Titanic Struggle Recap

Gulp. We’ll take it.

Final R H E
  Cincinnati Reds  (34-35) 6 13 0
  Pittsburgh Pirates  (34-36) 5 13 2
 W: Ondrusek (2-2)     L: Grilli (0-2)     S: Chapman (12)
 Fangraphs Win Probability |   The Worldwide Leader’s Box Score    |   MLB Game  Videos

Positives

Todd Frazier, we aren’t worthy.

Joey Votto drove in three runs with a pair of singles, making it seven RBI in his seven games since returning from the DL. He’s hit .348/.423/.478 in June before tonight.

Billy Hamilton was on base four times, with a double, two bunt singles and a walk. He scored two runs.

Ryan Ludwick had two hits and knocked in a run. The left fielder’s hitting line is now .277/.339/.428. Sometimes a little job insecurity can be wonderful motivation. Accountability über alles.

Johnny Cueto struggled with his command in every inning but the first. Cueto threw 69 pitches in the first three innings against the battling Pirates. He walked four batters and only struck out two in six innings. But in the end, Cueto only gave up two runs, stranding seven Pirates.

The Reds made several outstanding defensive plays. In the third inning, Brayan Peña took a throw from the outfield that was off the plate and lunged about ten feet to nip the elusive Andrew McCutchen. In the sixth inning, Zack Cozart and Todd Frazier teamed up on a heads-up play to get Josh Harrison at third base on a ground ball to short. Chris Heisey’s (gulp) catch to end the game wasn’t bad, either.

Before tonight, Aroldis Chapman had struck out an absurd 55.4 percent of the batters he has faced. He struck out two more tonight.

The Reds are within one game of .500 for the first time since they were 15-16. This victory gives them five in the last six games, dating back to the final two games of the Dodgers series.

Negatives

[Let the record show it was extra-difficult to adhere to the site’s guidelines concerning profanity in writing this section.]

Sam was once again LeProblem in the seventh inning, giving up three hits, a walk two runs and left the game with two runners on base. After Manny Parra retired the one batter he was allowed to face, Logan Ondrusek gave up a game-tying single to the first batter he faced. Sigh.

The Reds will continue to struggle in the seventh inning with this roster as long as Bryan Price is locked into the blinders of fixed roles. Bryan Price uses every mix-match-whatever combination of unreliable pitchers in crucial games because it’s their role. Their stupid role. As soon as LeCure got into trouble (two on base) you send Aroldis Chapman in to face the middle of the Pirates line-up, snuff out the rally, let Chapman pitch the eighth and Jonathan Broxton the ninth.

Amazingly, Ondrusek was left in to pitch the eighth inning – against the top of the Pirates line-up. He walked a hitter, of course, because that’s become his signature move and gave up a hit before pitching out of trouble. Just because it worked (barely) doesn’t mean there is a good reason why Broxton shouldn’t have pitched then.

The bullpen situation is not primarily Bryan Price’s fault. The Reds’ pen has been short on talent all year long and the general manager has provided no, uh, relief for the situation either externally or through promotion. Price only has the arms available that are on the roster. But he does have the option of using Aroldis Chapman more, as he said he would when he was hired. The Reds could be *two games* closer to Milwaukee right now if he’d managed the seventh inning differently on Saturday.

If Walt Jocketty and Bryan Price think they can catch the St. Louis Cardinals with Logan Ondrusek pitching high-leverage innings, they are delusional. They have got to get together and talk this over and come up with a better solution, one way or another.

Not so random thoughts

One positive outcome of tonight’s box score is this. Assigning the “win” to Logan Ondrusek may be enough to cause Major League Baseball to abandon the win-loss stat for pitchers.

As further evidence of how unusual a night it was for Johnny Cueto, it was his first start since May 11, 2008 — the eighth start of his rookie season — where he allowed two stolen bases. That’s 166 games in-between.

Brandon Phillips extended his streak of at bats without a K to 46 before he struck out in the seventh inning.

Ruh-roh. Jay Bruce was lifted in the ninth inning for Roger Bernadina. Hope that was just a precautionary move. Not sure which would be more disturbing, that he has a slight injury or that this was a defensive replacement.

130 thoughts on “Gulp. We’ll take it.

  1. I had a soft spot for Dusty, but as a rational Reds fan, I knew that the way he thought about the game in fixed roles was not the way to maximize the potential of our roster. I had hoped Price would be different in his bullpen management, but it seems I’m wrong. Happy with the win, but seeing Ondrusek pitch in a situation where Chapman or Broxton are needed is causing me to lose some hair.

