2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: Giant-killers

Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Cincinnati 8
San Francisco 3

W: M. Leake (10-4)
L: C. Gaudin (4-2)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Joey Votto was 2-4 with a triple, two runs scored, and two RBI. Brandon Phillips was also 2-4, with two runs scored and two RBI. Jay Bruce was 2-4 with a double and a walk. Todd Frazier reached base three times, with a double and two walks.

–Sam LeCure entered the game with bases loaded and no outs in the seventh (a mess inherited from Mike Leake), and he escaped the jam. Great work by the mustachioed wonder.

–Mike Leake only gave up one run in 6+ innings, but he wasn’t very sharp. Leake surrendered 12 hits, and he loaded the bases without retiring a batter in the seventh (and had to be bailed out by the King of Facial Hair). Leake also had three hits at the plate (including a double), tying a career high.

–Another two-hit night, and two more RBI for Devin Mesoraco. Mes is now hitting .262/.327/.405. This is real progress, Reds fans.

NEGATIVES
–Joey Votto made another error. His defense has really been off this year.

–Logan Ondrusek stunk it up in the eighth inning. He wasn’t helped by a Todd Frazier error, but he gave up a couple of runs (only one earned) on three hits, and he wasn’t fooling anyone. I shudder to think what might have been if LeCure hadn’t snuffed out the rally one inning before.

Ondrusek did pitch an effective ninth to close out the game.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–I’ve had a good time watching the Reds beat the devil out of the Giants, but these have been some long games.

–The Reds are 6-1 in their last seven games against San Francisco.

–We’ve been hoping the Reds offense would wake up. Well, Cincinnati had 10+ hits in each game of this series. They had 55 hits in the four games. That’ll do, Redlegs. That’ll do.

–Submitted without comment: Devin Mesoraco: .262/.327/.405. Brandon Phillips: .265/.314/.407.

–The Reds bullpen hasn’t allowed an inherited runner to score this entire month.

–Okay, great series, the second straight good series for the Reds since the All-Star break. No, the good guys aren’t really making up any ground in the division race, but if they keep playing well, those things will work themselves out.

–On to the City of Angels!

Source: FanGraphs

39 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Giant-killers

  1. Mesoraco needs to play, he needs to get the majority of the playing time, period. This series, we got a glimpse of the potential of Devin Mesoraco, hopefully this continues for a long long time. Jocketty has said numerous times that Mes projects to be a # 4 hitter who will hit .300 25 HR 100 RBI every year, how HUGE would that be for the Reds future, especially hitting in between Votto and Bruce.

    • @Josh: I am on record that Mes should be in left field permanently. He has great offensive potential but will only ever be adequate defensively, and it is chaper to find a decent defensive option at catcher than pay for Mes’s offensive potential in left.

      I could see where it would take a spring training to teach him the position defensively, but he can’t be worse than Adam Dumn, Greg Vaughn, Jonny Gomes, or for that matter, Ludwick. Mes isn’t slow, and would have a plus arm for left. And he could still catch in a limited role.

      • @Big Ed:

        Atually, I think Mez’s value lies in him being an offensive catcher. Catcher is a place that very few teams can get significant offensive production from, so if Mez can fill that role, even if he’s just adequate defensively, that makes him extremely valuable.

        Think about this: If Mez moves to left and the Reds get a light hitting defensive wiz at catcher, do you think that would be more valuable that keeping Mez at catcher and getting equal or better offensive production from LF?

        • @CI3J: Once you consider what you have to pay the stud leftfielder, and balance that against (a) improved defense (i.e., improved pitching), and (b) flexibility on payroll for money not spent on both an offensive catcher and an offensive leftfielder (and not “offensive” in the Yonder Alonso fielding sense), then yes, I think the team would be better with good defensive catching and Mes in left field.

      • @Josh: I am on record that Mes should be in left field permanently.He has great offensive potential but will only ever be adequate defensively, and it is chaper to find a decent defensive option at catcher than pay for Mes’s offensive potential in left.

        I could see where it would take a spring training to teach him the position defensively, but he can’t be worse than Adam Dumn, Greg Vaughn, Jonny Gomes, or for that matter, Ludwick.Mes isn’t slow, and would have a plus arm for left.And he could still catch in a limited role.

        Why do people assume position changes are so easy and maybe he doesn’t want to play the OF.

      • @Big Ed: I’d really like to know why people think Mesoraco is a poor defender. He’s obviously not quite at Hanigan’s level as a receiver and framer, but he has a great arm and has worked very well with the staff so far this year. I think the Reds would be foolish to move him to LF unless he has a freak accident and loses the ability to crouch.

        • @AlphaZero: Mes may not be Yadi behind the plate but he isn’t Mike Piazza either. He has a plus arm and some shoddy use of the glove at times on pitches in the dirt.

          For a 24/25 year old, what is the problem?

