2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: Tomorrow is Johnny Cueto Day!

Let’s recap today’s titanic struggle…. rntitanic-copy

FINAL
Cincinnati 2
Philadelphia 3

W:  Bastardo (2-1)
L: A. Chapman (3-2)

POSITIVES

Homer Bailey threw seven shutout innings.

Jay Bruce hit another long home run. He has 17 RBI in May.

Joey Votto continued his hot streak, with two hits. Todd Frazier showed a few more signs of snapping out of his slump with two hits. Xavier Paul, who should be batting second, got on base three times in four plate appearances.

Dusty Baker was willing to bring Sean Marshall in to pitch the eighth inning. Baby steps.

NEGATIVES

– The Reds only scored two runs against a rookie right-handed starting pitcher and a weak bullpen.

– The bullpen combination of Jonathan Broxton, Sean Marshall and Aroldis Chapman gave up three runs in two innings. If Broxton had been faster covering first base on Ben Revere’s routine ground ball to first base, he’d have retired the Phillies in order in the eighth.

Ryan Hanigan twice threw the ball into the outfield on stolen base attempts.

– The Reds were like 100-1 when Xavier Paul starts. They were leading when he was pulled from the game today. Just sayin’.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS

– It’s only one loss. It’s only one loss. It’s only one loss. It’s only one loss. It’s only one loss. It’s only one loss. On to New York tomorrow for Johnny Cueto Day.

Aroldis Chapman has two blown saves on the road trip and has even looked frustrated in games when he’s earned a save. Slumps happen to every single closer. We know Chapman can close from last year, when he had the same pitch portfolio. Right now, he’s a middle-of-the-pack closer.

Homer Bailey (2-3) has really been unlucky in terms of wins this year. He’s given up two or fewer runs in six of his nine starts. In some ways, this start was more impressive than his last one, when he pitched a complete game against the Marlins. Today, the location on his fastball was off, he adjusted and pitched his way through several jams.

TOP GAME THREAD COMMENTS

renbutler: Gameday confirms that strike three landed in the Delaware River. Horrible call.

cliff: That Homer is such a head case.

Mwv: Chapman not looking good at all on that first batter.

Kyle: It feels like the Reds dominated this series but walk away with the series loss.

Sergeant2: Best to put this game in the rear view mirror and forgettaboutit. Regroup and on to the next game and a nice little winning streak. Plus Cueto’s coming back, can’t wait to see Cueto back in action. Shake it off boys, shake it off. Go Reds!!

Hank Aarons Teammate: Many people here have advocated trading Chapman, not just me. Doesn’t mean I think he’s bad or anything. He’s completely wasted. I’d trade Joey Votto for Mike Trout, in a second. And I love Votto. Broxton is not as good as Lecure, Hoover, or Simon. Or Marshall. Just because he was good many years ago does not mean he’s good now. Unless you ask Dusty Baker.

 

126 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Tomorrow is Johnny Cueto Day!

  1. Between ondrusek, Broxton, and Marshall, I sometimes find myself longing for the days of Tom “Boom Boom” Hume. The Cuban missile has been a water pistol lately. I’m in a sour mood because the reds gave today’s game away.

  2. Chapman’s career save % as a stopper is 87%. Last year it was 88%.

    He is worse this year then Henderson of MIL, Mujica of STL, and Grilli of PIT.

    Grilli was signed off the scrap heap a couple years back. Mujica was acquired for Zach Cox, who looks like a pretty good, but not great, prospect. Henderson was a waiver wire signing.

    The closer from Seattle was tending bar for the last few years. He’s perfect so far this year.

    No one ever goes from tending bar to a great starting pitcher. Because it’s harder.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: JJ Hoover is two for two in cleaning up messes made by our closer . . .

      There must be better uses for Chapman when his numbers indicate that he will be nothing more than a good closer with fantastic stuff . . .

  3. Is it just me, or did Chapman appear incredibly aloof today? After he thought he was squeezed on a pitch, he had this dopey half grin (he reminded me of Pyle from Full Metal Jacket) and he was looking around the infield. Oh, if only Lecure’s head was on Chapman’s body.

    • @Drew Mac: I saw it, too. He had a smirk on his face–a “how dare you not call that a strike” look. I addition to whatever else is wrong mechanically, or confidence-wise, he appears to have an attitude problem as well.

      That better get fixed pronto.

  4. It’s days like today that make me think maybe the Reds brass knew what they were doing when not moving him to SP. I still believe they should have given it a shot; but if he falls apart a bit after getting squeezed on a strike (as he appeared to today); then he’d have never lasted. Plus, as we’ve gone on into this season he velocity has been dipping a bit; then he’s just another guy to hit.

    Academically, I know it’s just a slump; which happens. Emotionally, I’m seriously doubting that he’s worth the money the Reds are paying him, since they aren’t willing to start him and he’s not been too dominant this year.

    • @Zach: Chapman’s pitched well in exactly one game in May, and that was when he struck out the side against the Crew. That’s 7 outings total, one game in which he pitched well. Sure, a slump, but it’s not today that worries me as much as his poor entire May.

      I think the point is that when you are in the pen, there’s almost never time to work on things (like your slider), unless you come in into a blowout game, which never happens with Baker. And, every pitch is important; ever squeezed strike is important (if the game’s close, like today). If Chapman takes a few batters to get going, he should be starting, where it’s not a disaster if you have a bit of trouble getting going.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate That’s a valid point (the “getting going” thought).

