Titanic Struggle Recap

Losing the Arms Race

Final R H E
Tampa Bay Rays  1  5  0
Cincinnati Reds  0  4  0
W: A. Cobb (1-1)   L:  A. Simon (1-1)   S:  G. Balfour (4)
Box Score   |   Play-by-Play    |    Stats    |    Depth Chart    |    FanGraphs Win Probability

The Good

The Reds continue to pitch very, very well, despite all the injuries. Alfredo Simon has shown himself to be a terrific #5 starter these first two weeks, giving the Reds innings, giving the Reds a chance. I wouldn’t want to get too carried away. After all, the Rays and the Mets are not offensive juggernauts. Still …

Manny Parra continues to impress. Somebody in the organization knows pitching. I don’t know whether it’s Walt Jocketty, Chris Buckley, or somebody else—but we’re noticing here at Redleg Nation. It would not surprise me if David Holmberg turns out to have a future with the Reds. Somebody in this organization knows arms when they see them.

The Bad

You’re going to hear a lot about not merely how whipping boy Joey Votto is hitting with RISP, but the team as a whole. Don’t bite. When a team is hitting a collective .225, you’re not going to see great production with runners on base. And if you think this team needs to be more aggressive at the plate, consider their team .292 OBP after 10 games. The Reds starting 8 are getting on base with the alacrity of Zack Cozart.

Unfortunately, you can’t bat an entire team 8th.

The Ugly

Cincinnati ran themselves out of the 4th inning quicker than you can say Billy Hamilton, when after getting a win-blown gift from the baseball gods, the new third base coach, Steve Smith, took it away with an ill advised decision to send Votto home, where he was thrown out by about the length of the Titanic. Somewhere, Mark Berry winced.

Not so random thoughts …

In two games thus far, the Tampa Bay Rays have scored three runs, but that’s been enough to win both games. They do precisely what the Reds do—excel at run prevention—they have done it just a smidge better than Cincinnati.

Which makes it all the more frustrating.

The Rays weren’t going to let Joey Votto beat them in the 9th, were they? I have to laugh at all the angst about whether Votto is batting 2nd or 3rd in the lineup. Wherever he hits, the people around him have to produce.

‘Nuff said.

67 thoughts on “Losing the Arms Race

  1. Paying BP, Bruce and Votto enormous salaries to hit the ball and when they don’t, the Reds are going to sink like the Titanic. So as it currently stands, it really doesn’t matter where they hit, because they simply aren’t producing. And when they finally do, the 3B coached is so shocked he sends JV on a suicide mission.

    As a side note, the Reds could be 6 games out of 1st by the end of the evening if and when Milwaukee extends their current winning streak. This season, one that started less than 2 weeks ago, could actually be over in a flash.

    So at this point, it doesn’t look like it was old Dusty after-all. It’s actually the Red’s organization complete misjudge of baseball talent.

    • BP is batting .295.. for a guy who’s a career .272 hitter, how is that not hitting? Problem right now is that of people with at least 30 AB, Votto has the second highest AVG at .263. Nobody is really hitting besides BP, the catchers, and bench player Heisey. I guess Frazier is hitting alright compared to his career average.

    • Hard to argue that by any present day standard that they are paying Bruce an enormous salary. He’s a value.

  2. I would say 2 of the losses are due to injuries in the bullpen: Hoover’s blown save in a situation that would have been Chapman and Bell’s mini-meltdown in a game he ordinarily wouldn’t be appearing in. The others are all pretty much on the offense (okay – maybe give Bailey one). Looking at these offensive individually, one would think there’s talent there. I really thought a new manager would bring a different, smarter plate approach and better results. Maybe not – maybe they’re simply not as good as we thought they were.

    • Why was the Red’s best AB today by a SP who normally doesn’t sniff the batter’s box? Something is drastically wrong with this offense since there are way too many easy outs made by Red’s hitters. The Reds have a new hitting coach – is he the Red seen sleeping and snoring on the bench during today’s game? As it is, the Red’s hitters have no plan of attack and make absolutely no adjustments during games. They just continue to hack away at pitches in the dirt.

  3. I see the Reds are having a team meeting. If I’m Bryan Price, I tell the team that all positions are open and no one’s job is safe. Open competition. Those who excel get the playing time. Those who do not sit the bench.

    I would also have them out after the game taking additional batting practice.

    Oh, and I would fire the batting coach immediately.

    • Will Dusty be an invited speaker to this? Perhaps he can offer some encouraging words.

      I seriously hope that Price knocks some skulls in there.

      • Mr. Wall Flower himself? Is Price going to wait to be first heard from after the Reds stand 5-20 and are 15 games out? As everyone already knows, its already getting late and the Reds haven’t even played the first 2 weeks of their season.

