Titanic Struggle Recap

Bad bullpen: the Story of the 2016 Reds

Tucker

Dan Straily was very strong in his first start with the Reds. Straily allowed a run in the second inning on an RBI groundout, but shut down the Rockies for five innings after that. He struck out the side in the fourth inning.

The Reds offense was dominated all night by Jordan Lyles. They were however able to break through in the 6th inning. Cozart singled with two outs, and then Jordan Pacheco doubled. Cozart was originally held up at third base, but a throwing error allowed Cozart to score and tie the game at one. Lyles didn’t allow an earned run in seven innings, and only had to throw 76 pitches.

Trevor Story hit his MLB leading 8th home run of the season in the eighth inning off Ross Ohlendorf. That gave the Rockies a 2-1 lead. Jumbo Diaz gave up a three run bomb later in the inning to Ben Paulsen. That would be more than enough for the Rockies. The Reds fall below .500 for the first time in 2016 at 6-7.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (6-7) 5 7 1
Colorado Rockies (8-5) 1 4 0
W: Lyles (1-1) L: Ohlendorf (2-2)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score | Game Thread

RedsRocksWPA

Biggest Play of the Game

According to Fangraphs WPA statistic (winning percentage added), the most important play of the game was Ross Ohlendorf allowing a solo home run in the 8th inning to Trevor Story, giving the Rockies a 2-1 lead. That play decreased the Reds chances of winning by 29.2% (from 58.1% to 28.9%)

Other important plays (+/- indicates how much each play increased or decreased the Reds chances of winning):

  • +21.9% – 6th inning: Pacheco double scores Cozart on an fielding error. Runner on 2nd,  (1-1)
  • +6.0% – 5th inning: Barnhart throws out Adames stealing second. Bases empty, 1 out (1-0 Rockies)
  • -21.8% – 8th inning: Diaz allows a 3-run home run to Paulsen. (5-1 Rockies)
  • -6.4% – 6th inning: Phillips ground into a fielders choice to end the inning (1-0 Rockies)
  • -5.8% – 2nd inning: Straily walks Paulsen. Runners on 1st & 2nd, 0 outs (0-0)

Player of the Game

Jordan Lyles: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 0.28 WPA

Positives

straily

Dan Straily was very good in his first start with the Reds: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K. I wrote in the game preview today that Straily gives the Reds some upside, and he showed some of it tonight. It was only one start, but you have to like Straily a lot more than Tim Melville.

Caleb Cotham pitched a scoreless 6th inning. Cotham has yet to allow a run through 7.0 innings this season.

Tucker Barnhart continues to make the best of his starts. He had a hit tonight, and threw out a runner. Barnhart is a really solid backup catcher for the Reds. He is hitting .316/.409/.316 on the season.

J.J. Hoover pitched a perfect 9th inning with two strikeouts. Hoover lowered his ERA from 16.88 to 13.50.

Zack Cozart had a hit, and is now hitting .455/.444/.606 on the season.

Negatives

The Reds hitters only saw 6 pitches in the first inning. Rockies starter Jordan Lyles didn’t throw many more the rest of the way. Lyles only needed 76 pitched to get through 7 innings. The Reds offense was absolutely dominated by a pitcher who entered the day with a 11.25 ERA. The only run Lyles allowed was unearned, and the only walk Lyles issued was an intentional walk to Votto.

The Reds missed a golden chance in the fifth inning. Jay Bruce hit a rocket off the wall to leadoff the inning. Bruce tried to stretch a double into a triple, but Nolan Arenado made an incredible tag to get Bruce out. Bruce also had a bad slide into third base, as he went into the base with his front foot up. It was a big play in a 1-0 game.

Bruce

Jumbo Diaz allowed his second home run of the year. Both of the home runs he has allowed have been to the first batter he faced, and they’ve both been of the backbreaker variety.

Ross Ohledorf now has a 9.45 ERA on the season. The sad thing is that it doesn’t feel all that bad on this bullpen.

Not so random thoughts……

Around the NL Central

The Cubs lead the Cardinals 4-0 in the 7th inning. Mike Leake was pitching very well for the Cardinals, but ran into some trouble in the 7th inning. The Brewers trail the Twins 5-4 in the 5th inning. The Pirates have the day off. They begin a 9-game west coast trip tomorrow in San Diego.

Chicago Cubs 9-3
St. Louis Cardinals 7-5 2.0 GB
Pittsburgh Pirates 7-6 2.5 GB
Cincinnati Reds 6-7 3.5 GB
Milwaukee Brewers 5-7 4.0 GB

The Cubs and Cardinals began their first series of 2016 this evening. That rivalry is heating up with Heyward and Lackey both choosing the Cubs over the Cardinals this past offseason. They are even fighting over warmup music! And Anthony Rizzo’s wife is throwing shade!

