Titanic Struggle Recap

Game 85: America Wins, Reds Win

Final R H E
Milwaukee Brewers (51-36)
2 6 1
Cincinnati Reds (44-41)
4 10 1
W: Alfredo Simon (11-3)   L: Kyle Lohse (9-3)   S: Chapman (17)
Box Score | Stats | Depth Chart | FanGraphs Win Probability

This recap comes courtesy of the Conley Bottom Resort at Lake Cumberland in Somerset, Ky. I am immensely pleased to be back in the Commonwealth for the first time this baseball season.

The Good

It was the Alfredo Simon and Billy Hamilton show tonight. Simon went 7.1 innings, surrendering 6 hits and 2 runs along with 2 walks and 3 strikeouts. He got out of a major jam in the 7th inning, before being lifted in the 8th for Jonathon Broxton. Hamilton slipped the surly bonds of earth in the 3rd inning, his 5th HR of the season.

Joey Votto doubled to deep left tonight, to drive in the Reds 4th run of the evening, disproving rumors of his imminent demise. If you are a disciple of GAR (Grit Above Replacement), you know Skip Schumaker had his typical gritty night, getting three hits and making a nice catch in the 8th inning.

The Bad

Jay Bruce went 0-4 tonight, continuing his recent slump.

The Ugly

Nothing.

Not so random thoughts …

Aroldis Chapman came in and does what Aroldis Chapman does in the 9th — get people out. The Reds have owned the division-leading Bernie Brewers this season so far. It’s a beautiful thing. The good guys are now within 6 games of first place.

The Daily Billy: Hamilton also made a beauty of a leaping catch at the wall tonight, robbing Ryan Braun.

And that’s enough for tonight.

Happy 4th of July, Nation.

83 thoughts on “Game 85: America Wins, Reds Win

  1. Happy 4th back at ya. And Happy Independence Day to my fellow members of the Redleg Nation Brigade. Can’t unless you win the first game of the series, and the got that mission accomplished. Lets get em again tomorrow. Go Reds!

  2. Baseball being the great game that it is, just imagine if the Reds managed a series split with the GIants and won 2 of 3 won from the Padres series 2 out of 3, had a 6-4 road trip and you you would be all fired up to be the exact same position as they are now. Being swept by the Padres Creates doubt the team is not a contender so much more than sweeping the Gants, BTW Padres beat the Pads 2-0 tonight

      • This is what happens when you celebrate America;s 2014th, I think we know the only team that can beat the Padres is Padres at this point, I will take losing 5 of 6 to them with a trade of 8 of 10 from the Brew Crew

  3. Cubs throwin’ in the towel by trading Smardjiara and Hammel to the A’s. Have to like a weaker Cubs team coming to GABP later this homestand.

    • Have to say you gotta admire how the A’s are managed despite the post season result, look at the talent- just imagine if their brass has the Reds fortune in talent

    • Unfortunately the Cubs will also be weaker for the other three teams in the division at least two of which the Reds have to get ahead of to make the playoffs. I ‘d say the advantage falls to whichever of the division teams has the most games left with the Cubbicles. And right now is too late and I’m too tired to check that out

      • I’m too tired to check it out also, but in any case the Reds caught a break with this deal happening just days before a 5 game series with the Cubs.

    • To the A’s for Straitly and Prospects …makes me wonder why all the infielders are being acquired by the Cubs…

      • It seems, IMO, that infielders can become outfielders without too much drama. Castro is weak defensively in the infield but his bat says play me everyday. He has a good arm and good speed, sounds like an outfielder to me. Or he is trade bait.

  4. Happy 4th to everybody, btw. My favorite game moment, wasn’t actually on the field, it was on WLW: Marty & Jeff’s extended commercial for New Era’s exclusive 4th of July caps was masterful. Absolutely smooth. No blatant plugging detected whatsoever. Radio GODS.

  5. 1. A lot was said here a couple weeks ago when Marty commented that Bruce’s hitting has gotten worse over the years. I gotta say it’s getting very hard to disagree with him. Jay is a very bad hitter right now. Like Cozart-level bad. And that’s bad. His best year was 4 years ago now and, quite honestly, that year wasn’t that jaw dropping. I don’t understand why he gets so much love from fans while other guys on the team are considered so dispensable.

