2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: 2 out of 4 Is Adequate

Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Cincinnati 3

W: B. Morris (4-2)
L: A. Simon (5-3)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Homer Bailey was shaky at times today, but he did hold it together and gave a very solid start. It’s just too bad it wasn’t enough.

–Joey Votto went 2 for 4. It was his fourth two-hit day since Dusty gave him the day off. He does always seem to come storming back.

–We continue to experience the awesome side of Jay Bruce as he homered again today. Enjoy it while it’s here.

–J.J. Hoover did an excellent job on a day when the Reds really needed a reliever to step up.

NEGATIVES
–Simon and Cingrani didn’t exactly get it done today.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–A split against the Pirates is okay, but this felt like a game the Reds could win. And it’s so important right now for the Reds to not lose too much ground to the Cards right now that a 3 of 4 would have been really, really nice.

–Tomorrow the Reds are off to Arizona. Let’s hope for 2 of 3.

Source: FanGraphs

88 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: 2 out of 4 Is Adequate

  1. Hoping for two miracles tonight: 1) The Cubs take another from the Cards and split their series & 2) The Spurs take Game 7. Now I ask the Nation, which of these two outcomes are most likely to happen?

    • @wildwestLV:

      Do you believe in omens?

      Here’s one: throughout these NBA Finals, one the days/nights that the Reds won, the Spurs also won. When the Reds lost, so did the Spurs.

      Yeah, small sample size, voodoohoodoo, but……

      Do you believe in omens?

      Hope the trend gets bucked to tonight.

        • @CI3J: I actually could care less about the NBA, the Miami Heat, the San Antonio Spurs, the NBA Finals, etc. But your post (and fact, I did not know, would have bet it, had I known) cheered me up tonight. All I can hear in my head is Al Michaels, in 1980 Lake Placid voice, shouting, “Do you BELIEVE IN OMENS?!?” Or, maybe, in an over-the-top, cheesy Thom Brennaman voice. Either works. Sorry, San Antonio fans. Blame this one on Dusty :P

  2. With 3 or 4 different guys playing LF, I do not understand why Todd Frazier’s offense gets pulled out of a close game. You could double switch LF all day. Or catcher. This team needs offense and it makes no sense to sit super Todd

    The Reds 13th round pick last year came back for his senior year and shut out IU last night.

    • @reaganspad: I like Todd, am pleasantly surprised by his fielding, and like his apparent attitude, toughness and cheerfulness. However, he’s not–except for a brief time last year during Joey’s absence–really formidable offensively. Some power, yes, but long streaks of futility. This describes most of the team and, in my opinion, is why tinkering with the batting order wouldn’t make a lot of difference.

    • The Reds 13th round pick last year came back for his senior year and shut out IU last night.

      I saw that game and he was throwing stone (unfortunately). I know he went in the 4th round this year. Anyone know who took ‘em (probably the cardinals!).

  3. Sorry, but splitting that series is NOT adequate.

    1. This team can’t beat anybody that doesn’t play worse.
    2. That’s not going to change, no matter which pitcher comes off the “disabled list.” Pitching is not the problem.
    3. This team is not interesting to watch and it’s running on a treadmill. That began with the Cardinals series and continued through today. Do they not actually have scouting reports?

    I’ve stayed out of the bitch-fest up till now but losing 2 games to the Parrots was evidence that there is virtually no clue about how to manufacture an offense. They were lucky to beat Locke and Liriano. Cumpton should have been dispatched in the 1st inning. Morton is NOT a front-line pitcher.

    Yes, LUCKY to win those games, only because the Parrots had an even more brain-dead offense.

    • @Johnu1: IMO, the lineup south of Bruce is a black hole, specifically when it is like it is today Frazier, Cozart, and the catcher. It is maybe a little stronger when XP is down there but then of course that means Cozart is up top where he is even more of a problem.

      Any of the folks filling those spots appear to be marginally acceptable as individuals but the team cannot afford to have three guys of that type those spots simultaneously.

    • @Johnu1: Nearly by definition, I would think, one beats a team when that team plays worse. The Pirates are pretty good, and not so dissimilar to the Reds. I agree that we need to hit better to beat good teams, but that is easier said than done.

  4. People need to figure it out that the Pirates are for real. They play every game like it’s Game 7 of the WS. They probably won’t hold up through August but right now they are dangerous. Except it and react accordingly. If the Reds are taking them as lightly as some RLM commentators, they are going to have their problems with them.

    I’ve watched “a lot” D-Backs games this season and they are also a formidable opponent. The Reds better be packing lunches each game this weekend or we will be right back here Sunday evening with the same folks making all the same complaints. These teams will not beat themselves. The Reds will have to do the work. Now we get off to a nice start by having Cueto pitch but that does not mean a W by any means. So expect a struggle even in Game 1 as well as the other two games. Strap it up because it’s going to be a battle.

      • @CP: I am a big “Goldie” fan… That guy can hit a baseball. He isn’t Joey Votto but he’s really, really good and swings it from the right-side.

        • @LWBlogger: I agree he isn’t Joey Votto, but his contract makes me drool. Kevin Towers got slammed pretty hard for the Didi deal, but jeez, you have to give the guy credit for locking Goldschmidt up through his prime based on last season’s second half. Towers is ballsy regardless. And that Didi deal looks pretty decent at this point.