Up Next:

Rockies at Reds
Tuesday, 7:10 PM
TV: FOX Sports Ohio
Alfredo Simon (12.15 ERA) vs Jorge De La Rosa (8.80 ERA)

 

All statistics used courtesy of Fangraphs, ESPN Stats and Info, and Baseball-Reference (including Baseball-Reference Play Index). All photos are used courtesy of Sam Greene and the Cincinnati Enquirer, and are used by permission.

41 thoughts on “Bad bullpen: the Story of the 2016 Reds

  1. In defense of the Reds hitters – that Ump had a strike zone as big as the whole out doors… if they saw something they thought they could hit – they’d best swing at it.

    • Yeah, that was ridiculous. If it was in the vicinity, it was best for the Reds to be hacking. Since they tend to be hack-tastic anyway, it suited them.

  2. 3rd comment since end of game – people already tired of this circus act 13 games into season – Ringmaster Bryan Price.

  3. It is really irritating when they have these meltdowns from a position of 2 out and nobody on base. Solo shots unfortunately happen, especially at a park like GABP; but the total meltdown that followed is the sort of thing you only expect from a raw rookie. That these older bullpen guys the Reds have pulled this routine (at least) twice already probably just confirms their time is passed (or never really was).

    It is interesting that Price chose not to use Hoover to salvage the 8th when he would have used him in the 9th (based on prior practice) in a tie game but then went on and brought him in for the 9th with the game down the tubes.

    • How could Price have assumed that Hoover would salvage anything? He hasn’t looked like much this year, so far. I don’t know whether he is a good manager or not, but I do know that his bullpen is ineffective and believe that it would be no matter who the manager was.

      • Oh, I agree Hoover might well have done the same as Jumbo did.

        My point was he’s already used Hoover in a very similar 4 out situation (when Hoover allowed the Marte grand slam); so, if he was going to use him in the 9th, as he always did at home in tie games with Chapman, why not use him in the 4 out situation last night?

        That he went on and sent Hoover out for the 9th with the game down the tubes perhaps suggests Hoover’s grasp on being “the closer” is slipping away.

    • Shouldn’t our 1 veteran arm in the bullpen know not to groove a fast ball right down the middle of the plate to the league leader in home runs? I mean the TV announcers didn’t get to finish their thought about Story hitting 7 HRs in the first week of the season. Just plain terrible. Can’t blame that on Bryan Price, although I am sure people will try to….

      • Depends on if he was calling pitches in the dugout or not. Price does do that from time to time. I didn’t see Barnhart looking in but sometimes on the TV you miss it.

        That said, you can’t throw a first-pitch fastball over the plate there. Not only is he a slugger but a rookie slugger. He’s definitely looking for a fastball he can hammer there and the Reds obliged. Even if Price did call it, Olhendorf should have shaken it off.

  4. It is starting to look like maybe the Reds have invented their unique way to tank. Instead of totally clearing the decks and playing all kids, they’ve kept the part of their team that was the worst largely intact. Yeah, some of the new bullpen faces have helped set the table; but, it has been Hoover and Jumbo serving up the crushing blows.

    • I think that it may be Jumbo’s time. I am waiting for some of the arms to get healthy so that he can go down a level.

      Ohledorf is pretty good in the windup, not so good from the stretch

  5. Sliding 101. Bruce has slid that way throughout his whole career. It costs him on nearly every close tag play.

    • Yep, agree with that. Bruce has never seem to get that leg down on his slides on close plays. He is not only player like that, McCutcheon cost Pirates a run recently with high leg slide.

  6. I just posted this on tonight’s game thread, but will leave it here as well:

    Suppose that by the end of the 2016 season, the Reds have their rotation pretty much figured out. Iglesias, DeSclafani, and Bailey are locks for 2017 (assuming they remain healthy). The remaining two spots likely go to two of the following: Reed, Stephenson, Moscot, Finnegan, Lamb, or Lorenzen. Once the rotation is settled, the bullpen will hopefully receive a major overhaul. Sampson is already gone. I think it’s safe to assume that Melville, Diaz, Ohlendorf, and Simon are next on the chopping block. By the end of the 2016 season (or even by the end of May), assuming everyone is healthy, the bullpen could potentially look like this: Lorenzen, Lamb, Finnegan, Moscot, Cingrani, Straily, and Hoover. That also results in two pitchers being sent two AAA- Cotham and Wood, perhaps?

    Obviously, this situation is unlikely to play out exactly as I’ve described it, either due to injuries or ineffectiveness. Still, it’s a good problem to have and the Reds will likely have some major decisions to make this coming winter regarding some of their starting pitchers/ starting pitcher prospects. Who do they keep in the rotation, who goes to the bullpen, who is kept at AAA, and who is traded for a bat or multiple relievers?

