2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: Who likes beating the Cubs?

Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Chicago (NL) 4
Cincinnati 7

W: B. Arroyo (5-4)
L: S. Feldman (4-4)
S: A. Chapman (11)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–The Cubs took a quick 3-0 lead, and you won’t be surprised to discover that Joey Votto got the Reds going with a fourth-inning homer. On the night, Votto was 2-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. He’s now hit in twelve consecutive games.

–Later in that five-run fourth inning, Ryan Hanigan slammed a three-run homer to give the Reds a lead they would not relinquish.

–Brandon Phillips put the game away in the eighth with a two-run homer on a 3-2 count, after fouling off five pitches in a row. BP was 2-4 with two runs scored and two RBI. That’s an 11-game hitting streak for Phillips.

–Zack Cozart had two hits.

–Bronson Arroyo was not particularly sharp (none of Cincinnati’s four pitchers tonight were very sharp, frankly), but Arroyo does get credit for a “quality start,” whatever that means. He allowed three runs on six hits and two walks in six innings to collect his fifth win.

NEGATIVES
–Jonathan Broxton struggled again tonight, giving up a run on two hits in the eighth inning. The run allowed the Cubs to cut the margin to one, but fortunately, Phillips’ homer later that inning gave Cincinnati a little cushion before the Chapmania began.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–Fourth straight win for the mighty Redlegs, and twelve wins in fifteen games. Cincinnati is now 12 games over .500. They didn’t reach 12 over for the first time last year until July 15. We’re ahead of schedule, gang!

–The Reds have won 18 of 23 against the Cubs dating back to the beginning of last season.

–Homer Bailey will face our old friend Travis Wood tomorrow.

Source: FanGraphs

44 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Who likes beating the Cubs?

  1. I love these recaps. The past three years I have been in Korea and relied heavily on them. Glad to be back stateside and in KY in September. I will go to a playoff game!!

    • @Kurt Frost: I haven’t heard a game on the radio in a couple of weeks…Actually the last time I listened was the Marlins series. During that game Marty was still bashing Votto. Has he changed his tune any recently?

  2. We’ve talked about the need for Chapman to make an adjustment. He wasn’t sharp with his fastball today but made an important adjustment, going to his slider as his out pitch. He threw 7 sliders, 6 for strikes. On his 3 Ks, he used his slider for strike 3 against DeJesus, strike 2 against Rizzo, and strikes 2 and 3 against Soriano.
    Great way to pitch Soriano, who loves fastballs but will chase sliders.

    I can’t recall a single Chapman slider that was hit in fair territory this year. Maybe there has been, I just don’t remember. Hitters will sometimes make contact with his slider as they begin on certain pitches to look for it. That’s a good thing, because if they’re looking slider, his fastball is that much more effective.

      • @LWBlogger: That’s interesting. Wouldn’t it be the case that he’s more likely to learn to command his slider if he pitches as a starter?

        Also, in terms of the unhittable-ness of his slider, part of that is because he’s most often either planning to throw it in the dirt, or can’t control it and it ends up in the dirt. It’s certainly true he needs to be able to control that slider…there’d be more hits off it, but he’d be overall more successful.

    • @pinson343: The Mets hit his slider to right field last series, I forget which batter but it was an easy out for Bruce. His slider is good when he can throw it for strikes.

    • @pinson343: In the Brewers’ series, Aramis Ramirez led off the inning by crushing a hanging slider, then Chapman didn’t throw another one the rest of the inning. I really think that may have shook him up a little bit, especially throwing it to righties, but I’m glad he’s got it back working again. That’s the key to a worry-free 9th.

  3. Votto hitting bombs to the opposite field makes me feel real good about the Reds. The power swing is fully back.

  4. Just a couple of comments about Chapman…..

    For a while there in the 9th I was thinking well at least they had found their LOOGY to replace Marshall; but then he ruined it all by getting the K on Soriano. :)

    On a slightly more serious note… Has it occurred to anyone else that what we may be seeing with Chapman is the process of him actually becoming a pitcher versus just a thrower? Necessity is the mother of invention; and, being down several MPH on his fastball, he is learning it is sink or swim with his other stuff.

