Titanic Struggle Recap

Same as the old loss

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds  (2-5)
 3  10  1
St. Louis Cardinals  (4-3)  5  9  0
W: Wacha (1-0)   L:  Cingrani (0-1)
Box Score   |   Play-by-Play    |    Photos    |    Depth Chart    |    FanGraphs Win Probability

The Good

Brayan Peña had three hits.

Ryan Ludwick had two hits.

Nick Christiani pitched two shutout innings of relief.

The Reds scored their first run off Michael Wacha in 21+ innings. Who-hoo.

The managing in the fifth inning. Bryan Price lifted Tony Cingrani after four innings to bring in a pinch hitter. Pinch hitter Roger Bernadina doubled in the Reds’ only run. Dusty Baker absolutely would have left Cingrani in to try to get “Grani” a win.

The Bad

The managing in the first inning. Having Brandon Phillips bunt in the first inning with Billy Hamilton on second base demonstrably worsened the Reds chances of winning. There is simply no defense of that strategy. It gives up the out of one of the hottest Reds hitters. It ignores the possibility of Billy Hamilton simply stealing third base. And there are a zillion scenarios where playing for more than one run is necessary. Like the one that actually happened.

If Brandon Phillips made that decision on his own, that’s still partially the manager’s fault for not telling BP he shouldn’t do that any more. [Update: Based on Price’s statement after the game (John Fay), it sounds like it was Phillips’ decision to bunt. Bryan Price should instruct BP to quit doing that in the first inning. Got to break the bad Baker habits.]

The managing in the seventh inning. The Reds were two runs behind with three innings to go. The entire bullpen, save Manny Parra and Nick Christiani was available. Bryan Price brought in Trevor Bell, almost certainly the bottom pitcher in the bullpen. You can’t do that against the Cardinals, who hit mediocre pitching like batting practice. You have to use the top end of the bullpen there in case the Reds can somehow score two runs. Which, uh, they did.

In game three, Price brought Bell in with the Reds behind 4-3. The Reds lost 7-6. Today, Price brought Bell in with the Reds down 3-1, and they lost 5-3. In both cases, the runs Bell gave up provided the margin of victory for St. Louis.

You can’t manage against the Cardinals the way you do against other teams.

The offense is awful. The Reds have scored 18 runs in seven games. Their two wins have been 1-0 and 2-1. They had two walks today. They don’t appear to have improved in their plate discipline. They give away too many at bats.

Tony Cingrani struggled getting his fastball over the entire game. He battled through four innings, giving up only three runs. He’s allowed to not be amazing every game. If the Reds had scored four or five runs early in the game, Cingrani might have hung on for a win.

Not so random thoughts …

It’s unfair to judge Bryan Price on a few games. It’s unfair to judge Bryan Price on a few games. It’s unfair to judge Bryan Price on a few games. It’s unfair to judge Bryan Price on a few games. It’s unfair to judge Bryan Price on a few games. It’s unfair to judge Bryan Price on a few games. It’s unfair to judge Bryan Price on a few games. It’s unfair to judge Bryan Price on a few games. It’s unfair to judge Bryan Price on a few games. It’s unfair to judge Bryan Price on a few games. It’s unfair to judge Bryan Price on a few games. It’s unfair to judge Bryan Price on a few games. It’s unfair to judge Bryan Price on a few games.

Devin Mesoraco will catch Homer Bailey tomorrow. I’m kind of surprised he didn’t pinch hit in the ninth inning instead of Neftali Soto (Major League hitter > Minor League hitter). Jonathan Broxton should be available tomorrow.

Billy Hamilton is 1 for 17 (.117 OBP). Billy Hamilton should not be leading off until he proves he can consistently hit big league pitching.

I’d shake up the lineup. More Joe Maddon. Less Dusty Baker.

Top Game Thread comments …

Al: I really really hoped that there would be a noticeable difference with this team under Price. So far, I just don’t see it.

BearcatNation: Let’s not get carried away. I agree this is a terrible, terrible game from Price. But he’s a first time manager who isn’t just going to roll in and have everything figured out. I have seen some positives.

Ed Lambert: Cards have tried hard to give the Reds wins and they refuse to take them.

143 thoughts on “Same as the old loss

  1. I could talk about this particular game but whatever, it’s all been said. Here’s an honest question that is NOT just doom and gloom. When we get healthy we could easily turn this around and contend this season. But let’s say the slide continues and we’re well out of it by the break. What does this franchise do in season? There is a window – Votto’s prime, Bruce, Cueto/Latos, Chapman in the pen, etc. it might already be closed. I think 2012 was our year and last year was certainly a squandered opportunity with Choo. But it’s not closed. Stephenson and Cingrani look like the real deal and Joey will be Joey for at least 4 or 5 more years. But if this season does in the cradle, you have to do SOMETHING to salvage it right? What moves do you make?

    I’d hope Chapman is looking like an elite reliever and can return some prospects. Hamilton is still in my mind a prospect and can be dealt. Would you move Cueto or Latos knowing you probably can’t extend both of them with Homers contract? God I hate thinking this way before Easter…

    • If the window isn’t closed, it’s getting close. Cueto/Latos/Leake/Parra/Ludwick/Marshall/Hannahan/Pena are all FAs after 2015.
      In 2015 Chapman/Frazier/Cozart/Heisey will all be in arbitration and thus much more expensive than they currently are. Potentially expensive enough that the cost to value isn’t there.

      So yeah, maybe not closed yet, but it’s getting close. Cueto/Latos/Leake all hitting FA together will wreck this team that’s so weak offensively and relies on the best top-to-bottom starting rotation (not the best top 3 perhaps, but certainly the best 5).

