Final R H E
 Cincinnati Reds  (15-17)
3 10 0
 Boston Red Sox  (16-17)
4 9 1
 W:  Breslow (1-0)     L: Ondrusek (0-2)
 Box Score  |   Play-by-Play    |    Photos    |    Depth Chart    |    FanGraphs Win Probability

Positives

Skip Schumaker had his first two hits as a member of the Reds, including an RBI single in the second inning. Todd Frazier singled, walked, scored a run and drove one in. Ryan Ludwick had a hit off the left field wall, a walk and drove in the Reds’ third run with a sacrifice fly. Brandon Phillips had a walk (!), two hits and scored a run. Zack Cozart had two more hits, bringing his batting average above .200.

Joey Votto hit a single, walked and scored a run. His OBP is .425 (yawn) and he’s fifth in the major leagues in that category. One of the players he trails is Shin-Soo Choo, who’s OBP is .491. Votto’s OBP with runners in scoring position is .517. But please ignore that statistic because, among other reasons, it’s based on a really tiny number of at bats this early in the year.

J.J. Hoover, who pitched for the first time in May, threw a 1-2-3 seventh inning, retiring the middle of the Red Sox lineup. He gave up a single to Grady Sizemore in the eighth inning before striking out the next batter. Manny Parra retired the three batters he faced, including two strike outs. Sam LeCure did let three runners on base, but also recorded five outs.

Tucker Barnhart nailed Dustin Pedroia on a stolen base attempt in the bottom of the ninth.

St. Louis and the Brewers lost tonight.

Negatives

The Reds failed to turn an easy double play in the first inning, allowing the Red Sox to score their first run. Without that run the game never reaches extra innings. Zack Cozart missed touching second base by a couple of inches.

Homer Bailey struggled with his command in several of his six innings, walking a season-high five. Two of the three runners who scored against him got on base via the walk and one of them was walked in with bases loaded. On the other hand, Bailey avoided a big inning, didn’t surrender a home run and kept the Reds in the game. He struck out five. Homer threw his slider more than usual tonight and hardly threw his splitter at all. 

The Reds had their chances to score more runs, leaving ten runners on base.

The Reds TWICE sent Billy Hamilton to the plate, when all he can do is bunt. The Red Sox likely knew this, as the odds are high that someone in their organization can read. It was widely reported earlier today that Hamilton tried to swing a bat and literally dropped it. Not only does using Hamilton this (ineffective) way continue to re-set his DL date, if that becomes necessary, but it’s the most pathetic use of the Designated Hitter in the history of the rule. Mike Leake is a great bunter, is fast and can, you know, hold on to the bat so the defenders can’t stand ten feet from home plate. He’s also hit a home run this year.

Just as Marty Brenneman was opining with great certitude that Grady Sizemore would surely be bunting in the bottom of the twelfth, the former Cleveland center fielder drove the ball off Logan Ondrusek to deep left field to knock in the winning run.

Not so random thoughts

I don’t know about your browser, but when I type the words “game six” into Google Chrome, the third prompt is “1975 world series.” I’m not sure why it isn’t first. On October 21, 1975, the Reds and Red Sox played one of the iconic games in Major League Baseball history. Carlton Fisk’s home run in the bottom of the twelfth inning is so memorable, plenty of smart people think the Red Sox won the series. Sparky Anderson used eight pitchers that game, pulling starter Gary Nolan after just two innings. Stupid twelfth inning.

The Atlanta Braves won their first game since they swept the Reds in Atlanta over a week ago, defeating the Cardinals after losing seven in a row.

With Zack Cozart on second base, Tucker Barnhart hit a ball to deep right field in the eighth inning that would have been in the fifth row of Great American Ball Park. In Fenway, it was a long fly ball out by a couple of feet.

Tonight was the Reds’ first game in Fenway Park since June 15, 2005. The winning pitcher that night was Bronson Arroyo, who started for the Boston Red Sox. Arroyo struck out eight Reds in seven innings, including Wily Mo Peña twice, who was batting clean up for the Reds. Peña would be traded for Arroyo the following off season. Ken Griffey Jr. scored the lone run for the Reds that night, knocked in by Adam Dunn. The Red Sox offense was led by David Ortiz, who drove in three runs.

Steve grew up in Cincinnati a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. Contemporary Reds thrills: witnessing Jay Bruce’s 2010 homer and Homer Bailey’s 2013 no-hitter in person. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 280 characters about the Reds is Redleg Nation, although you can follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 174 Comments

  1. Why do the Reds continue to play games with 23 or 22 man rosters? Well, 21 man rosters since Neftali Soto is a complete waste………

  2. Boy am I glad to see Joey Votto making outs instead of padding his obp with useless walks.

    • I’m not sure whether the hapless creature you are pummeling is a dead horse or a straw man (or a dead straw horse), but I recall nobody here saying that walks are useless or that outs are better. By the way: Did the Reds win?

  3. Like I said on the in game thread, I had a feeling Ondrusek would give up the winning run. He looked good for the one inning, but the Reds were pressing their luck when he came out to pitch the next inning. With Sizemore coming up, any reason the Reds could not have brought in Marshall to pitch for the L to L matchup? The only other thing I can think of is that Marshall is sore or injured and the Reds do not have anybody else to bring in because of the injuries?

    • Ondrusek had tough luck on the hit by Napoli. It was a routine ground ball, just out of Zack Cozart’s reach. A couple feet closer to third base and that’s a routine double play and the game is likely still going on.

      • It looked like DP written all over it as it passed the mound. Cozart must have been positioned poorly (not necessarily his fault) or gotten a terrible jump.

        The game winner was soemthing of a mortar shot which found dirt and not the wall. Can’t help but wonder if a healthy Hamilton or more agile LF would have caught it.

        • I’m not too sure the person or persons behind the Reds defensive strategies are doing much better than the 3rd base coach. To things noted previously, tonight the shift appeared to play a role in the potential but botched 1st inning DP. On another occasion a foul pop up fell untouched because of the shift (believe Papi eventually reached on that AB). And then there was the would be DP ball in the 12th that Cozart did not get to.

      • Agree. Ondrusek had tough luck on the Napoli grounder. But, year in and year out, Ondrusek is not real reliable overall. Just look at his ERA.

    • I think they are using Marshall only when they really, really need him…not sure what good he is to the club that he isn’t better on the DL or get some work in the minors with Aroldis, I suspect Chapman will get a batter out before Marshall does

  4. frustrating game that the Reds should lost in 9, like the battling of Homer and that they battled back to tie, could of stole one, literally….Price might get 2nd guessed with bullpen management, thought he went with match-ups 2 much, but if he has got Chapman, Simon, and a healthy Votto could do it differently
    Still find it bizarre to bat Hamilton, when anybody including Soto could have sacrificed, I think he out thought himself on that one

    • I think votto is healthy. He is not hurt.

    • He’s healthy. He’s hit at least 1 hard line drive every game in recent memory. They haven’t been dropping. Sizemore was shaded way left in extras, otherwise his liner goes for a double. Good positioning, and that’s part of the reason I advocate Votto trying to pull the ball sometimes so LFers can quick standing 20 feet from the foul line.

