Game Thread

Reds at Cubs (June 25, 2014)

In a very rare occurrence at Wrigely Field, there were no afternoon games played in this series. Not even on today’s getaway day. Cincinnati looks to finish up this 3-game series with a victory and series win tonight before taking flight for the West Coast.

Mat Latos takes the ball for his third start of the season. He allowed no runs, no walks and just two hits in his 2014 debut 11 days ago, but was hit hard for 5 runs in 5.2 innings last weekend against the Blue Jays. In four starts against the Cubs last year, he had a 2.42 ERA including an 8-inning, 9 strikeout gem last August.

The Chicago Cubs are 5-10 this season when opposing starter Edwin Jackson takes the mound: 2-0 against Cincinnati and 3-10 against the rest of the league. Not that Jackson has been particularly impressive against Cincinnati. He has a 4.76 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in his two starts against the Reds. Jackson has been lucky with 8 runs of support in the first game and 9 runs in the second.

While Brandon Phillips returns to today’s lineup, and more importantly to the field to man second base, [EDITOR’S NOTE: Phillips was a late scratch.] Devin Mesoraco and his 5-game homerun streak remains in the cleanup spot. On last night’s broadcast, they stated that Mesoraco’s first four homeruns were the first “consecutive day homerun cycle” in major league history. That unique achievement is: he hit a solo homerun on day 1, a two run blast the second day, followed by a 3-run shot the 3rd day, and the grand slam Monday night.

Jay Bruce inexplicably (sorry, 3-for-17 career against a specific pitcher is not sufficient justification) is dropped to 6th behind #5 hitting Phillips. Bruce is hitting .273/.333/.532 for the month of June. He’s also had an extra base hit in each of the past five games, three doubles and two homeruns, in route to a .368 average and .842 slugging percentage during that span.

1. Billy Hamilton (S) CF
2. Todd Frazier (R) 3B
3. Joey Votto (L) 1B
4. Devin Mesoraco (R) C
5. Brandon Phillips (R) 2B Jay Bruce (L) RF
6. Chris Heisey (R) LF
7. Skip Schumaker (L) 2B
8. Zack Cozart (R) SS
9. Mat Latos (R) P

The Reds attempt to win their 4th consecutive series and get back over the .500 mark tonight. Will Devin Mesoraco tie the major league record of 6 consecutive games with a homerun? Will a start against the Cubs get Mat Latos back to pitching like his old self?

Discuss the game here.


161 thoughts on “Reds at Cubs (June 25, 2014)

  1. I guess, before the scratch, Price wanted to give the Cubs one sure out in the first five.

    • Maybe Price just wanted to put in, what he thinks is the best line up regardless of personal dislikes.

        • If that’s not it then why make the statement? Especially if you were implying that by having BP bat 5th, Price is giving the Cubs a sure out. If I’m wrong I apologize

      • If Price was putting Phillips ahead of Bruce in the order based on personal preference then that would be because he liked Phillips more. Left/Right-wise (oh, Dusty) Bruce would bat 5th. Power-wise, Bruce. Latest performance, Bruce depending where you want to draw the line.

        I think that was why the comment was made in the original post. Bruce’s track record indicates he’s just a better hitter than Phillips. There’s nothing biased about that, it’s just statistically true.

        • I wasn’t implying that Price takes in account personal bias, but some on here just like to make comments based on their dislike of a player. Like statements that BP is a sure out,

      • The SO issue some have raised as justification for hitting Phillips ahead of Bruce is a legitimate argument and it’s possible that Bryan placed an inordinate weight on that one aspect of the comparison between the two hitters when he decided to put Phillips in the #5 hole and Bruce in the #6 hole initially. I personally think that argument falls well short when comparing the rest of the aspects of the 2 hitters. Since I’m pretty sure that no one is going to ask the question and if by some outlandish chance someone does ask the question, I’m pretty sure Bryan will avoid any legitimate discussion of his reasoning.

