The Cincinnati Reds 2015 season mercifully came to an end with a 4-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday. The Reds finished the year with 98 losses, which is tied for the third most losses in franchise history.

The Reds pitching held the Pirates in check for the most part, but it wasn’t enough. The Pirates starter, J.A. Happ dominated the Reds lineup as many pitchers have done in the second half of the season. The win for the Pirates secured them home-field advantage in the wild-card game on Wednesday.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (64-98) 0 6 0
Pittsburgh Pirates (98-64) 4 13 0
W: Happ (11-8) L: Smith (0-4)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score | Game Thread

Biggest Play of the Game

According to Fangraphs WPA statistic (winning percentage added), the most important play of the game was Josh Smith giving up a solo home run to Pedro Alvarez in the 4th inning to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead. That play decreased the Reds chances of winning by 10.6% (from 30.4% to 19.9%).

Player of the Game

J.A. Happ: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 7 K, 2.30 FIP

Positives

Joey Votto worked a 13-pitch walk off J.A. Happ in the sixth inning. Votto finished the season at .317/.459/.541 with a 172 wRC+. Votto finished .001 behind Bryce Harper for the MLB best OBP. If Votto would have finished ahead of Harper, it would have been the fifth time he lead the NL in OBP. Votto’s 172 wRC+ was the exact same number he posted in his MVP season in 2010.

Todd Frazier had two hits in the season finale.

Skip Schumaker made his final appearance ever in a Reds uniform (surely). Drink it in Reds fans, drink it in. Skip finished with -2.4 fWAR for the Redlegs. His veteran presence helped the Reds to a record of 140-184 in his two seasons.

Negatives

The Reds finish the season 36 games back in the NL Central. That is the furthest back the Reds have finished since 1945.

The Reds offense was terrible in the season finale. The Reds were shutout on six hits.

Eugenio Suarez had a really nice year for the Reds, but his finale was not great. Suarez was 0 for 4 with 3 K’s.

Josh Smith only gave up two runs in his start, but he only lasted 4.0 innings. Smith went 3.0, 5.0, 4.1, 4.0, 4.0, 5.0, 4.0 in his seven starts with the Reds.

Not so random thoughts………….

It has been a brutal season in every possible way for our favorite baseball club, but thanks to the loyal readers for sticking with us this season. It has been a pleasure to bring these recaps and share thoughts and opinions about the ole’ Redlegs. Thanks to Steve Mancuso for all his hard work to make this site as great as it is. Thanks to Chad Dotson, Jason Linden, and Nick Doran for all of their recaps this season. Thanks to all the other great writers for their terrific content this season. Hopefully next season we will bring you some winning recaps and columns.

We will have lots of content coming over the off-season, so make sure you stick with us. There will surely be lots of changes coming around the Reds, and we will be here to break it all down for you. I’ll have the NL Central 2015 review tomorrow, an article about Joey Votto’s incredible season, and another article previewing the MLB postseason coming this week.

Up Next:

Phillies at Reds
Monday, April 4, 2016
Time: TBA

48 Responses

  1. CI3J

    Always bittersweet when the season comes to an end, but at least we have next year to look forward to.

    Another year with Price at the helm, guiding the young pitchers through their growing pains, and holes in the offense plugged by washed up veterans.

    Hey, wait, this sounds like….

    ….Are we SURE we’re looking forward to next year?

    • ohiojimw

      Are you a CBJ fan or do you use the logo as your avatar for other reasons? It is good that the boyz hit the ice for real on Friday. I’ll probably spend more time watching them than the MLB playoffs. Talk about no more excuses and looking forward, it is deliver or get our of Dodge for that org this year.

      • CI3J

        Being that this is a Reds blog, I won’t go too in depth, but….

        Yeah, if the majority of the team can stay on the ice, no reason they shouldn’t contend. Murray especially is someone I’m looking forward to watching, hoping he can finally stay healthy and live up to the sky-high expectations.

      • ohiojimw

        Isn’t it amazing how Murray’s knee situation has so much mirrored Votto’s.

        There are several of we CBJ/ Hockey fans around here (on Redleg Nation).
        Since I don’t follow the NFL, I figure we’re probably allowed as much hockey bandwidth as the Bengals followers use here.