      • Right and Votto just missed 2 HRs against Milwaukee. Gomez robbed him again and then there was his fly ball that bounced high off the top of the left center field wall and back onto the field for a double.

  5. Votto popped up in a key situation with a chance to give the reds the lead. You can’t say he was a positive today.

    • Well, then you can’t say anyone was positive. The Reds lost by 1, therefore, anyone could have hit a home run at any time. So they are all negative?

  6. The Hamilton decision is the most curious of all this season, in my opinion.

    • agree, it is like they meant to pinch run him and got confused

      • Yeah.

        Hamilton is now 3 for 13 on bunt attempts. Among the 7 other major leaguers with 3 or more bunt hits, Hamilton’s success rate is 19% lower than the next lowest guy.

        • Sorry, 9 guys. Hamilton is last at 23.1% success and Eric Young is 2nd worst at 42.9%.

  7. Missed chances early in this game, another blown.

  8. It’s easy to say “Well, anyone could have homered in the first nine innings and the Reds would have won” but this is a game the Reds should have won, and they didn’t need a clutch hit to do it. The lazy double play attempt in the bottom of the first cost the Reds a run. Then with runners on first and third and no one out the Reds didn’t score in the second. So 3-3 after nine could easily have been, and should probably have been a 4-2 Reds win and we’d be talking about a) how Homer Bailey pitched well on a night when he didn’t have his best stuff and b) how the bad luck in one run games is starting to even out. To my eye this loss was not bad luck but poor execution. This might be the toughest loss of the year so far. Merry early Christmas BoSox.

  9. Amazing how to most on this site Votto can do no wrong. To my way of thinking Votto is getting paid to be the big bat in the line-up that drives in the run late in the game to give the Reds a win. He is a great at getting on base and it is admirable that he walks as often as he does. But if he doesn’t start to hit more effectively with men in scoring position the Reds will be lucky to finish with a 500 record. I’m not sure the Votto who garnered the MVP award and was rewarded handsomely with a contract unlike any given by the Reds, exists anymore. He’s just not the player he was. He’s had his career year.

    • He’s not getting paid 200 million to walk with two out that is for sure.

      • He’s getting paid to get on base, which he does awesomely well.

        • I may be wrong but he got that contract when he was tagged as one of the best hitters in baseball… along with only Miguel Cabrera. He was coming up with big hits and driving in runs and making pitchers pay for mistakes.

          I don’t think the contract was to be the OBP king… I thought it was more to lock up the best hitter in baseball. I just don’t think he is that anymore. Best at getting on base? Maybe. But not the best hitter.

      • I know right, I’d much rather him swing at a bad pitch and make an out than continue the inning by getting on base. He just wants to pad his obp which is selfish. It doesn’t help anyone when you walk to first base.

        • I think you might be missing NYRedFanatic’s point. I don’t read him as suggesting “Votto doesn’t get paid to walk” or as arguing that walks less beneficial than outs. I think we can legitimately praise Votto’s OBP prowess and wonder aloud at 2013/2014 Votto would have gotten the fat contract that 2010/2011 Votto did. I don’t think he would.

          For reference, Votto’s current batting average (I know, I know) is lower than Brandon Phillips’.

        • Josh, you can’t divorce the knee injury from the conversation. Would Joey today get the same contract? Almost certainly not because you wouldn’t give a contract like that to a guy with a repaired knee. No one could have foreseen that. And the injury has, at least in the 18 months since he went down, definitely effected his power – so he has compensated with a different plate approach. As a result his overall performance numbers have been pretty consistent as I pointed out below. I think front offices look at the advanced stats a lot more than people think when drawing up large contracts. WAR is an important component and in that sense Joey is right where he was in 2011. Just look at Choo. Adjusted for age and the fact he’s never won an MVP, he basically got a Votto-sized contract based almost entirely on OBP. So WOULD Votto get the contract today? Hard to say. Would he DESERVE the contract now? Yes. The same way he did then.

    • It’s just flat wrong to say that on this site people think Votto can do no wrong. Over and over again I have seen editors and commenters discuss his defensive issues and TOOTBLANs. What you don’t see is many people giving any credit to ridiculous stats like hitting with runners in scoring position. Now, you’re free to think that Joey is not earning his keep and I’m free to radically disagree and use actual meaningful stats to back that up. But, on this site, Joey gets a fair amount of criticism when he’s earned it.

      You’re right. The Joey who earned the MVP is no longer. He’s better now.

      • Joey Votto won the MVP in 2010. That year he had a wRC+ of 172 and a fWAR of 6.8. Those are elite numbers. MVP numbers. In 2011 he had a wRC+ of 157 and a fWAR of 6.5. That got him “the contract.” 2012 is notable because of the injury, obviously, but also because even with missing about 70 games he still managed a wRC+ of 178 (the highest of his career) and a fWAR of 5.6. It’s easy to imagine that had he not gotten hurt he could have shattered his career records that year and ran away with the MVP. He finished with an OPS+ of 177 and that includes the last 2 months of the season when he had literally zero power. That’s how good he was playing immediately after signing the contract before he hurt his knee. 2013, I think even most of Votto’s harshest critics can agree, was still a product of his rehabbing knee. Even so he put up a wRC+ of 156 and fWAR of 6.1. That’s only a tick below what a fully healthy Joey Votto did to earn the contract in the first place, a contract everyone loved when it was signed.

        Right now Joey is sitting on a wRC+ of 147 and is on pace for 4 WAR. I’ll agree that isn’t really elite air he’s in. But I also haven’t seen him quite get into his groove yet. I expect both of those numbers to come up. So is Votto “better” now than he was in 2010? Not at the moment. And it’s possible that the knee injury will never let him get quite back to the level he was at the first half of 2012. He’s trading OBP for SLG and for the most part it’s evening his numbers out, but there’s no doubt there was a moment in time AFTER the contract was signed when he looked like he could be the best baseball player on the planet. Still, I understand the criticisms. His ability to get on base even by the most advanced metrics, doesn’t completely forgive his steady decline in power. The injury happened almost 2 years ago and his numbers across the board have been in decline since then, including OBP. His K% has steadily been on the rise while his BB% has fallen. I don’t bother much with defensive stats, but it’s also not hard to argue that his defense has never been nearly as good as it was in 2011 when he won his one and only Gold Glove. If people want to argue that Joey Votto isn’t as good as he was in 2010 because he isn’t hitting 37 HR’s anymore, I agree that is a silly position to take. And as has been said over and over on this board, there is now stat for “clutchiness.” But it’s also probably an exaggeration to say that Joey is better now than he ever was. It’s just not true. That being said, he is still an elite hitter who is likely good for at least 5 WAR every year for a while to come. That’s worth about $25 million/year on the open market. Sorry folks, but that’s just the economics of baseball these days. So is Votto better now than he was when he was hitting 37 HR’s? Probably not. And you can’t foresee injuries so that just is what it is. But he is still very much worth the money.

        • It seems like home runs are down across the league. Without looking it up didn’t only 2 people hit 40 last year?

        • That too, though that trend arguably started well before 2010. He had a .600 SLG that year. He’s never come within 40 points of duplicating that. I’m not sure what the explanation is.

