The Reds take on the Padres in the first game of a day-night doubleheader. They face San Diego pitcher Ian Kennedy, who has pitched well this season so far, as this chart indicates. He’s had virtually the same strikeout rate as Johnny Cueto and a lower walk rate. That’s not to say he’s a better pitcher than Cueto (remember we’re dealing with a sample size of 8 games here), only that so far, based on those metrics, he’s pitched well. The offensively challenged Reds could once again have their hands full.

Wednesday

Bryan Price sends out this lineup. Apparently the Brayan Peña batting second experiment is over. Peña went hitless in his twelve at bats in the second spot. I’m not a fan of Joey Votto batting fourth. His OBP is valuable at the top of the lineup and he’d get about 35 fewer at bats hitting fourth over the course of a season compared to hitting second. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when Devin Mesoraco returns, presumably this weekend.

1. Billy Hamilton (S) CF
2. Skip Schumaker (L) RF
3. Brandon Phillips (R) 2B
4. Joey Votto (L) 1B
5. Todd Frazier (R) 3B
6. Ryan Ludwick (R) LF
7. Brayan Pena (S) C
8. Zack Cozart (R) SS
9. Johnny Cueto (R) P

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as 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. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 331 Comments

  1. With this game getting bumped to today, how does that impact our rotation in the coming week?

  2. Just wondering, each year the HOF always gives out “gifts” to those going in throughout the summer and the Reds also seem to love to give out bobbleheads and such. What baffles me is that it seems that both the HOF and Reds seem to gear those items to players from 1970 on. I fully understand the need to recognize the BRM and even some of those playing today, but it seems to me that in some ways this frnchise seems to overlook or ignore some of our great players of the past. This summer the HOF is giving away bobbleheads, of which only 1 is from pre 1970. With a history as rich as the Reds, it would be nice to see other former non BRM greats get some recognition.

    • Gus Bell, Wally Post, Vida Pinson, Big Klu, Joey Jay and Jim Maloney to name a few Reds that played at Crosley Field, and deserve a bobblehead of their own. Go Reds!

  3. I was checkin gout the schedule coming up. Memorial Day weekend is a weird one – We play a late game starting at 8:10 on Sunday night, then have to get on a plane to fly to LA where we play an early game (5:10 local start time) against the Dodgers. I know that creating an MLB schedule is complex, but how on earth is that fair to our guys? Assuming the Sunday game ends on time they won’t be leaving the ballpark until around midnight, wouldn’t be getting on a plane until probably around 1 AM for a 6 hour flight, wouldn’t get to the hotel for about an hour after that, and then would have to be at Dodger Stadium a couple hours after that for batting practice. They’ll be sleepwalking. The Dodgers will be flying back from Philly the day before, but they have a 1:00 game that Sunday. I just don’t understand how you can put together a schedule and not have that jump out as a giant red flag.

    So this had me thinking, is there any reason we couldn’t send whoever our first 2 starting pitchers are for the Dodgers series a couple days early? What’s the point of having them sit on the bench here and deal with the same insane jetlag as everyone else?

    • I’m sure that the first starter for the Dodgers series will be in LA early.

    • Mike Matheny was just on record as complaining about the difficulty of playing a lot of Sunday night games. Says he understands it’s a “compliment” to be the national game, but it creates issues like what you are talking about.

    • It’s also about the most fan unfriendly thing that MLB does. I understand that TV rules the roost, but they market the Sunday games league wide as “family” days. Taking my 6 year old to an 8:10 first pitch is far from ideal. We go to every Sunday home game, but we won’t be in Cincy for that game. Kind of shame.

  4. Can the 26th man in the 2nd game be a position player?

    • Yes. And the usual 10-day clock rule is waived as well, in both directions. It can only be for the second game of the DH in this situation. If the DH is scheduled more than 48 hours in advance, the player could play both halves of the DH. And, happily, the player gets credit for a full service day.

  5. Time for, “Play Ball!”

  6. The only thing worse than THOM! Is THOM! with Karras or Verducci. Ugh.

  7. Easy inning for Cueto after the bobble.

  8. Good start. Three up, three down thanks to a good ol’ double play. I think the Reds roll today.

  9. BP is really coming around. Who was it that said he’d send us all a dollar if he finished with a BA over .260?

  10. No Marty. I can listen to the Reds broadcast today.

    • I have really grown to like Kelch. Just calls a tidy, polite game. Maybe it’s vanilla, but it’s easy to listen to.