    • I’d think most about moving Cueto and Chapman and if I could get someone to take BP I’d try that move too.

    • If the Reds are pretty much out of it by the break. I’d actively shop Cueto, Leake, Broxton (if pitching well), Phillips, and Chapman (if he’s pitching well)… I’d listen to offers on anyone else. Nobody is off-limits including Votto and Bruce. Though unless Votto starts hitting like JoeyMVP, I honestly don’t think there will be much interest in him considering his contract. I’d hate to see Bruce go but he has a team-friendly contract and probably enough production by the break to bring some good players back. Like I said, if it comes down to it, I’d go ahead and pretty much blow the team up. Honestly though, I find it hard to believe that they won’t at least be in the conversation for the post-season at the break.

      • Blow up the team for what, though? What would you get for Bruce that would be better than Bruce? And so on. Prospects, maybe, but how patient would we be with that? Draft well, teach well, don’t give up , maintain a winning tradition, etc. There is a lot of promising pitching in the minors, and near-future drafts could emphasize position players.

        • That’s sort of the idea of blowing up the team. You would move your higher priced players for players like up-n-comers and prospects. Or cash you can use on FA after the season.

    • I think the concept of having a “window” is misguided. Good organizations don’t think like that. Cards, Rays, Giants, Rangers, and Atlanta have all built consistent, winning organizations.

      If anything, the Reds attempts to lock up pieces are responsible for their window.

  2. All terrific points; except I stick with Hamilton at the lead-off position. Just four starts, and each start exponentially better than the last. He hit three balls very hard today … certainly looking for comfortable (and again, all starts against STL pitching, so it’s only going to get easier for him).

    Not to mention; there is NO alternative option.

    • Hamilton had a hit, a pop-out, a fly out and two ground ball outs. Which were the three hard hit balls today? Disagree that he has looked consistently better each game. The alternative is to bat him seventh or eighth and slide the rest of the lineup up.

      • Both balls to Adams were hard hit; one was a very nice play. The double was also hit hard (a nice opening 6 pitch AB as well).

        I don’t think there’s a problem here; again it’s four games from a rookie against the best team in the National League; pitching or otherwise. To me, the solution is certainly not to hit a guy lead-off who is outspoken about not caring about his on base percentage.

        And for as bad as Tony was today; he was just one pitch away from not giving up any runs, and perhaps one better LF away from only giving up 1. It was clear he didn’t have his A game today, but I love that he didn’t give up, or give in. Still made the Cardinals look foolish outside of one lousy Molina hit.

    • Agree 100% on Hamilton. Price should tell Billy, “You’re my guy, so that’s that. So just relax and play like you did in September and ST.” Much like Leo Durocher did with a struggling rookie named Willie Mays. I’m convinced this kid can play in the Show right now. He is pressing but you are right, each passing game he has shown improvement. Give the kid a chance, 4 games in the Bigs isn’t enough to judge.

      Price had a very bad day at the office and the question is: will he improve and show growth? He is and will be the manager for 2014 so get used to it.

      Never seen so many people jump ship so quickly after 7 games into a season.

      • I don’t think it’s jumping ship to move him down in the lineup. Willie Mays? Seriously? You’re comparing Billy Hamilton to maybe the greatest baseball player of all time? One who hit 660 career home runs? In AAA, Willie Mays hit .477/.524/.799. Billy Hamilton hit .256/.308/.343 in AAA. Billy Hamilton is no Willie Mays.

        And you know what, Willie Mays hit sixth, seventh and eighth his rookie season.

        • Yes I do think it is jumping ship. Kid needs the mangers confidence. To drop him from the leadoff spot after 4 lousy games is not a smart move. I was comparing the “situation” to Willie Mays not the player, I thought you might have figured that out.

          It is only my opinion but it is my opinion. I know you have never been high on BH but I’m buying his stock while it’s cheap. The kid can play, IMO.

        • Another thing: Mays had a total of 24 ABs in the eighth hole and 135 in the third. Heck he even had 42 batting 5th. You make claims and I’m going to check them out.

        • Please do check. But be complete, don’t cherry pick. In his rookie season (1951) Willie Mays had 523 plate appearances. Of those, he had 321 batting sixth, seventh and eighth, which is what I said. I didn’t say he only hit those spots. You say that batting Billy Hamilton anywhere other than first would hurt his confidence. That’s ridiculous. He’s been telling people in the media already about how he’s been pressing because of batting first. If it didn’t hurt Willie Mays’ confidence to spend more than 60% of his rookie season batting 6-7-8, I doubt it will Billy Hamilton. Who is no Willie Mays. I was saying the “situation” wasn’t analogous because the players are so radically different. Mays was a slam dunk superstar. Billy Hamilton isn’t. At least his record to this point (AAA) wouldn’t indicate its a sure thing.

      • I have seen Hamilton making better contact, but no bunt hits so far. I hope tomorrow Hamilton can get on base twice, a hit and a walk. Just for kicks, how about a great catch too.

        • Did anyone else see how badly the Reds $100M man pitched last outing after being staked to a 3-0 lead?

        • RedMountain, Billy is definitely quite capable of it. And like Charlotte said, BH is capable of doing what you mentioned and so much more. Red’s fans, give BH a chance, he has the potential to be what we are all hoping he can become.

      • Welcome back Charlotte. And I am currently in your camp. It wasn’t on Billy Ham today and I really believe he is going to respond positively. And who is currently the Reds most productive hitter? Ludwick and Frazier while our 3-4 hitters are coming up empty. That simply can’t continue. And yes, whoever said that the Reds could be out of it by the ASB might actually want to rephrase and say in a month.

