2011 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: Zack Cozart isn’t all-powerful after all

Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

Cincinnati 4
Milwaukee 5

W: C. Narveson (6-5)
L: H. Bailey (3-4)

–Making his major league debut, Zack Cozart was 1-3, scored a run, and flashed some good leather on defense.

–Miguel Cairo, Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, and Ramon Hernandez had two hits each. Hernandez had 3 RBI, and a homer in the ninth that cut the lead to one.

–Homer Bailey pitched great…except for one inning. Unfortunately, that one inning lost the game. It was almost stunning, really. A hit, a four-pitch walk to the opposing pitcher, and a three-run homer. All of a sudden, a Reds lead had turned into a three-run deficit.

–The Reds were caught stealing three times, including a crucial CS in the ninth. Drew Stubbs drew a walk, and the go-ahead run was at the plate…and Stubbs was gunned down trying to steal. Game, set, match.

–I didn’t want to see the Reds win two games in a row, anyway.

–I’m not even frustrated, even though this was an eminently winnable game. I’ve come to expect results like this. Apathy is rapidly setting in, and I can’t believe it.

–Milwaukee’s four-run fifth inning was bizarre. Homer was cruising along before that inning, and he ended a six inning stint with an efficient 87 pitches. But he lost focus in that one inning, and that was that. Why didn’t pitching coach Bryan Price ever set foot outside the dugout to calm Bailey down before he threw the game away?

–Third straight game that Homer has surrendered a three-run homerun.

–Jay Bruce didn’t have a hit, but he walked and hit the ball very, very hard twice.

–I really wish the All-Star break would hurry and get here.

110 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Zack Cozart isn’t all-powerful after all

  1. @Steve: And Hanigan is just as dumb about going after the corners when he should be calling for pitches down the pipe.

    • And Hanigan is just as dumb about going after the corners when he should be calling for pitches down the pipe.

      I’m sure, like all fans, I’m way off target on my assumptions about players. But, the last player on the team that I’d accuse of being dumb, or imply that he doesn’t know how to do his job, is Ryan Hanigan.

  2. @secondguessingfanbase: What in the world is your point? That the Reds should send Bailey down? He’s kind of similar to Volquez for the year: a 4.13 ERA, compared to a 5.93 ERA.

  3. @Jason1972: Once again, in a game where Bailey struck out 1 and walked 2, he did not have dynamite physical stuff. That is the more likely explanation than the “mental head case” one. Homer Bailey is a major league pitcher, which is a very small, select group of people. The mental head cases have pretty much mostly been weeded out of that group of people.

  4. @Steve: Both Reds catchers have the pitchers nibbling too much, which I believe is dumb. It doesn’t mean that they are dumb players.

  5. I’m sorry, but I’m really tired of this “Ryan Hanigan is a genius catcher” stuff. Hanigan is the catcher who had Bill Bray throwing at the corners with Schumaker up with a tight strike zone and Pujols on deck in the 7th inning Wednesday. Behind in the count. It just made no sense whatsoever.

    I don’t know if the Reds as an organization think that they have to keep the ball out of the center of the plate when behind in the count, but I have noticed that both catchers seem to set up off the center no matter what. Perhaps this is not Hanigan’s fault and the fault of the organization.

    I like Hanigan too, it’s nothing against him. I’ve just never seen so many people believe that Hanigan is worlds better than Ramon Hernandez as a player when he’s not. Hanigan is a low end starter or an excellent backup.

  6. @Dave Lowenthal: My point is that in the interest of fairness, Homer Bailey has not been good since returning. If fans are going to slam one guy (Volquez) and not another (Bailey), that’s not fair.

  7. @Dave Lowenthal: Let me make my point even clearer. Since Homer is apparently on the upswing and Volquez is headed down the toilet, let’s see who has had better numbers as a Red.

    ERA – Volquez
    WHIP – Volquez
    K/9 – Volquez
    BB/9 – Bailey
    H/9 – Volquez
    HR/9 – Volquez
    SO/BB – Volquez
    IP per start – Volquez

  8. @secondguessingfanbase: You’re way off base. If Volquez had an ERA of 3 coming back off the DL and had a couple rough starts, I don’t think the fans would be climbing all over him. (And, the fans ARE climbing all over Bailey, for the most part, by the way—read this blog, for example.)