    • People need to figure it out that the Pirates are for real.They play every game like it’s Game 7 of the WS.They probably won’t hold up through August but right now they are dangerous.Except it and react accordingly.If the Reds are taking them as lightly as some RLM commentators, they are going to have their problems with them.

      Well, whoever is or isn’t for real, playing .500 against anybody in your own division is fine until you realize that the Cardinals are not only playing .667 against everybody, but they sometimes are going .750. And they are beating the Reds 2 out of 3.

      The Cardinals score runs and they are doing it with 6 rookies on their pitching staff.

      Doing the math, I honestly think a team that has zero clue on how to score 4 runs in their own “homer friendly” ballpark has some soul-searching to do.
      This team is frankly BORING.

      • @Johnu1: Reds are #3 in NL in runs, and #8 in the MLB.

        What the 6 rookies on the Cards’ pitching staff has to do with their offensive output is beyond me.

        I honestly feel like Cincy fans have some sort of PTSD.

        I remember the years where the Reds had “exciting” offenses. They got crushed. As SF Giants’ fans struggle to remember, good pitching keeps teams in ball games regardless of how the offense does.

        • @Johnu1: Reds are #3 in NL in runs, and #8 in the MLB.

          What the 6 rookies on the Cards’ pitching staff has to do with their offensive output is beyond me.

          The relevancy of having 6 rookies on a pitching staff is more useful than some vapid stat about being third in the league in runs. The Reds scored 9 runs in 4 games this week at home. They were shut out twice in the homestand and were an out away from a third shutout.

          If you don’t relate to 6 rookie pitchers on a team that is 21 games over .500 … sorry, but it seems to be fairly relevant. No, it has nothing to do with offense, but offense has a whole lot to do with the kind of pitching you can win with.

        • @Johnu1: Sigh…runs aren’t evenly distributed throughout the year. No team’s is.

          For example, from April 27-30th, the Cards went 1-3 and scored 6 runs against, you guessed it, the Pittsburgh Pirates & Cincinnati Reds.

          I guarantee some of the “Best Fans In Baseball” were thinking THIS TEAM IS BORING! But they were wrong, just like you. It’s just not a logical or well thought out position. You know who’s teams are boring? The Miami Marlins.

          Baseball just isn’t for everyone. Sorry.

        • @CP: Agree! And @Johnu1, it’s quite possible that the Reds have a very, very good team and may not be quite as good as the Cards. Sometimes that happens. It doesn’t mean your team is bad or boring. If you want to see some bad teams that don’t play very good baseball, I’d suggest looking at the Marlins, or even the “high-powered” Dodgers. What about the Cubs or the Mets? The Phillies are under .500. The Astros, Mariners, and how disappointed are Angels fans right now? The Reds are a good team and they are in the hunt. IF they make the postseason, IF, anything can happen. The best team in baseball doesn’t always win the World Series.

      • @Johnu1: I wouldn’t necessarily say that this team is boring to watch, it’s just more the philosophy that has been drilled into their heads by the coaching staff. Being patient pays off, but the swing early and often mentality of this team is what usually winds them up in holes. Instead of waiting for ‘their’ pitch, they hit the pitcher’s pitch and that leads to an out.

        Add in that only recently has Dusty finally took a look at moving certain players around in the lineup by putting some baserunners infront of our murderer’s row of Votto, Phillips and Bruce. I was surprised to see X-man batting second today, given Dusty’s penchant to not bat lefties back to back.

        Was looking at the box score on ESPN for this game, going back to the swinging early and swinging often – the Pirates had five batters today, with 20 or more pitches during their ABs. The Reds had none. The closest was Bruce, with 19. That type of patience just winds up paying off, even if it one or two extra pitches during an AB.

        • @Johnu1: I wouldn’t necessarily say that this team is boring to watch, it’s just more the philosophy that has been drilled into their heads by the coaching staff.

          Probably overstated the “boring” part … but the Reds are not very interesting.
          Without offering a long list of what’s wrong, suffice it to say … good teams will beat this team most of the time. The key word is “most.”

          In what was offered as an exciting team has turned into another season of wondering why Brook Jacoby isn’t negotiating for water rights in Mongolia instead of pretending to run a big-league offense.

        • @Johnu1: Yeah, I can definitely agree with that. And that list of wrongs is a mile long in my opinion, but all we can do is just sit and scratch our heads day in and day out.

          I like the Choo acquisition in that we finally have someone in the leadoff spot that knows how to get on base. The only problem is, in Walt’s attempts to Dusty-proof the lineup, Mr. Baker will always find a way to circumvent the safeguards (Cozart batting second, refusing to put some speed at the top of the lineup, what little we have etc.) as well as never waver from his century old philosophies. Things such as the CF always has to lead off (although I am glad to see that D-Rob is getting some looks in the lead off spot), the SS always batting second (again, glad to see some change there), always pulling pitchers too late in games when damage has been done and out of reach (see NLDS Game 5 of last year and the Latos meltdown) and so on.

          While this year’s bench is marginally better than last year, Izturis and Hannanhan (sp?) are barely serviceable, yet the manager insists on using them late in the game because of their veteran-ness. There should never be a reason that Frazier rides the pine while he is healthy except for that occasional day off.

