Titanic Struggle Recap

Two, Three… Two, Three, Four, Five

Final R H E
  Cincinnati Reds  (38-38) 4 7 0
  Chicago Cubs  (32-43) 1 6
 W: M. Latos (1-0)      L: E. Jackson (5-8)
 Fangraphs Win Probability |   The Worldwide Leader’s Box Score    |   Game Photos

Positives

For, I believe the first time all season, the Reds clustered their four best hitters together. The result? Their 2-5 hitters (Todd Frazier, Joey Votto, Devin Mesoraco, and Jay Bruce) combined to go 5 for 13 with 3 walks, 4 runs scored and 3 RBI. That will get it done, folks. Skip Schumaker also broke out the heavy grit sandpaper to go 2 for 3 with a big ol’ rib eye steak.

Mat Latos got his first win of the year on seven innings of one run ball. His velocity was down, but you cant’ argue with results and he’s been good since coming back.

Broxton and Chapman did what they do.

Negatives

Nada.

Not so random thoughts

As mentioned above, Latos’ velocity was not where it normally is. The best I saw was 91, but I missed a few innings doing bedtime with the kids. In any case, here’s hoping it’s nothing serious.

The Reds are once again over .500. They are now six games over .500 since their loss on June 10 (Joey Votto’s first game back). That’a a 9-3 stretch against mostly good teams. Interestingly, the Reds are one game over .500 against teams with a .500 or better record this year. After past complaints about them not beating good teams, that’s worth a little praise.

Speaking of playing good teams, heading to San Francisco tomorrow to face a very good Giants team. After that, the schedule really eases up. The Reds have had a rough first half with lots of games against good teams. Their second half schedule certainly makes a major run possible, but we’ll have to see.

As I type this, ESPN lists the Reds has having a 30 percent chance of making the playoffs. That ain’t good, but it’s a whole lot better than it looked a few weeks ago. Have hope my friends, have hope.

58 thoughts on “Two, Three… Two, Three, Four, Five

  1. 93 was the fastest, I witnessed, in the game. Believe it was in the 7th inning., Nice start for Mat and great to see too.

    • Reminded me of good Bronson in the 7th, do not think a pitch topped 90 and struck out the final batter with 75 mph curve ball. The way Simon and Latos dominated it makes one a little concerned for Bailey- so hopefully he comes through solid in SF as I was also worried about Leake.

    • According to the play-by-play at mlb.com, he peaked at 93 in the 5th inning and then dropped back into the 80’s. It was good for him to throw 106 pitches and build up arm strength. It was good fortune to be facing the Cubs, they’ve had a winning record in June because of pitching, their lineup is weak.

      Having said that, Latos can flat out pitch. Rizzo could not hit his fastball, even with the diminished velocity.

    • Saw him touch 93 a few times, a lot of 91s and 92s. Also, I saw Broxton hit 95 or 96, and it’s been a while since I’ve seen that

  2. “Speaking of playing good teams, the Reds will try to take this series tomorrow before heading to San Francisco to face a very good Giants team.”

    The Reds are at San Francisco tomorrow.

  3. Correction: The Reds TOOK the series 2-1 and will Begin a new series tomorrow with the same very good San Francisco Giants team you mentioned in your recap.

  4. “Reds will try to take this series tomorrow before heading to San Francisco”. Umm, Bedtime get to you Jason? I believe the Reds took the series, that’s 5-0-1 in the last 6 series!

  5. I would like to think the Reds have paid their dues in the injury department, and will remain healthy for the rest of the season. (fingers crossed) Meanwhile the other teams in our division are just now starting to deal with the injury bug. For example so many Cardinal pitchers are being DL’d they could fill the wing of a hospital. There is a long way to go in the season, and many twists and turns on how things will play out for teams in our division. Its not far fetched at all to think the Reds could be in first place, or at least be in contention to win the division come September. Steady as she goes Redlegs, steady as she goes, maintain course. Go Reds!

  6. Really felt this was a must win kinda game as far as keeping the good vibes. Could not start off the road trip losing a series to the Cubs. Pretty bad game by the offense save one good stretch in the 6th- Cubs sticking with a bad starter too long. To me Shumaker has been a major disappointment but he stepped up today, picking up Heisey after a horrible AB.
    Game felt like it was slipping away, but Latos rebounded after a shaky 4th, so bizarre what happened Friday- makes no sense.
    Need a 6-4 road trip at least, I will take a split with the Giants.

    • I had the same feeling about the importance of this game, I was nervous about it. Early on, Jackson looked sharper than Latos, making me real uncomfortable.

      I like Latos, he knows how to pitch without having his best stuff. But I don’t think he would have fared well against the Jays lineup tonight.

