Titanic Struggle Recap

Close doesn’t count

Final R H E
  Cincinnati Reds  (22-27)
3 5 2
  Los Angeles Dodgers  (28-24)
4 5 0
 W:  Ryu (5-2)     L: Cueto (4-4)
 Box Score  |   Play-by-Play    |   Photos    |    Depth Chart   |   FanGraphs Win Probability

Relentlessness: Two innings only

Positives

Johnny Cueto gave up three unearned runs. One occurred when Todd Frazier, who was playing out of position because the Reds don’t have another first baseman on the roster who isn’t a left-handed hitter or Cueto’s personal catcher, booted a ground ball. The second and third run scored as a result of an error by Zack Cozart. Cueto pitched six plus innings, giving up four hits and two walks. An absurd 16-pitch at bat in the seventh by future Hall of Famer Justin Turner that ended in a walk seemed to take its toll on Cueto and set the stage for the Dodgers’ three-run seventh.

The Reds offense came to life in the eighth inning when they batted around the order. Todd Frazier led off with a double. Ryan Ludwick followed with a single. Chris Heisey hit a sacrifice fly to deep right field, scoring Frazier. Brayan Peña singled. After Devin Mesoraco struck out, Skip Schumaker drew a tough walk. Billy Hamilton then doubled, scoring Ludwick and Peña. Zack Cozart walked to load the bases. DatDude struck out.

Another clean inning for Jonathan Broxton.

Negatives

The Reds are dead last in the National League in runs scored over the last 30 days, and it’s not close. They are five games below .500 for the first time since April 12 when they were 3-8.

The Reds offense slept through the first seven innings. They didn’t manage a line drive after Ryan Ludwick’s line out to center field in the second inning until Todd Frazier’s double leading off the eighth.

Three unearned runs. See above. The Dodgers will take extra bases on outfield base hits. Chris Heisey (lackadaisical) and Billy Hamilton (sloppy) gave extra bases to Dee Gordon and Andre Ethier.

Manny Parra gave up a double to left-handed hitting Carl Crawford that plated the third and fourth runs for the Dodgers.

Not so random thoughts

Bryan Price used Devin Mesoraco as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning. Mesoraco struck out, but that was the aggressive (one might say, relentless) move by Price. The mess that is the Reds offense is not Bryan Price’s fault.

Billy Hamilton had a big hit in the eighth inning. It was the first ball he’d hit out of the infield since Wednesday. If you’re going be a contending team, you really need your lead-off hitter to do better than that.

The Dodgers’ pitching gets better tomorrow night and still better on Wednesday.

149 thoughts on “Close doesn’t count

  1. Of mention is the third base coaching decision for Schumaker. First, why it was Schumaker to begin with Bruce sitting on the bench with a chance of a longball changing the game completely. Second, Marty was beside himself discussing what the signal Smith was giving to Schumaker was. Sounded like he sorta wanted him to slide and Skip was confused. I don’t know if he was confused, but I am.

    • Schumaker would have been out by 20 feet. (even with the ball getting by the catcher he is out easily) Jay Bruce is not ready to play and should be in Louisville.

      • I just re-watched the play at third base with Schumaker. I think the decision was the right one and executed perfectly. The third base coach was giving Schumaker the green light right up until the Dodgers executed the relay throw without fail. It looked like the 3B coach was right on top of it. Yes, he switched suddenly from sending Schumaker to the brakes, but that’s exactly what was called for and Schumaker did just that.

        • I think a lot of people are still imprinted by the first few weeks. There haven’t been a lot of bad calls rounding 3B recently. The two that have been particularly good was sending Pena the other night (was sure that’d be a disaster and wasn’t) and holding Schumaker tonight.

          Yes, the team has problems, but let’s not all jump on everything.

        • What I saw looked like good quick-thinking coaching and good base running by Skip and Billy. How many times were we embarrased last year with having 2 Reds standing on 1 base?

    • Schumaker is a pro, I don’t know that the same can be said of Smith, given his record, at 3B coach this year (by his own admission). He probably didn’t know what to do with Skip, I’ll give you that, but he couldn’t have known the throw would be offline. Schumaker would have been out, at the plate, if the throw was good. This game hinged on the errors by Frazier & Cozart and the lineup Price came up with (despite being hampered by what he has to work with).

      • Schumaker might have been out at home, but with the Reds inability to score hardly any runs, I still say that they should have sent him and hope for a poor relay throw to the plate.

  2. I’m not sure I see the Reds faring better against Grienke tomorrow or Kershaw the day after. The loss today puts them 4th in the division. If they lose the next two, that’ll put them on a 5 game losing streak and 7 under .500 with 3 days to go in May.

    We’re nearing our first selling time we’ve had in years. The question is, do they go big sell or small sell? This team is going to look vastly different after 2015 when they lose Cueto/Latos/Leake, and Cingrani and Chapman becomes arbitration eligible, so I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if they just bite the bullet and rather than build a team with nothing in two years, trade what they can now and prepare for it.

    Fact is, there’s going to be a rebuilding effort. It can either be painful now or extremely painful in the 2015-2016 offseason. At least if they choose now, they’ll be able to score prospects and unload payrolls.

    • +1 and no one over 30 is off limits, no one. This team looks old, broken-down, and slow to me.

      • This team looks the same as the team looked at the end of last year. Nothing was done to address it in the off season. Not really unexpected. Going forward the lack of depth in the organization and the long term deals given to Bailey, votto and Phillips will really hinder the club.

    • Start with Bruce, Cueto and Chapman. That’s who’ll bring in the most. Then see if you can unload the Votto contract. And do it now.

        • What I’d like to know is, if he does have a chronic knee problem and just can’t play, do the Reds have any recourse with their insurance? Man, I wish we would hear a little good news on that front. That we’re not, scares the devil out of me. This team is totally sunk for this year if Votto can’t come back and come back effective.