        • Hey Pete. I don’t mind going out on a limb and trusting my own eyes. After seeing BH last September and Spring Training, and have zero doubt he is a player. 4 games played this year does not wipe that away.

          Last year, you told me your glaring review of his Minor League career and I checked the stats. Yes, he has struggled adapting to any move up in the system but he always caught on and mastered the next level. I expect no less this year; the youngster is a very hard worker and a quick study. He is the key to the teams success this season, IMO.

        • Charlotte, I was going to identify myself but you beat me to the punch. I think I was cincyreds14 last year – so very, very observant on your part. Kudos! As far as BH, if the Reds don’t mess with him he is going to be fine. Looked great last September and will continue to improve. I am actually more concerned about the Reds new $100M man, as he is also under the microscope (and flat out stunk his first time out). Let’s hope tomorrow goes a a lot better for him and the Reds.

        • Thanks Charlotte – and yes I agree wholeheartedly with you, Billy Hamilton is definitely the future of the Reds. Haven’t thrown in the towel yet on the season, but from what I have seen, this season definitely has the possibility to come apart at the seems in short order as the season has not started the way most of us Reds fans would have truly liked. Inserting Bell into both today’s and last Thursday’s game were very poor managerial decisions – quite possibly costing the Reds both games. And BP’s bone headed decision making process is not going to go way unless someone reels him in. You don’t start a game with a double and then bunt him over with the core of your line-up coming up. Still believe Price doesn’t have the gumption to lead the Reds and would have really liked a manager with more gumton. Seeing Clint Hurdle pumped up beyond all measure after the Pirates took 2 of 3 from the Cards this past week-end – now I truly appreciated that. Let’s just see how the season plays out. But many are already familiar with what happened to our last low key manager – and for those curious, his initials are TP.

      • And Charlotte, thanks again for your perspective as I think the 1975 or 1976 Reds team also started slowly – but as we all know, they eventually jelled. Let’s hope this Red’s team can follow suit and do the same.

        • I haven’t given up, either, and think that it’s much too early to do so. As far as Hurdle, though, he looks like a guy on the verge of a stroke. Let’s give Price as much leeway as we give the players. The games count, certainly, but there is still time to turn the season around.

  3. Frazier continues to be a bright spot as well, both on offense and defense. I hope he keeps it up because as I’ve said before he just makes you want to root really hard for him as a person.

  4. Price told Phillips to get the runner over (ie hit the ball to the right side), Phillips chose to bunt per John Fay

    • How many screw ups has BP had only a week into the season – and who is currently protecting him in the press? Somebody has to get his head out of his back end or else this season is already over.

  5. Mark Sheldon quotes Price on the bunt: “We had Tony [Cingrani] going, who was coming off of a great first start. We’ve got [Michael] Wacha, who has had really nothing but success as a starter in the big leagues. So we don’t know if he’s on or if he’s not. We know they’ve been tough to score against. We wanted Brandon to move him. It didn’t have to be through the bunt. He could try to drive one through the right side. He wanted to make sure he got the job done and he pushed the ball over there to the right side and got the job done. I think it’s always nice to try to get on top, to try to get that first run. It didn’t work out for us but he’s a very good performer in that situation, a very effective bunter and good at moving guys over. And he did his job.”

    Sounds like Price is covering a bit for BP. No bunt sign.

      • Accountability is not throwing BP under the bus to the media or fans. Accountability is holding BP responsible for things behind-the-scenes.

    • I’m not sure I understand what to think here. Price says “Move him” … and I take that to mean bunt him over, because that’s the only surefire way I know I can succeed.

      I mean, does Brandon Phillips have to be reminded that a productive out is a good one in that situation (maybe!)?

      Price at fault here … sounds to me like he’s being vague not only in the answer but in his request from Phillips. At the end of the day, Phillips did exactly what Price wanted him to do.

      • I think it’s an excellent answer from Price. He’s basically protecting Phillips while making clear there wasn’t a bunt put on. And, yes, Phillips does need to be reminded that a productive out is more valuable than swinging wildly and striking out or pulling the ball. Look at the pitch he yanked into a DP if you need an example of him doing exactly the wrong thing as a hitter in a particular situation. (And I like BP a lot as a player.)

    • Maybe he (Price) is covering for BP. I did wince, as I have learned I should from you guys, when the bunt went down, but fairness should dictate that we recognize that BP has been hitting better than many on the team, and should also dictate that Joey catch some grief for his poor at bat with the runner on third. Personally, I think that the game is too hard to be scripted–Joey’s an extremely competent hitter and is, still, like all extremely competent hitters, going to fail more often than he succeeds.

  6. Al: I really really hoped that there would be a noticeable difference with this team under Price. So far, I just don’t see it.

    Batting Votto and Bruce, two lefties back-to-back. Dusty almost always went right-left-right-left. Parra pitching two innings for the Save on Sunday vs. Mets. Dusty never would have done that.

    Still April so won’t get too bent out of shape but Pena stealing in the 7th? with tying run at the plate. Ummm….no. You don’t do that. We’ll be okay fellas. Keep the faith. Troops slowly returning.

    • you’re right about votto and bruce, and parra. those are the only two differences i see, and both have been good. more differences please!

      • And you know the other thing about Price and the way he’s using the closer – I think that all changes as soon as Broxton is back. My guess is that Price declares that Broxton is “the closer” until Chapman gets back and uses Broxton similarly to the way most managers use their closers. Maybe an allowance here and there to prevent Broxton from pitching too many days in a row.