    Don Gullet cut his teeth in the pen; and, So to did Mario Soto. We might yet see Chapman emerge as a starter next year. If so, it will be as much or more because of what he is learning on the job right now as opposed to looking flashy in ST when the pitchers are always ahead of the hitters.

  5. Csrdinales are pounding away on the Dodgerooties. Who is going to crack first?

    Over the long haul I still like the Reds chances more because I feel like the have better all around pitching and also the better defense. The thing the Reds must do to leverage these advantages it to avoid any prolonged slides.

  6. The reds have won 11 out of their last 13 and they have only picked up 2 games on the Cardnials. That is amazing. Another amazing stat the Pirates are 10-50 in their last 60 games in Miller Park.

  7. The reds have won 11 out of their last 13 and they have only picked up 2 games on the Cardnials. That is amazing. Another amazing stat the Pirates are 10-50 in their last 60 games in Miller Park.

    • @Larry1980: I prefer to think of it as “the Cards have won 9 out of 13 games, and not only have they failed to extend their Division lead, they’ve actually lost two games to the Reds. That’s amazing.”

  8. MLB Network was loving on the Cards tonight. They were saying they felt sorry for the other teams in the Central. Now the Cards are excellent. I thought they’d be good and they are even better than I thought but to basically dismiss the Reds is just ignorant. Maybe the Cards are better but maybe the Reds are better. It’s a little early to be crowning the Cards NL Central champs. Annoying.

    • @LWBlogger: Especially when the Reds have won the division 2 of the last 3 years and a team not called the Cardinals won it the year in between.

      We both understand that the Cards and the Reds are both currently blunting the kind of ruin by the other that often creates the decisive margin within a division. The difference could come down to which cools off first. However I think the winner will be the on which avoids any prolonged drought(s) because neither is likely to get as hot (again) over an extended period as they are now.

  9. It’s not even June and we’re 12 games over .500! Life is good. No complaining. Okay, maybe a little. I have more faith in Hoover than either Broxton or Chapman right now.

  10. Forgot to add one thing: anybody miss Chris Heisey? Didn’t think so. I like Chris, I really do and I want him to succeed but he could be traded and I don’t think we’d regret it.

    • @sezwhom1: Maybe once Ludwick is close to returning, sure. But I can’t say that Paul/Lutz/Robinson will maintain the performance level they’ve shown so far. Hopefully Heisey will be back in a week or two and return to his usual form, which could make him a useful trade chip near the deadline. Definitely want to see him succeed though, you gotta love the hustle he give you every day. He could be an everyday OFer for a not-so-competitive team, in exchange for some bullpen help if Marshall can’t stay healthy.

    • @sezwhom1: Heisy’s primary future role with this Reds team should be as the RH power threat off the bench. He’s shown that he can be a game changer when spotted correctly in that role.

      Unfortunately I think he has also shown he isn’t as capable as an everyday player as Paul/ Lutz/ Robinson have been (and presumably one of them will have to go to make room for Heisey to return).

      Beyond being a PH I see his role as a right handed bat in the line up versus LH pitching and late inning defensive replacement. If Robinson goes down to make room for Heisey, that also makes him the back up CF.

      • @OhioJim: I honestly do not understand this Lutz thing. 38 at bats, and he’s better than Heisey as an everyday player? Why don’t we have a pool for the first time Lutz draws a walk. Hell, gets to a 3 ball count.

        Lutz must be sent down. And, yes, Heisey is not an every day player either.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I think it is the “pop” factor with Lutz that is winning him favor.

          Personally, I like Robinson over Lutz or Heisey if we are talking 1 position on the roster among them. Start with the fact he is a switch hitter and has shown a knack for getting on base. Also as a pinch runner he is virtually a lock to score form first on any double or second on any single that gets out of the infield or from third on marginal potential SAC flies and close call infield grounders.

  11. Fun game. One highlight for me was BP’s remarkable play, the behind-the-back throw on the long bunt. That the runner beat it out (just barely) is almost beside the point; I’ve never seen another second baseman who could have made that as close a play as it was and, anticipating possible charges of excessive flashiness, the way he threw it was the only way to do it and make it close. It wasn’t just a flip, either: It was on the money and had some velocity.

