Titanic Struggle Recap

3-run offensive explosion powers the Reds past the Diamondbacks

Final R H E
Arizona Diamondbacks (46-61)  0 5 0
Cincinnati Reds (53-53)  3 7 2
W: Leake (8-9)   L: Cahill (1-8)   S: Chapman (23)
Box Score | Play-By-Play | Photos | FanGraphs Win Probability

The Reds were able to get their second win of the second half, beating the Diamondbacks 3-0. Leake, Broxton, and Chapman combined to pitch a five-hit shutout, and the Reds offense scored their most runs since last Tuesday.

chart (3)

Biggest Play of the Game

According to Fangraphs WPA statistic (wining percentage added), the most important play of the game was Mike Leake’s RBI single in the second inning, giving the Reds a 2-0 lead. The play increased the Reds chances of winning by 9.4% (from 66.8% to 76.2%).

Other important plays (+/- indicates how much each plays increased or decreased the Reds chances of winning the game):

  • +9.4% – Leake’s RBI single in the 2nd inning, Reds lead 2-0
  • +9.3% – Leake strikes out Trumbo in the 4th inning. Runners on 2nd & 3rd, 2 outs
  • +9.1% – Frazier’s RBI single in the 1st inning, Reds lead 1-0
  • +6.9% – Prado pops out to end the 4th inning. DBacks strand runners on 2nd & 3rd
  • +6.3% – Hamilton’s leadoff double in the 1st inning
  • +6.1% – Cahill fouled out in the 3rd inning, Runner on 3rd with 2 outs
  • +5.9% – Pena’s RBI single in the 6th inning, Reds lead 3-0
  • -10.5% – Montero singles with 1 out in the 4th inning, Throwing error by Mike Leake, runners on 2nd and 3rd
  • -7.2% – Gregorious tripled with 1 out in the 3rd inning

Player of the Game

Mike Leake: 7.2 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K, 1.44 FIP, 0.37 WPA

Mike Leake was absolutely terrific tonight. As “The Cowboy” stated many times during the broadcast, Leake’s control was absolutely pinpoint tonight. Leake didn’t walk a single batter, and struck out 8. The Diamondbacks best hitter, Paul Goldschmidt, went 0 for 4 with 2 strikeouts against Leake. Our guy made some very good pitches in the four plate appearances against last years NL MVP runner-up.

leake vs goldy

Positives

Billy Hamilton lead the game off with a double, which broke a brutal 0 for 15 skid. The Reds only had one extra base-hit in 15 innings yesterday, so a leadoff double to start the game from Hamilton was huge.

Todd Frazier had an RBI single later in the 1st inning, scoring Hamilton. A run in the first inning was huge for the Reds struggling offense. Frazier finished the evening going 2 for 4, including grabbing his 16th stole base of the season.

Mike Leake had an RBI single with 2 outs in the 2nd inning. It scored Donald Lutz, who singled earlier in the inning. The single came following a challenge won by the Bryan Price (Zack Cozart was originally ruled out on an infield single). The run in the second inning gave the Reds their first consecutive scoring innings of the second half (via the FSO broadcast).

Brayan Pena had an RBI single in the 6th inning, driving in Frazier, and giving the Reds a 3-0 lead.

Ramon Santiago made a couple really nice plays in field. He has done an excellent job in the field for the Reds filling at 3B, SS, and 2B. Santiago should always start at second base over Skip Schumaker.

Jonathan Broxton came in with two runners on base, with two outs in 8th inning. He got Mark Trumbo to fly out to end the inning.

Aroldis Chapman recorded his 100th career save (his 23rd of the season), pitching a perfect 9th inning. Chapman extended his MLB record 45th consecutive appearance streak with a strike out. He struck out the final batter of the game, former Red Didi Gregorious on a 103 MPH fastball.

Negatives

Mike Leake and Todd Frazier both had throwing errors in the 4th inning, which allowed the DBacks to have runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out. Leake was however able to rebound by striking out Trumbo, and getting some defensive help by Ramon Santiago (he made a nice running catch on a ball in no-man’s land).

The Reds offense has still yet to score more than 3 runs in a game in the second of the season (11 games). Quite simply, you aren’t going to win many games with this little offense.

