|Cincinnati Reds (32-34)||6||9||0|
|Milwaukee Brewers (40-28)||5||9||4|
|W: Broxton (2-0) L: Rodriguez (2-2) S: Chapman (10)|
|Fangraphs Box Score/Win Probability Graph/Play by Play | ESPN Box Score | ESPN Photos|
Roles > Relentlessness
Apparently, slavish devotion to rigid bullpen roles trumps relentlessly trying to win. That’s sad and disappointing.
If Bryan Price hadn’t chained himself to a pre-defined role for Aroldis Chapman, he’d have used Chapman in the ultra-high leverage situation in the seventh (and eighth) to get out of Homer Bailey’s jam. Broxton could have finished the game if the Reds still had the lead. Instead, the Reds relied on Sam LeCure and Logan Ondrusek to get (or not) those outs.
Overall, I’m OK with the job Price has done in his first three months managing. It’s way too soon to judge what kind of a manager he’ll be. He’s barely had a healthy team, so reaching any firm conclusion on him would be grossly unfair. But I sure liked the Bryan Price of his pre-season press conferences better. The Bryan Price who said he’d get more value out of Aroldis Chapman other than just using him for one inning. If a game against the first-place team isn’t the time to do that, I don’t know when it is.
Instead, the Reds organization continues the grotesque and colossal misuse of one of the game’s best arms. If the people who came up with this plan were doctors, they’d have been put out of business by malpractice suits years ago.
The bats stayed hot, with nine hits. Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto, Todd Frazier and Jay Bruce all knocked in runs. Billy Hamilton had an important hit in the top of the ninth, driving in Zack Cozart who had singled to lead off the inning. Cozart and Frazier each had two hits and a walk. Jay Bruce had two hits.
Milwaukee closer Francisco Rodriquez not only hadn’t given up a run in the month of June before tonight, he hadn’t given up a hit. Outstanding effort by the Reds to scratch that run out after blowing the four-run lead.
Coming into tonight’s game, Aroldis Chapman had struck out 54.7 percent of the batters he’d faced this year. That’s utterly absurd. The second highest rate in the major leagues is 45 percent. Chapman struck out two of the three batters he faced.
Sam was not LeCure tonight. Facing the heart of the Brewers order, he gave up three hits and allowed two inherited runners and one of his own to score. One of those hits was a little unlucky, as Jonathan Lucroy singled on a swinging bunt with two outs.
Not so random thoughts
Needless to say this was an important win. It cut the Brewers lead over the Reds down to seven games and avoided that number moving up to nine. It keeps alive the possibility of a series sweep, which would be an enormous positive for the Reds chances. And the way this game developed, with the Reds blowing a four-run lead, a loss would have been especially crushing.
Defense was an important difference. The Reds made several great defensive plays. Zack Cozart made a diving catch on a line drive in the first inning. Joey Votto dug out a double play throw in the sixth. Meanwhile, the Brewers committed four errors, led by pitcher Matt Garza who apparently has been receiving throwing lessons from Mark Mallory.
Mat Latos pitches tomorrow night for the first time in the 2014 season. Who-hoo!