Game Thread

Reds at Brewers (July 22)

The Reds attempt to snap a four-game losing streak tonight in Milwaukee. They have fallen to 3.5 games behind the Brewers and are in fourth place in the division. Game time is 8:10 p.m. Weather forecast doesn’t matter because of the roof.

Homer Bailey takes the mound for the fourth time this season against the Brewers. Most recently, two starts ago, he went eight innings but lost a 1-0 duel with Matt Garza who limited the Reds to two hits while striking out nine.

Bailey’s foe tonight is not Garza, it’s Jimmy Nelson, a 24-year-old rookie making his third start of the year for the Brewers. He’s considered the top prospect in Milwaukee’s system. Keep in mind that every organization has to have a top prospect, no matter how good he may be. Nelson is rated B by John Sickles and a possible #3 or #4 starter. He’s ranked the #63 prospect by MLB and their report on him says that scouts remain split on Nelson, who is viewed by some as a possible reliever. Nelson is a ground ball pitcher with a may-reach 96-mph fastball (average: 93.1) and a power slider. On July 12, Nelson was utterly rocked by the light-hitting Cardinals.

DL News: The Reds placed Logan Ondrusek on the DL with a strained right shoulder, retroactive to July 13 (Mark Sheldon). RHP Curtis Partch was called up from Louisville.

Devin Mesoraco is sitting out this game, for the second time since the All-Star break. Price was asked about it and said the Reds needed a really good start from Bailey. “We need a really good start,” Price said. “Homer threw really well in San Francisco against the Giants when he threw to Pena. Over the course of their careers together, Homer will throw a lot to Devin. Devin has scuffled a little bit at the plate. I think a day off isn’t the worst thing and putting those two together is good as well.” (Mark Sheldon) Hmm. Mesoraco caught Bailey’s great start against *the Brewers* two weeks ago.

Skip Schumaker (.255/.303/.340) is batting second.

The way Ryan Ludwick has looked against hard-throwing pitchers lately, I’m not sure about the match-up with Nelson.

Todd Frazier is back at first base which means Ramon Santiago is playing third, weakening the Reds at both positions defensively.

Have I mentioned the condition of the roster lately? #wegotjackforthat

1. Billy Hamilton (S) CF
2. Skip Schumaker (L) 2B
3. Todd Frazier (R) 1B
4. Jay Bruce (L) RF
5. Ryan Ludwick (R) LF
6. Brayan Pena (S) C
7. Zack Cozart (R) SS
8. Ramon Santiago (S) 3B
9. Homer Bailey (R) P

Go Reds!


367 thoughts on “Reds at Brewers (July 22)

  1. Brewers lineup:

    1. Carlos Gomez (R) CF
    2. Scooter Gennett (L) 2B
    3. Ryan Braun (R) RF
    4. Aramis Ramirez (R) 3B
    5. Jonathan Lucroy (R) C
    6. Khris Davis (R) LF
    7. Lyle Overbay (L) 1B
    8. Jean Segura (R) SS
    9. Jimmy Nelson (R) P

  2. So Darwin Barney was DFA’d. does DFA mean that he is optioned if he has an option available?

    Or does he pass waivers and become a free agent? I would rather have him than Uggla

    • DFA means he is designated for assignment to (immediately) clear a spot on their 40 man roster as well as the 25 man roster. The Cubs have up to 10 days to do something with him. If they can’t trade him; and he clears waivers, then they can outright him to the minors. I believe he would have the right to refuse to be outrighted and instead could elect to become a free agent. Big caveat. If he chooses free agency he forfeits his remaining salary for the year which is guaranteed because he was on the 5 man opening day roster even if not directly guaranteed in the contract.

      • Cot’s contracts says he signed for $2.3M for this year with no extended obligation, so he is still due between $750K and 800K for the rest of this year. Given that in his entire career before this season (including initial signing bonus) he has “only” made around $4M, it is hard to see him putting the balance of this year’s salary at risk I’d judge. So a team is probably going to have to trade for him or win him on a waiver claim to get him now.