        The more I think about it, the more I hope they trade him before July. Package him with a few prospects and see if they can’t get an above-average hitting SS. I feel like the longer he’s in the league without a reliable third pitch, the lower his trade value.

        Note: This isn’t a “knee-jerk” TRADE HIM, idea. It’s something I’ve been considering since last July, when even though he was dominant, he was just throwing 2 pitches. His value is not going to go up if he doesn’t adapt, I think.

        • @Zach: Obviously, we’re all frustrated with a ninth inning loss, but I’ve wanted to trade him since the 2011 trade deadline, when I figured he’ll never do anything more than relieve.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I’m a little suspicious about why this is coming up after a bad outing. I’m certainly not saying I’m trading Chapman, but Chapman has two less innings than Simon who has pitched the most innings in the Reds bullpen. He’s not being underused as a bullpen pitcher, he’s being misused in the bullpen.

          In my mind, however, you should add Marshall to the trade list too. He is a LOOGY. And if you don’t think he is ask yourself why he has only pitched 6.1 innings on May 20th. That is 1/3 of an inning less than Parra who has been on the DL longer than Marshall was. The only pitcher with less time on the mound is Freeman who was called up for one day.

          I’ve had an uneasy feeling when Broxton comes to the mound since May 1st. Right now he had the highest ERA on the active roster.

          I believe bullpen use (and this is not all Dusty’s fault) has made the back 3 guys ineffective.

        • @TC: Yes, the use issue has effectively neutralized what should be a lights out 7-8-9 combo. Part of it is on Dusty, but part of it is because the Reds have been in so many 3+ run games and games where the starters are in the 8th inning with 80 pitches thrown (of late).

          I guess, if I had my ‘druthers, I’d send off Chapman, make Marshall/Hoover the “closer” (who is always available for 2+ innings; whether it’s a 3 run lead or not), and make Broxton the setup man.

          Broxton will get right, he just looks unconfident right now. All it will take is a really solid “in order” inning or 3 to get him back on his feet. He’s throwing tentatively, trying to aim it instead of throw it. Part of that could be lost adrenaline as well. He’s no longer “the new guy, trying to prove himself” which might have carried him last year and he doesn’t get the “this is for the game *GROWL*” feeling being in the 8th.

    • @Zach: If a starter comes in and immediately gives up 2 rockets, he’s down 2-0 and has the rest of the game to go. If it happens to a closer, it’s over. I still think he should be starting. And batting second (no, wait…)

  5. I disagree that this is a “slump.” It’s clear that opposing teams have a book on Chapman, know what to look for, and when to look for it. The walk-off HR? The batter dove out over the plate and crushed a high fastball. Justin Ruggiano did this to Chappy earlier this year, and Josh Willingham did it last year.

    If Chapman varied his pitches more, throwing more sliders and more inside fastballs, (and how about this change-up that we heard about in the spring?) opposing batters would not be able to wait on their pitch. I wonder if Chappy’s being coached poorly or is executing poorly.

    All this aside, if the Reds won’t use Chapman in a more effective way, I’m all for trading Chapman to the AL and letting Hoover take over as closer.

    • @jessecuster44: “All this aside, if the Reds won’t use Chapman in a more effective way, I’m all for trading Chapman to the AL and letting Hoover take over as closer.”

      Yes. There’s a number of top-contending AL teams that would trade for Chapman in an instant, AND properly utilize him (Tigers? Anyone?). Broom Broxton too, if you can. Marshall & Hoover can more than cover, but…then, there’s always Dusty. And that’s just it, isn’t it? Maybe he’d retire in 2013, then. Maybe.

      • @wildwestLV: Anyone we have in the pen, they are going to get misused by Baker. So, don’t necessarily think moving pieces around will be the key. In that respect, the only piece that will help will be moving Baker.

        As for Chapman, as Jesse described, as new players get around the league, and the other teams learn the book on you, then you in turn need to make adjustments as well. Chapman needs to hit his spots better and develop some offspeed stuff. Even with the 100+ mph balls, Rose said himself that major league players will just sit there and expect it, that they would get it timed and get a hold of it.

  6. Shelby Miller throws just as hard as Chapman. He also locates his pitches. He also starts. Look it up. Yup.

  7. Chapman was scary to hitters at 103+ in 2010…there are many many many big league pitchers that can throw a 97mph fb right down the middle of the plate with no movement. Heck thats what Bailey did for a few years and after adding more movement to his fastball he is a great pitcher (most of the time). If Chapman is not going to use secondary pitches to get them off his 97-98 mph stuff he better dial it up over 100+ everytime or better yet use that nasty slider. I would love to see him pitch backwards just once and start slider slider fastball. He velocity is down from where it was a couple years ago. I have not seen him hit 100 at GAB this year and he lived at 101-103 in his limited 2010- then full 2011 seasons. His delivery is not a shock to most hitters anymore, they have all seen his funky start stop start windup. I feel a trade of Chapman would be the best thing for this club. He always smirks after an ump squeezes him and then he is done. His head gets out of whack fast and where will that head be in October when he dealing with his trial and trying to close games in the playoffs at the same time.

      • @OhioJim: I’m not willing to cut bait, either. But, he has to learn. He has to be able to make the adjustments. That’s the measure of a major league player, can the make the necessary adjustments.

