Titanic Struggle Recap

Bullpen walk kills Reds

Resigned dread was a reasonable reaction when Reds radio announcer Jeff Brantley observed in the seventh inning “this is a bullpen game now.” It’s an indication of how pathetic the Reds bullpen options are that Ross Ohlendorf found his way into the eighth inning of a tied game against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Reds curb-shopped Ohlendorf this spring after he was cut by the Kansas City Royals.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals sent Kevin Siegrist to the mound in the top of the 8th and Trevor Rosenthal in the 9th.

Game. Set. Series.

Reds 3  Cardinals 4  |  FanGraphs  |  Brawl Re-enactment

First Cavalry Wave Jon Moscot made his initial start of the season and first since he suffered a season-ending injury to his non-throwing shoulder last year. The Reds had given up 39 runs in the previous 4 games, so Moscot’s start felt like a good one. He went 5.2 innings, striking out two and walking just one Cardinal.

Fast Start The Reds took an early lead on an opposite field double by Zack Cozart and a walk sacrifice fly by Joey Votto. The prospect for a big inning was undercut by Eugenio Suarez getting picked off at first after singling.

Here Comes Devin Devin Mesoraco grounded the ball through a big opening to the right side against a severe shift by the Cardinals driving in Jay Bruce with the Reds third run.

Bullpen Report Blake Wood relieved Moscot in the bottom of the sixth and retired Jeremy Hazelbaker with two runners on base. Tony Cingrani walked the first batter he faced (signature Reds bullpen move) but the lefty retired the next three hitters. Ross Ohlendorf – wait for it – walked the first batter he faced in the eighth and gave up a run with two outs on a double by Eric Fryer.

Reds Don’t Walk Reds pitchers struck out three batters while walking three. Meanwhile, the Reds only worked one walk (intentional) and struck out ten times. Tale of the tape right there.

Hitter-Pitcher Histories Studies have consistently shown that hitter-pitcher histories have zero predictive value. That’s in part because of the small sample size, but also because players change over time. Bryan Price relies on individual histories, at least based on what he says. Today, he said Billy Hamilton didn’t start because of his history with Cardinals pitcher Michael Wacha. If the Reds front office is committed to modernizing their thinking, this is one area that needs fixed.

Progress and Plan for Homer C. Trent Rosecrans reports that Homer Bailey’s start in Arizona yesterday was his last before starting minor league rehab appearances. Bailey will meet up with the Reds in Cincinnati on Monday. The plan is for him to make three or four minor league starts before rejoining the Reds rotation. That schedule would put him on a major league mound during the second week of May. According to general manager Dick Williams, Bailey threw 51 pitches yesterday, topping out at 96 mph, while pitching in the 94-91 range.

83 thoughts on “Bullpen walk kills Reds

      • We put too much faith in what the managers tell the public. It’s accepted by both the players and the general public that past lack of performance against a particular pitcher is a justifiable reason to sit someone. The real reason, that Billy Hamilton can’t hit, is tough to state publicly and could damage the coach/player relationship.

        • Agree with the last sentence. Maybe Price’s use of Schebler in CF is also his way of making it clear to the front office that he’s decided Hamilton’s deficit to the team offensively out weighs his defensive positive contributions.

  1. it will be along season for the Reds. The biggest mistake made in the off season was staying with Price. When the pitching coach he was bad now as coach still bad.

    • Why was Price bad as a pitching coach? I think I’ve only ever read and heard good things about him from that role.

    • Perhaps you could share some examples of managers who won with poor talent?

      • I don’t think we’ve got poor talent, at least on the hitting side. The bullpen has been awful, but will get much much better very soon. Price has cost us at least two W’s. He doesn’t have a great hand, but he does nothing to maximize the talent he does have and his game management and lineup decisions are simply horrible. He’s gone by the break, for sure.

        • There isn’t one objective, credible source who would rank the Reds roster as being at least average.

        • This team has no secret sauce…..none. You literally are making things up.

          Plenty of guys have heart…but if the talent isn’t there then it doesn’t matter. Ever.

