2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: Let the second half begin

Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
Cincinnati 5

W: M. Leake (9-4)
L: F. Liriano (9-4)
S: A. Chapman (22)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Chris Heisey continued his strong play since returning to the club from injury. Tonight, Heisey reached base three times, going 2-3 with a walk and a homer in the first. He had a second RBI on an infield single in the fifth that scored Mike Leake.

–Devin Mesoraco went 2-3 with a walk, and made a great play on a third-strike wild pitch in the ninth to record the second out for Aroldis Chapman. Mesoraco also started a beautiful double play, when he fielded a bunt in front of the plate and quickly threw a perfect strike to Zack Cozart at second, who made a pretty good play of his own to deliver the ball to BP covering first. Pretty baseball.

However, see below.

–Brandon Phillips blew the game wide open, with a bases-loaded double in the fifth inning that scored three and put the Reds ahead by a score of 5-0.

–Joey Votto went 1-2 with a run scored and two walks. But, according to some, Votto isn’t paid to get on base three times in four ABs.

–Manny Parra was spectacular out of the pen, especially in the seventh when he got a key strikeout to end a Pirate rally.

NEGATIVES
–Devin Mesoraco made two bone-headed plays on the basepaths, in back to back innings. TOOTBLAN.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–That’s a great way to start the second half, with a strong win against a team that is ahead of the Reds in the standings. With the victory, Cincinnati pulled to within three games of the second-place Pirates in the Central.

–Mike Leake was simply rolling through five innings. All of a sudden (as tHom Brennaman would say), after Leake was given a five run lead, the wheels fell off. In the sixth, Leake surrendered three solo homers and couldn’t finish the inning. In all, he went 5.2 innings, allowing those three runs on six hits and two walks.

–The bullpen was a little shaky (with the exception of Parra), but didn’t allow a single run in three and a third innings.

–This Pittsburgh team is probably better than recent Pirates clubs that we’ve seen. Still, let’s not forget that, on July 19 of each of the last two years, the Pirates were in first place in the National League Central. As fellow editor Bill Lack likes to say, pretend I’m from Missouri. Show me. Perhaps this year’s Bucs won’t collapse like the last two versions, but I wouldn’t bet the ranch on them until they prove themselves.

Source: FanGraphs

112 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Let the second half begin

  1. Something to ponder:

    Cards and Pirates have 13 games left against each other….it’s pretty safe that the reds can pass one of those clubs by the end of season depending on the outcome of those 13 games.

  2. Hopefully it’s either a split, or a complete dominance by the Pirates. Then the Pirates can remember that they’re the Pirates and fade, leaving the NL Central to either the Reds or the darkhorse Cubs. Lol.

  3. OK. Joey Votto has the potential to “reach base” at astronomical rates. Marty Brenneman, myself, and numerous other people who get treated like they are high for bringing it up understand THAT! However, us “weirdos” who don’t know our poopchutes from holes in the ground also think his contract suggests he should do more. Sarcasm is angers nasty cousin. Anytime Marty is quoted on here for the, “He’s not paid to walk” comment, it is in a sarcastic manner. I guess it all depends on expectations. Honestly, I think most of us have sky-high expectations for Votto. 2010 created that. 2011 verified that. Then the doubles bonanza in 2012 made the contract look legit. You guys all think I’m crazy but I think the article that brought up the completely irrevelant stats like infield popouts and pulled foul balls made him self conscious about that nonsense and it affects his early count decisions. My wife who knows nothing about baseball sees this. She knows because she used to see how excited I would get on a 2-0 or 3-1 count to JV. I would call her into the room and correctly predict the HR. when he was up in a tight game, I would make her watch while he came through every time. This year, bleh. You guys can get all worked up about walks all you want but it is time to stop talking down on people who demand more than walks from that contract. Is it realistic? Probably not. But I want the clutch Votto back. Oh, I forgot, clutch doesn’t exist either. Stress is a myth.

    • @RedTitan19: Agree with all. Joey is having a very good year for 97% of the players but for a player of his stature and ability, so far 2013 has been disappointment. I’m betting he would agree with this statement. He is great player who is having a “decent” season. Still 2-1/2 months to make it a “great” season.

      • @RedTitan19: Agree with all.Joey is having a very good year for 97% of the players but for a player of his stature and ability, so far 2013 has been disappointment.I’m betting he would agree with this statement.He isgreat player who is having a “decent” season.Still 2-1/2 months to make it a “great” season.

        What part is disappointing? The fact he has less runners on base in front of him or the fact that most of the time with runners on base he doesn’t get a pitch to hit?

        • @AnnapolisHoosier: Since Choo has one of the highest obps in baseball, it would be interesting to know how often Joey has no one on base. I’m conflicted on this issue: I’m persuaded as to the importance of obp and, though not entirely dismissive of rbi (all stats have relevance only in relation to situations), I recognize that it is not a great measure of batting proficiency. Joey is a very good hitter, but to my eye he really isn’t driving the ball much this year–many of his hits seem to be grounders through the right side or opposite field singles. He walks a lot, as well, and this is good–it’s all good, of course, but maybe better for the guy who bats first or second than for the guy who bats third. I’ve wondered what is going on, and don’t know, of course. Is he still not 100%? Has he changed his approach? Is he getting no good pitches? This last looks plausible, but then you have to ask yourself why pitchers are so stupid as to throw hittable pitches to guys like Cabrera and Cargo? Demonizing those of us who raise this sort of question doesn’t do much to encourage discussion, but what the hell?

