Game Thread

Brewers at Reds (May 3, 2014)

Hall of Fame managing 39 years ago today, Pete Rose placed a winning bet on Foolish Pleasure to come in first in the Kentucky Derby. Pete’s success at the track that afternoon threw open the gates to arguably the most pivotal day in the history of the Big Red Machine. Saturday, May 3, 1975 was when Rose, who hadn’t played the infield in eight years, switched to third base at manager Sparky Anderson’s request. The move allowed Anderson to get George Foster’s bat in the Reds line-up on a regular basis. (Read Chris Garber’s excellent account and photo journal.) The Reds were 12-12 at the time. Sparky’s boys finished the regular season 108-54 and, of course, won the first of their back-to-back World Series championships.

Today’s line-up In light of that history, May 3 is the perfect day for this year’s Reds’ manager to make an important line-up change for the 2014 Reds (13-16). Or the perfect day to do the same stubborn thing, hoping for a different result. One of those two things.

1. Chris Heisey (R) CF
2. Joey Votto (L) 1B
3. Brandon Phillips (R) 2B
4. Jay Bruce (L) RF
5. Todd Frazier (R) 3B
6. Ryan Ludwick (R) LF
7. Brayan Pena (S) C
8. Zack Cozart (R) SS
9. Johnny Cueto (R) P
9

Braun to DL Reports earlier this week had indicated the possibility that Ryan Braun might play in this series. But the Brewers have decided to put their slugger on the DL while he recovers from a strained oblique muscle. Reds’ fans will have to wait until the Fourth of July to boo Braun in person, if they so desire.

UPDATE: Reds roster news The Reds activated Skip Schumaker (34) from the DL and designated Roger Bernadina for assignment (John Fay). John Fay is also reporting that the Cuban Missile is one step closer to re-entry, having thrown 16 pitches in an inning of work today.

Amateur draft The Reds have the 19th pick in this year’s amateur baseball draft, which takes place next month. Doug Gray offers his first look at the draft at his excellent site, RedsMinorLeagues.com – and reports these past hits at the #19 spot:

“Two years ago the Cardinals landed Michael Wacha with the 19th pick. Three years before that they used the 19th pick to land Shelby Miller. The Cubs grabbed Andrew Cashner with the pick in 2008. Alex Rios was the 19th overall pick in 1999. Way back in 1983 some guy named Roger Clemens was taken with the 19th overall pick. Going back even further Bobby Grich went 19th overall in the 1967 draft. The Reds have had the pick before, taking Ron Robinson in 1980.”

Happy birthday Of course, of course, best wishes to now 28-years-old Homer Bailey.

Homer_Bailey

Weather forecast Game time (7:10 p.m.) temperature expected to be 65º and zero percent chance of rain.

I’ll be there tonight, bells on. Go Reds!

198 thoughts on “Brewers at Reds (May 3, 2014)

  1. Anyone who wants to know why they show patience with Ondrusek, go back and watch his first batter in the 9th last night. He had great stuff, and knew what to do with it.

  2. We were going to go but I just can’t work up the energy for four hours in the car when I can watch it on a 70 inch tv in glorious high definition.

  3. Wow – guess Price is just as stubborn as his old boss – got to leave BP in the 3 hole – “got to get him going” > insanity !!! > doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results – that or he is just a glutton for punishment

  4. Schumaker back on the roster. Reds DFA Bernadina. Schumaker now becomes back-up outfielder and 2B. He has never played SS, 3B or 1B in the major leagues.

  5. Cubs continue their tough play against the Cardinals. Six Cubs pitchers combined to shut out St. Louis 3-0. The Cardinals are now 15-16 and with a win today, the Reds can pull to within a half game of second place in the NL Central.

  6. “Price has the sac bunt threat back in the #3 spot….. ”

    I think it is worth noting that a successful sac bunt from the #3 hitter last night in the first inning (versus the GIDP which happened) might have turned the entire game in a different direction.

