Titanic Struggle Recap

The Cardinal way

It’s not much of a secret that Anthony DeSclafani has out-pitched Mat Latos this year – by a lot. The two pitchers were traded for each other in the offseason. In fact, only one of the two has a job.

What most observers don’t realize is that since the Reds-Royals deadline trade, John Lamb has out-pitched Johnny Cueto. Whether your favorite measure is ERA, FIP, xFIP, SIERA or K-BB%, Lamb has out-performed Cueto since the four-player deal. Get this, Cueto’s strikeout rate with KC is 16.6 percent and Lamb’s is 25.5 percent.

Reds 1  Cardinals 2  |  FanGraphs  | Latest on Billy Hamilton

John Lamb silenced the Cardinals bats through six innings tonight, giving up 5 hits and a walk, while striking out six. That follows 5 shutout innings by Lamb against the Cardinals a couple weeks ago. The Reds led 1-0 when he left the game. Lamb has pitched 43 innings for the Reds with 48 strikeouts and 14 walks. You have to think he’s a leading contender for the 2016 starting rotation.

Manny Parra came in the seventh inning with a runner on third and one out. He struck out Matt Holiday and retired Matt Carpenter to preserve the 1-0 lead.

The Cardinals scored twice in the eighth inning on a triple by Tommy Pham, a single by Jhonny Peralta and a double by Stephen Piscotty, all off J.J. Hoover. Meanwhile, Aroldis Chapman warmed up in the bullpen. He’ll be rested for tomorrow. 2-1 Cardinals. Another low-scoring win for the Birds.

Joey Votto drew walk #136 in 2015, setting the Reds all-time record. Votto had established the mark of 135 in 2013. Prior to that it was held by a guy named Joe Morgan, who walked 132 times in his MVP season of 1975, batting third.

vottowalks

Votto’s single in the first inning extended his consecutive game on-base streak to 38. His personal best is 41.

Dating back to the previous series in St. Louis, the Reds pitchers shut out the Cardinals for 29 consecutive innings at Busch Stadium.

78 thoughts on “The Cardinal way

  1. If Price really feels like he’s managing to keep his job, beating the St. Louis Cardinals would go a long way on his beleaguered record.

  2. Closer rules still apply.We lose another game in the 8th while Chapman watches from the pen.We’ll get em tomorrow.On the positive side I feel Lamb is earning a job in the rotation next year.

    • Lamb has been very good – he appears well ahead of Lorenzen at this point to secure a spot in next year’s rotation . I hope it’s under a new manager. So sick and tired of Price and his closer rules. Getting a new field general should be paramount at the end of this year.

  3. From Jim Day via Twitter, as if we didn’t already have this figured out……

    “Reds will shut down Billy Hamilton for season, he will have surgery on Friday to clean out shoulder” </i?

    • C.Trent quotes Jocketty re: Hamilton on Twitter:


      “Walt Jocketty on Hamilton: ‘there’s no structural damage, but we think this will help and be 100% and ready to go before spring training.'”

  4. We fans have to feel good about John Lamb, and the wealth of young pitching the Reds have in the pipeline. Now if the offense can be booted up especially in the outfield.

    • Right now there is a lot to like from all three guys they got for JC. They may well have to end up trading one of them and/ or somebody like Lorenzen as part of a deal to get position help however. Let’s hope they choose correctly.

  5. Would we have won had Chapman been on the hill in the 8th? Just throwin’ that out there.

    • I wasn’t watching but looking at the play by play, the lead off man tripled off Hoover; so, likely they would could still be playing tied at 1 if Chapman was ready and brought in then. If Price had led with Chapman, who can say.

    • No one knows but with Chapman pitching in the 8th, the Cardinals would have had to beat the Reds best bullpen pitcher, instead of easily beating up a pitcher who’s struggled terribly in the 2nd half – 6 blown saves now.

      • I, for one , was pleased that Price in the offseason said he would use Chapman in games for more than one inning. What happened? The continued underuse of Chapman. It’s time to trade him for a haul of an outfielder with offensive punch and bullpen and bench help.

  6. The absolutely most important number: 1, as in only 1 walk by Lamb. His command has largely been the thing stopping him from being a more heralded prospect. Tonight we saw a bit of what he can do when he isn’t struggling to throw his fantastic stuff in the zone.

