Titanic Struggle Recap

Game 107: Milton Runs the Bases

Final R H E
Arizona Diamondbacks (47-61)
5 8 0
Cincinnati Reds (53-54)
4 11 0
W: W. Miley (7-7)   L: A. Simon (12-6)   S: A. Reed (26)
Box Score | Stats | Depth Chart | FanGraphs Win Probability

Watch the beautiful diving catch by Chris Heisey in the top of the 1st inning. Reason alone why Chris should be starting more games in LF than he currently is. Run prevention. But, not long after, Heisey  was thrown out attempting to stretch a hit off the glove of Mark Trumbo into a double.

Ramon Santiago thrown out EASILY attempting to steal third? One question. WHY? I have no problem with Heisey hustling and trying to take advantage of a ball off the glove of Trumbo—nothing ventured, nothing gained. But, who knows what Santiago was thinking.

Alfredo Simon made one really bad pitch in the 6th to Paul Goldschmidt and it was enough to put the Reds in a 2-0 hole. Simon’s final line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 2 K.

After singling in the first batting for Simon, Kris Negron was sacrificed to second, but got himself thrown out at third on either the second or third TOOTBLAN of the day, depending upon how you score it.

J.J. Hoover came into the game in the top of the 8th and could not hold the Diamondbacks, surrendering the third run of the game for the visitors.

Carlos Contreras suffered all kinds of control problems, giving up a 2-run HR to Didi Gregorius of all people. He must have enjoyed that trip around the bases of GABP. That effectively put the game out of reach, although at 2-0, it seemed that way anyway.

But not so fast. Just like the other night, the tardy Reds offense would wait until the last minute to get going.  In the 9th, Billy Hamilton would single, Santiago would walk … and Devin Mesoraco would homer to bring the Reds close.

Not enough.

Not So Random Thoughts ….

The Reds left 10 men on the bases. Business as usual from the offensive Cincinnati offense.

61 thoughts on “Game 107: Milton Runs the Bases

  1. What an odd game. Every REDS starting position player PLUS 2 of their 3 pinch-hitters got at least 1 hit. Yet they lose by 1 run. For the series, the REDS outscore the D-backs by 1 run, but they can only manage 1 win and 2 losses. This team is snake-bit and needs to forget about 2014 and work towards making 2015 a year worth remembering.

  2. Seemed like a Dusty game to me. Give up, rest the dependable relievers and dig a hole too big to overcome when the offense finally rallies.

  3. Actually today was not business as usual for the Reds. It was the first games since the all-start break that the Reds hit above average. Unfortunately, they were snake bit by 0 for 9 balls hit in play with runners on dropping in for hits, and of course the Didi homerun and the TOOTBLANs. Hopefully, the offensive slump for the Reds is over.

  4. Not specific to today’s game per se, but I have to wonder what % of the games Parra has been available to Price this year?

    • He missed close to 2 weeks with a shoulder problem and now he’s missed close to 2 weeks with a lower back problem, for starters.

  5. Milton has been coaching this team up on baserunning? That explains alot. Milton the Killer Goat. He can kill a rally in an instant. Don’t let that smile fool you. There, behind those pearly whites and aluminum, lurks a killer.

  6. As I pointed out in the game thread: I have no problem with Heisey trying for second on that play, but I do have a problem calling it “hustle.” If he’d hustled all the way to first, which the replay showed he didn’t do (I’d estimate he went at about 3/4 speed), I think he’s easily safe at second. We’ve apparently come to expect so little of these million-dollar athletes that we’ll call it “hustle” when they run for three consecutive seconds.

    • Well put. I also wonder if it’s too much to ask for Heisey to, you know, raise his arm up when he’s at the wall and could possibly make a catch. Your pitchers appreciate these small gestures of kindness.

  7. “Turn out the lights the party’s over
    They say that all good things must end
    Call it a night the party’s over
    And tomorrow starts the same old thing again.”

