Titanic Struggle Recap

Splitsville

 Series Game 1

Final R H E
Pittsburgh Pirates  (7-6)
 8  14  0
Cincinnati Reds  (4-9)
 7  8  0
W:  B. Morris (2-0)   L:  S. LeCure (0-1)   S:  J. Grilli (4)
Box Score   |   Play-by-Play    |    Stats    |    Depth Chart    |    FanGraphs Win Probability

Series Game 2

Final R H E
Pittsburgh Pirates  (7-7)
5 7 0
Cincinnati Reds  (5-9)
7 15 1
W: M. Leake (2-1)    L: G. Cole (2-1)    S: J. Broxton (1)
Box Score   |   Play-by-Play    |   Stats    |    Depth Chart    |    FanGraphs Win Probability

The Good

Game 1:  Well, you wanted hitting.  You got it last night. Reds get behind. Frazier goes yard. Reds get behind again. Ludwick takes one into the seats. Reds go behind again. Votto goes big fly. Reds, unbelievably, get behind yet again. Mesoraco then tied the record for total bases on a hit with four, held by Babe Ruth and several thousand other people.

Game 2:  Todd Frazier does the one-handed HR thingy again. What did the NY Mets announcers say about him the other night: pound-for-pound maybe the strongest guy in MLB.

Mike Leake did everything—pitched a solid game and slipped the surly bonds of earth in the 6th inning with his first—and I’ll bet not his last—HR of the year. And he doubled.

Joey Votto looks like he is starting to lock in. 4 hits tonight in Game 2 and a walk. This is not good news for NL pitchers.

Devin Mesoraco continues to, um, what’s the word I’m looking for?
RAKE! That’s it. Devin Mesoraco continues to rake. 3 for 4, the last hit essentially putting the game out of reach at the time—or so me thought.

With the exception of one pitch to Neil Walker, Manny Parra looked good again.

The Bad

Game 1:  Homer Bailey has had an auspicious start to his season. Nevertheless, Homer will be okay. Greg Dafler pointed me to a wonderfully detailed explanation of why we shouldn’t worry about Homer Bailey courtesy of this guy.

Game 2:  Jay Bruce has a mere 7 hits in 49 at bats. To make matters worse, he absolutely was robbed of a base hit in the 7th. Baseball, like Fate and BABIP, is a cruel mistress—or so I’ve been told.

The Ugly

Game 1:  Had Reds pitchers been able to prevent 3 instances of back-to-back HRs by the Pirates, the Reds surely go home a winner. Instead, 10 HRs (6 by the Pirates) sets a GABP record for HRs in a game and the Reds can’t put a final run on the board when play resumed the next day.

Not so random thoughts …

The Redlegs have scored 26 runs in the last three games.

The Daily Billy: PH in the 8th and singled in the nightcap. Was thrown out stealing, but looked safe on the replay.

Broxmania, anybody??

45 thoughts on “Splitsville

  1. From the ESPN website:

    Reds vs. Pirates (April 15, 2014)
    The pitching matchup for the second game of the series features Gerrit Cole for the Pirates and Mike Leake for the Reds. You can read the details in the series preview. Cole is an elite prospect and probably the best pitcher on the Pirates’ staff.

    G Cole
    (L, 2-1) 6.0 9 5 5 3 3 2

    5 Earned Runs – 9 hits – 3 walks in only 6 innings – sweet. Tomorrow, Reds can continue heating their bats up just prior to heading into Chicago. Wouldn’t mind seeing Mike Leake start at SS tomorrow.

    • Now that Votto is hitting HRs, the RBIs will pile up and we won’t be hearing about that crap this year.

      • From your mouth to God’s ears. Looking a lot more like the 2010 than the 2013 version that is for sure. Heck and the 2013 Votto was All-Star caliber just not the 2010 Greatest Hitter in the World Guy.