        • Yes you beat me too it… Took me a while to look it all up

        • Thanks for taking the time to look up the numbers and the perspective. Truly appreciated.

        • Votto’s BABIP is currently at .314 and his average in Ground Balls is low, those two should improve.

      • Disagree on your final statement saying he is better now. Now I am the first to admit I know very little about these advanced stats you guys often write about on here… but let me do my best.

        I compared his stats from his MVP season to his current projected stats for this year… Almost everything falls short… WAY short on most cases. Almost half of the production for several categories from that season. His average is nearly 50 points lower now than then. He is on pace for 75 fewer bases this year than then. He is on pace to hit around 20 HR… just more than half of what he did then. RBI’s are projected to be less than half. Slugging is down… OPS is down… OPS+ is down. He is on pace to hit into twice as many double plays. People are not even intentionally walking him any close to what they were then indicating people are not afraid to pitch to him to get to the seemingly weaker hitters in the lineup.

        Even if we go to the advanced stats he doesn’t add up. his wRC+ was 172 then and now it is 147… The lowest of his career if I am reading correctly. His WAR was 6.7 that year… Now it is 1.1??? Again, I could be wrong and this could just be because we are 1/5 of the way through the season…. but even then if you multiplied his current WAR by 5 he ends at 5.5… Not even sure if this is how WAR works… but it doesn’t seem to add up

        The only stats that are in favor of this year are 2b and OBP. He currently has an OBP of 429… His OBP in the MVP year was 424. That is a slight edge to say something is “better”. And this are both way short of his best year in 2012 when he had an OBP of 474. This year he is on pace for 40 2b… his MVP he only got 36… Again really too close to judge if he is better now or then. And these are way short of the year he was going to have in 2012 if he had not missed that chunk due to injury. He had 44 that year.

        And as you stated his fielding is not great…. surely not what it was when he won the GG in 2011. Which would also indicate a decline in play

        Looking at stats, I can not see how you can feel he is better now than he was then.

        • Beat you by a couple minutes.

        • Sorry for the lengthy post

        • You can’t judge the value of how he’s hitting now based on his stats from 2014, because the sample size is too small. Add the two home runs that he missed by a total of six inches against Milwaukee and see how much difference it makes in the numbers.

          The way to judge Votto’s value now is looking at last year’s stats – or if you want to, roll this year’s numbers into last year. I’m not weighing in on the “better or worse” now debate – who cares if he’s a little better or worse than an MVP season in 2010? He’s still one of the best hitters in the league.

          One of the reasons he may be being walked less intentionally is that he’s hitting second in the line-up and teams are more reluctant to put him on earlier in the inning and he’s not batting with as many men on base as before.

        • Great points Steve… Yes he did miss a few HR’s by a couple of inches last week. But I’m sure he missed a couple from the 2010 season as well.

          I’m not saying he isn’t still one of the elite. I just don’t feel he is better now than then no matter how we decide to look at it.

        • Yeah the “well he missed a couple balls by an inch” argument never quite does it for me because it’s true of every player every year. In most parks neither of those balls would have been anywhere close to being HR’s. That double Ludwick hit last night in the 1st would have been out of most ballparks but in Fenway they have a giant stupid green wall for some reason.

          Good point on the IBB’s.

      • Votto is not better in 2014 than he was in 2010. Not in any sense. He is a below average fielder, frequently loss on the bases and seemingly incapable of driving in a run with the game on the line. He was an MVP in 2010. He’s not even close to one in 2014. (small sample size) His contract will hamstring the organization for years. When he was given the contract not everyone thought it was a great idea. Too long and too much money. If the current downward trend continues how will that salary look when he is 38 or 39? I realize the Reds are not alone in giving these contracts but given their market size it seems like a bad decision to me.

        • The supply of great players is low; the demand is high.

          These contracts are not made to be “fair” to the team in their later years.

          They are absolutely necessary, however, to get the player to sign with the team.

          Ultimately, a team SHOULD never give ANY player more than a 1 year deal. What about risk of decline and injury?

          Well, if that was the case, you lose your player.

          The Reds paid Votto for 5-6 more good years, but knew he’d go elsewhere if they offered him 5 years, so they locked him up for 10.

          Basic baseball economics. I think this gets lost by a lot of posters complaining aobut his contract.

          Same with Miguel Cabrera’s new deal. They may only get 3-4 more good years out of him.

        • It’s going to be interesting to see how teams actually handle the back portions of these mega deals. Pujols is in the same boat. Obviously no one expects them to play at an elite level when they’re 40, but are you going to keep running them out there even after they’re clearly past their expiration date just because you’re paying them $25 million a year? Are you going give a 39 year old player who can’t hit anymore a spot on your 25 man roster? Are they going to take on some kind of bench coach role? Are you going to pay them to just go home and sit on the couch?

          I thought it was really interesting to see the Yankees jump all over A-Rod’s contract when the suspension came down trying to get it nullified in court. That was really the first of these massive contracts that everyone knew was going to be a burden in the later years. The Yankees had a legitimate gripe, but it sets an interesting precedent.

  10. Using Hamilton to pinch hit to bunt is Baker like and one has to wonder how much longer the honeymoon for Price will last. Using Hamilton to pinch bunt is almost as crazy as using Bernadina to pinch hit against the lefty in Atlanta when Heisey was available. Speaking of Heisey he is great pinch hitter but just seems to be lost at the plate when he starts a game.

    Before listing Cozart’s two hits a plus one might wonder why he doesn’t score on the bunt by Heisey and also point out that with runners on base he again looked clueless at the plate.

    • Cozart would have been out by 30 feet if he tried to score. The pitcher could have probably tagged him. I thought he did a good job running on that play.

      • I disagree and both Red Sox announcers thought he would have made it easily

        • Marty and Cowboy very clearly said on the radio that it was good instincts for him NOT to run.. because he would have been out by a mile because the pitcher was RIGHT there.

          They seemed to think that the bunt was Heisy’s idea.. not coming from the dugout. Otherwise Cozart would have been farther down the basepath.

        • RedSox announcers were wrong. He would have been tagged out by the pitcher. Welsh agreed as well and talked Thom into it. Cozart would have been meat if he tried to score there. It really was the pitcher’s only play and the pitcher was right there to tag him. Had he missed him somehow, there’s still a good chance he would have gotten him with a throw home.

      • Cozart’s base running instincts are seemingly very poor. He hesitated for no reason. Although he was probably thinking the team’s best hitter was due up next and certainly he would drive him in. (sarcasm intended) All jokes aside Cozart has to try and score there given Votto’s continued inability to drive anyone in with the game on the line.

  11. This team remains one of the poorest fundamentally sound teams in MLB- was that way with Dusty and has carried over into the Price era – strategic decisions , non execution in scoring opportunities – it all adds up to mediocrity that is starting to engulf this organization – accountability is an afterthought

    • well put.