        • He’s already stated that, though I don’t know how quickly he’ll insert him in that role. I doubt it’ll be tonight, but I’d guess within 3-4 games.

      • With a 1 run lead, Price used his best available reliever (Lecure) in the 8th inning against the middle of the Mets order instead of holding him until the 9th. Dusty would never had done that, even if he managed a 100 years.

        • he used LeCure, yes. But if Chapman was on the team, he still would have used LeCure…holding Chapman for the 9th/save.

    • Hamilton has no power, and Pena has no speed. So there was virtually no chance BH could have driven in Pena from first. Hamilton had two strikes on him already, so the caught stealing just gave him a chance to lead off the next inning. A perfectly defensible steal, and it almost worked–so much so that if I didn’t hate replay I’d probably argue Price should have challenged the out call. (Not pinch running for Pena late in the last game of the Mets series is far more puzzling.)

  7. Blaming Baker in the Wrap-Up is a cheap shot…when does the Dusty scapegoating end? Did Dusty make Votto, Bruce, Frazier and Cozart (the core of the Reds team btw) manufacture outs by swinging at a first pitch in the 6th inning and handing over the first out of the 7th?

    Most one-dimensional offense in baseball: Cincinnati Reds

    • Wasn’t really blaming Baker in the wrap up. In fact, I felt like I was pretty clearly blaming the new manager. Whether BP bunts in the first inning and those other hitters swing too early in the count out of habits created the past few years, I guess that’s a matter of opinion.

        • I agree with you, but I feel I have to point out that we can still blame Baker for problems in our bullpen, which have already cost us a couple of wins. Does anyone remember exactly how Broxton came to be injured to the point of requiring surgery? One of the worst bits of managing in Dusty’s entire career, that’s how.

  8. Steve Mancuso made a good point about Price being new at the job of managing. He’s going through OJT (On The Job Training) and is going to make mistakes, just like everyone does when they’re new at a job. The question is will he learn from his mistakes. We shall see in due time.

  9. The one thing that really bothers me about this team is the continuing trend of terrible at bats. First pitch swinging it seems like every batter except Votto and Bruce. Just bad. They’re not helping themselves out at all. This is a poor offensive team, if they made the pitchers work just a bit they may give themselves a better chance I.e. a pitcher missing a spot or a wild pitch to move a runner. I guess this has been an issue for a while now but it’s just irritating.

    • I’ve noticed Joey doing an uncharacteristic amount of first pitch swinging, too. And I haven’t seen Jay continue the good (in my view) trend from last year of hitting to the opposite field from time to time.

  10. I don’t even understand why Price is in the conversation right now. It’s amusing to nitpick his handling of the bullpen or calling steals, but this same cast of characters (including a few BETTER players) has folded against above-average pitching for the last three years. Why is it Price’s fault that the results haven’t changed? Did we expect the same bunch to suddenly get more selective or patient at the plate after Dusty left? Did we expect a major downgrade at leadoff to produce better results?

    I honestly don’t understand the confusion right now. Great pitching with horrible run support has been the Reds’ MO in big games (i.e. mostly versus Cardinals) for years. When you make zero improvements in your lineup and only change the manager, why do you expect anything different?

    • Absolutely a new manager can make a difference. For example, if the players are making base running blunders, a new manager can address that issue, if the players are undisciplined as hitters, a new manager can address that issue, not to mention the leadership a new manager can bring to a team. The question is will Price do those things, or will he leave the players to their own devices to make any necessary adjustments (because those guys are major leaguer’s) like Dusty seemingly did. I know a manager that would address those issues if he was the Reds manager, Buck Showalter.

      • Sergeant – couldn’t agree more – Price might be a tad too soft for these players – Showalter is not. Neither is Clint Hurdle. Both are hard core disciplinarians. And Price picking up the pieces after BP’s invariable screws-ups game after game is going to get real tiring in a hurry. This team needs a shake-up – and hurry, please.

      • I expect that we would disagree about just how much difference a manager can make, but I’ll acknowledge that setting expectations and drilling to reinforce them could help. However, the manager is almost certainly trying to counter long-term habits, and the results will not be instantaneous. We don’t really have any idea how much of a disciplinarian Price is, and, in any case, there is more than one template for effective leadership.

    • You hit it right on, Paul. In the 9th. inning, before the Reds scored two runs, they had one run on eight hits and the Cards had five runs on nine hits. St.Lou gets runners in from scoring position; the Reds, generally, leave too many on base. It’s no mystery that a productive offense has been the Reds problem for the last couple of years. Until that changes with the acquisition of a Kevin Mitchell type bopper, the results are not going to be good.

      • Reds were 4/12 with RISP. Cardinals were 3/12.

        A lone Molina double in the first skewed the perception.

        Agreed, however, that the Reds leave too many on base. I think it is a byproduct of the Reds having a poor lineup in general, not necessarily because the hitters aren’t “clutch.”

    • Paul pretty much hit it…Price has been bad but he is new. Guys swinging at first pitches want home runs. They think they can fence the same balls that Peña blasted for doubles because they have more talent.

  11. While bunting in the first inning may not have been the best strategy, what concerns me more is Votto and Bruce both had a chance to drive a run in that inning and neither came through for us. If we are going to play small ball in the first inning then we need to get that run in.

    • McCutchen hit .282/.389/.365 last year with runners in scoring position, Votto hit .291/.477/.455 with runners in scoring position. McCutchen won an MVP. Votto is getting flak for walking too much/not driving in runs.

