2014 Reds

The 2014 Cincinnati Reds: Are you kidding me?

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (50-43) 6 14 1
Pittsburgh Pirates (48-45) 5 5 1
W: Partch (1-0) L: Watson (5-1) S Chapman (20)
Box Score | Play-by-Play | Game Thread | Depth Chart | Win Probability

Positives

–The Reds looked dead in the water, down 5-1 in the bottom of the seventh. One thing we must learn: this team is never dead in the water.

–Ryan Ludwick began the seventh by reaching on a two-base throwing error by Pirates 3B Pedro Alvarez (who had hit a three-run bomb earlier to give the Pirates a big lead). One out later, Ramon Santiago doubled Ludwick home and the comeback was on. After a Donald Lutz single, Billy Hamilton drove in Santiago on a groundout. The score was 5-3.

One inning later, Devin Mesoraco hit a two-out solo homer to draw the Reds within a single run. Ludwick singled, Chris Heisey singled, and Santiago drove in the tying run with a single back up the middle. One batter later, Brayan Pena singled to center to give the Reds a lead they would not relinquish.

–In the ninth, Aroldis Chapman was simply dominant. Again. Chapman struck out the side, ending the game on a 103-mph fastball.

–Santiago was 3-4 with a double, two RBI and a run scored. Billy Hamilton also had three hits, scored one, and drove in one. Ryan Ludwick was 2-4 with a double and two runs scored.

Negatives

–Curtis Partch got the win despite walking the bases loaded in his only inning of work.

–Today’s injury victim: Mat Latos. Latos wasn’t particularly effective in his five innings of work (in which he allowed four runs, three earned), and he left the game with back spasms. Add Latos to the list of walking wounded. This is getting to be pretty ludicrous.

–Jay Bruce made an error at first base. It’s almost like he’s never played the position before.

Not so random thoughts….

–The Reds have won seven of their last nine games. At the moment, the Reds are tied with St. Louis for second place, two games behind Milwaukee. As this post is published, the Cards and Brewers are tied at 6 in the seventh inning. However that game plays out, the Reds will either be 1.5 games out of first or alone in second place at the end of the day. Not bad.

–If you want to know why Billy Hamilton may be the most exciting player in the baseball, look no further than this first-inning play that ultimately led to the first Cincinnati run of the game. The things Hamilton can do are just absurd. Color me amazed.

–It’s Ramon Santiago’s world, we’re all just living in it.

–With his first strikeout of the ninth, Chapman broke the all-time MLB record for relievers by recording at least one strikeout in 40 consecutive games. Step aside, Bruce Sutter.

–Cincinnati’s heroes tonight were Santiago, Ludwick, and Pena. Are you kidding me?

81 thoughts on “The 2014 Cincinnati Reds: Are you kidding me?

  1. My Reds player of the game nominee is Pedro Alvarez. The rally doesn’t get started if not for his stellar contribution. Man, what an arm. Wild Thing, I think I love you.

  2. I don’t have appropriate words for tonight. This game was insane. Hamilton started it out with one of the most insane plays you will ever see in baseball and it ended with one of the most improbable offensive comebacks against one of the best relievers in the game that you will ever see …From a bunch of JV scrubs, no less. Follow that with Chapman’s insane domain ace in the 9th…I’m not going to prognosticate over the rest of 2014, but this was as fun of a baseball game as you will ever witness and I wouldn’t be shocked if it put this team on a run.

  3. A great win no doubt but how are the Reds in a position where they have no one on the 40 man roster capable of playing first base? By moving Bruce to first you weaken the Reds at two positions. Yesterday Bruce may catch the ball in right that Shumaker missed and the Pena throwing error yesterday allowed the Cubs to tie it. Tonight Bruce’s error added a run to the inning.

    Injuries aside the Reds lack of depth of position players at AAA is inexcusable. The Reds have to make a move to get a first baseman. Bruce needs to be in right. Luck and breaks have gone the Reds way lately. There will be more games like yesterday where an error in a key situation costs the Reds a win.

      • George, Just pointing out the obvious. And if I point it out after the replacement’s defensive shortcomings cost the team a win yesterday am I raining on your parade? Reds need a player that can play first so that Bruce stays in right, Frazier stays at third and Santiago and Shumaker share second.