    • I think you are pretty off your pitching coach evaluation of Price. The manager has little to do with making this roster a playoff caliber team, why pay Price not to manage this team and pay some else to manage and not make the playoff- save the money do a search in the offseason and never hire a pitching coach again to manage.

    • Lou is 72 years old. I really don’t think he wants the job. Agreed that Bryan Price was the wrong choice a few years ago, but at the time it seemed like a good idea.

      I would prefer they hire Bud Black, but he would want real money for the job, if they could get him to accept it.

      • Bench is 69. Lou is 72. Both would take the job if offered, and both would do a much much better job than Price who doesn’t have a clue how to manage. But I think the wink-nod between Castellini, Jocketty and Williams is that when Price is shown the door, which hopefully will be sooner, rather than later, its Larkin’s job. Personally, I’m not a Larkin fan, but not for anything that was his fault. I just hated it when Lindner killed the Larkin trade. But look, Barry would be infinitely better than Price.

      • I’m working from the premise that you believe managers add value…Bud Black had a losing record in 6 of 8 full years…never made the playoffs….won at least 90 only once and had a 99 loss clunker. He seems like quite a pick.

        • He had some pretty lousy teams in San Diego. His field of experience is….pitching. Reminiscent of Bryan Price.

        • So you’re suggesting that they replace Bryan Price with someone who is just like Bryan Price?

  2. It’s still early, with better than half the hoped -for starting rotation still on the DL. Everybody thought the Bull pen was a dumpster fire on Opening Day, and …..here it is. The Bullpen is a dumpster fire. A couple of bright spots, but totally inconsistent.

    • True, but we knew it was going to be a work in progress. Unforeseen as usual were the multiple injuries, outside of Homer, to prospective starters. Listening to the radio some today and Brantley thinks moving Simon back to the pen to eventually becoming a late inning guy would help immensely. I’m actually more optimistic about how this year will shake out than before it started. This team is a decent bullpen away from being 10-2.

      • Virtually every team is a decent bullpen away from being 10-2. Having a bad bullpen is part of being a bad team. It is a 9 inning game, so if your bullpen is bad, you’re bad.

        • Not really. Some are weak on starters, OBP, hitting with RISP, etc. But that’s really not my point. There are fewer holes on this club than I anticipated, especially given the injuries to the young guns. Could be a fun season.

      • And for all of that, they’re still playing .500 ball which is, I believe, better than most of us would have predicted.

  3. The first few series of the yr have been pretty tough competition to be fair. Cubs, Cards, and Pirates all potential division winners!!!! Still sick of getting beat by STL all the time!!!

  4. I was actually VERY encouraged by today’s game. Moscot looked fantastic, particularly given the layoff. Cingrani’s “walk,” was a no-doubt K. He got completely robbed on the 3-2 pitch call. Perfect pitch. Right on the corner. Knee high. I thought Cingrani looked great. But again, Price … I just don’t get the guy. Why in the world is Ohlendorf pitching the 8th? Simply makes no sense why Cingrani isn’t pitching the 8th or closing. Again, no one knew who Ohly was when we got him, and no one will remember him when we release him. In Ohly’s defense, who expects a backup catcher to have the kind of game he had? The guy was simply lights out.

  5. Can’t agree with Price’s use of the bullpen. Wood has been the most consistent reliever and only faces 1 batter. Wood should have come back out in the 7th and then Cingrani in the 8th If we are sticking with Hoover as the 9th inning guy then Wood needs to be at least the 8th inning guy instead of Olendorf who at best should be the situational pitcher.IMO.

  6. Most of the bullpen would mop up guys on many teams!!!! All we can hope for is complete games.

    • I suppose we can hope for complete games but this staff can barely average 5 innings per start at the moment. Reality is we need the bullpen to be more effective when called on, which is going to be every game starting sometime around the 6th inning.

