Titanic Struggle Recap

Game 35: An Evening on Beatdown Boulevard

Final R H E
Colorado Rockies  (23-16)
11  16 2
Cincinnati Reds  (16-19)
2  5 0
W:  J. Lyles (5-0)    L:  A. Simon (4-2)
Box Score | Play-by-Play | Stats | Depth Chart | FanGraphs Win Probability

The Good

Joey Votto went “oppo” in the 2nd inning. The last pitch he saw last night and the first pitch he saw tonight both left the yard. I wonder if he read Jonah Keri’s piece from the other day.

The Bad

Nick Christiani, who could not stanch the bleeding when the game was still in doubt. The bats were MIA again, but the good news is that Devin Mesoraco is close. Sean Marshall was–how you say?–uninspiring.

The Ugly

Starting pitching. Bleh. J.J. Hoover. Yikes. The Reds still haven’t figured out how to fix his bad mechanics.

Not so random thoughts …

Before tonight, Reds starters had not given up more than 3 runs in a game for 10 straight. The starting pitching through 34 games has not been this good since 1973.

All that ended tonight. I fully expected the Toyota truck to take one in the lug nuts before the night was over.

From the AP:  Reds manager Bryan Price indicated he wouldn’t waste any time using Aroldis Chapman in a save situation. “I’m not hesitant,” Price said. “He doesn’t need a soft landing.”

Game Thread Quote of the Night: “Wouldn’t it be nice once in a lifetime to have a Reds team that hits like this Rockies team?”

I remember a time when the Reds had nothing BUT hitting. As a youth I would think to myself, “Wouldn’t it be nice once in a lifetime to have a Reds team that pitches like this Dodger team?

Ah, well.

Our old friend Nick Masset made an appearance tonight. I’ll never forget a Reds trip to New York a couple of years ago. After a Mets game, I ran into Masset’s uncle at Ground Zero in lower Manhattan. I asked him when we could expect to see Nick.

Oh, his rehab is going well. He’ll surely be back by the All-Star break.”

Yeah.

Expect Devin Mesoraco to head for a couple of minor league rehab starts with the Bats. He’s almost ready to resume mashing for the big club. Which cannot  come soon enough.

Expect Tony Cingrani back in the rotation when the Reds head for Philly.

The Daily Billy: expect to see Hamilton in the lineup tomorrow. Interestingly, Price was about to take Billy down as a pinch hitter last night, when the Rockies manager brought in left hander Boone Logan. The difference in comfort batting from the left side because of the injury must be substantial, but Hamilton talked Price into letting him bat right handed—and he doubled. I’ve been wondering this for awhile: should Billy give up switch hitting and focus strictly on batting from his dominant side?

That’s all I got.

30 thoughts on “Game 35: An Evening on Beatdown Boulevard

  1. Oh man, good question “should Billy give up switch hitting and focus strictly on batting from his dominant side” Well in my opinion I say give up the switch hitting and focus on strictly hitting from his dominant side, if that gets him on base more often. We all know what a game changer he can be if he gets on base.

    • I,agree, whatever gets him on base.
      Looking forward to Mes coming back soon and Bailey being dominant tomorrow.

  2. We went out with some friends tonight and I didn’t even think to look at my phone to check the score. Then I got a new email alert and it was the recap being posted. Yikes. Glad I missed it.

    • People prefer to put it: ‘Sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear gets you.” Less graphic, and does anyone eat bear ?

      • I’m sure some do in the wilds of Alaska, Northern Canada, Siberia, etc…. Just quoting the Preach. The saying has been modified overtime but as usual, I prefer the original.

      • Yes indeed, people eat bear. It’s like really rich beef if the critter wasn’t too long in the tooth (double meaning, sort of).

  3. At least Price seems to be a man of his word as he passed on this perfect opportunity to send Chapman out to throw a meaningless inning.

    • He’s a man of his word, all right, but I would like to have seen Chapman pitch that meaningless inning. Considering the layoff, the bad spring training he had prior to the injury, the two awful AAA outings, and that Price himself said just two days ago that “Chapman is physically but not mentally ready”, I would like to have seen one teeny little inning before Chapman pitches with a game on the line.

      Part of Price’s explanation for Chapman’s poor performances at AAA scared me – that “Norfolk has a good lineup”. A better lineup than the Rockies ?

      If Chapman comes in on Sunday to protect a 1 run lead and strikes out the side against the heart of the Rockies order, it wouldn’t surprise me. Then again, if he comes in with a 3 or 4 run lead against the bottom of their lineup, and can’t retire a single batter, that wouldn’t surprise me either.

      I think Price is showing “confidence in my guy” in the wrong way.

  4. In my lifetime, anyway, adjusting for run inflation, the home park, and assuming that the Rockies cool off just a little bit at home, the Reds have at least three times had as good an offensive lineup as this Rockies team: the 1965 Reds, who scored 825 runs, and the 1975-76 Reds (840 and 857 runs, respectively). One could also argue the 1962 Reds, who scored 802 runs, but that was an expansion year. Remember that the mound was lowered in 1969.

    The ’65 Reds had no pitching except Jim Maloney so the great offense didn’t matter.
    I’m not sure how the 2005 Reds lineup compares to this Rockies team – too early in the 2014 season to say – but they led the NL with 820 runs and only won 73 games because of a 5.15 ERA. That was the prototypical Reds team of the first decade of the millenium.

    And who took the blame from a whole lot of people for those losing teams – Griffy Jr. and Adam Dunn.

