Titanic Struggle Recap

/shaking fist at bullpen situation/

Final R H E
  Cincinnati Reds  (32-35) 2 7 0
  Milwaukee Brewers  (41-28) 4 6 0
 W: Smith (1-0)     L: Hoover (1-5)
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Positives

Mat Latos pitched six outstanding shutout innings, throwing just 87 pitches. Latos limited the Brewers to two hits and *no walks.* So much for my fear that he’d struggle with command due to the frothy mix of rust and adrenaline. He struck out four the first time through the lineup. It would have been great to see him go deeper in the game, but Bryan Price is the last guy you’d second guess on that decision.

Let this not be obscured by the foul mess that is the Reds bullpen: It is an enormous and fabulous development that Latos looked fit and in mid-season form. Replacing 2014 Tony Cingrani with that Mat Latos is like adding an ace at the trade deadline, except seven weeks earlier. And happily without the GM having to figure out an actual trade.

I absolutely LOVE the Shin-Soo Choo Billy Hamilton who hits doubles, home runs and walks. (The Billy Hamilton who gets picked off, and throws to the wrong bases, less so.) For the second night in a row, Hamilton delivered a crucial hit late in the game. More of that, pretty please, and you can lead off for my team.

The defense provided strong support all night. Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Ryan Ludwick each made outstanding plays.

Negatives

It took Logan Ondrusek nine pitches to undo all of Mat Latos’ good work. He walked the first batter he faced. Of course he did, it’s his move. Ondrusek has walked a batter in four of his last five appearances. (The one time he didn’t he faced one batter.) Then Ondrusek grooved the first pitch to Carlos Gomez who lined a single to right. Two batters later, the game was tied. Both runners he allowed on base eventually scored. That Logan Ondrusek was the best option available out of seven choices for the seventh inning in a game against the first place team is equal parts terrifying and mind-boggling.

Manny Parra gave up a run-scoring single to Ricky Weeks, although it was on a weak ground ball. Not really much he can do about that.

J.J. Hoover gave up a two-run homer to Ryan Braun on a belt-high pitch in the middle of the plate. The runner on base was just bad luck (mile high pop up that falls in) but grooving that pitch to Braun is all on Hoover.

Not so random thoughts

The Brewers are good. They aren’t lucky. They hit and hit and hit. All day long. They have above-average starters and decent relief pitching. With the addition of Mat Latos, the Reds now have a rotation that can offset what they lack in offense. But the Cincinnati bullpen just isn’t capable enough for the Reds to be successful consistently against good teams. Good teams like Milwaukee and St. Louis.

The bullpen deficiency has been obvious since Opening Day. Yet the Reds haven’t lifted a finger to do anything about it – either by acquisition or promotion from their minor league clubs. Instead, Walt Jocketty expects Bryan Price to mix/match/patch/fill. With predictable and disastrous results.

In a not unrelated move, the Reds sent Tony Cingrani to the bullpen and placed Sean Marshall on the DL. Marshall has been suffering from general ineffectiveness. With this step, the club decided to keep its sixth starter, a young left-hander, in a long-relief role instead of sending him to AAA where he could continue to develop, work on his secondary pitches and build up his innings count. All things that Jeff Brantley believes are crucial for Cingrani and his future with the Reds.

Even though this move is harmful for Cingrani’s progress, it’s sadly necessary because of the aforementioned dumpster fire in the bullpen and paralysis by the front office. Hopefully this can be a temporary move and Cingrani will get more work than the long reliever has the past few seasons.

But that would mean actually doing something about the personnel in the bullpen. If the Cincinnati Reds are going to compete for the post-season, they need a general manager up to the task.

98 thoughts on “/shaking fist at bullpen situation/

  1. This really has been a scathing indictment of management, in particular, the front office. Jocketty did nothing last season to help the Reds and he doesn’t appear he is going to do anything again this year.
    You have to wonder how much longer Castellini is going to let this continue.

  2. “…it’s sadly necessary because of the aforementioned dumpster fire in the bullpen and paralysis by the front office.”
    This. Post of the night.

  3. Why would I be second guessing Bryan Price? Every move he’s made has been wrong. I see no reason to second guess him on anything. He’s a brilliant manager.

    • I trust Bryan Price to know what’s best for Mat Latos in that situation. This wasn’t a normal “should I take the SP out or leave him in” situation. It’s obviously different because it was Latos first start. I should have written that out more clearly in the post. Whatever you may think of his decision making as a manager, his record of managing the well-being of a pitching staff is among the best.

