After yesterday’s marathon game that lasted into the wee hours of the night, the Reds (30-35) start today looking for a series win against the Tigers and their former ace Justin Verlander. In other news, I caught up with Todd Frazier* after the game last night to ask him some questions. Apparently, he has become disillusioned with the Tigers’ glorified slow-pitch softball pitching and has struck a deal where Aroldis Chapman will pitch to him whenever he bats in tonight’s game. When asked for comment, Frazier shrugged and said, “You know, I haven’t seen pitching this soft since Williamsport; I want a challenge. Yeah, I’ll probably only hit one dinger instead of two, but can you imagine how far it’s gonna go? Woo-boy.”

STARTING PITCHING
Leake’s stats are 2015 actuals, Verlander’s are 2014:

PITCHER ERA  FIP HR/9 BB% K%
Justin Verlander 4.54 3.74 0.79 7.3% 17.8%
Mike Leake 4.35 4.86 1.42 6.7% 13.9%

After starting off fairly hot in April and early May, Mike Leake has struggled this season. During a string of three starts, Leake gave up 20 earned runs in 14.0 innings with eight walks to six strikeouts. Since that stretch, Leake has made three starts spanning 19.0 innings, and he has only given up 7 earned runs. One of those starts was an 8.0 inning gem where he struck out nine and only let two cross the plate.

We asked Reds’ slugger Todd Frazier for his thoughts on his teammate, and this is what we got: “Leakey is great, man, but he hasn’t pitched that great so far. Looks like he’d be better pitching for the Tigers with the amount of baked taters he’s been serving up. Leakey’s been leaky, man.”

For the Tigers, Justin Verlander will make just his second start of 2015 after missing the beginning of the season with a triceps injury. In his return against the Indians, Verlander went 5.0 innings, giving up two earned runs on three hits including a homer. Reasonably, Verlander is three years removed from his elite status as he struggled in both 2013 and 2014, but he is still a high quality, mid-rotation guy at this point in his career. Touching 97 in his start against the Indians proves that Verlander still has the electric arm that won him a Cy Young and MVP in the same season.

Said Frazier: “I googled Verlander before the game…no wait, don’t quote it that way…um, I researched Verlander before the game, and all I saw were interviews about his girlfriend and fashion shoots, and I teared up a bit, man. He used to be such a quality baseball player. Now, he’s acting like some of those prissy basketball guys. It’s a shame, man.”

STARTING LINEUPS

The Reds’ lineup today makes me very, very sad because the Toddfather is not in it:

1. Skip Schumaker (L) LF
2. Ivan De Jesus (R) 3B
3. Joey Votto (L) 1B
4. Brandon Phillips (R) 2B
5. Chris Dominguez (R) RF
6. Eugenio Suarez (R) SS
7. Tucker Barnhart (S) C
8. Mike Leake (R) P
9. Billy Hamilton (S) CF
WESLEY

Justin Verlander will have to hit for himself and that is the most uplifting part of the Tigers’ lineup:

1. Anthony Gose (L) CF
2. Ian Kinsler (R) 2B
3. Miguel Cabrera (R) 1B
4. Yoenis Cespedes (R) LF
5. J.D. Martinez (R) RF
6. Nick Castellanos (R) 3B
7. Bryan Holaday (R) C
8. Jose Iglesias (R) SS
9. Justin Verlander (R) P
WESLEY

FLY ME TO THE MOON(SHOTS)

“I knew it was gone. I looked in the dugout while I was running and everyone was on the edge and I was like, ‘no, that’s gone, guys.'” – Todd  Frazier (the real one)

Utterly ecstatic about last night’s outcome, RN asked Todd Frazier where does he get his motivation for greatness from?

“Back when I was in Little League, traveling to all those hotels and winning in Williamsport, you know, I watched a lot of Pokemon. It was the best, we would all watch marathons of it. But every half hour, when the theme song came on, I would just hear, ‘I wanna be the very best, the best there ever was,’ and I would whisper to myself, ‘Yes, Ash Ketchum, I will be the very best.’ So that’s where I get my motivation, man” – Todd Frazier (the not quite as real one)

BRUUUUUCEEEEEEE
Jay Bruce quietly had himself a five hit night last night; a first for the Reds since Willy Taveras did it back in 2009. Since his terrible cold streak at the beginning of the year, Bruce has bounced back once again to be a productive player for the Reds. Brayan Pena also added four hits and an RBI of his own.

