Titanic Struggle Recap

Bruuuuuuuuuuuce! Latoooooooooooooos!

Final R H E
Milwaukee Brewers (52-36)
2 4 0
Cincinnati Reds (44-42)
4 9 0
W: Matt Latos (2-1)   L: Will Smith (1-2)   S: Jonathan Broxton (6)
Box Score | Stats | Depth Chart | FanGraphs Win Probability

 

Positives

Mat Latos had an outstanding start today. He had himself a little no hitter going for a while, but settled, in the end, for eight innings of two-run ball on only 96 pitches. Latos has been really excellent since coming back from the DL and he continued that today.

Jay Bruce also had himself a game. He grilled up three rib-eye steaks, including a two-run homer in the eighth that proved the decisive stroke. 

Billy Hamilton and Brandon Phillips both flashed the leather today. Hamilton made an excellent throw to nab a runner at second and Phillips made one of the more impressive catches you’ll see look easy. I love how well the Reds play defense on a nightly basis.

Negatives

Some idiot interfered with a Ramon Santiago fly ball and turned what was likely a base hit or maybe even a home run into an out upon review. That was the only lowlight in an otherwise very nice game.

Not so random thoughts …

The Reds continued their domination of the Brewers. The Reds are now 7-3 against the Brewers. I continue to believe the Brewers will come back to the pack. The Reds need to keep playing them close. As of this writing, the Pirates are winning and the Cards are losing, so it looks as though they may swap places in the standings. The Reds win has them six back of the Brewers for now.

Joey Votto needs to go on the DL. It certainly seems as though that’s coming. It’s been a rough year for the superstar first baseman. Fortunately, the Reds managed without him today.

The Reds now host the Cubs for a five game series and the Pirates for three before the All-Star break. They need to take at least five of those, and it would be nice if they managed six. It’s going to start getting late fast and the Reds need to beat teams like the Cubs and Pirates who, despite the separation between them in the standings, have very similar (negative) run differentials.

See you tomorrow, kids. Let’s Cub it up.

150 thoughts on “Bruuuuuuuuuuuce! Latoooooooooooooos!

  1. Per Fay, Chapman tweaked a hamstring. Price hopeful to have him available tomorrow.

  2. Cards have a very tough week coming up – 4 at home against the Pirates – then 3 on the road in Milwaukee. Pirates in here next week-end. If the Reds can take care of Chicago (how about a nice 5-0 series) and Pirates (2-1) this week, Pirates beat up on the Cards (3-1) and then the Cards take care of the Brew Crew (what the heck Cards -s weep them) – then things could get very, very interesting.

    Projected Standings at All Star Break:

    Milw —– 55-41 —–
    Cincy —-52-43 2.5
    Pirates– 51-45 4
    Cards — 51-45 4

  3. Cardinal bullpen is falling apart – think the Reds had some stretches of bad relief? Marlins should have swept the Cards this week-end with their bullpen imploded.

    Miami is leading 8-1 in 8th after giving up 3 in the 6th and 4 in the 8th.

  4. Over the last 11 games, Reds starters have given up 1, 1, 2, 2, 0, 1, 3, 3, 2, 1, and 2 runs. An amazing stretch, starting and ending with Mat Latos.

    The Reds really do have a terrific rotation.

    • They showed the rankings before the game. 1st in IP. 1st in ERA. 1st in BA against. They were 2nd or 3rd in every other major category. That’s in all of baseball, not just the NL. This is a special group. And Homer just recently seems to be hitting his stride.

    • Yes they do and with SP of that ilk, you’re never out of it. However, the offense has scored, in reverse order: 4, 0, 4, 0, 2, 0, 4, 7, 6, 3, 4 runs over the past 11 games. Thank gawd the pitching has been so good.

  5. Ken Rosenthal @Ken_Rosenthal · 51m
    Sources: #Reds’ Votto likely headed back to DL with same injury as before – strained left quad.

  6. The next 2 series’ in the Central are going to be very, very interesting.
    The Reds have the Cubbies in for 5 who we have treated like our red headed step child over the last few years and then the Bucs for 3.
    Meanwhile, before the Pirates come to town they have a 4 game set in St Louis.
    And on top of that, the other series for St Louis is @ the Brewers.
    If the Redlegs can take care of business and win a minimum of 6 through the rest of the home stand, they could really gain some ground. We just have to do our part!
    This would be a GREAT TIME to go on that 8-10 game win streak we’ve seemed to go on at around this time the last few years.
    GO REDLEGS!!!

  7. I’d add Ludwick’s catch right after Hamilton’s nice play to the list of defensive gems.

    • Forgot about that one. People don’t give Ludwick enough credit for his fielding. He’s not a GG’er, but he holds his own out there and has made a couple really nice plays so far this year.

      • No one should give Ludwick credit for fielding. He isn’t good at it. He catches what he gets to, but he has no range.

        • Exactly, the catches Ludwick makes that look good are only him making up from not being able to get there in the first place. Nearly every diving catch I’ve seen from him this year would have likely been a routine running catch by Heisey or Schumaker

        • I disagree about Ludwick’s having no range. He’s slow but he gets a good jump and usually takes a good route. He had to cover ground on yesterday’s catch. He catches everything he gets his glove on, which is unusual actually. His range is about average. On the other hand he has a weak throwing arm.

        • To RedsFan48: The diving catches would have been routine running catches by Heisey, not Schumaker, who also would have had to dive. And Heisey is not your average LFer. After watching LFers like Melky Cabrera, who’s lost a whole lot of range, Ludwick looks good.