        • @AnnapolisHoosier: Since Choo has one of the highest obps in baseball, it would be interesting to know how often Joey has no one on base.I’m conflicted on this issue: I’m persuaded as to the importance of obp and, though not entirely dismissive of rbi (all stats have relevance only in relation to situations), I recognize that it is not a great measure of batting proficiency.Joey is a very good hitter, but to my eye he really isn’t driving the ball much this year–many of his hits seem to be grounders through the right side or opposite field singles.He walks a lot, as well, and this is good–it’s all good, of course, but maybe better for the guy who bats first or second than for the guy who bats third.I’ve wondered what is going on, and don’t know, of course.Is he still not 100%?Has he changed his approach? Is he getting no good pitches? This last looks plausible, but then you have to ask yourself why pitchers are so stupid as to throw hittable pitches to guys like Cabrera and Cargo?Demonizing those of us who raise this sort of question doesn’t do much to encourage discussion, but what the hell?

          He’s hitting over .300 with runners on OBP. Phillips has had way more batters on base than Votto. If Choo is on second with one out they are going to walk Votto and take their chances with Phillips and Bruce and I would do the same think. Cabrera has Fielder hitting behind him. Votto does not.

    • @RedTitan19: Instead of generalities, why don’t we talk specifics? You liked his 2011 season, which was 309/416/531, with 40 doubles, 29 homers, and 103 RBIs. His 2013 season projected out to 162 games is 318/434/506, with 33 doubles, 25.5 homers, and 71 RBIs. So the idea that he hit way more homers in 2011 is just wrong. Doubles, a bit more, but not totally out of line. Also, Votto with RISP is a good hitter—you can look it up. You can go on and on about how clutch isn’t a myth, but that’s not the argument here. If Votto chokes, which is what you are stating, why is he hitting .318 with RISP, as opposed to .200, or .100?

      I’m assuming that the main problem you and Charlotte both have is mostly with the RBIs. (This is based on the constant greatness comments about Brandon Phillips, who isn’t 75% of the hitter Votto is.)

      The primary difference appears to be that Votto is behind 2011′s pace in RBIs that result from RISP. The difference in his average is 60 points or so (with RISP), but the difference in his SLG is 200 points. Aside from the fact that this is a small number of at bats, most of the difference appears to me, without looking in depth, is in the SLG. And I suspect pitches pitch Votto even more carefully now than they did then.

      What you guys seem to want is a lot more aggressiveness with RISP. You are assuming that if Votto swings more the overall results will be better. Maybe that’s true, but maybe it’s not.

      The idea that all people care about is walks, also, is just lame. You’re making a ridiculous counter-argument to an argument that no one has made.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate:
        Great point, Joey Votto batting is not the problem (unless you possibly want to debate his salary). There are intangibles that cannot be quantified like him exhausting the pitcher mentally. I think the RBI totals of the guys that follow show that. Just imagine if there was a 2 hole hitter with a respectable OBP.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: His slugging is way down because he isn’t driving the ball like we are used to. Period. We all watch nearly every game and how this can be argued is beyond me. Why? I don’t know. Knee not as strong, different approach at the plate, etc. It just isn’t happening and pointing it out should not be a reason for ridicule but a reason for debate. Not on “is” it a fact but “why” is it happening. For now I would like to see him bat second so we can take advantage of what he is doing now, not in 2010.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: So there should be a greater number of RISP for Joey with Stubbs & Cozart than with Choo & Cozart. How does this make sense? I would expect there would be many more opportunities in 2013 than 2012 based on that. Where is my logic failing?

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: That is actually kind of funny. Why would I put that in quotes. “reaching base” shouldn’t be in quotes as if to make a mockery of it. Reaching base is important. But I don’t think it holds a candle to “rounding bases”.

        No the main problem with me is not RBIs because I couldn’t care less what the box score shows. My main problem is that I watch every single minute of every Cincinnati Reds game because I bleed Cincinnati Red. I think that the guy commanding the most dollars is supposed to supply more than walks. Oh, what a horrible thing to say? I WATCH the games. I see pitch after pitch (in hitters counts) go by while our highest paid player waits to walk. And if he does get down in the count, he may take a hack.

        I understand that his stats suggest greatness but come on…

        He is not the player who earned that contract and fooling yourself into believing he would have gotten it based on this year’s performance is nonsense. He is in the middle of the lineup to drive in Choo and whatever Yahoo hits second. Not to do everything he can to pass the buck to BP. I am sure BP appreciates it but JV has to start doing some pullups because down the stretch, if we are to succeed, he is gonna need to do the heavy lifting.

        • @RedTitan19: Perhaps Joey still isn’t 100% from his injury. Knees are funny like that.

          Or perhaps other teams are (correctly) looking at the .730 OPS hitter standing in the on deck circle while Joey Votto is at bat, and deciding to not give him anything to hit…

          If you’re the Pirates, which hitter would you rather make beat you?

        • @RedTitan19: First, I’ve maintained most of the season that in my mind Votto is not quite 100%, and I’ve taken a lot of abuse for that view. I don’t think he’s performing quite up to what I expect of him, but I think he’s not far off either. That’s in line with not being quite 100%, if indeed he’s not 100%.

          Second, your case would be a lot stronger if you had any evidence that Votto constantly takes hitters’ strikes at 3-1. You have no evidence, just complaining. Maybe you are right, but sorry, I won’t just take the “I watch the games” as proof. I’m not sure what you want Votto to do in cases where he gets to 3-1 and they simply don’t throw him a strike.

          Third, he’s only walking slightly more than the 2011 season, so really, you’ve got no case there.

          Fourth, thanks for the note that hitting a home run is more important than a walk. I guess I wasn’t clear on that point.

          Finally, I’d be interested to know what you think Votto would get today, for a contract. What do you think he’s worth on the open market. Sorry, but I am pretty sure you’d find that he would get about what he’s getting right now, assuming you take off 2 years as he signed 2 years ago. Phillips makes 12.5 million, and even in this supposedly terrible state Votto is in (according to you), he’s still way, way better at the plate than Phillips.

        • I must say that I can understand @RedTitan19: comment regarding Votto and the eye test. Joey Votto has struggled in the Old Cossack’s eye test this season. He just seems to be fooled or hesitant on a lot of good hitter’s pitches this season.

