Titanic Struggle Recap

That Could Have Gone Better

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds  (7-10)
4 11 1
Chicago Cubs  (5-11)
8 11 1
W: Jackson (1-1) L: Cingrani (1-2)
Box Score  |   Play-by-Play    |    Stats    |    Depth Chart    |    FanGraphs Win Probability

Positives

Devin Mesoraco had a good day at the plate. His second double of the game plated our first run. Its early, but if he keeps hitting like this, we need to find a new place in the batting order for him. Through eight games, Mesoraco is hitting .483/.515/1.481

In the bottom of the 3rd, The ToddFather put together two strong defensive plays to keep our Redlegs in the game. I was listening to the Chicago radio feed at the time and both announcers praised Fraizer’s defense at third. Without these two plays, the Reds might have given up a three or four run inning.

Jay Bruce had three hits and worked a walk. If Jay Bruce is destined to be a streaky hitter, now wouldn’t be a bad time for him to catch fire.

Billy Hamilton is starting to find first base. After leading off the game with a single into centerfield, he reached on a bunt single in the top of the third and two more singles in the top of five and seven.

We have had our offensive woes, but Joey Votto is quietly having a great year at the plate: .322/.453/1.030

Negatives

Darin Barney?” You could hear the disbelief in Chris Welsh’s voice when Barney’s hit one into the left field seats. Logan Ondrusek, you are needed in Louisville.

The bullpen usage was mind-bloggling this afternoon. With Marshall, Broxton, Hoover, LeCure and Parra available, Brian Price turned to our worst bullpen arms early in the game. The Reds were hitting all afternoon and the Cubs’ 2-run lead did not looks safe. Despite this, we brought in Ondrusek, who had not pitched in 11 days. And after Ondrusek gave up three runs, Price turned to Nick Christiani, who promptly gave up two more runs.

Brandon Phillips had a bad day at the office. Two Ks, including one in an important at bat in the top of 5. It is good to see him back in the lineup, but we need some of those DatDude RBIs.

Todd Frazier, for as good as he was in the field, had an ugly day at the plate (0-4).

Not so random thoughts …

In the top of the fifth, Billy Hamilton wasted no time swiping his sixth bag of the season. Immediately afterward, Edwin Jackson threw four consecutive breaking pitches to Joey Votto, all out of the zone. If we are going to open up first base by sending Hamilton, can we at least punish pitchers that are going to pitch around Votto with slow breaking pitches? We need to be sending Hamilton to third to make pitchers think twice about throwing Joey the low curve.

Tony Cingrani had trouble locating his off speed pitches early in the ballgame. His control was so poor at times that he threw multiple 55 foot curveballs. Even the stupid cubs won’t swing at those. I went back and forth about putting him in the negatives column because he did only give up three through five. Yet, hit sequencing played a big role in this: he gave up four hits, three walks, and a home run today. It was a less than great performance, but I don’t think it was worthy of being called a “negative” one.

In the top of seven, Chris Heisey managed to get on base when Michael Olt launched an errant throw past the Anthony Rizzo at first base. Unfortunately, the throw bounced off the brick side wall and right back to Rizzo. Heisey was out at second by about 20 feet. On the plus side, the play did manage to plate two runs for the Redlegs.

From the game thread…

SPRO: Grande actually said Cin-grah-ni instead of Cin-granny! I’m optimistic about this game already!

CP: Mesoraco came pretty close there to solving the Reds’ Ondrusek problem

Preacherj: It’s days like this where I really miss Carlos Marmol coming in the game.

 

61 thoughts on “That Could Have Gone Better

  1. I didn’t get to watch this game. Yardwork was calling my name… did BP look limited? All I know is he went out of the game yesterday with the back issues, and he played again today but went 0-fer.

    Reminiscent of 2013 where he got hit by that pitch, was *clearly* hurt, but kept playing to the detriment of the team. Is the same thing going on here?

    • I was corrected in the game thread that “spasms,” which is the crack Reds medical staff diagnosis, is not an injury. You either have them or you dont. WIth that said, Phillips couldn’t catch up with any of the dozen or so fastballs he swing at.

