Titanic Struggle Recap

Acceptable

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (57-56) 9 15 0
Cleveland Indians (57-56) 2 5 1
W: Cueto (13-6) L: Tomlin (5-8)
Box Score | Play-by-Play | Game Thread | Depth Chart | Win Probability

Positives

–Yet another outstanding start by Johnny Cueto. Cueto pitched a complete game, surrendering two runs on five hits. He’s now 13-6 with a 2.04 ERA, having won five consecutive decisions.

The Nation loves Johnny Cueto.

–The Reds took control in the second inning on the strength of…a Ramon Santiago three-run homer? It was Santiago’s first home run of the season (although he was robbed of a homer over the July 4th weekend, when a fan reached out and Bartman’d a ball).

–Jay Bruce had a big day: 3-5 with his 11th homer and two RBI. Maybe this is just wishful thinking, but it certainly appears as though Bruce is finally coming around at the plate.

–Lots of offense up and down the lineup. Zack Cozart had two hits, including a triple, and scored a couple of runs. Kris Negron had two hits, including a triple (according to the box score, or a double, as they said on television) that drove in a couple of runs in the ninth. Brayan Pena had two hits and a walk. Ryan Ludwick walked and singled.

Negatives

–Brayan Pena was caught stealing and gunned down at home. The play at home occurred in the ninth, and replays looked like Pena made a great slide to avoid the tag. On the other hand, the throw beat him to the plate by ten feet. Why in the world would 3B coach Steve Smith send Brayan Pena in that situation?

Not so random thoughts….

–Reds are back above .500, and they showed a little more spark tonight. Finally, that ten-game losing streak at Cleveland is over.

–How good is Johnny Cueto? (Answer: very good.)

–Crazy play in the seventh. A ball was hit over Bruce’s head in right field, and as he went to retrieve it and throw it back to the infield, another baseball came flying out of the Reds bullpen in the direction of second base. The Cleveland runner on third (David Murphy) saw the other ball laying in the outfield and took off for home, and upon realizing he was in trouble, wasn’t able to get back to base before the Reds applied the tag.

My description doesn’t do the play justice, I’m sure..

–The game ended in a walk-off replay. Murphy grounded to second with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, but the umpire called him safe. The call was ultimately reversed and Cueto wasn’t required to throw another pitch to record his complete game.

–Nine runs and fifteen hits. Is this heaven?

54 thoughts on “Acceptable

  1. Negron’s hit was a double not a triple. Not sure what box score you got 3B, but ESPN, Reds TV, CTrent all said it was called a double.

    • Interesting because Negron was racing for 3rd regardless of the throw home. If Pena had been ruled safe at home, I wonder if they rule it a triple (not supposed to matter of course).

    • According to Marty on the radio he was awarded a triple, they made a correction on air in the bottom of the ninth. Both he and the Cowboy agreed Negron would have been safe at third regardless of the throw to the plate.

  2. Why in the world would 3B coach Steve Smith send Brayan Pena in that situation?
    **************************************************************

    Because he is Steve Smith.

  3. I know Zach Cozart had two hits, but he still an awful hitter. I would love to start a petition to get Negron or Santiago playing time at SS over Cozart once Phillips (and Votto?) come back. At least they show a little fight and tenacity. Thoughts?

    • Cozart minor league numbers are better, and cozart’s numbers the last 2 years in the majors were better. Remember how good he was when he first came up. Then the pitchers adjusted. What would negron’s numbers look like if he played everyday and pitchers started planning for him. There’s no way to know, but I don’t think negron or Santiago is a better option than Cozart at short.
      But this season should be forcing the reds to think about what they are going to do if cozart’s offense continues to be this bad next year. He’s always been an OBP black hole. But he made up for that his first two years with his defense at a premium position and having some decent power. But now his power has disappeared. He’s also not a young guy, in baseball terms, even though this is only his third full year. Big year for him next year, as he will be arb eligible and if he doesn’t rebound a little, the reds may have to try to find someone else.

      • I believe Cozart is arb eligible after this season: 2012+2013+2014=3 years (plus the 2+ months or so from 2011 as MLB DL time counts as MLB service time) and 3.00 years is arb eligible.

        I agree that Cozart was behind the curve getting to the MLB and is aging rapidly in those terms. I don’t see the Reds doing anything drastic like nontendering him; but, I wouldn’t be surprised if they make a move at SS over the off season to at least get somebody who could push him and possibly win the position from him going into or over the course of the 2015 season.

        Hamilton is emerging as even more valuable defensively at the one position at which defense might be more premium than SS plus he has two more bargain basement salary years remaining. That pretty much leaves SS along with LF as the spots where the Reds can realistically look to improve their offense over this off season.

        .

      • Maybe, but watching the Indians should give us all renewed appreciation of the Reds’ defense, and Cozart is key to that.

    • Cozart has been the best defensive MLB shortstop (above Simmons) this year. He’s first in FG’s proprietary “Fld” measure, he’s first in defensive runs saved (at 19), first in UZR, etc… and it’s not even close. He’s 25% or so above the guys in 2nd.

