Titanic Struggle Recap

Game 38: Zacktastic and Cuetoriffic


Final R H E
San Diego Padres  (19-22)
 0  3 0
Cincinnati Reds  (18-20)
 5 14 0
W: J. Cueto (4-2)    L:  I. Kennedy (2-5)
Box Score | Play-by-Play | Stats | Depth Chart | FanGraphs Win Probability

The Good

For the 9th time this season, Johnny Cueto has gone 7 or more innings. In Reds history, you gotta go all the way back to Bucky Walters in 1945 to better this innings start by Johnny.

Zack Cozart had 3 hits, 2 McRBIs, and scored a run. He is now officially over the Mendoza Line at .208. Our national nightmare is over, amirite?

Brandon Phillips slipped the surly bonds of earth for the 3rd time this season, giving the Reds the lead and a 3-0 cushion for a change.

With two outs in the bottom of the 5th, Skip Schumaker produced a critical single that kept the inning alive for Brandon Phillips. Sometimes, the sequence of a hit is just as important as the hit with RISP.

The Bad

Nothing.

The Ugly

Nada.

Not so random thoughts …

Third complete game of the year for Cueto and second complete game shutout. Even Mike Matheny won’t be able to ignore this come July. One of the reasons Johnny so consistently outperforms his peripherals is because he holds the running game in check so well. Batters who reach first base rarely advance on Cueto. Today, with a runner cut down attempting to steal and two double plays, we saw further evidence today how hard it is to touch home plate when Johnny is on the mound.

The Daily Billy: I’ve believed that given the potential havoc and unusual run-scoring leverage Hamilton provides, even an OBP floor as little as .300 just might be enough to justify his presence at the top of the lineup. With 2 hits today, his OBP is now .302.

My Knob Creek Player of the Game: Zack Cozart. Because.

 Injury update from C. Trent Rosecrans:  “Reds manager Bryan Price said Latos was feeling “great” after his bullpen session on Wednesday, and is on track to re-join the team in early June. “I’m really excited because he’s feeling, he said, as good as he’s felt in years,” Price said. “That’s a pretty bold statement for a guy who has thrown a lot of innings, pitched in a lot of big games and won a lot of games to say something like that as we get closer to his potential activation that looks like early June.”

 

57 thoughts on “Game 38: Zacktastic and Cuetoriffic

  1. I wonder if there is any way we can have Johnny Cueto pitch every game?? Then, we don’t have to worry about going to the shaky bullpen…..just wishful thinking.

  2. Cueto’s xFIP had to have been helped today. Although watch that last BB in the 9th kill him. But he didn’t give up his standard solo HR so the number should come down. I can’t remember ever watching a Reds pitcher be this dominant. Rijo is the only one close.

    • Mario Soto in 1982 was dominant, if Reds had only been an average team, feels like Soto would have won 25 games instead of 14. Danny Jackson in 1989 another one. But all the pub was to the stinking dodger pitcher in a pitchers park.

      Keep it going Johnny!

  3. I asked the question in the game thread: If you’re Cueto’s agent, do you listen to contract offers from the Reds right now or do you tell Johnny to wait? He’s clearly having a CY type of season, but anything can happen between now and October, including another injury. He knows the team will pick up the option next year, so he could put himself in line for a big bonus up front and a sizable raise for 2015, not to mention guaranteed money for years to come. Then again, if he can stay healthy and this dominant for the next 4 months he could add an AS start and a CY to his resume which tack on another $100 million at least to anything he might be looking at right now. I know what I’M hoping happens, but I’m not sure how he should handle it…The Reds have to be making calls.

    • The Reds signed Cueto when he was 16 years old. The Reds are pretty much all he knows. The Reds have set up a nice support network for Cueto that has been in place a few years now. There is Tomas ???, that is his translator/handler. He seems to really like Pena as his catcher. There is alot a familiarity with the Reds and Cincinnati. He has established relationships with his teammates. The Reds will give him a competitive offer. It’ll all boil down to where Cueto wants to pitch. I would say this situation with Cueto is very similar to the one Bailey and the Reds were in. They are both pitchers that the Reds originally signed; the Reds have alot invested in both; and they trained, cultivated and groomed both. The Reds are heavily invested in Cueto and will do everything they can to sign him. Latos, I’m afraid is going to be a whole different story.