    • Just keep on setting up those straw men and knocking ‘em down, Kurt. It seems to make you happy. I need a little cheering up, so I’ll try it, too: it must kill all you stat-heads to see Joey getting hits–driving the ball, even!–instead of those beloved walks.

      • Over the years of following the Reds I have learned to keep the defib within arms reach, you know, just in case. And I don’t mind sharing it. Heck I’ll even share it with a Navy type person. (of course they’ll probably mistake the paddles for oars)

  2. Broxton tonight brought back memories of Stormy Weathers. The guy was living and dying on that same outside pitch too.

    I like seeing Mesoraco and Super Todd making big hits.

    Votto was very Wade Boggs/Tony Gwynn tonight with those pool shot singles tonight. The guy can work a pitcher and get what he can from them.

    I got to give thumbs up to Bernadina for the hustle beating that throw. That ended up being a pretty big play.

    • Broxton understood that he did not have a put away pitch and battled through with what he had. He got the most out the fastball he had by teasing McCutchen with the slider and various junk away then popping him up on the fastbal toward the inside when it looked like McCutchen had the slider figured out and was ready to go after one,

    • Broxton absolutely reminds me of Stormy Weathers. Before the 9th began, I was thinking that if McCutcheon makes it to the plate, that’s trouble. With 2 outs and Tabata up, after getting ahead 0-1 how does he throw 4 straight balls that aren’t even close. It’s as if he pitched around Tabata so he could face McCutcheon.

      But Weathers did usually get the save – pretty much league average rate. Hopefully Broxton can do the same.

  3. Didn’t see it but if Hamilton looked safe, why didn’t Price challenge ? For stolen base attempts, a safe runner is often called out. You’ve got to challenge those.

    • I saw it and agree he looked as safe as he did out. Technically they can’t actually challenge from the 7th on can they? I thought I read the decision was with the crew chief from the 7th on and managers could only “ask” for reviews. But Price didn’t make any sort of move.

  4. Don’t look now, but Mesoraco could be that cleanup hitter we’ve needed to slot between Votto and Bruce.

    As for game 1. The Reds simply didn’t want to compete from the outset. It was Dusty all over again. McCutcheon tweaks his back—very next pitch a get me over fastball and he doubles. Reds get a man on in the 7th w no outs, we have Hamilton sacrifice him!!! With moves like this, you’re fighting yourself and the other team.

    • Brantley was making the point several times that LeCure was only in the mid 80′s on his fastball and that all spring he had not shown the low 90′s velocity he consistently did last season. Post game, Price tried to cover up some by saying the weather might have been a factor. However, I think Brantley believes LeCure is less than whole at this point.

      • I heard Brantley’s comments and I don’t think he was necessarily implying that LeCure is hurt. LeCure has thrown in the early 90′s this season, but not consistently. The weather definitely may have been a factor.

    • Last year Johnny Bench said Mes would eventually be hitting cleanup, it was just a matter of time. His time might not be this season, but he has looked really good.

      Having said that, a key part of the Game 1 loss today was his grounding out on a 3-0 pitch. Hitters swing too often on 3-0 now. If he draws a walk, the Reds might not have scored that inning of course, but Votto would have made it to the plate in the 9th.

      • Thanks for reminding me. That was the 3rd bullet point on my rant about game 1. It’s ok to swing 3-0, but you have to keyhole it and make sure it’s your perfect pitch. That ball was low and away and Mez just rolled over on it. Bad, just bad.

  5. Whatever book the Reds have on Walker, they should burn it. They should have a team book-burning ceremony.

    • I agree. They might need to reassess their advanced scouting. I remember last year when Juan Francisco, who can barely hold down a job, was torching them… and we were saying how his book was written in Cincy and they can’t even get him out. And then there’s Yadi…. the newest edition of that book says: Plunk him.

    • Big Neil Walker fan. He’s a darn good hitter and unfortunately, he KILLS the Reds. Yeah, they may want to reevaluate how they work to him.

  6. It’s nice to be going for a series win tomorrow ! I like the Cueto-Liriano matchup. I think it will be a very different outcome from last October.