    • Disagree, it stinks when you do not execute, Red Sox had bases loaded and one out and did not score, they got a runner thrown out in the 9th with the middle of their line-up coming up and a relief pitcher having trouble throwing strikes, how many DP’s did Rameriz hit into in the Brewers series, but Reds are not the only team making these mistakes, not sure how you measure it maybe there are some stats to back it up

  12. “The Red Sox likely knew this, as the odds are high that someone in their organization can read.” LOL funniest line I’ve ever read on Redlegnation Mr. Mancuso. Not at all funny that we lost, but I needed that laugh after watching that game. Thx

    • I agree with you. That comment made me laugh; so much so that I repeated it verbatim this morning when talking with my Red Sox fan coworker.

  13. According to Marty’s radio call, on the double play that wasn’t turned in the first inning, Cozart and BP were undecided about who was covering second with the shift on Ortiz.
    However you look at it, a costly mental error.

    • Cozart looks lost on the field more often than anyone I’ve ever seen. Just clueless most of the time. Very low baseball IQ.

      • say what?

        • My dad said the same thing about Cozart last year. He says a lot of mental errors. He does make a few but his defense is so good, that I can’t point at his baseball IQ as being an issue. My dad and I argue this point all the time. I am mentioning it because apparently there are more fans than just JCREDLEGS that feel that way.

      • In a broadcast recently Welsh said he was talking to Billy Hatcher and he told him that they have to remind guys every single time they get on base about every little detail – how many outs there are, what to do on a fly ball versus a grounder, etc. He said that was true of every single player every time and that he’s been told it’s true on every other team, too. There’s a reason they have two full time coaches out there. When you have to physically perform at a top level, it’s nice to have someone doing some of the brain work for you. No one on this team has been coached well on base running. That’s not their fault.

  14. I was thinking about Game 6 when the Red Sox came up in the 12th.

  15. This subject was raised above but anyway, if the Reds have no confidence in Marshall right now, then he should be pitching at AAA and strengthening his arm and getting sharper.

  16. Even if this team somehow manages to make it to the playoffs I am anticipating a major changeover of this team in the offseason. This team is not enjoyable to watch. We have no power, no clutch, and what appears to my naked eye to be a lack of enthusiasm to play.

    • It is interesting how people view the team. I enjoy watching this team and am okay that we are not that Bash Brothers and not real sure how you can define “clutch”. As for the enthusiasm…guess we are seeing two different teams…

    • This is a bit extreme. Remember two whole games ago? Todd Frazier hitting a walk off double against our first place division rivals? That was clutch, power, enthusiasm, and fun to watch. Those guys mobbing Todd on the field sure looked like they were enjoying the game. I know I was.

      • I agree Eric… I don’t see a lack of enthusiasm or willingness to play. Heck, some of these guys look like they are having more fun out there than I’ve seen from players in a long time. Bryan Pena is a good example if someone wants to look for one. Reds’ fans always make character and motivational judgements and they are almost always incorrect. They can never be happy with “How the team is playing the game”. The team is either lackluster and non-enthusiastic, and “not playing hard”, or they are too loose and “having too much fun out there… baseball is serious.” Never, ever happy. I know that if someone questioned my play on the field or my ability, that never bothered me. If someone questioned my desire or tried to project an emotion onto me that I wasn’t feeling though? Yeah, bad idea.

  17. It is funny how quickly all the talk of dropping BP in the lineup has evaporated. Sure he started slow and he will always be a limited offensive asset, but a couple of good games in a row and he suddenly has the best BA of any of our everyday guys. (And, yes, I know there are other statistics, but you get my point.) Maybe folks got a little carried away? I feel like BP is taken for granted when he performs, but fans in Cincy are always ready to throw the guy overboard when he slumps. It is odd that folks have so little patience with him because, aside from the man at first base, he has been the most consistent and most important part of this team over the last six or seven years.

    • I like BP as a hitter. He’s a good 2 strike hitter. It seems like every season – or a couple of times a season – he’s on a roll, gets hurt and continues to play and then slumps. Last year was the best example of that.

      His main problem is hitting into a lot of double plays, but that’s due to his hitting a lot of hard ground balls.

    • Guilty as charged on no longer talking about dropping him in the order. He responded exceptionally well to the day off. I’m proud of him for his reaction and proud of Price for sitting him down.

    • I’ve only stopped talking about it because otherwise people would complain about me talking about it all the time. His career arc still argues strongly against him batting third, a few good games notwithstanding.

      Another way to look at it is that Phillips benefits from days off physically. That’s pretty consistent with aging taking its toll. Day off, then two good games against Milwaukee. Day off, then a good game against Boston. Perhaps that’s an argument for Phillips playing 130 games instead of 160.

      • I’m going to say it again – I still don’t buy the “career arc” argument with BP. It’s based on the last 3 years. 2011 was the best year of his career by a mile, 2012 he played exactly like he has every other year of his career, and last year he was hurt and had the worst year of his career. Right now he’s a bit below his normal career pace because of the slow start but seems to be coming back into his usual form. And that’s across ALL of his numbers. He has been a remarkably consistent player in that sense. You can trend just about any number you’d like and you’d see the blips in 2011 and 2013 would do nothing to his trending. It’s essentially a flat line. I also find it fascinating that so many people here are fine forgiving Joey’s dip in performance in 2012 and 2013 on an injury but give BP no credit for playing at less than 100% most of last year.

        This season will be the real test. If he finishes the year with his normal OPS+ and wRC+ of right around 100, hopefully the talk of imminent decline can be put on hold for a few years. If he finishes the year around 85 in both of those categories (where he is now) then the argument can be made he’s officially trending downwards.

        • Maybe he shouldn’t play hurt.

        • We didn’t have a lot of options for a starting 2B last year. As a rule, you’re right. But guys seem to keep doing it anyway.

        • Your analysis is flawed because it simplistically mis-diagnoses his 2011 season. If you look at the underlying numbers, his 2011 blip was SOLELY due to a higher BABIP (normal luck distribution from year to year). That accounts for his higher batting average and OBP. Otherwise, there is nothing else exceptional for Phillips in 2011. His decline in power, speed, walks and rise in strikeouts continued normally in 2011.

          For example, here are his Isolated Power numbers: 2007 (197), 2008 (181), 2009 (171), 2010 (155), 2011 (157), 2012 (148), 2013 (135) and 2014 (102).

          That’s steady decline from 2007. No blip (more like a pause) in 2011. His strikeout rate has risen every year since 2009 and walks declined every year since 2009. His speed numbers (stolen bases) have dropped consistently since 2007.

          Yes, it’s absolutely too early in 2014 to know if he’s dropped off the cliff or whether he’ll bring his numbers up to be more consistent with natural decline. That point was made clearly in my post on this a few days ago. Your wishful thinking that BP can suspend the concept of again aside, he’s experiencing a perfectly normal decline for players at his position and of his age.

        • Yeah, his BABIP was up in 2011, but it was only .322. And his LD% was well up as well which had an effect on that. I just don’t see 20 points of BABIP adding 20 points of OPS+. His ISO has declined as you say, but he’s clearly made up for it in other ways to keep his overall performance numbers steady throughout that period. Kind of like that Votto guy has done while his ISO numbers have dropped steadily for the last 4 years.

          I’m not saying BP is never going to get old and decline, I just don’t think he’s doing it at a dramatic rate just yet. Maybe that’s a bit of wishful thinking. This year will tell.

