Titanic Struggle Recap

The Cincinnati Reds actually won a game!

Final R H E
  Atlanta Braves (68-62) 0 3 0
  Cincinnati Reds (62-68) 1 5 0
W: Leake (10-11) L: Santana (13-7) S: Chapman (27)
 FanGraphs Win Probability |   The Worldwide Leader’s Box Score    |   Game Photos

reds braves

The Reds ended their seven game losing streak with a 1-0 win on Saturday night. The Reds actually won a 1-run game, and are now 19-31 in 1-run games this season. The Reds are now 7.0 back from a wild card spot, and 9.5 games back in the NL Central.

Biggest Play of the Game

According to Fangraphs WPA statistic (winning percentage added), the most important play of the game was Brandon Phillips RBI single in the 6th inning, giving the Reds a 1-0 lead. Phillips hit increased the Reds chances of winning by 17.4% (from 56.0% to 73.4%).

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

  • +14.3% – Diaz gets La Stella out on a fielders choice to end the 7th inning, Braves leave the bases loaded
  • +9.9% – Leake doubled off Santana to leadoff the 6th inning
  • +8.3% – Leake struck out Freeman for the first out in the 7th inning, runner on second base
  • +6.8% – Leake struck out Upton for the second out in the 7th inning, runner on second base
  • +6.7% – Chapman struck out Freeman to leadoff the 9th inning
  • -12.5% – Simmons doubled off Leake to leadoff the 7th inning
  • -10.1% – Schumaker struck out by Santana in the 6th inning, 2 outs, runner on 3rd base
  • -6.0% – Leake walked Gattis to load the bases in the 7th inning with 2 outs

Player of the Game

Mike Leake: 6.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 K, 2.68 FIP, .281 WPA

Leake gave the Reds a tremendous start, giving the Reds 6.2 scoreless innings. It was certainly necessary as the Reds could only put 1 run on the board. It must be difficult to pitch to with such little run support, and with such small wiggle room to work with. Leake now has a 3.51 ERA, 3.67 FIP, and 1.24 WHIP on the season.

Positives

Brandon Phillips had a big RBI single to give the Reds a 1-0 lead in the 6th inning. Phillips bailed out Price and Schumaker (who are mentioned below). Phillips had 2 hits tonight, and reached base a third after being hit by a pitch.

The Reds bullpen didn’t allow a run in 2.1 innings tonight! The Reds bullpen has really struggled this season, but tonight Diaz, Broxton, and Chapman got the job done.

Zack Cozart made a terrific play on a rocket hit at him in the 7th inning. The Braves had the bases loaded and two outs, and the play got the Reds out of a big jam. Cozart should absolutely win the gold glove this season. He entered play today with 20 DRS (Defensive Runs Saved), which is the third most of ANY player at ANY position in the MLB, and the most of any SS.

Negatives

Bryan Price made another poor tactical baseball decision tonight. After a leadoff double in the 6th inning of a 0-0 game, Price had Billy Hamilton lay down a sacrifice bunt to move Leake over to third base. That brought up Skip Schumaker and his .602 OPS entering today (which in no way should be batting second anyways), and of course he struck out on three pitches. The bunt decreased the Reds chances of winning the game by 0.7% (and that is not factoring in that Skip Schumaker is a below average hitter).

The Reds offense just continues to struggle. The Reds had just 5 hits and 1 walk, while striking out 7 times. It certainly doesn’t help having Skip Schumaker and his now .592 OPS hitting second. Mitchel Lichtman wrote an excellent piece about about lineup optimization yesterday, where he criticize the Reds for their use of the #2 spot in the lineup.

Billy Hamilton went 0 for 3 tonight, and his OBP has now dropped to .299. Hamilton has had a very nice season (especially defensively) for the Reds, but a .299 OBP from the leadoff spot just won’t cut it.

Not so random thoughts…….

Harold Reynolds (who was one of the color analysts along with Tom Verducci tonight for FS1) was actually the voice of reason tonight about Joey Votto. Reynolds said there is a difference between playing hurt (like Brandon Phillips is doing) and being injured (like Votto is). He basically also said that those questioning Votto’s toughness are wrong. As a SABR guy, I’m not usually a fan of Reynolds, but I thought what he said about a player whose hitting approach he has often criticized was well spoken. And for that, I’ll give Reynolds a pass for all the bunt, grit, leadership, pace of game, and SWAG talk tonight.

