2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: Ouch. Just…ouch.

Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Cincinnati 3
Arizona 4

W: B. Ziegler (4-1)
L: A. Chapman (3-3)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Mike Leake was outstanding, once again. Leake pitched eight innings, allowing two runs on four hits and a walk. His ERA is now down to 2.61.

–Jay Bruce was outstanding, once again. Bruce hit a homer in the second (a mammoth shot) to give the Reds a 1-0 lead, then hit another huge homer in the top of the ninth to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead. He was 2-3 on the night, with a walk, and drove in all three Reds runs. He’s on fire.

NEGATIVES
–After Bruce gave the Reds a ninth-inning lead, Aroldis Chapman proceeded to give it back almost immediately. Chapman gave up two hits, two walks, and two runs in the bottom half of the inning — and didn’t record a single out. It was bad, Reds fans. Just terrible.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–These are the game the Redlegs need to win. Sheesh. I feel like I’ve been punched in the gut.

–Jay Bruce is now hitting .279/.325/.532 with 18 homers. Bruce’s last seven hits have all been homers. The last Red to accomplish that feat? Our old friend Adam Dunn.

–The season is decidedly not over, as some of you seem to think. But this doesn’t feel good, I concede. I hate when the Reds lose games they should have won.

Source: FanGraphs

146 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Ouch. Just…ouch.

  1. That was brutal. Such a high when Bruce crushed that second home run, then such a feeling of frustration to watch Chapman toss it all away.

  2. We have seen this a lot lately. The starter pitches great and the damn bullpen blows it again. Amazingly they have the 3rd best record in the NL.

  3. The late good news is the Rangers just beat the Cardinals again. The bad news is the Pirates have jumped in front of the Angels, 3-0. I can’t remember the last time the Cards lost two in a row. Too bad the Reds haven’t been able to take advantage.

  4. The Reds probably need to go at least .500 over this current tough stretch to stay within striking distance of the Cards. As long as the Reds don’t fall too many games back, they have a reasonable shot to go on a run later in the summer to make up ground.

    I really thought the Reds would have overtaken the Cards before this stretch but I didn’t count on the Cards refusing to slow down. I still think that’s got to happen…. Doesn’t it? The Cards are going to fall short of winning 110 games, aren’t they? This guy seems to think so:

    http://www.kmov.com/sports/Bailey-5-things-for-Cardinal-fans-to-worry-about-209976081.html

    Thankfully, the Cards are about to lose as I type this, so a distaster that could have been much worse will be somewhat negated.

    • @CI3J: I think the Cards will slow down. They’re not 110 wins good.

      I do think they (Cards) are, top to bottom, better. We will see. They certainly don’t blow late inning leads. If the Reds bullpen had pitched even decently this year, the Reds would be in first place right now.

  5. The Cardnials lost again. The Pirates winning again. I am not sold on the Pirates. If they are in playoff contention on Labor Day I will be sold.

  6. Sorry, but while this team has some very good players they don’t have “it”. Until they get some leadership and better magt we will just be a slightly better then average team.

    • @dn4192: Utter nonsense. Please get a hold of yourself. Not even at the ASB and the Reds have one the best records in MLB. How do you know we dpn’t have “it”? Did a Cards fan tell you that. You have been here a long time and should no better. Tell me, when did the Redds take off last year. Can you remember? Think about that and get with the program. Man, we have some folks just falling apart.

    • Wow @ that game thread!1 heartbreaking loss…

      FIRE SALE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      To many give aways this season, losing is one thing but to give games away is unacceptable.

  7. These are the types of stretches where the leaders of the team need to get in certain players’ faces and demand that they do better. Accountability is a part of life and it isn’t going to come from anyone who chews on a toothpick and wears sweatbands on his wrist. My question is does this team have any guys in the locker room who are capable of such an action. Time will tell but if I’m Latos and the bullpen blows another save for him tomorrow then maybe he will have to be the guy. Go Reds.

    • @315redsfan: Let’s see who’s having a subpar June. Votto, check. Phillips, check. Who would you suggest get in their face? Aren’t they the team leaders?

      • Unfortunately, it looks like the Reds are truly a second or third place team in this division.

        You can pin some of this on luck. Over the past week, the Reds’ BABIP has been sitting in the .240s range. But, it’s looking more like this offense just isn’t as good as we initially thought it was.

        Let’s face it, the Cardinals are legitimate. They have the best second baseman in the NL, a first baseman who hits over .400 with RISP constantly and can play the outfield, the most clutch player in the league when it comes to postseason time at third base, an MVP candidate in Molina, perennial All Stars in Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran,and the best pitching staff in the NL. The Cardinals will hit their bumps (in fact, they’re in a bit of a rut right now, the Reds just aren’t taking advantage) but in the end look like real contenders.

        The Pirates have one of the top bullpens in baseball, and their starting rotation, even minus their ace and most of their opening day rotation, has been fantastic. When they get those pitchers back, it will be even better. In fact, their time on the DL might even give the Pirates an edge- less likely to tire out over the long haul, AJ Burnett in particular. Francisco Liriano is the real deal, too.

        And the Reds? An adequate amount of talent, sure. Phillips is solid at second, Votto is a perennial MVP candidate, Bruce is on fire, Choo is an on base machine (even when he’s struggling), and Ryan Hanigan is solid on defense. The problem is that the Reds’ good players have more shortcomings than the Pirates’ or the Cardinals’, and more black holes in the lineup as well. For example, Phillips will always GIDP at a near-league leading rate, Bruce has his patented cold streaks, Frazier has just flat out been awful for most of this season,same story with Paul Janish (I mean, Zack Cozart), Ryan Hanigan is dancing on a tightrope above the Mendoza line, and Choo can’t hit lefties at all (or play defense in the position he’s currently at.) Oh, and the Reds’ bullpen needs some work. Curtis Partch and Manny Parra are not MLB-quality relievers, and Jonathan Broxton and JJ Hoover are solidly below average. Alfredo Simon is great as a long man, but he’s no setup guy. Even Chapman is more prone to meltdowns than the truly elite closers.