      • A competitive offer now compared to a competitive offer after he has a CY on his resume are two very different things.

        • Yep, you got that right. I think Cueto should take the Reds offer, assuming Reds offer is somewhat realistic, and if Cueto really wants to remain a Red. He only needs to look over in other dugout to see Chase Headley turn down big money 2 years ago and I speculate now not even close to getting same offer. Same thing for some other pitchers this past off-season, who signed for much less than expected plus the near-plague of TJ surgeries going on.

          However, I get the lure of waiting till season end and maximizing his leverage if he can be just “good” rest of the year to tack on to his “dominant” start. And “IF” he does sign, then seems Latos is odd man out as not likely Reds would not be able to have big $$$ for Latos as well.

          Walt needs to make another crucial decision and pick the right guy.

        • I’d give a very good offer to Cueto and Latos. But I would also let them know that you probably cannot afford both and will sign the one who agrees first. And I would let it be known that the one who doesn’t sign might very well be pitching their contract year in Colorado’s Coors Field. That might be motivation to sign.

    • I’m totally spit-balling here….. But if the Reds are out of it by July 31, do you trade Cueto to a contender? He’d garner serious value. The guy is tough as nails and totally the one I’d want to be pitching come October.

      Plus, you’re not going to be able to lock up both him and Latos… Heck you couldn’t have done that before this season.

      That said, here’s hoping the Reds aren’t out of it by July.

      • I didn’t want to bring up the T word yet, but I have thought about it. I don’t think they’ll be out of it by the deadline this year, but if he does go on to win a CY and you’re looking at a $200 million contract that the team decides they just can’t afford, I could see them trading him in the off season. Even as a one year rental, he would be a steal with his 2015 option and we could get a truck load of talent in return.

        I hope it doesn’t come to that. I want to see Cueto finish his career here.

  4. Hmm. earlier this blog season, phillips was persona non grata, Cozart was worse than a minor leaguer and there was concern about Cueto’s health.

    I have always been fine with Philips. Yes he said some embarrassing things, but he is really showing his valued.

    Cueto needed to be signed to an extension before this season. Oh well, we pay for a Cy Young pitcher now

    Cozart I did not have a comment on but I see him as a solid ML Shortstop who will hit 250 ish.

    And I remain bullish on the Billy show. found it interesting that he was not running today, but oh well, when you hit and get on base the way he does, who needs stolen bases?

    Great win this afternoon. Let’s play 2

    • As for Cueto and a CY, that’s why I’m wondering if we try and jump now. He doesn’t have it yet and with his injury history both him and his agent have to know there’s a risk he could miss some time this season. He could sign a slightly more team friendly deal right now when he’s pitching the best he ever has though without the hardware, or he could roll the dice.

  5. Cueto has that same type of tenacity that Bob Gibson had back in the late 60’s and 70’s. He has tenacity that the cat in the news has, the one that defended the 4 year old boy that was attacked by the dog. To Cueto and that cat, this Bud is for you today.

  6. Can the Reds afford to have 3 pitchers on staff with $100 million dollar contracts cause we have one already and both Latos and Cueto are going to get that either here or somewhere else…

    • Personally, I think we will have one of them and extend Leake. I would love to keep this whole staff together, but I don’t see it happening.

    • Posted a response in the other thread, but I think the Reds can only sign 1 of Cueto, Latos, and Leake. A lot depends on health issues, a couple seasons is a long time after all. I’d personally expect them to sign Cueto or Leake. Assuming Latos’ health is fine, I could see him being traded this season if the Reds fall out of contention. This organization needs some young bats/arms.