        • @PINSON343 – I agree with you on Ludwick, Schumaker, and Heisey as far as their defense. I think that Ludwick and Schumaker are both below average in LF and don’t feel Ludwick is a disaster out there. Generally he takes good routes and gets a good jump but he doesn’t have the wheels to even have average range even with good jumps and routes. Schumaker has a little better foot-speed but tends to get bad jumps and take bad routes, especially in corner OF spots. Heisey is a plus defender in LF. If I had to pick one of the other two out there for their defense, it would be a toss-up between them and I may even go with Ludwick because he catches most of what he should catch.

        • @Pinson343 fair enough, but my point was that for at least most left fielders, they could make a routine catch out of it

  8. Other moves need to be coming very soon. Actually, Hanrahan fits the defensive need, but I do not feel he will hit. So someone that could play some infield, especially on the corners, who will hit.would help a great deal. Then another LH for the bullpen.

  9. You really got the sense that Bruce was due for that when he came up to bat in the 8th. It would be great if that launched him into one of his hot months.

    That catch from BP was simply stunning. I still don’t know how he did it. It’s like when it came off the bat he knew the EXACT spot it was going to come down and barely had to look up. It just dropped right in his glove. Combined with more excellent plays from Cozart, Hamilton, Bruce, and Frazier in the field this team is simply unparalleled in its defense. There are at least 4 GG contenders on the field at any given time. I can’t remember ever seeing ANY team that flashed that much defensive prowess at so many different positions. Between that and the pitching it’s so sad to see what the injuries to Bruce and Votto have done to this team’s record. With those guys playing near the bottom of their healthy potentials this team would still probably be at or near first place. So many 1-run games…

    • Cozart and BP are amazing at that over the head play. I think BP thought Hamilton was going to get that ball until the last minute, which is why he stuck his glove out to his side. At least that’s what the interaction between them indicated as they meandered their way back to the dugout.

      The crowd gave BP a well earned, prolonged standing ovation for that catch. BP (of course) milked it for all it was worth.

      • Brandon’s at his best when he’s having fun. Let him lap it up. He’s been taking it to the plate lately, too. That was a great AB he had to get on base ahead of Bruce’s Homer in the 8th. He hit well all series. And apparently did it all with a tweaked ankle and the flu. I know he’s a controversial character around here, but BP is one of my all time favorite Reds.

        • Couldn’t agree more. He’s not a perfect player but we are going to miss him when he’s gone. Hard to find second baseman that contributes as much as he does.

        • I think the best part of that play was Latos’ reaction. He looked the way most pitchers look when they give up a HR. He was in utter disbelief.

  10. The Reds are three games over .500 — and in fourth place.

    The next best fourth-place team in MLB is five games below .500. Colorado is 14 games below .500 in fourth place.

  11. Interesting. Blue Jays are saying Encarnacion is out with a quad injury and he will be out anywhere from 10 days to three months.

  12. I should have mentioned Mesoraco, too. 3 of 4. Another great day at the plate. He’s good so often it’s become possible to overlook it.

      • I don’t usually complain about lineups, as that’s covered by others, but batting Mes number 6 today, behind Ludwick, was criminal. It could have cost the Reds the game. The Reds caught a break in the 1st inning when Ludwick was hit by a pitch, giving Mes the chance to drive the run in.

        Ludwick was batting 5th because he has a good history against Gallardo. Price goes way too much by matchups. He should realize that the 2014 Ludwick is not the Ludwick who has hit well against Gallardo.

      • Its really amazing just how stubbourn Bryan has been to move Bruce out of the middle of the order. Frazier or Mes should be in the 4 and 5 slots. And have for sometime. I just don’t get it.

        • Strange time to complain about Bruce’s spot in the order right after he hits a game winning HR…I think Price understands what everyone else does – Bruce is a streaky hitter. How long were we all clamor ink for him to bat cleanup and now we’re complaining he should be lower in the order because of one cold spell? That he just hopefully broke out of?

        • Bruce has been streaky, injured, had knee surgery, spent 15 days on the DL — and he’s still contributed more offensive value this year than Brandon Phillips. That’s not meant as a criticism of BP as much as it is to point out how some people just kill Bruce, but let slide that one of the guys hitting in front of him has been less productive, even though he’s played and been healthy most of the year.

        • How is a .280 hitter less productive than a .229 hitter. I’m sure you have advanced stats to prove this. But lets be honest here, he just broke one of many O-fer 20 something streaks. Phillips has been exactly as advertised. Bruce is still the same Bruce. Great job last night! but we will miss BP ALOT more than Bruce if one weren’t in the lineup. #bringbackthebigdonkey lol

        • Keep in mind Bruce has 60 fewer plate appearances out of 350. Bruce has more home runs, more runs scored (43 to 30), more walks (30 to 16), more stolen bases (9 to 1) and only three fewer RBI. I’m pretty sure those stats are on the back of the baseball cards I collected in the 1960s. Despite the lower batting average, Bruce has a higher on-base-percentage, which is one of the reasons he scores more runs. He has a higher slugging percentage. And he’s done this playing hurt one month, missing a half month, and playing right after knee surgery.

        • Is there really a debate of who the better hitter is between Bruce or Phillips?

        • I know Jay was in a 0 for forever streak…but he was smokin’ some balls (at least in the last few days) that were hit right at people. He tore up the first baseman’s glove Saturday night, then yesterday he hit, I believe, 3 balls right on the screws, then hit the homer.