          A lot of people (not necessarily on this site) are keen on stating how the Reds have made the postseason twice in the last three years and won the division as well. That’s wonderful, especially after enduring the depressing 2000s era teams, but with Dusty Baker at the helm, this team will never see the World Series. He may have won Manager of the Year a few times, and that’s fine – but any manager with the talent the Reds have can win that award. In my opinion, history will look at you in one light: your W-L record, pennants won, and most importantly – how many teams did you carry to the World Series ring. Dusty has seen the WS, but his lack of killer instinct has cost him that ring many times, and in my opinion, will continue to do so.

          The above are my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of anyone else. All that being said, I live and die as a Reds fan, and certainly go out to cheer them on every day, every game and keep hoping to see them hoist that trophy up in my lifetime again. (Last time being in 1990, when I was but 3 years old).

        • Yeah, I can definitely agree with that. And that list of wrongs is a mile long in my opinion, but all we can do is just sit and scratch our heads day in and day out.

          Then the list of what is wrong with everyone else must be two miles long. The Reds have the second best winning percentage in baseball. Come on. The Pirates have the 3rd best winning percentage.

        • @TC: Painful isn’t it. Some Reds’ fans are really unreasonable about some things. I can’t even listen to the talk-shows around here and the blogs aside from this one are really, really bad for the most part.

        • @TC: I meant to put in that statement as well that with the talent the Reds have, they have what it takes to win despite their manager. I don’t think I’m being unreasonable when I wonder about some of the decisions that are made on a daily basis by the upper echelons of the team.

          I’m not wishing to argue, just stating my own views on it all. As far as other teams have problems two miles long, you’re probably right. But then again, I barely keep up with the rest of MLB. In the end, I still root for my Redlegs despite what my views are, because I’m a fan to the end.

        • @TraviXDM: I think that your assessment of the Reds’ talent is colored by your being a Reds fan. They are okay, not great. Hannahan and Isturis get used because they are the players we have. They are the sort of bench players a lot of mid-market teams have: versatile, decent fielders, know the game. If they were good hitters they’d be starting or sitting on the Yankees’ bench.

        • @greenmtred: They have the talent needed to compete at the elite level in this league, and if you go by the winning percentage, then they are. They do what good teams are supposed to do and that’s beat up on sub .500 clubs. But when faced with teams above the .500 mark, their weaknesses show.

          The offense shouldn’t be expected to score 10+ runs a game, 95% of the time – the pitching and defense keeps them in games, but the offense does need to find that groove again.

      • @Johnu1: If the Cards finish at a .667 clip, there is little the Reds can do to win the division. My money is on they don’t. Yes, the Reds need to pick up their game against the better teams to have a chance. Do they have another gear, that is the question. I would rather have great pitching & defense than a great offense when faced with a choice. If you don’t like low scoring and close competitive baseball, this team will disappointment you. I believe in the game-plan and am willing go see it through. The manger is another discussion altogether but we are stuck for now so we have to live with it. There is a lot of season left; I’m not throwing in the towel on this club.

      • Well, whoever is or isn’t for real, playing .500 against anybody in your own division is fine until you realize that the Cardinals are not only playing .667 against everybody, but they sometimes are going .750.

        You mean except for the Marlins, right?

      • Well, whoever is or isn’t for real, playing .500 against anybody in your own division is fine until you realize that the Cardinals are not only playing .667, but they sometimes are going .750.

        Doing the math, I honestly think a team that has zero clue on how to score 4 runs in their own “homer friendly” ballpark has some soul-searching to do.

        This team is frankly BORING.

        Dude, you’re so all over the place I have to believe that you’re just having a bad day.

        The Reds just beat the Brewers 2 of 3 (.667) and the Cubs 3 of 4 (.750). Both of those teams are in their division, right. So what the heck are you talking about?

        Also, didn’t the Cardinals just lose 2 of 3 to the worst team in the league? Yes, yes they did. And they went 6 and 4 (.600) against the Cubs, Marlins, and Mets, while the Reds went 7 and 4 (.636) against better competition. So, what the heck are you talking about again?

        My favorite was the last part though. Can you explain what kind of “math” one does to determine that a team needs soul searching? What is the equation? 2X + .7Y^2 = 3(soul searching). What are you talking about!?

        On the last homestretch, the Reds scored an average of 5 runs per game when they won. So, again, what in the sweet heck are you talking about with your 4 runs nonsense? In games that they lost they only averaged 2 runs per game. One might almost come to believe that the Reds are more likely to win games when they score more. What a revelation!

        And, as noted earlier, they just finished off a 7 and 4 homestand vs. all division opponents, so clearly, they’re not doing a bad job scoring more runs than their opponents.

        You sir, are not boring. I just don’t know what the heck you’re talking about.

    • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Who knows if the Pirates can maintain their physical health and mental focus; but in this series, they impressed me as being more prepared and hungry/ tougher than the Reds.

      As well as some physical improvement, I think this Reds team needs an attitude adjustment.

      • @OhioJim: Good point. I don’t have the time this morning as I am traveling, for my job today, but it seems to me there have been quite a few series against the better teams where the Reds won game 1 of a series only to collapse. If this is the case, there may be a problem with overconfidence. This is not a problem in Pittsburgh or Phoenix. Honestly think we have the players but they need to accept most games are going to be a grind against the better teams. Nobody is going to lay down for them. Hopefully this process can commence tonight.