    • Some here will remember the 1956 Reds, a surprise team that won 91 games and scored 775 runs in 154 games. A bunch of bashers, they tied the existing major league record with 221 home runs. Frank Robinson set the ML rookie record with 38 HRs. Big Klu, Gus Bell, Wally Post, Ed Bailey, etc. I was a Reds fan at that point but too young to understand how good the offense was.

      • I, too, remember them, and I, too was too young to think that the ’56 team was other than business as usual.

    • The Reds all time scoring record was 865 runs in 1999. That team finished in 2nd with a 95-67 record. The Diamondbacks and ‘Stros were division winners that year. The Reds are looking better than those two this year.

  5. Christiana, Hoover, Ondrusek, Marshall. Price has plenty of bullpen arms to choose from in a throw away game.Someone in the game thread said Price was holding auditions for AAA. A swap or two would be in order if there is any help down there.

    • FREE JUMBO!

      Diaz may completely flop if given the chance, but he’s certainly more than earned the chance. I guess if you’re paying $24MM for the bullpen, you just don’t want to promote a guy and pay him league minimum, even if he might be better than the highly paid bodies not performing out of the bullpen.

      • That is a sad reality. We are playing the guys who are paid the most not playing the best. It breaks my heart to see that in baseball as a general rule. The paying customer pays to see wins and that customer really doesnt care about the who or the how. We the customer will back whoever can succeed the most often

      • My hunch is with Diaz the larger issue is him not being on the 40-man roster. That said, I’m a card-carrying member of the Free Jumbo! movement. I’d just like to see a player demoted based strictly for failure to get the job done. The bullpen is the most logical place for that. I’d take one of those guys who hasn’t thrown strikes and send him down – for the message it sends, if nothing else.

        • I think Hoover (and I’m a Hoover fan) has to go down and sort out his issues. His are the most glaring and he has the best chance to recover his groove and be successful at this level.

  6. If Votto did check out the Keri article, I hope he looked at the data instead of the headline. Totally different story. Turns out, in 2010, 2011 and 2013, Votto swung at the same percentage of fastballs in the strike zone with RISP (Keri’s chosen measure of aggressiveness). He didn’t become less aggressive over that time. The 2014 data that shows a drop off in Votto’s swing percentage was, at the time, based on *seven* pitches – the difference between Votto’s usual swing rate (70%) and his April 2014 swing rate (50%) over a 36 pitch sample.

  7. The Rockies are definitely swinging with confidence right now. Every hitter was swinging for the fences and hitting upper-cut line drives. It takes a pitcher who can get a decent number of strikeouts (Cueto 8, Simon 0) to hold them at bay. Last night was Simon’s second consecutive game without a strikeout. You can’t let the Rockies put the ball in play every AB, they are hitting too many line drives right now.

  8. Rockies aside, the Reds lineup is woeful. Somehow, we’ve ended up with Skip Schumaker being an acceptable lead-off hitter and Brayan Pena as the #2 hitter. Granted, both those guys have had big hits in their short time with the Reds, but keep in mind their career numbers, especially the past few years, is who they really are. Batting Schumaker, Pena and Phillips ahead of Votto is repeating Dusty Baker’s sin of using low OBP at the top of the lineup.

  9. Today’s lineup:
    BHam-cf
    Schu-rf
    BP-2b
    MVP-1b
    “Todd”-3b
    Lud-lf
    Barnhart-behind the dish
    Santiago-ss
    HB-p

    Here’s hoping Homer has one of his dominating performances; I have a feeling we’ll need it.

  10. I thought the one positive thing coming out of Bruce getting knee surgery was that Heisey would have an uninterrupted 40 or so days of “No matter what, you’re the starter” games. Looks like Schumaker has taken over.

    The first three OBPs in the batting order are now .282, ..286, and .306…. the first three OPSs in the batting order are now .622, .736, and .695…. that has to be competing very hard for the worst 1-3 in all of baseball.

    Not even sure if I want to turn on today’s game with Bailey pitching vs the best offense in MLB, in GABP, with those three leading off, and then Barnhart instead of Pena, and Santiago starting. That’s like 10 different red flags that tell me I don’t want to watch this game.

    • Since Bryan sat Phillips against the division leading Brew Crew, he’s hitting 9/24 with 3-BB for a .444 OBP. He has adjusted his approach at the plate dramatically, not just getting better results. Schumaker has simply stung the ball since being activated, but his line driaves and gard grounders are finding gloves rather than holes. Playing Schumaker against a RHP seems like a solid strategy to the Old Cossack, at least until Bruce returns. The Reds are fully committed to starting Hamilton at leadoff and CF, so that situation is simply a given.

    • Almost but not quite the obligatory free Heisey post I’ve been expecting. For a 16th (or was it 17th) round pick CH has had so many chances over the last three years that I’ve lost count. However, because they’ve come in three games here, four games there, a week here, a week there, folks don’t seem to realize how many shots he has had. Only guys like Hamilton or Bruce et al who have shown special talent get handed the keys to the car without a date certain to have it back in one piece. “Ordinary” prospects have to strike when the opportunity presents. CH has not been able to do.

      On the other hand. appreciate Heisey for what he is, an excellent 4th outfielder who is a potential game changer if and when he is spotted correctly off the bench into situations where he is going to see fastballs or less lazy breaking stuff versus top level starter quality breaking and off speed stuff.

  11. You may be right about Heisy, but we disagree on what constitutes a “chance.” Let him play 40-50 consecutive games, then tell me he’s no better than a fourth outfielder. He runs well; he fields well; he throws well; he can hit; and he can hit for occasional power. You probably are aware of his spring training stats this year. Not proof, I know, but certainly an indication. One day CH will get traded and play everyday for someone else and put up major league numbers and we’ll all say: “What were the Reds thinking?”

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