        • I Phillips is hitting behind Frazier, Bruce & Mesoraco (I don’t care what order), he will have ample opportunity to to exactly what he is doing now regarding hitting with runners on base. The OBP for Frazier (.355), Bruce (.312) & Mesoraco (.379) are ALL higher than Phillips and are all resulting from better plate discipline with the BB% for Frazier (8.2%), Bruce (10.5%) & Mesoraco (6.9%) ALL higher than Phillips.

    • Sooooo good so often!!! Glad to see him heading to Minneapolis. His average is still great, and his .631 SLG is over 70 pts higher than Gattis’s, the next most powerfully slugging C this season. Simply a beast—where would the Reds be without his performance this season?

      • Steve I have to disagree with your assertion that BP gets a pass. He’s played injured & ill also, but he gets just as much criticism, & abuse on this site as Bruce and probably more. He doesn’t make out the lineup card & I’m still waiting to see the articles or evidence that he’s going to be a problem if Price bats him lower.

  13. Seriously Derek Jeter is the best SS in the AL this year? That’s either incredibly sad or just made me ignore the All Star Game more than I did before. What a joke. Do we just let every formerly great player in his last year start for an inning to pad his Cooperstown stats?

    • Derek Jeter is a 1st ballot HoF player and the fan vote is simply a last chance for everyone to see him on a national stage in a game of All-Stars. My opinion isn’t that an all-star is always the best player but is simply a star player. Maybe that’s because of past achievements or maybe it’s just personality. Although Jeter is a shell of the player he once was, he is still a star. I’m ok with the fans voting him in for that reason and in fact, I voted for him for that reason. The problem I have is that baseball had to make the game “mean something” and home field for the World Series is on the line in an exhibition game. The fan vote has always been a popularity contest and who the fans want to see, not necessarily who is really deserving as far as their stats are concerned so far in a given year.

  14. Have to disagree with Jason Linden about Ludwick’s D. He has been far better than anyone anticipated. As someone said, ” He is no GG”, but he has done very respectable job with the leather.

    • One of the interesting things about advanced fielding numbers is they tend to reveal the players we overrate. Ludwick looks good because he doesn’t make mistakes on balls he gets to (like I said above). His problem is range. He just doesn’t get to nearly as many balls as the average LF. Never has. This is the kind of thing that had people thinking Jeter was a great fielder. He was sure handed, but his range wasn’t good.

      • Well I don’t think Jeter’s legacy is his defense. He was a fully capable major league SS who put up offensive numbers WAY above replacement for years. Basically the anti-Cozart.

        • Yeah. I was just talking about how he won all those gold gloves he didn’t deserve. His defensive prowess has been thoroughly debunked now, but people used to rave about his fielding.

        • He’s a winner; a grinder; a player who rises to the occasion; who is at his best in the most clutch of moments; he’s fearless and he’s in the Hall of Fame in five years.

        • His defense was less than clutch in the 2001 WS. For some dumb reason no one can ever explain he was playing in in the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs, which allowed Luis Gonzalez to hit a blooper over his head. If he would have been playing “clutch” and playing at normal depth he would have snagged that ball.

          And don’t even get me started on that ridiculus relay against the A’s.

        • ARIZONAREDS: I’ve never understood why that 2001 series is always overlooked when talking about, say, Mariano Rivera. Yes, he was a very good pitcher, with great postseason numbers. But he blew a Save that cost his team a WS; you’d think that would get mentioned once in awhile.

          And how come Brenly never got another Manager job?

      • According to “advanced fielding numbers”, BP is just slightly better than average most years. They’re still a work in progress.

      • Jason: Agree completely that Jeter did not deserve a single GG, let alone 5. But the majority of fans (and pro broadcasters) aren’t as enlightened as you say. I still hear every other day about how great his defense was: that he deserved all 5 and that he’s only lost range in recent years.

        Barry Larkin should have won 5.

  15. Great to see Cueto finally make an All Star team. Chapman on there as well. Non-starter position players will be announced soon. Hopefully the Reds can add 1-2 more.

  16. Is the fire sale off or on? You guys are up and down with wins and losses. Just sit back and enjoy baseball.

  17. Congrats to Mesoraco and Frazier being named to their very first All Star game. The first of many for both.
    All is right in the baseball world tonight.

  18. How good are the chances that Simon would be selected to replace Jeff Samardijza?

    • I am pleasantly surprised that Mes made it. That’s a solid decision by Methany to try and win the game. Not many managers would carry 3 catchers but his offense was too good to pass on. Smart move and should remove any anti-Reds bias people might suspect.

      • Methany is not interested in the anger/emotional part of the Reds-Cardinals rivalry. I like him. Very pleased that Mes got in, a lot of “experts” were saying he wouldn’t because of time on the DL.

      • I was watching MLB tonight and they were analyzing the all-star roster when they got to Meso, Jon Heyman stated “Dusty Baker told me Mesoraco was going to be a star, just took Devin longer than expected”. I just laughed when i heard him say that. Tough to be a star when sitting on bench.

        • I’m so glad I didn’t hear that live. My head would have exploded. Nobody did more to hinder the development of Mes the Destroyer than Dusty Baker. I anxiously await the day when we have the full story behind that feud.

  19. The Reds don’t have to trade for a first baseman, but they do have to trade. I’d be just as fine seeing them make a move for a decent 3B option and move Super Todd to first.