          I’m betting Bob C. learns a valuable lesson on long-term, high dollar contracts. I understand why he did them but they are just too risky in a market Cincinnati’s size.

      • JCRedlegs: This isn’t fantasy baseball. You don’t tear your team down and trade your best players just because you have a losing record one year, especially in May. Hard to take anything you say seriously. Luckily it’s the same thing time after time.

      • I’m willing to part with Cueto and Chapman for the “right” package but Bruce? Not now, he is part of this team’s future. JC is just too injury prone to bet a +$20M/year contract on and Chapman is probably worth more in trade value than in reality. Just my opinion.

        • Both Cueto and Chapman can be traded in the off season, since they are both committed to at least one more year. No reason to trade them now and limit the field of trading partners. You trade players (like Ludwick) who you don’t want.

          Trading for prospects is a risky business. Prospects don’t always turn out the way you want. See the Padres side of the Latos trade. Again, this isn’t fantasy baseball, where you just dump good players to rebuild. That’s not a recipe for success.

          Better to work on trades and free agent signing. It isn’t true there is no more money or not enough to keep the core of the team here.

          And everyone is way too pessimistic about Votto’s return. There hasn’t been a single indication yet he won’t be back when his DL stint is over.

        • I see your point but do not share your optimism. Not calling for trades today but if we are out of it in a couple of weeks with no return of Votto in sight, I would start to put some of these guy’s names out there. Very few teams will be able to afford Cueto and my guess is the ones that can will be looking for a true ace pitcher before the deadline. Could be wrong of course but that’s the way I see it . Again, I certainly can appreciate your point. I’m not a “fantasy baseball” guy so I really don’t get that.

        • The only way you think about trading Cueto now is if you don’t plan to resign him and if you don’t plan to contend this year or next. Some players are just too good to trade (see Shin Soo Choo last year for example). I’d rather wait and trade Cueto in the off-season where you can work with another team to get major league players – like a bat. The only kind of trade you can make now is for prospects, because no contending team is going to trade a good hitter now.

          I’ve said since 2011 that if you’re going to keep Chapman in the bullpen, you should trade him instead. Some other team will put value on him as a starter and you’ll get a nice return. Bullpen pieces are the easiest to find.

        • I’m not with you on Votto. He hasn’t been the same player since he injured his knee two years ago. I’m saying he will never be that player again. Many on this site will argue he is better than he was but I’m not one of them.

          And to the point of the contracts and what the Reds will have to spend going forward, it is my assertion that these long term deals have hindered the Reds’ ability to address other weaknesses. It’s embarrassing that the team’s best third baseman is forced to play first base because there is no decent back-up first baseman in the system to fill in while Votto is out.

          And I think you minimize the negative impact a significant decrease at the gate will have on the team’s ability to improve the club.

        • And everyone is way too pessimistic about Votto’s return. There hasn’t been a single indication yet he won’t be back when his DL stint is over.

          By definition he will be back when his DL stint is over; but how long that will be is vague and unclear as is what his capabilities might be. That is coming through in the reporting of all the beat guys. Fay in particular has gone so far as to say the situation “has to be a major concern to the organization”.

          http://www.cincinnati.com/story/sports/mlb/reds/2014/05/24/joey-votto-reluctant-address-injury/9551027/

          Then there is this bothersome quote of Price from McCoy, “Getting Joey close to 100 per cent the rest of this year might not be possible” he said. “But we want to get him as close to it as we can to give him a better foundation to play, rather than getting him back at 50 or 60 per cent.”

          http://www.daytondailynews.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/dayton/cincinnatireds/entries/2014/05/23/lutz_is_back_and_soto_is_gone.html/

          Sheldon has reflected much of the same sentiments in his blog.

        • @JRS1972 – Are you laughing because Votto’s injury or am I missing something?

        • I was laughing at whoever was suggesting the Reds trade away Cueto, Jay Bruce and Joey Votto.

    • I disagree that the Reds will lose Cueto, Latos or Leake. I think they’ll sign two of the three of them.

      • Hope you are right on that front but it is hard to see where that money will come from given the money given to Bailey Votto and Phillips and what might be a big hit at the gate as this team most likely fails to contend this season. (It is early but it is late enough to see some pretty disturbing trends.)

        • Attendance is a factor, but relatively small compared to media contracts and other revenue streams. You’re only talking about a slide of a few million. Losing out on the postseason is another few million. But the new local TV contract is coming up. The Reds have enough revenue coming in to keep increasing payroll as they have the past few years. Everyone said the same thing about no money to sign Votto, then no money to sign Phillips, then no money to sign Bailey. Castellini is spending more money every year. He wants to win. If the Reds are spending $150 million a year in a few years, the Votto and Bailey contracts will be a small part of that. Believe me, they have budget planning in to sign another one of the pitchers or two, plus extend Jay Bruce.

        • I agree with Mr. Mancuso on this. What has Bob Castellini done that would make anyone think he wouldn’t go all out to sign Cueto, Latos and/or Leake?

      • At this point in bob’s tenure as owner, has he allowed any Reds player leave due to money outside of Choo who I all think we can agree on was way overpaid given his age and skill set going forward. I think people need to change their thinking on “monies” that MLB teams have access to. This team has the monies to spend on the players “they” feel are worth it.

      • I hope that you’re right, also, Steve, and agree that dumping all of our established players is a bad idea–over-reaction, really, because a lot of this mess is almost certainly related to the overwhelming injury situation, a situation that exceeds the abilities of all, or almost all, other teams to cope with. I also agree that trading for prospects is risky, but so is trading for established players (injuries), and prospects are the key to maintaining excellence year after year–witness the Cards.

  3. Before you sell off, maybe try to fix the darn team. Trade an arm or two for a big bat. Chappy and Leake?

    • This makes more sense to me than trading for prospects. The health issue with Latos has prevented serious consideration of it, though. Maybe that is resolving itself. You could trade Leake and move Chapman to the rotation. Trading Simon would be a smaller move. But even acquiring an everyday outfielder who could play LF and CF who would be an upgrade over Ludwick, Hamilton, Heisey and Schumaker (wouldn’t take much) would help a lot.

