Titanic Struggle Recap

Reds win with double-barreled attack

It’s fair to question the Reds strategy of saving all their hitting on the road trip – including nine doubles – for this one game. But the Cardinals had won 19 of the last 24 games in St. Louis, so maybe it wasn’t crazy.

Reds 9  Cardinals 8  |  FanGraphs  |  From one to another extreme

That’ll Do Other than an error-marred second inning when the Cardinals scored four unearned runs, Brandon Finnegan pitched pretty well. He wasn’t efficient, leaving the bullpen to cover four innings. He walked (4) more batters than he struck out (2). But he wasn’t Tim Melville or Alfredo Simon, so Finnegan’s start resonated like Madison Bumgarner.

New Approach Jay Bruce continues to have success with his approach of taking outside pitches to the opposite field. He drove in the Reds first run of the game with a single to left in the fourth inning. In the ninth inning, Bruce showed he still knows what to do with a ball on the inside part of the plate when he pulled a solo shot for his third of the year. Bruce is now seventh all-time on the list of homers for the Reds. (That ninth inning homer turned out to be pretty, pretty, pretty big.)

Swinger Zack Cozart went 44 swings this year without missing. He whiffed at one in the eighth. By comparison, Brandon Phillips has swung and missed at 17.8% of his pitches, seventh highest in the major leagues. Cozart had three hits including a run-scoring double to deep right center in the fifth. He also drove in the Reds sixth run with a productive out. Cozart is hitting .458/.444/.583. Phillips contributed a double down the left-field line driving in the Reds shortstop and another double in the sixth.

Back in the Lineup Devin Mesoraco started for the first time since Monday in Chicago. He doubled over the head of the Cardinals left fielder in the top of the sixth for his first extra base hit. Mesoraco looked good running the bases as well. He scored the go-ahead run after a single by Adam Duvall and a ground ball by Scott Schebler. Mesoraco hit the ball hard in all but one of his plate appearances.

Suarez at Third Eugenio Suarez saved a couple runs with a great defensive play in the bottom of the fourth. He snared a line drive down the third base line with two outs and Cardinal runners on first and second. Saying Suarez has had issues on defense is an understatement. But again, it’s a new position for him and he has all year to learn it. Suarez doubled in the Reds seventh run in the sixth.

Bullpen Report Blake Wood pitched the sixth, giving up a run that could have been prevented if Brandon Phillips doesn’t bobble an easy double-play ground ball. The Cardinals sixth run scored on another Reds error, a wild pick-off throw by Caleb Cotham allowed Randal Grichik to advance to second where he scored on a hit by Jedd Gyorko. Tony Cingrani turned in his best performance of the season with a 1-2-3 eighth. J.J. Hoover gave up two runs in the ninth. His hold on the closer’s job should be gone.

Out Of Position Before the Reds bats came alive, it looked like the game would turn on the misplay of a fly ball to center field by Scott Schebler. Billy Hamilton may be super frustrating at the plate, but he saves buckets of runs with his defense. Schebler’s error is the price paid when the Reds substitute for Hamilton to gain offense, especially if the replacement is not, you know, a center fielder, Jake Cave or Tyler Holt. That’s also what happens when you put a player in a new position. See: Eugenio Suarez (3B).

Here Comes the Cavalry Jon Moscot will be the first of many Reds players to join the team off the DL. He pitches for the Reds in tomorrow’s series finale. The new guys will help eventually, but it won’t happen overnight as they’ll need time to get back in form. Also worth remembering that Moscot has three major league starts.

First-person Coverage Wes Jenkins, our brilliant writer, sent this picture from the game. He swears it’s Adam Duvall at the plate.

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Double Up What a great day to buy TWO Redleg Nation t-shirts and jersey patches!

88 thoughts on “Reds win with double-barreled attack

    • Bryan Price said it best. JJ Hoover has earned the closer role. In a development year, if JJ can get his ERA to 20, he will finish the year with the highest ERA in MLB history. But if he pitches well in his last two appearances, he is “developing.”