    Last one out, turn the lights off.
    C’mon back again next year, ya hear?

  8. Milton seems to be right at home with the Reds post All Star break collapse. It’s countdown time with 23 hours to go to the trade deadline.

  9. S
    Little Sammy LeCure talking smack on twitter to the fans. A bit too Ludwick-esque. I wonder what kind of blow back this will stir up?

  10. I would say that Simon’s start just raised his trade value. Unless no one is offering, I don’t know why we wouldn’t move Simon and Broxton now. Heck, we could move them and then go on a run if we actually get someone in return that can help.

    Does anyone here see Simon or Broxton as critical to the Reds potentially hanging around this year?

    • Critical, absolutely not. Useful, absolutely. The real issue is the return offered for each or both. I’m not so concered about this season, but next season, the pitching depth especially offered by Simon could be very useful with the 5th starter still an open question for 2015. With a proper return in trade, the need for 2015 becomes a non-issue.

    • Broxton is no longer critical thanks to Jumbo. In any case trade the disposable player when his value is high. Trading Simon and Broxton could be used to help the Reds in 2015 and beyond, that’s the main thing.

  11. Often when the Reds have been shut down by the starting pitcher (just about every game since the All Star break), at least you could say he was sharp and tough that day. Not so today. Miley was both hittable and had trouble throwing strikes. The Reds shut themselves out against him, for example with the 3rd inning base running.

  12. The baserunning outs bother me more than any other aspect of the bad play since the All Star break, because they’re so unnecessary. I hate (yes I’ve said this recently) the cliche about “having to take risks when you’re not hitting”. When you’re not hitting is the worst time to make outs on baserunning risks, especially stupid ones. There is such a thing as aggressive but smart baserunning (e.g. the 1990 Reds), this team has no conception of that.

    What’s even harder to listen to is: “He was trying to make something happen.” When Jerry Narron, just before he was fired, was asked why he pinch hit Juan Castro for Josh Hamilton, he replied: “I was trying to make something happen.”

    • i have to agree. The baserunning mishaps this year have been absolutely brutal. I enjoy an aggressive baserunning team, but only if they are capable of doing it! The amount of times we have been picked off at first this year is incredible.

  13. Addison Reed had given up 9 HRs in 42+ innings coming into today. After the Reds were down by 2-0 after 7, all I wanted to see was Mes get up as the tying or go-ahead run. Various events – secondary relivers, Ludwick’s DP, conspired against that.
    When Mes homered off Reed, I didn’t feel excited, I felt terrible, the game was already lost. I knew Reed was too much for Ludwick to handle.

    BTW I don’t blame Ludwick for anything, I’ve been a supporter of his and it’s not his fault that management has counted on him so heavily in 2013-14.

    • Absolutely spot on regarding Ludwick. He rehabbed as vigorously and aggressively as anyone could in 2013. He gives 100% effort in everything he does. The shoulder injury, a by-product of his giving 100% effort, robbed him of the final productive seasons of his career. Sometimes bad things happen to good players and good people.

      I thought the one-year signing in 2012 with a mutual option for 2013 was a verty good move by WJ. I thought the FA contract signed for the 2013 was a good move by WJ, but the shoulder injury resulted in a zero return on that investment and WJ could not accept a zero return and failed to make the necessary move to replace the lost production.

      • Ludwick may be a great guy but he’s had three months of above average play in the last 5 seasons. Otherwise he has been a average to below average player.

  14. One of the things I find bothersome is the total lack of bats available in the farm system – or at least that’s my perception, I’m the first to admit I don’t keep up with the specifics of those guys. Even this year, in the first round the Reds start with a relief pitcher. I figure they plan to make him a starter, but right now he’s a relief pitcher/converted infielder. I would love to see an article on what the heck has been going on draft wise the past 2,3,4 years or so to get to this position. Too much emphasis on pitching? Too many misses? Who were the noteworthy names passed on that would be helpful now? Just curious.

