Titanic Struggle Recap

Game 37: Treading Water

Final R H E
San Diego Padres  (19-21)
2 3 1
Cincinnati Reds  (17-20)
1 7 0
W: J. Benoit (1-0)    L:  A. Chapman (0-1)    S: H. Street (12)
Box Score | Play-by-Play | Stats | Depth Chart | FanGraphs Win Probability

The Good

Seemingly every night, it just doesn’t matter who is on the mound. The beat goes on. Tonight, it was Mike Leake’s turn to keep the Reds hanging around until the Reds bats got going, because they were sure to get going eventually. Right?

Rrrrrrright?

Brandon Phillips doin it at the plate and in the field.  3 for 4 and two more effortless-looking plays in the field.

The Bad

The fastball to Chase Headley from Aroldis Chapman that was promptly deposited into the left field seats. The slider is going to have to make more appearances in Chapman’s repertoire to keep hitters honest. All they can do is guess fastball. Good guess tonight.

The Ugly

The Reds’ Bats.

Not so random thoughts …

Mesoraco and Bruce missing from this lineup is starting to really take it’s toll. Four of the Reds seven hits came in the first 3 innings. The rest of the evening was basically a parade of outs until Brandon Phillips’ turn in the lineup came around again.

And another hard-to-fathom one-run loss. Yes, you can blame it on the hitting if you want, but the Friars only got 3 hits themselves. 12 one-run losses already this season. I believe that’s far and away the most in Baseball. And like it or not, Cashner is really good.

Good to see Bryan Price bring Chapman in with the game tied in the 9th at home. If he doesn’t do this and the outcome is the same, he gets second-guessed from here to Dusty Baker’s doorstep. Sometimes, there is no right answer.

Leake’s terrific night got lost in all the negatives. That’s too bad. If there is a better # 4 or #5 pitcher in Baseball, I haven’t seen him.

The Daily Billy: Another triple by the Kid. Another terrible bunt. If Hamilton could figure out how to deaden the ball on contact consistently, his impact on this team might jump to another level.

110 thoughts on “Game 37: Treading Water

    • Luck is certainly a factor in 1-run games but so is executing the little things. The Reds aren’t executing well. Runner on 2B and no outs? You have to get that runner to 3B. I don’t like the bunt there but you just can’t take the same swings that you would normally take in an AB. The Reds haven’t executed well enough. The bullpen has also struggled. Add in some bad luck and you have a 6-12 record in 1-run games.

  1. Lots of chances, bases loaded, yes. But the Reds were not beat by some hack pitcher, tonight, either. Life, and the season, moves on. BP sure looks a heck of a lot better w/ a day off, now or then, btw.

  2. Couldn’t have come up with a better headline. Wake me up when this team sniffs .500. Such a boring season.I hope by the deadline we’re clearly in on side or the other – I’d hate to see another year where we just stand pad and don’t make a move one way or another.

    • It IS boring, isn’t it? Got home just in time for bases loaded, 1 out in the sixth, and watched in horrified fascination (sort of like watching someone pick a scab) as what I knew would happen happened. Turned off the tv and started reading a good book.

  3. This loss makes me feel like I just took a Chapman fastball to the baby-maker.

    And the worst part was, I knew it was coming. I was shouting at my screen… “Throw a slider! Throw a knucklepuck! Throw underhand after discovering the glove your wearing is your mother’s old softball glove! I don’t care, just don’t keep throwing fastballs!”

    I’d also like to agree with you, Mr. Fitch. Mike Leake is a studly #5. I just enjoy watching him pitch. He reminds me of the guys I grew up loving; the Professor and his Glavine-y compatriots who aren’t going to blow you away with speed, but they can beat you because they simply have a better mastery of their craft then you do of yours. He’s no where near their level of skill and control, but he’s got the same style and grit.

    • Chapman gets burned the same way 2 or 3 times a year. You’d think the Reds would learn from that.

      • Chapman has an 86% save percentage in his career. That is average at best. His strikeouts are fun to watch, but he is absolutely nothing special as a “closer.” I hate to even get near the dead horse we’ve all beaten to death, but the onlyl way his K/9 means anything is with a LOT more innings and he’s never going to see that. So now he’s a freakshow. And a Francisco Cordero-esque slot machine of a freak show, to boot.