  3. This personal catcher stuff needs to stop already. Bailey needs to get over his dislike of throwing to Mesoraco. The team is on a 4 game losing streak where they’ve scored a grand total of 6 earned runs, all from solo homers. You’re up against the division leader. You can’t afford to take one of your two good bats (Mesoraco) and put him on the bench and then move your other good bad (Frazier) out of position. It’s not like the Reds have the offense to spare.

    • Nothing about this report says it is due to Bailey’s “dislike of throwing to Mesoraco.” Nothing. That’s just more of your Homer bashing. Don’t put the blame on him. Did you read what Price said? Partly due to Mesoraco being 0-11 and Pena with two home runs in NY, I suspect. Bailey has pitched to Mesoraco and well.

      • Who cares if he wants to pitch to Mes or not. I think Homer’s best outing was with Pena behind the plate (SF). If it works, who should care? If Homer pitches like Homer can, a run should do it. We argue all the time about advanced statistics but I will say this: HB has the best stuff out of the starters. We need to get him to reach the potential, that he is blessed with. If that is bashing, then I guess I’m bashing..

        To be hung up on a personal pitcher, or not, is missing the point. How about we see if this pair works and go from there? Winning games is too important to get hung up on nonsense like this, guys.

      • I don’t see how an 0-11 stretch now effected all those times in the past. Devin Mesoraco has only caught 12 of Bailey’s 20 starts.

        Last year Corky Miller started 12 games. Eight of those were for Bailey’s starts. Mesoraco only started 5 of Bailey’s starts last year. Miller had a career 49 OPS+ before last year.

        Despite being the majority starter at the position the last two years, Mesoraco has caught 17 of Bailey’s 52 starts in that time span. Either Bailey doesn’t like throwing to him, or it’s just some crazy two year happenstance.

        • I think there is probably something to it but I’m not going to get hung up on it.

          I look at Homer and wonder why is this guy’s ERA not under 3.00?? If it just so happens that he does pitch effectively to reach that number, with Pena, is Mes really going to make up the +1 run/game difference?? The real problem is Mes needs to be able to play another position, in addition to catching, to maximize his value. I want to see Devin Mesoraco out there 150+ games.

    • I like Bailey with Pena. I think HB gets discouraged easily when things don’t go right. It’s just an opinion and probably a 98% chance I’m wrong; however, if I just happen to be right…………: Pena has a softer touch when dealing with the pitchers, I see DM as a tough love kind of guy. If HB is already down on himself, I want a softer touch (Pena). Is that some crazy thinking or what – just killing time.

      Bottom line Homer Bailey should be a much, much better pitcher then he is and what does it hurt to let Pena work with him and see how it goes? Whatever works best is the thing I want. Homer, to me, is a diamond in the rough.

        • With Pena at 1b preferably. But right now if I had to choose: Cueto & Mes, and Homer with Pena. If I was any of the starters, Pena would be my preference. I like this guy’s attitude and it appears he can lift you up when you need it. Nothing against Mes but I do think Pena has a certain gift. If anyone disagrees, that is more then okay with me.

    • Whoever is to blame for Mes sitting, be it Bailey or Price, it’s the wrong decision.

      • Doc, here is my point: if Homer throws a gem tonight, why not let Pena catch him his next start? If you would, please argue it from that point of view.

        • I just don’t believe that the cake a catcher adds in calling a game justifies taking your best bar out if the order when the problem all week has been scoring runs. One is a minimal, subjective advantage, the other is a tangible, objective difference in the number of runs you can expect to score. If you don’t trust Mes to call games in important spots the. We’re screwed. Not just tonight or this season, but for years. Hell – call every pitch from the dugout if you want. You’re a pitching coach, after all.

        • I thought I did. Our priority right now should be offense. A major league pitcher should be able to prepare a gameplan with a major league catcher so that they are on the same page. There shouldn’t be a consideration of “game calling” when writing a lineup card. Go with the better bat and make sure the battery is in sync.

