I generally like Jim Kelch and Chris Welsh in the TV booth. But during the first game tonight, there was a five-minute stretch of the broadcast with a real Alice in Wonderland quality. Kelch felt the need to clarify the Reds hadn’t yet been eliminated from the postseason, despite the team being 20.5 games out of the second wild card spot with 30 games to go and having an entire starting rotation comprised of rookies. Minutes later, Chris Welsh defended Bryan Price starting the likes of Skip Schumaker because the fans don’t want to see a bunch of rookies. It brought to mind Lewis Carroll’s words “If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense.”

Somehow, the earth didn’t stop rotating on its axis and the fans didn’t demand their money back because Bryan Price started Adam Duvall and Ryan LaMarre in the nightcap. Each outfielder made a nice play in the outfield, which distinguished them from the Reds LF in Game 1. Don’t get me started on that subject.

Reds 3 Brewers 7  |  FanGraphs  | Message to Jeff Brantley

Sampson’s Start Keyvius Sampson pitched three innings before the rains came. He gave up five hits, three walks and struck out three. The Brewers scored three runs against Sampson.

Bullpen Positives After the rains stopped, Carlos Contreras and Pedro Villarreal combined for five innings giving up only one run.

Bullpen Negatives Jumbo Diaz gave up three runs in his one inning, effectively putting the game out of reach.

Offense Positives Brayan Peña had two hits. Adam Duvall hit his second home run for the Reds in like five at bats. That gives him exactly two more home runs than Skip Schumaker has this year. So clearly, don’t give Duvall another at bat for the rest of the home stand.

Offense Negatives The Reds had six hits and drew no unintentional walks. They were not facing Clayton Kershaw.

Lightning Strike You may have heard that lightning struck Great American Ball Park. But you’d be wrong to think it looked like this:

COLippBVAAABvaZ

Instead, it was when Pedro Villarreal doubled into left-centerfield to knock in two runs in the fourth inning. They were the first two RBI of Villarreal’s career.

Villarreal

Cowboy Blues Today is Jeff Brantley’s birthday. It probably didn’t go as he hoped. Not only was the extra game added tonight, but the 1 hour, 33 minute rain delay pushed the game’s conclusion right up to 11 p.m.

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 41 Comments

  1. Does the thinking about Skip go all the way up? I mean, Walt could tell Price not to play him.

    Puzzling that two supposedly intelligent baseball men could be so dead wrong about who to play in LF.

    • They are baseball men. I’m not sure they’ve ever been accused of being ‘intelligent baseball men.’

  2. Skip playing seemingly every day just continues the trend of this organization to waste these September at-bats. When the Reds had the chance to look ahead and see what a young bat might do with regular at-bats, they’ve instead chosen to sprinkle at-bats around to multiple players, often veterans, and water down the opportunity for a young player to receive a steady diet of play and perhaps prove (or disprove) his ability to perform against MLB talent.

    • According to Cot’s, Duvall was put on the Giants 40 man roster between the 2013 and 2014 seasons which would project him as having an option still available next spring. And the Reds are certainly acting like somebody has already decided he will spend next year in AAA, hopefully learning LF. However I’m not sure they had gotten around to actually using him that much in LF in the month or so he was at Louisville before he was brought up to the Reds.

      • To take this a step further, YRod is out of options and Juan Duran has one left, just like Duvall. Neither has really done much to show they are ready to be MLB players.

        The late Doc Rodgers used to talk quite a bit about how things work inside an org. If he had it right and the folks who signed and have developed YRod and Duran are still making the personnel calls, “their guys” will get the nod over a newbie like Duvall.

      • Winker should be playing LF for L-Ville to start the year. Not sure how many chances Duvall will get in AAA. The Reds may be better served to use Duvall as the LH PH w/ some pop. Or have him platoon with YRod in LF until Winker is ready to take over full-time.

