2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: Classic Bronson

Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Colorado 0
Cincinnati 3

W: B. Arroyo (6-5)
L: T. Chatwood (3-1)
S: A. Chapman (15)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Beautiful outing by Bronson tonight: eight shutout innings, four hits (all singles), no walks. Only one Colorado runner reached second base. Arroyo threw 86 pitches, and 65 of them were strikes. That’s great. I love watching Arroyo throw when he’s on, like tonight.

–Jay Bruce was 3-4 with a two-run homer that put the game out of reach, and two runs scored. Heck, he even stole a base.

–Todd Frazier was 2-4 with the fourth-inning RBI single that gave the Reds a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

–Ryan Hanigan was 1-1 with two walks. His OBP is inching northward.

NEGATIVES
–None.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–Wanna know what good pitching looks like? How about three shutouts in four games? That’ll do, Reds pitchers. That’ll do.

–I like it when the Reds go. Go Reds.

Source: FanGraphs

85 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Classic Bronson

  1. Rockies certainly helped the cause by swinging at so many first and second pitches. Wonder if anyone noticed.

  2. It seems somewhat silly to keep worrying about whether or not Dusty will use Aroldis Chapman in the eighth inning of a ballgame at this stage. The fact is that Aroldis makes me nervous at times because he often has bouts of control problems and he can be very predictable for good hitters that can turn on a heater. Broxton is part of the team for the foreseeable future and gets paid a lot of money to get hitters out. If Dusty has to bring in Aroldis to take care of tough lefties in the eighth, then Broxton has no value to the team. When their late inning lefty “specialist” gets healthy again things may change, but Chapman’s history of arm soreness / weakness the past two seasons makes the decision to pitch him in limited situations a lot more understandable. Still, I would love to see an occasional four out save, especially when a divisional opponent is involved.

  3. Excellent point about Chapman, no doubt about it, he should have faced Jones in the 8th yesterday. He can handle a 4 out save, Sergio Romo did that same exact thing for the Giants yesterday and they won. When the game is on the line, your best RP needs to be pitching. Should be riding a 4 game winning streak.

    Arroyo is very fun to watch when he’s on like tonight. It will be interesting to see if we resign Bronson after 2013. If we had drafted Wacha, I would say no, but since Corcino is struggling and Cingrani has no MLB effective secondary pitches as of yet, I would resign Arroyo.

    • @Josh: Although it’s way too early in the season to judge, I certainly wouldn’t try very hard to resign him. If Leake and Bailey continue to pitch well, the Reds only need a 5th starter. Between Cingrani and Chapman, I think we’ve got it covered. Or, if need be you go out and sign a 5th starter for $2.5 million. Either way, I’d much rather see that money spent on a couple legitimate bench players. A middle infielder who can actually hit, in particular.

      • @fakename: I love Bronson but the Reds should not extend him. If he continues to pitch well in 2013, he’ll want a lot of years/money, and the Reds should not go there.

        He cannot pitch effectively when his fastball tops out in the mid 80s, which will happen any year now. He started in the mid 80s tonite but as the game went on was hitting 88 and then 90 against Tulo in the 7th.

        Location and smarts are his strengths obviously but he’s talked about how he knows he’s in trouble when he can’t hit the high 80’s because the hitters just start sitting on his off speed stuff.

        Cingrani will be ready next year.

    • @Josh: I’d love to see Bronson Arroyo retire as a Red, but just with how the economics of baseball go, it’s not going to happen.

      Even if Bronson were to give a discount on the money he is getting paid now, which really with the lack of starting pitching the MLB, he shouldn’t have to do, I can’t see the Reds bringing him back.

      Reds got a harder decision and the money is going to be trying to lock up either Latos or Homer past next year. That’s going to be expensive.

  4. We won, we have shut out the other team three of the last four games, crowds are up, we have a good team….why isn’t that enough?

    Also can we please stop with this farce of an idea that Chapman is the best “pitcher” on this team when its clear he isn’t. Heck right now I would only put himat 7th behind our starting 5 then LeCure. He throws hard, and not always that well.

  5. Great games by two of my favorite players, Bronson and Bruce. In baseball you can go from miserable (yesterday’s loss really stung) to happy so quickly.

    I was only able to watch the first 4 innings, but could see Bronson was really sharp.