      • He had so much left in the tank last week in Louisville, he pitched a bullpen session afterwards. If Latos says he is good to go, why should management question him when they no full well they have a short handed bullpen? 87 pitches is ridiculous, he could have at least pitched a partial 7th knowing they don’t have Broxton or Chapman available.

        • Latos pitched a bullpen session because there was a rainout and the team had told him they wouldn’t activate him until he threw 100 pitches, not because he just had so much in the tank that he was rarin’ to keep on throwing. But he’s coming off a whole slew of injuries dating back into last year … I’d rather chance this game and still have Latos pitching in September than push him too hard out of the gate and have him suffer another injury. As for the notion that, “If Latos says he’s good to go” … I think the Reds have a pretty established history of what happens when they player gets to decide if they’re “good to go.” I’m with Steve on this one – say what you will about him as a manager (and I’m generally okay with him, because I think the mistakes he’s making are largely learning/trying things mistakes, and not the kind of thick-headed, “We do it this way because this is the way we do it” mistakes that Dusty Baker made regularly … if Price learns from these mistakes, and I have every confidence that he will, he will grow into a very good manager), but Bryan Price has a tremendous track record with pitchers, and I trust him in those decisions inherently and completely.

      • This truly needs to be acknowledged by the unrealistic fan who considers every loss on the manager-gotta manage for the full 162 and not just one game

    • Really feel this is unreasonable, he has handled a roster riddled with injuries, and we he gets them back, he has to handle the injured players as well.Having superstar hitters having sub-par years does not help and having virtually every middle reliever stinks makes sustaining winning streaks impossible. People were screaming last night for leaving homer into long- I think at this point you have got to think of Cingrani is your third best option out of the bullpen because of how dominant he can be at times and how bad all the others have been. Sam has got by on smoke and mirrors- but hope he evens out after a few rough outings

  4. I’ve calmed down about my ranting on Price. Burning Latos’ arm, 100+ pitches, to win a game that ultimately won’t matter, because this team isn’t going to contend for anything (WC/Division) this year. We’re probably going to have to lose Latos ($$$), might as well get him back, up, and dominating, to raise his trade value, along w/ Cueto & Leake. So, it probably was okay to take him out & concede tonight. I won’t second guess him.

  5. I’ll re-post this from last night, a win.
    “Jocketty is going to have to address the bullpen issue soon. LeCure and Marshall may be done (I’ll clarify about LeCure, I think he has an issue with his arm and might be headed to the DL soon). Parra is very inconsistent now. Which Ondrusek and Hoover show up on any given night? Broxton and Chapman coming off injuries and may not be able to go more than two outings in a row.
    Who knows what Cingrani will bring to the bullpen?
    Some hard personnel decisions are going to have to be made with the bullpen, and then go out and get two good relievers. Shop early. The help is needed now.”
    Like right now.

    • I agreed with you last night except for about LeCure, which you’ve clarified, so now I agree even more. I don’t know if LeCure has an issue with his arm, but I’m concerned about over-using him and Broxton. As I mentioned last night, Broxton’s fastball was as low as 89 for the first time this season that I’ve noticed.

      I agree with Price when he says: “I will not run LeCure, Broxton and Chapman into the ground,” Price said. “[Jonathan] Broxton is coming off right elbow surgery ….”
      On the other hand, the Reds can’t afford to keep losing games with Hoover, Ondrusek, Parra. Cingrani needs to be given a chance in high leverage situations, there’s no immediate alternative. He was a closer in college, pitching up to 3 innings at a time. In a tie game situation like tonight, when it would have been his turn to start, it would have been worth giving him a shot for 2-3 innings rather than the alternatives.

      • What is the consensus, I have heard the thing about Sam all season and he has been outstanding until the last week- is there an issue?- he gives up a hit to their scrappy lead-off hitter- gets a big strike out of the former MVP (who wins the game with a late inning homer last night)- gets ahead of their 3 and 4 hole hitters only to have a higher chopper will its way to a hit and a low pitch out of the zone drilled- seems like people were saying Broxton’s velocity was down most of the season, I do not think Chapman got over 100MPH Friday either

        • The point has been made by the Reds radio and TV guys that LeCure is significantly down in velocity this year as opposed to last. Last year he was actually in the 92/93 range much of the time versus traditionally be 90+ but up to not 92 or even higher. This year he is struggling to touch let alone maintain 90.
          I think there have been subtle inferences for several years that LeCure has elbow or forearm issues that crop up from time to time and require him to sit an extra day or two for them to get calmed down so to speak.

