Titanic Struggle Recap

Simon, Parra make two runs hold up #theredsway

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds  (2-4)
 2  8  0
New York Metropolitans  (2-4)  1  4  0
W: Simon (1-0)   L:  Neise (1-1)  S: Parra (1)
Box Score   |   Play-by-Play    |    Photos    |    Depth Chart    |    FanGraphs Win Probability

The Good

Alfredo Simon started his first game since September 2011, when he took the mound for the Baltimore Orioles against the Detroit Tigers. Simon completed eight innings that day. Today, when the Reds really needed a big start to help snap the losing streak, Simon came up 6’6″ 265 lbs. Over seven innings, Simon gave the Mets only four hits, one walk and no home runs. He struck out seven over his 79 pitches, including David Wright and Daniel Murphy in the third inning with runners at second and third. Simon also scored a run after getting the second hit of his career.

Simon’s performance was also a bit of a triumph for the organization. With Mat Latos coming off surgery, the Reds assigned Simon to start the first game of spring training. Remember when that seemed kind of strange? They continued to treat him like a starter throughout March and as a result of that forward thinking, Simon was prepared for the moment. Bryan Price had stretched Simon out like the other Reds starters. This may be Simon’s only start of the season, but it was important, and partly the product of competent management.

The sputtering Reds offense managed just two runs, both scoring in the sixth inning. The rally was jump-started in the least likely way imaginable – by a hit from the leadoff hitter. Coming into the game, the Reds’ lead off spot was a collective .000/.190/.000. Chris Heisey singled after Simon’s aforementioned knock. Both came around to score. Simon on sacrifice fly by Joey Votto to deep left field, and Heisey on a single tomahawked by Ryan Ludwick into left field.

Manny Parra notched the first save of his career, retiring all six batters he faced. Bryan Price left him in for the two-inning save, mostly because of the handed-ness of the Mets lineup in the ninth. For those keeping track of times when Price makes a move that his predecessor wouldn’t have, today is a checkmark outside of that box.

Ludwick and Brandon Phillips each had two hits. Jay Bruce walked twice. Todd Frazier had a hit and a walk, raising his OBP to .480.

The Bad

Zack Cozart is 0-for-2014, including zero walks.

The Reds offense overall remains sluggish. They entered the game having scored the third fewest runs in the National League, ahead of only the Cubs and Padres.

Not so random thoughts …

The Reds avoided begin swept in New York, with another one-run win. As poorly as the season has started for the Reds, the bottom line is they’re only one game behind the Cardinals.

The cavalry starts to arrive this week. Mark Sheldon said during the game he expects Devin Mesoraco to be activated and be in the lineup for tomorrow’s 4:15 p.m. game against St. Louis. Jonathan Broxton will also likely be activated on Tuesday. Bryan Price pointed out in his post-game interview that the bullpen is in pretty good shape heading to St. Louis. Keep reminding yourself that one day, we could be looking at Chapman, Marshall, Broxton, LeCure, Hoover, Parra and Simon in the pen.

The Brewers swept the Red Sox in Boston. The Brewers-Phillies game tomorrow has already been postponed because of rain.

Top Game Thread comments …

Shchi Cossack: Parra in the 8th facing LH hitters in 2 of 3 batters was solid, along with the double switch. Parra better come back out to pitch the 9th with 2 LH hitters of the 1st 3 hitters due up. If Bryan makes mistakes and learns from those mistakes, then he’s miles ahead of the previous manager.

CharlotteNCRedsFan: Monkey is off their backs, let’s carry some momentum and ruin the Cards Home Opener.

Eric NYC: I’d argue that we should have been able to score more than 3 runs against a middling Mets pitching staff yesterday. But as I’ve said before, our BABIP so far this year is criminally low. Add in the injuries and weather and we have had HORRIBLE luck to start this season. Need to turn it around quick before it gets out of control.

Kyle Farmer: In late October when we’re all buying Championship gear and talking about key moments to the season, we had better not forget this start by Alfredo Simon. HUGE and at a very important moment.

52 thoughts on “Simon, Parra make two runs hold up #theredsway

  1. I agree that our sputtering offense is a little concerning. But we all have to remember that it’s very early in the season. I think this team has a higher ceiling than most project. Hopefully when we get the guys back we will be ok. I also agree that if Price learns and makes adjustments then that is an improvement over last year.