  7. I can’t stand the Cardinals, but on a Sunday afternoon St. Louis packs them in with a crowd of 46 thousand plus.

  8. Good start (comparatively speaking) by Moscot. Moscot will perform fine as a backend rotation starter. Unfortunately for Moscot, the other starting candidates profile as possible frontend rotation starters. Moscot has at least 5-6 starts to prove he can compete as a starting pitcher in the Reds rotation this season before the rest of the calvary arrives.

    It looks like Simon and Straily will round out the starting rotation until the next potential starter returns from the DL. Lamb made his 1st rehab start yesterday in a 3 inning stint with the Bats. Lamb is probably 2 weeks from coming off the DL and would replace Simon or Straily in the starting rotation. Bailey and Disco would follow and that’s when the competition begins. If any of those pitchers encounter any setbacks in their recovery and rehab, Moscot will have an extended opportunity to pitch in the Reds starting rotation during the 2016 season. Lorenzen has suffered significant weight loss due to his bout with mono and his return should be a longer and slower process.

    • IMO Lorenzen is the pitcher that will be a difference maker in the bullpen. There are so many “possible 3,4 and5 starters” in this mix of young arms it will take some time to shake out. I see Lorenzen as the slam the door shut reliever in the pen. I just hope that doesn’t mean he pitches only 3 outs in a save situation. I wouldn’t be disappointed if he gets sent back to AA or AAA and works on a complete repertoire as a starter because he IMO could also be that number 2 guy in the rotation.

      • Saw some comments where B.Price seemed to be greasing the skids as it were for Lorenzen in the pen this year.

        I think this makes the most sense both for the team and Lorenzen. His stamina would figure to be an issue if he were starting regardless of whether it was in MLB, AAA or AA. Add to that the obvious need for quality arm (or 3) in the MLB pen; and, it seems like a no brainer.

        • Yes, and Lorenzen, for all of his velocity, seems to pitch to contact more than strikeout (stats, anyone?). Location, secondary pitches, whatever, it would, if true, influence his best use unless and until he modifies his approach.

          • Not to mention that relieving was what he did in college when he wasn’t working at his “day job” of being a full time center fielder.

            For all the talk of Reds success with first round draft picks over the last decade, to date they have pretty much written a primer of how not handle college relievers thinking of Nick Howard who along with Lorenzen they decided to convert to being a starter.

  9. Moral of the Story–” It was Ohlendorf being Ohlendorf”-No More-No Less-
    There was a reason why he was so available on the cheap and there it was right
    in front of our eyes.I was encouraged by Moscot

  10. I agree with those that believe the Reds offense will put some runs on the board
    this year. Unfortunately,i also have to agree that we will need a 3 to 5 run cushion
    in the late innings to withstand the bullpen uprisings

  11. Your point about Hitter-Pitcher Histories is a good one. One of my students was hired by the Baltimore Orioles to study this problem. My understanding is that the Orioles wanted to develop good cluster analysis algorithms for aggregating pitchers. Then look at how a batter does against each cluster of pitchers in order to make more meaningful conclusions based on a larger sample size.

    • Now that makes sense. It could also lead to making subtle changes to the hitters approach when he encounters those type of pitchers. Thanks, K

    • The “cluster of pitchers” is what the smart teams have moved to. Ironically, Dusty Baker used to talk about using Chris Heisey against the *kind* of pitcher he could do well against. That’s not to say that Baker was good at match-ups. Using a strong algorithm would be far superior to Baker’s seat of the pants. The larger sample size is more reliable and allows limiting the data to more recent (indicative) match-ups.

    • Yes, the Pirates have been using that approach for a couple years now. It’s much better than individual matchup data. Very cool that the O’s hired one of your students.

  12. Blake Wood replaces Moscot with 2 out and 2 on in the 6th inning. From the available arms in the bullpen, I was OK with the decision at face value, but the pitcher was due up 3rd in the 7th inning. Wouldn’t a double switch be useful in order to preserve Wood for pitching the 7th inning? With the bullpen such a disaster in waiting right now, I would think Price wants to maximize the utility of the limited few arms in the bullpen that are even remotely effective, but apparently not.