        But, I will say, some people talked so hard about Chapman starting. This was a reason why I was against it. I was interested in seeing what he could do; I would have experimented with it. But, as a starter, you have to locate better, you have to have other pitches, etc. 100+ means nothing if you still can’t put it on a dime, put it where you want. Just because he was a starter in the Cuban league, that doesn’t mean he would work here. These are the major leagues.

        • @OhioJim: I’m not willing to cut bait, either.But, he has to learn.He has to be able to make the adjustments.That’s the measure of a major league player, can the make the necessary adjustments.

          I agree. And he has made adjustments in both 2011 and 2012. In 2011 he got caught up with hitting 104 on the radar gun and reached a point where he couldn’t throw a strike. He came back, with help from Price. In 2012, after he became a closer, he stopped throwing his slider at all and then blew 3 saves in a short time. He again adjusted, with help. He’ll adjust this time too. I have confidence that Price can get him back on track.

          I’ve been as worried about him as anyone in the short run, his command recently has been so poor.

    • @3PuttPar: Interestingly, a couple of times (only a couple) this season Chapman got ahead 0-2 with two sliders (one time was to Starlin Castro) but then threw nothing but fastballs, with a negative result.

      Hitters say it’s not his velocity that makes his fastball tough, it’s the movement. He hasn’t had movement recently.

      He also hasn’t had command recently. His slider is an automatic called strike if he throws it for a strike, but he doesn’t throw it often and too often it’s not for a strike. His command of his fastball has been awful lately. When he can locate it and go up the ladder with it, it’s a very effective pitch.

      I haven’t “given up” on him at all, he’s had slumps like this (and even worse) before and made adjustments to come out of them.

    • Steve Mancuso hit the nail on the head in the game thread. That is, Baker will be very, very, very hesitant to take Chapman out of the closer spot. That’s because Baker is the one that wanted it the most.

      Mancuso called it a judgment issue, but the real term for this is cognitive dissonance. When a decision becomes obviously wrong, human nature is to double down instead of fix it, because you don’t want to admit to a mistake. The way to combat cognitive dissonance is to surround oneself with many people who will challenge you. That does not sound like something that Dusty Baker would ever do.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I’m wondering where does Bryan Price fit into all of this? Baker says Price runs the pitching and has liken Price’s role to being similar to a coordinator in football.

        Price always gets a pass on sites like this as the man who wanted Chapman to start but got overruled. I’m not so sure that is really accurate.

        BTW, I was hoping to see LeCure follow Bailey today then I realized Oh no, its the 8th so it has to Broxton. That one rankles me even more.

        • @OhioJim: Or Hoover. Or Simon. Broxton is inferior to all of them.

          I am ready to cut bait on Chapman. I have been ready for a long time. Nothing to do with performance particularly, just the knowledge that he’s in the wrong role, and always will be.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I will say, though, that “the fix” I don’t believe is to make Chapman a starter at this point in time. If you do, send him to the minors to do it, not up here. If we are going to take advantage of his talent right now at the major league level, “the fix” would be to keep Chapman in the pen, just take him away from closer, at least for a while. But, like Steve M said, Baker won’t ever do it.

        • @steveschoen: That’s correct, it would be hard to, right now, make him a starter without at least some time at AAA.

          If they insist on the pen, I’d love to see him pitch multiple innings, whatever role that is. That won’t happen either.

          I’d prefer most a trade, but that won’t happen either.

        • @steveschoen: I’ve thought the elephant in the corner of the room all along was that they felt he needed AAA finishing before becoming an MLB starter this year. and that was part and parcel of the decision to shuffle him back to the pen.

          I think a team expected to be a World Series contender just doesn’t drop a guy into its rotation who only professional experience as a rotation pitcher was 3 or 4 years ago at AAA and resulted in him being moved to the pen because of inconsistency.

          I agree that a multiple inning role out of the pen might be good for him and the team right now.

        • @OhioJim:

          I think “the fix” would be for Chapman to go on the DL then Hoover takes over as closer and Wally Pips Chapman.

          Once the brass realizes “Hey, we have someone who can close just as well as Chapman did.”, maybe they’d be more open to trading him and filling another of the team’s needs. And hopefully, they can sell high on the notion that he can still be a starter.

          (Personally, I’m with others who are wondering if Chapman has the mental makeup to be a starter. He just seems to be very immature in general.)

        • @CI3J: I won’t claim to know what to do with Chapman, but Wally Pipping him would reduce such trade value as he has dramatically, I think. Others have pointed out that there is no shortage of power arms; once the novelty of seeing 104 on the gun wears off, you have a pitcher who is either in the wrong role, or a pitcher who needs more development to approach his perceived potential: He’s not going to bring us, in trade, the player who solves our problems.

        • @greenmtred:

          Having another player succeed in the closer role while Chapman is out would do nothing to his value. Once Chapman came back from the injury, he would resume the role, but the team would know they have someone else who could do the job and thus make Chapman expendable.

          I’m pretty confident almost every team in MLB would at least kick the tires on a pitcher that holds the record on the fastest pitch every recorded in baseball history, so I’m not worried about Chapman’s value. There are also plenty of teams that would still want to give him a chance at starting, so his value may be even higher than we imagine. The key is identifying those teams who value Chapman the most and trading for something we need from them in exchange for Chapman.

  8. Another thing, Baker’s quote after the game is that we’ve come to think Chapman is automatic, and he’s human.

    Actually, automatic has been the last thing on my mind in most of Chapman’s appearances this year. I find myself holding my breath as he pitches to the first batter each outing, to see if he can throw strikes and if he can get his velocity up.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate:

      Chapaman really seems to have lost all intensity and passion in pitching. Maybe that’s why he wanted to stay as a reliver, he thought it was an easy job that he could just phone it in for but still be famous.