  6. Reds are a below average hitting, above average starting pitching + closing team since 2012. Middle relief is the X factor and this year it’s been below average. Some redleg nation writers posit that bullpen is unreliable year over year. So Long term, isin’t it smart to invest in hitting upgrades? If so, can we start @ this year?

    • You’re being consistent with the off season thinking here, which was that the Reds needed to upgrade their offense. Of course that’s still the thinking, but in any case during the off season there was no talk about upgrading the bullpen. There was a lot of talk about how useless Broxton is and making Hoover the closer.

      • Bingo. Any talk on here about Jocketty not upgrading the bullpen is just pure 20/20 hindsight. I don’t remember any talk about the bullpen except for bashing Jocketty for signing Broxton, who has been our best reliever this year.

        • All of this….Lets not forget how Marshall was gonna come back and be Marshall

    • Guys, your data points underscore bullpen unpredictability. So I don’t know that we can fault WJ for not making bullpen changes. I think we are @ the business end of bad bullpen this year. Here is to hoping that middle relief gets it’s act together now.

  7. If there were ever a time when the old saying “better safe then sorry” applied its Price taking Latos out of the game. Pulling Latos was the smart and prudent thing to do. How the Reds handled the Sean Marshall situation however defies logic.

    • Something has clearly been wrong with Marshall, all season long, and I never saw Price, or anyone else on the staff manage that, particular pitcher, with his well- being in mind.

    • Right again, Sarge. Marshall was rushed thru rehab and then both he and Price kept saying that he was “almost there” when he clearly wasn’t. It’s a shame.

    • The entire Marshall situation (how it has evolved) is little short of flabbergasting. As far as sourcing, part of what I’m going to say here came straight from Bryan Price on his pregame radio and part was reported by Sheldon I believe in the Beat Reporter Sound Byte in the Reds radio coverage.

      Marshall stated he probably has never been more than ~80% all season; and, try as he might he couldn’t get over that hump. Throwing to Dee Gordon of the Dodgers several days back however he felt a a new stronger pain/ twinge in his shoulder which hasn’t settled down or gone away. So, now they have to go back to square one and decide if this is a new injury or the continuation/ aggravation of the previous situation and come up with a plan. No time table of any sort for anything.

      My own thought and comment…. So why the hades was he ever activated and being used. Couldn’t he have been placed on the 60 day DL to create a spot for Diaz or whomever on the 40 man (recall we were told that was a big issue over getting one of those non 40 man roster guys up to the active roster). Yet with the team hanging by in the playoff race by a thread this guy who was obviously a shadow of his previous self was still be sent out to pitch at the MLB level. What a way to run a railroad.

  8. It is a shame that no one in the local media will ask about the lack of decision making from the front office. The last interview I saw with Walt was on MLB TV about 3 weeks ago and his story then was “let’s see how the team does when everybody is healthy”. I agree that Cingrani should be in AAA learning his craft every night. In 4 or 5 weeks he could be ready to return. Power is no slouch at getting results when the student wants to learn. Without a bullpen fix they will always have a 75% of losing when tied or ahead by less than 3 runs. after 5 innings.

  9. Just a quick point to make about Billy Hamilton Steve, so maybe you’ll finally just give up on the knocks in the recap when was the far superior hitter …

    Hamilton has a current OBP of .296. I think we all agree that in order for him to be great, and worth of the leadoff position … that number needs to be at least .320 and probably higher.

    Well guess what? If Hamilton had reached safely in 10 more PA’s this season, he would have an OBP of .339. Pretty sure that would change your tune and you would say “I love Billy Hamilton, he can stay at the lead-off spot all he wants as long as he’s got a .339 OBP”

    Hamilton has been on base 68 times safely this season, and has scored 29 runs. That’s an average of .426 runs per time on base. So if we go back to where he has an OBP of .339, he would have scored an extra 4.26 runs this season. Taking in the Reds record, 2 of those runs are likely to have come when the Reds won a game and 2.26 of those runs are likely to have come when the Reds lost a game.

    So the likely, real difference between .296 OBP Hamilton and .339 OBP Hamilton through 70 games this year is ~2.26 runs in games the Reds lost. Maybe those runs get a game tied, maybe they’re enough to win one extra game, or maybe they don’t even matter because they happen when the Reds are getting blown out. But to constantly bring this up as a point of emphasis when this team is flawed in 100 different ways … LEAVE IT ALONE.

