Titanic Struggle Recap

Reds winning streak reaches 2 games!

Final R H E
  Atlanta Braves (68-63)  3 9 0
  Cincinnati Reds (63-68)  5 10 0
W: Simon (13-8) L: Harang (10-8)
 FanGraphs Win Probability |   The Worldwide Leader’s Box Score    |   Game Photos

Sunday

The Cincinnati Reds have won back to back games, after going 0-7 in the previous six days. Alfredo Simon gave the Reds seven strong innings of 1-run baseball, and the Reds offense scored 5+ runs for the first time since Monday. The Reds bullpen tried their hardest to give this game away, as the Braves loaded the bases down two runs in the ninth, but Broxton was able to wiggle out of the jam.

Biggest Play of the Game

According to Fangraphs WPA statistic (winning percentage added), the most important play of the game was Jonathan Broxton getting Justin Upton to ground into a fielders choice to end the game. The play increased the Reds chances of winning by 13.7% (from 86.3% to 100.0%).

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

  • +10.1% – 4th inning: Pena RBI single. Reds lead 2-0. Runners on 1st & 3rd, 2 outs.
  • +7.9% – 4th inning: Cozart RBI single. Reds lead 3-0. Runners on 1st & 2nd, 2 outs.
  • +7.4% – 4th inning: Bruce singles, bases loaded with 1 out.
  • +6.7% – 4th inning: Phillips single, runners on 1st & 2nd with 1 out.
  • +6.2% – 2nd inning: Simon gets Harang to ground out to end the inning. Runners stranded on 2nd & 3rd.
  • -7.0% – 9th inning: Broxton walked Freeman to load the bases with 2 outs.
  • -6.4% – 4th inning: Mesoraco flies out for the first out. Runners on 1st & 2nd.
  • -5.1% – 2nd inning: Ludwick grounded into an inning ending double play.

Player of the Game

Alfredo Simon: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K, 2.28 FIP, 0.28 WPA

Alfredo Simon pitched really well today for the Redlegs. It was the first time in five starts that Simon made it into the 6th inning, and he recorded just his second quality start since the All-Star Game. He did an excellent job mixing speeds, and keeping the Braves hitters off balance, as noted by C. Trent.

Positives

Todd Frazier hit his 22nd HR of the season in the 7th inning. It was the first HR by a Reds player since Tuesday against the Cardinals. Frazier is now 12th all-time in HR by a Reds 3B (minimum of 50% of games played at 3B).

frazier

Another day, another great play from Zack Cozart. Cozy also had an impressive 3 hit day, along with 2 RBI.
cozart

Jumbo Diaz got out of Parra’s mess in the 8th inning. He struck out Upton and Johnson, stranding runners on 1st and 3rd. Diaz has been very impressive in a small sample this season (2.74 ERA, 3.48 FIP, 0.91 WHIP). Diaz strikeout rate of 10.17 K/9 is very nice.

Jay Bruce had a 2-hit afternoon.

Negatives

Manny Parra was only able to get 1 of the 3 batters he faced in the 8th inning out. Parra continues to struggle this season (4.36 ERA, 4.19 FIP, 1.52 WHIP). His biggest problem this year has been the walks. Parra has walked 16 batters in 33.0 IP (4.36 BB/9).

Billy Hamilton went 0 for 4, and his OBP has now dropped all the way down to .296. Hamilton has really slowed down offensively in the second half, as he entered play today hitting .228/.254/.301 with a 48 wRC+ since the All-Star break.

Logan Ondrusek tried to throw a fastball right down the middle of the plate to Evan Gattis. The result was Gattis’ 20th HR of the season.

Not so random thoughts…….

Jason Heyward made a really nice play in the 4th inning. Ryan Ludwick hit an absolute rocket with the bases loaded, and Heyward took a big hit away from Ludwick that would have blown the game open at the time. There is no coincidence that Heyward entered the day first in the entire MLB of any player at any position with 33 DRS (Defensive Runs Saved).