    • Ervin,Winker, Daal, etc. Ervin has spent most of the year recovering from surgery but is hitting again so I would imagine he will begin to move through the minors pretty quickly again. There are no hitting prospects at AAA unless you talk about Soto who was hitting over 300 or Lutz who was hitting over 350 when he was first called up from AA. Their 1st pick was a reliever in college and they decided to leave him in the bullpen for this season, then start stretching him out. The Reds have loaded up on a lot of pitching, but have also drafted a fair number of position players. Good drafting is a product of picking the best player available and often recently, their best choices have been pitcher. But Ervin was a #1 last year and Winker two years(3?) ago. Looking back is always interesting though seldom very satisfying.

  15. As a manager and leader, I applaud Bryan for shouldering full responsibility for the mistakes of his team. That’s what a good leader does and something Dusty never did. The other thing a good leader does is address the problems and find solutions and this is where i think a lot of people are faulting Bryan in his performance. Unfortunately, I don’t know that there are any solutions under Bryan’s control to the problems facing the Reds in 2014. If Bryan simply benched everyone making stupid mistakes, he would not be able to field a team from the 25 man roster.

    • Now you’re absolutely spot on. Bryan cannot bench everyone for making stupid mistakes, and after today’s game he said that he mismanaged the game, and that Santiago ran due to a “sign mixup …. there was a miscommunication on the signs”.
      You don’t like to see that, he’s got to address it, but at least he owes up to a management/coaching error rather than throw his player under the bus.

      • “A sign mix up”? Gee, I wonder if our 3rd base coach had anything to do with that.

        Frankly, if I’m Santiago and I thought I saw the sign to steal there I invent a problem with my batting helmet and go ask one of the coaches if they’ve taken leave of their senses.

  16. The idea that being aggressive in the basepaths is a good idea? Price has had a lot out of his control but the baserunning is HIS thing. The reason you get 10 hits and can’t score runs is that you run yourself into outs. Its a WHOLE team problem. Its the opposite of Moneyball.

    • I agree 100%. Overall I like Price, but his statements about “aggressive base running” made me nervous even before the season started. There are some positives, like Frazier learning to steal. But the players need to be “smart aggressive”, running according to their capability and the situation. Above all, rally killers with 0 or 1 out are happening way too often.

      • Due to scheduling conflicts (need for sleep) and baseball-related disaffection, I’ve seen only a few innings during this post-all-star funk, but it occurs to me that I haven’t seen BH attempt any steals. Is this true? I know that he’s been slumping and not on base very much, but he’s not ofer. If my small sample size observation is accurate, does it mean he’s got a nagging injury? He’s been told to cool it due to poor success rate?

    • You’re right that the reds have been pretty bad on the basepaths this year. Their ultimate baserunning rating (UBR) on fangraphs is the 3rd worst in baseball. UBR measures just about everything you can do on the bases except for stealing bases. The reds are middle of the pack, 14th of 30, in wSB which is the stolen base value that goes into fWAR. I think price wanted to be more aggressive on the bases this year, and in theory it’s a good idea. They had the fastest baserunner in baseball coming into the lineup and they also had some guys who were better baserunners than they were given credit for, like heisey and Frazier. Also, as runs get more and more scarce in baseball and outs occur more frequently, the value of a stolen base goes up as well as taking an extra base.
      It was a good idea in theory, but the execution has been horrible. It’s past time that they put the brakes on this over aggressive baserunning because they are costing themselves a lot more runs than they are gaining.

  17. By the way, looks like REDS may get Bonafacio from cubs. This was a favorite idea of mine this offseason when he was released. He would fill some holes but the Titanic has already hit the iceburgh!

    • What would we part with to get him? I’m reading that he will be a free agent after this season, further clouding the reason to go after him. If he’s supposed to be the answer to 1 2014 resurgence, the Reds have more front-office problems than I thought.