I also really like Tom Verducci. I don’t always agree with everything Verducci says, but he always does great extensive research for the games he covers. I certainly appreciate that as a viewer.

Walt Jocketty is reportedly “likely to return” next season. The good news for Reds fans is that Walt does at least own an iPad (or some sort of tablet), so you can throw away those “Walt is behind the times” comments!

walt

 

The Reds will go for a series split with the Braves tomorrow afternoon . The Reds will face our good friend Aaron Harrang (26 GS, 3.50 ERA, 3.65 FIP, 1.40 WHIP), who is having a very nice comeback season for the Braves. The Reds will counter with Alfredo Simon.

78 thoughts on “The Cincinnati Reds actually won a game!

  1. Walt’s facial expression looks like he just read the article on Walt likely to return here on RLN and doesn’t care so much for the comments.

    Hitting is a premium nowadays so I think we all need to start re-evaluating and calibrating just what an average hitter should be in baseball.

    • There was a great article on Grantland about the new moneyball theory with the Cubs rebuilding and basically just getting guys that can hit and figuring out defensive spots later and also picking up pitchers cheap in trades or free agency. Needless to say they could be scary with that market size in a few years if they hit on some of these young bats like Bryant and Baez

      • The approach you describe seems reminiscent of the Dunn-era Reds, doesn’t it? And note that B. Beane himself has generally kept top-flight starting pitchers around.

  2. The stats say that Skip batting with a man on 3B and less than two outs is a pretty good bet. For his career, he’s had 169 PAs in that situation with 117 RBIs and a .967 OPS. For this year, he’s been about the same: 16 PAs, 12 RBIs, and a 1.092 OPS. Looks like Price played the percentages.

    • The stat you chose is extremely misleading because it includes AB with bases loaded, which really biases the outcome. If you just look at Schumaker’s AB with a runner on third (0, 1 or 2 outs), he’s had 14 AB in that situation and has two hits. He’s struck out 4 times. His numbers are better over his career, but I think we can agree that the Skip Schumaker playing for the Reds this year is not close to the same player.

      I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that you made an honest mistake and weren’t trying to pull a fast one by presenting misleading data. But Schumaker has hit .154/.214 in that situation this year, not counting tonight. I wouldn’t say those odds are particularly good, certainly not good enough to give up Hamilton’s out.

      • NL league stats say that players have a higher OPS with just a men on 3rd than with the bases loaded with either 0 or 1 out:

        0 Out; 3rd: .735 123: .694

        1 Out: 3rd: .895 123 .865

        So if the inclusion “biases” the data, it “biases” it in the opposite direction that you expected.

        • You can’t compare OPS in that situation because it includes walks in the OBP. Pitchers don’t walk as many hitters with bases loaded, so you’d expect that to depress the OPS. Your stat even includes intentional walks which take place with runners at XX3 but don’t with 123.

          In looking at Schumaker, all these split numbers are way too small to be reliable predictors. Better to just look at his overall hitting numbers to judge what confidence Price should have had in him. In that case .236/.289/.314 (OPS .602) isn’t terribly inspiring.

        • It’s unbelievable to come on this site and have someone advocating for Schumacher and Hanahan.

    • I think the real issue is that you give up an out in the 6th inning, to at best get 1 run. Billy had a favorable count and him getting on base with no outs could possible generate another run. As we have seen sacrifices are not always successful and often abandoned after 2 strikes- putting the batter at a disadvantage. I might change my mind if it were the 9th but it was a very bad strategy. Are there studies that show when sacrificing is optimal?

  3. With the Reds present personnel, I’d bat BP second as he’s not afraid to take a strike and goes to RF well. He also matches the criteria of not putting a power hitter after a base stealer.

    Mesoraco should bat 6th where he is comfortable; since the Reds put him cleanup his stats have plummeted; he’s been a .680ish hitter in 4 or 5 and well over 1.000 OPS in 6 or 7. Asking a young catcher in his first season as the full time starter to also handle the pressure of batting 4th seems like too much.