    I’m really disappointed that Price ran Votto out there for three (?) straight weeks without a day off. When he gets back, he needs to play 4-5 days a week, rest 1-2. Send him back to the DL 1-2 more times over the rest of the season to re-up his strength, and hope like hell the offense holds together.

    I actually like this team a lot more than last year and really think the Reds would be remiss not to pull the trigger on a deal. If they can solidify that bullpen with Cingrani, Diaz, and maybe another arm, I really think they would be dangerous in the post-season.

    • It’s optimistic to think that even that kind if treatment would help Votto’s production. Reality is he needs to be shut down for the year to make sure he can be at full strength in 2015. I would rather have no disabled Votto for the rest of 2014 if it meant getting him back at full strength next year.

      • I’d normally agree with that but the Reds don’t have any good options currently to replace him. I’m hoping the off-season really does allow him to be at full-strength. If the Reds do stumble to the point that they are pretty much out of contention, I’m on board with your idea of putting him on the DL for the rest of the season.

        This is just a theory but I’m thinking in trying to make sure his knee was strong, he overworked that quad. Ugh, I’m wondering if he’ll ever be the Votto we knew prior to his injury in 2012. I always thought his MVP season was an outlier but that he’d hit around .300 with OBP north of .400 and slugging north of .500 for a long, long time. I fear that is in jeopardy.

      • LW, I agree about the 2010 season being an outlier, in the respect of 37 HR, but I’m still hopeful that Votto will again Votto once his left leg is completely healthy. The situation over the previous 2 seasons has been frustrating for everyone, fans, players, coaches, management and most certainly Votto. Without any direct knowledge or any direct assessments fforthcoming from the trainers or medical staff, I think the supposityion that Votto may have overworked his quad while trying to strengthen the left leg over the offseason and early this season, may be valid and accurate. It certainly fits with the persona and methodology Votto has exhibited in the past. I know when I was rehabbing my knee and shoulder injuries, the single, consistent caution I kept receiving was to quit trying to push too hard and allow the body to adjust and adapt via gradual improvements.

        Votto’s performance in 2013 indicated a nearly full recovery from the knee injury and surgery with some refinement or strengthening required to get back to peak performance. I think the quad injury is related to the knee injury from the respect that the quad was weakened significantly as a result of the knee injury, but the quad injury is a separate injury from the knee injury. What worries me now is the possibility of another seperate injury (ankle, hip, ligament, etc) while trying to push through the quad injury and the inability of the quad to properly support the leg.

        If the Reds place Votto on the 60-day DL & shut him down completely for 6 weeks to give the quad time to partially heal, Votto will lose more strength from the leg which would limit his effectiveness for a late season playoff push, but he may be able to contribute more effectively if a playoff push is still in the cards. In 6 weeks if the Reds are no longer in the playoff race, then Votto stays inactive for another 2 months until the quad is completely healed or goes back on complete rest after a final playoff push until the quad is completely healed. Once the quad is completely healed, then Votto goes on a strictly supervised rehab to strengthen the left leg before spring training next season.

        I think we can and will see the MVP Votto back in the Reds lineup again, but right now Votto looks almost helpless at the plate. He simply can not turn on the hard, inside pitch without overly adjusting and once he makes that adjustment, the pitchers are putting him away with the outside pitch he can’t reach when overcompensating for the inside pitch. Pitchers no longer fear Votto’s power and are just pounding the inside and outside of the strike zone. His slash for the past 4 series is .162/.279/.243. The league knows that Votto is now virtually impotent at the plate and Votto is not helping the team in any way until he can get some strength back in the quad. That will require a 60-day DL stint in order to have any chance of even a brief period of effectiveness in 2014.

        • Since we’re speculating, let me add on.

          Votto – who hears withering criticism about his 2013 season for lacking RBI and power – knows that his 2013 wasn’t what it could have been because he wasn’t able to train in the off-season leading up to it. He says as much on the radio. He’s determined to not let that happen again in 2014, so he adopts an aggressive training regime for his legs. And overdoes it.

  20. We spent the whole beautiful weekend in Cincy at GABP. Great series to have watched in person! I’ve got to say that I was pretty disappointed with today’s attendance. Can’t even manage 30,000 on a sunny holiday weekend Sunday with no chance of rain and the first place team in town? That’s not good at all. Going to be tough to keep two of Latos, Cueto, and Leake with that showing.

    I didn’t have the benefit of TV but was anybody else puzzled as to how replay made an out from that fan interference? Obviously it takes away any chance that it’s a home run but that was a leaping attempt at the wall……far, far, far from a routine catch which has always been my understanding of what fan interference that leads to an out needs to be.

    I think I would have added Ludwick’s TOOTBLAN to the negative column. Running into the third out at third base with a guy whose speed is measured with a sun dial is just plain dumb.

    I’m hopeful that Simon will be added to the All-Star team once it’s official that Cueto cannot pitch. That would be some nice symmetry with a Red replacing a Red.

    • The fan clearly interfered. You can’t assume he would have caught the ball, but you also can’t assume that he wouldn’t. I knew he was going to be called out as soon as I saw it.

      Ludwick was on his own on the base running gaff as the 3rd base coach neither told him to stay at 2nd or keep running. Ludwick shouldn’t have to look himself, that’s what the 3rd base coach is for. The hit was to right center and Ludwick would have to look behind him to make the decision himself. That’s on the 3rd base coach IMO.

      • Seems like we’ve had several instances of the third base coach sending lead runners and leaving trailing runners on their own. I miss Mark Berry.

        • I rarely see a runner looking at the third base coach that is rounding second. Maybe the problem is they don’t pay attention to the third base coach.