  2. Also, double posting here but I didn’t get a chance to comment on it earlier. You have 5.4 ERA Ondrusek and you choose to option 0.00 ERA Partch instead? Decision really paid off today! (Sarcasm)

  3. Good summary of a bad game, Mike. You squarely nailed the biggest issue. Ondrusek needs to be DFA’d and removed from the 40 man roster…permanently.

  4. I don’t know what the Reds bullpen ERA is but it has to be one of the worst in baseball. The Reds have 3 pitchers with double-digit ERAs.
    Ondrusek, Hoover and Bell.

    You have to think there are better options in the minors somewhere.

    • They optioned Partch out and kept Ondrusek. Partch had a 0.00 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP in early results this season. Jumbo Diaz has a 0.00 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP in early results at AAA this season and had 1.66 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP in AAA last season.

      Hoover has a good track record but a bad start to the season. Bell is already gone. Yes, there are other, better options available. The Reds are just fully commited to Ondrusek for some inexplicable reason.

  5. With the hitting options (or more appropriately, lack of hitting options) available to the Reds, Mesoraco needs to hit in the #3 hole between Votto and Bruce with Phillips moved down to the #5 hole… now, not later.

  6. Logan Ondrusek does not belong on a contender. The Reds should have kept Beato or Partch instead. Our BP is not looking good right now, we need a healthy Marshall and Chapman, soon. Bad move to put him, down a run, what did you think was going to happen? Mesoraco keeps on raking.

    • I’d take… Hamilton/Votto/Mesoraco/Bruce/Frazier/Left Fielder/Phillips/Cozart.

      Still think Phillips hits into too many double plays and doesn’t have a good enough OBP to bat that high in the order.

  7. Both Ondrusek and Christiani were bad today and gave up key runs. Have never understood why managers use the bottom of the bullpen when they are one run behind, but the front end when the game is tied. This practice has cost the Reds a few times already this year. Especially regrettable when there is such a profound difference between the ends of the pen.

  8. Ondrusek needs to be selling insurance somewhere, or at least getting a scenic bus tour of the International League…

  9. Fact-the bullpen was missing two arms. Fact-Marshall was activated. Fact-on these pages, Partch has been very unpopular and prone to giving up huge innings. Fact- when Ondrusek is right he throws ground balls. Fact-Christiani is someone Price really likes. Fact-hindsight is 20/20.

  10. You’ll notice that Price always uses the D bullpen when Cingrani pitches. After his game in STL (down 2 runs) he turned to Christiani, Ondrusek and Bell.

    Against TB (ahead 6 runs), he went to Christiani and now against the Cubs (down 1 run), he turned to Ondrusek and Christiani.

    For whatever reason, it would appear that after Tony leaves the game, ahead by plenty or behind by a little … he dumps the junk in.

  11. And I should note … this is the 4th start out of the last five for Tony where the Reds have scored ZERO runs while he’s on the mound.

  12. Here again we see the silliness of Cingrani’s “records.” We pull him whenever he gets in trouble so of course he never gives up more than 3 runs or 5 hits. He is very good and he is the future of the front of our rotation, but there’s a reason he’s kept those streaks alive and a lot of it is managers protecting him.

    • He threw 106 pitches today and was due up w/ 2 outs and a runner on 3rd base down a run.

      Every pitcher in the game is pulled in that situation.

  13. On a positive note, Mesoraco. I keep saying he any keep up this pace, and clearly he can’t, but he certainly looks like the player we’ve thought he could be for the last few years and is starting to flash signs of being maybe the best Reds catcher since a certain big handed man I won’t name for fear of jinxing anything. How does Neck Tattoos keep this kid out of the All Star game at anything like this clip? He could put up a relatively pedestrian next month and still be one of the best hitters in the NL bordering on June.

    • I’m not suggesting that at all. What I’m saying is that he has been treated with kid gloves and that’s what has led to the “streaks.” Not putting the horse before the cart.