  2. Maybe Price is actually a student of the game and is able to learn from his mistakes and be teachable. Today, Parra pitches a solid 8th – then closes the 9th – just like he should have done with LeCure yesterday. Thank goodness if the Reds win and spoil the Cards opener like the Cards did to the Reds this past week then the they will be all square at 3-4. We Reds fans can only hope.

  3. I’d just like to point out that, though I agree with 90% of EricNYC’s comment, the Reds BABIP for everyone but Bruce and Pena is at or above .300, which is the league average.

    This had the feeling of an important game, even in this young season, simply because this is a hacked together Reds lineup, with a non-starter starting, and they found a way to win. Price might be settling into his spot now, making the confident (and easy in this case) call to leave Parra in.

    Has there been any discussion about Cozart being injured? His defense has been fine, but his futility (and just how bad he’s looked while being futile) at the plate is discouraging. His bat just looks slow; like he’s constantly a few milliseconds behind where his wrists should be.

    • It may have changed a bit over the last 2 games. As of Friday it was for the team as an average under .230. Granted, that might have been bumped down by 1 or 2 particularly unlucky hitters as will happen with such a small sample size, but still it means that we should have expected more balls to find gaps as a whole over the first week.

  4. You know, you can tell yourself “Afredo Simon is a big dude.”.. but it’s not until you see him on third base making 6’0″ 205lb David Wright look like a highschooler that you truly appreciate it.

  5. Coming into today’s games, Bonifacio had a slash line of .542/.577/.625 with 2-2B, 2-BB, 4-SO, 4-SB & 0-CS, while playing 2B, SS & CF for the Stupid Cubs. WJ outright passed on Bonifacio when KC waived and released him. It appears that Theo and Jed may not be so stupid. Today, Bonifacio is 1-3 with 1-BB, 2-R & 1-RBI hitting leadoff for the Stupid Cubs.

    After today’s game for the Reds this season at SS & CF:
    Cozart is slashing .000/.000/.000 in 20 PA
    Santiago is slashing .000/.000/.000 in 4 PA
    Hamilton is slashing .000/.070/.000 in 13 PA
    Bernadina is slashing .000/.250/.000 in 13 PA

    That’s a whole bunch of 0’s by four players covering 2 positions that Bonifacio could be playing for the Reds. I’m glad that WJ neatly avoided an unseemly controversy and competition at two key positions, not to mention the utility IF/OF role controversy or the controvesy and competition that might have evolved once Hannahan was eligible to come of the DL, by not claiming Bonifacio for a measily $3.5MM.

      • An obvious but wise comment. I willing to bet good money that neither Hamilton nor Cozart finish the season at .000.

    • WJ is going to have tomake up for a neglectful off-season and get something to improve the offense. Mesoraco should help provide a little spark, but more is needed. WJ has to bite the bullet and go get Nick Franklin form the M’s. He can platoon with Cozart at SS and backup BP at 2B. Maybe give BP the DH at-bats at the AL stadiums. Heisey can split time between CF and LF. Short of getting a #4 hitter in a dramatic move or a new SS altogether, shoring up the flanks is about anything we can expect. Getting Frankln would help the SS batting average and take the bat out of Cozarts hands against the pitchers he doesn’t do well against. Something has give soon at the SS position.

      • I’m not sure how much we should expect Mes to help. Not that he won’t hit, but we’ve actually gotten some decent production from Pena and Barnhart so far so I don’t see Mes coming in and totally lighting up the position. He should provide some power.

        I’m hopeful that Ludwick is finally healthy and hitting like his old self. He’s looked very good the past few days. Brandon has also looked good. The biggest surprise is Frazier – he can’t keep up his current clip, but if he can hit closer to .290 than .250 that would be HUGE.

        • Ludwick is now slashing .316/.350/.474 and Phillips is now slashing .292/.346/.417. Those results play for this team. Ludwick could put up some monster numbers if he keeps on this track. When Votto and Bruce really get in the grove, the offense (at least the top half of the offense) could get scary good.

      • While we’re getting Franklin, let’s go ahead and get a couple more top prospects while we’re at it. Maybe another front line starter and an all-star closer to replace Chappy as well.