        The main advantage the Cardinals have over the Reds is that they play smart baseball, not “well, we’re at GABP, so we might as well aim for the river.” They go the opposite way, hit with 2 outs, and go up the middle like the Reds don’t. They also happen to have the postseason experience and veteran leadership that the Reds desperately lack.

        Unless Zack Cozart, Todd Frazier, Ryan Hanigan, and the entire Reds bench (with special emphasis on Hannahan and Izturis) miraculously go from solidly below average to solidly above average, and the bullpen (with special emphasis on Broxton, Parra, Partch, and Hoover) does the same, this isn’t a division-winning team at this point. Sometimes the truth sucks, but that’s the truth.

        • @JoshBresser: If it weren’t for the pic, I could’ve sworn I was reading a Thom Brennaman diatribe. So many ‘always’ and ‘cant’s’, where does one start? An ‘adequate’ amount of talent, eh? There’s at least 25 GMs who would trade rosters in a heartbeat.

          A longer view is warranted.

        • @RedLeg75: I’m not really a fan of Thom or Marty, funny enough. Marty has a point a lot of the time, but him going on about how bad Votto is is really just dumb. Saying that he’s bad because he’s only on pace for 80 RBIs, or that he’s been awful on defense this year is just asinine.

          But, Frazier really isn’t a starting third baseman. He has enough power to pump 15 homers or so a year when playing at GABP, but really, that’s about it.

        • @JoshBresser: I agree with pretty much everything you said. I’ve said it many a times: while the players have to play, it’s up to the upper echelons to put them in a position succeed. Maybe its time for a good closed door meeting that got the Reds going during the 2010 and 2012 seasons? Or Dusty to actually *gasp* think outside the box and shuffle the lineup a bit? I love the Choo acquisition this year, but he has no business being in the lineup against LHP.

          This is where a player like Rolen comes in handy, he seemed to have presence in the clubhouse where he could go up to somebody and be like: “Hey guys, we can do better than this.” Votto is too quiet to be a clubhouse leader, and Phillips – while has that natural knack, is in his own slump and trying to find his stroke.

          Maybe Miguel Cairo can give a good speech to the team and fire them up?

        • @TraviXDM: I love this antiquated notion that a speech can fire up the guys to play better. Let me guess, it starts something like this—

          “Losing is a disease, as insidious as cancer……”

          *facepalm*

        • @Sultan of Swaff: A good motivational speech can go a long way. No need to be a jerk about it, or get in guys faces. But someone stepping up and saying, hey – we can do better can be enough to get a team fired up.

          Your snide remark and face palm gesture are unnecessary. I feel it would make a difference, you don’t. Grow up.

        • @JoshBresser: Josh, while I agree with a lot of what you have said, it’s not as bad as you bring on. We are in the playoff race right now; ending today, we are in the one game wildcard game. And, if Baker wasn’t here, I would think with the amount of talent this organization has, the line of managerial candidates would line up all the way to Columbus.

          I do agree the Cards are the better organization overall. Especially at the top level, they have the better starting rotation and better hitting. So many talk about how poor their defense is. It seems to be good enough to win a WS title. And, I believe they also have the better manager. Of course a lot of clubs would trade rosters with the Cards.

          But, I would rather trade coaching staffs. Specifically, Bakerman and Joke-oby has had enough of a chance to show their stuff. More than obvious this team wins in spite of them, not because of them.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I have a hard time calling out Votto for his June. There are only three players on the Reds who have hit over a .700 OPS this month so far. Bruce (1.035), Frazier (.847), and Votto (.837), but outside of them, the next highest is Mesoraco (.695). So while Votto isn’t his usual amazing, he’s still playing pretty good ball.

        But yes, Phillips has been absolutely pedestrian, the charm of Robinson is quickly fading. Also Lutz/Hanigan/Hannahan/Izturis are absolute black holes of production in the lineu when they’re in it. If Dusty was smart, he’d move Phillips up to #2, Choo back to #1, and Bruce to #4… because right now Phillips is doing nothing other than creating an out (generally the third out of the inning while stranding Votto on base) so Bruce ends up smacking a HR with nobody on.

  8. One thing that continues to nag at me is the pro-Phillips bias. If Zack Cozart, say, gets hit by a pitch and then has an OPS for 2 weeks that’s 100 points lower than his usual, then he sucks. If Phillips gets hit by a pitch and his OPS drops a lot, then it’s because he’s hurt.

    Another way to look at it is that his OPS+ is currently exactly what it was for the 2012 season. Maybe he is just self-correcting.

    Phillips is a good baseball player. He is a great defender and a slightly above average hitter, maybe a bit more because of his position. People were talking him up as MVP of the NL earlier. He’s not that kind of player.

    Same thing for Leake, now he’s a Cy candidate? If he finishes the year with a 2.5 ERA we’ll talk, but that would be shocking to me.

    And then now Choo sucks because he can’t keep up a .500 OBP for the whole year. It’s a long season folks. Really. Like Baker says, you’ll usually end up with similar numbers to the ones you always put up. Not always, of course, but more often than not.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Works both ways on this too. All the talk back when Joey wasn’t killing the world with his baseball bat, etc. Folks like to be on the extremes I guess. Perhaps fans are more inclined to be like Jay Bruce than Joey Votto. Streaky vs consistent.

      • @Mwv: That’s true. I was certainly worried about Votto purely from the injury perspective. He seems mostly healthy, so I’m not worried about him.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: You can’t listen to a lot of what you are referring to. For the most part, what you are referring to hasn’t been widespread but only by 1-2 people, and/or with the disclaimer “if they keep it up”, and/or with the disclaimer “MVP for the Reds” and not just “MVP”.