        • I like this idea. Have a bench of DeJesus, YRod/Duvall, and Barnhart initially, then possibly Suarez as a super sub depending on the situation with Cozart

    • Skip is a veteran and high character clubhouse guy. The TV broadcast focused on him organizing a charity fantasy football league with fellow players Pena and Cozart and Frazier showing players mingling with fans. I think this is another example of the marketing PR machine being carried over to baseball operations. Skip is helping the Reds off the field and they will help him on the field. It also gives Price a veteran in his corner- he desperately needs that. Didn’t Byrd refuse to pinch hit?
      Also, it may be the Reds way of giving him a chance to get some regular at bats and playing time in so he can land a job next year somewhere else when they don’t pick up his option. That might not be working so well, but Skip will appreciate the opportunity from the Reds. Don’t agree with doing any of that, but people searching for explanations.

  3. I heard and read about Mr Castellini’s quote that Price will finish out the year; but I really wonder if Mr. C is going to put up with 4 more weeks of what we saw today before he loses his cool over the situation.

    Players will say and maybe even believe they are giving their all; but in a situation like the Reds are in, it is hard to imagine that most of the them (especially the younger guys) are going to be truly prepared every day and producing to the max for a guy who is a dead man walking. Better to go on and make the change now than let four more weeks of rot occur.

    • The younger guys are the only ones who you can be sure are trying their hardest, Jim. Some of them are just AAA players, others like Suarez and DeJesus are playing for 2016 jobs (Suarez in the starting lineup, DeJesus on the bench).

      • True. I was thinking of the preparation part mainly for the young guys. How (and what) can a guy learn about being prepared every day in such a situation. He can probably see lots of things he never wants to become; but, where is is going to learn the correct way to prepare to be sure he doesn’t become that someday.

        But a guy like Bourgeois “should” be playing hard just to keep his career going even if it is just just for a solid AAA job to provide organizational depth as the first OF up in case of injury.

        • I wrote up my “preparation” reply before even seeing your statement. So, yes.

          I think of Bourgeois as in the group of “younger” guys who are trying hard but are just AAA players.

          • Understand how you think of him; but, Bourgeois is in his age 33 season.
            He’s playing just to stay in the business another year, one would think. I believe the split contract minor league minimum money for a 40 man guy is around 80K. A guy who plays good defense and can play all 3 OF spots capably probably can rate that much or more even on a straight minor league deal if he shows much offense at all.

    • When you mention the younger players not being prepared, that’s possible. That involves coaching.

  4. In case you didn’t see it, the offense was worse than the 3 runs scored indicates. After the Reds had the good break of the electrical storm delay driving Perralta out of the game after 2 innings, they had 4 2/3 rd innings of opportunities against two weak pitchers.

    A. Pena, pitching his major league debut, had a straight fastball and not much else. He challenged Villeareal with that fastball, which he lined for a 2 run double that hopped off the OF wall. In 3 innings against him, that was all the scoring the Reds could muster.

    Next they had 1 2/3rd innings against Kyle Lohse, who hadn’t pitched for a while because he can’t pitch any more. No runs.

    They did hit a couple of wasted doubles and some drives that Schafer ran down, that was about it.

  5. I never imagined I’d see this much of Skip Schumaker, this late in his career. I’m sick of Skip Schumaker. It’s like I’m stuck on a plane where a crate full of Skip Schumakers has been opened and they’re everywhere. I’m tired of all these…Skip Schumakers…on this…plane!

  6. I am admittedly grasping at straws as to why the Reds would play Schumacher over anyone at this point in the season. Is it to tie a nice little bow on his career? That’s the best I can come up with. For that, I guess the Reds are to be commended for their kindness. Or something.

    As a fan, I don’t want to ever see Schumacher play the field again. I’d rather see Duvall, Lemarre (eh), Dejesus, or whomever in left. Give someone with a future with the Reds a chance.

    • Duvall and DeJesus, yes. LeMarre doesn’t have a future with the Reds, he is dominated by borderline major league pitchers.

