2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: Chooooooooooooooo

Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL — 11 innings
San Francisco 2
Cincinnati 3

W: Hoover (2-5)
L: J. Lopez (1-1)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Shin-Soo Choo, whose struggles against lefthanders have been well-documented, struck the winning blow against lefty (and my fellow UVa guy) Felipe Javier Lopez in the bottom of the eleventh inning. Walkoff wins are always welcome.

–Devin Mesoraco reached base four times, with a career-high three hits and a walk. Choo was the only other Red with more than one hit (he had two). Chris Heisey hit a big homer in the sixth, however, that tied up the game. Joey Votto and Tony Cingrani each doubled.

–JJ Hoover pitched two good innings to get the win, striking out four. He was completely dominant in the first of those two innings.

–Sam LeCure struck out the side in his only inning of work. So good to see LeCure getting hitters out again.

–Manny Parra entered the game in the eighth, after Alfredo Simon loaded the bases. Parra collected the third out on a fly to right, in what was one of the most important spots in the game.

–The Reds and Giants have played three games in this series. San Francisco has a total of seven hits in those three games.

NEGATIVES
–Alfredo Simon walked just one and gave up no hits, but a lack of control (two wild pitches — one on a third strike that got away from Mesoraco — and a hit batter) permitted the Giants to load up the bases in the eighth.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–That’s three straight wins after everyone was ready to jump off a bridge. It’s a long season. You gotta be patient.

–Tony Cingrani, in his latest return to the rotation, was adequate: 5.2 innings pitched, two runs allowed on four hits and four walks.

–How many extra inning games are the Reds going to play this season? Every other night, it seems. Tonight’s game lasted more than four and a half hours.

–Giants manager Bruce Bochy managed this game like he was desperate to get a victory. He didn’t.

–Aroldis Chapman walked a guy, but still looked pretty good in retiring the Giants in the top of the ninth inning.

–Clearly, Manny Parra is the greatest reliever in Reds history.

–Heisey’s only hit was the homer, but he struck the ball very well a couple of other at-bats. If Heisey can hit like we all think he should be able to hit, he could solve this club’s LF problem in a hurry.

–The Reds are back to 13 games over .500, and they will go for the sweep tomorrow, with Mike Leake on the mound.

Source: FanGraphs

51 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Chooooooooooooooo

  1. Yeah, it’s 3 straight wins, but none of them count because the Giants are under .500.

  2. The Reds deserved this one. They hit at least a half dozen balls right on the nose that found gloves. The pitching was solid. Nice to win in front of the sold out stadium, too. They just beat the rain as it is pouring here now.

    • @Steve Mancuso: The Reds hit Zito hard, but didn’t score off him due to a combination of bad luck, a major base running blunder, and the Ks by Votto, BP and Bruce with a runner on 3rd after the SF bullpen came in.

      Cingrani’s walking Blanco, who has no power, on 4 pitches with the bases empty also cost a run.

      It’s fair to say the Reds deserved to win, but without shooting themselves in the foot, they would have won in 9 by at least 3 runs.

  3. Nice to hear the stadium was full- give Uncle Bob some cash to splash. I live in SF and have watched the games with pleasure. After the last post season- I want a sweep! Heisey’s sac fly was absolutely stung!

  4. Notice in the FanGraphs win expectancy chart that the chances of winning DECLINED after the successful sacrifice bunt in the eleventh inning — from 70.4% to 69.2%.

    • @Steve Mancuso: And FanGraphs expectancy measures don’t take into account who’s batting and who’s bunting. If you take into account that Hanigan gets the chance for a hit instead of Heisey, the chance of winning declines even further.

      • @pinson343: Worse than that: you take down Heisey AND Mesoraco in favor of Hanigan and Choo, against a very difficult LOOGY who almost never pitches to righties.

        Just bad managing, good playing by Choo.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate:
          “Just bad managing”? Not necessarily saying Baker is a great manager for making this move, but I think bunting is pretty textbook in that situation. The only downfall is if the bunt is not gotten down, which it was executed. I cannot foresee how the Reds would have been in worse shape as the chance of getting an extra base hit would have been about as likely as a Double play. To me it is a wash and you take your chances with the next 2 batters and it actually worked everybody executed as expected.