    • I so much want to disagree with you, and tell you are an idiot and that Dusty would have mismanaged this team to oblivion. But I cannot find the justification outside of wondering if Broxton is injured. I do not get it, outside of managing with 2 decent relievers (despite the fact they are exceptional); I would like to think that a 5-2 lead would be pretty much a given with Chapman and Broxton in the 7th- this game was totally on the Pirates for not getting the lead without even facing them by the 9th.Thanks Buccos

      • If the Bozo crew is going to give up three runs, does it really matter when they do it? They look capable to me of giving up any time to any part of the opposing order.

        I’m not against breaking the mold to try and get a better result but the truth is the team is short at least 2 arms, most notably represented by the fact that S. Marshall is but a shell of himself and Sam sadly looks to be going down the same road.

      • I agree completely about the frustration of watching Ondru, Parra and the (evidently)injured or tired Lecure pitch to opponents who could steal the game from the Reds. A problem I see is this: Broxton and Chapman have been outstanding, but they can’t be used in every mid-to-high leverage situation if we expect them to be effective throughout the season. The debate about when to use them would be more substantive if there were enough good bullpen arms to cover 3 or 4 innings per game. There aren’t.

        • Friday there was talk of bringing in Chapman in the 7th and I disagreed with that- I think there is more of a chance seeing him in the 7th as a starter than as a reliever; but Broxton should have been used in the 7th with the lead- given he and Chapman had not pitched since Friday.
          But it is amazing how bad the entire combo has been over the past 2 weeks with the lead and the Reds still have been winning despite them. If I recall since Chapman has been back- Saturday was the only game the Reds lost when a starter exited with a lead. Somebody is managing these wins!!!

      • I thought the same thing about Broxton. I can’t figure out why he wasn’t used last night, UNLESS there is some kind of problem…and if there is, ruh-roh….

    • 32 hits over the past 2 games, I want to be mad about something- either complain that they are losing or that just wasted the hits- but given Sundays game was questionable until the 8th- most mattered- all this team needs to make me believe is a game like 2012 when the REds were down big against the AZ D’Backs in mid June

    • Looking at seasons stats now is much more encouraging than it was a week ago! With the exception of Cozart (and the not-every-day Pena (.284 OBP)), every other hitter is actually meeting or exceeding my expectations of them for the season. Ludwick’s recent hot streak has him inching near an .800 OPS (more like .770 now, I think). That is phenomenal for a guy who has been sapped of nearly all his power, seemingly!

      A note about Cozart: among players with 200 PAs or more (Cozart at 247), he’s got the 3rd (tied) lowest wRC+ in the majors at 54. There are five starting PITCHERS with higher wRC+ (Wood, Bumgarner, Wainwright, Cain, Greinke). Granted, the pitchers have nowhere near 200 PAs.

      I love his defense and don’t mind him batting 8th so much, but man, it’s amazing to think what this team could be like if Cozart wasn’t such a liability at the plate.

    • I mentioned the play at the plate. The noteworthy part was Peña’s role. He made an exceptional play taking a throw that was well off target and made a tough tag on an elusive runner. I don’t find anything exceptional about a centerfielder throwing the ball to home plate on a shallow ball with plenty of momentum. It wasn’t even an accurate throw. If you think Hamilton’s role in that play was the key, then we just disagree. I provided the link, so people can look at it.

      • The throw wasn’t that bad. It was up the line, and surely not 10 feet.

        Hamilton’s throw was impressive, I think, given the runner. Pena made a great throw on the back-end. It’s kind of like an off-balance throw across the infield that the first baseman digs out. Both deserve a little credit…

        • I didn’t say the throw was off by ten feet, I said Pena had to lunge ten feet, which is accurate. When I think of great throws, the catcher doesn’t have to move. That was a throw from shallow center field. I thought it was kind of inaccurate given how short it was. It wasn’t that close to home. I just thought Pena’s part of the play – the tag – was the really exceptional part worth mentioning.

      • Let’s lay it on then …

        When the score was 5-4 in the 7th, Harrison gets the single to center and Hamilton (who has no chance to throw the runner out at home), threw home anyway. Harrison was able to get to second as a result (Martin was gonna make it to third anyway).

        Had Mercer singled and two runs scored; I’d be willing to wager someone would have mentioned it somewhere!

