2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: it is a home run (h/t @jason_hickey)

Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Cincinnati 6
Milwaukee 3

W: B. Arroyo (13-9)
L: J. Axford (6-7)
S: A. Chapman (33)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Good comeback performance after last night’s ugliness. Bronson Arroyo provided exactly what the Redlegs needed: seven innings, three runs on seven hits and no walks. He actually pitched a little better than those numbers indicate, but gave up a homer and a single in the eighth before leaving the game. Either way, I’ll take it.

–The Reds had a lot of home runs, including Ryan Ludwick’s first of the season; he was 2-4 on the evening. Chris Heisey, Zack Cozart, and Joey Votto also homered. As Jason, a longtime friend of the Nation, would say: “It is a home run.”

–Every Reds starter other than Shin-Soo Choo had two hits tonight, which is just trivia, but still pretty cool.

–Vintage Aroldis Chapman tonight: one scoreless inning, three strikeouts, a hit-batter, a fastball that reached 102 mph, his 33rd save of the season.

NEGATIVES
–None. This was a nice win all the way around.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–Redlegs win, which is always a good thing, but the Cardinals won again, as well. Looks like the Pirates are going to lose out in San Francisco. If that holds up, the Reds will be 2.5 games back of first, with Pittsburgh and St. Louis tied atop the division.

–I’ve never been a fully-paid member of the Ryan Ludwick fan club, but if his swing can round into form, it could have a significant impact on this offense.

–That’s thirteen wins in eighteen games for the mighty Redlegs. September is going to be fun, you guys.

–Arroyo hasn’t walked a batter in his last 29 2/3 innings.

–Reds really need to win this series tomorrow. They’ll depend on Tony Cingrani Greg Reynolds. Obviously. I looked at the probables, and I just typed it without thinking twice. Oops.

Source: FanGraphs

64 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: it is a home run (h/t @jason_hickey)

  1. Off topic, but would like some thoughts on this.

    So I noticed tonight that Lucroy was at 1st. The Giants often play Posey at 1st when the 2nd catcher comes in. The two similarities of those teams are that they don’t have a Joey Votto type 1st baseman.

    Let’s say the Reds turn Mesoraco into the full time catcher and we keep around a Tony Cruz type for the backup guy.

    Do the Reds have a spot to keep his bat in the lineup or would it be required for him to be a catcher to play a full game?

  2. Reynold’s is pitching tomorrow. Let’s hope he gets his nerves under control this time around. Good win tonight, go get them tomorrow! We need to win this series!!

    • @666wolverine: According to him, the Reds need to ban any & all family members from GABP, so he doesn’t repeat his AT&T ballpark debut performance, last year. No pressure–No Mercy!

  3. Is it confirmed that Cingrani is pitching tomorrow? Word on street has been that Reynolds is set to pitch. Really was a good win for the Redlegs tonight. Bronson hung tough and the Reds hitters channeled Murderers Row tonight. If Ludwick gets hot he can be a monster. Go Reds!

  4. And they won’t depend on Tony Cingrani, he’s out and will pitch in St Louis. Greg Reynolds will start tomorrow in the series finale. Hopefully he pitches like he has all year long in Louisville, we need a win.

      • @Steve Mancuso: Personally, I think they should put Tony on the DL and let it ride for 3 starts. He’s nearly at 100 IP’d. Give him a rest for 15 days, get him fresh, make sure his back doesn’t become a nagging issue, get him back to form in a long relief situation, and make sure he can go deep into the postseason.

  5. 5-3 Giants, bottom of 6th. Bucs are not lying down. Would not be surprised in the least to see them come back, down this little.

  6. If Reynolds is pitching tomorrow I hope Hanigan is catching. You would think Hanigans experience would help negate Reynolds inexperience.

