Titanic Struggle Recap

This Is the Homer You’re Looking For

Final R H E
Philadelphia Phillies  (25-35)
1 6 0
Cincinnati Reds  (28-32)
4 6 0
W: H. Bailey (7-3)   L: D. Buchanan (1-3)   S: A. Chapman (9)
Box Score | Play-by-Play | Stats | Depth Chart | FanGraphs Win Probability

Positives

Homer Bailey. Let’s start there. Homer has had a rough season so far, but today is exactly what we were all hoping for out of him this year. 8 innings, 7 strikeouts, 1 run. That’s how you get it done. He even helped himself with the bat, which is always fun to see from a pitcher.

Billy Hamilton had his second home run of the year. Whenever he manages to really get ahold of a ball, it provides reassurance that he can hit enough to stick around, and that’s good.

I guess I should mention Aroldis Chapman but all he did was strikeout the side. No big deal.

Negatives

Devin Mesoraco struck out three times and hasn’t been hitting well of late. It will be nice when he turns it around and start killing it again.

 

Not so random thoughts …

The win today gave the Reds a series victory and wins in six of their last ten games. This has been a frustrating team, but they are nearing the end of the first half and the second half of the schedule is much easier. If they can continue to hover around .500, there is a chance they could make a run when things lighten up.

And speaking of making a run, Joey Votto and Mat Latos are both on the cusp of returning from injury. That would put this team at full strength for the first time all year. The Reds have a hole to climb out of, but I’m interested to see what they might be able to do with everyone healthy and playing.

33 thoughts on “This Is the Homer You’re Looking For

  1. I think it would be good for Mesoraco to get some work at first or left eventually. They need to go ahead and try to get him 1 game off and 1 game a week starting someplace else than catcher a week. I think the past few years seeing how some tandum starting has worked pretty well at the plate for the Reds over the past few years.

    Starting Meso at another position once a week keeps him fresh and yet keeps bat in lineup. Reds also seem to have a backup catcher that can hit a bit.

    • I’m not sure having him play out of position would keep him fresh the way spending a day on the bench or being just a DH does. Todd Frazier hasn’t looked that fresh when he’s been drafted over to the other side of the infield.

      That said, having him sit 20% of the games is too much. The solution is to have him catch at least 6 out of 7 games instead of 4 out of 5. With a higher catching load, I wouldn’t mind seeing him get a day off completely.

      • Is there a comparison to be made with Josh Willingham, who came up with the Marlins but was moved to the outfield? Team announcers were saying it was because his bat was too valuable to risk the punishment absorbed by catching, but I don’t recall how good of a defensive catcher he was. If Devin truly is The Man, or one of The Men, I’d like to see him play everyday without getting beat up behind the plate.

        • Willingham was absolutely dreadful behind the plate; his was a case of finding another permanent position to keep his bat in the lineup, not to find a temporary one. Mesoraco has shown to be a good backstop and with his offense you should try to play him at C as much as reasonably possible.

      • Playing out of position when he doesn’t catch works for Buster Posey. When he won ROY in 2010, he started 105 games, 30 of them at first base. When he won his MVP in 2012 he started 140 games. 29 of those were at first base.

        • Shoot, Dale Murphy was a great catcher. and a 2 time MVP in Center Field. Yeager, Ferguson, Joe Mauer

          These guys play baseball. Yes everyone cringes at Johnny Bench at 3rd base, but he would have been fine had he started it earlier in his career. Hard to make that move once you lost your knees.

          Dale Murphy did just that. Oh yes and Craig Biggio wasn’t he an all star catcher?

    • You could keep Pena catching on occasion, but don’t always make it a day off for Meso, simply put him in left, or while Votto’s out, at first.

  2. Nice start by Homer. That’s the kind of pitching we want to see. Glad the Reds can at least still win a series against a bad team like the Phillies. Gotta win series against teams worse than you.

    I had given up on Chapman being a start for a while now, but man.. Chapman of this year makes me really want to bring the subject back up. He struck out the side in the 9th, throwing 4 sliders in the process. The results? Swinging Strike 3, Swinging Strike 3, Called Strike 2, Called Strike 3.

    Guy is throwing his offspeed for strikes and has worked a changeup into his arsenal. I really really want to see what he could do over 6 or 7 innings.

    • Me too. Maybe (a boy can dream, can’t he?) the silver lining of moving Tony Cingrani to the bullpen is that he’ll be good enough there to convince the brass to give Chapman a look as the season goes on. Otherwise, it’s shaping up to be another season of using Chapman the same exact way that Dusty Baker (and many other managers do) did. 60 innings, about a third of those in high leverage situations. And only a couple of those against the Cardinals and Brewers.