    • @Steve Mancuso:
      *Shrug* its a 1% drop, 0.01, could even be a rounding error? The three significant figures seems an overreach.

      It actually shows you how important the 2nd out is as Hannigan flyout dropped it by 10%. ESPN’s gamecast used to or still does have a WP% when you watch and sometimes a single ball or strike can change it. May just be slicing the hair a bit thin.

      Going back to the 5th, after cozart’s 1b to put him and Choo 1st and 3rd, Votto’s and Brandon’s K’s dropped the WP by 10% then too. So in the bottom of the 11th you can view getting the runner to second as +9% when that base was only worth ~4% on Choo SB in the 5th in a 2-1 game.

      I generally don’t like sac’s either, but I get less upset at this in extras, at home, when only 1 run is needed.

      Sorry for the longish post.

      • @Lost and Found: I’m not a fan of the ritual sac, either, but like it a lot better than I like Votto, Phillips and Bruce striking out and looking bad doing so with a runner on 3rd. I like it better than terrible, sloppy baserunning, too. Joey is, indeed, an exceptional hitter, but he often seems to look bad lunging at low pitches (fastballs mostly?)–pitches he’d do very little with even if he made contact. I observe that it usually seems to happen when he has two strikes and is in protect the plate mode, but since he often works the count until he has two strikes, it seems to happen pretty frequently. Observations?

        • @greenmtred:

          Observations?

          Your observations seem accurate. I haven’t run the numbers, but from my perception, the league book has changed on Votto and the next adjustment will be Votto’s. Votto likes to wait until the pitch is very deep in the hitting zone before committing, making him deadly at the plate against off speed pitches, but it seems that league is now forcing his hand with hard sliders and fast balls late in the count on the outside black after 2 strikes. Anyone want to bet against Votto making the necessary adjustment at the plate?

        • @greenmtred: On the base-running blunder, I don’t think we can blame Mesoraco for the whole thing. Speier should have sent Mesoraco on Cingrani’s double. A perfect throw still probably wouldn’t have gotten him and he had a good head of steam coming around 3B. Mesoraco is faster than I thought. Not fast, but fast for a catcher… Speier also thew up the stop sign, very, very late.

      • @Lost and Found: Long post?

        The point was that the sac (over the whole league) does not increase chance of winning. Therefore, one ought to look at who’s up and who’s coming up. Baker does not do that.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate:

          I got the basic point steve made (and mostly agree with it), but the silly part of WP% is it going out to the tenths of percent. This is done to make the stat ‘look’ more scientific with no mention of +/- fluctuation (ie error bars).

  5. Heisey is a 4th outfielder. He’s a great pinch hitter.

    He is not the solution in LF, just another stopgap.

    • @CI3J: I agree but right now he might be a better stopgap than Paul/Robinson. It’s a good time to give him another shot.

      Neither of Paul/Robinson has been hitting lately and Paul is a defensive liability. To put it differently, Heisey is a 4th OFer, Paul and Robinson are 5th OFers.

      • @pinson343: 5th outfielders don’t hit league average. Paul is a fourth outfielder or a reasonable platoon starter, assuming he continues at his current pace. I have no idea if he can.

        Heisey has proven time and again that he is not a major league caliber starting corner OF. I don’t understand the game recap saying “If Heisey can hit like we all think he should be able to hit, he could solve this club’s LF problem in a hurry”. I know for myself and many others here (maybe it’s a 50-50 split), we don’t think that Heisey can hit. There’s nothing that suggests he can hit. I’d be thrilled if all of a sudden he does hit, but why should anyone expect it? He is 28 years old with a middling minor league record (too old for his levels) and a career 94 OPS+ in the bigs.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I have to disagree. First, if Paul is a starter, he wouldn’t have been dropped by LA and Pittsburgh. Shoot, before us, his OBP was 289). With the Reds, as a bench player (pinch hitting, spot starting, etc.), doing exactly what a bench player is suppose to do, he has excelled (i.e an OBP of 351). He is a defensive liability.

          Plenty of 5th OF’s will hit for the league average, if not more. We even signed a bench player one year because we wanted to improve our pinch hitting and that player was averaging over 300 as a pinch hitter. All bench players are bench players for one reason or another. All bench players lack one thing or another. They are either a defensive replacement and can’t hit, or they are there for their pinch hitting and can’t field. Those who can do both wouldn’t be a bench player.