        • Robby I think that 99% of the folks on this thread know that we need a 1st baseman and that our infield defense will not be the same but having that knowledge makes the win even more exciting. The numbers folks would not have said this was possible ever.

    • Probably not the best night to point out all the teams shortcomings but man has to do, what a man has to do.

      • So Charlotte do I say that because of this very impressive win the Reds have no roster shortcomings that need to be addressed? You and I both know better. It is great to see Frazier, Hamilton and Mesoraco playing so well but everyone knows playing Bruce, Frazier and Pena at first will not get it done and the team also needs more pop in the line-up.

        And if Bailey and or Latos are out for any length of time the need to have more offense is even more critical.

        • Where have you been? We’ve talked about this for the past two weeks. You aren’t bringing new info to the table here.

        • I will show some support, the point, that II am getting that is new, is that defense is allowing runs the past 2 games, cost 1 game Thursday

        • Hey Robby, you have every right to say what you want and I was supporting that in my post; albeit in Charlotte kind of way. Have at it. If everybody was the same here, it would be boring to the point of not worth being here. Been awhile, good to see you back.

        • Robby, I just want to add my support to your point and also to your “right” to express it here. Just because we won an exciting game doesn’t mean no one should talk about things that are wrong/disappointing/need fixing.

          A lot of folks have talked about the theoretical downside of moving Bruce to 1B, but the last two games have really illustrated it with on the field (poor) results.

        • Robby: Since just about everyone here has said more or less what you are saying at one time or another (just not after an improbable win which fueled nearly universal irrational exuberance..), it’s safe to assume that we agree with you. We don’t know when JV will be back, though, so shedding established player(s) or good prospects for a temp worker could easily backfire. I’d like to see what Ludwick could do at first, since he’ll play a lot anyway and isn’t a great defender in left.

        • I would say for the last week or so that those players ARE getting it done. I am not saying it will continue or that things could be better. However, this is a team that could have laid down and stop playing, but they have banded together and continued to play.
          As far as those who think that the Reds are criminally responsible for not having a replacement at 1b, why would they? Going into the season, Votto did not need replacing, he was one of the certainties on this club. Yet, Soto and Lutz, as well as, Frazier, were available if needed. That Soto and Lutz, for the most part, have not hit, is not an organizational problem. NOBODY could have anticipated all the injuries to this team. Still, this team is in the middle of it. It is a good thing for fans to observe baseball from a distance as it gives perspective. If you live and die with every game it will drive you nuts.

  4. Best win of the year. Unreal. This team fights till the end. I LOVE the Pena, Santiago and Skip signings, they are great human beings, great clubhouse and chemistry guys. There is a reason Walt went out and acquired all 3. We have a special energy on this team in 2014 and hope it continues. Players need to step up big time without Votto and BP.

  5. I will admit when I was wrong. Earlier in the week, I was ripping on Ramon Santiago, saying he shouldn’t even be on the roster. But man, is he on some kind of tear right now. He absolutely LOVES hitting at Great American, doesn’t he? I suppose he’ll come back down to earth soon, but it sure is fun watching him right now.

  6. Not sure who to root for in the stl-mil game, but sure was glad to see atl and was lose tonight!

    At some point this terrible defense has got to catch up to us. I know soto was awful in the bigs this year, but he has been tearing it up in AAA… Maybe Soto found his mojo?

    But man, the reds have been so much fun to watch!!!

  7. “Cincinnati’s heroes tonight were Santiago, Ludwick, and Pena.” I think a Full Moon should get an honorable mention tonight. In all seriousness though, those three deserve all the credit they are getting. But overall this was a team win in every sense of the word. When the going gets tough, the tough get going, and this Reds team is showing they are some tough hombres.

  8. Santiago is the anti-Heisey. He’s batting .295 in his 19 starts, and .125 as a sub.

    (Yes, I understand sample sizes.)

  9. I keep watching the Billy Hamilton bunt single that started the game…Over and over again. I can’t think of any baseball play I’ve seen like it and it directly led to the first run of the game that ended up being the winning run of the game. This kid just changes baseball games. I want to tack numbers onto it or figure out the percentages but I don’t know if we’ll be able to do that accurately until his career is over. There are so many intangibles that you have to see to believe.

    • I agree, Eric. He’s also great fun to watch and clearly loves to play. I have little doubt that he will improve his steal percentage, and he is otherwise exceeding expectations across the board.