  1. Home-run Hoover finally gets it done. Cingrani seems to have found his mojo. Could he be the replacement for Aroldis?

      • Yeah, let’s be wise and make a hasty judgement on pitcher who has managed an ERA below 3, 3 out of his first 4 MLB seasons and averages a K per inning. I am the biggest Cingranii fan but Hoover has established himself as successful relief pitcher and Cingranni has done very little since 2013. Hoover may go down in MLB history allowing more grand slams than Nolan Ryan but he is the closer and the only choice with the current roster

      • Also in the game thread I noted it was a tough call to leave Cingrani in with all the RH batters coming up, Price lucked out with the lefties coming up in the 8th and Cingranni stepped it up. I suspect if Cingranii can avoid teh walks and HOmers he will be the closer- as his slider is developing and Hoover has established him self as the set up guy… I suppose further you go with a BP by committee and avoid the roles you put yourself into a better chance of winning 70 games instead of losing 100

  2. That’s a fast recap!

    Mesoraco hitting the ball hard made this fan happy.

  3. The Reds bullpen might help fill some time on Sports Center, but it will get better. Please, oh, please.

    Still, REDS WIN!!!

  4. For all the talk of Cingrani being a one-pitch pitcher, what was that off speed pitch he was throwing today? Changeup? To be able to mix that with hard stuff could be quite effective.

    • I made a comment in the game thread based on what I saw on Gameday- said they were 80 mph sliders- it looked they all were for strikes. I believe he only threw 4 balls today. It seems if he can develop a change in the high 90’s he could be an elite pitcher if he can avoid the BB and homers (I know big if)
      Believe he got Bryant out on a slider in the 7th of Monday’s game, no idea why he was all over the place in the 8th

      • He did look good. But that’s one game and he has shown himself to be inconsistent in the past. I hope that yesterday is a sign that he is turning the corner, but it’s too early to annoint him the closer.

    • They were sliders and if that becomes an effective pitch for him then Cingrani has a good future in the pen. He doesn’t need a great second offering but it needs to be just good enough to keep guys off his fastball. That slider Saturday looked like that decent 2nd offering.

  5. I really don’t see Hoover being the closer much longer. He’s reverting to the form of 2014.
    If Lorenzen comes back health by late May or June, I would bet he can work himself into that position.

    Cingrani has to get over pitching to Left handed batters. They seem to affect his ability to throw strikes.

    • I still believe Lorenzen should be tried as a starter. He can always be shuttled to the bullpen. Once he’s there, I don’t think they would throw him into the closer role right away. He could start out as the 7th-8th inning guy, then graduate if he has success.

      • +1….Lorenzen has too good of an arm and too big/strong to give up on him as a starter!

      • I like Lorenzen as a starter, but you’ve got Bailey coming back, Lamb coming back, Desclafani coming back, with Iglesias and Finnegan pitching well now. Moscot is going to get his shot, but don’t know what to expect. That’s six right there.
        Lorenzen to the bullpen. Sure, set up man for a while, then maybe closing by late June or July.

        • Plus Reed and Stephenson…lol. Moscot is not in the discussion imo when/if everyone is back. I like Lamb but personally I would put Lamb behind Lorenzen in arm talent and I’m sure Price would love to have another lefty in the pen.

        • Why in the world would anyone consider Stephenson a reliever at this point? He has the best arm in the organization and 3 above average to plus pitches. The control is far from a major concern as he isn’t nearly as bad as many young pitchers

    • I thought there is some belief that Lorenzen is done for the year, Mono is not something you recover from quickly

  6. Cozart had his first swing and miss of the season today. Very nice.

    I also liked the look of Devin’s swing a lot more today than it has looked up to now.

    Is Brandon Finnegan the Reds’ new ace? He has just been very good so far. No earned runs today by him if I’m not mistaken. Hopefully he cuts down on the walks as the season goes on. Don’t forget the double he ripped to join the double party today.

    We could sure use a closer.

    • Ace’s can get through more than 5 innings and do not issue wlaks like he does. 10 walks in less than 18 innings is terrible. This was a sub-par outing and could have been much worse if Suarez does not make that play in the 4th…But today’s outing does merit some praise considering what we have seen.

      • Finnegan definitely seems to have the stuff to at least be a solid #2 type starter. Like most young pitchers, he just needs to learn to control his stuff and how to mix it up a bit more.

        But if we can count on Iggy/Finny/Disco going forward, with Homer coming back, that would be huge.