      • Cart before the horse. The horse is supposed to go before the cart. It was a very nice day in NYC and I might have had a few adult beverages.

    • How many of his career starts have been less than 6 innings? How many less than 7? I’d like to know how many quality starts he’s had that have led to those results and compare that to the Kershaws and Greinkes he gets compared to because of the streaks. And again, just to be clear, I very much like Cingrani. I just feel like that talk is propaganda from the employees.

      • In his 20 starts that weren’t ended early due to injury (he had two at the end of 2013 where he had to get taken out with back issues not due to pitch count or giving up too many runs, they were 3.2 innings and 1.2 innings.)…. he has gone 114.1 innings. That’s an average of a little over 5.2 innings pitched per start.

        In those 20 starts/114.1 innings, he’s given up 30 earned runs, or 1.5 runs per start.

        He also has struck out 130 batters in those 20 starts, or 6.5 per start (10.3 per 9).

        If you’re averaging 1.5 earned runs and 5.2 innings pitched with 6.5 strikeouts (10.3 per 9) per start, that’s more than just propaganda/kid gloves. That’s a really dang good start to his career. Even more so for a 24 year old who isn’t a free agent until 2020. Hype is justified.

        • I REALLY LIKE TONY CINGRANI!

          All I’m saying is, let’s stop measuring his stats over starts and start measuring them over innings. He has had, up to this point in his VERY young and promising career, a very good record that seems to be tempered by managerial decisions to keep his innings to a minimum. That is a very reasonable and responsible way to manage a young pitcher of his caliber. I was just reacting to the very specific records that he has been setting that seem to be aided by managers that pull him in every start before he gets to a point where those records could be broken, even if that’s in the 5th inning of a ball game. And to reiterate, I REALLY LIKE TONY CINGRANI!

        • His issue is pitch count. Innings are a byproduct of his pitch count. If he can reduce his pitch count, he will increase the average innings per start. You can’t have a guy throw 150 pitches so he can complete 8 innings.

          Cueto had the same issue early in his career. I’m betting he will follow Johnny’s path.

        • I don’t think the managers pull him early is what I am trying to say. For instance, last year when you look at his 16 full starts (once again eliminating the two that he left early due to the back injury), he averaged 98.3 pitches in those starts.

          So it’s not like he goes 80 pitches, and gets pulled out before he can give up a big inning. He only had two of the 16 starts where he went under 92 pitches. One of them was when they were trying to bring him back from injury (the start sandwiched between the two injury shortened starts).

          He went 100 or more pitches 6 of his 16 starts in 2013. Averaging 98.3 pitches per start isn’t getting pulled early and treated with kid gloves. That’s about as much as you’d ever want a 23-year-old rookie (at the time) to throw. If he averaged any more, murmurings of overuse and young arm abuse would have begun to spread.

          Here’s some interesting numbers for Tony Cingrani’s career so far for batters after a…
          0-2 count: .040/.076/.050
          1-2 count: .101/.173/.151
          2-2 count: .109/.218/.161

          Clayton Kershaw’s career so far for batters after a…
          0-2 count: .115/.146/.154
          1-2 count: .137/.187/.187
          2-2 count: .179/.273/.264

          That right there might be as big of a part of Cingrani’s success as anything. When he gets two strikes, he’s very VERY good. If Cingrani was playing for a large market team, he’d be getting crazy amounts of hype.

      • Also, side note.. if you want to know how his stats stack up versus Kershaw, then you’re already answering your question if it’s just propaganda. You’re wanting him compared to a 2-time Cy Young winner (plus another finish as #2 in voting) who just got a contract that averages over $30m/yr.

  14. I had to listen to the Cubs radio broadcast and they mentioned that the Reds starter was still up in the air. That it could be either Bailey or Leake. Does anyone have further information why Bailey might be by-passed?

    • I got this quote… Per Me: “The Reds want to actually hold onto a lead, so they’re thinking of going with Leake.” Lol

    • Cubs tv guys said Leake too, but later said that the Reds media guide had Bailey while the Cub’s guide had Leake. Maybe that’s why they are the Cubs…they prepare for the wrong pitchers.

