Titanic Struggle Recap

Recap: Ludwhacked

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds  (11-11)
2 5 0
Pittsburgh Pirates  (9-14)
1 7 0
W: Cingrani (2-2, 2.86 ERA, 3.41 FIP)     L: Cumpton (0-1)     S: Broxton (4)
 Box Score  |   Play-by-Play    |    Photos    |    Depth Chart    |    FanGraphs Win Probability

Positives

With the win the Reds take the series from the Pirates 3-1. That’s three straight series wins and 5 of 7 against the Pirates in the past ten days. With this 5-2 start on the road trip and three-game winning streak, the Reds have evened their record at 11-11 as they head to first-place Atlanta for a three-game series this weekend. 

Ryan Ludwick (.293/.354/.431) drove in both runs for the Reds, taking a Brandon Cumpton fastball deep into left center field. Joey Votto and Todd Frazier were on base due to being hit by pitches. Manager Bryan Price’s decision to start Joey Votto during Brandon Phillips’ at bat avoided a certain 6-4-3 double play. 

For the second game in a row, a Reds starting pitcher struggled in the first inning. But despite throwing 32 pitches, Tony Cingrani allowed the Pirates only run on a walk and an error by Brandon Phillips infield single. Cingrani, in what was his first start against the Pirates, settled down to finish six innings, striking out seven, walking two and giving up a streak-snapping sixth hit. The close-up camera caught a vintage Cingrani snarl in the bottom of the sixth as the pitcher faced his final hitter with two runners on base.

The bullpen pitched three shutout innings. Logan Ondrusek looked sharp, retiring the top of the Pirates order, including Andrew McCutchen to end the seventh. Sam LeCure needed just 11 pitches to strike out the side in the eighth. It was LeCure’s second appearance in a row and his fastball sat consistently at 88 mph, once reaching 89. Jonathan Broxton pitched a clean ninth. The pen has acquitted itself fabulously the past two games. 

Chris Heisey and Todd Frazier made a couple nice defensive plays. Heisey saved a run in the second inning with two plays. One held Chris Stewart to a single and the second was a diving catch in right-center to rob Starling Marte of extra bases. 

Negatives

Brandon Phillips had a shaky series defensively. Pittsburgh’s one run today scored from second base on the kind of ground ball that Phillips has handled easily. The scorer ruled it a hit, though, for now. 

Not so random thoughts

Let’s hope Ike Davis doesn’t show up in Atlanta wearing a Braves uniform this weekend.

The Reds came within a stupid broken-bat home run from sweeping the four-game series in Pittsburgh. I know any series is just a snapshot of a long season, but the Pirates sure don’t seem like the team they were at the end of 2013. That’s not to say they aren’t dangerous or won’t be in contention at the end of the year. But for the moment, I’m a lot more worried about Milwaukee than I am Pittsburgh.

The Reds streak of ten games scoring at least four runs came to an end. They managed just five hits and two walks. On the other hand, it was a one-run win, as that number for the Reds starts to even out.

Top game thread comments

Al: Brewers are off today, STL is down 2-1 in the 7th. A loss for them puts us .5 games back of second place.

YorktownRed: Lower the Jolly Roger. Nice series win.

CI3J: Take the walk they are trying so hard to give you.

JDX19: It will be interesting to see if the defensive metrics this year will line up with all of our eye tests. To me, BP is clearly failing on many plays he would have easily made the in the past.

Sergeant2: Ludwick is due for a HR. (comment in second inning)

57 thoughts on “Recap: Ludwhacked

  1. Mesoraco returned from the DL at right about the same time Votto was moved to the #2 spot in the lineup, and since then this offense has done a 180. Even today, when they didn’t score a ton, you just had a sense that they were going to keep threatening and get on the board.

    The first few weeks of the season, I had no confidence in the Reds ability to score at all.

  2. On ESPN Gamecast, I have it set up so that each hitter’s “hot zones” and “cold zones” are diplayed while they are at bat. Red is hot, blue is cold. I noticed that when Cozart came to the plate, there were no zones. No hot. No cold. It was just……..darkness.

    Good series win. Not thrilled about the number of hits today, but I guess those games will happen. It felt good not to get an ulcer while Broxton was on the mound. On to Atlanta.