    Given the state of the Reds offense, they likely are going to live or die on their pitching and defense. Perhaps they should throw the (new) book out the window and play for a run every time the opportunity presents itself because a win is still a win and a loss is not.

    • The Reds have scored 110 runs, which puts them just a tick below the league average of 113. They have scored more runs than anyone in the division except the Brewers who have only scored 119. Given the slow starts from Bruce and BP plus the relatively quiet start from Votto, I’m not overly worried about the offense. Plus Schumaker will make our bench better – up until now we have only had one major league bat on the bench in Heisey. Frankly, I’m more worried about our pitching. Homer needs to improve, I’m still waiting for the wheels to fall off Simon, who knows when Latos will be back or what he will look like, shoulder injury to Cingrani, bullpen a huge question mark, etc.

      • Sounds like a lot of teams – as the Brew Crew has lost Braun for a while (DL). Bad teams whine about their hurt players – good teams just suck it up and keep winning.

        • Sigh…Did you read the part where we’re basically a league average offense right now? Suck it up…Yes, because this is a Kevin Costner movie and not professional baseball. We should probably have 2 or 3 more in the W column, but as guys get healthy it’ll start evening out.

    • Honestly didn’t even think of that. Odd to start a guy if you’re going to DFA him less than 24 hours later.

      • Hoping he would go 4-4 and hit the game winning HR then the Reds could have traded him and gotten something for him. Since he didn’t, DFA here he comes

      • Gave him one chance to prove his worth, saved Soto’s job, Bernadina’s downfall is that he cannot catch

  7. Sure love me some .587 OPS in the 3 hole. To give you an idea of comparison… Cozart, who is so awful offensively that there’s no less than 5 people a game who mention how he needs cut? .519 OPS.

    Hamilton has a .610 OPS, including a better OBP and SLG… that’s right.

      • Anyone who has seriously followed this team at all for the last 5 years knows that Jay Bruce is as streaky as they come. He has a bad month and then a month where he looks like the MVP. It simply is what it is and what it is is a player who is very good but can be frustrating if you’re obsessed with small sample sizes. Deal with it.

        • Can say the same thing to the BP posters – dude had 100+ rbi last year – and can make a case too that he’s simply off to a slow start.

        • Even with 100 RBI, he had a 92 OPS+, meaning he was a subpar hitter. .261/.310/.396 is what he hit last year. I still wouldn’t want that batting third.

        • BP is definitely off to a slow start and I’ve been one of his biggest defenders around here (besides you). But I’m never going to base my opinion on him offensively based on a season he put up a lot of RBI’s batting behind the two highest OBP hitters in the NL. That is a meaningless stat. BP actually had the worst offensive season of his career last year by every single metric except RBI’s.

        • BP has been the picture of a 100 OPS+ hitter his entire Reds career. I expect him to get his head straight and start hitting like that again soon. But even then he doesn’t belong anywhere near the 3 spot.

      • Jay Bruce in a brutal cold streak STILL is an above average hitter (102 OPS+)… since I answered your question, can I cross your bridge now?

        • And in the midst of a pretty cold streak right now he has an OPS+ of 110. Thank his new ability to draw walks for that. When he heats up (and he will) that added plate discipline should make him even more dangerous than usual.

        • How do you know BP isn’t – why are all the Reds fans down on BP when he could turn it around just as well (you are willing to say Bruce will why not BP – or is it simply negativity about BP)? And why is it that they will jump through hoops to defend Bruce’s arctic chill of a month but when it comes to BP they want to bury him?

        • Age and the decline is his numbers the last 3-4 years. Why am I even trying to reason with you.

        • How do you continually not get this? Bruce’s “arctic chill” of a month has him sitting on a 110 OPS+ which means he is still hitting at an above average level. BP, on the other hand, has a 62 OPS+ which means if Bruce is in an arctic chill then BP is frozen in carbonite.