      Chapman is rapidly getting on my nerves. I’m beginning to think signing him was a mistake and that the team was fooled by all the hype.

      • @CI3J: I was glad to see in the Miami game where Chapman gave up the tripple to tie the game he walked into the dugout and tried to throw his glove through a brick wall. Until I saw that I didnt think he cared either.

  9. Didn’t get to watch the game, was busy driving outside of radio coverage. Was Chapman’s velocity down again? If so, that’s a scary trend. Hitting mid 90’s fastballs is much easier than low 100’s. Without the extra velocity, Chapman is very mortal. His slider is decent, but erratic, and his 3rd pitch is non-existent. But that’s what happens when you waste a guy’s starter talent in the bullpen. Very few relievers have a quality 3rd pitch. Thanks Reds management…

  10. Found the answer. Chapman’s walk off pitch was 95, right in the heart of the plate. I don’t buy the “control” explanation for Chapman’s reduced velocity. He’s been just as erratic as ever. Something ain’t right.

    • @D Ray White: I could be wrong, but don’t think it’s a health issue. He was throwing 100-102 in Miami. The 95 mph pitch was after 6 pitches in the 97-99 range, he may have been trying to show the hitter something different. Galvis, who hit it, referred to a “96 mph” cutter after talking about Chapman’s 98-99 mph fastball.

      When Chapman is on his fastball has good late break, but I’m not sure what he means by Chapman’s “cutter”.

      A mistake pitch in any case.

      • @pinson343: Why is it always a mistake pitch when the ball goes over the fence?

        I find myself in the uncomfortable position of agreeing with Baker, who said neither was a mistake. To me, the mistake is that he can’t throw strikes and can’t throw hard enough at this point to make up for it. That’s going to lead to more home runs than usual.

    • @D Ray White: I’ve wondered about his velocity all year, but the other day he was back in the 100’s; don’t know what to think. Concerning the lack of a 3rd pitch, though, I take that as evidence that he’s not ready to start at the mlb level.

  11. OK, off the Chapman topic:

    Fascinating stat from the Arizona Republic newspaper. Gregorius has posted a better than .896 OPS this year. He had a .694 career minor league OPS.

    There was a discussion a few days ago about outperforming minor league numbers. In the Arizona newspaper, it said that:

    “No one in the last ten years has posted a career minor-league OPS below .725 (minimum 1,900 plate appearances) and a career major-league OPS above .741 (minimum 500 plate appearances).”

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Gregorius had really ragged OPS numbers in his first two years. He’s been consistently in the low .700s (but less than the .725 mark)since.

      If he continues to excel, I’d chalk the strangeness up to the fact that he was young and from Europe and had a lot more learning to do.
      He is still only in his age 23 season. By comparison, Cozart came out of a D1 NCAA program and still was only in AA at his age 23 season where he turned a 758 OPS

      • @GeorgeFoster: If anyone can exceed, it’d have to be a Cardinal.

        Overall point is that the mythical player who stinks in the minors but hits well in the majors does not exist.

  12. Also, John Fay tweeted that the Reds are at least thinking about signing Choo, but number of years (and not money) is the main issue.

    He also said that Arroyo “might” be a casualty. Good God, if they could keep Choo, I’d hope they wouldn’t let Choo go on account of Arroyo.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Agreed. That sounds like a no-brainer to me. “Let’s see, keep Choo but lose Arroyo. Hmmm.” Sorry, that one doesn’t require much thought. “Bronson, thank you for your time. You are valuable. You will be missed. But, we need Choo.”

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate:

      Geez, if they sign Choo, trade Hamilton straight away in a package and get Stanton.

      Opening Day 2014:

      CF Choo
      2B Phillips
      3B Votto
      LF Stanton
      RF Bruce
      3B Frazier
      C Mesoraco
      SS Cozart

      That would be awesome.

      Basically, the Reds’ two biggest trade chips are Hamilton and Chapman. Chapman is already expendable, and if the Reds sign Choo to a 4-5 year deal, Hamilton becomes expandable as well.

      The Reds’ two biggest weaknesses are:

      1. Right handed power hitting

      and

      2. Offense from the SS position

      If they can trade Chapman and Hamilton both, with a few more prospects, there is no reason they couldn’t address both of those needs.

      • @CI3J: How many more prospects (and which ones) do you have in mind? I can’t imagine that, barring great improvement from both Chapman and Hamilton (in which case why not keep them?), they’d bring an established power hitter.

        • @greenmtred:

          Why would you keep Hamilton if there is nowhere for him to play? If Choo gets signed, Hamilton should be traded that same day.

          Chapman and Hamilton both have a quality that can’t be taught: Speed. There are plenty of GM’s who would love to have them just for the potential they have. As some on here have said, the key with Chapman is to trade him in hopes that a team envisions and intends to use him as a starter.

          Conversations for someone like Giancarlo Stanton would start with either Chapman or Hamilton, and adding in a guy like Soto or Corcino plus a PTBN or two would probably be enough to get the trade done. Basically, a package like what brought Latos would probably bring Stanton, and I think it would behoove the Reds to look into it as soon as feasible.