      • I just know that when 2016 rolls around, Cueto, Latos, Leake, and Simon will be FAs. Chapman and LeCure will be arb eligible. Frazier and Mesoraco will be into year 2 of arbitration and making tons of money if they keep playing like 4-5 WAR players.

        Add that to 35-year-old BP’s $13, Votto’s 32-year-old knee’s $20m, Bailey’s 5.something ERA’s $18m and Bruce’s $12.5m.

        To me it just seems like a rebuilding is coming soon. While prospects don’t always pan out, they just don’t seem to have anything too inspiring in the system right now when it comes to infielders. If my choice came down to letting Cueto, Latos, Leake, and Simon walk.. or paying Chapman waaaay too much to pitch 60-70 innings of league average save rate, I would rather see if I could stockpile prospects and maybe have a real special young team in two years or so.

        All teams that don’t spend $200m/yr in payroll have to rebuild sometimes. Just think it might be that time creeping up for the Reds. I’ve seen plenty of posts on here about closing windows.

        • Look for this to become the prevailing viewpoint if the team sinks more, and more, into the abyss. The underpinnings of this team do not look good to the objective eye.

        • To the contrary, I find the underpinnings of this team to be fantastic. The Sp, Bruce, Votto, Mesoraco, and even Hamilton and Frazier to some extent are a great core of players. Where the Reds organization has failed is in filling out the rest of the roster in a viable way. The Reds have been a RH power bat short for how many years now even with RH power hitting LFs one of the more abundant positions in the sport? The bullpen has been mishandled badly for how many years? The backups and AAA depth have been gone for how long? It’s telling that people are high on Schumaker as a utility infielder, but I guess that’s what you get after years of complete scrubs.

        • The starting pitching is a great core, but they only have that core for one more year. Then Cueto will cost you like $24m/yr, Latos will cost you $18-20m/yr, Leake will probably cost $15m/yr. Cingrani will be making like $6-8m at least in arbitration… that’s probably all conservative estimates because apparently Bailey is an $18m/yr pitcher.

          They’re not going to pay like $85m or more to Cueto/Latos/Leake/Bailey/Cingrani in 2016. I know their payroll will keep increasing, but then you add Votto’s 20m, Bruce’s 12m, BP’s 13m. Then figure if Frazier and Mes keep playing like this, they’ll add a lot more, lets call it a conservative 12m (Stanton got paid $6.5m after hitting similar to what Frazier is hitting, but with much worse defense.)

          That’s already like $142m with no bullpen, no bench, no SS, no LF, and I guess Hamilton would add another half million or so… and that’s conservative estimates.

          – – –
          Of course that’s assuming they actually sign them all, or they all want to sign here. The choice might be play for a team here with a losing record for less money, or go play for the Dodgers or Yankees for more money.

        • First, on the pitching, no one thinks they’ll sign all three of Latos, Leake and Cueto. It will be two of three, and probably Leake as one of the two. I think you’re about right on Latos (depending on how much he bounces back this year) but considerably high on Cueto, given his injury risk. I suppose if he finishes the year with an ERA/FIP around 2.00, you might be right, but I doubt that’s going to happen. If he’s at $24, the Reds won’t pay it. I think you’re a few million high on Leake, too. Cingrani isn’t going to be earning $6-8 million in his first arbitration year (2016). Mike Leake earned $3 million in his first arbitration year, for example. Latos, Bailey, Leake, Cingrani, Stepheson at 18+18+13+3+.5 is more likely, which is $52-53 million, not $85.

          Second, on the hitting, you think Todd Frazier (.251/.322/.451) is going to get paid like Giancarlo Stanton (.270/.359/.544)? I’m sure Super Todd would sign up for that. And your analysis assumes too much static behavior. I’d be shocked it Brandon Phillips is playing for the Reds in 2016, even surprised if he’s around in 2015. I do think the Reds will try to get Mesoraco and Bruce signed to longer term deals. Chapman is going to cost, too, and the Reds will overpay for him as a closer.

        • Good analysis on Starting Pitching salaries. You are correct, with the large contracts to Votto, Bruce, the Reds may not be able to afford $80 million for their rotation. Need to choose 2 in addition to Bailey and hope for Stephenson and Lively to fill out #4 and #5

        • My thinking was if Cueto stays off the DL for the most part, he’ll get paid huge bucks by someone. His ERA since the beginning of 2011 is 2.49. Someone will pay for that, injury risk or no. Just like Josh Hamilton got paid big time.

          Cingrani will make much more than Leake in arbitration at this rate I would think because when Leake went into year 1 of arbitration, he had a career 4.23 ERA and a 6.0 K/9 combing off a season where his ERA was above 4.5. Cingrani is currently at a 3.21 ERA and 10.1 K/9. The only thing that might hinder him is if he keeps going on the DL. I think if he keeps an ERA around 3.50 and his K/9 around 10, he’ll get paid plenty more.

          As for Todd Frazier/Giancarlo Stanton, the season before his arbitration, Stanton hit .249/.365/.480.. Frazier is currently hitting .264/.340/.483 this season. I wasn’t talking career stats. You also ignored the fact that Stanton had a career total of -0.2 dWAR to go with those offensive numbers. Frazier is currently at 1.2 dWAR with this season to go. So I am not saying he’ll make AS much, but it’ll probably not be as far off as you’re trying to make it.

          At the very least Steve, we can both agree that we really hope they don’t overpay Chapman to be a closer with a league average save %.

  4. It’s disheartening, to say the least. But it isn’t even June, yet. I wouldn’t sell. But some changes, or at least some ADDITIONS need to be addressed.