          Now the caveats regarding that very amaturish observation…

          First, the Old Cossack’s wind-beaten eyes are not a reliable measure of anything. I’ve learned to trust my head and the numbers more than my eyes.

          Second, the Old Cossack’s view of those pitches is nothing like Votto’s view standing at home plate. I will trust Joey Votto at the plate to make better hitting decisions than the Old Cossack will make from the stands or even worse, the bood tube.

          Third, Joey Votto is the most intellectual hitter since Ted Williams and I trust Votto to make any necessary hitting adjustment, if any hitting adjustment is necessary.

          Could Votto still be struggling, shy from a complete and full recovery? Sure, but that is a question for Votto, the doctors and trainers to address. I did not see the Bruce play yesterday so I can’t comment on Votto’s baserunning on that play, but I have seen Votto motor this season and he has been running as well as he was running pre-injury. Votto has also been hitting with power, possibly not quite as much power as pre-injury but certainly a lot more power than he had post-injury last season. My gosh, if Joey Votto’s production is the biggest issue facing the Reds, then the Reds are in very good shape for a serious playoff run.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: And tell me, at which point did I say that he hit “way more homers” in 2011? I just said he was more “clutch”. I know that word doesn’t register, but it is what I was suggesting, nevertheless…

        • @RedTitan19: Why don’t you define clutch, since I quoted you BA with RISP (even though I don’t care for it), and Votto is hitting .318. I guess it needs to be .500? You’re once again making a way out argument. If you want to debate the idea of clutch, fine. But first, I’d like to know your own definition of clutch, because most folks that say clutch mean BA with RISP.

        • What many are forgetting is, a little more each season, the other teams aren’t going to give Votto anything to hit. Why do you think he would walk more? Not only because of the IBB but also they just don’t give him anything to hit.

        • @steveschoen: What you say about pitches to hit is, to me at least, visibly true. But I say again, why do teams pitch to frightening hitters like Cabrera?

        • @greenmtred: Because Fielder is just as frightening a hitter, the batter right behind Cabrera. That’s one reason why Cabrera’s stats are so good now, the other pitchers have to pitch to him or face Fielder. It worked for Pujols as well having McGuire and Halliday (sp?) behind him. The Giants serched for years to get someone behind Bonds; I know they had some good ones behind him, but none that would cause them to have to pitch to Bonds. Similarly, we have Brandon.

          But, also, with Brandon’s RBI’s (not to mention Bruce’s, also), if you consider Votto’s runs scored stat, those are up. Which shows when the other teams have been pitching around Votto, BP and Bruce have been able to make them pay for it.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: My definition of clutch is pretty simple. Getting the hit when your team needs it most. I don’t really know any way to quantify that. I really hate math. I was the dumb jock. But getting the big hit when your team needs it most really sums up my definition of clutch. Not hitting with RISP. That includes all those 14-2 games where there is literally no pressure on the batter. If you are clearly under stress at the plate and deliver when it counts, that is clutch. Just like good ol’ 2010 Joey. You brought up 2011 where he did struggle out of the gate (he did in 2012 too). He figured things out that year and realized that he was being pitched around but he still hit hitter’s pitches. I am not seeing him pull the trigger early in the count on very hittable pitches this year. You could be right that he is still not 100%. I can buy that. I have another theory, however, and I know that you believe said theory to be poop. Therefore, agree to disagree.

          With that said, I do believe he provides valuable offense just by getting on base (no quotes). I just think he is capable of a lot more if he would be a little more aggressive. But, who knows, maybe he is taking all those strikes to prove a point to the rest of the lineup which is uber-aggressive.

        • @RedTitan19: He’s hitting .333 in high leverage situations.

          Is there another definition of clutch you’d like to now propose?

        • @RedTitan19: He’s hitting .333 in high leverage situations.

          Is there another definition of clutch you’d like to now propose?

          I don’t know about that.

    • OK. Joey Votto has the potential to “reach base” at astronomical rates. Marty Brenneman, myself, and numerous other people who get treated like they are high for bringing it up understand THAT!However, us “weirdos” who don’t know our poopchutes from holes in the ground also think his contract suggests he should do more. Sarcasm is angers nasty cousin.Anytime Marty is quoted on here for the, “He’s not paid to walk” comment, it is in a sarcastic manner.I guess it all depends on expectations.Honestly, I think most of us have sky-high expectations for Votto.2010 created that.2011 verified that.Then the doubles bonanza in 2012 made the contract look legit.You guys all think I’m crazy but I think the article that brought up the completely irrevelant stats like infield popouts and pulled foul balls made him self conscious about that nonsense and it affects his early count decisions.My wife who knows nothing about baseball sees this. She knows because she used to see how excited I would get on a 2-0 or 3-1 count to JV.I would call her into the room and correctly predict the HR.when he was up in a tight game, I would make her watch while he came through every time.This year, bleh.You guys can get all worked up about walks all you want but it is time to stop talking down on people who demand more than walks from that contract.Is it realistic?Probably not.But I want the clutch Votto back.Oh, I forgot, clutch doesn’t exist either.Stress is a myth.

      and this is why I see people laughing at Reds fans for not appreciating Joey Votto. This post is so funny in so many ways.

        • @RedTitan19: Some people can’t accept that certain players are not performing as well as they are. Others can see the reality and are belittled. I don’t get it but oh well.

          Joey’s oWAR:
          2010 – 6.8
          2011 – 5.9
          2012 – 4.6
          2013 – 3.5

          2-outs RISP
          2009 – 1.084
          2010 – 1.129
          2011 – 1.193
          2012 – 1.200
          2013 – .550

          RISP AVG
          2009 – .336
          2010 – .369
          2011 – .383
          2012 – .370
          2013 – .318

          These are not great trends for a guy that is going to be making +$25 M/year for many seasons. Those of us that have concerns have reasons. Stick your head in the sand all you want but he does not drive the ball like he did before, for whatever reason. He is not coming up big in clutch situations as frequently as he use to. We all love the guy and he is a great player but this so far has been a disappointing season.

        • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Based on your numbers above, his projected oWAR for this year is 5.96. Anything else on that one?

          His RISP average is down roughly 50 points from usual. Small number of ABs, so that doesn’t really say that much to me. The overall SLG of .506 would be the one thing I’d look at, if I were critiquing Votto.

          2 outs RISP, ah, yes, the stat of champions. 0 and 1 out RISP don’t matter, I guess?

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Okay now we are debating based on Joey being in only 111 games last year his total oWAR for 2013 projects to 4.42. Still a wrong way direction.

          Any RISP situations count but 2-out ones require a little more “clutch” as there is no one to pick you up, so they are different.

          Joey Votto through mid-season of 2012 was arguably the best hitter in baseball. Is he now?

          A .370 average (incredible) is Ty Cobb, a .318 is very good but a long, long ways from .318.

        • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Here is the thing about every “clutch” argument.

          Clutch doesn’t carry from season to season. I every study that has ever been done, it has been shown that, yes, in certain years some players will hit especially well in clutch situations.

          However, it doesn’t carry over to the next year. That is, how well a player hits in the clutch one year tells us nothing about how he’ll do the next year. If hitting in the clutch were a separate skill from just plain hitting, you’d expect a lot of year-to-year correlation like you see with basically every other offensive stat.

          Instead, what ends up happening is that basically all players end up with career numbers in high leverage situations or with RISP or whatever you want to choose that look almost identical to their career numbers. Go to fangraphs or baseball-reference, pick any player who had a career of reasonable length, and look it up. You won’t find many exceptions.

        • @Jason Linden: Joey’s lifetime RISP average is .347. Just want to make sure the facts are on the table but appreciate being able to debate any player on the Reds without acrimony – thanks.

          We need to be able to talk freely about JV, Bruce and Homer without facing ridicule. Just like the other 23 guys on the team.

        • @Jason Linden: Joey’s lifetime RISP average is .347.Just want to make sure the facts are on the table but appreciate being able to debate any player on the Reds without acrimony – thanks.

          We need to be able to talk freely about JV, Bruce and Homer without facing ridicule.Just like the other 23 guys on the team.

          uh, make that 22

        • @Jason Linden: Love to see him do just that and then maintain a .370 through the rest of the year. Then you wouldn’t hear people mention Joey is having a down year. Let’s see it. Go Joey!!! And CP would be drier than he is currently.

        • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Last year Votto was unbelievable pre injury. So, yes, 2012 pre injury Votto > 2013 Votto. I was mostly responding to the Titan who said 2011 was a good year for Votto, and that he’s ahead of that pace on oWAR.

          As to your main question, if we agree Votto is in the top 10, say 6th best hitter, do we expect more? Well, I’d say not much more. There’s no doubt Cabrera is better. I think Trout and Posey are comparable. If we’re going to savage Votto for having an off year in which he’s the 6th best hitter in baseball….?

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I think savage is a tad strong. But yes I do expect him to be near if not at Cabrera’s league. Actually I really want 2010 Joey. Probably unreasonable but he is the one who set the standard not me.

        • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: I actually kind of agree with you here. Votto has been a bit off for a while. Granted, his “off” is better than the vast majority of other hitters. But he hasn’t gone on a tear for a while. I expect he’ll have one sooner or later and suddenly his numbers will be a lot closer to what we expect.

        • @Jason Linden: That’s how I see it also. A tad off.

          As far as Charlotte wanting Votto to be near Cabrera’s league, forget it. Votto is a not going to put up those kind of numbers…ever. He’s not that kind of player. He does not possess the same set of physical skills as Cabrera. Cabrera is historically good.

        • @Jason Linden: That’s how I see it also.A tad off.

          As far as Charlotte wanting Votto to be near Cabrera’s league, forget it.Votto is a not going to put up those kind of numbers…ever.He’s not that kind of player.He does not possess the same set of physical skills as Cabrera.Cabrera is historically good.

          2010 and first half 2012 would be close if not all the way there. I think you are selling Joey’s potential a little short.

        • 2010 and first half 2012 would be close if not all the way there.I think you are selling Joey’s potential a little short.

          Cabrera has a 198 OPS+. Votto has never approached that zip code, including 2010 and 2012. Neither has anyone else.

          Cabrera can swing at pitches that aren’t hitters pitches and do significant damage. Votto isn’t that kind of hitter. They are different players.

      • @AnnapolisHoosier: I seem to have missed the humor, as well as the sight of people laughing at Reds fans. This is an interesting topic (the current virtues of Joey Votto, that is), and would be even more interesting if we all weren’t so touchy about it.

        • @AnnapolisHoosier: I seem to have missed the humor, as well as the sight of people laughing at Reds fans.This is an interesting topic (the current virtues of Joey Votto, that is), and would be even more interesting if we all weren’t so touchy about it.

          I’ve seen it numerous times on twitter by national writers. Joe Sheehan for one did last night.

  4. I liked the play sending Votto to the plate on Bruce’s hit. He was out, but only by a bit and there were 2 outs and it was a very good play by the Pirates to get him.

    I also thought in the 4 run inning, Phillips should have broken to the plate on Frazier’s infield single, he was already on 3rd, when the throw went to first. Would have been a gutsy play, but I wish he’d have tried for it.

    • @Bill Lack: I am a fan of aggressive baserunning because it usually signals confidence and a will to win. However, with this team, aggressiveness usually translates to ridiculous outs. I thought the Votto play had 0% chance of success and if BP had been been sent, he would have been out before he rounded third

        • @RedTitan19: The Reds are horribly slow.It is a fact that needs to be accepted not ignored.

