Titanic Struggle Recap

Game 36: Welcome Back, Mr. 106

Final R H E
Colorado Rockies  (23-17)
 1 4 2
Cincinnati Reds  (17-19)
 4 6 0
W: H. Bailey (3-2)    L: J. Nicasio (4-2)    S: A. Chapman (1)
Box Score | Play-by-Play | Stats | Depth Chart | FanGraphs Win Probability

The Good

Billy Hamilton’s knothole triple in the first should once again remind everyone why his middling AVG and poor OBP do not tell the whole story.

Kudos to Skip Schumaker for a key, two out, two strike hit in the 3rd that plated the Reds second run.

Todd Frazier continues to hit (HR, his 7th) and hit with power. Frazier is now working on an 11 game hitting streak. When Todd doesn’t “chase,” he’s capable of being a key part of this offense.

Homer Bailey’s line: 7.1, 1R, 4H, 6K, 2BB. Against a Rockies team that wails on the ball—and pitching in Great American Small Park—that’s pretty darn good, ya’ll.

Manny Parra came on in the 8th and was dominant against the two hitters he faced.

Aroldis Chapman … more on that below.

The Bad

Brandson Phillips, Joey Votto, and Ryan Ludwick all went hitless today.

The Ugly

You mean, besides Charlie Blackmon’s homeless man beard?

Not so random thoughts …

Homer Bailey talked about the groin injury in the spring keeping him from working out and leaving him weakened, specifically in the legs. Now that we’re a few weeks into the season, it’s looking like Homer is getting some better leg drive into his delivery. The 97 mph fastball at the knees that sent Tulowitzki back to the dugout looking in the 6th seemed to say as much.

You might not like seeing Ramon Santiago in the lineup, but if you believe a 25 man roster is important, you need to play these guys occasionally to keep them sharp. You have to let them know they are a valuable part of the club. When you do that, as Price did today, you sometimes get rewarded with a couple of hits (Santiago) and a Rockies runner gunned down at 2nd (Barnhart).

Nice hustling and heads-up slide by Brandon Phillips at first base on the high throw that scored the 4th run.

What a greeting for Aroldis Chapman by the fans at GABP as the bullpen gates swung open in the top of the 9th. As, Chapman waited on the bump after his warm-up pitches, Barnhart stood up and motioned to the crowd, as if to say, “let’s hear it once more.”

Chapman let the Rockies hear it, if not see it. His first pitch to Tulowitzki was 100 mph. The pitch to strike out Gonzalez was 102. In fact, only 5 pitches in Chapman’s 21 pitch afternoon that saw him walk one, then strike out the side, failed to touch triple digits.

The Daily Billy: Oh, and Billy the Kid tripled in the 7th.

My Knob Creek Player of the Game: The Missile. Who else?

The Reds take the series from a very, very good hitting Rockies team.

That’s all I got.

 

76 thoughts on “Game 36: Welcome Back, Mr. 106

  1. Mentioned it in the game thread, but it seemed a lot of posters were infatuated with the Rockie’s hitters but the Rockies will not go anywhere unless they get some starting pitching, Reds have more chance to be successful than they do IMHO

      • He IS better at every facet of the game save OBP. Well, power, too. I don’t disagree about the long-term insignificance of Joey’s BA, though.

        • “Every facet” being baserunning and outfield defensive range? I can’t imagine what else Hamilton is better than Joey at. Maybe bunting? Though he isn’t a particularly good bunter, and I can’t remember the last time anyone asked Joey to bunt. My guess is he’d be pretty good at it if he practiced a little bit.

        • Totally agree, he is so much more superior at tripling it really is no comparison if you can overllook the power on walking issue

        • Eric NYC: Yes, I meant base running and defense in a general sense, and it’s hard to argue with either. Probably no team in baseball would chose BH over JV, and they shouldn’t, but I always react negatively to judging players solely based upon offense: It’s a facet of the game, not the whole game.