  11. votto does nothing to improve his .150 average with RISP

  12. Great to see BP turning things around. Come on Todd!

  13. Votto has got to flail at one of those balls to try and drive in the run.

    • To be fair, that 4th ball was a very hittable pitch and BARELY off the plate. Funny thing is, if they just had Votto batting 3rd and BP 4th we’d be up 1-0 right now.

      • I forgot my sarcasm font.

        • Glad you mentioned it, there are quite a lot out there right now saying they agree with you. I glossed over the 1st post and thought typical

  14. Love listening to Brantley talking about pitching strategy.

  15. MLB Gameday showed that wild pitch as a strike. Strange.

    • I’ve seen that before on a ball that bounces in front of the plate. I don’t think the automated system can figure it out.

  16. and Frazier…. continues to bat at around .200 with RISP

    • This is really Marty isn’t it. Don’t lie like you always do.

    • Don’t care. Hitters don’t have special skills with RISP. Over time, their RISP average merges with their regular batting average. Repeating what hitters do with RISP is no more meaningful than repeating what their batting average is on Thursday.

      • You’re the stat expert, not me. But I’m not sure I’m buying that one. Some guys are simply better at batting with RISP than others. Some thrive on it. Some don’t. Not sure they merge over time for everyone. Just like hitting free throws in the first quarter vs. hitting them in the final 2 minutes with the game on the line. It’s just different.

        • You can say you “aren’t sure” whether they merge or not, but all the studies show they do. It’s like saying you “aren’t sure” whether the number 4 is bigger than the number 3. Good hitters hit better with runners on and without runners on. Variances, like Votto’s RISP right now, are due to tiny sample sizes.

      • Reds are undefeated on Thursday since the opening week.

  17. I will say though that was a tough battle by Frazier. Kennedy is throwing good tonight.

  18. Cueto making quick work of this lineup. Smelling a CG? How big would that be for the double header.

    • Yep. Padres poor hitting plus Cueto = low scoring. Hope it goes to form.

  19. Boy Cueto just keeps on keepin on…

  20. If you’re Cueto’s agent, do you listen to any Reds offers for a contract extension right now? You know at the absolute least they’re picking up the option for 2015. You know he has some durability questions. But right now he’s the front runner for a CY and that would tack an extra $100 million onto any contract he would sign. Still, that’s a long way off…Decisions decisions.

  21. Pena dinger this inning. Starting a lead not to be blown for two games running.

  22. Cueto does look great for us. Maybe he’ll be the allstar starting pitcher? I think he has earned it at least so far. He looks just about perfect at this point. Throws a bead.

    • There hasn’t been a better pitcher in the NL yet, that’s for sure. Still a ways away, though.

  23. Man, Kennedy really mixes up his pitches- fastball, curve, “knuckle curve,” and change have all been thrown already.

  24. Plenty of guys slumping right now. Ludwick, Pena and Cozart need to pick it up.

  25. Pena looks more comfortable lower in the order don’t you think? He never settled into the 2 hole very well

  26. I wasn’t paying as close attention to the team then as I do now, but I still wonder about why Dusty refused to give Alonso a chance to learn LF. I know he’s off to a terrible start this year, but I would have loved to see him become a decent LF and hit 82 games a year in GABP.

    • Do you remember watching him play LF? He was maybe the worst defensive outfielder I have ever seen. I don’t think it was a matter of giving him time. Also, he hasn’t hit any better than Ludwick since he left if you take into account Ludwick’s injury time.

    • You’re kidding, right?

    • No, I didn’t realize he was that bad! Thanks for letting me know.

      • I remember one routine fly ball where he turned around at least 4 times and then literally fell on his ass. It was like a Benny Hill sketch.

  27. And Pena says “thank you” for moving him out of the 2 hole!

  28. nice battle for cozart. fortunately that wasn’t a double play.

  29. Just after a complimented Kelch above… he and Brantley are so busy talking, if you didn’t have Gameday up, you’d have had no idea Cozart had such a prolonged at bat… they missed about 4 pitches in that sequence.

    • Yeah, they made it sound like we were between innings or something. Very boring radio today.

  30. Kennedy’s breaking ball looks tough.

  31. It’s weird, but it seems every time Pena bats LH there’s at least one ball way off the plate outside that the ump calls a strike. If not every at bat, at least once a game.

  32. Cueto is just mowing these guys down with a minimal of pitches. Might see him pitch a complete game if we can manage to score runs for him today.

  33. Cueto’s barely broken a sweat. 29 pitches. Wow. I wonder if they might go back and score that first bunt as an error.

  34. Stop. Billy Time.

  35. bham just might be our best hitter for average right now. Go Billy!

