now for the 2 hole or “move BP back to the 2 hole and thus find someone for the 4 hole”. Last year, it was ridiculous with Stubbs and Cozart up there when we had plenty of players we could put up there. But, this year, the bats quite aren’t there yet. Unless, heaven forbid, that Bakerman is actually able to coach some players up, make bad players average, average players good, good players great, etc., like what a majority of his position is suppose to be able to do.

        • @steveschoen: I’ve been wrestling with the 2 hold question myself because I agree with you that there just doesn’t seem to be an obvious alternative at this point.

          How about this – just move everyone else in the order up one spot? It would have Choo and Votto back to back which is why Dusty won’t do it, but I think it could work.

          Choo – CF
          Votto – 1B
          Phillips – 2B
          Bruce – RF
          Frazier – 3B (He’s got to start hitting again sometime!)
          and then the rest of the order would be dependent on who is catching and playing in RF

          Won’t happen but I’m beginning to think it should.

        • Uncle Walt’s influence on who plays – he can say who is and isn’t on the roster, pretty much nothing else

          Bakerman’s influence on who plays – he makes the decision with what he’s given

          So, yes, pretty obvious that Walt signed Marshall to be a top set-up guy.Bakerman is using him as a LOOGY.

          I do believe we overpaid for Broxton.I really don’t know why we went after him last season.My only guess, Uncle Walt was thinking of Chapman being a starter.

          Now, the GM’s only other recourse with the manager is to tell him what to do or the manager loses their job.That rarely happens and, thus, most likely won’t be there.It would be more likely for the manager to make suggestions or influence the GM’s decisions as to what to do with the roster.

          As for Cozart in the 2 hole, if not him, who?No one else is really hitting good enough right now for the 2 hole or “move BP back to the 2 hole and thus find someone for the 4 hole”.Last year, it was ridiculous with Stubbs and Cozart up there when we had plenty of players we could put up there.But, this year, the bats quite aren’t there yet.Unless, heaven forbid, that Bakerman is actually able to coach some players up, make bad players average, average players good, good players great, etc., like what a majority of his position is suppose to be able to do.

          Xavier Paul in the #2 hole. Or Hanigan.

        • @AnnapolisHoosier: Oh for the love of god Ryan Hanigan is never never never never never never never never going to bat 2nd on a Dusty Baker team. We went through this ALLLLLLLLL last season…And for once, I agree with Dusty. Ryan Hanigan is sloooooooow. He wouldn’t score from 1st on most doubles. As much as I hate to say it, Ryan Hanigan and his OBP would straight up clog the in the 2 hole.

          XP presents problems too. That means a platoon of XP, Lutz, Robinson, and then eventually (shudder) Heisey. We all know perfectly well that Dusty is not going to shuffle his lineup every day based on who’s starting. Plus, for all the “streams crossing” jokes we’ve enjoyed around here, having 4 lefties in your first 5 spots isn’t a great way to marshall your resources. Of all the options right now, I think Todd Frazier makes the most sense. Yes, he’s slumping horribly, but he’s a right handed batter who can get on base, has decent speed, hits a lot of fly balls. I think Dusty considers him a power hitter, but if Heisey can bat 2nd then surely Frazier can.

        • @eric nyc: I’m not at all certain that Frazier isn’t what we see now, and that doesn’t equal a good 2nd batter. He’s played for awhile, and had brief and unexplainable hot streaks–a few–but seems largely to be a solid journeyman–some power, low ba.

        • @greenmtred: Point being we’re in a less than ideal spot because we don’t have a real cleanup hitter. BP should be batting 2nd, but we dont’ have anyone who can bat 4th better than him right now. Given the options we have on the team today, I’d bat Frazier 2nd assuming an almost constantly shuffling lineup card based on whoever is starting in LF. The thought of Dusty changing the lineup every day scares me worse than Dusty just sticking with a less than optimal one.