        • For the record I would bat BP after Bruce, but I would still give Price the benefit of doubt when making up his line up

        • It bothers me because I think he would only do it because he thinks BP would be a poop head about batting lower than 4th, let alone 6th.

  2. I forgot to mention that tonight’s game is at 7pm, an hour earlier than the last two nights. Plus, anyone with cable/satellite outside of the Cincinnati area should be able to watch the game on WGN.

    • Oh shoot! Thanks Greg. The Old Cossack would have tuned into the game for the 3rd inning. I don’t suppose we can finally get the wind blowing out at Wrigley for a change…

  3. I hope BP can return to the lineup soon, but I also hope he doesn’t return until he is completely healthy and recovered from the bruised heel. That looks like a fearsome lineup Bryan is putting on the field tonight. I agree with MWV that this could be fun tonight. How nice would it be for Jumbo and Contreras to get another inning each on the mound tonight while saving the bullpen again. I just don’t mind the middle relief getting rusty from inactivity right now.

    • I’ll admit I made that comment not only because I want to see them rough up another marginal pitcher but also because I want to psyche myself up for the possibility of Mez blasting a 6th-straight HR. Little things like that are so fun about baseball.

    • Agree 100% about BP. In the past he’s come back too soon and slumped.

        • A hurt BP who had a .699 OPS while healthy, batting 5th. Can you imagine how little Mesoraco would be given to hit in that situation?

        • Offense is down to a level not seen since the 60s. A .699 OPS isn’t all that terrible. It’s not good, but it’s not terrible.

        • I do agree that offense is down, but batting him front of obvious better hitters at this point just makes me think he does it to massage his ego.

  4. Six consecutive games with a homerun is a record for catchers. I believe the overall record is eight(!), including by KG Jr when he was with Seattle.

  5. A series at Wrigley and no day game ! Doesn’t feel right at all.

  6. Jackson is a bottom of the rotation starter but he has the occasional dominating outing (such as against the Reds last September). Reds hitters can’t let that happen tonight.

    • He also has an ERA under 2 in his last 4 home starts. I don’t think he’s going to be a pushover.

  7. So when was the last time the Reds had three guys with 20 steals? Because it’s a possibility. Hamilton (obviously), Frazier, and Bruce. Frazier at 9 and Bruce at 8 (Bruce was out with surgery, if not for that, he probably is at 10).

  8. Bruce! Wow, and Price wanted to bat him 6th behind a hurt BP. Hurray BP being a late scratch.

  9. Votto is hurt again. Got to be. He was sooooo slow coming into the plate. No momentum whatsoever.

    • He stole 20 bases early in carreer, has not been the same since injury in 2012.

      • Well 16 in 2010, sorry. Still looked like a dump truck on that play.

  10. Feels like the reds have had several chances this series to out up 2 or 3 run innings and keep catching bad breaks or running ourselves out of the opportunity.

  11. It made sense for Votto to try to score there. Even with his slowness, it took a good relay from Barney to get him.

    Bruce now has a 6 game consecutive XBH streak !

    • I’m a little nervous about it, but I do think that it could be due to not having pitched much yet. I think I’ve read that pitchers typically increase velocity in the early part of the year, so he may be behind schedule.

      But it’s certainly going to be harder for him to be able to pitch at this velocity.

  12. Need a big rally here, a bit nervous about this game, gotta win the series against the Cubs

    • Letting Edwin get the best of them, gotta take this game, hopefully Latos can keep the shutout going with Rizzo coming up

    • I don’t see how you can argue that terrible calls have more of a place in baseball.

      Here’s the thing that I hate: they put limits on the number of challenges that a manager could use, because they didn’t want managers coming out of the dugout on every close play.

      But with the way they have the system now, the teams just review the play themselves while the manager stalls, so it’s essentially the same thing, and does sort of suck the life out of the game.