        I’d love to see the Reds get Franklin but exactly how do you think that is going to happen? The M’s obviously want to keep the kid and we’re not a team that currently has a whole lot to trade.

        This idea that Jocketty is some sort of jedi mind control expert that can force other teams to make trades that better the Reds is getting pretty tired and silly on here.

        • Where are the M’s going to play him? They have a $240M 2B and two SS ahead of him. Granted, there’s no way of knowing what Seattle wants or is even demanding.
          But looking at their minors’ system and the Reds, needs-wise they match up fairly well. Think pitching, and match that up with someone who is mostly blocked at their position with the Reds like Soto or Lutz and we might have a winner.
          Simon might be drawing increased interst from around the league after his great outing yesterday. There are options for a trade, and Seattle needs pitching at all levels of their system.

        • I agree wholeheartedly. It is fun to list players we’d like to have on the team, of course, but you don’t get them for free. Let’s trade Hannahan, Ondrusek and Ludwick for Trout!! Joey plus somebody else good for Trout is more realistic. We would certainly have to weaken our most important asset–starting pitching–to upgrade elsewhere.

  6. Glad the Mets had the infield in, or else the shortstop would’ve caught Ludwick’s flare. Between that play and the long fly ball by the Mets NOT leaving the park, maybe we’re starting to catch a few breaks.

  7. Great decision to let Parra have a 2 inning save, that should have been done yesterday with LeCure, but seems Price has learned from any early mistake. 2-4 heading into St Louis, BIG win today. Great performance from Simon, I believe he could do this all year if given an opportunity.

  8. Giancarlo Stanton already has 12 RBI with an OPS of 1.150 and a wRC+ of 220. I don’t know if he was ever really on the market, but I think I would have gladly traded Homer, Chapman, and Hamilton for that kind of bat. And I think this is his true self. He’s 25 and probably hasn’t seen his peak yet. Should have bought low. He’s going to get Pujols money now.

    • I think Chapman and Homer, and maybe even Hamilton are a little more valuable than Stanton…
      Besides Hamilton is still young, give him some time

      • Chapman is worth next to nothing in his current role to us and Hamilton is still basically a AAA prospect who could very easily never become an everyday big league player. Homer is the obvious value, but given how good Cingrani and Stephenson are looking he could easily be replaced. Take Homer and Chapman’s salaries off the books, trade BP in the offseason even if it’s for a bag of balls, and use the freed up money to extend Stanton for something like $150 million, which hopefully he’d take if you offered it today.

        All a big silly pipe dream I’ve concocted, but I think you could have made that deal before the season started. Too late now.

        • Wow. Homer is signed to a multi-year contract. Chapman is worth considerably more than “next to nothing,” even at an over-valued position (see Hoover’s melt-down), and $150 milllion (for how many years?) is low for legit sluggers. Besides, the Reds tried the model of pitching poor big boppers for years recently, and it didn’t work. I’ll agree that Hamilton is still a question, but he’s a question with a lot going for him. Otherwise, I agree 100%.

        • Obviously it’s sending talent in return – We’re talking abotu an elite bat. You’re going to pay a LOT to get him. Homer being signed to a multi-year deal (and a fair one) is what makes him a viable trade option for a rebuilding team like Miami. I really like Homer, but I think we have the pitching talent in the system to replace him and just imagine a middle of the lineup that went Votto, Stanton, Bruce for the next 4-5 years. Votto would never be intentionally walked again. As for Chapman, I wouldn’t make any decisions based on Hoover having one bad game. The fact of the matter is CHapman is grossly overpaid if we’re only going to get 60-70 innings out of him a year. Even if Price has his way, he said it would be something more like 80 innings. We can replace that. Chapman had a league average save rate last year. Yeah, I know we all like to watch his strikeouts but the fact of the matter is what he does is not that remarkable. He just does it in an impressive looking way.

          As for the extension, I’d hope for $150 million/7 years. Might only be able to get 6. Again, I think it’s moot at this point because if he keeps playing like this he’ll just wait to hit free agency and easily get $200 million+.

    • If he is healthy and that is a big if, he would be great. However, I doubt he is available if he ever was.