          Agree. Yet remember BP standing in the NL dugout in 2010 applauding old a$$ Rolen goong 1st to 3rd? “That’s how we do it in th nnati. We go first to third.” At the time we were the hungry underdogs. I see many of our recent blunders as attempts to immitate that aggressiveness. The difference is that this year it seems its not leadership as much as it is blind ignorance. This team needs discipline and real coaching. We have no active team leaders and our coaching staff is futile.

        • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: The Reds aren’t slow; shoot, Votto even has some stolen bases. They just don’t have Hamilton speed. But, in a Bakerman-style game, that wouldn’t even make a difference. The Reds are just prone to boneheaded plays, including from BP and Votto. And, that play was probably set up by whoever it was who sent Votto. That ball never got anywhere near the HR fence. Votto should never have gone home, especially after slowing up at 2nd, I assume to get his footing.

        • @steveschoen: Okay, at what positions do Reds players have better than average speed? We are a slow team. Joey stealing 3 bags and getting thrown out twice doesn’t really prove this team has speed. This team is a station-to-station club or at least should be.

          Since last year: Choo is much slower than Stubbs, Rolen is faster than Todd, BP appears to have slowed quite a bit since last year as has Joey. Where have we gained any speed in the regular line-up except for the occasional DRob start? Heisey coming back has helped but we are lead footed bunch on the whole with (3) fast starting pitchers.

        • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: I’ll grant you that BP has slowed, though he is not slow, and that Joey is slower (the knee?), though I doubt that he is slower than the average first baseman. But Rolen faster than Frazier? Choo is not slow either, just not as fast as Stubbs (almost nobody is). During Rolen’s tenure, the Reds seemed to be a better base running team than now, but it seemed a product of intelligent aggressiveness more than raw speed. Baker was, of course, the manager then as now.

        • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: First, I never said they were fast, just not slow. Second, better than average speed? OK, compared to what? Their times in the 40 meter dash? That’s a stat easily attainable to the average sport fan (being sarcastic). Their stolen base totals? Again, not quite the correct stats to compare given our manager doesn’t work on any sort of hustle game of this team. Shoot, Bakerman would be more likely to bunt the fastest player in the game to second base than have him steal it. So, compared to what?

          Here’s a stat for you to compare it to. In 2010, when we won the division, we were 7th in the NL in stolen bases and lead the league for a very long time (I remember it being announced during the games often) for going from first to third. Well, let’s see the differences in that team and this team:

          OF – We still have Bruce
          We do lose some with Choo, but he still have never been considered slow
          In LF, we had Gomes mostly. This season, we’ve mostly had Lutz, Robinson, Paul, or Heisey, none considered slow there.

          IF – We still have Votto and BP, though BP is getting a bit slower each year
          Cozart would definitely be faster than Cabrera and Janish were
          Frazier would definitely be faster than Rolen was

          C – We still have Hanigan
          Devin is definitely faster than Ramon

          So, just matching up those players, at worst, we have only lost speed at two positions, gained speed at 3 positions, and have kept speed at 3 other positions. That’s in comparison to a team who was “better than average in stolen bases” as well as led the league in going from first to third. So, why aren’t they better runners? That’s where you go back to Bakerman and the coaches. The running game is still something you work on.

        • @steveschoen: Shoot, Morgan was known to be one of the slower players in the league. He was known for making stealing bases a science, though. Studying pitchers and their motions to home, to first, etc., making sure he can get the best jump he can get.

    • @Bill Lack: Joey was too tentative to try for home. Heck, he tried to stop for second, then third, before going home. I love aggressive base running. That, IMO, was hesitation, the opposite of aggression. The only way to score on a hit that shallow for a non-speedster is balls-out. Otherwise it was doomed to fail, and could have been catastrophic.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: He was dead meat at the plate and it didn’t take a perfect throw to get him. If he hadn’t slowed up around 2B I probably would have sent him. As it was, I think holding him was the wiser choice.

    • I liked the play sending Votto to the plate on Bruce’s hit. He was out, but only by a bit and there were 2 outs and it was a very good play by the Pirates to get him.

      I also thought in the 4 run inning, Phillips should have broken to the plate on Frazier’s infield single, he was already on 3rd, when the throw went to first. Would have been a gutsy play, but I wish he’d have tried for it.

      The catcher was eating a sandwich before having to tag him. He was out by a country mile.

    • @Bill Lack: I thought it was a reasonable gamble to send Votto given the game situation (2 run lead, 2 outs).

      Votto was “out by a country mile” only because the outfielder made a letter perfect throw. Martin could have been sitting in a rocking chair on the plate and fielded it. If the ball was more than a step or two off line or had hit ground and rolled in versus taking the perfect long bounce it did, that play could have gone either way.

  5. Was at the game tonight and the only comment I have about the base running stupidity is that maybe Chris Speir isn’t a good 3B coach. It really doesn’t seem to be a difficult job but he appears to be pretty consistently awful at it.

    • @athensRed: I think the fact that his name keeps coming up tells us that he’s not a good third base coach. It’s the kind if job where nobody knows you exist until you screw up.

      The decision to have Speier there has really bothered me all year. Don’t get me wrong. I wish Mark Berry all the best. I hope he kicks cancer’s butt and is back coaching third for the next 10 years. But if he is physically unable to perform, why is he still on the staff? Are the Reds voluntarily playing short handed just to be “nice guys”? If you want to keep him on the payroll and help him through this difficult time, can’t you make him some sort of Special Assistant to the GM or something?

      If Brandon Phillips was diagnosed with cancer tomorrow would they keep him on the roster and just play Logan Ondrusek at 2B? Then why have they been doing this with Speier all year?

      • @down with dusty: I believe Miguel Cairo did in fact “step down” from a special assistant’s type role into the dugout to fill Berry’s position on the coaching staff. So, they are not working a man short. Perhaps Speier who coached third for a number of years in the past just isn’t as good of a 3B coach as Berry.

