2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: Lower the Jolly Roger!

Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL — 13 innings
Pittsburgh 1
Cincinnati 2

W: M. Parra (1-1)
L: V. Mazzaro (3-2)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Brandon Phillips only had one hit, but it was a big one: a 13th-inning RBI single to win the game.

–Jay Bruce had a pretty big hit, too: a bottom-of-the-ninth, game-tying homer after the Reds had been unable to score all night.

–Bronson Arroyo just keeps getting it done. Tonight, Arroyo tossed seven innings, allowed six hits, three walks, and only one unearned run. His ERA is down to 3.04 now. Raise your hand if you expected those numbers from Arroyo near the end of June.

–Todd Frazier and Ryan Hanigan each had a double and a single. Shin-Soo Choo had two hits, as well.

–The Reds got good relief work from Tony Cingrani (one perfect inning, in which he struck out the side), Alfredo Simon, Aroldis Chapman, Sam LeCure, and Manny Parra. In all, those five pitchers tossed six shutout innings, allowing three hits and three walks, striking out seven.

NEGATIVES
–Not exactly a mammoth offensive performance by the good guys tonight.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–With a win tomorrow, the Reds can take three out of four against the Pirates, who now drop 1.5 games behind the Redlegs.

–At 44-29, the Reds still have the second best record in the majors, despite being in second place in the NL Central.

–The Reds tied Colorado tonight for the most extra-inning games in the majors in 2013.

–Bruce has homered in four of the last six games.

–The Jay Bruce ninth-inning blast was the first blown save of the season for Pittsburgh’s Jason Grilli. It was also the first homer Grillia has allowed this year.

–Go Reds.

Source: FanGraphs

46 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Lower the Jolly Roger!

  1. It’s really about time (past time) the Reds won a game like this instead of being on the other end.

  2. Another thought I had watching the Pirates pen today, we’ve had debates about whether Chapman should pitch 2 innings (or 1 1/3 innings), and people have correctly pointed out that few stoppers have gone more than 1 inning ever this year. I think only Romo and Mujica have.

    One thing to consider is that part of that might be because some teams have a great setup man. For Pitt, they have Melancon, his ERA is something like 1. The Cards have Rosenthal, who’s really good. For those teams, there’s not a huge need to have the stopper go more than one. In the extreme, if you had a bullpen with 1 great stopper and a bunch of horrible pitchers, then if your starter goes 7, you’d maximize your wins by pitching your stopper 2 innings.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Don’t disagree about Chapman on Wednesday, but speaking of closers and their innings………..

      Mujica on Monday and Parnell of the Mets on Tuesday came on in the 8th inning and finished the game for a save. And Romo at least once this season already. Suddenly, if Dusty is serious about justifying Chapman’s one-inning limit because it’s what everybody else does, he might need to look for a backup reason. And the Mets don’t even have a postseason spot to play for.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Agreed about the setup/closer link. No one talked about it last year when Marshall and Broxton were option for both the 7th and 8th. Now that Cingrani is covering the 8th, the discussion will abate again. But when the 8th falls to LeCure (not the LeCure of April/May) or Hoover, then it’s wholly appropriate to talk about Chapman taking on an extra out or two!

  3. So.. the topic everyone brings up at least twice a year, every year.

    Has Jay Bruce finally turned the corner on the slumping business? He’s been real good ever since May started. Including hitting a couple homeruns to left field, and some doubles to left field. The Ks are still there.. but he’s still seemed to level out a lot better. Normally he’d be good for 2-3 weeks then terrible for a couple weeks, but this time he’s been pretty good for almost two months now.

    I would love to think that Votto has taken him under his wing and taught him the art of hitting opposite field a bit and not swinging at every single breaking ball down and away.

    • @ToddAlmighty:

      The Ks are still there.. but he’s still seemed to level out a lot better.

      I believe you are spot on. Bruce has finally completed the adjustment to level out his swing and go to the opposite field. He was critisized earlier in the season for giving up his power in order to become a better hitter. I don’t hear the criticism so much recently. Bruce has maintained a pretty consistent BA, ranging from .246-.294, for virtually the entire season and .264-.284 for the past month. I’m not sure he can do anything to significantly reduce his SO without sacrificing his power, and I don’t think anyone wants to see Bruce sacrifice his power.

