2011 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: SWEEP!!!

Let’s recap today’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Milwaukee 3
Cincinnati 12

WP: Arroyo (1-0)
LP: Wolf (0-1)
BOXSCORE

POSITIVES
–Rickie Weeks started the game off with a homer, but the rest of the day was all Reds.

–19 hits…the vast majority of the team had good days. Every player that came to bat for the Reds today got a hit. The biggest day of all went to Ryan Hanigan (4-4 with 2 homers), the first 4 hit game of his career. Brandon Phillips had 3 hits, including a big 3-run homer which basically broke the game open. Johnny Gomes had 2 hits including a homer.

Paul Janish had 2 hits, one a double. Hopefully this extends his life expectancy as starter for a few more days.

–Bronson Arroyo wasn’t great, but he was better than adequate. He threw 7 innings and gave up 3 runs, but considering he’s still battling mono, I thought he was very good. He also pounded the strike zone all day long. He threw 87 pitches and 65 of them were strikes.

— Today was the first game I have attended that Chapman pitched. He brings unbelievable electricity to the ballpark when he comes in from the bullpen. It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced before in 40+ years of attending Reds games.

NEGATIVES
–It was a big day for the home team. The only thing that concerns me is that Jay Bruce looks lost at home plate to me right now. He’s chasing those pitches down and away, as he does when he’s struggling.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
— An Opening Series sweep of the team that many feel is the Reds biggest challenger for a repeat of the division title…that is a pretty fantastic way to start the season.

— My first game of the season. Great weather, great game, great time.

31 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: SWEEP!!!

  1. It’s great to be in first place and undefeated, particularly given that this sweep comes over a division rival. I do note, however, that the Reds are in the exact same position as the Baltimore Orioles. The Kansas City Royals are also in first place at 3-1. Given the schedule, it should be a good month.

  2. What an outstanding start to the season. We’ve seen contributions from almost the entire roster, much less the regular starters. Everyone has hit at least a little, or played some excellent defense. It’s tough to be the target of everyone now, and it’s so great that the Reds game out and looked like the team everyone said they could be. The Milwuakee tv guys today kept pointing out that Reds didn’t walk anyone since the 9th inning of game one. Bravo.

    Milwaukee really showed their weaknesses in defense… if not making errors, just playing poorly (Like Braun misplaying a shot to track in LF today).

  3. I got to listen to Arroyo’s 7 innings in the car today. What a GREAT start to the season! The offense is off to a great start, and the catchers play so far is making people reconsider any thoughts that there may be offensive regression at that position this year.

    Obviously a long season, but still great to start with a 3-game lead against the Brewers and a 2-game lead against the Cardinals – the two teams most consider with the best chance to give the Reds a run at the title this year.

  4. Chapman = instant crowd interest. Everyone watches the scoreboard and cheers regardless of the number. It’s amazing. I was there for his first game last fall. Awesome. Simply Awesome. By far the best thing to come out of Cuba since cigars.

  5. Just a great great start. You gotta give the coaching staff some credit for having these guys ready to go. ALL our hitters are giving good at bats, the pitchers are throwing strikes, and the defense (when we have the right personnel out there) is the best in the league. Now let’s keep it rolling. I saw on MLB network the Reds have the 2nd easiest schedule the first 25% of the season. It’s incumbent on us to play well and stake ourselves to a lead. To do that, we need to pitch well. Once again, Mike Leake will have a lot to say about that.

  6. I think Hernandez and Hanigan gave the Reds more offensive production in a 3 game series than David Ross and Paul Bako in a month or two.

  7. @Sultan of Swaff: Jeff Brantley said after the game that Bryan Price is having a huge impact on the Reds pitching staff by giving them confidence that their stuff is good enough that they should trust it and throw strikes. Brantley attributed the lack of walks in the last two games to this factor. Hope it gets through to Edinson soon.

  8. @earl: And Hanigan/Hernandez did more in 3 games than the careers of Dann Bilardello and Dave Van Gorder.

