2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: Emm Vee Pee

Let’s recap today’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Cincinnati 10
Philadelphia 0

W: B. Arroyo (4-4)
L: K. Kendrick (4-2)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Joey Votto decided to remind everyone today why he is the greatest hitter on the planet. Votto reached base all six times he came to the plate, going 4-4 with two walks, a double, and a ninth-inning two-run homer.

–Bronson Arroyo pitched 7.2 shutout innings. I like Good Bronson.

–Jay Bruce’s hot hitting continued, with a 2-4 day, including a double and an RBI. Ryan Hanigan hit a three-run homer in the second that got the Reds going. (Yes, read that again: Ryan Hanigan hit a homer.)

–Shin-Soo Choo reached base three times. Yawn. Donald Lutz went 2-5 with his first major league double, a run scored, and an RBI. Todd Frazier emerged from the worst slump of his young career, going 2-4 with a walk, two runs scored, and an RBI.

–Alfredo Simon finished out the game with 1.1 innings of scoreless relief.

NEGATIVES
–None whatsoever.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–After having their six-game winning streak snapped yesterday, the Reds got back on the horse in fine fashion this afternoon.

–Votto is hitting .346/.473/.531. I hope every mouth-breather who panicked about Votto during the first month of the season is duly embarrassed.

–Arroyo has won three straight starts against the Phillies in pretty dominating fashion, since last August. On the season, Arroyo is 4-4 with a 3.28 ERA. How’s that for a #4 starter?

–Neftali Soto made his major league debut as a defensive replacement for Votto in the ninth.

–Bruce has hit in nine straight games.

Source: FanGraphs

64 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Emm Vee Pee

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Agree with you. I guess that’s us told. I’m happy to be accused of being a mouth breather (is that somebody with a stuffy nose? I have no idea) if Joey is going to keep driving the ball. I’m not certain, still, that we in that infamous fraternity are (were) entirely delusional: Note that Joey and the maligned Cozart have the same number of rbi (a meaningless stat, I know).

      • @greenmtred: I happen to really disagree with people who are unhappy with Votto’s RBI total, etc. But I think if I referred to them as “morons”, which is what I believe “mouth-breathers” means, I might be banned from the site. But, it is their site, I could always make my own (uhh, no).

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I have had concerns about Joey’s rbi totals more because I considered them symptomatic of what I was seeing (frustration, impatience) than because the numbers themselves were alarming so early in the season. I believe that time will prove you right; Joey is meticulous, the pitchers weren’t pitching to him and, of course, he would show it. In all probability, he will finish the season with his usual staggering numbers.

  1. Big negative was Verducci doing the color commentary. What qualifies him? He’s not a former player, but brings all sorts of anti-analysis traditional journalism to the color role. I can get all of that with Thom. Verducci, the Idiot, adds nothing.

    I saw exactly part of two half innings on TV, top 1 and top 6. In top 1, I was told Cozart should bunt with three good hitters behind him in the first inning with Choo on 2nd. The reason is because Cozart hits to left field, which appears to not be supported by his spray chart.

    In top 6, I’m told that Kendrick had to give in to Cozart on 3-2 because Votto’s on deck, and the replay shows the pitch was outside. Then, Thom and Idiot discuss whether they should bring in Horst and pitch to Votto, or walk Votto and pitch to Phillips. Idiot tells us that he’d walk Votto. Interesting, considering he wrote a whole column ripping Votto and his hitting style, and ripped him for not hitting with RISP, and Phillips leads the league in Idiot’s favorite category, RBIs, and has a .450 BA with RISP. So why walk Votto? Either he’s full of it, or he’s full of it. I’ll take either option.

  2. Just back from vacation (long trip home) and my reward? Reds on Fox national telecast and a butt-thumping of the Phillies. Had to laugh when Phillies Phans started leaving after it was 8-0. And then Votto cranks that one deep to put the knife in and twist it … too bad Bronson ran out of gas today, but he was very good for 7+ innings.

  3. Missed the game but red (see what I did there) the update.

    Star Trek Out of Darkness was fantastic. Best Star Trek movie ever. Might be one of the best movies of the year.

  4. Couldn’t ask for a better day, blowout win + extra inning losses for Cards and Pirates both.

  5. Votto and Choo are the only players is year to reach base 6 times in one game. Choo did it on April 20 vs. Miami.

    Cards lose, Pirates Losing 4-2 in the 11th. Good day to be Reds fan

    • @HOF-13: And the Cards loaded the bases in the 9th, amazingly on an IBB to Molina with 1st and 2nd after a four pitch walk to make it 1st and 2nd. Weird strategy. But they struck out Descalso and got 2 in the 10th.

