Titanic Struggle Recap

Game 59: Of Ugly Haircuts and Ugly Games

Final R H E
Philadelphia Phillies  (25-34)
8 11 1
Cincinnati Reds  (27-32)
0 5 1
W: Cole Hamels (2-3)   L: Johnny Cueto (5-5)
Box Score | Play-by-Play | Stats | Depth Chart | FanGraphs Win Probability

The Good

Everyone’s given up on Logan Ondrusek, but tonight he gave the Reds two workman-like innings, striking out 4 and keeping the door open to an unlikely Reds’ comeback. In fact, in Logan’s last 4 appearances, he’s faced 25 batters, allowed only 4 hits, while striking out 5 and yielding no runs.

Manny Parra pitched a dominant 8th inning. Zack Cozart had two hits in four at bats. Jonathon Broxton continues to thrive.

The Bad

After the way the Giants series finished, you had to be looking forward seeing the Reds’ stopper on the mound. But, Johnny Cueto had one of his rare poor starts, going only 5.0 innings and giving up 6H, 4R, 1BB, while striking out 5. It was an odd game for Cueto, who was cruising before mysteriously losing his control in the 4th, plunking two batters and walking another before the hits rained down. A Rollins HR sealed Cueto’s fate in the 5th.

The Ugly

Sam LeCure’s haircut didn’t get it done tonight, did it?

Not so random thoughts …

Cole Hamels just owns this team. Although, lots of pitchers own the Reds’ offense these days. I’d give anything to know what the front office is contemplating right now.

The Reds lost no ground to the Brewers tonight, who suffered a beatdown at the hand of the Pirates. They remain 7.5 games out of first. The Cardinals lost again and are now back to .500 (31-31). But, St. Louis isn’t the Reds’ problem right now.

As soon as Votto is ready, I don’t know that I’d even bother sending him out on a rehab. This offense is in such bad shape, I’m not sure they can afford the luxury. Not sending Jay Bruce out on a rehab assignment sure looks to have been a mistake, but Joey isn’t Jay. Even a walk would be a welcome sight. This team has forgotten how to take even a base on balls.

The Daily Billy: Billy went meekly, going 0-4.

78 thoughts on “Game 59: Of Ugly Haircuts and Ugly Games

  1. The Daily Billy is hurting big time against LHP – 224/239/464. Was thinking the Reds should consider platooning him until I saw the stats of the other CF on the roster against LHP:
    Schumaker 313/267/579
    Heisey 194/379/573

    Maybe Price can put together two different line-ups, one for LHP and the other for RHP. Billy can lead off agains RHP (320/384/704) and bat 8th or 9th against LHP.

    • How is it that Frazier is not the “daily Billy”. He went 0-4, K’d three times, and LET AN EASY GROUND BALL go through his feet, Buckner-style. Pathetic night for the man from near-Philly.
      At least Billy (Buckner, not Hamilton) had the excuse that the pressure was immense. What’s Frazier’s? Maybe these clowns should start playing like there is some pressure. Like every. game. counts.
      Looking at you, management.

  2. Will time to get ready for a long winter, this season is over…been a good run but everything comes to an end…Go REDS

      • Figured like most, that the REDS walking wounded would play sometime this month and get this team out of its FUNK…Sorry for being an Optimist

  3. The Reds offense continues to put up more Zeroes than the Japanese Navy at Pearl Harbor. Or was that the German Navy?
    This offense stinks.
    They continue full steam ahead on the Reds flagship, the USS Shutout Again.

  4. Hmm. So that puts Cozart at 5-34. Great! If Cozart going 2-4 in a game where the reds get nada is good news, its a new low for the current roster’s offensive ineptitude.

  5. Richard, I am pretty sure the front office is contemplating if BP can play 1st, Santiago can play catcher, Frazier can play 2nd, Ludwick’s shoulder can pitch, Cozart can play LF, Heisey can play SS, and Cueto can play 3rd. Afterall, playing more people out of position when you have people who actually play the position is the best thing to do for better offense and defense, right? Especially when your Ace is pitching. Can’t see anything ever going badly with that.