      DeJesus was the only one really teeing off on the weak Brewer middle inning pitchers. He lined a double and also nearly left the park on a drive that Schaefer ran down.

    • Playing Schumacher a lot before the end of August made a certain amount of sense at one level because if he got on a run, a contender might have taken him off of the Reds hands if they had a sudden injury need or just wanted to bolster their bench. I agree that playing him now is just wasted ABs

  7. After Villereal drilled the double off Pena, LaMarre was up next. He struck out on 3 pitches. Strike 2 was a slider that he took for a strike. The next pitch was a slider that was headed for the dirt and way outside as soon as it left Pena’s hand. Strike 3 on quite a swing. Pena doesn’t have a very good slider, LaMarre just looked like he’d never seen one before.

    Between Bourgeois’ defense and LaMarre’s hitting, I miss Billy Hamilton a great deal. Yes I know what his numbers are. And then there’s the gritty veteran LFer, who should be a coach somewhere. I’m hoping that after Boesch comes back (yes I know Boesch’s numbers too), that guy doesn’t get any more starts. Actually, he shouldn’t get any more starts in any case, as has been pointed out by many today.

    • At least Boesch almost certainly catches the Rogers fly ball from game one today and most likely gets the later one that fell in along the line too. If he was in CF, I am not too sure he would have gotten the ball Bourgeois bungled though.

      Hamilton would have caught the ball Bourgeois did not; and, if he would have realized in time that Mr Grit was spinning his wheels on the Rogers fly, BH has the raw range to have come over and caught that one too. Actually I’m not too sure that Bourgeois couldn’t have caught it for that matter, He was somewhat “in the area” and may well have not been coming at full steam all the way because he (like everyone else) thought Grit had it covered.

  8. This team has 78 million committed to 8 players next year, with only Bruce and Frazier easily tradeable. With Chapman likely adding 10 million more……that means 9 guys will cost more than the entire 2011 team. Given the expected drop in attendance next year and lack of a future cable deal there is no question that payroll will be cut. This team will likely be as bad next year.

    There is no reason to burn service time for anyone of value right now. This team is at least 3 years away from being competitive and they need to retain every ounce of control for the years when it matters. If Stephenson or Winkler were to come up and were injured then time on the Reds DL counts against service time. Playing them now would be irresponsible. No upside and huge downside.

    • From what I gather, Winkler is not coming up and probably not Stephenson either. Stephenson has struggled since coming off the DL.

    • Winker does not have to go onto the 40 man this off season; so unless one projects him as the definite opening day 2016 starting LF there is no reason to bring him up.

      Stephenson does have to go onto the 40 man over the winter regardless; and, they are hoping he is in the rotation next season. That’s why they may bring him up. As Pinson has noted Stephenson has not been sharp since the “sprained wrist” incident; so, it might make sense to go on and shut him down for the year.

      However, if either player was put on the 40 man now, brought up, and then subsequently injured this year, the service time lost to DL would only be the remainder of this season because all the DL lists, including the 60 day expire at season’s end. Next spring if they were still unable to play, they would be optioned to the minors and put on the minor league DL which would not count as MLB service time.

      Even if Stephenson is brought up now and makes the rotation in the spring, it should be easy enough to manage his MLB service time to keep him at or under 1 year by the end of the 2016 season. There are always times early early on in a season when a 5th starter is not needed or is skipped over. For the total cost of a single option, they could move him up and down several times to limit his MLB service.

  9. The defense of the Reds LFer in Game 1 was mentioned. The CFer did not distinguish himself in Game 1 either, on the biggest play (or non-play) of the game.

  10. The Reds have now lost 8 of 9 to the Brewers. In two of those games they led by 4 runs. I’ve seen most of those games and as bad as the Brewers are, the Reds look totally outclassed by them.

    • The Brewers realized in a hurry (25 games) that they weren’t contending this year and made a change in manager to get in Craig Counsell, a guy to help shape and run their rebuilding on the field. Now even with all the players they have moved off of their roster, they have a legitimate shot to finish at .500 for the 137 games they will play in 2015 with Counsell as the manager.