        I think the job probably isn’t quite as simple as some folks seem to think it is. The coach has to have an idea about the arm of every outfielder and in many cases also the middle infielders who go out to make the relay throws plus of course the tendencies of teams to actually execute effective relays just to scratch the surface.

        • @down with dusty: I believe Miguel Cairo did in fact “step down” from a special assistant’s type role into the dugout to fill Berry’s position on the coaching staff. So, they are not working a man short. Perhaps Speier who coached third for a number of years in the past just isn’t as good of a 3B coach as Berry.

          I think the job probably isn’t quite as simple as some folks seem to think it is. The coach has to have an idea about the arm of every outfielder and in many cases also the middle infielders who go out to make the relay throws plus of course the tendencies of teams to actually execute effective relays just to scratch the surface.

          You are right on Cairo and you are right it is a tough job and it appears a job that Speier isn’t very good about. Just like not everybody can play QB, not everybody is made to be a 3B coach.

  6. Man, Heisey really put a horrible start to the season behind him. He had a .488 OPS when he got hurt… he’s come back and in just a short time already boosted it up to .720. Here’s to hoping he can keep his bat hot and raise himself up to where he’ll be the #1 choice over Paul and Robinson.

    I have to say, I do love the power he has in his bat. But here’s the kicker… Guess what pitch his last three HR came off of. A slider! If he can crush the fastball like he’s never had a problem doing, and now somehow learned to put a slider over the fence, that actually makes me really optimistic for Heisey’s future production.

    • @ToddAlmighty: I believe Heisey always had the skill. He just tried to play too hard, outside of himself, too much. Like some have accused Freel of, which caused injuries to Freel. Easy to love the style of play, but then means nothing when injured. As long as Heisey plays within himself, I do think he can be a solid contributor off the bench or as a starter. All-Star, of course not. But, definitely serviceable. As a 3, 4, or 5 hitter, nope. But, anywhere else in the batting order, yet.

      • @steveschoen: In about a month everyone’s probably going to be all over Heisey for not playing well as a starter.

        I’m fine playing Heisey more merely because it’s not like Paul and Robinson are great players, though I think they’ve done a competent job overall this year. But just like many said Lutz was good based on his first few ABs, and Heisey should have been dumped because of his first few ABs this year, and now he’s considered really good based on a handful of games—baseball is a long season, and it’s unlikely that Heisey is going to be some kind of good starter. Or one with a .500 OPS, for that matter.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: He started for over a month in 2012, starting in 32 of 42 games, batting 288/324. That’s something I wouldn’t have a problem with from any starter.

          Those you mention were just the few fanatics who post maybe once in a blue moon. You can’t let them get to you.

          But, you can’t deny, Bakerman is just as apt to take out the hot player “to get the poor player going”. So, he gives that shot to Harris, Gomes, Stubbs, Tavaras, Patterson, etc., but never seemed to give that shot to Heisey, Robinson, Paul, Lutz, Frazier last year (it’s been Dusty-proofed this year), among others.

  7. You can show me all the numbers you want, I just know by watching, Votto just doesn’t seem aggressive some times at the plate and is to willing to accept a walk.

  8. Oh, well it appears both Marshall and Broxton have had set backs, so it looks more and more likely neither will have much impact over the remaining season, but it does look like Ludwick will start his rehab in AAA next week.

  9. @ red titan, I totally agree about Votto sir. BUT i think his knee isn’t 100 percent. Can’t blame the guy for lack of knee strength i guess? I’m just speculating here of course…… Can Chris Heisey continue to carry the torch in LF until Luddy comes back? and can Leake hold it together for the rest of the season? 2 questions in my mind after last night. Votto’s knee not being 100 percent is really the black cloud over everything IMO, but like i said i’m just speculating here………

  10. 1) Votto slowed twice on the play where he got thrown out, probably because he expected Speir to hold him up based on the first 90 games of the season. Speir, meanwhile, probably spent a lot of time over the ASB watching video with some Dusty comment like “let’s be more aggressive, guys” ringing in his ears. Result = Votto out by 15 feet.

    2) How many of you expect Heisey to get the start today vs a RHP? If so, do you think he’ll be batting in the 2 hole? Both answers should be “yes”, but my money is on XP batting 7th and a certain SS batting 2nd. (Unless Dusty uses the “got to get him going” excuse to put the slumping X in the 2 hole, thereby not admitting he wants to move Cozart out of there.

    3) How is the Mes three hopper to Alvarez ruled a hit, but Bruce’s shot to first ruled an error? IMHO they were both errors, but if you’re going to give a hit on one then the other should be a hit, too. And Bruce’s was hit much harder.

    4) Dear Lord, can we please get rid of Thom? He adds nothing, can’t judge a fly ball to save his life, beats dead horses, and does it all with a bombastic “look at me” delivery that sucks the life out of the game. Jim Day sometimes didn’t know what inning it was or what city the team was in (although Thom didn’t know who was playing SS for the Pirates, either, come to think of it) but he kept things light and didn’t get in the way. Thom is awful.

    5) This series reminds me a lot of the Cardinals series to open the second half last year. Tight, exciting games improbably swept by the Redlegs. 1 down, 2 to go.

    • @Eric the Red: I think Jim Kelch and Chris Welsh is by far the best tandem for TV.

      If they really want to deliver us from evil, then they need to ban Jeff Brantley from doing play-by-play on the radio. It’s hard to drive listening to Brantley, because you lose all concentration trying to figure out what on eath actually happened. Maybe they could let him announce one hitter a game, like they do with the kid PA announcers at the ballpark.