        • It’s hardly apples to apples. We’ve seen Hamilton can cover ground in CF that Joey obviously couldn’t, but I haven’t seen his arm tested yet and I wouldn’t imagine he has much of one. So I don’t know if you can call him an overall great defensive player, and I certainly don’t know how you compare a CF to a 1B defensively. Baserunning is obvious, but without solid OBP skills it’s practically worthless. Offense is 90% of a position player’s job description – The vast majority of balls put in play are routine defensive plays for any major league position player. So yes, a player needs to be well rounded, but it’s not like we’re judging a pitcher on his offensive production…We’re talking about a starting CF. So if you want to list “facets” and say Billy Hamilton is better at most of them it’s kind of unfair to lump “batting” into one facet so that you can say he’s better at the other 2. Joey is better at about 10 facets of being a major league position player and BHam is better at 2. I guess that does count as “every other facet” but that’s some yellow journalism right there.

        • “So Johnny Cueto is good at pitching…Ramon Santiago is better at every other facet of the game.”

        • EricNYC: I understood that my comment was more facile than substantive, but BH is certainly a good (I didn’t say great) defensive player, and JV is not. And, yes, as an all around player–counting all facets of the game–Santiago is a better player than Cueto. Not more valuable, I hasten to add, but comparing a pitcher to a position player really is apples and oranges. My main point in all of this, to reiterate, is that the game requires considerably more than hitting. I doubt that you disagree.

  2. Billy Hamilton’s average is currently at .260 which is right above Joey Votto’s and just below BP, Luddy and SuperTodd Frazier. After a horrible start batting-wise, he’s starting to shown signs of improvement. And the weapon that he is once he’s on base can’t be understated! I’d like to see a metric to try to quantify the effect that Billy has on a game simply by causing a defender to rush a throw or because a pitcher is worried about him stealing and throws a wild pitch. I can think of a number of instances where billy took extra bases or we scored a run just due to the threat of his speed.

  3. High points:

    Bailey with two good starts in a row
    Billy Hamilton starting
    Barnhart and his defense. He will eventually be a decent hitter with power.
    Chapman
    Series win against a hot team

    Low points:
    Ludwick has no power and is slow. I’m worried.
    BP batting third.
    Frazier batting fifth. (Should be Votto 3 and Frazier 4)

  4. Chapman K’d all 4 batters he faced in the 9th, to my eyes. Dominant. And exactly what this team needed to get its swagger back. I am looking forward to the next series.

  5. Homer definitely was getting into the groove. I hope this is the beginning of a good run for him.

    Anyone seen any real update on Latos? Only thing I could find was he was going to pitch a bullpen session today.

  6. Chap actually struck out 4 in the middle of the best lineup in baseball. He looked typically inaccurate at times, but in mid season form as far as velocity and placement on the fastball. I hope to see some 5-6 out outings from him.

    • He doesn’t have a prayer at ROTY. Only chance was iff he ran away with the SB title and Dee Gordon has him doubled in that category already. BHam is not going to be the force in the majors we all hoped he would be. He can score some runs other people can’t, but it’s not enough to make up for his shortcomings at the plate.

      • BHam is not going to be the force in the majors we all hoped he would be.

        Pretty bold statement about a 23 year old MLB player. Do you do lottery numbers too?

      • He is hitting 364 in his last ten and has raised his BA 80 points. Is it impossible he could hit 290 to 300? That speed turns ground balls into singles, singles into doubles, and makes triples out of doubles. Does he need better discipline? Could he bunt better? Of course, but before we declare him a problem, let it play out

        • I honestly think the next step will be for him to raise his walk rate. If he can lay off pitches in the dirt and learn to walk more often, he’ll be extremely valuable even if he can’t hit .290 or .300. I think at the beginning of the season, if you told people he’d go .260/.330, they’d take it in a heart-beat. But for now, the walks are missing. Glad to see him getting hits, though.