  9. You can pin some of this on luck. Over the past week, the Reds’ BABIP has been sitting in the .240s range. But, it’s looking more like this offense just isn’t as good as we initially thought it was.

    Let’s face it, the Cardinals are legitimate. They have the best second baseman in the NL, a first baseman who hits over .400 with RISP constantly and can play the outfield, the most clutch player in the league when it comes to postseason time at third base, an MVP candidate in Molina, perennial All Stars in Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran,and the best pitching staff in the NL. The Cardinals will hit their bumps (in fact, they’re in a bit of a rut right now, the Reds just aren’t taking advantage) but in the end look like real contenders.

    The Pirates have one of the top bullpens in baseball, and their starting rotation, even minus their ace and most of their opening day rotation, has been fantastic. When they get those pitchers back, it will be even better. In fact, their time on the DL might even give the Pirates an edge- less likely to tire out over the long haul, AJ Burnett in particular. Francisco Liriano is the real deal, too.

    And the Reds? An adequate amount of talent, sure. Phillips is solid at second, Votto is a perennial MVP candidate, Bruce is on fire, Choo is an on base machine (even when he’s struggling), and Ryan Hanigan is solid on defense. The problem is that the Reds’ good players have more shortcomings than the Pirates’ or the Cardinals’, and more black holes in the lineup as well. For example, Phillips will always GIDP at a near-league leading rate, Bruce has his patented cold streaks, Frazier has just flat out been awful for most of this season,same story with Paul Janish (I mean, Zack Cozart), Ryan Hanigan is dancing on a tightrope above the Mendoza line, and Choo can’t hit lefties at all (or play defense in the position he’s currently at.) Oh, and the Reds’ bullpen needs some work. Curtis Partch and Manny Parra are not MLB-quality relievers, and Jonathan Broxton and JJ Hoover are solidly below average. Alfredo Simon is great as a long man, but he’s no setup guy. Even Chapman is more prone to meltdowns than the truly elite closers.

    The main advantage the Cardinals have over the Reds is that they play smart baseball, not “well, we’re at GABP, so we might as well aim for the river.” They go the opposite way, hit with 2 outs, and go up the middle like the Reds don’t. They also happen to have the postseason experience and veteran leadership that the Reds desperately lack.

    Unless Zack Cozart, Todd Frazier, Ryan Hanigan, and the entire Reds bench (with special emphasis on Hannahan and Izturis) miraculously go from solidly below average to solidly above average, and the bullpen (with special emphasis on Broxton, Parra, Partch, and Hoover) does the same, this isn’t a division-winning team at this point. Sometimes the truth sucks, but that’s the truth.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Yes, padding their run totals against bad pitchers is nice, but when the time comes to produce against quality pitchers, it simply doesn’t happen usually. The Cardinals, for instance, have less blowout wins than the Reds, but also have the ability to not completely go to sleep against solid pitching. This is why you’ll see the Reds beat the Cubs by 10, then struggle to put 3-4 runs on the board for the next week or so.

        • @JoshBresser: Is there one bit of evidence that the Cardinals have less variance in the runs per game than the Reds? I know that LWBlogger has time and again posted the results of his study saying “no”.

        • @JoshBresser: No, it’s not. They have the best record in baseball purely because Broxton, Lecure, and Ondrusek have blown an unusually large number of 8th inning leads. Give the Reds, say, half of the 8th inning blown saves, which would probably be about normal, and they are in first place with the best record in baseball. With not one difference in offense.

          And, again, please answer me this: if the Cards are so good, why can’t they beat bad teams as often as the Reds? Do they not care about beating bad teams because they’re better against good teams?

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Well, the Cardinals haven’t played as many bad teams as the Reds have this season. They had, what, 5 games against the Cardinals? Nearly a full quarter of the Reds’ wins are against the Cubs this season.

        • @JoshBresser: If your only point is that the Cards are better, I happen to agree. I just don’t agree with a lot of the charges thrown out there against the Reds.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Which ones, exactly?

          As I said, their offense is solid, but with holes and shortcomings. Todd Frazier, from what we’ve seen of his sophomore campaign, is not a starting MLB third baseman. Nor is Zack Cozart. Nor are Xavier Paul/Chris Heisey (and I’m not sure we can expect Ludwick to come back right away and produce, this might be a lost year.)

          As for their shortcomings, what do you disagree with?

        • @JoshBresser: Read here for a day. Inconsistent offense. Bruce is too streaky. Votto takes too many walks. Choo should be dealt back to the Indians. The Reds are over-reliant on homers. The season is over because of tonight. They should start dumping guys to save money. Crappy team because they have played poorly against good teams. It goes on and on.

        • @JoshBresser: Read here for a day.Inconsistent offense.Bruce is too streaky.Votto takes too many walks.Choo should be dealt back to the Indians.The Reds are over-reliant on homers.The season is over because of tonight.They should start dumping guys to save money.Crappy team because they have played poorly against good teams.It goes on and on.

          You’re making a strawman of my arguments. That’s no way to have a discussion.

          I never said Choo should be dealt back to the Indians. He’s been great for the teams, minus in the field and against lefties at the plate. Those are facts.

          The offense has been more consistent lately, consistent at not scoring. There’s that I guess.

          I never said the season is over because of tonight, nor that they should have a fire sale. Nor did I ever say Votto was bad for taking too many walks.

          Bruce is streaky, although that’s not necessarily bad, it’s just a fact.

        • @JoshBresser: How is Todd Frazier not a MLB starting third baseman? In the NL he’s 5th in AVG, 4th in OBP, 5th in SLG, 2nd in SB, 3rd in HR, 3rd in RBI, 4th in runs scored, 2nd in doubles, and 2nd in BB.