  6. With today’s game, Votto should be around a 170 OPS+. And he’s now on pace for 24 HRs. I think, actually, that he’ll hit about 25 HRs this year. I don’t think he’s ever going to hit a lot of bombs like 2010.

    I love the on base skills of the Reds’ 1 and 3 hitters…Choo got on base 3/6 times, and lost the NL OBP lead due to Votto’s 6/6.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate:

      If he stays healthy, I wouldn’t put it past him to hit about 30. When the weather warms up, balls travel more. He’s had a couple of loud outs that on a hot, humid night probably would have been homers.

      My official prediction for him: 28 HR.

      • @greenmtred: OPS is simply the combination (addition) of OBP and SLG. (O)n base percentage (P)lus (S)lugging. It is a measurement intended to evaluate power and getting on base for comparisons. OPS+ is the same measurement adjusted for the ballpark to balance out the impact of various ballpark advantages or disadvantages.

  7. Looks like the Cards are finally slowing down… Time for the Reds to make their move and reclaim their rightful spot.

    And hey, whaddaya know, the Cards have some injury issues with their starting rotation too.

    Over the course of a long baseball season, these things tend to balance out. This is why I was never really worried about the Cards. I think they’ll hang around all year, but the Central is the Reds’ to lose.

    • @CI3J: It will be interesting to see what the Cardinals do to fill Garcia’s spot. They have a lot of options: Kelly, Wacha, Martinez. Fortunately, Trevor Rosenthal does not appear to be one they are considering.

      You certainly are consistent in exaggerating though. The Cards have lost 2 out of 3, but won 4 out of 6. I don’t think they’re going to win 100 games, so I suppose they were bound to slow down to some extent. The question is will they win more than the Reds. I still see that as a 50-50 proposition right now.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate:

        Or you could also say they’ve only won 4 of their last 7, meaning if they lose tomorrow, they’ll suddenly have a .500 record over their last 8 games.

        Put it this way, they aren’t winning as much as they were just a few weeks ago.

  8. Another side note: In the all important stat of run differential, the Reds are now in a virtual 4 way tie (with Detroit, Texas, and St. Louis) for the best in all of baseball.

    I’ll take that.

    • @CI3J: I’d rather have win differential. We all have seen run differential doesn’t show how “feast or famine” this offense has been the last 3 seasons.

        • @steveschoen: That’s fair, but year in and year out run diff shows to be a pretty telling stat at the end of the season. It’s rarely that far off from win diff. The fact that we have the same run diff as the Cards and are 2 games back tells me they’ve been luckier than us.

        • @eric nyc: Agreed. But, then, this offense is one of those rare times where run differential doesn’t necessarily mean that much. Like shown with this series. Or, like in 2011, where at quick glance only, the Cards and us had the same run differential. One guess who went to the playoffs and won the WS. The one thing with the Cards offense, they aren’t a feast or famine offense. You stop 3 specific hitters in their offense, they have others that can still hurt you. You stop Choo, Votto, and BP in this offense, there’s no one else that can hurt you.

        • @steveschoen: The Reds run differential leads to an expected record of 27-16, and the Reds are 26-17. So what you are saying isn’t true in 2013. The Reds and Cards most certainly did not have the same run differential in 2011.

          Run differential doesn’t tell you anything about the playoffs and what will happen there.

          The Cardinals, this year, have a 27-15 record and their expected record based on run differential is 27-15.

          Also, you’re acting as if the rest of the Reds’ lineup never gets a hit, which is not true. I give you that the Cards, today, have a more balanced lineup, whereas the Reds have a more top heavy lineup. But you are asserting that leads to lower run scoring variance. I don’t know that that’s true. Again, though, both teams have the record they should, no matter how they score their runs.

  9. That has got to be one of my favorite fangraphs ever, given the Reds’ miseries in Philadelphia.

  10. Jaime Garcia put on the DL. Cards now down 3 starters, Westbrook, Carpenter and Garcia. Time for the Reds to make their move.

    • @RedForever: Westbrook isn’t good. That injury doesn’t hurt. Carpenter yielded Miller, which is irritating.

      Garcia might yield one a top pitching prospect in the minors, Wacha or Martinez. Wacha doesn’t appear ready to me, though, based on a low K rate in AAA. Martinez has more seasoning, but has been relieving. It’ll be interesting. There’s also Joe Kelly, who throws really hard but doesn’t strike anyone out. I don’t think he’s good, personally. And another option is Tyler Lyons, who has little success ERA wise in the minors despite a good K/BB rate. I’m sure if they call him up he’ll turn into Cy Young.