        • I’ll take that as a no. I’m betting Homer pitches lights out tonight and Pena catches him his next start.

        • And again, Price is perfectly capable of calling every pitch of the game from the dugout. If there’s any concern that Mes doesn’t have the brains to call an AB then Price can tell him to look to the dugout after every pitch to know what signs to throw.

        • You’ll take that as a no? I just answered your question three times. Let me make this clear: Game calling should not be an issue when deciding who should be starting at C. Period. WILL they do that? Maybe, because Price learned baseball managing from Dusty. SHOULD he do that? No. No. No. No. No. No. Have I answered your question enough times?

        • Except there’s no consistency between Homer’s catcher and what he does. Mesoraco started his June 24th game. Bailey went 5.1 innings, 4 ER. Pena started his June 29th game. Bailey went 9 innings, 0 ER. Mesoraco started his July 5th game. Bailey went 8 innings, 1 ER. Pena started his July 10th game. Bailey went 5 innings, 3 ER.

          I am just going to go ahead and assume regardless of who is catching, it’ll be the same. Inconsistent performances ranging from occasional flashes of ace stuff, to absolute horrible headcase blowups.

        • Wasn’t the July 10th game when Homer suffered his injury??

        • Because if Homer throws a gem, or if he gets shelled, I don’t believe who is catching makes much of a difference, if at all. The difference behind the plate is neglible at best.

          The difference on offense is huge, though. Pena as a hitter isn’t even on the same continent as Mesoraco.

  4. Any reason to believe–from the Cardinals game maybe?–that Nelson really struggles against LH batters? That would explain playing Peña over Mesoraco, putting Bruce at cleanup, and playing both Santiago and Schu. Just a thought.

    I really hope Bruce has returned from his summer vacation. I wasn’t so worried about his offense in NY–it was his defense that concerned me.

  5. I would have bet money we would see Pena at 1B and Mes catching tonight with Begron at 2B. There’s obviously information we don’t have, but I wonder if Price is trying to do too much. Take your best hitters and find a way to put them in the lineup. The end. When you’re scuffling for offense you don’t sit your (second?) best hitter.

    • One thing I would say is that particularly with a catcher, it is hard to know just how banged up the guy could be; and, Price isn’t going to advertise to the world if it is a situation of sitting one day to save missing several down the line.

    • Ha! I really almost agree. I’d just like to see if he actually has some real pop in his bat. Could be trade fodder at worst.

    • I think Headley would have been a really disappointing addition that would preclude a better move by subtracting some chips from our farm system. I would have rather seen an Uggla signing, but I’m fine seeing neither. Now, if Walt does nothing in the next week then yes, I would rather have added Headley over standing pat. But I have a feeling there’s something bigger coming.

      • Yanks gave up a minor league free agent signing from this winter and the 15th ranked prospect who is a reliever. We could not find this in our system which is way better than the Yanks? Headley always has hit well in GABP and plays great defense and cost NY 2.8 million, thats all. Compare this to the price for Zobrist, who is a similar player.

        • The pessimism coming out of RLN is close to unprecedented. Walt has 9 more days to make a move and one of his top trading targets has said they won’t decide whether to move until 48 hours before the deadline. Can we all seriously just take a deep breath? Come August 1st if we haven’t made a move I will be right there with you in screaming about how ineffective this FO is but there is a lot of storyline left to play out.

        • Headley would have been a nice addition because he would have cost very little on our end, and could potentially have been a big boost to the offense hitting in GABP.

    • Chase Headley has never played an inning of OF, so I don’t know where that’s coming from. That leaves 3B. Could slide Frazier over to 1B until Votto comes back, then what do we do with Headley in September? Headley was traded for peanuts because that’s how he’s hit the past two years, and been injury-prone. The last thing the Reds need now is to take on another injury case.

