Titanic Struggle Recap

Game 115: And the Ohio Cup Belongs to the Reds

Final R H E
Cleveland Indians (57-58) 0 5 3
Cincinnati Reds (59-56)
4 8 1
W: H. Bailey (9-5)   L: T.J. House (1-3)
Box Score | Stats | Depth Chart | FanGraphs Win Probability

Tonight’s recap is courtesy of the Reds Connect Zone behind third base. All hail technology.

The Good

Todd Fraizer’s play at the first base line started a 3-6 double play that got Homer Bailey out of a shaky first inning.

In the bottom of the 1st, Billy Hamilton singled, Jay Bruce then hit a ball deep into the SS hole, pulling the first baseman off the bag. Hamilton barely slowed down as he rounded second, forcing a wild throw that went into the seats, plating the first run. A moment later, Ryan Ludwick would single to left field just out of the reach of the SS, scoring Bruce from third.

Homer’s good again. He has been for awhile, if you’ve been keeping track. You are keeping track, aren’t you?

His line tonight: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K

The Bad

Reds got their third run as Bailey raced home ahead of a Billy Hamilton inside-the-park ho…..

…. whoa. Just threw up my internal stop sign. Call me the Steve Smith of the blogosphere. As Hamilton was being tagged out a mere 100 ft away from our seats, my son Zack said “I want Mark Berry back. Billy couldn’t have scored on that if he was Usain Bolt.”

Okay, then.

And there’s the rub. As noted a few days ago, Bryan Price is more than happy pushing the envelope with a team that finds runs hard to come by. He’s not waiting for hits. Tonight was a perfect example as Hamilton pushed the envelope in the first—and scored; then Smith & Co. pushed it again and prematurely ended the inning.

The Ugly

The Indian’s first baseman Santana had a bad night. He “Charlie-Browned” an infield can of corn, then in the 8th “Ole’d” a one-hopper from Chisenhall, who made a terrible throw.

Not so random thoughts …

Kris Negron. Again. 2-4 with 2 singles. Have you been hating on Kris Negron? Repent.

According to Lance McAlister, Manny Parra has not given up a run since May 19th. He didn’t give up one tonight, either.

Homer Bailey has a 1.62 ERA over his last 7 starts.

Have the Reds responded to Bryan Price’s recent tongue-lashing? Hard to say. But something is going on. What it is ain’t exactly clear. Know what I mean?

Reds win. I was there. And that’s enough.

 

94 thoughts on “Game 115: And the Ohio Cup Belongs to the Reds

      • Yep.

        One good start and we can completely ignore his 3.89 ERA and his 4.07 FIP.

        All hail Homer Bailey, the true ACE of the Cincinnati Reds staff!

        • I think maybe people might be referring to the fact that it’s been a lot more than “one good start”. Look as his game logs the last month+

        • One good start? Have you been in a deep slumber since late June?

          Over Homer’s last 7 starts dating back to June 29, he has pitched 50 innings and allowed only 9 earned runs, which works out to a 1.62 ERA during that stretch. For the year, his ERA is now down to 3.71, with an xFIP of 3.55.

          And I don’t see anyone on here calling Homer the true “ace” of the Reds. Anyone even remotely familiar with the team would award that honor to Johnny Cueto. If the reason for your sarcasm is because Homer makes more than Cueto, you should also recognize that Homer just started his first “free agent” contract, while Cueto has yet to reach that point yet. I would be confident in saying that Cueto’s new deal will easily top Homer’s $17.5 million per year he agreed to.

          Homer Bailey is not the ace of the staff, and he is not paid like an ace. He is paid like a top #2 starter, though, and I believe he will fulfill that role throughout the remainder of his contract.

        • I’ll add to what DOCMIKE said too by saying that if you feel he’s being paid like an ace, I’d ask if you have seen contracts for Sabathia, Greinke, Verlander, Hammels, Kershaw, Lee, Tanaka, Santana, Cain, Hernandez….

    • Being completely honest, if you go with the 5 guys expected to begin the year in the rotation (Cueto, Latos, Cingrani, Leake, Bailey), I think Homer is the WORST of the 5. Cueto and Latos are the two aces, and Cingrani is a potential ace in the future. Leake is a solid #3 on most teams also. I’ve never liked Homer since he came to the majors with the Reds, and would have been happy to see him walk as a free agent

      • Worst of the 5? No way.

        Out of those 5 (or 6, if you want to throw Simon in there), Homer is no worse than 3rd, and you could make a case for him as #2 considering Latos’ health issues this past spring.