      • Two tremendous throws last night occurred in games that didn’t include the Reds and neither even resulted in outs. Puig made a throw to 3B that was a beauty, as did Cespedes. Both throws were on target and had a lot on them. Hamilton’s throw wasn’t so good but it got the job done. His arm doesn’t impress me but he gets rid of the ball quickly, probably because he honed his release as a SS. I think his arm will be good enough out there. He needed to hit the cutoff man on his other throw to the plate though because he had no chance and the runners advanced on that play.

        • ARM ranking by FanGraphs has him ranked #5 among MLB CFers. Hopefully that will be good enough but I will expect him to be #1 or 2, by the end of the year. His PO by innings is off the charts, by the way.

        • Yet, the recap looks like Votto was the star of the game Really amazing.. Hamilton and Frazier are everything I´d like too see in this Reds team.and it’s call GUTS.

        • @CINVENFAN – Not sure what you’re seeing in the recap that makes Joey look like the only hero. Steve was pretty good about saying Hamilton reached base 4 times and had a double, and scored twice. The only thing he added about Votto’s contributions was that Votto seemed to be hitting pretty well in June.

        • I’ll never understand the people who feel the need to critique the actual recap write-up of the game. Happens almost every game.

    • This is too funny, from an outside observer (debate-wise)- both of you have great points on such a minor microcasm from a day in the life in a season- its almost like science vs. faith- nobody is necessary wrong…somehow a skinny kid from Mississippi became such a polarizing figure a what it takes to win ballgames

      • It’s crazy that Hamilton has become such a polarizing figure. I’m just going to continue to enjoy watching him play and develop. He’s a good CFer, his hitting continues to improve, he’s electrifying on the bases (yes he needs to cut down on the dumb mistakes). His first inning chopper over Alvarez’ head was exactly what he needs to do move the corner IFers back.

        Most importantly, he’s been contributing more often to wins of late and less often to losses.

        • Agree. I think we BH fans may be misreading Steve’s position. Seems to me that he is just counselling caution, restraint of irrational exuberance, etc., and the point is well-taken. BH is a work in progress and still makes mistakes but, as you say, he’s improving and fun to watch and doing better, so far, than most of us would have anticipated.

        • I’m not sure how polarizing he is to anyone except Steve. Just take a look at Jason’s article from earlier this week. And, that’s totally cool. We all have blind spots regarding certain players. Steve is an exceptionally smart guy and a darn good writer. I’ve learned a ton about the game from him. For whatever reason, he doesn’t like Billy.

          I’m pretty much the same way with Steve’s favorite player. I don’t like Homer. Even when he does well, I’ll find something to nitpick about that he could do better. We’re human.

        • Hammy has the ATTITUDE this team needs to battle and win. Frazier, Mes, These guys are the leaders in how they hustle and play. I do believe its infectious as the big three seem to be coming to life. I freaking love to watch the Hammy play! That play at the plate was a very good play by BOTH players!

        • See, I don’t want to speak for Steve but I’ve never read anything from him that suggests he doesn’t like Hamilton. He’s mentioned he doesn’t like him leading off and that right now, his OBP is sub-par. I don’t recall him ever saying that Hamilton was lousy or that he wouldn’t make it. Look, Steve and I disagree on a lot of stuff but he’s usually pretty clear about his positions. I think some folks are reading more into Steve’s comments than are really there.

          Also, I’m not a mod but lets get the focus back on the players/game/team and not so much on particular people’s perceptions about certain players. Can we try to do that please? Sometimes I’m guilty of doing it to, and I’m sorry for that.

      • Polarizing might be a strong word, but look at how many people are posting. I see a lot of comments of firing Jockety because he went all in with an unproven rookie and enough sound post that Billy should not bat lead-off. I do not know what you call it but it seemed so funny that there was an actual debate of who should get credit for an out at home, Billy is on a hot streak- lets see what happens when he slumps like Mesoraco

  2. As for Ondrusek, the good news is that he pitched his way out of trouble in the 8th, the bad news is that he pitched his way out of trouble in the 8th, which means he has earned extended time to “get going”

  3. Grady Sizemore is available again. Guessing the call to put him in center has died down, but there’s a better than zero chance he can pitch a decent seventh.

      • Doubt it, but I suspect he gives up less homers than Hoover and blows less leads than Ondrusek- & he might get on base more than all the other useless bench that Bernadina outperforms (calling out Shumaker, Heisey, Santiago and all the other guys tearing it up at AAA)

        • You’re seriously saying Bernadina outperforms Heisey? Might wanna check the article on Heisey on this site.

