Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: Cardinal Sin

Final R H E
St. Louis Cardinals  (2-1)
 7  11  1
Cincinnati Reds  (1-2)
 6  10  0
W: L. Lynn (1-0)   L:  H. Bailey (0-1)  S: T. Rosenthal (2)
Box Score   |   Play-by-Play    |    Stats    |    Depth Chart    |    FanGraphs Win Probability

The Good

Downtown Todd Frazier had a monster game, going yard twice today, bagging 4 RBIs. Joey Votto had another 3 hits. Jay Bruce got his first dinger of the season.  Nick Christiani, from Elizabeth, NJ, pitched well in his 2014 debut. Jersey had a good day, right?

And let’s not let this disappointing ending to the series allow us to forget Tucker Barnhart, who cut down his first runner and looked very comfortable behind the plate.

The Bad

The book on Homer Bailey: 4 1/3, 4R, 7H, 3K, 3BB. You wonder what the rain delay did to him. After the way the bats woke up in the first inning, you couldn’t help but think having a cushion for a change would help the Reds starter. You have to believe the lack of work from the groin injury was no help. Brandon Phillips had 4 Ks today. Billy Hamilton is still looking for his first hit. The middle of the order was nails, but the two men at the top did nothing.

The Ugly

Trevor Bell had nothing and Logan Ondrusek not much more. The game was lost for good right there.

Not so random thoughts …

As Roseanne Roseannadanna once said: “It just goes to show you, it’s always something. If it ain’t one thing, it’s another. If your pitching lights out, you’re not hitting. When the bats finally wake up, ya can’t get annnnny body out.”

You could almost feel this coming. This wasn’t going to be like the first two games.

My Big Red Smokey Play of the Game:  The Cardinal first baseman, laying out belly first, just as he did last night–and coming up short, just as he did last night. Fine play by the fan, who was rewarded with a demonstration of THE CARDINAL WAY, courtesy of the brutish Mt. Adams.

The season’s first test. You can look at this first series one of two ways, depending upon your mind set: (A) Joey is back, Todd Frazier looks like he wants to get back to being the Todd Frazier we first swooned over, Cueto is still uno numero and Tony Cingrani looks like he wants to be; or (B) the Reds still can’t beat the Cardinals when it counts.

It’s early and we’re an optimistic Nation. Let’s go with “A.”

It’s on to New York and the Madoff Metropolitans. The good guys come to my neck of the woods as I get my first in-person look at the Reds.

I’ll bring home the sweep.

72 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Cardinal Sin

  1. Yes, let’s please be optimistic. Three one-run games. You can never tell who’ll win a one-run game. It stinks that they didn’t win 2 of 3, but this series wasn’t a disaster at all.

    • Agree with you, Jason. 100%. The Reds were not over-matched at all, and there is reason to believe that they will get better. Still a let-down, though: I had to remove myself from the tv for awhile after the Cards tied it. Too sensitive for my own good. What, by the way, did the brutish Adams do? I saw the fan give him the finger and heard Thom start to sermonize about there never being an excuse for that (I have always thought that many situations called for the finger), but didn’t see what precipitated it, unless the finger was meant for the defensive shift that Adams beat like a rented mule for the whole 3 games. Also by the way, did anyone else notice that, after Chris and Thom commented on how ineffectual the shift was for Adams, they not only never mentioned it again when he came to bat, but the camera never showed the fielders. Did big brother (whoever he is) thunder discreetly from on high?

    • Bingo. How do you not take one pitch with Hamilton, the tying run, on first base. Plus, Hamilton steals second there is no way they are walking Phillips. Phillips is not the best baseball mind.

    • This is exactly what I was afraid of with BP batting second. Now, I will say, does anyone know if it was a hit-n-run call on? I wouldn’t know why you put a hit-n-run call on with Hamilton on first. But, I did diss BP for the running play when the call was to go on contact. But, with Hamilton on first, you have to take advantage of his speed and let him try to steal.

  2. Phillips was part of the bad. He just doesn’t look good at all and should not be batting second.

  3. If BP thinks swinging at all five pitches and striking out with Hamilton at first and down by a run is what a #2 batter is supposed to do, then the Reds need to find a new #2 batter posthaste.