        • Regardless of where BP is on the aging curve, a lot of his value is created by his defense, and he’s lost half a step… maybe more.

          His walks are down and his strikeouts are up. Also, his BABIP this year is .340, so he’s been extremely lucky so far.

          Other than that, he just looks generally unhappy to be playing. So we got that going for us, which is nice.

        • Phillips’ BABIP on ground balls this year so far is .381. Good for 9th in all MLB.

          He’s been extremely lucky so far.

          I’ll send every member of RLN $1 in the mail if Phillips hits higher than .260 on the season.

        • So you’re betting BP is going ot have the worst season of his career at the plate? He’s hit .261 twice in his career and other than that has never been below .276. I’d bet you he comes in around .270 this year. He was not having good AB’s at all through April and the fact that his BA is what it is now is a testament to his lucky BABIP, but now that he seems to be more patient at the plate things will normalize as his BABIP comes back down. If he stays healthy, I expect to see BP hit at pretty much his career norm this year.

        • I might be wrong, but yes, I think .255 or so seems about right.

      • I was all for moving him down the order, but when considering Frazier or Ludwick pre-Bruce injury, you really are not accomplishing much of change, other than making a change, now that Bruce is out you have to hope he can hit at least near last year’s form.
        It was more the approach, the DP, followed by a S, then a K with 1 out and the bases loaded when everybody else was crushing the ball it made you lose faith. He seems to be working counts a little better and maybe he will actually drive in some runs if th team can get going. Having Shumaker to spell him will be a big help.

      • I don’t really disagree with the gradual decline theory. The guy is aging. But the arguments I heard for dropping BP in the lineup seemed to 1) assume he has fallen off a cliff, and I just don’t see reliable evidence of that yet, and 2) be based on wishful thinking about alternatives. Even before he went down, Bruce wasn’t striking fear in hearts; Frazier is looking ok, but put up numbers comparable to BP last year while BP played hurt. For a community that prides itself on rational analysis, making a change for the sake of making a change seems silly.

        My comment was also based on the fact that I think BP gets treated a little unfairly around here because some folks don’t care for his personality. I think that plays some role in ostensibly performance based critiques and explains why we seem to have so little patience with a vet that consistently performed at a high level.

  18. After video review: what a throw by Barnhart to cut down Pedroia. And Schumaker never broke stride as he rounded second and advanced to 3rd with Ludwick caught in a rundown.

  19. I like Tucker Barnhart. A lot! However, I have no faith in Ondrusek and Soto is a complete waste. I thought Cozart made the right decision at 3rd. He would have been either tagged out by the P or thrown out a home. Tough call.

  20. REDALERT said it best – no accountability! You have a shortstop who routinely bounces balls to first. Why would the manager not address this? Throw the ball son. Wake up team!

    • How do you know there is no accountablity? Are you in the locker room?

    • Are you talking about this years team or the ’75 team. 🙂
      Granted the SS bouncing throws to first is probably less positive now.

  21. Heisey seems to struggle in the leadoff spot and he doesn’t walk much anyway. Schumaker has a career .343 OBP with no power. Maybe those two should switch spots in the line up. Listening to Sunday’s game on the radio, the Milwaukee annoncers said Schumaker had hit the ball hard all day but had no hits to show for it. Looks like he hit the ball good again yesterday, so it appears he isn’t suffering any lingering effects from his injury.

    • Agree 100%. Schumaker should hit first until (groan) Hamilton is back in that spot.

  22. Maybe it’s a good thing they didn’t sign Sizemore… His hair would be bugging me all season.

    • I don’t know why but I thought that was Grady in the pic on the front page. Sorry Bronson Arroyo!

  23. Anyone missing Choo yet and his .500 OBP? He is killing it for someone else.

    • I’m fairly certain EVERYONE would love to have Choo back. There isn’t anyone who wouldn’t want him signed for this year.

    • At what cost? Is his value worth what the Rangers are paying him? Would you have kept him at that cost which may have ment losing either Latos or Cueto?

    • I love me some Choo. He was a great addition in a season squandered by Dusty. However, and I’ve said this before, the best move of the off season was NOT signing Choo. By making this comment, you are automatically saying that you think the Reds should have matched the Rangers offer, which was a drastic overpay. Even if you think this is financially possible, that would have been a terrible move. Kudos to Jocketty for knowing when to fold a hand.

    • I’d love to have Choo and his OBP at the top of our order right now, but I am very glad we don’t have his contract on our hands. He was massively overpaid and still can’t hit LHP to save his life. I don’t understand giving a guy that kind of money when you basically have to sit him against a third of the pitchers in the league and he can be completely neutralized late in games. But that’s what you can afford to do when you’re an AL team with Rangers money. The DH really does make a huge difference in roster construction.

      • I should qualify that a bit – He wasn’t overpaid. He got market value for what he does and he’s doing it reliably for the Rangers. And the fact of the matter is elite players get more years on their contracts than they should because that’s just how the market is. Joey Votto is not going to look like he’s worth $25 million when he’s 40 and we knew that when we signed the contract. But I’m glad we didn’t sign Choo because you could DEFINITELY say good bye to Cueto and Latos if we had.

    • Who wouldn’t love to have Choo? A 2 year, $40-50 million dollar deal would have been perfect.

      A year of Choo in center, then a year of Choo in left with BHam in CF.

      But I’m really glad that the Rangers will be paying off the other 5 years of that contract.

  24. Silver linings from this loss. You just have to love this Barnhart guy. In the first inning, when Homer bailey couldn’t find the strike zone, he runs out to the mound to talk to Bailey to settle him down. Then in the ninth inning, Big Papi is up with a full count, 2 outs and bases loaded he runs out to get with LeCure. For a rookie, not bad. I would have included this in the positives. He blocks pitches in the dirt very well. He has some pop in his bat.
    This Barnhart guy, he is a keeper.

    • Yes, I’m a big fan of Barnhart. I still am not sure how well he’ll hit but I know a thing or two about catching, and he’s a TREMENDOUS catcher. He wasn’t voted the best defensive catcher in the minors for nothing. My only other concern aside from his bat (which has looked good so far) is that I wonder how well he’d hold up as a starting catcher? The fact that he isn’t a big guy should help with his knees but there just aren’t too many catchers that are as small as he is and I wonder about endurance over a season. That said, he seems to be in really good shape so perhaps that won’t end up being an issue when/if the time comes that he’s a starting catcher somewhere.

  25. There is just something wrong when your DH bats 8th.

    • And then is pinch hit for (a) to sacrifice bunt, (b) by a person who can only bunt. Then when that spot comes back up the next time, the manager decides the most productive way to use the DH slot is to send a hitter up there who can only bunt and the other team knows it. None of the other players on the bench had a better chance of doing something? (Either answer to this question is sad.) And remember, with no pitchers hitting, you don’t need to save your bench to pinch hit for that spot.

    • In fairness, NL teams are not set up for the DH. They play it so few times per year that it wouldn’t make sense to have rosters designed for its use.