          Now about Sizemore, sign him for the minimum, stick him on the bench as the 5th outfielder (behind Bruce, Hamilton, Heisey and Ludwick) and DFA Bernadina. We would at least have another solid bench bat while getting rid of a guy hitting under .200

  4. Going to say the uhoh for Jay was just a double switch situation where he made the last out in the top half of the inning. The way that game was going I guess he was just thinking ahead.

    • Jay is a gold glove caliber RF. There’s no way that was a double switch. Gotta be the knee.

  5. The reason that Logan Ondrusek pitched the 8th innings is because that is the consequence of Bryan Price using three bullpen pitchers to get three outs in the 7th. With the pitchers spot due up 5th in the top of the 9th inning; Price could have rolled the dice and thrown Broxton in the 8th; but if Broxton pitches a clean inning and his spot comes up in the 9th, now Price would only be left with Hoover and Chapman in the pen (Cingrani unavailable).

    Hamilton made the last out of the 8th, and Heisey before him, so a double switch to replace either of those players wasn’t going to happen (seeing as Price already put Heisey in the 9th spot on the first double switch).

    Price rolled the dice on Ondrusek to spare the bull-pen if this game went late innings. Ultimately, its the right decision; but only because he locked himself into it.

    • It’s never the right decision using Ondrusek period !!! – and especially for that long – although I will agree that it was indeed a result of the incredibly confounding and bizarre decisions that Price made earlier with this bullpen – just inexcusable how he continues to mismanage this mostly horrible bullpen on an almost daily basis

    • Very sound reasoning outside of the fact Broxton should have been the choice over Ondrusek, maybe even Lecure

    • If you’re going to take out Parra with 2 out in the 7th, put in Broxton for 4 outs. He hasn’t pitched for days. I thought maybe Broxton was unavailable due to his elbow acting up, which scared me. Price’s reason for taking out Parra is that Harrision has been raking against LHed pitchers, but actually he’s been hitting just as well against righties.

  6. LuCroy kills the Reds even when the Crew is playing someone else. He just hit a grand slam against the Dbacks. Milwaukee ain’t going anywhere folks.

    • Yep, they can hit, that’s for sure. If their SP stays healthy and their bullpen doesn’t collapse, they’ll be in it until the end.

        • I can easily see them making a deal with the Cubs for one of their starting pitchers like Hammel. They’ll be pulling out all the stops this year.

        • And throw Braun back into the mix, with the continued development of Gomez and Lucroy as hitters, and MAN can they hit.

          Although, last year Jean Segura was quite the hitter, and he’s almost Cozart bad so far this year.

          The addition of Garza was huge, I think.

  7. I would go get Sizemore and DFA Bernadina. If no on Sizemore then, call up Felix Perez. Also, our 7th inning BP guys are struggling badly in Hoover, Parra and LeCure. Those 3 are very key to our BP’s success. I love the way our offense is playing right now. Ludwick and Schumaker in LF is fine for now. Keep rolling along. Get back to .500 and then take off as Heisey said tonight. Jumbo Diaz needs to get a chance as well, he is nothing left to prove in AAA.

    • Parra has actually pitched well in June, other than a couple of bloop hits and a seeing eye single at bad times.

    • Sizemore would be an upgrade over Bernadina, so why not. It will be interesting to see what WJ does. He thought Sizemore had agreed to come to the Reds, was clearly taken aback by what he thought was backing out of a handshake. Whatever personal feelings he has should be put in the past, consider it a misunderstanding.

      • Struggling Boston dfa’d Sizemore for a reason, though. Not certain he’d be an upgrade, though being an upgrade wouldn’t take very much.

    • He’s DFAed so Boston is going to try to trade him before the window closes. This means the Reds would probably have to give something up to get him. Do the Reds really want to do that?

  8. They won. Lets not forget that…..But it should never have been close.
    I wonder if Price has a weakness for his pitchers. Confidence is important to a pitcher and you can only show confidence in them by pitching them. To win this division or to get a wild card the Reds will need a full bullpen of guys that can shut guys down. Its time to fish or cut bait

      • Stop it, this is not about Ondrusek, this is about the perception Ondruek is your 3rd best option at this point. Bad decision, but do you really go with Lecure ever at this point, a reliever who failed as a starter (My vote); tough call…if Broxton/Chapman are not options night in/night out

  9. Reds lost a few of these wacky games early, so it’s good to see an evening out.

    First time in a few years the bullpen looks this thin and weak. LeCure had some good games, but he has joined Hoover and Ondrusek in the struggling department. Injuries have also kind of wacked the depth the Reds had going into spring training for bullpen arms. I’d say it’s going to be a hard decision to bite the bullet and possibly move Cingrani into that role in the pen, as I would imagine the Reds would like to keep him still stretched out as a starter.

