2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: What are you going to do?

Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Cincinnati 1
Los Angeles 2

W: C. Kershaw (10-6)
L: H. Bailey (5-10)
S: K. Jansen (13)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Homer Bailey pitched very well, allowing two runs on seven hits in seven innings. You can’t ask for much more than that.

–JJ Hoover pitched a perfect inning of relief.

–No Red had more than one hit, but the good guys did have four doubles off Clayton Kershaw: Joey Votto, Chris Heisey, Brandon Phillips, Derrick Robinson. Jay Bruce had Cincinnati’s only RBI of the evening.

–Exciting play to end the fourth inning. With one out and runners on the corner, LA’s Juan Uribe flied out to Bruce in right field. Hanley Ramirez made the mistake of trying to tag up and score. Bruce unleashed a laser to Corky Miller at the plate, but Miller missed the tag. Fortunately, Ramirez missed home too. Then Corky and Hanley began a dance to see whether the runner could get back to the plate before the catcher could tag him out. Corky won the battle. Fun stuff.

NEGATIVES
–The Reds only had one run on six hits. But this isn’t really a negative. It’s tough to hit against Kershaw.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–Once again, the Reds fail to reach sixteen games over .500. This one was a frustrating one, since St. Louis and Pittsburgh both lost today, and the Reds could have picked up an ever-important game.

Oh well, what are you going to do? There is no shame in losing to Clayton Kershaw. That guy is good.

–Homer pitched an excellent ballgame, yet gets the loss. Reason #234,892 why pitcher wins should not even be a statistic.

Source: FanGraphs

24 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: What are you going to do?

  1. Pitcher wins are a bit of an archaic statistics, left over from an era when pitchers would regularly pitch complete games every time out. At that time, it was a bit more indicative of a pitcher’s ability since the pitcher had a more direct outcome on the game. However, with the advent of bullpen usage, I agree it’s kind of a worthless stat. Still fun to look at, though.

    Put it this way: A bad pitcher is never going to win 20 games. But then you have guys like Kershaw and his record…..

    • @CI3J: Yep. Sandy Koufax was mentioned a few times on the game thread. In 1965 Koufax was 26-8 with 27 complete games. In 1966 he was 27-9 with 27 complete games.

      Of course win-loss records are inevitably in large part a matter of luck/run support. The Dodger offense was weak both seasons, only 3.8 runs per game in 1965 and 3.7 runs in 1966, 8th out of 10 NL teams both seasons (still made it to the WS both seasons, winning it in 1965).
      With a decent offense, he might have won 30 games both seasons.

      His peripherals were off the charts:
      http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/k/koufasa01.shtml

      • @pinson343: More on Koufax, for the people here who weren’t yet Reds fans when he was active. His stats don’t capture his greatness. His spectacularly low ERAs were inflated by giving up a run or two late in a game, the 4th time thru a lineup, often with a comfortable lead.

        Of all the pitchers the Reds have faced since I’ve been a fan (late 50′s), he was the one I felt the most hopeless against. It was almost an assumed loss, though baseball being what it is, sometimes it wasn’t. Getting a runner got into scoring position against him was a big deal, and when you did you felt like you HAD to score.

  2. Wins are overrated. how much of Homer’s record has to do with Corkey catching? Thats usually 3 outs each game.

  3. The throw from Jay was a strong one, but up the line. Corky made a great play to go get it, force Ramirez away from the plate, and come back and get him.

  4. The Reds getting a split in these two tough pitching matchups is probably about as good as you could hope.

  5. Just can’t get too upset with losing to a guy who’s probably the frontrunner right now for NL Cy Young. Oh well.

    On another note though, what’s up with Bailey’s record? I know he’s thrown some stinkers to get a few losses, but is there just pitchers who just never seem to get run support? His no-hitter aside, the Reds have lost the last 7 other games, scoring a grand total of 11 runs in those 7 games.

