2014 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Uno down, uno to go

Final R H E
  Chicago Cubs  (38-50) 2 6 1
  Cincinnati Reds (47-42) 4 9  0 
 W: Cueto (9-6)     L: Wood (7-7)     S: Chapman (18)
 Fangraphs Win Probability |   The Worldwide Leader’s Box Score    |   Game Photos

Billy, Brandon and a Blast  The Reds jumped on Cubs starter and former Reds pitcher, Travis Wood for three runs in the first inning.  Billy Hamilton and Brandon Phillips each got hits. Jay Bruce deposited Travis Wood’s first pitch more than half-way up the sun deck (or is it the moon deck). It was Bruce’s third consecutive game hitting a homer, all against left-handed pitching.

Buen Béisbol  This wasn’t one of Johnny Cueto’s best, but it was still an effective start. Cueto went 6.1 innings and gave up six hits, including back-to-back home runs in the sixth inning. He walked one and struck out four. Cueto gave up two runs instead of five thanks to …

Parra-gon of Relief  The Cubs loaded the bases off of Cueto in the seventh inning, aided by Ramon Santiago booting Darwin Barney’s double-play ball. Manny Parra was summoned from the bullpen. Parra had thrown one pitch in the past eighteen games. But showing no sign of rust, he fanned Cubs’ leadoff hitter Chris Coghlan and induced Ryan Sweeney to ground softly to second base.

Big and Fast  “That’s is a 99-mile per hour sinker.” (Jeff Brantley) Jumbo Diaz retired all three batters he faced in the eighth inning, including two strikeouts.

Three Days  The Reds have won three in a row since the last time you said they should give up on 2014 and break up the team. They are tied with the Pirates, a half-game behind the Cardinals and 4.5 games behind Milwaukee. It’s the closest the Reds have been to first place since April 18. All four teams play tonight, the Cards and Pirates against each other.

Heisey Sighting!  Chris Heisey made the most of a rare opportunity to start by getting on base all four times. He scored the Reds fourth run.

More Baseball  The Reds and Cubs play again tonight at 7:10. It’s a battle of left-handed pitchers, each making their first start of the year: David Holmberg vs. Tsuyoshi Wada. With a win, the Reds would be six games over .500 for the first time this year.

89 thoughts on “Uno down, uno to go

  1. Props on the fast recap, Steve! Good luck to Holmberg tonight. Hope the offense brings him some comfort along the way.

    • I’m planning on going to the night game. Want to watch Holmberg’s first start. Saw Homer’s first, Latos’ first and Leake’s first.

  2. Other than the booted DP ball, another nice performance by Ramon. He’s put together back to back nice outings.

  3. I’m still a bit amazed Schumaker and Santiago get more starts than Heisey it seems. Guy is a plus out there defensively. He can steal a base, go first to third, score from second and is always hustling.

    I mean, if we’re talking Schumaker/Heisey, it’s not like either have the most amazing bat in the world, but I feel like Heisey beats him in most things other than Grit Above Replacement and Cardinal Above Replacement.

    • The three hits Heisey had today were just out of the reach of the shortstop each time. Making up for previous times he got robbed, maybe. However, there were two catches he made that neither Ludwick or Schumaker would have made.

      • Schumaker should never be on the field if Heisey is on the bench. Period.

        • Interesting, I use to be a Heisey guy, but over time I have lost confidence in him, right now I like what Schumaker brings to the field no matter the position he is playing, he reminds me of a Ryan Freel type of hustle, which is something you need from time to time.

        • Schumaker is better than Heisey. Heisey has had a million opportunities.

        • No, he’s not. Both are career backups, but Heisey gives you much better defense.

    • Well Santiago’s only getting these starts because of the injuries. Heisey was starting a good deal when Bruce was out. I think Schumaker and Heisey are pretty much a wash and Santiago’s the only guy on the team who can backup 3rd and SS.

      • You can only make that claim if small batting samples are your only measure and you completely throw out defense. Heisey is WARs ahead of Schumaker in the field.