  7. This is a team that has some great starting pitching and some good hitters on the way, but that is two years from now Some of those prospects will need to be sacrificed, and some of the established starters as well, for a couple of guys who will lead this team and hit consistently.

  8. If Cody Reed makes the starting rotation next year along with Lamb and Finnegan, that would be the most lopsided trade of history.

    • I hope Reed and Lamb and Finnegan all have great careers with the Reds. But if KC wins the WS, or even gets there, largely because of Cueto, it won’t be “the most lopsided trade” ever, not by a long shot.

      Cueto was struggling but seems to have figured things out. I hope he gets his WS ring this year.

      • I read where Cueto spoke with the manager and the C Perez about where Perez was setting up his glove. Apparently Cueto prefers to throw to the glove and Perez prefers to move the glove to where the ball is, or something like that. Cueto always was one that had a personal catcher in Pena, so maybe he’s a bit temperamental. Seems like the past game they got some things figured out. I’m rooting for him to carry it forward.

    • Depends on what Cueto does for the Royals in the PS and where he signs in the offseason but I already like the deal for the Reds. Reed might have the best stuff of all three pitchers we got and that’s saying something because Lamb and Finnegan have both looked pretty good.

  9. I’ve liked Lamb from the first time I saw him pitch, surprisingly polished and poised. Hard to believe the Reds got him as a throw-in.

    But I don’t understand the statement: “What most observers don’t realize is that since the Reds-Royals deadline trade, John Lamb has out-pitched Johnny Cueto.” Cueto’s extreme struggles have been getting national attention. IN KC they’re in a panic.
    Any casual follower would know that. Cueto had a stretch of 5 consecutive awful starts, ERA over 9.4 in those games.

    His last start though was pretty good. The adjustment that Ned Yost and Cueto talked about after the game was having catcher Sal Perez set a lower target. See http://www.kansascity.com/sports/mlb/kansas-city-royals/article35958822.html . Perez usually sets a high target.

    If Cueto is healthy, he’ll be fine, better than fine.

  10. From the 4th inning on, with the Reds ahead by 1-0, I had one thought that kept repeating: If the Reds don’t extend their lead, Hoover will lose it in the 8th. It was even more than that: I was picturing the classic 9 inning scoreboard, with the Cardinals scoring 2 in the bottom of the 8th and winning 2-1. Had to leave the game for a while and came back via GameDay and that scoreboard I’d pictured is of course exactly what I saw.

    This level of predictability speaks volumes, and it’s all bad (except the Lamb part).

    • Yep. About the only “regular” TV show I value ahead of the sports is Castle which premiered the new season last night. I left the game with the Reds up 1-0 and picked the game back up just as the post game was starting. Once I saw the score and how it happened, I didn’t even bother to watch the recorded part.

      Hoover may be locking down the dubious distinction of going from heir apparent to closer to nontendered over the last 2 months of the season.

    • Much the same for me. I switched to watching a recording of “The Voice” at the mid-eighth inning break when I saw Hoover warming up. Please, no more talk of him moving into the closer role after Chapman is traded.

  11. Votto’s setting the Reds franchise record for walks is a nice accomplishment. It would be more exciting to see him break his own franchise record for reaching base in a season. In 2013 he reached base (via hit, walk, or HBP) 316 times, the Reds franchise record. In 2015 so far he’s reached base 297 times. With 13 games to go, if he reaches base 20 times, he sets the record.

  12. That Jocketty guy knows a bit about trades, doesn’t he?.

    We can discuss all you want about the 8th inning. But at the end of the day, Hoover has to do a better job. They threw away the season for this kind of losses. Bullpen needs to be addressed ASAP.

    The offense, well, insert Milton’s picture here.

    BTW, hate the title.

    • They threw away the season for this kind of losses.
      ************************************************************

      Amen. incredible that even with the major injuries and reshaping the rotation, they would have been borderline WC contenders with a reliable late inning bullpen.

      And yes I think looking forward with the young starters and even for the vets, it makes a difference between being mediocre and almost historically bad. If they were blowing everything up, maybe not but is is pretty clear that is not going to happen. Maybe a an unexpected blockbuster but not a no holds barred fire sale.