      A rotation of Cueto, Bailey, Cingrani, Stephenson, Lively/Holmberg in 2016 is pretty good. Even if you replace Cueto with Leake, you still have a pretty good rotation.

  7. Great win. Nothing to complain about when we when with a complete game shutout!

    I don’t think we can afford Cueto. We would have to get a home team discount. With the Yankees needing starting pitching (as always) Cueto will be offered 200 million plus by the pin strippers and there is no way we can even go close to that amount.

    • The Yankees are changing their business model – They’re no longer the big money spenders they used to be. I mean they still dwarf our payroll, but the days of them having double the payroll as the next team are over. I said it to you in the game thread – We’ve heard exactly the same thing about Votto and Bailey over the last few years. That there’s no way we can afford to keep them. TV money is changing the nature of payrolls. Now, I don’t think there’s any way we can keep Cueto and Latos, but I think we find a way to keep Cueto.

      • How much did the Yankees spend this past off season? If I remember right it was almost over 200 million total on new contracts…

        • Yeah but that’s within the norms of the league now. Used to be you could count on the Yankees being the biggest spenders by a mile every single season. The whole playing field has been raised and they’re just another big market team now. I’m not saying they aren’t still going to dish out a ton of cash, they’re just not the automatic “Evil Empire” anymore. You’ve got teams like Seattle and Texas and Detroit handing out the same kind of money.

      • I think it’s a little early to say they are changing their business model. The Yankees still have a payroll of $197mil and just went out and got the two top free agent outfielders, the best free agent catcher, and the best free agent pitcher in the offseason. Also, they had 4 outfielders at the time, and are now paying pretty serious bucks to Soriano, Ichiro, and Wells and only one of them can DH at a time.

    • I’d be more worried about the Cubs starting to poach guys with huge contracts in the near future than the Yankees. Especially within the division.

    • I have to go with Latos, because I think we’re getting Cueto’s best years now, and Latos’s best years are in front of him.

  8. We’d be bidding against ourselves if we tried to extend Cueto now, and yet the asking price will start at $100mil. At this point you just have to let the contract run its course. A lot can happen between now and November 2015, including the rise of Stephenson and Lively. I mean, no one predicted the rise of Cingrani either. It’s best to just let this play out. Let someone else overpay for past performance because we just can’t afford it.

    Now, if you want to talk about WHY we can’t afford it, we could talk about 40% of the payroll being tied up in our bullpen. *facepalm*

      • I believe Chapman will be due $5-million next year as a bonus on top of whatever he gets in arbitration. His original contract turns into bonus money when arb eligible… Broxton is due $9-million next season and there is a club option on him for $9-million with a $1-million buyout for 2016. I doubt the Reds will exercise it but who knows? … Marshall is due $6.5-million next year. I think that’s it. So basically it’s next year that those are all still on the books.

        Contract info from Cot’s http://www.baseballprospectus.com/compensation/cots/national-league-central/cincinnati-reds/

    • If we could lock up Cueto now for $120 million/7 years I would do that in a heartbeat. Yeah, a lot can happen in 18 months, but that would be a fantastic deal for the Reds. If he wins a CY in the next 18 months that number probably doubles.

      • I know that is what it will take, but given Cueto’s body type and delievery and history, I would really NOT want to go 7. I would pay him more per season and say go 4-5 years.

        • It’s just like any other huge contract anymore – You know you’re going to pay too much money for some bad years on the end. But that dollar amount would be such a huge discount versus what he might be worth in 6 months that you’d have to jump at it. Of course I also pulled it out of thin air. His agent might already be saying $200 million.

      • “If we could lock up Cueto now for $120 million/7 years I would do that in a heartbeat.”

        I swear when I first read that sentence, I thought for sure it said COZART, not CUETO. I need to lay down now.

  9. I still find it completely astonishing that the national talking heads not only discount Cueto when discussing possible NL CY candidates this year but actually disregard and omit him from the the discussion entirely, because everyone knows only New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Philadelpia or St. Louis can have a NL CY winner.