Our old friend Aaron Harang didn’t pitch his best game of the year by any means, but he was just 1 out away from yet another quality start. It would have been his 22nd QS of the season, which would have tied him for the third most in the entire MLB. The only two pitchers with more are Felix Hernandez and Johnny Cueto, who both have 23 QS. That is cool for Harang, who was always such a class act here in Cincinnati.

The Giants are down 8-6 in the 7th as I type this to the Nationals. If that score holds, the Reds will be 6.0 games back from the second wild card spot. It is obviously still a very long shot, but the Reds still remain within reach from a playoff spot.

49 thoughts on “Reds winning streak reaches 2 games!

  1. I always thought Aaron blaming his troubles on Baker’s use of him in the San Diego game was the epitome of class.

    • Was that Aaron blaming Baker or was it other people? I don’t recall hearing Harang say anything about it, and even if he did, that’s a small sample size: His body of work, as a player and citizen in Cincy, was impressive.

  2. Good thing we’ve got Fangraphs to let us know Broxton coaxing Upton to ground into a game-ending fielder’s choice was important. :-)

  3. Nick, I imagine you wanted to also made a comment about how Broxton got a save by giving up 2 walks, a hit and a run while recording a single out!

    • Had that same thought but I don’t mind Broxton getting credit for this save, as long as he got that one out before it was too late. I couldn’t have stood a repeat of last Sunday.

      I only saw it on GameDay, but it seemed pretty clear that he decided he wanted nothing to do with Freeman in that situation, even if it meant facing Upton with the tying run on 2nd. He’s willing to take his chances with RHed power hitters. This year he has much better numbers against RHed hitters than lefties. Over the course of his career he has similar numbers against righties as lefties, but walks lefties at more than twice the rate.

      Broxton did a similar but stranger thing against the Marlins in a July 31 win. With the Reds ahead by two in the 8th and two out, tying run at the plate, he walked LHed hitter Jordany Valdespin on 4 pitches and then challenged Giancarlo Stanton and struck him out. The next time he faced Stanton in that series the Reds had a comfortable lead and Stantom hit a solo HR off him.

      Whether it works out or not, Broxton is thinking when he’s out there and he doesn’t choke.

  4. Interesting to me that Tony Perez has 4 of the top 12 HR seasons recorded by Reds 3B because even though I lived through it as a teenager following the Reds I never really think of Tony Perez as a 3B due to what the team did after he moved to 1B.

    • Not all those years was he exclusively 3B, just more than not. Cant remember why he needed to move as he was not horrible, maybe it just wore him out in his mid 30s.

        • If memory serves me OK without looking it up, Tony’s defensive issue at 3B was with throwing. At Crosley Field (and recall roughly 1/2 of 1970 was played at Crosley before the move to Riverfront), his offense more than covered his sins on defense at 3B. After the falling to earth in the first full season at Riverfront in1971, Howsam realized they needed better defense at 3B

      • First base was his natural position, but the Reds had Lee May (the Big Bopper from Birmingham) already there. Perez at third was a way to get his bat in the lineup. When the a Reds sent May and Helms to Houston for Morgan, Menke, Geronimo, and Billingham, it opened up first for Tony. Menke took over third.

    • I also failed to recall that Willie Greene managed to run into 26 fastballs one season between whiffing at break stuff.

      And how about this for how the world changes. In the three seasons Greene was something approaching the Rdds regular 3B he OPSed above .800 and his OPS+ each year very comparable to Frazier for 2012 and so far this year and better than Frazier in 2013. Yet Greene was essentially run out of town as a bust.

    • Well yeah, as they had to make a trade with Houston. That trade changed the Reds into the Machine.

  5. After getting all of the teams hits just 2 nights ago, Billy gets negged again.
    What have you done for me lately, I guess.

  6. Nice outing by Big Pasta. I’m a firm believer that pitchers go thru slumps in the same way hitters do. I agreed with Price’s assessment a week ago that it was simply a matter of location that was doing Simon in, because the velocity is still there and the guy is built like a truck. He didn’t feel fatigue was a consideration.