  36. Kelch just said that Grandal is 0 for 17 throwing runners out at second. I predict a stolen base attempt or two.

  37. Bad luck. Hamilton stealing. Schumaker hit it hard. Tough play if Alonso isn’t holding a runner on.

  38. If they keep giving Kennedy the strike a foot off the plate it’ll be a long day for our LH hitters.

  39. This strike zone is ludicrous, both by the eye test and on Gameday.

  40. Leadoff single to Hamilton and nothing to show for it. This team is so frustrating.

  41. Votto just isn’t very good right now. Let’s all be honest about that. If this guy was hitting we would be winning more of these 1 run games. Why he gets a pass on criticism is because he too is a nice guy but the dude isn’t performing, certainly not at his 20 mill a year clip. Perhaps more like 500 K. Yeah he walks alot but that isn’t leading to runs for the team.

    • My problem with posts like yours is that you act like you’re a seasoned baseball fan, but you seem to have no understanding of the ups and downs of a season.

      No player has ever hit their final batting line in every two week stretch of the season. Not one. So why do you beat on Votto for doing what every other player in history has done?

      On the season Votto is hitting: .262/.412/.462. That is very good, but not up to Votto’s standards.

      Over the last two weeks, he’s hit: .216/.341/.459. That is a slump, for sure. But a) every player has them, and b) at least Votto is giving you walks and power during a slump.

      So Votto will come out of the slump, like every good player does, and then his overall numbers will be even better than they already are.

      • No one on the team knows how to adjust their swing in the middle of an at bat. None of them. Choo knew how. Our guys typically hit exactly the same way every time. If they get their pitch and choose to swing, something happens. If they dont get their pitch they just look and hack at garbage. Votto is not a horrible baseball player but he is nowhere near worth his salary. He wasnt when they gave him his salary and definitely not worth it now. Im not going to just bash votto when there is an entire line up to criticize. This team sucks. Yeah we have injuries but I seriously don’t think Price knows what to do with a baseball team. Just my opinion but if we dont hit in the clutch it’s gonna be an entire season of one run losses, pitchers’ gems being wasted on losses. Votto gets an all-star salary so yes, he need to play like an all-star. He is allowed a slump, but i honestly dont give a crap about what he does with nobody on base. Two out walk with a runner in scoring position is not acceptable.

        • I’m sorry, you just don’t know what you’re talking about when it comes to player valuation. You can say that in your opinion, Votto isn’t that good, but on what grounds do you say he isn’t worth the salary?

          I’m betting you aren’t a GM, assistant GM, scout, or baseball professional of any type. So the only information on salary value you have is what is available to the public. Fangraphs has Votto’s worth last year at $30.7 million. What facts do you have to dispute that figure?

        • A two out walk with a runner in scoring position is not acceptable?

          You don’t give a crap what he does with nobody on base?

          You have to be trolling right? Or did you just hit your head or something?

        • like i said, all-star salary should perform like and all-star. i just hope he has some trade value before the deadline

        • …or maybe lets fire another hitting coach. ill go back to blaming the coaching since this site is so Votto sensative.

        • Sorry, when you say things like walks are unacceptable, and it doesn’t matter what a player does with no one on base, you lose all credibility.

    • The bum is only the #18 hitter in MLB (by wRC+).

    • This is like the 5th outright troll comment on a game thread for a game in the top of the 4th. Gee whiz.

  42. I don’t know why this team can’t take advantage of scoring opportunities and I am sick of the bad luck excuses. Something has got to change. Score some runs already.

  43. Where have you gone, Joey Votto
    A Redleg nation turns it’s lonely eyes to you (Woo, woo, woo)
    What’s that you say, Mrs. Robinson
    Walkin’ Joe has left and gone away
    (Hey, hey, hey…hey, hey, hey)

  44. second time through Cueto is missing his spots.

  45. And another runner erased. Facing the minimum so far.

  46. Stealing on Cueto is like trying to rob Fort Knox.

  47. Cueto is not getting the calls Kennedy is. Full stop.

  48. Thank you, Mr. Headley.

  49. well he got the enemy to strike out so all is well in the world

  50. Redleg Nation has gone RISP crazy.

    • An unduly broad generalization, I think. 🙂

      • Yeah, you’re right. I just don’t get the focus on hitting with RISP when you have 3 hits on the day. It’s not like we’re raking this guy and then falling apart. Kennedy has been pretty dominant.

        Hamilton singles. Schumaker makes an out. Phillips makes an out. Votto makes an out with Hamilton on third. Problem? Votto, clearly. (sigh).