      I’m perfectly fine with Cozart in the Reds lineup… batting 8th.

        • Sad thing is, Simmons will still probably win the GG. Cozart would deserve it according to both my eyes and the metrics.

        • ATL’s SS Simmons went down with an ankle injury last night. Rolled it pretty bad on the 3rd base bag. Out day-to-day. Those things can linger for awhile.

  4. I don’t know about benching Cozart, but I like both Negron and Santiago enough to feel that Schumaker should never get another start at 2nd base.

  5. Ludwick seems to be heating up a bit. Price has been playing the matchup game a little too much. Keep playing him. In any case, keep Schu on the bench.

    • In his last 3 games, Skip is 4 for 11 with a BB. So I still think he should get some starts in LF against the right pitching.

      However, Salazar, like Tomlin, has a huge reverse platoon differential: RHB have a .910 OPS while LHN have only a .678. So I imagine Ludwick will get the start in LF. Santiago is 0 for 4 with 2 Ks against Salazar so Negron might be the better option at 2B. Billy is striking out a ton (10 in his last 5 games) but he’s hit safely in all of them and gone 7 for 25. Maybe give him a day off today or tomorrow.

  6. The Pena “caught stealing” should mention that the Reds scored a run on the play. Pena let himself get caught in a rundown, and the Indian 2nd baseman seemed to forget all about Heisey, who easily scored from 3rd and got credit for a steal of home.

    Tonight the Indians played like the Reds did last night.

    • I suppose for the record it might go down as a TOOTBLAN but trying a double steal with those two players in the positions they were in amounted to offering to trade the out for the run and the Indians took the bait.

    • According to the in game box score he didn’t get credit for a steal of home. Did you see that someplace, or were you just assuming–as I did initially–that he would get a steal?

    • I honestly believe it was planned that Pena would “steal” and Heisey would break for home on the throw. Cause honestly, why would BRAYAN PENA, the second slowest runner on the team (behind Ludwick, only because Pena at least TRIES) be legitimately trying to steal a base

  7. Everyone overlooks that Steve Smith was once a contestant on The Amazing Race. He waves EVERYBODY home because that’s how you WIN THE AMAZING RACE.

  8. On last night’s recap discussion it was noted how Bruce had two hits to left field, so he’s about to go on one of his hot streaks. I liked his line drive single tonight even more than the home run. He ripped it right through the shift. Beat the shift 4 times in the 2 games.

  9. Cueto was just about perfect after the first inning, except for the start of the 7th inning, when he seemed to be trying to wake up from a nap. Pena even gestured with both hands: “What are you doing ?” It was funny.

    Somebody in the Reds bullpen pulling the old “second ball” trick got him out of that jam.

  10. The Cleveland tv broadcasters were as quiet and calm as their main radio broadcaster is loud and hysterical. They made a good point late in the game: that Price picked a good time to give his tongue lashing, just before the Reds ace was about to pitch.

    I’m glad Price did it, and the Reds had it coming, but it did occur to me that the timing was good. Looking at the pitching matchups for the 4 games, the first game favored the Indians, the remaining 3 favored the Reds, especially tonight.

  11. Hamilton’s been striking out so often on breaking pitches in the dirt, if I were the Reds hitting coach I’d tell him to try this approach with 2 strikes: “If it’s low, let it go.”

    • One small gripe for me re: Hamilton. He is striking out a lot not b/c he is being pitched to but because he is being pitched down and he can’t lay off. Those are gimmes in his line of work – he needs to make these pitchers come after him or they never will.

    • Negron is a nice little player. He’s a utility infielder at the MLB level though. I just don’t see him as a starter.

  12. I like Negron, very versatile. JUmbo as well. Those 2 should give Walt and Price some confidence to call up some other AAA players. Soto, Navarro and F Perez come to mind.

  13. That was really odd how the ball from the bullpen ended up right next to the relay throw from the outfield. It’s easy to see how a runner could have seen that ball and thought the relay throw trickled away. Doesn’t it seem like play should have been stopped once the second ball entered the field of play, with the runners awarded their bases?

  14. not for nothin’, but Ryan Ludwick doubled in the 1st (not a single) and took third on a throwing error. I’m as hard as anybody on Luddy, but both he and Frazier made heads-up hustle plays on that error. I feel like they were paying attention on the basepaths, which would be new for the Reds this season.

  15. Interesting who our divisional opponents play this month:
    Brewers——Giants (twice), Dodgers, Pirates, Blue Jays
    Cardinals—Phillies, Padres, cubs, reds, marlins, pirates.
    Pirates–tigers, nationals, braves, reds, brewers, cardinals

    The Cardinals have it pretty easy, while the Pirates and Brewers could struggle. Because of all the divisional play in September, that month is pretty even for everyone.

    • The Cubs are NEVER a pushover when playing the Cards. The schedule for the rest of the season and the way no one is running away with any of the divisions are why I think the Reds have as good a chance of making the playoffs as anyone else. Now if only the Brewers pitching would come back to earth….

  16. Off-topic – but Big Donkey, Adam Dunn, pitched last night in the ChiSox blowout loss. He gave up a walk, 2 hits & an earned run.

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