        • Meh. According to some defensive metrics. When I see Schumaker giving up some plays in the outfield that I think Heisey could have gotten I’ll start to worry about this. As it is it’s a coin toss as far as I’m concerned. Heisey has shown time and time again he can’t be a consistent starter. But he had a great game today. Good for him.

      • Bruce was out May 5th-May 22nd. 15 games were played in that time span. Heisey had 7 complete games. Soto had 1 complete game. Bernadina had 4 complete games. I guess the rest were some mishmash where nobody got a full game.

        Don’t know if completing less than half of the games is a “good deal”. Also don’t think Heisey and Schumaker are a wash. I think Heisey’s better defensively and on the bases. They’re probably about a wash offensively though.

        Point is, there’s a reason (before today’s game) Heisey was at 0.8 bWAR and Schumaker was at -0.1 bWAR. Heisey was at 0.8 fWAR and Schumaker was at -0.6 fWAR.

        • And here we get back to the classic Chris Heisey debate: Look at how those numbers are drastically skewed by his splits as starter/PH. As a starter this year Heisey has a wRC+ of about 50. As a PH it’s 132. Sample size yada yada yada, but over his career he has ALWAYS been consistently better as a PH than a starter.

    • I understand where you’re coming from with Cardinal Above Replacement but I think we can do better. Maybe Cardinal Way Quotient (CWQ) or …..

  4. “he fanned Cubs’ leadoff hitter Chris Coghlan and induced Ryan Sweeney to ground softly to second base.”

    Who both hit home runs off Johnny Béisbol in their previous at bats

    Thanks Manny Parra. Glad to have you back…..

    • And then he proceeded to walk the leadoff hitter to start the next inning. That’s been the problem, 12 BB in less than 24 innings and almost all against LH hitters he was specifically summoned to handle.

      • And that leadoff hitter was Rizzo. Parra walked him after getting ahead 0-2. Just last night, a lot of noise was made (including by me) about not bringing in a warmed up Parra to replace Leake to pitch to Rizzo in the 7th. (The result of course was a 2 run HR that brought the Cubs to within 4-3.)

        Here’s a possible explanation. Price thought there was a good chance that Parra would walk Rizzo. That would bring up Castro as the tying run. Leake is tough on RHed hitters, Price wanted Leake facing Castro if Rizzo got on base. As it turns out, Leake did get to face Castro as the tying run, and got him to fly out.

  5. “The Reds have won three in a row since the last time you said they should give up on 2014 and break up the team.”

    Just about every loss brings calls to break up the team.

    • It’s amazing. Even the best teams of all time lose more than 60 games a year…

    • As they say, it’s a long season with a lot of ups and downs. Just a part of the six month long almost daily grind.

  6. I just read where Ludwick has a first baseman’s mitt coming. I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry at this point. Heck, why not Chapman? We always hear about how he’s the best athlete on the team. And, he’s left handed…….

      • If Ludwick can play first, I agree. Bruce at first hurts the OF defense. Ludwick at first would help the OF defense.

        • Exactly… If Ludwick can play 1B even fairly, I’d rather have him at 1B and Bruce in RF… I love Ludwick’s attitude about it though. He pretty much said he’s willing to do whatever. A lot of MLB players aren’t like that.

  7. At least we didn’t have to read about how someone “Slipped the surly bonds of earth” today. I’m sure there is some inside joke that explains why that’s used to describe a home run, but it makes no sense. So thanks for that.

    • Homerun > gravity. Ball in orbit… and it’s just fun. Leave Mr. Fitch’s prose alone!

      • Unless I missed something the ball falls back to earth. I hate play on words that tries to hard to be cute. Grouch that I am.

    • Wow, single weirdest complaint ever. The hilarious notion of being forced to read a recap of a Reds game on a blog. It’s a charmed life we lead.

    • It’s from a famous poem, High Flight, written by an American aviator who died in battle in World War 2.

  8. Considering the Reds had the lead the whole game, it sure was a mentally tiring game to sit through for some reason. Well, actually I guess it was the back to back homers off Cueto that put me on edge the rest of the game. Oh well, all’s well that ends well, awesome win for the Redlegs. There’s just enough time to drop the choppers in a glass on the nightstand and take a restful nap before the start of the second game, and a sweep of the doubleheader. Go Reds!

