2013 Reds

Titanic Struggle Recap: Sweep! Right? Totally a sweep!

Let’s recap today’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Oakland 5
Cincinnati 6

W: H. Bailey (7-10)
L: B. Colon (14-4)
S: A. Chapman (27)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–The Reds swept this short series with the A’s. That certainly helps wash the taste of the Cardinals series out of our mouths, doesn’t it?

–Corky Miller had his first two hit game since forever. Unfortunately, he was lifted with injury after a collision at the plate.

–Joey Votto and Shin-soo Choo each reached base twice. Jay Bruce homered.

–The bullpen did a great job of holding it down after Homer lost it in a great big hurry.

NEGATIVES
–Have to put Homer here. He was solid, and then he wasn’t.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–Maybe I’m wrong, but I still believe the Reds have a real run left in them before the end of the season. Maybe this is it.

–The Reds have players in the top five in all the triple crown categories. Votto is 4th in average, Phillips and Bruce are 3-4 in RBIs, and Bruce is 4th in homers. It’s certainly possible that a Red could lead all of those categories.

–In other league-leading news, since he officially qualified last night, Votto is pretty much a lock to lead the league in OBP for the fourth time in a row this year. The only other players to do that are Bonds, Boggs, Williams, and Hornsby. Another reason those griping about Votto’s RBI total are just silly.

–One more Votto fact: Votto is on pace to reach base 317 times this year. Phillips is on pace to reach base 203 times. Just sayin’. There are like two whole Willy Taveras seasons between them.

–The next ten games for the Reds are against clubs that, well, pretty much stink. What say they win all 10 and make it interesting?

 

Source: FanGraphs

94 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Sweep! Right? Totally a sweep!

  1. As God is my witness I thought turkeys could fly. I also for reasons unknown thought today’s game started at 3:00 cst. Missed the whole darn game. It was certainly good news learning the Reds won the game and swept the 2 game series with the A’s. On to San Diego to add on the Reds winning streak. Go Reds!

  2. a two game sweep doesn’t begin to remove the memory of a 31-13 weekend (going off memory here). But this was two solid wins by a team that needs them.

    Its all they can do now, just win ball games. whatever happens beyond that happens.

  3. I have to post this awesome Corky stat again here:

    Corky got more hits today in 3 innings than he did in 3 years (with 3 different MLB teams, 2004-2006) during his prime.

  4. Not a knock against Votto (I’m not one of these people who thinks he reaches base too often), but this afternoon Corky had as many RBI as Votto had in any game this year until Friday night. I think that’s just plain weird. Sort of like if Villarreal were tied with Latos for games with at least 6 strikeouts, or if Lutz had as many doubles as Bruce. The odds against this must be at least a billion to one.

    • @Baseclogger: RBI is more of a team stat. Corky’s hits today happened to find gaps and Votto’s didn’t. Bruce also got an RBI on what should have been a double play ground ball to end an inning. RBIs are all about opportunity, luck, and timing.

      • @WedgieSanders: Um, well, the thing is, Votto has had quite a few more opportunities to collect “lucky” RBI than Corky. And I suspect the stats will show that Votto tends to a be a somewhat better hitter than Corky. Put those two things together, and it’s rather surprising that Corky’s RBI production today was as good as Votto’s RBI production in any of his first 110 games.

        • @Baseclogger: Did you watch the game or just look up stats? Votto crushed the ball 3 times today. Twice with runners on. Votto is a top 5 hitter in the game. It is amazing that people can still find ways nitpick him. There are plenty of flaws on this team, Votto’s hitting is not one of them.

        • @WedgieSanders: I could be wrong, but I don’t think Baseclogger is nitpicking. I think he’s just pointing out that it’s a weird thing that happened today. As in, random or unexpected. His comments don’t read as nitpicks to me. Rather an acknowledgement that something weird happened.

        • @Jason Linden: Thanks, yes, you’re exactly right. Which is why I began the comment with “Not a knock against Votto….” The purpose of my comment was to point out how bizarre it is that one of the best hitters in the game, playing virtually every inning of every game, hitting third behind the best leadoff hitter in the league, could go 110 games without ever having more RBI than Corky Miller had this afternoon. It’s a mind-boggling fact, not a complaint.