  11. On the Joey Votto question, FanGraphs has a statistic wRC+ called ‘weighted runs created’ that calculates the player’s overall contribution to a team’s offense measured in runs (rounding the bases). It’s ‘weighted’ so that means power hitting produces a larger number. The ‘plus’ means that it is scaled to 100 and adjusted for park and league (so comparisons can be made across time). Here are Votto’s wRC+ since 2009:

    2009: 155
    2010: 172
    2011: 157
    2012: 177
    2013: 158

    Votto ranks as the sixth best hitter in the majors this year by wRC+. If you’re unfamiliar with this statistic and aren’t sure about it’s reliability, here are the current leaders:

    Miguel Cabrera: 201
    Chris Davis: 189
    Mike Trout: 168
    David Ortiz: 165
    Buster Posey: 161
    Joey Votto: 158
    David Wright: 155

    So it’s pretty accurate at identifying who the best hitters are in the league. Maybe almost as well as “your own eyes” and the people in your family who “don’t know anything” about baseball.

    Also, BTW, Brandon Phillips’ wRC+ is 98, which ranks him 111 out of 160 qualified hitters.

    • @Steve Mancuso: Compelling stat. I can appreciate all the scientific theory that went into arriving at that number. I DO trust my own eyes, however. And further, I never said a family member provided any insight into Votto’s hitting ability. Only that I would make them watch. I only brought it up to point to the fact that I KNEW he would get the big hit and would prove my ESP by making said family member watch ME being right.

      But what do I know, right? I got “C”s in math.

    • @Steve Mancuso: At this point sixth best hitter in baseball, I will buy. Or at least the top 10. Is that what we expect from JV though, that is the question.

      • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Being disappointed in Votto because he isn’t doing what Miguel Cabrera, Chris Davis, Mike Trout are doing does seem like an unreasonably high standard. Here’s how Votto ranked in MLB in previous seasons.

        2012 – did not qualify, but would have been #1
        2011 – #7 (behind Bautista, Cabrera, Braun, Kemp, Berkman, Fielder)
        2010 – #2 (behind Josh Hamilton)
        2009 – #5 (Pujols, Mauer, Fielder, Ad. Gonzalez)

        • @Steve Mancuso: Obviously, I like many hold him to the highest of standards. In the end, I would still expect him to meet those standards by the end of the year. A little more month of May Joey and he will be right there. Outside of Cabrera, I believe he is/should be the best overall hitter in the game.

    • @Steve Mancuso: I must say that I can understand @RedTitan19: comment regarding Votto and the eye test. Joey Votto has struggled in the Old Cossack’s eye test this season. He just seems to be fooled or hesitant on a lot of good hitter’s pitches this season.

      Now the caveats regarding that very amaturish observation…

      First, the Old Cossack’s wind-beaten eyes are not a reliable measure of anything. I’ve learned to trust my head and the numbers more than my eyes.

      Second, the Old Cossack’s view of those pitches is nothing like Votto’s view standing at home plate. I will trust Joey Votto at the plate to make better hitting decisions than the Old Cossack will make from the stands or even worse, in front of the boob tube.

      Third, Joey Votto is the most intellectual hitter since Ted Williams and I trust Votto to make any necessary hitting adjustment, if any hitting adjustment is necessary.

      Could Votto still be struggling, shy from a complete and full recovery? Sure, but that is a question for Votto, the doctors and trainers to address. I did not see the Bruce play yesterday (horizontal and comatose again at the time) so I can’t comment on Votto’s baserunning on that play, but I have seen Votto motor this season and he appeared to be running as well as he was running pre-injury. Votto has also been hitting with power, possibly not quite as much power as pre-injury but certainly a lot more power than he had post-injury last season. My gosh, if Joey Votto’s production is the biggest issue facing the Reds, then the Reds are in very good shape for a serious playoff run.

  12. TOOTBLAN – (for those who don’t know) –
    Thrown Out On The Basepaths Like A Nincompoop, and it was invented in a May 7, 2008, post published by Tony Jewell on his Cubs blog, Wrigleyville23.

    TOOTBLAN is actually one portion of a larger statistical term he dubbed “The Ryan Theriot Adjusted On-Base Percentage,” which he created to help determine how much Theriot’s value as a leadoff man was being eroded by being a nincompoop on the basepaths.

  13. You can argue over Votto’s stats all want but what I see is he isn’t in the zone like I’ve seen in the past. There were times before the injury when he reminded me of Will Clark. You just knew he was going to get a hit. I don’t see that this year.

    As for Votto being thrown out at the plate: he motors around 3rd like he’s pushing a cannon. Not very fast. Props to Parra and Heisey. Think about that.

  14. Dear Chris Speier:

    I case you have forgotten Joey Votto hurt his knee sliding into a base on a close play. Please remember this the next time so as not risk this injury again and lose him for the season.

    Signed,

    Reds Fans across the Land

    • Dear Chris Speier:

      I case you have forgotten Joey Votto hurt his knee sliding into a base on a close play.Please remember this the next time so as not risk this injury again and lose him for the season.

      Signed,

      Reds Fans across the Land

      You can’t play scared…

  15. @down with dusty: Speier was Dusty’s 3B coach in Chicago and Dusty brought him to Cincinnati with him. The Reds didn’t go out and get a replacement 3B coach because Dusty apparently likes the way Speier performs as a 3B coach.

    I didn’t review the game thread, but I haven’t heard a single complaint about Cozart going 0-4 with 3 SO and that’s how it should be. Cozart will hit how he has always hit, play good defense at SS and be an asset to this team hitting in the #7 hole. Please Dusty, leave him there.

    The bullpen looked like everyone had taken a nice long break from their routine. Oh, they did! The good news is that 5 of the 7 members of the bullpen got some live, game work (Hoover and Partch omitted), no one was overused and the bullpen still contributed 3+ innings without giving up a run. With Marshall’s setback on his recovery, this bullpen may be the bullpen that we ride for a while and I’m pretty comfortable with their performance recently.

