Titanic Struggle Recap

The closer myth bites the Reds

Final R H E
Boston Red Sox (53-65)  3 8 1
Cincinnati Reds (60-59)  2 6 0
W: Layne (1-0)   L: Broxton (4-1)   S: Uehara (26)
Box Score | Play-By-Play | Photos | FanGraphs Win Probability

The Reds lost the first of a two game series to the Red Sox 3-2. The Reds got off to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, after a good patient inning (the Reds saw 31 pitches in the first inning off Red Sox starter Joe Kelly). Mat Latos gave the Reds seven strong innings, allowing just one run, but Jonathan Broxton couldn’t hold the lead in the 8th inning. Broxton gave a up 2-run home run to Yoenis Cespedes with 2 outs. Meanwhile, Arolids Chapman was saved for a “save situation” that never occurred.

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Biggest Play of the Game

According to Fangraphs WPA statistic (wining percentage added), the most important play of the game was Yoenis Cespedes 2-run HR off Jonathan Broxton in the 8th inning, giving the Red Sox a 3-2 lead. That play decreased the Reds chances of winning by 54.4% (from 79.9% 26.5%).

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

  • +8.0% – 8th inning: Broxton gets Pedroia to fly out, runner on 1st, 1 out
  • +7.8% – 1st inning: Mesoraco RBI single, Reds lead 2-0, runners on 1st & 2nd, 0 outs
  • +7.4% – 3rd inning: Latos gets Ortiz to fly out, runners on 1st & 3rd, 2 outs
  • +6.8% – 7th inning: Latos gets Middlebrooks to fly out, runner on 2nd base, 2 outs
  • +6.4% – 7th inning: Latos strikes out Napoli to end the inning, stranding a runner on 2nd base.
  • +6.1% – 1st inning: Hamilton steals 2nd base, advances to 3rd base on error, 0 outs
  • -11.1% – 7th inning: Bogaerts RBI single, Reds lead 2-1, runner on 1st base, 0 outs
  • -10.1% – 9th inning: Santiago flies out, runner on 1st base, 2 outs
  • -8.9% – 8th inning: Holt leadoff single off Broxton
  • -8.7% – 7th inning: Nava leadoff double off Latos
  • -8.7% – 9th inning: Cozart fouls out to end the game
  • -8.0% – 9th inning: Pena grounds out to lead-off the 9th inning
  • -6.5% – 1st inning: Pena grounds into a double play, runner on 3rd base, 2 outs

Player of the Game

 Yoenis Cespedes: 1 for 4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, +0.43 WPA

Positives

The Reds offense forced Red Sox starter Joe Kelly to throw 31 pitches in the first inning. Billy Hamilton lead the game off with a lead-off, four-pitch walk. He then stole second base, and advanced to third base on an errant throw. Jay Bruce didn’t force things with a runner on third base by swinging at a pitch out of the strike zone to drive in a run, and drew a tough 7-pitch walk. That helped the Reds put a crooked number up on the scoreboard. Todd Frazier battled, and on the 7th pitch of his at-bat, reached out and hit a single to give the Reds a 1-0 lead. Devin Mesoraco ripped the 5th pitch of his at-bat for an RBI single, and that gave the Reds a 2-0 lead. It was certainly a breath of fresh air to see the Reds really work a starting pitcher early.

Devin Mesoraco is an absolute stud, and is having one of the best years ever offensively by a Reds catcher (you would know this if you read my article on Mesoraco from yesterday *shameless plug*). Mesoraco went 3 for 4 tonight, and is now hitting .300/.371/.586 on the season. Oh, and we can put this Mesoraco doesn’t hit as well higher up in the lineup to bed as well. Since July 28th, Mesoraco has batted exclusively 4th in the Reds lineup. He has hit .333/.404/.627.

Mat Latos had another really good start for the Reds, allowing just 1 run in 7 innings. In the 7th inning, when it looked like Latos was rapidly losing it, he got two big outs. The Red Sox had the tying run on 2nd base with 1 out, and Latos got Middlebrooks to fly out, and then stuck out Napoli. Latos line on the evening: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 2.13 FIP. Latos now has a stellar 2.95 ERA, 3.38 FIP, and 0.94 WHIP in 11 starts this season.

