2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: Baseball is a funny game

Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
San Diego 2
Cincinnati 7

W: B. Arroyo (10-9)
L: A. Cashner (8-6)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Some nights, Bronson Arroyo is simply an artist. Tonight: one run allowed on four hits in seven innings. Arroyo struck out seven and walked none. He’s the man.

–Stop the presses! Todd Frazier had two hits in four ABs, with a double, a walk and three runs scored!

–Joey Votto was 2-4, with a well-struck triple, two runs scored, and two RBI. Brandon Phillips was 2-4 and knocked in two more runs on his 14th homer. BP now has 86 RBI. Jay Bruce and Chris Heisey each doubled in a run.

–Jonathan Broxton returned to the Reds, and he was throwing 98 mph? Really? What year is this?

NEGATIVES
–None.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–Baseball is a funny game. The Reds were simply horrible last week, and now they’ve won three in a row. This is precisely why I always tell you: the Redlegs are never as good as they seem on their best day, and they are never as bad as they seem on their worst day.

Yes, this team has some real issues, and the season is slipping away from them in some respects. But there is still a lot to play for.

–Tonight is a perfect example of why Bronson Arroyo is my favorite Red.* He was masterful at times. As I noted on Twitter, he looks like he’s painting a picture out there. He’s an artist.

–Todd Frazier’s first-inning double ended an 0-for-31 streak. No hits in 31 ABs. That’s hard to do. As the Little League World Series gets started, I expect Frazier to go on a roll.

–Ryan Hanigan returned from the disabled list tonight. The Nation loves Hanigan, and we always have. Search for him in our archives, and you’ll see a picture we posted from when he was playing for AA Chattanooga. The guy gets on base, and he is a wonderful defensive catcher. I’m happy he plays for the Cincinnati Reds.

That said…please don’t start giving him credit for Arroyo’s great performance tonight. Let’s not use this to justify limiting the playing time of Devin Mesoraco, who has come into his own in Hanigan’s absence, and who has been the hottest hitter for the Reds recently. Both guys deserve to play. At this point, Mesoraco probably deserves the lion’s share of the playing time, but we need both.

–I love baseball. Don’t you love baseball? I love baseball.

Source: FanGraphs

*Arroyo is my favorite Red, but he isn’t my favorite baseball player. Do you know who has that honor?

31 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Baseball is a funny game

  1. Our schedule is very favorable, NOW is the time to make a move, we need to replicate what the Braves, Tigers and Dodgers are doing. If this team reeled off 10 straight wins, we’d make this thing interesting. If we see the Broxton of tonight, the rest of the year, wow. Good to have Hanigan and Broxton back and looking forward to seeing Luddy return by the weekend. How huge would it be if we got a healthy and productive Cueto and Marshall back?

  2. Keep it rolling!!!

    BP and Frazier weren’t gonna keep scuffling like they have. Statistically, it just wasn’t gonna happen, just like the Cardinals hot hitting with RISP was unsustainable. And now look-ey—the Cards dropped another one and have lost 12 of 16. Matheny got tossed, and after the Westbrook relief pitching fiasco, they’re taking on the stench of desperation.

    At this point who knows what will happen with the Pirates, but I’m still willing to stick by my prediction that the Reds will win the division……because they’re better positioned for the stretch run than anyone. But for that to happen, it’s mandatory that they beat up on the Padres, Cubs, and Brewers. It’s not unrealistic to think we could be within 3-4 games by September 1st.

    • @Sultan of Swaff: Agreed. Five losses in a row doesn’t mean the season is over, just like three wins in a row doesn’t mean the Reds are winning the World Series. I think they can overtake the Pirates, but that’s only because I’m a fan.

      • @joelie1274: Season slipping away, most definitely, given we have only played 500 ball since May 31. But, has it gone away” Not yet.

        Realistically, the division is gone for us. Just to get to 90 wins, the Pirates have to go 20-26. The Reds have to go 26-19. Could both happen? Sure. But, will both happen? Probably not. And, on top of those, the Cards would still have to go 24-21 for 90 wins.

        More likely we are playing for the WC spot, home or away. For home, we have to do at least 3 games better than the Cards the rest of the way in. For away, we can’t do 5 or more games worse than the Diamondbacks, assuming no other team lights up.

        Question, if both WC teams have equal records, who gets the home field?

        • @steveschoen: Per cbs.sportsline.com: “-If two Clubs are tied for both Wild Card berths, home-field advantage will be determined by the head-to-head record between the tied Clubs. If the head-to-head record is tied, then division record will be the next tiebreaker.”

          Currently, the Reds are 4-8 against that Cards.

  3. Justin Verlander is up there for me. Fun to watch how he starts games off throwing around 90-92, then finishes with 99. plus his size schmedium pants are always good for a laugh.

  4. I dunno, Reds still have a tough row to hoe. This division this year has been amazing, far exceeding all expectations I think. We have 3 excellent teams all striving hard as we approach the dog days of the season. Injuries are piling up, guys are starting to regress from earlier luck streaks.. baseball is such a fun game.