  26. Extra inning games are a crapshoot. I like our chances against Breslow, but alas. Thoughts:
    —exceptional competitiveness from Barnhart–nailing Pedroia, almost hitting the game winning HR, blocking pitches.
    –Homer hasn’t had good command all season. He’d better turn it around soon if he wants his stats to look decent by the end of the year.
    –It was a fun game to watch.
    –Just like last season, it looks like Hoover has righted the ship. I’d like to see him as the 8th inning guy over Broxton when Chappy returns.
    –A few good games from Phillips does not preclude me from calling for him to be bumped down to 6th. Frazier and Ludwick both have OBP in the .340 range.
    –LeCure is getting it done with smoke and mirrors. With a fastball that tops at 87, I’m selling on this guy.
    –Schumaker’s reads in CF are pretty slow. Get well soon Billy.

    • LeCure’s velocity is down. Last year his average FB was 89.3 and this year it is 86.8. His other pitches are a little slower too. The good news is that his off-speed offerings are still far enough apart from his fastball from a velocity standpoint, that they are still effective. Of course at 87 for the fastball, some hitters can look for off-speed and adjust to the fastball. That is very rarely the case. I think part of the velocity change though is the type of fastball he seems to be throwing. It seems to have more movement on it this year.

      Schumaker has never been a good OF

  27. Anyone want to hazard a guess on the chances Billy goes on the DL and when? I’m saying 97% and it will be annouced Friday morning.

    • Sadly you’re probably right. And I don’t understand the bunting last night not from a strategic perspective, but from an injury perspective. Hamilton is clearly hurt, everyone admits that. For whatever reason they seem to think he doesn’t need to go on the DL. But bunting could easily aggravate a hand injury, not to mention put him in danger of having a pitch hit him in the hand. If the issue is he’s hurt but you think he’ll be healthy in less than 2 weeks, I guess I can live with that. But if that’s the case, sit him on the bench and don’t make him do anything to make things worse.

    • If the Reds decide to put Hamilton on the DL now, after using him the way they did last night (and really ever since he injured his hand) it will be a mockery of wise resource management. Every day he plays, it re-sets his DL clock to 15 days. If they aren’t sure, then *let someone else sacrifice bunt* so you don’t burn up a day of using him on the back-end. The argument that “well, he helps us when he pinch runs and bunts” is true, but only to a point. You have to compare that to a longer-than-necessary stay on the DL where he otherwise could have been playing CF and batting four times a game, healthy.

      That’s why I don’t think they’ll put him on the DL, even if they should have seven days ago.

      • Good point. I was saying last night how bad it was that they were resetting his DL clock. For some reason (maybe just snake bit at this point), I can’t help but think this is more than we’ve been told.

      • I’m actually a bit surprised there is not a bit more criticism of Walt at this point. We’ve had interleague for years, and now there is always at least ONE interleague series going. To compete, teams a bit of offensive depth, but year in and year out, Walt stocks his bench with guys ill equipped to hit. … (Some teams can at least load up a lineup against certain pitchers with mostly righties or lefties hitters, but the Reds don’t have the depth to even do that.)

        And having your manager go on the road, needing a DH, and the best you can do is a guy who probably shouldn’t be in the bigs yet, so he bats BEHIND a guy scraping to get to .200 ??

        The ONE thing that Hamilton could probably still do now is run. (Brantley was saying the injured hand looked far worse than he expected.) If you are going to pinch hit somebody just to bunt, how about Cueto? I’ve heard him called the best sacrifice bunter on the team. Or even Leake. But to waste what’s left of Hamilton in that scenario seemed ridiculous.

        If it wouldn’t be such a slap in the face to Walt and/or Soto, Price ought to consider taking his chances with Leake in the batting order to start the game. If he comes up in a somewhat important situation, is he gonna do much worse than Soto? And that leaves what’s left of the bench with one more body to use.

        Use the dang DL, Walt.

        • Exactly what would you suggest Walt do? There is NO WAY you use a pitcher as your DH. That is just flat out dumb baseball. I don’t care what they hit, the risk you taking in doing that is not worth it. IF not Soto last night, with whom is on the roster whom would you have had DH?

        • Actually, we were OK with a bench until the injury bug. I think Mes or Pena would have been a fine DH. Ideally we could have had both their bats in the lineup. Or Ludwick being the DH and an upgraded defense in the OF. We are decently suited to play interleague play. We just need more than 12 healthy players.

      • If he can run and bunt, I don’t see them DH’ing him. If he gets a good bunt down his chances of getting on base are pretty good even if the other team “knows” he is going to get on base. Plus he can still run the bases..

  28. Yeah, 4/30 was the last time Marshall threw a pitch in a game. I guess there’s just not much confidence in him right now if you’d rather throw Ondrusek. Either that or he’s now viewed as a 100% LOOGY.

  29. What I’d “suggest” Walt do is put Hamilton on the DL instead of stringing this injury along. And find somebody more suitable to DH, or, if not possible, have somebody other than Hamilton, who can’t even swing the bat, making plate appearances. He couldn’t swing the bat without dropping it? Yikes. … Just tired of a manager being expected to compete when he has 20 or 21 able players, but the Reds seem to end up there at least once a season. If the bench wasn’t so poor in the first place, the team might be better able to weather a storm like this.

    • Isn’t hamilton the only one “hurting” not on the DL? Exactly whom else is being carried on the roster right now who should be on the DL?

      • Possibly Pena. If he’s not in the lineup tonight then there’s something wrong with him.

        • Possibly Pena?, Pena would have DHed last night, he would of PH, he has got to be hurt and Marshall pitched once in 10 days, if you can call that outing pitching, they think so highly of their #2 do not bring him to face 1 lefty in Freeman against the Braves and use 4 others before going to him, a position player could have taken his spot while he gets healthy

        • I was just responding to the question. With Mes hurt, sending Pena to the DL is a huge decision. You’d better be real sure he’s not going to be available for 2 weeks to make that call. Given all the days off we have over this stretch, it makes sense to keep him off the DL if it can at all be avoided. Hamilton, on the other hand, is easily replaceable.

        • I guess I was more making a point that I agree with original poster about 20 to 21 players, really cannot count Hamilton, Pena, or Marshall and wonder if Partch and Christiani can really be trusted in extra innings and can you really count a guy thought so highly of they DFA’d him at the end of last week?
          more the reason to DL Hamilton, very difficult to construct a line-up with these limitations and then make moves- still not sure why Hamilton DBunting- unless it is a really bad bluff

  30. Just a few comments from the Old Cossack regarding two of my favorite topics/players. First up is Brandon Phillips.

    BEFORE Bryan sat Phillips for the 2nd game of the series with the Brew Crew, Phillips had 3 BB & 26 SO with a slash of .254/.271/.316 in 120 PA. That’s a BB% of 2.5% & a SO% of 21.6%. Phillips approach at the plate suring those 120 PA was sloppy, uncontrolled, irresponsible and self-serving. Since sitting during a VERY important game against the division leaders, Phillips had 2 BB & 0 SO with a slash line of .538/.600/1.000 in 15 PA. That’s a BB% of 13.3% & a SO% of 0.0%. Small sample sizes not withstanding, the Old Cossack sees the timing and events along with the dramatic and sudden turnaround as a clear example of accountability in action. I have no insight regarding what did or did not transpire between Bryan and Phillips during the past week, but to think that nothing transpired and the turnaround is completely random is viewing the events and results with complete naivety. The Phillips with the PRODUCTIVE, POSITIVE attitude and confidence is the Phillips we have wanted, hoped and needed to see on the field. This Phillips can and should hit in the #3 hole behind Votto. I still think Phillips capability (offensively and defensively) is age regressing and Phillips will become more susceptable to nagging injuries over the remaining years of his contract, but the good Phillips between the whiter lines sure beats the heck out of the bad Phillips between the white lines.