        • Yeah I just don’t see his speed “turning ground balls into hits” the way we all hoped it would. At least not regularly. His value will be in finding other ways to get on base – like being more patient at the plate, which he has been. If he gets his OBP up to .330 he will be a very productive offensive player, although he still shouldn’t be at the top of the order. He’ll score a lot of runs, though. Maybe he can gain a little bit of strength in the next few years by hitting the weight room. I’m just not as high on his speed being the difference maker a lot of people are. When it works, it’s damn exciting to watch. I just don’t see it being enough of a game changer in the long run. He’s going to have to wrk really hard to be a solid 100 wRC+ guy and any injury is going to be tough to overcome. Plus he probably only has about 5-6 years to be fast enough to make any difference.

  7. Nice to see Homer pitching good again. And to see Chapman do so well in his first outing back. Schumaker is beginning to look like Walt’s signing of the year. All positive trends.

    • I think Pena has been the sign of the year so far for Walt. Even if he falls off from here (and he is/will) he still came up big for us when we needed him with all the injuries.

      • I guess but looking at Pena’s 2013 & 2014 stats, they appear identical except Slugging Percentage. Maybe some of that can be attributed to playing in the Fairway at Detroit in 2013 and this season at GABP? Nothing in this guys swing tells me he is going to be a liability at the plate.

        • You could be right, I guess it could just be park difference that’s upping his power. Either way I think Pena has been solid for us so far when we’ve needed him.

        • I want to agree with you, but 2013 was pretty much his career year until he came here. Catchers don’t tend to go on a continuous upswing after they hit 30. His career OPS+ is 79 and he’s above 130 right now. He’s never come within 30 points of that in any season, including last year when I think he finished at something like 93. He is well above his head right now and is trending downward. I love what he’s done for us, but Mes needs to get healthy. I think he will be a very good BU and bat off the bench – he’s actually a tick better than Hanigan across the board for his career.

      • Good point. He has done a good job of filing in while Mes was out. I haven’t seen many games. Is his defense better than advertised?

        • I’m not sure honestly, we haven’t had too many guys run against us this year. I’d say he frames pitches well. Speaking of which that’s been the most impressive thing about Tucker so far for me, he is -great- back there at providing a target and making pitches look good.

        • Barnhart is FANTASTIC behind the plate. He’s already an elite major league defender at the position. Unfortunately he is still drastically overmatched by major league pitching. He needs to be playing every day in Louisville for the next year and a half. He’ll either make an outstanding backup to Mes or a great trading chip.

        • @Eric

          He did spend the bulk of the year (if not all?) at AA last year so some issues at the dish should be expected.

          Growing pains now or later….take your pick I suppose.

        • I’m not knocking him – I’ve said he’s just not ready to play in the majors regularly. He’s being pressed into it now because of injuries and that’s ok, but when Mes is healthy I hope he’s on the first bus back to Louisville so he can keep playing every day. Honestly, I expect him to be traded eventually – possibly this year. Mes looks like the guy for a good long time and you can always pick up discount backup catchers in FA (See: Pena, Brayan). So it’s good that GM’s are getting a look at how good Barnhart is behind the plate. If he can follow that up with some solid hitting in AAA he could be a very valuable piece in a trade either at the deadline this year or in the offseason.

        • @MIKEC – I don’t think Pena’s defense is better than advertised. I do however think it’s a little better than I thought it was. I’d only seen him catch maybe a dozen or so games prior to this year. He seems to call a good game. It’s hard not to like the guy.

  8. Good to see things getting back to order. I think in light of Cozart’s lagging performance at the plate it’s time for a platoon at SS. Cozart can play vs LH starters and Santiago should play vs RH starters. Both have excellent defensive skills and that becomes a wash. But, lets face it, it’s time to back off on Cozart.