        • @steveschoen: I don’t think that managers are realistically expected to make players play better–hitting coaches might make them hit better. I take your point about the absence of reasonable alternatives to Cozart batting second. BP would be good, of course, but Bruce is very streaky and Frazier more so, so I don’t see either as a good option at 4th; Joey is more of an obp machine than a home run hitter, so he’s going to be on base when the clean-up guy is up. Philips does well capitalizing on that and doesn’t seem to become absolutely moribund for extended periods of time. I’d think that finding a legit guy to bat second is more important at this point than finding a clean-up hitter.

  3. Anyone hear Marty’s tirade on Votto, and how he tried to extrapolate Votto’s season based on his current stats? Found it stupid.

    • @Carlw2006: I do think part of this comes from Marty’s age. I hear it all the time in older people. They just start going off on some seemingly senseless rant right in the middle of their job. In short, sorry to say, I believe we are seeing Marty on the downside of his career. He’s not just being an announcer anymore. He’s trying to play armchair GM at the same time. It’s fine for him to play that, but he probably shouldn’t be doing it while he’s broadcasting a game.

  4. Chad, from your tweet, I think you can add Dusty Baker to the group of people who doesn’t understand how good Sean Marshall is. Here are some stats I looked up quickly after the game and posted in the game thread:

    Sean Marshall was lifted with one out in the eighth inning and replaced by Jonathan Broxton. Unless the Reds were lucky enough to get a double play, they were going to face two batters. One of those was right-handed, one was left-handed. Who — between Marshall and Broxton — was better situated to get those two hitters out?

    You may think the obvious part of that answer is that Marshall would be better to get the lefty out and that’s obviously correct. Dating back to 2010, lefties have hit approximately .191/.238/.248/.486 (yes that last number is OPS) against him. Broxton’s numbers are actually decent against lefties, too approximately (.235/.328/.300/.628) but nowhere near as good as Marshall’s.

    Here’s the kicker. Sean Marshall has been a substantially better pitcher against *right-handed* hitters than Broxton. Again, Marshall since 2010 against righties .250/.312/.324/.636 compared to Broxton .296/.350/.415/.765. Not even close.

    For some reason, Dusty Baker (and maybe Bryan Price) think that Broxton is a better pitcher than Marshall. There is simply no reason in the world to believe that. Tonight was one of those nights when Baker’s lack of information/understanding/evaluation really cost the Reds their best chance to get out of the eighth inning without giving up a run.

    • @Steve Mancuso: Amen. When we acquired Marshall I was excited and assumed he was going to be our next closer, meaning pitching to people regardless of what side of the plate they stand on. Then we signed Madsen, who kinda fell into our lap and I understood using Marshall to set up. But the Madsen got hurt and Marshall inexplicably became a full time LOOGY. I really don’t understand.

    • @Steve Mancuso: Spot on evaluation. Anyone watching the game saw that the ball 4 call to Young was a borderline strike and the bobble on Howard just a brain cramp. Marshall was not lacking his good stuff. Broxton on the other hand has not pitched all that well this year. Hitting the first batter he faced was ridiculous…

  5. Let’s see, Votto’s extrapolated stats would be 20 HR, 72 RBI. I really doubt that at season’s end, he has 72 RBI, especially if they actually put someone who doesn’t stink at #2.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I doubt that, too, but at the same time we’re nearing the point where extrapolated stats are becoming a little less absurd. I think Votto’s going to have a pretty sub-Vottoesque year. Same goes for Bruce. Luckily Choo and BP, with a solid dose of surprise contribution from Lutz and Robinson, should make up the difference.

      • @eric nyc: Both Bruce and Votto are only about 25 OPS+ points from their best seasons. At the 1/4 mark, it’s way too early to say they will have down years. And Phillips is only about 10 OPS+ points above his typical season; it’s way too early to say he’s going to have a great season (and he’s not having a great season now). Choo is obviously off the charts.

  6. Cozart and now Frazier. Ouch. We know Dusty won’t move Cozart because the SS always bats 2nd but man oh man, Frazier looks lost. Now batting .214 with Cozart a stellar .208. Good luck to us.

    • @sezwhom1: And, the worst part is, I believe Baker is on the road of “having them play out of their slumps”. They haven’t earned that right. Only Votto and maybe BP and Choo have earned that right.