        • And Eric, not sure if OPS and OPS+ are the same but if they are – Bruce is 53rd and at a .729 clip. If the ‘+’ is for walks, as far as what’s been read – the clean-up hitter job is to drive runners in – not to walk. And unless the bases are juiced then it does the Reds absolutely no good. Do you get that?

        • OPS and OPS+ are not the same. OPS+ accounts for league and park and gives you a nice snapshot of how a player performs against an average hitter. Bruce right now (and always had been) an above average hitter. BP right now is very much below average, though has always been the definition if average over his career.

  8. And if you want to see a team with a real offense – then head down to the old ball yard next week-end and watch the offensive display put on by the Red’s opponents – pretty tough 1-5 hitters and not talking about the Reds (and easy guys, a hugely disappointed Reds fan here (miss the times when the Reds actually had an offense) – but don’t invite me to any Joke-rrty parties – really not interested)

    • Face it, this team is not built to be an offensive juggernaut. It just isn’t. I know you want it to be, but we have consistently put our resources into building an elite pitching staff. Our big money went to Votto who was paid because he’s the best OBP guy in baseball. The roster has been constructed to be a slightly above average offense with one of the best defenses and pitching staffs in baseball. It’s gotten us to the postseason 4 of the last 5 years with 2 division championships. I’d like to see them try and find one more power bat since the offense needs to take one step further for the team to succeed in the long run, but I don’t think we need to be the White Sox at the plate to win a WS.

      • I can’t tell if it’s just confusion or deliberate with Pete the poster. Does anyone have links to the advanced metrics articles that were posted here a while back? If it’s confusion reading those might help. I seem to remember one about Joey Votto’s favorite stat and there might have been another about OPS+ (or was that the same article?) Either way it was a good read and very informative if you’re new to the newer metrics.

        • Hey mw, which stat are you referring to – not totally sure but I am not sure Jay’s in the top 50 in category

      • Actually Joeys’ not even tops in the NL so far this season – that honor actually goes to one of those 5 players who will be visiting next week-end. Problem is, he has trouble staying healthy. Not knocking what the Reds are trying to do – but so far this year they haven’t shown the ability to be successful. The team visiting team both this next week-end has.

        • Why do they all have to be the best in the league at something? Joeys going to be just fine, trust me. So he’s not winning a triple crown in April. Who cares? I’d bet good money he leads the league in OBP yet again this year.

  9. Sorry, last sentence meant to read ‘ the teams visiting both this and next week-end have’. Just frustrated watching the locals (my locals – Rockies) showing they can really hit the ball while the Reds are one frustrating unit to watch.

    • Again this needs to be explained to you – That ballpark is a hitters dream. Everyone hits better there. On top of that, the team has been constructed around offense instead of defense. And however you want to evaluate that, it hasn’t led to as much success as the Reds’ opposite approach over the last 5 years.

      Look, we’d all love to score 10 runs every night but it ain’t going to happen. At the end of the year we will be somewhere near the top third of the league in runs scored. That is very good given our pitching and defense.

      • Thanks, now let me take a moment and try to understand this, you are trying to say that the Reds don’t place any emphasize on offense? Then explain to all of us on this board as we are all frustrated by the lack of offense. I’m not sure everyone completely understand that nor agrees with you. Thus maybe you could help the others who are just as frustrated by the Reds offensive production.

        And as far as offense, the Rockies place a pretty high premium on pitching as well, as they have a lot better pen than the Reds. So you may wish to go down and watch a couple of the Rockies young talented arms next week-end – they should put on one heck of a show.

    • Isn’t there a Rockies board you can post on? Honestly, it’s just not that interesting to hear about how some Rockies hitters are off to hot starts. That happens like every year. And then some of those guys go to other teams and they stink. Colorado obviously helps offense and when you throw in small sample size, well, it just become a pretty worthless comparison.

      • Al, I am a Reds fan – strictly using a productive team like the Rockies to show how dismal the first 6 in the Reds line-up has been – just not the Reds players that are favorites of the some fans.

