2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: Do Not Like

Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Cleveland 5
Cincinnati 2

W: J. Masterson (8-3)
L: B. Arroyo (5-5)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Brandon Phillips had two hits, Joey Votto and Xavier Paul each homered, and JJ Hoover pitched a perfect inning. That’s it.

NEGATIVES
–Bronson Arroyo pitched pretty well through five, but the wheels fell off in the sixth inning as he allowed a three-run homer to Jason Giambi. On the night, Arroyo went 5.2 innings, allowing five runs on eight hits and one walk. Not his best outing.

–Joey Votto committed a throwing error.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–Can’t win ‘em all, I suppose. In fact, the Redlegs have lost eight in a row at (what will always be) Jacobs Field.

–Not much more to add. An ugly game, but the Reds will get back on the horse tomorrow.

Source: FanGraphs

85 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Do Not Like

  1. Dusty going to Dusty no matter what. Reds just have to win, in spite of that. Leave that many runs on base and it will come back to bite you on the you-know-what. That’s just it. Pirates win. Cards win. Keep truckin’.

    • @wildwestLV: I knew, just knew, that people were going to blame this one on Dusty. We’ll ignore the fact that he wasn’t one of the Reds’ hitters who came to bat with the bases loaded and none out (initially) without driving anyone in. I know rbis are insignificant, but a few more would have helped last night. I also knew, as do we all and Dusty, that Arroyo goes from good to sketchy in the 6th. Yes, I was screaming (very quietly) that they should bring someone else in. And they did. And it was Ondrusek. The trouble with bailing on the starters at the first sign of trouble is that we will be seeing more of Ondrusek and Parra. Don’t know the answer. I suppose that we could run out and buy better relief pitchers, but who might they be?

        • @steveschoen: You are right, and so is al, to a point: a number of commentators on this site largely blame most or all Reds’ deficiencies on Dusty. The problem with al’s solution to the bullpen problem is that the bullpen routinely needs to cover 3 or more innings a game. The “good” relievers won’t be able to sustain that workload, since the Reds are winning far more often than not. All of that said, I don’t claim to know a solution.

      • @greenmtred: In a game like last night, there is plenty of blame to go around, so yeah, singling Dusty out isn’t really fair.

        That said, it was clear Bronson was done and leaving him out there was a bad move. And to your point, about the bad relievers, that is an implicit part of the criticism of Dusty. He doesn’t understand what a high-leverage situation actually is, he just manages by the score. If the Reds are winning, you use the good relievers, if they aren’t, you use the bad relievers. Simple, right?

        But obviously, the 6th inning with two guys on and Giambi up, with the Reds only down 1 run, that was the ballgame right there. Dusty should have brought in Lecure, Simon, or Chapman, those are the guys that have pitched the best. He never will, and so it gets old making the same point every day, but that doesn’t make the point less true.

  2. I agree with the comments over on the game thread that whomever is calling the Reds pitching changes seemed to be asleep at the wheel again tonight.

    If my memory serves correctly the last three major opposition scoring innings in Reds losses have evolved from 2 out nobody on base situations. One would think that might ring a bell or make an impression elsewhere than in my aging mind.

    Aside from that, who that saw the previous Giambi AB to the HR tonight is going to let Arroyo face him with the game on the line. I guess that is a really sad commentary on the manager’s/ pitching coach’s (lack of)confidence in the next man up to pitch (Ondrusek),

  3. Dusty Baker wasn’t asleep at the switch in the sixth inning. He apparently knew that Bronson couldn’t get Giambi out. Here’s what Baker said after the game per John Fay:

    “It seemed like he couldn’t get anything past Giambi all night,” Baker said. “You know it. Everybody else knows it. You hope for the best.”

    So, that’s the new strategy, hoping for the best. Baker knew it was a bad matchup, he just couldn’t figure out what to do about it. Why not get someone up when Cabrera singles, or before? Brace yourselves for the next quote:

    “How long do think it takes to get somebody loose?” Baker said. “You don’t know when Bronson is going to give it up. You can’t keep somebody ready all the time. You’ll wear out your whole bullpen keeping them ready. Usually, it takes 20 pitches. How long did (the hits) take seven or eight?”