          Also has the 3rd least errors despite playing the 2nd most innings of any third baseman, so he’s playing GG-type defense.

          Top 5 in all important batting statistics, and top 3 in defense. Since when is that suddenly not a starting MLB player?

        • @JoshBresser: And, I believe someone posted here yesterday that the Reds had a better winning percentage vs bad teams than the Cards, which was my original point.

          I’ve yet to see one iota of evidence that beating good teams during the season has any correlation with winning postseason games. In the NFL, the positive correlation is between beating bad teams decisively and postseason success, *not* beating good teams. I realize it’s counterintuitive at first, but think about it a bit, and it makes some sense. Is the same true in baseball, I have no idea.

        • @JoshBresser: Well, they bombed two excellent pitchers in the first two games (even though they can’t hit good pitching supposedly). They were an inch away from sweeping the series.

          The 1990 team was just a bit over .500 vs teams over .500. Then they went 8-2 in the postseason. Since you wanted an example.

        • @JoshBresser: The Reds beat good teams during the regular season last year. You can look it up. They had trouble with winning teams in 2010.

        • @JoshBresser: And it’s been a good bit less than 20% since the fever pitch of the complaint you refer to, which was after the end of April Cards series. The offense has been pretty dang consistent, unless you think that teams that average ~4.5 to 5 runs per game should never score less than 3.

        • @JoshBresser: In fact, the Cards have been held to <= 2 runs more times than the Reds, 11-10, since May 1. What does that mean? To me, nothing.

        • @JoshBresser: Classic. I pointed out that you were saying something erroneous, and so you come back with a totally different stat that is not runs scored per game. Run differential take pitching into account, you know.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Keep in mind that my point isn’t that the Reds aren’t awful, by any means, but have a lot of holes that will keep them out of the first 2 spots of a (suddenly) competitive NL Central.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Depends on how hard the Pirates crash. Their bullpen is definitely overworked, but their rotation isn’t in the least.

          Of course, it’s the Pirates, and they’re known to do that. Who knows?

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate:

          If the Reds could get to just a bit over .500 against +.500 teams, then they’d be in a better place than they are now.

          Oh, and they bombed Jered Weaver? What? Did you watch the game? Weaver owned the Reds.

        • @JoshBresser: They bombed Cain and Bumgarner in games 1 and 2 last year. You mentioned postseason, which I consider mostly luck anyways.

        • @JoshBresser: They bombed Cain and Bumgarner in games 1 and 2 last year.You mentioned postseason, which I consider mostly luck anyways.

          Oh, postseason.

          Matt Cain is overrated. He’s good, sure, but not elite in my opinion. He’s regressing to his peripherals this year. And yes, they did well against Bumgarner.

          Then just folded at home for the next 3 games. As they say “if you lose the last game of a series, nobody gives a shit.”

        • @JoshBresser: It’s not like the Cards and the Pirates don’t have the holes or have perfect teams, either, Josh. The Pirates can’t hit with RISP. And, the Cards are playing out of their gourd, with the injuries they have had, replacing them with AAA players and still beating teams more than has been seen in several years in the league. Murphy’s Law would state they will come back to Earth sometime. As well as, winning the regular season doesn’t necessarily mean winning in the post season. The Reds proved that in 2010 and 2012.

          The post season is entirely different. I still don’t hold for hope in the post season for us, unfortunately. But, that’s not because of our players. That’s because of our coaches. Their “work” becomes much more pronounced during the post season.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: IMO the Cardinals have more worrisome macro issues than the Reds, namely, how will their rotation hold up when scouting reports and innings limits take their toll the last 25% of the season.

        The Reds are still the team to beat.

        • @Sultan of Swaff: If you can delude yourself that the Reds are the best team in the NL Central, then congratulations, you’re impossible to reason with.

          Their rotation might struggle a bit, I guess, but the Reds’ probably will too. Mike Leake won’t post an ERA in the 2.60s all year, Bronson Arroyo will probably finish around 4, and this might be the year that Cueto’s performance regresses to his peripherals.

          But, offensively, it’s no contest. The Cardinals are simply better.

        • @RedLeg75:

          Hah, I’m a Reds fan actually, just a realist. The Cardinals are looking like the more legitimate team right now. They’re getting it done against better opponents, anyway..

        • @RedLeg75:

          Hah, I’m a Reds fan actually, just a realist. The Cardinals are looking like the more legitimate team right now. They’re getting it done against better opponents, anyway..

          Josh, a realist wouldn’t say the Cards youth might struggle a bit but Leake won’t hold a 2.60 ERA all year. A realist would say more like the opposite, that Leake might struggle a bit and the Cards youth won’t hold their success all year. You’re not being a realist. You are being a pessimist. Reds fan y

        • @steveschoen: Reds fan, yes, you still can be. But, a realist, not necessarily. More of being a pessimist is what you are doing.

        • @RedLeg75: Not everyone who thinks the Cards are better is a Cards fan. This guy appears to be a writer for Blog Red Machine.

        • @RedLeg75: I can partially agree on that. While I think Dusty Baker is a fine manager, he’s not right for this team. While the bullpen isn’t great as it stands (Broxton’s peripherals suggested major regression last season, Parra and Partch shouldn’t be in the MLB) our record would be a lot better with a better late game manager.

          I think Dusty would be a great manager on a team like the Yankees, full of veterans and fairly limited on young talent.

        • @CP: @JoshBresser: Dusty is the kind of manager who can help a team find its way to the postseason for sure (he has demonstrated that twice in the last three years). But when it comes down to it, he lacks that ‘go for the jugular’ attitude that is needed in the playoffs, as shown in Game 5 of the DS last year when he seemed to forget that if they lost that day, there was no tomorrow.

        • @TraviXDM: I can’t believe that was Baker. After some of his wacky decisions with his lack of post season success, it’s more likely that his teams have won in the regular seasons in spite of him. That when it comes to the post seasons, Baker’s wacky decisions become much more difficult to hide.