      Even the best players are going to fail around 6.5-7 times out of 10. Votto and Bruce will get their hits, I am not worried about them coming through. Just need to make sure people are getting on base ahead of them.

      • The best players are the best players because they rise to occasions and find ways to get runs in when the opportunities present. I like JoeyV but he is not doing this with the regularity someone being paid what he is paid should be able to do it.

        • Votto had to hit the ball in the air to the outfield, or through the hitter friendly, drawn in infield. His success rate needs to be above 50% in those situations.

        • Yes, the best players rise to the occasion, but they don’t (can’t) do it all of the time, or even close to all of the time. If the Reds had won that game, there would be far less angst about situational failures. And players get paid for what they have done (and the expectation that the past is prologue)–not because big money makes them play better, because it doesn’t.

  12. We’re really going to worry about Billy Hamiltons ego when the entire season is dangling off a cliff? Hamilton is 23 years old and hasn’t done a single thing in AAA ball. He should be thanking his lucky stars every day he gets to stay in a major league uniform. If he needs to go back to DAYTON to figure out how to hit it should be “Thank you sir, may I have another.” In my mind, Billy Hamilton is still an unknown quantity who could very easily never become an actual major league player. I hope he does become one, but he has not done one single thing yet to prove he will be an everyday player.

    • The guys who you’d replace Billy Mays Hayes with are only slightly more proven. Heisey projects to something like .725 OPS, and he’s never had more than 350 ABs…

      • VAREDSFAN – Spoken like a knowledgeable fan – leave Billy Ham alone – he’s going to come through – count on it.

  13. Can we get a TOS* up in here? Maybe it’s been around, I haven’t checked every line.

    *This Offense Stinks… for newer posters to these parts

  14. Jason Linden, if you’re reading this… Anna Karenina’s train is starting to attract some takers. ;)

  15. If the manager personally told the player to move the runner over, it is difficult to blame the player for doing so by bunting. I’ll go so far as to say it is disingenuous to try and maintain that a player who was told to move a runner over and did so by bunting somehow freelanced or violated the manager’s instructions.

    • Good point, Jim. But in Price’s own words, he told BP to try to “hit it through the right side”, which is not an automatic out. A problem with BP batting 2nd is that he likes to bunt, ON HIS OWN, in the runner on 2nd, no out situation. He has a long history of doing that, coming back to the dugout with a big smile after showing off his bunting skills.

      One time he ticked Dusty off, bunting in a situation where even Dusty didn’t want him bunting.

      • And how often do things get confused in the “fog of war”? By Price’s account it sounds almost like a mixed message. Keep it simple,

        • Fine, Jim, but in any case BP does that “bunting on his own” thing a lot once you put him in the number 2 spot. Once he sees he’s number 2 in the lineup card, he thinks his main job is to “advance the runner” even if it means “giving himself up”.

          I’ve also seen him try too hard to go the other way – the pitcher will throw him inside, and instead of adjusting he’ll pop out trying to go to RF.

          I wish he’d view his main job as getting on base without making an out, that’s keeping it simple.

        • Perhaps he thought getting a runner home from 3rd with less than 2 outs is something that shouldn’t be a problem from a guy making 200 million

    • “’ll go so far as to say it is disingenuous to try and maintain that a player who was told to move a runner over and did so by bunting somehow freelanced or violated the manager’s instructions.”

      Is the quote above by the same guy who frequently ” “reads between the lines” and creates overly complicated explanations for random situations. Most recently, I recall you “reading between the lines” that the reason Price had Cozart batting #2 in a spring training game was to send a message to the front office that they had to get him a #2 hitter….

  16. Having a manager who is getting OJT not just because he is a MLB rookie but because he has never managed anywhere at any level before in professional baseball plus burdening that manager with a rookie lead off hitter also getting OJT does not jive with being an organization that seriously expects to contend for a run deep into the playoffs.

    • Sometimes, although I see your point of view, I still find myself disagreeing with some of your statements. In this case however, I fully agree. The issue isn’t so much with Price as it is with the front-office doing basically nothing to improve the offense or the bench. I personally thought that Hamilton would be better served with more time at AAA under his belt. Instead he’s been thrown into the fire and the Reds have a rookie manager and a CF who may not be ready to play at the MLB level. Obviously WJ, who’s much smarter than me about baseball disagreed, but what if he’s wrong and Hamilton isn’t ready? What was the backup plan? Schumaker? Really? A team going for a division championship doesn’t put itself in this position.

      • Why would we assume that WJ didn’t try to acquire players who would help? As others have pointed out, articulately and ad nauseum, WJ (and no other gm) can manufacture a trade without a willing partner. He might have been able to get a good, proven mlb centerfielder, but at what cost? He has to think of this year, but also of the next and the next, and so on.

  17. It’s April. It’s early. However, I have a fundamental problem with Brian Price if he uses a 100 RBI man to bunt the fastest man in baseball to 3rd base in the first inning with no one out. Let Phillips swing away – if he gets a hit, its 1-0 Reds with the heart of the order up and a potential to knock Wacha around/out early.

    Instead, Price plays little ball and gives away the first out of the game. Just like Dusty would. That’s an unacceptable strategy that should have been discarded last year.

    I am worried.

    • Price admitted that he was very much going for 1 run in that 1st inning, because the Reds had not scored at all against Wacha. That is not how you want to play in the first inning. Ask Earl Weaver. It’s as if Price assumed the Reds only chance to win was by 1-0.

      And was Hamilton running on contact with the infield in ? I didn’t see the play and can’t find it on video. If so, just too much desperation in the 1st inning.