        • @CI3J: If I were the Marlins and you asked for Stanton, I’d tell you that a package would start with Hamilton and Cingrani but quite frankly the Reds don’t have any other B+/A level prospects that are close enough to MLB ready to get the job done. I’m sorry but Soto wouldn’t get it done. Maybe Corcino added to the package would get you closer but maybe not. Corcino is probably 2 years away.

          I think it takes a bigger package than the Latos package to land Stanton.

        • @CI3J: Choo moves to left and Hamilton plays center. Certainly not a forgone conclusion that Choo resigns with Reds, though I certainly hope that he does.

  13. Bottom line to today’s frustration for me was that I really wanted to see the Reds finally win a series in Philly. They’re a better team now than the Phils, and it would have been nice to show it with a series win in Philly.

  14. I’m of the opinion that Chapmans’ troubles start just a bit north of his arm. I’m wondering if he’s having trouble handling the new found fame and money since coming from Cuba only a short time ago. He acts like a spoiled kid out there.
    How long before the pressure makes him crack and defect from the game itself?

  15. Chapman’s velocity is fine. But he has no control. And he’s not using his secondary pitches. IF those things can be fixed, he can be effective again.

    (P.S. Can anyone explain what practice is like for a relief pitcher? It just doesn’t seem like it would be that difficult to work on something like your slider or changeup during the day with Brian Price standing there giving feedback. I’m honestly puzzled by this.)

    • @Eric the Red: In most cases, there isn’t a lot in the way of throwing on the side in an MLB bullpen. For relief pitchers, these kinds of things can only be worked on (during the season) in the context of a game. This is the problem with Chapman. He needs to work on his slider and change, and cannot do so out of game situations and, as a closer, cannot afford to tinker during the game because of being in a save situation, not facing anyone in the order more than once, etc. This was another reason why so many folks (present company included) were desperate to see him starting this year and last. He will remain nothing but a thrower until he is starting.

  16. Regarding the concerns that the Reds traded the wrong SS, I think the offensive Didi eruption has passed. Didi’s offensive performance, after that incredibly blazing start, is plummeting back to expectations. Small sample size people, but he did make a big splash. Didi also has a .980 fld% compared to Cozart’s .987 fld%, but I think everyone agrees that both players can field their position with the best.

    Let’s just hope that WJ can pull off a coup and resign Choo. If that happens, the Reds become the big winners in that trade, hands down.

    • Regarding the concerns that the Reds traded the wrong SS, I think the offensive Didi eruption has passed.Didi’s offensive performance, after that incredibly blazing start, is plummeting back to expectations.Small sample size people, but he did make a big splash.Didi also has a .980 fld% compared to Cozart’s .987 fld%, but I think everyone agrees that both players can field their position with the best.

      Let’s just hope that WJ can pull off a coup and resign Choo.If that happens, the Reds become the big winners in that trade, hands down.

      Comparing Fld%? Talk about small sample size, Didi’s only had 99 chances this season and 117 in his career.

      I don’t think anyone can say we traded the wrong shortstop because nobody can say whether the Reds attempted to part with Cozart and were rebuffed. I like Didi more than Cozart, but I also like Choo over both of those guys.

  17. One thing I do have a problem with in the recap is that Broxton was solely to blame for the infield single. He might have been a bit slow getting over there, but let’s also mention that Votto made a bad throw (low and behind him as he was getting to the bag), which would have slowed him down.

    I love Joey was much as anyone, but let’s at least be consistent in our criticisms. Just like with the Cozart injury a couple of years ago (a bad Votto throw put him in the path of the sliding runner), even Votto isn’t perfect.

    • @Bill Lack: Very good point. We are not at all consistent on our criticisms. Broxton got 2 outs and then gave up an IF single and a walk to Young, who’s a walk machine. Chapman faced 3 batters, walking one on 4 pitches and giving up 2 HRs. But here’s the summary of those events:
      “The bullpen combination of Jonathan Broxton, Sean Marshall and Aroldis Chapman gave up three runs in two innings. If Broxton had been faster covering first base on Ben Revere’s routine ground ball to first base, he’d have retired the Phillies in order in the eighth.”

      Sorry this is ludicrous and deeply biased. If Broxton had faced 3 batters, giving up a walk and two consecutive HRs, I suspect it would have been mentioned.

      • @pinson343: Votto made a bad throw. But Broxton isn’t very good, overall. Time and again runners get on, and he can’t put anyone away. Revere hit an 0-2 pitch, because Broxton has no strikeout pitch.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate:

          His use and utility are problematic, but the main point of laying the blame at broxtons feet on the single is not fair and anyone who saw the play would know that. Votto’s throw was low and behind the pitcher. Should have been an error, a good toss gets him. Broxton actually made as best of a play on it as was possible.

          As far as the 9th goes, closers giveth (Kimbrel) and they taketh away (Chapman). It happens and it sucks. Fridays game actually bothered me more.

        • @Lost and Found: I agree, that was an E-3 in my book.

          Kimbrel and Chapman both show the folly of the modern closer. Kimbrel, though, is completely unsuitable for anything but relieving. Just saying.

  18. One thing people talk about his Chapman’s lack of velocity, but does he normally take a few batters to really throw it close to 100? Granted, he should be warmed up and throwing 100 right out of the gate. He shouldn’t need 2/3 of the inning to get up to dominant velocity

  19. Personally, I was for trading Chapman over the winter. His stock wasn’t going to be higher. I’m still for trading him. Perhaps the Reds could make an extremely strong offer for Stanton if they give up Chapman, Leake, and others. The Reds would still have a formidable staff/pen with Hoover/Marshall/Broxton closing and Cingrani back in the rotation.