I get tired of constantly mentioning it (probably as much as you get tired of reading it), but I am tired of Price running out Skip Schumaker, night in and night out. Schumaker got the start in RF tonight, his 8th start in the Reds last 9 games. Schumaker entered today with -0.9 WAR this season, and -1.9 WAR since the start of 2013 (4th worst in the MLB). To be brutally honest, he is a bad hitter, a bad fielder, and a bad base-runner. At least with Ludwick, you have a decent hitter, and with Heisey you have a great fielder and base-runner. Schumaker went 0 for 3 tonight, and is now hitting .234/.282/.309.

Not so random thoughts……………

Jay Bruce was placed on the bereavement list after his grandfather passed away earlier this week. Bruce plans to return to the Reds on Friday. We certainly send our thoughts and prayers to the Bruce family.

Walt Jocketty will have some decisions to make before the trade deadline at 4PM on Thursday. The Reds are 6.0 out of the division and 4.5 games out of a wild-card spot as I type this. My personal feeling is that the Reds are the out of the race and should be sellers. Fangraph’s has the Reds with a 2.3% chance of wining the division, and with a 5.1% chance of getting a wild card spot. While there have certainly been more improbable teams reach the playoffs in the past, the Reds offense is really bad right now. I have a hard time believing a guy like Byrd or Rios would get the Reds to the playoffs. With that all said, I think the Reds should look to trade one or two of Cueto, Latos, Leake, or Chapman. All of those pitchers contracts expire at the end of next season. From everything we have heard over the last week, the market for good starting pitchers is extremely high. I believe it would be in the Reds best interest to trade one or two of these guys that they aren’t going to sign anyways after next season. The Reds could potentially get two or more top prospects, and would have around six years of control of those players for a low cost. Would that be worth one season of a good pitcher?

Tweets of the Night

58 thoughts on “3-run offensive explosion powers the Reds past the Diamondbacks

  1. Pretty sad that they went from top of the division to out of the race in the span of 11 games from the break. And by pretty sad I mean absolutely ridiculous.

    • They did that with two of their best players out. A lot of the games they won were with backups and bench players playing way above career levels. You’re ignorant if you felt like things could go differently. Complaining is fine, but this should not be a surprise.

  2. I am willing to bet Walt wont be allowed to trade off players because we are not that far off in the playoff chase and Bob wont like the message it sends to the fans.

    • I’m with you on that Drew – realize the overwhelming odds against this team making the playoffs – but as we sit here tonight , now just 5 games back – Brewers are reeling – still a long way to go

      • Even if the Reds somehow magically make it to the postseason (need to go 37-19 to get to 90 wins).. they then need to win some series in the postseason against the Dodgers/Giants/Braves/Nationals/Cardinals/Brewers to go to the WS.

        I have zero faith they can do that. So even if they defy the odds and make it to the postseason, they don’t really have a chance of winning once they’re there.

        • It might not take 90 wins to win the NL Central. And if you make it to the playoffs, anything can happen (as with the 2006 Cardinals and their 83 regular season wins). Most importantly, the Reds could be a very different team in October than they are now, even without a trade.

          Having said all that, I know we’re you’re coming from. I would not mind a “sell” that makes sense for the future.

          PS I would definitely bet on the Reds against the Giants.

        • I have to agree with Pinson’s comment 100%. Unless a deadline trade changes the picture, the division is winnable this year. I suppose the Reds chances depend upon them staying close until Votto & BP return.

          But I also am in the camp that a trade bringing some future top talent would be a good move.

        • We have a winning record vs the Giants and Brewers, are even vs the Nationals, and 3-4 vs the Dodgers. So I hardly think we should assume that the Reds can’t progress in the playoffs. With our rotation, back end of the bullpen, and ONE of the following, we’d be a dangerous team in the post season: Votto comes back semi-healthy, BP comes back healthy, or Bruce starts to hit to his career norms. Give me two of those things and we’d have a good shot of winning the NL…if we make the playoffs.