    The Reds have been shut out 6 times this season, and 4 of those times are when Bailey pitches. So is it just coincidence, or is there actually something to it? Are there pitchers who throughout their career got run support that highly differs from the other starting pitchers on their team?

    • @ToddAlmighty:

      That’s a good question. 11 runs in 7 games is pitiful. No team can be faulted for scoring only one run against Kershaw. Is Bailey regularly drawing the opponents #1 starter?

  6. I just watched the game, and then read the recap. At first, my reaction was like yours: “why bat Mesoraco in front of Robinson? Oh, Dusty….”. But on further reflection here’s my theory: he wanted Mes to get the AB vs the tiring LHP. If Robinson bats first and gets on, then Mattingly would probably lift Kershaw for a RH reliever. (Alternate theory: Robinson is a better bunter than Mes, who is a terrible bunter. Dusty figured single by Mes then bunt by Robinson was a better bet than single by Robinson followed by a Mes bunt even with Robinson’s speed on the bases. Sadly, the real reason was probably the bunt theory or poor decision-making.)

    Anyway, it was a real good game. I’m sorry about Homer’s run support, but he seems to prefer throwing to light-hitting catchers so he has very little reason to complain. Even after Corky got a hit, his extreme lack of speed made the normal “bunt him over” approach a non-starter.

    • @Eric the Red: That’s a bit dismissive though, I mean catcher is only 1 spot in the lineup. It’s just been a freak year for Bailey, it happens all the time. Some years you just simply do not get run support as a starter. Didn’t Latos have a stretch like that last year? I want to say he did but it’s hard to remember specifics like that from season to season.

      • @Mwv: Consistent lack of run support for a starting pitcher does happen all the time. It seems like every season almost every team has one starter who goes a long stretch without run support. It’s pretty much a random event that’s going to occur with a certain probability. I don’t think it has anything to do with the pitcher.

      • @Mwv: One spot out of eight is not insignificant. (An imperfect comparison: just look at the scoring difference between the NL and the AL with “only” one spot out of 9 changed from a pitcher to a real batter.). Sorry, but that one spot can easily mean the difference between losing 2-1 and winning 3-2.

        Consider how much our chances would have been improved if we simply could have gotten Kershaw out sooner; on at least 2 occasions in this game, and in many if not most of his ABs this year, Corky has only seen one pitch.

        Of course, you’re also right that “these things happen.”. But good teams and managers do everything they can to put themselves in the best possible position to win. Sitting one of our best hitters vs LHP when facing the best LHP in the NL doesn’t seem consistent with that objective.

        • @Eric the Red: Our catcher spot though, with how Dusty uses it (always batting them as the #7 or #8 hitter, etc.) does reduce it’s significance a great deal. I’m all for ranting against Dusty and all his various idiosyncrasies but in this particular case I think Bailey is just getting the universal short end of the stick. For whatever combination of reasons (mostly bad luck, I don’t think he’s been drawing the best pitcher from the other team in the majority of his games but that would be something to look into for sure) his run support has been nonexistent. Not even in a league compared sample but simply in comparison to our own other starters.

          We always used to joke that Cueto would get all the Sunday Special lineups last year and there was probably some validity to those claims but it was Latos who had the miniscule run support on the staff, for whatever reason. Hopefully it turns around for Homer and we can get him some wins. He’s certainly been deserving of them with a lot of his performances.

    • @Eric the Red:

      At first, my reaction was like yours: “why bat Mesoraco in front of Robinson? Oh, Dusty….”.