    • @ToddAlmighty: Yes, I think Bruce has turned the corner. One tell is the improved results against lefties, which my unscientific “eye-test” confirms. He seems to be much more comfortable against lefties, and is less often over-matched even when behind in the count. Yeah, he will still get his share of strikeouts, but his hopeless Cozartian strikeouts are fewer and further between.

      He’s also having his best defensive year in a while. He has pretty well been flawless, to my memory.

      Good guy, plays hard, good teammate. Ought to be an All-Star.

    • @Josh: One guy can make that of a difference in the bullpen. With him pitching the 8th, the bullpen has a different makeup. A non-closer lefty who can blow hitters away. Remember the most recent game against the Cardinals, where the bullpen lost a 4-2 lead in the 8th to 3 Cardinal LHed hitters ? Not so likely now.

      I saw tonite’s game from the 9th inning now, and the Reds bullpen beat the best bullpen in the NL. Cingrani and Chapman, of course, but also LeCure getting the outs he needed for two innings, and Simon looking good.

      Even Parra not only got the W, he pitched well. He got 4 outs, the IF single off him should have been an out. Not that I suddenly expect great things from him, but he came right at them, for his stuff he should have more success.

  4. Love the headline, Chad … Nice win, maybe one to look back on as a difference maker. Unless we lose Thursday, in which case, please forget I said that.

    I think this is the third or fourth time that I can recall LeSam struggling when he’s been sent out for a second inning this season. He got it done with some help from Frazier, but for a former starter, I’m surprised to see that be an issue with him.

    I gotta see more of Parra doing well before I buy into him being much improved. But if it’s gonna happen for him, it has to start somewhere, I suppose.

    If somebody has a good explanation for pinch-running Mes there, please provide it. I know that last year, Dusty used that speed burner Miguel Cairo to pinch run at least one time, and I didn’t understand it then, either. You don’t have to be FAST to be faster than Hanigan, but Mes is the best we could do? … But for the record, I like that Dusty was willing to use Mes, we’ve talked a fair amount about “urgency” here lately, but to pinch run?

    • @vegastypo: A good reason for Mesoraco to pinch run. A double has a chance of scoring him from first. Not a great chance, but a chance, which is already more than you can say for Hanigan. A single MAY score him from second. Once again, probably not, but still a better chance than Hanigan. He can also go first to third on a single, which Hanigan isn’t likely to do.

      Plus at that point the only three people left on the bench were Lutz (likely don’t trust his base running judgement/skills), Cesar Izturis (33 years of age), and Jack Hannahan (33 years of age).

      So yeah, while it wasn’t a pretty situation as far as available personnel goes, Hanigan is hella slow and at least Mesoraco gives a better chance. Honestly, I thought Izturis would be the pinch runner and Mesoraco was going to be AB, but since Dusty wanted to bunt (not sure how I feel about that, but totally different topic), then I am fine with Mesoraco coming in to run.

    • @vegastypo: I hope this one is a difference maker, and not just with the Reds, but with the Pirates. As far as Sam LeCure, I don’t think he stretched out to be a starter this year. Perhaps that’s why he is only conditioned for an inning, maybe two. Most of the guys in the bullpen were at one time starters. If not in the minors, then in High School or College.

      I don’t have a good explanation for pinch-running Mes, but I’ve got Dusty’s explanation. Since he decided to pinch-run Hanigan, Hanigan was out of the game. He didn’t want to burn two guys on the bench. Mesoraco is actually pretty fast for a catcher. Young knees and all.

    • @vegastypo:

      I was long in bed by that point, but I think he pinch ran for Hanigan? Maybe Ryan we worn out (it was the 10th inning and Hannigan caught Tuesday also, I believe) and Dusty was going to make the defensive change anyway, this just got a little more speed on the bases for something he was going to do anyway?