    True, you don’t know when Bronson is going to go south. BUT you do know exactly when Giambi is scheduled to bat in the order, and that is exactly what the issue was tonight.

    Try this. With two outs, Asdrubul Cabrera singles. At that point, you get someone up in the bullpen, whomever you are planning to face Giambi other than Arroyo. Then you send Hanigan out to talk to Arroyo. Then you pitch to Nick Swisher. The at bat takes five pitches. You can have Arroyo throw over to first base a couple of times. Maybe send Hanigan out again. Then Swisher gets his hit. You send Bryan Price out. At that point, you’ve surely bought enough time to get someone ready.

    Instead, Baker didn’t even try. He didn’t get anyone up. Swisher’s AB could have taken ten pitches. Baker just let it unfold.

    OR you could have had Parra (whoever) up earlier, just in case Giambi comes up. If he doesn’t you warm that pitcher up for the next inning.

    That’s too big of a burden for the bullpen? Unbelievable. Seriously, there is a lot to like about Dusty Baker, but he (and apparently his pitching coach) are simply terrible at decision-making for the bullpen.

    • @Steve Mancuso: Honestly, part of the issue might be that Baker is at about a 7th grade level when trying to explain things. He probably meant that he simply didn’t want to go to the bullpen that early (I would disagree, but that’s what I bet he meant). Thus the “hope for the best” idiotic quote.

      The second quote probably means that you can tire out a bullpen if you constantly get them up and don’t bring them in. Of course, he doesn’t say that, and his quote is, yes, idiotic.

      What exactly is there to like about Baker? I get the even keel part, etc, plus we don’t know about the clubhouse stuff, but in terms of stuff we can see, he’s really bad.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: (I realize you aren’t really disagreeing or defending Baker. My frustration is directed at the manager and coaches, not you.)

        So the Reds are never going to use the bullpen in the sixth inning or before?

        With the starting pitchers that the Reds have, how can our bullpen constantly be a source of frustration? Use them too often. Don’t use them enough. Worried we’ll wear them out. They’re rusty.

        My guess is that Baker just didn’t figure on needing to pitch to Giambi that inning, especially after the first two outs. Then he just fiddled as Arroyo burned. And he came up with all that stuff to say after the fact.

        • @Steve Mancuso: Our starting pitchers are good, but none of them go deep into the game on a regular basis, so the bullpen gets, possibly, too much work.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: What’s to like about Baker? The team that he manages is 13 games over .500 a third of the way into the season. How about that? Anticipating that you will say that this is in spite of Dusty, I will point out that, as you know perfectly well, that is an opinion and not quantifiable at all.

        • @greenmtred: So, Dusty doesn’t make some bonehead decisions at times? The team being 13 games up is hardly a defense for his bonehead decisions. For, the comeback is always, just imagine how much better we could be without his bonehead decisions.

        • @greenmtred: How many wins would the average manager have? We don’t know, but just saying they are 13 games over .500 does nothing for me in isolation. Their starters ERAs are great and they have three guys in the lineup getting on base at a .400+ clip. They should be good.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: They should be good and they are: second best record in all of baseball. The question that the constant criticism of Dusty demands is: how many wins SHOULD the Reds have? You acknowledge that we can’t know, but I infer from your criticism that you think they should be doing better. They seem to me to be a good team with some weaknesses–like all of the contenders–and are doing, if anything, better than I expected. Of course I don’t agree with Dusty’s every move, but I never played pro ball and never managed it, either. They are mostly fun to watch and are playing well and it seems reasonable to enjoy the season.

    • @Steve Mancuso: I didn’t stick around to hear Dusty’s comments because I figured it would be some version of the wing and prayer, hope for the best explanation.