      • Serious question, Steve…with the look of the offense, the abuse of Chapman’s talent and huge contracts with minimal results, can we start talking about needing a new general manager? I think it’s way past time for a new approach to building a champion for the Reds.

      • Yeh I suggested on the game thread that Chapman in the starting rotation and Cingrani/Broxton at the back end of the bullpen would be very nice. We can dream about it for 2015, not happening this year.

        I don’t think it’s quite fair to say that Price uses Chapman in the same was as Dusty. After Chapman blew a save against the Nats in the 9th, he helped the Reds win the game in extras by pitching a scoreless 10th inning. Dusty wouldn’t have done that. And Price has said that he would not have a problem with using Chapman in the 8th for more than a 3 out save. He hasn’t needed to do that as Broxton has been so good.

    • Chapman made a huge change in approach right after he blew the save against the Nats. I think it bothered him that the first 3 guys he faced hit rockets off him, all of them cheating on his fastball. After that game he started using his change up, and using his slider more. He’s been able to throw both for strikes, making him dominant since then.

      We never talk about the pitching coach Jeff Pico, but maybe he deserves some credit ?

  3. If you wanna see what the Reds should be worried about, just look at the Phillies. Aging stars on gigantic contracts that ain’t what they used to be.

  4. Good job, Reds. Pirates failed to score with bases loaded and one out against Gallardo in the 7th… a curse of the sub .500 teams perhaps. Looking forward to good news about Votto and Latos soon.

  5. There’s some bad news over the last two days too. The Cardinals shut out the Blue Jays both games in Toronto, a 9 inning shutout from Shelby Miller and 7 innings today by Jaime Garcia. No one shuts out the Jays in Toronto. And the Cardinals did it twice without Wainwright or Wacha.

    Their offense isn’t as good this year, they miss the 2012-2013 version of Carlos Beltran. Craig is a stiff in right field and they’ve had bullpen problems. But they’re still the most dangerous team in the NL Central.

    • Yes and it would have really been nice if the Pirates would have won (at least) another game versus the Brewers over the weekend, especially since the Bucs were home team.

      The Reds really need to win at least 4 of 6 when they visit Milwaukee and Pittsburgh next week; and at least 2 of them need to be in Milwaukee.

  6. The discussion on Mesoraco is an interesting one. I have often thought that thedh was misplaced on batting for the pitcher. If there is going to be a dh if it is to prevent injuries then it probably should be for a catcher. The catcher is the one player on the field most likely to get hit by a ball,bat, getting stepped on, getting spat on… And then take into consideration the amount of time they are squatting. Imagine a world where you can have 3 catchers and they can rotate in and out of catching all game. Have a dh hit for the catcher and let the pitcher hit like he is supposed to. Of course this is only from pure health standpoint. The DH will eventually come to the NL and there is no stopping that.

    • The rotation is sort of how the over 30 CRC league I was in worked. Everyone batted and you could sub in and out defensively between innings as much as you wanted. It was nice because if my knees were really barking, I didn’t have to catch the whole game and still got to hit. I don’t see it happening in pro ball though.

  7. I see where Puig and Gordon are day to day for the Dodgers with Crawford, Uribe, and Ellis still on the DL. This is an opportunity for the Reds to step up and take 3.

    Can you imagine what the Reds line up would be with 5 position guys day to day or DLed?

  8. We have been been at 4, right? At one point we had no Votto, Bruce, Hamilton, and Mes – right?

  9. Charlotte, I answered your point about Lutz/Santiago where you suggested Price should be a one year manager over in the game thread this morning.

    Schumaker is grittily batting .222 and grittily letting balls drop in front of him that I’m pretty sure Heisey would get to. Only up 3 in the bottom of the 8th, I don’t get letting Schumaker bat vs a LHP. Pinch hit Heisey and you have an increased chance of getting some more runs, plus you strengthen the defense in the 9th.

    Ludwick will get the start today because of his career numbers vs Haren, but generally if none of them are hitting at least Heisey plays better D. And Schumaker isn’t hitting anyone, much less LHP.

    • I believe, I actually said he was “looking” more and more like a one-year manager. To me, putting Santiago at 3b and Frazier at 1b is not excusable, anyway you look at it. Lutz to me looks like he has 1/2 chance to drive a ball and I am assuming he is a better defensive 1b than Frazier. Frazier is most certainly a better 3b than Santiago in the field.