      • @Bill Lack: Considering who was coming up, I’d have run Leake for Hanigan and hit Mesoraco for the pitcher. It was a lefty pitcher! Mesoraco has an .854 OPS vs lefties.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: That was my exact thought when it was happening. Taking the only RH pop off the bench at a time we needed it seemed silly to me. He was going to come into play anyway, why not use a guy who wasn’t going to do anything for the game but sit and watch?

        • @preach: ME TOO. That sequence seemed like a poor choice to me…. On the one hand, Dusty is being aggressive, willing to play for the win NOW by pinch-running for his catcher, but then he’s also worried about the 17th inning and doesn’t want to burn an extra position player?? Like others were saying, let Hanigan bat, and then somebody else pinch run. Anyway ….

  5. That was a much better way to end a long extra-inning game than last week versus the Cubs!

    Cingrani just makes a HUGE difference in the bullpen. I advocated only leaving him up until Marshall was healthy but I may be changing my mind on that one.

    We’re off for our first ever experience in the Diamond Club today. My wife and I got the tickets as an anniversary present to each other – God, I love that woman! I’ll be sure to wave to you all on TV – just look for the fat guy in a Reds polo! :lol:

    • @Kyle Farmer: Get there early. I had my first (and only) experience there two years ago. I felt like a kid at Chuck E Cheese’s for the first time.

    • @Kyle Farmer: I sat in the Diamond Club once and you really get the VIP treatment. I agree with RiverCity Redleg in that you should get there early. Sit down, enjoy dinner, mingle. It’s not just the seats that are great, it’s the whole experience.

  6. Wow! just saw a replay of Bruce’s HR and the first thing that stuck out to me was. “boy that place is packed!” was there a promotion?

  7. What can we officially expect offensively out of Todd Frazier? his OPS is 763 right now….is that good enough? can he be an .800 OPS guy going forward?

    • @zab1983:

      Todd Frazier’s OPS is 763 right now….is that good enough? can he be an .800 OPS guy going forward?

      Todd Frazier ranks 3rd in OPS among NL 3B. There are 15 teams in the NL and 9 qualifying 3B in the NL. Todd Frazier also ranks 3rd in FLD% among NL 3B and among the elite defensive 3B in the league.

      Can he be an .800 OPS guy? Maybe. Is his performance to date good enough? Oh my yes and then some!

  8. If Bruce is going on one of his hot streaks, watch out. All of a sudden it’s not looking impossible that he could be at around 20 at the break and still on pace for his first 40 HR season. Wasn’t looking good in April, but it’s only going to get easier as the weather warms up.

  9. @Kyle Farmer: @Josh: @pinson343:
    href=”#comment-2277733″>et. al.:

    Cingrani just makes a HUGE difference in the bullpen.

    Cingrani is well needed as a late inning weapon and set up man.

    One guy can make that of a difference in the bullpen. With him pitching the 8th, the bullpen has a different makeup.

    I don’t disagree with any of these comments. In fact I would go so far as to point out that Cingrani is a much better one-inning pitcher than a starter. That’s probably true for almost every pitcher who relies heavily on a dominating fastbasll. I offer just a word of caution regarding the benefit we might see for Cingrani’s work in the bullpen. Dusty is going to have a completely different perspective. Based on past performance, Dusty’s perspective is not one of benefit, but indispensability and Dusty will stubbornly promote that perspective.

  10. The numbers may not support this, but it seems like Bruce has been more consistent than Votto so far this year. Or, maybe it is just relative to the expectations? Regardless, looking forward to a hot Joey Votto again.

    • @Redgoggles: Teams since the Cardinals series have been pounding fastballs on Votto’s fists, and he’s still adjusting. He adjusts to everything else, so it’s just a matter of time, I’d expect. He doesn’t ever really “turn” on those pitches, by design, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see an absolute bomb over the bullpen soon.

    • The numbers may not support this, but it seems like Bruce has been more consistent than Votto so far this year.

      Funny you should bring this up, I just read an article on Fangraphs a few days ago discussing this very issue of hitter consistency. They call it “volatility” or VOL for short, and a lower VOL means less game-to-game fluctuation in performance.