        • Single biggest mistake of the Jocketty Era. Not even a close second. There, we’ve both beaten that drum again.

        • I doubt that ends up being the single biggest error, pretty decent chance Chapman couldn’t cut it as a starter after all. The multi-year extensions that he gives out like candy, those have really started to add up.

        • I would have gladly mortgaged a half decade of this organization to see if Chapman could have been the next Randy Johnson. That’s why he was signed. The entire front office collectively lost its nerve the first time he walked a couple of batters his rookie year. It was pathetic.

        • I usually do not follow too much in Spring training, but I knew last year they were considering it, changed their mind on what I thought was an attribution to Dusty, despite signing Broxton to a closer size contract. I thought Chapman was starting in ST 2012 until Madson got hurt. Has it just devolved that he can only throw 1 inning in the 9th?, was there some indication he cannot go starter innings?, is it stubbornness?: this would have been the year to do it, with the late start, but despite the bullpen under-performing, it did not seem like it was even considered. If JJ Hoover was lights out would it have mattered?

        • We’re all frustrated, and, unfortunately (really) I haven’t tired of the Chapman debate. Why would you think that he could start when he is an average closer? He has great velocity, no argument, but as a starter he’d have to bring the fastball down to normal hitting speed–what, 96 or 97? Like Homer?–and he lacks the command to throw the slider effectively over multiple innings. Might he gain the command? He might. But Eric NYC is correct that his Barnum and Bailey aspect obscures the reality: He’s not bad, but he’s a long way from being a dominant starter. Randy Johnson had more than the fastball and pitched in a different era.

        • Price was pretty clear this offseason that he had absolutely no plans of moving Chapman to the rotation. I forget the actual quote but it was something along the lines of “We know what he can do and what he can’t” and it sure sounded like that was the end of the book on Chapman’s starting career. I still don’t entirely know what to make of that – Price was pretty vocal (as vocal as he could be at the time) in 2013 about wanting Chapman to start. Fast forward a year and a promotion later and he completely flopped. I think we all respect Price as one of the best pitching coaches in the game, so his opinion should be the end of it.

          But I’ve speculated a couple times since the hiring that Price is doing everything he can to not rock the boat in the organization. The whole Hamilton-as-leadoff-man affair has felt odd to me. That he would just accept this mandate from Walt without any question. I’ve said it a couple times – Price walked into a really precarious situation. The team he took over was (theoretically) built to win right now with a relatively small window. The fanbase, and presumably the front office, were only thinking WS. His predecessor was just fired after three straight postseason appearances. If Price fails to even make the playoffs, it wouldn’t entirely shock me if he was fired in a massive house cleaning to reboot this offseason. And if that happens, it will be hard for him to ever get a job as a manager again. He’ll be seen as another great coach who couldn’t handle the big job. So I’ve never felt like Price has had the kind of control over this team that most managers have. I think he is now and will continue to play it as conservatively as possible and bend to the whims of the front office so that in the worst case scenario he can at least plead that he was just towing the company line if things go south. Chapman might be part of that – He’s a big attraction as a closer, but he could be a complete disaster as a starter and at this stage of his contract from a BUSINESS perspective I doubt Walt or Bob want to take that chance. So it might be another mandate that Price isn’t willing to push back on.

        • Steve, by “single biggest mistake of the Jocketty era” you mean the mistake of letting Dusty have his way, right? (In which case, extending Dusty after the collapse vs the Giants is probably the root mistake.) It’s too late now since developing him as a starter will simply mean developing him for another team to reap the benefits. Pity.

          Regardless, I don’t understand why they don’t focus on mixing his pitches more. He doesn’t even have to locate them perfectly–although he’s shown surprising slider command so far–he just needs to put a little doubt in the batter’s mind. When he doesn’t mix his pitches, you get those homeruns that cost us games.

        • I don’t think it was all a “loss of nerve”, I think it was also circumstances, Ryan Madson blowing out his arm in ST in ’12 directly led him into the bullpen. And I seem to remember injuries in ’13 being a reason he was sent back there also (though I can’t remember who). I’m not saying there weren’t other options, but I think injuries made it much easier to “sell”.