  7. Glad I wasted a Friday night watching this manager make mistakes live while getting heckled by white trash Philly fans.

  8. I don’t disagree that Frazier is struggling, but he’s also been robbed twice in the last two nights on very, very good defensive plays on what could have been HUGE extra base hits. He’s hitting the ball in bad luck a lot of the time right now.

    • @Bill Lack: His BABIP is low. I think he’ll recover.

      The problem is that people here love him way too much, so expectations are outsized. He’s not ever going to be a great, or probably even very good, player. They need him to just be above average, really. He might be that this year at the end of the season.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I agree with this. Frazier seemed to have hit his ceiling at AAA. Guys were moving around him. He was bouncing all around the field position wise to stay in the line up. He seemed to have fallen from organizational grace.

        Then to his credit when he got the shot at the MLB level, he really jumped on it and actually out performed his AAA stats. So while he is not as bad as he has been of late, he almost certainly isn’t as good as he seemed last year.

    • @Bill Lack Lot’s of players get robbed lots of times and Frazier has K’ed twice as many times over the same period as he has been robbed.

      The left side of the infield has become an offensive black hole with no sign of better times ahead.

      • @OhioJim: The difference is that Frazier still gets on base. Cozart has been worse than anyone could have imagined…Frazier’s average is only 6 points higher, but he has on OBP that is 65 points better.

        Yuck.

  9. For a site that generally relies on statistics to determine what is best, I don’t understand why people think Cingrani is better than Leake at this point in time. Look objectively at the numbers over the last 3 starts for each. I posted some earlier as a response so I won’t repeat them but to me Leake is clearly pitching better right now. Now I also think Cingrani has the potential to be much better than Leake long term, but he isn’t there yet. Batters are sitting on the fastball, fouling off a lot of good pitches, hammering mistakes.

    • @HOF-13: Why not look objectively at the last 6 starts? Or the last 1? Leake is pitching better in the last couple starts for each, but Cingrani is for the last 6 starts. Depends on how you want to view it.

      Going forward, the Leake camp likes that he throws fewer pitches and is more polished, and the Cingrani camp likes that he misses bats. Pick one, I guess…

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: That’s why you both shouldn’t be considering how many starts but at how they pitch, what they need to become better, their experience, their future to the team, etc. It is more than obvious that Leake is a solid #5 pitcher and Cingrani makes a solid #6 in AAA while he works on his offspeed stuff and locations. Cingrani’s upside is probably higher than Leake’s, but that by definition is in the future. Cingrani doesn’t need to be at the major league level full-time yet. Leake is still better. The only thing I’ve seen Leake struggle with is pitching when the team is losing the game. But, the same goes for most every other pitcher in the game; it is easier to pitch with the lead than not, the reason why closers aren’t a rare commodity.

  10. I thought Cozart made a poor play mentally and physically on the ground ball that scored the 4th Pfillies run.

    He was out of position to play the ball the back to second and he tossed it behind BP trying to do so. The barehanded grab attempt by BP was actually the only play he had.

    It wasn’t a walk off situation, so as much as it hurt, Cozart should have cut bait and taken his out at first on that play. As thing unfolded that would have saved the second run and possibly made a difference in the 9th.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I initially thought it was Phillps fault from the center field camera view, that he was the one that should have made certain of 1 out on the play instead of trying to grab and throw in one motion. However last night they also played a high first base camera replay in which it could be seen that the toss was behind Phillips in two dimensions (front to back and sideways) with him moving away from it. He only had the one swipe shot to pick it with his bare hand. There was no way he was going to get his glove on it and make the out at second.

        The reality is probably they simply didn’t have a play at second. They had crossed; they were moving in opposite directions and there wasn’t a route to get the ball to Phillips other than the one Cozart tried.

        I’ll allow that Cozart did as well as he could have at trying to get the ball to 2nd but stand by that he should have sucked it up and taken the out in front of him at first.