        • Every team in this division will have to play the same teams the Reds have. Before everyone decides the season is over, let this play out. 1975 Reds were not hitting in the beginning of that season. The Reds have not been good at the beginning the last few seasons, they will get going.

    • Come on that makes no sense. Is there anybody on the bench that should be starting? You can argue Bernadina in CF and that’s it. The best players are playing. Will things be better if Ramon Santiago is playing? If the team continues to pitch like this they will win 90-92 games and be in the hunt.

  4. What’s our thoughts on the line up change? I like the change. It didn’t work today, but I think it will work better down the line.

    • They faced a good pitcher again today, but right now it would look better with Heisey leading off and BHam as a late inning pinch runner off the bench.

    • Don’t put the guy who grounds into the most DPs behind the guy with the highest OBP. Other than that, I like it

    • Votto does not like it when guys steal when he is at bat. If Hamilton steals, what will that do to Votto? If Hamilton does not steal bases, how will that help the offense?

  5. The batting coach is the same guy the Pirates had a few years ago when they couldn’t score any runs. Nice hire Walt.

    • Hey JCRED, Walt didn’t hear you – as he’s passed out in his car on the side of a road in some unknown, obscure location. As for a hitting coach for the Reds, what the heck ever happened to Eric Davis? The impact of respect and professionalism would have been felt all through-out the Red’s line-up. As it is, the Reds went out and got a no-name 3B and hitting coach. Who would have thunk it?

    • Might have been because of the Pirates’ hitters, though, might it not? I think that the Reds should fire Dusty and what’s his name, Dusty’s hitting coach. Oh, wait…

  6. Hey Rich, just in case you missed it, BP did produce in the 4th. But it just so happens that the 3B coach was so shocked by the turn of events that he sent JV home on a stellar CF that had the ball well before JV even turned 3B. One of these days the Reds organization will realize that this isn’t little league baseball – and that this entire organization needs to step up and be held accountable (heads up ball is needed by each and everyone associated with this team – including the 3B coach). Rust from the Dusty era may still with this team and the laissez-faire approach to baseball is not going to get it done. As it is, haven’t heard the term ‘gritty’ (as in bear down and concentrate) used with this team in a long, long time.

  7. This team played bad in Spring Training and everyone said the spring doesn’t mean anything.
    Well, how you practice is how you play.
    There aren’t the worst team in baseball, but they are pretty close.

  8. I’m still not in full-blown panic mode just yet, but the Reds do need to start winning a few games here and there.

    It’s early, yes, but a hole is still a hole that needs to be climbed out of, and with each loss that hole is getting deeper.

    • From the minute Dusty was fired I told everyone that Price would be a bad manager. I was attacked by many. I admit it’s only 11 games but the man appears over his head, and looking like a bad hire

      • That opinion is pretty much as ill informed now as it was then. You better get your “I told you so” in now while you can.

  9. The Reds are pressing at the plate right now and are playing too tight. They need to loosen up and let the game come to them. When we get guys on base, we are pressing to get them in and chasing bad pitches(except Votto). When we stop pressing we’ll be alright. Hopefully that is sooner rather than later.

    • Sorry – don’t buy the pressing angle. No one was pressing/swinging at bad pitches when the bases were walked loaded or when the last strike was thrown last night. Most of them have demonstrated they simply can’t consistently hit, unfortunately.

    • I’m sorry – the Reds are pressing at the plate? Did you personally talk to JV, Jay Bruce or Brandon Phillips? The season just started and they are already pressing? If so, they may need a shrink who could help them out of their current funk. However, I simply don’t buy it, as its essentially their constant style of play (complete lack of discipline at the dish as well as a true inability to work a pitcher) since it goes back to the end of last season as well – or did you happen to miss their play the last 2 weeks of this past season as well as their playoff game?.

      • Did you personally talk to the new hitting coach or third base coach? His opinion about the likely mindset or motives of folks on the team are just as valid as yours. Difference between the two being his mindset is a lot more positive. The team lost, no need to vent at posters here for it. Keep this place friendly please guys.

  10. Absolutely pathetic display of offense. This team just cannot hit and they don’t play smart baseball. What a wasted performance by Simon, he pitched excellent. We have no RH power bat, no discipline, no plate coverage, no big hits, no situational hitting, etc. We have holes at SS, LF and CF. 3B and C are also questionable. 3-8 record and no end in sight. Also, us fans are starting to notice it wasn’t the coaching, its the PLAYERS. Same team, different year

  11. Also, its the Front Office that has FAILED to improve this team’s offense year after year. I give Walt credit on the Choo deal, but right now our hands our tied. We have no ML ready position prospects, no help coming and we have no available trade chips to dangle out there. 2014 might be one of those years.