    • @David: Me too . . . Sadly, though Chapman and Hamilton may have brought Stanton early in the offseason, I doubt it will be enough at this point (despite Stanton’s frustrating season to this point).

  20. Me too . . . Sadly, though Chapman and Hamilton may have brought Stanton early in the offseason, I doubt it will be enough at this point (despite Stanton’s frustrating season to this point).

  21. I talked above about Chapman’s shortcomings and he’s been awful lately and I didn’t want him closing this year. But he’s not getting enough respect on this thread, and not enough credit for how he has performed with the Reds as a reliever (including as a closer). He went thru a similar stretch last year, then his somersault save began a string of 27 consecutive saves. And before becoming closer he went 6 weeks without allowing an earned run, often pitching 2 innings.

    His WAR last year was 3.8. remarkable for a reliever. He had similar awesome streaks in 2011, sandwiched between a horrible stretch.

    This being the high quality blog it is, most people have talked about bigger themes rather than just bashing him. But one would get the impression overall that he’s been useless as a reliever. So far from true.

    • @pinson343: It’s not about giving Chapman respect. It’s about considering his value to this franchise. As was pointed out above, the value of a bullpen arm, especially a closer, is highly variable from year to year, in part because the sample size is always so small. Look at Kimbrel. Look at Rodney. There’s a reason why closer turnover is so high in MLB.

      Chapman had huge value after his season last year, in part because he was so dominant, but also because he could still transition into a SP e.g. Chris Sale. On the other hand, if he flamed out e.g. Neftali Soto, teams still were getting an elite closer. Now, his value is tied solely on his ability to be an elite closer. I’m not sure how much value that has, especially when he’s going through a down stretch. To the Reds, Stanton is far more valuable than Chapman. Trading Chapman, Leake, Lutz, etc. for Stanton would be an incredible steal.

      1. Choo
      2. Phillips
      3. Votto
      4. Stanton
      5. Bruce
      6. Frazier
      7. Hanigan/Meso
      8. Cozart

      1S. Cueto
      2S. Latos
      3S. Arroyo
      4S. Bailey
      5S. Cingrani

      7/8/9 Broxton, Marshall, Hoover

      • @David: I have talked many many times about how his value to the franchise could be greater, and argued the case for more than 2 years for him to at least be given a real chance to start. I repeated in my comment above how I didn’t want him to close this year.

        And whether it’s about respect or not, he’s not getting any for what he’s done as a reliever. A closer saves 27 in a row, everyone loves him. He blows 2 in a row, he’s a bum. I expect more from this site.

        • @pinson343: PS And I am not opposed to including him in a sensible trade. I’m not talking about people who have suggested good trades for him. I’m also not for example talking about Hank’s teammate, who has made consistent statements about Chapman whether he’s hot or cold.

        • @pinson343: Just to be clear, Chapman’s still very good. He’s striking out a ton of batters. He’s walking too many, but it’s not THAT many.

          But he’s not the same pitcher he was. That was a very high level to compare to. But he’s not the same.

        • @pinson343: You’re mistaken. Please address the following point: Chapman has really struggled in 6 out of his past 7 appearances. You are talking about basing things on results, as opposed to the process. The result for a stopper is that he usually finishes the game, and usually gets the save. So judging on converted saves is just a joke in MLB, the way the save is. The broader picture on Chapman is that he’s not been sharp all month. Of course, a not sharp Chapman is still a good pitcher.

          No one said Chapman’s a bum, either. I think he’s not suited to the Dusty Baker role of closing, that’s all.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: It’s obvious that Chapman has been shaky in his last 7, I and others have talked about that no end.

          I’m not judging on converted saves, though 27 in a row was nice. What I’m talking about his history as a Reds reliever. I base that on the .BA/OBP/Slug Pct. of hitters against him, his K/9, K/BB, etc.

          His BB rate this season bothers me, he had improved on that in 2012.

          BTW I pointed out in a comment today that your statements about Chapman have been consistent, whether he’s hot or not.

      • @David: Stanton is hurt, off to a slow start before going on the DL, and by most accounts a defensive liability. If he recovers his form from last year, he’s going to get very expensive, as well. I get how appealing the projected batting order is with Stanton batting 4th, but we wouldn’t get something for nothing and we don’t know that he’s going to be able to contribute much this season, anyway.

  22. Unfortunately, the Indians made the biggest move of the winter. Not the Choo trade (what were they thinking).
    They signed Tito Francona as manager, when the Reds could have done just that. No, WJ had to re-sign Baker. Not much was expected of the Indians this year. But there they sit, in first place. Where is Dusty? Second place fending off a challenge from the third place team.

    • @Summer Breeze: Indians braintrust is a front runner for any GM of the Year awards… Yeah, they traded Choo, but got Bauer and they are using Stubbs appropriately. Then they added Swisher, Bourne, Reynolds, Kazmir… and they are playing lights out baseball right now.

  23. I’m tired of the Broxton bashing. The recap is a good example, Bill Lack and I comment about it above. I too would like to see Marshall and LeCure in the 8th. He got paid $21M for 3 years, too much. He’s a slow worker, etc.

    He is not the crappy pitcher he is made out to be on this site. He’s had ONE bad outing this season, and that was after he hadn’t pitched for a week. His WHIP for the Reds last year was 1.03, this year it’s 1.07. Throughout his career, he’s allowed very few HRs – you can look it up. He’s allowed 2 this year, both in the same game.