    • Is it possible that Steve is using BH as an example that too many expectations on a marginal rookie are an example of the front offices lack of real depth in the system.

      • I will say it again: Billy Hamilton is not the problem here, no matter where in the order he bats.

        • Reds would be looking at a sweep, tomorrow, if not for BH. Blaming him for the pickoff & not throwing to 2nd, tonight, given everything else that completely blew up, at so many levels, is weak sauce.

        • Never said BH was the cause of the defeat. In fact, I pretty clearly said the opposite by listing him in the positives. You were able to read past my slanderous remarks that he, you know, got picked off again and did throw to the wrong base, to see that I wrote several hundred words about other players and the front office?

          I’ve never seen a player who fans were so in love with and created such a low bar for that you can’t even mention the slightest (true) negative thing about them AMIDST a huge complement without them ignoring every other single word you write.

      • A “marginal rookie”? WAR which I believe is nearly useless when evaluating Hamilton, ranks Billy at 3rd of the Reds position players. Is this really “marginal”? Get away from the Flat Earth Society and join the real world.

    • Do you know how silly it is to come to a blog post that no one forces you to read and leave a comment asking them to “leave it alone”? Pretty humorous.

      So now we’re setting the bar so low for Billy Hamilton that we’re making excuses why he doesn’t need even a league average OBP to continue *leading off* for the Reds. Wonderful. Go ahead, talk yourself into that.

      OBP is not just about scoring runs yourself, it’s about the offensive contribution you make to all runs created, including the people who bat ahead of you. That’s measured by wRC+. Even after choosing one of the most favorable arbitrary endpoints, tonight, after a home run and double, Hamilton’s wRC+ is 81, which is almost 20 percent below league average.

      Are you saying there are so many things wrong with the Reds that we can’t mention individual items, like Hamilton getting picked off three times in the past two weeks and throwing to the wrong base costing the Reds a run tonight?

      And you can’t seriously say, after reading simply what I wrote tonight, let alone last night, that I’ve place the blame on Billy Hamilton.

      • Just curious, do the three BH pick offs even count the two times he was picked but the pitcher threw the ball away or the time he was picked but escaped by beating the ball back to 2nd>

        • This is the small price that will occasionally be paid for Hamilton’ unique talents. There are some that will never paint a complete picture as it does not serve their interests. I think most of understand it quite well by now.

        • I was just bringing to light that but for sheer incompetence by defenders, BH would have at least 3 more caught stealing added to his league leading total. He has to improve in this area (CS/ PO) for his speed to effectively offset his low raw OBP.

        • I think they are “forced” errors not coincidences of defender’s brain farts. I can think of two successful PO attempts. Third base against Strasburg and last night. For a rookie, that is beyond fabulous. I’ll take it.

          Can we reasonably expect BHam to cause this degree of “havoc” without the occasional PO? As far as CS, I expect him to just keep getting better as he hones his craft and learns the MLB’s pitchers moves. Billy being an issue on the base paths is a nonstarter, IMO.

        • I agree with Charlotte. I don’t mind B-Ham getting picked off + caught stealing more than most. It comes with the territory doesn’t it? His baserunning has still been pretty great.

          Billy being an issue on the base paths is a nonstarter. Billy being on the base paths enough is the issue.

        • I see what you’re saying and I think you have a point, but that’s why people create stats like UBR and BsR to give a more accurate description of contributions/mistakes on the basepaths.

          It isn’t like Hamilton’s only value on the base paths is stolen bases, he’s taking extra bases that others aren’t, so he should get credit for it. He’ll get thrown out doing it occasionally, BsR does a really good job of taking both into account.

          Hamilton is scoring 2nd highest in the league in BsR to Dee Gordon, but maybe he isn’t scoring high enough overall to be a positive offensive player.

      • Steve, I already said much of this in reply to Prospect Cincy, but want to make sure you see it. There was an interesting post (not just a comment) here on RLN in April about an analysis that projected that Hamilton would score a higher pct. of times that he reaches base than the average player would, given that certain things (performance of hitters batting behind him, etc.) are constant. In that important sense, the usual BA/OBP/SLG PCT. slash line does not capture his offensive contribution.

        If I understand it correctly, wRC+ would not capture this either.

        • wRC+ does not incorporate baserunning because baserunning was spun off into it’s own stat, BsR. FG’s “Offense” stat combines both the hitting and baserunning scores into own statistic.