    • You’re really going to bash on the only guy to get 2 hits? 2 of the team’s 5, at that? You have like 8 other players to hate on and you chose the only one who had a relatively good game.

  6. All this trade talk. Let’s deal players that will result in real return. Bruce is my #1. Back in 2010, ’11, ’12, you couldn’t even criticize Bruce on this site, without facing the wrath of the admin & regulars. He was, “…just a kid”, etc., etc. But it’s time to face reality, he is what he is (injury aside): a solid outfielder & an incredibly streaky hitter. Cozart is a solid (although, less so, lately) infielder, and a complete bust of a hitter. Left field is…well, we all know that answer. Cueto will be way too expensive for this club, moving forward. Good chance Latos never pitches for the Reds, again. Lot of $$$ tied up in Votto (who may never return to form) & Bailey (still waiting on his return). We have a team of Frazier & Mesoraco (Hamilton is still a circus act, until he proves better) to build around. It’s a LOT worse than the most optimistic fan will admit. I know, I know…”It’s still SO early…”

    • “Good chance Latos never pitches for the Reds, again…..”

      I think they need to bring him back and let him get several starts to prove he is healthy. That done, if his pout and snit today was anything more than just blowing off steam, go on and move him and make the max effort on Cueto with signing Leake the fall back.

    • This is a great, succinct description of the Reds’ assets. If we’re being rational here, the outlook going forward is rather grim.

  7. Michael Morse would have been a nice pick-up in the off season, don’t you think? Reds offense gets worse every year and nothing is done to get it right. Not saying trades and free agent signings are easy to complete, but frankly the Reds have needed more thump in the line-up for years and nothing really has been done to address the issue. Now with Votto potentially having a chronic knee issue that clearly diminishes his ability to hit with power this is a frighteningly bad offensive team.

    Reds keep counting on guys to deliver that have never demonstrated the ability to do so. I understand options are limited but the GM of this team has to see the window rapidly closing on this roster and its chances of ever contending for the big prize. Very disappointing that nothing was done in the off season to address the malaise that has struck this club. Pena was a good pick-up but not a roster and game changer. This is not a good team and if the pitching, which is starting to come back to earth, continues its downward trend, the Reds quickly could become a bad team.

    It is also time to tell Cueto that Mesoracco is his catcher or find a back-up first baseman so Frazier doesn’t have to move over to first when Cueto pitches. He has been awful at first.

  8. The Frazier/Santiago insanity has to stop. It’s just getting reg*ddamndiculous. I, mean, would Price let this nonsense continue into a one-game, play-in? When does it stop?

  9. Went to the game tonight. Hated it.
    Bed enough Reds lost. Bad enough that the team was completely terrible, top to bottom. But watching the fans do more cheering for pizza and the wave than getting upset about the Reds play, while “their” team humiliated themselves, was enough to make me sick. Seams they care more about trivial crap and junk food than the game.
    Maybe you could say that at least they wanted something–anything– to cheer about. Not me. I was just depressed and disgusted. I wouldn’t care if they were giving away pizza FRANCHISES, and the wave was topless. The whole thing just sickened me.

    • ” I wouldn’t care if they were giving away pizza FRANCHISES, and the wave was topless.”

      LOL! Thanks for brightening my mood…..

    • I love the pizza thing and I love that the fans get excited about it. However, I’ve said for two years that it should be on two conditions – 11 strikeouts AND a Reds win.

  10. Yay! the Reds have 8 hits over the past 18 innings. Getting it done I tell you! But at least none of this one run loss crap. Time to sell.

    Any takers on Phillips before he becomes 5 and 10? Can we restock the sunflower seeds for Ludwick? How about just the ranch flavored ones? Anyone interested in a Marshall reclamation project?

    Maybe someone would bite on Phillips, he’s at least still an above average defender and is currently hitting at a decent average. I would trade anyone on the offense not name Joey, Jay, Todd, or Devin. I’d even trade Billy in the right deal, but it would take a bit of sweetening.