        • @AlphaZero: He isn’t awful behind the plate, and he does have a strong arm. But his footwork is suspect, which impacts his throwing, and he just isn’t as nimble as you want a catcher to be. That “nimbleness” includes moving quickly and efficiently to block pitches and to throw, catching the ball (which Jorge Posada could not do), and framing pitches, which some people are dubious about but to me is another way of saying “soft hands.”

          Mes faces a tough comparison to Hanigan on the mental aspect of catching. Hanigan is one of the brightest players in the entire league, he works hard, and he’s been around the league a few more years. For reasons that we don’t know and shouldn’t know, Bailey and Arroyo and to a lesser extent Cueto appear to prefer throwing to Hanigan. Given that these guys have multi-million dollar contracts riding on their performances, I will defer to their opinions on who is the better catcher defensively. Chapman also seems to prefer throwing to Hanigan, and in fact they brought in Hanigan a couple of weeks or so ago specifically to catch Chapman. With Chapman’s speed and wildness, Hanigan’s better mechanics and agility are important. Hanigan, in fact, originally pulled the muscle in his side this spring reaching for an errant Chapman fastball.

          Finally, Mes has already had knee and back problems this year, so even in limited catching duty, he has shown some wear and tear. He has what I think is the highest ceiling for a right-handed slugger in the organization, and relieving him from catching duties may well maximize his offensive potential. I am not calling him Dale Murphy, but that is what happened when the Braves moved Murphy from catching. There are others as well: Joe Torre, Craig Biggio, etc.

          I do not believe that the Reds will or would make this move this year, especially with Ludwick returning in a few weeks. But they need to explore it for the future.

      • @Big Ed: This is outside the box a bit for the Reds. Other teams do it, case in point, Buster plays 1st on a regular basis on his nights off from behind the plate. But if the Reds decided to keep Hannigan, I could see the Reds moving Mez to LF and using him 1 out of 5 days behind the dish to keep three catchers on the team. I’d be surprised if the Reds don’t try keep Hanigan around for a long time. He’s not expensive and he is one of the best defensive catchers in the game. And remember that as late as last season there were advocates of moving Hanigan to the 2 hole. His offense wasn’t bad.

        When Barnhart comes up I like the idea of moving Mesoraco to left and splitting Barnhart and Hanigan. Twenty years from now we will be talking about Hanigan the best Manager in baseball so I’d prefer it if he is the Reds manager. I think Tucker Barnhart will be a GG catcher.

        • @TC: Right. I think Barnhart and Hanigan at catcher, with Mes in leftfield, would be stronger both defensively and offensively.

        • @TC: Other teams don’t do “it”. They put their C at 1B. I am trying to remember a team putting their C in LF.

    • @preach: Thought we quit calling the Cardinals the WLBs. No LuRussa, no Carpenter, no Duncan. What’s the problem. Yadi may be the most hated man in Cincinnati, but at least he doesn’t whine.

  2. –Submitted without comment: Devin Mesoraco: .262/.327/.405. Brandon Phillips: .265/.314/.407.

    If he can do that over the same number of ABs as Phillips, you might be onto something.

    But keep in mind that just 10 days ago, Mez’s line was .234/.308/.345. When you don’t have many ABs, one hot streak can suddenly make you look like an All Star, stat-wise.

    I hope Mez can keep this up, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

    • @CI3J: I agree. To be fair, he doesn’t have that many AB, so we shouldn’t conclude either way.

      I want to see him get ABs so we can find out more about him. But I still have concerns about him.

  3. I saw parts of the game but not the 8th inning. Dusty said post-game that he had Chapman up and was ready to bring him. A couple of interesting scenarios could have developed:

    1. If Ondru walks Belt to load the bases, Chapman comes in. If he keeps it at 8-3 or 8-4, he probably leaves the game after pitching in the 8th.

    2. If Ondru gives up a HR to Belt to make it an 8-6 game, then Chapman comes in for a 5 out save. Sounds crazy, but what else ?

    Either way, Chapman’s warming up in the 8th means:
    1. Dusty would do whatever he could to not blow a 7 run lead (and lose another game in the standings to the Cards and Pirates before a 4 game series in LA).

    2. Whenever Dusty has said he would not use Chapman to pitch for more than an inning,
    he has added “for now”. Maybe “for now” is over ?

    Getting close to August, the Reds are in 2nd place in the WC chase. If they finish there, then they have a play-in game in either Pittsburgh (ugh) or St. Louis (even worse). Is a sense of urgency setting in ?

  4. The Dodgers are the hottest team in baseball. The upcoming 4 game series with them is huge. And possibly the most interesting series so far this season.

    Can Reds hitters like Frazier, Cozart, Mes hit Dodger pitching ?

    Can the Reds staff contain a deep lineup of hot hitters ? I think the starters can keep the Reds in these games. Not so sure how the bullpen fares vs. this tough a lineup. I only trust LeCure and Chapman, and they’ve had hiccups.
    Is Parra for real ? He’s going to be tested.