  4. I’m sorry, but I’ll also just add: the Reds (or, the Deads, how many want to describe them, right now) just won a series against a surreal-hitting Rockies team. I think if Ted Williams himself was alive, kicking, and signed, he’d be vilified for not destroying Andrew Cashner & the San Diego Padres, tonight.

    • Great point and there is going to be more of these type games than not to come. Games are going to be close as a rule with this team. My question is with the return of Mes & Latos, do these games start to be 1-run wins instead of 1-run loses?

      Yes, we have to beat the tough pitchers in the League but we are not going to knock them out or beat them up. The team was purposely built on pitching and defense.. This is where the team has put their resources. They will sink or swim with this theory. I like it but it is a whole lot of nail biting, that’s for sure.

      Great to see a level head on board.

      • I kind of look at these 1 run loses as a bit of a good sign. The reds are rarely getting blown out and they are playing rather competitively despite not having a healthy roster all year. I would love to see how many games they have played with their completely healthy lineup that they envisioned when constructing this team. I wouldn’t be shocked if it has not happened yet this year.

        When you are playing with a lesser lineup loses in close games will happen. If they still happen once (hopefully not if) the Reds get back to full strength then I will ram my head into the wall.

        Until then…. Keep treading water and staying within striking distance!!!!!!!

        • They’ve been in just about every game. The 1-run losses are hard but the fact this team has so many of them means that they are better than their record suggest. They need to execute better and they need to get some breaks to start winning those games.

  5. Treading water. Yes. When you have treaded water as long as the Reds have this year, your arms and legs get tired and you need a lifeline thrown your way. C’mon Jocketty, throw these guys a lifeline and go get the offense some help. The starting pitching cannot, and should not be expected, to shoulder the load for 162 games.

    • This was talked about on the podcast last week, who exactly do you think the Reds can afford to trade that would bring the type of help you say they need (which I’m assuming means a bat)? The only person that comes to mind is Chapman.

      • Ludwick, Simon, and Broxton would all have some intrinsic value on the trade market. Heisey and even Marshall to a degree as well.
        But I wouldn’t limit the GM to just those 5. I’d have a no-trade list of Votto, Bruce, Meso, Bailey and Cueto. And I’m not opposed to putting Frazier on that list. Same with about 5-6 of the minor league top prospects. If it is a trade offer that would improve the Reds team and their chances for making the playoffs, everyone else is open for discussion.

  6. A very critical play in the game happened in the third inning when Cabrera made an excellent play by barely throwing BHam out on the grounder up the middle. With no one out, the chances of Hamilton scoring that inning are extremely high and probably better than Heisey & Cozart hitting with the bases loaded regardless of the number of outs.

    Sorry but this is the kind of ball the Reds will have to play to come out on top in 2014 or at least until we have Mes & Bruce back.

  7. I tried posting this from my phone in the game thread and it didn’t work. Received this picture from a loyal member who is representing Redleg Nation at Busch Stadium tonight.

  8. Gentlemen at RLN, if you have any inside connections to the Reds pass this along. I’d quit my job tomorrow and offer my bunting tutorial services free of charge to the Reds. Its all about technique and mindset. The Reds mostly are not very good at either. I’d have Hamilton corrected in a week and fixed in 2-3 weeks. I’d have the pitching staff fixed by the all-star break. Getting a good bunt down shouldn’t be that hard, but the Reds sure make it look so.

    • As much as I’d like to see the Reds bunt better when they try it, if I had an influential inside connection to the Reds, I wouldn’t use it on that. I’d encourage them to practice hitting with Runners In Scoring Position, because that’s the skill they lack. :-)

      Seriously, I’m surprised Hamilton is such a poor bunter, relative to its importance in his game. I kind of wish he’d give it up and focus on pitch recognition and plate discipline. He’s doing a good job avoiding strikeouts, but he needs to get that walk rate up.

      • Agree entirely, or almost. I do wish BH were a good bunter who didn’t rely on it very often.

      • I would however like to add that bunting in pro ball, especially the Majors, is not exactly a piece of cake. Sure there are guys who are good at it but there are many more guys who can’t get a good bunt down. Hamilton needs to be a good bunter however or he just isn’t going to get on base enough.