  4. Using the “lineup optimization” guidelines given in the article, here’s what the Reds lineup would have looked like given the players who started last night (assuming OPS determines hitter quality):

    1. Pena
    2. Hamilton
    3. B.P.
    4. Frazier
    5. Heisey
    6. Skip
    7. Cozart
    8. Hannahan
    9. Leake

    Does anyone think that “the Book’s” lineup is superior to Price’s?

        • Maybe BP should move back to leadoff. As the article points out, it would minimize his GIDP chances. He’s not much of a power hitter anymore. and offers good speed on the bases. The Reds just don’t have a lot of high OBP hitters to use at leadoff. With no Votto, Frazier would be better used batting 2nd.

        • Over .300 OBP – forgot Santiago and Negron. But neither is a regular starter.

  5. Bryan Price continues to have far too many “Bakeristic” characteristics – showing the same continual ineptitude for tactical managerial decisions throughout the year – disturbing !

  6. I have been a Hamilton fan from day one due to his excitement factor. I thought he was a good lead off hitter but after having read this article I had to do some soul searching and then look at the numbers as they stand. I combined the stats of OBP and runs scored for all lead off hitters in the national league and came up with a ranking. Billy comes in with a #12 out of 14 score. Not good enough. Carpenter, Gomez, Span are 1 thru 3 respectively. The only lead off hitters that have performed worse than Hamilton have been Bonifacio and Inciarte.

    With all of that said I still think BHam can be a great lead off hitter in time. He needs to learn to draw long at bats, not necessary walks because nobody is going to be intentionally walking or pitching around Billy. He is going to have to hit well to ever have a high OBP. He might want to invest in some body armor and start sticking his elbows and chest out into the strike zone.

      • Actually the case can be made for Todd Frazier. He has a good OBP, fast enough to steal 20 bases, and is a smart base runner to boot. He currently has 68 runs on the year, if he was in lead you could probably add another 10 runs via others driving him in. Based upon his current stats he would be the #3 lead off hitter in the national league. add in the additional 10 runs and he would be giving Matt Carpenter a run for best lead off hitter.

        • You have to consider that whomever leads off, has the rest of the line-up below them to drive them in, Frazier has been solid and needs to hit 2 or 3, if he leads off he does not have Frazier to drive in, plus more solo HR’s

  7. I didn’t like the Hamilton sac bunt – despite Schumaker’s fairly good numbers for 2014 with a runner on 3rd base and less than 2 outs – for an “old school” reason: my eyes told me there was a good chance that Santana would dominate him in that situation where he needed a strikeout. I’ve seen Schumaker chase low pitches a lot this year with a pitcher who has a nasty breaking pitch, and Santana had a nasty slider working. Swinging strikes 2 and 3 to Santana were not even close to being in the strike zone.

    In short, I don’t want to give away an out with Hamilton unless hitters are coming up who are distinctly better than Hamilton. On his first bunt attempt, Hamilton tried a drag bunt which went foul. Then he went for the sac bunt (a whole different technique), I would have preferred another attempt at a drag bunt single (still moves the runner along if he is thrown out) or swing away.

    • Santana hadn’t K’ed Skip the first two times he faced him and Skip at 18% has one of the lower strikeout rates on the Reds. Bunting there increases the chance of scoring one run while decreasing the chance of a “big” inning but “big” innings have been few and far between for the Reds. A drag bunt is more difficult than a sac and if you try to drag twice and foul both off, you have to hit away. I thought the decision was the correct one.

  8. The move I really didn’t like was having Leake bunt with 2 strikes after he’d already awkwardly fouled off 2 bunt attempts. Verducci gave Price a hard time about that. Leake can hit a bit, and if he’s not even close to getting a bunt down twice, why is he going to succeed the 3rd time ?

    There was a similar situation not long ago where Santiago had a big chance to help the Reds win a game late and Price did the same thing. Santiago too fouled off 3 straight bunt attempts, not even close.

    • I agree with you partially, but I think Leake can share some of the blame because he looked like he had no desire at all to lay a bunt down.