    • Cards fans too. If the BFIB struggle with it, what hope does this cynical fan base have?

    • Maybe but when the team is scoring runs at such a pitiful rate, the blown opportunities are magnified. Probably should expect to see some frustration.

  51. Any theories as to what is wrong with Votto this year?

    • A walk’s as good as a hit?

    • I have theories I will not share but I’m getting a little concerned because it’s mid-May. Still hopeful when Mes & Bruce get back, all guns will be firing.

    • He’s in decline. Don’t mention that to anybody around here.

  52. Another near miss on a HR for Frazier.

  53. Todd just missed that and it was almost over his head.

  54. Nice AB from Frazier.

  55. Brantley: Cabrera threw a hand grenade there.

  56. Maybe I was wrong on Frazier. Ok I was wrong. He is giving the best atbats right now for our hitters. He worked Kennedy quite well once again.

  57. Oof…Grandal picked a lousy time to make a perfect throw.

  58. A completely useless at bat for Ludwick. He went up there already defeated.

    • Please keep in mind the greatest hitters in the history of the game are only successful 1/3 of the time. Hitting a baseball at this level is very.very hard.

      • So that is why our offense sucks this year? Ah ok. That explains everything for me thanks for that Charl

        • Just trying give it all a sense of perspective, not meant as an insult. Game is 0-0 and the best pitcher is throwing for our team. Look around, there are a ton of very low scoring games.

  59. Votto’s career numbers with RISP & 2 outs http://www.baseball-reference.com/play-index/split_stats.cgi?full=1&params=clutc|2%20outs%2C%20RISP|vottojo01|bat|AB|#2%20outs,%20RISP1::none

    Not a good trend.

    • RISP doesn’t exist, haven’t you heard?

      Ridiculous to even mention those stats.

      • It is one of the better stats are you kidding me? Shows a players true value. How well do you hit with runners on second and third and you think that isn’t a good metric to track? Please.

        • It’s a myth, like unicorns, dragons, and the Atkins Diet.

        • It’s an interesting stat to track, but what is difficult to understand that at the end of the day, a players avg. with RISP is going to be very close to his overall avg. It’s just simply not something that statistically speaking, gets better or worse for a player just because of the situation.

    • and spot on with the Reds inability to score runs. Thanks for the link Ellis. Yeah the past two years he has fallen off of a cliff for driving in runs.

    • I like to see a study that shows the top 100 RISP ers of all time, minimum of 1000 ABs or whatever, then compare to their lifetime stats
      then take the top 100 obp of all time and compare their RISP with the top 100, I would suspect you would not see much difference outside of a few outliers. If Votto is one of teh outliers then maybe some have a point.

      • I think the point is clearly obvious. Compare 2008-2012 Votto against 2013-2014 Votto. Even in 2012 you can see an increase in OBP and a decline in SLG. His approach changed, and it has affected his hitting with RISP & 2 outs. It’s quite possible that the league has adjusted to Votto’s approach at the plate after recognizing his selectivity and willingness to take the walk. Pitch him off the plate, don’t give him a chance to drive the ball and hope he chases a pitch out of the zone.

  60. Cozart with the leadoff hit. Time for bunt-o-rama.

  61. Stupid game keeps interrupting the guest being interviewed in the booth. Go Reds!

  62. Mesoraco pulls out of his one and a half game slump with a homerun for Louisville.

  63. Come on Billy… One pitch and it wasn’t even a good one.

  64. Baseball is a funny game. If Cueto gets the bunt down earlier, Alonso is at his normal defensive spot and that’s an easy groundout and the inning is over. Because he wasn’t, now we have runners at the corners for Phillips.

    • It turns out Cueto knew what he was doing, not getting that bunt down. Smart play.

  65. BP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  66. There it is! 3-0 Reds.

  67. That’ll do, DatDude. That’ll do.

  68. Dat Dude goes DEEP.

  69. BRANDON!!!!!! I’ll take two servings of crow, please.

  70. Thank you BP! I forgot what clutch looked like til just now.

  71. Yeah baby 3 run HR Bam! Thanks BP you da man. Go Reds!

  72. Phillips is “en fuego”!

  73. Bam!!! BP now on fire !!

  74. This offense is so terrible. This team sucks. The season is over.

    Oh wait, it’s 3-0 Reds in the 5th inning of a game in May.

  75. He must be butter ’cause he’s on a roll!

  76. It’s time for a whole lot of “I Told You So’s” from those of us in the BP cheering section. I am so glad we didn’t give away my favorite player.