    2. I understand these are two seperate things, but I think it’s very strange that Votto is willing to play injured but isn’t willing to expand his strike zone. To me, in comparison to anybody else in the lineup, I have more faith in a healthy Votto getting the runner home on a ball slightly outside the zone than anybody else getting the runner home on a ball in the zone. I’m not sure I have more faith in this version of Votto doing anything better than anybody else in the lineup.

    • 1. .300 .351 .540 in June, had a few bad games..relax. Guy has never had a an OPS below .800 since 2009 and he is borderline GG in RF, not the problem when you consider contract?????
      2. Disagree I think, Vottos’s strength is getting on base, he has never been the ideal clutch hitter since 2010…in valuable when healthy

      • Come on, man. I’m looking at Bruce’s whole season not just a few games. You are cherry picking his best month and acting like he’s not hitting .230. I completely agree with the Adam Dunn comparison below. He obviously plays much better defense but as a hitter he gets walks, home runs, and strikeouts just like Dunn. Only Dunn did that better. I don’t think he needs to go now or anything. I just don’t understand praising the new approach he talks about when he is so terrible at said approach.

        I completely agree with your point on Votto. I only ask why does everybody act like his current approach is so much better than his clutch hitting in 2010? I mean, he did win the MVP that year. He still got his walks. He was the “sabremetric” choice that year. Maybe I am looking at it wrong as pointed out below and he just needs to swing more at pitches in the zone but I remember comparing him to Vlad Guerrero in that he could take any pitch and put it in the left field gap. I love OBP just as much as the next guy, but I’d rather see him hitting doubles with a guy on second like he was in 2010 rather than walking and leaving it to the rest of this incredibly inconsistent lineup.

        • Can you point to anyone who has said they prefer Votto walk than hit a double?

        • I think you ignored the rest of the paragraph. As I said, I liked it better when he was “Vlad-ing” a pitch for a double rather than letting it go just to get a walk, as has been promoted many times on this site. I’m not going to waste my time pulling each article saying Votto shouldn’t expand his zone in any situation. Obviously, it’s not exactly a one-or-the-other kind of thing, but why would anyone want to change the approach that won him an MVP.

        • The rest of your paragraph was just as much of a false issue as the last sentence. No one (let alone everyone) “acts like his current approach is so much better than” his 2010 approach. No one. Saying that you wish the Reds had Votto vintage 2010 is about a relevant as saying you wish they had Joe Morgan, 1976. The 2010 vintage of Votto hasn’t been around for four years, including pre-injury 2012. 2010 was an anomaly. Baseball (shifts, fastball velocity, reliever specialization) has changed a lot even since 2010. Hitting is way down across the board. If you’d rather have him swing at pitches outside the strike zone, that’s your opinion. But it’s just sloppy to think that if he did that, he’d be 2010 Votto again. He didn’t hit more home runs that year because he swung at more pitches, he hit more home runs because the balls just happened to go farther. There’s no connection.

        • It IS just my opinion so I am going to need more than a condescending lecture on the history of baseball to make me think I am so patently false. Your Joe Morgan comparison is pretty absurd. Nowhere did I say he could/should hit more home runs. I agree his 2010 power isn’t coming back. But 2012 he was well on his way to a doubles record. That is not just a 2010 thing. Even after injury he’s still as good a hitter as he was 4 years ago, in my opinion, because he is smarter. He can still hit the gaps like an elite hitter can. Let me stress again: In general, I love the patient approach. However, in specific situations (for example, man on second 2 outs), I trust Joey Votto to make better contact on a ball just outside the zone and get the runner in than to leave it to anybody else in the lineup. Barring 8 other Vottos walking through the clubhouse door, I would like to see him at least bring that Vlad-esque quality back.

      • Let me put it like this: A healthy Votto is probably at least a .315 hitter. If you give him only pitches slightly outside the zone I’d be willing to say he’d still hit at least .280-.290 which is still better than just about anybody else in this lineup. Thus, increasing the chances of getting the runner in with the 2-out situation I gave above. Of course, I have nothing to base that on and there’s probably no way to prove it right or wrong.

    • Votto is doing the best he can on one leg! It’s mind boggling how Bruce gets pass after pass yr after yr! I think Bruce is another Adam Dunn HR OR BUST!!! Trade him for Bautista please!