      In line with what HAT says, I also expected there would be some reference to saving the pen for Thursday and the weekend and the 8/9 days until the next off day. In this case I don’t agree. They burned Ondru anyway and could have used Parra for the one hitter (or two if needed depending on which way they wanted Santana batting if he got up)

      Also at the point in the game they were at, it seems to me they should have had somebody getting ready form the get go because Arroyo is infamous for losing it on a dime.

    • @Steve Mancuso: As Arroyo was left in to face Swisher (who had hit him hard in the previous AB) and Giambi (ditto), my wife asked, “Why is Dusty leaving him in?” . . . I replied, “Gotta get Bronson the ‘W'” . . . This was a tongue in cheek comment. However, I do believe that this had something to do with the mindless decision of leaving Bronson in against (at least) Giambi. The thought of this makes me cringe.

      • I agree leaving Bronson in was probably a bonehead decision by Baker. However, I can’t help thinking that isn’t the main reason for the loss. Our offense had plenty of chances to drive in runs. The offense just wasn’t there tonight. Baker’s decision just didn’t help matters.

  4. How come Bronson didn’t get the (seemingly new) Baker-visit-to-the-mound, to-see-if-he-could-keep-going, consult? Too veteran a player? Curiouser and curiouser. In October, unless the bats are going ballistic, it will get you killed though. Sorry. GO REDS!

    • @wildwestLV: Better yet why did Arroyo basically take himself out which he has been known to do by signalling the bench. I think they all have no confidence in the Pen B team, Ondru and Parra.

      Also have to wonder just how sound LeCure is. His true availability could be impacting these decisions. Last year (or was it 2011) they nursed him along for the longest period of time when he wasn;t really in game shape

        • @OhioJim: IF LeCure is injured, then, yes, this could be a serious issue that nobody, outside of the clubhouse, knows about. But what about Hoover, tonight? I… again, the offense SHOULD have put this one away. I’ll just shut up. This team has enough talent to win, in spite of Dusty. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

        • @wildwestLV: I agree LeCure’s situation should not have impacted tonight. As it turned out they didn’t use any more relievers for any longer tonight than if they had pulled Arroyo before the HR except that they “saved” Parra.

          (snark alert) maybe they were concerned that if they got out of the inning they would end up burning the A team and still come up short….

        • @OhioJim: I think you’re right, and Dusty just conceded the loss and spared his bullpen for… I guess tomorrow when loser Homer Bailey gives it up (j/k), or this weekend when the Bucs run us over (j/k). Good God, though, now you have me losing sleep that Sam LeCure is injured.

        • @wildwestLV: How can there be any doubt that LeCure is nursing an injury? Dusty wouldn’t have used him in the sixth even if he were healthy, but his use the past couple of weeks makes it clear he’s not himself.

  5. Well, so much for me parroting what the Indians announcers mentioned—no Reds starter has lost a decision since May 8. I think more than the Giambi matchup issue, the issue was that Arroyo completely lost command of his offspeed pitches. Any hitter, even an over the hill one, can figure that out.

    Biggest negative BY FAR—Xavier Paul check swinging into a double play with no one out and the bases loaded. Masterson had a high pitch count, we had him on the ropes, and just like that the tenor of the game completely changed.

    Eh, the Reds were a longshot on paper in this one.

      • @OhioJim: @OhioJim: Agree. I’m not a big XP fan, but he’s had a number of very helpful at bats. He’s a terrible defensive outfielder, but that doesn’t hurt us too often. I do chuckle whenever Thom talks about how spectacular our defense is, but he doesn’t mention LF.

  6. Ultimately, if the line doesn’t drive in runs, Dusty gets a free pass on bullpen management (or lack, thereof). That’s a fact. We can (and I do) argue about what he does (regarding the bullpen) but, if we strand runners, the point is moot. At least to Dusty.