    • You could be right about bob’s motivations but it would be bad business. The reds shouldn’t trade cueto, Chapman, leake, or latos just to be trading them. But they should absolutely be taking calls and listening to offers. There should never be a player who is “untouchable”. If the reds got the right kind of deal they could possibly make themselves better next year as well as greatly improving their long term outlook by trading one or two of their pitchers. If they don’t get a good enough offer, then fine. But if Walt and Bob are not even listening to offers for cueto or Chapman then they are making a mistake. I really don’t see how trading one of these guys will hurt attendance for the rest of this year. If the reds fall out of the race, attendance is going to suffer anyway. It seems very short sighted to refuse to improve your future outlook to try to keep attendance from dropping in the last two months of this season when the reds playoff chances are very small.

    • Nah, still watching the games, suffering through them was bad enough but the overwhelming negativity displayed in a lot of the comments on here is a turnoff, it’s not worth reading the same old crap where the experts on here have all the answers – “players aren’t mentally tough” “DFA Bruce” “sell the team off” “trade Ludwick and a bag of balls for the next Eric Davis”, etc.

      • Since I’m squarely in the “players aren’t mentally tough” camp (maybe I’m the entire camp?), I’ll just say in response that I don’t think a person needs to be an “expert” to notice such things. When players consistently make the same sorts of mental mistakes (swinging when it makes no sense to swing, taking when it makes no sense to take, routinely getting picked off, routinely making stupid outs on the basepaths even when the third base coach isn’t at fault, etc.), when everyone can see they’re pressing and lacking patience, when they lose a game on an unclaimed pop-up, when several players are attempting to pull everything, and when they seem completely unwilling to change anything they’re doing despite a mountain of evidence it isn’t working… I don’t think a person needs to be an “expert” to notice a general lack of mental toughness. If someone tries to claim all these silly mental mistakes have nothing to do with mental toughness and are all just physical problems or a run of amazingly bad luck, I think THAT would be going way out on a limb. Watching a team make a large number of silly mental mistakes day after day after day and concluding “this team lacks mental toughness” doesn’t seem like it should even be controversial.

        • The problem I have is that “mental toughness” is so vague that it doesn’t really mean anything. How do you improve your mental toughness? Is it something that can be improved? Can it be measured? Does it come and go or does someone always have it or lack it?
          Another thing is that baseball is a incredibly difficult sport to play. It is almost impossible to play when you are angry or nervous. To play at the mlb level against the best players in the world, with all the attention and pressure to perform, has to take some kind of mental fortitude. It seems strange to accuse these guys of not having any “mental toughness.” They have also bounced back from some horrible losses this year, which would suggest at least some kind of “mental toughness”. The stuff you’re talking about are mistakes that all baseball players make sometimes: swinging at bad pitches, making baserunning blunders, etc. They are incredibly frustrating and it seems like the reds have made a ton of dumb mistakes this year. But I would suggest that the swinging at bad pitches stuff is more over aggressiveness and poor pitch recognition instead of lack of “mental toughness.”

        • Zippy: you are certainly exercising a sovereign right of fans–2nd guessing and judging, and while we all do it, I ask myself and will ask you: Have you ever had an at-bat against an mlb pitcher? I haven’t, and have to temper my negative reactions to Reds hitters who, seemingly, are clueless at times. I expect that it is harder to recognize pitches than we think, and I expect that it is much harder to make contact with them than we think. Many people say that, in a given at bat, it is unlikely that a hitter will see more than one relatively hittable pitch, and this adds to the difficulty of the job. After all, even the great hitters (and walkers) don’t succeed half the time.

        • Yea but Zippy isn’t saying he can do better, he is saying look at opposing teams they don’t do the same sort of things the Red do unless they are the Cubs or Diamondbacks the worst teams in the league. Compared to other teams we see the Reds give away a ridiculous number of outs on the basepaths, play guys out of position, play Schumaker 8 out of 9 games when he is a negative cost player, pitch their best arm the least number of innings, and swing at pitches out of the strike zone time and time again. Compared to other teams the Reds play like they are in a mental fugue state… I really think it is because these guys cut their teeth with Dusty Baker showing them the ropes. They are permanently damaged by his mentoring.

        • How is any of this related to “mental toughness”? And how can any one here claim to know whether these guys are mentally tough? Unless you personally know them and play on the team, you really can’t claim that insight.