      • Bruce is still a hell of a player. If he even does what he did last year, hitting around .260 with 30+ home runs, that’s good production. Remind me the last time Adam Dunn hit close to .260?

        • I could care less about Dunn while he was in Cincy so I have no clue about his numbers. Bruce is a good defensive player as we saw today i just wish he could become a more complete hitter that wouldn’t slump as hard as he does.

        • Seems like hr or bust w him since he has major slumps that last a long time. What is Bruce doing at the plate lately? Oh yeah he’s 0 for like forever it seems!!! That’s a FAIL!!!!!

    • The problem with Bruce is a plate recognition. He, more often than not, seems to swing at pitches out of the zone. If he had the discipline that Votto had, he would be stellar

  6. Huge win redlegs!!!!!! Just keep playing solid defense and jump on the opponent early looks like the key for this team to win. Trust your stuff Bailey and go after them tomorrow! No plate nibbling allowed tomorrow!!!

    • Jumbo warming up again for the 7th inning when Simon was struggling. May be just coincidence, but now that Jumbo has been added to the 40-man roster and promoted, the bullpen roles seem to have changed.

  7. Votto found a way to drive in a run despite his bad leg. I think it could be totally amazing what the man might do if he can get healthy again in the next year or two before the steep part of the age related decline slope finds him. Potentially he could be an even better hitter than before the injury because of what he has been forced to learn to be able to play with the injury.

    • I am amazed NOW at how great a one-legged hitter Joey is, maybe the best ever. His swing is all arms, and he drives it to the top of the left field wall! Agree that he has made huge adjustments to stay in the game, and it could help when/if he gets healthy.

      But the game is battle of adjustments. Chris Welsh noted how much now teams were pitching Votto inside. With a good leg, Votto punishes those pitches. Can he maintain value(high OBP) against the new “book” on him?

      • Ok so you’re honestly saying that an injured Votto is hitting better than he ever has? Check any of the numbers, HRs, batting avg, slugging. Not even close to his best years. I still think Votto contributes a lot to this team and is a far better hitter than anyone else that could play his spot on this team. But Votto is struggling to hit because of this injury

        • Nowhere did I say he was hitting better. He is not, but he has maintained a value through OBP. He really should be batting second and Frazier third. We agree that he is down from injury, but still contributing.

  8. Good luck tomorrow Mr. Bailey. I do hope you consider another nickname. I prefer Grounders Bailey or No-No Bailey. Something to instill a touch of negative mental floss into your opponents mind.

    I have a love hate relationship with this blog. I love the majority of blog postings and definitely enjoy in game chats. I do grow tired of those that assume they know better than the entire Reds organization. The debates on Votto, Phillips, Hamilton grows thin.

    • I think a lot of this is in your head. Those debates are just that.. friendly debates over what we as fans feel the team should do.

    • When you contribute stuff, such as using BP’s average with RISP to try and explain why Price might be batting him 4th, I find it valuable whether or not I agree with your point.

      A lot of the other stuff–suggesting, for example, that the question of where BP is batting shouldn’t even be debated–grows thin. Please focus more on bringing ideas, information, and your valuable insights and less on attacking others or trying to police what people talk about.

  9. Just a minor correction Rich, Bruce is 0-18, 1 R, 5 K’s, 0 walks… in his recent Slump…that is since his Sac in the 11th inning against the Giants..on the good side he Homered in that game…looked like he was coming alive till this most recent slump…Go REDS

  10. One of the many liabilities of the RISP statistic is that it’s based on a small sample. Here are some other BP stats from this year: With bases loaded, he’s hitless. With runners at 2nd and 3rd, he’s hitless. With runners at first and third, and one out, he’s hitless. With RISP, he’s hitting .299 but with “men on” he’s hitting just .267. So is he “less clutch” with runners on first?

    Aren’t small sample sizes fun?

      • I suspect there is at least a a bit of sarcasm intended in your remark; however I think the eye test does show that results aside, Phillips does tend to try differently in what he perceives to be important run producing situations. And he is no different from a lot of other batters in this regard.

  11. After 2 days off, Votto looked even more unsteady on a couple plays (one receiving a throw at first, the second on a swing) than before the time off. I’m really concerned, Nation.