        • Starts to read like trolling. If you would honestly rather have Justin Morneau than Joey Votto, you aren’t good at evaluating talent. If you wouldn’t hostly like Morneau over Votto, then your posts don’t really carry much weight.

          You throw around stuff like The top 6 in the order, and that’s just garbage. Votto is hitting very well, Frazier is hitting very well. The Rockies have some good hitters. Who cares?There is nothing interesting about that comparison IMO.

        • Don’t feed the troll, Al. This guy has proven over and over he’s got no clue what’s going on. And yes, he needs to find a Rockies’ board.

  10. I have been patiently awaiting the return of Skip Schumaker. He’s not a magic bullet, but I think he can be a real positive influence in the clubhouse. Plus dude has pop in his bat.

    • He certainly improves the bench by a mile. Once Mes is back our bench will actually be pretty decent with Pena available.

    • Bernadina can’t play any IF positions. Schumacher gives us a BU in the outfield as well as 2B and probably SS in an emergency. Bernadina can basically just play LF and maybe CF.

  11. I was referring to OPS+ and I believe the other one was WRC+? I mix the acronyms up a lot though so not entirely sure on that second one. I remember a while back there was an article about both those. What people are trying to explain to you Rose is that the advanced stats are a MUCH better indicator of how well a hitter is actually doing at the plate. They take into account the things the traditional counting stats like RBI, wins, ERA, etc. miss. They give guys credit for working a walk, they adjust for things like what park you play in (the Rockies for example play in a park that dramatically improves your offensive stats whereas the Padres play in a park that is much more pitcher-friendly.) and on and on. The really nice ones are even simplified down to a 100 point scale. 100 is average and then every 1 above or below that 100 mark indicates how much better or worse than average that player is.

    So if hitter A is rated at 100 then he’s league average. If hitter B is rated 112 then he’s 12% better than average. It’s very very easy to compare hitters that way.

    • If you’re referring to your post further up about the stat Votto likes, yes, wRC+. It takes everything a player can do offensively into account.

  12. We all saw again last night that Heisey is much better than Ludwick defensively. And he’s faster. So how much better does Ludwick have to hit to justify starting him over Heisey? And does anyone believe he’ll hit that much better?

    • Heisey has clearly been the superior player so far this year. He’s making positive contributions with his hitting, base running, and defense. Nothing spectacular, but solid all around. He should be starting every day.

    • I’ve been pleasantly surprised with Ludwick this season so far. I thought he would really struggle coming back off the shoulder injury but he’s been decent. Defensively he has a noodle arm and no range so yeah, not a fair comparison with Heisey who can play center. I suspect off the field issues will keep Ludwick in the lineup though, it’s tough to pay someone that much and keep him on the bench unless they are in an absolute nose-dive.

    • Or put another way, signing Ryan Ludwick was stupid.

      Casino owners would love Walt. He never seems to know when to cash in his winnings and walk away.

  13. Anybody else watch the Reds on MLB.TV? It’s awful now, during commercial breaks, they’ll show highlight plays from MLB.TV history. I have to keep reliving BP grounding out into Roy Halladay’s postseason no-no.

    • I’m watching it on MLB.tv but sans the commercials. Was considering watching this one from the Brewer’s perspective but decided against it.

    • Yeah, it’s amazing what good velocity, good movement, good control, a good repertoire, and good pitching intelligence will get you. :)

  14. I think a lot of people subscribe to my theory, if you throw enough hate a players way he lets you down as he exceeds your expectations. Here’s hoping for an expected golden sombrero from our #3 hitter only to be foiled by a DP with the bases loaded. A triple play would not shock me.
    In all honesty, if can any one really think Frazier is the answer in the 2 hole

    • meant Frazier in the 3 hole, then there is just as much disappointment, I believe BP i sthe 6th best hitter in this line-up at this point in his career, although I have no probably with arguing Heisey and Frazier are just behind him

  15. The one thing that has impressed me about Heisey in the leadoff spot is how many pitches he’s been seeing. Seems like he’s going 6+ pitches every time.