  10. “mwvohio says:
    07/11/2014 at 10:43 pm
    To be fair it’s not really a kind of baseball. I mean we fell behind 5-1 then rallied late to win 6-5. Nobody -wants- to have to do that to win a game.”

    Explain that to the Cardinals. was 6-0 Brewers in the 1st now 7-6 in the bottom of 9th Cards.
    Cards win 7-6

  11. I truly believe Bruce needs to be in RF. Role with a platoon of Soto and Lutz at 1B. Santiago at 2B is working, ride the hot hand. He was VERY valuable for the Tigers postseason runs the last few years. Skip and Negron can handle being utility players. Heisey and Ludwick in LF. I know the lineup will change on a daily basis without Votto and BP. I would like to see this:

    Hamilton, Santiago, Frazier, Bruce, Mesoraco, Ludwick, Soto, Cozart

    B Pena, Skip, Heisey, Lutz, Negron

    Soto and Lutz could provide us with pop and maybe lightning in a bottle while Joey is out. Soto is RED hot in AAA, hopefully when he comes up the 2nd time, he’ll settle in and his nerves won;t be an issue. Prime example is Todd Frazier. As far as 2B, Santiago, Skip and Negron can handle it. We even have Gotay and R Navarro in AAA as options as well. Same with Felix Perez.

    • No Soto please -dude has already been given his chance on multiple occasions – he can’t even make contact at the major league level – doesn’t need to be on the field or at the plate

      • Tired of all these AAA options – Jocketty needs to wake up and do his job – make some moves (don’t ask me for who. – that is his job !!!) – he hasn’t done one meaningful thing to help improve the status of this team since the season started – team has fought to get back in this race – but don’t play with fool’s gold – there is no way this team can maintain with this patchwork lineup and these injury problems

        • Why does “joe fan” just assume Walt’s not trying? Making a trade to get something better then you have without shedding top prospects isnt easy. Look what the A’s just gave up for two pitchers. Walt may be trying but a trade takes to willing partners.

      • I wouldn’t say Soto has been given a chance. He has 29 plate appearance in two stints with the Reds. He has six career games with 2+ at bats. Six. Most games in a row with 2+ at bats is 3. He has 19 appearances at the ML level. In 16 of those he got 1 at bat. To say he’s been given his chances and can’t hit ML pitching is really unfair to him.

        I’m not saying he’ll hit. But to say he’s not an option because he’s been given his chances and failed is just inaccuracte.

        • I agree and the ABs have been sporadic at best. It would be interesting if they ave him a continuous 30-game stretch of starts to see what he’d do.

          The Reds in 1998 had Paul Konerko and traded him to White Sox next season. The guy actually worked out pretty well for the Pale Hose. It is possible there is a lesson here. It is looking like Jay at first base is not a practical solution. S who do we have as options: Pena, Frazier, maybe Ludwick, Lutz and Soto. Soto isn’t looking so bad i that group as each f the others have issues as well.

      • Soto has never been given a shot…Not saying he deserves one, but most of his AB have been off the bench with no given role outside of 3rd string catcher. I thought he had decent Spring training numbers and playing every day at AAA stats are solid…but if they Lutz/Soto can play better D than Pena/Bruce I am all for them at 1B batting 7th

  12. I couldn’t watch the game but turned on my car radio just in time to hear Marty and Brantley talk about the amazing comeback. The details of the comeback were even more surprising than the comeback itself. In addition to the hitting stars, they talked about Contreras and how Partch was the winning pitcher after walking the bases loaded in the 8th. I didn’t know that either one was even on the current roster !

    • If you missed it they DLed Phillips and sent down Barnhart to bring up the two pitchers then very late in the afternoon Schumaker was put on the 7 day concussion list which opened the way for Lutz who arrived just as the game was getting under way

  13. The 2014 Reds, the team that couldn’t come back from more than 2 down, comes back from 5 down and now an even more impressive comeback late from 4 down.
    There is such a thing as team confidence, and the Reds are playing confident right now.

  14. I think we should pause for a bit and recognize how remarkable Chapman’s achievement is. Regardless of how people feel about his role as a closer, let’s try to appreciate what he’s done.
    40 consecutive games with a strikeout, while rarely pitching more than an inning and sometimes less than an inning.