        • Yeah, I did that search too fast and was only looking at 2014. If he hasn’t played there since 2009 I don’t know how much help he would be there. The Reds don’t need a terrible outfielder.

      • Headley was traded for peanuts because that’s what an impending free agent who hasn’t hit well this season is worth on the trade market. That doesn’t mean he would be terrible for us. On the contrary, he would be the perfect guy to get when is trade value is at its lowest.

  6. Interesting thing. What if Bailey of 2013 is the change from the norm, not Bailey of 2014?

    Bailey’s career numbers: 4.25 ERA, 95 ERA+, 3.99 FIP, 1.320 WHIP, 9.0 H/9, 1.0 HR/9, 2.9 BB/9, 7.5 K/9, 2.58 K/BB

    Bailey 2013 numbers: 3.49 ERA, 110 ERA+, 3.31 FIP, 1.124 WHIP, 7.8 H/9, 0.9 HR/9, 2.3 BB/9, 8.6 K/9, 3.69 K/BB

    Bailey’s 2014 numbers: 4.21 ERA, 88 ERA+, 3.92 FIP, 1.326 WHIP, 9.0 H/9, 1.0 HR/9, 2.9 BB/9, 8.0 K/0, 2.76 K/BB

    ERA, FIP, WHIP, H/9, HR/9, BB/9, and K/BB are all REALLLY close to his career averages this year. The other stats I listed are closer to his career averages than his 2013 season. So… what if this *IS* Homer Bailey and he’s not having a bad year, but just a career average year and this is what we have to look forward to for the next 5 years?

    • Way to bum me out. In my mind, a perfect scenario is that Bailey has a lights out rest of 2014 and we are able to trade him in the offseason. That opens the payroll for a $150+ million extension for Cueto. Then you spend the next year figuring out Latos vs Leake.

    • This a great comparison. If he can be traded to an American League team with a more spacious park in left and right field he might shave .5 off ERA by reducing the HRs he gives up to .75 HR/9. Great time to give Homer B. a chance in the American League for a certified LF but that type of trade would take place at the winter meetings. I do agree that what we see is what we have. This “IS” Homer.
      Boy am I glad you put didn’t W/L record in the mix.

    • Not sure what opened the gate on your Homer Hatred tonight. I’m not going to argue with you about it because nothing I say will change your mind. I’m just going to say how I look at his career arc. Other people can decide for themselves which is the most reasonable view.

      Homer Bailey isn’t anything like the pitcher he was 2007-2009. So including those numbers in trying to make sense of what to expect from him is pointless.

      Starting in 2010, using the big-picture numbers that best reflect how he pitched (at least these are the ones I look at in evaluating pitchers) xFIP and SIERA, his numbers finally fell below 4.00. They were in the 3.75-3.90 range in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

      2013 was clearly his best year to date. His xFIP (3.34) and SIERA (3.32) were career lows, by a good margin. The “looking under the hood” numbers back that up. Bailey’s strikeout percentage, line drive rate, ground ball rate, swinging strike rate and fastball velocity all moved strongly in the right direction.

      2014 has not been as good from an ERA standpoint and also a few of the “under the hood” numbers. His walk rate has slid up a bit and strikeout rate has fallen a little. They are more in line with 2010-2012 than 2013. But other “under the hood” numbers like his ground ball rate, swinging strikes and fastball velocity have stayed strong and even continued to improve in a few cases. He clearly got off to a bad start this season, likely related to his spring training groin injury. Since the first month, his numbers have been pretty similar to 2013. His xFIP is 3.54 and SIERA is 3.61.

      So his 2014 is somewhere between his 2013 season and his 2010-2012 years.

      That could mean 2013 was a peak (age 27) and he’ll begin a gradual decline that a lot of pitchers do, or it might mean he could use that last 2.5 months to bring 2014 more in line with 2013. Jury is still out.

      I think this is a more reasonable way to look at his pitching than the way you do, believing him to be an “inconsistent head case” (and showing your true colors when it comes to him).