    • santiago is definitely just plain worse than cozart. i hope walt is thinking about shortstop options, but santiago isn’t one.

      • I agree that Santiago is no solution; but, is he really worse than Cozart?
        Or, more aptly put is Cozart really any better than Santiago? Cozart is 6 years younger which counts for a lot given the rigors of the position. The career OPS are very similar however, .664 to .639 in Cozart’s favor.

        Neither one should probably be an MLB starter, especially in the NL where you have 8 hitters in the line up.

        • Your last statement is dead-on. Cozart is one of the worst hitting starters in MLB over his career.

        • “Cozart is one of the worst hitting starters in MLB over his career….”

          He (Cozart) should be thanking Votto for the poor throw which led to his elbow injury and TJ surgery while he was still in his honeymoon period at the MLB level. It likely made his career as without it, his lack of offensive prowess would have been exposed over the remaining 2+ months of the 2011 season.

        • You guys are completely underestimating his defense, which is very important on a team built around pitching. He’s the #8 hitter, so stop worrying so much about his offense.

        • I’ve often defended Cozart because A) He’s not as bad as he has looked so far this season and B) He does play elite defense. But he really does need to turn it around before the trade deadline or he could get Janish-ed. He was a better defender than Cozart and all of the same apologies were given for him. We stuck with him for a few years before his lack of hitting was too much to take. At the time, Cozart was tearing up AAA pitching to the tune of 125 wRC+ so it was a no brainer. And that’s why we’ve stuck with him as long as we have – but I’d guess patience is starting to wear a bit thin in the front office. Right now he’s the 23rd ranked SS in the majors with at least 100 AB’s. Most major league starting SS’s are pretty good defenders. I’d take a minuscule dip in defense for an extra 20 points of OPS+.

        • There are rumors circulating that Jocketty and the Castellinis are “going all in” for SS/2B Stephen Drew when the draft is over. If he hasn’t signed by then. If Frazier and Mesoraco can continue their hot play, that could possibly move BP and Ludwick to 7th and 8th in the batting order.
          That certainly could make for a more potent offense, without sacrificing much defense. I just don’t think the Red’s front office braintrust have the stones to make a dramatic move to improve this team. This is about the only option available without giving up top minor league prospects for a good hitter that would improve this team’s offense.

        • It would certainly make sense. He’s not that expensive. He would instantly improve the starting lineup while Cozart taking Santiago’s spot as backup would instantly improve the bench. Wouldn’t take a long term commitment. I’m all for it.

        • I can see the Reds making a play for Drew after the draft and if the $$$ is available, I would like to see Drew wearing the Wishbone C in GABP. The big factor there is Drew hits LH & Cozart hits RH, making for a nice platoon option. One of the major issues regarding Drew is his durability and age (31). I believe this is a bigger issue than the draft pick compensation and will impact his contract even after the draft. There is going to be a very fast, competitive bidding for Drew immediately after the draft with multiple large market teams in the mix. The likelyhood of someone overpaying is pretty high and I am not in favor of an overpay for Drew.

          The offense is a distinct upgrade:
          .245/.322/.403 for Drew averaging 96 games a season from 2011-2013.
          .250/.286/.390 for Cozart averaging 144 games a season from 2012-2013.

          With Cozart retained as a backup SS/2B and possible platoon at SS, the roster becomes significantly stronger and with Cozart available, Drew’s lack of durability becomes less of an issue, but I would probably retain Santiago and option Cozart to AAA, at least temporarily, for 2 reasons. This would avoid possible arbitration in 2015 for Cozart and allow Cozart to work on his plate discipline with regualr PA (hoping against hope for improvement).

  9. I really wish Walt had sent Hoover out when Chapman came back.

    The Padres series would be a great time for our first sweep of the year.

  10. Could only take an occasional GameDay peak but really happy with what I saw. Was upset when Chapman got ahead of Tulo 0-2 and then walked him but from what I read, one of those pitches was strike 3. I calmed down after he resumed throwing strikes.