    • Oh, I figured you had inside connections with all the slick trade rumors you post.

      Would you say your bunting tutorial services are more or less proficient than your trade suggestion services?

      • Total runs scored? You cite that, really? The most meaningless stat there is and you bring that up.

  9. Cards are winning, for now. Looks like small ball. I wonder why they aren’t crushing the Cubbies? That’s NOT a post-season team, if I’ve ever seen one.

  10. I’m really sick of hearing about how all of these pitchers are tough. Wake up call: Every team in the majors (except maybe Houston) has at least 2-3 live arms in their rotation. We’re a month and a half in and every loss is attributed to “well he is a pretty good pitcher.” We haven’t even seen the Nats, Dodgers, or Braves yet. Just to name a few. This offense is putrid. I don’t know by what metric it is eve close to holding its own. It has blown at least half a dozen brilliantly pitched games already by not being able to score more than 1-2 runs. This is the major league – it isn’t going to get easier. And even if the schedule did let up at some point, what does it say about this team being anything like a postseason contender if it cant’ beat guys like this?

    • I don’t think anyone is saying that the offense is not below average. Most people thought they’d be average to below average prior to the season starting, and injuries have hurt an already weak offense.

      The Reds currently only have 2 above average hitters in their lineup, and there doesn’t appear to be help on the way.

      I also think Reds fans (and a lot of other MLB fan bases), haven’t yet adjusted to the low run scoring environment. Less than 20 total runs mean the difference between the Reds being 13/15 in the NL, and top 5.

      • Last year we were in the top 5 in runs scored. Losing Choo hurt, but I don’t think anyone expected this offense to be THIS bad.

        • With an under-performing and then injured Jay Bruce, with Cozart not hitting even at the modest levels I projected him to hit at, with Ludwick coming off shoulder surgery, and with Hamilton at the top of the order, I think a lot people thought this offense was in trouble.

      • “We haven’t even seen the Nats, Dodgers, or Braves yet.”
        I think Char was responding, saw some pretty good pitching in that series sweep, that we all like to forget

  11. Uh, we played the Braves and they swept us. Totally shut us down. Tonight was a very tough loss – I understand and it’s late.

  12. This game was really pretty simple. Padres get one opportunity with a man in scoring position and no outs and convert without benefit of another hit. The Reds have three such opportunities and convert one with help of a following hit and fail to convert the other two. Someone take a shot at explaining again how all outs are created equally.

    This Reds team is treading water because it deserves the lose the close games it is losing. One night its missed chances like tonight. Another its an incredibly bad pitch at the worst possible time. Yet another it is an untimely defensive lapse; plus of course, the every present TOOTBLANs.

    There is a losing culture taking hold. The manager seems to be trying to do what he can to stir things up but to no avail. We don’t know what he says or does behind closed doors. However I think he needs to come down more forcibly concerning accountability.

      • Yes but at worse they’d still be playing if the Reds could score a man from 2nd base with no outs.

    • Accountability? I ask again: Are the Reds hitting poorly (as their career numbers largely suggest that this group of players will) because no one is lecturing them? Yelling at them? Fining them for not hitting a solo homerun in the 9th. Horse pucky.

      • Don’t think he’s referring to their hitting. Read again. Defensive lapses, base running blunders. More than one way to lose a game.

    • Probably the strangest play in the 2014 season and will be very hard to top the rest of the way. So weird it can’t even be in any category other than strange.

      • I somewhat expected him to try and poke the ball to the left side. The way he handles the bat, I don’t understand why he tried to bunt instead of that.

        • With two outs and a man on first, anything other than to try to drive the ball seems questionable.

    • He was trying to beat the shift. It would have worked if he got it past the pitcher. That said, I never want to see Votto bunting.

  13. Don’t look for Walt to make any moves whatsoever – whether it be a 40 man roster move or a trade that might help this club – he has been absolutely dormant for over a year now – his hands ought to be really sore from sitting on them for so long

    • Walt, of course, will make no moves because he secretly wants the Reds to lose. Got in mind any reasonable moves he could make? Ondrusek and Ludwick for Stanton would be good, but the Marlins might balk unless we threw in Heisey.