  77. See, Joey only got that hit because it wasn’t a clutch situation guys. 😉

  78. Wondering when this blog will revise its “BP in decline” stance. Datdude is raking …

    • Phillips has had a good couple weeks, but that’s not out of line with generally being in decline. His numbers outside of batting average still aren’t that great. He does seem to hit better after days off, which isn’t surprising for an older player.

  79. With how Cueto has pitched so far this season that may be enough…

    BTW anyone notice what kind of crowd is there for those of us stuck in our offices today…

  80. look at that.. Votto gets another hit with two outs and nobody on base. Pat him on the back lol

    • Yeah. It would have been much better if he had just struck out so we could get the next inning started.

      • it would be much better if we could trade him for some pretty good offensive prospects

        • Yeah really. I would take some unproven prospects over one of the top players in baseball any day of the week.

          Once we dump the dead weight that is Joey Votto, we can go ahead and book our World Series tickets.

        • I do it for a closer

      • Yeah, what’s he doing even swinging? Doesn’t he know nothing good ever comes from swinging a bat?

        • I don’t know. I think he might should have swung the bat more that first at-bat when he walked. I mean, he was thrown 5 pitches, none of which were in the strike zone, and he only expanded his zone to swing at one of them. He’s being paid the big bucks to swing at everything.

  81. There we go! Cool!

  82. Phillips is an “RBI Guy” according to Thom.

  83. And, this inning is driving up Kennedy’s pitch count: sitting at 87 right now.

  84. But don’t you guys think that this is just classic BP? He has basically hit like this his whole career…He’s a lot like Bruce without the reputation: He’ll hit like a mad man for about two weeks, then go cliff diving. Repeat. It’s awesome while it happens, but he still ends up back down at .270 and less power.

    • True Dat.

    • I will say this about Phillips. It sure seems he has cut down his strikeouts over the last couple weeks. He’s putting the ball in play a lot more, and he’s driving the ball with power. Hopefully he stays hot for a good long while.

      • It seems like he is taking more pitches and I am almost sure he has walked more after that game off than he did all season

  85. Phillips last two weeks (AKA Beast Mode): .382/.421/.647

  86. we got the lead as long as we win I don’t care about the who is hot and who is not. Let’s hope Dr. Cueto shuts down the Padres for the rest of the game and walks away with a shut out.

  87. I am of the camp that BP was going to rebound a bit but the “BP in decline” argument has merit. I’m just glad to see him on a roll right now and I’m glad he’s still a Red because I didn’t like the other options. I like BP but that doesn’t mean he’s not in decline. We’ll see at the end of the year. I love what he’s doing right now though. Maybe he needs a day off every now and then when he’s struggling? That really seemed to help. He’s been money since.

    • Exactly. It’s a big picture issue, not a two week sample. There’s a lot of ball to be played before any assessments can be fairly levied.

    • I think there is probably something to the rest theory same with JV.

      • I suspect he has an undisclosed health issue. He has almost no ability to drive the ball like he used to. Yeah he had two homers in two games and that was fantastic but he is playing like he is on fumes and the tank is empty or something is nagging at him.

    • And he’s not just had that one off day when the Reds played, but he’s had three scheduled off days and one rainout day over that time. Sounds like it might be interesting to see if he’s hit better all year after days of not playing.

  88. Man oh man, Cueto vs. The Padres doesn’t look very fair.

  89. Dang Cueto. That last pitch was flipping nasty. He appears to be getting stronger as the game goes on.

  90. “I’m just glad to see him on a roll right now and I’m glad he’s still a Red because I didn’t like the other options”.

    This.

    It’s similar to the BHam thing with me. I didn’t think he was ready for primetime, thought if he was going to be in the lineup he needed to bat at the end, but our other options at the top of the order were…….lacking. If he was going to be an everyday player, he had to be leadoff, IMO. Ride Brandon til he drops, give him a couple days off and hope we can ride him again.

  91. Gamecast must be broken: It just said “R Ludwick reached on infield single to shortstop.”

  92. I agree about the rest observation with BP. Maybe Price needs to try to get him a day off every 10 games or so. Just hopefully not always on a Sunday.

  93. Pena isn’t too bad (smile).

  94. So all I gotta do is go back to work for the Reds to score? Interesting.

  95. I heart Brayan Pena. But still, come back soon Mes.

  96. Pena has been one heck of an addition. I really, really like the guy.

  97. Putting Kennedy where he belongs. Go Reds!!!!!

  98. Nice knock Zach! He needed that.

  99. congrats to Cozart. They got Kennedy on the ropes and that should be the knock out punch right there.

Comments are closed.

About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as 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. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

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