    In yesterday’s recap I disagreed with Price about not letting Chapman pitch an inning in the blowout, happy that it didn’t matter. Aside from having to face the middle of the Rockies order, it was an ideal first save opportunity, a 3 run lead at home. And when he’s on, it doesn’t really matter who he’s facing.

    While not having as good a year in 2013 as in 2012, Chapman was nonetheless dominating at home. His problems were on the road, where he only pitched 22+ innings, which is shocking. With Price managing, Chapman will pitch more than that on the road this season, even with the late start.

  11. Great job by Homer. The groin problem slowed down his start to the season, but he’s got it going now.

    • Let’s hope he can keep it going. I’d be happy if he can pitch like this 80% of the time going forward.

      Of course, he’s still going to have his meltdowns and blowups, but Homer is what he is, and most nights, that’s pretty good.

  12. I knock FSO a lot, but kudos to whoever decided to skip a commercial break and let us watch Chapman come in from the ‘pen. Fantastic, and unexpected. (Now, if they can just start showing OBP, and get THOM! back to football…)

    I was amazed at how smooth Chapman looked. His first pitch looked so effortless I thought he had surprised everyone by starting off with a slider. I was shocked it was a 100MPH fastball. (By the way, I’ve never seen Manny Parra throw as hard as he was yesterday. Must be contagious.)

  13. Some random thoughts…..

    It was a glorious day at the old ball orchard. I’m truly blessed to have a wife who believes that going to the Reds game is the perfect Mother’s Day gift!

    In the past Homer has done a little complaining about GABP, but it saved him yesterday. A run definitely scores on the ground rule double if that ball hits the wall instead of bouncing over it. Pitching out of that situation was quite a feat!

    Did anyone else think that Billy had a legit chance to score on the triple? I understand why you don’t try it in that situation but I thought the bobble in the outfield made it possible.

    The stadium was electric when Chappy came in. I cannot believe we saw him pitch on May 12th! Now, we’ve got to get Latos back. He is a key piece to the puzzle because I’m worried teams are getting a solid book on Simon.

    I’ve got to stop being frustrated when Parra comes in instead of Marshall. Just going to have to accept that Marshall is all but done and Parra has done a darn good job.

    I saw someone earlier saying that they hoped it was Hoover sent down for Chappy. I agree. I think he needs some work with Ted Power and to rebuild his confidence. By far the biggest disappointment (non-injury related) of the year. Last year’s early struggles were on Dusty, but that excuse is gone for Hoover.

    Absolutely must win the Padres series and sweep would be nice.

    • For a split second I thought Billy had a chance, but the ball was just about to the 2B when he hit 3rd so it was a no brainer to hold him up. The difference is, most guys would have had to beat a throw to 3rd with a perfect slide where Billy was able to jog the last couple steps.

      • Agreed, but where the 2B was yesterday was nearly the same spot that the RF was on Bruce’s Sac Fly in STL. A good throw and tag probably get him, but it would have been fun to see if not for the situation in the game at that point.

        • Well he also would have had to take a big turn around third instead of just a dead sprint. They made a good point in the broadcast that when we go out to the huge west coast ballparks in the next couple weeks a ball like that would be a stand up inside the park HR for Billy. Those will be fun games to watch.

  14. For those always convinced that only the Reds fail to get runners in from 3rd: After scoring one, the Pirates had the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th, down one run against the Cardinals. Ike “Mr Grand Slam” Davis provided the 1st out, reaching for a ball out of the zone immediately after a 4 pitch walk to the batter in front of him. I was definitely rooting for the Pirates, and getting zero runs in that spot was terrible.

    • I find it nearly impossible to watch the Rats play the WLBs. I suppose it was better for the Reds if the Rats won, but I loathe both so much that it just takes most of the enjoyment out of the game.