        As for Leake, he is a solid #4 starter for most teams, but expecting him to be more than that would be foolish. Simon has been living on borrowed time most of the year (which appears to be catching up to him now), but would be a solid #5 starter for any team in the league.

        At this point, Cingrani is easily the worst. He has yet to show he can put together a full season, nor has he shown much development of his secondary pitches. I disagree that he is a potential ace, I see his ceiling as more in the #2 / #3 range, similar to Latos and Bailey, but he has not put it all together yet.

        • Before the season I argued that Latos, not Cueto, was the team’s ace, and Cueto is only the ace now because of his breakout season this year. Latos, when healthy, is at least as good as Cueto, and I think he can be even better than Cueto. At this point though, I’d consider them co-aces in the rotation.

          As for Leake, his career ERA is 3.89 and last season, he had an ERA of 3.37 with a 3.46 this year. Tell me how that’s only a number 4 starter.

          With Cingrani, his ceiling for me is a #1 starter, his floor is a #5, and he’s most likely to slot in as a 2 or 3 starter. He’s also young and doesn’t have a whole lot of experience. This season, I agree he’s been the worst, but when you take his first two seasons as a whole, he’s been good.

          I fully agree about Simon, and that’s why I didn’t include him in my original post. But the other 4 starters are all better than Bailey. Whatever way you look at it, Homer shouldn’t have been paid $100 million, they should have spent that money on locking up Cueto or Latos, or going after a big bat.

        • Agree with you about Cingrani, except that I don’t think that his “stuff” equals that of Latos or Bailey. His delivery is evidently deceptive, so his 92-93mph fastball looks faster to the hitters, but I would imagine that, over time, the hitters will adjust and see the emperor’s new clothes for what they are. Thus his need for seriously good secondary pitches.

      • I don’t think I would have signed him but I strongly disagree that Bailey is the worst of our 5 starters going into the year. Cingrani is a 1+ pitch pitcher and although many would disagree with me, I’m not sure he can be a middle of the rotation starter let alone an ace. I think he’s future is in the BP as a setup man or perhaps with his pitches a closer. Leake also isn’t the pitcher that Bailey is. I agree that Latos and Cueto are better but going into the season, there were questions about the health of both.

        • Yeah in my arguments I was assuming if they were all healthy. And with Cingrani, I do think his future might end up in the bullpen, but as a starter I think he can still be very good.

    • That’s the problem. Telling him go and Billy scores. Smith, who sends Pena on bloop singles from 1st (it’s hyperbole to make a point) tries to stop the fastest man in MLB while the throw is approaching the cut off man.

      Inconsistency is still worse that consistently poor.

      • As noted in the recap, the fastest man alive would have been thrown out on that play. Smith is terrible and should be fired, but he made the right call this time. It was Hamilton’s mistake. Hamilton also swung at a borderline 3-1 pitch and made an out, didn’t run out a pop-up that was dropped, got picked off for the zillionth time, and took strike three with a runner on third and one out. He’s a talented player and will undoubtedly get even better (and I feel good about drafting him on my fantasy team), but he’s making a HUGE number of mental mistakes. We can’t blame Smith for all of them.

        • Agreed. At the same time, Billy is 23 and in his first full season. Obviously, this is still a learning process for him. He’s certainly been one of the bright spots on this team so far.

        • He’s 23, but he’s in the major leagues. I’d like to think that by the time a guy gets to the majors he understands things like “try to walk sometimes,” “stop when the third base coach tells you to stop,” “run everything out” and “make sure the pitcher is throwing a pitch before you take off for second.” I mean, 23 year olds in the real world can (and do) raise kids, go to war, sign complicated contracts, attend medical school, and do all sorts of things that are a lot more complicated and demanding than “run everything out” and “pay attention to the third base coach when he tells you to stop.” I think we bend way too far over backwards making up excuses for bad baseball plays we wouldn’t expect to see from well coached high school kids. And it’s not as if the 27 year olds on this team aren’t making quite a few similar mistakes. I expect Hamilton will get better, but I also expect he’ll continue making lots of dumb mistakes for many years to come. I see nothing to suggest this organization demands that players really master the mental side of the game. They learn how to throw, field, pitch, and hit (sort of), but they don’t seem to understand how to get maximum value from their physical talents.

        • @Zippy – I agree with everything aside from getting on him too much for the pickoff. Against a LHP with a move like House has, you are going pretty much on first move. You’re guessing that he’s going to the plate or you are taking your first step back to the bag. The only exception I saw, when I absolutely knew House was coming home last night, was when he chose to use a slide-step on a few occasions. Then I wouldn’t have run anyway because it made him very quick to the plate. I’m ok with him getting picked on the play he did. He just guessed wrong. The other alternative would have for him to probably have just stayed put.