          Sometimes a team just goes through a bad stretch like this. Players slump. It’s really that simple. Were the Reds “mentally tough” when they went on their run before the ASB (despite playing with subs who were playing above their heads)? When you run out backups at less than replacement level, this is exactly the type of play you should expect. Has nothing to do with mental toughness.

          Look, it’s fair to criticize strategy (bullpen usage, etc.) or a play made in the field. No one’s perfect. But to claim that you know whether they are not mentally tough is taking it too far IMHO. Folks that do this appear to lack an appreciation for how difficult this game is to play at the MLB level and how good these guys really are.

  3. Reds drew zero walks against a pitcher averaging a walk every other inning. They have a total of 18 walks since the all-star break. Some of those were intentional and others were semi-intentional. Since July 10, Latos and Hamilton have the same number of walks (one). If nobody is going to change their approach then I agree the team should be selling, because they obviously don’t have enough offense to compete. But if anyone — say, for example, Bryan Price — were able to convince some of these guys to stop swinging so much, and if they add one decent hitter, I think the team is very much in the playoff mix. Sadly, I don’t see any evidence to suggest anyone is going to change anything.

  4. Why haven’t we tried hamilton at 2b and Heisey in CF? That is a better offense than anything with Santiago or Skippy. Hamilton was a middle infielder almost his whole career.

  5. Even if they win this series, I hope going 2-1 against the Diamondbacks doesn’t keep Walt from doing some selling. Can’t let a 2-1 series win against the 3rd worst team in the NL keep you from remembering the epic smackdown that happened in three series against winning teams prior.

    • Do u really think Walt has much say in it ? I think if we were say 12-15 games out he might convince Bob…but we are way to close

      • Just know that Chapman, Broxton, and Simon will likely never be worth more than they are now. Cueto also has almost no chance of getting extended.

        I look at the farm system. Who do they have coming up who can play SS? Who do they have coming up who can play 2B? Who do they have coming up who can play 1B if Votto continues his 3 year slump? Who do they have coming up who can play C and actually hit the ball? (Sorry Barnhart, but your bat is super weak.)

        The only two good hitting prospects to be excited for? One is in Dayton playing A ball and is still recovering from wrist surgery. The other just probably ended his season in AA from an injury. Both are outfielders.

        The Reds farm needs offensive prospects. Good offensive prospects. If trading a 60 inning-a-year closer who’ll make somewhere around $12m next year, a 33-year-old having a career year, and a 8th inning setup man who’ll be making $9m next year will give them those prospects, they need to in order to sustain future success.

        The Reds aren’t a “small” payroll team anymore, but they’re not big enough they can get by without a number of guys still playing for cheap. BP and Bruce will make $12m, Votto will make $14m. Ludwick, Hannahan, and Schumaker will make a combined $9m and only Schumaker will likely even be playing for the Reds. Add in Frazier and Mesoraco hitting arbitration, coming off All-Star seasons.

        Trading some pieces for some Joc Pederson/Corey Seager/Nick Franklin.type players is what the team needs to keep succeeding in the long run and they could probably get the first two for Cueto and the third plus probably some pitching prospect for Broxton. It’s a huge seller’s market and the Reds could fix themselves up for quite a few years if they do it right.

        • All this makes sense. But I have a problem with giving up on 2015. Trading both Cueto and Chapman for prospects would mean that, unless the return included a top-flight major league ready pitcher.

        • If you start selling your best players now for prospects you are not only cashing in on this season, you are throwning in the towel for next season as well. You won’t get major league ready players if you sell now. You will get prospects who will most likely take a year to develope and grow before contributing enough to make an impact so the reds can compete. When that happens the rest of the regulars and core guys are going to be 2 to 3 years older.

          I think of you are set on trading them the off season might make more sense where you may be able to get a few major league ready players who would contribute in 2015.
          Don’t see that happening if you trade, trade, trade now

        • There is no way Chapman gets an arbitration raise to $12 million. Arbitration will reward him as a relief pitcher, not a starter. He won’t get a lot of extra money for “excitement”. Sometime soon, I expect Chapman to wake up to the fact that guys like Bailey–and Leake!–will make more money than he does and to start talking about wanting to be a starter.