  15. When the Rockies have to activate OF Michael Cuddyer from their DL, they are going to have a big surplus of OF’s. I was at Saturday’s game and came away very impressed with young Colorado OF Corey Dickerson who was in CF. This kid crushed the ball all day Saturday, so his stats aren’t just inflated by the Coors Field factor. When Cuddyer comes back, it’ll be Cuddyer/Blackmon/CarGo in the Rockies OF with no room for Dickerson. And to think that CarGo is their worst hitting OF right now. COL’s biggest need is pitching.
    Dickerson would look nice patrolling LF for the Reds. I wonger if Jocketty and Company were paying attention this weekend.

    • There was a lot of talk on the broadcast about the Rockies situation when Cuddyer comes back, specifically about Dickerson. The problem is I don’t know what we’d give up for him – Our biggest pitching trading chip so far this year has been Simon and he might have soured them to him first hand Saturday night. Plus I’m not sure in Walt’s mind we don’t have a surplus of OF’ers ourselves once Bruce comes back. Not that he’s right. But when is Cuddyer due back? You have to figure when Bruce is back they’re going to give him every chance to take his job back. They’re all-in on Hamilton in CF. Ludwick has been decent this year and he’s Walt’s guy. Heisey and Schumaker are solid backups. Dickerson could be a nice replacement for Ludwick next year, but what do you do with him this year?

    • Cuddyer is an aging (36 next season), power hitting OF who will be a FA after this season. The Rox are not going to part with Dickerson, a young, cost-controlled, power-hitting OF, just because of a perceived OF surplus for a few months this season. Besides, OF represents the position strength of the Reds minor leauge system.

      • I get exactly what you are saying.
        But on the other hand, Cuddyer did win a batting title in Denver just last year.
        And add to that the Rockies do have a tendency to squeeze an extra 2-3 years in Coors Field out of some aging stars like Todd Helton, Larry Walker, Andres Gallaraga, Vinny Castilla, Dante Bichete, and Ellis Burks to name a few. They may try the same with Cuddyer. And Blackmon and Dickerson are very similar players, so it might have a possibility. A glimmer of hope. CarGo, Blackmon and Dickerson are all LH hitters.
        As for the Reds OF prospects, I don’t think we can count on any in 2014, and most likely not for 2015, to be with the Reds. Except maybe Lutz. Ervin’s fast track derailed a bit.
        You just never know. It takes two to tango, and even then, you never know how things will turn out.

      • The Cossack’s assessment of the situation is sound. I agree that I just don’t see the Rockies moving Dickerson. There’s a good chance he’s their starting CF next year.

      • I wouldn’t call Dickerson a “power-hitting OF”. But you have to love his power/speed combination. Not so much in the number of HR’s and SB’s, but check out his doubles, triples, and RBI’s. He is a producer, but not so much as the typical power hitter. Saturday night he looked like a power hitter. Whether he would be available or not, it would most likely would cost a starting pitcher just to get a conversation going. The Reds really could use a guy like this offensively though. And the cost control factor, as you mentioned, would be a big bonus with WJ.

      • Just for argument’s sake, lets take this down another path. If the Rockies settle on CarGo/Dickerson/Blackmon as their OF and Stubbs and Barnes are providing good backup OF at a very low cost, would the Rockies consider putting Cuddyer on the block? As you say, he is only signed through this year, so it’d be a rental so to speak. Might get him for another year if he plays well. Cuddyer is out with a hamstring, but is about ready for a rehab assignment. He hit .317 in 60 AB’s before going on the DL. This could present an unexpected option for the Reds. If you are WJ, do you kick the tires? I think they should. It might make Heisey or Ludwick expendable, but if they move Shoemaker to a utility OF/INF then Santiago is out. It’d make the team offense much stronger. Cuddyer’s numbers would slot in nicely either right before or right after Votto in the lineup. Cuddyer might be a guy we want to keep our eyes on. His availability might increase in the near future.

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