Titanic Struggle Recap

These Are the Brewers You Were Looking For

Final R H E
Milwaukee Brewers (20-9)
3 8 0
Cincinnati Reds (13-15)
8 12 0
W: H. Bailey (2-2) L: J. Henderson (2-1)   S: None
Box Score | Play-by-Play | Stats | Depth Chart | FanGraphs Win Probability

The Good

Homer Bailey did what he had to do tonight, going 8 innings and taking the spotlight off the bullpen. The home run was back in vogue, as Tucker Barnhart, Brayan Pena and Todd Frazier all slipped the surly bonds of earth. The catcher position just keeps delivering for the Redlegs. Maybe we should strap the catcher’s gear on Zack Cozart, who BTW, had two more hits tonight. My boy, Chris Heisey had 2 hits and a walk filling in for the injured Hamilton.

The Bad

Yes, they gotta get DatDude out of the 3 spot in the batting order. Twitter was screaming for it. But, IMO, Price has to handle this delicately. Give Phillips plenty of rope before moving him down. It’s not a big sacrifice as Frazier, Ludwick and Bruce have not been tearing it up either. Everybody shouts “accountability” these days, but making moves to make a point can backfire. See, e.g., Matt Williams and Bryce Harper. If this keeps up, I’m confident Price will do something. He seems more than willing to make moves when things aren’t working.

The Ugly

Nothing.

Not so random thoughts …

The Daily Billy: A fine defensive play by Billy resulted in a hand injury that necessitated removing him from the game. Hopefully nothing serious.

The hitting is so up and down, you just don’t know what to expect. I wasn’t expecting this tonight and I’ll bet you weren’t either. I don’t know how Frazier keeps hitting these one-handed HRs, but he is one strong dude–although I’m not sure that is out in many ballparks.

Jonathon Broxton was warming and Price let him close anyway even as it wasn’t a SAVE situation. Another non-Dusty move.

The Reds needed this badly. Taking this series would remind everyone this team is still relevant. A sweep would remind everyone this team won this division 2 of the last 4 years.

But, lets not get ahead of ourselves.

Your ball, Mr. Leake.

 

113 thoughts on “These Are the Brewers You Were Looking For

  1. So do strained knuckles keep you out for more than a few games? people speculating in the game thread that he was DL bound. Who do they bring up? only 4 position players on the 40 man not on the DL all OFers. I imagine the rush Schumaker back unless they want to try Lutz out

    • They aren’t going to put Hamilton on the DL. Reports out tonight are that he will be out of the lineup ‘for a day or two’

      And even then he’ll probably suit up and at least be available as a pinch runner.

  2. Homer didn’t really get it going until the third inning. At first he struggled with just throwing his fastball. But once he started working in his splitter, he got the Brewers off balance. He really didn’t have much control over his splitter until later in the game. Brantley said on the radio that the pitch to Gomez in the seventh inning was an excellent pitch, inside on Gomez’s hands, but you just have to tip your cap. The first two base runners on in that inning were just unlucky. The Brewers really didn’t hit the ball hard at all between the end of the second inning and the Gomez double.

  3. Having your #3 hitter bunt in that situation is as humiliating as it gets. It certainly lays bare exactly what Price thinks about Phillips. I disagree that the move has to be made carefully. What will backfire is not making a move and signaling to everyone on the team that performance doesn’t trump politics.

      • Not saying it’s that severe. My point is that the symbolism weighs in favor of demoting Phillips, not against it as Richard is worried about. I agree that BP may not take it well, but I think that effect will be confined to him alone. You have to weigh that against the message it sends to everyone else to not move BP.

        OR, you could just make your lineup on the basis of who is hitting the best and forget all the politics and symbolism. BP would hit seventh, then.

        • Bruce has a great OBP and decent slugging. His wRC+ is 108 (Phillips is 61). Dude, BP’s manager had him bunt tonight batting #3. I bet that’s the only time a #3 batter is asked to bunt all year by any MLB team. I wonder if it even happened once last year.

        • Bruce gets on base, Bruce drives in runs, not sure if you are just trying to create discourse or is there any doubt Bruce will turn it around and is hitting the peak of his carrer while BP is on the decline?

        • Hey Vic, 4 Rib eyes for Bruce in last 10 games – that will get you a clean-up hitter driving in 60 or so runs for the year. And Bruce’s dingers in last 10 games? bingo, none. Wow, now that’s 1 huge power hitter. And no, not trying to cause a disruption – just trying to point out to a few that this offense top to bottom has playing rather poorly across the board. Why focus on BP when Bruce has done nothing? Sorry, live in Denver and hear about the Rockies prolific offense all the time. And hypothetically If a team was able to present an 18 player line-up and you combined the Rockies and Reds starters – then the Rockies starters would hit 1-8 in the line-up and then the Reds 9-16 – then the 2 pitchers. Sorry, simply calling it as I see it (coming from a Reds fan btw).

        • I will give you a big Kudos in October if Bruce is not much closer to his typical 100 rbi than the 60 you mention. It is easier to drive in runs if you got a 3 hole hitter getting on and not hitting into DP’s

    • Sure lets move 2 .250ish hitters up to 3rd and 4th in the line-up then move the current #3 and #4 hitters to #5 and #6. That should fix everything – as BP is currently hitting better than the Reds clean-up hitter .