      • I totally disagree, if you are going to sacrifice with 0 or 1 or do not change your strategy, hitting with 2 strikes greatly reduces a successful AB, if you are afraid of fouling off- do not try it after the 1st failed attempt

  9. I like the way Price managed the bullpen last night. When Leake had the bases loaded in the 7th with 2 outs and La Stella at the plate, he’d thrown 110 pitches and was clearly tiring. Price did not remove him form the game until after talking with him.
    From there it was between Jumbo and Parra, and bringing in Parra would have meant pinch hitting with a righty and likely a scorched shot somewhere.

    I was confident in Jumo because he doesn’t walk many, he’s just as good against lefties as righties, and since giving up line drive hits to the Cardinals with his fast ball he’s been mixing it up more. His first pitch to La Stella was a change up for a strike.

    Took a good play by Cozart on the hard ground ball but I’ll take that outcome any day.

    • I like the way Price manages the bullpen a lot better when the pitcher he brings does not give up any runs

  10. I like Price’s recent use of Chapman in situations that “the book on closers” would not or might not call for. He used him to pitch in an inning in Thursday’s blowout to give him some work after time off and to make sure his shoulder was OK. Then Chapman pitched two innings on Friday to give the Reds an extra inning in which to try to score a winning run.

    I thought Chapman would be unavailable Saturday night after that, but Price was willing to use him again to close it out. I’m not accustomed to seeing The Precious work so often.

    Also Chapman was used last week in a 9th inning situation where the Reds were down a run.

    • According to the announcers, Chapman went to Price before the game and said he could pitch last night even though he had been used the last games and thrown a lot of pitches in them.

      This team does have heart and there isn’t any quit in them despite the last month. That’s a good sign for the future and an argument against a full scale personnel dump.

  11. BP was so focused on the AB against Santana where he hit the RBI single that he saw Santana make a tiny balk move that the umpires missed. The tv replay showed that BP was right.

    I was saying last night that he’d come back too soon and can’t hit yet, glad he proved me wrong.

    • Yes, but playing for one run and not giving yourself a chance for a big inning decreases your chances of winning. FWIW, the sac bunt moving a guy from 2nd to 3rd is not significantly as bad as the sac bunt moving a guy from 1st to 2nd.

      • So you think the Reds should have been playing for the “big inning” in the 6th inning last night after scoring 1 run in the previous two games?

        The problem with some of the sabermetric posters here is that they ignore the many caveats that the actual sabermetricians admit to. A general principle doesn’t necessarily apply in all situations; the chances of the Reds getting a big inning last night against Santana were sufficiently low so that playing for the lead going into the 7th was entirely justified. At the very least, it was a rational decision and not the foolish blunder you made it out to be.

        • Again, the Braves came really close to scoring in the seventh, not just one but two runs. Whether the Reds should have played for one run (and bunting there offers an extremely small benefit, if at all given the relative hitting skills of Hamilton and Schumaker) doesn’t depend on the Reds offense, it depends on the Braves offense.

          Making decisions that lower the chances your team will win just because of baseball orthodoxy is the opposite of rational decision-making.

        • The Braves offense isn’t very good either but how much they score kinda depends on the Reds’ pitchers, too.

          Anyway, Bryan had it under control; in 1999-2002 the average lineup had only a 32.5% chance of scoring even one run with the bases loaded and two out and only a 23% chance of scoring two or more runs in that situation. It’s 2014 with runs being scored at about a 20% lower pace, the Braves are a below average hitting team and the Reds are above average pitching. The odds were all in the Reds’ favor once they got that one run.

        • Why would you look at the run contribution of just the final AB in the inning? Couldn’t the Braves have scored runs at every point in the inning? Not to mention the eighth and ninth.

    • The 2014 run expectancy chart (your cite just covers through 2010) shows that bunting hurts run expectancy overall. The FanGraphs win expectancy calculation (which Nick cites in the original recap) takes in to account the odds that the Reds would need one run or two (which depends on the BRAVES not the Reds). It shows that even a successful bunt lowers the odds the Reds will win. You don’t sacrifice the out for the base.

        • Didn’t say never. Don’t put words in my mouth. A weak-hitting pitcher at bat, or bottom of the eighth, maybe.