      • @WedgieSanders: I also don’t think that Votto reaches base too often, but wins are also a team stat. He’s not hitting with as much power as he has in previous years. Change of approach? Lingering effects of injury? He’s great, no doubt, and rbi are influenced by factors beyond his control, but what about doubles and homers? I tend to think that his knee is tentative, since I see a decline in his defense (and count me as one who thought that he was an excellent defensive player before this year).

  5. I want to know what Bob C said, but I refuse to read P-Doc articles out of principle.

    Grrr…of all people to speak to.

  6. I wonder what was said on Sunday in the meeting between Baker and WJ… The team seemed to play with a little more intensity the passed couple of days. And obviously Dusty has mixed things up a bit. Finally.

  7. Shelby Miller was hit by a batted ball and removed from the game after two pitches. The Cards survived having the bases loaded in the first.

    But the Dodgers loaded the bases again in the second — and have already scored three!

    • @renbutler: Jake Westbrook took over for Miller. Westbrook was tomorrow’s probable starter.

      Glad that the Cards have some challenges to face. (Not that I want anybody to get injured. Not even Molina. Maybe.)

  8. Dodgers currently up on the Cardinals 6-0. Actually hoping the Reds come in 2nd and host the Cardinals in Cincy in a one game playoff game behind the Reds new ace Mat Latos.

  9. Plenty of time to come in 2nd, host and win the WC game against the Cards and then beat the Bucs in the playoffs. Just like the good old days (early 70s). Will be pulling for the Pirates against the Cards the rest of the way!

  10. Bob Melvin managed the game like it was important to win rather than throwing in the towel when the Reds went up 5-1. He pulled his best starting pitcher in the 3rd inning before the game got out of hand and substituted liberally throughout the game to gain every possible advantage. The A’s almost pulled off the comeback.

    Homer Bailey did not have a dominating game today, even through the 1st 5 innings. The A’s were hitting him hard, even when they were hitting into outs. I thought Donaldson looked particularly effective against Homer in his first two AB and he hit Homer pretty good in the only other game he has faced him. With the off day tomorrow, why not have the bullpen locked and loaded to start the 6th inning with the 3-4-5-6 hitters due up? As soon as Lowrie lined a double and Moss lined a single to put runners at 1st & 3rd with 1 out, one of the high-leverage relievers should have been immediately called upon to quash that potential rally before it gained traction. Instead, Dusty waited until the A’s had scored 3 more runs with a runner on 3B and 1 out before pulling Homer.

    When Manny Parra was recalled, his role was to pitch against LH hitters as a LOOGY and he was VERY effective. Apparently Dusty has now expanded his role beyond that of a LOOGY, even though he is the only LHP in the bullpen. I’m actually good with using Parra and I will stand up and admit that I saw no benefit to his signing at the beginning of the season. What I don’t understand is if Parra can pitch 1.1 innings against both RH and LH hitters in a high leverage game as the only LHP available in the bullpen, why did Dusty insist on using Marshall as a true LOOGY, just because he was the only available LHP in the bullpen, when Marshall has a proven track record of being VERY effective against both LH and RH hitters.

    LeCure enters the game with 2 outs in the 7th inning and a runner on 1B then proceeds to strike out Cespedes on 4 pitches. I thought that was a great example of bullpen management, but where was this bullpen management in the 6th inning? After LeCure demonstrated that he brought superior stuff to the mound today, Dusty pulls him and replaces him with Hoover to start the 8th inning because Hoover has apparently now assumed the 8th inning role. I have all the confidence in the world in Hoover, but why take the chance when LeCure looked dominant today and had only thrown 4 pitches?

    I liked Frazier in the #2 hole today and hope we seen him get a chance to hit there consistently. Choo was 1-4 with a BB, Frazier was 0-3 with a BB and a HBP and Votto was 2-5. That is a .400 OBP today from every hitter at the top of the lineup. If Frazier can keep up an above average OBP, his power could provide some real protection for Choo.

    Now the Reds have some payback to deliver to the Padres with good pitching matchups for the entire series, but I bet the Padres’ pitchers aren’t accustomed to pitching in GABP to attain their impressive results.