        • @Kurt – If the play is behind you, then you are supposed to look at the coach. If the play is in front of you, then generally you’re on your own. At least, as a general rule for the professional levels and even some collegiate teams. The Reds and a few other MLB teams may have it all up to the player rather it’s in front of him or not but I’d be a bit surprised if that were the case.

    • Is it a TOOTBLAN every time a runner is thrown out on the bases? I think Bruce clearly had any throw home beaten so giving him cover was should not have been an issue. However many times in similar situations, the offense basically gives away the out at 3rd to provide cover to the guy scoring. When there are already 2 outs, that is why the runner coming to 3rd often slows to a virtual stop or does actually stop and force a fielder to come tag him.

      • I see your point but also agree that Bruce was going to make it home without an issue. To me, it’s a TOOTBLAN if you’re making the third out at third base about 99.9% of the time. I’m far from a baseball expert, but that concept was made pretty clear back in my little league days.

        • @Kyle – OhioJimw’s scenario, especially in a close game, is pretty much the only exception to what you’ve learned in little league. The thing is though, I agree that Bruce was going to make it no matter what in that case so in my opinion, it was a bit of a TOOTBLAN on Ludwick’s part.

  21. I have no problem with the fan trying to catch the ball

    The guy is not looking down, he is caught up like everyone would be looking up at the ball.

    Too bad Mesoraco made the all star game in that I would like to see him taking ground balls at 1st or fly balls in left field. The guy is too good of a hitter to not play every day. Especially with Joey going as he is. I am very happy for him though and he does deserve it.

    Like seeing Jay going to LF even if it was an out. Hard to think that we might have to start resting him versus righties…

    I would keep Joey shut down through the all star break at a minimum. I would prefer to see him next play in September. The worst of all worlds is to have him play every day and hit 259

    Latos is a beast. Great pitching and defense

    Great at bat by BP in the 8th. Few hits to but looked bad getting picked off 1st

    Wonder if Walts next move is Soriano off waivers. I really would prefer to see Winker

    • I meant taking fly balls or practicing 1st base over the all star break for Meso. But it will be good to see him get the all experience.

      I forgot, nice job Cozart in the field. I really do no care what he hits. I mean his 15-20 hr pace would be nice but he has just enough power to get into bad habits. Notice how many hits Billy has had since the dinger?

      • I like the idea in theory. I just don’t think you do it during the season. I think that’s something for the off-season and then spring training.

    • I think a responsible fan knows where the railing is and keeps himself on his side. Actually if somebody sitting in the first row or two shows up with a glove, it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea for a seating attendant to give them a crash course on the rules of the road and possible consequences,

      I don’t know what if anything transpired today after the issue between the guy and the authorities but back in the day he definitely would have been “asked to leave the stadium” as the recorded announcement used to say at Riverfront.

    • Don’t agree about the fan. Anyone should understand that you don’t interfere with a ball that “may be in play”. He had no business interfering with the flight of the ball and should have been escorted out of the ball park. Mindless stuff later promoted in cell phone calls. Ultimately the Reds paid the price (no pun intended).

  22. If I am Walt I would be going after Casey McGehee, hitting .317 1 HR 52 RBI
    Solid move it would be. He can play 1B/3B and is only making 2 M. Corcino/LaMarre should do it. Our lineup without Votto would still be dangerous

    Hamilton, Frazier, Phillips, McGehee, Bruce, Mesoraco, Ludwick, Cozart

  23. I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this yet but I’d just like to toss it out there for discussion:

    Player A has a batting line of .272/.308/.397 plays gold glove caliber defense and leads the league in smiles and kidding around on the field during professional baseball games.

    Player B has a batting line of .272/.301/.397 plays gold glove caliber defense and is 2nd in the NL in steals.

    One of these fellows bats leadoff and the other predominately spends his time batting fourth, fifth or third even though they are pretty much identical at the plate right now, with one walking 2 more times than the other to make up that .007 OBP difference.

    Obviously there are some vast differences in their overall game but right now, at this current moment they are producing almost the exact same value when they step into the box (different once they’re on, but just standing in the box.. dead heat). I don’t know if this is good/bad/ugly or what but it’s certainly very interesting to take note of as we approach the all-star break.

    • I always watch player B bat. Along with the catcher and 3B, my favorite Red. I fast forward through player A because I’m sick of watching him smile after striking out or getting picked off. That’s just the way he is, I know, but I don’t have to like it. That’s just the way I am.

  24. I think a number of folks, particularly among those who place strong credence is Sabremetics , would say that both players are being used in the wrong line up spots unless there are absolutely no better alternatives available.

  25. If Tulo really is available, and there seem to be persistent whispers he is or will be; don’t the Reds have to try to be a player in that sweepstakes?

    He is under contract (potentially) through 2021 (last year is a club option) with a minimum of about $121M left (through 2020) and a max of ~$133m=135m if the 2021 option is exercised.

    • No way unless the Reds are willing to watch Cueto and Latos depart after the 2015 season. I hope they aren’t. Tulo is just one player and he’s injury prone.

      • I don’t know…I think we could swing that contract and a Latos extension. Cueto is gone. Hopefully in a blockbuster trade this offseason after he wins game 4 of the WS for us.