  11. Mr. Vottomatic is having quite a good May. He was hitting .278 on 4/27 and now is at .346.

    26-59 .441
    11 walks
    6 2b
    2 HR

  12. Big negative was Verducci doing the color commentary. Hank Aarons Teammate

    Really? He was critical of Dusty batting Cozart 2nd so for that alone, I give him a passing grade.

  13. Votto is finally healthy. He’s turning on the first strike and making solid contact. That bomb yesterday was the first monster shot he’s hit in almost a year. He could be the next player to hit .400. As long as Phillips and Bruce keep hitting to protect him it’s possible.

  14. We won 10-0 so it’s hard to complain, but….we failed to get a runner in from third with less than two outs FOUR times, mostly while the game was still close.. That’s the kind of thing that can bite you. Maybe I’m imagining it, but it sure seems most other teams are better at bringing that run home than the Reds are. Still, great win!

    • @Eric the Red: I agree. I did see that as a negative, and after it happened the third time and it was still 3-0 I remember thinking that it just left the door open for a slow, demoralizing comeback. Luckily things went a very different way, but I’m hoping that’s something the inability to cash in those runs will get some attention behind closed doors.

      To the stats guys on this site – what’s industry standard for driving in the runner from third with less than two outs? What’s the Reds rate this year?

      Finally, I’m one who has expressed concern about Votto this year (mostly breathing through my nose though). I was never worried about his health, but rather the lingering effects of the changes he made upon returning last year before he was 100% to remain effective at the plate. He looked defensive at times, and was rarely aggressive with his swings or pulling the ball with power. My concern was not that his knee was holding him back, but that he had changed his hitting style. I’m thrilled to see the aggression and power returning. I don’t know if it’s taken this long for Votto to feel really confident on the healed knee, or if he has just been working on things in the cage that are now showing up in games, or what, but I have certainly enjoyed watching him hit the past week or two. Welcome back Mr. Emm Vee Pee!

    • @Eric the Red: I agree. I’ve said before, good teams “take” those opportunities. They don’t wait for the other teams to “give” them the opportunities.

  15. When I look around at the other top teams in the league (cough Cards) the one difference between them and the Reds that jumps out to me is that everyone else seems to be grossly over performing while, aside from really Choo, if anything thenReds have underperformed up to this point and still have the second best record in baseball. There’s no way the Cards could maintain that starting pitching AND that offense over a full season. We have Frazier and Cozart hitting under .220, a bootleg platoon in LF with our 5th opening day option starting once a week, Joey with less than 20 RBIs, Bruce with 5 HRs, Cueto on the shelf for a month, a handful of blown saves, and were still 9 games over .500. While everyone else is waiting to come back down to earth, we’re waiting to REALLY get going. This team could be scary good.

    • @eric nyc:

      Good point, Eric. The Reds are still waiting for the return of their #1 pitcher. Frazier and especially Cozart have low BABIP, which points toward an uptick for the two. Not sure what Ludwick’s return will produce, but Reds are managing to win without their season starting clean-up hitter. Overall, things are going well in Redsland and could get better.

    • @eric nyc: I don’t think the Reds are underperforming. If you look at individual players you can find ones who are underperforming, but if you look at the Reds’ record (which now projects to 102 wins), they are just performing, or even overperforming. I love the 2013 Reds, but they are not a 105-110 win team.

      I also think the Cards are here to stay.

      • @BenL: I don’t think a normalization will lead to a lot more wins. We haven’t won too many close games and tend to win by large margins when we do. All I mean is that I see us being able to maintain this pace or something very close to it a lot easier than some other teams, including the Cards. I just dont see their rotation being able to maintain that kind of dominance, whereas ours has been solidly on the high end of their individual career norms so far. And while their offense is always good, we still havent seen Bruce go on one of his famous streaks yet and we’re bound to get more production from the entire left side sooner or later, either from someone heating up or a trade. I think the Cards will be there the whole way, but last year we were down 2 games at the break and ended up running away with the division. I see us taking control sooner this year.

        • @eric nyc: Yeah, I agree with this. I do think what we’ve been doing is pretty sustainable, even if there are some reasonable number setbacks and injuries. (Look what we’ve done without Cueto this year and what we did without Votto last year.) The idea that Bruce is heating up should scare the Cards :)

    • I’m sort of confused here. Some are saying the Cards are overachieving when they are hitting exactly how we thought they would, as well as pretty much pitching as we thought they would, even though recent games they seem to have been lights out. But, then, no talk of us overachieving? I would say Choo and BP so far are more than what we thought they would be, at least offensively. Votto is Votto. Bruce has been great against lefties this season. But, no one else has pretty much done anything, even doing much less than expected, including Bruce against righties, and we are tied for the 5th best record in all of baseball? I think our individual performances have been lackluster, except Choo, Votto, and BP. But, as a team, we’ve simply been finding a way to win, overachieving in the all-important “win differential”. I believe we have been overachieving as much as the Cards have. I believe we still have the pitching staff, even though the Cards staff is not bad by anyone’s measure. I do believe they have better hitting. From top to bottom, I believe they have good hitters. We simply don’t.

