Final R H E
  Cincinnati Reds  (48-42)  6 12 0
  Chicago Cubs  (38-51) 5 11 1
 W: Ondrusek (3-2) L: Rondon (1-3)
 Box Score |   Play-by-Play    |   Game Thread    |    Depth Chart   |  Win Probability

Entering tonight, the Reds largest comeback of 2014 was 2 runs.  The Reds blew that out of the water as they came back from a 5-0 deficit to win 6-5 on a Billy Hamilton, broken-bat, walk-off single.  The Reds are six games over .500 for the first time in 2014.  The Reds are now incredibly just 3.5 games out of first place in the NL Central.

Biggest Play of the Game

According to Fangraphs WPA statistic (wining percentage added), the most important play of the game was Jay Bruce’s RBI double in the 8th inning, which tied the game at 5.  That play increased the Reds chances of winning by 36.2% (37.5% to 73.7%).

Other important plays:

  • Mesoraco’s single in the 9th, moving Leake to third base: +23.5% (69.8% to 93.3%)
  • Billy Hamilton’s RBI triple in the 7th inning, cutting the Cubs lead to 5-4: +14.8% (16.7% to 31.5%)
  • Tucker Barnhart’s walk, loading the bases in the 7th inning: +12.1% (23.1% to 35.2%)

Player of the Game

Billy Hamilton: 2 for 4, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 0.22 WPA

Billy the kid had another great night.  He had the walk-off, broken-bat RBI single in the 9th.  He also had a RBI triple in the 7th inning, that cut the deficit to 5-4, where he missed a tying homer by just a few feet.  Billy also had a walk, and had a nice running catch in the game.

Positives

The Cubs bullpen. God bless them.

Jay Bruce drove in two more runs tonight, and now has 9 RBI in his last four games.

Carlos Contreras pitched very nicely in relief for the Reds.  Contreras pitched 2.1 innings of scoreless baseball after Holmberg was pulled in the third inning.  That helped save a bit of the Reds bullpen, and gave the Reds a chance to comeback in this one.

J.J. Hoover pitched two scoreless innings, striking out 6 (!) batters.

Logan Ondrusek pitched two scoreless innings in the 8th and 9th innings.

Negatives

David Holmberg was not very good.  His line of his Reds debut: 2.2 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 1 K.  Holmberg allowed 3 homers while only recording 8 outs.  You would have to expect this out of a guy with a 5.28 ERA and 1.85 WHIP in 10 starts at AAA.

Bryan Price putting out a poor defensive lineup didn’t help Holmberg tonight.  Here are some examples:

In the first inning, Chris Couhlan hit a homer into the first row in RF.  Skip Schumaker at 5’10 just missed the catch.  It would be silly to definitively say Bruce (6’3) or Heisey (6’1) would have made the catch, but we have certainly seen both take away some HR in the past.

In the second inning, Ryan Ludwick misplayed a ball in LF that resulted in Darwin Barney stretching a single into a double.  The play didn’t go as an error, but it was a play that you would almost certainly believe that Heisey would have made.

In the third inning, Jay Bruce had some indecision on a ground ball, and that allowed Darwin Barney to reach on a single.  It was a pretty generous no-error decision by the home scorekeeper, but a play that should have been made.  If that out would have been recorded, it would have brought up the pitcher with two outs.  As a result of the misplay, Holmberg exited after the pitcher sacrificed.  He was set to lead-off the next inning, so it cost the Reds a chance to use a PH, and Contreras had to hit to stay in the game.

Not so random thoughts….

I know starting a guy with a 5.28 ERA in AAA is never any fun, but I really don’t think the Reds had a better option here.  If they would have called up Chien-Ming Wang (3.57 ERA, 1.47 WHIP at AAA), he would likely get picked up by another team because he is not protected on the 40-man roster.  Holmberg is on the 40-man roster, so he can be sent back down following the game and still be protected.  The other real alternative would be to just start Simon (who is scheduled to pitch tomorrow), but he would have to pitch on 3-days rest, and then everyone else in the rotation would have to pitch on 3-days rest for the rest of the week.

It was announced tonight that Todd Frazier will be participating in the Home Run Derby on Monday night.  While I’m sure there is some merit to saying it could mess up his swing, I think this is a really cool thing for the Reds.  I’ll certainly be glued to the TV Monday night to see the always entertaining ToddFather.

reds cubs

Nick is a lifelong Reds fan who was born and raised in Cincinnati. He acquired his love of baseball from his late grandfather. Nick moved to the Cleveland area in 2014 with his wife, and his currently fighting to convert his beautiful baby daughter Emma to Reds fandom. Nick has been writing for Redleg Nation since 2013. Follow Nick on Twitter @nicholaspkirby.

Join the conversation! 155 Comments

  1. Woooooooooooo

    I wish the Reds could play a doubleheader against the Cubbies every day.