  7. I’m not a professional, but I said in print before the game that with no pitcher in the lineup I’d hope for 5 good innings from Bronson instead of 6. Odd how the professionals couldn’t expect something similar and get somebody up in the pen. You know, just in case. I’d even take Manny Parra against Giambi vs a tiring Arroyo against Giambi in that situation. (I won’t count this in the “games Cingrani might have helped us win” tally, only because even with him in the pen I don’t believe Dusty would have brought him in since it’s clear he wasn’t going to be ready to bring ANYONE IN.)

    • @Eric the Red: These types of comments are self-aggrandizing. I’m not buying it, sir. Arroyo was strong through 5 with the exception of a 23 (or so) pitch 4th inning. But he did bounce back with a quick 5th after which he was sitting at 68 pitches. Why would you take him out at that point? That would make absolutely no sense what so ever.

      It made no sense to get someone going in the bullpen at the beginning of the 6th. None.

      • @TC: Except it was the same three hitters that burned him in the 4th that came up in the 6th and burned him again. What’s that definition of insanity? I agree that shouldn’t have had anyone up at the start of the inning, but the second Cabrera got his hit the bullpen should be scrambling.

      • @TC: Bronson does this regularly, and it’s not about pitch counts. He’d gotten pounded by that part of the order in the 4th. It was a highly probable event, not some freak occurrence that ran counter to Arroyo’s experience. (As for the self aggrandizement, I plead guilty. But the point of that was to show how bloody obvious the situation was.)

      • @TC: I agree. I’m not even sure I would have gotten someone up after the Cabrera hit. I would have liked to of had someone up just in case Giambi came to the plate though. Still, it was hard to see that Bronson really lost it. Heck, I’ve seen people here that would pull a pitcher as soon as they got into trouble, even though the pitcher ended up getting out of it.

        • @LWBlogger:

          Yeah, yeah, I agree that Arroyo didn’t show signs of wearing down, but the Dusty quote above indicated HE KNEW THERE WAS A POTENTIAL PROBLEM AND HE DIDN’T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT EXCEPT …… HOPE!!!

          Sorry to yell, but those quotes are unbelievable.

  8. This is a good lineup. We weren’t going to keep them quiet forever. I don’t know why Giambi is suddenly waking up against us but it is what it is. The bigger issue was our offense went back into hibernation. Bases loaded with no one out in the 5th and we didn’t score a run. I turned off the game after that. You can’t win when you do things like that. Looking at the matchups, yesterday was going to be a tough one to win. Today’s matchup should be better. I’ll take 3 of 4 from the Indians.

    • @eric nyc: You can’t realistically expect XP to come through every single time in that kind of situation. It happens. The game was still within reach with Masterson at a high pitch count and a lousy Cleveland bullpen waiting…if only we hadn’t handed them three runs in the following inning.

      • @Eric the Red: There’s “not coming through” like, say, popping out in foul territory and there’s “not coming through” hitting into a double play that doesn’t even score a run. 1-run game, that was a crucial AB. You can’t do what he did there. A strikeout would have been better.

        I’m a big XP fan and I watch enough baseball to know that things happen, but it was hard to watch the game and not feel like that was the moment we knew we weren’t going to win it. Today’s another day.

  9. Over in the NL east an interesting delevopment is happening down in atlanta. The Braves bench is far superior to their starting lineup. with the Upton brothers and Dan Uggla K’ing at an enormous rate Braves fans want Gattis, Pena, Schafer, in the lineup. What does a FO do when your bench is better than the guys who get paid the big bucks? How long do u roll with BJ and Uggla?

  10. Somebody suggested in the game thread that Votto could be given a “day off” and DH. Good idea, but I suspect Joey is one of those guys who would absolutely hate DHing. Better–as was also suggested in the thread–to let Robinson play and DH Paul.

  11. Re: whether Lecure has an injury, maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t. Nothing has been reported.

    Hoover and Simon haven’t pitched much either, right? So, it might just be that Baker doesn’t understand which pitchers are his best?