      “Picking up Heisey after a horrible AB” – that has a familiar ring to it.

  7. 39-38. Its time to take off now. Taking 3 of 4 in SF would be a great start. The division might be a long shot, but the wild card is well within reach.

    • A good thing about today’s win is that the Reds only need to split with the Giants to keep this road trip above .500. And 3 of 4 from the Giants feels do-able. I have a growing confidence in this team.

  8. Two more doubles from Jay Bruce. He now a consecutive game extra base hit streak of 6. Would love to see him go on a HR tear in SF.

    • I hope Jay has figured out right field in AT&T Park. I recall a year or two ago watching one of the worst plays of his stellar defensive career as he badly misjudged the warning track.

  9. Why does Heisey start? I don’t get it. He does nothing. He’s barely above the Mendoza line. Ludwick was playing well the last two weeks, and suddenly Price is back to platooning him. I understand using Schumaker in left against a RHP, but I do not understand playing Heisey over Ludwick. I know Ludwick had a tight back last week, but why wouldn’t Ludwick start tonight?

    • I would guess that Price felt that Ludwick looked a little tired at the plate on Tuesday night. And he has to give everyone a start now and then. But I understand your frustration, Heisey has been painful to watch. His main value is as a defensive replacement.

      • Heisey is one of the most divisive players on the team. People either love him or hate him.

        I fear that he’s a bellwether for the season. Whenever people are talking about “freeing” Chris Heisey, it always seems that we’re struggling. (Remember 2011?) Not really relevant here, but an observation. Hopefully we’re not destined to trend water and eventually submerge like three years ago…

    • Prior to last night’s start in LF, he had 20 AB’s in June. Think about that. Once in a while, you gotta give guys a spot start or two. I have no problem with Heisey starting last night. Trust me, barring injury you probalby won’t see him much in SF

    • He did start the 9th inning rally with a 2 out hit just 2 games ago. After a hot 2 week stretch Ludwick is retreating back to his norm. I expect the 3 headed left field monster to continue…with Luddy still getting the majority of the time.

  10. I look at the schedule and the Reds need to do like the rest of the division and beat up hard on the East clubs in the next swing and hope St. Louis stumbles against the West.

  11. The suicide squeeze. I love it, but only with a very good bunter. If the pitch is a ball, the batter has to at least bunt it foul. Good job Skip, he said it was his first ever at any level.

  12. A softer schedule coming up + Latos and Bruce getting stronger = Reds about to go on a tear. I can see them easily going something like 25-10 over a stretch of games.

    Optimism abounds.

  13. Another optimistic positive: the Reds are now in 3rd place.

    Also, after that horrible start in 1-run games, Reds are now 14-15.

  14. Anyone else still concerned with Votto? OPS .799 since returning from DL (.393 SLG).

    Also, his H v A splits this year are reminiscent of a Colorado Rockie split:
    H = 27G , 92AB, 30H, 16XBH, 13 RBI, .326BA, OPS 1.096
    A = 27G, 100AB, 21H, 4XBH, 9 RBI, .210BA, OPS .607

    • I really think Votto needs a day or two off. He’s back to not running well. I mean, he couldn’t score on a double last night with 2 outs! That was embarassing to watch.

      • Perfect throw from OF to cutoff, perfect relay throw, and he was barely out.

        Your post was embarassing to read. Sometimes you get thrown out. It happens.

      • Votto was trying to score from 1B on a marginal double by Bruce and as JDX pointed out, he was barely out on excellent defensive plays by all parties involved. I thought it was an excellent decision to send Votto and I thought Votto had great effort in trying to score. It just didn’t work out. I was much more frustrated with the Mesoraco pickoff.

        • Agree about Devin..catchers should rarely, if EVER, get picked off, they shouldn’t be that far off the bag.

  15. Actually, I am a little concerned about Votto. He seems to have stopped pulling the ball and settled in with warning track power to the opposite field. He doesn’t need to be Mesoraco-ish with his hit distribution but he does seem most effective (and I suspect he would confirm this) when he uses the whole field and not just center and left. Right now he looks like the post-knee Joey who knew he had diminished options and made the best of it. I hope that’s not what’s going on and I hope he gets back to turning on the ball more. He absolutely blistered one (though caught) to left center in his first at bat Tuesday. I’d like to see more of that to ALL fields.

    • BRM’s Votto numbers posted above look fantastic for a #2 hitter. Hopeful lineup that we see, in some form, sooner than later:

      Hamilton – cf
      Votto – 1b
      Frazier – 3b
      Mes – c
      Bruce – rf
      Ludwick – lf
      BP – 2b
      Cozart – ss

      Notes:
      Swapping BP & Ludwick would not be an issue for me.
      Batting after Hamilton would be preferable for Frazier because of the fastballs he would see but it makes little sense to have your #3 hitter with 35.
      For Billy, JV batting after him would be optimal as well.