      • @steveschoen: BP has been BP. Right now he’s .280/.324/.473. All last season he hit, wait for it, .281/.321/.429. The only place he’s far exceeding his career norms is RBIs, and that’s purely a product of being put in the 4 spot behind the two best OBP hitters in baseball.

        Bruce’s slugging is down almost 100 points from last year. That’s underachieving. Frazier is better than a .220 hitter. That’s underachieving. Votto is on pace for 72 RBIs. That’s underachieving. Those are all numbers that are going to normalize. Choo will probably come down a bit, but for all we know he’s just hitting his prime and taking advantage of leading off a much better lineup than he’s ever been a part of. Now that Hanigan looks like Hanigan again and Mes is starting to fulfill his potential, the bottom of the lineup is much more solid than it was a month ago.

        I just think the Cards have played their absolute best baseball the first 6 weeks and its gotten them a 1.5 game lead. We’ve played some really lackluster baseball so far and we’re right there. Come August I don’t think it’s going to be that tit of a race.

    • @eric nyc: If we’re going to play over and underperforming expectations, let’s play it fully. The Cards have Freese with a 55 OPS+. Holliday will probably hit better also. I haven’t gone through their whole team, but one would need to.

      If we’re talking about the Reds, yes, Bruce will probably rise somewhat from where he is (105 OPS+, but he should be around 115-120 at season’s end). Phillips, you can write it down, OPS+ between 100 and 110, he’s at 111. No issue there. The LF spot will be a bit better. Cozart and Frazier are likely to be better, but not by much. Maybe 10 OPS+ points for Frazier.

      Leake will drop, and Arroyo will drop, from their current numbers. Let’s be honest here. It’s not as simple as focusing only on the players who aren’t playing well. Oh, and Choo will probably drop too. He’s awesome, but not quite this good, I don’t think.

  16. NEGATIVES
    –None whatsoever.

    How about Cozart hitting 1/6 with 0 BB in the #2 hole? He had an RBI 2B in the 6th, but the run he scored was the result of Choo being eliminated on a fielder’s choice off Cozart’s IF ground out prior to Votto’s blast in the 9th.

    Here are the 5 worst OBP in the NL, all are reaching base less than 25% of the time for the entire season:

    .168/.197/.305 Espionoza (WSH)
    .206/.233/.338 Cozart (CIN)
    .145/.237/.239 Upton (ATL)
    .156/.238/.259 Davis (NYM)
    .197/.245/.364 Alvarez (PIT)

    I wonder which player has a manager who still stubbornly and irrationally inserts one of the 5 worst OBP hitters in the league into the top 3 of the lineup, every game? Yes, that’s a rhetorical question.

    • @Shchi Cossack: Simply a weakness of Baker. However, I will say, if not Cozart, then who? No one else is really hitting right now. The best option I have seen is moving Votto, BP, and Bruce up to the 2 hole through 4 holes. But, then, that just means someone in the 5 hole isn’t hitting.

      This goes to what I have said before, Bakerman (as well as Joke-oby) have no reputation of developing any players. They have no rep of making bad players average, average players good, good players great, or even not talking about players but one area of their play, like hitting. It’s more than obvious and in their histories. Entirely unlike someone like Showalter, who’s taken 2 losing teams and 1 expansion team to the playoffs in 3 seasons or less, 2 of them to divisional titles.

      Bakerman’s only rep, he’s a players’ manager. They enjoy playing for him. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it’s because he will pay for their dinner when they go out for dinner. I wonder if Bakerman’s team enjoy losing so much in the playoffs, if that is something that sticks in their stomach.

  17. Here’s a question:

    With runner on 3rd and < 2 outs, who has a better batting average: the Cardinals, who can do no wrong and always get the key hit/sac fly, or the Reds, who are always unable to get the run home in that situation?

    Yes, that's right, the answer is the Reds, with a .382 BA. Cards are at .338.

    Since I know you want to know, the Cards have 87 PAs in this situation, 24 hits and 8 sac flies. The Reds have 112 PAs in this situation, 29 hits, and, WAIT FOR THIS MARTY, 17 sac flies. The Reds have way more walks, which is why their BA is higher. Marty must hate all those additional walks. So basically, we should stop complaining about runner on 3rd, less than 2 outs.

  18. With the Reds and Cards, one will win the division and the other a wildcard. But, keep an eye on those pesky Pirates.

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