    83 strikeouts over that stretch of 40 (plus not many) innings. A historic stretch.

  15. The comeback was amazing but the thing that really stuck out to me Hamilton’s maneuver to get to first after that bunt. That was crazy

    • Just watched it on video. That was a ninja move. Even with all the injuries, it’s a fun time to be a Reds fan. Hamilton and Chapman – freakish talent. A whole lot of other talent too: the starting rotation, Frazer, Mes, Bruce, BP, Votto (when healthy), etc.

    • What is the deal with running out of the baseline? I know I have seen baserunners called out, recall BP getting called out last year in a big situation, it seems like Billy’s momentum took him out before diving into the bag. Also are you allowed to slide off like heyou can overrun?
      Awesome move though, looked like a punt returner taking it to the house, never seen a base runner juke a fielder

  16. For all the skepticism about the value of veteran leadership, I think it has played a large role for the Reds as this crazy week unfolded. The guys who have been there before are helping to keep the keel level and pitching in physically on the field while other folks like Meso and Hamilton are clearly emerging as leaders of the future. However the team is going to need help on the field as they come out of the break. Hopefully the front office will not let the outstanding effort of the last several weeks go to waste by sitting on its hands.

  17. One way to think about the 2014 team personality is to compare it to the 2013 team.
    A majority here (I think) felt that the 2013 team was missing “something”, whether it was called leadership, accountability, resilience, intensity, strong management/coaching, whatever. The 2014 team makes it share of mental mistakes, but up to this point anyway, has something that was missing last year.

    But as you say none of that will matter without a stronger lineup. Even without the injuries to Votto and BP, the Reds need more offense from LF. With those injuries, it’s all the more obvious. Jim Bowden is often full of it, but yesterday on mlbetwork he spoke the obvious truth. The Reds have the prospect depth, he said, without giving away one of their top ones, to land a Marlon Byrd or Alex Rios or Willingham, someone who is not a superstar but a clear upgrade. And WJ HAS to make that move.

  18. I’m just thankful that Alvarez airmailed that throw to first base to lead off the Reds’ seventh inning. Without that error, maybe Locke gets out of the inning unscathed. It’s nice to get handed a break like that and take full advantage!!

  19. Great win last night. I just love the guts this team is showing right now, but I have to be honest that I think guts will only carry the team so far after the break. I just do not think they can hang with all the injuries. It’s a darn shame because Walt Jocketty built an outstanding ball club that has had zero luck in the health department.

    I certainly hope we don’t throw away success in the future for a one year marginal rental player who would only be a band aid on a huge wound. Keep to the plan Walt – it has been working!

    • Kyle, the odd thing about it is that without the injuries, trips to the DL, being short on the bench, and the general mayhem that the line-up has been, we as fans wouldn’t have the chance to be watching what we are watching and the players wouldn’t have the chance to do what they are doing.
      I do think that Walt will get something done but he just hasn’t found the right deal that helps the club. “Band-Aids” are tricky and some of them are hard to get off once applied if you get my drift.

  20. I have to disagree that Latos was not effective. He had 3 perfect innings and 1with only a 2 out single. 1 inning he gave up a solo HR, an error got 1 player on, a walk on a 10 pitch at bat, and a HR. Thats 3 hits and a walk! He does have a bad habit of grooving fastballs when he gets frustrated after a walk. Remember Buster Posey in the 12 playoffs?

    • Seemed he was in a nice groove before the failed bunt attempt (running the bases). Just ope it is a minor strain or cramp. If we need a new starter, I’d give Carlos Contreras. Looks to me that he may something there.

      What a win. More then feasible to take the series with JC going tomorrow. If we somehow swept, how demoralizing would that be to the Pirates?

      I’m a little concerned about Billy’s hammy.

    • What you described could have been written about Cueto several years back, same for Bailey, and about Leake pretty much to this year. You could have also added in the 4 pitch walk out of the blue in the tough lost at SanDiego and some other instances. Latos has needed the up front attitude that he is the responsible party; but, he still has some maturing to do between the ears to learn the art of maintaining complete focus and maybe even finding a slightly higher temporary gear when things don’t break quite his way.

      Unfortunately the Reds have Cueto, Leake, and Latos all coming due together for big paydays and possible free agency. If a person looks at it as one big pie of money available for them to attempt to sign these three, I think it could well turn out that they sign Cueto if at all possible and use the remainder to sign Leake, making Latos the odd man out.