    As 5th starters go, I’ll take him every day of the week. Kudos to Walt for picking him up for nothing…….even bigger kudos to the coaching staff for paring down his repertoire. I remember when we first got him he had like 5 different pitches. Jack of all trades, master of none kind of thing.

  7. I’d really like to see the Reds become a pest team for their opponents for the last part of the season. They need to go up to Chicago and just keep beating them in their own ball park and then go into Pittsburgh and sweep them and crush their playoff hopes. It wouldn’t make up for the bruising losing streak this past week or to open the 2nd half, but it would be good enough for now.

    • You don’t want to lose to the Cubs and I dislike the Cardinals, Pirates, and Brewers enough to want to see the Reds beat them regardless of circumstances.

    • Every bit of my rooting will go into keeping the Cardinals out of the playoffs. If that means rooting for the Pirates, Giants, and Braves, so be it.

      I’m a Brewers fan (second to the Reds), so no problem there.

      • I always want to see the Reds win their games but as far as winning the division goes, with the Reds out of it I would prefer the Brewers to the others. I too root for everyone over the Cardinals.

    • The Reds could play the role of spoiler well enough that they end up with a shot at the second WC. It is a long shot but not unrealistic (yet). They only have 6 games outside the division, If they can go 4-2 in them then play the division as well as they have earlier in the season, who knows. Of course they do have those 4 versus the Cards but they are home.

      The Giants have almost half their games versus the Brewers (3), Tigers (3), and Dodgers (6). Unfortunately the rest of their schedule is the Rocks, DBacks and Pads.

      The Bravos have 10 with the Nats(6) and Pirates(4) plus 6 with the Marlins which could be toughies.

      Like I said, a long shot for the Reds but if they just take of business, things could fall their way.

      • I’m afraid that what you believe to be a faint heartbeat from the Reds is distant and unrelated seismic activity.

  8. Didn’t see this game or much of the series, just a bit of the Holmberg debacle which was painful to watch. As a Reds fan in a city (Atlanta) whose baseball fans are primarily of the fair weather variety I can’t stand to see the Reds lose to the Braves so given the way the Reds are playing I just couldn’t watch. I am glad they salvaged a split. But Nick thanks as always for the summary, and thanks for including the Cozart GIF. Put me in the camp of loving his defense and more than willing to live with his weak bat in return. The Reds have so many areas that can be upgraded before they get anywhere near shortstop that I dearly hope they’ll let Zack stay right where he is and focus on a serious bat in left, some power arms for the bullpen, smart decisions and trades involving signing (or not) the starting staff, helping Billy Hamilton better harness his many talents, developing future studs for the outfield, rotation, and second base. I was hoping it might be someone besides Jocketty overseeing these decisions, but whoever it is please look over that list before trying to make a small offensive upgrade at short at the cost of many more runs allowed. Nice play Zack. Again.

  9. Price had some interesting things to say post-game, he was ticked off about the Reds making it too interesting in the last two innings. I’m glad he’s expecting more after a win.

    He specifically mentioned Ondrusek’s foot getting in the way of what should have been a game ending ground ball to Cozart. I imagine he was also not too pleased with Parra. Aside from LF, the most obvious Reds need is a LHed relief pitcher.

    I don’t know how he felt about Broxton. Heyward’s single was on a rolling ground ball that found a hole. The walk to Freeman, as some of discussed above, was semi-intentional. That only leaves the walk to Gosselin after getting ahead of him 1-2. That did put the game in jeopardy.

    Broxton’s final two pitches to Upton were at 97 mph ! His expression doesn’t show it, but the adrenaline was flowing. And his elbow seems to be just fine.