      As far as left field, it should be an open position until someone can stake a claim to it. I really don’t care who that is but none of the candidates have earned the spot, IMO.

  10. I’m puzzled by the decision to pinch run for Votto after he got a hit yesterday. If the purpose of the rehab is to be sure he can do all those things he needs to do in a competitive situation, isn’t base running one of them? Sure, I don’t want him to get hurt running the bases, but I also don’t want him getting hurt batting, fielding, legging out a double, or anything else. I hope it’s a quick rehab.

    By the way, Steve, THOM! practically accused Votto of wanting to duck the Dodgers pitchers during yesterday’s broadcast. It may have been even worse than Daugherty’s piece.

    • I was spared that by my Thom! boycott. If anyone knows where I can see/hear a recording of it, let me know.

  11. Bottom of the 6th. It starts during Bruce’s at bat and continues into Mesoraco’s. Welsh was very clearly pushing to have Votto come back immediately, and said he believes Votto is making the decision, not the club. THOM! in his usual inarticulate way took half a minute to get a sentence out, but the opening gist was “I’m not suggesting for a second that a guy who’s had the career Joey Votto has had is ducking anybody, BUT…” Buried in there was the clear suggestion that Votto maybe wouldn’t–with a little bit of shouldn’t–come back to face pitchers he’s less “familiar with”, like the Dodgers pitchers, but would/should wait for the Brewers.

    The “I’m not suggesting…BUT” construction is definitely what he said; in all of his babbling, he may have just managed to turn it into a question/suggestion that Votto should wait due to familiarity. Welsh was very aggressive in saying “get him on the plane tonight,” and that it was Votto’s call, and “if you’re ready to play come up and play; the ball club needs you.”

    • My sense of that – and this is pure speculation based on what I’ve heard people like Brantley, Fay, CTR, Sheldon report – is that Votto was the person who insisted on the two days of rehab. Not that the team was necessarily against it. I trust Votto to know what he needs when it comes to hitting.

      I take Chris Welsh’s point more seriously. The Reds need Votto back ASAP and he’d probably still be better than the other options at 1B even if his timing isn’t back perfectly. That’s the case regardless of who was pitching. That’s a reasonable opinion.

      But for Thom! to make the case that Votto is ducking specific pitchers/teams is sickening. For someone who knows as little of what he’s talking about to imply that is embarrassing and disturbing. It’s part of the family campaign against all-things Votto.

      Aside from the obvious — Votto being super competitive and not being afraid of DAN HAREN — isn’t it the case that Votto felt he was ready to start the rehab days ago and it was the *Reds* who delayed the start of it?

      If your characterization is accurate (and I have no reason to doubt it) it’s just more toxic garbage from the Brennamans. Seriously, how can the team put up with the harmful nonsense those two spew on a daily basis?

      • I pay about as much attention to what son-of-Marty says as I do to what the pop says. He just talks to hear himself talk, I don’t think he realizes what he says, half the time.

    • Seriously, the two pitchers Votto missed by going on rehab were a rookie right-hander from the Phillies and an almost-washed-up right-handed veteran with the Dodgers. It’s not like Votto is skipping out on Greinke, Ryu or Kershaw. That insinuation is just idiotic beyond words.

  12. The issue of Votto’s return should be totally dependent on his health and leg strength. As the decision relates to his health and leg strength, I believe the decision is entirely in the club’s hands with Votto’s imput to the training and medical staff, but not as a decisive factor. Once the health and strength issues are satisfied, yes Votto shopuld be io the lineupand working on his plate coverage and hitting stroke at the major league level rather than on a rehab assignment. As soon as the Reds relinquish their decision regarding Votto’s health and leg strength, leaving the decision entirely in Votto’s hands, Votto will be in the Reds lineup. Votto is the ONLY player, without exception, on the Reds roster I think should be permitted to avoid and/or limit a rehab assignment until ALL issues are resolved, not just health issues. Health issues related to Votto should also be totally controlled by the club, since the team and been burned at least twice by leaving the decisions regarding health entirely up to Votto himself.

    The comments from anyone, questioning any player’s willingness or desire to play, without any definitive corraborating evidence, is too absurd to dignify a response or rebuttal.

    • Sometimes a player’s desire to play through an injury needs to be over ridden by management for the good of the team and the player. I agree that a 75% Votto is a better offensive threat than anybody else they can put out there, but if playing at 75% leads to even more diminished performance and he is eventually playing at 50% or even less then the short term gains are not worth it.

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