  10. Price’s explanations for the strange moves tonight.

    On leaving Ondrusek in the eighth inning: With the score tied, he wanted to save Broxton to pitch the ninth inning. I guess he was worried about a long game.

    On replacing Bruce: It was a double switch so that Chapman could pitch a second inning without batting. [This one seems really crazy. First, it assumes Chapman gives up a run, and not two, and the odds of that are fairly low. You have to take your best right fielder out. And if the game gets tied, you’ve lost Bruce’s bat in the lineup. All so that Chapman can pitch a second inning and not bat. Let Chapman bat, for goodness sakes, if all that bad stuff happens. If Price was willing to use Chapman for two innings, why not when the Reds still had the lead?]

    • Yeah, if you are switching somebody and may need a bat, why not use Mes? Oh, yeah: emergency catcher.

    • Further proof that Bryan Price seems to be in over – makes constant head- scratching strategic decisions almost each and every game -

    • “Price was worried about a long game”: that is, Price was worried, and justifiably so, about using Hoover. I have complained about bringing in Ondrusek for Parra in the 7th. Leave in Parra or bring in Broxton for 4 outs. But once the 8th inning started with the score tied and Ondrusek in the game, I agree with all of the moves, because they were all about staying away from Hoover with extra innings looming.
      Ondrusek in the 8th, Broxton if still tied in the 9th, etc.

      The preference for Ondrusek over “no confidence” Hoover right now is obvious. I’ve wanted to get rid of Ondrusek for years, but let’s give him some credit. He gets into trouble in the 8th, then strikes out McCutcheon on 3 pitches and strikes out Davis. At least he gives himself a chance to succeed.

      I don’t have a problem with taking Bruce out so Chapman can pitch the 10th if he gives up a run. Price used Chapman in the 10th after he blew a 1 run save against the Nats. I liked that, helped the Reds win in 15.

    • If that was Price’s explanation, it’s further proof that he ought NOT to be managing in the big leagues. far fetched stuff. can’t believe he would take out Bruce for that reasoning.

      I have lost most of the faith in Price at this point. Lost faith on Ondrusek long long time ago.

  11. I was ‘watching’ the game via Gamecast and listened to the last three innings in the car, but here are a couple of things observed during that limited exposure:

    1. Clint Barmes is annoying. He always scares the heck out of me and showed why tonight. I was worried when he came to the plate and it was really, really close to happening again. I know I misspelled his name, but that was on purpose.His name even annoys me.

    2. I wear a gun at my night job. Note to self: Be careful when the bullpen takes over. Be very, very careful.

    3. Joey swung at a 3-0 pitch and according to Marty, it took Marte’s speed to get to it. JV wants to hit the ball.

    4. Me like Bruce bunting. Cowboy made it sound like it missed by an eyelash. That’s how you screw up the shift, people.

    5. These clubs are very evenly matched and are very fun to watch play each other. It also is apparent we have the same kryptonite surrounding our bullpens.

    6. I know he is struggling (hence why available) but I would exchange a healthy Sizemore for 2 healthy Bernadinas. Maybe 3. OK: 4.

    7. Can Jumbo really be any worse?

    8. I know the Win stat is WAY overblown, but Simon is going for his 10th tomorrow. The first 10 game winner in the league. C’mon, that’s exceptional for a fill-in.

    • Barmes had me worried too in the 9th. I kept thinking of a game (turns out it was in June 2012) where the Pirates beat Chapman in the 10th with two long doubles, the first one by Barmes off the OF wall (and the second by McKenry.

    • The Cowboy has also correctly commented that if Bruce is gong to bunt to beat the shift, he should practice it more.

  12. Here is C. Trent Rosecrans’ story from interviewing Price after tonight’s game. Lots of interesting stuff, including Price saying Parra didn’t pitch to Harrison because Harrison had been hitting lefties. But his OPS split was much higher for RHP than LHP. Price may have been looking at AVG, which Harrison had a slight split better against LHP. That would be the second time in a few days that Price would have used AVG instead of OBP or OPS or some other measure of offense.

  13. “Sometimes a little job insecurity can be wonderful motivation”

    Watching Ludwick for 3 years, he’s always seemed sufficiently motivated to me.