    • @Shchi Cossack: A lot of interesting material.

      Some replies:
      Melvin did manage the game with a lot of urgency. I liked his moves. The A’s are fighting to stay ahead of the Rangers.

      You’re correct that Homer was getting hit hard by some of their lineup (Donaldson and a few LHed hitters) BEFORE the 6th inning. And Dusty should have brought him in to face the LHed bat Sogard, who hit the 2 run triple. There was plenty of time for Parra to warm up by then.

      I don’t think there’s any difference between how Dusty is currently using Parra and how he used Marshall. Parra stayed in 1.1 yesterday because it was still fairly early in the game and the A’s have so many LHed hitters. We exaggerate when we say Marshall as used strictly as a LOOGY. He pitched plenty of full innings.
      In both cases, depending on the situation, he would use either to face 1 LHed hitter.

      I too wanted to see LeCure in the 8th. He showed he was on, so keep him in. I like Hoover but I hope Dusty doesn’t get stuck on giving him the 8th inning role.
      A combination of LeCure/Parra/Hoover is better. And after getting the first two outs, Hoover gave up two singles and a line drive, that was scary.

    • @Shchi Cossack: :The thing about Frazier batting 2nd: I know that, in theory, he might see more fastballs hitting in front of Joey. But why would he? He hits fastballs, and most pitchers won’t be afraid to throw him breaking stuff. I don’t usually comment on the batting order, but why not have Choo bat 2nd? That way, he won’t have been erased in a dp when Joey bats. Or, for that matter, why not bat Joey 2nd?

      • @greenmtred: Frazier is obviously weak on breaking pitches. The middle reliever threw Frazier everything but fastballs and got a strike out. However, Frazier is 3rd on the team in OBP despite his slump. So he can still take a walk.

        Most pitchers are a lot more likely to walk a player when staying away from their fastball. They don’t want to walk the player before Votto – so Frazier will likely see more fastballs.

        • @rightsaidred: I get what you’re saying. I don’t know if my perception is accurate, but I feel as though Todd hacks helplessly at alot of breaking balls. I could be wrong, but I suspect that most pitchers would exploit that–at least early in the count–and not go to the fastball unless they get behind.

    • @Shchi Cossack: I soo agree with you, you Cossack you.

      I never will understand why Dusty will remove a pitcher that is doing so well like your LeCure example yesterday. He did it the night before with Hoover because it was the 9th inning.

      But at issue is the way he burns through the bullpen in close games. When we go to extra innings, we have to leave guys in for multiple innings because of need. And our record in xtras this year is horrible

      I may never understand this

  11. I wonder if they will ever change the wins and losses stat to the team that gets the most players on base? We could forget about those pesky RBI forever!

    • @Tony Larussa’s Tissue: If Joey Votto didn’t have that OBP skill today, he wouldn’t have been on base in front of Jay Bruce’s home run. Pretty good example of the value of OBP compared to Brandon Phillips making an out in front of Bruce. Votto being on base provided the winning run.

      • @Steve Mancuso:

        You threw out a red herring, Phillips out isn’t an RBI, Bruce’s HR is, with the RBI by Bruce, Joey would still be on the bases. That sir, shows the value of the RBI compared to the OBP.

        • @Tony Larussa’s Tissue: I think we can all agree that home runs are better than singles. Can we also agree that getting on base is better (Votto) than not getting on base (Phillips)? Votto’s single was essential for Bruce’s second RBI. It took both – a single and a home run – for the second RBI.

          Sure, if Bruce hadn’t hit a home run, Votto wouldn’t have scored. That’s kind of a meaningless point. You can’t possibly be saying that there was little value in Votto’s single?

        • @Steve Mancuso: To add to this, some like to get on Votto for his RBI’s or lack thereof. There are several things behind that. First, the pitchers have to give him something to hit. You don’t want anyone starting to reach for pitches that aren’t there. Second, getting RBI’s is a function of someone being on base in front of you. Though Choo has been able to do that, no one has been able to do that in the 2 hole this season, making it more difficult for Votto to get RBI’s. It’s a lot like last season. But, with Choo and Votto being able to get on, thus we have a lot of RBI’s from BP and Bruce.