      And they are also making a change at GM, replacing Doug Melvin who is often termed as a guy Jocketty has always had a close relationship with. Melvin apparently will move “upstairs” into some other capacity with the Brewers. The Reds fans should wish for a similar move in Cincy.

      One of the articles I came across about Melvin stepping aside stated that during his 13 year tenure as Brewers GM, of NL Central teams, only the Cardinals had won more games than the Brewers (and the difference was less than 20 games). So maybe in the last 3 or 4 years, the Brewers have had a stronger draft position than the Reds, but, not overall when a person considers the talent they have replaced their traded vets with versus the Reds replacements (for injuries as well as departures). That speaks to organizational strength versus the Reds.

  11. I’d play Duvall in LF from here on out. Really simple minded to even consider playing Skip at this point Sampson won’t be in the hunt for SP next year either. Lamb maybe but not Sampson.

    • It is easy to hate on skip, but I am not sure you understand all he does for the Reds, outside of just on the field. He is a great clubhouse guy and he knows how to win. Heck 8 skips across the field and we would win 90+ games

      • No we wouldn’t. No matter how great of a guy he is off the field and in the clubhouse, and by all accounts he is, you have to perform on the field. Organizing charity doesn’t score runs

      • He does know how to win. Be on a team with much better players so he never sees the field.

  12. A frantic Bryan Price is sitting in his office between games, pondering over the lineup card. He’s nervous wreck and begins sweating profusely as he writes both Duvall and LaMarre on the card.

    “What am I doing?” he mutters. “I can’t do this! It’s just too cavalier! We need Grit!”

    He scrambles to cross out Duvall’s name in order to replace it with Schumaker, but Riggleman, having realized what is happening, interjects.

    He grabs Price by the collar and shakes him back and forth.

    “Pull yourself together!” Riggleman screams. “Do you want to get fired!? You know what you have to do!”

  13. Your telling me Schumaker isn’t the greatest Reds player? On MLB the Show his grit rating is 100 only player to have that. The fact that his grit is so good and he is an ex Cardinal he has to be the best player. We need 9 Skips out in the field.

  14. Guys just go from the Reds to their couch…..no minors….no Japan….just cutting grass back at their house that Walt paid for. Marquis and now Skip. They can play for the Reds but literally nobody else will pay them $1 to play baseball anywhere.

  15. Fact – Reds are done this year after 162. Fact- Price stated he feels compelled to play the best line up against teams in the hunt for post season. Brew crew is out of it. Great time to see how Duvall and Lamarre would do with a couple of back to back games. Maybe even Dejesus gets more time in left. Schumaker killed us yesterday. If our left fielder catches catches the 2nd liner (which should have been caught) and boozy catches the ball that he turned the wrong way on Lamb may very well have gotten his first win. September could go along way in deciding which of the young guys can make a difference next year. The more I sit in the stands and watch this team the more I see bone head decisions being made by the manager. Fire price. Trade Bruce. Spend Bruce’s money in the bullpen. Our rotation will be at the very least slightly above average next year. With bullpen help and get back to best defense in league we could be a wild card.

  16. From April 6th to April 22nd, Votto began the season with a 15 game on-base streak, slashing .386/.493/.772 (1.265 OPS) with 9-SO & 12-BB.

    Then from April 23rd through May 19th, Votto really struggled for the only extended time, 23 games, during the 2015 season, slashing .214/.305/.286 (.591 OPS) with 24-SO & just 11-BB. This was the period when Votto simply wasn’t making good contact, or even consistent contact, at the plate. His struggles during this period were magnified by its occurrence early in the season.

    From May 20th to June 26th, Votto had a 32 game on-base streak, slashing .313/.424/.578 (1.002 OPS) with 23-SO & 24-BB, overall a reasonably pedestrian, albeit productive and good, streak by Votto standards.

