The Reds (19-27) are 1-9 in their last 10 games, which by any account is not very good, but they are also 1-1 in their last 2 games, which is the definition of average. Therefore, by the powers invested in me by the laws of small sample sizes, I declare this Reds team average. Isn’t that a weight off your back? (Note: when you lose nine straight games, logic ceases to apply to optimism.)

This weekend, the NL East leading Nationals (28-19) come to town for a three game set. The Nationals currently lead the National League in runs scored (219) and are third in baseball in the same category behind the Blue Jays and the Yankees. The Nats are third in the NL in OPS (.743) and second in home runs (54), just one spot above our Reds who have 53 dingers. Most of the Nationals dynamic offense has been supplied by their young sparkplug Bryce Harper, who is hitting .331/.470/.745 with18 homers and 43 RBIs.

As for pitching, the staff as a whole is good but not outstanding by Major League standards, yet is anchored by Cy Young frontrunner Max Scherzer and a solid number two in Jordan Zimmerman. Not to mention flamethrower Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez who finished third in 2012 Cy Young voting. Luckily, the Reds miss both Scherzer and Zimmerman, instead catching Strasburg, Gonzalez, and Tanner Roark.

STARTING PITCHERS

PITCHER ERA FIP HR/9 BB% K%
Stephen Strasburg 6.50 3.64 1.02 6.1% 21.2%
Anthony DeSclafani 3.46 3.97 0.69 10.5% 18.3%

After a horrid 3.0 inning, six-run outing against the Giants, DeSclafani bounced back his last time out to throw 7.0 strong innings of one-run ball. That the Reds still dropped the game to the Indians is a bit out of his control. On the bad news side, DeSclafani has pitched far better away from Great American Ballpark, posting a 2.25 road ERA in 32.0 innings compared to his 5.40 home ERA in 20.0 innings.

For the Nationals, Stephen Strasburg looks to rebound after a tough start against the Phillies in which he only lasted 3.2 innings. Strasburg has had a tough go of it this season, lasting less than 4 innings three times in just nine starts and going 6 or more innings just twice. An interesting article critiquing Strasburg’s “makeup” and if the young pitcher receives too much undue criticism was published at the Washington Post a couple days ago.

In six years in the majors, it’s clear he’s not a person who is — by temperament or ability to change his disposition — ideally suited to being a pro baseball player.

STARTING LINEUPS
Zack Cozart leads off for the Reds as Brandon Phillips is out of the lineup again with turf toe. Given the Reds propensity to play with a short bench, we may see a lot of Skip Schumaker and Kris Negron before any decision is made on Phillips’ toe.

1. Zack Cozart (R) SS
2. Joey Votto (L) 1B
3. Todd Frazier (R) 3B
4. Jay Bruce (L) RF
5. Brayan Pena (S) C
6. Marlon Byrd (R) LF
7. Skip Schumaker (L) 2B
8. Anthony DeSclafani (R) P
9. Billy Hamilton (S) CF
WESLEY

Even though Bryce Harper has done most of the heavy lifting, the Nationals aren’t completely punchless in the rest of the lineup. Denard Span and Yunel Escobar are both hitting over .300, and Danny Espinosa’s solid bat and good glove tie him with Span for second highest WAR behind Harper.

1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Ian Desmond (R) SS
3. Yunel Escobar (R) 3B
4. Bryce Harper (L) RF
5. Ryan Zimmerman (R) 1B
6. Wilson Ramos (R) C
7. Danny Espinosa (S) 2B
8. Michael Taylor (R) LF
9. Stephen Strasburg (R) P
WESLEY

WHERE’S PHARRELL?

When I first came up, the bullpen was pretty much where they put the guys that couldn’t start — Dennis Eckersley

You know, my birthday isn’t until tomorrow, but if this is the kind of present I get the day before, then I know it’ll be a good year indeed. There’s really not much more to be said about this move, its necessity having been parsed out a few times already. Hopefully, Johnny isn’t out much longer and can actually return for the Philadelphia series.

A LESSON IN LINEUP CONSTRUCTION
Dave Fleming wrote a strong article a few days ago detailing the limitations of Billy Hamilton as a ballplayer and Joey Votto’s exceptionalism as one. It’s worth a read not in the least because it calls out management for its “shuffling the batting order like deck chairs on the Titanic.” Consistency is key for these Reds; well, maybe not these Reds, but for the organization moving forward. It’s about acknowledging the limitations of your players and working with that, not always trying to finagle a way around them.

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS
Jason Marquis is in the bullpen, so no matter the outcome of the game, the Reds took home a win on May 29, 2015. Now, we just need one that shows up in the standings.

Go REDS

157 Responses

  1. jdx19

    Marquis to the ‘pen! Miracles do happen!