  13. How can Jocketty be so good with trades and so bad with FA signings? Could it be players do not want to play for our favorite team?

    • Or possibly the scouting departmentdrives the trades and identifies trade targets and WJ drives the FA signings.

      • Free agency is not a small market clubs friend. We can ocassionally resign one of our own but htting the market for a difference maker is tough. Low level signings are very risky or they wouldn’t be low level signings. We also have had numerous injuries last 2 years and when subs are asked to play major roles they are usually exposed.

        • +1000000.

          The Reds cannot compete in the free agent market unless the TV deal is done or the albatross contracts are off the books. And still they’d have to beat the Dodgers, NY, Boston, etc. Homegrown talent and smart trades must be the Reds’ Way.

    • No my friend, players will play for your team if you go the “show me the money” route.:(

    • I think there are a couple things going on with Walt’s free agent busts. It’s not a lack of money, though. The Reds have been well over 100 million in payroll the last few years, and if they can afford the Votto, Bailey, and Phillips contracts, then they could go after free agents. They shouldn’t be going after the top tier guys, because those guys are almost always overpaid, but there are always some good bargains to be had in the mid and lower tiers, and the Reds never seem to get them.

      As for Walt, he seems to really value clubhouse presence and “intangibles” when signing FA. I’m pretty sceptical, but I’m also open to the idea that team psychology plays a bigger role than we think. The problem I have is how they go about it. A smart business would bring in experts from the outside to educate them in group psychology and dynamics. A smart business would hire some researchers to try to quantify this effect and identify certain personality traits that might fit in well with the rest of the group. But Walt just basically says ” despite not having any hard evidence, I believe chemistry is very important. I can’t say how important, but never mind. This one guy was popular in the St Louis clubhouse, so I’m going to sign him even though he can’t really play.”

      Then there is the owner and the loyalty factor. He’d rather spend his money signing “his guys” rather than sign an outsider who may be a better value.

      • Agreed; but, a kick butt presence who also performs, i.e. Greg Vaughn or Kevin Mitchell to name two from the Reds past, would probably have done a lot to make the last two seasons better in the W column. For several years I thought maybe Votto would eventually turn his obvious edge toward the clubhouse but he has turned out to be the type who seems to drive himself in a vacuum.

        • A Vaughn or Mitchell would have upped the win total if for no other reason than the massive increase in left field production. But, as I said, I’m open to the possibility that there is more value than we think in intangibles. But, a “kick butt” type of guy may not fit well in every clubhouse. Imagine if you had 7 Joey Votto’s on your team. Introspective perfectionists who willingly work tirelessly on their craft. Having a new guy come in telling everyone what to do may not go over well.

          Plus, any correlation between wins and chemistry raises a chicken or the egg type question; does chemistry cause the winning, does winning cause the chemistry, or is their some other factor that causes both? If the Reds were winning this year, you can bet there would be a narrative praising Skip and Pena for their intangibles. But they are not winning, so everyone says there is no chemistry.

      • TCT the reds have a ceiling. Prices go up. We can not out spend many players in free agency.

  14. I just really hate the idea of signing a free agent starting pitcher (which is what Walt said they intend to do). With so many options, I think the best approach would be a next-man-up mind set. If one of our 10 legitimate starting options isn’t getting it done, then the next man takes his place and so on and so on. If it’s a ‘rebuilding’ year (which I’m not convinced will be the case), then you need flexibility. Even in this scenario, there won’t be enough innings to go around. It just smacks of backward thinking, like we’re gonna spend money to fix a 2015 problem. Talk about not playing the game forward.

    Trade Chapman for a CF, make a smart bullpen acquisition or two, listen on Bruce, promote Winker, get healthy, and let’s see what we have.

    • I’m listening on everyone if I’m the reds. Most of all BP,Bruce and Chapman.
      Do not think Winker is ready for ML. Would not rush him or start service clock on a rebuild year. Y-rod has to make team next year or we lose him. He will be given every chance to play the outfield for us.
      Would not give up on Hamilton unless just floored by a deal. He gets 1 more year.
      Agree with your bull pen comment. building a pen next year especially if Chapman is traded will be priority 1.