    • The Reds have had problems offensively for a considerable time and have needed a big right handed bat in the line-up for years and nothing has been done to address those issues. Frankly they have no money available and no talent in the minors to trade, so what you see is what you get and there is no chance ownership throws in the towel and acknowledges that management has overrated the teams talent.

    • The best advice I can give anyone is to look at this team as a team you are dispassionate about. It will bring an objectivity that is hard to come by when talking about players that have given you so many special moments over the years.

      The worse thing to happen is to overvalue players because they play on your team. Is JC injury prone and probably unaffordable? Is Joey Votto going to be worth $20 to 25M/year when he is 33 and older? Even if completely healthy, does this team have a reasonable shot at winning a WS? Will a tweak here and there change the picture enough to put us in that position? I’m guessing Bob C. is studying these issues and probably answering: no, no, no and no. Also thinking, he believes he is spending enough money to expect to be in a better place than he is. If I’m Walt, my hands are getting clammy.

  5. Glad to read the recap and not see an excuse offered for the Reds anemic offense. It really does get old to read how great the other team’s pitcher was as if the Reds offense isn’t so bad it makes pitchers look better than they are. Wainwright was good last night but the Reds had chances to tie that game up but couldn’t produce. Give that credit to Wainwright if you must or to the Dodger lefty tonight but in my view the Reds offense is putrid and has been an issue long before now. The club banked on the bullpen being solid again, Votto and Bruce being healthy and productive, and Hamilton being ready for the majors.

    • Yeah, the other team’s pitcher had folks starting to salivate over a possible perfect game or at least no hitter but when the smoke cleared, Cueto had pitched as well or better than the other guy.

      On Saturday and Sunday both, the Cards made big timely defensive plays that preserved the game for them.

      The Dodgers did the same on Monday (the Puig grab and flip in the 8th in particular). By contrast the Reds failed to make two much easier defensive plays on Monday which cost them the game.

  6. Is it me or does any one else think that Chapman doesn’t really care that much. He’ll give up a homer of blow a save and simply stand there with a smirk on his face. I would trade him for a couple of hitters. There are too many big contracts on this team and no hunger to win, Bailey, Votto. Cingrani simply sucks and take Cozart and his weak hitting skills give them both the boot. Shake this team up, put some life back into it

    • I think if you said that to Chpman’s face, you would end up in the hospital. How is that for caring?

    • I really don’t think you can tell all that much about how someone is feeling based on their facial expression, unless they want you to be able to tell. In which case they may be faking it. See: acting industry.

    • Is it me or has Cozart not redeemed himself pretty well of late? I think it’s safe to say that as bad as these one-run losses are on us fans, they are much worse on the players — including those who you believe don’t care.

    • No one else thinks that. Chapman is not going to pout on the hill because it would make him look weak to the other team and give them confidence. The team is losing because nobody is hitting the ball, we’ve got no infield depth, and our bullpen is injured and weak.

    • Exactly how do you know there is no “hunger”? How is it that Cingrani “sucks and have you seen what Cozart has been doing at the plate over the past month or so?

      • On this topic I remember clearly Votto’s walk off homer a couple of weeks ago. Jeff Piecoro interviewed JV right after the game and his first question was about Votto only having homered off lefties so far this year. Votto was astonished by the question and said essentially “Who gives a **** about that kind of stuff? We just won the game!” I promise you they care if they win or not.

    • Chapman for a couple of hitters? Which hitters? The guys batting 3rd and 4th on last year’s Little League World Series runner up? You aren’t going to get two productive mlb hitters for an overpaid closer. An overpaid closer who has not proven that he could convert to starting.

  7. Does this team have an position players in the minor leagues? One positive about the Cubs they at least have some potentially good position players in the minor leagues. where are the Reds position players?

  8. Two points:

    1) This is kind of half-baked, but I’d almost rather have Barnhart on the ML roster right now. It’d let us get full value out of Mes and Barnhart. It would let Lutz continue to develop at AAA, especially since he’s not going to supplant Ludwick because of his contract and Lutz’s (if memory serves) poor splits.

    2) Bronson is going to destroy this lineup.

    That’s all.

    • Oh yeah, and this team is just so remarkably inconsistent. Without fail, one piece fails every night. If the offense is doing well, the defense stinks. If the offense and defense are doing well, the bullpen will blow it. Now that the bullpen is doing better, the offense is in the toilet. I don’t think there’s been two complete games back-to-back all year.

    • Agree, if Peña is the de facto 1B, it might make more sense to have Barnhart on the MLB roster than Lutz. I think given the state of the offense, they want someone who might come off of the bench and run into a fastball. That’s Lutz.

  9. Don’t think we have to worry about any trades, roster moves or changes anytime soon – that is the job of the GM, who has not taken an active role in doing ANYTHING to help improve this club since the season started

  10. Trading for prospects is a risky business, is a major understatement. I remember all to well the Reds era of the “Crown Jewels”. No thanks. And no knee jerk reactions please. Can we at least wait till the All Star Break before we auction off Cueto, Chapman, Votto, Bruce, Bailey, Phillips, Latos, Hoover, Leake, Broxton, Marshall and the peanut vendor. (Did I leave anyone out.) Oops I forgot Cingrani, Simon and Lecure.

    • It’s funny you think anyone will pay for Bailey’s contract, or Marshall’s broken arm. I think they might be able to squeak something out of BP though.

      Maybe Toronto would be interested in Votto, bad knees and huge contract or not. Canadian superstar playing in Canada has to be awfully tempting.

        • Then I vote we allow those 20 teams to bid for him and his $18m/yr career 4.23 ERA, current 5.34 ERA. Let the tripping commence.

        • Because if 20+ teams want to take on Bailey’s contract, I would take whatever they offer for him, then be able to sign Leake for less, and consider myself coming out on top in that deal by a long shot.

  11. I say you gotta send Schumaker. Yes, a good throw gets him but this team doesn’t score runs at all so make the most out of what few opportunities we even get now. Throw was off too. Just my 2 cents. Make something happen.