      • Is it really possible that you’re making your case based on *batting average*? That’s super quaint (and ridiculous). BP is performing vastly inferior to Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, Mesoraco/Pena, Ludwick and Hamilton. Man, I hope you don’t think anyone will take your argument seriously when all you’re bringing is batting average.

        • BA? Last 10 games for Jay Bruce – .206 zero HR and 4 RBIs. Looks to everyone but you that Jay has not done anything in quite a while.

        • Bruce has been in a little slump, but he’s also walking a lot, which contributes to offense (something BP has never appreciated). The truth is painful. Phillips manager had him bunt tonight batting #3. You think Votto or Bruce would have been asked to do that? Bruce got intentionally walked twice tonight. Phillips hasn’t been intentionally walked all year.

        • what is BP’s I do not think he has that many RBI’s again I have faith Bruces produces, BP does not based solely on the paths of their career and plate approach, Bruce is getting on almost 10% more than BP

        • Last 14 games:

          Jay Bruce: .289/.373/.422, 6 RBI, 4 SB, 7 runs
          Brandon Phillips: .188/.200/.229, 3 RBI, 0 SB, 4 runs.

          Not counting tonight, where Bruce got on base three times and scored two runs. BP had a hit, but when the game was on the line, his manager had him bunt to avoid having him hit into a double play.

        • I’m willing to accept your the collective input and call it a draw – as no doubt they both have stunk. Stop protecting Bruce when all he has been doing is walking – that’s an insult – that as well as Bruce’s output.

        • The point is walking is valuable, Rizzo hits a HR in the first last night, Reds cowardly pitch around him, 4 walks, 2 more runs in the middle of key rallies
          The real issue is BP is he is declining, it can be valuable to have a solid fielding 2B hitting .260 in the bottom of the order, the Reds must have Bruce hit and you have to assume he will get better because he always does and he is at the age

        • A draw? That’s hilarious. You do see the stats for the last 14 games (really, cherry picking any “last XXX games” is weak sauce). You do that because based on the entire month of the season that has been played, it isn’t even close. No to mention career trajectory. BP lags Bruce in every single category – except being asked by his manager to sacrifice his AB …

        • Actually Bruce has the following stats over his last 15 games:

          BA: 14-54 .259
          HR: 0
          Rbi: 6

          Extrapolated over a 160 game season – that’s a .259 BA with 0 HR and 65 RBI

          Why is it no one is crying about getting Bruce out of the clean-up hole yet posters want to ban BP from the top of the line-up?

          Oh that’s right – I almost forgot ….

        • vastly inferior to Jay Bruce? C’mon you can’t be serious. Bruce hasn’t done anything in 3 weeks (oh, that’s right he’s walked to help his OBP and and he’s not been called upon to bunt by his manager).

        • Vic, I do agree with you – Jay is going through a stretch but will heat up – he can’t stay this pathetic – can he?. And BP is declining as he ages, no doubt. But to not hold Bruce accountable when some pundits predicted before the season that he would be the NL’s MVP? c’mon, get real. All the focus has been on BP while their players have played a part in stinking the joint up as well (and I’ll throw JV in there for good measure – all grossly underperforming – however, did like JV’s ABs tonight though – he may just be heating up and coming around). That was actually my only point.

      • Sorry, but the Rockies’ top 5 of Blackmon, Arenado, Gonzales, Tulo and Morneau make the Reds top 5 in their line-up look like scrubs. Stop picking on BP when Bruce hasn’t done anything all year – oh, except walked to help his OBP.

        • Pete you are spot on. The team as a whole is in a slump. Before yesterdays game I was begging the Reds to dump both Frazier and Cozart. I suppose it is a good thing they don’t listen to me after all. Let us be candid here on the Reds offense ok?
          Here is our current offensive woahs for the past 2 years.
          1.) Joey Votto is being paid for his MVP season and will continue to be paid for his MVP season for a very long time. Is he earning an MVP paycheck? Not even close. He has clearly not been the same player since the infamous knee injury. I am starting to wonder if he will ever be the same and my guess is no. Is he did a very good contact hitter? Yes he is but as he is currently positioned he is not the best hitter in the majority of ML lineups.
          2) Brandon Phillips is aging fast. He plays offense like a 40 year old. Last year he tampered off after being hit by a Pirate pitch inside. He hasn’t been the same since. Old man bones is what I think and he is no longer to be considered an offensive threat.
          3) Cozart will never hit for a good average. I suspect that 50% of our pitchers can hit better than Cozart. Put him in the 9 hole for a while and see what he can do with that. If after May he still is below .200 time to let it go, let it go.
          4) Frazier is terrible. Ok he gets on hot streaks that falsely inflate his numbers. His 2013 stats are the real deal. Surely we have better options down on the farm?
          5) Bruce is the streakiest hitter in baseball. He will stink for 1 month and then be torrid for one month. In the end that leads to a losing record. Someone needs to try to identify what the deal is with this guy if it is a health issue or he needs to see a shrink
          6) Our pitchers were not prepared health wise coming into spring training. I have a huge problem with these guys making millions of bucks and then taking 4 months off and then showing up to spring training out of shape, out of condition, no pitching focus, and no mojo. Cueto is the only player that looks serious this year. Simon has been extremely lucky. He doesn’t have ML starting pitcher material. Let us be clear, Simon won’t win the Cy Young in the NL, even if he starts 30 games.