    • Me too. His swing is looking much better, and the warmer weather is predictably helping him. But I won’t feel he’s back until I’ve seen a few upper deck home runs.

    • I am a well-known Ludwick Skeptic, but he does seem to play better in hot weather, and looks pretty good with a bat right now.

  14. Reds win so once again I’ll hold my criticism off on Price until he causes us a loss. I wonder though just how much of the defined roles is actually his call. Price is a first year manager and this is Jocketty’s team. I would suspect that given Jocketty’s attitude towards in season trades and promotions, handling of the DL that Jocketty also is leveraging a high amount of input on the defined roles that he expects the players to be put in.
    How much of Chapman staying a relief pitcher or being an exclusive 9th inning wonder boy is actually the manager’s call? Same with Broxton… there could be some logical reasons as to why we didn’t see Broxton and some of those include Jocketty making a call down to Price to tell him to put in such and such a player.
    You don’t think a GM does that sort of thing? I do! When George Steinbrenner was owner of the Yankees he would do it from time to time, how much more so would a GM exercise his authority when he feels like it is necessary in the maturation process of a newbie manager.

    I think it is important to keep it in perspective that Price is our manager because we didn’t want to lose his skill with the pitchers. I am pretty sure that is the only reason. I would go as far as to say that he still functions primarily as a pitching coach as well. The pitchers love him and he has clearly made a positive change in just about all of our pitchers. I’m not sure how long that will carry him but I don’t see any chance of the Reds firing Price for at least 2 years.

    • I didn’t know Steinbrenner and don’t know Jocketty, but seriously doubt that Jocketty’s behavior can be predicted by Steinbrenner’s . Steinbrenner was a piece of work.

  15. On another note. Looking at the rookies playing this year I would have to give the nod to Hamilton for rookie of the year. I think as things stand right now that Hale of Atlanta would be the only one to really give him any competition for the award. Go Billy! Give us a ROY this year and just maybe Winker can bring it on home for 2015 when he starts LF for us. :)

    • George Springer in Houston, if he continues having a good season, will probably be my AL vote. Billy in the NL if he ends the season hitting .265+ and has an OBP of .310+. That, to me, will mean he’s got somewhere near 80 stolen bases.

      • Lotta tough competition in the AL with Tanaka, and Jose Abreu having outstanding seasons. Its basically the opposite of last year when the NL had all the strong ROY candidates and Wil Myers won in the AL

        • I completely forgot about Abreu. Yeah… it’ll be tough for him not to win it. And Tanaka.

          I guess I was thinking of young guys and since those guys aren’t professional rookies, just MLB rookies, I discounted them!

          Excellent call! Springer probably finishes 3rd.

  16. ‘Assigning the “win” to Logan Ondrusek may be enough to cause Major League Baseball to abandon the win-loss stat for pitchers.”

    Only slightly more crazy than assigning a ‘hold’ to LeCure. What exactly did he ‘hold’? He pitches the Pirates right back into the game.

    • Holds are actually the most useless stat by far. They are assigned by the official scorer. Some team’s official scoreres don’t like the stat, and thus, don’t assign it.

      It’s completely arbitrary and worthless! :) A win, at least, means that (99x of 100) you didn’t give up 10 runs in 4IP (cought, Scherzer, cough). ;)

  17. It’s worth mentioning that Billy Hamilton stole 3 bases. On one of them, he went from 1st to 3rd on a throwing error by Martin. Havoc !!!

    • Exciting to watch that is for sure. For me watching a guy tear up the base paths is more exciting than watching a slugger pop it over the fence.

  18. If Walt Jocketty and Bryan Price think they can catch the St. Louis Cardinals with Logan Ondrusek pitching high-leverage innings, they are delusional. They have got to get together and talk this over and come up with a better solution, one way or another.

    Boy Howdy! Twitter blew up in the 7th inning echoing the same sentiment. Their ERA in the 7th is 5-something. It also crossed my feeble mind last night that Billy Hamilton has the look of an emerging “star”. He’s getting better every game. Fun to watch.

  19. I just re-watched Hamilton’s throw to get McCutcheon. I can’t fathom how anyone could complain about that throw. Sure, it was up the line a bit, but his footwork was perfect, the throw was strong, it was accurate enough to allow Pena to make a very good tag, and it came against one of the fastest and most athletic players in baseball, so Hamilton had to rush just to have a chance. (In Strat-O-Matic terms, McCutcheon was 1-17 to score.)

    • I didn’t complain about the throw in the OP. In praising Pena’s play, I described it as “off the plate” which I don’t think is inaccurate. Remember, this throw was made from very shallow CF and Hamilton had momentum behind it.