      I think they should revise it so that they either can’t communicate with a video guy from the dugout, or they can’t go onto the field unless they are going to challenge.

  13. Reds run the bases blindfolded or drunk or both. Tootblans everywhere !

    • I don’t think that people really understand how to use Tootblan.

      Votto was sent home by his 3B coach, trying to score him from first on a double with 2 outs, and got thrown out at the plate. This is part of baseball, and happens all the time to non-nincompoops.

      Mesoraco was picked off by a fingernail, and it was so close a replay had to be used to overturn the original safe call. Again, a totally normal part of baseball.

      This is a tootblan:

      • Totally agree with your point, but Cubbies are beating them on the little things.

        • Huh. I stand corrected.

          I guess what I should have said is that I think tootblan shouldn’t be used whenever an out is made on the bases, because a certain amount of that is part of playing good baseball.

          For example, if you know that in certain situations, when you send the runner home from third you score say 80% of the time, and there are two outs, then sending the runner is the right thing to do, because the odds that your going to get the runner in without sending him are a lot lower than that.

          If he gets thrown out, then so be it, it was still the right call to make. In those situations, it seems rough to say that you got thrown out like a nincompoop, when you objectively made the right decision.

          To the creator of TOOTBLAN I would say this: sometimes usage changes, and in this case, I think the term has left its creator behind.

  14. This is the kind of stuff that is said by supposed baseball experts on TV:

    Chris Welch just said that with Shumaker on second and 1 out, you wouldn’t want to bunt with Cozart because Latos is up next, but if he was hitting in front of Frazier, you might.


    Because if you have Frazier coming up after Cozart, it’s really important to get Shumaker to 3rd with 2 outs? I’m pretty sure Frazier has a pretty good chance to get Shumaker home from second with 2 outs on a hit. If anything Latos has much less chance, so if you were going to bunt (which you never ever ever should in that situation), he’s got it exactly backwards.


  15. Does it seem like there are minimal foul offs by the Reds?, 3 walks by Jackson and he is at less pitches through 5 than Latos is through 4 with no walks.
    Had favorable counts and letting him off the hook, not playing smart. If they pull this game out it will not feel that great of a win, but if they lose it will be devastating with the Giant series coming up and getting back to winning record for the first time all season.

  16. I’m glad the game is on WGN, I’m having a heck of a time staying connected to my mlb tv subscription. Definitely unusual not to have a day game in the series, especially so on get-a-way day. Go Reds!

  17. JV coming through big time. Let’s add on a couple of more.

    • Need to knock this bum around, hope they stick with him but Renteria has had a pretty quick hook all series

    • I think he knew what was going on. No one covering 1st. Might as well see if people fall asleep.

    • I’ve seen MPH off the bat on homers; I’d like to see an aggregate MPH off the bat. I bet Meso has to be up there on this theoretical leaderboard. The ball just explodes off his bat.

  18. If nothing else, the Reds sure are entertaining on the base paths. All’s well, that’s ends well. Go Reds!

  19. So what Mes almost just pulled off would be a tootblan, yes ?

    • If, indeed, he had actually don’t anything risky. He was the closest player on the field to 1st. He went 1/2 way to see if the Cubs would Cub. They didnt. So he went back.

      • Thanks. It’s why I included the almost part. The Cubs Cub harder than anyone but sometimes the Reds Cub. But I still root for the old ball team. They run the bases badly I think we all agree.

    • fouled off pitches until he got is, so can we drop the Bruce needs to bat lower post for a month or so?

    • Chris was too busy looking for his seat on the bench to listen, just an awful AB after such a solid one by Bruce

  20. People still wonder why we don’t see Heisey for weeks on end. Horrible AB.

    • The old suicide squeeze! I love it. First time all year I think.

  21. That is a terrible AB from Heisey. Missed two very hittable pitches to start out. Could be the difference in a good inning and a great inning.

  22. Heisey continues to have clueless flailing attempts. He is a defensive replacement at this point.

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