Game Thread

Phillies at Reds (June 8, 2014)

The Reds and Phillies square off for the deciding game of their three-game series. Homer Bailey faces rookie David Buchanan. See the details of the pitching match-up here.

VOTTO UPDATE: Reds first baseman, Joey Votto is batting second (foreshadowing?) for the Louisville Bats today (1:05 p.m.). Here’s a photo of Joey taking batting practice this afternoon. We’ve dispatched Richard Fitch to Pawtucket for the coverage and eagerly await his first-hand report.

LATOS UPDATE: Reds manager Bryan Price told reporters (CTR) this afternoon that Mat Latos will pitch in Pawtucket tomorrow and if he hits his pitch count and feels good he’ll join the Reds rotation for his next game. Latos could be in line to pitch next Saturday in Milwaukee against the first-place Brewers. No announcement yet as to who will move to bullpen – Cingrani or Simon – or both (wink).

LINEUP: The Reds lineup once again today features Skip Schumaker in left field. I know we’re not supposed to complain about the line-up because the batting order doesn’t make much difference. But it sure feels wrong to have Todd Frazier (.279/.348/.521) batting sixth while Schumaker (.234/.280/.312) bats second and DatDude (.268/.302/.394) bats third. Maybe it’s Bryan Price’s tribute to former manager Dusty Baker’s indifference to the #2 spot in the order and his Sunday Special lineup. Thought we were past that, seriously. Donald Lutz gets a rare start at first base and bats seventh.

1. Billy Hamilton (S) CF
2. Skip Schumaker (L) LF
3. Brandon Phillips (R) 2B
4. Jay Bruce (L) RF
5. Devin Mesoraco (R) C
6. Todd Frazier (R) 3B
7. Donald Lutz (L) 1B
8. Zack Cozart (R) SS
9. Homer Bailey (R) P
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It should be another beautiful June day for baseball. Forecast is 70º and 17% chance of rain. Discuss the game here and GO REDS!

185 thoughts on “Phillies at Reds (June 8, 2014)

  1. This should be the last we see of Donald Lutz for a while. He needs to go back to AAA and get consistent playing time. if the Reds aren’t going to play him regularly, send him down.

    Votto should be back tomorrow, Tuesday at the latest.

    • Agreed. It’s a shame that Price never gave Lutz a chance and has probably set his season back. He was tearing up AA and had just got promoted to AAA when they called him up. Price has set him for at least 3 weeks in favor of such stalwarts as Santiago playing out of position at 3rd. I’m sure Lutz is rusty now and it may take weeks to get his timing back.

      • The personnel moves have been very questionable, would like to have seen Lutz get regular PT especially against righties, really wonder why Bernadina is even on the roster (despite that he hits Arroyo), the injuries did put them in bind but they should have found a way to give Lutz a shot

  2. It would be great if Lutz has a really big game so Price might learn a lesson. Frazier batting 6th?? Bryan Price is starting to look, more and more, like a one-year story. Has anyone been more consistently productive than Todd, out of the position players?

    Oh well, Go Reds!!

    • What lesson would that be?
      And if Lutz goes 0-4, is that a “told you so” moment?

      I think Price tries to play match ups and the best players as much as possible. Lutz has no history so there are no match ups to play and he certainly isn’t one of the better players on the team.

      He started the year in AA for a reason. His day will come.

    • Overreact much? Come on, “a one year story”? I also think Frazier should be batting higher in the order, but having him bat 6th yesterday worked out pretty well. Managing this MASH unit through this schedule to this record is not the stuff of which managerial-washouts are made.

      • Not really. I’ll stand by my post. Just being objective. If you want to argue the points, have at it: Santiago > Lutz, Frazier the 6th best hitter on the team.

        These move do instill confidence but they may to you.

        • On most of the occasions Santiago has been in the game instead of Lutz (via the 1st base/3rd base transitive property), we’ve been facing a LH starting pitcher. At this point, yes, Santiago>Lutz vs LHP. ( The game against Arroyo, when Bernadina started at 1st instead of Lutz against a RHP was a unique situation, and Bernadina showed that Price’s extremely gutsy decision was the right one.)

          Now that Cueto has come down to earth and is pitching merely like a Cy Young candidate and not like Cy Young himself, I hope Price will break up the personal catcher thing; that would make it possible to give Devin the day off when it makes sense instead of when Cueto is pitching, in which case Peña could be catching and Lutz could play 1st against a tough RHP, for instance. Of course, with Votto back that probably won’t happen much. It will be interesting to see if they keep Lutz up and DFA Bernadina; that might be the best thing for the team in the short term even if it slows Lutz’s development.

    • If Lutz went 5 for 5 with 5 homeruns Price would probably still start Santiago at 3rd next game. And Frazier batting 6th? Really? Fraizer should be batting somewhere between 2nd and 4th, 5th as a worst case.

  3. Should have never signed Homer to a deal like that. An extension for Cueto + 20 mil saved for a bat would have been more prudent. One of the two mega-prospects on this team that have never lived up to the hype. It was cool to see Golden Boy Bruce actually do something yesterday.