    Figure out who is most agreeable to an extension between Latos/Cueto/Leake and then see what you can get for the other(s). See if anyone would give a good return for Simon while he’s still performing well as a starter. Explore what kind of returns we can get for Chapman. Really, there are few “untouchables” on this team.

    We had a solid 4 year run. Maybe it could have been five if not for injuries and some poor roster management, or an aggressive move here and there. But it was not to be. Next year seems to be more of the same, still no LF (Winker is still at least a year away) still no offense from SS and not even a credible back up on the horizon (Navarro may be the closest in AA and he’s not even sniffing our top 30 prospects). A declining 2B with a poor plate approach that apparently has the super power to make GABP implode if he batted lower than 5th in a line up. The bench would virtually be the same as it is this year and we’d still be hoping/waiting for Billy to turn into a legit lead off hitter.

    The only thing stopping that inevitable near future would be an offseason filled with creative (because of payroll) and shrewd (because of available trade pieces/prospects) moves by our GM over the winter. The same GM who is over a year and a half removed from making his last significant addition to the team.

    So sell when it’s a buyer’s market (aka the trade deadline). Cueto could net a great return. Chapman a good one. You might even still get a decent prospect for Phillips. Just getting out of Ludwick and Marshall’s contracts would be worth it, for the offseason flexibility alone. We have a solid core of prospects rising up the ranks but they’re not (mostly) going to be ready by next year. So, since next year looks to be more of the same, let’s add to that core of highly touted prospects (Stephenson, Lorenzen, Moscot, Lively, Travieso, Winker, Ervin, SMB, Barnhart, YRod, Daal….) and stock our system and our dugout, bench included, with young, talented, cost-controlled players so we don’t find ourselves in this mess in another 4-5 years.

    • There is $9M or so owed Marshall thru the end of next season. If he can put together some good innings, there may be a contender desperate enough for a LOOGY to take on half or so of that.

      As for Ludwick, I think Jason pretty much hit the nail squarely a couple of weeks back when he said (with reluctance) that maybe it was time to just take the $$$ hit and send Ludwick on his way. That would cost them about $4M for the remainder of this year’s salary and $4.5M on the option for next year. I don’t see any club taking any significant portion of that on unless the Reds bundle a legit prospect in with Ludwick.

    • Billy was a shortstop until last tear right? Why not move him into ss so we a better hitter at least in that position. That would put all the duds in the outfield since we will never move votto or phillips.

    • “the core of highly touted prospects” is a great thought. MLB’s list of the Reds top 20 prospects in the Minors includes 15 pitchers (4 Lefties, 11 righties) and only 5 position players (4 OF, 1 Catcher). Those 5 position players, one of which is Tucker B., will need to bring a lot of “Bat” to help the REDS.

  11. This is going to make a lot of folks unhappy but if the Reds get into a fire sale situation one player they need to be willing to seriously listen to offers on is Frazier. He is 28 years old, about to get a lot more expensive (arb eligible), and figures to be 30 (or older and looking at free agency when the bulk of their rising talent nits the big leagues. And, he just might bring a real return at this point. An alternative would be to try and sign him to a 4 or 5 year deal. I’m guessing the mid point (average) salary would probably have to be well north of $5M but also well under $10M.

    • Another unhappy point is that Meso goes arb eligible in the next off season cycle as does Cozart (who I would think would sign on the fairly cheap a la Heisey to assure he isn’t nontendered).

      • I think you offer Mesoraco a 6 year deal right now to avoid his arbitration and would lock him up until he’s 32. Lock up Frazier with a 4-5 year deal to avoid arbitration and buy a year or two of FA and he’d be 32-33 when that runs up. Offer Cozart a cheap 2 year deal to buy out the first two years of his arbitration like they did with Latos. Best case scenario you have a backup SS/2B who is much better than Izturis/Valdez/Santiago/Renteria. Worst case scenario you might not find a better alternative for a starter and he can hold the fort until a prospect comes up the pipeline.