  7. Takeaways I saw:

    – The Reds seemed to stay in this game a lot better, kept hanging in there. Shoot, Wily had 103 pitches just after 5 innings and only gave up one run. I said a couple of days ago, there goes Dusty’s idea of swinging at more pitches out the door.
    – It was good timing by Dusty in taking Arroyo out when he did, I believe. I had no problem with Arroyo going out for the 8th, just on a short leash.
    – I have been impressed with Heisey since he’s been back from injury. .262/.322/.495/.817 since coming back. I’ve said before, as long as he keeps his head in the game and gets more consistent playing time, he can be a very serviceable starter. All-Star? Never. But, a starter? I do believe so. I especially liked his “baserunning” while BP had his AB where he K’ed. It seemed like Heisey was doing everything he could to cause havoc with the pitcher for BP. It looked like he kept his head enough not to get picked off, but pressed the pitcher enough to try to take his attention away. It was unfortunate that BP struck out in that AB.
    I will say, also, though, that if Ludwick gets his bat going as well, it would be hard to decide what to do.
    – With Ludwick, as soon as he stopped at 2nd, he should have stayed at 3rd. I don’t know what happened there. I can only assume something like Berry was watching the ball and not Ludwick rounding 2nd, and as soon as Beery saw the ball drop, he sent Ludwick, not noticing that Ludwick had slowed down. Someone missed something.

      • @steveschoen: If Heisey can be a .260/.320/.450 sort of hitter, hell, even 95% of those numbers, I’d take him in CF as my every day starter (assuming Choo is gone).

        • @prjeter: That’s why I said last season, when even though Heisey’s power numbers were down, when he took the first turn in the battle for the LF spot, hitting 288/324 starting 32 of 42 games, I would still take that.

          The Cards have shown you don’t have to always hit the HR’s to be a winning team. The Cards have the most runs in the NL, leading by over 60 runs. Their standing in HR? 12th out of 15th.

        • @steveschoen: If Heisey can be a .260/.320/.450 sort of hitter, hell, even 95% of those numbers, I’d take him in CF as my every day starter (assuming Choo is gone).

          Heisey would frustrate you like Drew Stubbs never could. He has flashes of power and often runs into a poorly located fastball. But he’s a .240 hitter who whiffs way too much.
          The upside is that I have seen very few players who hustle more and provide more energy than Heisey does. He is a left fielder and does a nice job playing the corner.
          An everday guy? I don’t think you would want that.

        • @Johnu1: John, again, he has only done that when he doesn’t get consistent playing time, like in his first game or two after sitting for like a week or two. As stated, routine is very important with many of the players at this level. Just look what getting more playing time has done for Devin, though it had to come with Hanigan’s injuries. As with Devin, Heisey would be fine given the playing time and he keeps his head in the game.

      • @pinson343: Berry needs to NOT mess up. Neither does Speier.

        Unless it’s Juan Pierre, I have to assume that every outfielder can hit a cutoff and that every SS can throw a ball 150 feet in the air to a catcher. On a close play, the ump almost always calls the runner out.
        Anything else is poor strategy. If Berry was trying to jump start the offense with daring-do, it’s even worse strategy.
        Ludwick has shown to be a marginally smart baserunner.

        • @Johnu1: Berry is a master at putting pressure on a defense without being stupid. Bad play, but I’d take MB at 3B coach any day over CS.

    • @steveschoen: Considering he had a .173/.195/.293 line when he got hurt, and he’s now hitting .230/.274/.426 (which while not great is bordering on competent which is pretty impressive considering how horrid of a start he got off to) including the numbers you said he’s hit since he came back from the DL.

      It’d be hard to find a different guy who can hit decently-to-well and be slightly above average fielding for all three outfield spots for the money he’s currently making. As you said, never an All Star, but no team is made up entirely of All Star caliber players. You need a few solid players to fill the gaps between your Vottos and Bruces.

  8. I have no problem with Reynolds starting tomorrow if necessary. Just keep him on a short leash if needed. And, don’t rest too many regulars tomorrow with Reynolds in.

    I know I’m just going to read here tomorrow about Ludwick or Heisey being benched when Bruce comes back, just because Ludwick and Heisey had a good game. What would you do, play 4 OF’s? Play one of them at an IF spot, a position none of them have experience in playing? Make an agreement with the Brewers to play AL rules for that game only? Come on. One of them will have to sit. Unless, possibly, if Choo was to rest tomorrow. But, I don’t know about that with a right hander on the mound.

    • @steveschoen: I honestly think you sit Heisey. If Ludwick is getting his stroke back he’s got a slightly higher upside than Heisey at the plate. Need to get him as many ABs as we can while he’s hot. But, it’s a nice problem to have… a hot Heisey or perhaps a “mid-season” Ludwick.

    • @steveschoen: I honestly think you sit Heisey. If Ludwick is getting his stroke back he’s got a slightly higher upside than Heisey at the plate. Need to get him as many ABs as we can while he’s hot. But, it’s a nice problem to have… a hot Heisey or perhaps a “mid-season” Ludwick.