    • @pinson343: Dodgers are red hot but it looks like the Reds may be hitting their stride as well. I have to work at 10 pm each night of the series so i will not see any of it! I think Reds could take at least 2/4 though, I think it will be a lot of high scoring games

      • @zab1983: I’ll be happy with a split in LA. The Reds have to face Greinke and Kershaw in games 1 and 2, so Latos and Bailey better bring it.

  5. Reds should have stayed in their road gray uniforms for the double header. They are magic in SF.

  6. Yeah, unfortunately the Cards & Pirates keep winning, but at least these 3 NL Central teams are burying the hopes of a few teams that think/thought they’re wildcard contenders.

  7. If you had told me at the beginning of the year that Mike Leake would be leading the pitching staff in wins just after the ASB then I would have assumed the Reds were decimated by injuries in the rotation or that the season was already down the tubes.

    He has been great this season – it’s amazing to watch the pitchers ‘progress’ under Price and the hitters well, you know, under Jacoby.

  8. Man, was the Giants defense bad the whole series. I can’t remember the last time I saw so many dropped fly balls.

    I think a series split with the Dodgers is almost a requirement. If we take 2 of 3 from the Friars, that would make a 7-4 road trip. The way the division is playing out, you almost get the feeling that isn’t enough, but I still believe the Cardinals and Bucs will get reeled in.

    • I think a series split with the Dodgers is almost a requirement. If we take 2 of 3 from the Friars, that would make a 7-4 road trip. The way the division is playing out, you almost get the feeling that isn’t enough, but I still believe the Cardinals and Bucs will get reeled in.

      I agree mostly, going 1-3 against LA then 2-1 against SD wouldn’t be a disaster, disapointing maybe depending on how the bucs/cards play. Splitting with LA, and winning the SD series would make for a great west coast swing. If they could squeek out an extra win in there that would just be gravy.

      • @Lost and Found: I’m on the same page with you, especially in LA with Kershaw and Grenke going. The Reds will be hard pressed to split on the road with the Dodgers being so hot. I’d take the split and run out of town smiling. I think the Reds can certainly take 2/3 from SD. Any road-trip over .500 is a good road trip, especially going to the west coast with four against a hot, talented club.

  9. Is there a hitter that rolls over and grounds to short more than Frenchy Francouer? Man, is he bad. Bochy said he wanted to get him ABs because he was having good ABs. His OPS as a Giant is .511. If I were to have to pick between Frenchy and Corky for an AB, it’d be close.

    The problem that some pointed out with Frenchy is once again happening, and would have happened had the Reds signed him too—while he’s a reasonable platoon player, he always will get starts vs righties because of manager bias against lefty hitters.

  10. I didn’t see this elsewhere, but the Reds set a Pac Bell series record with 55 hits, 15 doubles, and 22 extra base hits.

    It was a 4 game series, sure, but still, very very good.

  11. After games in which the Reds score 10 or more runs, in their next game they have scored:

    6, 1, 11, 1, 5, 5, 2, 2, 1, 9

    Just noting since people were saying on Monday that the Reds always tank offensively after a big game.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Ooooo, this reminds me. I need to revisit those “famine games” totals to see where the Reds stand now. They had that tough couple weeks before the break but a strong showing in SF… I’ll try to get something to the RLN editors by Monday.

  12. As for Mes, I think his future is behind the plate. Yes, he has some physical issues but he is built solidly and generally was healthy in the minors. I don’t believe that durability will be a giant problem with him. A plus offensive catcher is worth a ton. When Posey and Belt are in the lineup at the same time, SF is a much better team.

    Mes’ defense isn’t as bad as some seem to think about him. @Big Ed’s evaluation of his defense earlier in the thread is overall pretty accurate. I have a couple things I disagreed with though. One, I think he’s got better hands than people think though and his pitch-framing has improved quite a lot. It wasn’t bad last year either according to some data I’ve seen. He does have the strong arm and generally a quick release when his mechanics are in order. He does need to improve his footwork but I recall that being a problem with Hanigan and with a lot of young catchers. I think that’s something he can work on and improve. My evaluation of him defensively is that he has the upside to be above-average overall with a downside of being only slightly below average.

    • @LWBlogger: I’m not in favor of the Mes in LF thing, but to be fair, people aren’t proposing he play LF while Miller, say, plays C, they are proposing that IF Dusty is inclined to play people at C other than Mes, then Mes should play LF.

  13. *If* you think Mesoraco still might become an elite hitter (and the tantalizing signs pop up on occasion), I think it’s in your best interest as an organization to explore working him into another position and away from the extreme rigors of catching, even if it’s a 2-3 year process. I’m a Hanigan booster, but we’ve pretty well established he can’t stand up to 3/5ths of an entire season. Carlton Fisks don’t grow on trees. I’d bet a reasonable amount of money that Buster Posey won’t wear the tools of ignorance past next year. The Nats couldn’t get ol’ what’s-his-name into the outfield fast enough.

    Assuming his latest hot streak doesn’t fizzle… have him take some flies in the off season. It couldn’t hoit.

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