Said Frazier: “Back in May, I found out Jay had never seen Finding Nemo, so I made him watch it. And he was slumping real hard back then, so I thought, you know maybe it would cheer him up. But it was the weirdest thing: when Bruce the shark showed up, Jay was just mesmerized. He just kept repeating, ‘Fish are friends, not food. Hits are friends, not food.’ Freaked me out, not gonna lie; I had no idea what was going on. But, hey man, it worked.”

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

Why would you ever sit a guy who has hit four homers in the past two games? That’s like betting on American Pharaoh to win the Derby and Preakness, but then saying, “No, I don’t think he’s got it in him,” before the Belmont and picking a 50-1 longshot instead. I just don’t understand.

Go REDS

*All Todd Frazier quotes are fictionalized….probably

80 Responses

  1. Kurt Frost

    4:55 please!!! I like to ponder the lineup on my drive home.

  2. msanmoore

    I saw the lineup posted and thought, “Well then. I guess a home and home split was the goal all along.”

    Kind of looks more like a Reds Futures line-up for the most part. Except Grit … he’s better not be here in the future.

    Let’s go Redlegs! Show Verlander he’s still in the dumper!

  3. vared

    Unless there are things not known to the public that line-up is malpractice.

    • jdx19

      Agreed. Sitting 2 of your best 3 hitters in the same game is ridiculous. Sit 1 today and 1 tomorrow. No one is going to die from playing a 4 extra innings the night before.

      Unbelievable, really.

      Verlander against mostly minor leaguers is a recipe for tons of articles tomorrow about how Verland is BACK after his 8 inning, 2 hit, 18K game.

      • pinson343

        Unless both one of them are hurting, it shows that something (who knows what) has a higher priority in his mind than winning games. I’ve noticed that recently I get nervous when I’m about to look at the Reds lineup before a game, shows that I’ve lost all confidence in Price.

    • lwblogger2

      Totally agreed! Frazier out after his huge day. Bruce out and an inferior defensive and RH hitting RF in for him. Pena being out could be justified in that he might need a day after catching 13 w/ a rain delay thrown in to boot. This lineup is garbage though. Unless someone is hurt or sick, I’d wonder if Price was trying to throw this one. Maybe a couple scheduled off days with no scheduled off days all of June until the 22nd but wouldn’t you scatter those?

      • pinson343

        At least scatter them across 2 games.

      • FLA Red

        Why sit Frazier during his hot streak? 4 HRs in 2 games. I don’t understand.

  4. Vanessa Galagnara

    Nicks twitter comment is definitely an interesting one. I think the Bruce and Phillips thing comes down to expectations. Everyone had written Phillips off as over the hill. Those same folks saying that about Phillips were also projecting Bruce to have a monster bounceback season. Another perception right or wrong is that walking to first is more of an attribute of the pitcher poorly performing ang getting a hit is an attribute of the hitter successfully performing.

    • lwblogger2

      To the common fan, that’s exactly correct. A walk is the pitcher’s fault and a hit is the batter doing what he’s supposed to do. That’s not how it necessarily works but that is the perception among many general baseball fans.

      • Vanessa Galagnara

        I see it as mixed myself. A pitcher who cant find the strike zone you can send mario mendoza up there and he will get on base. Now go face tom glavine and get a walk. I do not think they will be able to successfully balance the two. stats do not paint the entire story but i think they do give a very good comparison of player versus player.

  5. pinson343

    No Frazier and no Bruce in the lineup ? I can understand resting one of them, but both in the same game ? And after the way they hit last night ? Unless one of them is hurt, maybe Price has a bet in against the Reds.

    (Also no Pena, who had 4 hits last night.)

    • lwblogger2

      Oh Pinson! You went there!! Whew! Gutsy!

      • pinson343

        Thanks, LWBlogger, but maybe a little too gutsy. Actually I should have said: “Unless both of them are hurt …” Because if only one of them is hurt, the other should be playing.