      • Ondrusek and Ludwick for Stanton? They MIGHT balk at that? I’m not sure if this is another case of RLN missing the sarcasm font.

        • Ha…I hope so. Be that as it may, I still think you could work out a trade for Stanton that involves Chapman and some prospects. It would have been a lot easier to swing last year, but I wonder if some other team might be able to convert Chapman to a starter still. Miami certainly has the cash and have shown they’re willing to take big gambles.

  14. Hamilton isn’t as big a problem as Votto’s hole in the bat or Cozart’s inability to hit anything except into double plays. Hamilton is actually doing a bit better than I had anticipated for a young guy rushed to the Majors. I was expecting a .230 clip and about 2 K’s per game. BHam is overall a good experience for the team (not great) and he’ll only get better from here (I hope).

  15. We’re at mid-May and Cozart is batting .190. How patient are we with this guy? If I’m Price, Santiago gets more PT. More to send a message than anything else.

    • Yes Cozart has had a poor season hitting the ball but Santiago is not the answer whatsoever. He’s a worse hitter over his career than Cozart. I think it just speaks volumes to the lack of organizational depth in the middle infield.

      • What is the consensus on the drop-off if any on defense. Cozart is solid in the field, is Santiago. Any body know if Shumaker every played SS, it would seem if you can play a MLB 2B you could handle SS for 6 innings or so just to get a change of pace, Pena needs to be at the bottom of the order

        • Schumaker has never played any IF position other than 2B more than a handful of times in the majors. There is no option in the organization right now except Cozart. A lot of talk around here lately of a possible run at Stephen Drew after the draft.

        • Thought of this later, if SS is still an on-going issue and Shumaker can only play 2nd, why not move Brandon to SS?, as I know he can play there, against RHP Shumaker would be a big upgrade and it would give DatDude a chance to really step-up for the team when it needs him the most…
          not counting on Drew, amazingly about half of MLB is looking to shell out big money for a mediocre SS on the decline, Scott Boars suposedly has a 3 year deal of $39 Mil for a player who had very similar number to the current starting SS

        • Brandon has played a whopping 3 games at SS in his entire career. I’m telling you, it’s Cozart or bust unless we make a move.

        • When the prophet Eziekiel asked the Lord about if the bones of Phillips at SS could live again, the answer was “Nope. Next question.” That’s how old and how dead that subject is.

  16. The good news: Mesoraco went 2-for-3 starting for Louisville last night. As far as “rushing him back” I don’t know what difference there is starting him in Louisville versus starting him up here. He’s either resting or he’s playing. I say get him back today. Over the next week we have 2 more games against the Padres, 3 against the last place Phillies, and 3 against the not terribly impressive Nationals. Blown save last night aside, with Chapman back and Mes’ bat in the lineup that SHOULD be a recipe for a nice run. We follow that with a crucial home series against the Cards. If we can find a way to be a couple games over .500 before we head to the west coast that could be a deciding factor on if this season is salvageable or not.

  17. That was not a fun night at all, but let’s try to keep it in perspective.

    I said to my wife right before the HR to Headley that they needed to mix in some off speed stuff ASAP. Apparently, I wasn’t alone! Pena got enamored with Chappy’s fastball and forgot how to put down two fingers. He seems like a smart guy, so my guess is that won’t happen again. I also think it’s going to take some time for Chapman to get sharp. That said, I agree with everyone 100% that his talents are terribly wasted in the bullpen.

    Cozart is a gold glove caliber defender who has already saved a couple games for the Reds with his glove. If he regresses upwards just a bit, then he’s a valuable guy.

    The problem, in my eyes, is that this club for two years hasn’t been able to build any momentum. Maybe that’s because the hitting is so bad. I can’t remember when the last time this team won 8 out of 10 was. It’s always a couple steps forward and then a couple back. Treading water couldn’t be more apt.

    • As for Cozart’s defense, I said yesterday that he’s starting to remind me an awful lot of Paul Janish. Defense is great, and I agree that Cozart is a GG caliber defender, but there are plenty of good defensive SS’s in baseball. I’ll take a slight dip in defense for an extra 20 points of OPS+. Without consistent offensive production, a defensive specialist becomes someone like Ramon Santiago or Cesar Izturis pretty quick. Hopefully the Stephen Drew rumors have some truth to them.