    Then from June 27th through July 5th, Votto went into an 9-game, nose-down tailspin, slashing .094/.268/.094 with a .115 BAbip. For 9 games, Votto did not make particulary good contact, except for those incessant walks (8 of them in 41 PA) that produced a very modest .268 OBP while hitting only .094 with a .115 BAbip.

    From July 6th through July 31st, Votto had a 21 game on-base streak, slashing .471/.615/.786 (1.401 OPS) with 13-SO & 24-BB.

    Then from August 1st through August 10th, Votto went into an 8-game, nose-down tailspin, slashing .120/.371/.200 with a .200 BAbip. His ‘struggles’ during those 8 games were a mirror image of the Brew Crew’s 6th inning of yesterday’s 1st game when every dink hit found a hole. For 8 games, Votto continued to smack the ball but the ball always seemed to find leather, except for those incessant walks (10 of them in 35 PA) that produced a .371 OBP while hitting only .120 with a .200 BAbip.

    Shaking off his ‘doldrums’, Votto began a new 24-game on-base streak on August 11th, slashing .408/.579/.816 (1.395 OPS) with 18-SO & 31-BB through yesterday’s split-game doubleheader.

    Votto’s season has not been just a single hot streak since the all-star break as commonly described by the talking heads. Votto has been very, very good and very, very consistent since his early season swoon from mid-April to mid-May. During any other season, Votto’s performance would be MVP caliber, just like his 2010 and pre-injury 2012 seasons. The 2015 season just happens to include Bryce Harper having an other-worldly season, not seen in the NL (exclusive of the roids era) since Schmidt (1981), McCovey (1969) and Hammerin Hank’s last hoorah (1971) .

    Just sayin…

  17. Skip Schumaker’s play will add nothing positive to the team for the remainder of 2015. His defense is atrocious at every position and his offense is…well…offensive. His offense is Hamiltonesque, slashing .218/.286/.289 for the 2015 season. His lone role on the team for the remainder of the 2015 season should be as a secondary pinch hitter, like last player off the bench. If Bryan Price is unable to comprehend the lack of baseball ability that Schumaker brings to the baseball diamond, then Schumaker should be DFA’d (hopefully someone would grab him from the waiver wire) or Price should be terminated immediately and replaced with an interim manager (hey, maybe Schumaker!).

    I have no issue with playing Duvall in LF for every remaining game of the 2015 season, but two days after the Blue Wahoos are eliminated (or win) the Southern League playoffs, Jesse Winker should be in the starting lineup for the Reds in every game through the end of the 2015 season.

    The 4-year minor league career for Winker:

    2012 (ROK) => 0.943 OPS & 3rd in the Pioneer League
    2013 (A) => 0.841 OPS & 7th in the Midwest League
    2014 (A+) => 1.006 OPS & 3rd (before promotion to AA) in the California League
    2015 (AA) => 0.822 OPS & 3rd in the Southern League

    Winker would get no more than 4 weeks (and probably more like 2 weeks) of major league service time in 2015 and unless the Reds play lights out and contend in 2016, Winker does not need a promotion to the 25-man roster until after the all-star break and only then if he is destroying International League pitching. If Winker does not continue his torrid hitting through the 1st half of 2016 with the Bats, I have no problem with his next major league appearance in September 2016, two days after the Bats are eliminated (or win) the International League playoffs. The Reds’ minor league strength and competitiveness seems to have mirrored the progression of one, Jesse Winker. Hmmmmmmmmmm…

  18. Duvall has already homered twice so let him play because he may run into a few more.It can’t hurt any at all.I hate these pre conceived ideas of what a player may do even when using data to speak with.We should pretend we only have younger guys to play just like we only have young starters to pitch.Its evaluation time.

  19. The Reds r a great team. Just need to work together more. I enjoy them so much.especially Joey Votto.He makes the team exciting. Nothing negative here.The Elliott Family👍👍👎👎👎👎

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About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

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