  6. Saw Joey’s first 2 ABs and he didn’t look good. I assume he will not be getting a game off until sometime after BP is back in the lineup. Hopefully the day off on Thursday does him some good.

    The Reds need him and BP in form for the Cardinal series.

    • @pinson343:
      So now that Joey is officialy cold, Will Baker give him a day off because he is not hot anymore, or continue to play him because “we gotta get Votto going”?
      I’m so confused now.

      • @VaRedsFan: Joey looks terrible, but if you sit him while BP is out, you have very unintimidating batting order and even less of a bench than at present (though I suppose that Joey could pinch hit). Dusty would be accused of not caring about winning.

    • @pinson343: I think you’ll see Votto get a day off tomorrow (Wednesday). He looks tired to pretty much everyone watching. Dusty likes to give a day off right before or right after a scheduled off day. I doubt he’d want to give Votto a day against the Cards.

  7. I gotta admit it- Reds management knows more about baseball than I do. In spring training I was hoping for Chapman to start, (Leake to long relief or the minors), Broxton to close, with Marshall and Masset to handle the 8th (Okay, I never really thought Masset would be ready!). I sure am glad two months in that they didn’t listen to me. Leake has been as good as anyone starting (not named Cueto or Latos), Marshall and Masset are MIA and Broxton has been inexplicably bad!
    It’s great to be a Reds Fan!

    • @ChrisM: What does Reds management know? They signed Broxton to be a closer and continue thinking of him as the best set-up option despite all evidence to the contrary, and they’ve hardly gotten anything out of Chapman they couldn’t just as easily have gotten from LeCure/Hoover/Marshall. They signed Parra and continue acting as if he’s a legit major leaguer. And have you seen the bench lately? And Corky Miller got how many ABs while Hanigan was hurt? One was too many, and he got a lot more than one.

      • fakename, of course management isn’t perfect, but look at this pitching staff- from my perspective it is close to the best in baseball. Name me one better. I wanted to see Chapman start. It would be a thrill every 5 days, and we may yet get to see it. But for this years playoff run, the idea of Cueto, Latos, Arroyo and Baily/Leake starting with Chapman closing is pretty thrilling! I love LeCure and Marshall and Hoover (even Broxton when he’s right) but in the 9th inning of a tight playoff game give me Chapman closing. I’ve been a Reds fan for 48 years and they have never had a better built pitching staff than this one.

        • @ChrisM: Kind of like all the games Chapman closed in the 2012 NLDS, right?

          Trade Chapman Now.

          As to the other point, management and perfection, of course you can’t be perfect. The Reds have assembled a really good team. However, it’s frustrating when they don’t understand who the best players are, and it’s frustrating when they assemble a crappy bench and refuse to do anything about it (when fixing benches are relatively cheap).

          The Cards’ staff is better, at least up to this point, to name one.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate:

          You know, I really wonder if, internally, the Reds have concluded that Chapman does not have the makeup to be a starter. I don’t mean physical makeup, I mean mental/emotional makeup. We have seen flashes of Chapman’s immaturity even when he’s only used in small doses; imagine if he was under the microscope for 7 innings each time out? And this doesn’t even take into account some of his bizarre off-field incidents.

          Here’s the thing: As much as Chapman may have one of the greatest arms baseball has ever seen, there are a lot of guys out there who can throw hard who never make it in MLB simply because they can’t truly PITCH. I wonder if the Reds have concluded that Chapman is that kind of guy and they don’t want to risk him in their rotation.

          Now, here’s where it gets interesting: The Reds know Chapman well, and maybe they have reached their conclusions of what he can and can’t do, but what if other teams haven’t? Or what if they just flatout disagree with the Reds? This is the Reds’ chance to trade Chapman and hope that another team still sees that potential as a starter in him.

          Honestly, I used to be in the “make Chapman a starter” camp, but the more I think about it, the more I think there’s more to why they decided not to beyond Dusty wanting his late inning 105 MPH toy. As others have pointed out, this isn’t Dusty’s decision alone, and there had to have been more than went into it beyond just looking at Chapman’s physical tools alone. I am actually starting to wonder if maybe we dodged a bullet here and potentially kept Chapman’s value higher than it would if he had tried and failed as a starter.

          It’s an intriguing line of thinking, and again (I know I keep saying this…) something that stats alone won’t tell you. I do think Chapman’s greatest value to the Reds at this point is a trade chip, not as a closer used once every 4 days. I just hope that Walt has reached these same conclusions and is looking to pull off a trade this summer about as shocking as last night’s “Game Of Thrones”.