          Hamilton is second in all of MLB in BsR (4.4), but is currently below average in offense (-3.3), because his hitting has been so bad.

      • I’m not suggesting you placed any blame of the loss on Hamilton, but what I am suggesting is that you continue to slight the rookie, even when he plays a terrific game. You didn’t write one negative thing about Homer Bailey yesterday, even though his ERA went from 4.60 to 4.68 after the start. He pitched poorly, you know he pitched poorly, and you avoid writing it. We know you love him, we know you don’t love Hamilton. The horse has been dead a while …

        Couldn’t you just have said “Hamilton kept this team alive, scoring both runs but it wasn’t enough”. See how easy that was!

        When he has a bad game, put him in the Bad section. When he has a good game, put him in the Good section with no disclaimers. Objectivity … that’s all I’m asking.

        • How about they just continue giving an accurate portrait of what Billy is actually doing?

          Billy should continue getting a ton of credit for his defense + baserunning, both of which have been elite. His hitting, unfortunately, has been well below average.

        • If you want objectivity, read John Fay or Mark Sheldon. That’s their job. I’m a fan. My feelings are well known. If you want to make the point that Billy Hamilton is doing fine as a lead-off hitter and player for the Reds, go right ahead. Dozens of other people here do, too. Just leave me out of it. This blog is about the Reds, not the people who write about the Reds.

          Regarding Homer Bailey’s performance, I don’t agree he pitched poorly. Before the seventh inning, I had his game listed as a positive – six innings, one run. Even the haters would have to agree that six innings, one run against Milwaukee was a good start.

          In the seventh, he gave up the home run to Davis on a pitch that was on the outside edge of the strike zone, not a bad pitch. Then he gave up two opposite field singles that were stick-out-the-bat pokes. He left the game and the reliever gave up the runs, plus some.

          I’m not saying overall Homer pitched great. I didn’t like the inning when he walked three guys at all. But he was pretty darned good the rest of the time. I gave quite a bit of thought about listing him or not. Not every player gets listed in positive or negatives. In the end I didn’t think his performance – especially since the last two runs he gave up weren’t entirely on him – merited it.

          You disagree? Fine. Write it in the comment section. Or write it in your own blog. But leave me out of it.

    • Interesting point about the percentage of times that Hamilton scores when he’s on base. There was an interesting post (not just a comment) here on RLN about an analysis (by Baseball Prospectus ?) that projected that Hamilton would score a high pct. of times that he reaches base. In that important sense, the usual BA/OBP/SLG PCT. slash line does not capture his offensive contribution.

  10. Maybe P. Doc should turn his acid filled pen on the Reds (WJ) front office oh I forgot he only attacks players, he is too much of a “professional” to attack a Home town owned management staff. Translate into he lacks courage.

    • Well then, write P. Doc and tell him that if you’re so concerned about his “courage” whatever that means.

      Btw, I read his columns and posts and he has criticized and questioned the front office for standing pat more than a couple of times.

  11. Walt’s always said (what little he’s said), ‘let’s see what happens when this team is healthy’. Latos looks to be, definitely, BACK. Clock is now officially ON, for Mr. Jocketty.

    • Seems to me that Ondrusek, Hoover and Parra have been healthy all year. Injuries are an excuse that no team should hide behind. This would actually be in decent shape in the standings right now if the healthy players mentioned above had done their jobs. And if the manager could make a correct decision when handling said players.

      • Agree on Ondrusek, Hoover & Parra being (physically) healthy. Marshall, never has been & may never will be, this season. LeCure may be injured now, who knows, w/ this medical staff/management? The rotation looks GOOD to GO, from today, forward (assuming Simon doesn’t turn back into pumpkin, which, we’re told he inevitably will). Bruce probably is NOT healthy (ridiculous return time), but he’s so streaky, it may not make much of a difference if he was. The rest of the lineup is good. So, we have who we have. Let’s just hope it’s not, to quote Dennis Green, “…they are who we thought they were! And we let them off the hook!” (I could also pull out Jim Mora’s, “Playoffs?!?” rant, if needed).

  12. Jocketty is deserving of the criticism he is getting, if for no other reason than his lack of communication with the press. A lack of communication with the press leaves the fans in the dark and baffled as to why the things like the Sean Marshall situation was handled the way it was. Its really inexcusable to leave the fans with nothing more than to speculate on why certain important things are happening with the team the way they are. I don’t think its asking too much to throw the fans a bone every now again explaining why certain moves are made, or not made.