    • I think that Steve’s observation about the throw is accurate: it was up the line, but strong enough to allow Pena to make a very good play on a fast and skilled runner. I’m often surprised by the inaccuracy of outfield throws, even throws by good outfielders, but I shouldn’t be–a very slight mistake on a hurried throw gets magnified 300′ later. Jay had an off-line throw recently, and I would not doubt his credentials.

    • Not quite. You’re looking at Fangraphs; he has a 3.0 Offensive War score (which means +3 runs). That would only amount to a ~0.4 WAR.

      Sadly, only five Cincinnati Reds position players have positive offensive WAR scores. Frazier / Votto / Mesoraco / Hamilton / Ludwick. Double as sadly, Zack Cozart is 4th worst in all of baseball on the offensive side (-12.1 WAR score). That equates to roughly a -2.0 oWAR score.

      But WAR is not a stat to put much stock into …

      • Thanks for the clarification. IMO, WAR in BH’s case doesn’t capture his value. I quote it because many others seem to treat it like a Bible verse.

    • That 3.0 number at FanGraphs (while positive and good) isn’t oWAR. It’s an offensive *run* factor that goes into their overall WAR score, which is 2.2. Obviously, he can’t have a 3.0 oWAR and a 10.4 dWAR and have that add up to a 2.2 WAR total. For example, that offensive number for Todd Frazier is 15.7 and 7.0 for Devin Mesoraco and their WAR values are considerably less than those offensive numbers. Hamilton’s overall WAR is 2.2 at FanGraphs and 1.2 at Baseball Reference.

      • Looks like BHam’s WAR is at 2.2 at FanGraphs this morning. Thanks for the clarification. on oWAR.

      • So I did some pocking around and came up with a few interesting observations. If we use FG’s Offensive measure (Off) as a stand in for “offensive productivity” and forget about defense, and then normalize it based on PAs, we have the following rank for Reds’ players offensive contribution per plate appearance:

        Frazier
        Mesoraco
        Votto
        Hamilton
        Ludwick
        Phillips
        Bruce
        Heisey
        Pena
        Cozart
        Santiago
        Schumaker
        Bernadina
        Lutz
        Bailey
        Leake
        Barnhart
        Cingrani
        Soto
        Cueto
        Simon

        Most interesting to me is how bad Soto is (not really a surprise, though) and how Santiago has been better offensively than Schumaker and Bernadina, who both would be PH opportunities above Santiago.

        Also, of note: everyone past Ludwick on the list is actually negative. They destroy runs every PA, rather than create them thus far.

  20. So, Billy has a great game yet his throw is bad mouthed. The guy for a rookie has been good and he is a good lead off hitter. Also his batting average is only two points below the great votto.

  21. Just a question here on the useage of the bullpen. It was suggested that Price should have brought in Chapman to put the fire out in the 7th and then have him pitch the 8th and Broxton the 9th. Okay sounds good, but how often across major league baseball do you see managers do that? Look at the top closers in baseball right now, how many have ever come in and pitched in the set up that is suggested with the set up man then pitcing the 9th.

    Now I don’t admit to following other teams that closely, but I doubt this “plan” is used very often. Like it or not, in sports, not just baseball, teams have set defined roles. People “in the game” who look at and know more about the games then just the numbers they see on the page seem to want to follow that system. I think it’s hard to blame Price for not doing it when most managers is sports use that system.

    • It’s certainly out of the box thinking … but the problem is that Chapman has a routine every game, and it likely doesn’t start early enough where he’s ready by the 7th inning.

      If pitchers could simply be put in the game without warming up or any kind of preparation; great; throw Chapman in that 7th. But the problem is that in order to throw Chapman that early, you have to get Chapman up that early. When do you do that? When LeCure gave up one base runner, when he gave up two? What happens if you warm Chapman up to come in for the 7th, and LeCure gets a DP ball from Martin? Now you’ve started up Aroldis, and have to sit him back down for another 30-45 minutes.

      It’s a novel idea; but it’s simply not do-able outside of a special circumstance kind of game (playoff game, elimination game etc.).

      • There must be reasons why other teams don’t use their closers in such a fashion. I would imagine also that since we are at the beginning of a series and not the last game with a day or two off that also plays into the equation. I think using Chapman for 2 innings at a time is a good idea, however, it will come at the cost of him being less available to close out other games. So to start with Chapman pitching 2 innings in a single session my guess would be that they will start him off doing that when he the entire team has 1 or 2 days off after that game.