    • jdx19

      Just read the Fleming article, too. Fantastic stuff. I recommend everyone read it that hasn’t. I’ve been a big proponent of Billy ditching being a switch hitter for awhile.

    • ohiojimw

      Events are forcing the Reds into the future with their pitching. Too bad that can’t happen with the offense.

      Fay tweeted this afternoon that in the minor leagues, the Reds have only 9 guys hitting better than .250 among hitters qualifying (enough PAs) for batting title races. That’s all classes, 9 total hitters better than .250. There are going to have to be trades or FA signings to fix what ails the Reds offensively.

      • BigRedMike

        Reds need to trade Chapman as soon as they can. This team does not need a high priced 2 innings/week pitcher. Plenty of options to “close” for a bad team like the Reds

  2. wildwestlv

    I think, regardless of the outcome of tonight’s game, or even this series, Marquis, finally, to the bullpen, is a celebration for any Reds fan. That is, until Bryan Price, inevitably, uses him in a high leverage situation.

    • Pooter

      I would not be surprised if Marquis pitches more bullpen innings than Chapman does. That is the epitome of frustration.

  3. ohiojimw

    The down side of today’s pitching news is that JC isn’t any closer functionally to being ready to pitch yet. He is still looking to feel like throwing a bullpen session. Recall that for several weeks Meso was going to do his bullpen session “any day”. Then when “any day” arrived, it turned out he still was not ready; and finally off to the DL he went.

    The Reds and JC both need JC healthy and pitching to enhance his value now for the team and in free agent season for the player.

  4. Eric the Red

    The thing with BPs turf toe epitomizes everything that is wrong with this organization’s approach to injuries. Every time an athlete suffers from turf toe you read that rest is absolutely required for recovery. The Reds will have had 4 off days in the period between when BP got hurt and the middle of next week, so a DL stint would have been less detrimental than normal. Yet he continues to limp along (pun intended).

    It’s admirable that BP wants to play. But the team should say no. He’s either delaying the inevitable and hurting the team in the meantime, or the injury will linger and hurt the team that way. Either that, or the Reds are the only medical/training staff to have discovered a way to heal turf toe by playing through it.

    • jdx19

      The best teams play .600 ball and the worst teams play .400 ball, so yes, they have a good chance to win any of these games. That’s why I like baseball more than the NFL!

  5. RedAlert

    Cozart still leading off – talk about Price being a slow learner – geeze

    • RedAlert

      I realize options are limited – but for gosh sake put somebody else up there besides a popup machine

      • jdx19

        Yeah, it’s tough at the moment, I think. Since Billy is at the bottom for this particular experiment, he’s out. Price would never bat Votto or Frazier first, I think. So, that leave’s Cozart, Bruce, Pena, or Schumaker. Of t hose 4 guys, I prefer Cozart… I think. Hah!

  6. Eric the Red

    Harper has a lot of nerve complaining when the 3rd pitch was clearly strike 3. He got a few extra pitches.

    • jdx19

      Clearly? The ball was on the extreme corner. That is probably called a ball 65% of the time, I’d guess.

    • jdx19

      Also, he didn’t “complain.” He stood there for 3 seconds.

      This is not directed at you, per se, Eric, but I hope this weekend series doesn’t turn into people complaining about some false perception of Harper being some sort of bad guy.

  7. jdx19

    Disco didn’t give in to Harper or ZImmerman. Good work to get out of the inning, young man!

  8. Eric the Red

    A tight strike zone doesn’t bode well for Disco with these hitters. Since we don’t take pitches it will probably have less effect on Strasburg.

    • jdx19

      102mph, 25 degrees, 393 feet. That’s a legit homer.

      • Eric the Red

        Where are you getting that data? On my iPad and on my computer, I can’t find it anywhere. Thanks in adv.

      • jdx19

        The GameDay app has a tab called “Feed.” If you go to that, most batted balls have MPH data, and the HRs have MPH, launch angle, and distance.

        I read something saying you have to have the “MLB.TV Premium” sub to get the “Feed” tab, but others on this board have confirmed that is not accurate.

        So, hopefully you have it! 🙂

      • jdx19

        I owe it to you for being snarky above. 😉 Haha!

      • jdx19

        Yep. If the Reds have any hope, it starts with JMVP!

  9. Mack Ashley Potter

    Did JV just homer? Like to get u back Joey….

    I know I’m bias, but it just seems the Reds don’t get home calls like every other MLB team. Disco had Harper struck out way before he actually struck him out. And he also had Zimmerman struck out. Yet both called balls.

  10. Mack Ashley Potter

    I’m to the point where I think I’d rather the Reds be the worst team in baseball for a few years and get some top picks like the Nats did. There is nothing worse than being mediocre and getting mid-level draft picks year after year. You’re just spinning wheels like that.