  6. Going into last night’s game, Chapman had struck out 19 in his last 7 2/3 innings. That’s just sick. 19 Ks out of 23 outs.

    • And, the last I heard, he was pitching with a ‘tweaked’ hamstring. The more guys he strikes out, the less chance he has to run to cover first base!

  7. Monday’s game had 505 in-game comments on this board. Tuesday’s had 70. Is there more to talk about when the Reds lose? Does this mean that losses are more engaging than wins? Were people just burned out by the late and long Monday game? Are Reds fans fading away? True, the former was many more innings. It is interesting, though.

    • Like most message boards, a high percentage of the posters like to vent and air out complaints. That’s kind of what message boards are for. However, I do get tired of reading the same old gripes and pet peeves over and over by the same people who have all the answers. When the Reds (or any team I follow) go through a rough spell, I find I get less “depressed” over the games and can even enjoy some aspects of them if I stay off the message boards until they turn it around. I still watch and follow the games and even check in on the boards some but don’t follow the boards as closely during those times.

    • I think it’s a little more simple than that. First, Monday’s game went 15 innings so there was a lot more time to comment. Second, the negative posters are a lot more chatty than the positive guys.

  8. Trading a proven starter for “prospects” isn’t my idea of improving the team. At least, not now. We’re in the race. Tweak the offense but the pitching and defense have, for the most part, been excellent. Give up Cueto and you’re pretty much sending the message “we’re done”. Not so fast my friends.

    • Agreed. Cueto is the team’s best pitcher and one of the best in the game. It’s not time to tear the team apart, but to try to improve for the future by trading off some of the supplemental players who are performing well. Based upon trades already made this month, pitchers like Broxton, LeCure and Simon could bring back a valuable haul in prospects.

      But prospects are just that and I wouldn’t give up a crown jewel for them at this stage.

      • Cueto is good now, but what will he be in 2-3 years…Older and very expensive. His trade value right now is probably the highest it might be. IF you are really wanting to get quality return that can help your team in the very near future you have to deal quality to get quality.

    • The Reds are “mathmatically” in the race, but be honost they are not going to get a productive Votto back this year and it will be questionable to what degree of productivity Phillips will bring when he returns given the type of injury he has. Add to that the issues around Bruce and the blackhole that is LF, exactly what chances does this team “this” year have of making the WS. We have been to the playoffs, if it’s not at least the NLCS then why not work on improving the overall franchise. Will Cueto’s value ever be any higher then now? Will the trade market ever be as tight as it is right now? No don’t give away players, but if you can obtain quality return you have to consider it.

      • We are not a WS or bust organization… I know we would like to be but we are not. That mentality is pretty harmful in the grand scheme of things.

        If they stay in the race and keep fans in the seats through the season then it is worth it. Fighting for and maybe playing in a WC game and possibly even the divisional series would still be good for the team and good for the economics of the club.

        The whole “If not a NLCS then why bother” makes little sense to me. Trading Cueto will not really help improve our chances of making the NLCS in 2015… so why do that?

        • IF your goal isn’t the WS, then why play? Hey we play to “maybe” make the playoffs? As a fan I want my team to do everything possible to build a WS contender. Right now we lack offense, and to get it we must part with what we have excess in. That would be pitching. So yes if the right deal is offered for Cueto, who has a good chance of not being a Red after next season anyway, then I do it.

        • I think what NY is suggesting is that the team’s chances of winning a WS are greater if they make the playoffs more often. If it’s simply a WS or bust outlook, then there will by necessity be long periods of rebuilding involved. Slow and steady is probably the best way for the Reds to win the race. And really, you don’t enjoy a team that wins 90 or so games a year, even if they don’t win the WS? If so, why be a fan?

  9. I will take Schumaker any day over Heisey. Your love affair with Heisey leaves me scratching my head. From the looks of things, skip makes better contact, although I’m sure you’ll come up with some stat that says otherwise. Heisey hasn’t met a pitch yet that he swings and misses on. His base running prowess is meaningless with a low 200 batting average.