        • @steveschoen: Yeah. This team has the talent to succeed, but when it comes to win or go (stay?) home, as you pointed out, Baker just doesn’t realize he doesn’t have the 162 game season to hide behind anymore, and his lack of killer instinct per say, becomes the elephant in the room to his creditability.

          Just makes it difficult to watch sometimes, a player with Latos’s ceiling melting down on the mound and his manager just standing knawing on his toothpick and twiddling his thumbs, then watch as his pitcher gives up the grand slam before going: “Hey, maybe I should go get him.”

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Those that pound it and pound are in my box, or should be anyway. They probably have an a better (deeper) organization but do we really need it pointed out daily? I smell a rat. You took a break for a couple of days but now you are back, in full force, with an accomplice to boot.

        • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Hah, that’s funny, Bresser as my “accomplice”. Go back and look at the arguments above.
          He’s a fatalist and inventing incorrect stats to show how bad the Reds are.

          Heck, I’m on the side of “no fire sale”, which appears to be only about half of this site!

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I have a totally different perspective on this – where are all the fire sale comments?. I did observe comments where folks suggested possible trades. But please enlighten me on numerous “let’s start dumping salary comments. Maybe a couple if that. There is a hell of a difference between shaking up the club, through trades and an out-and-out fire sale. Did I miss something? Otherwise its BS and let’s drop it.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Just went back and looked. Three comments suggested a salary dump. Bet you can guess who made all three. I’ll save you the time if you don’t already know: RedForver. I truly like Red and am grateful he is on this blog but let’s face it, the guy has the gloomiest outlook here. If the Reds are down by a run, than the game is over. If the Reds lose two in a row, the season is over. He is always the first to jump ship. To the rest of you guys, I say stay in the boat for God’s sake.

          I really like CP and also happy he is here but in my opinion, he read the comments the way he wanted to read them. His comment is not fact based. If he or you would like to point out “fire sale” comments on the game thread that I may have missed, have at it. But this is a total Red Herring.

        • @Sultan of Swaff: If you can delude yourself that the Reds are the best team in the NL Central, then congratulations, you’re impossible to reason with.

          Their rotation might struggle a bit, I guess, but the Reds’ probably will too. Mike Leake won’t post an ERA in the 2.60s all year, Bronson Arroyo will probably finish around 4, and this might be the year that Cueto’s performance regresses to his peripherals.

          But, offensively, it’s no contest. The Cardinals are simply better.

          Josh, you need to be careful here. You specifically are saying how the Cards pitching staff, being held together right now by AAA players if I recall correctly, pitchers with less experience than Leake, and you are saying that they will only “might struggle a little bit” but you say Leake “won’t post a 2.60 ERA all year” like he’s destined to. You talk like Leake is destined to blow up and the Cards youth, while younger and less experienced is destined to succeed, when in fact, if anything, Leake would be the one more likely to maintain his performance while the Cards youth would be more likely to blow up. Now, if that I or you say does happen is another thing. But, what would be more likely to happen is more than obvious.

          I don’t doubt, I believe the Cards are better, also. But, that doesn’t mean the Reds, Pirates, Braves, nor Diamondbacks are out of anything, much less several other clubs in the league.

    • @JoshBresser: I agree with the notion that the Cards are better right now and that the Reds have some issues. I also feel you are overstating those issues some. First off, I think your expectations for Frazier are skewed. Frazier isn’t playing up to my projections for him but he isn’t falling that short. To say he isn’t a legit MLB starting 3B is fallacious. Frazier is 12th among all qualified MLB 3B in OPS, placing him solidly in the middle of those playing the position regularly. His defense has been a better than expected above average as well. WAR isn’t my favorite stat but his 2.3 WAR is 7th best among qualified MLB third-sackers.

      Then there is Cozart. Yes, the Reds need to improve there. He’s been sub par. That said he hasn’t quite been an utter disaster and the Janish comparison is wrong. He’s certainly hitting better than Janish did when given regular playing time.

      You make good points and you deliver them very well. It just seems your perception of how bad the bad things are perhaps are a bit exaggerated.

    • @preach: I’m concerned about the Reds West Division road trips already. The Reds lost a series to the Rockies at home. The two losses to the DBacks do not bode well. The Giants are always tough in SF, the Padres have been winning. The Dodgers have talent.

  10. This team has the best record in baseball if its bullpen had performed as expected. Step back from the freaking edge, people.

    • @Jason1972: True, but that is exactly the problem. With the Reds don’t score many insurance runs and the bullpen blowing every other lead, it makes it hard for people to stay optimistic about the Reds chances.

    • @JoshBresser: Kind of like Bailey vs Cumpton or Cueto vs Miley? Anything can happen in one game. But yes, it’d be sad to get swept with that matchup.

    • @JoshBresser: Thanks Josh for speaking your mind. There are too many pollyannas on here that only want to hear how good everything is and can’t see the forest for the trees.

      There are a lot of “signs” that point to some major issues with this team. Yeah, I might over react to a single game but when we consistently see the same things occur game after game, that becomes a trend.

  11. There is too much verbiage going on here for me to really sort it all out at this late/ early hour.

    I agree with the proposition that comparing one offense to another without looking at the total make up of the team can be like comparing apples and oranges.

    It seems to me that the while it is maddening to watch at times, the Reds offense even without the projected cleanup hitter from day 1 has done enough for then to have had the best record in baseball at this point IF, and that’s IF, the bullpen had been as good as they thought it was. BUT it hasn’t.

    I find it interesting that yes the Reds are 4-5 versus the Pirates and the 3-6 versus the Cards BUT in both cases, they have won as many games as they have played the other team at home. So, it is not unreasonable to believe those numbers may come even as the home and home count levels out.