        • No, there was two. Heisey sac flied and Mes struck out for the two outs.

        • They absolutely should have sent him. Better odds scoring that way then getting another hit. Sorry to say that but oh well. Reds are hitting .180 with RISP and 2 outs. Run baby run.

        • As was said well up thread, why wasn’t Bernadina running for Schumaker. That could have been the real difference maker. Instead we get Bernadina running as the potential lead run with 2 outs an inning later.

  12. At the end of the day this is an average major league team that relies heavily on pitching and defense to win games. If either one of those components of the game fails the team loses because the offense is not there to make up for the shortfall.

    Little has been done to address the offensive weaknesses and frankly I’m not sure there is anything the Reds can do going forward to dramatically improve their roster. As many have noted there are four more key members of the team due to make large sums of money in the not to distant future. If all or most of them are retained there will be even less money for the other members of the roster. Given the Reds lack of talent in the minors it is not an easy fix.

    If the Reds were good at drafting and developing talent I’d really prefer the Tampa approach to all of this. Let most of the guys move on rather than giving them 6 to 10 year contracts that ultimately seem to work against a club.

    • Or take the tact being used by some clubs of moving very early (even pre arbitration) to lock guys up through their first 2-3 FA years. This is much what the Reds did with Bruce and Cueto (to a lesser degree).

  13. Reds with another one run loss. I know I heard Price say he is getting tired of hearing about how well the other team’s pitchers are doing against the Reds. Well….better get used to it, if it continues like this.

  14. Thoughts from the nosebleed seats tonight:

    –Under no circumstances should there be a starting lineup that doesn’t have a healthy Jay Bruce or a healthy Devin Mesoraco penciled in it. Fay answered someone’s question about “Why Pena?” with “he’s caught all but one of Cueto’s starts this year”; that might be true, but only because Devin was on the DL. I like Pena, don’t get me wrong, but this lineup is a wet noodle on its best day. Gotta give yourself at least a chance.

    –I feel for Frazier since he didn’t expect to be playing 1B, but I go back to Price’s initial press conference about putting pitchers in a position where they’re able to succeed. Yes, injuries are a pain (insert drum fill!), but still, I’d argue asking a Phillips screwdriver to screw in a flat-head screw is not exactly honoring those words.

    –The gross bullpen mismanagement continues to be Dusty-riffic. A few years ago, I went to a Dodgers-Reds game here with some clients and told them that if the Reds got out in front, don’t worry, our closer David Weathers will come in and blow the lead. The Reds took the lead, in came Weathers, blown save, Dodgers win. When Cueto got in trouble, I knew Price would reach inside his toolbox for the wrong tool (Parra), and indeed, that was the difference. Why not LeCure or Broxton then?

    –I’m not sure how it came across on TV, but the Schumaker baserunning situation looked terrible in person, but not just because he slammed on the brakes. He slammed on the brakes and then TURNED HIS BACK TO THE BALL. This was my personal boiling point moment tonight.

    –Cozart seemed to be Driving Miss Daisy while running down the baselines during his first two at bats, and I admit it, I questioned his baseball intelligence when he made the costly error later on.

    –Not to sound like a broken record, but this team needs all the help it can get, and to have a guy who was mashing in the minors wasting away on the bench and another guy who’s pitching lights-out in AAA while Parra, Ondrusek, Marshall and Hoover have stunk up the joint is ridiculous.

    Sigh…I wish I could say I feel better now, but I’m not feeling great about the next two nights. I only get to see the Good Guys in person one series a year, and tonight seemed like our best shot; instead, we shot ourselves in the foot (again).

  15. I’m not normally one to get caught up too much in lineup philosophy, but I really do not understand the thinking going into last night’s lineup. Normally when you play guys out of position defensively it is because you want to get somebody’s bat in the lineup. I can’t believe that Price wanted to get Santiago’s bat in the lineup. He made some comment before the game about needing to get Santiago some playing time, sounded kind of like Dusty’s “need to get him going” (and I was not one to be too critical of Dusty and don’t intend to be overly critical of Price either).

    IMHO playing Frazier and Santiago out of position led directly to the loss. If Frazier is at 3rd where he belongs, he doesn’t make the 1st error that put Cueto behind the 8-ball. Maybe, the guy playing 1st makes the same error, but I would rather have a guy playing 1st who is more familar with the position. Also, on the ball that Cozart made the error on that put us in the deep hole, I felt like it was the 3rd baseman’s play (even with the infield in). I felt like he had the better angle. I know I saw some hesitation between Cozart and Santiago even if it was Cozart’s play. Again you have a guy playing out of position that Cozart is not familar with (not a knock on Santiago).

    With this anemic offense, Mesaroco needed to be in the lineup versus a LHP and Pena needed to be at first. If Cueto just absolutely has to have Pena catch him, then Frazier still should have remained at 3rd (where he is excellent defensively) and Lutz should have been at 1st (if he is a really first baseman, which I believe he is a least adequate). He could not be any worse offensively than Santiago, and I do not mean to be down on Santiago, he has a role to play but he was not used in that role last night. Worse case, if you absolutely have to play Santiago, then play him at 1st, don’t weaken two positions.

    Really, Price needs to have a heart-to-heart talk with his pitchers (Cueto and Bailey) and let them know that Mesoroco is the #1 catcher and that this offense needs him in the lineup.

    And finally, where was Bruce (at least as a PH)? Is the knee giving him problems?

    I’m not ready to give up on this team. I cannot believe the inuries that have decimated the club. However, if they don’t turn it around soon, they are going to be in too deep a hole to recover this season. Even then, I am not in favor of a wholesale fire sale. There are some good core players to build around.

    • I agree with a lot of what you said, but largely the lineup was a result of the really crappy scheduling. ESPN gets to determine what their night game is pretty late, and they didn’t take into account the Reds flight to LA.