        • I think it’s reference to Bailey not getting strike 3 call vs Braun, and then delivering the next pitch into the RF stands.

  7. I def. have a problem with Price benching Bruce yesterday just because he was cold for a few games in NY… he has been known to heat up without a need for a day off.. he could have launched an early home run yesterday and it would have changed the entire dynamic of the game… now he is benching Mes because of an 0-11? Sure Pena is a great guy and all, but maybe Mes should be the one taking grounders at 1B instead of Bruce.. isn’t that the kind of thing the manager can suggest to a player?

  8. Take it or leave it…
    On the pregame radio, Price just said Peña is catching Bailey because Price is focused on pitching for this game and feels Peña catching Bailey is their strongest battery and gives them their best shot for at least a quality start (none since the break) and hopefully even better. Price said a secondary consideration is Meso’s recent struggles at the plate.

  9. Billy’s OBP is gonna take a huge dive if he keeps swinging at everything as I have been seeing lately… yesterday the guy just walked the pitcher and Billy swung at two balls out of the strike zone without taking a pitch.

      • yesterday? no, after they walked Latos he was thrown two low pitches and he swung at both… he grounded out to 2B on a ball low…

        just now he swung at a ball out of zone to strike out. What are you talking about?

        • when just now? Which AB are we talking about? Just now he struck out on a ball… not saying he should have taken the first two pitches, but he swung at a ball low… that is how they pitched him yesterday as well, he was swinging at low pitches below his knee.

  10. I have to laugh it looks like Jerry Narron is running this team, he is always on camera and sems involved in everything going on.

  11. Listening to Chris Welch justify why Pena should be starting instead of Mes really reminds you who’s paying the broadcasters’ paychecks.

    • Yeah, the “You don’t have that big of a drop off.” bit… just an 87 OPS+ vs 159 OPS+. No biggie. Just a bigger different than Todd Frazier vs Zack Cozart.

  12. Call doesn’t go the way he wants it, next pitch is deposited in the stands. Oh hello again Homer Bailey.

  13. Good thing Pena was catching today; Mesoraco surely would have had Homer throw four meatballs instead of two.

    Whew. Brian Price MOTY!

    • Let’s not fully blame Price. The players get paid big money to play better than this. They can play better than this and that is the frustrating part for the fans. It helps to vent by making snide comments we don’t 100% believe. Keeps us sane.

  14. Bruce picking up where me left off. Announcers talking up the rookie pitcher. It’s the offense that’s stinks not the pitching of the rookie!!!!

    • Just a little early for the gallows humor, but considering the circumstance I guess it is better than the Walt bashing, that will come later.

  15. Do you think Chad Fairchild behind the plate has anything to do with Mes sitting tonight?

  16. It’s taken a week and we’ve gone from optimism of the high point in the season, 1.5 games out and being a buyer (if we didn’t have Jock-less at GM) in the market to being on the verge of being a seller in 4th. Back to small market team on the outside looking in. Well, another ten years and we can compete again with the big boys. Reds fan forever (unless they implement the DH in the NL and then I’m out) but it’s a tough team to follow, not the Cubs, but still tough. At least the Cubs fans know they can get drunk like Harry and everything is alright.

    • That comment about dh just blows my mind. You would stop watching baseball if the NL got the DH? So you’re telling me that watching pitchers flail around with a bat in their hands is the thing about baseball that you can’t live without? Don’t tell me it’s the strategy. There’s nothing strategic about a pitcher batting. If there’s a runner on and less than two outs, he’s gonna be bunting. Everybody knows it. The double switch is not some brilliant tactical manoeuvre either. I just honestly don’t understand how people can say “oh I love baseball, but if the NL adopts the DH then I’ll never watch again.”

  17. That was the Reds first earned run since the All Star break that didn’t come from a solo homer.

  18. Watching Ludwick is painful; marginal power, average, on base ability at best. His bat speed is gone. Oy.

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