    Why is so hard for you to understand the following thing: Volquez’s ERA this year is 5.93, which is among the worst ERAs for anyone with a lot of innings in the bigs.

    And I’m not even one of the people who’s on his back the most. Many just want him gone.

  9. @Dave Lowenthal: I think you’re the one having trouble with comprehension. Bailey has NEVER had a season like Volquez had in 2008 yet the stints where he has been good have been small. Somehow that has been forgotten and Bailey is the future and Volquez is the past. I feel Bailey could be very good. I also feel that NO ONE gets critiqued like Volquez on this thread outside of Dusty Baker, and those two individuals are two of the most accomplished Reds on this team, like it or not. Bailey has accomplished nothing.

  10. @secondguessingfanbase: I haven’t looked up the numbers, but that’s a really poor way to compare the two guys for two reasons. One is that Volquez is a good bit older while Bailey’s been completely mismanaged. Two is that there is one single stat that can eliminate a pitcher from being able to succeed in the major leagues, and that’s BB/9. If your BB/9 is over 5 you simply cannot succeed in the major leagues. So no matter what the other stats, Volquez will never succeed while his BB/9 is what it is right now.

    You have to face the facts: Volquez needs to go to AAA and try to get his career back together. Hopefully he will. But you know that is career is in jeopardy. Any pitcher who has had multiple seasons in a row of walking over 5 per 9 is. Maybe it’s the surgery, doesn’t matter what it is, it just is.

  11. @Dave Lowenthal: @secondguessingfanbase: it’s weird, but i sort of agree with both of you.

    there’s no doubt that volquez needs to go to AAA, the walks are too high, but it’s more the HR that scare me. He’s missing in the center of the plate too much, andhe’s giving up HR on over 20%(!) of flyballs. His xFIP is aournd 4, even with the walks, because when a guy strikes out 1/ip and has a GP% over 50% he should be dominant. But the HR has been killing him.

    But, I also think that Bailey isn’t really that good. People say he was mismanaged, but who knows, he wasn’t really that good in the minors either. When he lost his velocity he was never going to be a top of the rotation starter, for two simple reasons.

    1: His fastball is straight as his arrow tattoo. When it was 98, maybe he blows it by people as an out pitch, but at 93, he can’t do that anymore, and thus the k’s have come down.

    2: his fastball is still his best pitch. he’s never had a plus secondary pitch that he could throw for strikes. so he has to rely on the fastball, which often gets hammered.

    I give homer credit, he’s changed style and been able to have some success. I think that if he continues to work on his fastball control, and gives up a few less HR, he can be a serviceable 3-4 type for a while. But he’s just never going to be that good with the stuff he has.

  12. There are a couple emerging trends in this thread I take issue with:
    1) Blaming the catchers for the pitching calls. As stated the calls were on the corners, which isn’t a bad thing to call. The pitchers left the pitches up over the middle of the plate. Bailey threw a meat pitch in the wheelhouse of Weeks, Volquez fastball sails back over the middle of the plate, Bray, Arroyo…failure to execute on the part of the pitchers is the problem. This is a command issue not a call issue.
    2) Someone referred to a column that Cozart was a worthless at SS. Cozart was responsible for the Reds first lead of the game. Scoring from first on a single. No other player on the Reds scores from on that play except Stubbs. He added a charge into the lineup. Yes, he hit into a double play to end the inning with RISP. How many times have we seen this happen to veteran players on the Reds. Is Cozart immune from the same struggles on the Reds?
    3) Pinch hitting Heisey for Cozart. THis was a dumb call, as stated Dusty’s way to get Renteria into the lineup. Had the Reds let Cozart bat, we’re looking at being down 1 run in the top of the 9th with Heisey, Stubbs,Cairo. Agreed that the steal was a bad call/bad decision with an 0-1 count. They hadn’t thrown over, hadn’t put the pitchout on, the signs were there the steal was coming and a pitchout should be painfully obvious to a coach. Why not let Cairo work a count for a bit then send Stubbs? Poorly managed 8th and 9th.

  13. @secondguessingfanbase:
    This league is not a what have you done in the past it’s a what have you done for me lately, and frankly Volquez has done nothing since 2008 except serve a 50 game suspension, had Tommy John surgery, had an issue with gun violence scandal (music video in 09 I believe).