          As for Heisey, last season when Bakerman finally made the LF a true competition and gave Heisey and Ludwick about a month at the position solid, Heisey hit 288/324 starting 32 of 42 games I believe, fine for a starter. Heisey went first. Then, Ludwick got his turn, and when his bat turned that hot, you just couldn’t take it out.

          Past this season with Ludwick’s injury, that’s the only time Heisey got a chance to show what he can do as a starter. All of the other times, I don’t think it was move than 2 games in a row he got to start. What, he’s suppose to perform on command? Sitting on the bench, Bakerman goes up to him and says, “You are starting. Go hit 4 HR’s”, and he’s suppose to go out and do it? Sorry, these guys aren’t dogs and don’t perform on command. For many, routine is important to them.

          As for Heisey’s hitting this season, there are players who haven’t hit well this season, on this team. Shoot, Hanigan was hitting under 100 and still starting most of the games. It took Hanigan 2 months just to get to what Heisey was hitting this season, and he was still starting most of the games. You can’t blame the injury for Hanigan’s batting. He was batting poor before the injury.

          All of this isn’t to say Heisey is a starter, though. I’ve said myself before Heisey’s injury, with how he was hitting, that we should probably be giving Paul, Robinson, and Lutz some looks at starting some. Heisey’s injury just clinched that. I said the same with Hanigan. But, Bakerman doesn’t like Devin enough for that to happen.

          The only thing I worry about with Heisey is he tends to play outside of himself too much. Especially playing after Baker has him sit for a week or so, his first game back each time, it seems like Heisey does something “stupid” like diving for a ball and it still drops 5 yards away from him or getting caught in a rundown. But, to cure stuff like that, there is no substitution for being “mentally game ready”, actually getting into a routine, by actually playing. The same thing happened when Heisey took his turn at starting last season before Ludwick. But, after a couple of games, Heisey seemed fine. All the times before, Bakerman puts Heisey back on the bench. I do believe Heisey is a player where “getting into a routine” is important to him.

          I wouldn’t be surprised if the same goes with Devin. He went from being “the man” at AAA to not even being “a man” with the major league club. I mean, seriously, let’s look at Baker’s use of him. Baker said that the game moved too fast for Devin last season. So, what was Baker’s cure for that? Playing him every 2 of 5 games, if that often, and benching him the last month. Really! To help a player learn the speed of the game, Bakerman sits a player? That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of.

        • @steveschoen: I have to point out that, prior to this year, Hanigan was a very reliable hitter who, therefore, has a better track record than does Heisey. Many commenters on this board advocated for him to bat second. He’s also a superior defensive catcher, so I find it unsurprising that he is given a lot of rope. I like Heisey-the occasional heroics stick in the memory-but I agree with Hank’s Teammate that he is simply not a reliable hitter. He and Paul and Robinson are all, to my mind, situational players, not fixtures in left field.

        • @steveschoen: Who are the 5th outfielders that hit better than league average?

          Generally speaking, there’s a name for 5th outfielders that hit well: starters.

          I haven’t looked it up, but if guys can hit, they play, most of the time.

    • @CI3J: Obviously, a big fan here of Heisey since he’s a local product and a class act. Lots of good thoughts. Not sure Heisey has been developed properly and has been trying to please Dusty too much with a long history of aggressive swinging. Heisey might not be starter on a top team like the Reds, but he might develop into starter somewhere else. He has shown progress hitting pitches in outer third but still needs to detect pitches better (by playing) and prolong his at bats along with hitting to the opposite field. His defense is above average but his arm is average. Heisey clearly has power and decent speed, yet it is wasted by the Reds poor base stealing instruction. My recollection is that Heisey had a strong two months around the Stubbs injury last year but then fell off drastically in mid-August. Honestly, I don’t think Baker really cares for Heisey and has pigeon-holed him from day one. Heisey must rise to the occasion but only has done so in small doses. Dusty schedules players days ahead, so his system does not lend itself well to riding the hot player…especially one he doesn’t particularly like. Verdict: 4th OF or platoon starter for now.