      • WJ and the Reds missed the Bonifacio train before the season even started. Now he would simply be an additional temporary stopgap to throw into the mix with Schumaker, Santiago, Negron and Heisey. Trading any worthwhile prospect for Bonifacio at this point would be…well, pointless.

  18. I haven’t seen any mention of the conversation/interview between Frazier and Jim Day of FSO. In that discussion, Frazier candidly and forthrightly admitted to pressing and trying to do things at the plate he is simply not capable of doing. I think the same can be said of Mesoraco and very possibly Hamilton. Those are the 3 key offensive contributors on the current Reds roster. Everyone else is an offensive role player or substitute. Those 3 players know and understand that they must produce in order for the Reds to have any realistic chance to win and have simply been trying too hard to do too much.

    I fully expect those 3 players to begin playing within themselves again with positive results, albeit too little too late for the 2014 season.

  19. With Votto and BP out and Bruce mostly slumplng, those are the 3 guys who have to hit consistently. I’ve suspected that the pressure has gotten to them. You’ve got one rookie and the other two guys are having breakout seasons and not used to carrying a team.

  20. Think about this.. if the Reds choose the buyouts for Ludwick and Hannahan’s option next year (which is highly likely).. the Reds will be paying $37.5m for Chapman/Broxton/Marshall/Ludwick/Hannahan/Schumaker in 2015. If they pick up the options for the two it’ll be $44m.

    Yes, I am being serious. If that’s not reason enough for Walt to never get a GM job again, I don’t know what is.

    • So the Reds are the only team that overpays on players? And couldn’t have Bob vetoed those deals?

      • You hire a GM to let him do his job, not veto things, but when it turns out he failed at his job, you need to let him go…. and I never said at any single point in my post said the Reds are the only team that overpays on players. I did say that Walt shouldn’t get a GM job again because of how he’s done though. I also believe you can’t have $37.5m invested in 3 players who may or may not even play in 2015, a bench player, and two relief pitchers who are on pace to throw like 60 innings each when you’re a team with a market size like Cincinnati.

        Then you have $58m in Votto/Bruce/Phillips/Bailey/Cueto, putting you at $95.5m. Add in the fact that Frazier, Mesoraco, Simon, Leake, Latos, and Cozart are ALL going to arbitration next year, meaning they will all see a pay raise.. even more so considering Frazier, Mesoraco, and Simon are coming off All-Star seasons.

        Say Frazier and Mesoraco get $5m each for their All Star seasons, Simon gets $7m for his, Leake gets $8m for a great season, Latos gets $7m for a good season. Cozart gets $2m. I totally just made those numbers up, they could be less or could be more. I just was doing this based off the fact Bailey was going to get like $9.5m for his season last year in his third year of arbitration.

        The 2015 offseason will roll around and it’ll be the exact same team that nobody thought was all that great at the beginning of the 2014 season, once again with no money to improve it because they’ll already have around $129.5m tied up in the current team.

        – – –

        That is why the Reds need to sell. If they don’t, 2015 will just be a repeat of 2014, except then they won’t get to participate in the huge sellers market because four of their five starting pitchers will be heading into free agency.

        • Problem is your view isn’t based on any real hard facts, just assumptions on your part. We have no idea what Bob has told Walt, we don’t know what kind of monies Bob is willing to spend in coming seasons. Do you really believe Bob would have okayed any of these salaries knowing it would hinder the Reds ability to sign other players on the team in the future. Before the Reds signed Votto to his long 10 year deal, I am willing to bet there wasn’t one person here who ever thought the Reds would sign any player to that type of deal. Unless we know exactly what is going on with Bob and his checkbook and his orders to Walt, it’s all just assumptions on our part.

        • You need a little perspective, too: where were the Reds when WJ took over? Even now–within a game of .500–they are better than they were then, and they have mostly been competitive and good. Reds fans, possibly due to memories of the BRM, have a sense of entitlement. WJ has built a good team, given monetary limitations. What they haven’t done yet is go to or win the World Series. But, then, most good teams don’t. We’re all frustrated.