  3. I made a comment earlier in the game thread that a few folks called me on:

    “I remember complaining about Phillips for defensive miscues throughout his Reds career. Sure, he makes the hotdog, highlight reel plays, but he also (too frequently, IMHO) misses on some of the more routine plays that seem to come about from either a lack of effort or a lapse in fundamentals (like getting his glove all the way down to the ground.)”

    I was too busy to participate this afternoon but wanted to admit that “throughout his Reds career” was too harsh. I was more specifically thinking of his first couple of years with the Reds and made too broad of a statement about his Reds career. Those sort of plays that seemed to bother me in 2006 and 2007 have largely disappeared that past several years, but I think he’s made (or not made) too many of them early in this 2014 season. Hopefully, it is just a fielding slump, and he’ll work his way through it soon.

  4. I hope you are right about a fielding slump. It’s easy to see a few questionable plays and start to talk about degrading skills. Let’s believe it’s just a momentary bump in the road.

    • I didn’t see the game today and don’t know the play in question. Other than that and the last play of the game on Monday that people think he should have caught I haven’t seen many miscues. I mean even the best defensive players are going to have an error now and then and miss a ball, but he has still shown the ability to make elite defensive plays that most 2B 5 years younger than him can’t make. As long as he’s still physically capable of making those plays, I don’t think you can say his skills are declining. I will say he seems distracted this year – mostly at the plate. I’ve never seen him swing at so many bad pitches. I’m trying to figure out what kind of injury could contribute to that.

  5. Let’s see…the Pirates pitching staff plunks Ludwick, Votto and Frazier today; Mesoraco yesterday; Frazier on Tuesday and Hamilton on Monday. That’s 6 HBP by the Pirates in this series according to the Old Cossack’s count. Looking over the list of players nailed by the Pirates, I don’t see names like Cozart, Santiago or Bernadina among them. This after the Reds knocked off the Pirates 2 of 3 in the series at GABP last week.

      • Yeah, ask Phillips what difference it makes. Also note that Phillips was plunked last season when he was hammering out the RBI’s but his name is also notably missing from the list of victims this season when he is tanking.

      • Yeah, Phillips was having an amazing season last year until he got hit. Wasn’t the same for the rest of the year as he played through it.

        Also don’t particularly like Hamilton taking a pitch on his leg.. or Votto/Mesoraco taking a pitch anywhere. Votto walks enough and Mesoraco is hitting enough that they should be willing to trade getting hit by a 90mph baseball for a free base.

    • I noticed this, as well, but at least some of the hbp’s didn’t seem intentional at all. Retribution is best achieved by winning: beanball wars are dangerous, hard to stop, escalate, and may result in somebody being seriously injured.

      • Yeah, 0-2 in a close game is not when you generally want to throw at someone. Now watching Jed Lowrie get plunked last night, that had purpose to it.

  6. And the Birds go down to the Metropolitans, 4-1. The reds’ crosshairs are squarely on 2nd place going into the Atlanta series.

  7. Cingrani lowers his ERA below 3.00 (2.89); LeCure lowers his ERA below 1.00 (0.93; Broxton maintains his ERA at 0.00; Ondrusek lowers his ERA below 10.00 (9.00). Ondrusek takes a lot of grief here (deservedly), but he pitched well today. For the 2nd game in a row, the Reds’ starter, Cingrani today, got off to a rought start in the 1st inning but limited the damange and came back strong and aggressive for the victory.

  8. “Vintage Cingrani snarl.” My three favorite words besides “free pepperoni pizza.”

  9. you are correct O’ sage of Cossack that Ondrusek looked good today.

    I noticed it last night, but Meso is pressing, the ab’s are no longer coming to him. Oh well, it was a great streak.

    Now snap out of it man. You too Jay

    • I said this before in another thread, but if Mez, Frazier, and Ludwick can all become very similar hitters (about .270/.330 with 25 HR each) then this offense will be very dangerous indeed.

      As good as Cozart is defensively, I’d still hope the front office could look into some upgrade at SS this trade deadline. He’s really the only “easy out” of the whole lineup (Phillips and his current scuffling aside).