    Also in looking at relative schedules and outcomes, if the Pirates maintain a level of play into the second half anywhere near what they have to date, those 14 games between the Cards and the Pirates after the ASB are going to big. And looking at it from a Reds view point, they’ll have about the same number with the Brew Crew from right before the break thru the end of the year. The Reds could quite feasibly net 5 games versus both the Pirates and Cards right there.

    • @OhioJim: All this said Saturday’s outcome does underscore that the Rdds need some midcourse teaks. I’d settle for a realiable arm for the back end of the pen; and somebody who could play league average SS with an OBP around .350

      • @OhioJim: Jim, there are four qualifying SS in the NL who are around .350 OBP or better, and they ain’t getting traded. (Tulo, Segura, Cabrera [SD], and Crawford.)

    • @OhioJim: We just can’t be waiting for those games. Good teams take the games now, take games from all teams, not waiting for the bad teams then clobbering them.

      • @steveschoen: I do not disagree. They have clearly frittered away at least half a dozen games and that hurts.

        However 3.5 down with 85 (or whatever exactly) to go isn’t the end of the world.

        I wanted to make the point that it is thrown up that the Reds have profited by playing the Cubs so much but overlooked that they are also half done with the Cards and Pirates and 2/3+ of their slate with the Brewers who are as bad as the Cubs ahead of them while the Cards and Pirates have to square off with each other 13 or 14 times more.

  12. Did we trade the wrong shortstop. We know Didi G’s bad is better than Cozart, but wondering about his defense? Cozart not very good at the plate and hits into two many double plays.

    • @JEFFMO: The Diamondbacks wanted Didi, they wouldn’t have made that trade for Cozart.

      That means if the Reds didn’t trade Didi, then sure they would have probably upgraded from Cozart, but that also means that the Reds wouldn’t have had Choo (who pretty much carried the team winning game at the beginning of the year) and instead would have Drew Stubbs in CF. Stubbs would also almost certainly be leading off.

      So the real question is.. what would you rather have the Reds #1-2 lineup look like this year? #1 Choo (CF), #2 Cozart (SS)…. or #1 Stubbs (CF), #2 Gregorious (SS). Because I know the answer to that one easily. I wouldn’t be watching Reds baseball today if I had to watch another season of Stubbs leading off. It’s as simple as that. Besides, because of that trade Billy Hamilton got moved to CF since they need a longterm one. Otherwise Hamilton wouldn’t have a position.

      • @ToddAlmighty: Agree with TA’s comments and would add that having Didi would also make the Reds even more LH at the plate, with already being such one of the problems that needs addressed now.

    • @JEFFMO: As was mentioned the D’Backs wanted Didi. Also, Gregorius has never hit like this in the minors. He likely won’t keep up the pace. By the end of the season I would think he’ll have 25-35 points of OPS on Cozart. That’s mostly due to an amazing start too. There is a good chance he will also have 2nd year numbers not equal to his first as the league adjusts. Just my analysis on that.

      • @LWBlogger: I could not agree more, and as I’ve said, some researcher found that bad hitting minor league stats translate to bad hitting major league stats every time in the last 10 years. There hasn’t been a case like Didi in the last 10 years, in other words. So regression is very likely.

  13. JoshBresser: Then (Reds) just folded at home(against the Giants) for the next 3 games. As they say “if you lose the last game of a series, nobody cares.”

    If the Reds folded, how would you describe what the Cardinals did in their 3 season ending losses to the Giants ? Outscored 20-1, pathetic defense, a total collapse.
    People forget that, somehow.

    Did you see Game 5, Reds vs. Giants ? The Reds did anything but fold. Ask the Giants players, who had to make one spectacular defensive play after another late in the game.

  14. 80 comments on the recap and i don’t think any of them are about Aroldis “rocket man” Chapman…….Do we trust this guy with a 1 run lead at all at this point?

    • @zab1983: I don’t. Chapman’s performance seems to be binary – on or off. Either he’s unhittable, or he can’t get anyone out. Since he’s only used in the 9th with a lead (not literally, but essentially), and since there’s no one behind him in the bullpen in case his control is off, he’s an all or nothing proposition. Like everyone else I certainly enjoy watching the dominating outings, but in the end it’s about the last three of those 27 outs. No bonus points for strikeouts. I don’t like the roll the dice scenario since there seems to be no ability to self correct when the control is not there. If he’s off, Reds lose.

      Here’s a crazy question – is there anyone (coach?) in the bullpen who can watch him warming up and signal Dusty Baker – “Hey, not tonight!”? I know this is a bit of an over reaction to very recent, painful events, but no, I don’t trust Chapman at all right now. Perhaps even worse – who do you trust from the bullpen right now? Cingrani? Lecure? Right now, sadly, there isn’t a single relief pitcher that I’m sure can shut down an opponent. Get well soon Sean Marshall. I’m even hoping for Nick Massett back. Scary, I know.

      • @Chris DeBlois: I was thinking a lot od the same after the game. Chapman is either on or off. Very little in between. Ran through my mind that maybe you have to warm up two guys just in case but then that isn’t very realistic as a mode of operation.

  15. No mention of the Votto error on the groundball to lead off the 9th either. Who knows how it plays out if he makes that play? He’s been awful at 1B this year.

    • @beavertucky: I hear the announcers talking about Votto’s defense all the time. I’ve never been impressed with it myself. Especially with his throwing. He’s the one who made the throw that caused Cozart to get injured 1-2 seasons ago. I remember him making a bad throw to home, I believe, by a mile which caused a runner to score. I will trust him with his glove. But, I trust him to make a throw as much as I trust Baker to make a good decision.

      As for Chapman, it almost seems to me we are looking at Coco 2.0, a hard thrower but it seems like a box of chocolates when he comes in, you never know what you are going to get.