          If this team is going to get more RBI’s from Votto, either the other team is going to need to give Votto some more gopher-type balls, Votto is going to need to make better contact (getting at least doubles) even more (remember, last season I believe was going to be a record year for Votto in doubles, not a regular year for Votto), or the Reds are going need to get better hitters in the 2 hole (while keeping Choo in there) or the 4 hole (which would make the other team pitch more to Votto, giving more for Votto to hit well).

        • @steveschoen: Good analysis, I think. But I do wonder where the doubles went–when he hits singles, lately, he’s stinging grounders through the right side. That maybe due to the pitches he’s getting, of course, but I would think that a pitch that can be hit for a single could often be hit for a double.

  12. I wonder if the A’s pull their SP pretty quickly whenever they are in NL parks, especially when they have pitchers who can’t hit at all, like Colon. Maybe they figure the pinch hitter improves their chances of winning more than keeping their starter in. Just speculation, no research.

    • @Steve Mancuso:

      I wonder if it’s comes down to the AL managers trying to over manage due to the NL game strategy perceptions and they don’t want to look like they were late to make a switch.

  13. I am currently watching the Dodgers taking it to the Cards 6-0 in the third. This might be a very good baseball day for us. I’m just grateful I’m not in a position to have to root for the Cards. That would be…..uncomfortable…..

    Oh, I’ll keep an eye out here for a little while if anyone wants an extended game thread for it.

  14. Ludwick is 0-3 with two Ks, with probably one more at-bat left.

    He’s now .069 on 29 at-bats.

  15. I don’t know about a 10 game winning streak, but I do know with 100% certainty that jinxes are 100% accurate in hindsight. Look it up. It’s in Bill James’ long lost appendix to Win Shares recently found in the attic of Schotzie’s dog house. I do know for a fact that the Reds won two in a row, and tomorrow I can guaranty that they won’t lose. In fact, I can also guaranty that the entire team’s slash line will remain exactly as it is today until 7:10pm on Friday. It’s like magic.

    Now everybody go out side, spin around counter-clockwise 3 times and spit. Forgive us baseball gods! We are mere mortals and know not what we speak! The world is dark and full of Pirates.

  16. I would-be willing for Votto to sacrifice say 30-40 pts on his OBP if it ment adding 30-40 more RBIs to his totals.

      • @CP: Could happen if guys were on in front of him and he drove the ball. I see your point, though. The issue isn’t Votto or, really, the batting order; the issue is not enough legitimately scary big-league hitters.

  17. If Votto batted behind Votto then he would probably lead all of baseball in RBIs. Any chance of getting his counterpart from a parallel universe?

  18. The Cossack made a whole lot of interesting observations above at 9:11 PM.
    My two cents:

    Melvin did manage the game with a lot of urgency. I liked his moves. The A’s are fighting to stay ahead of the Rangers.

    You’re correct that Homer was getting hit hard by some of their lineup (Donaldson and a few LHed hitters) BEFORE the 6th inning. And Dusty should have brought him in to face the LHed bat Sogard, who hit the 2 run triple. There was plenty of time for Parra to warm up by then.

    I don’t think there’s any difference between how Dusty is currently using Parra and how he used Marshall. Parra stayed in 1.1 yesterday because it was still fairly early in the game and the A’s have so many LHed hitters. We exaggerate when we say Marshall as used strictly as a LOOGY. He pitched plenty of full innings.
    In both cases, depending on the situation, Dusty would use either to only face 1 LHed hitter.

    I too wanted to see LeCure in the 8th. He showed he was on, so keep him in. I like Hoover but I hope Dusty doesn’t get stuck on giving him the 8th inning role.
    A combination of LeCure/Parra/Hoover is better. After getting the first two outs, Hoover gave up two singles and a line drive, that was scary.

  19. Pirates win again..

    I realize im looking ahead but I think the Reds’ biggest series remaining this year is the 4 game series vs ARI the following monday 19-22. Arizona has been hovering 3-5 games back of the Reds for the last WC spot with the next closest team changing daily at 9-12 games back. A series win here likely would mean a trip to the post -season for the Reds and a series loss could make things really interesting down the stretch.