          People will want to blame our poor record on players landing on the DL. Lame excuse my six core reasons above if you solve those you solve the Reds losing record.

        • Using the Rockies as a comparison for offensive greatness is laughable. It is like comparing home run numbers to the PED era. Seriously. Put the Rockies players in any other ballpark and they are normal. Put the Reds in the Rockies park and they are tremendous. The Rockies have played 4 more road games than home games, but have 28 less runs, 7 less home runs, and 10 less hits on the road. Their team avg/obp/ is .254/.302 on the road. The Reds avg/obp is .253/.326 (MLB.com this morning).

          I’m not sure why anyone would expect any different from what most of the Red’s are producing right now. HB is showing signs of getting back to normal the past few games. I am actually pleasantly surprised at the numbers Frazier and Ludwick have started out with compared to what I saw last year and the fear I had for them this year. Bruce getting walks is better than Bruce getting K’s. I don’t care what he does as long as runs are being produced and more runs are produced with him on base rather than him walking back to the dugout (see BP). I think part of Votto’s lull is the fact that nobody is afraid of the player behind him. I’m all for switching the order to make things work, but we ain’t getting any better player’s anytime soon, so let’s let the weather and the players warm up and enjoy! Sweep the Brewer’s!

      • Not saying its out of the question – and sure hope Jay Bruce drives in 100 this year. But he’s just not showing it – and that’s been my point all along. Jay Bruce has a slugging % under 400. That puts him 62nd in the NL. Sure, go ahead and rip on BP but try Jay Bruce and all of a sudden you precariously find yourself on some type of sacred ground. BP has to be moved down – granted. By my point all along has been – why not Bruce?

        • This is a real issue, Bruce, Votto & Bailey are basically off-limits to objective criticism on the Blog. It’s a fact but it isn’t going to change. Yes, it would be nice to read a piece like “What’s up with Homer, why can’t he match his advanced statistics”, “Is Joey Votto headed toward being a glorified Mike Hargrove”, “Will Jay Bruce ever get to that next level”. These articles aren’t going to appear. But that fact should not allow us to underestimate any of these three players value. I also believe this is why Marty Brenneman gets a rough ride here, he doesn’t toe that line. Marty doesn’t let “anyone” off the hook and he shouldn’t. These are just my personal opinions..

        • First of all, comments that do nothing but complain about the content of the site are against the guidelines. Out of deference to your extensive record here, which we do value and appreciate, (and partly because I want to answer it) I didn’t trash your comment. But that’s the last time. Please keep your comments focused on the Reds, not Reds blogs.

          To the substance of your criticism: To say those players don’t get criticized here is absurd. Yesterday there was strong criticism of Joey Votto’s approach on defense. We have a chorus of commenters who basically only participate here when they can come criticize Homer Bailey and his contract.

          But if you expect the editors here to gin up articles they don’t agree with, merely to cater to ignorant views, you’re at the wrong place. If we don’t believe that ERA is a meaningful forward looking stat, we’re not going to pretend that it is. Or RISP. Or batting average, etc. On the other thread, you basically admitted you’re the old guy at the office who believes his gut ahead of the facts/research. It’s not our responsibility to make sure your viewpoint gets expressed on the front page. That’s what the comments are for. If we were imposing an orthodoxy here, why would we allow comments at all, let alone dozens by the same person (not referring to you) repeating the same uninformed opinions? If all you want to read are reinforcements of your own views, there’s talk radio, where I believe you’re well represented.

          It’s not that there is no ‘objective criticism’ of JB, JV, HB here, it’s that there aren’t people writing the columns with your viewpoint.

          Regarding Homer Bailey, for instance. It’s obvious to me (and I suspect the other editors, although it’s not like we sit around a newsroom and discuss it together) that (a) he’s given up a bunch of runs on bad pitches, (b) that the underlying fundamentals of how he’s pitched are still strong, and (c) that evaluating his contract extension, which hasn’t even started yet, on four starts in April is beyond stupid. If I was going to write anything, that’s what it would be.

          And one last thing, you’re welcome to submit an article for publication on the front page. If it meets our standards for quality, well-defended writing, we’ll post it, whether or not we agree.

          I’ve said this to you before. Sports blogs are written by biased sports fans. If you want pure objectivity of a sort, read the beat writers. That’s their job description.

        • Spot on again – with the word ‘objective’ being the key – and completely understand the notion – but swimming upstream although difficult can be accomplished with a little bit of hard work. Just ask Hammy, as he has bounced back nicely from his start and now some posters who wanted him banished to AAA just a few short weeks ago are now genuinely concerned he’s injured. i want all the Reds to do well and succeed – up and down the line-up. I just don’t want a player who has busted his butt for years with the Reds and who has been a true asset to the community kicked to the curb and treated so harshly – as it really got my dander up.

        • And yes, very familiar with the term ‘bias’ – as its everywhere – including the press. But even with BP’s antics – have been a fan of his for years – and its quite amazing that this is already his 9th season with the Reds. And I wanted to weigh in on your comment on Mez – as I wholeheartedly agree – he has the potential to be a ‘monster’ as he’s already exploded onto the scene and his best is no doubt yet to come. Future looks bright with those 2 – Mez and Billy – reminds me of Johnny and Pete. Time will tell and that makes it a lot of fun.

          have a great evening and GO REDS !!!

        • “Objective Criticism” LoL.