    • @CharlotteNCRedsFan:

      People need to figure it out that the Pirates are for real. They play every game like it’s Game 7 of the WS. They probably won’t hold up through August but right now they are dangerous. Except it and react accordingly. If the Reds are taking them as lightly as some RLM commentators, they are going to have their problems with them.

      Subscribe. (Except for the part I crossed out.)

    • @redskaph: To me, an even bigger key would be batting Choo & Votto back-to-back. Preferably with BP, Jay & Todd right behind them.

  5. Also, it would be very helpful if Mat and Homer could go deeper into games. Like 7+ innings on a more consistent basis. Not blaming theme as both are pitching well but it would be a huge boost to an ailing bullpen. If JC is down for much more of this season, we are most certainly in trouble. He is a very special player, IMO and I don’t don’t know if he is fully appreciated. Like Joey Votto special. But if he is gone again for any length of time, he will be more appreciated. Need to pray for Johnny’s health.

    • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Four NL pitchers, I believe, pitch 7 IP per start or more. It’d be nice, what you want, but it’s not happening. The Reds guys are pitching more IP per start this year than last as it is, I believe.

  6. I applaud the Reds Community Fund but watching yesterday’s game was like tuning in an Infomercial. Add George “Buccos” Grande as emcee and there’s only so much I could stomach. Besides, as many have mentioned: Reds were boring yesterday.

  7. Man, we are back to the “Reds may be up there in runs, but sometimes they don’t score that many, so they’re really not that good at scoring runs” theme. Sheesh.

  8. Just thought I’d throw this out there for what it’s worth (records of current top 4 teams in each league against teams .500 or better and against teams with losing records). You’ll notice our Redlegs aren’t too good against the .500 or better teams, but are FEASTING on losing teams (.789 winning %). Last time I checked that’ll get you to the playoffs, but the teams there always happen to be those hard to beat .500 or better teams. Guess we’ll see how things pan out from here.

    Cincy St. Louis Pittsburgh
    Ws Ls Ws Ls Ws Ls
    Boston
    Baltimore
    NY Yankees
    Tampa Bay
    Detroit 3 1
    Cleveland 2 2
    Oakland
    Texas
    Atlanta 1 2 3 4
    Washington 3 4 3 0 1 2
    St. Louis 3 6 3 2
    Pittsburgh 4 6 2 3
    Arizona 3 4 2 1
    San Fran 3 2 2 1
    San Diego 2 1
    Colorado 1 2 2 1
    Cincinnati 6 3 6 4
    Total 14 22 21 14 20 15

    Losing Teams 30 8 26 12 23 15

    Atlanta
    Ws Ls
    Boston
    Baltimore
    NY Yankees
    Tampa Bay
    Detroit 0 3
    Cleveland
    Oakland
    Texas
    Atlanta
    Washington 7 3
    St. Louis
    Pittsburgh 4 3
    Arizona 1 2
    San Fran 3 4
    San Diego 0 3
    Colorado 2 1
    Cincinnati 2 1
    Total 19 20

    Losing Teams 24 11

    Boston Baltimore Oakland
    Ws Ls Ws Ls Ws Ls
    Boston 5 2 1 2
    Baltimore 2 5 1 3
    NY Yankees 4 2 3 2 5 1
    Tampa Bay 9 3 5 7 0 3
    Detroit 0 1 4 2 1 2
    Cleveland 5 1 0 4
    Oakland 2 1 3 1
    Texas 2 4 4 7
    Atlanta
    Washington 3 1
    St. Louis
    Pittsburgh
    Arizona
    San Fran 3 1
    San Diego 0 2
    Colorado
    Cincinnati
    Total 24 17 23 17 15 23

    Losing Teams 20 14 19 14 28 9

    Detroit
    Ws Ls
    Boston
    Baltimore 2 4
    NY Yankees 2 1
    Tampa Bay 2 1
    Detroit 1 0
    Cleveland 6 2
    Oakland 2 1
    Texas 1 3
    Atlanta 3 0
    Washington 0 2
    St. Louis
    Pittsburgh 1 3
    Arizona
    San Fran
    San Diego
    Colorado
    Cincinnati
    Total 20 17

    Losing Teams 20 14

  9. Cincy
    Ws Ls
    Boston
    Baltimore
    NY Yankees
    Tampa Bay
    Detroit
    Cleveland 2 2
    Oakland
    Texas
    Atlanta 1 2
    Washington 3 4
    St. Louis 3 6
    Pittsburgh 4 6
    Arizona
    San Fran
    San Diego
    Colorado 1 2
    Cincinnati
    Total 14 22

    Losing Teams 30 8

    St. Louis
    Ws Ls
    Boston
    Baltimore
    NY Yankees
    Tampa Bay
    Detroit
    Cleveland
    Oakland
    Texas
    Atlanta
    Washington 3 0
    St. Louis
    Pittsburgh 2 3
    Arizona 3 4
    San Fran 3 2
    San Diego 2 1
    Colorado 2 1
    Cincinnati 6 3
    Total 21 14