    • @secondguessingfanbase:This league is not a what have you done in the past it’s a what have you done for me lately, and frankly Volquez has done nothing since 2008 except serve a 50 game suspension, had Tommy John surgery, had an issue with gun violence scandal (music video in 09 I believe).

      gun violence scandal? please. don’t be ridiculous. there is no violence involved in filming a music video. that’s like saying that bruce willis is a serial killer because he’s been in 4 die hard movies.

  14. Here is our starting rotation by FIP (no numbers on Dontrelle):

    Cueto – 3.49
    Leake – 3.76
    Bailey – 4.01
    Volquez – 5.29
    Arroyo – 5.52

    Then there’s these two guys:

    Wood – 4.11
    LeCure – 3.45

    I have been advocating for a while to try Bailey out of the pen. I think that his lack of a great secondary pitch would be minimized there, and that if history is a guage, he can probably throw a little harder, which will make his fastball a better weapon. Potential closer of the future? That would be an awesome result to his career if it worked out, for my money.

    I also like the way LeCure pitches, as his slider and change are quality starter pitches and I think he might deserve another chance.

    If I was given total control to go wild with the team, here’s what I’d try:

    Cueto #1
    Leake #2
    Wood #3
    LeCure #4
    Willis/Volquez #5

    Arroyo to the DL.
    Bailey to the pen.

  15. @al:
    Why send Bailey to the Pen when his FIP is below the league average of 4.08 acc to fangraphs: http://www.fangraphs.com/library/index.php/pitching/fip/
    and keeping Volquez in the rotation.

    Lecure starter (ESPN): ERA of 4.79 over 4 starts with a line of.247 .301 .506 .808
    Reliever: 1.39 ERA .176 .238 .270
    Lecure’s best value comes out of the bullpen. His FIP would be affected by the skewed RP numbers he’s put up.

  16. @Reagan Jay: i guess some of it is based on my own “scouting.” i don’t expect for bailey, based on his stuff, to have sustained success as a starter. i think he could be a dominant reliever.

    lecure has 3 solid pitches, and is better suited for the starter role. that said, i know he hasn’t had a ton of success (though it’s a small sample) and you’re right, he could be best used out of the pen as well.

    volquez has some very specific problems. his mechanics aren’t repeatable enough and he’s wild outside and inside the zone. however, he has three plus pitches and has a much higher ceiling as a starter than either bailey or lecure.

  17. @Dave Lowenthal: Wasn’t I the one that said the Reds should send him down to change his windup a day before they sent him down?

    As for mismanaged power arms, Volquez has been just as disrespected as Bailey has, if not more. As a September call up in 2005, just five months after starting his professional baseball, he flamed out in 3 starts followed by 3 relief appearances. Edinson spent all of 2006 in AAA, posting a 3.21 in 21 starts. He was wild, with 5.4 BB/9, but also just a 1.3 WHIP considering. They foolishly brought him up the first week of August and plopped him in the rotation, and got predictably poor results. They sent him down to rookie ball to start 2007 and what do you know, come September Edinson is back with the big club. He was traded to Cincinnati that December.

    Homer’s pro career started in 2005 like Edinson’s. Bailey made his major league debut on June 8, 2007. Volquez made his on August 30, 2005.

  18. @al: Al, that’s my point: he wasn’t good in the minors and this idiot organization called him up to boost ticket sales. At 21 or whatever it was. They had him pitching for years in the bigs when he had no business being there. If you would have seen my posts on the Reds list they were blistering. I mean, no one ripped Bailey more than me. And the organization, much more so.

    You may well be right. I don’t think I ever said Bailey was Cy Young. I don’t know what he’ll be and yes, I’m concerned that his fastball seems to top out at 94, but I’d also like to see him pitch healthy (if he even is) for a while. I don’t think his secondary numbers that he put up last year and this year suggest a 3-4 level starter though. Even if his fastball tops at 94. More like a 2-3, with a potential for a 2. To me the bigger problem is that he’s a significant injury risk, and perhaps with the straight fastball a significant gopher ball risk.