          “Homer’s a head case”
          “Bruce’s 10 game .BA determine his outlook for the season”
          “Joey Votto isn’t clutchy enough”

          Hahaha, the objective criticism we get on those three here at RLN. Ouch, my sides.

        • Ha…I am glad I wasn’t around for this last night but it’s pretty hilarious to catch up on in the morning. Pete, I’m sorry but you’re just…wrong. It doesn’t take Bill James to understand that 1) ten games doesn’t mean very much and 2) there’s a lot more to a player’s offensive production than BA, HR’s, and certainly RBI’s. So far through one month Bruce isn’t hitting for power as well as he usually does but he is walking a LOT more than he ever has. As a result, through what generally looks like one of Bruce’s patented “cold” months he still has an OPS+ of 110. Last year he finished at 118. So even in a “slump” he is a VASTLY superior hitter to Brandon Phillips, and that’s discounting the fact that we all know with almost scientific certainty that he is bound to go off on a tear at some point that will skyrocket his already good numbers. Add in his new found plate discipline (thanks, Professor Votto) and those hot streaks could be even longer and more productive than ever.

          But you want to see dingers. Because ball hit hard go far make fun. There really is no arguing with that.

        • And Charlotte, I’m not sure where you get that those guys are off limits around here. The issue isn’t that there are guys that this board refuses to nag on, it’s that the guys you just mentioned get flack for stupid reasons in the general public and people on this board are knowledgable enough to present the proper rebuttals. So when Joey Votto gets criticized from Jim in Westchester on WLW for not swinging at more balls in the dirt with RISP people here retort “That’s a stupid criticism” because it is. And when Pete says that Jay Bruce is a bad hitter because he hasn’t hit any HR’s in the last 2 weeks we retort “That’s a stupid criticism” because it is. But we also show the numbers to back it up.

          And Bailey gets knocked plenty around here.

        • Eric, what I’m getting at has nothing to do with Joey’s pitch selection. It has to do with are we seeing a great hitter in a decline? Can or will it be reversed? If he is in a decline, why? I’m take a break for a week or so just to cool down. I’m getting caught up too much in the day-to-day and lost some prospective. See you guys then but I will checking out all the guys comments in the meantime.

          Go Reds!

        • There is a reason why Bruce is walking a lot. The guys behind him are not perceived as dangerous in comparison. If Ludwick,and Frazier,start to make teams pay they will have to pitch to Bruce. May has historically been better in May than April. I would say that he is hitting at just about the rate he usually hits at this point, but walking more.. That shows he is getting more selective.

      • Pete Rose: I am and always have been a big fan of BP, but even disregarding all stats old and new, the eyeball test is telling me that he is struggling at the plate–lost, even. I’m not convinced that this is the end–he was hitting better a short while ago–but for now, at least, it has to be demoralizing for the team and for him to come to bat in important situations and be unable to deliver. Do the Reds have a great option for batting 3rd? No, but BP right now is one of the worst options. With no insider knowledge (a plight I share with everyone else here, as far as I know), I’m not at all convinced that BP would react to moving down in the order by throwing a hissy fit. He still plays hard on defense and has, historically, been willing to bat where the manager asks, not to mention that he often plays hurt. I would assume that he’d deal with it, if not welcoming it.

    • I don’t think Price called for the bunt there. Unless you heard something I didn’t, I am guessing BP did it on his own.

  4. The Reds got up off the mat tonight and showed sign of life. They stuck with their attack on Estrada and the third time through the lineup, they finally caught up with his two-pitch routine. And he lost some control. Then they took it to Henderson, who basically just has a fast ball. Good to see them show patience at the plate on several occasions – Bruce (walked) scored on Frazier’s home run. Walks will haunt.

    • Sure the Reds should keep a .224 hitter in the clean-up position. If they moved BP down and kept Bruce hitting clean-up things could get real ugly in a hurry.

      • Batting average again? Phillips’ slugging percentage (usually relevant when considering players for *the clean up spot*) is .318. Comparison Mesoraco (.787), Votto (.462), Frazier (.341), Bruce (.385), Ludwick (.390), Heisey (.372). Phillips shouldn’t bat ahead of any of them. Those numbers are based on before tonight, too.

        • Thought you said “vastly superior”? Bruce’s . 385 to BP’s .318. Yes, I will agree when Mez is healthy he should hit clean-up. And no problem with batting BP 7th – with Bruce hitting 6th, Ludwick 5th and Frazier 3rd. Bruce shouldn’t be within shouting distance of clean-up (based on your stats).

          Here’s the newly designed batting order:

          Hamiton
          Votto
          Frazier
          Mez
          Ludwick
          Bruce
          BP
          Cozart

          Food for thought.

        • Pete, Bruce is Bruce. I expect him to take off any day now and the walks have helped his value while he isn’t exactly crushing the ball. He has always been hot & cold. IMO; he is a very, very good player and if he could turn those “cold” periods into “warm”, he could very well win an MVP. The ups and downs make him a target of frustration and justifiably so but he is darn good ball player.

          BP is sliding and probably should not bat higher than 7th but I think the grief he gets here can be over the top. I’m grateful for his contributions to the City of Cincinnati and its people, especially the kids. Sincerely hope the rest of his years are the best yet.

          Just trying to be objective about it. My wish would be Mes gets the 3rd spot in the lineup when he returns. We know what we have in Fraz and Ludwick; it is not good enough for that place in the batting order. Who knows, Mes could turn out to be a monster talent.