        • Zippy, the Reds make a lot of very smart plays, too. The DP Frazier started in the 1st comes to mind. Hamilton going to 3B because of the shift on Bruce’s single is another. I think it’s easy to fall into the trap of remembering every little mistake, and ignoring or forgetting all of the good decisions.

          For the record, Hamilton did run out the pop up which is why he was around 1B and in Santana’s face. If he’d run harder, A) Santana probably doesn’t drop the ball, B) if Santana dropped the ball, Hamilton probably would have been thrown out at 2B.

    • I was excited and was waving him on around. He would have been a dead duck if I was coaching 3B too. That said, when I’ve been at the game, I’ve hardly ever been on the same page with Smith when it comes to sending runners and I’ve almost always been right. Today I agreed with him and well, it was because I let my emotions get the best of me. Holding him would have definitely been the right call there.

  1. Usher told me tonight they were expecting 23K fans. Crowd ended up over 31K, so a great walk-up number. That’s a strong crowd for a Thursday night with no promotions in between Bruce bobble (last night) and the HOF stuff this weekend. The weather was gorgeous.

      • As always. Mike Maffie and I were talking on the phone today about how Homer’s strikeout and walk numbers were trending away from last year and not in a good way. Homer must have heard we were talking about him – 8 Ks and 1 BB.

        He’s lucky that Billy Hamilton didn’t run past him on that triple. Homer was running for his life. Billy kind of slowed down rounding first, worried about catching Homer, I think. I was worried Homer might be spent after that, but he pitched a dominant inning right afterward.

        • One very noticeable aspect of Bailey’s game is that he often seems to get stronger as the game progresses. I’m glad he’s gone on his recent run and hope that he consistently dominates, as he’s very capable of doing.

        • I was a little worried about Homer early because the Indians hit some shots off of him in the first two innings. The Reds defense did their job though and Bailey settled in. It was good to see. I’m not the Homer fan you are but I am still a fan of his. He got off to a slow start this year mostly because of the spring training injury in my opinion and didn’t get right until a couple months ago. Since then, he’s been the Homer the Reds thought they’d see when they extended him.

  2. The play by Frazier in the first inning and several others where the Reds were solid on defense was such a huge contrast with Cleveland’s infield defense. What a difference that makes.

    • Frazier’s DP in the 1st inning was the key to the game. Great play. Brantley hits a double right after that. Could have been a whole different ballgame

  3. Management kept faith with the team and the fans by not doing a sell off at the trade deadline. I would have liked to have picked up a big bat (still would) but those who screamed “Sell! Sell!” don’t appear to have been vindicated.

  4. The starting pitching has been outstanding. Other than Latos’ hiccup in the eighth inning last night, he, Cueto and Bailey dominated a decent Cleveland lineup. In four of Bailey’s last six games he’s given up one or no runs. Tonight was the first of those where he recorded a win.

    • And let’s remember that Latos gave up 2 of his runs after he’d thrown 110+ pitches. Essentially a shutdown performance by 3 starters in a row. And the Indians offense is better than “decent” by NL standards. A lot of good LHed hitters and a RHed basher (Gomes).

      Parra looked back in form tonight, which makes the Reds bullpen that much deeper. This is an awfully good pitching staff.

  5. Negron is playing well, love the kid and the way he plays. Should have been called up earlier, same with Jumbo. Negron is providing the Reds with some pop and energy at 2B. He’s earning himself some more playing time and should be the everyday 2B until BP gets back. 6-2 in the last 8 games. IMHO, we need to go 7-2 in the next 9 games.

  6. I’m a Hamilton fan and he created 2 runs tonight, but he did not do himself proud in the 5th inning. He’s got to run all out as soon as he hits the ball, regardless of where and how he hits it. When he doesn’t, he doesn’t take advantage of one of his big offensive weapons, making the defense nervous.

    And how was he picked off that badly ? I hate it when he goes on “first move” with a LHed pitcher, it’s a pure guess and he has a very high percentage chance of getting picked off. In this case, he didn’t even wait until first move, I don’t get it.

    • Hamilton appearing in the peripheral vision of Santana is likely what made Santana drop the ball. I can’t fault Hamilton for that. It was actually rather sneaky, if intentional

      • Maybe, but we don’t want Hamilton to turn into ARod. We want him to run full speed after he hits the ball.

    • In all fairness to Hamilton, he had the bag stolen easily on the 1-0 pitch to Bruce. Jay should’ve taken the pitch, but, in his defense, he’s not yet used to hitting behind a base stealer.