  7. This is what I hope Price is thinking?

    Get rid of Melville and go with Straily! For Melville’s spot bring up Diaz or Somsen. They walk too many people but so does everyone else on this staff? Atleast they haven’t been hit in the minors unlike Melville or Moscot? Pull Hoover or atleast put him on a short leash. Go with a Wood/Cingrani closer/setup platoon. As they get Disco, Lamb, etc. back then replace Simon and Moscot. Stephenson/Reed are on the doorstep too of course! I really don’t want someone as shady as Simon on my team but I think he could be a decent setup man if Hoover/Jumbo keep doing what they do? I haven’t seen Jumbo above 95 yet and he needs the extra juice otherwise he’s below average?

    • Jumbo and JJ no longer have it. They can no longer perform. They need to go. Actually, they need to go before Simon. Wow!

  8. It was interesting to see the body language between Price and Cingrani when Price handed him the ball. Price was encouraging, looked like he was giving strong advice, and Tony responded well. There’s been speculation that there’s friction between the two; hope not. Of all the guys in the pen, Cingrani has the nasty attitude, and yes, the stuff to be the closer. I figured Hoover would give something up in the 9th, so the 8th was huge. Great battle with Carpenter. Came through. Man, did that bullpen need that inning. The only scoreless frame they had.

    • Price has done everything in his power to ruin Cingrani’s self-confidence and career. He relegated him to the bullpen, sent him to the minors and has elected to start stiffs like Tim Melville rather than Tony. Now we’re reading body language. That’s really rich. What’s next, tarot cards on where we’ll finish at the break?

      • Just curious are you really arguing Cingrani should be starting after pitching all Spring as a reliever??? I was flabbergasted that people were not outraged that Mellville was even considered for the roster much less as a starter, but you are right they have jerked Cingranii around and it would be foolish to make him a starter for 2 games or whatever until the 5 starters on the DL get healthy considering the circumstances. Straily’s the perfect guy to jerk around not Cingrani

      • Cingrani has the makeup of a bullpen pitcher. He has 1 plus pitch that he relies on. If he were to be a starter, he would need to spend lots of time developing more pitches.

        I’m fine with him in the bullpen, and you should be too.

      • I would imagine that, if Cingrani’s self-confidence is ruined (and I see little evidence of that), it has something to do with his realization a few years ago that the hitters had figured him out.

  9. J.J. Hoover gave up two runs in the ninth. His hold on the closer’s job should be gone.

    First understatement of the young season.

    • I would like to put a spin on Hoover’s outing. He knew he had a 3 run lead. He knows he cannot walk the leadoff batter,no big deal that Holliday gets on- his run means nothing. He gets 2 important outs, you take your chances with Moss- definitely do not want to walk him, tip your cap he hits the homer. Walking Gyorko was pretty bad but much better than giving up a HR and he got out of it.

      There will be times he comes in with one run leads and maybe has a 1-2-3 inning; Like a lot of his 8th inning appearances last year he is a little fragile- but we will see him in the closer role for the time being

      The team needs Hoover to be successful, maybe he can actually pile up 30-40 saves a year the next couple seasons and be trade bait at the deadline in a few years. Any GM that values this surely will make a stupid deal.

      • Who else closes? More to the point, as has been discussed many times here the person pitching the 9th is no more vital than the 8th, or 7th.

        • I am not sure if you are debating my point, but I am very confident what a pitcher does in the 9th is much more important than the 7th or 8th, If Hoover comes in the 8th and does this it changes the hole game. Some act like Price is just a fool or even Baker since they did not use Chapman in the 7th and 8th high leverage situation ignoring the fact he could only pitch twice a week in this role and that no manager in this decade does this regularly.
          If you are looking strictly at match-ups and this was a true bullpen by committee this was an excellently manged game, not just to get the win but to “get players going”

        • Which inning is vital depends upon the game situation, which is what I think you are saying, and the fact that makes strict bullpen roles seem counterproductive.

        • And I would just add that a disagree with Vic’s poin that “what a pitcher does in the 9th is much more important that the 7th or 8th.” We saw the other night in Brandon Finnegan’s near no-no that what our relievers do in the 7th, assuming their manager has the presence of mind to get them up and throwing – far from a given with our manager – can actually be as, if not, more important that whoever is penciled to pitch the 9th. Which is why I’ve felt for a long time slotting someone as your closer and making him off limits to pitch in earlier innings simply makes no sense. In my view, your best relief pitcher should pitch the most outcome-determinative sitch in a game. Price said last year he would be perfectly willing to use Chapman to get a two-inning save but it happened what? once?