      Until we actually see Joey’s power return, I’m not taking it as a given. Be nice if Price makes this move soon.

      • Cut off part: “little sense for the #2 to have > 35 HRs and your #3 hitter to have < 20".

      • I can get on board with the Votto in the 2 hole (it seemed to be going well earlier in the season), but in all honesty I am REALLY loving the Frazier, Votto, Bruce, Mesoraco combination in 2-5. I’ll take those 4 batting together in any order.

        As an aside, do you think Price is batting Frazier #2 over Votto purely based on his speed? It seems to be the only logical reason to have the hitter with more power batting in 2nd. Put your 2 fastest guys on the bases in front of your best hitter = runs.

        • I just hope when BP comes back he gets moved to lower in the order. I hope Price is assertive enough to do that. Perhaps this injury is the catalyst needed to make such a change.

  16. There is an article in USA Today Sports saying Arizona Diamondbacks are putting out the “For Sale” sign on players. The article is by a Nick Piecoro. Any relation to FSO’s Jeff Piecoro?
    It might be time to go get Didi Gregorius back. D-backs are looking for SP, OF, and a C. Just what the Reds could spare a little of to get Didi back in the fold.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/diamondbacks/2014/06/25/arizona-diamondbacks-sale-trade-deadline/11361909/

    • Hi-C and B level prospect for Didi back? I’d be all for it. Is that unrealistically cheap?

      • Maybe a more helpful and realistic target is Trumbo. He should be had cheaply considering his current DL stint. A LF/1st baseman with a lot of power. Pena subbing out there is less than ideal.

    • If I’m upgrading the Reds, I’m starting with Heisey and Schumaker. To that end, I’d ask on Parra and/or Prado. Our minor league system is well stocked with high floor players that are easily projectable. To that end, I’d have no problem parting with any pitcher not named Stephenson or Lorenzen.

      • I think Parra or Prado would cost more than you’re thinking but I also can see them both as starters. I am a big fan of Parra in particular. I just like his entire game. He could play in LF for my team anytime.

    • I like the idea of signing Didi, but I’m not willing to overpay. I do not view Didi as an upgrade over Cozart, but a good addition to the major league roster as a frequent utility middle IF substitute and to replace Santiago. I like his LH bat when substituting for Cozart of Phillips. Didi would also provide the necessary backup in case Phillips or Cozart goes down for an extended time.

      I do not want any part of Trumbo…too many SO and not enough plate discipline. I do think Heisey would be an interesting target for the Snakes, but I have no idea if the Snakes would be interested in Heisey. Heisey’s defense in the expansive OF of the NLWD and his offense at home and at Coor’s Field should play very well for the Snakes. The 2-year contract for Schumaker probably makes him untradable unless someone else really likes his ‘grit’.

      • We are of the same mind on Gregorius. But he is 4 1/2 years younger than Cozart too. Gregorius is a good upgrade over Santiago.
        I’ve read where Arizona is having Gregorius practicing and catching fly balls in CF. Taking a page out of the Reds BHam book, moving a SS to CF. But Arizona has a great young CF in AJ Pollack. Not sure what that is all about.

  17. Tough game at the plate for Hamilton, but that happens. Hamilton just looks confident at the plate now. I’m sure glad Bruce was hitting in the #5 hole tonight. That was likely a different ballgame if Bruce was slotted in the #6 hole as originally planned. Seeing the top 5 hitters grouped together in the top of the lineup really looked solid. They don’t all need to produce every game, but as a group, they should regularly produce good results. Last night, all 4 runs scored and 3 of the 4 RBI’s came from that top 5, including the productive walks and hits that contributed to the runs without actually scoring a run or driving in a run.

    • Billy might’ve had 2 HR’s last night had the wind not been blowing in. Both balls were crushed. I’m at Wrigley quite often, and the place is completely bipolar when it comes to being pitcher friendly or hitter friendly on a given day.

      • If the wind had been blowing out, the Reds would possibly have had double digit homers yesterday. A lot of line drives and fly balls were smacked good only to die on the warning track. I was really happy with the 4 runs the Reds plated yesterday considering the conditions. Edwin Jackson is going to get clobbered in Wrigley once the warm weather sets in. I really wish Hamilton would quit hitting so many fly balls and work on a more line drive/ground ball swing.

  18. “I really wish Hamilton would quit hitting so many fly balls and work on a more line drive/ground ball swing”

    Willie Mays Hayes style. Push ups at the plate.

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