    • The game was tense throughout after those homeruns. The Cubs put runners on in every inning. Twice had the bases loaded. Disappointing outing from Cueto – Would have been nice to at most only use 2 relievers. Expect to see Ondrusek and Hoover tonight. Everyone get your moaning caps ready.

    • Having a tenuous lead is the most stressful game to watch. After the back to back HRs off Cueto, that was a very stressful game. Right thru the last out.

  9. Santiago goes 3-4 with an RBI, and the only mention is a bad fielding play?

    He’s struggled this year for sure. But he’s joined a long list of Reds players whom some fans never give credit even in those rare times when it is due.

    • He’s only started deserving that credit in the last couple days. Let’s not act like he’s been an unsung hero all season.

      • I didn’t “act like” that at all. I simply pointed out facts. He had a good day, but he didn’t get any credit in the write-up. That’s similar to several other players who quickly wore out their welcome in the past.

        • Well you said he is a guy who fans “never give credit” as if there have been numerous times he’s deserved credit and people have made a habit of ignoring him. I agree he had a very good game and probably deserved a mention in this recap.

        • I agree, give the man his due when he has earned it and he earned it today.

    • BTW, his BA is about equal to Cozart’s now, and his OBP is nearly 40 points higher.

      This is not to build him up as a great backup. He is what he is, which is at least a little bit better than most here make him out to be.

      • I also agree with you that Santiago is a little bit better than people here make him out to be. I like him more than Wilson Valdez for example.

    • I agree with you. Three hits deserves mention, regardless of past performance.

  10. Cueto and Leake both persevered without their best stuff with some patchwork defense enough offensive support to carry the day.

    I challenge someone, anyone to try and justify or rationalize why WJ kept Jumbo languishing in AAA while the major league bullpen imploded! I also challenge someone, anyone to try and justify or rationalize why Carlos Contreras, a 23 year old prospect, is sitting in the bullpen and has only pitched twice (2 total innings) for the past 19 days.

    Is WJ trying to demonstrate how ineffectively he manages the 40-man and 25-man rosters and playing time for his most advanced prospects (Soto, Lutz, Contreras just this season) in an effort to force an early release from his current position so he can get a jump on other major league vacancies that will open up?

    After the debilitating day/night double header today, the big bullpen move that everyone has been anxiously waiting for will certainly be Contreras being optioned back to the Bats. There he’ll rejoin Soto and Lutz for some regular playing time once again.

    • Simple, Walt is the GM, trained and educated in the game. He doesn’t have to explain his reasoning. As for usuage once here, doesn’t that fall on Price, not Walt. I think it’s really easy to sit in our lazy boy’s and second guess everything with having little to know information about what is actually happening in the organization.

    • Jocketty is not making out the lineup. I believe that Price and the coaches do that.

    • There might be a little bit of assuming going on. Could it be that Price was telling Walt that he was/is comfortable with JJ, Logan, Marshall et al and didn’t need/want Jumbo? I will say, whoever made that call screwed up big time. This guy is downright nasty.

    • I agree with Cossack 100% on Jumbo. You can go back through the game recaps and see how many fans were saying that he should be brought up. This organization moves so slowly.

      And as discussed yesterday, the management of the 25 and 40-man rosters has been baffling this year.

    • I think not having our backend bullpen guys not throw is a GOOD thing. Look at our record when they pitch vs. when they don’t

    • Drew/Redmountain, WJ does make the roster moves for the 40-man and 25-man rosters. WJ refused to add Jumbo to the 40-man roster so he could be promoted while the bullpen imploded. WJ promoted Contreras to the 25-man roster due to an immediate need and then left him there while he wasn’t being used rather than providing him valuable development experience at AAA. WJ promoted Soto to the 25-man roster as a utility infielder to backup 1B & 3B, but again left him there while he wasn’t being used regularly rather than optioning him back to AAA for regular playing time. Ultimately Soto was optioned out so Lutz could be promoted to the 25-man roster andd then Lutz stayed on the 25 man roster without being used regularly before finally being optioned to AAA. In every situation, the inactivity deprived advanced prospects of valuable playing and development time.