        I only have 2 concerns about Tulowitzki. First is obviously his home/away splits, but I think those are particularly overblown this year. Fact is he’s the best offensive SS in baseball regardless of what 3 months of splits this year suggest. Second is his defense. He’s no slouch, but Cozart is really a top 3 or 4 defensive SS and if you watch this team play every day you see what our defense really does to the scoreboard. In the end I don’t think it happens because Walt likes Cozart and he provides value to the team (his WAR over recent years is right on pace with Jay Bruce). There’s an obvious hole to fill at either 1B or 3B not to mention LF so I don’t see him looking at a position he already has capably filled. Unless they wanted to consider moving Tulowitzki to 3B and maybe eventually LF but he might not be interested in doing that. I’m assuming he has a no trade clause.

        • I think Cozart is very competent, very reliable on defense but not the standout you value him as, i.e he makes the plays a typical SS should make virtually without fault but he does not define his position defensively like say the guy to his left (at 2B) has done over his career.
          On offense, Cozart is so poor he is a nonstarter except in a situation like the Reds where is his offense is essentially ignored because his defense is a nearly ideal compliment to an absolutely top drawer rotation and back end pen.

          What Tulo would bring in offense would out weigh any small defensive fall off from him replacing Cozart.

        • Have to disagree with you on Cozart’s defense. I think it’s GG caliber all the way. If he could hit a tick more than he does he’d be an All Star but his bat will keep him relegated to an unknown outside of Cincinnati. If Cozart is as bad at the plate as you say and as mediocre in the field, how was he worth almost 3 WAR each of the last two seasons?

    • I’m afraid not. Only 6 HRs this year. Six walks and 71 Ks is scary bad. He’s always been a sloppy and moody player, but I’d forgive all that if he still had the pop that he had last year. But at 38 it seems like he’s done.

    • I read on MLBTR where Soriano said he had seen the DFA coming and was considering retirement. It sounds like he feels like he has lost it. So, after some initial interest myself, I don’t think this is the guy for the Reds to bite on now.

  26. Steve Manusco: “It was an excellent AB by Phillips in the 8th, ahead of Bruce.” It really was, and a key to the win. If BP makes an out and the bases are empty, then Smith might just keep throwing sliders after he gets ahead 0-2 on Bruce.

  27. Eric NYC: “You really got the sense that Bruce was due for that when he came up to bat in the 8th.” Absolutely positively. I felt it so strongly that I wished I was logged on to RLN so I could call a HR.

    I agree with those who say that “due” doesn’t generally make sense, but this was an undeniable gut feeling. It was based in part on a few rational things: a LHed reliever (Bruce as we know leads the majors in HRs off LHed pitching over the last 5 years); Bruce’s literally tearing Reynolds’ glove with a line drive in Saturday’s game; and BP’s walk, which made Smith unwilling to pitch around Bruce.

    Mostly though you get to know the players over the years, and Bruce was the guy I wanted up there, even at 0 for 27 or whatever.

    When Bruce does homer, it looks so easy that you wonder why he doesn’t hit 50 a year. As smooth and sweet as Junior in his prime.

    • The ball he hit deep to left center was also a clue. We always talk about Reds Killers (like Weeks, who drove in the tying run.) Bruce is the ultimate Brewers Killer.

      • During the 0-for streak, Bruce had hit several balls really hard, including two yesterday before the HR.

        • You’re absolutely correct, Bruce had some very good at bats the last couple of games; they just went right to a fielder just a little bad luck

        • Hard enough to force the 1B to swap out his physically impaired glove after spearing one of Bruce’s line drives over his head.

  28. It’s clear that Latos is healthy (though not yet at full strength, his fastball velocity is still down), and this Reds starting rotation is now one for the ages. Look at what they did this series against a strong lineup, and next come Cueto and Leake.

    I did some research and the only comparable Reds starting rotation I could find was the 1940 WS Champion Reds, who had Bucky Walters and Paul Derringer throwing over 300 innings each (and good 3rd and 4th starters).

    It would be such a shame to waster this rotation, the back of the bullpen, the defense. I don’t know what’s up or will happen with Votto. But there’s a huge need in any case for a LFer who can hit. WJ gets another chance, this year he’s got to pull the trigger. Another chance at Marlon Byrd maybe ? Josh Willingham ? They’re out there, Walt.

  29. 1) BPs at bat in the 8th was a thing of beauty, and was hugely important. The mystery for me is why he doesn’t have more ABs like that. (Or ABs where he’s clearly willing to hit to the right side, as he often does with runners on and 2 strikes.). He clearly has the skills to be better offensively, but it’s like he has to choose to hit that way instead of doing it all the time.

    2) Can one of the editors please write a post giving the legitimate baseball reasons for batting Mes 6th? I’m not saying I would make that decision, but there are plenty of reasons for it beyond “Price is an idiot” or “Price is afraid of BP” (yes, one poster actually suggested Price is afraid of BP.) It would be a public service to write such a post, and perhaps help a few people feel better about their Manager and owner–who chose that Manager, after all.

    3) Chapman was shown in the dugout during Saturday’s game, which was odd. So I’m not buying the “tweaked a hamstring before Sunday’s game” explanation for his non-appearance on Sunday.