      • I doubt he’s available NOW. But there were reports he was on the block at the deadline last year and in the offseason. People were always hesitant about him because they didn’t know if he could be consistent, but I always saw a guy who was VERY young and hadn’t really come into his prime yet. At 25, I think it’s reasonable to believe we’re starting to see what he’s really capable of and that would be SCARY in this lineup. There was a time I really believe you could have gotten him for Chapman straight up, or at least Chapman plus a prospect or 2. But it’s too late…

  9. Has anyone been on base in the 1st inning yet for the Reds? I don’t remember it happening. It’s only been 6 games, but seriously, you can’t just take the 1st off.

    • Want a sure fire remedy for the defensive shift strategy for the middle of our lineup? Let the top of the lineup get on base ahead of them. Problems with shift solved.

  10. Something tells me there won’t be this much hand wringing over 6 games worth of data in the middle of June or September.

    Relax people!!!

    All this extrapolating about our hitters. Well guess what, the starting pitchers won’t be as good as they’ve shown either. It all balances out in the end.

    • Re: starting pitchers, actually I think even in this small sample size we’ve seen what we should expect as an average. Cueto and Cingrani have overperformed a bit, Homer and Leake have underperformed, and there’s one outlier game from Simon, though it’s safe to say Latos will be very good. As a whole, I wouldn’t say the starting pitching has set any unrealistic pace this first week.

      • Eric,

        Assuming Cueto is healthy I dont think he would drop off by much. He looks like 2011-13 Cueto.

        • He’s got a 1.93 ERA right now. He’s perfectly capable of that over an entire year, but I’m just being a little cautious and predicting something a tick above 2.00. Point being it’s not like we’ve had mind blowingly, unsustainable starting pitching up to this point. Which is very much a good thing, because our offense can only improve.

  11. In his two full seasons, Cozart has OPS+ in the 81-82 range. He struck out 100+ times both seasons, He hit into 29 DPs combined. Even if he gets back to those levels off an 0/19 start, he is marginal at best. They need to be looking for alternatives.

  12. I love it that Price went with Parra for the 2 inning save today. He was thinking just the way you want the manager to think: What’s the best bet to get these last 6 outs against a bunch of lefties who have beaten us this series (plus David Wright). His decision (and the result too of course) have me in a much better frame of mind.

  13. The bullpen that Steve lists looks awesome, if those guys can stay healthy. And with the way Cueto and Cingrani have looked, and with the way we know Latos and Homer can pitch, this could be an outstanding pitching staff.

  14. Ludwick looks healthy. As the weather warms up, I’m looking forward to some upper deck home runs.

  15. Has anyone noticed that Pena isn’t exactly in Hanigan’s class when it comes to pitch-framing? There was one pitch in the later innings yesterday that was literally in the middle of the strike zone that got called a ball because of the way he was moving around and holding his glove. (Of course, the ball/strike umpiring has been terrible this season, which is only partly explained by the catchers’ actions.)

    • I also noticed that he’s not great at giving the pitcher a target. Sure seemed like a friendly guy in the post-game interview, though.

    • It is noticeable. However, let’s keep in mind that Hanigan was one of the best in the game at framing. Tough comparison for Pena.

    • I was at the games on Fri and Sun and really loved Pena’s hustle and attitude. He is still building a rapport with all the pitchers, but at many points in both games I could see he was really pushing Leake and Simon to give it all they got, and not to be afraid to throw a strike. And honestly, it seemed to really help in those situations. He also hustled to first on all his attempts, and would take a real wide turn around first as if he was always ready to book it to second (mind you he is definitely the slowest player on the team). It was nice to see a new member of the club giving it everything he had during his playing time and not to take anything for granted.

      • This is the type of thing you get to hear from eye witness accounts that broadcasts don’t often capture. This is very, very good to hear. So far it appears Pena was a fine pick up.

  16. Hey, is there a point in the season when signing one of the off-season free agents no longer costs the team a draft pick? Stephen Drew is still out there, no?

  17. Glad to see they took the series finale.2-4 certainly looks and feels better than 1-5, but neither is realy better or worse in the long run.

    I am also glad to see Price try some differnt things with bullpen mgt and was impressed by Simon’s spot start. Good to know that they can lean in that direction if someone has to skip a start due to illness or some other temporary ailment.

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