Titanic Struggle Recap

Game 47: Waiting for Joey

Final R H E
St. Louis Cardinals (27-22)
6 12 0
Cincinnati Reds (22-25)
3 11 0
W: J. Garcia (1-0)   L: T. Cingrani (2-4)   S: T. Rosenthal (15)
Box Score | Play-by-Play | Stats | Depth Chart | FanGraphs Win Probability

 The Good

Brandon Phillips went 3 for 4 and Zack Cozart went 2 for 3.

In his last 4 appearances, J.J. Hoover has faced 18 batters, given up 1 hit and no runs. He pitched a scoreless 7th.

The Bad

It was a forgettable night for Tony Cingrani, who seemed to lose his command for good in the 6th. He went 6, giving up 4 runs on 7 hits with 4 Ks and 3 walks.

From an offensive standpoint, the game was essentially lost in the middle of the order when Devin Mesoraco, Jay Bruce and Ryan Ludwick combined to go 1 for 12, the lone hit being Ludwick’s meaningless HR in the 9th.

But for a heckuva play by Mark Ellis at second base to rob Mesoraco, the game would have been tied in the bottom of the 6th. But both Bruce and Ludwick failed to even put the ball in play, leaving runners stranded on second and third.

Again in the 7th, Cozart and Skip Schumaker each singled back-to-back and went to second and third on a wild pitch—only to be left stranded when Frazier couldn’t put the ball in play.

The Ugly

Sean Marshall looks really good as long as he doesn’t throw his fastball. There is still no velocity there and until his arm strength, lower body strength, or both return, he’s going to be a shell of the pitcher he once was. He’s lost between 2 and 3 mph on the four seam and without that, he can’t set up his great curve and slider. They just can’t put him in high leverage situations any more until this gets fixed.

Not so random thoughts …

Once again we see just how important defense is in winning baseball games. We saw it on the positive side of the ledger the other night during that 15-inning affair in D.C. We watched the Cardinals do it to the Reds tonight when Mark Ellis made a spectacular leap that kept the game from being tied at 4.

This team needs one more bat in the lineup. I think we know who that is.

Over the last month, Zack Cozart is hitting .282/.330/.353.

It would be great to see Mike Leake pitch well with the boys from Bristol in town tomorrow night. He deserves the press. Amirite?

69 thoughts on “Game 47: Waiting for Joey

  1. “15-inning affair in Philly”

    *Washington

    But otherwise, 100% agree. But those ABs by Bruce and Ludwick were fundamentally different. Garcia pulled the string on Bruce that last pitch, but Jay has gotten a lot better at the plate. Ludwick on the other hand looked horrendous.

    • Ludwick and Marshall sgould go to the old folks home, Heisey to pinch hitter and Bernadino, Santiago and Andrusek to Louisville. Better get us some major leaguers.

      • The ultimate sign of disrespect, misspelling a guy’s name who is in his 6th year with the club. He had it coming too.

  2. The Good:

    Gabe Kapler was very good. Thom didn’t quite know how to respond to his anti-RBI guy comment.

    • That was such an odd (and satisfying) moment. Thom went out of his way to set up the argument (“Maybe the biggest story in all of baseball…”???), and Kapler knocked it down in about two sentences. I’m not sure if they’ve worked together before, but Kapler said that like he was setting up for Thom to come in and agree with him. Only made it more enjoyable for me.

    • Kapler was horrendous. Guys like him give statistics a bad name. There were many horrible moments to choose from, but when the game was still close in the 4th or 5th he said one Cardinals hitter’s “job” was to foul balls off and drive up the pitch count, and the result of the AB didn’t even matter.

      The defense of Votto, while appreciated, doesn’t excuse the rest of Kapler’s game. And even his defense was just a citing of numbers with no useful explanation for the many fans who might be swayed if someone made the effort to explain what the heck those numbers mean.

      • I think your view on his comments on driving up pitch counts shows the difference between those that actually play or played the game and non playing stat geeks.