  10. Anybody know the plan for the rotation? Moscot and his 11.2 MLB inning experience seems a dubious plan to stabilize the rotation- especially given a limited rehab. Now who starts Mon and Wed??? I assume you go with Straily Wed (as Moscot replaces Mellville on the roster)

    • I have no idea what the plan is, but I really think Cingrani should either open (read: start) or close. JJ Hoover and Jumbo have shown they simply have neither the baseball IQ nor the stuff to get it done at the back end. Hopefully, once we get Lamb, Lorenzen, Bailey and Disco back roles will be readjusted based on ability and Price won’t stick to his guns and continue to gag us with JJ as his closer.

      • How do you know what their baseball IQs are? Seriously, these guys eat, sleep, dream, an live baseball. Their problem isn’t baseball IQ related. The problem has been execution. Saying that an individual pitch, decision, or approach is dumb is one thing. I mean everyone screws up or makes mental mistakes but saying that an MLB player doesn’t have good baseball IQ is another matter entirely.

  11. I didn’t like Schebler in CF before this game and I like him in CF even less after this game.

    Phillips is not playing like a defensive whiz this season. Way too many miscues for a defensive stalwart. His physical skills are slipping away or his mental approach is lapsing.

    Suarez has the entire season to right the ship defensively at 3B. We certainly miss Frazier’s defensive skill at 3B, but Suarez’ offensive consistency covers a lot of his early defensive issues.

    Don’t look now Reds fans, but Votto and Mesoraco are ready to join the party. With Cozart, Suarez, and Bruce looking like holdovers at the party and Phillips, Duvall and Hamilton hanging around around at the party, the offense may start to gel. with this in mind, it’s time to lose Phillips from cleanup. I don’t know what to make of Cozart leading off, but he’s providing a very good imitation of a contact-first, top of the order hitter. He’s not walking but he’s also not striking out and he’s spraying the ball all over the field. Let’s ride that horse for a while and see what transpires. Just flip Votto and Suarez in the lineup and hit Bruce and Mesoraco in the 4th/5th holes based on the starting pitcher.

    On that related subject, what happens if Bruce and Cozart just continue to perform with their new approaches at the plate? The Reds control both Bruce and Cozart through the 2017 season. Both could fetch a really nice return in trade but they could also provide solid support for a competitive run in 2017. It’s way too early to develop any conclusions, especially with their track records, but what if…?

    In the 6th inning with Duvall on 2B and 1 out, Pricve elects to PH with Pacheco, a RH hitter, against Wainright, a RH pitcher, with Barnhart, a SH who excels hitting LH against a RH pitcher, available PH. Of course Pacheco nailed a double to score Duvall, but Barnhart is hitting .313/.421/.313 while Pacheco is hitting .182/.182/.273 (even after his double today). Pacheco is supposedly on the 25-man roster as an emergency 3rd catcher which frees up Barnhart for PH duties. From the Old Cossack’s perspective, that was a bad decision with good results.

    Finnegan needs to be careful or he’s going to develop a serious rep as a hitter!

    • You are so right on the Pacheco/Tucker observation but maybe Price just had a gut feeling. Might have been thinking Matheny counteracts with a lefty so in a way he out manages him. But I love second guessing when it actually works out instead of teh other way when its so easy like Price not having a righty warming up in the 7th mOnday,

    • I agree very much about Pacheco, I have little doubt that Price was thinking that Barnhart is going to get his share of at-bats, but Pacheco gets them sparingly, so let the kid hit. … Just curious, did Pacheco catch very much during spring training games? Just because he CAN catch, doesn’t mean that Price wants him back there in anything short of an emergency. And if that’s the case, it defeats the purpose because Barnhart still can’t be used as a pinch hitter.

      • He caught 7-2/3 innings in spring training. He caught 130 innings for the DBacks last season. He’s not a good catcher but he’s better than most “emergency” catchers. He isn’t a disaster back behind the plate as your “emergency” catcher often is.

    • Agree with everything you said here. The Pacheco decision puzzled me as well. This is especially true with Wainright’s curve, which is more of a weapon against RH hitters.

      I think IF Cozart and Bruce do have value at the deadline, the Reds will need to figure out if they feel they will be competitive in 2017 or if they feel 2018 is the year?