      • Yes, Pinson, I believe BH was running on contact–the only way they could have gotten him out. It IS too much desperation for the 1st inning, but considering how the Reds have been hitting in this young season, desperation is understandable.

  18. Is Tony Perez still on the Marlins payroll? If not, the Reds should bring him in to explain to Votto, “see the ball; hit the ball”. JV needs to hear from somebody who has been there that sometimes a person can over think and when one has the physical tools he has to put bat on ball, he needs to just let it flow.

    End of my rants for the night.

  19. Steve: “In game three, Price brought Bell in with the Reds behind 4-3. The Reds lost 7-6. Today, Price brought Bell in with the Reds down 3-1, and they lost 5-3. In both cases, the runs Bell gave up provided the margin of victory for St. Louis.”

    Yes and in Game 3 Bell gave up the 3 runs without recording a single out. I don’t see the necessity to use the worst reliever on the team in either game. Hypothetically, if the Reds went with an 11 man staff to start the season and Bell isn’t even on the roster, in those situations Price brings in Partch instead of Bell and the Reds might have won both games.

    Add Bell to the list of pitchers who had success in spring training and were a disaster once the regular season was gone. Of course he’s headed back to Louisville now.

    • I don’t believe Bell has any options available, so once Broxton is activated, the Reds will (should) DFA Bell. Here’s hoping that the Reds leave that 40-man roster spot open and release Bell once he clears waivers rather than reassigning him to Louisville. I have a lot more confidence in Jumbo Diaz and Lee Hyde than I do in Trevor Bell, even before his implosion during the two ill-fated appearances this season.

  20. The Reds are just putrid with runners on base, no plate discipline or pitch recognition either. No smart baseball, no situational hitting, doing the little things, etc. I bet Jocketty kicks himself every time Wacha shuts down the Reds.

  21. Votto had to hit the ball in the air to the outfield, or through the hitter friendly, drawn in infield. His success rate needs to be above 50% in those situations.

  22. I’m somewhere in the middle on the Joey debate. I don’t think he should even think about changing his approach – Leading the majors in OBP season after season proves that what he does is effective at getting on base and getting on base leads to runs…Eventually. And I think that his contract is properly valued for the runs he creates…Mathematically. That’s all well and good, if we had infinite payroll. It’s a smart contract in terms of dollars per run created, but we’re not the Dodgers. All you have to do is look at the Cardinals and Pujols. You can argue that the contract Pujols got from the Angels was a worse one than Joey’s, but the fact is the Cards didn’t even bother to get into the bidding war. They simply said “We know you are an elite player, one of the greatest to ever wear our uniform, one of the greatest of all time, but we’re just going to keep building from within and good luck,” And all it’s done for them since is 3 WS appearances.

    I love Joey Votto. I love seeing him in a Reds uniform every day. I think he is one of the best at what he does in the entire world. But given our resources, I do sometimes wonder if we would be better served by spreading that money around to a few offensive weapons to balance out our VERY top heavy lineup. If we’re out of it by the break and a team like the Phillies or god forbid even the Cubs came knocking, I would be tempted to let Votto go for a king’s ransom in prospects.

    • I don’t think you get a king’s ransom in prospects though. Part of what you’ll be doing is trading Joey’s salary. I think it’s more likely you make the kind of deal that the Tigers did with the Rangers in the Prince Fielder deal… I love Votto too but I see where you’re coming from. I’ve always felt it best to get 3 good players to fill 3 holes rather than have 1 superstar player. It is best the other way around for sports like Basketball or Hockey where 1 player can make more of a difference, but baseball is all about building the roster. The Cards are very, very good at building a roster.

      • Well again, I think Joey’s contract is actually very reasonable given his skillset. Compare it to Cabrera’s and it looks like a steal. And those prices are only going to keep skyrocketing as the new TV money starts rolling in. Votto is a MUCH better hitter than Robinson Cano and his contract is only $15 million more in total. A big market team could easily afford to take on that contract without batting an eyelash if they’re looking for a hitter with Joey’s ability. So I don’t think the contract would prohibit getting a big return.

    • I’m a huge Joey fan but I wouldn’t have signed him to his contract. However, Joey’s contract also doesn’t appear responsible for the Reds’ issues. Joey’s contract hasn’t gotten expensive yet. He is still only making $12 milion in 2014 and $14m in 2015.

      The free agent market is so expensive that the Reds wouldn’t have been able to actually replace him with 2-3 good players. Maybe the Reds would have been able to replace him with a LF or CF, but we’re not talking huge upgrades yet.

      Assuming Alonso would have replaced Joey, and the Reds upgraded LF or CF at the expense of using the Votto savings, some of the better scenarios are the Reds participating in the Choo or Ellsbury free agent pools, which are also obscenely expensive (I’d also argue that Votto is safer since he plays 1B and his game doesn’t depend partially on speed).

      The real culprit, imo, is the unnecessary BP, Ludwick, Marshall, and Broxton deals. The Reds are getting very little ROI here.

    • Very well thought out post and gives us all a lot to think about. I’m thinking the Yankees as a potential suitor if the unthinkable was to actually happen.

  23. If I’m Bradon Phillips and my manager is playing for one run in the first inning and I’m told to move the runner over, I will absolutely bunt every time. I get credit for a sacrifice, which doesn’t hurt my batting average. Fulfill team goal, don’t hurt individual stats. Win-win.

    More on ‘The Bad’. Votto’s fielding. His error came from thinking a double play was possible without considering the personnel before the pitch was thrown. Should’ve played for one out…….again. Secondly, he should’ve let the bunt attempt roll foul, which it clearly was about to. He gave the Cardinals a 2nd and 3rd situation without them having to earn it. Not the best way to make friends with your pitcher. It’s so weird—-it’s like he doesn’t think ahead in the field, but at the plate he outthinks himself.