  2. Don’t look now but Billy Hamilton has a wRC+ of 101.

    Unbelievable job by the pen!

  3. I think I am giving up on trying to figure whether the Reds best post season chance is to win the division or get a WC spot. I’m going back to the days of my (relative) youth and Al Davis. Just win baby, just win.

  4. What’s the deal with Cingrani? I haven’t heard his name since he was sent down and I don’t know what schedule he would have been on today, but we knew this DH was coming for weeks – couldn’t we have figured out a way to put him in line to come back to pitch? Is there some option/roster rule I’m missing?

  5. That win right there is a sign of a contending ball club. This could be a real turning point for the fellas this season. Let’s keep the ball rolling into the ASB. I think the second half of the season is going to be real interesting with 4 teams duking it out.

  6. Unbelievable. Kept saying during the game thread, just chip away. I’m exhausted from a rollercoaster day of baseball !!

    • Yep, it has definitely been a long and mentally exhausting day for Reds fans. Its also been a rewarding day for Reds fans, as the Reds swept a doubleheader with the Cubs. A good nights rest will do us all a lot of good. Back at it tomorrow, Go Reds!

  7. At this point the reds have no choice but to fire price and put everyone on the trade block while guys like cueto still have trade value. Wait…..what…..they came back?? Never mind.

    • Hah! I also remember when a few fans were ready to jump ship when it listed slightly.

    • What you’re seeing, Kurt, is the genius of Walt Jocketty. Building up the trade value of multiple guys as the deadline approaches and then the firesale. Squeezing one or two more prospects out of the whole deal. 2019 is going to be awesome!

    • Excellent post! Good to laugh early in the day.

  8. Go Reds Go! Thrilling win!

  9. Would the Reds have been better off starting Ryan Hanigan as the pitcher tonight?

    • Yes, or Corky Miller

      • Speaking of Corky Miller, what is the latest on old Corky. (who I liked, how could you not.)

      • Corky pitched an inning at AAA, and put up terrible numbers. Oddly, they were almost identical to the numbers Chapman put up in his official 1 inning of rehab at AAA.

    • I had that exact thought when I saw Holmberg’s line. As much as I hate that Hanigan is gone, it would have either cut down on Devin’s playing time or Hanigan would be getting no time at all, which would not be fair for him. But he couldn’t have done much worse on the mound.

    • Even Ryan Hanigan’s mom may have thrown better than Holmberg did today. When you’re having trouble getting AAA hitters out though, the big boys are going to kill ya.

  10. As long as Bruce and Phillip’s continue to hit the Reds will win. Mez. Todd. and Billy just need to keep on keeping on.

  11. Why couldn’t Contreras start? He had 26 starts in 2013 and 8 this year in the minors. It seems baffling that Holmberg was viewed as a better option than Carlos.

    • 3** this year

    • Just my thoughts as well but I was shot down on this board – glad to see some other forward thinkers on this board. I would have liked to have seen Contreras start as well – would have been the better option since at this point – he’s the better pitcher. Didn’t really need a heart attack tonight.

    • It was a smart decision, would Conteras really have gotten you 5, no chance given he was not stretched out for starting, Holmberg just got hit beyond belief but they only had to burn Hoover and Ondrusek, no way that is the case with your scenario. Lecure, Broxton, and Chapman all should be fresh… even Jumbo and Parra if needed, hopefully Simon gives 6 or 7 solid going into the ASB

      • Plus, there was a game before this one. Price was not thinking 9 innings, but 18. Who knows what happens in game 1? What if Cueto pulls the lat in the first inning, like he did in San Francisco? It didn’t happen, but it might have. If it did, what would the nervous nellies have said about Price’s preparation? I think I know.

      • I think there is a chance that Contreras could have given the Reds 5-6 innings. He is stretched out as a starter as he was kind of being used as a swing-man. That said, like I mentioned above, hindsight is 20/20. Contreras could have gone out and laid an egg too.

    • I thought that too when they brought in Contreras in the 3rd inning. Everything worked out in the end though

    • Actually, that’s a very good question… Maybe they simply wanted to see what Holmberg could do? It could have been a ‘bullpen day’ with Contreras starting. He may have had just as good of a chance of giving the Reds 5-6 good innings than did Holmberg… Hindsight is 20/20 but that could have been an option.

  12. Schumaker reached base twice and scored both times, yet his only mention was his “poor defense,” which appeared in the form of being three inches too short to rob a home run…

    • Schumaker has started in 33 of the Reds last 61 games. I don’t know if I would call a guy a backup if he plays more than 50% of the time. Also, Schumaker’s WPA was -0.41 this evening.

      • He’s a backup. He’s starting only because of injuries.

        Also, that response doesn’t really explain calling his height “poor defense.”