      As of June 16th, Votto’s VOL score was 0.442, and Bruce’s is at 0.443. Phillips scored slightly better with 0.440, but the leader on the Reds would be Choo, at 0.377 (that makes him allegedly the 13th most consistent batter in MLB at the time of the calculations).

      Pretty cool stuff if you’re into advanced stats. Though I have to argue that streakiness isn’t always a bad thing. Bruce can ride this hot streak for as long as he pleases, thankyouverymuch.

  11. I was very concerned that BP had lost his edge at the plate, which did not bode well for the Reds. For the 1st two months of the season, BP had been clutch hitting cleanup, to the tune of .296/.347/.481 in 54 games. Since that time, BP has been hitting .179/.233/.232 in 13 games. I lost sight of the fact that BP slump coincided with the severe HPB he took to his left arm that put him out of the lineup for a week. My sincere appologies to BP for not recognizing the cause and effect relationship of his current struggles, but to his benefit, BP had 45 RBI during his 1st 54 games and still managed 12 RBI during his 13 game struggle since the injury.

    • @Shchi Cossack: I think it’s more the natural ebb and flow of things, i.e., a slump. Nothing to be concerned about. He’s right about where he usually is, for the whole season. A bit below.

    • @Shchi Cossack: I will add this from ESPN.com where BP said:


      Phillips was hit on the left forearm in Pittsburgh on June 1 and missed four games with a bruise. He was batting only .164 since he got back in the lineup.

      “I haven’t been feeling right and I was doing things I don’t normally do,” Phillips said. “I felt a little better today.”

  12. Cozart drew a walk last night, causing me to spill a beer. It was his 11th of the year (268 ABs), his 1st as a 7-hole hitter, where he is 5-45 with 3 HRs. His HRs are his saving grace. He’s put the first pitch into play 35 times, hitting .286. but had 0-1 counts 154 times (versus 79 1-0 counts). After an 0-1 count, his OBP is .220; after a 1-0 count it is .352. I don’t know the league averages, but Cozart just seems to be perpetually in the hole in his at-bats.

    While I generally like his defense, the Chuck Knoblauch routine on that trapped/caught liner was hard to justify. I know it’s a long grind of a season, but that nearly cost a game.

    • @Big Ed: Ed, this is exactly right, and nothing has changed since last year. He’s exactly the same. He’s an offensive black hole, but a SS, so we’ll live with it.

      The phrase “inherits an 0-2 count” applies to Cozart like no one I’ve seen.

    • @Big Ed: I have heard a lot of fans grumbling about Cozart. He doesn’t have SS locked up if pulls a Stubbs and regresses at the plate. His margin for error with the bat is very small.

  13. While Cingrani in the pen makes me nervous, as I’ve said, I am pleased that Baker realizes how good Cingrani is and he’s not pitching him as a LOOGY. He’s getting entire innings. And he’s blowing people away.

    It’s going to be intriguing to see what happens when Marshall comes back. I find it hard to believe Baker won’t lobby to keep Cingrani, given his performance so far. Manny Parra should rent, not buy.

  14. A good win last night to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, rather than the other way around.

    Very please with Cingrani performance this year in both roles. I am with the crowd that would like to see him back in the AAA rotation when Marshall is healthy, with a return to the bullpen in Sept if IP allows.

    The only senario I could support (tepidly) where he remains in the pen for an extended time is if Marshall is done for the year. His abilities as a starter have to be cultivated.

  15. I just saw that they changed Arroyo’s error to a hit. Boy, I thought that was an error. Forget that Arroyo’s a good fielding pitcher, you don’t score an error because Arroyo should have had it, you do because most pitchers would have fielded that particular play. And I think most would have.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate:

      I just saw that they changed Arroyo’s error to a hit.Boy, I thought that was an error.Forget that Arroyo’s a good fielding pitcher, you don’t score an error because Arroyo should have had it, you do because most pitchers would have fielded that particular play.And I think most would have.

      I agree. Chris Welsh was pretty incredulous that Arroyo got an error on that play, but seemed like it should have been an E to me also.

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