      • What about sending Hamilton down to AAA where he can hopefully develop further?

      • I think Chapman will bring back a quality player. If your asking will it be a established ML’er the answer is no. It will be a prospect.

        • This is where the apparent glut of pitching prospects come into play, packing one of them with Chapman probably lands a quality everyday player.

          Last year they got Byrd for Lively; but, it was also a partial salary dump by the Phillies. Despite the poor start, Byrd was giving them what they wanted from him much of the season up until he was traded.

          Chapman and a legitimate pitching prospect should bring much more.

        • In theory, Jim, that makes sense. Add more value to the package to get more.

          But in reality you have to think about what type of team would be acquiring Chapman and why. If you are going to trade for an expensive closer that you only have one year of control of, you are probably a team that is trying to win the World Series next year.

          How many teams that are trying to win it all want to trade a key starting position player? If you’re going all in for one year, wouldn’t you rather try to improve your major league team by trading prospects that will only help your team down the road?

      • Ideally, the Yankees, Blue Jays and Dodgers all lose in the playoffs due to blown saves and a bidding war for Chapman commences.
        Of course, ideally, I would be richer, taller and better looking as well.

  15. I dislike JJ Hoover as a pitcher. He’s been good, then terrible. There’s no middle ground. Is he the pitcher version of Jay Bruce, where the fat pitches served are akin to Bruce swinging wildly at anything near the strike zone?

    I’ve seen enough, and hope that Hoover isn’t on the roster next season. Let him be someone else’s problem.

    • Agree – too , too inconsistent. He will never, and I mean never be the closer of the future for this team.

        • Relievers are always good or terrible. They are good when they succeed (no runs) and terrible when they don’t (any runs). Starters get the benefit of multiple innings to hopefully even things out.

          That said, the Reds have one reliable bullpen arm who will likely be traded.

          • So The Nasty Boys were outliers. I guess my point is that Hoover, when terrible, is terrible often. He throws fat pitches, and seems to have little command.

            If pitching is up, it should be relatively simple to find an arm (or 5) that does not throw fat pitches as frequently as Hoover does.

        • Regarding Jessie’s comment about never saying never with this management group

    • I agree with you on being tired of Hoover. The interesting thing to me, is that actually Hoover has been pretty much exactly the same pitcher every year with the Reds, except for this one when his strikeouts have dropped.

      Hoover is a great case study for why its important to look past ERA, especially with relievers who throw so few innings. When you’re only throwing 60 innings, your ERA can jump around wildly based on whether four or five balls get caught at the track or go out for HRs.

      The truth always has been that Hoover is a below average MLB reliever, eh’s just gotten lucky sometimes, and unlucky others.

  16. I commented last night about closer rules our of frustration.It’s the same story over and over and over with Price.All of us knew he was going to use Hoover in the eight and that he was going to stay out there pitching regardless.The first guy tripled and the next guy grounded out so now we need another out without the run scoring.Who do we have that can get that done in the pen?Lets see how about we bring in a guy who throws 100 mph and maybe just maybe he can strike out Peralta.You play to win the game and as usual because of the closer rules we lose the game in the eighth.

    • Or he brings Chapman in to get through the eight and the Next Guy loses it in the ninth. The Reds bullpen gun has one bullet.

      • I think the point was that maybe Chapman could pitch the 8th and 9th, going two innings. He’d probably still be available for an inning the next day. If he was needed then, he would probably not be available for a 3rd day in that case. Still, you’d be giving your team the best chance in the game that they are actually leading in the 8th inning instead of worrying about his availability for future games for which he may not be needed anyway.

  17. I was again, very impressed with John Lamb last night. He commanded his fastball well all night, and he got a strikeout of Carpenter (LH) with his change up, and of a RH batter (can’t remember who) with his curve. That tells me that he was feeling really comfortable with both pitches.

    Also, he got a strikeout on a 92MPH fastball and a 78MPH changeup. How many big leaguers can you name with that kind of separation between their fastball and changeup?

    • Going back 30+ years, Mario Soto in his prime.