    Dusty has been doing some encouraging things even if I suspect he was either dragged to them or his logic isn’t the logic I would have used to arrive at those conclusions months/years ago. Cozart is staying down at the bottom of the order and is doing much better. Frazier is now up in the 2 hole which has been a quagmire for us for a long long time and any number of players. At least now (for now) we have a guy with a .300+ OBP in front of Votto. I hope he stays there, even when Frazier is slumping he still takes walks and it cannot be emphasized enough times how important that is.

    Broxton looked strong. Parra looked amazing while we really needed him. Hoover has been good, Sam has been a little shakier than last year but still pretty reliable. Chapman is Chapman. There are some good things going on but we’ll see how the story goes as we near the big dance.

  5. With all the misery we (including me) were feeling last Sunday, it did occur to me that the Reds had not even been swept by the Cardinals – only lost 1 game to them in the standings in that series – and were capable of winning the next 5 in a row to lift them back to 15 over .500. Of course they still need 2 more wins for that.

    But as people have said, they can’t stop at 15 over and start treading water again. Too late for that. Need to keep the streak going.

  6. I love Frazier batting second, given the other (realistic) options. 3 runs scored today, watch those runs pile up. And Joey’s RBIs.

    Has anyone noticed ? Joey Votto is a great hitter, and he is torching the ball right now.

  7. The Old Cossack just tucked the littlest Cossack into bed after her first night game and Friday fireworks. She smiled the entire way home and that is a long drive home!

    I wonder when was the last game that Choo took an 0-fer against a RHP? What an pleasant turn of events to see Choo have a tough game at the plate (but he sure looked good in CF) and still have runners on base for Votto. I’m liking Frazier in the #2 hole for this Reds team. I’m thinking Votto likes Frazier in the #2 hole too. What a combination Frazier & Votto made tonight and Votto was motoring on that triple and when he scored from 1B on Heisey’s drive to RF. The players look so very comfortable and confident with Berry in the 3B coaches box. I want more of the same.

    Folks, Frazier can absolutely pick it at 3B! It may be just a coincidence, but every ground ball Votto fielded tonight was centered between his shoulders in a textbook fielding position and he had a couple of tricky hops that he fielded without incident. I want some more of that too.

    It was a good game to bring Brox out to the mound to finish the game. Watching Hanigan & Broxton meeting off the mound after the final out was encouraging for good things to come.

    The last scores I had before leaving the stadium were the ROX leading the Bucos 5-1 in the 2nd and the Birds and Cubbies tied 0-0. Then low and behold, after tucking in the little Cossack, I find the Birds and Bucos both bit the big one tonight and the Reds are just 2 games behind the Birds. It would be nice to let the Birds worry about the pesky Snakes for a change while the Reds change their focus to the Bucos with the final 3 series of the season shining brightly over the horizon. Oh my, this could get interesting.

    Joey (MVP) Votto is now 4th in the NL in AVG, 1st in OBP, 7th in SLG and 2nd in OPS (a mere .003 behind CarGo and closing fast). Joey seems to have made an adjustment to the pitching book on him this season and has taken to turning on those inside pitches and just smacking them to RF. He’s hitting balls so hard, they are getting minimal benefit because they are fielded so quickly. Could Joey be setting up to take this team for a ride to the promised land?

    Speaking of balls hit hard, I would have bet my next born that Bruce had another notch in his bat tonight in the 1st inning, but it turned out to just be a 390+ feet fly ball. It was great to see both Joey and BP tag and advance on the play.

    • @Shchi Cossack: Glad you mentioned the fielding; through the recent woeful streak I noticed that the Reds were not picking it the way they did earlier in the season. Now they seem to be again, and I take this as both a cause and evidence of nascent resurgence. Reluctantly, I’ll take a little credit as well, due to my deployment earlier in the week of my Wily Mo #26 Reds sweatshirt (long story; don’t ask) for my constitutional on Town Farm Rd. I don’t like to overuse this particular device, but will if the lads start to regress. The season is not over yet!

  8. Bronson Arroyo is definitely a pitcher like Felix the Cat and his bag of tricks. I think the next step is for him to incorporate a submariner knuckleball to go with all of those oddball arm angles and speeds.

  9. The Reds pitching has been spectacular this year. Here’s the latest NL team leaders in pitching stats:
    ERA: PIT, ATL, LA, CIN, STL
    WHIP: ATL – 1.19, CIN – 1.20
    BAA: PIT – .231, CIN – .238
    OBP: CIN
    K/9: CIN
    K/BB: CIN
    SLG: PIT, STL, ATL, LA, CIN

    The only bad statistic is HR allowed – 4th most. Maybe playing in GABP contributes to this?

    As long as I have been a Reds fan (since 1963), I cannot remember a Reds pitching staff performing this well. Looking at the tope ERA’s, the NL central is 1st, 4th and 5th. That’s a tough division to hit in. It’s easy to see why the Reds, Cards and Pirates are all be in the playoff hunt.