        • I believe in the value of making a pitcher work. But at that moment/situation in the game it made very little sense as an objective. And just fouling balls off is never the main job of a batter, whether you’re old school or a stat geek.

          I played, poorly. And I see value in statistics. I think this idea that a person should only rely on his gut/experience, or only rely on statistics, to be a false choice.

      • I actually agreed with that at the time. They were up like 3-0 in the 5th, I believe. Cingrani’s pitch count was a little high.

        You have a 3 run lead against a team that’s never made a 3 run comeback so far this year and has the worst bullpen in MLB. Driving out the starting pitcher pretty much immediately sealed the win, so fouling a lot of balls to drive up the pitchcount was quite possibly the most important thing to do.

        1 pitch single, or force Ondrusek into the game. Which sounds like a better result for a batter to you?

  3. Everyone around here thinks we don’t need Votto! How dare you suggest we need his bat in the lineup! For all the ppl on here that will bash me for defending Votto hear me out. He does some things the rest of our reds donot do and that is work count after count which is a real positive thing in this game. He rarely ever gives at bats away again that plenty of other reds do time and time again! He may not joke around on the field and all of that happy horse crap he is a professional and this is how he goes about his business! I for one love his approach and always will. Kapler made a great point about the rbi stat being a misleading stat since it is out of the batters control. I’m sick of everyone crying about Votto’s contract. How about if Cincy didn’t pay the man and his is wear an STL cap for the next 10yrs and is killing us time and time again???? Would you haters like this? I’m thinking you would actually. You act like your paying his contract or something. Price needs to pitch Cueto tomorrow period!!!!

    • I haven’t seen any comments that we don’t need Votto. There has been some discussion of his approach, which is quite different from dismissing his importance. OBP, of course, or at least its importance to the team, is also a dependent stat, since one doesn’t walk (or single or double) and then score unless somebody else drives you in (unless you are BH). But, again, this is not a criticism of Joey: The Reds obviously need him and need him to get on base in the hope that somebody will drive him in.

  4. Overall, I’m satisfied with the job Bryan Price has done. He’s had to weather a monsoon of injuries. He’s been reasonably open minded about the line-up. He seems to relate well with the team. And beside all of that, it’s way too early to make bottom-line judgments on his performance.

    That said, I just don’t understand bringing in the back-end of the bullpen in the eighth inning. Yes, the odds are against coming back down two runs with two innings to go. It seemed like it was one of those nights that every ball was finding a Cardinals glove and every Cardinals hit was just out the reach of a Reds player.

    But if Sam LeCure was available to pitch the ninth inning, why wasn’t he used in the eighth? Dusty Baker did the same thing against the Cardinals last year. The Reds would get behind. That situation called for the backend of the bullpen role. The Reds would get further behind (because the Cardinals destroy mediocre pitching) and have no realistic chance to come back. That’s exactly what happened tonight.

    It seems like Price is quickly settling into exactly the same reliance on bullpen roles as Baker, and that’s disappointing. Maybe he thinks the pen has been so shaky that they need a dose of stability. But my view is you can’t manage the same way against the Cardinals that you do against other teams. Two runs behind in the eighth inning against them should be treated as an extremely high leverage situation – not the same way you’d treat being behind the Padres.

    • It’s not just Price. There’s no reason Ondrusek should be on a major league roster. If I never get another answer to anything else, I just want someone to tell me what the fascination is with him.

      Hoover has had his streaks. Sean Marshall has past performance. Broxton is doing well. Even guys like Cozart consistently give upside on defense and have had their moments at the plate.

      Logan Ondrusek has delivered no upside in the last 3 years that I’m aware of and the problem is only getting worse. I know I’m preaching to the choir here. I’m not trying to convince people he’s terrible….. Really, I’m wondering if anyone has a theory as to the fascination.

    • Bullseye Steve ! – mismanagement of this subpar bullpen in this type of situation is frustrating and quite frankly inexcusable – especially by Price who is a well respected pitching mind- something has to give with Ondrusek and Marshall – just insane that they are continuously used in high leverage situations

    • Spot on Steve. It’s been said here before….you have to wonder if Price was in charge of pitching changes last year.