  16. That’s rough. Cueto throws 2 pitches in that same area, doesn’t get the call. So he throws it one ball length closer to the plate and Ramirez hits it out.

  17. I can’t believe the reds are paying Homer 100 million dollars for Cueto to throw home run balls.

  18. Todd is looking more and more like a legit middle of the order hitter. I didn’t know the last few years. He won’t end up in Cooperstown, but he’s an above average defensive player and I like him at 3B for the next 5 years.

    • I think the thing that wins me over the most with Frazier is he tries so hard. He obviously loves what he’s doing but he worked really hard at defense last year and it paid off, now I’m hoping he’s figured out his plate coverage a little better for this year’s focus.

  19. How great must it have been for Todd to come up under Scott Rolen’s wing? Say what you want about Rolen’s concrete contribution to this team, but the intangibles are off the chart. Maybe the best signing Walt ever made for this team.

    • Random variation of stats within the season doesn’t justify slumps.

      If Votto goes 1-21 with 1 walk and 10Ks, he’s in a slump.

      He’s not in a slump, per se. He’s just getting unlucky. Easily could have 2 HR in the last 2 nights, and his BABIP so far is below his career average.

      If Gomez doesn’t make the catch on Thursday, Votto would have 5 HR 1 month into a 6 month season. Pace of 30. Everyone would have been rejoicing.

    • I think it is frustrating when Votto gets caught looking at a pitch right down Broadway on a 2/2 count and that brings out the snarkiness.

      The his body of work is strong but when he is caught like that, which seems to be more often this year, a person can’t help but wonder if he out thinks himself sometimes.

      • “…which seems to be more often this year.”

        Go look it up. I think you’ll be surprised.

        Did you play baseball? Just curious. Sometimes you don’t pick the ball up well from the pitchers’ hand for whatever reason. A gnat flew into your eye or something else random. If you don’t pick the ball up well, you don’t swing.

        The K in the first seemed like that to me. He didn’t react with the normal kind of body language he does when he thinks a ball is on the edge or low or something.

        I don’t think that at bat (or anythign this season thus far) is cause for concern.

        • Played enough to know that about 99%+ of the time when you get caught looking like Votto was tonight, it has everything to do with having guessed totally wrong on what you thought the pitcher would throw in a situation. That was about the third time I’ve seem him caught looking like that in the last week.

          Votto has an incredible ability to consistently spoil (foul off) pitches that most batters couldn’t even it they knew exactly what was coming. On the other hand he takes a heck of a lot of very good pitches (not just ones he is called out on). Track the number of times he goes strike one, strike two without even taking the bat off his shoulder.

        • The pitch that you’re talking about was inches above the very bottom of the strike zone. You’re acting like it was right down broadway, when in fact, Votto could have simply thought it was too low to hit.

        • I Like the graph. If center of the horizontal zone 3-4″ above the bottom of the zone isn’t broadway, then I guess we have different definitions of Broadway.

          Over 100 points of Votto’s OBP derive from his ability to draw walks which strongly suggests he knows that location is a strike every day of the week. If he doesn’t offer at strike 2 it has to be because he guessed wrong.

  20. An interesting thought; on Hardball Times, there’s an article talking about clutch. Of course, no one at THT or FG believe in clutch (neither do I), but if it were a thing, Willie Bloomquist would be the most clutch player of the last 10 years. You’re welcome (for the laugh). ;)

  21. I don’t know the best way to do this math, but what is Cueto’s run support the last few years? It seems like as a rule we go to sleep when he pitches.

    • So he’s made an out only 12 times in 28 PAs with RISP?

      That’s pretty elite.

      (See what I did?)

      And, still, I believe he’s either 5th or 6th ALL-TIME IN THE HISTORY OF BASEBALL with RISP.

  22. I can’t believe the reds gave Votto 200 million for Cueto to jog up the first base line on a ground out to the second baseman.

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