    • I don’t really understand why people get so tied up in the order of our 4-5-6 batters. I understand debating who should be at the top of the order or who needs to be batting 8th but I don’t think it makes any difference at all whether Mes bats 6th or 4th in terms of wins at the end of the season. Presumably you’re suggesting BP should be 6th and everyone else should be moved up at least one. Yeah, that’s probably the mathematically ideal lineup but I’d imagine the percentages are microscopic. I don’t think Price is “afraid” of BP, but as I’ve said before I think he understands his personality and that he likes to be in the spotlight. Price knows the guy a lot better than any of us and if he thinks he’ll play better and help the team more batting higher in the order then I’m ok with that. And at the root of all of this debate is still this contention that BP is fundamentally not a good hitter. Right now he’s sitting at a wRC+ of 94 and that’s after an April where he finished at 64. According to Fangraphs his wRC+ in “High Leverage” AB’s is 220. Take out the cold start and he’s been as valuable a hitter on this team as anyone not named Todd Frazier. Given the injuries to Votto and Bruce, I think it’s safe to say that without BP this team would already be out of contention.

      • I think there are plenty of good reasons to have Mesoraco batting 6th, and how it relates to where BP is hitting or his potential reaction to being moved down in the lineup is only one of them. The editors on this site do a wonderful job of explaining things that are not always obvious, and right now a “hot” topic that has a lot of posters out of sorts is Mesoraco batting 6th. The only two explanations most people seem to post are “Price doesn’t know what he’s doing and he shouldn’t be around much longer” and “BP would play poorly/disrupt the team if moved down.” I’d like to see the discussion moved past that, and a well-reasoned editorial post–even if not everyone agrees–might help.

        • I’m just saying it might not be much more complicated than that. BP has never batted lower than 4th in his entire career with the Reds. He’s hitting well now. Being moved down in the order would be pretty easily seen as a slight. Plus it’s just not a position in the order he’s familiar with. And I brought up BP’s high leverage production. That’s not a fluke. The other day I pointed out that over the last 4 years his wRC+ with RISP is 20-30 points higher than without year in and year out. He’s a guy I generally like to see at the plate in a late inning clutch AB – dare I say even more so than Joey sometimes. He’s more likely to be in that position if he bats higher in the order. Again, this would all be moot if he was hitting poorly but he’s playing well so I don’t think Price is overly concerned about tweaking it.

      • Part of the 3-4-5-6 ordering (to me) is the guys closer to the top get more AB than the guys lower. Every spot lower in the batting order is 18 fewer at bats over the course of the season. A second issue is stacking hitters who will get on base/produce next to each other. In the same way it was wasteful to have Zack Cozart or Edgar Renteria hit ahead of Joey Votto, it’s the same to have Ryan Ludwick hit ahead of Devin Mesoraco.

        I don’t think people realize how good of a year Mesoraco is having as a hitter. Here are two seasons:

        Player A: .317/.379/.634, OPS 1.013, wRC+ 181
        Player B: .324/.424/.600, OPS 1.024, wRC+ 172

        Player A is Devin Mesoraco 2014, Player B is Joey Votto, 2010, MVP.

        You’re really indifferent to whether that guy bats sixth?

        • As much as I dislike all the criticism BP gets on this site for things out of his control. I do agree with Steve, that Devin should bat higher preferably 3 or 4

        • I’m absolutely not indifferent to whether that guy bats 6th (I’m not sure if that part of your comment was directed at me or the other Eric.) I’d probably have him bat higher. But Price isn’t doing it because he’s stupid, blind, or afraid of his 2nd baseman. I wish people could understand that.

        • Pretty much? I mean I don’t think he’ll be batting there for long. He’s had almost as many PA’s this year at 4th (43) and 5th (38) as at 6th (48). He was going through a cold spell lately and got knocked down a spot. I suspect he’ll move back up soon. I’m assuming no one’s talking about batting him higher than 4th? So I just don’t think it’s worth getting worked up over. Let’s not forget that this is Mes’ first shot at regular playing time .He’s showing a little inconsistency which is perfectly natural and Price is moving him around a bit to see where he fits best for the long term. Yeah he’s having a great year, but would you bat him ahead of a healthy Bruce? We have a weird roster, especially with Votto out. Todd really doesn’t make sense as a #2 hitter and should be in the middle of the lineup, but we have too many middle of the lineup guys right now and that’s why we’re quibbling over stuff like this. If/when Votto goes on the DL I think Price is going to reassess. I’d probably prefer something like:

          Hamilton
          Phillips
          Frazier
          Bruce
          Mes
          Ludwick
          Cozart
          Whatever scrub is playing 3B

        • Eric, Price is none of those things. You keep presenting this argument as if those are the only options when there are clearly other factors. And the personality and maturity of individual players is why human beings manage baseball teams and not calculators. We all know that lineup construction has a minuscule effect on wins and losses so let’s not frame this conversation as an indictment of Price. He’s dealing with rotating injuries, players on wild performance swings, rookies and untested young players going throw growth unpredictable growth spurts. Oh, and he’s also been a baseball manager for all of 3 months. Batting Devin Mesoraco 6th for a couple of games makes him blind, stupid, or afraid? Let’s tone down the rhetoric.

        • Mesoraco as he is playing now is a 4 or 5 hitter. Ideally perhaps he is paired with a LH bat and flipped between the the two spots based on the opposing starting pitcher.

          Having been a catcher as long as I was able to play the game, I think I have some understanding of Meso’s attitude about being a catcher versus playing elsewhere in the field. However somebody needs to have a talk with him (#5 perhaps) about what it could mean to him and this team if he were to consider moving to LF in the future, or in a worst case doomsday scenario, moving to 1B.

        • Uh, Eric, I think you misunderstood my point. I’m not saying Price is stupid or afraid. (Direct quote: “Price isn’t doing it because he’s stupid, blind, or afraid….”). My whole point is that there are good reasons for batting Mes 6th, as you’ve partially shown. Most postings seem to suggest there are no good reasons for it, which I disagree with. Sorry if that was somehow unclear.