  13. Was at the game tonight and sadly watched the middle of the bulpen give away another game where the starting pitcher had a good outing.

    The Brewers made two roster moves after last night’s game and are playing with an extra bullpen arm and one short on the bench. The roster shift to an extra pitcher is in part due to having just played a 13 inning game the night before the Reds series started. So their bullpen was overworked.

    Contrast this to the Reds.Lecure can’t hit 90 mph anymore, Marshall can’t pick up a glass of water, Hoover and Parra are a crap shoot and Ondrusek is consistently bad.
    Jumbo Diaz sits in the minors and must be wondering why he signed with this club. Cingrani needs work to straighten himself out and instead sits in the bullpen waiting for his turn to see if he can blow a game.

    And then I had to watch Bernadina, with a batting average and a slugging percentage less than he weighs, stepping up to the plate as the Reds final chance of the night.

    Where is the Reds help when they need it?

    • The AAA and AA teams are empty, period. No GM in MLB will want to trade with the Reds because they know the Reds are short in development and to trade their 160-180 game “Bat” for a starter weakens your own team. This will be a very long season.

  14. Steve writes;”I’ve never seen a player who fans were so in love with and created such a low bar for that you can’t even mention the slightest (true) negative thing about them AMIDST a huge complement without them ignoring every other single word you write.”
    These folks bought the media hype over the winter. BH may have a future in MLB but it will depend on how he improves and learns his craft.
    If the following is an indictment against BH;”I absolutely LOVE the Billy Hamilton who hits doubles, home runs and walks. (The Billy Hamilton who gets picked off, and throws to the wrong bases, less so.) For the second night in a row, Hamilton delivered a crucial hit late in the game. More of that, pretty please, and you can lead off for my team.”, then maybe remedial reading and interpretation needs to also be discussed. But then again when it comes to a fans (fanatic) interpretation of the written word, their perception (right or wrong) becomes their truth.

  15. You know, for the life of me I don’t know what the staff sees in Ondrusek. I mean there are flashes of brilliance here and there, but for the last 3 year’s he’s been who he’s been. I mean I know when we think about a certain player being bad it’s usually not as bad as we think in actuality, but it just seems like when things do blowup, it’s when he’s pitching. He may now allow the blowup as often as it seems, but again when things do blowup it seems to be on his watch. I know everyone in the pen seems to be having their issues recently, but you would think with a staff that has the reputation of being masters at turning pitchers around, that Ondrusek would be a shutdown type guy with the stuff that he has.

    • Add to that Hoover seems to put together these nice stretches we he is being used in low to no leverage situations only to blow up seemingly every time he gets used in a leveraged situation.

      • A few weeks ago, Jim, you compared Hoover’s inconsistency to Masset’s. Now you have a more accurate picture.

        • PS Hoover has been especially bad on the road. All 5 of his losses this season are on the road. In 13 plus road innings, he has 13 walks. Last night he didn’t walk anyone, I’ll grant him that. But he served it on a tee to Braun.

    • This is Ondrusek’s 5th season with the Reds. He’s been a problem since 2010. His strikeout rate has gone up over the last 2 seasons but his walk rate and HRs allowed rates remain high. He’s consistently had the stats of a mop up guy. Yet the Reds hang on to him and use him in high leverage situations. I’ve never understood it.

    • Farhan Zaidi. I think he is the Assistant GM in Oakland.

      No chance this happens because it doesn’t fit Castellini’s mindset (I like Castellini for the record) and I don’t think the city would embrace him. I think you’d see a lot of “Oakland has never even made a world series” columns and comments in the local press/ radio. I’d be all for it though. Incredible what they have been doing in Oakland the last few years. Way ahead of everyone in run differential this year even with two of their projected starters going down in spring training to year ending injuries.

      • Should also say that I don’t know that Jockettey gets the ax. And I’m not completely against the job he has done. I think he has been very bad this year, but he set up the 2013 Reds up incredibly well. Adding Choo coming off a 98 win season was excellent, it just didn’t pan out. The Latos trade has also been a nice move.

        I think he has done a poor job on the extensions. They should be starting earlier to include arg years to keep the total cost down. He has also done a terrible job of building a full roster to deal with injuries. The Reds are spending 112 million this year and are paper thin.