    • He can’t run Parra Broxton and Chapman out there every night. I think it’s pretty clear he wanted Ondrusek to get a couple of RH bats out, then have Marshall take care of the LH bats. LeCure then would have gotten the top of the order in the 9th. Then the “good relievers” who all worked last night would be available for what is likely to be a close game Sunday. (Price also knows full well he’s not working with the “real” LeCure, I’m sure.)

      Marshall has to be DL’d. “Needs to get his strength back” is not something you can do in close ball games, and the Reds don’t play in many blowouts. Without the fastball, the greatest breaking pitches in the world won’t consistently get the job done. If Hoover has really steadied the ship it will help, but I can’t blame Price for the difficulty of managing a bullpen that is missing Simon, an effective Marshall, a complete LeCure, and an MLB-caliber replacement for Ondrusek.

      • I don’t think LeCure is going to get all those MPH back on his pitches, he’s been on a FB velocity decline since 2011, but who cares? He’s never been a guy with a real fast arm. He’s actually only had one year in his career where his FB averaged over 90mph and that was 2011.

        Velocity dropped every year since, ERA dropped every year since. He’s a movement/location guy, so I am not worried about a FB that averages like 87-ish. He keeps getting outs and stranding inherited runners.

  5. I’m right with you Steve. I do like some of the things that Price had done with how this season has been going. I am not satisfied with what seems to be throwing in the towel way too early! You fight til the bitter end and make the other team work as hard as they can to beat you! Having the 2 worst pen guys in the game at the point where they were put in is quitting as far as I’m concerned!!! I’m not cool with this at all. Would Matheny quit so fast on his club and the STL faithfull? I think not!

  6. In response to the title of this post: We’ve been waiting for Joey all year and we’ll be waiting for Joey all year. As much as I want the Joey from 2010 he isn’t ever coming back. So if we are waiting for a power bat…. it isn’t going to be coming from that direction.

    Let us see what pitching changes Price and Jocketty make before the first week in June. I would expect 1 or 2 guys to be sent down. Not sure what they can do with Marshall but he should never be used in a critical situation and is therefore expendable roster spot. Hoover and Ondrusek? Hoover has been playing better but as he improves Ondrusek appears to take over on the stink.

    Who will we see step up for the Reds in the final week of May?
    My picks to step up are offensively: Phillips and Bruce.
    pitching: Hoover and Bailey bounce back with greatness in their vision.

    • Dave wrote;”We’ve been waiting for Joey all year and we’ll be waiting for Joey all year. As much as I want the Joey from 2010 he isn’t ever coming back. So if we are waiting for a power bat…. it isn’t going to be coming from that direction.”

      Thank you for a very realistic statement.

    • I don’t think that we’re waiting for a power bat. I think that we’re waiting for someone who won’t swing at three balls outside the strike zone.

      • True. Do you ever wonder about the psychology that goes on in these guys’ minds that they often work their way into a favorable count then just start swinging away at pitches that weren’t as good as the ones they looked at to get the good count?

  7. It is aggravating; but, Price is following the theory of not throwing good money after bad. From BP’s perspective, suppose he used Sam in the 8th and Sam held the Cards but the Reds failed to close the deficit in the bottom half of the inning? Who pitches the 9th? And if he burns Parra in the 9th in a game they lose, who pitches the 7th tomorrow when Wainright and Leake are (we hope) locked up in a really tight affair with the Reds having managed to get the upper hand by a run?

    The real problem is that the “B team” isn’t ready for MLB time in any game other than a laughter. The manager has three guys who he trusts to protect a lead and a 4th (LeCure) he sort of trusts; he holds these guys for when he has a lead to protect or (at home) when they are at least even. LeCure being lowest in the pecking order of the A team gets burned in situations like tonight; but, I do agree if LeCure is going to be used, why not first instead of last?

    • I think part of the issue with how LeCure is used also hinges from the fact that it seems like he is a borderline MASH unit candidate himself, They never seem quite sure when he will be available or what he will have to give.