      The Reds got into LA after 4am and then had a mid-afternoon game. There was no way that Price was going to have Mesoraco catch after that. Having Mesoraco out meant that Pena was going to catch, especially with Cueto pitching, and that meant that we needed a backup 1B.

      The rest was lefty-righty stuff, and I agree that should have been handled better.

  16. I just don’t understand why jumbo has’nt been called up? Isn’t there a open 40 man roster spot after francis was dfa? Than dfa berendina when latos returns.

  17. I keep going back to this: Move Mesoraco to left field. Now. He is a clumsy catcher, never to be anything better than below-average defensively, but potentially an excellent power hitter. Barnhart, on the other hand, is a premier defensive catcher, and will soon be one of the best in the game. Barnhart probably won’t hit this year, but Mesoraco doesn’t hit, either, when he’s sitting on the bench two days a week. The Reds need Mesoraco to get 575 ABs, not 400. Mesoraco has the speed and arm to play left field, and doing so will injure him less often. Will he stink defensively? Probably, at first, but Ludwick already stinks defensively.

    Plus, it gets the hapless Ludwick out of the lineup. Ludwick managed to strike out against Wainwright (I think it was him) the other day on 5 pitches, none of which was in the strike zone.

        • He ain’t getting paid for a while with how young he is, and if healthy is going to get into 145+ games a year as a catcher.

        • Drew, honestly how many catchers start a 145 games? Then compare to outfielders. As far as value, the more he produces, the more money he will make. Catchers get nicked up far more than outfielders and tend to have shorter careers as starters, IMO. Mes strikes me as the ultimate team guy and if the Reds asked him to move, I would expect to hear one word: okay.

        • I’m not sure about a move to LF for Mes but he isn’t going to get into 145 games a year behind the plate. That . 120-130 games is more realistic for a catcher.

  18. All good comments (save the trolls), but the fact remains if the bullpen does their job, the Reds win last night, 3-2. The key to this season, so far, is the complete meltdown of our middle relief and closing. The Reds bullpen has the worst ERA in MLB. As depressing as this season has been, and I tell you, I keep wondering why I subject myself to the pain night after night, the fact is, if the bullpen was operating at the same level as the past two years, the Reds are contending. Did anyone not think the Dodgers were going to play add-on after Cueto left the game last night? (It is nice to see Broxton and Hoover finally start to show some consistency.) I agree with Steve M. that it would be foolish to make a panic trade during the season (Cueto, Chapman, etc.), but perhaps just a simple move for a competent OF RH bat could be made, plus another Alfredo Simon type middle reliever acquisition? I think our original starting eight is still pennant worthy – but how many games have we had them on the field together? Injuries and the pen have killed us.

  19. Johnny Cueto is an amazing pitcher and my favorite Red. He is tough as nails and as competitive as you will find but here is data we can not ignore:
    *Beginning in the 2011 season, Johnny has average less than 23 starts per campaign
    *The two seasons that he made 24 & 33 starts, in September his ERA & WHIP were: 4.60/1.34 (2011) and 4.33/1.42 (2012).
    *IMO, his trade value may never be higher than mid-season. He will be worth > $20M/year at the pace he has set.

    If the Reds are out of it by ASB, what would the reasoning be for not cashing in when the time is right?

    Steve mentioned that he thought JC would bring more at the end of the season. I see his point of view and it certainly has warrant. But please consider:
    *Will he be healthy at the end of the year?
    *Can he get better, or even hold par, if he remains healthy through the end of the season?
    *Yes there are more buyers at the end of the year but there is also more sellers. I believe there is greater competition at the halfway point where teams like the Giants, Rockies, Braves, Nationals, Pirates, Angels, Tigers, Yankees, Blue Jays, Orioles, Red Sox could all be searching for perhaps the best Starting Pitcher in baseball to front or second their rotations.
    * With Free Agents available in the off season, teams have more options to procure talent.
    * If you believe you are legitimately in the hunt for a playoff spot at mid-season, cold water gets thrown in your face over the weaknesses you have. Teams have a greater propensity to over estimate their talent levels during the off season. At mid-point, you can’t afford to fool yourself. Injuries and ineffectiveness have taken their toll by then, and your competitors are loading up.
    * As part of any package, you may be able to force a Marshall or Ludwick off your roster; thus , start getting the financial house in better order for 2015.

    If the Reds are out of it and Cueto is at his current pace, he will bring in a major haul of talent before the trade deadline. We can wait for the off-season but I can’t imagine we can do better than before the trade deadline.

    • I see where you’re coming from even though I’d have to be blown away by a prospect package for Cueto to move him at the deadline.

      • Understood and I expect we will be. Jeff Samardzija is the other top of line starter that appears to be available, at this time. With the AL East shaping up to be a dog fight, up to 5 teams vying for a playoff spot, the ground for a trade may never be as fertile as this year. If we are blessed, we might just hit the perfect storm.

        • What makes dealing pitching away even more tempting is the 20 or so TJs that have happened this year already. People are short on arms. I think this season might be a perfect storm type thing to get a great deal if the Reds trade away some arms.

          There’s gotta be a lot of need out there.

  20. I am not up for a fire-sale as I don’t feel the team needs to be completely blown up. That said, If the Reds are sub .500 in July and looking up at a 7 game deficit just for a WC spot, I’d make it clear that I’m willing to listen on a lot of guys. I don’t think anyone would be untouchable but it would take a substantial package to get a guy like Cueto and it may be best to hold onto some of our best chips until the off-season when we could get MLB players or MLB-ready players in return. I think Broxton with the way he’s been pitching and Chapman would be very desirable for a team in contention at the deadline and I’d perhaps take good prospects that are a little farther away from the Majors to move them at the deadline.