        Listen to offers for quite literally everyone else besides Mes, Frazier, and Cingrani (him because he is under team control until 2020). Actively search for a good trade for Chapman and Broxton. Both are pitching pretty darn good, but Broxton still costs a lot more than a relief pitcher should and Chapman will cost a ton next year when he declines his player option and goes to arbitration. Find a way to dump Ludwick, Marshall, Phillips, and Bailey from the payroll. See if Toronto wants to trade for their country’s MVP (Prince Fielder trade style.)

        Fire Walt, hire a new GM and see what he can do with all the prospects you score in trades plus a relatively clean payroll number once you unload a bunch of it and stop paying your bullpen so darn much.

        A bit extreme sounding perhaps, but I think it’s time to clean house and do a fresh build.. if not payroll/skill-wise, then at least attitude/mentality-wise. This team has looked lethargic for quite awhile now. That’s a problem that you need to fix by scouring it all clean.

        • The problem I see with a 4-5 year deal for Frazier is that his side may figure he is going to be too old to get a really big payday at the end of it. If so, they are going to want premium money now; and the Reds might not want to go that high.

        • That’s why you do it now, 1/3rd of the way in, before he can finish a full great season. He also probably would be happier getting paid rather than 3 years of arbitration. A lot can happen to a player between now and then.

  12. The lineup that has been on the field with Cueto pitching would easily lose more than 100 games as the everyday lineup. That leaves Cueto – for now – in a situation like Mario Soto’s in 1982, when he managed to go 14-13 pitching for a team that lost 101 games. Soto’s 1982 line: 257 innings, 274Ks, ERA of 2.79, FIP of 2.42, WHIP of 1.06.

    I thought that with Lutz called up, we wouldn’t see this lineup any more. But we’ve continued to see it, presumably because Cueto has faced lefties his last two times.
    But against lefties this lineup is even worse than it looks, because it turns both Hamilton and Pena around, and BHam has not hit lefties at the major league level (see first comment above, from Mike C.) and Pena has a .606 OPS lifetime against lefties, and lower than .500 in limited ABs this year.

    And those are the number 1 and 2 hitters. I needn’t go thru the rest of the lineup. It’s a terrible offensive lineup, and then on defense you have Frazier at first base and Ludwick in LF.

    • a person almost has to wonder if Lutz is hurt; or maybe they are holding him out to be sure he doesn’t get hurt because he is a piece in a trade being worked.

      • Price won’t start him against lefties. But the strange thing was not using Lutz (or Schumaker) in the 9th inning against Romo on Thursday. There must have been some noise on here about that, it was crazy.

        Jim, if they were thinking about trading Lutz, they’d be showcasing him, not hiding him.

      • I figured they hated that mustache, but last time I saw him pinch hit (he drew a walk) he had shaven it off. Lol

  13. Price said that after the game tonight they would probably make some decision about where they were with Votto. I haven’t been able to find anything on this. Has anyone else?

    • It being a late night decision, I don’t think we’ll hear anything until tomorrow. I looked and couldn’t find anything. I hope it’s not the dreaded “He’s improving but we haven’t set a time table on his rehab.”

      • C.Trent tweeted late (post game) that he would be “surprised” if Votto was at GABP on Saturday. But what does that mean? Out on rehab or another setback and stand down????

  14. Cueto’s 4th inning was bizarre. Utley pulls off his trick of leaning his uniform into a pitch to get to first base. (I’d like to see Chapman put one in his ribs.) Cueto is ticked off and picks him off. Two outs, no one on, and a 2-2 count on Howard, who strikes out more than anybody. Then 3 inexplicably bad pitches – breaking ball in the dirt, way too high fastball (Howard walks) and hitting Byrd.

    On the game thread we talked about Cueto losing focus after the pickoff. But maybe it was more a matter of a fear of challenging Howard and Byrd, because he felt that if he gives up a run the Reds lose the game. (Which was true of course.)