    Losing Teams 26 12

    Pitts
    Ws Ls
    Boston
    Baltimore
    NY Yankees
    Tampa Bay
    Detroit 3 1
    Cleveland
    Oakland
    Texas
    Atlanta 3 4
    Washington 1 2
    St. Louis 3 2
    Pittsburgh
    Arizona 2 1
    San Fran 2 1
    San Diego
    Colorado
    Cincinnati 6 4
    Total 20 15

    Losing Teams 23 15

    Atlanta
    Ws Ls
    Boston
    Baltimore
    NY Yankees
    Tampa Bay
    Detroit 0 3
    Cleveland
    Oakland
    Texas
    Atlanta
    Washington 7 3
    St. Louis
    Pittsburgh 4 3
    Arizona 1 2
    San Fran 3 4
    San Diego 0 3
    Colorado 2 1
    Cincinnati 2 1
    Total 19 20

    Losing Teams 24 11

    Boston
    Ws Ls
    Boston
    Baltimore 2 5
    NY Yankees 4 2
    Tampa Bay 9 3
    Detroit 0 1
    Cleveland 5 1
    Oakland 2 1
    Texas 2 4
    Atlanta
    Washington
    St. Louis
    Pittsburgh
    Arizona
    San Fran
    San Diego
    Colorado
    Cincinnati
    Total 24 17

    Losing Teams 20 14

    Baltimore
    Ws Ls
    Boston 5 2
    Baltimore
    NY Yankees 3 2
    Tampa Bay 5 7
    Detroit 4 2
    Cleveland
    Oakland 3 1
    Texas
    Atlanta
    Washington 3 1
    St. Louis
    Pittsburgh
    Arizona
    San Fran
    San Diego 0 2
    Colorado
    Cincinnati
    Total 23 17

    Losing Teams 19 14

    Oakland
    Ws Ls
    Boston 1 2
    Baltimore 1 3
    NY Yankees 5 1
    Tampa Bay 0 3
    Detroit 1 2
    Cleveland 0 4
    Oakland
    Texas 4 7
    Atlanta
    Washington
    St. Louis
    Pittsburgh
    Arizona
    San Fran 3 1
    San Diego
    Colorado
    Cincinnati
    Total 15 23

    Losing Teams 28 9

    Detroit
    Ws Ls
    Boston
    Baltimore 2 4
    NY Yankees 2 1
    Tampa Bay 2 1
    Detroit 1 0
    Cleveland 6 2
    Oakland 2 1
    Texas 1 3
    Atlanta 3 0
    Washington 0 2
    St. Louis
    Pittsburgh 1 3
    Arizona
    San Fran
    San Diego
    Colorado
    Cincinnati
    Total 20 17

    Losing Teams 20 14

    • @mattgorrasi: Why are the Cards so lame that they’ve won 4 fewer games against bad teams than the Reds?

      You can look at it either way. I care about the number of wins, not where they come from.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate:

        I’m all for a win is a win as well, but if you can’t even be competitive in terms of wins and losses against the good teams (.500 or better) then you’ll be out of the playoffs pretty quick – see 2010 and 2012 post seasons.

        • @mattgorrasi: And, if Bailey didn’t hit the #8 batter in game 3, the Reds sweep the series and then what? I understand what you are saying but disagree with it. Regular season stuff like record against good teams is probably completely lacking in predictive ability when talking about the postseason.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate:

          Yeah not sure how well it predicts ability in the postseason, but just something to keep an eye on if they continue as is and then make the playoffs and exit early again.

          I guess it’d just be nice if we were a little more competitive against the .500 or better teams (competitive being Ws/Ls not how close the games were in terms of score, etc.).

        • @mattgorrasi: I’ve been kind of wanting to see that work so thanks for that. Looks like the Reds and A’s have struggled most against good teams. I would like to see records against over .500 teams for the past 10 or so World Series winner. I may do that research here soon.

          As for a promise of being out of the playoffs pretty quickly and 2010, 2012 Reds’ seasons, I am not sure I agree with you. I’m of the mind that once you’re in the playoffs, anything can happen. A big part of it is luck and being hot at the right time.

  10. This was one of those games that was won between the ears. Case in point—Cingrani threw nothing but fastballs to Garrett Jones and Pedro Alvarez. He got a strikeout on Jones, but it took 4 fouled off fastballs to get it, instead of one slider. Alvarez got the same treatment and quickly realized all he had to do was stick his bat out like an overmatched 13 year old trying to hit the ‘fastest’ pitching machine at the ol’ batting cages. He cheats on the fastball and pulls it down the line for a bases clearing double.

    It’s ridiculous that you would remove any obligation by the hitter to think by not throwing even a show-me slider. With a rookie pitcher on the mound blindly following his veteran catcher, THIS IS ON HANIGAN……again. Too often he falls in love with his perceived notion his relievers can just blow it by people with one pitch. Biggest example was the Latos fastball to Posey, but he does it with Chapman and Hoover to a fault as well.

    Chalk it up as just another example of the Reds being rote and mindless in their game strategy and execution. THIS is why some people find them ‘boring’.

    • @Sultan of Swaff: Well, in case it’s been forgotten, Cingrani is supposed to be in AAA working on his slider as he threw 91% fastballs as a starter. Come on, folks, we can’t have it both ways here…

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: And he doesn’t throw his slider because it’s just not a good pitch… He only threw one in his appearance against the Pirates Wednesday and it was in the dirt and nowhere close. He really, really doesn’t want to hang one.