  16. Random thoughts…when Latos was lifted I had a bad feeling the game was lost. Ondrusek should never be on an MLB roster. Hoover is wildly inconsistent and needs some serious time in AAA. If Cingrani can help in the pen, why not use him tonight? I can’t help but think we are seeing the same colossal mismanagement of Cingrani that we saw with Chapman – Tony needs to be starting every 5th day in Louisville to develop his stuff. Can Diaz be any worse than Ondrusek, Parra, and Hoover? Finally, the Cards and Pirates seem to always have flamethrowers who can throw strikes. Where do they find theses guys and why can’t the Reds find them?

    • I’m with you on why not use Cingrani last night ? Price even admitted that it would be better for his development to be starting every 5th day in Louisville, but there’s urgency to have him with the Reds now. For use as a mop up guy ?

  17. I know it has been kicked around already; but if I guy has to throw 100 pitches to get out of rehab purgatory then why is he taken down when he is pitching a dominating game and has roughly an inning worth of pitches left?

    • You’ll miss the first third college football season and the first six weeks of the EPL not mention the first month of Mr Goodell’s bozo big top circus.

  18. Latos had the direct experience tonight of the reality that pitching 6 shutout innings for this team is likely to result in a no-decision.

    • I think he had that experience several times last year. I’d love to see Latos get the run support Bailey has gotten this year.

  19. I rarely get worked up about a loss in June but I nearly threw the remote when Ondrusek walked Lucroy. He could be released or traded today and I wouldn’t care. I’ve seen enough. The Reds have a 7th inning hole than needs to be addressed. Props to Latos though. I love his fire on the mound. Now Mr. Jocketty, get off your widest side and fix the middle relief.

    • This reminds me a bit of the part of the Griffey Jr/ Dunn period when the offense was so good that even with very mediocre starting pitchers, it seemed like the Reds so often took games to the 6th or 7th with multi run leads only to have the first line out of the pen blow it before they could get to Graves (who was still reasonably competent as closer) or later Stormy Weathers (ditto Graves comment).

      When the pen is truly flat out short an arm (or two or three) like this, I don’t think it really matters if the manager tries to match his best guy (closer) to a situation in the ahead of the 9th to hold a lead because the other guys are so bad that (as they have demonstrated the last two games) they are likely to give up 2 or more runs at the drop of a hat whenever they pitch be that the 6th, 7th, 8th, or 9th .

      • Should have made it clear above that the difference now is that the offense is terrible but the starting pitching so good it is often able to squeeze leads out of very few early runs,

  20. I’ll admit it’s odd that Price be so adamant that Latos had to throw 100 pitches in rehab, and then get pulled out after 87 when it matters most (against the first place team in your division)… but whatever. If not for the two non-strikes strikes against Scooter that added another 10 pitches to Latos’ count, we wouldn’t even be talking about this. He’d have come out for the 7th inning.

    That said, Walt continues to be in hibernation since the day after the Choo trade. I never realized a person could do so little as a GM and make millions of dollars. He’s had a couple months now to pick up a bullpen arm and he’s not. Fire him. It’s not like losing him would do anything. Having no GM would honestly be the same as having Walt at GM right now.

    • My guess is that the coaching staff had agreed on a pitch count for Latos before the game. Maybe 90 or 95 pitches, possibly 100. That’s an extremely common way to handle pitchers returning from a long layoff. After Latos reached 87 pitches, Price may have thought he didn’t want to send Latos out for just a partial inning. I agree that the insane Gennett AB probably cost Latos an inning.

      It’s not like Price didn’t want to beat Milwaukee or that he thought Ondrusek was better in that situation than Latos. As I said above, this wasn’t a normal “should I leave him in or take him out” decision. It was based on factors that deal with managing the health of a pitching staff and I trust Bryan Price and his track record dealing with pitchers on that.

      • Yeah, I didn’t say I particularly disagreed with Price’s decision. It was his first start of the year. I just thought it was a bit odd.

        I blame the loss on Walt. Plain and simple. Price can only send Broxton and Chapman out so many times in a row. They can’t pitch every single game, and Walt hasn’t given Price any other good options. It’s not like it’s a new concern. This is like criminal neglect from a GM standpoint. If there’s nobody out there as a free agent that looks good, and nobody you could do a minor league swap for, why not call up Jumbo with his 1.42 ERA in AAA this year? And a 1.66 ERA in AAA last year?

        How can a guy refuse to do his job for so long and still keep it?