  7. Johnathan Broxton reminds me of one of the “Nasty Boys” in terms of drama when he comes in to relieve. Remember Randy “Camo” Myers. I can’t remember how many warning track fly outs were hit when Myers came in, but he always got the job done.

  8. Glad we got the split….I don’t think I have seen any Reds player or any other players on other teams ground to third as much as Cozart does……and he seems like he hits in way too many double plays, usually to third base as well.

    Zack Cozart : Cozart grounded into double play third to second to first, Mesoraco out at second.

    • Cozart confuses the heck out of me. His default setting is to pop the ball up, but then he goes and nearly grounds into 2 DPs. It’s like he’s programmed to do the opposite of what the team needs in any given situation!

    • Cozart isn’t a good hitter but he isn’t as horrid as we’ve seen so far this year. He has been an out-making machine so far in April and it’s frustrating. That said, there really isn’t anyone else to put out there at the moment.

  9. I like Jay Bruce a lot. I think he is great.

    I also very strongly think that the shift he is now always seeing is a big problem for him, way more than any other Red (or other player I can easily think of).

    I rarely have strong opinions about what a player should or should not be doing on the field, but I really believe he should spend time working on pushing bunts hard down the 3rd base line.

    1) He will get several hits this way. 2) Eventually, teams will have to adjust, making it much easier for him to get hits on balls he puts in play.

    I worry that players don’t do this because 1) they lose “points” for not being a slugger this way or 2) they really have never practiced it, and are afraid of looking foolish.

    Neither is a good excuse; if it is #2, then practice for a month. But start that process now.

    • The reports from the game(s) yesterday indicate that Bruce is doing just that, working daily on hitting and bunting down the 3B line. I would much prefer a little slap hit down the line rather than a bunt down the line. Any hit down the line that clears the infield will result in a double.

      • Exactly! Find some way to just fist that ball over toward third, as a lefty it will spin toward the line anyway, bend into foul territory, and Bruce is on 2nd with a 100 ft double.

  10. Am I the first one to notice that the team has adopted the old Conseco/McGwire Bash Brothers forearm bump? I fully endorse this.

  11. Richard,

    Thanks for the link on my Bailey post! It hasn’t been fun to watch thus far, but all of the indicators are that this is a bump in the road for the Reds’ latest 100-million dollar man!
    -j

  12. Can someone explain what exactly Roger Bernadina is doing on this roster? I’m getting really sick of hearing “He hit really well in spring.” As far as I’m concerned, spring training numbers become meaningless the moment the first pitch is thrown out on Opening Day. Pitchers aren’t trying to get guys out in spring, they’re working on technique on specific pitches regardless of who they’re facing or what the “game” situation is. Bernadina has a career OPS+ of 80. Is he really a better option for a bench spot than Donald Lutz or Xavier Paul?

    • Your assessment that Bernadina is a marginal player is certainly accurate, but there simply isn’t a replacement for him until Schumaker returns from the DL. Paul had no place on the roster once Schmaker was signed and is now playing in Norfolk. Lutz lost a year of development last season with the bonehead move of promoting him and sitting him on the bench. Lutz is still a prospect and is reestablishing himself after the lost season in 2013. He is not an option to promote and sit on the bench again and he is not major league ready.

      The question really become, is Bernadina better than Hamilton, because once Schumaker is healthy, one of those two players will lose their spot on the 25-man roster. The lack of a viable OF option on the 25-man roster is WJ’s responsibility and his all-in approach to declaring Hamilton the starting CF after he was unable to sign Choo rather than creating options to the unproven Hamilton.

  13. I think so. For one he’s a lot better fielder than those two. Bernadina had a pretty good year for the Nats two years ago (I think it was two years ago). Last year he was hurt. Bernadina was crucial in the win yesterday.

  14. Gotta’ agree. I like having the extra speed around. He hustles and played well yesterday. I think he’s an asset. Now, if he’s starting more than twice a week, we have a problem.

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