  12. Homer Bailey pitches so well at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park, I would have pushed him back a day so he could pitch Friday.
    The inconsistency in the offense reared its ugly head again last night.
    If the Reds make a trade for a LF, wouldn’t it be better to get that player early, than wait until late July to do something?? That way you get more use out of the investment you are trading some prospects for??? I would rather make the trade in June than wait.
    The inconsistent offense has been at the root of the early playoff exits in 2010 and 2012. That needs to be fixed, and sooner rather than later. The Cards and Pirates are much better teams than most expected this year. It is going to be a knock-down drag out fight for the Central Division crown, let alone a pennant or World Series title.

    • @WVRedlegs: You can’t trade for an impact bat until other teams are willing to give them up. It’s not like the Reds are sitting on their hands compared to other teams. Have you seen any impact trades happen yet?

      Most clubs are still figuring out what they are going to do this year. Alfonso Soriano, that’s who’s available right now. You want him and his $40mil salary for the next two years?

      As for the Central, sure it’s going to be a race, but I still like the Reds more than either of those teams. The Cards starters have a combined ERA of 2.61. Those pitchers are good, but they don’t have a team of aces. The Pirates have a much lower run differential than either the Reds or Cards, and it’s hard to see them winning this much if they keep that up.

  13. I keep hearing about how the Reds have an inconsistent offense, especially over the last few years. I looked into it and in fact wrote a whole report on it. Very few people have seen it unfortunately because I have only asked one site to publish it. I haven’t heard back yet. Anyway, it turns out that the Reds haven’t been any more “feast or famine” than what would be considered normal by NL standards. Even this year, things have normalized, particularly in games where they score less than 3 runs after a terrible stretch in April.

    • @LWBlogger: You must have been using flawed stats. At least for this year, a couple of weeks ago, common mention with TV announcers how the Reds were league leaders in scoring 10+ in a game as well as league “leaders” in scoring 2 or fewer runs in a game. I don’t know what your definition of “feast or famine” is, but that sounds like “feast or famine” to me.

      • @steveschoen: That was a month ago. Small sample.

        Go look at the Reds runs per game (game logs), and you will intuitively see that you are mistaken and LWBlogger is correct.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I defined “famine” as 2 runs or less because that’s what the announcers were mentioning. Through May 22nd this year, number of “famine” games among NL teams looked like this (record in those games in ():

          Marlins: 29 (5-24)
          Nationals: 24 (4-20)
          Padres: 19 (5-14)
          Phillies: 18 (2-16)
          Dodgers: 17 (3-14)
          Pirates: 16 (3-13)
          REDS : 15 (3-12)
          Rockies: 15 (2-13)
          Brewers: 14 (0-14)
          Diamondbacks: 14 (4-10)
          Giants: 13 (4-9)
          Cardinals: 13 (3-10)
          Cubs: 13 (2-11)
          Mets: 13 (2-11)
          Braves: 13 (1-12)

          12 of those 15 games were in April.

        • @LWBlogger: One could also use variance.

          I posted a few days ago that the Reds have been extremely consistent in run scoring in May. And, I posted in April that there was no way they were going to lead the league in runs this year and yet have the most games with under 3 runs. It’s just not statistically feasible.

          People have their own biases, they only notice what the Reds do, along with other teams. They also do not understand that if you average 5 runs/game, necessarily there are a lot of games where you score less than 4. There’s no limit above on runs, but there is a limit below.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Right… I found that in games where an offense “feasted”, meaning 10 runs or more, the winning percentage was astronomical for the NL. Feasting is a good thing. Basically what the study showed is good offenses tend to not have too many low-scoring affairs relative to the rest of the league. The Reds have had a good offense since 2011, the year where my study started. They have not had many “famine” games relative to the rest of the NL.

  14. I agree with WVRedlegs in that if the Reds are going to make a move for a LF, it should be sooner rather than later. Although they may have to pay more in prospects if they do it now. I just don’t see the Reds having the budget or really even the prospects to bring in someone who would be a significant improvement. The Reds need to keep some of their prospects.