      • Also, whether he’s a backup wasn’t really the point. He’s just another one of those guys who will never get a fair shake here, even while outperforming certain much loved players who aren’t producing.

        • He has a -0.6 WAR this season. He had a -1.0 WAR last season. He isn’t a good player.

        • *facepalm*

          You’re still completely missing the point. I wasn’t saying “he’s a good player.” I’m saying that he’s another player who doesn’t get credit when it’s due.

        • It’s nothing personal against schumaker and you are acting like reds fans despise him or something. The problem with Schumacher is really a problem with jocketty. Schumaker is another veteran who has declined to replacement level, in his case actually below replacement level, that Walt has signed for what seems to be nostalgic reasons. He liked them when they played with the cardinals so he brings him here just like edmonds, ludwick, renteria, etc.. Also, skip is another marginal player that Walt signed to a two year deal like Hannahan, ludwick after 2012, cairo after 2010, etc.. when those guys should have been available on one year deals. And no matter how badly these guys play, he will not replace them on the roster. See cairo 2012, hannahan last year, schumaker this year. It just gets frustrating. I hope Schumaker does put up some good numbers in the second half, but the reality is he doesn’t do anything well on the baseball field anymore. But no matter how he performs you can just about guarantee he will have a roster spot for the rest of this year and next year.

        • Its funny how some players stats get “broken” down to show how good they are and others get the opposite. The Shu brings attitude and hustle and despite the numbers I like him on this team. All under six foot of him! (Bruce is afraid of the wall so he doesn’t catch that either.)

          • Please, give me one stat that shows Schumaker hasn’t been bad. He is hitting .254/.293/.333. All of the defensive number show that is a bad defender. I really don’t understand the obsession with the praise of this guy.

        • Nick, because you measure him strictly in stats. Let me paint acouple of scenarios and tell me what you’d do: (1) 7th game of the WS, down a run, bases loaded, 2 -outs. Two guys on the bench, Schu & Heisey. Who do you send up to bat? (2) Same situation, runner on second is the tying run, very close play at the late as the runner tries to score, catcher blocking the plate. Who do you want that runner to be: Schu or Heisey?

          You are providing season numbers. Let ‘s look only a recent numbers. Since June 15th:
          Schu: .341/.375/.432
          Heisey: .240/.269/.320

          Hot as Schumaker is, how do you not play him? Never mind the intangibles. When he cools, the job is again open to competition. Your right he is no longer a good player but at the moment he is a very good player.

      • Schumaker’s WPA was negative last night ? Surprising, in that he started two rallies and scored two runs. He was no doubt hurt by striking out with the go-ahead run on 2nd and 1 out. The K zone showed that called strike 3 was low and outside.

        • Yes. Schumaker looked stunned after the call and rightly so. For the most part, I thought the strike zone was pretty good and pretty consistent by the home plate umpire, but that was a ridiculously bad call.

        • Charlotte, the answer to both of your questions is easy: if the pitcher is LH, definitely Heisey. Schumaker has terrible career numbers vs LHP. And base running? Heisey. He’s much faster, and bigger. (And if I need a homerun: Heisey. Schu has no power.)

          All of you praising Schumaker: Do you remember the AB yesterday where he failed to move Ludwick to 3rd, and then Ludwick couldn’t score from 2nd when the next batter got a 2 out hit? What has surprised me most about Schumaker–who is a slower, weaker defense version of Heisey–is how often he fails to do the “little things” like advance a runner.

        • Remember when Heisey was so easily dispatched with a K when the bases were loaded? Hey if Heisey’s name was Schumaker, I’d want Heisey in there. Just using objective thinking. Go back and look at those stats I posted and please reconsider.

          The minute the hot streak is over, I’d would not blink an eye to return him to the bench. Neither of these guys are everyday players so want not play the hot hand? Honestly, I just don’t get. Not trying be mean or argumentative.

    • BTW, all his batting numbers are now better than Heisey’s, in roughly the same number of plate appearances.

      • Heisey has a .629 OPS, Schumaker has a .626 OPS. That is updated with today’s games.

      • I think the point about Schumaker is that, whether he’s playing 50% of the time or not, he was signed as a utility guy. Utility guys are useful because they can play multiple positions and, one hopes, have a good idea about what’s going on, but they aren’t very good players. If they were, they would be starters. Few teams can afford to load their benches with players who could be starters.

    • Schumaker is a fan favorite, and deservedly so, I’ll leave it at that.

      • Is he really? I don’t live in Cincy, so I don’t really see much off-the-field stuff. Around here, he’s just another Jocketty schlub.

        • In a game like tonight’s, there are lots of heroes. I can’t believe Schumaker made that catch on the rocket that Ondrusek gave up……..And that diving play and throw to second for a force play, made by Cozart??!! Just sensational stuff.