    In short, he adds depth to the pen, and without him we’d be seeing more of Ondrusek in high leverage situations.

    • @pinson343: The fact that Broxton prevents more Ondrusek is a Dusty Baker thing. Broxton isn’t a crappy pitcher, but he’s probably just barely above average as a reliever. He does not miss bats and is not a strike thrower either.

      The Reds have plenty of talented relievers to cover all high leverage situations. Baker just doesn’t understand that.

      Yes, Broxton pitched great for the Reds last year in 2 months (8.2K/9, 1.2 BB/9). That’s an aberration, if you look at his numbers post surgery. His numbers this year are closer to what I’d expect.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: You agree with my main point, that he’s not a crappy pitcher. And I would agree with tour assessment of just barely above average.
        And yes Ondrusek is a Dusty Baker thing. But my point about depth is simply that with him the Reds have 6 decent relief pitchers, without him they’d only have 5. That’s a big difference, especially when DB is managing.

        Even with that horrible outing, his WHIP this season is 1.07. It’s a long ways to go to regress to his overall post surgery numbers. This might raise the BABIP discussion, but I’ve said enough.

  24. Broxton sucks. He is being paid $7MM this year to get 3 outs when he is summoned from the bullpen. That is it. Three lousy outs and he cannot even do that. Three outs. It isn’t rocket science. Its pitching. Throw strikes and once in awhile get your fat rear over to first base to cover. And he cannot even do that.

  25. All the above talk about trading Chapman? I’m sorry but it’s not going to happen. Maybe it’s the “best” thing to do but I’d be completely stunned if it happened unless the Reds fell out of the race.

  26. I believe that a big part of the reason that Chapman isn’t starting is because of some of the “above the neck” issues that people are talking about in this thread. Perhaps Baker convinced Jocketty that Chapman would be overexposed in the rotation? Perhaps Price agreed? Then there’s the lack of a consistent secondary let alone tertiary pitch. His slider is outstanding sometimes but at other times he can’t locate it to save his life. Sure, as a starter he’d have to use the slider more and there is a fair chance that his command of it would improve. What if it didn’t though?

    As for comparisons to Miller, I think the command of his curveball is better than Chapman’s command of his slider. Aside from that, it’s a good comparison because Miller relies on his fastball throwing it about 75% of the time.

    Still not sure why Chapman is closing and not starting but thought that perhaps lack of emotional maturity as mentioned on this thread, could be one of the reasons.

    • @LWBlogger: It’s been hinted by Reds reporters and broadcasters that “Above the neck issues” are a problem with Chapman. The extent of them might be more severe than we know about.

        • @Bill Lack: Hmmmm, not sure if you can point at that but I’m betting if he really did eat a bunch of those pastries, it didn’t help. I know I didn’t like eating much at all before a game.

  27. Sheldon writes,

    ‘Chapman and Baker both felt that Chapman did not make mistake pitches to Kratz and Galvis.

    Baker said. “We were thinking Galvis has power from the left side. We were thinking Kratz was really the only guy that could hurt you at the bottom of the order. I guess it shows that anybody with a bat is dangerous.”

    “Sometimes it’s assumed when a guy hits a ball out, that it’s a mistake. I hit quite a few of them that weren’t mistakes,” Baker said. “It was a matter of them hitting well at the right time.” ‘

    To me this says Dusty/Hanigan think Chapman has absolutely no control over his pitches. The 2nd homerun was belt high over the middle of the plate. Baker is basically saying they wanted Chapman to throw it just throw it over to not get behind in the count. This to me brings up 3 points.

    1. Dusty tells his own club to be agressive at the plate. Be ready for a good pitch to hit and when one comes, don’t take it. Its kinda dumb to think other teams hitters wouldnt do the same thing.

    2. I find it just sad that Chapmans control is so bad they have to resort to this strategy when he could be so much better.

    3. As many others have pointed out, the strategy works a lot better at 103 than it does at 95 – 97.

    Given that, I’m afraid that if Chapman doesnt either get more control/throw other pitches for strikes or up his velocity to about 102, this type of outing will be more than norm than the exception.

  28. The thing with Chapamn is you know what he is throwing. As an opposing batter, you don’t have to guess. You know a fast ball (with no movement and straight as an arrow) is coming. Plate discipline. Pick out your zone within the strike zone. And if Chapman throws it in your zone then kill it. Thats is the book on Chapman. Just wait on your pitch. Because you know Chapman is going to throw a couple that are belt high out over the outer half of the plate. These aren’t prolific HR hitters that are clobbering him.

  29. I was just watching a recording of Baseball Tonight. They showed 3 of the 4 “balls” Chapman threw to walk the leadoff batter were strikes. It’s tough to pitch when only balls down the middle get called for strikes. I’m not excusing Chapman–or the organization that has been failing to develop and maximize his talent–but it’s worth pointing out.

  30. BTW, what on earth was Neftali Soto doing getting his first MLB at bat with a runner in scoring position and one out in the 9th inning of a one run game? Mesoraco would have been a much better choice, and if he drives in that run maybe the bottom of the 9th goes differently. I predicted this very thing in the thread the other day. Another insane bit of managing.

  31. Chapman is not starter material because he has control issues and not enough different pitches. His blazing speed in the 9th. inning has worked for the last couple of years, but the book is now out on him. Chapman could bring us a bonifide right-handed hitting cleanup hitter. Chapman to Miami for Stanton.