        • Thanks Charlotte, for your voice of reason. But for a poster to say Bruce’s #s are ‘vastly superior” to BP’s may not be looking at the same stats maintained by MLB. Both Bruce’s and BP’s slugging %s are near rock bottom so far this year (anything less than .400 from your 3rd and 4th hitters is extremely poor – somewhere around 65th or 70th among starters in the NL). Their BAs are similar – and Jay hasn’t done anything in the past 3 weeks to warrant pundits stating in the preseason that he’ll garner the MVP in 2014. I love BP – sure he has some antics, but from watching JV try and play that ball last night behind 1B in the 9th last night he does too (as he may actually have a little quitter in him as he’s someone apt to pout). BP has done a lot for Cincinnati and for posters to want to throw him under the bus and use him (solely) as the excuse for why the Reds are currently a sub .500 team is beyond me. Posters love Votto and Bruce and simply choose to look the other way for their failures – but BP – he’s done so lets banish him to the bottom 3rd of the line-up while keeping Bruce at clean-up. That my friend is an injustice – and as you can tell, np speaking out. Now truly hope the Reds pull up their collective pants in unison and go kick some tail this week-end.

          Thanks again!

        • Pete, I’m not sure why you are having a hard time grasping this. You seem to appreciate numbers and see the relativity between them, but you seem incapable of putting them all together. You cherry pick BA or HR’s or RBI’s. Steve has now presented you with SLG, which shows you a bit of the difference between these hitters. But it’s really not hard to put them all together into a very easy to understand way of evaluating a player’s offensive production. You don’t even have to do any math – it’s already been done for you. It’s called wRC+ or a slightly simpler OPS+.

          Let’s stick to OPS+ for simplicity sake. I think you probably understand, but just in case any kids are tuning in for the first time this is a formula that takes OBP plus SLG, normalizes it for league and park, and gives you a number where 100 is a league average hitter and every point above or below it is one percent better.

          http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/CIN/2014.shtml

          Hamilton: 68
          Votto: 153
          Phillips: 62
          Bruce: 110
          Frazier: 124
          Ludwick: 92
          Mesoraco: 252
          Cozart: 47

          That takes into account BA, hitting for power, plate discipline…all of it. No cherry picking. No “Last 10 games.” Big picture. See that 62 next to Phillips’ name? That is very very bad. That is not what you want for a 3 hole hitter and that is why Price had him bunt in that spot last night. See the 110 next to Bruce? That means Bruce is statistically a 50% better hitter than Phillips. That is a LOT of percents! That is why people are rightly saying in this thread that he is “vastly superior” to BP. I’m simply not sure how you can argue with this except on emotion. The numbers are simply too cut and dry.

          And even with all of this, I am one of the biggest BP supporters on this board. He had a very bad month, though he showed flashes of still being able to put it together. I’m not sure where his new trend of swinging at every single thing thrown in his general direction is coming from and I hope he gets his head straight, but even once he does he has a career OPS+ of exactly 100. That means he is the picture of an average hitter, so even then he probably shouldn’t be batting higher than 6th or 7th on a contending team given that he can’t run very well anymore and hits into a well above average number of DP’s.

          Oh, and as for your Rockies, they have certainly had an amazing start offensively. They’re leading the majors in runs scored so it’s hard to argue that they are a superior offensive team. But to a man every one of them is hitting way above their career numbers with the exception of Gonzales. And even with that, they have 3 guys in their starting 8 with an OPS+ of 100 or below. We have 4. They have 2 guys with an OPS+ of over 150. We have 2. They have 1 guy with an OPS+ of over 200. We have 1. You could pretty easily make the argument that Brandon Phillips and his 62 OPS+ in the 3 hole is one of the key reasons we’re not scoring as many runs as the Rockies right now, and that’s with all of them playing out of their minds and most of our guys slumping.

  5. Sort of good news after the game on Hamilton. Mark Sheldon has Price saying this:

    Reds manager Bryan Price said. “We’re optimistic it will only be a day or two. But again, you never know until you see him in a day or two. We won’t anticipate him playing tomorrow, or at least starting in the outfield. But there are probably some things he can do to help us win a game.”

        • Studies show that players are more likely to be injured sliding feet first than head first. I read it in the wake of Harper’s injury and had seen similar findings when I was considering fighting a ridculous run in my son’s league against head first sliding. If I have time this morning, I will try to find a link.

    • When it comes to BHam, we agree on next to nothing but I do share your concern about head first slides. Somehow Rose got away with it for years but really concerned for Billy.

      It is very nice to end an evening in an agreeable manner. Maybe those Reds are at the beginning of a nice little run. Always enjoy your opinions, thoughts and comments. You are one helluva a writer and should be working for Cincinnati.com.

      • It would be Great to see 3 feet first slides tomorrow /(followed by a safe sign of course), it is fun to watch him

      • I acutally agree with you Kyle about head first slides not being any more dangerous. It’s really technique, and a little luck. But…for a player who just hurt his hand, I don’t want to see a head first slide for a while.

        • That’s a fair point PreacherJ. I don’t want him sliding headfirst with a bad hand, either.