    If Bell appears in another major league game for the Reds, it will be a failure of leadership. His stuff just doesn’t play.

  24. Not sure I’ve seen this mentioned yet, but I’ve really had it with the “contact” play. We seem to get caught in run downs between third and home on an all too regular basis – at least twice already this year. It’s ridculous to me that a major league player cannot wait to see if the ball makes it through a drawn in infield before breaking for home. We teach this to our little league players and they get it.

    Billy’s leadoff double and then being successfully moved over (yes, I do hate the bunt) got a little momentum going which was just killed because he gets gunned down at home. To me, it’s a TOOTBLAN plain and simple.

    • Of all the reasons to be upset about yesterday’s game, that play is not one of them.

      There’s no upside to sitting at third on that play in the first inning. You take the risk and go on contact because sometimes, the fielder bobbles it or makes a bad throw. And if the fielder makes the play, you trust Hamilton to get caught in a run-down to allow Votto to get in scoring position.

      So for the chance of scoring a run, you sacrifice Hamilton at 3rd for Votto at second. Essentially … you’re saying “I have a better chance of scoring this run on the contact play, than I do from a Jay Bruce AB that only allows Votto to advance one base instead of two”

      Bruce K’ed … and he was going to K regardless of who was on base because Wacha absolutely owns him. The right move was to send Hamilton on contact, and it’s the right move everytime in that situation.

      • If you’re relying on the fielder making an error (bobble or bad throw) in order to score, then why not just stay put and then have men on first and third with one out? After all, the fielder could make an error trying to get the out at first as well.

        Then, if your reliance on an error doesn’t work, you’ve got a man at third with multiple extra ways to score versus a slower runner at second.

        Your logic is like sacrifce bunting in order to lose a base on the off chance of scoring a run if there is an error by the fielder.

        • We’re not talking about an error where the fielder lets the ball between his legs, or throws over the bag … we’re talking about just a bobble, or a throw that does not allow Molina correct position at home.

          Hamilton is already 40 feet down the line by the time the ball reaches Wong; Votto is only five feet down the line. Wong could have done four backflips with the ball and still had time to throw Votto out at first base …

          So to your point, there is no situation where Votto can reach 1st base, where Hamilton cannot reach home. 1st and 3rd is NOT a possibility if Hamilton stays at 3rd. Flat out impossible scenario. The choices in that situation are Hamilton on 3rd and 2 outs, 1-0 Reds w/ Votto on first, or what happened. It’s the right play to make, I really don’t understand how it’s arguable as the math says it’s correct, the situation in the 1st inning says it’s correct and it’s a move Price makes every day, regardless of outcome.

          Now, the bunt … that’s a different story. Sacrificing an out so early when Hamilton just showed how fast he is makes you wonder.

        • Slow ground ball; sacrifice fly; wild pitch; passed ball; balk; fielding error; infield single are the ways in which a runner from 3rd scores, and Hamilton does not from second.

          You have to weigh that vs. the potential for Phillips to have an unproductive out. Which is more likely? Votto to produce one of the above, or Phillips to leave a runner on second?

          IDK.

        • If the first baseman bobbles the ball on the throw then you’ve got men at 1st and 3rd with one out, so there are indeed situations that this could happen.

          I guess I’d simply rather have Hamilton at third with two outs than Votto at second with two outs.

          Rather than just saying that the math makes it true, are there any actual numbers that say that scoring on a cleanly fielded ball with the infield in is more likely than scoring from third with two outs with your clean up hitter at the plate?

      • The argument you make for going on contact really emphasizes the inept decision to sac bunt and give away an out in order to move Hamilton from 2B to 3B. I don’t care if Phillips made the decision or Bryan made the decision, it was a BAD decision. The fastest runner in the game on 2B with no outs and the three best hitters in the Reds lineup due to hit and the Reds give away an out? That’s a completely bogus decision.

      • Except that the runner on third is the fastest in baseball. His “double” was a single that he turned into an easy double with that speed. I don’t know whether he could have scored on Joey’s roller if he hadn’t broken on contact, but I wouldn’t bet against him.

    • With one out, the contact play isn’t a TOOTBLAN. It makes sense to put the play on with one out, especially if there is a runner at 1B who can get himself into scoring position or even to 3B if the rundown isn’t executed perfectly. The contact play on opening day with BP at 3B and no outs however is a TOOTBLAN. Sitting at 3B with one out is still a very good thing.

  25. So when does Cozart be made accountable for his terrible offense? He may be a great defensive shortstop, but he has to be the worst offensive everyday player in baseball. When do we realistically start looking at other options for SS? Cozart is not the answer.

    • The saddest part about Cozart is that he has no idea that he stinks. The Emperor with no clothes often comes to mind.

      • Where are you getting that? That’s kind of a nasty opinion of a guy – Why wouldn’t you assume he’s furious with himself? Just because he’s not breaking bats in the dugout?

        • The dude has to have the one of the worst approaches at the plate. Swings at first pitches out of the zone way too often. Never seems to make the pitcher work. Maybe he is furious with himself, as he should be – but at this point of his career is still the poster child for the true lack of discipline on the Reds.

        • Not to mention the guy has absolutely no fire. I understand not all players are that way, but when you see BP ground out in a critical situation with RISP, like yesterday, you see his frustration. At least you can appreciate that. Cozart seems like he is timidly looking over his shoulder, hoping no one yells at him for sucking.