    • Totally agree. Yeah, the small sample size makes the numbers a little irrelevant, but it’s been pretty obvious just watching his AB’s the last 3 games that his approach has changed. He is swinging a lot less and a lot less wildly. He’s taking first pitches almost as a rule. It’s night and day from how he was approaching his AB’s before last week.

    • Great post. And wherever BP hits in the lineup, the “more disciplined, don’t try to pull everything with a huge swing” batter we’ve seen more of lately is the guy I hope we keep seeing. He’s a much more valuable bat when he sticks to a disciplined swing.

  31. The whole DH issue could be resolved if the National league would just wake up and add it. It is way over due and makes the game right now have issues that it doesn’t need to have.

    • Yeah, because who likes strategy with their baseball, anyway?

    • Or the AL could get rid of it, which I’d much prefer. But we all know that isn’t going to happen. It’s always been a stupid rule designed to do nothing but drive attendance.

      • Getting people to the ball park is kinda a big deal…and especially today, why risk injury to a key player who only plays in maybe 30% of a teams games. It provides for a better overall game in my opinion and makes alot of sense in protecting very expensive and valuable resources in your pitching.

        • Well that’s clearly the argument FOR it. I still think if you want to play baseball you have to be able to actually play baseball. That means more than just throwing a ball or swinging a bat alone. Call me a purist.

        • So position players should be able to pitch?

        • No, you should be able to serve some function in the field and at the plate if you’re going to be a starting player. So backup specialists and relief pitchers get a pass.

      • The DH is present in every level of baseball until you reach AA, at which point pitchers hitting become optional.

        I think the debate over DHs is very generational. Gen X and the Millennials grew up with the DH being around, so naturally they don’t have the same issues as the older fans.

        • Well, I hope we can educate them. It’s not just about the pitcher batting, it’s about all the strategy that flows from that. Which is a huge and interesting part of the game.

        • The strategy argument is a push in my opinion. There are decisions that occur almost every game where the pitcher hitting makes strategy easier, not more difficult. AL managers have a much more difficult call on when to pull a starting pitcher, or what to do with a guy on first, and his #9 hitter at the plate. Both of these are pretty much no brainers in the majority of NL games.

    • Come on, just let the people like it have their league, and let the rest of us have our league. Why piss off half the league’s fan base with a completely unnecessary decision?

      • A fraction of a half. Mostly baby boomers.

        • Can’t be too sure about that. I’m an Xer myself, and I abhor the DH.

          BTW, “Boomers” count too.

        • Well I was born in 1981, so I’m either a baby Xer, or an ancient millennial, depending on the qualifications. I’ve seen it both ways.

          I’d suspect that people born after the DH was fully adopted or who began following baseball after 1973 are more DH-friendly . So older Gen Xers who tend towards the position of their parents, and younger ones will favor the DH. Some bored PHD student should do a study on the matter.

        • I’m 33 and it’s just the way I was taught to appreciate baseball. The conversation doesn’t come up much anymore, but I actually wonder if many people have that strong of a preference FOR the DH. Yeah, there are plenty of people who have come up only knowing baseball in that league with the DH but I wonder if they really care much, where as people (like me) who are against the DH at least have historical ground to stand on.

        • Eric,

          I’m sure the anti-DH crowd is more vehement in their argument, that’s just the nature of change. Older people always dig in their heels against it. I guarantee you the AL team blogs don’t spend a lot of time, if any, discussing getting rid of the DH, but if some old traditionalist League Commissioner took over and tried to get rid of the DH, they’d go berserk.

          Also, you don’t seem extremely vehement either way. You may lean towards having the pitcher hit, but you don’t seem like the type of guy that wouldn’t watch baseball games if the NL adopted the DH. There are people that come on here and make those statements. I don’t understand them.

        • I’m a realist. There’s no way the AL is going to get rid of the DH, and if we’re going to have regular interleague games like this then I think the playing field needs to be evened and that means adopting the DH. I won’t like it, but I’ll live with it. It won’t kill the game for me, it’s just something that annoys me. It’s all about money and nothing about baseball. It’s the same way with the continual changing of the rules in the NFL to run up passing numbers. It’s just ratings.

  32. Just a few comments from the Old Cossack regarding two of my favorite topics/players. Next up is Joey Votto.

    Votto is a victim of defensive alignments. Against a conventional defensive alignment, Votto destroys opposing pitchers by lining doubles to left field, over and over and over. The shift of the left fielder to eliminate that option has dramatically and effectively reduced Votto’s BAbip from a career mark of .360 to a 2014 mark of .317. That is significant and causative of the reduced ‘offensive’ production many are missing from Votto’s game. Votto has been smacking line drives the ball all over the field. Some of those line drives have resulted in ‘bad luck’ outs recently but many are attributable to the defensive shift to eliminate those line drives to left field. Those are not ‘bad luck’ outs and Votto’s results are not going to change unless he again adjusts his approach at the plate by turning on pitches and driving more pitches to center field and right field. Votto now has that capability again and he simply needs to cognitively adjust his approach to punish the defensive shift by hammering the right-center field corridor.

    • I remember seeing a spray chart a couple years back of Votto’s hits over an entire season. It was incredible – you couldn’t have made up a more even distribution for a fictional player if you tried. I wonder what it is about his approach that’s changed that.

      • The knee injury had a HUGE negative impact on Votto’s approach at the plate, creating a less aggressive, less punishing swing. The defensive shift against Votto has now been adopted by EVERY team facing the Reds. Votto’s line drives to LF tend to cover the left half of left field from the foul line in. That region wans’t covered by the left fielder previous to the shiftsince the ‘natural alignment against a LH power hitter is to shift the outfield around toward right field. I don’t think (and I may be wrong about this assumption) but the spray charts do not break down the areas of the outfield to that degree.

      • Here’s a link to a great spray chart tool that was made by Bill Petti and championed by FG.

        http://public.tableausoftware.com/views/SprayChartComparison/Player-YeartoYear?:embed=y&:display_count=y&:showVizHome=no#

        You can put 2010 Votto on the left and 2013 Votto on the right.

        He’s definitely hitting the ball to right field less often.

  33. Soto is on the 25 man roster. He ain’t there for his D. So starting him as the DH vs a LHP, especially with the bench a walking MASH unit, made sense. But, ugh. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a guy swing and fail to make contact with so many balls in the middle of the plate.