        • Are you talking about Hamilton being an easy out? He is hitting .300 in his last ten. He strikes out a lot, but that does not mean he is not dangerous with the bat. In addition, Cozart is going to get 15 hr and 50-60 rbi. If your #8 hitter plays excellent defense and gives you that kind of production, why would you want to trade him?

        • “He strikes out a lot, but that does not mean he is not dangerous with the bat.”

          Hamilton may be dangerous with his legs, but he may in fact be the least dangerous hitter in all of baseball.

          10 game samples mean absolutely nothing, particularly these cherry picked ones that the Hamilton “hope & prayers” crowd is throwing around now. I remember when Cozart was called up for his little 11 game trial run in 2011, or even 2012 when he started off scorching hot. The same crowd was going bonkers for him, while someone of us were quietly pointing out that Cozart has never shown the ability to get on base in the minors, and indeed, during the 11 game trial period, didn’t take a single walk.

          Nothing Hamilton has done makes me feel better about him as a hitter. Even during this 10 game stretch, Hamilton’s 2.2 % walk rate, his 22.2 K%, the .025 ISO, and .387 BABIP scream that this just a blip on the screen. I hope Hamilton proves me wrong, but the current version of Hamilton is a well below average hitter.

          (I’m perfectly fine with Cozart at SS…Price is using him correctly, the talk of upgrading is a waste of time. The Reds would get way more bang for their buck upgrading a LF/CF or getting a 3B and sliding Frazier out to LF.

        • You throw out walk rate like he has a choice over if the pitcher will throw him 4 balls. They are throwing him strikes (hint you can’t walk while being thrown strikes). He will continue to get thrown strikes until he hits better. He is starting to hit better lately, the rate will go up.

        • The bottom line is BHam can create his own runs. Run scoring is going down in general and the Reds, in particular, have been too reliant on HRs for the last couple of seasons. Don’t tell me he has only scored 9 and batted in 3 runs, what other runs have other scored by capitalizing on the havoc he creates?

          If someone thinks BHam is at his zenith after ~ 20 games into his first season, okay, that is an opinion. Most people seem to think, quite reasonably, that he is at the least productive point in his career right now.

          There are two camps of thought that are polar opposites in where this is and where it’s going. To some, it’s the new fangled thingamajig that is kind of weird and of little value. The other camp, believes it might be revolutionary in its nature, thrilling to watch, and of immense value. We are just going have to let it play out over game and see where it goes, so far I’m enjoying the ride.

          Another thing, I haven’t seen discussed yet is Billy’s defense. Heisey made a very nice play yesterday but how easy to Billy get to that ball? I can’t recall Billy being extended to get to a ball and looking forward to that day. His instincts on fly balls and the range he covers reminds me a lot of Eric Davis.

          Go Reds! Let’s keep up the winning ways.

        • Ha. I’ve seen Billy Hamilton compared to Willie Mays, Pete Rose, Rickie Henderson, Eric Davis and now the Fab Four. Hope you’re all right! :-)

        • If you were an investor, I would give you the “buy” signal.

          I’m going to start using no-name guys to help you not miss my point. In this case, substitute Eddie Milner instead of ED. In general, I will use a famous name to describe an attribute of a player; not the complete player. I realize this can be confusing so I will change my tactic. It would be nice if people could address the point, rather than make a mockery of it by distorting the comparison.

        • “Hamilton, the least dangerous hitter in all of baseball? Ok, then.”

          Probably the least dangerous hitter who is an everyday player, yes. Zero power means zero dangerous. Just because he is terror on the basepaths doesn’t mean he suddenly becomes dangerous.

          Charlotte,

          I’m not saying he won’t grow into being an effective MLB hitter eventually. Just that he isn’t an effective MLB hitter right now and shouldn’t be leading off. He has shown ability to get on bases during the minors, but very minimal ability since he showed up in AAA.

      • CP, I respect your knowledge of the game. We just see this from two very different POV. We will just have to watch it play out but as always respect your and Steve’s opinions. It’s not like I’ve never been wrong, that’s for sure.

        • I actually like Billy’s approach at the plate. He strikes out a lot because he is a freshman seeing all the upper class pitchers for the first time.

          I would like to see him bunt on the second strike instead of the first. It seems that he fakes the bunt on the first pitch and often it is a fastball that he could whack. He hits the fastball pretty well as long as it is not too high.