    • @MikeC:
      This season isn’t like last year where the starting rotation made it through the whole season without injury. They compiled these stats without Cueto, their #1 starter, or Marshall, one of the best relievers in the game.

  10. I’m not sure how last night could have gone better. The Pirates got clobbered in Colorado. The Cards got shut out by the Cubbies and the Reds had a decisive win.

    Just for some perspective, I watched the last few innings of the Cards game and their announcers were all over the fact that the Cards offense was non existent over the last several weeks. They seemed to forget the beating they handed the Reds.

    Another observation from that game is that it looks like the Cards struggle with power arms. After watching the Cards for several innings, I am convinced that Arroyo and Leake were the 2 worst pitchers we could have put up against the Cards and the Reds could have taken 2 of 3 had either Bailey or Latos pitched one of the other games. Don’t get me wrong, the Cards are clearly a great team, but I’m not convinced they are as unbeatable to the Reds as they seem this year.

    Here’s to hoping the Reds keep this streak going… even if it is only 3 games.

      • @RedLeg75: Great job of research there… Pretty much confirms that the Reds would have been better off with Bailey and Latos pitching… thanks for the info.

        • @nvilleredsfan: Who is responsible for setting the starting rotation anyway? This information is not squirreled away in some inaccessible vault. This information is readily available to anyone who wants it. Of course getting the information is only one step in the process. The information must also be understood and utlized top put players and the team in the best position to win.

  11. I guess it’s going to be–at best–a 2/3 catching split with Hanigan taking Bailey and Arroyo. Dusty was even willing to break his “always give an injured player an extra day” rule to make it happen. With off days and things, that should help ensure that neither catcher is particularly sharp at the plate. But we’ve got offense to burn, so I shouldn’t matter much. /sarcasm/

    We’ll probably survive this in the regular season, but it could be very costly in the playoffs. Most managers would use matchups vs opposing pitchers to choose their players; Dusty prefers to matchup vs his own pitchers.

    Nice solid win last night. If Frazier can stick in the 2 hole, it means the LF platoon can bat sixth until Ludwick (hopefully) gets his hitting stroke back.

    I wonder how Dusty and Jacoby feel about Frazier breaking his slump after getting some well-publicized advice from Pete Rose.

    • I wonder how Dusty and Jacoby feel about Frazier breaking his slump after getting some well-publicized advice from Pete Rose.

      I was wondering more what Bud Selig and Joe Torre might be thinking about it.

      This isn’t the first time it has become public that Rose has offered advice to a Reds player. I think the ground rules are pretty clear that Rise has to be the one to initiate the contact (at least officially) but beyond that, what are the limits?

      Could Rose, for instance, tutor a player on an individual basis during the off season? If so, could he be compensated for such activities if the money trail clearly indicated the money came out of the player’s personal pocketbook?

  12. one stat that i think is usually synonomous with good hitters is the k/bb ratio. a great hitter to me is usually 1/1 votto has 97 K and 86 BB, pretty good hitter right? Here’s what jumps out to me, i think Jay Bruce is a good hitter too, not the same class as Votto but a good hitter none the less. his k/bb ratio is 139 k to 39 BB. that’s just unacceptable to me and could lead to regression in later years IMO. what do u guys think about the k/bb ratio as to determining good hitters? and what do u think about jay bruce’s abysmal k/bb ratio? thanks

    • @zab1983: The k/bb ratio (really the bb/k ratio from my perspective) is something I follow regularly, but I do not think this ratio establishes or eliminates great hitters. A classic case in point is Ryan Hanigan. Last season, Hanigan had a k/bb ratio of 0.84, which is spectacular, but as much as I like Hanigan, I would never classify him as a great hitter. It’s just one measure of a hitter’s utility.

      • @Shchi Cossack: I would actually agree with you on that; however, I think that, while not all hitters with good k/bb ratios are great, all great hitters have good k/bb ratios. It takes talent + good plate discipline to make a good hitter great.

  13. I’m sure the fact I was on the left coast all week had nothing to do with the Reds resurgence. However if anyone thinks it might have and wants to make a donation to make it possible for me to locate to the LC…… :)

  14. 47 games to go and two back of the Cards. If it’s the wild card, let’s have the game at GABP. 6 games back of the Pirates is not impossible if the Reds keep their offense in gear, and Frazier is a big factor there.

    • @Redsfanx: I think this division race is far from over for the Reds. However they have painted themselves into a corner where they have to win a lot more games that the Pirates or Cards do from here on out.

      Sometimes it matters as much who is playing whom as the total number of games remaining for each side. The Reds have 7 left with the Birds and 6 left with the Bucs. The Birds and Bucs have 9 left head to head.

      By getting back within 2 of the Birds, if the Reds can just maintain versus them head to head, they can get by them versus the rest of the schedule. Ironically the Reds probably need the Birds to win 6 of the 9 they have with the Bucs while the Reds play even to +1 or 2 versus the Buc head to head.

      If these things happen; and, the Reds play against the rest of the league similar to what they have done to date, they will be right there in the mix for the Central title at the finish line.

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