    The division isn’t totally out of grasp, but the Reds will need to get hot and hope for some splits in the 9 games remaining between the pirates and cards and will need to sweep those series that remain with them. Possible, but with less than 50 games left, the WC is what the Reds need to start protecting now.

    • @abox03: There’s something between winning the division title and the 2nd place wild card: the first place wild card. For this the Reds need either the Pirates or the Cardinals to falter a bit. It gets tricky because for that the Reds don’t want the Cards-Pirates to split their series, they want one of the teams (whichever is colder) to get swept.

      • @pinson343: I agree on that, but I honestly do not feel at the end of the day the Reds will be within 3 games of PIT or STL. I think the race between PIT and STL will go down to the last weekend, but I just can’t see the Reds being a factor in that.

        As for the WC spots…I am not sure 1 or 2 would make much different. Sure it would be nice to face either PIT or STL at GABP, but I am not terrified of facing pittsburgh at PNC. And unless the Reds exorcise their STL demons, it doesn’t much matter where we play them! One game is simply a crap shoot, no matter where it is played, IMO.

      • @pinson343: Case in point, I realize its a small sample size, but its all we have since the 2nd wild card is only a year old. But last season the visiting team won both of the WC games.

  20. More on Homer’s 6th inning. On the game thread, a lot of people were dumping on Homer for “falling apart” when Mes came in. I don’t think this is what happened, and I’m glad to see it hasn’t even been brought up here on the recap thread.
    (On the game thread I did say I was “disgusted”, that was due to a combination of things.)

    Homer has developed into a number 2 starter, but still has problems getting LHed hitters out. His lefty/righty splits are .280/.215. This can be a problem when pitching against AL teams, which are loaded with lefties and switch hitters.

    In the 6th inning, a row of hitters who had already given him trouble were up. Donaldson is a tough RHed bat, period. The LHed bats Lowrie, Moss, and Callaspo had all hit hard line drives (sometimes for outs) against Homer. And now they were seeing him another time.
    Lowrie, Moss and Donaldson all got hits in the 6th. Callaspo was now out in favor of
    Sogard, another LHed bat. Dusty should have taken Homer out before facing Sogard, if not before.

  21. Was at the game this afternoon, and I agree with much of the comments. Dusty could’ve been a little quicker on Homer, but those darn A’s and their hits down the RF line.
    I loved Lecure vs. Cespedes in the high leverage situation in the 7th. And I loved bringing our best relievers in with the off day next.
    What I didnt love was the decision to keep Hoover vs. Reddick with 2 outs in the 8th after he gave up 2 straight hits. I like the outcome, but if not Chapman there, then I don’t think we’ll ever see Chapman in the 8th. Sure seems like it’s that crunch time of the season now, why would you not have your best reliever there.

    • @NastyBoys3: Agreed on all points. The Oakland broadcasters expected to see Chapman in the 8th if Hoover had trouble, which he did.
      Chapman was warmed up.

      • @pinson343: Agreed. This was simply one of Bakerman’s bad decisions that simply worked out. In short, we won in spite of Bakerman. Now, I don’t credit/blame wins/lossed on anyone. Just saying this was a bad decision by Bakerman that simply worked out.

  22. Sorry if this is repeating someone. I haven’t read many comments yet.

    The A’s are in the midst of slump. They are a very good team whom the Reds caught at the right time on the schedule. I’ve lost my confidence in the Reds. I’ve lost that feeling I had earlier in the season that everyday they were going to win. I still think the Reds are a good team. Every year they have periods were I/we lose confidence in them. But they never lose confidence in themselves. This is one area where I’m willing to concede Dusty is a great manager. And it is just important if not more important than who hits second. I’ve not changed my mind about Dusty, but I want to be fair.

  23. I am with Cossack in seeing Frazier in the 2 hole. Cozart wasn’t working out. So, the ultimate question, “Who would you put there?” In this case, anyone else would be better than what Cozart was doing. Just make it regular for a while. Frazier had an 0-fer yesterday. So what? Give him a couple of weeks there to see what he could do. I still say Hanigan would work there. Afraid of double plays? And BP didn’t ground into a lot of double plays? There are ways to get out of double plays. Steal a base. Sacrifice. Hit and run. It’s just that one of those three are even part of Bakerman’s style. Bakerman will say how he loves to have speed at the top of the order. The only thing is, he doesn’t use it.