  11. The Reds have the second best record in baseball without the benefit of the starting LF and cleanup hitter missing the entire season as well as their ace missing half his starts.

  12. I’ll agree with the title that the split was adequete, barely. But it was the most unsatisfying series split in a long time, when the two games you loose are the latos/Morton and crumpton/baily matchups (with a blind squirel game from alvarez thrown in too).

  13. Somewhere back in there, I conceded that “boring” was being overstated. I will, however, remain staunch in my belief that this team is not very interesting. That is maybe the same thing but going inning after inning without a series of baserunners … not interesting.

    Watching our pitchers take 30 seconds between pitches with men on base … that is really tedious. It burns the defense and muddles the energy of the crowd. Is that important? Well, why have a crowd if it isn’t? Did you ever play ball behind a pitcher like Broxton? You want to go wring his neck and yell PITCH, DAMMIT!

    The Reds see 6-15 pitches every inning, pop two of them up and waste a bleeder by Votto to left field.

    The Reds strike out 19 NINETEEN times in a game against the … er … um … Cubs and their Hall of Fame pitching staff …

    Scoring 9 runs in 4 games is the definition of “not interesting.”

    This team was built to win this year. At best, I see a paper contender that shows all the signs — 2nd-best record in baseball, high in hits, low in ERA … the top two OBP guys in the league … and the “best” record in baseball at home. Ah, they played .500 on this latest homestand.

    That will NOT get you too far into October.

  14. Adequate?? That sure is setting the bar a little low though. A 4 game home stand vs. the Pirates when the Pirates are pitching a guy in his 2nd ML start since TJ surgery last year. A rookie in his 2nd ML start period, and a near rookie in Locke.

    In the bandbox that is GABP, the Reds muster up only 4, 0, 2, and 3 runs. Lucky to get even 2 wins with that.

    The Reds INCONSISTENT offense is the real culprit. When an engine isn’t hitting on all 8 cylinders, coincidently the same number of position players in the lineup 1-8, you take it in for a tune-up. And if a tuneup won’t do the trick you need an overhaul. I don’t know the batting avg.’s for each position 1-8 in the lineup, but its safe to say that only about 4 cylinders of this engine are running correctly (Choo, Votto, BP, Bruce). The other 4 need some attention. And fast. Tune-up or overhaul??
    And Heisey coming off the DL is not the answer. With the current configuration of the 25-man roster, and their record vs. .500+ teams as noted above, and its another season of being happy just to make the playoffs.
    The Reds are gonna Red, not knowing who will show up for the offense each game.

      • @WVRedlegs: The Reds offense is not inconsistent.

        What? Do you watch the games or just filter through stats?
        It is unbearably inconsistent and I don’t give 3/4 of a hoot how other teams in baseball compare. I agree whole-heartedly with Dub-Vee. Something needs to be done with this team but, personally I think it falls on the coaching staff. Ever wonder why the Reds can’t hit squat off a pitcher they’ve never seen before while other teams greet everybody they bring up with a barrage of offense? Or why the number eight hitters on opposing teams keep having big games against them? Its because there is terrible advance scouting and prep going on. They just generalize how to pitch to 7-9 in the order and offensively expect to crush rookie pitchers. What you get are first-pitch groundouts, popouts, and watching the ball sail over the fence as opposing catchers batting .128 keep tagging cookies down the middle of the plate.
        I’m all for unwavering optimism but come on? It’s not all rainbows and strawberries for the fan that invests 18-25 hours a week watching this team. Go Reds

        • @RedTitan19: I’m not with you on the advanced scouting issues for the Reds. I may be slightly biased as I know one of the Reds’ advanced scouts but one of the big things I will point at is the Reds’ defensive positioning. The Reds are very, very, very good at putting players in the right places to make plays. The Reds have also been very good at knowing when the opponent is putting a play on of some sort. Those things point to scouting. For a scouting report to be effective, the players need to execute and in some cases, the Reds’ players aren’t. Also, there isn’t much advanced scouting that is done on MiLB call-ups. A few teams can dedicate resources to it but most can’t dedicate enough. Sometimes the scouting report in these cases is just a call to some guys in your system who have played against him or talking to guys in your own dugout who have played against him.

          Reds have only brought up Villareal and Cingrani to start games this year. Cingrani has excelled despite throwing almost all fastballs. Do you think that was a lack of advanced scouting on our opponents part? Villareal got hit probably because he’s just not very good. I’m willing to bet the Rockies didn’t have a great scouting report on him.

        • @LWBlogger: very good points on defensive positioning. I guess it just seems like year after year we struggle against marginal rookie pitchers. The Villareal thing may have been a fluke but I find it hard to believe the Rockies didn’t have something on him. They certainly looked like they were having fun. Seems the only scouting report we get is, “he likes to throw strikes. Be aggressive early in the count.” We all know what that translates to. It also could be that we just arent any good and the coaching staff milks what they can out of what little talent we have. Or it could be that I’m frustrated about getting kicked around by the Cardinals and Pirates.

        • @RedTitan19: When you say that you don’t care how most of the league compares to the Reds, you sort of invalidate your position that you know what you’re talking about.

          I agree with the fact-based statement that the Reds do not have a particularly inconsistent offense.