  9. I still have concerns about using Chapman out of the bullpen. I know that from the results he looked dominant, but I wouldnt call it that. He didnt locate any of his pitches well, even the strikes were not where Hanigan set up for them. His slider wasnt close. The only thing I see developing is this young man’s ego, as fans cheer every pitch over 100 regardless of the quality of the pitch. I seriously hope I am wrong, but seems hard to learn how to pitch in his situation. Looks to me like when (big if) he goes to the rotation, he will still have to learn that changing speeds and hitting spots is more beneficial than trying to see how hard you can throw the ball.

  10. @jrob45601: I don’t think Chapman is overthrowing – trying to set speed records – but you’re right he doesn’t have command of any of his pitches. So far I see no improvement from last season, but of course it’s very early.

    • @jrob45601: I don’t think Chapman is overthrowing – trying to set speed records – but you’re right he doesn’t have command of any of his pitches. So far I see no improvement from last season, but of course it’s very early.

      I would tend to disagree. I do think he’s overthrowing some. From my vantage point yesterday, when he was clocked at 100 MPH, he hit Hanigan’s glove w/o it having to move. (I remember 2 calls for balls specifically that Hanigan didn’t appear to even move his glove at all, it appeared he was set up just off the plate.) When he hit the 103 mark, it seemed like there was no telling where it was going.

      From my vantage point, it only seemed like he threw one slider (can’t remember who to), but it was 88 MPH and the guy almost hurt himself trying to swing at it.

  11. This isn’t exactly headline news but Jeremy Hermida has reported to AAA Louisville. I’m glad to see this, gives us some more organizational depth in the OF and we might need his LHed bat off the bench at some point. He can opt to leave for another team as of June.

  12. I wouldn’t be too concerned about Jay Bruce. I don’t think he’s going to be a 300 hitter, and I suspect he won’t give us more than 35 homers and 90 RBIs. What I do know he’s going to do is hit well enough in a lineup that can contribute across the board, and play gold glove caliber defense. Heck, if he can put up .275-25-75 every year, with that defense, I’ll say he’s still underpaid.

  13. @taoistlumberjak:

    I’m not “concerned”, just making a statement, everyone ebbs and flows during the course of a season. I’m just saying that Jay looks lost right now to me. I didn’t see much of Opening Day (only the last inning or so), but in Saturday night’s game and yesterday; even the hits he’s gotten haven’t been hit hard and he seems to be chasing stuff out of the strike zone, as he does when he’s struggling.

    • @taoistlumberjak:

      I’m not “concerned”, just making a statement, everyone ebbs and flows during the course of a season. I’m just saying that Jay looks lost right now to me. I didn’t see much of Opening Day (only the last inning or so), but in Saturday night’s game and yesterday; even the hits he’s gotten haven’t been hit hard and he seems to be chasing stuff out of the strike zone, as he does when he’s struggling.

      I understand. I’m just so used to him being a streaky hitter with tremendous defensive upside, that I’m ready to accept moments where the hitting coach should be standing at the top step of the dugout holding a road map up because Bruce is so lost. He’ll come around, might be a while, but we always have his defense to fall back on.

  14. @pinson343: Also, it was Chapman’s first game action since spring training. I don’t know the last time he was in… did he throw in the last spring training game? Regardless, probably his first action in a week, so I was glad Dusty got him out there.

  15. Stubbs is a more complete player than Bruce. Perhaps some of the fan/media expectations should be placed on Stubbs as the MVP caliber player of the future.

    • Stubbs is a more complete player than Bruce.Perhaps some of the fan/media expectations should be placed on Stubbs as the MVP caliber player of the future.

      I disagree. In their careers, Bruce will hit for a higher average, more power, and fewer K’s. Stubbs is faster and MIGHT eventually be better defensively (though not now, IMO). No one ever questioned Jay as a #1, lots of folks questioned Drew as a #1. I think Drew is a fine player, but he’s older than Bruce and has more holes.