Negatives

Bryan Price decided to once again go to his “old-school” bullpen management, and it killed him tonight. Against the top of the Red Sox order, in a 1-run game, in the 8th inning, Price went to Broxton instead of Chapman (saving him for a save situation in the 9th inning that may or may not be there). Even after Holt singled, and the left-handed batting David Ortiz came to the plate, Price stuck with Broxton. He was able to get Ortiz out, but slugger Yoenis Cespedes was a different story. Cespedes hit a ball a mile off a Broxton, and gave the Red Sox a 3-2 lead. Price said it would be different with him as the Reds manager. He said he wouldn’t limit Chapman only to the 9th inning, but he has. Tonight, it most likely cost his team a crucial game. And to anyone defending Price for this move because of Broxton’s 1.07 ERA and 0.81 WHIP entering tonight, do you really think Broxton gives you a better chance getting through Ortiz and Cespedes than Chapman? Broxton entered today with a 3.14 FIP, Chapman entered today with a 0.66 FIP.

Price also allowed a hitter with a .567 OPS to hit with 2-outs in the 9th inning, down a run. He had Ryan Ludwick available, but decided he would let Ludwick see the conclusion of the game from the on-deck circle.

During the Reds impressive bottom of the first inning when they forced 31 pitches, Brayan Pena hit into a first pitch double play with the Reds having runners on 1st and 2nd. Prior to Pena’s GIDP, Red Sox starter Joe Kelly had thrown 22 balls and 18 strikes. He was struggling to throw strikes, and Pena let him off the hook by hacking at the first pitch, resulting in two outs.

The Reds offense was unable to score after the first inning. Par for the course.

Not so random thoughts………..

The Reds fortunately didn’t lose any ground in the NL Central race, and remain 5.5 games back as the Brewers lost. They are still 2.5 games out of a wild-card spot, as the Cardinals lost tonight too. The Reds might not have lost any ground tonight, but with only 43 games left, the Reds are running out of time to make a run.

The Reds got some bad news in the pre-game. Homer Bailey will not make his scheduled start tomorrow, due to “stiffness in his right elbow and forearm.” The Reds will use the day off yesterday to push Bailey back to starting on Saturday. Let’s hope this is just a precautionary move, and not something that will bug Homer for long. Over Bailey’s last 13 starts, he has posted a 2.65 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 75 K, 25 BB. He has been even better in his last 7 starts: 1.61 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 37 K, 14 BB. The Reds rotation for the rest of the week will be:

  • Wed: Leake vs Red Sox
  • Thurs: Simon at Rockies
  • Fri: Cueto at Rockies
  • Sat: Bailey at Rockies
  • Sun: Latos at Rockies

This Nick is with that Nick. I think Dunn would be a good addition for the Reds. If you were to put Dunn in tonight’s lineup playing 1B, his .770 OPS would be the third highest (behind Frazier and Mesoraco). Dunn is in the final year of his contract with the White Sox, and I would assume he could probably pass through waivers. He could be the offensive upgrade the Reds need until (if) Votto returns, and then could be a really great weapon off the bench as a pinch-hitter (and no, he can’t still play LF). I certainly don’t know Dunn, but I would assume he would love that kind of role with the team he came up with late in his career. I don’t even know if the White Sox are looking or willing to move Dunn, but just a thought.

 

81 thoughts on “The closer myth bites the Reds

    • I think you’re jumping to conclusions and I certainly hope you’re wrong. But if something like that did happen, maybe the front office would realize why it’s such a bad idea to give long term 100+ million dollar contracts to pitchers. That could be a valuable lesson with latos and cueto set to be free agents after next year. Develop the young pitchers and get the good, cost controlled years, then deal em for younger players and let someone else pay for them after they hit 30. Just too risky. Invest in pitching; not individual pitchers.