  6. For what it’s worth: On MLB Tonight, Dan Plesac awarded Tucker Barnhart the “JARED JEWELS OF THE NIGHT” for his first hr (of course, Harold Reynolds then followed him up by awarding his “Jewels” to Carlos Gomez)

  7. Gomez is a hotdog showboat – swings out of his shoes every pitch and is a “look at me guy” in centerfield – can’t stand him and wish Reds pitchers could plunk him every time he comes to the plate – throw some mustard on him!

  8. Did anyone else notice the 1st base umpire (Jerry Layne) clapping when Ryan Ludwick fanned to end the 7th inning? hmmmmmm.

    • I did. I thought is was an indication to the plate ump that he agreed that he had gone around. Not a great way to express it, I agree.

    • I saw that. The only thing I could come up with was he was signaling a foul tip and since the catcher caught it it was a K. That is usually done by the home plate ump. But since it was an appeal to the 1st base ump, he made that call that way. It was odd though.

  9. Man our catchers can hit the long ball! Is there anyway they can all be on the field at the same time when Mez comes back? How about we run the wishbone at the catcher position or maybe the POWER I. :)

    • Not just power, either. You notice how hard they all run, even on routine grounders? I was really worried when it became clear that Hanigan was gone, but I really like all three of these guys.

  10. Just finished watching Pena’s post game interview, You just can’t help but love this guys attitude!!! I hope he is around the clubhouse for a long enough time for it to soak into some of our younger players for the future!

      • When Pena was part of the western portion of the winter caravan, I was pretty disappointed with the lack of star power. I wish I had known I was in the presence of greatness. :p

        (Actually, Eric Davis was there too, so that was enough greatness for me.)

  11. Per BP, let’s see what happens this month. I give a mulligan for April. It’s cold, rainy, etc. I think, like the weather, BP will start heating up. We put so much emphasis and everyone under a microscope for one month. It’s a long season.

    • Come June one if he is batting .250 he needs to be on the block. Same with Frazier and Cozart since those three are in reality the reason why our offense is always sluggish.

      • Frazier has an OPS+ of 124. With Mes on the shelf he is currently the 2nd best hitter on the team. Where do people get this stuff? Frazier is the reason the offense is sluggish?

        • Agree with you ERIC NYC. Frazier is having a nice little season so far. I swear I think some people just look at AVG and K. I mean even for the traditional stats guys Frazier is leading the team in both HR and RBI.

    • BP is historically a slow starter with April and Sept being his 2 worst months of hte year. Bruce is walking a ton because noone is afraid of Frazier batting behind him. And because Great American Ballpark is a bandbox in Right field, so why pitch to a Left handed power hitter versus a right handed batter? Look at Bruce’s splits too he walks a ton at home, but not much at all when away.
      I think they both need more time, BP is a better May/June hitter than he is April. And that is a 20-30 pt difference in BA and ops+ so not insignificant. If anything I would switch BP and Bruce as BP is a terrible 2 out hitter, his career numbers are BA is 60 pts higher in career and ops+ is 27 pts higher with 0 outs versus 2 outs. And he did a good job batting 4th for us last year. At least until he got hit by the pitch.
      I like Bruce, but he is so streaky that it is insane, I would prolly move him around in the order based on what streak he was on. bat him 3rd or 4th when he is hot and 6th or 7th when he is cold.

    • Wow. That’s interesting and surprising. The frequency is more than twice as much for feet-first as head-first. It’s a study of college baseball and softball, with large differences between the two sports in terms of injuries. It looks like the underlying study may have discussed the severity of the injuries. I’ll see if I can find more on it.

    • Here’s fodder for the other side (Stovak, 2012). I only read the summary, though. Study of high school baseball and softball players showing head first more dangerous than feet first. Seems like an interesting area. I’m going to dig later to see if there’s any research on the major league or minor league level. Seems like there ought to be.

    • I know when I played, I never could get the feet first slide down properly (the pop-slide). I exclusively went with the headfirst slide. Never did get hurt. It allows for a better controlled slide with the ability to slide away from the tag but still reach back for the bag.

  12. There was a lot of discussion before the season started about “Where will the Reds find a replacement for Choo’s production?” Well, so far our catchers are well ahead of last year’s output, which is nice to see.

    I love BP. I don’t think there’s been much of a defensive decline, so he’s–at worst–really, really good in the field. He’s swinging out of his shoes at anything anywhere near the strike zone (and at quite a bit nowhere near the strike zone), and has therefore made himself an easy out. I actually think the problem is the fact he’s batting 3rd, as he’s always shown a tendency to change his swing to fit his spot in the batting order. Whatever the problem, any objective observer would say he shouldn’t be batting 3rd. I would put him 5th right now, and put Frazier–who will take a walk–3rd.

    • I think his problem gets back to having a long swing (which he has always had). As his reflexes and swing slow down, he has to start so much earlier to get to the ball. That would explain: (a) taking fewer walks, (b) swinging at more pitches out the strike zone. He knows he doesn’t have as much time to evaluate strike/ball. Scott Rolen went through this same thing. He shortened his swing, but his walk rate still went way down at the tail end of his career.

      • I guess…But Rolen’s BB% was 9.1 in his last season and for his career it was 10.1. It was better consistently when he was in his 20′s, sure, but it started dropping when he was 31. I’d hardly call that the tail end of his career. Then again, BP is no Scott Rolen. Just looking at his career numbers, I don’t know how you keep him out of Cooperstown. In 17 seasons he put up 70 WAR. Barry Larkin had 70.2 in 19 seasons. 316 HR’s, ROY in 1997, 8 Gold Gloves, a WS championship. If he was a flashier personality you’d think he’d be a shoe in, but I seem to remember there being a lot of waffling from the media during his final seasons about if he was HOF caliber. Hard to know what voters are going to do, but if it were up to me he’d be in.