  12. So, I wonder what they are saying in birdland after witnessing their Cards cough up a 4 nil lead to the likes of the Reds??

      • Cruising??? Once Finnegan got a birds eye view he just tipped off the rest of the line up. I think he has a future as a batting coach once he finsihing winning 300 games.,
        Matheny tried to stick with his ace and paid dearly- that was an amazing BABIP stretch from the 3rd and 2 trips through the line-up- double city was fun to follow as I was running errands with the family

        • Wainwright must have been counting on an easy win. He has been struggling this year, and after gagging up the lead yesterday, he tweeted this to his fans:

          “Dear everyone…. Remain calm please. I will right the ship. Sincerely, Uncle Charlie”.

  13. As Steve summed up nicely, “Jon Moscot will be the first of many Reds players to join the team off the DL.” Moscot can’t get here soon enough, but he is not necessarily the long-term answer for what ails the starting rotation. Moscot was called up for 2 unremarkable starts in June last season because he was simply the best option still available for the starting rotation. Moscot will get a head start to lay claim to a spot in the starting rotation, but his ticket to the show will inevitably run the the bullpen after Lamb, Bailey and Disco join the starting rotation. Iggy and Finnegan have locked down a long term look as starters and there are only 5 starting rotation slots available. The real battle will come when Lorenzen is ready to join the fray. I personally think Lorenzen would excel as a dominant bullpen arm for high leverage situations (I hate closers!), but I get the desire to giver him a shot as a starter. His recovery from mono may dictate his role in 2016 as a bullpen arm either at AAA or on the 25-man roster.

  14. I understand the impact that injuries have had on the pitching staff, but 4 pitchers have failed miserably and should be replaced as soon as replacements are available.

    Melville (9.00 ERA & 2.57 WHIP) has no role as a starter or reliever
    Simon (12.15 ERA & 2.55 WHIP) has no role as a starter or reliever
    Sampson (12.00 ERA & 2.67 WHIP) has failed his audition for future service
    Hoover (17.18 ERA & 2.73 WHIP) needs a new beginning with someone else

    I had high hopes that Simon might prove to be a good FA signing. As it turns out, that’s $2MM down the tubes. Melville should have been nothing more than minor league fill. He was never good at the minor league level. He wasn’t good in spring training. He should never have been considered for the major league roster except as an absolutely last resort. I was ambivalent regarding Sampson getting a shot, but he’s proven in 2015 & 2016 that he’s over matched at the major league level. It’s time to move on to other bullpen options. Hoover may have something left to offer at the majoe league level, but not for the Reds. Waive him and hope that someone claims him and his meager salary.

    Move Straily to the starting rotation until more reenforcements arrive. He’s certainly not a permanent solution, but he’s a better option than Simon or Melville. That leaves 4 starting slots filled (Iggy, Finnegan, Moscot & Straily) with 1 open starting slot. Villareal performed acceptably last season in a long relief role. Call him up and let him start until the next actual starter comes off the DL, then decide between Straily or Villareal in the starting rotation.

    Somsen and D. Diaz may not be an answer for the bullpen, but they won’t be any more disastrous than Sampson and Hoover, so why not give then a shot. When Straily, Villareal & Moscot are ready to move to the bullpen let the competition continue with Jumbo and Ohlendorf for the best 7 bullpen options based on results and future potential.

    Lamb pitched 3 innings and threw 65 pitches at AAA tonight. It wasn’t pretty, but he got his work in tonight. He should go 5 + innings and 80-85 pitches in his next start then possibly be ready for a move the to 25-man roster if everything goes well.

    • This whole post is totally bizzarre.

      I’m fine with the opinion on Melville, but Simon has basically had one good game and one really bad game. All coming off a short spring training. The guy is a bad human being but this is a overreaction based on extreme small sample size.

      Sampson has pitched 3 innings!

      Hoover is JJ Hoover. He had a real rough couple games in April of last season, and then didn’t give up an earned run for the next few months.

      Long story short: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dw9qqvm-LT8

      • My problem with Hoover as “closer” is that for his career he has a save percent of around 29% (6 saves versus 14 blown saves counting today’s dubious effort).
        Last year he had 7 blown saves in 25 “save situations” (mostly in the 8th inning pitching as Chapman’s set up man) for a failure rate of 28%.

        http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/h/hoovejj01-pitch.shtml

        The data I referenced is in the table labelled “Reliever Pitching”

        I just don’t see what suggests he is appropriate for the role of pitching the high leverage situations at the back end of games.