    • There you go again being practical and making an intelligent review of the mess that is David Price that will never do. Please Cossack send these clowns your resume’ with that on the cover letter even this group should be able to see you are much better qualified.
      These young and seem to be brilliant writers on this blog make some derogatory comments from time to time about doing things “by the book” but sometimes it is called for and that instance is a good point.
      Price pointed out that Hamilton was 1 for 21 against the starter is the reason he didn’t start. Did anybody else notice that Bruce was 0 for 21 against the starter his first PA? That doesn’t pass the smell test it may be that Price at least may be starting to get it that Hamilton can’t hit ML pitching.

    • Thought the same thing, Kind of a tough call on the double switch who do actually take out??? Mes, Bruce, BP??? If Bp does get thrown out and Duvall got to make the last out, then it might have been easier, but Wood had got a lot of work in lately- so he probably could not be expected to throw multiple inninsg

    • Wood had been pitching a ton. It’s possible that Price really only wanted him to get that one out.

  13. Reds are playing cheap moneyball, thus getting players that have been waived or cut by other teams. Price has said that, “These pitchers can’t get better, unless they keep pitching and work on their stuff.” But…I say, its like hiring a bad employee that was fired by another company or two, for bad work. They will only do the same bad work for your company. Reds don’t seem to get that, or care to get that. They have been very indifferent for years now.

    • Was Price talking about the young pitchers when he said that? If so, it makes sense. The journeymen are there, presumably, as placeholders for the injured pitchers.

  14. Anyone want to do the leg work on how many times/what percentage of the time Reds relievers have walked their first batter so far this year?

    This has been my biggest criticism of this team so far this season, and I’m guessing the number you’d find is higher than we’d all like to admit

  15. We need hitting. Bullpen arms are coming off injury. I just don’t get how the Cards just keep getting production from reserve players.

    • No one can really figure it out. It’s one of those weird things that happen in an infinite universe.

  16. I didn’t mind watching this game. It was pretty good baseball, all in all. I could have done without Suarez’s TOOTBLAN, and don’t get me started on the walks or defense, but one point I don’t want to get lost in the sauce is that we hit Wacha hard all day. Many of those strokes didn’t fall in, but I was encouraged with the swings.

    • True, and Wainwright only hung around as long as he did on Saturday because of some good defense on hard-hit balls behind him.

  17. Kevin Siegrist was beyond impressive. Cozart, Suarez, Votto and BP were all muttering expletives either during the AB or after. Cozart was dropping “F-bombs” after his AB. I know he has good stuff but his pitches must be tough to pick up.

  18. 1) Not to excuse our relievers, but it seems that in an inordinate number of ABs where they give up a walk they’ve gotten jobbed by the ump. For the latest example see Ohlendorf’s walk, where a clear strike early in the count got called a ball. Yes, he threw 3 legitimate balls, but the AB was completely changed–and it’s not the first or second or third time it’s happened in this young season.

    2) The same thing happened to Moscot in the AB where Carpenter homered. A clear strike got called a ball, and changed the AB. Yes, it happens to the other team, too, but seemingly not as often (partly because our guys swing at so many pitches.)

    3) We started Melville and Moscot, we have a terrible bullpen, but we came from behind in two of the games and nearly stole the series. We’re not likely to win the division, but we’re better than I expected.

    • I believe the umpires have been instructed to clamp down on the strike zone this season, especially the low strike calls. If this is true, then it’s not only the Reds pitchers being impacted, but all pitchers being impacted. Some pitchers are handling the tighter strike zone better than other pitchers.

      If this is true, I applaud the effort to legitimize the strike zone, but I haven’t pulled any data to support this observation, so the old eye test may be misleading.

      • To my eye, Reds pitchers–especially relievers–have had a lot of strikes up in the zone taken away from them. And inside pitches, particularly to LH batters.

    • +1

      Cozart and Bruce may revert back to themselves but if not then their cold streaks won’t be nearly as long and we’ll have the chance to be an elite offense again!