        Oh, and yeah Brandon Phillips has always had a crazy long swing. TONS of wasted motion. But it’s always worked relatively well for him. I think he’s just pressing right now.

        • Agree with you on Rolen. I was thinking of 2011 when his BB% was 3.7%. He really had no chance against high-velo fastballs that season.

        • Yes, injuries and physical impairment factored into the end of Rolen’s career and had a huge negative impact on his production at the plate. The end of Rolen’s career was more predicated on not being healthy or not being able to stay healthy rather than simple aging.

      • Really sounds right to me, Steve. Might also have something to do with his (perceived) tendency to swing at a lot of first pitches: he’s guessing that they are often in the strike zone.

  13. Wow Steve you are a patient man.

    Joey Votto could not hit in the top 8 of a lineup of 16 players made up of Reds and Rockies?
    BLAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHAHAHHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHH. that is hilarious.

    Votto would hit 600 in Coors with 27 HRs by the all start break. His OBP would be in the 800′s before you add the slugging because curve balls do not break in the thin air.

    And picking on Jay Bruce right now is just like EVERY person who doubted Johnny Cueto for the past 18 months. Not many of them today saying that we need to be concerned about Cueto. The only guys concerned about Cueto are the ones stepping into the box to face him.

    Sign Jay Bruce and Johnny Cueto to extensions asap Walt.

    I really like the walks that Jay Bruce is taking. He is locking into swinging at strikes which has been his weakness.

    Joe Morgan was asked about his low average one time and he said don’t worry about that because at the end of the year the first number will be a 3 and the second number will be a 2 and I don’t really care about the 3rd number.

    Jay Bruce 280 40 HRs, 120 RBI’s. I really do not care about his April. watch it, he will get hot and the Reds will be in first place in a few weeks

    • I applaud the optimism, and I am very high on Bruce, but I think his April has pretty much put him out of contention for finally hitting that 40 HR mark. I still think he will end up with a trypically Bruceian season with a couple of insane hot streaks. But it would be pretty hard for him to reach 40 now – I’m not sure how many months in the big leagues he’s gone with only 1 HR but it can’t be many.

      • I am not worried but understand what you say.
        April is not a home run month at GABP. Lots of balls on the track last month will be leaving the yard go forward.

        See, why I am optimistic about Bruce is his improved eye. His swing is beautiful and the hard hit balls have been coming. He is hitting to left side to beat the shift as well.

        His OBP at 371 is awesome. His slugging will not remain at 387.

        His MLB lfietime slugging is 479. And will an improved eye at the plate, his 2012 number of 514 is going to be bettered this year

    • I love Bruce but think you’re being a bit optimistic. That said, he won’t be hitting .220-something with a SLG under .400 either. Bruce is a very, very good player. He might never have the MVP season but he should have several more very good seasons ahead of him. Even with his slow start I’m thinking .255/.348/.465 is about where Bruce will end up. I’ll take that and as a projection I think it’s a bit conservative.

  14. Rolen is HOF worthy and should get alot of consideration. He won’t be a first ballot HOF’er, but he should make it.
    About BP and a possible trade market for him. There are teams still out there that have 2B issues. Some have serious issues. The NYY are not getting much from Roberts and Toronto’s rookie 2B, Goins, is hitting about .130.
    If I were Jocketty, I’d be working on a full court press to obtain OF Jose Bautista from Toronto. I’d be on the phone every day to Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulus. Toronto is one of the few teams that have an excess of power bats. Bautista matches up so well with what the Reds needs are. Bautista only has this year and next year under contract. So, that might help Toronto to be a player in this scenario. So, how to get Toronto to be more interested in BP? Thier other biggest need is a SP. So, when Cingrani is able to come off the DL, package BP with Simon and a prospect and maybe Toronto bites. And in a side bar, if they are able to consumate that trade, the baggage that comes with BP and Simon now will go with them. If Toronto bites, and that is a BIG if. But it is a trade that helps both teams.
    A lineup that includes Votto, Bautista, and Bruce in the middle would be the favorites to win the NLC.

    • People have been talking Bautista for a while – There were even murmurs of Votto for Bautista straight up before the contract. With the season he’s having, I think it would be hard to get him. The AL East is wide open and they’re right in it. Bautista’s having his best season since 2011. Yes he only has 2 more years on his contract, but why would you part with that kind of production for 3 years of an expensive declining BP, a reliever in his 30′s who may or may not be able to be a consistent starter, and some random rookie not named Robert Stephenson? I don’t think we have enough quality prospects in our system to get Bautista even if we emptied the cupboards.

      • For Toronto, BP would be a serious upgrade at 2B. That is how dire the position is with them. As for Simon, Toronto wouldn’t be interested in a 4-1 starter with a 1.60 ERA??? After Beurhle, Hutch and Dickey, Toronto doesn’t have much in the SP department. Their other 2 SP’s have ERA’s around 6.00. And the Reds farm system is much more than just Stephenson. If Torornto wants to contend in the AL East, they have to upgrade a 2-3 positions. The two teams GM’s could help each other out if they could get together.