      • Yes, that’s the problem I’d have with it to. When to get Chapman up. As a closer, he’s expecting to be brought in at certain times and has a certain routine. Now, if told in advance that he’s going to be used in other situations, of course his routine would probably change. That said and even if that’s the case, do you warm him up in the 7th, then if you don’t need him go ahead and use him in the 8th? I like the idea in theory to use him earlier in high-leverage situations, but there may be some more human issues involved in using him in that way. In a playoff game, I most likely would have played it like I describe above. Get him up at the first sign of trouble in the 7th, use him in the 7th if needed, and if not, have him work the 8th and perhaps even the 9th.

  22. Anyone compared the offensive lines for Hamilton and Choo? When factoring in salary, not so sure the Reds took the hit in CF that everyone predicted on this site.

    • Choo has an OPS of .769: Hamilton .704. Against RHs, Choo’s OPS is .754 and Hamilton’s is .767. I believed before the year that Hamilton would be better than Choo by 2016, and he will be about $50 million cheaper in the meantime. Young players are better than old players, and Choo is 8+ years older.

      Meanwhile, Grady Sizemore is apparently done. He was hot for about two weeks t start the season, but the scouts figured him out and he’s been fading fast. He may be better than Bernadina, but that isn’t saying much. It would probably be worth it to play him in Louisville for about 6 weeks to see if regular playing time would help, but it is pretty hard to have that long of a layoff and be productive.

      • I’m not a big fan of OPS to evaluate lead-off hitters.

        Choo’s OBP is .385, Hamilton’s is .311.

        Obviously, at this point Hamilton’s value per dollar is WAY more than Choo’s, but Choo is still a better leadoff hitter, even with a .249 BA right now.

        And Choo has hit .102 in June, so this comparison comes at a time when Choo is mired in a pretty bad slump.

        Definitely not badmouthing Billy, here. But he’s not the hitter (yet) that Choo is. For the money, give me Billy all day and twice on Sunday.

  23. This thread is why I love Redleg Nation so much. Kudos to Steve and all the commenters. I love thinking baseball the morning after a Reds win!

  24. This is the most logical reasoning as to why Chapman was not used in the 7th. It takes Chapman awhile to stretch and prepare to pitch. He can not just pick up the ball and go in.

  25. Billy Hamilton gets 3 hits, 4 times on base. scores 3 runs (yeah I know, a terrible *leadoff*), guns down a runner at the plate and steals 3 bases and yet, Votto gets the standing ovation. by Mr. Mancuso. I know it’s hard to acknowledge when you are wrong. I get it. Especially after spending every single day finding a new way to put down the kid. Paraphrasing him: Billy, we are not worthy.

  26. I understand there is a difference between AAA and the majors and if this was say early april I would say wait and see with Logan and Hoover, but it’s not. So why is Jose “Jumbo” Diazwho has a 1.54 ERA at Triple-A Louisville. He’s allowed 17 hits, walked six and struck out 20 in 23 1/3 innings. Diaz, the 30-year-old right-hander, throws up to 98 mph, and was impressive at Louisville last year when he went 3-4 with a 1.66 ERA.

    I mean come on there is no reason the Reds don’t send Tony down to AAA to work on things and call Jumbo up.

  27. I’ve never paid as much attention to pitch counts as this season! I’m praying every night our starter can get through seven. That reminds me . . . LeCure gets a “H” for giving up three runs in a third-of-an-inning? H for hinderance? The whole system on deserving wins, etc. is a mess. Ondrusek gets a W and a blown save? Scorers make subjective decisions nightly on hits and errors (and we love to argue about it). Let’s do the same with pitchers. Cueto should have gotten the win because he pitched effectively, left with a three run lead, no one that followed in the 7th and 8th was effective (Parra noted). Anyway, Reds are playing superb defense and stating to hit with men on base. Optimism is a alive and well again!

  28. Had a great time at the game last night. While I squirmed in my chair the last few innings, I loved the resiliency shown by the Reds, but really baffled by some of Price’s decisions. They are just hard to rationalize sometimes. Great team effort last night, good to see Joey hitting , and BHam continuing to play well. He is a rookie pressured with high expectations, it is fun to watch him and IMO doing a good job. And of course I saved the best for last, Todd Frazier, wow, love this guys passion and enthusiasm for the game. His hard work is really paying off. Also like his attitude and humility when interviewed. Hopefully they can keep the winning streak going! Go Reds!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s