  4. The Ugly – Mat Latos is getting lit up by the Cubs AA squad right now. Not sure he’ll be ready on schedule …

    • I can’t fully express what a towering home run Frazier hit in the first inning (so was Jay Bruce’s). I don’t think I’ve ever seen a ball hit that far up in the second deck, that far toward left-center before. The players in the Reds dugout – Cingrani and Chapman were two that I could see – were literally laughing at how far he hit it.

  5. My hope is Todd will have a good run and earn himself the number 2 spot. As i believe Hamilton will come along, that would be a nice 1-4 lineup. BP and LF can handle 5th and 6th well enough for our pitching to win most games.

    • I just don’t see BP being moved anywhere else in the lineup (at least not yet) but he isn’t the answer in the 2 hole. Frazier needs to hit right behind Votto and Bruce. At least we know he will have someone to drive in.

      • BP has historically been at his best in the 2 hole, but whether it’s coming from Price or not he’s pressing now to compensate for Hamilton. His AB in the 8th screamed that he didn’t have faith in the rest of the lineup or in Hamilton to get something done on the paths. Price needs to make sure he’s on board with the offensive philosophy, whatever that actually is. I hope BP isn’t just freelancing but it seems like he is.

        • I highly doubt that BP’s AB was indicative of his confidence that MVottoP couldn’t get it done after he was 3-3, BB in the game.

          Probably some freelancing involved.

        • Didn’t put that the right way. He felt like he needed to win it in the 8th – the same way he tried to swing away when he was batting cleanup last year. The same way that he’s definitely NOT at his best as a hitter. He was trying to hit 2-run homer when he should have at the very least been trying to let Hamilton move over if not totally giving himself up for the next inning. Either way, Price needs to talk to him.

  6. I have to wonder after 3.5 hours how much say we might have had in postponing this game. I don’t know exactly how I’d feel about that, but for a home series against our biggest divisional rival it sure would have been nice to be at a lot closer to full strength. God bless Barnhart (and that was a hell of a cut down at third) but I would have felt better playing this game with a full starting lineup and an actual major league bullpen. Although I was also VERY impressed by Partch. Spilled milk and all, but you only get so many home divisional series and you just have to win them.

    That being said, Joey looks dialed in and I see an MVP race in his future. And could Frazier really be taking this kind of step up? How huge would that be?

      • Exactly. Couldn’t we have pushed to have the game postponed before the start? It could only have benefitted us. No way Homer was going to be sharp after that long of a delay and we were clearly WAY worse off on the injury front.

    • Tucker also made a nice play on the force out at home, when Frazier’s throw was a bit low and he went down and got it. I thought Tucker looked outstanding behind the plate yeseterday.

  7. Votto, Frazier and Heisey look good early. Bruce is starting to come around. BP and Cozart are dreadful. Hamilton will settle down eventually. Ludwick should move to the 6th spot and let Frazier bat 5th.

    Homer, d’oh!

    Is Adams going to face league discipline? What a macaroon.

  8. It does have to be said that the Reds have for the last few years lived or died by the long ball and were only in this from the same. Troublesome. Especially if Joey can hit 25 of them.

  9. I just don’t understand using the back end of the bullpen when the Reds were one run behind. I get that you can’t use the good guys every night. But you don’t play the St. Louis Cardinals every night. LeCure, Hoover and Parra didn’t pitch in this game. Just like they did last year, the Cardinals destroy mediocre pitching — even do pretty well against good pitching. Twice last year, Dusty Baker basically conceded games where the Reds fell behind early by using the “we’re losing” side of the pen. Those games became blowouts. Today, Bryan Price did the same thing with the Reds behind just by one run.

    Homer had a bad game and that’s what got the Reds into trouble. Not so much the score but that he didn’t get through five innings. But you have to wonder what the final score would have been if Sam LeCure had pitched the seventh and eighth inning and JJ Hoover pitched the ninth. LeCure hasn’t pitched yet this year.

    • Hoover pitched 8 out of the first 9 last year or some such number – fear of overwork? Not happy with the choice of Bell and Ondrusek. Know who is less happy? Price. I imagine that won’t happen again.

    • How Lecure doesn’t pitch in this series and Trevor Bell does is beyond belief. It also looks like Price thinks Ondrusek is better than anybody else does.