    Anyway, Cueto’s won’t admit it, but his body language indicates a growing frustration. He might want to tell Price that he doesn’t need Pena as his personal catcher. Without Votto and Mes … see above.

    • Don’t know if you were hearing the Reds broadcast feed but if not, Marty went on at length that Cueto just totally lost focus and how it had been years since he had seen him have an issue with concentration like tonight. More than the walk and HBP, Marty thought Cueto letting himself get cherry picked by Brown on the 1st pitch was indicative of Cueto’s mental state.

      • I listened to the tv broadcast, with Brantley doing the talking about Cueto. The two pitches to Howard were nowhere close to being strikes, what can one say. Brantley didn’t think the pitch to Byrd was so bad, just an inside pitch that ran further inside.
        (He even thought hitting Byrd was a good idea !) Brantley thought the outside corner pitch to Brown was a good pitch, because Brown “has been rolling over that pitch all season”. And then Cozart should at least have stopped the ground ball.

        I would listen to Brantley more than Marty about a particular pitch, Marty just goes by the outcome. But I agree with Marty that Cueto had an extreme loss of focus. It might be an indication that pressure and frustration are wearing him down mentally.
        He feIt the Reds were not going to score against Hamels, but he’s not supposed to worry about that.

      • Does anyone really blame him though? That’s the third time the Reds have been shut out when he pitched. It’s also the third time they’ve done that Frazier at 1st/Santiago at 3rd thing. It’s resulted in 7 errors, 6 unearned runs, 7 total runs scored in those 3 games, 3 losses, and the 3 shortest starts of his season.

        The only time in his last 4 starts he didn’t have that horrible lineup/defense behind him? 7.1 shutout innings and a 5-0 win.

        I’d certainly say he’s getting really upset with it now. They’ve scored 39 runs in his 13 starts (3 per game average). Take away 6 for the unearned runs they’ve allowed offsetting run support given and you’re at 33 in 13 starts, or 2.5 runs/9 when he starts.

        • I’m not really blaming him, though of course I wish he’d pitched better tonight. Above I said: “The lineup that has been on the field with Cueto pitching would easily lose more than 100 games as the everyday lineup.” You provide data to back that up. He was hurt badly in two recent starts by errors.

      • I don’t know if it was loss of focus or something else. On ball 4 to Howard he seemed to pause halfway through his delivery and it got his timing out of whack. So the pitch missed badly, and then two pitches later he hit Byrd and then Brown poked his double on the next pitch. So he lost his mechanics, which could have a lot of causes besides “he lost focus”.

  15. PS The timing of Cueto’s sudden loss of control was strange. If he was feeling pressure, you’d think that picking off Utley would make him feel better. Some of us on the game thread suggested Cueto was “mentally celebrating” after picking off Utley, but he sure didn’t look like he was celebrating.

  16. In the post game interview, Cueto talked about the problems he’s had with the Phillies through the years and how they seem confident they can hit him and do it. Odd because they’re old and not a good hitting team anymore.

    It was in Philly in 2009 that Cueto gave up 9 ERs in 2/3 of an inning, and his whole season went down the tubes afterwards.

  17. FWIW, the Reds ought to win the next two games, based on who the Phillies are pitching. But even if they manage that they’re still 3 games under .500, with the Dodgers coming in.

  18. Not sure when the Reds start to look towards next season but things are looking grim unless Joey Votto can account for 6 runs per game for the rest of the season once he returns to the lineup.

  19. Cincy will never get to .500 it seems to me. My personally feeling on Cueto is that he has just had enough and it’s getting the best of him since the poor guy gets maybe a single A team behind him on every start. Wouldn’t you have enough of the bs that he has to deal with aka no run support ever??? I know i would that’s for sure. He’s handled this sorry excuse for an offense better that i would I promise you that! It would be bean ball city if I were in his shoes!!! Sure wish we had a pro hitter on this team oh yeah we do the guy everyone wants out of town!!! If I was Votto i wouldn’t rush back either!! We make everyone look like Cy Young on the mound!! As far as Cincy winning the next 2 I wouldn’t bet on it. I’m sure Bernidina will show his black hole self in the line-up soon enough to compound the offensive mysery!