  7. Excuse me, but it is not over yet for 2014. Think of the Giants a few years ago, came from nowhere but got timely hitting, great pitching and good defense.

  8. PS The Reds have a history of very intelligent base runners – Morgan, Eric Davis, Larkin.
    Hatcher has a good reputation as a base running coach, but seems like Hamilton needs a little more help with the mental part of it.

    • Agreed.

      According to FG, Hamilton has been a less valuable base runner than the following:

      Dee Gordon (the only one that makes a lot of sense)
      Ben Revere
      Hunter Pence
      Jose Altuve
      Ian Kinsler
      Anthony Rendon

      Only Gordon, and perhaps Revere, should even be in the same tier as Hamilton, but his knack for getting out on the basepaths has essentially turned him into the equivalent a “really smarth base runner with above-average speed,” akin to Kinsler and Rendon. Essentially, his making outs is negating his speed entirely, since slow-ish guys (compared to Billy) are more valuable on the bases so far.

      • Yeah… I think he will improve in this area though. It took a while for Gordon to get it and I see Hamilton as being similar on the bases.

  9. In Bailey’s last 7 starts, he has pitched 50 innings and allowed only 9 earned runs, which works out to a 1.62 ERA during that stretch. Simply dominating right now.

  10. As noted above, Frazier turned a key double play in the first inning, also a nice play where he ranged to his right and made a perfect toss to Homer as he ran to cover first base. His defense keeps improving there, probably better than Votto’s right now.

    But of course I want to see him at 3rd every day once Votto is back.

  11. From that line drive, Homer had seam marks just below his right jaw. Wow. It looked like the line drive grazed him, but he acted like it didn’t. A couple of inches away from a serious event … I don’t even want to think about it.

  12. Has Negron ever played in the outfield. He seems like a decent athlete. I know it’s a small sample and the MLB teams are still writing the book on him, but he’d look pretty nice in LF once BP gets back.

    • Negron played 26 games in the OF this year at Louisville and has been around that number the last few years in the minors.Before this year he really hadn’t hit well in AAA; OPS in the low .600’s for three years in a row. He did better this year though not great: .269/.328/.406. He’s also not that young at 28.

      He’s on a glorious run right now and Price should keep riding him as long as he stays hot. But let’s not get carried away; he looks like a nice utility player but not an every day LF.

      • I agree with you which is way I added the caveats about the sample size and other teams eventually making adjustments. However, as long as he’s hot he would seem to be a superior option certainly to Ludwick and Schumaker and maybe Heisey.

  13. Once BP gets back, Price should pencil in Negron at SS for a game or two. Rattle Cozart’s cage. Well, Steve Smith is waving his arm telling me to go but I’ll probably be thrown at home by a quarter mile.

    • Why do you want to “rattle” Cozart’s cage? He has had a very good season so far. HE is never going to be a great hitter and doesn’t have to be. We have hitters on this team, his defense at one of the toughest positions is why he is here. Rattle his cage..come on.

      • I wouldn’t say Cozart has had a very good season and I like Cozart. He has been outstanding defensively but this is his worst offensive season. That said, he’s shown life since the break and he is our #8 hitter. How much offense does he need to produce considering his excellent glove? Probably a little more than he’s done this year but considering his defense, I don’t think he’s having a bad year. He doesn’t need his cage rattled.

    • If you didn’t learn Cozart’s true value by watching the kid from Cleveland then I don’t think you will ever see it. I’ll take his defense every day and twice on Sundays.

      • This doesn’t mean that at some point Negron or another player can play much better defense than Ramirez but not quite as good as Cozart and in the end be more valuable to the Reds by making a more significant offensive contribution than Cozart.

  14. On the Hamilton “triple” (quotes due to horrendous attempt at cutting off the ball by Swisher) it appeared Smith was telling Billy to stop. But not with much conviction. That’s another one of my many criticisms of Smith: he doesn’t seem to give very clear directions. Watching other teams, their 3B coaches have much more exaggerated gestures, which makes sense given that guys are running full tilt, trying to stay aware of the play, etc.

    Bottom line: the guy is horrible at the job of coaching 3B. Maybe he has lots of other talents we don’t see, in which case I hope he keeps doing them in his new role. But to continue to put him out there in games would be like continuing to pitch Hoover and Ondrusek in close games instead of Jumbo: an obvious mistake that needs to be fixed for the good of the team. And it has been fixed in the case of the relievers; I see no reason not to “send Smith down to the minors” now, rather than waiting for the offseason. His mistake rate on “difficult” decisions–the only kind that matter in his job–is off the charts. He’s not like Cozart, where his defense makes up for his bat. Smith is all minus, no plus. I know he’s a human being–maybe a lovely one–but this is a business and he’s hurting the team.