    • Always a concern when I hear ‘elbow and forearm’ followed by ‘stiffness’, ‘pain’, or ‘discomfort’. It sounds like they don’t think this is a serious injury and the article about it said that pitchers often have discomfort as it gets later in the year. Having worked with a lot of pitchers, I can vouch that their elbows and shoulders often do hurt and become inflamed as the season progresses. In many cases, some rest is quite helpful to the arm in question. Let’s hope that’s the case with Homer.

      Besides, the Reds didn’t feel it necessary to perform a MRI on the elbow. How bad could it be? *Yeah, I kicked that hornets’ nest*

  1. How many managers in the game today would have done it any differently then price did in the 8th and 9th inning…I doubt few if any.

    • chapman can get more than one inning saves this loss is on the manager and still no offense that is on the front office shame ful

    • Plenty of managers would have had Broxton pitch around or even intentionally walk Cespedes with 2 outs, an open base and Nava (244/.326.313) on deck. Price said he didn’t want to put the go-ahead run on with an intentional walk. That’s the old school book. But Cespedes as the go ahead run at the plate is more dangerous than Cespedes on first with Nava at the plate (with 2 outs).

      • That’s what I was thinking. I wouldn’t have given Cespedes much to hit. I don’t think I would have intentionally walked him though. Of course Cespedes is a very good bad-ball hitter and even pitching around him, he may have smacked one out.

    • So every time the Reds have a lead in the 8th, Chapman should be in there? Ever appearence by Broxton in the 8th with a lead, you view it as a mistake?
      If there is an elimination game, I agree but this was just as meaningful as the other 118- there was no reason not to use Broxton, who knows if Chapman does not get crushed by Ortiz or Cespedes, maybe questioning the strategy is legit, but I argue doing that same strategy would wear out Chapman. Either you are only for it in hindsight when it does not work or you think he is that durable, then the real question is why is he not starting?

      • Have your best pitcher face the other teams best hitters, in the highest leverage situations. Limiting them to only the 9th inning is wasting talent.

  2. There is no reason at all that Joey Votto should play any the rest of the year and what are the odds Dunn would clear waviers…I doubt he would.

    • I think there are 15 million reasons (his salary for 2014) Dunn would clear waivers. Well, actually, between 4 and 5 million reasons because $4-5M is what is still due him in salary this year.

      You claim him on waivers and you pay it all if you “win” the claim; and, he is not pulled back. Once he is cleared, somebody can probably get the White Sox to eat half (which to them means save half) or more of it for a middling prospect who would likely never be more than “organizational depth”.

    • I think Dunn would absolutely clear waivers. Nobody would want to risk having to pay him what’s left on his contract if they don’t want him

  3. At this point I’m starting to be less annoyed with Price’s incompetence and more fascinated by it. I’m curious to see how many times he can make the same stupid mistakes, most of which could be easily avoided by checking any number of widely available stats or consulting one’s recollection of recent events. I’m also fascinated to see how long this multi-million dollar business will tolerate his blatantly counter-productive decision making. I do wish Price would get this figured out or the Reds would dump him and hire someone who can at least apply some basic logic to the offense, but I must admit this is like one of those things where you drive by a terrible traffic accident and just HAVE to look, because, while tragic and sad, it’s undeniably interesting.

  4. That crack of Cespedes’ bat was also the sound of whatever trade value that Broxton had at the deadline flying over the center field fence. Hopefully, they can dump the salary in the offseason (it may be quite doubtful), but it would have been nice to get a prospect or two in return. Or, of course, the Reds could continue to spend $9 million a season on a role that shouldn’t even exist.

  5. I know Broxton has had a great year, but I probably still would have put in Chapman to face Cespedes. The Reds have to be almost perfect if they are going to win one run games, instead of lose one run games, and that means, bringing in Chapman to face a dangerous hitter in a hitter’s ballpark and getting a 4 out save, when runs are a premium and very scarace, not having a red waved in from 3rd base, especially when the play at the plate is not close at all, telling the reds players to work the count, especially when runners are aboard and a pitcher has been wild (like tonight’s first inning), not putting in Shumacker or Hannahan just for the heck of it, because there are bettter options, PH for Cozart when you are in the 9th inning, because about anyone else, will be a better option. I would be in favor of bringing back Lou Pinella to give each of the Reds players a kick in the butt, and especially the 3rd base coach, a couple kicks in the rear end for bone head coaching.