    • I don’t know why he was a better option than Bernadina who has at least demonstrated the physical ability to hit major league pitching. I’d argue that Soto is on the 25 man precisely for his D. We have no IF depth anywhere in the organization and we only have 2 guys who can backup those spots – unless you count Skip but that’s only at 2B and I doubt they’ll ever ask him to do that. I hate that we keep using details like that to construct our rosters but we do. I’m fine with keeping a utility backup IF’er on the roster in case of an emergency, but otherwise I wish we weighed offensive production a lot more heavily with our bench spots. I’d rather have a stronger hitting bench and risk the possibility of maybe having to live with a guy playing out of position for a couple innings of one game due to an injury.

      • Was Bernadina with the team last night?

        • I believe so. The team announced the roster move in the early afternoon. If he wasn’t then that’s just ridiculous – They had 2 days to decide who they wanted to bring up and get them to Boston. If they literally didn’t make the decision in time to get him to a night game then that’s just sad.

    • Yes, Soto provided flexibility for 3B and 1B (not to mention an emergency catcher option), but the biggest factor was his spot on the 40-man roster. There were other options (Nelson, Navarro, Negron, etc) for the defensive flexibility coming out of spring training, but Soto was the only option that did not require a 40-man roster move, just another example of the issues impacting the Reds 40-man roster contruction and management.

      • It’s amazing how much the league still values defensive flexibility. Just for kicks I was looking at Santiago’s career numbers versus Cesar Izturis. Both guys played 13 seasons (Santiago is in his 13th so he could theoretically go more) with OPS+ numbers consistently below 80. Neither ever posted an OPS+ above 90. Izturis finished his career at 64 and he had 4600 PA’s. That is an awful lot of major league PA’s to give away over the years to a guy who is effectively an automatic out. Santiago is a bit better with a career 74 OPS+ but that’s still a really bad hitter. Is it really THAT hard to find guys who can hit at least a little and not be a total liability in the field?

  34. I see former Red Bronson Arroyo is going for the Dbacks tonight against the Brew Crew…GO BRONSON…

    • Arroyo has been terrible this year. I’m glad we resisted the urge to keep him around a little longer. I’ll always be a huge fan of Bronson, but I think he’s just about done.

      • Got good Bronson last outing, late Friday night game went under the radar, he’ll be at 14-12 with his 3.9 ERA as usual, question is will Bailey or Bronson put up better stats

  35. He was horrible his first few outings, but appears to have done a bit better since. You also have to wonder what the change in teams did to him and impacted on him. For the right price I would have resigned him in a heartbeat….problem is what Dbacks paying him isn’t the right price…

    • Good Bronson knocks off the Brewers today 2nd straight start of at least 7 innings no earned runs

  36. Why is Schumaker playing CF when both Heisey and Bernadina are better defensively? I must be overlooking something.

    • That is a very good question. I don’t know Schumaker–or Shoe Maker as the Boston announcers call him–well enough to suggest an answer. I hope someone can.

  37. This thread looks like as good a place as any for an additional comment regarding the off-season roster moves (non-moves) by WJ.

    I applaud the signing of Schumaker as a 2B/OF role player on this team. Schumaker is not a defensive wizard at any position, but does provide some flexibility. He also has a solid hitting approach and an excellent career split against RHP for pinch hitting or situational replacements, not to mention his clubhouse presence and influence.

    If the Reds were committed to signing a defensive wizard as a utility IF (and they obviously were), then that player (Santiago) is not intended for pinch hitting duties or relief starts, just superior defense if needed. With the question marks in LF and CF going into the offseason, why not solidify the available options with another OF option even better than Schumaker. Someone with demonstrated superior situational hitting capability to augment Schumaker’s capability and good defensive capability in all three OF positions. Perhaps even someone with good speed to occasionally steal with a high efficiancy and someone who could be signed for limited dureation at a reasonable cost, say $5MM per year for 2 years. That wasn’t a pipe dream. Rajai Davis was available as a FA and fully satisfied the stated qualifications. He signed with the Tigers for $5MM per year for 2 years and is hitting even better than expected (.337/.389/.442) with an unusually even split (.349/.406/.413 v. RHP & .304/.346/.522 v. LHP). Unfortunately, WJ opted to cast a net for a plethora of proven AAAA or proven major league incapable minor league FA rather than lock up a superior major-league role player (for marginally more than a minor league FA) to fill out the major league roster.

    WJ is just infatuated with these unproductive minor league FA, to the detriment of the team.

    • Read what I said above about people overvaluing defense. Walt seems as infatuated by it as anyone in the league. Year after year our bench consists of guys with good gloves who have never been even serviceable hitters. It seems to me an incredibly old school way of doing business and it’s hurt the team. It’s hurting the team right now.

      I’m just putting this out there, but does it seem like possibly we’re drafting too many pitchers in the high rounds lately? The core of this team was built around offensive players drafted in the first few rounds – Bruce, Votto, Frazier, Mesoraco, now Hamilton. But it seems like lately all we do is draft pitchers and OF’ers in the first two rounds. A quick look at our first round picks shows we haven’t drafted an infielder that high since Yonder Alonso in 2008. And we even converted Hamilton to an OF’er. It shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone that we have absolutely no depth in the infield anywhere in the farm system when we continually ignore it in the draft.

    • You are assuming Mr. Davis wanted to play here. We have no idea what negotiations went on during the off season, what limitations Walt had on him from above and what he and Price felt were the best options for the overall roster. As we are seeing here in INDY, chemistry is an important factor when putting a team together and sometimes you have to look at more then just production numbers.

  38. Well the lineup for tonight actually looks like a legitimate major league one:

    Schumaker
    Votto
    Phillips
    Frazier
    Pena (!)
    Ludwick (DH!)
    Bernadina
    Heisey
    Cozart

    Great to see Pena back and so high in the order, great use of Ludwick as a DH (he’d be the DH on any AL team he was on at this point) and I like Heisey in the 8 spot – should give the bottom of the order a little kick, assuming he can come out of his skid.

    • So Pena was not enough shape to at least pinch hit for a guy that could not bat with 2 hands but he can actual catch an entire MLB game less than 24 hours?

      • Yeah, that was part of a rant I made earlier today. And one other thing from last night that maybe came up in the game thread last night, but when Price pinch hit for Soto, there went the emergency catcher. So if something had happened to Barnhart, Pena would have had to catch. Unless Price has a fourth option. … Get a win tonight, please

      • If Pena blows out his hammy tonight (knockin’ on the old wooden noggin as I’m typing), you will have no problem hearing the Old Cossack screaming bloody murder! If Pena couldn’t even DH or even pinch hit yesterday, he’s got absolutely no business working behind the plate tonight.

  39. I see on the morning line that Paul D of the Cincinnati Enquirer has the same thoughts that many of us do about L Ondrusek…..

    Ironic met iconic and The Club took the L. The Reds thought they had Grady Sizemore, but he chose the Red Sox. Last night, he banged a double off the base of the Monster, off the unreliable L. Ondrusek in the 12th. Momentum, stopped dead!

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About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. Contemporary Reds thrills: witnessing Jay Bruce's 2010 homer and Homer Bailey's 2013 no-hitter in person. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 280 characters about the Reds is Redleg Nation, although you can follow his tweets @spmancuso.

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Titanic Struggle Recap