  11. Wow, do I miss watching the Reds rack up wins versus the Astros. They just gave away a game against the Pirates (now tied with the Reds) tonight. RF just missed a flyball in the 6th that led to a run. Then in the 9th they made another error.

    But the kicker: Tied at 4, bases loaded, 2 outs.
    Routine popup to shallow RF, the 2B and RF collide, drop the ball, and the Astros lose the game.

  12. Also, those that thought Baker had finally learned something last night when Hoover instead of Broxton closed, sorry. Broxton was unavailable last night.

  13. I/m not going to get into the debate on whether Marshall is a lefty only guy. However, tonight I thought he showed signs of being well done after the Howard play to the point that it made sense to get him out of the game even thought I did not feel real good about Broxton being brought in.

    After Marshall lost Young on the 3/2 pitch, he seemed to be clearly agitated either because be hadn’t gotten the call on the last pitch or at himself for where it went. Then he seemed to slow to react to the Howard ball and muffed the play when he got there which resulted in him showing even more agitation.

    So on this particular night at least, when he walked the previous righty after having him down 1/2 then didn’t seemed to be focused on the Howard play, I don’t think you let him face the the next right hander.

    • @OhioJim: I only took glances at the K-zone on mlb.com, but I did see several instances where that ump was calling obvious strikes as balls.

    • @OhioJim: Right, you won’t get into the debate about Marshall being a LOOGY because you don’t want to have to address the point made above, which was:

      “Again, Marshall since 2010 against righties .250/.312/.324/.636 compared to Broxton .296/.350/.415/.765. Not even close.”

      So then we have to get into the psychological aspect, like with Bailey, that you saw it in his eyes that he should be taken out because he was losing it…

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I meant that exclusive of the overall LOOGY debate, I was talking about how I saw the situation last night. The stats are about macro analysis, tend indicators if you will. Individual specific game situations often come down to micro analysis. what’s happening that night given all the variables such as the unp’s strike zone, how the pitcher’s stuff is working, and yes, his apparent mental state.

        After Marshall had faced three batters there were some pretty strong indicators of how things were going for him last night. His fault or not, he wasn’t getting calls he needed on his breaking stuff. It appeared he didn’t trust his fastball enough to throw it for a strike. He was clearly agitated twice over as I already recounted above.

        Bottom line for me is I’m not sure I let him face another batter in that situation even if the guy is a lefty, that’s when I would probably lean heavily on the past histories.

    • @OhioJim: I watched the whole game… the ball 4 call on Young could have easily been called a strike and the Phillies were getting some ridiculous called strikes when Lee was on the mound. Watch the replay of the called 3rd strikes on both Phillips and Mesoraco… Not even close.

  14. Good Morning…Haven’t posted in some time but do read religiously everyday…Gotta be one of the best baseball blogs going…From the contributing editors to the commenters there are some really knowledgeable baseball people on this site…(is ‘commenters’ a word?)…Anyways, Good stuff without the usual snarkiness, trolls and flaming you find on other sites.

    My 2 cent on a couple of things…My Dad had bee saying for years that “Dusty Baker is a moron”. I’m not going to go that far, but what I will say is that D.B. is a really bad manager. I think he costs the reds 3 – 5 wins per season with his lineups and his in game decisions…possibly more.

    So when a team as talented as this Reds team(or his Giants and Cubs teams) make the post season despite their manager then what? In the playoffs(short series)the manager really matters.

    On Cingrani – I think he has a huge upside. I also think it would be better for the Reds in the long run if he worked on his secondary pitches in AAA.

    On Z. Cozart – Cliff Lee basically intentionally walked Choo to load the bases with two out to get to Cozart last night…Then handled Cozart on 3 pitches. Can some one explain why Cozart is hitting second…maybe my Dad is right about Baker….

  15. $5 says the main thought in Cingrani’s mind after the game was how he had to switch with Leake in the rotation so Leake got to pitch against a AAA team while Cingrani had to pitch against the Phillies in Philly.

    • @ToddAlmighty: I’d be willing to bet the decision was made over a week ago and both Leake and Cingrani have both known who was staying and who was going as soon as the timetable for Cueto was figured out. And come on…the Phillies aren’t exactly a juggernaut.