      • Moscot activated for the start today and Sampson optioned to AAA. The observation regarding Sampson was not based on just 3 innings from this season, but a poor performance from 2015 in 52 innings. He hasn’t shown any improvement through spring training or the early season in 2016. He may pull things together and become more effective down the road, but it’s not happening right now.

    • Agreed with everything, I’d also add Jumbo Diaz to the list of pitcher to be replaced.

  15. Going into tonight’s game, Winker was slashing .273/.292/.273 and Peraza was slashing .261/.320/.348. Winker was 3-4 w/ 1-BB & 1-SO while Peraza is 3-5 w/ 1-SO in tonight’s just concluded Bats game.

  16. Need another southpaw before Cingrani can be moved to the closer role.

    Our defense is bad. Billy needs to patrol CF most of the time while everyone else figures out on which hand to wear the glove.

    The sheer number of walks is alarming. I can overlook many things, even lack of talent, but someone sooner or later needs to throw the gatorade cooler onto the field and shout “enough”.

    • I looked over the 40 man roster and minor league AAA and AA rosters. There is a pretty severe dearth of LH pitching right now in the org. Unless somebody like Reed, Garret, or Romano is given their MLB baptism under fire as a reliever then moved back to starting next year, I don’t see much to choose from. However I don’t know that i would hold back from using Cingrani as the top high leverage guy in the back end just because he was the only LH available out of the pen.

      • And we need to remember that the 2016 season should be viewed from the perspective of getting the team to success going forward rather than success in 2016. I don’t think any rational fan would seriously target Reed or Garrett (Romano is a RHP) for a bullpen assignment, even at the major league level.

        The best thing Price could do for the bullpen immediately is trash the role assignments and start giving everyone opportunities to perform in various roles. Price simply doesn’t need to validate the Peter Principle through his role assignments.

        • Yep on Romano being RHP. I crossed up the L/R in the “bats/throws” column when I was checking rosters about 2AM this morning.

          I meant to make the clear inference in my next sentence that I didn’t see them hustling any of those guys to MLB to be relievers this year. Part of what’s lost between spoken and written words 🙂

          I wouldn’t care if they dropped official roles for the pen this year or any year. However Even in a season like this year for the Reds, it is important to have the guy they think is most likely to succeed pitching in leverage situations with a game on the line because a team needs to make its best effort to win games in finds itself in a position to win, That is a part of learning to be a winning team. Depending on the team they are playing and how the line up is turning over, that may be a different guy in a different inning from one game to the next.

        • Normally I’d disagree because baseball isn’t played on a computer and having guys comfortable in set roles gets them in a routine and helps them perform. Price is among the overwhelming majority of managers who believe that the role-based approach to bullpen management is the way to go. In most cases, I can understand where these guys are coming from and can support the role-based management… In this case however, the status quo and assigned roles aren’t working. The bullpen has been flat out awful. It’s time to shake it up and throw out the roles and simply try to put each pitcher in situations where they can succeed.

  17. Suarez developing at 3b gets a pass but Scheber developing at CF gets roasted? Guys if BHam can’t hit sorry to say he needs to go from the everyday lineup. At least they are trying to train someone else.

    • From watching the game, and seeing the batter’s swing from the center field camera, likely a similar angle to what Schebler had, I can see why he was fooled. The batter was reaching out over the plate to make contact. We commented on that in the game thread. A more experienced center fielder might have recovered sooner, yes, or not been burned so badly in the first place, but he hasn’t played much center field.

      I was hoping he’d be able to snag that Cardinals’ home run in the 9th after he was moved over to left field. He gave it a good shot.

      Anyway, nice to win a game!

      • I think one of the things that gets missed about Hamilton’s defensive skills is not only is his “first step” very quick, it is also very accurate. Perhaps this comes at least in part from his background as a middle infielder because they often read the actions of the pitch and bat and are already moving (or at least leaning) when contact is made.

    • I think the difference is Schebler doesn’t profile/project as being good in CF. He doesn’t have the range or speed, and not much of an arm. Suarez has all the raw tools to play 3B, he has the range, arm, and reaction time to make all the plays.