      • Here’s a rather lucid explanation of why the reasoning you are using is simplistic:

        Bunting. The early sabermetric wisdom on bunting was that you don’t do it, because you’re giving up an out. By the way, if it works, right – ‘cause sometimes you’re sacrifice bunting and you strike out, or you pop out or whatever and it doesn’t work at all – but when you sacrifice and it works, you’re givin’ up an out. And giving up an out is bad news; you only get three per inning, and the advantage you get by having a player on second base rather than at first base isn’t greater than the disadvantage you get by yielding an out. So on average, the sabermetricians said, “Don’t bunt.” That’s fine, on average. You could confirm that by using run expectancy matrices or you can use linear weights and confirm that.

        The problem is that what’s true on average isn’t necessarily true in every circumstance, right? One of the problems with the early analysis of bunting was that they were looking at the average number of runs that were scored in an inning when you sacrifice somebody –with one out or with, with no outs or with one out – what happens to the average number of runs you score per inning. And it goes down. But if you’re in the eighth inning or the ninth inning in a close game, you’re not necessarily interested in maximi-, when you make a strategic decision, you’re not necessarily interested in maximizing the number of runs you’re gonna score for the whole game. You’re interested in getting one more run across the plate, so you go up by a run and you can bring in Mariano Rivera.

        http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode/baseball-sabermetrics-zimbalist/

        • You realize the run/bunt we’re talking about happened in the sixth inning, not eighth or ninth? There was quite a bit of baseball left to play with pitchers other than Chapman (who is not Rivera) left to come. You must not have been watching the top of the seventh with bases loaded. The Reds came close to needing an extra run or two.

          All your cut and paste does is repeat the same argument you made before. One run was important. No one disagrees with that. Two runs are also important and your point completely ignores that. Three runs, even better.

          The FanGraphs WPA calculation takes into account what inning it is. And it shows, on balance the bunt *reduced* the chances of the Reds winning. And that doesn’t even factor in how weak of a hitter Skip Schumaker is.

        • The point is that the Reds needed a run more than the slim chance of getting two runs or more esp. with the way they have been struggling to score runs.

          Here’s Tango’s Run Frequency Matrix: http://www.tangotiger.net/RE9902score.html

          The chance of two runs or more in an inning with a man on second with nobody out is about 28%. The chance of two runs scoring with a man on third with 1 out is about 18%. But the chance of scoring just one and taking the lead goes from about from 34% to 48%.

          And that’s based on data from 1999-2002 when teams were scoring almost a run more per game; the chance of a “big inning” is obviously reduced these days. And that is average lineups not the run scoring challenged one the Reds have been trotting out. After getting the run, they were in an excellent position with Leake having not given up a hit and with their three best relievers available.

          The decision was correct under these circumstances not matter what the WPA Calculator based on general situations, not the specific one the Reds were in with the personnel they have, says.

        • You left out the calculation of how much it increased the Reds chances of scoring one run by having Hamilton give up his out relative to Schumaker. You can’t say “have to be specific, not general” and then quote general run expectancy and ignore Skip Schumaker was the hitter.

          The fact that the Reds are challenged in hitting cuts both ways. It makes it harder to score one run and two (or more). And given the way the Reds are struggling to score, the sixth might have been their only decent chance to get a second (or third) run. Bunting barely moves the needle on one run.

          In terms of judging the Reds pitching, you saw the top of the seventh, right? Fortunate to not give up one or more runs there. What was the Braves run expectancy facing Leake in the seventh inning, third time through the lineup?

        • As I already pointed out, Skip is above average at getting a run home from 3B with less than two out. You attempted to refute that by gratuitously tossing in two out situations where a hit is required. But since one of the points of getting the runner to third with one out is so the run can score on an out, that an apple to orange comparison. Also, getting the runner to third in that situation with less than two out means the infield will play in thus increasing the batter’s BA. You should know all that.

        • You’re basing your faith in Schumaker on 16 at bats, which is too small of a sample to be meaningful.

          To demonstrate how unreliable that number is, compare Schumaker’s AB with runners on third and less than two outs with those AB with runners on third and two outs. Skip should be pretty much the same hitter in those situations, right?

          Schumaker has 16 plate appearances in both those situations this year. His BA with less than two outs is .462. His BA with two outs is .077.