          So strike one, swing away at a good fast ball. This will get the defenders back on their heals a bit. Then drop your bunt on the second strike.

          if he swings at enough fastballs, his average will be ok. Pitch recognition and knowing the pitchers is so important, and we will have a bit of a learning curve with him. 230 and 266 is looking better than a few weeks ago, and it will go up

  10. ARRRRRRRRRRRRRGH!!!!

    Bakersfield Blaze‏ via Twitter: Jesse Winker hurt running into the outfield wall … play turns into an inside the park homer, and Blaze trail 2-0. Winker is out.

    Bakersfield via Twitter: No update on Winker just yet. He did walk to the clubhouse with assistance after the collision.

  11. Pittsburgh just has too many holes in their lineup. Even last year they kind of done it with mirrors and unless someone like Ike Davis really surprises, I don’t see how they improve. Their pitching is ok, but I really tend to doubt Volquez will keep it up evening out the loss of Burnett over the whole season.

    Milwaukee stays healthy, they got a legit middle of the order. Just having Roidboy and Ramirez around should make a big difference, as both of them were gone last year for big stretches. Their starting pitching is decent, but it’s all middle of the rotation guys. They don’t have a 1-2 that matches with the Cards or the Reds. Their bullpen has been pretty good thus far, which was really bad last year.

  12. The Pirates definitely won’t be the same as last season. Though I do admire their GMs ability to pick up a needed FA here or there. Whomever the acquire seems to give them just what they need. I imagine they’ll be working another trade over the next month or two.

  13. So this story about Alfredo Simon being accused of rape is scary. I’m no legal expert, but wouldn’t any criminal charges be immediately released to the public? Apparently it happened a year ago and is only now being reported because of a civil suit. I hate even suggesting something like this without more details, but the timing sure seems odd – no criminal charge but a civil suit as soon as it looks like he might be in line for some money because of the season he’s having.

  14. What will be the league’a response to the simon situation? Assume he will be allowed to play until the legal system runs it’s course/Latos is back?

  15. My apologies, just saw comment about refraining from discussing the ongoing situation regarding a certain fill-in starter. Please disregard previous question

  16. Looks like the Reds dodged a bullet by not getting either of these two guys that fans were clamoring for during the off-season:
    Grady Sizemore .212/.264/.364
    Nick Franklin .125/.222/250

    Ouch. Glad Sizemore decided to go to Boston and Walt didn’t pull the trigger on a trade for Franklin. The Reds would have over-paid for either of them given how their seasons are going so far.
    BTW, Franklin just got sent down to AAA after only getting18 AB’s in Seattle this season.

    I don’t feel that either of them would have been an upgrade for anyone on the current roster. Even scuffling, first pitch-swinging Brandon Phillips or Billy Hamilrun.

  17. I’m not sure I understand the hinting that the Reds needed to “get even” for those HBP. From what I saw, or thought I saw, those hit batters today, though numerous, weren’t intentional. …

    Their pitcher was struggling and kept losing the strike zone. As far as I’m concerned, the Reds played it the best by refraining from re-igniting that stuff from last season, and in the process leaving town with that third win largely BECAUSE the guy couldn’t aim straight.

    Let’s win a series in Atlanta while the Bucs and Birds tangle!

  18. One of the things that puzzles me about MLB is the fact that they continue to allow an employee of the home club to be the official scorekeeper. In a game so closely tied to stats, wouldn’t it make more sense to have someone impartial doing the score book?

    For instance, in Darwin Barney’s gold glove season, much of his hype was centered on his streak of chances without an error. But, as I remember, there were at least a couple instances when some good old home cooking from the score keeper kept that streak alive. Had he been given the errors he deserved at Wrigley, it’s likely that BP has another trophy on his mantle.

    Then yesterday, we have what seemed to be to be a ball that BP has to at least knock down skip past him to allow a run. Again, the home score keeper has it as a hit and RBI. I’m sure this happens from time to time at GABP as well.

    I am curious what the SABR guys think of this situation.

    • on Wednesday… two McCutchen bobbles in CF when the runner was CLEARLY going to stop at 1st. Both runners reached 2nd and were awarded doubles.