  8. Votto may not be the hr threat everyone wants him to be but he will be a productive player when and if he returns. Far more productive than many others on this club I can assure you. Some changes in this sorry pen need made sooner rather than later! Please get Ondrusek out of the big leagues! Marshall should be used in mop up duties only from here on out.

    • Even to be effective as you described, Votto has to be able to turn on inside pitches well enough to at least “serve” them out to CF and right CF for singles and the occassional gap jobs. The last week or two he played, he couldn’t even get his bat to inside stuff; and the whole world was on to it. Hopefully they will get him to a sustainable 70-80% capability with his left knee and he can get the job done.

      • The last week or two he played, he couldn’t even get his bat to inside stuff; and the whole world was on to it.

        You mean the last year or so…not week, right?
        He rarely pulls the ball…for fear of hitting a foul ball in the stands down the line. *TIC*

  9. Steve wrote:”That said, I just don’t understand bringing in the back-end of the bullpen in the eighth inning.” Let me venture an opinion, Who ever is scheduled to start Sunday can count on giving it everything for 6 + innings then Para, Broxton, and Chapman. Win the series and get out of town having won the last 4 out of six. Not very splashy like a 10 game streak but you can win a division title. Yeah I know , crazy right. Well, IMO it is no worse than the hope that some have expressed that our one legged 1st baseman plays MVP baseball the rest of the year. We saw Votto last year and there is isn’t any reason to think that he will improve on 2013 numbers and now that Price has admitted that he wasn’t whole last year and is not 100% this year lets be real. I had better stop now or my frustration and heart will cause a very uncivilized post.

  10. About roles…. Baker always said the players preferred roles because they felt that helped with their preparation (and by extension) he felt they preformed better in roles because of this. Price has said essentially the same out of one side of his mouth while at times implying out of the other side he was more about matching the player to a situation regardless of roles. I’m thinking again it is that he simply doesn’t trust too many of the pen guys in any context so he falls into the default of having roles

  11. Honestly, I’m not that concerned. The starting pitching is fairly solid and getting solider(?).

    The Reds now have two legitimate right-handed power bats. Bruce will get his swing back. Both Bruce and Frazier have made significant strides forward as hitters. BP hasn’t regressed nearly as bad as people were concerned.

    The defense is rock solid. I’d love to see a better solution in left field for both defense and offense, but oh well. The bench has seen better days, but soon we’ll have Schumaker, Pena, and maybe Ludwick on it (please?).

    WHAT WORRIES ME… The bullpen. The Reds will get healthy, but they’ve lost some time. They’ll need to roll off some wins, and nothing is more of a wet-blanket on streaking than a bad bullpen. If you asked me today, would you rather pull the trigger on a non-superstar left field option or move the 40-man to give the Reds bullpen flexibility… I think I’d take the latter.

  12. Was at the game debuting my RN t-shirt. Guess that was about the highlight of the evening along with the bats of Phillips, Cozart, and (too little, too late) Ludwick, as Richard noted.

    Was also in the middle of a pack of Matt Carpenter supporters. These people are Cincinnati-area aunts, uncles, and cousins who cheer for Matt, but root for the Reds. Talk about dysfunctional families . . .

    Read yesterday that Jay, “. . . feels like a new man . . .” since undergoing the knee procedure. Surprised and glad to see him come back so soon, but sure wish he’d bring his bat, too.

    • Nobody frustrates more on this team than Bruce. I have much more confidence in most other players in clutch situations – e.g. BP, Votto, Frazier, Meso, even Ludwick. Bruce can’t miss when he’s in the groove, but problem is the groove only occurs for short periods over the course of the year. I have come to dread Bruce batting in critical situations.