    • Cueto is going to have put exceed the numbers of pitchers in the big cities to have a shot. Kershaw is going to always be the front runner and such so Cueto has to be extra special. Look at what it took to beat Danny Jackson in his great season to miss out on the Cy Young award.

      • ESPN has been giving Cueto a lot of attention. After today it’s going to be pretty impossible to leave him out of the conversation.

  10. The top 5 in the lineup today were ALL on base twice with either 2 hits or 1 hit and an evil walk. That’s an outstanding performance by all 5 players and that puts crooked numbers in the R column and nothes another W on Johnny’s glove. Tack on a good day at the plate from the #8 hitter and move on to game #2 of the day.

  11. The bullpen is COMPLETELY rested and available. The Old Cossack hopes that Francis thumbs his nose at the doubters and pitches a solid game tonight, but Bryan should have a VERY short leash available with a fully rested bullpen. The Reds (read that as WJ) was backed into a bad position with the 40 man roster when they had to add Francis in order to promote him to the 25 man roster, even though the Reds had the option of expanding the 25-man roster temporarily to 26 for the game. The Reds are unable to just option Francis back to AAA after tonight’s game, so they would risk losing their #7 starter if they tried and I believe they think they would lose him (I think they are wrong), so I expect Francis to join the bullpen after tonights game as the long reliever until Latos returns from the 60-day DL. Managing the 40-man roster is not one of WJ’s strengths as a GM.

  12. Rewatching some more highlights…How many 2B’s can make that barehanded play Brandon made in the 7th? I keep hearing people on this board talk about how his defense is declining, but a guy who is physically capable of making that play is still one of the best defensive IF’s in baseball.

    • I think his defense may have dropped off some but certainly not much. He’s looked pretty good defensively to me this year. I still believe he’s one of the top 5 defensive 2B in baseball. One may be able to argue top 3.

        • I just haven’t seen a shred of evidence that his defense is declining. He’s going to have the occasional error, and sometimes a ball is going to get by him that he maybe should have gotten to, but every time something like that happens it seems like this board explodes with “SEE BP’S DEFENSE IS GOING!” Cal Ripken made errors in his career and some balls got by him, too.

        • Sure you could argue it, and you’d have a valid argument because by Defensive Runs Saved he’s the best… I could counter “Yeah but in Total Zone Runs Saved he’s 10th for 2B and defensive metrics are a bit iffy in a small sample” … Why argue about it though because I am agreeing that BP is still an excellent defensive second-baseman. I think once your Top 5 or so, it can be debated that your the best.

  13. The magic in Bucoville did not survive last season. The Pittsburgh bullpen gives up a single and 2 walks without recording an out in the 9th inning before yielding the game winning single in the bottom of the 9th in Brewville. The Reds can still pick up a half game on both the Birds and Brew Crew with a win tonight. You’re the man tonight, Francis. Time to step up and DO YOUR JOB as a wise editor has proclaimed…

  14. Mesoraco went 1-3 with a HR in what should be his final rehab tuneup before joining the Reds on the trip to Philly.

  15. Just for fun, ESPN.com says that Jhonny has thrown more complete games than any other TEAM in Major League Baseball. Go Reds! Let´s get the second game today too!

  16. The thing about BHam is his stats have been trending upward for some time now.

    When will he reach his equilibrium? When will his stats stabalize to the point we can say ‘Yup, that’s who he is.’?

    It’s an interesting thought. For me, I envision him being a .280/.330/.400 kind of guy this season.

    We’ll see.

    • Yeah Thom said something on the broadcast that didn’t sound right until I checked it. Hamilton went down in the Mets series with an injured hand. Since he came back from that injury he has hit over .350 with an OPS+ of over 150. He’s not going to keep up that pace, but I’ms tarting to think that maybe we’ve been selling him short with the .330 OBP projection.

  17. My use of “Your” instead of “You’re” is getting worse… Fingers type before the brain completely processes.

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