      • It’s pretty likely that Cozart is acutely aware he isn’t producing. But wanting to produce and having the skill set to do so are two different things. It’s a myth narrative to just “want it bad enough.” Fact is, he is better than what he’s been doing. But he’s not great. At this age, not a lot of that is going to markedly change. Should he remove himself from the lineup? Should he give up the game? Why attribute the fault to Cozart when the question is why does the organization keep him if he’s truly so inept. What makes you think he’s so narcissistic as to suggest that he believes he is doing well at the plate? Are there quotes? Like Eric said, are you looking for anger to “prove” he cares?

        I’d say it’s a mark of a good person that he brings the rest of his game despite knowing he is struggling. What’s the benefit of throwing himself a pity party?

      • At Lancaster one year, I went 0 for my first 31 ABs… I ended the season hitting in the high .200s… I was never a particularly good hitter but an early season slump can make a guy appear worse than he really is.

  26. get rid of vitto-guy just isn’t getting the job done-at bat or in the field. waste of a lot of money.

  27. One of the problems with the whole “accountability” mantra is that it assumes there are viable competitors for playing time. The Reds’ roster is paper-thin at most positions, with the middle infield being Exhibit A.

    I haven’t seen this organization, which operates like a family business, have the stomach to make hard personnel decisions when it comes to players. I’m not saying that Cozart should be ditched in favor of another SS (we see every year how difficult it is to find competent SS in the free agent market).

    Only that it’s one thing to spout the word “accountability” in press conferences and its another thing to actually practice it. Worlds apart.

      • Ok…Then define discipline. What Steve is saying is that there isn’t much a manager can do to “discipline” a player who is underperforming except to take away playing time. And if there’s no viable option to replace the guy, doing that only hurts the team more.

  28. “One of the problems with the whole “accountability” mantra is that it assumes there are viable competitors for playing time.”

    Exactly. What do you do, get upset with Cozart or Phillips and start Santiago?

    Also, I’m just fine with letting Joey be Joey. We really have some serious offensive holes on this club. I cannot stress over one of the best hitters in the game. He’ll perform and have close to, if not, an MVP type of season if healthy.

    Price has been burned twice when bringing Bell into a tight game. Once might be a fluke. Twice, nah. Hopefully that lesson is learned. Of course, if we have good starting pitching and little offensive support, that should be the norm and we really run the risk of overworking the horses in the back end. All the more reason to play matchup and close by committee; which doesn’t look like it will happen.

    Stop the bunting in the first inning! Makes really zero sense to give up outs when we have difficulty scoring runs. I would love some crooked numbers early to allow our pitchers to relax and just pitch. It has to be exhausting to think you have no margin for error every time out.

    End of rant.

  29. This is probably going to be the last time I post on here for a while. Ever since the new site went up (good job, by the way. It looks really nice), there been less discussions and more insults. I don’t completely agree with what the last guy who left said (heck, I disagreed on his view of sabermetrics, the reason he wound up leaving), but I do agree with what he said about the community here. It’s gone from a place to have an intelligent discussion about the Reds to a place where people are insulting an individual who is doing poorly. I’m leaving until the trolls and the others on this site stop insulting people and are more open to discussion. Hopefully I can come back at some point.

    Most of the people here are fine. It’s the vocal minority that’s turned me away.

  30. While the Old Cossack was wallowing in Reds’ fan self-pity, I pulled up the Reds hitting stats for this early season and found the following hitting lines staring at me:

    .364/.417/.500 for Ryan Ludwick
    .360/.448/.600 for Todd Frazier

    Then I reflected back and tried to recall the last time those two players put up similar offensive performances and I found myself back in July 2012 when Joey Votto went under the knife, twice.

    .316/.385/.578 Ryan Ludwick from 07/16/2012 through end of season
    .268/.318/.444 Todd Frazier from 07/16/2012 through end of season
    .251/.330/.509 Jay Bruce from 07/16/2012 through end of season

    For the 1st time since then, Joey Votto is once again completely healthy along with those 3 hitters. During that 2-3 month span, Stubbs (.215/.273/.305), Cozart (.249/.283/.403) & Phillips (.273/.310/.424) produced mediocre results at best. Votto and Bruce are going to hit and hit with power. Ludwick and Frazier look like they are ready to provide the additional offensive punch as RH hitters. Even without significant production from Hamilton, Phillips and Cozart, this team can compete with the best.

    • Let’s face it, this club is built on pitching and in particular starting pitching. I’m with the club on this one, great pitching keeps you in games even if the offense is lacking. This team will be lucky to finish in the middle of the pack in runs scored but they ought to be near, if not, the top in runs allowed.

      A rotation of Cueto, Latos, Bailey, Cingrani & Leake ought to be enough to allow this team to compete through the season. “If” the bullpen doesn’t totally blow-up.

    • Yes Cossack, Ludwick has really impressed me. He’s putting his bat where his mouth is here in the early part of the season. There were a few people that thought Heisey would have had that ball Molina hit yesterday for the double but there’s no way. He would have been playing in about the same spot as Ludwick and I’m not even sure Trout would have had that ball, let alone Heisey.

      • My point is that Ludwick isn’t hurting this team with his play. He’s been very solid. I hope he keeps it up and proves my pre-season projections about him to be false.

  31. another bad news – tonight’s Reds@Cardinals game gonna be aired national tv FS1….I hate to see Reds screwed and humiliated again nationwide… bad bad bad

  32. Is there no tv for tonight’s game ? Don’t see it anywhere on mlb extra innings – unbelievable !!

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