  32. I think this is very much ado about nothing. Chapman looked exactly the same yesterday as he has all year. People have griped up and down on this thread about how Chapman has no control this year.Well, have you looked at all?

    Chapman has thrown 49.8% of his pitches in the zone this year, compared to 46.2% last year. First pitch strikes are up too. His average fastball is down from 98mph to 97.2 mph, which is hardly night and day.

    He’s walked a few more guys, and that’s too bad. His BABIP is up 50 points and his HR/FB rate has doubled. To me, that mostly looks like a guy who’s been a little bit more hitable, but mostly just the normal fluctuations that happen year-to-year.

    And all this head-shrinker stuff. It’s so old. Mat Latos gets pissed, visably, when he gets squeezed. Homer Bailey and Leake do too. The only one of the Reds’ starters who really doesn’t is Arroyo, and he’s a different beast all together.

    Usiang Chapman in the way that they are is really stupid. But it’s stupid because he’s really good, and nothing in the last few weeks makes me think otherwise.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: He had a much worse stretch in the middle of last year. He’s pitched 5.2 innings in may. That’s the equivalent of one abad start. All this trade him now, demote him stuff, it just seems a little extreme.

        • @al: It’s not extreme. He has little value on this team. He’s not going to put up stats significantly better than your run of the mill closer. (In terms of save %.) Why not maximize his value? I’ve been saying this for a long time, that I don’t want him in the bullpen, and if they insist on using him as a traditional closer, I’d rather trade him for something that is more useful. It’s got nothing to do with the last few weeks.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I’m not saying they shouldn’t trade himn, I’m saying the overall fan reaction to how he’s pitched over the last few weeks seems extreme.

          I’ve always said he should be a starter. 2011 was the yera to do it, and there’s no rational argument for not having tried it then.

          If you think he’s wasted as closer and should be traded, I get that. What I don’t get is thinking that he’s gotten a lot worse since last year, since I just don’t see it.

  33. Also, I just find it absurd that so many people who think closers are important are still looking for JJ Hoover to be the closer. I mean, if you think closers are stupid in general, I guess you could have him do it, but the idea that he’s really good… I just don’t get it.

    JJ Hoover has been the least valuable pitcher the Reds have this year by WAR, clocking in at -.4. His FIP is 5.39, and his x FIP is 4.38.

    He’s got the highest walk rate on the team. He’s got the lowest groundball rate on the team. He’s got the highest HR/9IP rate on the team.

    So what is it exactly that makes this guy everyone’s favorite as the Reds closer of the future? Right now I’m chalking that trade up as a bust.

    Marshall, Lecure, and Simon have all be demonstrably better than Hoover this year.

    • @al: Hoover is better than Broxton. That’s all. Plus he was abused early in the season. Stoppers never get abused if they pitch for Baker.

    • @al: You made some good points on your Chapman post but you lost me some on the Hoover post. I don’t know if Hoover would make a good choice to be a closer or not and I can’t argue with his overall numbers not being too good this year. What can be debated is the validity of those numbers over such a small sample size as those from a RP early in a season (or a RP at all). He’s worked less than 19 innings. Last season he put up a slash-line against of .160/.248/.364 … This year he hasn’t been terrible at .203/.304/.449. He’s 25 and for his career he hasn’t hit the 50 IP mark yet. I think it is WAY too early to pass so much judgement or to call the trade a bust. Especially when you consider that Francisco is pushing 30, is a below-average defender at 3B, and isn’t really a particularly good hitter over a reasonably decent sample size.

      • @LWBlogger: If you think that it’s just a sample size issue, then fair enough, all we can do is wait and see, either way.

        I happen to think that I have a fairly good idea of who this pitcher is, and it’s why I was preaching caution about him all offseason.

        Last year K/9: 9.1 This year K/9: 9.2
        Last year BB/9: 3.8 This year BB/9: 4.3
        Last year HR/9: 0.6 This year HR/9: 1.9
        Last year BABIP: .195 This year BABIP: .208
        Last year GB%: 24 This year GB%: 32
        Last year xFIP: 4.40 This year xFIP: 4.38

        His BABIP in the minors ranged from .203 to .364

        So look at that and tell me what you see. Because I see essentially the same pitcher in both yeras.

        What I see is a high-strikeout, high-walk, extreme flyball pitcher. Last year he got really lucky on balls in play and flyballs not leaving the yard. This year he’s gotten lucky on balls in play, but his HR luck has run out, as you had to know it would in GABP.

        An extreme flyball closer for the Reds? Really? And if that BABIP ever starts getting closer to .300, look out.

      • @LWBlogger: An maybe “bust” is too strong of a word in a minor transaction. But the Reds have gotten 49 replacement level innings from Hoover, and the Braves have gotten 14 HRs in 300 PA from Fransisco, accounting for 1 WAR.

        So they’re definitely ahead. Granted Juan had worn out his welcome and had to be dealt.

        • @al: Yes, Hoover’s tendency for giving up fly balls has been and is a concern for me. I can certainly see that. His xFIP I think bears that out. Relief pitchers are really hard to project though and I like his high K rate. I’m not sure his BB rate won’t go down some either.

        • @al: Also, you are assuming that Fransisco would have produced the same for the Reds as he has for Atlanta. I tend to think the trade helped him gain some focus. It’s just my opinion but I think the Hoover the Reds have now is more valuable to the team than the Fransisco they had before.

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