      This is a problem when a player hitting .160 (and that is Corky’s high water mark) routinely starts on a major league team, requiring a pinch hitter replacement in every start. There is only 1 (count it, one!) other active player on a NL roster with more than 25 AB and hitting less than .160, John McDonald, a utility SS for the Phanatics. McDonald fills the Izturis role as backup SS for the for the Phanatics and has started exactly 1 game (a double header) in the past month. Of course the Phanatics had to pinch hit for McDonald during the game he started. Miller has started 4 games just this month and the Reds had to pinch hit for him in every game he started. Every time Dusty pinch hits for Miller, he places the Reds in a position where they are out of replacement catchers should something happen to Mesoraco. Remember that Dusty staunchly refuses to use Mesoraco as a pinch hitter when Hanigan is playing, because it would place the Reds in a position where they would be out of catchers should something happen to Hanigan.

      Dusty figured single by Mes then bunt by Robinson was a better bet than single by Robinson followed by a Mes bunt even with Robinson’s speed on the bases. Sadly, the real reason was probably the bunt theory or poor decision-making.

      I offer a 3rd alternative for Dusty’s decision to pinch hit Mesoraco for Miller. The last time Dusty had to pinch hit for Miller (remember it happens every game Miller starts), he substituted Soto rather than Mesoraco, then had to make a defensive substitution of Mesoraco for Soto so Mesoraco could catch, effectively burning a pinch hitter for no valid reason. I believe Dusty didn’t want to make the same mistake again, so he substituted Mesoraco directly for Miller. Unfortunately the two situations were completely different, other than having to pinch hit for Miller, but I don’t believe Dusty recognized those differences.

      • @Shchi Cossack: Pinch hitting for Corky once His Homerness* was coming out of the game was so necessary and obvious even Dusty could see it. But he was batting 8th and we were also PHing for Homer so Dusty had a choice about what order to use his pinch hitters. That’s why choosing Mes-Robinson instead of Robinson-Mes is an interesting discussion.

        * = I just decided to call him that since his seeming need for a weak-hitting personal catcher looks a bit high-handed to my eye.

        • @Eric the Red: Do we really know that Homer has requested Corky Miller? That’s a pretty broad accusation considering we know that Baker will use Corky with one or two pitchers regardless. Before we start making up names for players, especially ones who by all accounts have been tough-minded and non-complaining through a difficult stretch of luck, maybe we should have some evidence.

        • @Steve Mancuso: We know that with rare exceptions Homer is no longer paired with Mes–even when matchups would suggest he should be such as two important recent games with LHP on the mound for the opposition. We know Dusty has been willing to pull Corky when Homer leaves the game, despite his strong aversion to being without a catcher on the bench. We know Corky does not have the offensive skills or speed to be more than an emergency starter. I believe–I won’t say “I know”–Homer has made comments in the past that hint at unhappiness with Mesoraco.

          The name-calling was snarky, and not up to my usual standards. I apologize.

          Whether it’s Homer’s call or Dusty’s, playing Corky as often as he’s been playing is not consistent with putting forward our best effort. And the reality is that when it comes to scoring runs, we’re likely to do more of it in games Mesoraco catches vs games he doesn’t.

        • @Eric the Red:

          Whether it’s Homer’s call or Dusty’s, playing Corky as often as he’s been playing is not consistent with putting forward our best effort. And the reality is that when it comes to scoring runs, we’re likely to do more of it in games Mesoraco catches vs games he doesn’t.

          No argument from me on that.

  7. Stat of the day, courtesy of Vin Scully: Jay Bruce has 26 RBI this season when he has two strikes.

    Scheduling note of the day, from ESPN (although we really have Bud Selig to thank for this season’s insane schedule): 34 of the Cardinals’ next 43 games are against just 4 teams–Braves, Reds, Pirates, Dodgers. Yes, that could be tough for the Cards, but no baseball fan should be happy with this sort of unbalanced scheduling.

  8. Imagine if we evaluated hitters on the basis of how many runs their pitchers gave up to the other team. That’s what using Wins as a measure of a pitcher basically does.

  9. Hopefully we can pick up some ground on these guys tonight. I really don’t like to be in a position that feels like we have to win 3/4 of the games on the west coast, but with the way the Cards/Bucs have been playing, it sure seems that way.

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