    Billy Hamilton is now slugging higher than David Wright and Evan Longoria.

    • Hamilton seems to be developing a keen nose for when he is going to see a “get ahead” or “just get a strike” pitch, usually a fastball.

      • I don’t think he’s at that point yet, where he can think along with the pitchers. I have noticed (just with my eyes, it would take forever to look this up probably) that he does tend to sit on pitches he gets beat with later in the game. Yesterday was a good example, he got wrecked on that sinking pitch (changeup? not sure what it was) to strike out his first at bat. Next at bat he hit that same pitch (with worse location, it stayed up in the zone more) into the seats. I’ve seen him do the same thing on curves and sliders.

        He’s a fun kid to watch.

    • Even on his double he looked like he was about to fall at the end of the swing. At this point I’m not concerned about whether Votto can recover enough to be at all productive this year, I’m seriously concerned that he’s going to do permanent damage. I don’t know how Price can watch him swing the bat day after day and still in good conscience put him on the field. I don’t care if there isn’t a great option to replace him, he’s a human being who’s hurting himself. And he’s also a major organizational investment that Price and Walt are putting in serious jeopardy.

    • I think everyone here can honestly say that they are pleasantly surprised by how well Hamilton has hit this year. And honestly, from what we have seen from Hamilton, I think he’s capable of being a .300/.350/.450 hitter in the near future. If Hamilton can hit .300 with a .350 OBP next year, think of how many steals he will get, probably close to, if not over, 100. And his defense is stellar too. Shin Soo Choo last year was downright horrible defensively, and taking that into account, Hamilton has been more valuable when you factor in the solid offense and stellar defense than Choo was last year.

  12. Most of you go stats overboard. AlI I need to know is where we are in the standings. 6 out of first, two teams ahead of us and 2 games out of the wild card. The rest will take care of itself.

    • +1. Humans play not machines or starts. Humans. Last I knew all the reasons a person succeeds or fails are human and not stat driven. I think many see it as vice versa. Plugging a person into a lineup based exclusively on stats would be very similar to who rushes into a burning building to save a child inside.

      • Stats are just a measurement of what the humans have done. If we were talking about machines then everyone would bat 1.000. I love it when people say they just don’t care about stats as if people who pay attention to how guys actually play over extended periods of time are somehow lesser fans. The rest will take care of itself? How exactly?

      • Other way around isn’t it? The machine would look at it logically and decide that he should not rush into the fire while the emotional human would go rushing in, valuing the child’s life more than his or her own. Same thing with drowning victims, high voltage situations, confined space dilemmas.. you’re taught to let the experts handle it but as a human it is very very hard to suppress the natural urge to help your fellow man.

        Wrong topic for a baseball blog but it is definitely interesting to wonder how many decisions at the MLB level get made because of emotions and hunches rather than playing the statistical odds.

    • I’m a tweener myself. I like your style best but I also like to get under the hood and poke around at the nuts and bolts a bit from time to time to try and figure out the why and how of things taking care of themselves.

      What I really like best is the zero sum aspect of the overall picture. Just as there are only 27 outs in a game (barring extra innings) there are a finite number of total wins to be divided among the teams. Virtually all teams win at least 40% of their games; and, it is not unusual to have a season where no team wins as many as 60% of their games, So in essence seasons are about the swings between 6-4 and 4-6 (or regressing or progressing from the mean by some slight amount).

      So when someone says the Reds need to make up “only” 6 games (or thereabouts) on the Brewers with 75+ games to play, fine, but then look at the schedules of the teams and figure out where the +6 can come from given who each team plays between now and the end of the season.

      • Put simply, the Reds have a number of games left with the Brewers (11) and so far they have dominated them. The have a number of games with the Cards(13) and Pirates(6) as well. The Brewers have done better against both of them. The Brewers also have 6 against the Dodgers and Giants, three with Rays, and two with the Jays.
        The Reds schedule is much easier-3 against the Yankees and a bunch of games with the Cubs, and Cardinals. The Reds have superior starting pitching to any of the other teams in the division. The Reds will win 7 games more than the Brewers over the rest of the season.