    • I don’t think Lou Pinella is the answer. Of course I could see him actually taking over 3B coaching duties if he were still the Lou Pinella of 1990 and was managing the team.

  6. Frustrating team led by a manager that makes the most head- scratching decisions ever for an individual that is supposedly really intelligent – after a while you would think that “insanity” definition would start to ring a bell

  7. I know we aren’t supposed to criticize the content of these wrap ups, but I do have what I consider to be a legitimate query. While I agree that Chapman should be used in any high stakes situation I guess I don’t get the harping on about it every other night when we know nothing will change. And when pretty much every other team in the league uses their closer the same way it doesn’t seem like change is coming any time soon. Blowing off steam from frustration is one thing, but it seems to come up a lot in the wrap ups and just reading about it a lot makes it more frustrating than anything else since it ain’t gonna change.

    • I don’t like the harping on Chapman every night either. But tonight (for me) was about a 4 out save in a situation that called for it. Price has shown a willingness to use Chapman for a 4 out save – he did it once, and talks often about how he’s willing to use Chapman in the 8th if the situation calls for it.

    • Can’t just look at ERA, especially for relievers.

      But the bigger issue to me (given the unreality of managers actually using their bullpens like they should) is whether Broxton should have walked Cespedes.

      • Yes, finally this is brought up. Above I said: “Plenty of managers would have had Broxton pitch around or even intentionally walk Cespedes with 2 outs, an open base and Nava (244/.326.313) on deck. Price said he didn’t want to put the go-ahead run on with an intentional walk. That’s the old school book. But Cespedes as the go ahead run at the plate is more dangerous than Cespedes on first with Nava at the plate (with 2 outs).”

      • You can’t walk everybody. Cespedes is a nice player, but he’s not mike trout. Nava hasn’t been very good this year, but for his career he has a 123 aRC + vs righties while cespedes has a 112 wRC+ vs righties. Cespedes definitely has more power, but if you walk him then a hit by Nava ties it and a ball in the gap could put the Sox ahead. That’s not to say that it would have been a horrible move to walk cespedes, but it’s not an indefensible move to pitch to him either. There has to be a pretty big difference between the talent level of the hitters for the intentional walk to be the obvious move there, and against a right handed pitcher I don’t think there is that big a difference. Nava would have the platoon advantage and he has been the better hitter vs righties in his career. Not going to Chapman was a much bigger deal in my opinion. It just seems like every time a reliever gives up a homer to a decent hitter, you have people bashing price for not walking the guy. Even the best power hitters only homer about 5 or 6 % of the time. To put baserunners on just to avoid something that only has a 5% chance of happening is usually not the right decision.

  8. I don’t know how the numbers would work out on this, but sitting at the game I know I felt that if Price wasn’t going to bring Chapman in to face Ortiz and Cespedes, that with first base open he should have had Broxton walk Cespedes and pitch to Nava (who Broxton struck out). Maybe the odds of Nava hitting a double are higher than Cespedes hitting a home run, but it sure felt like Broxton-on-Cespedes was not the matchup the Reds wanted.

    • One point is that a Nava vs. Broxton matchup was preferable to a Cespedes vs. Broxton matchup. A second point is that with first base open a Chapman vs. Nava matchup was possible, for a 4 out save. Nava is batting .122 against lefties. What are the odds of his getting a hit against Chapman ?

      Price has (once anyway) shown a willingness to use Chapman for a 4 out save. Why not this time ? The game wasn’t important enough ? With 2 outs in the 8th, there was a clear path to a win. People are saying that other managers also save their closer for the 9th inning. This is generally true, but I have seen plenty of managers use their closer for a 4 out save when the situation called for it as this one did.

      • PS Nava is a switch hitter. The Red Sox were not going to pinch hit for him if Chapman came in, because after using Napoli, the only RHed hitter they had on their bench was the catcher Dan Butler, who doesn’t have a major league hit yet.