  6. Art Wayne Austin

    Nick, where have you been this season. Jay is a great guy in the middle of hitting a lot of air out of the ball-park. Glad to see him doing his part lately. Brandon, is having an outstanding year. Here’s to both of them.

    • lwblogger2

      Really, BP isn’t tearing it up but that OPS and a wRC+ over 90 while playing above average defense and not at 100% health is nothing to sneeze at. He also is a joy to watch play.

      • lwblogger2

        Above average defense at 2B specifically. I left that out by mistake.

  7. pinson343

    I made a comparison last night between Bruce’s 2014 vs. 2015 vs. career numbers. Suffice to say that his 2015 numbers have moved well above his 2014 numbers and are getting close to his career numbers. His OBP is better than his career number, his slugging pct. still needs to climb some. One HR spree would do it.

    • lwblogger2

      For the most part, aside from April, I’ve been pretty happy with Bruce. But hey, he’s my favorite player. Honestly, there aren’t any Reds players that I don’t like. There are a few I question about why they’re on the roster but I still like them.

  8. Vanessa Galagnara

    Does anyone think that Iglesias may not actually be hurt but was DLed to limit the amount of pitching he does? I am wondering if he will be the one to take Moscots slot, which was actually his to begin with. Wasnt his injury an oblique muscle?

    • lwblogger2

      Yes it was an oblique muscle. It’s odd because it’s on the opposite side that a RH pitcher would normally have that injury. I don’t think they DLed him to limit his innings. I would think they would have put him in the bullpen to limit his innings. Of course, who knows what the Reds organization is thinking or doing?

  9. Shchi Cossack

    Phillips moved to the leadoff position and experienced a resurgence as an aggressive, singles hitter, to the tune of an about league average OBP of 0.333. So of course, let’s move Phillips back to the cleanup position where he has already proven that he has no power left in his bat and will still try to muscle the ball to the wall, lowering his AVG and increasing his SO%. Every time I want ot give Price the benefit of the doubt, he pulls a stunt like this. Geesh!

    And sitting Frazier and Bruce now?! Double Geesh!

    • jdx19

      Easily the worst major league lineup I’ve seen in awhile.

      Well, I guess that’s not true. Houston had some pretty gnarly lineups a few years ago.

    • Vanessa Galagnara

      yeah, sometimes his moves makes you wonder who is writing the checks. Today makes zero sense.

    • RedAlert

      Indeed – Price is without a doubt the most clueless manager in big league baseball – he has shown this time and time again this year – it is hard to believe that Castellini has tied his baseball fortunes to this guy and Uncle Walt “Stealth” Jocketty – Jocketty has been in continuous stealth mode for a good while now -done nothing , doing nothing , and not gonna do anything – yet gets a nice paycheck – must be nice , most of us have to work hard for our keep – then we waste it following this train wreck of a team and organization

  10. Tom Reed

    Just when I envisioned a series win against Detroit, aside from Votto and Phillips, Price posts the worst lineup of the year. At this point, where the Reds are trying to get it together, Sparky would have never left Frazier and Bruce on the bench.

  11. wildwestlv

    I hope Price gave Frazier the night off so he could go cast multiple ASG ballots.

  12. Steve Mancuso

    The Bruce-Phillips difference in perception is easy to explain. People who tend to look at batting average alone think Phillips is having a great year and Bruce a bad one. If you look at overall contribution, including walks and power, Bruce has an edge. If you look at a stat that measures overall contribution to run scoring (wRC+) Phillips is 92 and Bruce is 109. They were closer before last night, though.

    • Nick Carrington

      This is EXACTLY right. Not sure why people think Phillips is having such a better year than Bruce when Bruce leads Phillips in almost every offensive category besides batting average. I think Phillips is hampered by an injury and that has affected him some, but he is having an okay year at the plate, not great.

      • lwblogger2

        I think some of it also has to do with their respective positions. RF is a traditional area of high offensive production whereas 2B, not so much. I think that’s factoring into some of this. I also think that there are some people who just don’t have reasonable expectations for Bruce. There were a lot of complaints even in his Silver Slugger years. Honestly, unless he puts up something like .300/30HR/100RBI, they don’t think he’s living up to expectations. Everyone is waiting for Bruce to explode and have that MVP season and he hasn’t. The fact that he’s been a very good ballplayer aside from last year is sometimes overlooked in those expectations.