  21. For the record, Price saying that it is unlikely that Votto will be 100% at anytime this year is pretty scary. Votto is the face of the franchise and easily the best hitter on the team when healthy. Even at 90%, he’s a very good player. But at 90%, he isn’t the MVP candidate that the Reds need him to be. Will he require another surgery? I know knees and sometimes once going under the knife dooms that knee for all time. I’m not trying to be melodramatic but it happened to me so it does happen. My left knee MCL tear ruined my changes of playing professionally. It affected my defense behind the plate and my power. I was never the same player after that surgery when I was 23. That was 20 years ago and medicine has advanced but orthopedics still aren’t perfect.

    • It could be a double whammy for the Reds and Votto. If they can’t run and hit with him or count on him to get 1st to 3rd or score (from 2nd) on routine singles or get in from 3rd on a routine fly out, then the value of his remaining skill, OBP, is also significantly eroded.

      • Yeah, I got a little sick when I read that quote from Price about Votto not being able to get Votto to 100% this year. I am a huge Votto fan but injuries can derail even the best of players.

        • An aside, I belatedly saw your comment about you and I both working in IT. Fortunately (I guess) the org I ultimately work for won’t be moving their data to a public cloud. They are however working very hard at creating their own secure private cloud and centralizing functions and positions, 6 of one half dozen of another.

        • Price’s comment is based on the nature of Votto’s injury, which may not heal fully all year. But that doesn’t mean that Votto can’t play at 90-95% which would still be an elite player.

      • I doubt those things you mention – first to third, tagging on a sac fly – would affect the value of OBP by 5%. And even slow players score from third on most SF.

        • If it takes two non-outs or a non-out and productive out to accomplish what most runners would accomplish on one or either, then that consistently devalues his act of reaching base from the team’s point of view.

  22. Mets are just cleaning house. They recently sent Farnsworth down and he refused the assignment and chose free-agency. Now they’ve released Valverde. They didn’t DFA him even, just said “see ya”… Fired their hitting coach too. That team is just a wreck and a half.

    • I did hear a radio guy use the word “accountability”. Is that what it looks like? I’m not saying that’s what should be done here, but curious that it did invoke the ‘a’ word.

  23. Thoughts:
    —Hitters were not aggressive enough early in the count vs. Ryu. In the twilight, you need to be getting your hacks, because you’re dead meat with 2 strikes in those conditions. Gotta be quicker to adjust.
    –Phillips didn’t put the ball in play on 3 choice fastballs vs. Jansen in his last at bat. Can’t have that.
    –Why the heck is Lutz even on the roster if you’re not going to use him??? He should’ve at least pinch hit.
    –Don’t look now, but Broxton’s fastball is creeping up into the mid-90s finally.
    –Puig’s play in the 8th saved the game for them. We would’ve gotten to their bullpen had the game gone to extras. Just a tough loss all around.

    • If Broxton can get consistently back up over 95, given the guile he has developed with out the big heater, he is suddenly a a very valuable guy.

  24. I don’t get why one of Cueto’s runs was earned. On Cozart’s error, the guy clearly would have been out at home. Anyone?

    Sorry, but if we get shut down by Wainwright, Ryu, Greinke, and Kershaw I won’t tear my hair out or call for the team to be blown up. That’s a Murderer’s Row of pitchers, even if our 2 biggest bats were healthy. I doubt many playoff teams have had 4 starters that strong in a long time.

    • An out on a fielder’s choice can not be assumed, just like a double play can not be assumed. The out at 1B is the only assumed out on that play and that allows the run to score. Just another example of the erroneous value of ERA.

      • Thanks. I’m not sure why that isn’t scorer’s discretion, like errors. Cozart was clearly setting up to come home with the ball, and the runner would clearly have been out.

  25. One other thing bothered me about yesterday. MLB seems to be confusing Memorial Day with Veterans Day. If they must wear their patriotism on their uniforms, black trim would have been more appropriate to what Memorial Day is commemorating than camouflage.

    • Thank you for this comment Eric; the use of camouflage was bothering me too. Fortunately, I had the Reds’ performance to distract me. ;) Did they wear camo uniforms for Armed Forces Day? That seems to be the more appropriate usage. Baseball and patriotism go hand-in-hand, but we have to understand what were being patriotic about.

  26. It’s not time yet to give up on Reds. The only members of the core I would put on the trading block in the off-season would be Chapman and Leake in order to upgrade the offense. I think the Reds can figure a way to keep Cueto and Latos. Don’t forget that a hundred years ago, in 1914, the Boston Braves were in last place on July 4th. and won the NL pennant by 10 games and then sweep the Philadelphia Athletics in the World Series. Last place, that year, was occupied by the Reds. All is not lost if the offense can stay awake.

  27. I think if given a choice between Leake and Cueto, and only had the monies to sign one, I go with Leake. YES Cueto is good, but given his history and motion and body size, and cost and length of contract I think “value” wise Leake brings the Reds a greater value. I can see Leake being like Bronson and pitching very well into his late 30’s, I don’t see that with Cueto, in fact I would not be shocied to see him spend more tim on the DL and be done in 4-5 years. I like Cueto, but for my dollar value and and length of career left I feel the Reds would be better off signing Latos and Leake and doing there best either come the trade deadline this year or in the offseason in dealing Cueto.

  28. How about these comments from Price on Lutz-Santiago

    Price isn’t afraid to use Lutz against any of those pitchers, but decided that Santiago needed the playing time.

    “Keeping him active is even more of a priority. Ramon is playing once every five games and somehow gets in there to do something in one other game,” Price said. “It’s been hard to rotate him around, because our infield is pretty much set up with regulars except for first base until Joey [Votto] gets back.”

    • I really don’t disagree with him because you need to get your bench guys some playing time but he also needs to work Lutz in there. 1B and LF are both options for Lutz and considering he’s still developing, he needs to be getting some ABs and playing at least 3-4 times a week.

    • So basically he wants the entire infield to be worse offensively and defensively so a 34-year-old who’s got a career 73 OPS+ and a three year high of 61 can get some playing time?

      I feel like he’s just a “gotta get him going” mention away from being possessed by Dusty.