        • I’m not sure that Broxton should have intentionally walked Cespedes, but he certainly should not have given him anything to hit. Nibble the corners, hope for some strike calls, and keep the ball away from the heart of the plate. If it ends in a walk, fine, but what you hope for is Cespedes reaches for a bad pitch and either: A: Strikes out on it or B: Makes weak contact and an out. Any of these 3 outcomes would be better than challenging him over the heart of the plate.

          I remember reading something by Nolan Ryan who, when asked about his pitching success, said something along the lines of he always pitched around the other team’s best hitters and challenged the weaker ones. Wish more pitchers would pick up on this.

          Finally, here’s something I’ve always wondered: Why is a “4 out save” a thing but a “5 out save” isn’t?

  9. In my opinion bringing in Broxton to pitch in the 8th inning was probably the one and only managerial decision Price got right tonight. It was the moves Price didn’t make that contributed to the Reds losing tonight. But as far as I’m concerned its the Reds hitters continuing willy nilly approach to their at bats. How many times have we seen a Reds hitter get walked on 4 or 5 pitches, and than the next hitter swings at the first pitch in which would have been a ball had they not swung at the pitch. The Reds hitters have been doing this since opening day, nothing has changed. Price will be a better manager next year, but only because he has nowhere to go but up.

    • He’ll be a better manager because he’ll presumably have a better (healthier) team. The hitting is just killing them night after night. Too much Pena, Heisey, Schumaker, Ludwick, Santiago, etc. Another bat acquired last off season could have made a difference in all these 1-run losses. Pitching can only take a team so far.

      • I don’t see the basis for believing he would manage differently because he had a healthier team or 1 more good bat. The team would just be doing better in spite of his decisions because they would bring more talent to the table which in the end was one of the knocks on Dusty, i.e. that the team won in spite of him.

        • Votto or other star players not being in the lineup has no bearing on the inept base running, clueless at bats, questionable lineups, bullpen management and how to use the bench.

      • I agree. The pitching’s been stellar and the “D” is top flight but night after night, the hitting is woeful. That eventually catches up to you.

    • It’s truly amazing how undisciplined most of the hitters are on this team – don’t work counts , don’t take walks , continuously hack at pitches out of the zone – seems to be worse this year than last – and that’s saying a lot

        • I am ok swinging at a first-pitch after a 4-pitch walk to the previous batter or when the pitcher is having serious control issues. The thing is though, that pitch had better be a COOKIE. I mean it had better be exactly what you’re looking for to hack at it when a pitcher is struggling. That’s the part that’s been driving me nuts. Pitch recognition is very hard, especially on good pitches that are close one way or the other. If you are looking for one pitch, one spot though, it is generally easier to identify pitches that aren’t going to be in that spot. In which case, you don’t swing at them and at worst you’re down 0-1 in the count.

        • Of course listen to me talking like I know what I’m talking about. I always seemed to wind up down 0-1 and telling myself “Man, that was a pretty good pitch. I should have swung!” Guess that’s why I never made it very far.

      • Maybe these last couple months have made the lunatics that are always criticizing joey votto for walking too much appreciate how awesome an on base machine he has been and how important it is to this team.

        • For the umpteenth time…Nobody wants Votto to walk less. They want him to swing at more STRIKES IN THE ZONE.

        • Interestingly enough, the guy who swings at the most pitches in the zone (Phillips) is at 73.6%. Votto is at 64.8%. That’s about 1 in every 12 pitches in the zone that Phillips will swing at that Votto would not.

          Amazing to me that 1 in 12 is the differenve between a guy who “always swings” and a guy who “never swings” to some folks on this board!

          Outside-the-zone swing % is stark, though, as Phillips swings at nearly double the amount of pitches that are balls as Votto does.

  10. To me letting Santiago and Cozart make the last two outs was worse than the pitching decision in the 8th.

    Seems to be like Ludwick and Negron were both better options to hit a gap shot or homer.

    • Yeh lefties (Santiago) don’t hit Uehara at all and once down to the last out, give Ludwick a chance. More on this below.