        • Ohio: I’m a little confused. Why are we talking about moving Mes to LF? Catchers who can hit are a rare commodity. Catchers who can hit like Mes is now are almost unheard of. It’s a lot easier, almost by definition, to find good hitters to play LF or 1B than those who can catch. Mes is a good defender, possiblyl very good and will probably get better with more regular play. It’s not like he’s blocking anyone. Tucker is a fine player, but I’m not clamoring to have him in the lineup every day. He’s much more valuable as a trading chip because, as stated above, catchers who can hit are hard to come by so they’re valuable.

          Eric: Sorry, I misread your earlier post.

        • I think in the end Meso is an average at best defensive catcher who can be an outstanding hitter for a number of years if his legs stay well under him.

          Meso is potentially Mike Piazza, not JB or Pudge Fisk or IRod. As we are seeing with Votto when the legs start to go so does the power. Also look how front loaded JB’s career was on the offensive side; part of that was the chest surgery after the 1972 season, much of it as he has since related had to do with his legs wearing down.

      • Gotta agree with you there. Especially agree about how keeping BP happy and up in the lineup might very well outweigh any benefit we’d see from dropping him and slotting others up. May not make a difference at all to BP but if it does, then I think you risk hurting with the change more then helping. A lot of posters don’t catch that sort of thing but you hit it dead on I think.

  30. I forgot to comment on the interference call. It looked pretty clear to me that the ball was going to be in the field of play, and that Schaefer had mistimed his jump and the ball would have hit the wall or his forearm. I don’t understand how you can watch that video and come away with the conclusion that he was almost certainly going to catch it.

    So…if watching the video it looks like: A) The fielder might have caught it without the interference, but probably not. B) The ball would have landed in the field of play. C) The fan interfered with the ball, such that Santiago would not have rounded the bases if not for the interference.

    Isn’t the correct outcome of the play then: D) that the umpires place the runner where he most likely would have been without the interference? Which is to say, at 2nd with a double.

    The fan didn’t knock the ball out of Schaefer’s glove or snatch it away just before it nestled in the pocket. Schaefer, trying to make a tough play, missed the ball. Did any of you think the video showed clearly and convincingly that he was going to catch it?

    • I read an interpretation yesterday that seemed to indicate it is an either/ or decision. If they saw fan interference with Schaefer’s opportunity to make the play then the batter was “automatically” out. If they saw no interference then the play had stand as it had transpired on the field. There was, per this article no option to consider whether ball would have been caught or not caught minus the interference or to award a “ground rule” double (or triple).

      • Thanks Ohio. Anyone else know if that’s correct? It seems silly. What happens, for instance, if the fielder is nowhere near catching the ball but the fan reaches over, interferes with the ball so that it bounces funny and the batter rounds the bases? In that case there’d be no justification for calling the batter out since the fielder wasn’t going to catch it, but the batter shouldn’t benefit from the fan interfering with the ball and thereby getting extra bases. Justice would be served by the umpires doing their best to determine what would have transpired without the interference. Either/or just doesn’t seem right.

      • Rule 3.16 -
        When there is spectator interference with any thrown or batted ball, the ball shall be dead at the moment of interference and the umpire shall impose such penalties as in his opinion will nullify the act of interference.

        I think the interpretation you read is wrong OhioJimW. It is left to the discretion of the umpiring crew to appropriately nullify fan interference. Otherwise a fan that reaches over the railing and interferes with a fair ground ball down the line would result in a out. Rather, these situations almost always result in dead ball doubles declared by the umpiring crew that nullify the interference.

        Further, the official rules of baseball add the following comment to clarify Rule 3.16 -
        No interference shall be allowed when a fielder reaches over a fence, railing, rope or into a stand to catch a ball. He does so at his own risk. However, should a spectator reach out on the playing field side of such fence, railing or rope, and plainly prevent the fielder from catching the ball, then the batsman should be called out for the spectator’s interference.

        I’ve watched the replay of the play several times and agree with Eric that at no point do I see a fielder who was “plainly prevented” from catching a ball. There was clearly interference but there was not an clear catch about to happen. Therefore, I believe Santiago’s home run should have been disallowed and the batter/runner returned to 2nd base. I’m obviously biased but the Reds got screwed (again) by replay. It’s a constant theme.

        • I think, rightly or wrongly, they applied your second citing from the rule. The fan reached over the rail and deflected the ball before the player who was in close proximity could attempt to complete his play on the ball. Therefore the batter was out.

          They chose not to try and project where the ball would have gone had the fan not deflected it or where the player’s glove would have gone had the player not been blocked then bumped by the fan and ball not been deflected by the fan.

        • I agree with OHIOJIMW here. They applied the clarification and felt, in their judgement, that Shaffer was most likely going to catch the ball.

        • I do think if Santiago had ended up at second or even third as opposed to scoring on the play they might have possibly “bent” the rule a little and left him where he was.

        • I think we agree, OhioJimW, that the umpires must have believed it was a plainly prevented catch. I just think they are wrong.

          What, beyond ejection, is to prevent home fans from purposely interfering with all close visiting team fly balls because now the precedence is that if the OF is close to the ball then it’s an out?

  31. I doubt Santiago’s hit would have been a hit much less a home run. The OF’er had a good eye on the ball. And, the two gloves were very close together if not meeting. Odds are, from my viewpoint, it would have been an out. Now, if people would have been on base, it definitely should have advanced runners. But, odds are great it wouldn’t have been a hit.

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