      • @jas_428: I agree with your conclusion but have some issues with your thought process getting to it. You feel Heisey hasn’t been developed properly? I think most scouts felt he was a 4th/5th OF and not much else. He was always older for his level in the minors and got to the Majors rather late. I agree about him improving his hitting on pitches away. I’m not sure playing more will significantly help his pitch-recognition skills. I also don’t know what leads you to believe the Reds have poor base-stealing instruction? They have a poor success rate but I honestly don’t think they have the players to have much of a running game.

  6. According to the mlb.com game story, Speier waved Mes to home and then put on the stop sign late. C. Trent also reported Speier waving Mes home. The Reds have made a lot of base running blunders this season, and Speier has played a role in some major blunders.

    That out on the bases really hurt. The last 4 Reds to face Zito had hits off him, without producing a run.

    • @pinson343: So is there not somebody else who can coach third a bit more decisively? How many times do the Reds have to have that type of problem? Did that type of thing happen quite a bit with Berry, too, and I’m just not remembering it?

    • @pinson343: I was at the game and he was absolutely waving him home (correctly) and then threw the stop sign too late.

      Third base coaches should not make bad decisions and should not make late decisions. Speier makes a ton of bad late decisions.

    • @pinson343: The folks on this site do a good job of shooting down the old adages when they have been proven to be statistically shaky or wrong. However isn’t the one that applies here is that you risk the 3rd out being made on a play at the plate when the relay man is in the outfield and hasn’t yet received the ball as the runner crosses third.
      Of course for all their technology and replay views, FSN rarely gives us a wide angle look that would provide that information to the viewer.
      The times we;ve been shown Speier on these plays, it looks like he has two issues beyond his basic judgment. He doesn’t get down the line very far; and he isn’t very clear or demonstrative with his instructions.

    • @pinson343: I was sitting very close to that play and those reports are correct. 1) Speier should have sent Mes. 2) He put the stop-sign up WAY late.

  7. I thought that it was interesting that Phillips dropped the pop up on purpose, and Thom was pretty close to screaming that the Reds didn’t get anyone out on the play. No, Thom, double play. Phillips knows what he’s doing (usually). He pulled a similar play vs Oakland in 2010 and almost had a triple play.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I have to admit, I wasn’t paying close attention to the game details at the time of the infield popup to BP and my initial reaction was dismay at watching BP misplay an easy out so poorly while hot dogging with that silly grin. BP simply loves to play the game and he plays it with excellence. After the play I had a 10 minute tutelage session with Mrs. Cossack to explain what had happened. Her final observation after that 10 minutes was simply, “That was a very smart play.”

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Oh, I wasn’t disagreeing with you at all. BP caught me by surprise (along with 2 baserunners) because we weren’t paying attention to the game situation. If I’m not paying close attention, bogedy, bogedy, bogedy. If the baserunners aren’t paying close attention, well they have to deal with Bochy and their own demons. If the play-by-play man is not paying close attention, well who does he answer to, his dad?

  8. Speier seems awfully undecided for coaching 3rd, giving run, hold & slide signs too late. You would think he would be better at it because I seem to remember him as a decent base runner when he played.

    • @MikeC: I believe Speier is a superb bench coach and behind the scenes strategist, but his anticipation, judgement and reaction as a 3B coach is seriously lacking. The play with Meso rounding 3B was a disaster from the start. Meso was flying around 2B with the intention of scoring on the play. He was preparing for a collison at home plate if necessary as he rounded 3B and Speier issued a flimsy hold sign. By the time the hold registered with Meso, the play was doomed.

      Personally, I thought Meso had a good chance of scoring unless the Giants made a spectacular defensive play on the relay and at the plate. I wanted Speier to not only allow Meso to try and score on the play but to encourage him to try and score on the play. Under the game conditions, I would have been fine with definitively holding Meso at 3B also. I have seen 3B coaches put up a virtual brick wall to stop a determined, focused baserunner or rein in a determined, focused base runner with a virtual lasso. I have seen 3B coaches on their knees and pounding on the ground with both hands to make sure the runner slides at 3B on a close play. Speier just seems to lack the intensity to match the aggressive runners wanting to make plays rather than waiting for something to happen. With Berry at 3B, he and the base runners seemed to match each other in aggressiveness and intensity.