      • Nick Carrington

        You are completely right. And he probably won’t have that MVP season. But he is what he is…a good baseball player. Not a great one.

  13. Steve Mancuso

    Rain delay until at least 8 p.m.

    Perfect time to cast a bunch of All-Star ballots for Super Todd Frazier!!

    • wildwestlv

      Short of hacking, do you have any strategies for one who has already exhausted all known email addresses?

      • Steve Mancuso

        Is one of them a gmail address? With a gmail address you can vote thousands of times. If you do, I can explain how.

      • Steve Mancuso

        If you own the gmail address: supertoddfrazier@gmail.com you also own every permutation of that address with “.” in it. You own s.upertoddfrazier@gmail.com and su.pertoddfrazier@gmail.com and s.u.pertoddfrazier@gmail.com etc. So you just move the period around and then add a second period etc. It’s legal. From MLB standpoint, they read each one as a separate email address and allow the max votes. But you just have to get one gmail address. Hint: If you’re going to get a gmail address, make it relatively long to give more variations.

      • Matt

        Late response here, but you aren’t limited by the number of characters in your email. In addition to the “dot” trick, can also add +anything to the end of your email, for example:

        supertoddfrazier+firsttimevoting@gmail.com
        supertoddfrazier+2@gmail.com
        supertoddfrazier+3@gmail.com

        I have started pretty much always appending a + when I give my email for something so if somewhere starts spamming me or sells my email address, I can set up a block for myemail+sitename@gmail.com

        It’s also helpful for having multiple accounts – I don’t want to comment on RLN with my normal WordPress account, so I use myemail+rln@gmail.com

      • jdx19

        Dropped another 105 votes for Todd and Joey (and non-Royals). Man, that’s tough work. Near the end I was botching the number entry!

      • mtkal

        Works for hotmail addresses as well fyi. Thanks for the heads up Steve. . . and for getting my carpal tunnel all acting up again. 😉

    • renbutler

      I know they said an update is coming at 8 p.m., but I fully expect that update to be either “no start until close to 10 p.m.,” or “no game tonight.”

      Radar is ugly. No better word than that.

      It comes down to how motivated they are not to reschedule for another day.

  14. tct

    Todd Frazier was asked to comment on the lineup tonight and he had this to say:

    “Well, ya know, we got some young, hungry guys out there, and some real grinders. I think they’ll be just fine, in fact……(LAUGHS) Naw, man, I can’t do it. This lineup is ugly. Watching it hit will be like watching Homer lasso clubhouse attendants wearing nothing but a cowboy hat and his Hello Kitty underwear; disturbing, emotionally traumatizing, and yet, strangely fascinating.”

  15. Tom Gray

    Bryan Price is a complete idiot OR maybe he is trying to get fired. No other explanations besides those two possibilities.

    • renbutler

      You really can’t think of a SINGLE other explanation?

      • renbutler

        There are several possible explanations in this thread.

      • Tom Gray

        The game was rained out.

        Instead of Spahn, Sain, and a day of rain (the Braves starting rotation in 1950’s), I guess it’s Votto, Frazier, and a line of thunderstorms for the Reds in 2015.

        It was STUPID to take Frazier and Bruce out of a lineup against JUSTIN VERLANDER.

  16. BigRedMachine

    For those wanting a fire sale (some combination of Cueto, Leake, Chapman, Bruce, Phillips, Frazier) this is what the lineup will look like until the prospecst from that sale come into their own in 1-2 years.

    • Shchi Cossack

      That is a solid observation and this lineup will combine with a young, unproven starting rotation over the next 1 or 2 years, depending on when the prospects mature and take the reins and merge with the remaining core. Those 1 or 2 years will be a struggle and possibly ugly, but it would be just 1 or 2 years before the starting pitching shakes out and matures and the prospects begin 2010 again.