    • @steveschoen: I still think that Votto in the two hole is the real answer. Of course, it violates Baker’s left-right-left rule so it will never happen regardless of how much sense it makes. Here would be my line-up:

      Choo CF
      Votto 1B
      Phillips 2B
      Bruce RF
      Mesoraco C
      Heisey/Robinson/Ludwick/Paul LF
      Frazier 3B
      Cozart SS
      Pitcher

  24. At some point wouldn’t it be nice to have a manager who would sit Mes and Bailey down in a room and tell them that nobody was leaving the room until they worked out whatever it is that is between them. I have no idea what the deal there is, but Latos is nearly has high strung as Bailey and he’s managed to embrace Mes as his catcher.

    Did any of our awesome beat writers ask about why Chapman wasn’t brought in to face the lefty with two outs in the eighth? I would have loved to hear that answer. Unfortunately, about the only group associated with this team that is more incompetent than the manager is the beat writers, so I’m sure that question was never asked or followed-up.

  25. Fascinating bullpen usage last night. I’m not sure why Dusty didn’t bring LeCure back for the 8th. He’d only faced one batter, and hasn’t been used all that much. Instead, he went to Hoover who pitched two thirds of an inning 18 hours or so before. I like Hoover a lot in the 8th–but it was a strange time for Dusty to suddenly agree.

    Hoover in, double switch completed so pitcher’s spot not due up, lots of LHP batters coming up. Chapman clearly coming in for the 9th so no problem getting him warmed up. But there he is, rooted to the bench, next to Broxton. Dusty starts warming Chapman up only after a tired-looking Hoover gets into trouble–too late to help with a 4-out save despite an off day tomorrow.

    Like I said, I like Hoover a lot in the 8th. And it worked. But I can’t help feeling Dusty was once again bailed out by his players rather than Dusty put his players/team in the best position to succeed.

    • @Eric the Red: I have to agree that Dusty’s bullpen management (and I remember thinking the same during the Giants/Angels WS) has always been a bit of paint by numbers. There are the general use guys (Simon, Parra, LeCure), set up men (Hoover as of now, Broxton, and Marshall), and a closer.

      To me that is fallacy of superimposed roles – it only leads to problems but it’s thinking ‘in the box’.

      • @rightsaidred: I am aware that this is another cliched topic of Dusty’s management. I agree that last night displayed his penchant without the potential results.

        • @rightsaidred: More than anything, it was odd. (Except for not warming Chapman up earlier–that part was inexcusable.). He hasn’t treated Hoover as the definite “start the 8th inning of a close game” guy. He wasn’t forced into lifting LeCure, because his spot in the batting order didn’t come up. He knows Hoover loses effectiveness when he gets tired, but chose to pitch him with less than 24 hours rest and no one–not even a pitcher other than Chapman, like Simon–warming up. Odd, odd, odd.

          To be honest, when I thought LeCure was going to have to bat in the bottom of the 7th I was expecting Dusty to put Broxton out there. My reaction to Hoover was: 1) Why take LeCure out? 2) Glad it’s not Broxton, but why Hoover? 3) I hope Hoover’s on a short leash since he pitched last night/we have an off day tomorrow/Chapman could be used in the 8th for once.

  26. From the Department of Revisiting 2nd Guessing: Didi Gregorius has cooled off a lot but his 97 OPS+ (at age 23) still make him much better than Coz. On the other hand, stats still give the defensive edge to Coz.

    If Choo helps win a playoff series then it will all be worth it!

  27. A bit late, but here’s another question: how on earth has Bartolo Colon posted the numbers he has this year? I know the announcers said he’s lost some off his fastball, but that means it used to top out around 92MPH. How could he have those numbers throwing that fastball almost exclusively?

  28. I may be the only one interested, but Mark Reynolds was designated for assignment today. I would love for the Reds to take a look at him. He’s got massive power for a RH bat off the bench.

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