      • Vegas has Bailey on the line for tomorrow (-113) vs. Villanueva …

        They know better than anyone, so it’s gonna be Homer.

    • Actually Mike’s description of the play in which Heisey was thrown out by 20 feet was inaccurate (as was ‘the crafty lefty’s’ (Chris Welsh) on MLB’s telecast of the game). The play did not plate 2 runs. Bruce was at 1B and failed to score. it would have been nice seeing runners at 1B and 3B for Mez. Just another TOOTBLAN – accordingly, the Reds, their manager, coaches as well as their writers should strive to be as accurate about winning games – so please for everyone’s sake, clean up he errors. Thanks and appreciate it!

  15. A couple of encouraging signs from the game: BHam is finding his place, Jay might be ready to get hot, and Cingrani couldn’t get his breaking stuff over the plate but still kept his team in the game. This may be the worst we see of Tony and that isn’t all bad.

    • And Cozart got the ball on the ground located where it needed to be to get a run in (without help from the Cubbies).

  16. If Billy Hamilton is here for his base stealing abilities , why is it that Votto isn’t taking the pitches needed for him to have his attempts, too many times have i seen Billy still on first without a single attempt or bluff , and Votto swinging forcing a fielders choice with Billy being thrown out at second,….wasted opportunity every time

    • Cubs have his number. He’s started five of his 22 starts against them … and they’ve hit him in all but one (and he still didn’t win the one he pitched well in).

      Only time in his career he’s given up 4 ER was against CHI, and he still has never retired Justin Ruggiano.

      Next start against P-Burgh, in Pittsburgh for a day game start. Hope he shines.

    • Is this where Votto is saying that he does not want anyone stealing in front of him? Or is it that Hamilton is still learning pitcher’s move to first?

  17. I love Cingrani too, he might be a really good pitcher, but he still needs another pitch he can get over the plate consistently. His fastball and change are too close in speed and he does not throw much of anything else. This also makes his pitch count go up. Cueto started throw a little slower to gain some in control, but also learned to throw a circle change that is almost ten miles per hour slower. I don’t know if this would help or not.

    • I don’t think the selection is a problem … remember Cingrani still doesn’t even have one full season’s worth of starts to his name. He’s still a newbie … learning how to get MLB hitters out.

      What I was concerned with today was his fastball velocity. He never hit 93, which I have not seen him do before. At the same time, he is still the greatest pitcher alive with runners in scoring position. Gave up just three hits with RISP last season in his 18 starts … two so far this season (only one today was Ruggiano in the 1st inning.)

      Even when he’s not pitching well, he NEVER gives in. The walks go up, but not the runs. Still only given up 4 once in his MLB career.

      • One tough hombre, that Cingrani. Reds need more of that type of ‘grit’. Conjures up fond memories of John Wayne.

  18. I think if Ondrusek is on the roster, he needs to be used. Second guessing is fun and all, but even guys like Ondrusek should be able to handle pitching against the bottom half of the Cubs lineup in the 6th inning of a 3-2 game. Curtis Partch can’t be trusted to throw strikes. Honestly, a guy with 6+ BB/9 has no business in the MLB.

    Bell is clearly the bottom guy and Hoover has been absolutely miserable, I don’t think anyone is really suggesting they should have pitched ahead of Ondrusek. I also don’t think there is a really a meaningful difference between Christiani and Ondrusek at this point.

    Lecure pitched yesterday, Broxton and Parra were likely being saved for higher leverage situations. I suppose Marshall could have been used, but 3 righties + bottom of the lineup may explain a little. Or maybe Price just wanted to give him a day to reacclimate. It’s too easy to forget about the human element sometimes.

    Summary: Ondrusek probably isn’t even the first or second worst Reds pitcher in the bullpen. When that happens, you have a bad bullpen.