  19. @Dave Lowenthal: i just don’t know what you see in bailey’s stuff to think he could be a second starter. what’s his good pitch? he was throwing more sliders early this year, and having some effect, but now he’s backed off of it, and i assume it’s because throwing it was not good for his shoulder.

    it’s not that he’s topping out at 95, it’s that his fastball has very little movement and he doesn’t have another pitch (or pitches) to get people off of it. if you see something i don’t, let me know.

  20. As has been pointed out, Bailey’s problem is with the gopher ball. In particular, he’s given up a 3 run HR in each of his last 4 starts. I don’t think that trend can possibly continue. I expect him to improve, no idea by how much.

    I would say that to be a bona fide playoff team, it looks like we need to trade for a number 2 starter.

  21. Cozart had a fine debut, his scoring from first on Ramon’s single was the Reds hilite of the game.

    Someone on the thread seemed to misunderstand that the Reds Reporter headline (like Chad’s) was facetious.

  22. I am still waiting to see the “greatness” in Homer, cause I don’t see it. I am also really hopeing Walt wakes up and sees that real change needs to happen and allows Dusty to return to ESPN. Anything besides that is not going to change the atmosphere and direction of this team this year.

  23. @Steve:

    Good enough for what…to be a 3 or 4 guy because right now, on this team I would list him on that level.

  24. I agree with Bill, I think LeCure has the pitches to be a starter, and at least deserves a shot beyond an occasional spot start every now and then.

    Move Bailey to the pen and see how he responds, give LeCure a shot.

    Willis’ start will be VERY interesting.

  25. I found this little interesting tid-bit regarding the Reds calling up Dontrell Willis for Sunday’s start and an appaulling number about our starting rotation.
    In 13 starts with Louisville this season, Willis has made significant strides in addressing some longstanding control problems. He’s 5-2 with a 2.63 ERA and has 67 strikeouts and only 20 walks in 75 1/3 innings.

    The Reds are a disappointing 44-45, thanks in part to inconsistency in the starting rotation. Cincinnati’s starters rank 15th among the 16 NL clubs with a 4.63 ERA.

  26. Who knows what will happen with Dontrielle, but i’m glad he’ll be getting a shot. He couldn’t do much worse than Volquez. But he’s not competing with Volquez for a spot in the rotation: he’s competing with Wood and Homer.

  27. I’m not opposed to Homer pitching in the pen, if we have 5 better options. But right now we don’t know that, let’s give him a few more starts.

    The topic came up as to how flat his fastball has been. But in previous seasons, ML hitters who have faced him (such as Pujols) have raved about his stuff. Makes me wonder if his shoulder is yet 100%.

  28. Today’s lineup:

    Drew Stubbs cf
    Edgar Renteria ss
    Joey Votto 1b
    Brandon Phillips 2b
    Jay Bruce rf
    Scott Rolen 3b
    Chris Heisey lf
    Ryan Hanigan c
    Mike Leake p

    Renteria batting second. Sigh.

    • Today’s lineup:Drew Stubbs cfEdgar Renteria ssJoey Votto 1bBrandon Phillips 2bJay Bruce rfScott Rolen 3bChris Heisey lfRyan Hanigan cMike Leake pRenteria batting second. Sigh.

      Didn’t take long to get Renteria back in the line-up. Of I forgot, “he starting to warm up”. Whatever that means.

  29. @redtothebone: Oops, my bad. I saw Owings strike out Berkman (on mlbnetwork) and thought he had just retired Holiday.

    In any case Owings is pitching better this season, but we’re just as well off without him.

  30. I prefer Heisey as leadoff and Stubbs further down in the lineup.

  31. @Steve: Renteria, I hope, is a one-game thing. I’m guessing Cozart got zero sleep Wednesday night, because he got the call at 1:15 a.m., and it probably wouldn’t hurt to let him catch his breath and watch this one. If they don’t play him 9 games out of 10, though . . .

    It’s WAY too early to give up on Homer Bailey as a starter. When Cliff Lee was his age, he’d thrown 62 major league innings. Bob Gibson had been 3-6 and a 5.63 in his age-24 season, and led the league in walks in his 13-12 age-25 season. If Albert Pujols says he has good stuff, I have to believe him.

  32. Why does Dusty make it so hard on the fans? This is just damn ridiculous.

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