        • @CI3J: Interesting comment. You may well be right. On the other hand, Chapman was the best starting pitcher in spring training both in 2012 and 2013. And the Reds have never tried him in the majors as a starter. So if they have come to that conclusion about him (which is possible, but I doubt), they are basing it off of extremely little information. And it would be fairly pessimistic to believe that with age and experience he couldn’t gain more maturity, if that’s the issue. See Homer Bailey and really most every other major league starting pitcher.

          I’ve been saying since they initially moved Chapman to the bullpen years ago, that they’d get substantially more value from trading him to a team that will use him as a starter. That’s really undebatable. Even the best relievers just can’t have the same value to a team as a solid starter.

          You don’t need advanced sabermetrics to know that. You have to know that the number 180 is larger than the number 70.

      • @fakename: Look at the present state of the bullpen: Broxton, Parra and Ondrusek are ineffective beyond expectations (at least in the case of Broxton) and Marshall is hurt. The options for different use of the pen are limited by its current state and getting new talent from outside sources would not be easy at this stage in the season. Small and mid-market teams can’t just fix everything by throwing cash at it; they have to take a few chances on players who are reclamation projects, and it doesn’t always work. But, to the dismay of all who think the Reds’ management is incompetent, the team is doing fine, thank you, and responding that this is in spite of Dusty and the front office is unsupportable sour grapes.

      • @fakename: I’m not ready to give up on Broxton yet. There is something wrong either with him physically, or how he is being used. He is a much better pitcher than he is demonstrating right now.

        I remember just after Arthur Rhodes’ streak of 20-some scoreless innings. He had several bad outings in a row. Yet, we were patient with him because he had just come off a hot streak. Broxton does not have that luxury with us.

        He will get is straightened out and when he does he will be just as affective as Chapman, Marshall, LeCure, and Hoover. Those four, along with Broxton, makes this an incredible bullpen. Just be patient and hope Dusty doesn’t continue to misuse him in the meantime.

        • @TC: agree with you there. Broxton’s BABIP is extremely low, so either he will begin to revert to his mean or he’s “lost it” and needs to retire. So, for all the blame on Dusty for losing the sweep in P-burg, there is statistical evidence that suggests that Broxton should be more effective (which of course isn’t to say that that was on Dusty’s mind in the 8th inning on Sunday).

        • @TC: Agree. Broxton was very good as recently as the end of last year. If you don’t like the contract, fine, but it’s silly to think he can’t be a useful member of the bullpen just because of a small number of bad outings this year. Relievers performances are volatile because they don’t pitch much. Things will very likely even out.

  8. Bruce is a different breed of cat this year. He’s had more quality at-bats vs. LH pitchers than the last two years combined. Great job!

    • @Sultan of Swaff: He’s better vs LHP in a relatively small sample, and much worse vs RHP pitchers in a larger, but still somewhat small, sample.

      Overall, he’s worse than last year.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate:

        Bruce, outside of Cozart and Hanigan, has the lowest OBP of the starters at .320, and the way Hanigan is going, it’s probably only a matter of days until he surpasses Bruce.

        It’s great that Bruce seems to be hitting, and I believe OBP at his position isn’t as important as it is higher up in the lineup, but still, .320 for your starting RF on a contending team?

        • @CI3J: Honestly, the good folks here just have a blind spot with Jay Bruce. I like Bruce, and for all I know he could go on a one month tear and finish the year better than the last couple, but more likely he’ll finish with numbers like the last couple years, and his OBP will be in the .320-.330 range. And his OBP has dropped each of the last 4 years.

          People seem to forget, he’s a corner OF. Corner OFs need to hit. Bruce hits a little above average for a RF, I’d bet, if we looked at all RFs.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Completely agree. I often see others include Bruce as a “superstar” with Votto and Phillips… and now Choo. Bruce is a solid player, no doubt, and one I am happy to have on the team, but I think we tend to exaggerate his status as superstar.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Bruce is my favorite player but alas, he is pretty average for a corner OF since 2011. You were pretty much dead on. From 12 NL qualifiers in RF over the last 3 years, Bruce’s OPS was right at 6th. Add in all the qualified NL corner OF and he still sits in the upper-middle. Add in all the qualified NL OF and Bruce’s OPS ranks 13th out of 30th. That’s right about in the middle for all OF. I still really like him though and Bruce should just be entering his prime years. I certainly wouldn’t describe him as a superstar nor do I see that happening. He could go from good to very good however.