      Moscot wasn’t too bad and I think Straily might be a slightly better pitcher? I haven’t seen Layne Somsen but his delivery is supposed to be pretty funky like Tim Lincecum’s and in 6.2 ip at Lville has only allowed 1 run on 2 hits, 2 walks, and 7 Ks. He could help! They need to phase out Hoover and Jumbo pretty quickly if they don’t improve! Jumbo’s fastball is straight as an arrow and he’s not been at 98-99 this year? We’ll see how Simon does tonite but he could be an option to close when we get back Bailey, Disco, Lamb, etc. If we hang around and play well at GABP then they should call up Reed and/or Bob Steve too! I’m actually pretty encouraged so far! Winker is at .355 and Peraza is at .333 for the Bats although they only have 1 xtra basehit between them.

  19. Correction….Straily is going tonite! He’s only allowed a .236 batt avg against in the majors so he might be decent?

    After this Rockies series….we have the Cubs for 4, Mets for 3, Pirates for 3, and SF for 3. Wow….that’s the best of the best of the NL! If we win atleast 5 or 6 of those 13 and get our pitchers back then who knows?

    • Pirates, Metz, and Giants are all three scuffling a bit. They all have as many loses as the Reds. Metz would trail the Reds in standings; the other two be half a game better by virtue of having played and won an additional game.

      Hopefully they will continue struggling; and, the Reds won’t do anything to get them riled up.

  20. I’m so confused. How did the Reds lose when they were 2-4 with RISP and the Cards were 0-5??? (sarcasm)

  21. An interesting night ahead on the mound for the Reds organization.

    Dan Straily takes the mound for the Reds.
    Amir Garrett takes the mound for the Blue Wahoos.
    Tyler Mahle takes the mound for the Tortugas.

    The Reds really need at least 5 solid innings (preferably 6-7) from Straily tonight in order to stabalize the Reds bullpen. Apparently the Reds intend to pitch Melville out of the bullpen (really bad idea) rather than DFA him off the 40-man roster and bring up a young(er) reliever prospect.

    Garrett may have the highest potential for an early promotion to the next level of any player in the Reds minor league system.

    If Garrett vacates a starting pitching position at AA, Mahle could get consideration for a promotion to AA later this season if he continues his solid improvement from last season at Dayton.

  22. AAAAAAAAARGH!!! DAGUMIT Price!

    1. COZART SS
    2. PACHECO 3B
    3. VOTTO 1B
    4. PHILLIPS 2B
    5. BRUCE RF
    6. DUVALL LF
    7. BARNHART C
    8. STRAILY P
    9. HAMILTON CF

    • Pacheco, a career .278/.316/.372 hitter with a slash of .250/.250/.417 in 12 PA this season, is hitting in the #2 hole tonight. There is no way in any baseball universe for that to make any sense.

      • And the bulk of Pacheco’s positive career results came in 2012 while playing in Colorado. Geesh!

        • Well, Price got the Colorado portion of Pacheco’s splits right… just not the ballpark. I’ll give him partial credit. 🙂

      • Probably doesn’t want to disrupt the other hitters in the lineup so just plugging him in Suarez’ spot. Makes very little sense really. What I’m noticing though is that Mes is out again. This is starting to worry me.

  23. okay. You have Strally tonight and Simon tomorrow? You are looking for patches until DeSclafini comes back…. followed by Lamb…. followed by Bailey.

    If I read correctly… service time now not a factor for Stephenson…. why would you not give him another spot start. His turn is tomorrow though I thought he pitched in the doubleheader last Wednesday.

    Unless I am mistaken and service time is still a factor. Anybody know or want to inform me of my folly. Two long relievers going the next two nights and I have him at Louisville?

    • Steve went into some detail about how service time is calculated. Service time is always a factor when it comes to bringing prospects up. Of course if they brought him up again, he would only accumulate service time for the time he’s actually on the roster. Where the risk comes in is if he gets injured and they have to put him on the DL. Anyway, under the “Time” section of this article, you’ll find some good service time information:

      https://redlegnation.com/2016/03/30/time-is-money-and-time/

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