        • Yes, there are a lot of my dad’s friends who actually like Schumaker better than Bruce or Votto. I’m not kidding. He and Frazier often seem to be the favorite players among fans calling into talk radio etc. Frazier wasn’t liked last year because he struck out too much, etc… For Schumaker it’s his grittiness and what I like to call the Pete Rose factor. He hustles and plays hard and fans in Cincy love that. The slant on this sight is a more metrics oriented and that’s why Schumaker doesn’t get as much love here as he does among the general fan-base. Personally, I like him on the team but he’s been starting too much. If you forced me to pick one of he or Heisey, I would pick Heisey because I feel Heisey is the better overall player. That opinion based on metrics and on my own set of what I look for in a ballplayer. Like I said though, I am good with both being on the team and I do like some of Schumaker’s intangibles.

        • Great points LW. So why not play the hot hand if one exists? If CH was hot, I would not be happy if Schu was playing more. Neither of these guys are MLB regulars so if you happen to catch lightening in a bottle, ride it out.

      • Good place to leave it, Sarge.

      • Yes, he’s a fan favorite based upon the “grit factor”. He’s basically an older, slower Ryan Freel (RIP).

    • Overall still a disappointing overall performance on the season, hopefully get a better 2nd half and its looking like it

  13. Frazier should buy Holmberg a first class ticket to the Homerun Derby

  14. Unlike the Reds, the Brewers and their fans really have to be asking – ‘is it the All Star break yet’? Those boys are scuffling. Was on their board on MLB last evening and they are the most polite fans in the world. Had some great conversations. Wouldn’t even think about going on the Cards board. Elitists.

  15. The Cubs… good for what ails ya.

    • I fear we may not be able to say that in a couple years. They are building up some talent in their system.

  16. anyone else here freaking out that a PITCHER in our rotation scored the winning run as a PR? Am i lost or has that never happened?

    • Probably more than you think, late inning substitutions wear the bench down; athletic SP, not going to play ideal PR for a slow footed batter put on as the winning run, teammates bat him in.
      Anybody remember in 1982 when Soto scored in back to back games in walk off wins against the Mets?

      • I think what he means was that Dusty would never have done that. He’d pinch-run one slow-footed catcher for another even-slower catcher rather than use Leake or Arroyo or whoever.

        • I knew I’d seen Leake PR before. According to BRef he’s done it at least 3 times (scored 3 runs) so Dusty was obviously the one who gave Price the idea.

        • Actually, Dusty used to PR with Arroyo all the time. Of course, that was only if Corky Miller or Ramon Hernandez wasn’t available.

        • Pretty sure that Dusty used Cueto to pinch run. Will we all be done talking about Dusty by the end of the 2015 season? Vitriol isn’t good for the soul.

  17. More than 24K page views at RN today. 5K more than second-best day of the season.

    • Over 3,400 in the 11 pm hour.

      • This is Redleg Nation. This is class. Those numbers are surely a reflection of the dedication that appears in every post. Redleg Nation is a cut above any other Reds site that I’ve seen.

      • Hey, it’s a great site Steve. That’s why we’re here. Even when I disagree, the editors on this blog and most of the many fans are intelligent and courteous. You guys should all be proud of the work you do here, on your own time, as Reds’ fans.

    • nice…why aren’t you running some google ads?

    • Plus your Bruce post got quoted and linked on the ESPN homepage for a period today. Still on the front page of the MLB board. A perfect storm for the site today I’d imagine. As always, awesome job.

  18. Anyone think Matheny’s master plan was to get Frazier into the homerun derby hoping to wear him down and get him in a funk… apparently there is a history of that happening to guys. I hope those guys are on their toes, I don’t trust the Cardinals.

  19. Brandon Phillips had a good AB getting on base before Jay Bruce’s double.

    Ryan Ludwick’s AB after that was possibly the worst AB of the year for any Reds player. In a single plate appearance, he swung at a pitch at least a foot low and outside and at a pitch that was so far inside he had to move out of the way while he was swinging so he didn’t get HBP. Total of three whiffs on pitches out of the strike zone. #thecardinalway

    • Phillips has been having a lot of good ABs lately, for important singles and walks.

      Yeh the AB by Ludwick after Bruce’s double was the worst I’d seen all year by a Reds position player. The two wild swings at way outside sliders showed he was eager to pull the ball and be a hero, when all he had to do was go the other way and at the least advance Bruce to 3rd. And yes his swing and miss for strike 3 was literally defensive, as if he took the swing to avoid getting hit while moving away.

      Monday night, in the same situation, runner on 2nd and none out, he hit a sac bunt (apparently on his own) after 7 Reds in a row had hit line drives off Jackson like it was batting practice. I’ve supported Ludwick in the past but he has zero confidence right now.

    • That’s funny, because Rizzo from the Cubs swung at a ball that actually did hit him earlier against Contreras. The ball drilled him in the leg as he swung over it. But, in fairness, he does crowd the plate something awful.