  12. A thought occurs to me, not specifically related to last night’s game, about Marshall. Many of us have taken his very limited use as evidence of ongoing blundering in pitching staff management. Without arguing about blunders, real and perceived, I will cite the Marshall situation as evidence that at least some unfathomable(to us)decisions are based on information that we don’t have. It is hard to figure how the shortstop always batting second could be explained that way, however…

    • @greenmtred: So you’re asserting that he was hurt and they knew it and continued to leave him off the injured list? Not sure I understand how that makes it a better decision in any of eyes. Also, a lot of the disparaging comments came because Baker said before that game (the game before it was announced he was hurt) that all pitchers were available.. and then he started making bullpen decisions that indicated anything but. How the Reds handle injuries is a big flaw in the organization I think. I have no idea if other teams do it the way the Reds do it, but I hope not.

      • @Mwv: Not the only way it could go: nagging pain, tightness, etc. wouldn’t necessarily be worthy of the DL if there is a chance of it working itself out. If you put a pitcher on the DL every time he had soreness or tightness, you wouldn’t have a staff. You might decide to be judicious in your use of that pitcher for a while in order to avoid using the DL. Baker is not obligated to tell all of us (and, therefore, the other team) about the condition of all of his players.

    • @greenmtred: I don’t buy any of it. Last year, his usage pattern was similar, and he was healthy.

      In addition, is there some kind of injury a pitcher can get that allows him to pitch only to left handed hitters?

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I like your comment, and can’t argue your points about how Marshall is used because I don’t do the research. However, you’d be hard put to convince me that we are really privy to all of the information that Dusty, the coaches and management are. And sometimes facts we don’t know enter into the decision-making process.

  13. Geez, I hate when someone says we don’t know all of the facts. Ismael Guillon is the only other LH pitcher other than Cingrani on the 40 man and he’s in Dayton. Looks like it’s Parra or nothing for a loogy while Cingrani works on the secondary pitches.

    • Geez, I hate when someone says we don’t know all of the facts….

      But this is often very true. Teams in general and I think Jocketty and Baker specifically try to mask their situations involving player availability, especially with situational players. And this is not even allowing for the fact that there is a deeply embedded culture among the players to hide hide injury from management as long as they can.

  14. Regarding Broxton, there’s no doubt in my mind that there is no way he could pitch himself out of the 8th inning role, no matter how badly he does. It’s just a misuse of resources for Lecure, Simon, or Hoover not to get the high leverage innings there. Broxton is just not a good pitcher. He’s at best slightly above average. The Reds might honestly be better off without him, given the way he’s used, because he’s preventing three good relievers from pitching more and in higher leverage situations.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Agree and the really sad part is that Brox could be great for us, if used properly. That’s how I feel about the bullpen as a whole (Parra being the exception). If used properly they would be devastating, plenty of talent in our pen. Assigning them specific roles though that are set in stone just diminishes their value to the point where some of them become a liability and that’s a huge shame.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: LeCure would be my eighth inning guy right now. I know it doesn’t fit with a lot of the thinking on this site but I believe there is a subtle difference between what it takes to be the best for the team in the 8th versus the 9th.

      LeCure will fight like heck to avoid giving up a run but when he is extended to the breaking point I think he is more likely to cut and control his losses at one run than Hoover at this point. This is an important quality in any situation but I believe it is slightly more important in the 8th than in the 9th.

      Conversely, I think Hoover would emerge unscored upon in situations where LeCure would give up a run but is more likely to sell the farm to a multiple run inning. So, I’d use him in the 9th where I think all in is slightly more important.

  15. I just rewatched the 9th. If you want to see the value of Chapman’s secondary pitches, watch Soriano’s at bat. The first pitch was something off speed that missed. The second pitch was a fastball right down the middle, which Soriano would normally crush. But he completely froze thanks to the slider he’d just seen. Third pitch 87 MPH, which Soriano missed badly. When he can come close to locating, the hitters can’t sit on the fastball. Ball game.

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