        Join the March of whatever exactly it is they are saying 🙂

      • Daytonian

        Hey. I’m part of the Reds/Blue Jackets contingent up in Dayton. I get to about a half dozen hockey games a year. but there’s no bar that has the Jackets on tV here–with the sound on.

      • lwblogger2

        Another Jackets and non-NFL fan here 🙂

  2. Gonzo Reds

    Price back?!!! &@$&&!!!! NO times a billion! Reds fans unite, say NO to tickets, season or otherwise, EMPTY stadiums!!!

    • lwblogger2

      Well, I’ve already decided that my modest season ticket package would not be renewed if Price and Jocketty were brought back.

  3. jazzmanbbfan

    I “discovered” this site earlier this season. It, and Votto, have been about the only two bright spots in an otherwise almost unwatchable season. Since I don’t have cable I actually haven’t “watched” them except when I actually went to the ballpark. Thanks for the great articles and insights. Some day I might even start to understand the newer statistical measures. 🙂

  4. Freddie (@redfred66)

    Finnaly over but Gooo Reedss‼‼‼‼‼‼‼‼‼‼‼ 2016‼‼‼‼‼‼

  5. Michael E

    I just looked at future payrolls for the Cubs, Pirates, Astros, Braves and a few others. I am really bummed we have such a mediocre collection of talent and at lest $60 million tied up out four more years (for just four or five players).

    The Cubs and Pirates are in much better shape, with their real talent either cheap for a while or signed very affordably before they became really good.

    The Astros, good lord, two year out they have only a million or so in contracts…that’s it. They have a half dozen very talented young players, some not even entering arbitration yet, much less more expensive, later arbitration. If they don’t do anything stupid, the Astros should be able to have a modern dynasty (modern meaning a half decade, as the decade long dynasty is nearly extinct and the few that happen aren’t championship contenders every year…Cards, Yankees?)

    • ohiojimw

      The other side of the coin, particularly for the Astro’s is that the bill could come due all at once, much like it did for the Reds with 4 of the 5 rotation pitchers being FA eligible at the end of the 2015 season. And how many “rebuilding” starts and stops did it take them to get this far even?

      • Michael E

        True, but not for several years. Early arbitration is usually low. So Springer, Keuchel, Correa and other key pieces, will be cheap (relatively speaking) for three years or so before the arbitration starts getting high or they extend them to buyout a year of free agency.

        I sure hope the Reds can get into such a position, though obviously Votto and Bailey salary will eat between 30 to 40% of the payroll for the forseeable future. That alone will be depressing if either can’t stay 85% healthy.

  6. Michael E

    Well, in 2015 I thought we’d contend for a wildcard, provided we had more good fortune than bad (like no injuries, or Hamilton suddenly going a .340 OBP dance). Obviously the bad outweighed the good by several times.

    As for 2016, I see almost no chance to contend as it stands (understandable given the trades to “reload” which I say should be a rebuild). If everything, and I mean EVERYTHING goes right, we can make the playoffs, but that means no injuries, all the good players meet or exceed expectations, Meso is best catcher in baseball, Iglesias and a couple of other young pitchers are better than league average out of the gates, etc. Since the chances of all that are .05% I am only looking forward to, hopefully, one or two really shrewd moves that become the primer for a 3 or 4 year NL championship run in the late teens and early twenties (2018-2023 ish). The kind where some so-so veteran (Bruce, Phillips, Parra) is traded for seemingly modest return that becomes a fleecing in a few years.