  16. I think you guys are missing the forest for the trees a bit here. The whole point of having a guy with such tremendous velocity is that he doesn’t have to be as fine as a pitcher who throws 90. He can be effectively wild in the strike zone. Think Kerry Wood or Brad Lidge. It’s why scouts prize power arms above all else. That said, he looked like he was hitting his spots.
    Coco better watch out. All it’s gonna take is a string of blown saves for him to lose his job.

  17. the fact that Chapman has no control is the reason he is a reliever and not a starter. he would not be in the majors if he were still a starter as he had control issues in Louisville.the reds should have started him in single A where he would have dominated,worked on his control and got confidence. in other words they should have done what the nationals did with straussberg and he might be the dominating starter the reds had hoped for when they signed him. as they stand now ley’s just hope they can get the kind of starts they got from Wood and Arroyo this weekend on a consistant basis.

    • the fact that Chapman has no control is the reason he is a reliever and not a starter. he would not be in the majors if he were still a starter as he had control issues in Louisville.the reds should have started him in single A where he would have dominated,worked on his control and got confidence. in other words they should have done what the nationals did with straussberg and he might be the dominating starter the reds had hoped for when they signed him. as they stand now ley’s just hope they can get the kind of starts they got from Wood and Arroyo this weekend on a consistant basis.

      Strasburg was in AA for a month then AAA for a month.

  18. @Sultan of Swaff: Fair point. Hard to criticize Chapman too much for not looking like a starter when he’s not being asked to throw as a starter. He can go gang busters for an inning or two right now, versus trying to manage his spots and set guys up for the next time around in the order.

  19. How about the fact that the Reds BEAT UP ON RANDY WOLF!!! That guy always seems to beat the Reds and the boys took it to him yesterday and made it look pretty easy. Let’s hope for more of that this year…

  20. Hanigan was amazing yesterday, just fun to watch. I agree with the comments made about Bruce, he looked horrible he wasn’t seeing the ball at all, just hacking and not even making contact. But a great opening weekend, look forward to the series with the Stros 😀 .

  21. @Sultan of Swaff:

    Give me Travis Wood any time and twice on Sunday over what Chapman brings to the team. Chapman will be nothing but a flash in the pan over the long haul while Wood has the potential to be a multiple 20 game winner over the coming years.

  22. I know it seems that I am too hard on this team, Chapman in particular. But I do it as a fan who wants to see something closer to the teams of the 70s who were great for several years, rather than the 90 team that one it all, then got close for a few years, then nothing for 15. For this year, Chapman in the pen is the right choice. But for the next 4, Chapman should be starting in AAA right now. Cause to me, 4>1.

  23. ok my bad but my point is still valid. he could have used that month or longer to work on his control while overpowering overmatched hitters and gaining confidance before moving up. worked out pretty good for the nats untill he blew out his arm.

  24. I heard the counter-arguments but I maintain the obvious: that Chapman does not have consistent command of any of his pitches. Throwing 100+ mph doesn’t always compensate for that. People have mentioned his throwing a couple fastballs and (one) slider right into Hanigan’s glove. He also threw a slider that was missed way low and he’s afraid to even throw a slider with a runner on, which makes him a lot more hittable with runners on.

    He also often misses by a LOT with his fast ball. Of course he doesn’t have to nibble, but missing by 2 feet is a lot different than missing by 2 inches. Missing by 2 feet leads to wild pitches and hit batsmen.

    In any case we all want to see him improve, the sooner the better. With better command this guy is unhittable.

  25. @Bill Lack: Bill, good reply to my comment about Chapman not overthrowing. Maybe he was on a couple of pitches. He’s so fluid it’s hard to tell. About his slider, as I mention above, you mention one that was a swing and a miss, on the other Chapman missed badly. When a pitcher misses a breaking pitch badly, that’s a sign of overthrowing too, a different kind of overthrowing.

    When he just relaxes and just lets it go – as they say – he has a great fast ball and a great slider. Despite some impatience I express above (after 1 outing !) I think he’ll get there. I do respect jrob’s opinion that he’d get there faster if he were starting regularly at AAA, but in my heart I want him in Cincy right now.

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