    We know he can sting the ball. He just doesn’t put together many good AB’s in a row. Jay Bruce is the Reds’ most undisciplined everyday hitter because Zack Cozart don’t count.

  4. When Homer can command the bottom of the strike zone like he has in the first two innings, he’s a handful. His problems this year have been getting pitches up in the zone, particularly to left handed hitters. Hope he can keep it up.

  5. Regarding Jay Bruce’s plate discipline. He’s got the third lowest rate of all starters (behind Votto and Hamilton) for swinging at pitches out of the strike zone. He’s second on the team (behind Votto) in walks. The idea that Jay Bruce is less disciplined at the plate than, say Brandon Phillips or Ryan Ludwick, is laugh-out-loud funny.

  6. So if he only swings at 1 pitch out of the zone per at bat, and it’s strike 3………then yes, his percentage should be low.

    • Sorry to say something nice about a guy who has hit 30 home the past three seasons. I was responding to the comment above where someone said Bruce was the least disciplined player in the Reds starting lineup other than Cozart.

  7. Thom: A very quiet, laid back crowd here Sunday….

    Isn’t that what Ludwick said and got blasted for?

  8. Another wasted, one-pitch AB for Hamilton trying to bunt. Easy out for the rookie pitcher. Some real chaos there.

    • Almost as bad as taking a called strike 3. Billy’s growing and learning and hasn’t been as bad as you think. See the next article.

      • In contrast to the Nationals, the Reds have made the poorest use of the bunt this season. Coming into the week, Cincinnati’s 60 bunts were second most in the NL, after the Milwaukee Brewers’ 63. The Reds’ cumulative WPA on those bunts was minus 0.83, meaning their average bunt cost the team more than 1% of win probability.

        Cueto has been one of the primary culprits, failing to reach base on any of his 10 bunt attempts, including two in non-sacrifice situations, costing the Reds 0.23 points of WPA. Not surprisingly, Cincinnati’s most frequent bunter has been Billy Hamilton, who has balanced five bunt singles with 11 failures to reach base or move a runner. Hamilton’s 19 bunts (including three sacrifices) have yielded a WPA of minus 0.12.

        Cueto’s struggles while bunting are not uncharacteristic of pitchers. NL pitchers have dropped 273 bunts, or 43% of all NL attempts, and have averaged minus 0.020 points of WPA on each attempt, compared with an average WPA of minus 0.011 in all plate appearances. NL position players have averaged 0.04 WPA when bunting, far better than their average WPA in all plate appearances, which is about a hundredth of a percent less than zero.

      • You did see the word “minus” in front of his WPA on those bunts according to your article?

        • So lets call it a .250 avg (5 for 19). A little below average, but not horrible. And lets not forget when he reaches, it’s a double with added pressure on the defense causing errors. So with practice an experience its fare to say it will get better.

        • He’s not stealing bases at a rate where it has much positive value. Too many times thrown out. It’s not a double. Add that the bunts don’t help drive in runs or drive up pitch counts. Sure, some errors caused some times. Also lots of times when it dosn’t cause errors. I hope it gets better. I’ve been assured he’s a really fast learner, but his bunt game doesn’t reflect that.

          I’d like to see him concentrate on hitting line drives and taking walks than giving up so many AB to the bunt.

          Your own article showed it had a negative WPA. That’s net.

        • There are some that Billy has reached his zenith and this it. They are in for the surprise of their lives and it will be a joy to watch it evolve.

  9. Phillips takes something off of his swing to make the ball go straight and soft enough to land in front of the CF. Bruce comes up next, gets the same fastball, and hits it as hard as he can…just hard enough to land straight in a glove. Bruce can’t guide the ball. No bat finesse.

    • In the previous at bat, Jay Bruce “guided” the ball into left field against the shift. Guess he lost his bat finesse in the intervening innings. The idea that Phillips (or any other hitter) can guide the ball like that is belied by Brandon Phillips batting average. If he can do that, why only 27% of the time?

      • Go watch Carew, I actually believe he did and Wade Boggs to a lesser degree. Regardless, it is skill as rare as a diamond.

      • I see Bruce getting most of his hits from hitting it over heads. I’ve been watching Phillips improve his bat control for years. Meanwhile, Jay has been dead as a duck against shifts for years. I’m glad he defeated one.

        Career AVG/OBP

        Bruce: .254/.329
        Phillips: .271/319

        One guy is 6’4” and hits the ball harder…

    • That was a great play by Hamilton (the catch) made to look easy. Too many walks by Homer this year.

      • The throw while in an awkward motion impressed the heck of me, as well. Can’t wait until the new metrics that Richard wrote about; I’d like to know how many guys can get to that ball. Saved a run on that play, no doubt.

  10. Sadly, at the ends of June, I have to go see my Reds play here in San Francisco with a group of friends. They’re all Giants fans. It’ll be a sad, long, lonely, awful night for me.

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