      Don’t overlook Lamb’s cutter. It is consistently -5MPH to his regular fastball which gives it something of change of pace effect with arm action and rotation similar to the fastball.
      Welch commented last night that for Lamb the slider and cutter are essentially the same pitch except he varies the release by coming over the top at times and a bit under the ball at times. I saw several swings and misses last night where the batter seemed to think the cutter was a hung slider but instead of “sitting up” for them it ran on in on them.

      • Good point Jim. When I saw Lamb in person I wasn’t sure whether he was throwing a cutter or just changing speeds on his fastball, but I did notice some fastballs coming in at 89 or 90, which I think is great when you can also dial up 93-95 when you need it.

        What I saw as far as breaking stuff was that it looked like he throws a curve at two different speeds, so maybe the faster one that I would have called a hard curve, he calls a slider. Fangraphs lists a fastball, cutter, curve, and change as his arsenal, but these labels for pitches get a little slippery when you can change speeds on multiple pitches.

        If you gave a name for every pitch break/speed/arm angle combo that Bronson Arroyo threw, he’d have had a 20+ pitch mix, but Hannigan only used two signs with him, a one and a two, and Bronson made up the rest. I always thought that was cool.

    • I was curious about my own question, so I’ll answer it myself. The number is one: Scott Kazmir. Of starters with 40 or more innings, John Lamb’s 14.1MPH difference between average fastball velocity and average change up velocity is second only to Scott Kazmir’s 15.2.

      It’s certainly not a guarantee for success, but it is pretty remarkable.

  18. It’s difficult to solve lack of quality depth.

    If Chapman pitches the 8th because Hoover can’t be trusted, then Hoover is going to pitch the 9th…..is he any less bad in the 9th?…..or Chapman pitches the 8th and 9th and he’s not available the next 2 days……so you’re stuck with Hoover in the 9th and someone worse than him in the 8th.

    • IMO, you take what’s there for the taking and worry about tomorrow later, meaning Chapman opens the 8th and finishes out the game. If he should happen to blow the save in a hurry (like Hoover did) you can get him out quickly and still have him for three outs next game.

      With Sampson going Tuesday, the chances they are going to need a closer are greatly diminished anyway.

    • Good lord, why can’t Chappy pitch for 3-4 days in a row like Tom Hume did? Is it really so exhausting to pitch once a day for 15 minutes or less?

      • He’s a different pitcher than Hume, but Chapman has gone 4 games in a row before, although not for multiple innings. He could probably go 2 innings and then an inning the next day. I say “probably” because we don’t know for sure. If he honestly can’t, then that just gives me another reason to think that the Reds are best served trading him.

        • Imagine if you “stretched out” Chappy so that he could pitch like a 1970s reliever… ~7-8 innings a week. He’d be an amazing weapon.

    • He’d probably be available the next day for an inning. It’s the 3rd day in a row where he probably wouldn’t be available. But, like OhioJimW says, worry about tomorrow, tomorrow. This is especially true when you are talking about games against division opponents.

  19. OHIOJIMW you are right on about worrying about tomorrow later.CHUCK SCHICK you are right about the lack of quality being hard to solve. My point is you play to win the game and by not using your best pitcher or your only bullet you are not playing to win but rather hoping you don’t lose.Tieing run on third,one out in the eight inning and you have a guy that throws 100+ in the pen and you don’t use him is unexcusable.What would have happened if he had been brought in we will never know because he wasn’t brought in.

  20. I was disappointed that Frazier struck out with runners on 2nd and 3rd and one out in the first. That insurance run could have made a big difference at the end of the game. It’s a bit like games in April counting the same as in September. Is it just me or is Frazier really bad in those situations the last couple of months?

    • Did you see the two called strikes? They were awful, which is why he swung at strike 3. Actually, neither team at the plate was thrilled with the strikezone. That said, he has struggled in those situations compared to the rest of the league. He started off very poorly in them, got better, but then seems to have started struggling again.

  21. I am not sure what the data says on Frazier with RISP and less then two out but it seems our whole team struggles.I believe that situational hitting is a mindset and some players still won’t change their approach regardless.I don’t remember the first inning last night but I will guess that because it was early in the game the infield was back and conceding the run on a ground ball.Putting the ball in play therefore becomes a must especially with two strikes.

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