      • Yeah, his arms are IN the strikezone. It’s insane. I hope if he gets hit on the arm, it’s a strike and not a HBP. You can get him out inside but you have to keep it off the plate. Put it on the corner and he pulls his hands in and jacks it. He dares you to come in on him. I’m shocked he doesn’t get hit more as pitchers trying to make sure they get in on him get it a little too far in.

    • Agreed Steve
      Brandon has had some great at bats in this stretch… He actually drew a walk, the hit to the vacated right side on Billy’s steal was a thing of beauty an he smoke that one in the 8th

      Not sure which was worse, the bases loaded no outs in the 5th and 7th with one run scored, or Jay being left on secon with no outs in the 8th

      Ludwick did not have a strike thrown to him. The team got back in this one by taking 3 walks in a row at one point. You have to swing at strikes

      Heisey striking out with the bases loaded was runner up. Got to put that ball in play

      Winker anyone?

    • You’re right, Steve. I’ve seen nearly every Reds’ at bat this season and can unequivocally say that Ludwick’s AB last night was the worst of the season. You just don’t expect that from a veteran player. I think he’s pressing . . . all the other outfielders are contributing right now.

  20. Why not have Contreras Start, yeah he only has 2 pitches but he was effective…he was a starter in the Minors…Holmberg couldn’t keep a ball in the ball park with his lackluster 91 mph Fastball

  21. I’m happy to see some optimisim again. Was getting verrrrry sick of the firesale crowd.

  22. I’m out in Arizona, just got the kids to bed and saw the score. Watched the last two innings on MLB because I had to see it. Cozart is a great defensive shortstop, and Mesaraco is a beast….the look on that mans face after that single in the ninth was passion. I have not felt this hopeful since we swept the red hot Dodgers in Cincy last fall. Hopefully and willingly this club will continue to play as a TEAM. Let’s not worry about our GM and focus on the clubhouse and how they can pull this off as a Team…Coaches, Players, and Fans. Nice day in the AZ for a Reds fan. Go Reds!!!!

  23. Well I must say I’m stunned and amazed, in a good way. I watched the early game so wasn’t up for watching the Reds fall flat in the nightcap. Gave up after Heisey failed to score the run from third with the bases loaded and Barnhart had his TOOTBLAN and got himself picked off first to end the rally. Especially given that the Reds had precisely zero comebacks of note this year. Imagine my surprise! Sorry I missed it but loving that Bruce is hot, Hamilton keeps getting better, and all while Votto might be started on a (long) path back to healthy. Go Reds!

  24. This game reminds me of a home game against the D-backs in 2012, maybe around this time of the season. I believe the Reds were losing 6-0 in the middle innings, and fans were even booing the Reds’ anemic offense…..Then the Reds came back, I think BP hit a three-run homer? and the Reds won the game, and it started a 10-game winning streak that proved to be a “hair-razing” experience for Marty.

    • I was thinking the exact same thing. And it was right after Votto went down, too.

      Darkest before the dawn people.

    • Hmmmmmmm…. I wonder if Marty would agree to a gag order – not saying anything negative about any Red’s player for 10 games, if the Reds put together a 10 game winning streak.

  25. I was at the game tonight and I seem to remember Schumaker making a heckuva catch on a ball hit to the wall early in the game. Something else that went unnoticed was a brilliant diving catch by Cozart in the 8th inning on a ball that was really past him and headed for the outfield. How he gloved it and forced the runner at second from his back I will never know.

  26. Can we just get back to rooting on our favorite team? You last few folks are great, but I’ve been staying away from RLN for the past few because of the insane amount of non-warranted pessimism lately. You guys do great write-ups, of course. Our favorite team is 2 games out of the wildcard…AT THE ALL STAR BREAK!!! Calm down andjoy another half of baseball people, this club is hitting its stride!

    • I’m really sick of the firesale crap though.

      • Unfortunately we’ll hear it again next game they lose

        • No kidding. This game is equal parts stats, and faith. These new guys forgot about the second one.

        • Uh, I think you’ll find that most of the lacking-faith “fire sale crowd” are the ones who don’t pay much attention to stats, either. It’s all just emotion, which is fine–we’re all fans–but it does get a little old. Some people should go back and look at what they wrote early in the game thread, and maybe hold off on calling for a new manager the next time we go down a few runs.

        • That’s not entirely fair. I had one foot in the fire sale camp, but had hope that Mes/Frazier would support the team and the other players would turn around.

          But the injuries and bullpen issues were devastating early on. Yes, some of the advanced stats point(ed) to a few offensive turnarounds, but for a period, the traditional measures of output (not predictive the predictive ones but the ones that actually win games) were in danger of digging too big a hole.