        • Until the last year or so (probably dating back to April 2013), I’ve thought Jocketty’s record for the Reds was mixed, but overall positive. There were plenty of times I thought he was making a mistake or not acting when he should have. I give him credit for the Rolen deal and Latos. I liked the Marshall trade at the time. I liked the Choo trade. BUT since Ludwick got hurt on Opening Day last year, Jocketty has basically been ineffective. One positive is the catching transition. But otherwise, he’s been a huge disappointment.

      • Everything you say makes perfect sense except the decision flies into the face of saying Latos had to go 100 pitches before he could get off of rehab. Add in the mess that is the (Sean) Marshall situation; and, it starts to maybe beg the question, as happened last year, of whether the left hand and right hand on this team (i.e. GM and manager) are on the same page and pulling the same direction.

        • I wish I thought the GM was pulling in a direction. He seems to be sitting passively in the middle of the boat, just letting the current take it where it flows. :-)

  21. (Sorry for addressing this not as a direct reply to any of the comments, but there were several in different places, so I just grouped everything and wrote this here.)

    Billy Hamilton is a fast, light-hitting center-fielder. Period. I have never been a fan of that profile for a lead-off hitter. I realize it’s classic. But I didn’t like Willy Taveras, and didn’t want Ben Revere. I’ve been skeptical of players like Billy Hamilton long before there was a Billy Hamilton option, it’s not personal.

    Occasionally, his base running causes errors. But his base running also causes outs, like when he gets picked off and caught stealing. Those hurt doubly because they erase both a base runner and add an out. That’s the reason the research shows runners have to succeed at a 3:1 rate to make SB worthwhile.

    One pick-off, I’d never mention it. But he’s been caught off base an alarming number of times recently. I thought it was worth a single, parenthetical mention in an otherwise strongly positively worded assessment.

    Some stats, like wRC+ don’t capture speed. But other stats do. At FanGraphs, for example, there is UBR (ultimate base running) and wSB (weighted stolen bases) and a four-component speed score. They are included in FanGraphs’ overall WAR.

    Billy Hamilton’s speed stats are positive, for sure. But they aren’t INFINITE. They have to be weighed against the downsides of his leading off (the high number of outs he makes, the lack of power).

    OMG, Chaos! doesn’t do it for me for a lead-off hitter. I’m looking for line drive hitting and walks. Billy Hamilton doesn’t do that enough yet for my taste.

    I hope like crazy that Billy Hamilton does develop into a player who regularly hits line drives, takes an above-average number of walks and flashes occasional power, like he did yesterday. I hope that because first and foremost I’m a Reds fan and Hamilton is our lead-off hitter.

    Those of you who see him as a transformative, one-of-a-kind, can-do-no-wrong, don’t-you-dare-criticize-my-Billy player, that’s great. It’s part of being a fan (short for fanatic). Defend him on the merits as strongly as you want here. Just keep it based on Billy Hamilton and quit attacking me for disagreeing with you.

    • I am unclear how at this point anyone could be pro or con. Its way way way to early to know what type of player he is going to be.

  22. Also, I like a bunch of the steroid comments in the Game Recap, but there was a post dedicated to “What if Braun were available for our LF RH Power bat”, and I don’t think I saw that much negative reaction

    • Yup, I don’t care what a players past reflects. If he is on the field and producing legally, that’s all i care about. I was popped for wanting Nelson Cruz in the off season. Boy, would he look good in LF now.

      • I don’t know. Guy gets suspended 50 games for cheating. Comes back as a 33-year-old and suddenly is a .600+ slugger? That smells awfully fishy. People don’t get caught for cheating, get older, and magically get .100 points higher in SLG than he’s had since he was in his 20s.

        • I absolutely would never want a steroid user or a grease ball pitcher or any other form of cheating on my team, no exceptions!!!!

      • To be clear, Cruz would look terrible in LF. He’d look fantastic in the batter’s box though.

  23. That one obviously hurt last night. Started with Price’s bad management the game before – leaving in Bailey too long and being forced to use our best relievers instead of being able to use our garbage relievers with a big lead. Then the blame goes to Lecure who created the depletion of Broxton and Chapman availability by his ineffectiveness. Then it comes back to Price for putting in Ondrusek in a must-win 1 run game instead of Cingrani. Price needed to play this like a playoff game, the difference from between 6 and 8 games out is a lot, not to mention the very real momentum factor. I thought that Latos should have gone another inñing but willing to concede that Price’s judgement to be safe was right. Still depressed, gonna take a while to recover from that game – on top of everything else, that cheating SOB Braun wins it.

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