      • @prjeter: I agree with giving Ludwick plenty of ABs. But I wouldn’t just say “Sit Heisey.” I’d use him as a 4th OFer who gets playing time at all 3 OF positions. He’s hit well since returning from the DL – I don’t know why he wasn’t getting more playing time before Ludwick’s return.

        He’s of course a good defensive OFer and should be used as a defensive replacement for Ludwick late in games with a lead.

      • @prjeter: I agree 95%. I’m not still too convinced with Ludwick. I mean, after 2 poor seasons and a poor start last season, he did get a hot bat and won the LF job. But, then, his numbers were fairly generic after that, especially the last month of the season.

        I do agree Ludwick probably brings a bit more of an upside overall, though. Though, they do bring different things. Ludwick I assume a bit more power. Heisey probably a bit more speed and a better defense.

        • @steveschoen: You understate what Ludwick accomplished last year with his bat. After 2 years of developing bad habits in San Diego, he spent 2 months getting his swing back. As of the end of May, he was hitting .206/.292/.393. He ended the season at .275/.346/.531.
          That’s a whole lot better than generic. At the end of August, he was hitting .276/.346/.554. That wasn’t much of a September slump.
          His 5 game October was nice: .333/.455/.833.

          Despite this, I agree with your comparison of Ludwick/Heisey.

        • @pinson343: Ludwick got his hot bat when he took his turn in the LF battle, around mid-June. From that time through August, 326/391, 17 HR, 61 games. The last month, 270/347, 1 HR, 19 games. Definitely showed not that he lost it but that it wasn’t hot anymore.

        • @steveschoen: Sometimes I feel like the only Ludwick fan here. Anyone notice how the team took off as soon as he got back in the lineup even when he wasn’t hitting? BUT… I will say this, his bat is noticeably slower right now. Last year he was able to sit back on the pitch, let it come deeper in the zone, and turn on it with unreal bat speed. It looks to me like either he’s out-guessing the pitchers and cheating on his swing or he’s slowing down the bat through the zone, avoiding a strike out, and just trying to make solid contact. Either way, it’s not the same swing as last year when he was hot.

          I looked up his stats in the small sample since he’s been back. (Again I know this is a small sample, but it is reflective of what I’ve been seeing.) His Z-Swing and Z-Contact are almost identical. That’s though to do unless your approach is just to see the ball and make good contact. His .129 ISO shows he’s not swinging with power. Since his Z-Swing is nearly 7-10% higher than all his year stats I think he’s not looking for a pitch to drive but a pitch in the zone with which he can make contact.

        • @TC: And, that’s all some of these guys really need to be worried about, just make contact, maybe a little of a drive. But, so many swing for the fences so often, it’s ridiculous.

  9. Current “odds” are the reds at about 80% wildcard and 11% division.

    There will be a lot of jockeying between STL, PIT and CIN over the next few weeks.

    However….

    I think the Reds should look to the last nine games. 6 with the Pirates mixed with 3 vs NYM in the middle. The Cards finish with the Brewers, Nationals, and Cubs, which IMO strongly favors STL as the division champion considering that in 6 of the last nine, any win they are guaranteed to pick up a game on either the Reds or PIT.

    The Reds have played the pirates well this year, especially at home. If the Reds can win the series at PIT 2-1, sweep the Mets, and then sweep PIT at home….I think we will do no worse than win the 1st wildcard.

    For the Reds to win the division, I believe the above has to happen and we have to go into the last nine with no worse than 2.0 games behind.

    Should be fun!

  10. I seem to like Ludwick more than most here. Once he got going last year, his bat was formidable. I love his upper deck HRs, and he’ll also hit a line drive or draw a walk. He was great in the playoff series vs. the Giants – 3 HRs and that 9th inning single in Game 5 that gave Bruce a chance to win it all.

    Even if the best he’s able to do this year is hit line drives, he’s an important addition to the lineup.

    On the other hand, I’m more than OK with Heisey getting play time at all 3 OF positions. He has hit well since returning from the DL, he should have been getting more playing time in LF (as opposed to Robinson and XPaul) before Ludwick’s return.

    • @pinson343: I entirely agree, when Ludwick got his bat hot. But, it cooled down as the season went, with pretty generic numbers the last month of the season with only 1 HR.