  27. I am disappointed that the concept of a “cubsingle”, which was introduced in the game-thread of the nightcap, didn’t make it into the recap!

    I like the idea of recognizing a new category of base-hit which can only be conceded by incompetent defense on the part of the Cubbies!

    Definitely my favorite day of the season so far!

  28. Vegastypo: “In a game like tonight’s, there are lots of heroes. I can’t believe Schumaker made that catch on the rocket that Ondrusek gave up……..And that diving play and throw to second for a force play, made by Cozart??!! Just sensational stuff.”

    That was the fun of this game, so many heroes. The defense apparently had some problems early in the game, but was excellent when I was watching late in the game.

  29. What a day for the middle relievers – exactly 8 shutout innings. Price had been saving them for that doubleheader for 2 weeks, so I’m especially pleased they came through.

  30. Holmberg was awful yesterday but his AAA stats are misleading. He’s dominated at AAA since coming off the DL.

    • To be more precise: at AAA Holmberg had a 1.71 ERA in five appearances since coming back from the disabled list with left shoulder tendinitis.

      • Wait…So misleading how? Are you saying his AAA numbers are too low or that yesterday was not a good reflection of how good he really is?

      • That Holmberg’s recent numbers at AAA made him the best alternative available. Holmberg had a bad, disappointing game but he will go back to AAA and continue with his development. If he continues to pitch like he has since coming back from the DL, he will have another chance in the Show somewhere down the road.

        Personally, I’m in the camp of those championing the option of starting Contreras, but that option would have had a higher possibility of straining the bullpen, so the more conservative move was to call up a starter from AAA.

  31. A lot of comments have been made about the 2014 Reds not coming back when down by more than two runs. But the starting pitching has been so good, it’s rare that they’ve been down much early. Holmberg set them up for a big comeback yesterday.

  32. It was so glad too see the reds have a comeback win!!!! So much fun watching baseball atm!!! Gotta love the cubs being in town!!!!

  33. Billy Hamilton has been such a surprise, I’m not sure there was many around here that would have thought he would have 28 extra base hits all year, let alone before the All Star break.

    • I don’t know about that. The HR’s, sure. That’s a surprise to everyone – even Hamilton. But I think most people knew that when he DID hit he was going to leg out a good number of doubles and triples.

    • I’ve been on the Hamilton/Frazier/Mesoraco train from the beginning. But I’ve been really stunned by what I perceive to be a remarkable jump in plate discipline, particularly by Frazier.

      I hoped this team would get better once the injured came back. They did that and more. So much so that the loss of Joey Votto now seems less impactful.

  34. A couple of games ago someone posted a scenario where the Reds could be in 2nd, 2.5 games out of first by the All-star break. At the time, the Reds were 7 games back. My thoughts upon reading it were that would be nice, but a lot would have to go right for it to happen.

    The Reds are 3.5 back this morning. Not only is that doable, the Reds could actually do better if they keep it up. Go Reds!

  35. I have been very hard on Bryan Price but I want to give credit where it’s due. I thought he did a very good job managing this DH. He pulled Cueto and Holmberg at the appropriate times and I loved him using the Leaker as a PR in the 9th. Of course it helps that the bullpen was LIGHTS OUT in both games but just wanted to give Mr Price some credit.

  36. “Let’s play three!” Hamilton said. “I’m ready to go right now.”

    • It’s good to be young!

      I think if I was Mes, I would have been chomping at the bit for the night game. “Come on, it’s a lefty and I can rest my ‘weary’ legs between games and maybe even sit out tomorrow if you want me to. I want this guy Skip!!” That is the younger version of me anyway.

      Hamilton has a good attitude and it’s good to see him hitting the way he has.

  37. Now that the DH is behind them, you would think a roster move would finally be coming for a position player, and it’s right at he moment that the bullpen looks respectable. If that happens I guess it would be Contreas, but I wish they would keep both of the “new guys” in the pen. LeCure seems the shakiest to me – fastball topped out at 89 I think and rarely got even that high Monday – but he’s not going anywhere.

    • I think Bryan’s intention going into the game was to use Contreras as the designated innings eater, if the starter (Holmberg) had to be pulled early, and then Contreras would be optioned back to AAA today. That move makes sense, but I would still like to see Ondrusek moved in a trade for a low-level B prospect and keep Contreras in the bullpen.

      With the pending bullpen roster move, I hope WJ finally brings up Soto to play 1B on a regular basis. Doug Gray poses a pretty convincing and solid argument for promoting Soto and playing him full time at 1B.

      http://redsminorleagues.com/2014/07/08/if-now-isnt-the-time-to-play-neftali-soto-when-is/

      • Well, I think you’d find out if he can cut it or not. That’s worth something for sure.

  38. I want to echo the thoughts by a few other commenters regarding the stellar defensive play by Cozart to snag the ground ball headed to LF and get the runner at 2B. That was as good as any defensive play I’ve seen this season by anyone.