      • I haven’t run the numbers, but I seriously doubt an extra 20 points of OPS from our #8 hitter would be worth any reduction in defense at Short for a team built on pitching and defense. (And I bet you Cozart finishes the year 20 points higher than he is now, anyway.)

        Oh, and Stephen Drew turned down a $14 million contract. If Walt can get him for Cozart money, great.

        I’m pretty sure getting a healthy Bruce and Mes back will have more impact on our offensive performance than upgrading the #8 hitter.

        • That’s my point – Exactly how much of a dip in defense do you think someone like Stephen Drew would be? I don’t know who the worst defensive starting SS in MLB is (maybe Jeter at this point?) but I would be willing to bet that over an entire season the difference in runs allowed between that guy and Zack Cozart would pale compared to what an extra 20 points of OPS+ would bring to run production. Note that I said OPS+, not OPS. 20 points of OPS is nothing, 20 points of OPS+ is a massive upgrade.

        • And I should also note that 20 points might be very conservative. That’s just going by career numbers. Last year Drew had an OPS+ of 110 to Cozart’s 81. Right now Cozart’s at a whopping 37. Assuming the worst case for Cozart (he stays where he’s at) and the best case for Drew (he repeats last year’s performance) that’s a potential 70 POINT SWING. That’s not likely, but a 30 point swing would seem more than reasonable, and that’s easily worth the cash if I’m Bob.

          And while I’m at it I looked up some defensive stats – which I don’t particularly like, but they’re as good as we can get. Last year Cozart had 4 runs saved on the season (however they actually calculate that). Drew had -2. That’s a 6 run difference for an entire season.

        • He’d be a dip in defense, and cost us money we need to sign Cueto and Latos.

          Focusing just on the “Cozart Problem”, I believe he’ll come around to something like his career norms offensively, and he plays very good and consistent defense. With the rest of the team healthy, I’ll take that from my #8 hitter. (I think you’re drastically underestimating the value of that defense, by the way. Extra base runners, especially in GABP, are highly damaging. I like having the starting pitchers go 7-8 innings consistently, especially with the status of our middle relievers. Even a slightly below average defensive SS would be a bad thing. But if you can find almost the same defense as Cozart, plus a huge offensive upgrade, plus have money left for Cueto and Latos, I’m right there with you.)

        • See above about what kind of run difference the defense would actually be. Not that substantial. If the money gets in the way of Cueto and/or Latos then I agree with you. But I think something could be worked out.

          I’ve been trying to stay optimistic about Cozart “returning to his norms” all year. i’ve said it repeatedly on here. Unfortunately there really isn’t enough data on Cozart to really know what his norms are. He’s only played 2 full seasons in the majors. His numbers were consistent over those 2 years, but that hardly makes for enough of a data set to say that’s where he’ll stay. Baseball is full of guys who had a couple good years early on and then went south. Now, I don’t think he suddenly turned into a 37 OPS+ player overnight. But he might be closer to a 70 than an 80, and that’s basically Ramon Santiago. Sure, a guy like that will stay dirt cheap but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look at it as a position we could improve. Maybe Drew is overkill, but he’s what’s available.

      • Ugh, I really, really can’t stand Stephen Drew or his brother for that matter. He’d help from an offensive standpoint but I’d really struggle to root for the guy.

  18. People need to stop talking about 1-run games like they are coin flips, and the results will eventually work themselves out by math alone. NO!!! A lot here won’t agree with this because you can’t measure it, but close games are won by determination, the will to win, and (wait for it)…..clutchness. Take a look at all of the championship teams, and the common factor in most all of them, are their ability to comeback in close games and always get the big hit. The recipe is there, always has been. Lack of ability when the game is on the line, is what’s causing these loses, not because we are on the unlucky side of the coin flip.