      • @steveschoen: I replied to you re Ludwick above. But if you limit the “generic” description to September, I don’t disagree so much.

        In any case, we have the same take I think on Ludwick/Heisey in 2013.

  11. Sit Heisey. If you think the Ludwick v Heisey production as a wash, Heisey is a better bat off the bench and a better defensive plug in the late innings if the team has a tight lead/tie/deficit. Ludwick needs the at-bats. That’s usually a popular move with Dusty.

    Anyone wanna do lineup predictions for tomorrow? I hope Dusty started Hannahan and Heisey tonight to split up his usual carbon copy of the Sunday afternoon half-baked lineup. Izturis might take over for Phillips tomorrow but I hope it doesn’t get much more creative than that. Losing 2 out of three to the Brewers this weekend would be another one of the 12 or so situations the Reds can look back on this season as a killer of the division title chance.

    • @RichmondRed: I agree with your Ludwick/Heisey analysis but – as I’ve already said above twice – give Heisey playing time at all 3 OF positions. He’s a good 4th OFer.

    • @RichmondRed: I believe that Dusty did sit Frazer and Bruce today so he could play them tomorrow. I don’t think tomorrow’s lineup will be watered down at all. BP has been hot and I expect him to start. Dusty knows the Reds need to win and they’ll need to score some runs with Reynolds pitching.

      Also Dusty used Heisey and Hannahan to match up against Peralta last Sunday and again tonite. They both hit him well in both games and Dusty should get some credit for that.

    • @RichmondRed: The thing is, Heisey has also shown he plays well when he gets the AB’s, also, when he gets the playing time, just like with Devin. And, in Baker’s strategy, the 4th OF wouldn’t get any playing time. I entirely agree with you all here. I just don’t think it would happen with Baker here. And, from what I have seen from Heisey, the more he sits, the more time he needs playing to get back into a playing mentality/routine, something common with players at this level.

  12. I was surprised to read here that folks are wondering who is pitching for the Reds on Sunday. Unless Dusty was blowing smoke on his pregame radio to cause confusion, it is Reynolds. He pretty much directly said Reynolds would pitch on Sunday then followed on that Cingrani would be DLed and he hoped Reynolds could get them a couple of wins while Cingrani was out (no doubt they will back date Cingrani to the DL so he already will be 4 or 5 days into the 15 as of tomorrow.

    Being on the DL as of September 1 does not impact Cingrani’s eligibility for a post season roster spot. All players on the 25 man active MLB roster and MLB DL (15 or 60 day) as of midnight 31 August are directly eligible for a playoff roster spot.

    • @OhioJim: Additionally, any player in the org as of midnight 31 August can take the place of a player on the on the DL on the list eligible playoff players. For example, somebody not otherwise eligible for the playoff roster could be named to fill Broxton’s place on the list of eligible players (as we know Broxton is not going to be available). In this latter case, there may be a provision that only a pitcher can replace a pitcher and only a position player can replace a position player. I’m not sure about that.

  13. I still feel a need to vent about the two early base running outs. As steveschoen said above, Ludwick’s going for home was probably due to Berry’s not seeing that he’d slowed down rounding second. Stuff like that happens. But Choo getting caught stealing against a pitcher who is having trouble throwing strikes ? I think he was safe, but it doesn’t matter. That’s 10 times now he’s been caught stealing.

    The key to beating the Brewers is getting to their bullpen early. Those outs could have allowed Peralta to go further into the game. He was taken out after 5 with 103 pitches, which turned out to be soon enough.

    • @pinson343: True, but Choo trying to steal isn’t necessarily a bad calculation, he’s 14 out of 24, I believe, almost 60%. I would take that risk more than trying to bunt him over, with our bunting prowess. I couldn’t help thinking it might have been a hit and run, also. In summary for me, ideal thing to do? Nope; it especially doesn’t go with the strategy of taking so many pitches. But, a dumb thing to do? Not dumb at all. This team has done a lot dumber things than this.

  14. Ludwick took a really crazy path going around third. He had to be out of the base path at some point considering how wide he cut through the grass. Definitely that out and Choo’s getting caught on that SB cost them potentially a run or two.

    Ludwick did have a couple of nice at bats tonight, so did Cozart.