      • @steveschoen:

        In the past several years, as Joey’s defense improved, I don’t remember him playing as many balls off to his left and right, without getting in front of the ball, as every Little Leaguer is taught (to block the ball in case you miss it). It seems almost every hard hit ball he plays off to his left or right. I may be misremembering though.

        Also came across this article, which I thought was interesting.

      • @steveschoen: He’s very good, but he hasn’t had a great week for some reason; it happens. He should have had the ball last night, although it was scored a hit not an error. (The home scorer probably could have helped Goldschmidt out more by hanging another error on Votto.). The biggest issue I see is he’s been going too far to his right lately, getting in front of balls he should let Phillips get. I’m sure they’ll work that out.

    • @beavertucky: I thought that play was big too, especially given Chapman’s apparent propensity to get into a funk and not be able to work his way through it.

  16. @JoshBresser: Don’t mind your opinion, Josh. Everyone has that right. And, I doubt anyone got banned from the Enquirer’s blog due to negativity; the Enquirer’s judgement is about that of a gradeschooler. And, Josh, I do agree that the Cards are the better team. So many people at the beginning of the season had the Reds running away with the season before the first game. I never did. I always thought it was going to be tough with the Cards. But, you aren’t being a realist, like when you said the Cards youth staff might struggle a bit but Leake won’t hold a 2.60 ERA all year. It would be much more likely and realistic that the opposite would happen, that Leake might struggle a bit but the Cards youth staff won’t hold their success all year. That’s being a pessimist, Josh, not a realist.

  17. The problem with Chapman is simple. He is not a major league pitcher. He is a thrower who has one pitch with limited command of that pitch whom on top of that is extremely fragile.

    The Reds got this unpolished gem and instead of polishing it up they didn’t. If you really look the progress of Chapman you really don’t see much and it all falls on the Reds. In a game like yesterday I would have gone with Sam LeCure or even Simon or Hoover in that order over Chapman.

    Throwing hard is nice, but without location and secondary pitches you really are not much of an asset.

  18. Man, the comments last night were kind of crazy. We should start dumping salary? Talk about overreacting.

    1) Mike Leake was great. He’s been pitching very well against some offensively challenged teams. Last night he did it against a powerful offensive team. That’s a great sign. If he has really turned a corner and figured out how to get the most from his stuff then that would be huge. We’ll see.

    2) We struggle against LHP. That problem is compounded by the fact our RH cleanup hitter and our RH 4th outfielder are on the DL. With Brandon–or “Brendon” as last night’s announcer kept saying–in a slump, it’s even worse. We’ve seen a lot of good LHP in the past week, which explains a lot. Last night’s starter was 9-0, so it’s not like he’s some stiff. We need Phillips to step up and for Ludwick, Heisey, or a PTBNL (although there aren’t many just floating around out there) to contribute or the 1game wildcard game could go badly for us if the opposing team has a good LHP available.

    3) Ah, the wildcard. It’s possible we could win 97 games and still end up with a WC. If the Cardinals can continue to do what no team in the history of baseball has done and hit .350 for the season with RISP, we should tip our cap and remember the best regular season team doesn’t usually win the WS. If they do that, no matter what else happens the Pirates will probably implode, since their already over-taxed bullpen will be destroyed by facing the Cardinals so often in a short period of time.

    4) Dusty shouldn’t have tried bunting Mesoraco, and our inability to get that run in was big. That said, given that Mesoraco almost always pulls the ball–and he bizarrely lunged to do just that after the bunt sign was taken off with two strikes–I can see the logic. I don’t agree with it, but I can see it. (I can see no logic for running Frazier there, however. We got lucky Didi “Second Coming According to Some Posters” Gregorius dropped the ball.)

    5) Gibson did two crazy things that worked out: pitching to Votto with a runner on 3rd and a slumping Phillips behind him, and letting LH Maldonado bat vs Chapman. (Pulling Corbin for his closer wasn’t crazy IMHO, although some fans and Mrs. Corbin may disagree.) Maybe there’s just something about “Old School” former Dodgers given Managing gigs….

    6) Chapman is Saving games at a below-average clip. But he hadn’t given up a run in a very long time. Disappointing outcome, but there were no better options available than letting Chapman try to finish, unless you think Cingrani can pitch every day and twice on Sunday.

    7) Go Reds!

    • @Eric the Red: Definitely agree on the Meso AB.
      I understand trying to bunt to avoid the DP at the start of the AB but once Frazier had blundered his way down to 2nd, I thought they should have taken the bunt off. Meso was swinging well and I figured his chance of getting a hit or driving the ball deep enough into the OF for Frazier to tag and advance were as good as him getting down a successful SAC bunt to get Frazier to 3B.

      BTW, do you suppose the bunt was actually off in favor of a hit and run when Frazier got picked? If so it is interesting they put it back on.

      • @OhioJim: Frazier broke way before the ball was thrown, so I doubt it was a hit and run. Whatever it was it was terrible, and we got lucky that we didn’t run into yet another out on the basepaths.

  19. Every day that goes by I become more and more convinced that Marshall is the key to this bullpen, not only because of his skill on the field, but because of his leadership off it. I’d be very interested to see the win/loss record with and without Sean.

  20. @JoshBresser: Josh, you may want to find a way to share your opinions without denigrating the lucidity of those who disagree with you. That’s certainly not mature nor is it a particularly compelling argument.

    I’m reasonable. Convince me why a 3.5 game deficit constitutes strong evidence of the Reds inherent inferiority. Do you expect the Cards to maintain a .339 BA with RISP for the rest of the year? Will they maintain a team BABIP of .320? Will Molina bat .360 for the season? Which Reds batters have over-performed thus far and are due to regress down? Is the Reds bullpen likely to blow more or fewer games the rest of the season?

    I’m not sure which team is better, but I’m pretty sure it’s not as clear cut as you declare. I can see the Reds improving, while the Cards performance to date does not seem sustainable.