      • You may be unaware, but the official scorer can change his call, even the next morning. The scoring was changed, and McCutch was awarded an error. He had two errors in that game.

    • Great questions. Regarding who should be the official scorer, I agree it would seem to be an opportunity for baseball to train and provide scorers at relatively low cost. They would be employees of MLB, not the local team, although the people could be local (and not need to travel, be housed at expense etc.)

      In terms of the saber implications – the unreliability of local scoring is a reason not to use fielding percentages as a way to judge defensive performance. The defensive metrics (still being refined) are based on independent observation. Outside organizations literally have observers go back through recordings of each game, play by play, to determine range, strength of arm etc. They measure exact locations on the field and compare one player to another. It has the potential to be quite an improvement over biased official scorers.

      • I was even thinking about the possibility of official scoring being done in a centralized location, much like they are doing with the replay reviews. I can’t think of any reason that it has to be done on site.

    • I still haven’t seen this BP play that everyone’s so fired up about, but if the issue is that it was a ball he could have gotten to but didn’t, that isn’t an error, right? You can’t get an error if you never touch the ball – at least that’s my understanding. Someone tell me if I’m wrong. It was like the Billy Hamilton “single” at Wrigley when he grounded to Rizzo and Villanueva didn’t bother to cover first base. Rizzo didn’t bother to run very hard and Hamilton was safe. It was entirely the fault of the Cubs defense that Hamilton was allowed to reach base but since there was no throw or bobble there wasn’t an error to call. No choice but to give Hamilton the hit.

      • I think the general rule is if it’s not touched then it’s not an error, but I have seen exceptions. Again, it seems to be left up to the discretion of the offical scorer who is an employee of the home team.

        As far as the play yesterday, Brandon ranged a good distance but did touch the ball. In my opinion, I was okay with the infield hit but the run was scored because the ball got by BP. A hit and an error resulting in the run would have been how I would have scored it.

        • That’s an interesting idea, to do it centralized. I know that local scorers have used instant replays for a while to inform their decisions. So the local nature of scorers can’t be based on the “need to be there.” It’s probably one of those traditions that just goes on from year to year. I’m glad to see independent evaluations popping up.

          But home official scorers still have a huge impact on ERAs and fielding percentages. The bias on ERA is one of the reasons people came up with FIP and SIERA – to remove that element of arbitrariness from judging pitchers.

        • You beat me to this comment, Kyle. Even if Alvarez is credited with a hit, I don’t see how he gets an RBI or Cingrani gets charged with an earned run. It was a slow infield ball which Phillips fumbled into the outfield. No way it was a single that drove in the run from 2nd, even with two outs. I’d have scored it an error all the way, but if not that I honestly can’t come up with any plausible explanation for it not being an infield hit plus an error to score the run.

  19. It was poetic justice that both of our runs reached via HBP and Ludwick drove them in after being HBP earlier in the game. I don’t think they were intentional, but the Pirates were a little too reckless pitching inside this series, and it’s a bit coincidental Hamilton got hit in the leg and our hot-hitting catcher got nailed on the hand.

    Pitching inside is fine, but not if your control is uncertain enough to plunk that many batters. Next series, the Pirates need to be reminded of that fact. Neil Walker and Andrew McCutchen looked entirely too comfortable at the plate throughout this series, so pitching way inside to them under the right game circumstances seems like a reasonable opportunity for sending this reminder.

  20. I am most decidedly against intentionally hitting a batter except in very, very rare circumstances. I also feel that the HBPs in this series were entirely unintentional. I look at game situations and counts and I see no intent on the Pirates’ part to hit anyone. It’s not always an eye for an eye. I’m good for pitching inside and if someone occasionally gets hit, well that’s what happens sometimes. I think that’s what happened in this game. If we want to work ‘Cutch in next game, that’s fine. But throwing at the guy? It’s absolutely not justified in my opinion as someone who played a long time. It would just start a beanball war and someone is going to get hurt. That someone may be one of our Reds.

    • 3 times in one game, and 6 in the series. I don’t think they were intentional, either, but you have to take some responsibility for your control–or lack thereof–if you’re going to pitch inside. Guys can get hurt, so if you can’t control your stuff you shouldn’t be throwing the ball in there that tight. It’s not like the Reds were hanging out over the plate.

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