  11. This was not a problem of the bullpen so much as it was a problem with the offense. It’s inexcusable what happened in first after 2 runs scored. Look at this way, Boston spotted the REDS a 2 run lead and then their pitchers combined to throw a 9 inning shut-out!

  12. We can’t win with 2 of our hitters driving in runs all the time. Devin isn’t gonna get 2 homers every night

  13. And can we stop the inaccurate characterization of saving the closer until the 9th inning as”old school”? Old school managers would curse you out, spit Redman in your eye and kick dust all over your Jordans if you would insinuate they should use their firemen that way. That is a much newer, trendy hipster school style of managing. Hasn’t been happening nearly long enough to call it old school. It was cutting edge, daring, and at the beginning of, wait for it, the sabermetric age. “Old School”, yeah, right.

    • Absolutely, it’s not at all old school. The hipster LaRuusa started it, I believe. Now it’s the current book, which is a different thing. Price did give an old school reason for not wanting to intentionally walk Cespedes – don’t put the go-ahead run on base with an IW. I disagree, as I argue above.

  14. Most of Price’s bad decisions seem to be of the same general sort. He allows his worst hitter to make the last out with better options available. He uses his worst pinch hitter but never gets his best pinch hitter into the game. He uses his worst pitchers for more innings than his best ones. He allows his second best relief pitcher to face the heart of the order in the 8th inning even though his best pitcher is available. He allows a lesser player to start a game even when he has better players who are perfectly healthy and rested on the bench. He keeps managing as if what happens AFTER this inning, or AFTER this hitter, or AFTER this game is what REALLY matters, whereas the present situation just shouldn’t be taken as seriously. Baker did exactly the same thing, of course, and I really do wonder if Price is somewhat under his spell. It’s easy to say “I’ll do things differently,” but when you’re faced with these decisions for the first time, I imagine it must be tempting to fall back on what other guys in your position have done, no matter how illogical those things might seem to the outside world. It’s almost inconceivable to me that a thinking person can keep making these same kinds of mistakes over and over, especially since they almost never produce the desired outcome, so I assume there must be some sort of semi-logical explanation.

  15. One out and the tying run on base in the 9th, Santiago and Cozart coming up, and no pinch hitter is used for either of them. Sigh. We have to admit that Price had limited options. But lefties are batting .143 against Uehara, definitely pinch hit for Santiago.
    And when it’s down to the last out, give Ludwick a chance, he’s a good low ball hitter, where Uehara lives.

  16. Above I’ve complained a lot about the Broxton-Cespedes matchup, but should add that Broxton couldn’t have chosen a worse pitching sequence than a fastball close to the head followed by one right down Broadway.

  17. For his career, yeonis cespedes has hit 43 homers in 1118 pa vs righties. That’s a 3.8 % chance of a homer vs a righty. If you walk him then an extra base hit by Nava at least ties it up and probably gives the Sox the lead. For his career, Nava has 79 xbh in 982 pa vs righties. That’s an 8% chance. So, Nava has been twice as likely to get an xbh as cespedes was to hit a homer vs a righty. Now, cespedes has played most of his games in Oakland for his career which is less homer friendly than GABP. So maybe the chances of a cespedes homer go up a percent or two. But you also have to take that pitcher into account and broxton has been getting a lot of ground balls and done a good job keeping the ball in the park this year. I think people have seen cespedes in the homerun derby and think that a cespedes homer was much more likely than it actually was. There’s enough here to say that pitching to cespedes was not the wrong decision. I think you could make a case for walking him, but I wouldn’t have and it wasn’t the obviously correct decision that some people are making it out to be.

    • Thanks for the analysis. I may have pitched around him but doubt I would have issued an IBB. Of course, with a 2-1 lead going into the 8th, I may have sent Chapman out for 2 innings and if it made him unavailable, Broxton would have been my closer tonight. I can’t pound on Price for the bullpen management last night as it’s how most managers would have handled it with Broxton and Chapman. All that said, if tight bullpen roles are ever going to change, a few managers are going to have to start rewriting the book again, by using their firemen differently.