  12. Losing games by 1 stinking run. That’s it, 1. A key hit here, a opponents defensive blunder there, stop wasting the precious few run scoring opportunities that we do get, etc. ONE FRIGGING RUN!!! Are we really going to finish 3-150 in one run games? Really? Heck no, we are not. Use the same line-up tomorrow, the guys are pressing – to a man, just stop it.

    This team is not the ’27 Yanks but they are not the ’62 Mets either. They could very well have the best pitching staff in MLB. When is the last time a team with the best pitching finished below .500, I’m guessing never. These guys are not going to blow teams away, they are going to have to win a ton of 1-0, 2-1, 3-2, 4-2 games. Just the way it is. Now everyone go get a cool one and try to relax and I hope the guys do too. What would Joe Maddon do?

  13. First series win, coming against the Bucs, would right this ship. They’re going to win a series sometime in 2014, might as well be next week! GO REDS!!

    • I’m liking it – and it might as well be next week that things get turned around (new week starts in 1 hour (MST)). So let’s start out the new week right by winning Sunday – GO REDS!

  14. I think there’s a lot more to be positive about than negative. I much prefer a lot of tight 1 and 2 run ballgames with excellent pitching than the 2000’s where we couldn’t pitch and had an average offense. I can enjoy a game like today, where there’s lots of tension and you never lose that hope that you’ll get that breakout hit or play. Hard to enjoy the ones where you know going into the game they’re going to score 3-5 runs minimum.

    • Love your prospective and I totally agree. The Reds could easily get on a roll here in the next couple of games. Our bats have to heat up eventually and we have Cingrani going tomorrow. Then the Pirates come to town and we have Bailey going against them and he typically owns them. Plus we have Cueto pitching in that series and he is due to get some run support. Then we face the Cubbies and they are always good for what ails ya’. Here’s to a winning streak that starts tomorrow.

    • I agree with you, pitchers duels, close games make great viewing. Or at least what I enjoy watching.

      But 2 points.
      1. The team with the best pitching in a season HAS finished below .500 but it hasn’t happened in a while. The 1992 Mets had arguably the best pitching in baseball. At the time, Sid Fernandez, Gooden, Cone, Schourek and Saberhagen made for a great rotation and Franco was dominant. Their pitching, relatively that year is light-years ahead of the Reds pitching this season. They finished 72-90

      2. The Reds do not and will not have anywhere near the best pitching in baseball this season. Before the season started the bullpen was projected as the 28th best in baseball and 17th best rotation. Just look at all the loaded rotations including Tigers, Boston, Yankees, Nationals, Cardinals, Seattle and the Dodgers and the Reds don’t stack up well. Currently the Rotation has been 6th best in baseball and the bullpen dead last worst.

      If we had the Dodgers, Boston or Nationals pitching we’d have won more of these 1 run games but while our rotation has been good it is not the best which means we need some offense. We haven’t had any offense. Frazier has been the bright spot, Pena has been a shock and Mosoraco has looked good in his couple games other than that…ouch. Actually I left off Phillips, who has been Phillips…he produces right around these #s every year, which aren’t bad.

      • I should add I don’t really agree with the pre-season ranking of the Reds rotation as 17th best. I think of them more around 8th-9th. They lost ground because of the lack of depth. I know that’s a big IF that the rotation stays healthy but I’m willing to think they could stay healthy. That said, Latos doesn’t sound like he’s close to returning.

      • Mets best pitching in 1992? They finished 10th out 12th in the NL in ERA so the point holds.

        As far as projections go; if the Reds finish with the 28th best bullpen and rank #17 in starting pitching, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. The starters rank 10th in MLB right now and that is with Homer sporting a 7.71 ERA, the others = 2.10.

        • That a boy, Charlotte – now let’s get the Reds out of a funk and back winning – starting Sunday.

  15. This team offensively isn’t good enough to win the Central, but the pitching will give them a shot at playing in that silly postseason play in game…
    …Win it and who knows.

    Obviously a terrible start but way to early to panic.

    Did someone actually mention the season close to being over…already…on April 12 th? Incredible.

    • Yes, there are some guys that want to trade all the parts and start over – overreacting just a little.

        • 6 games out after less than 2 weeks – if this pace keeps up for another 2 1/2 weeks everyone will be looking for something else to do when Reds games are on.

        • @ the Hit King – No, not everyone will abandon ship and be looking for something else to do when the Reds are on.
          Hell, if they turn out to be the 1982 Reds I’ll be following/watching…because I’m a Cincinnati Reds Fan…not a Cincinnati Reds Fan When They’re Winning.