  13. I agree with pretty much everything above, especially John W says. I am not sure why this love obsession with Ondrusek. He has not improved for 3 years and go nobody out tonight. I would like to know why the heck they keep Ondrusek on the roster?? The other day, one of my friends said they were going to marry this girl that was addicted to drugs and would clean out his bank account. I told him he was really stupid and completely lost his mind, for even thinking about marrying this girl. I then told him, it makes as much sense as the Reds keeping Ondrusek, and putting him in high leverage games, and also putting in Marshall (who needs more rehab) in high leverage games. My friend, being a big Reds fan, got the correlation.

  14. Also…I think the Reds should put Shoemaker (spelling?) in left field. He is not a power hitter, but has been playing well, and usually puts the ball in play. Heisey strikes out too much, and Ludwick strikes out too much, and isn’t doing well at all now. Especially when we have a runner on third, and less than two outs, Shoemaker will at least put the ball in play, via fly ball or ground out. Ludwick is going down hill fast. Reds really need to start looking at free agency, or a trade to get a left fielder (which I know I am preaching to the choir). Heisey is not good enough to start, and should come off the bench.

  15. I’m wondering can Sam LeCure pitch 2 innings in an appearance? He has done it once all season. Last night seemed like it was the perfect time. As far as Price not completely trusting Sam, he is sporting a 1.33 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. The fastest pitch he threw last night was 89 mph, unless I missed something. Maybe he has lost some of his velocity but the guy has been money.

    On the other hand, Marshall has a 10.38 ERA with a “2.88” WHIP and outside of (2) outings has been absolutely brutal. Ondrusek has been slightly “better”: 6.59 ERA, 2.05 WHIP and has (2) clean appearances out of 14.

    Okay, maybe Jumbo is not the answer because if the Reds thought there was even a chance he could help, he would be up here. There just have to be a couple of guys sitting on their couches at home that could do better. Anyone have Jesse Orosco’s phone number?

    This situation has gone from puzzling to absurd.

    • I say we call up Arthur Rhodes. I mean, sure he’s 44 years old nowadays, but he was 40 when he was an All Star for the Reds, hah.

    • Yup i agree with you there 2 of three need to go away of our new nasty boys trip Hoover ondrusek and marshall. Seems like Hoover has the most upside but cutting ties with two of these is essential now

  16. I brought this up a week or two ago, but the schedule for the next couple days is ridiculous. Late game tonight, go straight to the airport around midnight for a 6 hour flight to LA, then play an afternoon game in LA tomorrow. And that’s assuming the game ends on time tonight. So knowing that, is there any reason Cueto didn’t fly out to LA yesterday? He’s not doing the team any good sitting in the dugout and he could at least be sleeping off the jetlag so we have a fighting chance tomorrow – otherwise I’m afraid we’re just going to sleepwalk through a tough game.

    • I would think Cueto flies out today and won’t be at the game tonight. No reason for him to go yesterday. He could leave this morning and get plenty of rest for the Dodgers game.

    • Yeah, I don’t get why this schedule is even allowed. This feels like another case of the Reds front office just kind of agreeing to punt a game, like last year’s Giants rainout reschedule fiasco.

      I’d definitely have the starter in LA already. I don’t think any of us will be surprised if the Reds almost literally sleepwalk through that game in LA; it’s a shame it’s a Cueto start.

    • 6 hours from Cincy to LA? What are they taking?? a balloon?
      You don’t get jetlag when flying east to west.

      • You play a baseball game, go straight from the park to the airport, get on a plane for ok FIVE hours (sheesh), go from the airport to the hotel, drop off your bags, sleep for an hour or two, get up and go to the ballpark for batting practice, then play another baseball game all in under 24 hours. Tell me how you feel.

        • More like four actually. Plus they don’t have to worry about flight delays and once on the ground getting to their destination without hassle, like you and I would. How would I feel if I’m 20 to 35 years old? Possibly a tad groggy but nothing a Red Bull, or two, wouldn’t cure

        • 4 hrs 12 minutes if you want to get technical. I don’t necessarily disagree with sending JC out 1 day early though.

        • Look at it the other way: Dodgers have a start-time at 1 PM PST and the next day play in Cincinnati at 7 PM EST/4 PM PST. 26 hours hours between start times. Is that 3 hours that huge a difference plus you lose an hour of flight time going west to east?