          16 is just too small of a number of AB to mean anything.

        • Actually I based it on 169 PAs in his career. The smaller sample size for this year was included for comparison purposes to show it was consistent with his career performance.

          Skip, of course, didn’t need to get a hit to get the run in, a point you have repeatedly ignored.

    • you are choosing to increase your chance of scoring a run 3.7% in the 6th inning in lieu of getting more runs, to top it off it did not work as the Reds mostly score the run on BP’s hit even if Billy makes an unproductive out. People act like a runner on third is a gimme if Cozart does not get to the ball in the 7th and the Braves, that alone would have been a bad decision

      • It’s either a good decision when it is made or it is not; what happens after is irrelevant. There’s no question that the decision increased the chance that the Reds would score one run and thus take the lead. That makes it a good decision IMO given the specific circumstances and the specific teams and players in those circumstances.

        • You are acting like Skip Schumaker is a good hitter. He has a .592 OPS (that is the 9th worst in the NL of any player with 200+ PA).

  12. Its about stepping up and winning a ballgame. BP had a great a/b and did just that. Delivered in run scoring situation. Nice to see a veteran deliver.

  13. So much ink has been spilled about Hamilton’s OBP. It really gets tiresome, especially in the context of the team as it is currently constructed. Pena, Phillips, Bruce, Ludwick—-all are at .310 or below. Why don’t I ever read anything about them in the recaps? At least with Billy, he can create more runs with fewer opportunities. More to the point, it diminishes his impressive overall value (defense + runs created). I also think it’s kicking him when he’s down. He’s bottoming out in his post all-start game slump. What we need to remember (and what Billy has proven repeatedly) is that he will learn, adjust, and improve. I’ve seen enough of him to give him that benefit of the doubt.

    • Have to go all the way back to yesterday to read about Phillips in the recap. Pena, Bruce and Ludwick (wait, you think Ludwick doesn’t get criticized in the recaps?) aren’t leadoff hitters. So their OBP, while important, isn’t the key focus it is for a leadoff hitter. Billy’s defense, and contribution to run suppression, is mentioned regularly in the recaps, including this very one.

    • I have been very impressed with Billy Hamilton. His defense has been absolutely extraordinary, and he has shown nice power. I have documented how great Hamilton has been many times on this site. Behind Frazier and Mesoraco, Hamilton has been the Reds third best position player. With all of the injuries right now, I don’t have a problem with Hamilton leading off. However, as we are looking forward to next season, a .299 OBP in the leadoff spot just won’t cut it. That doesn’t mean Hamilton shouldn’t play, it just means that if a .299 OBP is what Hamilton will put up, he shouldn’t leadoff.

  14. It seems the prevailing wisdom is that we should try and extend Cueto or Latos first, but I wonder if Leake would be the better (or safer) bet. His arm has never been hurt, he’s younger than the other two, and would cost less in terms of years and dollars. It may not be as sexy, but there’s a ton of value in keeping ‘glue guys’ like Leake on your team, especially if we could secure a hometown discount. While we’re at it, I’d talk to Mesoraco’s people as well……..

    • Making it Leake+(Cueto or Latos) versus (Cueto or Latos)+Leake would be an interesting way to approach the situation and make it more likely that they don’t let all three slip through their grasp and out of town.

  15. A win is always a good thing; but, the continued tinker toy offense is more than bothersome. It took a lead off (extra base) hit from the pitcher for them to eek out the single run on Saturday.

    IMO the talk shouldn’t be about shuffling the the deck chairs, ti should be about (re)building the offense, Unless greater value can be gained in trades Meso, Frazier, Bruce, and Hamilton should be part of the rebuild. However from what we actually see on the field, all three of them might end up being more solid support players than real leading men in a truly effectively MLB offense. A healthy Votto whether a a combination slugger/ OBP guy or simple as an OBP guy is the only leading man type the Reds have right now.

    • Also note that while I feel that Votto is in no way responsible or to blame for his situation, I am not really convinced that “healthy Votto” isn’t an oxymoron and that we will ever see an truly sports healthy Votto again.

  16. My head spins from so much WPA. Its good at telling a story, not predicting the future.

    As for Walt having an iPad: he was probably playing Candy Crush.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s