        • Any offensive upgrade they might get at 2B with Phillips would be DWARFED by the massive drop in production they’d lose with Bautista gone.

          As for Simon, I’m really really hoping other teams think the way your’e thinking and we can move him once Latos is healthy. If he looks like a front line starter he could be worth a lot on the trade market. I just keep waiting for the wheels to fall off. The sooner Latos can come back the better.

        • I don’t think teams ignore years of peformance and look at 1 month when thinking about trades. Simon is a not-so-great pitcher having a great month. With that said, he’s not bad, so he does have value. Just not “4-1 with a 1.6 ERA” value.

        • The other tricky part about trading Simon, as tempting as it may be, is the innings limit. He hasn’t pitched 100 innings since 2011 and never more than 115 in his major league career. Assuming the Reds keep using him as a starter, say for another month, he’d already be at around 60 IP with four months to go. Another team isn’t going to sign him as a possible starter for the rest of the year. It’s not so much the injury risk, although that’s not negligible, but more the uncharted territory for Simon.

        • If I’m a GM needing starting pitching, Simon really interests me. Who’s to say he’s not a good starting pitcher? As a starter this saeason, Simon is putting up the same numbers he has been putting up since joining the Reds and meeting Bryan Price. The difference in his performance with the reds and his performance with the O’s is his HR rate. Since joining the Reds, Simon has more than halved his HR rate. I think Simon could be a good #3 starter on most pitching staffs and a 32 starter on a good number of teams, if someone wants to take such a chance and can work with the innings limitations for this season. Simon’s ERA is NOT goping to hover at 1.6 for the entire season. That’s drop down, lock cinch CY type numbers. I expect Simon to finish with a sub 3.00 ERA no matter what role he fills on the pitching staff after his performance the past 2 seasons and his great start this season. I also think a 3.5 ERA going forward is a reasonable expectation for5 a few seasons, no matter what role he fills on the pitching staff.

  15. Interesting mathematical factoid: the Reds, Cardinals, and Brewers all have the exact same run differential right now at +14. The Brewers have only scored 7 more runs this season than the Reds and yet are 6.5 games ahead. This is seriously the most optimistic news I’ve heard all season. It suggests that the Brewers hot start really was a lot more flash than substance and there’s every reason to believe that the standings will start to normalize. Factor in all of the injured guys we should be getting back sooner than later and we could be in for a dramatic swing.

    • More interestingly, looking at the Pythagorean expected records, the Reds should actually be ahead of the Brewers by half a game and only a game behind the Cards for 1st place. I know that’s just number wonking, but it does help ease some of the April panic.

    • Yesterday’s game was a microcosm of the Brewer’s season, past and future. The Brew Crew’s record is contingent on unsustainably timely hitting and superior pitching from a pitching staff with questionable excellence. Yesterday, the Brew Crew maximized their potential run production without a superior offensice performance. Their pitching was not able to maintain dominance and eventually succumbed to the better offensive performance by the Reds.

      Last season, the Birds offense did it with smoke and mirrors for the entire season, but the Birds’ pitching was superior quality. This season, the unsustainability factor finally kicked in and the Birds’ offense game back to earth. Let’s hope the reds put the Brew Crew in an unreversible tail spin through the next 3 games at GABP.

      • Isn’t that what the Pirates did exactly last year? Timely hitting and superior pitching? I wouldn’t be quick to count on the Brewers returning to the norm. I think the key with most teams with good talent is injuries and how they handle their injuries with either organizational depth or in-season trades.

        • Certainly it isn’t all about luck and Pythagorean equations adding up. Otherwise they’d never play the games. And every year there are a handful of teams who exceed their statistical expectations. But not by as much as the Brewers have been the first month.

    • Smoke, mirrors, and a much easier schedule than we’ve had helps explain the Brewers. Ask yourself this: were you rooting for the Brewers or the Cardinals in their recent series? Despite Milwaukee’s hot start, I know I was still pulling for them over the Cardinals.

      I mean no disrespect to the Brewers, who are much improved. Their emergence makes the NL Central all the more difficult; it’s the toughest Division right now. But we and the Cards are, when healthy, the two best teams.

    • That’s fairly disrespectful I have a real job (which I’m at right now). I’m an engineer who works with rockets and missiles. I have a lunch break; I have down time when I’m waiting for a meeting; I have the ability to multitask as ERIC NYC suggests. I’m currently reviewing a spec document on my right screen while typing this on my left screen.

      Not sure what the point of a comment like yours is…

  16. Wow…Anyone seen the lineup for tonight?

    Heisey
    Votto
    Frazier
    Bruce
    Pena
    Cozart
    Bernadina
    Santiago
    Leake

    I don’t even know what that IS. That’s like Price was playing mad libs with the lineup card. He knows this is kind of an important series, right?

    • Funny, after BP’s bunt last night I said “Well crap, if he’s going to bunt you may as well put Santiago in at 2B and bat him 8th!” … I’m ok with this lineup aside from Ludwick not being in it. BP needs a day off. He’s played every day this season. And I still haven’t seen anywhere that he didn’t bunt on his own yesterday. If that’s the case, out of the 3-hole guy, I am really good with Santiago being in there.

  17. Back to BP… if healthy, I expect him to be back in the lineup tomorrow. Perhaps not in the 3-hole but probably in the 3-hole still as well. I think Price is giving him a day off.

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