      • Yeah, I don’t get all the angst either. First you are right, you don’t get jet lag going east to west, at least to any degree. The start time in LA is 7 PM Cincinnati time, 23 hours from tonight’s start. JC should be just fine and the players really have no excuse to lay an egg.

        • Start is 5:00 Cincinnati time tomorrow. It’s a rough turn around, don’t kid yourselves. And don’t be surprised when you see a very sluggish offense tomorrow night.

        • After his last outing, I’m sure Cueto’s not looking forward to having a very sluggish defense behind him, too.

  17. From Fay, today, here’s why we may be waiting for Joey for quite some time:
    “I like to lie a lot – I usually just tell people I feel great,” Votto said.

    • Saw this, as well.

      Reds manager Bryan Price admitted on Friday that it “may not be possible this year” to get Joey Votto (quad) back to 100 percent.
      Votto is officially on the disabled list with a distal left quadriceps strain, but the Reds are concerned about the strength of his left knee, which he had operated on twice in 2012. The first baseman remains hopeful of returning on May 31 when first eligible, but it sounds like he’ll be playing compromised this season. “The soreness – I can’t say it’s completely gone – but it’s much more controlled,” Price said. “But the strength deficit is still a concern. To me, it made more sense to get Joey as close to 100 percent – that may not be possible this year – but as close to it as we can and give him a better foundation on which to play as opposed to getting him back at 50 percent because we didn’t give him an extra week to 10 days to get that stability back in in his leg.”

      If I’m the Reds brass (and by no means do I think they will do this), I would sacrifice this season for the next 3 or 4. I’d start putting in inquiries regarding trades for top prospects. There was an article written about the Cubs need to trade Samardzija ASAP and that they can clean up on prospects. The Reds should consider doing the same thing. When Latos gets back, they should seriously look at trading one of their starting pitchers for a basket full of prospects. Their minor league system is so replete of any decent prospects that there are no replacements near ready in the event of injuries, etc.
      Ludwick is done after this year (he’s actually done now but that’s another issue all together). Who is going to replace him? Donald Lutz? Lutz isn’t projected for anything more than a 4th or 5th outfielder. Certainly not a starter in the show. What 2nd base prospects do the Reds have to replace Phillips in a couple of year? What about SS?

      I think the Reds will wait out Votto and Latos. If after a month with the team intact, no improvement is shown, what then?

  18. Cingrani’s wildness aside, the leaping catch by Ellis on Mez’s drive was the game. Marshall throwing two breaking pitches to Jay, who wasn’t even close, then feeds him a fastball down the middle. Really? Ondrusek needs to go. I’ve seen enough. I thought Kapler was either spot on or made no sense. Schumaker over Ludwick. Yes, please.

  19. Since I’m out of market, I don’t get post game interviews on MLB Extra Innings. Do the Reds even do them? If so, is Price ever asked why Ondrusek or Marshall??? Why not LeCure???

    Also, on the commute every day, on XM Radio, MLB Network does interviews with mangers and GM’s all the time. I’ve never heard a Walt J. or Price interview. (certainly I might have missed it). Are thoughts on team direction that much of a secret that we can’t be filled in?

    • Have XM as well. Never heard WJ on MLB. Price, I think only right after he got the job, last year. To be fair, have not heard much out of any of the first-time managers, I think their heads are too much on a swivel right now.

  20. Hindsight comment of the day:

    While many were hollering for Sizemore (.211/.287/.320), I wanted a piece of Nelson Cruz (.291/.358/.592). Sure there were some post PED questions. But he signed a 1 year 8 million contract. Man, would he look good in LF now?
    8 MILLION!!!!!…*cries*

      • Yeah, when four of your last five seasons you’ve had an AVG in the 260s, and now all of a sudden you turn 33 and you’re hitting in the 290s and have the highest slugging percentage you’ve had since you were 27? Red flags.

        People generally don’t turn 33 and suddenly slug .081 higher than they have over the previous five years and .091 higher than their career average.

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