    • I wouldn’t count on Reed and Stephenson just yet, they’ll be September call-ups. By the end of May rotation should be Bailey, DeSclafani, Iglesias, Finnegan and Moscot; while bullpen should include Lamb, Lorenzen, Wood, Cotham, Cingrani, Straily and Hoover. Closer maybe other than Hoover, perhaps Lorenzen or Wood.

      • “who is traded for a bat or multiple relievers?”
        I don’t think it would be relievers, Reds should have a bunch of options there. A bat is more likely and that’s where Desclafani may be traded as perception is his upside is not as high as Reed, Stephenson or Garrett among others in minors but he could get a bat to fill in a gap in lineup.

        Like you stated, this will be a transition year for pitching staff and bullpen will be in flux all year as the domino effect of injury guys get in rotation and current rotation guys get bumped to bullpen/minors and bullpen guys get demoted/cut.

        • I have been thinking for a while that DeSclafani might be the pitcher that gets traded.

          A contending team might see him as someone who can help their rotation this season, but would also like him as he is inexpensive and doesn’t hit free agency until after the 2020 season. That combination should result in a good return for the Reds.

          The Reds 2017 pitching staff could still include Bailey, Iglesias, Reed, Stephenson, Lamb, Finnegan, and Lorenzen along with Moscot, Wood, Cotham, Cingrani and Straily. Not to mention Garrett still a top prospect at AAA.

        • I’m hoping that Homer comes back and proves to be very effective. Maybe they could get a buyer for him, That way we can keep the younger and cheaper guys, that are pretty-much just as good. More salary savings.

        • Homer is set to paid around an average of $21 million a year for the next 4 years. If we assume 1 WAR is worth around $8 million on the free agent market then Homer would need to average between 2.5-3 WAR a year to be worth his contract. Per Fangraphs, he put up 2.7 and 4.1 WAR in 2012 and 2013 so if Homer gets back to that level he will be worth just about what his contract is paying him.

          DeSclafani put up 3.2 WAR in his rookie season last year, according to Fangraphs. Lets say he puts up similar 2.5-3 WAR seasons from now until he hits free agency at the end of the 2020 season. That would mean he would put between 12.5 and 15 WAR over 5 seasons, which is worth between $100 and $120 million. If someone knows how to make reasonable arbitration estimates please do so, but considering he is going to make league minimum this year and next before starting arbitration I think it is safe say he won’t make even a third of what he is worth.

          This extra value in DeSclafani’s contract is why he could get a much bigger return on the trade market. Unless you think he is going to be much better than 3 WAR and way to good of a value to get rid of, then I say trade the guy that will give you the better return. Especially since the Reds have already cut their payroll so much, I’d rather keep Homer and trade DeSclafani.

      • Stephenson is being called up to start tonight. Hopefully he will stick around a bit this time, at least until the rest of our starters get healthy.

  7. I am probably the only one but I see Tucker Barnhardt as our future everyday catcher and not Mesoraco. I would be willing to be right now that he winds up playing more games than the Mes man.

    Also in my opinion after every game the player of the game should be a Red, regardless of whether we win or lose. I could never type a Cardinal player as player of the game.

    The Reds starting 5 is about to get shaken up very fast. I don’t think Lorenzen is going to make the grade with so many pitchers competing for the job and with the Reds desperately needing arms in the bullpen. I am guessing his agent will have major issues with this decision)

    • I’m also starting to think Barnhardt may be more than just a good backup catcher. His defense has always been stronger than Meso and it’s still too early to conclude that he can hit enough but early returns are at least promising.

    • I have been thinking this also. Barnhardt is a switch hitting catcher and they are very hard to come by. His defense is eons better than Meso’s.

    • I agree about Barnhart’s defense and I also think he can hit enough from the left side to start. My only question comes down to his durability. Barnhart is small for a catcher and I don’t know how he’ll hold up over 120 games or so behind the plate.

      I wouldn’t give up on Mes yet. He’s coming off that hip surgery and it seems the Reds are easing him in. I figured 100 games this year would be reasonable and I still feel that way.

      • I agree that Mez should get the whole season to see if he can bounce back. His power potential is much better than Tuckers. If he doesn’t make the comeback, they have Stevenson and Wallach on the way up the chain

  8. I’m just amazed that the Reds had Melville make 2 starts at the major league level with Straily languishing in the bullpen. Melville has never had a productive season in the minor leagues and had never had a major league appearance. There is nothing in his career that even hints that he would have any success at the major league level. Straily is certainly not an elite pitcher or even a good pitcher the past couple of seasons, but he does have some positive aspects to his performance and he does have 46 starts at the major league level.