      • Just wondring how often does this type of usuage by a manager happen around the league? Is Price the only one doing it and if so then you have to ask why…if not then maybe there is a base reason that doesn’t = to what stat guys see the game as…

      • Don’t think it has anything to do with “Gotta get ‘em going”, especially as Santiago isn’t a starter. It’s more that you need to get your bench guys into the lineup every now and then so that they get real, in-game, work outside of pinch-hitting or coming in as a defensive replacement. I don’t like him at 3B and I don’t like moving Frazier but you have to play him somewhere and sometime if he’s going to be on the 25-man. I probably would have given Cozart or BP the day off to get him some work but he’s going to be a downgrade at any position, especially offensively. The issue isn’t his PT but that he’s on the roster at all.

    • Santiago is on the roster for one, and only one, reason…replacement defense at SS. He can not hit and the numbers validate his poor hitting. He needs playing time, but only at SS or 2B to spell Cozart and Phillips when absolutely necessary or in blowouts when his lack of offense is irrelavent.

        • Bryan has pulled the Santiago to 3B & Frazier to 1B card twice now and both times with disastrous results. When Votto went down in 2012, the Reds weren’t substituting Cairo at 3B with Frazier playing 1B. Frazier was playing 1B with Rolen playing 3B. Frazier was available to play 1B and that alleviated Dusty’s angst with playing Rolen at 3B when Fraziers obviously deserved the opportunity.

          Drew, in direct answer to your question, SS is a defense first position. After the SS defense is covered adequately, only then does offensive contributions become a consideration. 3B is an offense first position, as long as defense is not a liability. Playing Santiago at 3B is an offensive liability in a lineup that can not afford another offensive liability.

    • Going forward, if Votto returns to playing 1B regularly, I’d like to see Santiago playing for BP more often. Phillips has seemed to hit better when he has days off (I’ve been meaning to crunch the numbers on that, but haven’t yet, so it’s just casual observation at this point).

      • Agreed. I’m not down on Phillips like a lot of people on this site, but I think periodic rest does rejuvenate him some. Heck, I think Votto hits better after he’s given an occasional day’s rest.

  29. This season is starting to look more and more like a lost one. A five game winning streak gets us back into it, but seeing as how we can barely win two in a row, that doesn’t seem likely.

    The major disappointments so far are:

    The bullpen is bad, and could have been made better, but our front office went by things like ERA rather than better metrics.

    Price isn’t nearly different enough. I like watching games that he manages more than Dusty, but there are too many mistakes, and not enough innovation.

    Votto’s injury. Nothing has been clear about what happened or when, and now we’re being told that he may not be 100% for the rest of the year? Somehow Bruce was able to have surgery and be back in 16 days, and we’re now nearly two years out from Votto’s injury and he won’t be full strength for the rest of this year? Something is wrong with that.

    • What kind of “innovation” were you expecting or wanting? As for Votto I put alot of this on him. IF he was having “any” discomfort in the offseason he should have said something. As soon as it happened he should have said something. He is doing an autograph appearance at a sports store in northern Cincy on June 5, if I didn’t live so far off I would go and ask him directly…although I doubt he will answer any of these questions…

      • From Price I would like to see less bunting, and more innings given to relievers at a time, rather than always going one inning at a time. I thought Price was going to come in and really shake things up from a managerial standpoint, and really the only difference between him and Dusty so far is that Price has been more flexible with the lineup.

    • Everything I’ve seen regarding Votto’s injury relates to a groin strain, not his knee or meniscus. Now the groin injury behind the knee as it’s been described, could be a related injury or the prior knee injury could have a causal effect on the groin injury or the medical information being disseminated could be completely bogus.

      The issue I have with this situation as it’s unfolding is the fact that Votto wasn’t DL’d IMMEDIATELY!!! If the injury is as severe as it apparnetly is now, it should have been obvious from the onset that 15 days was not going to get things corrected physically. Once again, medical, training &/or management decisions are putting a $200MM investment at risk.

      • I need more information in order to make that accusation about the Reds medical, training &/or management decisions.

        The way I recall events, not necessarily accurately, Price made a comment to the effect Votto needed to hit the ball with more authority. For the next few games after that, Votto appeared to be much more aggressive at the plate. This included actually trying to pull inside pitches. He looked as bad at the plate, as I can remember seeing him, and a day or two later was removed from the lineup.

        If JV was informing the Reds all along that he felt pain or discomfort “anywhere” then the Reds screwed up. On the other hand, if Votto didn’t say a word, then he screwed up. The way both parties are handling this, we might have an issue on our hands. To me, the Reds and Votto are acting suspiciously. I will admit though, I am a suspicious person to begin with so take what I say with this in mind.

      • I think you mean quad strain, not groin strain.

        I was speaking to a physical therapist this morning who is quite familiar with sports injuries. He said the fact that Votto wasn’t DL’d immediately isn’t surprising given the nature of his injury (at least the best as he can tell reading the paper). The kind of injury (a “dead quad”) can be hard to diagnose. In fact, it’s the aspect that it doesn’t bounce back right away that helps with the diagnosis. The PT says there is no obvious timetable for when a quad injury like that (which can be caused by overworking or over-strengthening) will recover completely to full strength. It’s unpredictable.

      • Well, at first he reported knee pain, and then it turned out to be a quad strain, not a groin injury. From the people I’ve talked to, it is likely that he has been favoring that leg because of the knee.

  30. Everyone just needs to relax…Carlos Marmol is joining the organization. His 8.10 ERA will bring much-needed stability to the relief corps if, for some reason, any of the current cadre of firemen should slip up. I wonder where Dontrelle Willis is?

    • Excellent point. I understand that Cordero may also be available to add to the recent aquisitions of Maloney and Marmol.

      • Anybody got Stormy Weathers’ phone number handy for Walt? Bet he’s still game for some action.

        • I am still voting Arthur Rhodes. He was an All-Star just four years ago for the Reds. I mean.. he’s *only* forty-four now. Lol

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