  21. Agree with TA’s comments and would add that having Didi would also make the Reds even more LH at the plate, with already being such one of the problems that needs addressed now.

  22. Everyone constantly talks about Phillips’ great BA with RISP, but no one talks about his .247 OBP when runners are not in scoring position. Yesterday, he finally worked an AB in the 9th, got a walk, which should have led to a win.

    With no one on, Phillips is worse than Cozart this year.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: He bats fourth, have you noticed? What would you rather have a high OBP with no one on base or a high average with RISP? Come on, you are better than that or a Cards fan after all.

      Overall BP has had a very good season. Denying this does not take it away. Yes, he is struggling mightily now. I’ve noticed he is pulling off the ball a lot lately and also has hit into some bad luck. Don’t know if his issues have been due to him still hurting, or pressing, but he will return to form. Just hope it is sooner than later.
      ,
      We will see how his numbers compare to, your boy, Carpenter’s at the end of the season. My money is on Phillips but I guess that’s to be expected since, I am a “Reds” fan.

      • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Phillips has had, to date an ok season at the plate. Denying this is to say that below league average OPS is good. Of course, if you made me choose, I’d take the RISP, but one cannot ignore that he’s badly hurting the offense when runners are not in scoring position.

        In terms of Carpenter vs Phillips, there is absolutely no doubt that Carpenter is a better offensive player. And no doubt that Phillips is a better defensive player. You can call me a Cards fan, whatever, but you’re just sticking your head in the sand if you dismiss Carpenter’s offensive numbers. Which you will, because after all, he plays for the Cardinals and therefore he must suck.

        • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Let’s look at it today:

          Carpenter, .399 OBP, .459 SLG, OPS+ of 139

          Phillips, .318 OBP, .417 SLG, OPS+ of 97.

          And Carpenter isn’t a fluke, he was at 125 OPS+ last year, which is 7 points higher than Phillips’ best season. It just isn’t close.

          The problem is that we can’t bet because you’ll define success as HR or RBI or BA with RISP, and I will define it as OPS+. There is a near zero chance Carpenter finishes below Phillips in OPS+.

        • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: OK, we will. And you are right, they will probably both correct, and then after that Carpenter will still be way ahead. But we’ll check back in October.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: See Hank, it’s comments like this that make me question where your loyalty lies. It just makes it look like you are rooting for Carpenter. I hope you’re not.

        • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: No, incorrect. I also think Tulo will be way ahead of Cozart, but I’m not rooting for that either. I would be quite happy to have you say “I told you so”. But numbers are numbers.

  23. Doing some number crunching per Cot’s baseball, Reds will have around 97 Million committed for next year. I factored in about 8 million in arbitration for Homer Bailey, about 5 million for Mike Leake, and 2.5-3.0 for Hanigan. Votto’s ten year deal kicks in next year, and he will actually make 7 million less than this year (interesting).

    A few things for everyone to debate and play Jocketty’s job. This team has a surplus of (good) starting pitching. Bronson walks after season’s end, Homer enters last arbitration year, Leake has 2 more arbitration hearings, Latos has two control seasons, Cueto has one, Cingrani has plenty.

    Who do you try and sign, who do you try and deal? I think it would behoove the Reds to try and figure this out NOW and get something back. I don’t see the ability to sign them all with Votto, Phillips, Bruce contracts. Some dead weight include Ludwick (35 next year and coming off a shoulder separation) and Broxton.

  24. This may sound like something incredibly biased coming from a fan, but I haven’t seen the Reds get beaten more than 8 times this year, they just lose games to teams. They have been beaten by Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and St Louis a few times, but every other game seems like one the bullpen/management combo has given away.

  25. You lost me at Dusty is a fine manager. Cards’ fan, next……..

    We already have one those day-in and day-out at the nation. One is enough for me. Thanks anyway.

    Reds are one 8 to 10-game winning streak away from turning this thing on its head. I vote for patience at this point but they have looked like do-doo for w week now. Great chance to get get the ship righted today. Go Reds!!

  26. Perspective: The Reds’ record right now after a bad week would be good enough to be leading 4 of the other 5 divisions and they’d be .5 games behind Boston in the other.

    Settle down. The Reds bullpen will get it together and both the Angry Birds and the Pirates will regress.

  27. Just to offer a bit of counterpoint to the gloom and doom types, here’s my take on the current situation:
    Starting Pitching = Solid, no need for change, prospects good for the next several years (though nelly33’s questions warrant attention)
    Relief Pitching = Decent, if healthy, mediocre at best right now. Need Marshall back, could certainly use Massett back, could certainly use a healthy Broxton (not as a savior, just as a solid arm), would love to see Lecure, Hoover, and Simon used more efficiently but overwork seems inevitable until some arms return. Bartch will be gone soon, nothing to see there. On Chapman, I say the next time he reels off 5 no hit outings in a row he goes on the trading block for a right handed bat for left field.
    Offense = Currently underperforming (only Bruce is overachieving at present), plenty of potential. Poorly managed (too many bunts, too many unproductive outs) but the Reds are stuck with that…
    Bench = Mediocre. Will improve when Heisey returns. Would improve again if a proper right handed left fielder came in to take Chapman’s locker.
    Intangibles = Not impressed right now, but that’s based on very little info. Reports are the clubhouse is a positive one.
    Standings = 3 1/2 back behind a scorching hot Cardinals team isn’t bad. There is still plenty of hope for a division crown, and a wild card seems a likely alternative. Not ideal, but a tip of the cap to the St. Louis club, then a renewed determination to chase them down.
    Overall = It’s baseball. I’m enjoying watching the Reds, rooting for wins and individual successes, not heartbroken and always hopeful.

  28. It sounds like it’s mid-September instead of mid-June. That’s what a three game losing streak will do. Still a long way to go.

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