    • Schumaker in 191 PA for 2014: 234/309/590. OBP is 282.
      Heisey in 201 PA for 2014: 224/366/643. OBP is 276.

      Heisey is a bit better at the plate because he has some power which Skip is devoid of. Heisey is a plus defender and Skip is negative on defense. I have no idea why Price isn’t giving Heisey more starts and letting Skip be the occasional fill in.

      Heisey is a better choice to start this season and he projects as a possibility for the future. Skip is a back-up at the end of his career.

    • Skip fouls off more pitches. Sadly, he doesn’t seem to use that ability to help himself draw a lot of walks or force the pitcher to throw him pitches more to his liking. Heisey is better at everything else. With Santiago showing an offensive pulse, Magic Jack back with the team, and Negron looking reasonable at the plate and on defense, Schu shouldn’t see the infield again. And in the outfield, Heisey’s defense is so much better that Schu would have to be miles ahead offensively for it to make sense to play him.

      But if I need a couple of foul balls, Schumaker would be the guy I’d want batting.

    • It is mind blowing than anyone would play Skip Schumaker over Chris Heisey or even Ryan Ludwick. Schumaker can’t hit, has no speed, and is a horrible defensive player (and that is evidenced in his -1.0 WAR this season). Schumaker does make better contact than Heisey, but it isn’t good contact. He has only hit 6 HR in the last 4 seasons, SInce 2011, 53.6% of the balls Schumaker has put in play have been ground balls. That high % of ground balls leads to poor offensive production. The one thing Schumaker had done a good job at offensively was drawing walks prior to this year (8.9% in 2012, 7.9% in 2013, league average in 2013 was 6.2%). But this year, Schumaker is only walking in 5.8% of his his PA. So really, Schumaker’s only good offensive skill has taken a major decline this season.

  10. I find it kind of amusing that a lot (most) of Reds fans seem to think its a Sell or Buy decision by WJ and BC. Its probably gonna be the same this year as last year and the year before that. “Do Nothing” “Stand Pat” I hate the idea of a sell off, It means giving up and I’m planning to watch all the rest of the games and I don’t want to spend 3 hrs a day watching a lame duck team. But I do understand the business of baseball. That being said, I dont expect to see any new faces on this team next week.

  11. Bottom line, the Reds won last night. They sit 5 game back in the division and 4 games back of the WC. They have the pitching. They have the defense (usually). Their next 18 games are against below .500 teams. Granted, the Reds are a .500 team, but if they can just get 1 bat and whether the storm until Phillips and Votto get back they have a legitimate chance. This is some extreme optimism, but why not? Personally, I may look to find a new SS, if there are any available, and package a deal to solidify that position. Continue platooning LF this year. At least you’ve filled one hole in this lineup.

    • I guess it comes down to how you view the ability of both Phillips and Votto making any significant contributions the rest of the season. I don’t. I think both even if they come back this year will struggle and not be on the level we will need them to be on to be a WS contending team. I think in the long run it’s best both sit out the remainder of the season, get fully healthy and return for a strong 2015. This season is what it is, better to work towards 2015 then to rush players back in a hopeless 2014.

      • That certainly is one way to look at it. I think Phillips will come back and produce more than Votto for a couple reasons. He has simply played better this year. His injury was slightly less serious than Votto’s knee. Not to say BP’s injury wasn’t serious, but a knee has a little more serious long term effects than a thumb I would think. Maybe the Reds can reel off 14 of 18, or something like that, with the team they have, and be in regardless of a trade or not.

        • The thumb is as key to a players success as a knee is. Try hitting with a thumb, try fielding without a thumb. We have seen in the past especially with Phillips how a hand injury really impacts his impact at the plate. To think Phillips will be back to 100% and hitting like we need him to this season in my view is a pipe dream.

  12. What an outstanding performance by Leake, on multiple levels. The bullpen really needed a break after the extra inning affair the previous day. Broxton and Chapman both finished the game, but the rest of the bullpen should be completely available and neither Broxton nor Chapman extended themselves last night so both should also be available if needed for an inning each.

    The command by Leake was simplt outstanding. That was as masterful of a performance as I can remember by Leake and the Reds really needed Leake to step up.

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