    • I just watched it again on the Indians feed. First off, Homer was way in front of him so those who thought there might have been confusion there or that Hamilton slowed because of Homer can put that to rest.

      Smith held up one hand, at chest level, saying “stop”. Seriously: one hand at chest level. Most 3B coaches put both hands up over their heads in a very clear gesture. Watch the replay on the Indians feed, as they were waiting for the Indians to come to bat in the top of the next inning.

      One hand. At chest level. Just imagine how long you would last if you were that bad at a basic core function of your job.

      • If anyone can explain how I can post a picture in the comments (working on an ipad) I’ll show the picture of Smith’s “signal”. It’s amazing. If you’re looking at the Indians feed, it’s the very last time they show the replay, with what looks like a camera in LF following Hamilton around 2B and then 3B. You can clearly see where Homer is and what Smith is doing. I wish I could send the screen cap to Big Bob. This isn’t about judgment or aggressiveness, it’s about a guy who doesn’t know how to put up a stop sign for a runner.

        • You don’t see what the big deal is with a 3B coach who regularly and repeatedly makes poor decisions, and who can’t even put up a sign correctly? If we end up two or three games out of the playoffs, or make the playoffs but lose a game because of him then maybe you’ll see.

        • Since Smith did tell Billy to stop and since Billy understood that, I don’t see what the big deal is REGARDING THAT PLAY.

          Obviously Smith’s performance as a 3B coach should be critically evaluated by the team, but it is highly unlikely that he would be replaced in the middle of the season.

    • Right now they look like two trains headed in opposite directions, destined to cross in the night.

    • I see Simon running around 3.30-3.40 by the end of the year and Bailey at 3.40-3.50 by the end of the year. If you ask who I want getting the ball in the playoffs, I would lean towards Bailey.

  15. We have a LF, he’s in AAA Louisville. Call up Felix Perez and play him. He can provide a jolt just like Jumbo and Negron provided. My lineup would be:

    Hamilton, Bruce, Frazier, Mesoraco, Pena, Negron, F Perez, Cozart

    • Felix Perez is a 29 year old non-prospect who has never hit more than 10 HRs in the minors, hasn’t stole a single base this year and has about a 3:1 K/BB ratio. His has a lifetime slash line in AAA of .279/.327/.407 which is barely better than what Ludwick is doing in the show this season.

      There’s no reason to believe he’s the answer in LF.

  16. We have a LF, his name is Alex Rios. He passed thru waivers and is free to be traded to anyone. All that needs to happen is Big Bob cutting the check for $3.5 mil, the remainder of his salary for this season. Only a $1mil buyout, $13.5mil option for 2015.

      • It’s better than what we have. The Rangers would eat most of the salary if we threw in a middling prospect—someone in the 12-20 range.

        That’s not worth doing?

        • At this point No. Not sure exactly what you see in him or that he is “that” much better then what we have given the cost, and you assume TX will eat some contract.

        • I doubt the Rangers would be so accommodating. They have little incentive to eat salary as they are only committed to the rest of the season’s and a $1 million buyout for next. And there are other teams like the Giants interested; the cost to get Rios might be Lorenzen which seems too high.

    • You may be right. But watch for two possibilites that come out of Colorado.
      Cuddyer, who is on a rehab assignment and doing well. FA after season.
      Morneau, to play 1B this year. That means they know Votto won’t be back this year. Owed about $1.85M for rest of this year. He is signed for 2015 at about $6M, can move to LF next year, he has not played LF before but is very athletic and probably can make the switch. Morneau will cost more in prospects than Rios or Cuddyer.

      • Morneau has never played a single game in the bigs in the OF and he only played 7 in the minors there in 2000. He’ll be 34 next May. The idea that he could just easily transition to be a starting LF is far fetched. $6 million is too much for a backup 1B.

        • Yeah, what was I thinking? You probably want to leave that to Jack Hannahan and Ryan Ludwick and Skip Schumaker.

        • I agree with you on Morneau in LF. He is fairly athletic as WVREDLEGS said but there is the matter of not taking a lot of fly-balls in MLB stadiums and I don’t know about his arm. Of course the Reds could bring him in for the rest of this year and then try to trade him in the off-season.

      • Why is it assumed that players can just switch and play any position even if they never had? Why not just get a LF, why move an aging player into a position that he has never played and reguires movment more then playing first.

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