    I really liked Mesoraco’s pinch hit AB too, even thought the result was a double play. Mesoraco smacked the heck out of the ball only to have the short hop find Castro’s leather. The out at 2B was an easy turn, but Mesoraco’s hustle made the play at 1B close even with the ball hit so hard.

    • I agree. Even after reading Jason’s blurb on trade candidates, I think the Reds need to try their only in-house 1st base option (they have already made it an option year for him too) before seeking outside help by trading prospects. Trading prospects for a stop gap seems short sighted anyway.

  39. Extremely impressed with Contreras from what I have seen. Can this guy be a starter? Sending him down would be the move I’d expect but sending JJ down would be the best thing.

    Going out on a limb: given the size of Broxton’s contract and seeing Jumbo’s stuff would it be crazy to trade Brox for a bat? I think you take the chance if you can find a partner. With Jonathan’s salary, you could get a decent bat and not increase payroll, which I believe the budget is a factor. Just food for that. Can’t tell how impressed I am with Diaz, just a beast.

    • It’s a really interesting proposal. Broxton’s trade value is at an all time high. I suspect he’s not deemed expendable do to the struggles of everyone else and his position as the only consistent bullpen arm this season.

      However, if Hoover is turning it around and Jumbo sustains it, I’d be interested in seeing what they could get!

      • Broxton would be a great sell-high candidate. Excellent idea. He could easily be marketed as a closer because he’s done it before and he’s done it this year for the Reds. Some team with a shaky closer in post-season contention would go for it. And Broxton’s contract isn’t way out of line for an “established closer” although the market for that softened quite a bit this past off-season.

        Problem: the Reds will never do it. They are locked into “established closer” mentality. They view Broxton as Chapman insurance. No one else could possibly close.

        If they had a bit of open-mindedness about this, they could trade Broxton and at the same time work on picking up a solid, less expensive bullpen pitcher or two.

        • That is tempting. And with the way Jumbo Diaz pitched the 8th inning in the first game yesterday, it makes it even more so. But why put a fix to something that isn’t broken. Having Brox and Diaz both to shut down the 8th is an asset. Heck, I’d even like for one of the other relievers to step up and join those two to have three guys that are dependable for shutting down the 8th. LeCure could regain that role. LeCure, Hoover and Ondrusek can get back to shutting down the 7th inning.
          Remember all the praise the SD bullpen was getting just a couple of weeks ago?? The Reds are on the verge of getting their bullpen back to shutdown status. They just need an additional LH reliever to help Parra.

  40. Food for thought not “that”.

  41. Ludwick’s last at bat was less than inspiring. Tough to be slumping when team is playing so well.

  42. I heard that the Brewers just realized that their good luck from adopting “Hank the Dog” is used up because it came in dog years… that’s only half a season in human time.

    But seriously, their struggle and choke against the Phillies puts the Reds’ San Diego series in perspective. Who’d have thought they’d blow a 5-1 lead and the Reds would recover from an 0-5 deficit on the same night.

    The Reds should adopt the “Everything is Awesome” song.

  43. I have to respectfully disagree on the Chien-Ming Wang part. CMW chose to stay in Bats without exercising his June 30 opt-out clause simply because he was on the top of all considered to spot start in one of the doubleheader.

    When CMW started for the Bats on July 7th, the veteran pitcher with long injury history was asked to resume pitching after a 65-minute rain delay, which occurred in the beginning of the 4th inning, and continue on for 2.2 innings more. Resuming pitching after a prolonged delay is risky and may lead to injury. I believe Chien-Ming did so trying to be nice and considerate to Bats bullpen. But he yielded 3 ERs right after he resumed pitching. What a pity.

  44. ESPN suggesting the Reds could swing a trade for Josh Willingham for a couple pitching prospects I’ve never even heard of. Willingham’s numbers this year are weird…He’s only batting .218/.367/.433 with 8 HR’s but somehow his wRC+ is 124. I mean the OBP is pretty good but nothing spectacular. His BB% is a nearly Votto-esque 16.6%, but the whole point would be to finally get some power out of LF and he doesn’t seem to offer much more than Ludwick’s offering us. Still, if it could get done cheaply I’d be all for it.

    • Willingham has spent considerable time on the DL in 2013 and 2014. Same age as Ludwick. The Reds need a guy to drive in runs.
      And please, Soto is NOT the man for the job!!!!!!!!!!!! Have to go outside to find the right player.

      • Willingham has an ISO of .221 and his HR’s would come up at GABP. But at the end of the day, 30 points of wRC+ is 30 points. He’s generating those runs the same way Votto does. And he’d be dirt cheap. I’m not sure who else is out there that’s going to offer you much more without costing a ton more in prospects. I mean I’d love to bring in Giancarlo Stanton but it ain’t happening.