      • Paper this morning said Price wanted to stay away from LeCure b/c he’s gotten up in every game (though he hasn’t pitched IN a game) and was up 2X on Wednesday. Just repeating what it says…not happy with Price’s use of the BP thus far.

    • I still wonder why Ondo is on the team? Yes, he shows decent velocity, but his command disappears frequently, and he gets lit up (ungrammatical, I know) too often to be anything but a mop-up guy.

  10. BP needs to get going or the fans will turn on him, twitter or not. Not giving BH a chance to swipe a base is ridiculous.

    • Heisey has proved time and time and time again that he is a MUCH better player off the bench than in an everyday role. Every time he goes on a good run from the bench people call for him to start, then he does and falls on his face. There’s a reason he’s still a 4th outfielder after all these years.

      • Actually, no. Like last year, as a starter, he batted 261/306. As a sub, he batted 136/170, with career splits of 253/307 as a starter and 259/311 as a sub. You are still living from his rookie season when he batted 229/299 as a starter and 341/412 as a sub.

        • This didn’t sound right to me, so I did a little digging. Heisey’s career OPS+ as a starter is 98. As a PH it’s 109. That’s not as big of a difference as I expected, but it is a difference. Basically, Heisey is a replacement level player as a starter and a nice asset to have as a bench player. It all comes down to Ludwick – If Ludwick has any possibility of replicating his 2012 season then this is just the same conversation we have every time Heisey has a few good AB’s. If not, we could certainly do worse than having Heisey starting in LF. Ditto for CF if Hamilton needs to go down (and god bless him I think that’s going to happen a lot sooner than later). Bottom line, Heisey is a very good 4th outfielder which is something a competitive team absolutely needs, but there’s a reason he’s still a 4th outfielder and no team, not even the Astros or Royals of the world, has come knocking on the door for him over the years.

  11. I like the look of your new mobile site, but I have to scroll down forever to get to game recaps. Using IOS on iPhone 5s. Am I doing something wrong? Or can site be modified to display only article previews (as opposed to full text) on main page and have most recent articles on top?

    • What it’s doing is showing the articles that are in the slide panel at the top first. I’m not sure we can fix that, but I’ll look into it. I noticed that, too. The mobile platform stuff is pretty new to me.

    • on android, you can pull up the settings menu and ‘request desktop site’ which provides only a snippet of text just like if you were viewing from your computer. i agree, viewing from the mobile site is annoying. too much scrolling….

  12. My two cents on the Matt Adams controversy. I think the one view kind of exaggerates the force with which Adams touched the fan. Shown from this angle though, it really does look more playful than anything. I know it’s easy to paint every action by the Cardinals as diabolical, but this skirmish seems blown out of proportion to me.

    • I don’t know…That was the angle I saw it from live and it sure still looks like he was being a dick.

    • Force aside, the guy was wearing a kneebrace and had crutches in his seat.

      If a fan goes on the field, they get *arrested*.and probably faces criminal charges for tresspassing.

      If a fan shoved an MLB player who was fresh from surgery and had crutches next to him, does anyone NOT believe they’d be arrested?

      If a player shoved an umpire, they’d be suspended for easily a week. Heck, *touching* an umpire results in a 2 day suspension.

      – –
      Obviously I am not saying Matt Adams should be arrested (though that’d be hilarious if he got an officer in the stadium to pull Adams right out of the game. They maybe he wouldn’t have scored the run that made it 4-3.)

      But I am saying that there’s no place for players to shove fans. These guys get paid millions of dollars to play a game for entertainment. If that much money can’t keep you from controlling your temper enough to keep your hands away from the people who ultimately pay your salary, then maybe a week off to take some anger management classes might be best?

      • I’m not saying it’s OK for a player to shove a fan. I think we all agree on that. And clearly, Adams didn’t know the fan just had knee surgery (or could suspect it based on the fan’s skill at outmaneuvering him for the pop-up). I’m saying it didn’t look like he shoved the fan to me. Who knows? I was just saying maybe this doesn’t need to become one of those huge, blow-up things in the media and among the fans.

        • Agree with you this should not be blown up, but then you get this quote from Adams from espn article that does not mesh with replay.