    • @Shchi Cossack: I’ll disappoint you about Cozart. The truth is they don;t have any real option but to ride it out with him this year. And that needs to be with him in the 7 or 8 slot. However hopefully he will be gone by next season.

      I thought the most disappointing part last night was that they weren’t even trying to fool him. He was getting the bat off his shoulder but just flat out could not put it on the ball.

      Then there was the near collision between BP and Cozart on the 27th out on a ball that was to BP’s side of the bag and that he was clearly calling all the way. That drew a long look from BP afterwards much like a couple of the glances I’ve seen going Cozart’s way from Frazier when Cozart hasn’t gotten to balls hit between them.

      • @OhioJim: And who plays SS next year? And you do remember that beautiful DP he started, right? Bat him down in the order and he’ll be fine.

      • @Shchi Cossack: I’ll disappoint you about Cozart. The truth is they don;t have any real option but to ride it out with him this year. And that needs to be with him in the 7 or 8 slot. However hopefully he will be gone by next season.

        I thought the most disappointing part last night was that they weren’t even trying to fool him. He was getting the bat off his shoulder but just flat out could not put it on the ball.

        Then there was the near collision between BP and Cozart on the 27th out on a ball that was to BP’s side of the bag and that he was clearly calling all the way. That drew a long look from BP afterwards much like a couple of the glances I’ve seen going Cozart’s way from Frazier when Cozart hasn’t gotten to balls hit between them.

        You are nuts if you want Cozart gone next year. The hating on Cozart is Dusty’s fault not his. He is an outstanding defensive SS and would probably be a pretty good #7 or #8 hitter with decent pop.

        • @AnnapolisHoosier: It wouldn’t ne the first time (or probably the last) I’ve been called nuts for being right about something before it fit the popular perception.

          The player is an slightly above average fielder who brings nothing besides some very occasional power on the offensive side; and, the cost for the power is a high GIDP rate.

          They need to get a SS who plays defense like the popular perception of Cozart’s or a guy who is around average defense would make more of an offensive contribution.

  16. Heisey has walked the Old Cossack down this path before, so forgive me if I don’t jump enthusiastically, eyes closed onto the Heisey bandwagon. Yesterday I saw Heisey put in professional AB. Heisey hit the ball hard, he was selective at the plate, he worked the count, he took the BB. As @ToddAlmighty: pointed out, Heisey’s has been doing his damage hitting sliders rather than fastballs and this is a really good sign. His OPS is now up in line with BP, Frazier & XP. Yesterday (and recently), Heisey hit like everyone hopes he will hit, but he has demonstrated short glimpses of a professional hitter previously and then reverted to a hacker. I’m in favor of giving Heisey yet another chance to be the man in LF, but only with a very hesitant grain of salt.

    Ludwick is talking about beginning a rehab assignment within a week or so after progressing so well with his rehab. Could the 2nd half hitting be ready to turn that corner and carry it’s share of the load? The Reds are in the middle of a playoff run again and the Old Cossack is excited. Watch out Mrs. Cossack, the Old Cossack is getting excited! :twisted:

  17. Once again, I say I don’t know how so many people can be certain Votto is 100% if you watched him attempt to circle the bases on the Bruce play last night. Maybe I’m romanticizing, but my impression was he was a decently fast person pre-injury.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I agree with you about his prior speed.
      I’m a bile rider, the pedaling kind. What I would liken Votto to now is a bike with a slipping transmission. At times he gets going good then it seems like he slips “out of gear” (the slow downs and “hesitations”) then maybe he picks it back up to a to the same or lesser degree he was going before.

      I am not a one of those body motion folks but my common sense take is that his knee maybe isn’t totally stable and as it were slips in and out of gear.

  18. So, who thinks Cozart will be put back in the 2 hole against RHP? Place your bets, gentlemen. Place your bets. :-)

    • @Eric the Red: Well, that question has been answered satisfactorily, but another question arises…

      Choo CF
      Heisey LF
      Votto 1B
      Phillips 2B
      Bruce RF
      Hannahan 3B
      Cozart SS
      Mesoraco C
      Latos P

      Has Dusty decided to platoon 3B now?

  19. This thread and comments from Marty and on WLW are why players have to be careful about signing huge contracts. Cozart, Frazier, and the Catchers are all having legitimately down seasons. Phillips is showing his age as well, but coming through with men on base, so covering for himself.

    But the guy who seems to get the most grief on the team is Votto. By any measure he is having a great year, except if you start chopping the stats up into tiny little pieces to find one situation that you think matters most.

    And remember, this is a year when the Pirates have the best team ERA, the Cardinals are 4th, and the Cubs are better than average. So the majority of Votto’s competition is much better than what guys like Cabrera face. The Twins and Indians are among the leagues worst pitching teams, and the Whitesox are below average. Only the Royals are better than average and they’re only 10th in the league.

    But still it’s all about how disappointing his season has been. He’s only been one of the top 5 hitters in the league, instead of the best. The only way it makes sense to me that it’s such a constant topic is the money. He signed a contract like he was the best player in the league, and now if he isn’t that every year, he’s the problem.

    If I were him, I would have maybe taken a few million less and kept more reasonable expectations.

    • @al: Or maybe curtailed his 2010 season some as to not set expectations so high.(Smiley Face) There are only two guys I would trade straight up for MVP: Cabrera & Trout. I know Joey is a great hitter but he can & will do better than he is currently for 2013.

    • @al: I don’t think the bad ALC pitching makes enough difference, but I have not studied it. I just see Cabrera as playing a different game than anyone else. I agree that it’s interesting that Votto is seen as the biggest problem by many Reds fans.

      (Side note: Cabrera is pretty much an equal opportunity destroyer, looking at his splits.)

      As to Charlotte’s list, I’d add a serious consideration for Posey, though his defense doesn’t impress me that much. A catcher that hits like him, though, is pretty valuable.

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