  10. There was a long time where I often bantered back and forth with a redlegnation fan who was from NC, and he constantly promoted Simon saying he was an elite pitcher, “based upon his current statistics.” I told him time and time again that Simon was more suited to the bullpen, but it’s nice to see him do well. I think it just goes to show the impact that sabremetrics has on the game, and shows the accuracy. I love Simon, but I have always been a Cueto fan since we drafted him, and I hope we sign him to an extension. Any thoughts?

    • There’s been a bunch of arguments on here about how to deal with Cueto and the rest of the pitchers who are eligible for FA after next year. I love Cueto. But I think the reds should see what they can get for him this off season. (Actually, I thought they should have shopped him at the deadline.) I think the general consensus is that he will want a little more than Bailey at least. Maybe 5/110 for his free agent years, plus the 10 mil they owe him next year makes it 6/120. Maybe a little more. Homer is essentially getting 20 mil aav for his free agent years, so I think Johnny will want at least 21-22. Next year he will be 29, so if you buy out 5 of his free agent years you are getting his age 30-34 seasons for over 20 mil per year. No thanks, especially considering the Votto, Bailey, Phillips, Bruce contracts with Meso and Frazier entering arb, Chapman’s salary increasing, etc. I’m sure this argument has become tiresome to some folks, but I think this decision is critical to the reds future and this off season will determine a lot of the reds fate for the next 5 or 6 years.

  11. The Reds have a win streak and they’re now in low gear in the race for a WC berth. Keep those wins coming against the Cubbies and the Pirates, and everybody else in the next five weeks.

    • If the Reds could win every remaining series, by my count that would get them to 84 wins. Now suppose they would manage to win every series and in the process sweep three. That would put them at 87 and I would suspect that would be right in the gray area of being enough for the second WC.

      The odds don’t favor them but if they suddenly rediscovered the form they displayed from mid June to the ASB, it isn’t out of the question.

      It is never easy to win say 25 of 31 but then again it happens; and why not at the end of the season versus the start or middle?

  12. What should the Reds do about the following this winter:
    Jack Hannahan: 2015 Team option at $4M or $2M buyout.
    Ryan Ludwick: 2015 Mutual option at $9M or $4.5M buyout.
    Manny Parra: 2015 salary $3.5M.
    Sam LeCure: 2015 salary $1.8M.
    Jonathon Broxton: 2015 salary $9M and 2016 team option for $9M and $1M buyout. He’s owed a minimum of $10M.
    Skip Schumaker: 2015 salary $2.5M and 2016 Team option for $2.5M or $0.5M buyout. He’s owed a minimum of $3M.
    Ramon Santiago: 2015 unsigned. Made $1.1M in 2014.

    This is just the bench and bullpen guys. Too many $M going to waste. Who the hell signed these contracts for the Reds??

    • why worry? There isn’t anything we can do about it. The money is flowing in so there is plenty to go around. Jack and Ryan and Shumaker will probably be bought out, the others will return.

    • Outside of Hannahan and Parra’s contracts, the others seemed quite reasonable at the time they were made. Ludwick had a big 2012 and looked to be the RH power bat needed in LF; who could have predicted he would tear up his shoulder on the first day of 2013? LeCure’s salary given his effectiveness before this year looks OK. Broxton got closer money because it was expected that Chapman was going to be converted to a starter. Skip was a lifetime .285 hitter with postseason experience and the bench was extremely thin. Santiago’s a veteran and $1.1 million is chump change these days.

      I suspect Negron’s emergence makes Santiago expendable. Hannahan and Ludwick are expensive either to keep or buy out. Broxton could be a trade candidate though it’s somewhat scary to think what this bullpen would be without him. Skip even with a bad year could probably be dealt to a contender with money for that salary if that is considered desirable.

      • I don’t think I would have extended Ludwick and unfortunately, a $4.5-million buyout makes it likely they will keep him… Aside from that, I think I’m in agreement everywhere else. I may try to move Broxton or Chapman in the off-season if I were GM but with the bullpen rather thin, I’d have to get a good OF bat back. The plan is to contend in 2015. It isn’t a rebuilding year.

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