        • If the Brewers manage .500 the rest of the way, the Reds need 45 wins to end up +7 to the Brewers. that is a .584/ .585 clip. Doable but a stretch I’d say. It could come down to how many the Reds can win head up (ie. keep down the Brewers total wins) since the rest of the league seems to have a lot more problems beating the Brewers than the Reds have had to date. And the Cubs dumping of 40% of their starting ratation certainly did the Reds no favor here as the Brewers are 5-4 versus the Cubs to date.

          What I don’t like from the Reds side is 10 left with the Cards, 6 of them under the arch. All things being equal (no catastrophic folds or historic runs of winning), the Reds probably have to go 6-4 or even better in these 10 to get by both the Brewers and Cards.

  13. I thought the answer to this was pretty obvious.. Price has no logical stat-driven reason to bat him there , he just likes batting BP fourth for X. X = whatever current wacky theory you care to throw out there.

    Saying we as fans don’t know what Bryan Price is thinking isn’t a good way to refute statistical evidence. It’s just a way to attempt to shut down a line of thought that doesn’t favor your particular views. If you apply that reasoning (that you need perfect understanding of a situation to comment on it) then the entire internet would shut down along with most other facets of life. The reason we come here to post on blogs is to speculate and discuss and arrive at conclusions. That kinda thing tends to involve evidence, stats, theories, etc. When you offer up an argument that X happens because of Y then it’s of course going to draw comments about how X does not happen because of Y because of Z. That’s how discussions work because we all like to answer that why question as best we can.

    • I have come to accept that BP’s ego is simply a factor that can’t be ignored. It is absolutely not ideal that he’s batting 4th, but it’s better than 1-3 and if you drop him below 4th he’d have a tantrum and his play would suffer. So Price weighs the cost of having him a few spots higher in the order than he should be versus keeping him happy. In the end I can live with that. His numbers are coming back around to where they always are (as I’ve been predicting for months) and by the end of the season he’ll be right around 100 wRC+ so it’s not like we’re sticking an empty shirt in that spot. He can still take it out of the park and as much as I hate relying on such a subjective thing he does seem to be one of the best clutch hitters on the team and has been for some time. With runners on his wRC+ has been at least 15 points higher than without for the past 4 years. Last year it was 135. Right now it’s 124. Over a couple of months or one season you can ignore that, but he keeps doing it.

      • I get what you’re saying. It’s a shame that Price has to cater to that aspect of Phillips if it’s true.

        I want to point out that how a player hits with runners in scoring position is a small part of their total offensive portfolio. Players can contribute massive offensive value in their at bats with no one on base.

        Thirty percent of BP’s at bats come with runners in scoring position. His wRC+ is only 83 with no one on base.

        • Managers cater to players egos all the time. Price isnt unique in that. Its ego and that fragile human aspect as to why you cant have just numbers decide your line up.

    • I am really not a believer in RISP numbers, but just for the hell of it I checked out Votto’s. in 2012 he had a wRC+ of 227 with runners in scoring position. Two hundred and twenty seven. and two months of that was without a back leg. It really is simply unimaginable what kind of year he could have put up without that one stupid slide. One for the history books. I don’t want him to get healthy just to help us win games, I want to see if there’s any chance he can still be that guy. That guy was on an express train to Cooperstown.

  14. So how about that Cubs-A’s trade? They already had a pretty solid young base in Rizzo and Castro, now they add one of the best infield prospects in recent memory. I’m not sure how their farm system is set up in terms of starting pitching, but the Cubs could be a really dangerous offensive team for a long time in the not too distant future, and they haven’t even dipped into their enormous war chest yet to start buying FA’s.

      • They’ll move him to 3rd. I assume that’s the plan. Defense isn’t his strong suit anyway. The way things are going with that team they might even move him to the OF eventually.

      • As a whole I’d say the NLC is actually one of the weaker divisions in terms of overall starting talent. The Reds staff skews it, but who does Pittsburgh or Chicago have? Gerritt Cole? Charlie Morton? Travis Wood? Every division has its share of top pitchers. I’d hate to be in the AL West or East. Especially the West now. The A’s are now starting 5 guys who are in the top 35 in ERA in all of baseball.

        • I shouldn’t have said one of the weaker divisions. Should have just said not an especially pitcher dominated division.

        • Maybe, we’ll have to see. Just an observation and I could very well be wrong.

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