  9. Not that it’s pertinent, but anyone else notice that Mark Sheldon is off more than he works? You look at his blog, and it’s just weird. He’s the strangest beat writer I ever remember.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Whenever I looked at his blog, it just said he was off, so I stopped looking. Are mlb.com writers even paid full time ? Their articles aren’t edited, full of factual errors, typos, etc.

      • @pinson343: I had not noticed this. And since Sheldon works for baseball, he has to be a bit more careful of what he says than Fay.

        Fay can be brutal about his opinions sometimes, but he’s at least balanced. Well, for the most part. He won’t criticize Baker because he needs access to the team.

        IMO C-Trent is the best. I don’t know how he gets away with some things.

  10. I really think the Reds need to call up Cingrani and send down Ondrusek. I know he’s down there to work on his secondary pitches, but he could be a very potent weapon for us late in the game. My bullpen would be:

    Chapman
    Hoover
    Marshall (when healthy) Parra till he’s back
    LeCure
    Cingrani
    Simon
    Broxton

  11. Watching Chapman pitch tonight I couldn’t help but be a little angry. As was noted in the recap instead of using him in a tight situation like the Pittsburgh game, we hold him back for a save situation. In this case a three run lead. I’m at the point where I don’t even get that much joy from watching him pitch. He’s amazing but honestly it’s like so what. It’s one inning in a low leverage situation and as Thom Brennaman so incisively pointed out, Chapman’s thrown 26 innings this year out of a possible 519. And many of them have been on nights like tonight with a three or two run lead instead of games like yesterday where we actually need him to pitch and end up losing. Dusty always says he can’t pitch every day (I’ll say) and I understand managing for the 162 but at what is the point of having the guy if we’re not going to properly utilize him?

    • @aweis09: I think that he may be difficult to use “properly.” Maybe impossible. Small sample size, really, but he wouldn’t be the first player with remarkable physical gifts who couldn’t get beyond that and learn to be a complete player. True in all sports. As to whether last night’s game was a tight situation, I felt that it was. A 3 run lead against the Rockies and the Reds not hitting is tight. Ondrusek or Broxton could have blown it up in minutes.

  12. Actually, Chris Wilson’s Tweet above is wrong. The situation to bring Chapman in was to protect a 2-run lead vs. a left handed batter and not a tie game. I still don’t know why Manny Parra’s wasn’t used as an option either. Dusty does weird things sometimes which is why I don’t trust him in critical times. If you take away Broxton’s Pittsburgh stats, he’s been pretty good! Look it up.

    One negative from last night: Izturis! This guy is awful. There has to be a better option. You know how Dusty loves washed-up Shortstops though.

    • @sezwhom1: I knew that we’d manage to develop a little anti-Dusty feeding frenzy, even after an excellent win. I predicted as much to my wife after the 8th inning: If Dusty leaves Arroyo in, he will be crucified for not using Chapman (“we never use him!”). If he brings in Chapman, he’ll get crucified, either for not letting Arroyo go for the complete game or for using Chapman with a 3 run lead. As for Izturis, of course he’s a terrible hitter at this point, but BP is hurt and the options to fill in for him are limited. Hannahan? Sure, but then Izturis is one of your pinch hitters. We won, right? That’s good, right?

  13. Right now I don’t see how any one can view Chapman as the best pitcher on the roster. At best I would put him 7th. He is comfortable in his role and so is Dusty. Also why all the hate on Logan? This team is winning let’s just enjoy…

  14. Just a side note: Mariano Rivera has only 11 career saves of two innings or more. Majority of all his saves were only one inning & he had a great career in which some not all consider him the best closer of all time

    • @skatedog: How many four or five out saves does he have in his career? We’re not talking about a two inning save from Sunday, we’re talking about a four out save.