        • Green, Walt also had almost all the building blocks for the good Reds team just handed to him. The vast majority of all the home grown contribution that led to the playoff appearances the last few years wasn’t drafted by Walt but by the GM before him.

  21. Just a thought here, but I can see how Bonifacio could be helpful on a rental and possible re-sign.. Just guessing here, but if you do not Schumaker, Bonifacio plays the same positions. #2 hitter, Bonafacio. If the Reds are not going to be competent at stringing hits together, then Bonaficio can run and with both he and Hamilton on base a double can easily score 2. ;What I am saying is that the Reds might try to go with more aggressive running; not that I am advocating that move. It will not tip the balance in the lineup to make them WS contenders, but it might be enough to get a playoff spot. Here is my reasoning; the Cards are not much better with Masterson than without. The Brewers, short of any moves, are the team with the least talent of the 4 contending. Pittsburgh is the best choice to win the division. It might possibly still work out. .Now, what does it cost? .

  22. Walt Jocketty cemented his legacy in St. Louis, his stint in Cincinnati is his final gig as a GM. I’ve heard some fans say that Walt took the Reds GM job to pad his retirement nest before he hits the links full time. I think its absurd to think padding his retirement nest was the motivating factor in WJ taking the job as Reds GM. Walt is working within the parameters set by his boss, Reds owner Bob Castellini. What the heck, might as well throw this out there, you know, just for the Halibut. What if at some point during the season Mr. Castellini instructed Walt to maintain the status quo for the remainder of the season because (wait for it, wait for it) because Mr. Castellini is going to put the team up for sale after the season. Even for a native and diehard Reds fan like Bob Castellini there comes a time, as B.B. King would say “the thrill is gone” Personally I don’t think that’s the case, but you have to admit that if the owner of an MLB team was planning on selling his team, that team would look like the Reds in terms of GM activity.

    • Sarge, I don’t really agree with the premise that the Reds are behaving like a team about to be put up for sale. But with the All Star Game finally coming to Cincinnati next year–a game Castellini fought for–there’s no way no how he’s selling after this season regardless of what moves do or don’t get made. The ASG is the only set of “tea leaves” you need in this situation.

      • I completely forgot about the All-Star game, and I agree with what you say. The selling the team thing was just something I thought I would throw out there while we’re sitting around the old cracker barrel shooting the breeze.

  23. There is a report out by Bob Nghtengale that the Reds are letting teams know that Ludwick is available in a trade. What took the braintrust so long to figure that out? Less than 24 hours before the deadline, that’ll be a tough sell. Don’t know how many will check under the hood. Jiminy Christmas, they should have been advertising that fact since, since March. Maybe its more for an August waiver deal.

    • After reading Toddalmighty’s post above about the amount of money owed to player’s on the team next year, I would trade Ludwick for “future consideration”. I would even offer to pay the rest of his salary this year just to get out of next year’s $4,5 million buyout.

      • Shopping Ludwick aggressively is good news. The team is officially ‘limited sellers’. It’s too bad they wait until losing the Diamondback series to do so.

        Eating half Luddy’s remaining money and getting middling prospect is a small win for this team and their 2015 payroll flexibility. Ludwick’s contract was deemed unwise back then but I can see why they wanted to keep him given the lack of LF options.

  24. Reds need to look beyond this season. Without Votto and BP, we’re exposed. However, the amount of bank to retain the current starting staff is impossible to maintain. Have to move a starter for some bats/depth.

  25. If you ever want to feel better about the Reds baserunning: go check out the video of the Pirates vs SF. Close game. 6th inning, one out, runners on 2nd and 3rd, guy walks to load the bases….and the runner on 2nd starts wandering towards 3rd. During the ensuing rundown, the guy on 3rd breaks for home.

    The result: an inning ending, rally killing, game costing Double Play. On. A. Walk. Possibly the worst TOOTBLAN in the history of the game, served up by the team with last year’s Manager of the Year, if I’m not mistaken.

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