  9. Glad we won………BUT…..

    1. Zito sucks and it was frustrating watching Reds hitters let him off the hook time and time again.

    2. Yes, Reds beat up on another bad team.

    3. 3 game win streak – Fool’s gold or the start of something meaningful?

  10. I propose two other negatives:

    1. Mesoraco’s base running error in the 4th inning. Cingrani hit a double, and if Mes. held at 3rd they would have had a shot at expanding the lead with Choo up next. Loved his hustle from 1st to 3rd, though.

    2. On PTI, Kornheiser and Lebatard bashing Homer for his career 4.36 ERA, saying that he doesn’t belong in the elite pitcher category despite his 2 no-hitters. Arg! Most of the high ERA figures were when he was in the minors when he was struggling to perfect his game! In ’12 and ’13 (in which he’s pitched 319 of his 755 total innings, mind you), his ERA is 3.68 and 3.57, respectively, not to mention his 3.97 and 2.66 FIP. Oh well, maybe Homer heard and will use it as inspiration to prove that good baseball is not the sole dominion of the east coast.

    • @Eric: Zito is tricky, and as noted elsewhere, the Reds scorched some line drives right at the fielders. I happens. The Giants are playing poorly, but they are the reigning world champs and still have good players. But no, I’m glad for the 3 wins and don’t believe that they can be taken as foreshadowing. Lots of baseball yet to be played.@joelie1274:

    • @joelie1274: PTI should actually watch Homer when he’s pitching well and leave the stats book on the shelf. He is inconsistent, as yet, but when he’s on he’s as good as anybody.

    • @joelie1274: @joelie1274: I, too, found the PTI take on Homer laughable. To quote Lebatard, “Homer is the worst pitcher to ever pitch 2 no hitters,” and then he added that it was “flukey” or something to the effect.

      Homer can be inconsistent, but the last 2 years have been an absolute pleasure to watch, especially in critical games like game 3 of the 2012 NLDS. The 4 people on “Around the Horn” looked upon the second no-no much more favorably than the buffoons on PTI.

  11. I’m as big of a Homer fan as anyone, but who has been saying he deserves to be considered an elite pitcher? Yesterday, someone here actually felt the need to refute the point (which no one was making) that Homer Bailey hasn’t had the career of Nolan Ryan!

    Homer’s career FIP (4.00) is substantially better than his career ERA (4.36). And his FIP is elite (2.66) this season so far. He’s pitched like an ace at times, but remains too inconsistent to be considered or discussed as a #1.

    Homer has done something — pitch two no hitters — that few other pitchers have ever done. No Reds pitcher has done it for 40+ years! That alone is worth celebrating and regarding as a tremendous accomplishment.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Who was the player for the White Sox who threw a perfecto a year or two ago, and was sent to the minors before the season was over. I don’t think he’s even with the White Sox anymore …

        Homer might not be in the baseball elite, but to call it a fluke, when he’s done it twice within a few baseball months is, to quote Yorktown Red, “laughable.”

  12. The issue with Chris Speier on third base keeps recurring. Basically, he’s extremely, extremely conservative when it comes to sending runners. Whether he’s that way by nature or is worried about making a big mistake in his new, visible job, I don’t know. Over time, the players — who want to score when they can — could begin to lose confidence in his stop signs.

    Without benefit of replay and not exclusively watching the 3B coach the entire time, what I saw yesterday was Speier holding his hand up fixed, over his head (the stop sign presumably, but maybe not). As Mesoraco was rounding second, the OF were still not to the ball. My opinion was that Mesoraco needed to try to score, with two outs. Devin seemed like he wanted to try to score and rounded third big time, but was stopping until the Giants fumbled the relay. At that point he decided unsuccessfully to try to score.

    On the TV broadcast, Thom said Speier had the stop sign up the entire way. Others have reported the opposite. I can’t ever remember being this uncertain about Mark Berry’s signs.

  13. All I know is since Heisey returned to the team, he’s 3-11, 2 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 1 SH, 2 SF… he also raised his OPS .078 in those 11 AB… I’ll take that.

    • @ToddAlmighty: Heisey has said that he is trying to have better-quality at-bats in his return from injury. I know it’s a small sample size, but I’m curious: Has he just been hacking away, or have hit plate appearances been a bit more selective?

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s