      • @eric nyc: Never said the Phillies are a juggernaut, but compared to the Marlins? That’s a $160m payroll vs $36m payroll.. and it is a $36m payroll Marlins who are sans Stanton to boot.

        Sure the Phillies are only 26th in runs, 21st in AVG, 24th in OBP, and 26th in SLG… but the Marlins are 30th in all four. The Phillies are still hovering around .500, the Marlins are on pace to be 42-120. Hah

        • @ToddAlmighty: Dusty did not switch Leake and Cingrani so Leake could face a worse roster. In fact, he didn’t switch Leake and Cingrani at all. He switched Latos and Cingrani. You know why? Count the number of LH hitters on Philadelphia. He’s our only LH starting pitcher, so it only made sense to have him pitch last night.

  16. I don’t need numbers to see that right now Leake is a better choice to stay in Cincinnati. Cingrani has a great future ahead but needs to work on things and you do that in AAA.

  17. The misuse of Marshall and Chapman is mind boggling. A small to mid-market team just can’t make mistakes like that. More importantly, in the playoffs those mistakes are devastating. Marshall is not just a LOOGY. Chapman should be starting. The Chapman ship has obviously sailed as long as he’s with the Reds/Baker manages the Reds, but maybe an intervention can still get Marshall used right. This is just very depressing.

    • @Eric the Red: I think the Chapman boat has sailed for good. Watching him pitch now, it is clear he has absolutely no desire to be anything but a 9th inning freakshow. He continually shakes off calls for breaking balls so he can throw his fastball, which I don’t have raw data to back me up on but sure seems to be getting a bit wild again. Functionally wild, but he’s not painting any corners with it. He’s totally given up trying to throw the changeup he was so excited about learning from Madson last year. Chapman (and his agent) have totally bought into the closer myth and that’s how he wants to make his money from now on. Sad for Chapman, since he could be costing himself literally hundreds of millions of dollars, and sad for baseball fans (not just Reds fans) because we’ll never get to see how good he really could be.

    • @Eric the Red: The assumption seems to be that Chapman isn’t starting because Dusty doesn’t want him to. I don’t know about that. What I do see in Chapman is a higher octane (though perhaps not as a starter)Cingrani. Chapman’s slider is a knee-buckling secondary pitch, certainly, but he still largely ignores it when he’s in any sort of tight spot. Walter Johnson may have been successful without good secondary pitches, but nobody else–not Koufax, Johnson (Randy), Gibson–springs to mind. Maybe that’s why Chapman isn’t starting.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: AAA is exactly where Chapman needed to be at the start of the season IF he was going to be a rotation pitcher for the Reds anytime this year. This may have well been a factor in why he was sent to the MLB pen.

        • @OhioJim: AAA is where Chapman should have been in 2010 or 2011. He should have been a major league starter by 2012 at the latest if not the 2011 September callups.. because you know who was starting games in Sept of 2011? Dontrelle Willis, Matt Maloney, and Edison Volquez. Yeah.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: No, but if Chapman were, like Cingrani, being groomed to be a starter, then yes, AAA to learn to use secondary pitches. If Cingrani were being used as a one inning relief guy, he’d probably be fine as is.

      • @greenmtred: It’s 100% on Dusty. Everything Walt said and did–like signing Broxton–pointed to Chapman in the rotation. If Dusty hadn’t played his games the organization would have been sending a clear message, Chapman would have been starting and he wouldn’t have been going against both the GM and manager in claiming he “wanted” to close. (Last spring he said he wanted to start.) Maybe it wouldn’t have worked, but he’s got way better stuff than Cingrani and (IMHO) a much lower chance of injury and it sure would have been nice to have him starting in the playoffs.