  15. Dioner Navarro hit 3 HR’s yesterday. That makes 6 homers in 63 PA’s for him this year. He has an OPS+ of 131. Mesoraco clearly is not the same player when he’s not starting regularly. Give him regular playing time and he lights it up. Starting to think it might have made a lot more sense to keep Navarro as Hanigan’s once a week backup and let Mes start 4 out of 5 in Louisville this year. If nothing else, that would have given us Navarro and Mes for that DL stint of Hanigan’s and whenever the next one will be.

  16. Despite all the Reds’ problems, they are somehow on pace for 101 wins this year. 101 wins is a historically great season. I think I projected them at 94 wins and I thought that would be good enough to win the division. At the current pace 101 wins won’t be enough to win the division. So my question is, should somehow the Reds win 99 or 100 games, but still not win the division, does that mean they failed?

    • @LWBlogger: There is only one situation where I’d call that a failure. And that is if the team they finish 2nd to (assuming it’s the Cardinals) won the head to head record between them. Right now they’re 2-4 against ‘em…let’s hope that gets better.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Right… I mean if the team wins 95 games or more, they are a good team. If the Cards happen to be better, it would just be a testament to how great a season they had, not a failure by the Reds. That’s my opinion anyway. The head-to-head matchups as mentioned by RedManifesto I could see an argument for.

        • @LWBlogger: I honestly don’t understand how if a team wins 100 games but loses a season series to another team and that costs the division (say the winner won 102 games), that that’s anything less than a great season.

    • @Love4Reds: Dusty was left in a real bind for this game. Without playing both catchers and using one of them as a DH, the Reds did not have a RH bat (Izturis doesn’t count since he doesn’t hit LHP or RHP) to DH against the LHP. I’m ecstatic that Dusty went with playing both catchers rather than using one of the LH hitters as a DH. Since Cozart would be hitting in the #2 hole anyway, I’m even OK with Izturis playing SS and hitting in the #2 hole since Izturis is no worse than Cozart at getting on base.

    • @Love4Reds: Not bad. I’d not use the same order and think that Dusty could have flip-flopped Robinson and Hanigan without too much disruption. It’s the old “#9 hitter in the AL can be sort of a 2nd leadoff hitter” mentality.

    • @Love4Reds: The Indians are playing both catchers also, using Santana as the DH and Gomes behind the dish. Gomes is RH hitter facing Bailey, so that doesn’t make a lot of sense for the Indians. Maybe Dusty and Francona reached some sort of a gentleman’s agreement over drinks last night.

    • @Love4Reds: I guess Dusty is going with familiarity and prior success with Izturis in the lineup sans Cozart, since Cozart has never faced Kazmir and Izturis is 4 of 6 against Kazmir for his career.

  17. In situations like this I always wonder if other organizations are better at harnessing raw talent than the Reds. It seems the Reds always have a lot of free swing types and they aren’t made to be more selective as they are coming up. It could be just my perception. Maybe all organizations have this problem. Hitting a baseball is extremely difficult and maybe its just a skill few possess. It just seems players that come through the Reds farm system are generally undisciplined.

    • @HOF-13: It is an organizational philosophy. They completely reversed it from the overly conservative “Reds’ farm-hands must take the first pitch.” of the Dan O’Brien regime. The Reds definitely seem to value a more aggressive approach at the plate from the top down to the minors.

  18. This team isn’t really geared for a DH, especially without Ludwick or Heisey. Hannahan, frankly, isn’t very good overall, and he may not be long for the team. Robinson as a lefty would be better in the role, but he apparently still can’t swing left-handed (which, by the way, the Cubs’ scouts did not pick up on).

    And as I’ve said before, Bronson just stinks against lefties, and the Indians ran a jillion in a row at him. Giambi isn’t very good anymore, but he matches up extremely well against Arroyo–lousy fastball, and Giambi knows what his craft far too well to be deceived by Arroyo’s slop. Arroyo is a great teammate, by all accounts, but I think he is the weak link in the rotation.

    They need the win tonight or else only get a split against Cleveland.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s