      • jdx19

        Guys like them come along once every 10 years (Strasburg) or once in a generation (Harper). They got pretty lucky getting them back-to-back.

        I read something this year saying there really aren’t any ‘top notch’ guys available. So everyone in the 1-20 range is very similar.

      • Jeremy Conley

        Yeah, I’m just saying that just because you pick in the middle of the first round, doesn’t mean your organization is going to tread water for a decade. I don’t think picking 20th means you’re spinning your wheels. Plenty of All-Stars are picked after the top 15.

      • CP

        True, it’s not like the NBA and the lottery picks, but I wonder how much probability of success goes way down outside the top 10.

        It definitely feels like the Reds haven’t found any gems though. They seem to get good value out of their 1st round guys, but that’s about it.

  11. jdx19

    A guy proven to be as good as Strasburg pretty much has to be hurt or have something wrong mechanically (that could lead to being hurt) for him to have such poor numbers this year relative to his past.

    Hope he’s OK. The more good young players in the MLB, the better the state of baseball in general.

  12. Eric the Red

    Listening to them talk about BPs turf toe is maddening. Seriously, can the trainers really believe 3 days off will significantly improve things? This is malpractice.

  13. jdx19

    Think about how good a ballplayer Hamilton could be if he had back all the hours wasted on making him a switch hitter…

  14. VaRedsFan

    Is this going to be a case where a no name reliever comes in and shuts the Reds down for 5+ innings?

  15. seat101

    Someone posted earlier that the Reds don’t take any pitches
    I agreed when I read that post. It seems the Reds have changed their philosophy.

  16. Mack Ashley Potter

    Today it’s Hamilton, Pena, tomorrow it’ll be Votto and Frazier, etc, etc, etc.
    Reds just can’t get that hit.

      • seat101

        Wasn’t really a joke. He said expert ease, rather than expertise. I was commenting on the fact that few people are posting and fewer people are posting often.

      • jdx19

        Ahh, gotcha! Yeah, Friday nights seem to be slower, usually. I’m generally not here on Friday evenings.

    • jdx19

      They do. But they don’t need him.

      Lucas Giolito and Trea Turner (a PTBNL from a deal last year still in SD’s system).

      • jdx19

        OHHH! Forgot about that. Hmm…

        I don’t think they’d trade Giolito or Turner, come to think of it. Desmond is a FA that is leaving at the end of the year and Turner is their SS of the future. Giolito is their best young pitcher, so they’d probably just wait for him and go with Scherzer, Zimmerman, Fister, Gonzalez, Roark. They really were 6 deep when the season started at SP.

      • jdx19

        Their SP depth is why they were World Series favorites, even though they have a very good offense.

  17. Eric the Red

    The umpire has completely taken away the low outside corner to RH batters. Not the edge, but that part of the strike zone.

  18. jdx19

    The Nat’s long-man has 1 fewer bunt hits than Billy Hamilton.

  19. BigRedMike

    Tough luck for the Reds. At least only 1 run out of all that weak hitting

  20. VaRedsFan

    swinging bunt plates the run. shame we didn’t get the out they tried to give us with the 1st bunt.

  21. jdx19

    Well, Votto’s narrowly missed 2 more homers in the last 3 games. Sigh.

  22. Eric the Red

    Hitting with RISP isn’t a thing, but I do think Frazier is pressing and it’s hurting him.

  23. jdx19

    Ball must not be carrying well? I thought Votto’s was a no-doubter and Bruce’s had a shot. Neither was really close.

  24. VaRedsFan

    Decent throw by Billy, not great, but Pena took that throw deep in the RH’d batters box, allowing the runner to avoid the tag. I thought he should have fielded in front of the box. Stupid plate blocking rules

  25. jdx19

    Skip has been swinging the bat of late. Better than not swinging the bat of late!

  26. VaRedsFan

    Thank you BP. Thought he got more of that too though

  27. jdx19

    There’s a 2-out RISP for all you folks!

  28. VaRedsFan

    Texas Leaguer!!! Way to go Billy!

  29. jdx19

    4 2/3 for 2 runs… that’s pretty good for a guy who probably wasn’t planning on pitching tonight.

  30. VaRedsFan

    Glad to see Billy go in feet 1st on the steal

  31. jdx19

    Was hoping tonight would be a breakout game for Votto. A solo HR is nice, but still looking like the slump is continuing.

    • spro

      You can’t say that after a shot to the warning track and a BS called strike 3 that last AB

      • jdx19

        I just did…

        I didn’t say he was playing poorly, just that his slump is continuing. A slump is performance-based, not effort/skill-based, so he’s 1-4 with a homer. I said that’s good, but not the breakout game I was hoping for after leading off the game with a homer.