        • @RedTitan19: This is awesome. I read this as: I don’t care if the Reds are more consistent than 3/4 of the teams in the league, they’re still inconsistent. I mean, really?

          LWBlogger did not say so in his response but his research shows the Reds are not inconsistent on offense.

          And yes, I am using this really complicated stat, it involves imaginary numbers like eleventeen and thirty-twelve. It’s called how many runs you score.

    • @WVRedlegs:

      Here are the 4 players you specifically mentioned as the 4 cylinders that are running correctly:

      0.945 OPS => Votto, 1st of 11 qualifying 1B in NL
      0.892 OPS => Choo, 4th of 28 qualifying OF in NL
      0.829 OPS => Bruce, 10th of 28 qualifying OF in NL
      0.751 OPS => Phillips, 4th of 9 qualifying 2B in NL

      Then among the misfiring cylinders, you include:

      0.761 OPS => Frazier, 3rd of 9 qualifying 3B in NL
      0.766 OPS => Paul, 17th of 28 qualifying OF in NL
      0.797 OPS => Paul vs RHP, 15th of 28 qualifying OF

      I think Frazier’s performance speaks for itself, especially when factoring in his 3B defense which is among the very best in the league. I also think Paul’s performance has been acceptable to good, considering the circumstances.

      .703 OPS => Robinson, 21st of 28 qualifying OF

      Robinson’s performance has started to tail off dramatically. The Reds (who makes these decisions anyway?) really missed out on two months of superior offensive performance by Robinson. This needs to be addressed now, either as a full time LF option or a RH hitting platoon LF. This is the impact of losing the starting LF & cleanup hitter for the season during the 1st game of the season.

      Then we have those two remaining cylinders that keep misfiring:

      0.657 OPS => Cozart, 7th of 10 qualifying SS in NL
      0.698 OPS => Hanigan, 6th of 7 qualifying C in NL
      0.693 OPS => Mesoraco, 6th of 7 qualifying C in NL

      Hanigan’s performance only includes his time after returning from the DL, since he should not have been playing at all (who makes these decisions anyway?) for the games prior to going on the DL. None of these three players has even a league average performance, but these are also defensive priority positions. No team in the league is capable of filling all 8 positions with superior offensive capability, otherwise we would be looking at the ’26 Yankees or the ’76 Reds.

    • @WVRedlegs: Phillips is hardly hitting on any cylinders lately. Choo has OK OBP, but he’s not providing any other energy. There is no lineup churn.

  15. Reds just need to stay in touch with the Cardinals. They have around a 400 BABIP with RISP and a historically high BA with RiSP. The Cardinals will regress.

    • @BigRedMike: There were a couple of years when the BRM never lost more than 4 games in a season. That isn’t impossible. The only thing that can slow the Cardinals is if their young pitchers run out of steam during the long season. By then, I suspect they will have made adjustments. I am quite confident that the Birds will win at least 105 games this year. The Reds need to win 16 a month to contend — and that’s 96 wins. Wild card.

      • @Johnu1: I wish we lived near each other, I would bet you $100 that the Cards do not win 106 regular season games. Take a step off the ledge.

  16. File this under random thoughts:

    It’s sort of sad to say, but I think the Reds would have been better off if Ryan Ludwick’s injury had knocked him out for the season. I certainly don’t want anyone to read that as me wishing a worse injury on anyone, and definitely not a Reds player.

    But the timing of his injury puts the Reds in a tough position. He’s not going to be back until mid-August at the earliest it seems, and maybe later. But he’s still signed for all of next year at a pretty hefty price tag. Too much for a bench guy.

    If he was out for the season, the solution would seem obvious: see if there is a one year rental available. Let the rental walk at the end of the year and hope that Ludwick is 100% next season. But it seems unlikely for the Reds to go get anyone in left, since Ludwick is supposed to be coming back.

    But Ludwick also might be terrible when he comes back, and by the time they realize that, it will be September, and past even the waiver trade deadline.

    • @al: I think that Ludwick point is very well stated.

      It strikes me that the Reds have a decision to make. They’ve spent the past few years trying to win in the present while also keeping an eye on the future (the whole Chapman thing notwithstanding!!!) If the Reds decide this can really be their year, they look for a difference maker in left field whenever it happens, and let the Ludwick thing sort itself out next year. I don’t expect him to be a significant contributor this season until Sept. 1 or beyond anyway, when the rosters expand. I think to assume he’ll play a bigger role than that is pie in the sky-ish.

      If the Reds figure they can’t part with enough talent even for a half-year rental, or will let Ludwick’s contract for 2014 keep them from making a move, then maybe they aren’t as “all in” this year as I’ve been hoping they are.

    • @al: A possible solution is to put Frazier in LF and move him to cleanup on offense. The following move would be to scrounge up a high OBP guy who plays decent 3B defense. Either put this guy or BP at the 2 hole and put the other in the 6.

      The reason I did this scenario with Frazier moving to LF is that I think they are more likely to find a high OBP guy to play third competently than one who plays LF competently (which is often forgetten Frzaier can do). Also I don’t think they need another “slugger” nearly as much as they need a high OBP guy.

  17. I think the Reds will probably look for some bench help at the deadline, and I expect them to probably snag a setup man from someone, potentially the Cubs.