  18. Things that make you go hmmmmm: Jeff Brantley’s suggestion that Chapman should have been used in the 8th to face Pedroia, Big Poppy and Cespedes with Broxy “saved” for the 9th. No guarantees the outcome would have been different but I liked the way JB was thinking. I know, way too far outside the box for Price.

  19. Brox has been effectively pitching the 8th all season, and I don;t recall anyone calling for Chapman every time he allowed a baserunner. Yet last night Price should have gone a got Chapman. If that’s your policy, you need to be consistent with it. “Brox – you’re my 8th inning guy, but don’t allow a baserunner with a guy with pop in the on deck circle or I’m coming to get you.” Come on. Just a very unfortunate loss. The problem, again, was all those “0”s the offense put up, not Price this time.

  20. I’m a Price defender generally, but as long as we’re dumping on him I’ll join in with: I’d have brought in Jumbo for the 7th. Yes, Latos had a low pitch count. But if you’ve watched him the last couple of years you know he often goes South in the 6th or 7th regardless of pitch counts. At the very least, I’d have gotten him out of there after two terrible hitters squared the ball up; to his credit, he got through the inning.

    Also, am I mis-counting or are we now set up to face the Cardinals with Leake, Simon, and Cueto? That’s a shame.

  21. It’s easy to criticize leaving Broxton in to pitch to Cespedes based upon the results. But based upon TCT’s post above, Cespedes did not represent a huge threat to hit a HR. The problem was Broxton grooved a fastball.

    That being said, Price needs to manage more to the situation the Reds are in. The situation is the Reds are on a slow motion path to elimination while entering the final 25% of the schedule.

    Using Hannahan to pinch hit, allowing Santiago to be the last chance for a hit with better hitters on the bench, pushing Leake to pitch one more inning to save the bullpen are all mid-season moves.

    With the exceptional starting pitching the Reds are getting and the lack of offense most nights, the team is in a lot of close games. These create situations in which the manager can make moves to help the team earn a win. I would like to see Price make more Bruce Bochy type moves to try to win the game and less that remind me of Dusty.

    • Price needs to manage like it’s the playoffs right now. There is little time to make up ground and although not too far out of it, there are several teams they need to climb over. He needs to start managing as if their post-season is right now.

  22. My thought as Cespedes came to the plate…no brainer…intentional walk. Boston has 2 players that can beat you, Ortiz and Cespedes. Ortiz was already gone, so why not an intentional pass???

  23. You act like Broxton sucks. His ERA was well below Chapman’s both coming in and extinct the game after allowing a two run homer. When Price decided to use his kickass setup man in, of all places, the eighth inning (gasp), I had no problem with it. Ever since the moneyball movie came out, people think they need to change the way baseball works and I completely disagree. What if Chapman got through the inning 1-2-3 and then broxton still gave up a homer to cespy in the ninth? Then I’m sure this piece wouldn’t be praising price for his managerial prowess, but laughing at him, like every other sports fan in the world for using his closer an inning early

  24. Between the 3rd base outs and the 1 run losses – it seems the Reds could have at least 3-4 more wins and be right in the thick of things despite the injuries.

  25. Agree…it was a reasonable/book move to expect to go Broxton/Chapman, especially with the results so far this year. Cespedes got jacked up by the chin music then destroyed the belt-high cheese on the next pitch. What was completely deflating, however, is even with the thin bench, Price rolls out Santiago and Cozart to finish the game down by 1 run. I was head-shaking on letting Heisey hit, based on some of his swings earlier in the game. Even after he reached (tying run on 1st, bottom 9), people actually started leaving the game with Santiago coming up and then with Cozart strolling to the plate. Price conceded a 1-run loss by failing to hit for both of those guys. I guess it was Cozart’s birthday, though, so can’t yank him with the game on the line. Blah. What would a Broxton/Simon combo offer on July 31 returned? Me likey some Jumbo at 99mph.

  26. going to broxton was not the wrong thing to do. that’s what set-up guys are for. now pitching to cespedes was questionable. either way, a good hitter knocked one out against a good pitcher. it happens.

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