  7. Jeff Morris

    The only bright spots this year for the Reds was the posts on Redleg Nation from Steve, Chad, Nick, Jason, and whoever else (Can’t remember everybodys’ name) posted here. The other bright spot was a great year overall from Joey Votto. The Cardinals, Pirates, and Cubs have made strides this year, just look at their records. Even with possibly Bailey, Iglesis, Disco, Finnegan, Lamb, Lorenzon, and whoever else may be in the rotation, this lineup still does not hit well, especially (for the 2 billionth time), with runners in scoring position. Even with Mesaraco & Cozart back, the lineup has too many holes in it. Votto is solid, Phillips is getting older and is declining at the plate, not sure if Cozart can hit like he did before his injury, Suarez makes too many errors at SS. Frazier is pretty solid, but not sure he will repeat his power with the Bat? Not sure who will be the Left Fielder, and if they can hold down the job well? Left Field may be a revolving door. Not sure if Hamilton can hit at the big league level. He hits everything in the air. And, Bruce will probably be in his last year. They decided not to trade him, and look at what kind of August he had. Not sure who would replace him, and if you get someone via trade, they may be more consistent, but maybe not as good defensively as Bruce, and probably not the power numbers he has. I wouldn’t reach just to get someone to trade for Bruce, but when he becomes a free agent after next season, let him go somewhere else. The bullpen is not real reliable, and walks too many people. Also, not sure Cingrani can stay healthly and develop other pitches. I don’t think WJ is a rebuilding type of GM, and Price is good at being a pitching coach, but I don’t think he will be a good manager. Price is the one that wanted Steve Smith coaching 3rd base, and wanted Gregg for the 8th inning, earlier in the year, and thought Marquis would hold down a spot in the rotation. Not sure if the hitting coach remains….if they get another hitting coach, I think Dusty Baker, despite his bad management of the Reds, did hit it right on the head, when he said, “Sometimes its not the Hitting Coach, its the pupil or pupils, in the Reds case.”

    • Jay King

      Yes Phillips is getting older but honestly look at his stats for the 2015 season.
      Avg. 294, 19 doubles, 2 triples, and 12 Homers, 23 steals only 3 caught, 328 OBP,
      only 68 Strike outs.in 588 at bats.

      Honestly that’s an improvement over his past few years. If he can stay in shape like he did coming into spring this year I’ll take that for the rest of his contract at his age. Sure he is not a superstar but overall those are some pretty good numbers especially at 2b.

      Nobody is going to take Phillips in a trade unless the Reds only are going for class B prospects or lower. If Jockety got more than that I would be awed. Plus Phillips has to approve any trade so to say he is not a good player that is poor judgement on your side. Not a superstar anymore but not bad.

      • ohiojimw

        Phillips’ OPS/OPS+ for 2015 was .724/98, Agree there is nothing wrong with those figures for a guy who still brings the defense he does in a middle IF position.

      • pinson343

        BP did have a solid season, most of all he stayed healthy for the first time in years. That means one thing: TRADE HIM. Go for the low level prospects, agree to pay some of his salary, do what it takes, but trade him. Suarez should play 2nd base in 2016.

        BP loves Cincy but at this point his main goal is a WS ring. He would allow a trade to a contending team. And he would love playing in NY or LA, getting all that attention.

        PS He’s one of my favorite Reds ever, but that’s irrelevant.

      • ohiojimw

        If they trade B.PH, who plays with Suarez in the middle until Cozart is ready to go or if Cozart is not able to play SS everyday in the foreseeable future? This is to the heart of the comment I made about key injuries, recoveries, and planning.

        I am not opposed to your B.PH plan and agree he will probably make is as easy as he can to send him to a legitimate contender in a bright lights city. However while they are at it, perhaps they need to go on and take their losses on Cozart by cutting bait on him and looking for an MLB SS to pair with Suarez at 2B.

      • GreatRedLegsFan

        I’d had appointed Philips as player/manager for next season. He’s the only veteran presence in the dugout and a real hard-working guy. Plus he’s always smiling.

  8. redslam

    RISP – there are numerous studies stating its predictive invalidity (correct me if I am wrong), but it does feel like we just aren’t that good… perhaps it is a case of pitching around good hitters to get to our 2-3 really, really bad hitters. I think if we can improve 1-2 hitting positions, we are actually an average or above average hitting team. A core next year of Votto, Bruce, Frasier, Mesoraco, Suarez, and Phillips is pretty decent in today’s pitching world.

    The problem is the rest and the bench tend to be… well, bad.

    Starting pitching will get better and hopefully one of those that doesn’t make the starting rotation can be solid contributor to bull-pen, that needs work.

    The likely scenario is that young starting pitchers are still OJT next year and bull-pen in transition and average hitting – which means unless there is miracle, we ain’t competing in a serious way in 2016 and probably not 2017… beyond that, who knows?

    • ohiojimw

      The bench can start to get better only when they are willing to give a shot to somebody like Duvall versus the over the hill guys and jack of all trades career minor leaguers. He might crash but then he would be just like the parade of other folks they’ve had the last several years.