      Without taking advantage of the opportunity to stock up on prospects and build depth, this is what the lineup will look like in 1-2 years with no reinforcements in the pipeline…

      • Matt WI

        Your second paragraph is the most important. I can live with crummy lineups that have a plan associated with them, but not ones that exist out of lack of foresight.

    • vegastypo

      I’d like to think we might get a few major-league ready pieces in the wheeling and dealing, not just years-away prospects. They might bolster the lineup a little bit.

    • jdx19

      It shouldn’t include Skip. Otherwise, I’m fine with that. The non-prospects that see play (DeJesus, Negron, Dominguez) should be the bench guys while the youngsters play.

  17. Steve Mancuso

    Game is rained out. Use the time to vote and vote and vote for Todd Frazier, Zack Cozart and other Reds for the ASG.

    • msanmoore

      Well Bryan Price must be a weather wizard. The crappy lineup didn’t matter and everybody gets the night off. I’ll take that and the 2 of 3 from the Tigers. I doubt the make-up game gets played.

      Night all!

      • renbutler

        Of course they will make this up. No way they just cancel it.

      • renbutler

        They could easily make it up on Aug. 17. The Reds will be back home after a western road trip, and the Tigers will be on the road traveling from Houston to Chicago. Both teams have plenty of off days in August, so there won’t be any issues with playing too many games that month.

      • msanmoore

        Not necessarily, Renbutler. If they can’t squeeze it in (easier given the close proximity of the team) and it has no bearing on either club’s season, they can cancel. It’s happened before.

      • pinson343

        The game was called before a pitch was ever thrown. A cancellation before the game is up to the Reds, but I’m not sure if that holds in this case, as it seems they tried to get the game in.

        But supposing the Reds cancelled, we finally have an explanation for Price’s lineup: he was telling them that if they don’t cancel, here’s the lineup I’m putting on the field.

        Just kidding on that, but the weather may have a factor in the lineup. If Price anticipated playing in the rain, a long rain interruption, 6 hour game, etc. then he may have decided to “wait and see” about when to put Frazier and Bruce in the lineup.

        Or not, I’m just trying to come up with a plausible explanation here.

      • msanmoore

        I’d buy that as “plausible” Pinson … 🙂

  18. mtkal

    Obviously God looked at the lineup that Price put up tonight and said: “Oh My Me! There is no way on my earth I’m letting that lineup take the field and play a baseball game. Let there be lots of rain in Cinci tonight!”

  19. hof13

    This is probably posted somewhere but I didn’t see it. Moscot needs shoulder surgery and is out for the rest of the year. (Another One Bites the Dust just popped in my head). I only get to read intermittently so sorry if this was posted somewhere before.

  20. ohiojimw

    Tonight could just be the start of weather problems this weekend for th Reds. The center of the remnants of tropical storm Bill is projected to move across the area between Cincy and Dayton on Saturday. We are projected to get around 4″ or rain here in Dayton with maybe a little less for Cincy based on the map I saw.

    • renbutler

      Here’s a good link that illustrates it. The heaviest of the rain is being pushed south. A couple days ago the heavy stuff went right across us in Indy. But now it’s down in KY.

  21. renbutler

    @msanmoore, I understand that some games have just been flat-out canceled before. But that’s typically late in the season, if there are no common days off that don’t cause major travel disruptions or violations of the CBA, and as you pointed out if the result is meaningless.

    However, if Aug. 17 works for both teams (and it does, at least on the surface), I guarantee that they will make it up, with a couple other possible dates as backups.

    • ohiojimw

      Agree, the Tigers are not out of their divisional race and in the middle of the AL WC race. Unless that changes pretty quickly, they’ll schedule tonight’s game lest games might pile up late and need to be played to settle a race.

      • Vicferrari

        Wouldn’t it be something if the Reds have to face Cueto or even more ironic Leake?

  22. Jason Lawrence

    Someone might have mentioned it already, but yesterday Terry Francona brought in Cody Allen (his closer) in the 5th inning of a tie game to get the 3rd out with the bases loaded. It was after a rain delay, so his starter was burned. The Indians won the game 4-3.

    • Tom Gray

      Terry Francona is an experienced MLB manager with WS title to his credit.

      The Reds don’t have anyone comparable as manager.