  16. Too early to panic. Not even close to the worst team in baseball, but right now probably the most talented bad team in baseball.

  17. This offense is not going to improve that much so I think it is time to panic. Votto prefers to walk rather than hit and there are major holes at cf and ss. When bruce hits things will improve dome but these 11 games will be the norm.

  18. Maybe Brook Jacoby wasn’t so bad after all. Focus on the positives: pitching is stellar. Once some 80+ degree temps kick in, so will the Reds bats.

  19. WJ has some decisions to make. The 1st decision is whether he intends to ride this nag through the 2014 season, hoping that something(s) or someone(s) from the existing roster turns this season around. It won’t be the pitching staff, starters or relievers. They are already carrying the load admirably and the team is floundering.

    If WJ decides to ride out this season, then he has to decide if Hamilton and the Reds are best served by Hamilton remaining on the 25-man roster or sending him to Louisville to finish his uncompleted development. If the Reds keep Hamilton on the 25-man roster, then nothing really changes with the possible exception of some more lineup juggling. If Hamilton is optioned to Louisville, then Bernadina and Heisey are the immediate heirs apparent for the CF job and the lineup would be juggled as deemed necessary.

    If WJ decides that success this season is not possible or probable without some significant offensive upgrade(s), then he needs to bite the bullet and make some pitching available to aquire the offensive upgrade(s). Of course, such a move will almost certainly be dependent on Latos’ health and return to the starting lineup. A big, proven RH bat that the Reds need for the middle of the lineup will not come cheap, but it might be possible.

    Of course, WJ could have avoided a lot of the current roster issues and virtually all of the uncertainty to start the season by ponying up a mere $2.5MM to claim Bonifacio rather than sign Santiago to a major league contract. Assuming $7MM for 1 WAR performance, Bonifacio has already (in just two weeks) earned 0.9 WAR (.435/.480/.500), more than twice the $2.5MM required to claim him rather than sign Santiago and almost twice the production required to justify Bonifacio’s $3.5MM salary for the entire 2014 season. Instead we’ve watched Cozart put up –0.5 WAR (.034/.034/.034) and Hamilton put up –0.2 WAR (.167/.219/.267). Not claiming Bonifacio was a completely bonehead decision by WJ. Of course, Bonifacio never played for the Cardinals and isn’t an aging veteran so he probably didn’t qualify for any consideration. I believe WJ’s contract is up at the end of this season and that’s certainly one of the issues I would expect BC to address with him before even considering a contract extension for WJ.

    • What I find sad about the current situation is that if Walt were to go shopping for a hitter now, the price could be significantly higher than in the offseason. Teams know that the Reds might be getting a little desperate, and try to make them overpay. Unless, I suppose, somebody out there is equally desperate for a pitcher that Walt dangles as trade bait.

  20. “Of course, Bonifacio never played for the Cardinals and isn’t an aging veteran so he probably didn’t qualify for any consideration.”

    ZING!! That would be much funnier if it weren’t true.

  21. Just noticed that Votto got sent home on Phillips’ hit with NOBODY OUT. Seriously, I don’t care how much the third base coach apologizes – that should never happen. That’s gross negligence. Jennings is a good CF, Votto doesn’t run well, got hurt sliding two years ago, and the #4, 5 and 6 hitters are up. Stupid, stupid stupid.

    If Latos misses significant time, I’m not worried, because Simon can pitch.

    Which brings me to a fix for this mess: Trade Bailey for a bat. His contract is enormous, but will look good in a couple of years. Stephenson isn’t far away.

    • If WJ decides that a move for a significant RH bat is needed, I also see Bailey as the most attractive option available. His contract is certainly not unmanageable or unreasonable. He is locked up for his entire productive career. He will fill a front of the rotation slot. A trading partner would certainly have to have the financial resources to support a major, long-term contract, but those teams are out there and some have the RH bat the Reds would be seeking in return.

      It’s all pure speculation now and I hate that such speculation even surfaces this early in the season, but it’s been an ugly early season to this point with no sign of reversing course.

      • Nothing is certain from the outside looking in, but my 1st two calls would be to Ned Colletti and Alex Anthopoulos.

  22. The one silver lining with the lack off offensive production is that I thought it would teach all those geniuses who blamed Jacoby for last year’s problems that the hitting coach doesn’t really mean that much.

    I was wrong.

  23. ONce again, the Reds are reactionary with their injured players. It’s been what, weeks, since Latos first complained of elbow pain and they’re finally getting around to doing an MRI. If it’s in fact a torn flexor mass like Broxton the Reds have wasted a few weeks already toward getting Latos back on the field. Soooooo frustrating.

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