  15. With Reynolds starting next game I almost feel that this will be one of Dustys “planned” losses. In order to save the bullpen for STL he will sacrifice Reynolds to get shelled for 6 innings and take the loss. Weve seen him sacrifice starters before to save his prima donna relievers. STL is about to start their September massacre and wont be caught for the division but as long as the Reds keep pace ahead of Arizona it looks to be a CIN v PIT wildcard game.

    • @ericincognita: Baker and the Reds have no plan today other than winning.

      Sorry, but one bad start by Reynolds is no indication of how he’ll do today. I’m not saying he’ll help the Reds to a win today, but the notion that there is any sort of capitulation is ludicrous.

    • @ericincognita: I don’t think we have too many prima donna relievers but Reynolds will be asked to go 5. That’s acceptable. 6 would be a bonus. Reds need to bring their bats today. Either way, winning 12-11 would be all right with me.

  16. Lots of comments about Ludwick. As I see it, in his case, it’s not about carrying the team over a stretch, but to contribute a useful AB every so often to help win a game. Most players fit that role.

    Even Izturis.

    In another time, Ludwick would be a mid-order threat. He isn’t now. That shoulder won’t let him be that. He’s a left-handed Rolen.
    But if he, and Heisey and Paul, can give you a 2-hit game here and there, launch one when you need it … that works.

  17. Heisey should play CF when the Reds face a LHP. He can also occasionally play for Ludwick in LF.

    The only bench player today should be Izturis at most. I’m going to spend the rest of the morning channeling positive karma that he isn’t batting second instead of Frazier.

  18. As expected, Reynolds is now listed on the Reds’ website as the pitcher today. The offense will have to perform. Milwaukee has hit pretty well lately and they’ll be a handful for Reynolds.

    • @Steve Mancuso: It is unlucky for Reynolds who is pretty much a poor-man’s Bronson Arroyo, to have to follow the Real McCoy against the same team. He’s a smart guy, though, and an easy guy to pull for, so we have to hope he can keep the Reds in the game through six innings.

  19. Ludwick should now bat Cleanup and BP should be batting 2nd. Those of you saying his swing looks slow need to realize it’s all about timing after four months on the shelf. Looks like it’s starting to come around now. Move him to 4th. Dusty will do it two weeks after the fact. However, I agree with whomever said the Reds started playing better once he returned to the lineup. They did. As for Heisey, always liked him but I think we know what we’re going to get with him too.

    • Ludwick should now bat Cleanup and BP should be batting 2nd.Those of you saying his swing looks slow need to realize it’s all about timing after four months on the shelf.Looks like it’s starting to come around now.Move him to 4th.Dusty will do it two weeks after the fact.However, I agree with whomever said the Reds started playing better once he returned to the lineup.They did. As for Heisey, always liked him but I think we know what we’re going to get with him too.

      I can’t say that Ludwick is the reason the team is playing better but he’s an overall upgrade over Derrick Robinson and X-Paul. Any clubhouse chemistry should have been there whether he was playing or not. He was with the team all season, just couldn’t play. I think the Reds are playing to their potential. Ludwick hasn’t had a lot of oh-fers lately, which is always a plus in an inconsistent lineup.

  20. Izturis rides the pine today, along with Hannahan, Heisey, Ludwick and Hanigan. XP starts in LF. Mesoraco starts behind the dish. Dusty has apparently subscribed to the MB philosophy that games in August are much more important than games in April, May, June or July.

    • @Shchi Cossack: But the fallacy is that they are only more important the last two months if a team has played well enough the first four months to make them that.

      Personally I’d like for the Reds to have back a couple of those blown Sunday games from June about now.

      • @Shchi Cossack: But the fallacy is that they are only more important the last two months if a team has played well enough the first four months to make them that.

        Personally I’d like for the Reds to have back a couple of those blown Sunday games from June about now.

        Those are the ones that are hard to forget, and it doesn’t seem like Cincy has snatched as many back as have been blown to the wind — esp. those two that Chappy coughed up in the 9th.

    • Dusty has apparently subscribed to the MB philosophy that games in August are much more important than games in April, May, June or July.

      At first I read “MB” to mean Muslim Brotherhood. Oy. I’m spending too much time reading the news, not enough time reading Redleg Nation.

  21. 5 hits and 1 run and the Reds lose a series at home to Milwaukee with the next 10 of 13 games against the Cardinals and Dodgers. Not a good outlook.

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