      If there is a communication issue or problem between WJ and Bryan, the onus is on WJ, as the position of power, to correct that issue. One of the driving factors in hiring Bryan was his superb communication, so I have a difficult time seeing Bryan as the weak link in any communication issues.

      • It makes me think that the organization views Soto and Lutz as borderline MLBers, who’s roles will likely be as utility players at the MLB level, if they can do that job. I think that’s why their development doesn’t seem to be a big consideration in roster moves involving them. I think if we had more top prospects that had higher ceilings in the front-office’s eyes, they wouldn’t be brought up unless they were going to play fairly regularly. That’s just how I see things anyway.

    • I agree with Cossack about waiting too long on Jumbo and now wasting Conteras, who should be getting regular work. Soto does not inspire any confidence in me at all, even if he’s been hitting at AAA. He’s been was totally overmatched by major league hitting so far. Of course he can and should get more chances, but I think he might be another Brandon Larson, who was a star slugger at AAA but could never hit major league pitching.

  11. Mesoraco will not be put at 1b, so who else would be a good RH batter that you could put there, other than Ludwick? It is always dangerous when carrying 2 catchers, to play them at the same time. Besides, you do not have to run far or throw far very often. Makes sense with this roster. The Reds need a bat and a LH arm.

    • The Reds are carrying 3 catchers, not 2. I do not want to see Bruce at 1B ever again and that’s not a knock on Bruce. I thought he handled himself well as a novice playing at 1B at the major league level for the first time. Bruce is a defensive force and threat in RF. His presence in RF will shut down the running game at 3B, and if not, Bruce erases them at the dish.

      • Caution: Bruce may ending up being the regular 1B, the rest of the year. If it comes down to Santiago playing the majority of the time versus Schu and Heisey, I like Bruce at first base.

        • They’ll give Hannahan an extended look starting there every day if you believe Walt.

      • Mesoraco should be given time at 1st base to keep his bat in the lineup especially with Joey on the DL

      • Bruce laying 1B worries the heck out of me. I have a terrible mental image of a bad throw bringing a novice first baseman into the path of the runner resullting in a broken arm.

        • A la Cliff Floyd and a few other first-sackers… Yeah, I am worried about that too.

  12. Mesoraco made a great play to end the 8th. inning. The Reds have a catcher who also can hit. The foundation of a good team.

    • You could argue that he had to make a great play because he had just let the ball get away from him when he probably could have blocked it.

      Though I tend to agree with you.

  13. Negative:

    Reds used both LH in the bullpen for game 1. Can they pitch again in 5 hours?

    Unless we plan on doing one of those wacky switches where Holmberg plays a position when you bring in a RH pitcher and then swap them based on the batter. I saw the Astros do that once, +1 for creativity.

  14. For my personal edification; Chapman got 2 K’s today. Where does that leave his appearance streak with at least 1?

  15. On yesterday’s recap thread I talked about Price not showing confidence in Parra. Glad that he did today, and that Parra came through.

    Parra got to pitch to Rizzo today and walked him. The walk possibility may have been why Price did not bring him in last night to replace Leake in the 7th to face Rizzo. If Parra walks Rizzo in that situation, Castro is up as the tying run. Price wanted Leake still in there if Castro comes up as the tying run, Leake is tough on RHed hitters.
    As it turns out, Leake did face Castro as the tying run, and retired him.

  16. Chapman’s approach to Olt as the tying run was really interesting. It’s the first time I’ve seen him go after a guy with nothing but breaking stuff. The only fastball he threw was out of the strike zone high (intentionally I think). Olt is a very good fastball hitter and a very bad breaking ball hitter. It’s great that Chapman has developed the pitches to deal with such a guy, even if he walked him. And walking him made more sense than challenging him, with a LHed hitter up next and 2 outs.

    • Yep, I’ve seen Olt turn around a couple 97mph fastballs. He may not be able to turn around 102 but who knows? The guy crushes fastballs and as far as the off-speed stuff, he’s Pedro Serrano from Major League.

Comments are closed.