      One you can be more patient with and see how he develops because he has the potential to be average or better. Schebler has the potential to be Choo-esque, a poor defender who will get you by if the offense is enough (and right now the offense is light years away from what Choo provided in 2013).

      YRod when he gets back, or Holt have the ability to play a good defensive CF, but will either hit more than Billy to make up for downgraded defense?

      • Tough duty right now being Holt isn’t it? He would probably get a lion’s share of the time in CF if Hamilton went down medium to long term; but, in the meantime they are more interested in giving Schebler short looks in CF than Holt. Then there is the looming possible return of YRod to take the roster spot. I guess he can take some solace in the $3100+ per game salary and $100 or so road per diem.

      • Somsen 3 scoreless ip last night…..now at 6.2 ip, 2 h, 1 er, 2 bb, 7 k. He could help somewhere? Our starters only go 5 or 6 usually so we need plenty of guys. I was impressed by Wood yesterday! He was throwing 95-96 at the knees and gave up a couple of bleeder hits but would’ve got out of the inning if BP turns an easy 4-6-3. He’d be my closer if Hoover keeps struggling…which he will! Straily has shown enough to get the nod over Melville til the calvary arrives! If Bruce/Cozart/Duvall keep producing anywhere close to this then we could hang around a long time if the pitching can be stabilized? If we keep hitting then I see no reason why they can’t roll Bob Steve and/or Reed up too when the time comes? Let the young lynchpins of the future learn together!

      • Schebler has plenty of speed. It’s his initial reads and routes that have a negative impact on his overall range. I would agree that his arm is ‘marginal’ at best for CF and therefore he doesn’t profile strongly as a CF.

  18. 1) Finnegan’s outing was especially impressive, given how many pitches above and beyond his norm he threw in his last outing.

    2) I’m not so worried about the walks yet, especially against the Cubs. Those guys are going to take a lot of walks this year, especially with the umps giving them an extra ball or two seemingly every other AB.

    3) Cingrani’s stuff looked better–the breaking balls breaking, the fastball rising–and his results were better.

    4) Say what you will, we came back from 4 runs down, in St. Louis. And we kept adding on. Those haven’t exactly been common behaviors from our team, even when we were good.

    • Finnegan and Iglesias both appear to be at the point where adding pitch efficiency and demonstrating durability could be all that stands in the way of them being middle or higher rotation starters. They are both showing the skill of being able to make a high quality pitch to escape a jam when needed which is a key asset for any pitcher.

      The Cubs did seem to be getting a lot of the benefit of the doubt on borderline ball and strike calls, just like Joey Votto does. Call it an earned perk.

  19. Yes, Holt can only try to perform when given an opportunity and pocket his salary while he is on the 25-man roster. I was surprised to find Holt mentioned in Patrick’s post for the ‘Reds 25 Hardest Hit Balls’.

    Holt may not ever make it as a major league player, but you can’t question his desire and commitment to the goal. I think a lot of people lose sight that he is a very good defensive CF. Duvall is looking more and more comfortable in LF as the season progresses. His lack of a platoon split and his current .851 OPS makes him an attractive option for more playing time in LF, relagating Schebler to more of a utility OF position. There’s a lot of season remaining to make such determinations.

  20. Schebler back in the starting lineup and playing CF. Did something happen to Hamilton? The substitution in CF seems odd since Hamilton is now hitting .185/.313/.407 for a .720 OPS compared to Schebler’s .207/.233/.379 for a .613 OPS. I think most of us would not be uncomfortable with Hamilton at a .313 OBP, although a more league average value would certainly be preferable. Schebler is not even a good LF, not to mention a good CF. Schebler’s value is in his bat, not his defense and Hamilton, with his elite CF defense, is producing better offensively than Schebler.

    • Price also mentioned the Wacha-Hamilton matchup as reason to sit Billy today. If his use of matchup data is that simplistic, then it’s a gigantic, glaring hole in the “new modern Reds” narrative coming out of the front office. Better to research to see if Hamilton struggles against that kind of pitcher.

      • Hamilton has 21 plate appearances against Wacha with one hit and one walk. Only one K, though.

        • Yep, still looking at very small sample sizes against a single pitcher. Ugh, frustrating. I’d feel better if there were no stats used and he simply said “Hamilton doesn’t see the ball well against Wacha.” At least he’d be using his baseball wisdom and experience, not numbers from a small sample.

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