          **********
          “….Adams dived into the stands trying to catch a foul ball, and pushed a fan who reached up and caught it before he could get it. “I was trying to stop myself from going into the stands,” Adams said. “People came up to me and said I shoved him. I didn’t even know. I’m not that type of guy to go after anybody…..”
          **********

          myself looking at the replay, he was not trying to stop himself going into stands, that already happened. he looked annoyed and pushed the fan away from him in getting up.

          did anyone catch the game on TV and see one or 2 fans flip off Adams right after he was walking away. I wonder if a few more words were spoken or the fan was reacting to the “push”. Even Tom B commented about it.

        • I don’t want to see him suspended and I don’t care if he apologizes or not, but it’s right there on tape – He clearly shoved the guy after he had already stopped his fall and it sure looks like he said something to him, too. I’m not going to boo him every time he comes to bat but it’s pretty lame to lie about it when it’s on the record.

        • I’ll also add this – I totally get it. If I was a player, my least favorite part of the game would be the fans. At least during the games. Yeah yeah yeah they pay my salary in the end, but when I’m between the lines I’m at work doing my job. I dive head first into the crowd trying to make a play on a ball, trying to make an out that could be instrumental to my team winning or losing a game, trying to make a defensive play that could contribute to a future contract, and I perceive (even for a split second, even wrongly) that a fan got in the way of that – Yeah, I’d be pissed. My first thought wouldn’t be “This fan is just here to enjoy the game, he pays my salary when it all comes down to it.” My first thought would be “Screw that guy!” I think that’s just human nature. But you have the self discipline to keep your mouth shut and you certainly don’t put your hands on anyone.

      • I agree with you, but fear that the unfairness is the way of the world. GM knowingly sells cars with a defect that kills 13 people and nobody is going to jail. If you drove a GM car into a crowd and killed 13, you’d never again draw a free breath. It would have been funny if the cops had led Adams away in cuffs, but consider what would happen next week in St. Louis…

    • Just watched it. Thanks, Steve. It wasn’t a very hard shove, it’s true, but Adams wasn’t in a position that afforded him the leverage to shove really hard. I thought there was intent, not playful at all, behind it. I don’t demonize the Cards, strangely enough, but Adams was probably pissed because he had a good shot at catching it if the fan hadn’t. Also, the fan clearly thought that it was hostile.

      • This. He was upset, and he intentionally pushed/slapped his glove into the fan’s chest. There’s no question he did it. Bottom line, it was classless and MLB should discipline him to teach him (and others) the lesson: you don’t put your hands on fans in anger, even in “the heat of the moment”. Sure, it wasn’t really forceful contact, but it was intentional and the time to teach the lesson is BEFORE somebody hauls off and punches a fan.

  13. Not sure why when you have a chance to take 2 out of 3 from the Cardinals, and get early season momentum against a division team, do you not pitch Le Cure, and instead you pitch Ondrusek and whoever this Bell guy is. Not sure what Reds management sees in Ondrusek. I understand patience, but he has been here now for what….4-5 years and hasn’t been a good pitcher at all. His spring ERA was not good. I love Cozart’s defense, but he still can’t hit very well. You see the Cardinals knew Pete Kozma could play defense, but could not hit, so they went out and got Peralta. The Reds keep sticking with the same players year in and year out that they think will finally break through, and they continue to live in a dream world, because these players are the same way every year, no change. Also, not sure if BP is just in a slump, and/or unhappy about almost being traded in the offseason and that Dusty is gone. If he is unhappy about being in Cincy, it may be a longgggggggg year for us all.

    • The use of the bullpen certainly looked like good ol’ Dusty back at work. If you’re trailing, bring in the worst pitchers. Hard to understand why Lecure wouldn’t be sent out there in a close game at home against the team picked to win the division with several innings left to play. Maybe Price was projecting ahead to later in the game, thinking he might have to use Lecure to close since Hoover pitched two days in a row.

      • The Reds hadn’t even played two days in a row, so Hoover certainly hadn’t pitched two days in a row. In fact, he didn’t pitch in the season opener either. So he had pitched one day in a row. For the entire season.

  14. Just spit-balling here: but could it be that Price is trying to evaluate some of the lesser bullpen players before he sends them down to the minors when the guys start to come off the DL, or could he just be using them up knowing they are being sent down soon while trying to preserve the better arms for a long season? Just a few thoughts on the situation.