  20. It seems to me that the overall situation with the Reds is reaching a critical mass where something is going to have to give either on the field or off the field.

    When they hired Price to be manager, I wasn’t that big on the decision because in part I felt he was too close to the situation of the meltdown malaise last year to present enough of a separation from it to turn those issues around. There is a reasonable case that could be made at this point that my thinking was not far off.

    However it turns out that I like Price’s attitude and some of the stuff he has tried whether it has worked or not. So, I hope what gives isn’t the easiest knee jerk reaction of canning the manager because that isn’t going to fix a things for this mess of a Reds team right now.

    • Price has tried a number of things, which is a good sign. There is not much he can do with the line up. It is a struggle when the top 3 in the order have an OBP under .300 and Phillips has to bat in the top 4.

      Only 2.5 games out of last place

  21. Here is an interesting (to me) link that ranks how often teams turn ground balls into outs.

    The Reds (14 of 30) are pretty much dead center at 74.2%. However that is also dead last in their division (Prirates {4 overall}, Cards {8}, Brewers {10}, Cubs {12}).

    The range MLB wide is from 77.6% (Oakland) down to 70.5% (Miami).

    Maybe some rethinking of how good the Reds infield really is is in order; or alternately perhaps their positioning strategy isn’t working that well (thinking of how many tinmes they have been burned by the shift).

    • Or we’re talking about a really small sample size?

      If 4 more groundballs are hit right at a Reds IF (or Todd Frazier doesn’t play 1B a couple games), the Reds have 74.72% success rate and are ranked 8th.

      • That’s possible. I’m presuming this is for the season to date which isn’t all that small. Its a reflection of the reality on the field.

        The metadata which is supposed to come on line starting next year hopefully is going to tell us a lot we (as fans and observers) don’t know now about positioning and first step/ elapsed time to location.

  22. What ever Price tries to do is like putting lip stick on a pig. Still a pig.
    Problem is that I don’t trust the GM to do anything right either. This mess is his doing. Everything he has done has pretty much went sour. IMO Cleaning house has to start at the top and then work down.

  23. In order to finish with a 90 win season the Reds need to win 64% of the remaining 103 games (63 wins and 40 loses). Unless “Tinkerbelle” shows up with a box-car full of “Magic Dust” I am losing hope for this year. Basically the Reds must win every 3 game series (2 out of 3) for the rest of the year. The concept that Votto and Bruce will make a difference equals a historic if not mind blowing, hitting exhibition. For those of you who are betting on our minor league system to offer a long term fix, the numbers (traditional and advanced) say it’s not going to happen in the near future (2-4 years)
    Ahh well, there is always grass to cut, weeds to pull, and picnics to attend.

  24. The good news: now that Cueto has had a fairly bad game, we can stop having Peña catch him every time. I was fine with the personal catcher situation as long as Cueto was pitching lights out, but now we can have Mesoraco catch him fairly regularly, especially against LHP. In the playoffs, Mesoraco should be the one to catch Cueto, so it’s time to get them working together.

  25. My new comment keeps getting posted up there with the morning comments. Anyway, trying again: Votto starts his rehab at Pawtucket tomorrow.

    And for the 3rd time, Hallelujah !

    • Glad to hear this and also glad yours made it through which saves me because every time I try to post a tweet here it never turns out like I thought it would.

      • And on my broswer (Chrome/ Win7) even after multiple refreshes, we have a bunch of morning posts under us. Wonder if it is a local time zone thing versus a system time thing.

  26. A shakeup is going to have to hit the Reds, and certainly before July 31st., if they are going to make the playoffs this season. This team has no spark.

  27. Had to clean up a few comments that violated site guidelines. The legit comments that replied to them also have to go. Sorry about that.

  28. Since the game thread isn’t up yet… I thought I’d alert everyone that Santiago is again at 3rd and Frazier at 1st.

    So either Pena is dinged, or Price thinks this is a good idea. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

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