  45. Don’t get me wrong, I thought last night’s game was AWESOME for many reasons, chief among them the fact that it was against the Cubs. But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, It was a win against the Cubs, after all. The Pitt series will be the litmus test: good team on the upswing.

    • Yes, it was a win against the Cubs — but with Holmberg, Contreras, Hoover, and Ondrusek pitching two innings or more each. You can’t sweep the season series with the Cubs, so it’s nice to be able to steal one or two more wins than you really deserved.

      • I agree, event the worst teams will convert a 5 run lead in the seventh into a win a large portion of the time. A win is a win is a win.

        • Oh, I agree with both of you. I’m just suggesting that we maintain perspective. The Reds have always been good at beating up on the weaklings. Well, usually (see Pads, @Phillies, and @Mets this year).

    • Yeah, but the Pirates have been doing their damage against cellar dweller teams recently also. It’s the teams like the Cubs that you need to beat so you at least don’t lose any ground. I mean the Pirates have played the Cubs, the Rays, the Mets, the Diamondbacks, and the Phillies since playing the Reds last and have only lost 4, so they have taken advantage of that stretch.

      Obviously the Brewers aren’t taking advantage of their series against the Phillies right now.

      • That’s one reason why I think the Pirates series is a litmus test: both teams will have been beating up on weaklings. The Pirates are a good team.

      • We didn’t take advantage of the series at Philly either. Or at the Mets. Or against the Pads.

        • We just took 2 of 3 from Milwaukee, and are now 7-3 on the year vs them. We have similar numbers vs the Pirates. Yes, the Pirates series is important, but I don’t think we have to pass any “litmus tests”, except maybe vs the Cardinals since they generally have our number and it would be nice to pound them for once.

          With reasonable health, this team can play with anyone. And that’s with one shaky LH reliever and no one else who can reliably relieve except for the 8th and 9th inning guys.

        • I agree with you Eric. I always get frustrated when we play the Cards (especially since I live in St. Louis). The only solace I usually have is that they haven’t swept us since I think 2010 or 2011.

    • The best part about the win was that the offense didn’t give up (despite some of the bullpen decisions that may imply the manager did).

  46. Great game last night. I konked out in the 8th inning and missed the finale, but had a feeling they wre going to pull it out. I wasn’t surprised when I woke up to find out they had won.

  47. Two nice team wins yesterday. Almost everybody played AND contributed to the wins, either offensively, defensively or pitching. Those kind of wins can sure fire up a team. They came at just the right time for this Reds team.

  48. Nice to see the resiliency of this team in the comeback. A great team win with timely hitting, great defense, and a great job by the bullpen. Really enjoy watching Billy play, continue to improve, helping his team win in so many ways. Getting excited that Jay is heating up. Some nice AB’s for Phillips. Props to Cozart on a good day at the plate and more dazzling defense. Simon on the hill today, Go Reds!!!!

  49. I had forgotten what it feels like to enter a game kind of expecting a loss, or at best the decided underdog (even to the Cubs). With this starting pitching staff, we can reasonably expect to win EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. We are spoiled. But, I’m loving it. Stay healthy, please.

  50. This is to LWBlogger2 and any others. LW if I remember correctly, you said you were a Catcher when you played baseball. I have a question about Barnhart for you. Have you ever seen a Catcher like Barnhart that doesn’t really frame the pitch or hold up a target for the Pitcher? He waits until the Pitcher is about to deliver the ball and then does this little hop over to where he wants the ball, then holds his glove up just in time to catch the ball. I’ve never seen a catcher do the little hop that he does. He even does the hop on a ball that he is expecting up high.
    Hanigan was a master of framing a pitch and held up a target. Mes and Pena also hold a target up. I watched a little of the PIT-StL game last night and Molina and Martin hold a target up for their Pitchers.
    I know Barnhart is small and quick as a cat, maybe that is why he does it. Nothing wrong with it if it works for him. I just thought it was an odd little quirk to his catching style. What say you?

  51. Does anyone still think the Reds should have gotten Bonifacio to play in front of Billy?

    • I don’t know that anyone wanted Bonifacio to play in front of anyone and your characterization of such is simply inflammatory. Bonifacio was a super utility option to replace Santiago on the roster. A player capable of providing an option for LF, CF, RF, 3B, SS & 2B as a backup in case of injury or as a utility role and pinch hitter/pinch runner.

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About Nick Kirby

Nick is a lifelong Reds fan who was born and raised in Cincinnati. He acquired his love of baseball from his late grandfather. Nick moved to the Cleveland area in 2014 with his wife, and his currently fighting to convert his beautiful baby daughter Emma to Reds fandom. Nick has been writing for Redleg Nation since 2013. Follow Nick on Twitter @nicholaspkirby.

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Titanic Struggle Recap

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