    • I’m positive that’s what he’s doing, but maybe he doesn’t have to do it in such high leverage situations in a divisional series. I’d think he’d rather go for the win even if it meant making a slightly less informed roster decision in 2 weeks.

  15. Just in the name of fairness… I get BP didn’t have a good game, but just two games ago, on Opening Day, he was on base 3 times. Assessments of him being in a “slump” and needing to get going, etc., are a little premature. I don’t think he quit trying from game one to game three.

    • I agree. But we are fickle and changeable. Lose game 1 and we’re standing on the top rail of the bridge, certain that the season is effectively over. Win game two, and the despair is forgotten. BP looked horrible at the plate yesterday, but almost all of the hitters were completely ineffective in the first two games. I think that many of us have come to a conclusion about BP and are now looking for evidence to support that conclusion.

      • I think that many of us have come to a conclusion about BP and are now looking for evidence to support that conclusion. That’s honest and likely true. I know I was guilty of that with Dusty many a time.

  16. In the hindsight is 20/20 category, keeping Trevor Bell on the 25-man roster, DFAing Beato and then losing him to the Braves, BIG mistake.

    • It was one (really bad) outing and Beato hasn’t done anything for the Braves yet. A little early to tell. That being said, we basically have a AAA bullpen right now, especially with Simon temporarily in the rotation. Most of these guys will be in Louisville or DFA by May. Beato wouldn’t have been any different.

  17. Yeah, the bullpen management…

    First, Neither Hoover nor Parra had pitched 2 days in a row. The Reds had an off day between their first 2 games and Parra was the only reliever to pitch in both the 1st 2 games. Hoover and Parra both pitched in game #2 <24 hours earlier and Hoover threw 28 pitches in that outing. I don't think Hoover or Parra were available for this game, this early in the season. LeCure was warming up with Parra in the opener, but for some reason, Ondrusek came into the game after Parra. That didn't make any sense to the Old Cossack at the time, but since LeCure has not even been warming up since that time, I have to think that LeCure felt something wrong while he was warming up and is not available since Ondrusek was used in both high levearge situations, with runners on base, that LeCure excels at resolving. Without any additional knowledge or information, that is the only rational explanation for not using LeCure at all through the first three, 1-run games against a division rival.

    • I thought Price said he was up on Wednesday as well but didn’t come in. Although I agree with your general point – I think something’s wrong with him. I can’t imagine why else he wouldn’t have pitched in this series.

  18. After the first three games of the season, the top-of-the-order hitters are a combined 2-23 with 3-BB, 0-R, 12-SO with a combined slash line of .086/.192/.086. That’s only 3 games, but that’s a problem.

    In contrast, through the first three games, Bonifacio is 3-11 with 2-2B, 4-SB, 0-CS, 1-BB, 0-SO with a slash line of .688/.706/.813 while hitting leadogg for the ‘stupid'(?) Cubs. That’s the player WJ passed on with so many unanswered (and still unanswered) roster questions facing the team.

    I can rest easy knowing the Reds have Santiago on the bench.

    There’s still plenty of time for Hamilton and Phillips to get their game going offensively, but not a single unanswered roster question has been answered after the first 3 games. Phillips performance has been particularly disconcerting because he’s looking like a head-case at the plate.

    • Phillips will come around (I know some people don’t believe that, but I still expect him to put up pretty much a career norm season for him which is right around a 100 OPS+) and I don’t think it was ever realistic to expect Hamilton to come out of the gate hot. Granted, he has been even worse than we could have expected…The one good sign I’ve seen is that after that atrocious Opening Day game is that he’s started to at least put the ball in play, only striking out twice in the last 2 games and finally drawing a BB. Overall the team had a BABIP of .239 for the series so there were actually a lot of well hit balls that just happened to go straight at somebody – A couple by Pena and Bernadina come to mind. I’m holding out hope that once Hamilton gets that first hit he’s going to calm down and they’ll come a lot more regularly. If he’s putting the ball in play, good things will happen eventually.

  19. It only took 4 games for the B Lineup to show up. Bernadina leading off, Ludwick back at 5th a day after Frazier’s two homer day batting 5th, Santiago starting and batting 8th.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s