    • Right. Gritty determination. Clutchness. It has nothing to do with lacking the best parts of our bullpen most of the year, or having our best power threat (Bruce) and probably second best power threat (Mesoraco) out of the lineup. If Frazier were Clutchier, his ball would have gone three feet farther and been a three run homerun. (Which brings up an interesting question: was Tucker’s blast to right in Boston displaying the proper Clutch Quotient for GABP, but he should have been using xCQ for Fenway?)

      Chapman’s got no will to win, which is why he gave up that homerun. If he had the proper Will, his catcher would have called for a slider. The guy’s a big softie–it took him more than 6 weeks to come back from having a hard object blasted into his face. He struck out 4 of the hottest hitters in baseball (seriously: what was with that ball 4 call the other day?) his first game back because he felt Gritty, but yesterday he left his Clutch in the bullpen.

      /s/. Big old /s/.

      • The response I thought I would get as predicted. Every player on the team no doubt, wants to win. It’s not a switch that math robots think can be turned on or off. It’s a quality that players in general have, or don’t have. We just happen to have a large number of players that don’t have it.
        Do you not think that the ability to “dig down deep” is a quality possessed by MLB players? Teams that win championships will differ. (see Red Sox, Cardinals, Braves, Yankees…ect…you know the teams that actually get the clutch hits when they need them) Amazing how the two go hand in hand.

        • If you were a GM and trying to build a “dig down deep” roster, what would be the process? Draft a certain type of player? promote players through the minors based on a certain trait? Only sign free agents based on a certain trait?
          What if you sign a free agent to a long contract who turns out to be poor at getting a clutch hit?
          Rely on scouting?

        • It’s kind of interesting but it is exactly what the Red Sox did last season. They thought their club had become lethargic so they jettisoned the content and brought in the discontent. I will not claim this always works but it did in 2013. Personally, I would take Dustin Pedroia in a heartbeat over any other 2nd baseman in the league.

        • Well, let’s at least be a LITTLE fair here. While I’m not sure there’s a “type” of player who is “clutchier” than another, I do think that coaches and management can help instill an overall philosophy to a team. As much as we all nitpicked Dusty’s lineup constructions and bullpen use, that’s not why he was fired. He was fired because Bob didn’t like the lack of urgency he brought to the clubhouse. I think we can all agree that a manager is capable of instilling that in his team. From what I’ve seen, Price seems like a very quiet, cerebral guy. I don’t know what he’s like behind closed doors, but it’s fair to say he’s not exactly a fiery leader in the dugout. Not that that’s what this team is missing, but when fans talk about the lack of “clutchiness” I don’t think it’s entirely off base.

        • There is likely a “clutch” component to an extent. Just not sure how you determine it. The Red Sox did clean house, but, they still have good players. It is likely a never ending chase to build the right team. Even if you build the right team, it still may not work out as planned.

  19. One interesting move last night: Price burned both Bernadina and Schumaker in the 9th, instead of double switching. I liked it, and I think it shows how Price is feeling about Bernadina’s value at the plate.

  20. The question is, or should be once all the hitters are back from injury, can Walt Jocketty effectively improve a lineup of this: BHam, Votto, Frazier, Bruce, Meso, BP, Ludwick, and Cozart.
    If Bruce suffers some power diminishment from his knee injury, then more power from the LF position is going to be needed. Some better hitting from the SS position, too.
    Can Jocketty do it? Possibly. Will Jocketty do it? Past actions by him say no. A rather large number of injuries can cause a great deal of adversity. Incompetence from the front office does not need to compound the situation.
    Can’t wait for Steve’s upcoming article on the front office. Be firm, but fair in your assessment. Jocketty has earned the grief that comes his way.

    • Yes, I believe Schu would be a more effective player than Ludwick; at least against right handed pitching. With limited power, RL is not a starting player in MLB. He has zero speed, at best decent fielder and he might hit for .270 if we are lucky,. Personally, for Joey it seems like the #2 slot is the best place for him but if Schu is in, then he should back second and JV third. I would rather have Ryan in there, because of the line-up flow, if he could drive the ball better but I’m not seeing it.