  21. Disappointed in this recap. No mention of Parch’s beard inspiring the rally. Also after skimming I didn’t see any mention of Heisey. He had some bad at bats today but also some good plays. Very team rally tonight. Contraress (sp?) gave up a run but had a great second inning too. Lots of little positives after Mat went down.

  22. I don’t get why everyone thinks a bat for LF is such a huge priority. Our LF platoon has more homeruns than Matt Holliday.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to have a guy bat .300, hit 40 homeruns and play gold glove defense in LF. But with what we have, even with BP and JV out I’d say our priorities are someone who can catch the ball at 1B–especially on Peña’s catching days–and a LH reliever. Add a solid RH reliever to that list unless you believe Jumbo can solidify the 7th inning. With that, and health from the starters, we should be doing well. I wouldn’t give up much for a LF bat.

    • Holliday’s HR total is on line to only be a little better than half his annual average HR total since he came to the Dirty Birds. His overall OPS is -100 from the average OPS for the same period with pretty much the entire fall off being in the slugging component. Maybe this is a big part of why the Birds offense no longer seems like such a world beater.

      I do agree they need a “real” 1B and ideally he would add a lot of the missing offense into the formula.

    • It wouldn’t hurt to acquire a 1B/OF combo guy but a middle infielder is far more pressing at the moment. Decent 1B/OF guy probably come cheaper then the then though.

      I would hope everybody could agree Jay Bruce is not the answer at first base.

  23. Curtis Partch got the win despite walking the bases loaded in his only inning of work.

    True but he did get out of the inning and hit 98 mph on the gun. He threw 38 pitches but got squeezed big time by HP Ump Culbreth. Pretty sure McCutchen worked him for an 11-pitch AB? Kept fouling off strikes.

    This is a little thing and you can all rip me if you want but: on the Final above, Reds should be on the bottom, Pirates on the top. We are the home team…right? So technically……

  24. Ludwick is not ideal but his wrc+ is at 105 and hair above average. The reds need to worry about 2b and 1b for the time being.

  25. The standings are looking really tight. The Reds are -1.5 to the Brewers (-1 in the loss column) and have a game in hand to them. The Reds are -0.5 to the Cards but are even in the loss column and have the game in hand. That’s big for both the Division and WC.

    The Bucs are -2 games to the Reds and Cards in the loss column with a game in hand to Cards and Brewers,

    The WC is too convoluted to really say a lot about. Seven teams are at 42 or 43 losses. Plus, the Bucs are within hailing distance at 45 down. Barring a huge stretch run from back in the pack, three of these teams are going to be division winners, two will be WC teams and the rest will go home sad. Probably the most notable thing is that the Nats with 42 losses have at least 2 games in hand to everyone else which could cut either way.

    • I think the big issue for the WC is how the third place and below teams in the East and West play. I’m afraid that with 4 legitimate teams in the Central we’ll beat each other up enough to allow the Giants, Dodgers, Braves and Nats to all get in, with just the Central Division champion making it through. We need teams like the Marlins and Padres and Mets to play well enough to take games off the better clubs in their divisions; that plus a collapse from the Brewers or Pirates is the only way we’ll get two Central teams into the playoffs.

      • You might have also said or a collapse from the Reds or Cards and been just as mathematically accurate in terms of the overall NL Central picture :)

        That said I agree pretty much. However it is worth noting that the Cubs are lingering right around .500 outside the division which helps the other teams in the division in the WC race. The Phillies look to be on a bit of an upswing and could be of assistance in the east. Cargo’s back for the Rockies. If he and Tulo stay put and healthy, the Rocks will steal some games in the west.

        The Reds have remaining games at home versus the Nats (3) and Braves (4). What happens in those seven games could play big in who wins the East and whether the Reds stay viable in the Central and WC. The Reds also have 7 games (4 road) coming versus the Marlins. A good “Cubbing” of the Marlins (7-2) would really help the Reds too.

  26. I watched the post game interviews with Santiago and Pena and was very impressed with their attitudes, demeanor, and commitment. Also, both speak English well which always impresses me since I’ve always made a mess of Spanish even though I live next door to Mexico.. A while back I was knocking Santiago about not being able to hit .250 in the minors. Sorry, Ramon, keep on truckin’ man!

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