      • @Kyle Farmer: @Kyle Farmer: the article stated the majority of his saves were only one inning saves, that’s why the author doesn’t consider him the best closer, because he didn’t have a lot of 4-6 out saves. Do i think Chapman could have pitched to the one batter in the 8th & finished the 9th yes. But I also thought Brox could finished the 8th without giving up the lead. I was wrong

        • @skatedog: Broxton “could have” finished the 8th? Sure. And if he’d brought in Bronson or his son Darren to pitch it “could have” worked out. The point is what’s MORE LIKELY to work out? Broxton didn’t pitch well in the inning and you had a dangerous lefty up for the Pirates. Really, why wouldnt you use your devastating lefty closer? It’s not like it’s impossible. Romo did it the same day. Even Dusty has said it might happen later in the year, because apparently those games count more.

        • @Eric the Red: Didn’t pitch that well? 1st batter hit by pitch on 1-2 count, 2nd batter double play, 3rd reach on infield single that could have been the 3rd out if picked cleanly or goes to through to Cozart.

        • @skatedog: Yes, I’d definitely go with “didn’t pitch that well” for the line you describe. Get three outs on three pitches: pitched great. Give up three home runs on three pitches: pitched horribly. Go deep in counts, hit a batter, give up another hit: didn’t pitch that well.

  15. Paper today said Hannahan is the next option at 2B, I’d give him a start there, he played there a lot in the minors.

    Anyone else notice that the Braves designated Juan Francisco, then traded him to Milwaukee?

    In today’s USA Today’s Power Rankings for the Reds it says, “Starters must go deep to avoid bullpen mismanagement”. Hate to tell them, that doesn’t even stop it.

    • In today’s USA Today’s Power Rankings for the Reds it says, “Starters must go deep to avoid bullpen mismanagement”. Hate to tell them, that doesn’t even stop it.

      El. Oh. El.

  16. I read yesterday that Ken Rosenthal was reporting that Marshall will be out another month. Anyone have any updated/better information?

    Also, since I’m going the Wednesday’s game I hate to say this, but I would seriously consider giving Joey the game off on Wednesday so that he can have back-to-back days off heading into the Cardinals series.

    • @Kyle Farmer: I predicted that’s exactly what will happen. And that’s what Baker should do, too. I think he’ll make the right decision there.

    • @Kyle Farmer: I will be in section 105 on Wednesday and agree that Joey should unfortunately, get the day off that day. I didn’t hear about Marshall but it wouldn’t surprise me. When I hear “shoulder” I get a bit worried. Shoulder injuries tend to be more difficult than most elbow problems and have ended more careers than elbow problems. I’m hoping we get Marshall back soon because the bullpen is very average without him.

  17. So far this year, by my count, Chapman has:

    2 blown saves

    6 3-run saves
    5 2-run saves
    4 1-run saves

    Nice use there. A trade is in order.

    Another stat from my least favorite writer, Verducci: In the last 10 years, 74 different pitchers have notched 30 or more saves in a season. It’s obviously a real difficult job. Just ask Dusty Baker.

  18. “….Chapman’s thrown 26 innings this year out of a possible 519….”

    Sheish. That’s criminal. Well, not criminal. Gross incompetence.

  19. I have never heard a crack off the bat like the one off of Bruce’s HR last night. At least over the television. Would have loved to have heard and seen that in person. It sounded like a clap of thunder. That is such a sweet sound. It was Roy Hobbs-like.
    I hope they paint the seat back it hit a different color from the others to note where the ball hit. That was a shot.

  20. I was looking at the stats this morning. Interesting to see that the Cards and the Reds were the bottom two teams in stolen bases despite being the best two teams in the National League.

    • @LWBlogger: Maybe people are just so peeved that the Cardinals keep winning, it’s leaking into criticism of the Reds even when they play awesomely(noting that many of these comments are about larger systemic issues than last night’s game). But hey, what can you do… the Reds actually are playing very well, and somehow the Cards are just playing at another level. Props to them.

    • @LWBlogger: Personally, I don’t get so happy or unhappy over individual games. I get unhappy when things that are going to negatively affect the long term occur—like Broxton pitching every 8th inning.

  21. We keep getting told how stressful it is to warm guys up. How doing so will destroy our bullpen so we can’t possibly do it in probable-but-not-definite situations like with Arroyo in Cleveland last week. So why was it OK to warm up Ondrusek AFTER Chapman was warmed up last night? It was worth a precious and stressful warmup just because if the Reds had scored again then Chapman would have had to pitch without a Save for his statistical scrapbook? I’m glad we’ve got our priorities in order, and I hope Ondrusek isn’t too exhausted to pitch in the next few days.

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