    Straily’s performance last night was certainly helped by a strike zone that extended from the left side batters box to the right side batters box (somebody should fine that umpire for every absurd strike call he makes until his entire salary is cancelled by fines!), but he kept the Reds in the game and gave them 5 strong innings (after pitching 3 innings to bail out Melville just 3 days prior to last night’s game).

    Even more absurd is keeping Melville on the major league roster and putting him in the bullpen after he failed miserably in the 2 opportunities he’s had this season. This season is not about winning or being competitive. It’s about player evaluation for when the Reds are expected to be competitive. That may be as early as 2017. Melville has no utility at the major league level now or in the future. Straily may or may not have such utility, but he’s the pitcher the Reds should be evaluating by giving him opportunities when those opportunities become available.

    • Perhaps at this Melville is just keeping a seat warm for one of the projected returnees. About the only thing i can think of is that it is simpler to ride out two weeks with Melville in the pen than to make a move with him then make another series of moves for Lamb, Disco, and Bailey.

      It is starting to look like if the rotation stabilizes and they find a decent reliever or two, the Reds could actually win as many games as they lose. That could make it difficult to continue the retooling to the degree they seemed intent on over the winter. So, a little benign neglect could be just what the doctor ordered.

    • Unforunately, I think giving Melville some starts was a personal favor. He has toiled away trying to have a big league career and the Reds were happy to oblige. They knew it wouldn’t be long term, but they wasted two starts anyways. This is all conjecture on my part, of course.

      • I was thinking along the same lines, makes no sense based on a below average AAA years. I thought his spring was pretty awful as well. Maybe Strailey was not stretched out enough to start last Sunday- that is the only thing that makes sense but how could they start Mellville over Strailey Friday???

    • Also, it could be that DeSclafani and Bailey won’t be back anywhere near their estimated return.

      DeSclafani, by the time he’s back, will be at least a month past schedule. Maybe they know something about Homer, too.. so sad, if true.

      • John Smoltz’s run as a closer started with his return from TJ surgery. Could the Reds be looking at using Bailey out of the pen, at least for this season, to ease him back into the flow. It would save innings but he would be working multiple days a week with a different warm up routine which I don’t know he has any experience with.

    • I saw that too as a big head scratcher. But maybe that was before Straily’s start last night and Straily may have tempered the Reds interest in Lohse for the time being.
      I don’t think Lorenzen is going to be ready anytime soon at all. With Melville and Simon both not performing well, that could have sparked a look at Lohse, but they kept it in house with Straily. However, the rope for Simon is getting shorter. If Simon gets lit up again tonight, they may not stay with Simon any longer. But I would call up Robert Stephenson again than go out and sign Lohse.

  9. I found it interesting that Cozart’s OBP was less than his BA, so I clicked on the hitting stats link to check out the details. Turns out those links to the stats are setup to go to 2013 stats. It was easy enough to get to the 2016 stats, but someone might want to update those links to be for the current year.

    • Thanks for the prompt. Been meaning to update the top-menu and your comment prodded me to do it. All links are up-to-date now.

  10. Somsen>Jumbo…..they have to do something don’t they? When they get some of the other guys back then make Lamb the lefty specialist and long man along with Moscot. Get rid of the other scrubs like Ohlendorf and Melville. Unfortunately they’ll prob be 7 games out of the wildcards before they get it together?

    Whats up with Votto by the way? He goes through these Pete Rose periods where he just tries to inside/out everything into a single over the shortstops head but that’s nearly impossible when they’re hitting the inside corner to counter that. He’s the smartest hitter I’ve ever seen but I think he out thinks himself sometimes? He’s got to hurt them when they come inside so they’ll go back to middle away where he wants it! He’ll figure it out….he always does!

    • Like I said above about Melville, I think at least part of the reason they aren’t doing more with the pen right now is that they have the three guys (Lamb, Bailey, Desclafani) on track to be back within 3 weeks to a month; and, in a year when they are not looking to compete anyway, they prefer not to make a lot of changes now then be making more when the injured players return.

      There is no day off this week; and, no less than the Cubbies are in for 4 games starting Thursday. If Simon or Iglesias go short ahead of the Cubs and they don’t make a bullpen move, that will pretty much be a tip off, they simply choose to let things remain as they are.

  11. Not going to win many games scoring 1 run, end of story.

    When are our relievers going to learn that hitters who have never faced them are going to try and ambush the first fastball they see? It’s happened to Jumbo twice and Hoover/Ohlendorf/Cingrani once each. Unacceptable.

    • You’re not kidding about scoring 1-run in a game. So far this year NL teams are 1-19 when only scoring one run in a game. Last year they were only 28-256. That’s a whopping .099 winning percentage. Not quite 10% of games.

Comments are closed.