        • @Eric the Red: I think Chapman was being sincere this year when he said he would rather close. Remember, last offseason when he was saying he wanted to start there hadn’t even been a mention of him as a closer. The options were setup reliever or starter. Of course he’d pick starter. But then he saw how successful he was as a closer, how famous he got, and realized it was probably a much easier ride to a huge contract than taking the risk of becoming a starter and maybe failing. And at this point, he’s pitching like a guy who doesn’t care if he ever gets more than 3 outs at a time ever again. He’ll get a nice big $10 million/year contract (or however bloated closer contracts will have gotten by that point) and buy lots of shiny fast cars. But I don’t think he wants to mess with a guaranteed thing at this point. Which, like I said above, is just a shame for everyone involved.

        • @Eric the Red: The Reds certainly showed every inclination to try Chapman as a starter, agreed. But it seems just as likely that they changed their minds collectively based on what they saw in spring training (not talking about results here, which don’t mean much in the spring, but lack of secondary pitches). Maybe it’s all on Dusty, but it’s hard to imagine that Jocketty and Castellini would have presented such a united front if they disagreed.

      • @greenmtred: I essentially agree with you. And how Chapman might have emerged as a starter if he would have had a month of finishing as a rotation pitcher at AAA, we will never know.

  18. Here are the K/BB rates for the Reds bullpen pitchers, without names:

    14.5/3.9 (hmmm, who could that be?)
    8.2/1.8
    9.9/3.8
    9.2/4.3
    9.0/3.0
    6.6/3.0
    6.2/2.3

    That’s a very good bullpen.

    Of course, which pitchers are brought in in critical situations? Who does Baker trust?

    The last two are Logan Ondrusek and Mike Leake. Yes, Leake doesn’t pitch in the bullpen. But that’s basically the same K/BB rate as Broxton, who I left out of the list. He’s 6.2/2.4. 2, 3, 4, and 5 are Simon, Lecure, Hoover, Marshall.

    • @StealYourBase: You’re not the first one to ask that question. He’s a pretty good fielding pitcher. Of course a guy who can put up 200 innings and a 4.00 ERA is worth a lot more than a really mediocre SS.

  19. If you really want to depress yourself, think about what’s going to happen when Parra is done with his rehab. That’s a three-parter: 1) Parra is coming back up 2) there’s a decent chance Hoover goes out instead of Ondrusek 3) the only good thing about Parra being around is if they use him as the long man and free Simon up to take some pressure off LeCure. But who thinks Dusty will use his LH that way? (BTW, I wouldn’t be shocked if Broxton goes on the DL very soon.)

    • @Eric the Red: Sadly, the Reds might be a better team with Parra on and Broxton on the DL, as the high leverage innings will go to better pitchers.

  20. The problem isn’t just batting Cozart second. It’s putting a prolific out-maker in between your two best hitters. I would imagine the stats bear this out as well, but just based on my memory it seems like Cozart ends a lot of innings and has many opportunities with runners on base. Putting him in between Choo and Votto often squanders run scoring opportunities.

    The thing is lineup construction isn’t worth much. The numbers seem to indicate it’s about an extra ten runs a year at most. However wouldn’t you think that as a manager you’d want every possible competitive advantage. Maybe those extra runs are the difference between winning the division and losing it.

    As far as Votto goes, first of all Marty’s a putz. I’ve loved him since childhood but I’m finding his negativity very tiresome. Calling out Votto of all people is complete insanity. The man is hitting .329 with a .951 OPS. I don’t care about his RBIs. Those have nothing to do with individual performance and I would bet every penny to my name (which isn’t much) that he’s at or very near 30 homeruns by the end of the season.

  21. “The thing is lineup construction isn’t worth much. The numbers seem to indicate it’s about an extra ten runs a year at most. However wouldn’t you think that as a manager you’d want every possible competitive advantage. Maybe those extra runs are the difference between winning the division and losing it.”

    This is a very good point. If indeed it is “only” a 10-run differential, you can bet your bottom dollar that every MLB manager would take with the possible exception of one. How many wins does 10 extra runs translate to? 1, 2, 3, 7, etc”.

    On Chapman not starting – I believe it is defensible but certainly not wise. But the decision to bat Cozart second and worst yet, batting Stubbs & Cozart 1&2 lst year; is not. I’d like to find one “knowledgeable” baseball person who agrees with this because I don’t think one exists.

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