    • From what I’ve seen: Christiani>Hoover>Ondrusek. Maybe Ondru needs to used, although I’m doubtful, but only in lopsided games. Rather have seen Marshall and forget about the “human element”. This is Sean’s 9th season in the show, he should be able to give the Reds an inning.

      The only concern I have about Price is bullpen management, which is surprising.

      • Spot on Charlotte – once again agree with your prognosis. And it’s amazing – who would have thought Price’s achilles heel would be how he handles the bullpen. Maybe we should get Dusty back to show him how it’s done (sorry for injecting a little bit of sarcasm and dry humor).

    • You are correct CP; if Ondrusek is on the roster, he needs to be used. That does not mean he should be on the roster. You are also correct the 6.2 BB/9 is not acceptable, at any level, but neither is 20.3 H/9. Bell is not on the roster and is not even an option. I think plenty of people would have preferred Hoover over Ondrusek and if you review the game thread, there were plenty of ‘concerned’ comments regarding Ondrusek coming into the game, before he entered and before he threw a pitch and not just in this game. I think a string argument can be made for Ondrusek being the weakest link in the bullpen: 2.750 WHIP, 1.50 SO/BB, 2.3 HR/9, 20.3 H/9. Those are very small sample size, early season results, but Ondruseks’ career numbers and trends don’t provide a warm cushy feeling either. I agree that Partch and Christiani are marginal options, along with Ondrusek, but I don’t think any of those 3 relief pitchers are the best option available. They are just the best options available on the 40 man roster. That’s a problem in managing the 40 man roster.

  19. Just a little cross sports reference. Remember the comment several days back about the Columbus Blue Jackets getting no respect from the national pundits?

    Well the tonight the CBJ took down the Pens in Pittsburgh in a game that went into a 2nd OT period before being resolved.

    Series tied at 1; and if anybody is checking, CBJ now have home ice advantage, Don’t know about ESPN but I’m guessing the Pens know who CBJ are by now.

  20. Reds Ownership and Management! Please hire a psychiatrist asap for whoever is making the decision to keep Ondrusek on this team? What is his ERA now? Almost everytime he comes into a game, he gives up runs! How many years has this been now? Can you please send him back to Louisville permantely, or make a trade with another team? Maybe a change of scenery will work for him?? I don’t know why the fans are the only one who see this? If there are any Reds reporters that read this page, can you please ask Jocketty & Price why they keep Ondrusek on this team??

  21. 1) Given the options available and the game circumstance, Ondrusek was a reasonable choice. It didn’t work. (Oh, and for some reason the ump called two clear strikes as balls in Barney’s AB before he hit the HR.)

    2) I think the Reds keep Ondrusek because he has intriguing stuff. Unfortunately, if Price hasn’t been able to harness that stuff by now I’m afraid he never will. Maybe we can trade him to Atlanta for two weeks.

    3) Since being moved to the 3 hole, BP has zero RBI and zero runs scored. He shouldn’t have been playing yesterday, even if he said he was feeling better.

    • At least Phillips shouldn’t have been hitting in the #3 hole. One of the problems with an good-defense, no-hit utility infielder is actually using the utility infielder when needed. After the back spasms from the previous day, Phillips should have been hitting in the #7 hole where Santiago would hit if he started. Hand, back and leg injuries really hinder proper technique and strength while hitting. Kudos to Phillips for wanting to play everyday and gutting out those debilitating, nagging injuries, but he’s not doing the team any good hitting in the top half of the lineup if he is physically incapable of performing adequately. Bryan needs to step in and deal with those situations.

    • Agree especially with the second point. I see few games in person, but I got to sit right behind home plate in San Diego for one of Volquez’s starts while he was with the Reds. The movement on his pitches that night was quite impressive. And look how that guy turned out. I’m reminded how he was offered the same contract extension as Cueto. Glad he said no.

  22. My omen that the game wasn’t going to go the Reds way? I started jogging while listening to the game with two outs in the top of the first. I was well on my way to completing my 3rd mile before the first inning ended… and folks, I’m no Billy Hamilton out there. Just gave bad vibes.

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