      I think Duvall was largely written off by fans because his Louisville numbers were so bad after he came over from the Giants. Folks tended to overlook that he was in a new league with a lot of pitchers he had never seen before.

      On the other hand look at his apparent growth at the MLB level between 2014 and 2015 based on roughly the same number of PAs both seasons.

      • pinson343

        DeJesus, Barnhart, Duvall would be a good start to next year’s bench.

      • Michael E

        I agree in full, keep those guys around. Punt any utility player that can do anything well.

      • Michael E

        Amen OhioJim. Give the mashers in the minors a full shot, no handful of ABs and fling them into the AAA/AA abyss. Just say no to any utility player that can play several positions, but doing it poorly at the plate and almost as bad in the field. I’d rather have to put a clumsy masher at SS in an emergency than sign a MI that flat out sucks and is 5’9″ with no speed.

  9. ohiojimw

    Recoveries from key injuries are shaping up as a major issue for the Reds just in trying to plan what to do for 2016 even before they go out and try to do it.

    It is all well and good we’ve heard that Meso and Hamilton should be ready to go from the start of spring training and that Bailey should be ready to pitch in the rotation by early June. But hip impingement surgery never having been done on an MLB everyday catcher, shoulder capsule injuries to throwing shoulders being what they are as is TJ recovery, the Reds are not going to know for sure about these things until ST or even later in the case of Bailey. Plus of course there is the Cozart’s return from major reconstructive knee surgery; the about the only thing I’ve seen on him is typical recovery time is 8-12 months.

    One of the baseball adages that perhaps isn’t heard as much these days but which still rings true for me is that strength starts up the middle. Right now up the middle the Reds have the projected everyday catcher coming off hip surgery, an aging 2B, an unsettled at SS between a marginal fielder and a guy coming off reconstructive knee surgery, and the projected every day CF coming off shoulder capsule surgery his throwing shoulder. These positions all require specialized skill sets which could really impact in setting the 2016 roster.

    With the plethora of in house pitching candidates already assembled, I’m not too sure that working out the situation up the middle might not turn out to be the real job #1.

    • Michael E

      They mentioned adding a veteran pitcher. Forget it. That is Walt Jocketty’s kryptonite. That would simply mean signing 2016 version of Marquis, and probably for two years (another of his chronic poor decisions). Let this herd of young pitchers battle it out and those that show the best in spring, give them the rotation.

      Only sign a vet if it’s a REAL pitcher, someone that actually had a sub 3.5 ERA in the past two seasons.

      They need to find a way to bring in two good, young MLB ready hitters. Maybe not studs (costly), but they need to bring hope to the worst hitting positions while Votto and Frazier are in their primes.

      I would just as soon trade Bruce for a good prospect that is MLB ready (a full season of AA or higher in 2015) and reduce that chunk of salary to allow for signing a good player.

      • Carl Sayre

        I see this quite often and I shake my head. Will you please tell me which team is going to give the Reds a major league ready prospect for Bruce? A prospect that is ready for a shot at the big leagues, the team that has him will not be willing to trade to a streaky hitter like Bruce.

      • Michael E

        Lots of teams Carl. As sour as I am on Bruce, he still manages to streak his way to respectable stats fora LH RF. 20+ HRs and 80+ RBIs don’t grow on trees and that is still needed on many a weak hitting contending team. For us, Bruce is a killer, stinking up the place for months at a time, but for a team with good pitching and solid OBP lineup that may be RH heavy, Bruce can bring some LH power.

        Note, I didn’t say a stud prospect (another teams top 2 or 3), just an MLB ready prospect (playing in AAA this year or last year). MLB ready could mean being terrible and I didn’t specify the quality. MLB ready are a dime a dozen, so yes, Bruce can easily bring that back and probably MLB ready with some solid potential (think another teams #8 or #10 prospect).

      • Reaganspad@comcast.net

        I would trade Jay Bruce for Jay Bruce

        I would seriously add an outfielder like Jay Bruce today if one were available, but they are not

        I wouldn’t worry about salary so much. Chapman will probably be delt

  10. pinson343

    The main thing for me about Game 162 was Votto keeping his OPS over 1.000. He fell just below it in his first two ABs but then drew the 13 pitch walk off Happ and singled in his final AB. That left his OPS at exactly 1.000.