    Aside from that, I think this is the team we’re rolling with. We just have to hope that guys like Votto, Choo, and Phillips get it going again.

    Here’ are the Reds OPSs in June. Most guys just aren’t getting it done right now. Left field and our cleanup hitter especially.

    Jay Bruce .941
    Todd Frazier .863
    Joey Votto .753
    Shin-Soo Choo .707
    Zack Cozart .697
    Devin Mesoraco .681
    Xavier Paul .663
    Derrick Robinson .617
    Ryan Hanigan .610
    Brandon Phillips .519

    • @al: Bruce and Frazier have gotten it down pretty well in June. Votto is having a sub-par month so far. Choo needs to step it up again, especially since he is a below-average defensive CF. I’ll take Cozart’s .697 as long as he doesn’t play some of the bonehead defense I saw from him Wednesday. Mesoraco’s .681 wouldn’t be too bad for a catcher who played exceptional defense. Unfortunately Mes’ defense isn’t exceptional. It’s not as bad as some Reds fans think but it isn’t exceptional. Paul and Robinson are bench guys forced into playing more. Hanigan’s .610 is sad… BP hasn’t been the same since getting hit by that pitch. He needs to get it going again.

      • @LWBlogger: Cozart had as much to do with Tuesday’s lost as Latos with his sorry defense on the Martin grounder and following missed tag play on the steal at second.

        I think he is hardly the stellar defender he is perceived to be by many in these parts. Maybe looks good beside Starlin Castro et al but not the level of defender worth holding a spot down in the line up given his offense.

        • @OhioJim: I’ve said many times I think Cozart’s defense is overrated. He’s above league average, in my mind, but nowhere near a gold glover. If I had a buck for every time someone said he was a GG defender, I might be on my way to a private island.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: GG shortstops does not mean much in the NL…you got Tulo, who is always hurt, Rollins, who is old, Simmons who is in a similar position to Cozart. I guess Didi is hovering around too. NL coaches will just keep giving it to Rollins until he retires.

      • @LWBlogger: Ugh, didn’t realize how bad Hanigan has been.

        Offensively, Mesoraco has been placed in an impossible situation. It’s bad enough that he doesn’t get to hit for 3 days in a row. But unless the Reds make an adjustment to the pitching rotation due to the 2 off days next week, Mesoraco won’t get to play for 5 days in a row.

  18. @Sultan of Swaff: pointed out one very significant flaw in the game yesterday, 17 straight fast balls delivered by Cingrani (who makes these decisions anyway). You think maybe a major league batter might just sit on the fastball under those conditions? I don’t care if the batter is left handed, right handed, one handed (al la Todd Frazier) or even no handed (al la Todd Frazier), if you throw nothing but fastballs at the major league level, those pitches will get turned around.

    Cingrani came in consistently throwing 96 mph on his fastball and left consistently throwing 93 mph on his fastball. That’s a worrisome decline in less than 1 inning of pitching. Cingrani has been a starter and prepared as a starter all season (and all last season and during both previous off seasons). Then he is suddenly thrust into a reliever’s role. That’s all well and good, but he warms up and pitches an inning on the 17th, then warms up and pitches an inning on the 19th, and then warms up and pitches an inning on the 20th. Does anyone think at least a slight transition might be necessary in adjusting from a long-term, full time starter to a short reliever pitching 3 out of 4 days (who makes these decisions anyway)?

    If the Reds aren’t routinely giving up outs by sacrificing to move base runners along to be stranded or thrown out (who makes these decisions anyway), they are giving up outs by having runners with a 50% and 61% success rate attempt to steal bases and getting thrown out (who makes these decisions anyway). This happened twice in the game yesterday. Why don’t the Reds score more runs with their offensive potential? Maybe it has something to do with giving up outs and continually and unsuccessfully trying to play small ball (who makes these decisions anyway).

    What is the infatuation with making double switches (who makes these decisions anyway)? This is particularly difficult to understand when the Reds are behind and one of the better hitters in the lineup is routinely removed and replaced with a lower-than-replacement-level player (who makes these decisions anyway). It was even more difficult to understand in yesterday’s game when two double switches were made in consecutive innings with neither double switch providing any benefit (who makes these decisions anyway). In the top of the 7th inning, Cingrani replaced Frazier hitting 6th with Hannahan replacing Simon hitting 9th. The problem is that Cingrani did not stay in the game to pitch the top of the 7th so removing Frazier accomplished nothing. Then another double switch was made in the top of the 8th with Hoover replacing Paul hitting 2nd and Lutz replacing Cingrani hitting 6th (who makes these decisions anyway). The end result was Hannahan and Lutz replacing Frazier and Paul (who makes these decisions anyway).

  19. The double switch is a nice tool if it’s used properly. In Thursday’s game, Frazier was removed so that Hannahan could bat in the pitcher’s spot, due up third in the inning. Seems it would have been just as easy to wait till the bottom of the inning and use a pinch hitter for the pitcher. It was a pointless exercise in “managing” a team.
    It isn’t the first example of *pointless* I’ve seen this year on the double switch.

  20. I suppose the extent of my frustration, aka … mindless rant … is that I have seen two or three chances in the last few days for the Reds to assert themselves and begin to make the Cardinals feel vulnerable.

    That is not happening with such inconsistent offense, coupled with what has not become a very unpredictable bullpen.

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