      • jdx19

        And that pitch seemed to be right where the strike 3 on Harper was in the 1st inning. Seemed not that egregious.

    • jdx19

      For Harper, perhaps? Loogy time for Tony?

      • VaRedsFan

        Yeah…give him 1.1 innings. Glad it’s not Parra

      • VaRedsFan

        Hope this doesn’t backfire…bringing in Tony vs. Harper with a base open. Be careful.

  32. spro

    Man, late in the game, I’d either IBB Harper or send in Chapman

  33. renbutler

    That might have been unintentional, but it looked exactly like that kind of pitch that would have been intentional. I really don’t blame him for being upset.

    • renbutler

      Now the guys in the booth agree with me.

    • jdx19

      Yeah. I don’t think it was intentional but it looked exactly like one that would be. Hah! I basically retyped what you said… 😉

  34. jdx19

    Did you guys notice Harper’s foot was out of the box towards the plate? And he didn’t even attempt to get out of the way.

    That’s a weird play all around. I like that Votto got into his grill.

    • renbutler

      Looked like Votto was defusing the situation, not getting “into his grill.”

      Nice move by Votto, and I think he convinced Harper that it wasn’t intentional.

      • jdx19

        Well, that’s basically what I meant. Poor choice of words on my part.

    • VaRedsFan

      IMO, unavoidable getting hit there. I liked Votto’s reaction as well.

  35. renbutler

    I love how that ball was lost in the lights of the VOTE FRAZIER sign on the big screen…

  36. VaRedsFan

    Nats feed showed Votto coming off the field and the dugout was fired up, backing him

    • jdx19

      Good to hear. The team has to stick together during 1-10 streaks.

  37. pinson343

    No way that Cingrani intended to hit him, He was brought in for the sole purpose of getting Harper out. On the other hand, he no doubt felt that if he was going to miss with an inside fastball, he’d better miss inside. Just a case of a pitcher with shaky control pitching inside.

    • jdx19

      Yeah. I think what you said, coupled with Harper standing over the inside edge of the box to presumably reach an outside pitch, made it academic that he was going to get hit.

  38. jdx19

    Tony heard that this thread was dwindling, so he thought he’d make it interesting by walking the bases loaded.

  39. VaRedsFan

    Here we go…bases juiced. Hoover vs. Desmond

    • VaRedsFan

      Should we just concede that the leadoff hitter will get on?

  40. pinson343

    That was awful, Cingrani. And Hoover has a terrible history with the bases loaded.

  41. spro

    Unfortunately all those walks mean Harper will get another AB this game. Fortunately Frazier extended the lead to 3

    • jdx19

      Good point. Harper can theoretically only get it to within 1.

      • spro

        Fortunately, we get to see Chapman vs. Harper since the Reds didn’t score

  42. VaRedsFan

    How about a 1-2-3 from Chapman tonight. Give my heart a break.

  43. pinson343

    Hoover’s going to become the 8th inning guy.

  44. pinson343

    Hoover seems to have fixed whatever was going on with him last year.

    • jdx19

      5.21 BB/9, .154 BABIP against. I’m glad Hoover’s results have been good, but he’s getting it done with smoke and mirrors. His peripherals are bad.

      • pinson343

        Small sample size for the walks, though, with a few coming in one game.

      • jdx19

        SSS for everything. Even a full year for relievers doesn’t really tell the whole story.

      • pinson343

        To JDX19: Yes to SSS and full year for relievers but just the same – SO FAR he’s not giving up HRs at a record setting rate.

  45. pinson343

    If Chapman accidentally throws one at Harper, he’ll show a better aptitude for getting out of the way.

  46. spro

    Pitch came in at 102, left at 103 right back where it came

    • jdx19

      Love him or hate him, the dude sure is compelling television. I’ve watched almost all his ABs during his hotstreak. MLB.Tv is awesome.

  47. spro

    Another W for one of our good young rookie pitchers!

  48. jdx19

    This is first time Chappy has looked like Chappy in awhile.

    • msanmoore

      Even looked that way on Gameday.

  49. msanmoore

    Love a win … this one was especially sweet.

  50. pinson343

    Has anyone noticed how a high pct. of the hits Chapman has given up recently are on ground balls up the middle ? Seems like the only way to try to hit him, just try to poke one up the middle or the other way.

    • kmartin

      The career BABIP against Chapman is .281, this season it is .400. However, the percentage of hard hit balls against him for his career is 27.9% and for this season is 24.4%. They are not hitting the ball any harder against him, they are just falling in for hits. He has given up a number of little bloops also this year.

      Another thing I have noticed is that he does not seem to put away as many batters when he gets a two strike count on them.

      • pinson343

        This is consistent with what I’ve noticed – hitters (even very good ones) trying to take easy swings and just put the ball in play against him, especially with 2 strikes.