      • Not sure on Ludwick either. Just not sure what he brings if there is no power. Schumaker basically brings OBP potential. His defense is poor, no speed, and no power. Since 2010, he has a negative WAR
        Not great options at this point. Need Ludwick to show some power

        • Understand that neither option is optimal; however, Schu has a lifetime 7.8% K-rate. It would better to have a contact hitter behind B-Ham than basically a dead spot hitting 7th. I’m valuing more and more advance stats but you have to play with the pieces you have and fit them together the best you can. So yes a negative WAR is not preferable but a decent OBP and low k-rate isn’t a total bust behind Billy. Just one man’s thoughts.

  21. This Reds team we’re seeing right now may be the same team we’ll see for the rest of the season. My theory is that, under Dusty’s tenure, this team never had a lot of pressure put on them during the regular season. It was the, ” We’ll get ‘em tomorrow” mentality. When the Reds were finally in pressure situations (i.e. playoffs), the team tightened up and had a lot of difficulty scoring runs, executing, etc. I think Price has established a higher standard and is applying some pressure this team is not used to during the regular season. The new mentality he’s trying to instill is, “we lost because we didn’t execute…and that is unacceptable.”

  22. The Big Lutz went 2-3 with 1-HR & 1-SB in today’s early Blue Wahoos game. After going 1-9 with 3-SO in the prior 2 games, he appears to have quickly regained his stroke after an almost 3 week layoff, although playing part of 1 game almost 2 weeks ago, going 2-2 with 1-BB. Lutz is now slashing .368/.415/.701 and would be leading the AA Southern League in OPS (1.116) if he hadn’t missed several games during his layoff.

    With Bruce on the shelf for a few more weeks, the Reds could sure use his bat in the lineup and he’s already on the 40-man roster. Lutz could fly into Cincinnati in plenty of time for the afternoon game tomorrow. Quite frankly, with the state of the Reds offense, I think they have to get Lutz in the lineup ASAP. Combined with Mesoraco’s return for the Phillies series after a brief rehab, that’s some significant punch added to a very punchless lineup right now. That could also allow Bryan to platoon Schumaker and Ludwick for a while to try and get add even more offense.

    • Lousiville’s lineup for tonight isn’t posted yet, but I assume Mes is starting again. He went 2-for-3 last night. If he’s going to be playing, he might as well be playing up here. He’s not getting any additional rest taking AB’s for Louisville. My guess is he’ll meet the team in Philly, but I don’t know why he isn’t here for these last 2 home games.

      • I imagine the reasoning regarding the rehab assignment rather than playing with the big club is that if anything happens and he has to go back on the DL, he doesn’t have to start a new 15 days during the rehab. Of course getting the preparation and regaing game readiness on a minor league rehab rather than on the big league roster, is also a plus, but that doesn’t seem to concern the Reds management.

        • I think the Old Cossack has the reasoning behind Mesoraco’s continued work with L’ville correct.

        • He is no less likely to get hurt. The difference is if he suffers a minor setback, the clock doesn’t have to be reset for his DL stint.

  23. I had to laugh when I looked at Soto’s stats. I didn’t know it was possible to have a lower OBP than a BA. Soto comes in with a .125/.118 slash. Unbelievable he is still on the 25 man roster.

    • Soto is a weird case…He has actually had perfectly respectable hitting stats in AAA for the last few years. He only has 28 major league AB’s so his numbers are pretty meaningless with the Reds. But at this point, what are they supposed to do with him? He’s 25 and he seems to have topped out in the minors – he’s not doing anyone any good there except taking up some other prospect’s AB’s. In theory he should be able to contribute at the big league level, he just hasn’t up until this point. The fact of the matter is he’s the most major league ready player in the system with good AAA stats so it makes sense for him to be here. Sure would like to see him prove me right, though…And Lutz is making a pretty strong argument right about now.

      • Hmmmmm, we seem to have a different perception regarding Soto’s minor league performance and major league readiness. Up through AA in 2011, Soto was raking, but once he got to AAA, his performance lagged significantly. Soto has 2 full seasons of experience at AAA with a .726 OPS. For a corner IF, that’s not a particularly good number. In comparison, Alonso had an .847 OPS in 2 seasons at AAA with an .860 OPS in his 2nd season. I think Soto still has something to prove at AAA and would benefit from the additional experience. An improved AAA performance could also enhance his trade value since he is blocked by Votto and Frazier at the major league level.

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