    His 13 pitch walk against Happ was a thing of beauty. Happ was throwing one perfect pitch after another, always on the black, high and low in the strike zone, and Votto kept fouling off one pitch after another and taking pitches just out of the strike zone. At one point Cervelli gestured: “Does this guy ever miss ?”

  11. pinson343

    Thanks, Nice, for a season of informative recaps. You showed a lot of resilience thru a historically bad season. Dare I say “True Grit ?”

    Looking forward to tomorrow’s articles, especially about Votto’s season.

  12. Matt WI

    As always, thanks to the entire roster of people who make Redleg Nation go. Tough season, but always great here. You guys are great.

  13. cfd3000

    Thank you to Steve and all the RLN crew for another year of terrific work under trying circumstances, and thank you to my fellow Reds fans who keep the conversation interesting. I’ll watch the playoffs with a baseball fan’s eager eyes, and a Reds fan’s heavy heart. Pitchers and catchers in 4 1/2 months… Thank you all!

  14. WVRedlegs

    Out of the 9 rookie pitchers that started games for the Reds this year, the Reds at least found 2 solid starting pitchers out of that group in DeSclafani and Iglesias. Lamb and Finnegan are on the cusp and might make it as starters. Moscot squandered a golden opportunity by getting himself seriously hurt. Lorenzen looks more like a bullpen guy. Separating the wheat from the chaffe.
    The other 3 and Holmberg look more like chaffe and not wheat. Cut bait on them as starters and see if they can help in the bullpen or trade them.
    The 2016 offense? Look for 2 new outfielders on the roster. One of BHam or Bruce will be traded this winter.

    • ohiojimw

      I heard some don’t sell Moscot short talk the last couple of weeks from media folks who seemed to be channeling what they were hearing from team personnel. I think he figures as at least a bullpen guy next season.

      I’m also not convinced that Josh Smith doesn’t have utility as a long or middle guy out of the pen.

      Stephenson and Reed would appear to be looming just off the immediate horizon with Garrett a year or two behind them.

      There may be contract and service time nuances that mitigate against it but to me dumping literally the entire bullpen seems like an appropriate starting point for fixing that mess (I’m assuming Chapman will be traded).

      • WVRedlegs

        I was really rooting for Moscot before his injury. It was just terrible timing when he got hurt. He might battle Lamb for that #5 rotation spot in spring training. I hope he makes the bullpen if he doesn’t secure a rotation spot.
        As for Chapman, I hope they give him an ultimatum, move to the rotation or be traded. He’ll be close to $12M in salary next year. As a starter that is fine, but not as a seldom used closer on a re-tooling/re-booting team.
        My guess at this time is that Jocketty picks up 2 big relievers through free agency and/or trades. No more bargain basement shopping for relievers.
        If I had a say, I’d flip-flop roles with Chapman and Lorenzen. Chapman would be a starter and Lorenzen the closer. Chapman would then almost be a lock for Opening Day starter.

      • reaganspad

        There is no way Chapman can be enjoying pitching as little as he is

  15. Pooter

    The end of the season is like putting that old miserable dog down. It’s good to see this team be put to sleep. The end of the season is merciful. But the off-season looks to be more brutal if WJ and Price stay. I’m curious as to the acquisitions WJ makes. I’m not holding my breath and my expectations are low. We need to clean house.

  16. wildwestlv

    On an unrelated note (?), the Nationals canned Matt Williams and the entire coaching staff today.

  17. jamesgarrett

    The core of this team made us relevant but its time to realize they won’t do it again.Time to part ways with some of them and start looking to the future.Bob must realize that its time to stop being a fan and face reality about this team.The sooner he does then the sooner the rebuild can begin.Can’t pay Chapman 10 million or more to not pitch but 50 or 60 innings.Bruce or Phillips will have to go and I know we won’t get equal value and I would also look at all offers for anybody else.Losing with the core is just like losing without them to me.

  18. tgarretson82

    Walt and Bob need to really sit down and think about how they can build a decent, average to above average OF. It seems for years, but most pronounced this year, the entire OF has been a disaster.

    The young pitching staff is something we can build on and work out, along with workable parts in the infield and catching.

    • tgarretson82

      Although as part of this, I suppose they need to figure out Meso’s situation as a possible fill at C or OF.