Titanic Struggle Recap

Bats bailout another bullpen bust

Solid performance by starting pitcher. Bullpen sets game on fire. Rinse, repeat. In this case, the bats – Brandon Phillips single, Jay Bruce single, Tucker Barnhart game-winning single – came through in the bottom of the ninth of a tied game.

The Reds won the series, despite the bullpen. /waves tiny Reds pennant/

Reds 6  Rockies 5  |  FanGraphs  |  Rocky Mountain High

Good Start Raisel Iglesias worked through the first nine Rockies batters without giving up a hit or walk. He ran into trouble in the fourth innings, giving up two runs. Iglesias then worked through the fifth and sixth and retired the first two batters in the seventh. But after giving up a double and the (apparent) game-tying single, Iglesias was lifted after 106 pitches. Key stats: Iglesias struck out eight and walked one.

All The Bullpen Meltdowns Blake Wood and Tony Cingrani gave up three runs in the eighth inning on two hits and three walks. They recorded no strikeouts. Bryan Price simply has no good options. It’s not his fault. The lack of decent arms in the bullpen is the product of Rebuilding Binder and injuries. Ross Ohlendorf pitched a clean ninth inning.

Bruce Hits #4 Jay Bruce started the scoring with a 2-run homer to right center field. Bruce is now two home runs shy of Adam Dunn’s record for long balls hit in GABP.

Duvall Goes Back-to-Back Adam Duvall followed up Bruce’s home run with one of his own to left field. It was Duvall’s first of the year, but he’s a good bet to hit 20 if he gets playing time. Duvall’s seventh-inning double to left field was followed up with a double by Tucker Barnhart, scoring the Reds fourth run.

First Hit A Big One Ivan De Jesus had been without a hit in his first 20 plate appearances. That was before his at bat in the bottom of the seventh when he doubled deep to right center, knocking in Tucker Barnhart with the Reds fifth run.

Fact Check I read this claim on Twitter and checked it out myself: Since 2010, Jay Bruce has more RBI in the National League than any other player. He’s ahead of Ryan Braun by 4. There are only eight players ahead of him if you count AL RBI. Remember this accomplishment tells you more about the number of base runners on in front of Bruce (Joey Votto … cough, cough) than anything. Plus power. Only Giancarlo Stanton has more NL home runs over that time.

Successful Appeal With two outs in the top of the seventh inning, Rockies pinch hitter Ryan Rayburn lined a single to right. Dustin Garneau, who was on second after doubling, rounded third and scored. Garneau’s run tied the game, 3-3. But the Reds appealed, claiming that Garneau had not touched third base. The umpires agreed and the ruling on the field stood after Colorado appealed. Blake Wood, who had been brought in to replace Raisel Iglesias, threw the appeal to third base and was credited with an out. (That will be the answer to a trivia question sometime.) The score remained 3-2.

Sampson DFAd The Reds called up RHP Drew Hayes to take Robert Stephenson’s spot on the 25-man roster. Hayes had to be added to the 40-man roster so the Reds designated Keyvius Sampson for assignment. That means if no other teams claim Sampson he could stay in the Reds organization.

Pitching Plans Homer Bailey will start tomorrow night in Louisville. John Lamb will pitch on Friday for Louisville. Anthony DeSclafani will pitch on Saturday in AA Pensacola against Jackson. Doubt it’s an accident they are lined up like that.

86 thoughts on “Bats bailout another bullpen bust

  1. Above .500!

    Man, what is up with Votto? I’m worried he’s hurt. Can’t remember a slump lasting this long for him before.

    • He’s hitting the ball as hard as ever, so I don’t think he’s hurt. He’s got a ball at 106mph and one at 105mph this year, with about 7 or 8 more in the 101-103 range. His max last year was 109mph. Again, I doubt he’s hurt.

      Perhaps he’s struggling with being pitched almost exclusively inside instead of low-and-away like people have been doing to him his whole career. If it continues for a few more weeks I’ll have a 3000+ word post on it.

      Also, consider this: coming into this game, he had a .225 BABIP and a .359 (expected) xBABIP. Basically, he’s been getting terrible luck. All those 100+ mph ground outs that haven’t been finding holes? Eventually they’ll find holes. Those line drives that have been hit right at fielders? Eventually they won’t all be hit right at fielders. There might be a slight concern about teams shifting Votto more this year… which is a real concern if he keeps pulling the ball on the ground as often as he has this year.

      Long-story-short… I don’t think he’s hurt.

      • I noticed that the Rockies shifted on Joey last night, and was a little surprised, inasmuch as he often hits to the opposite field with authority. Unrelated question: I also noticed that Cozart’s OBP is lower than his BA. Is that because sacrifices count against OBP?

        • Joey hits it in the air to left, and pulls it on the ground to the right…generally speaking.

        • That’s exactly why. OBP uses times on base divided by plate appearances and since sac flies and sac bunts count as plate appearances but not at bats (which is how batting average is calculated), this can lead to an OBP lower than a AVG.

      • The only thing that concerns me is he looks like he’s getting fooled pretty badly on a number of his strikeouts, and that’s definitely not normal.

        • That’s kind of my worry too. It’s how often he’s just not looked like himself at the plate. He’s not walking and he’s taking some horrible looking swings. That’s not Votto-like.

      • Hard as ever???, He struck out 3 times today- 5 times in last 2 games. He strikes a lot for such a great hitter, but that is not typical. He has not struck out more than once since opening day before last night and only once in the 5 games prior

    • On multiple occasions, Votto has hit deep fly balls either to the warning track or near it. Additionally, the shift has cost Votto at least two or three singles. I believe the vast majority of the reason Votto is struggling right now is just poor luck. Sure, the strikeouts are a concern, but when he does make contact, he’s hitting it well, just not finding the holes in the defense.

  2. Timely hitting, good starting pitching, and Olendorf gets it done in the 9th. in spite of his 1950’s style full wind up.

  3. Tucker Barnhart. Clutch hit in the bottom of the 7th, and game-winning clutch hit in the bottom of the 9th. Nice save in the 8th inning on defensive play throwing runner out at 3B. Great day for the Reds catcher.

      • I’ve watched him closely in a few of the televised games. He is quite the pitch framer too.

        • The guy is a very, very good catcher. The only question was could he hit enough. Considering he’s a much better LH hitter and that most pitchers are RH, I think he just may be able to hit enough. I have an additional concern about durability due to his frame but honestly, I have nothing to back up that concern. He seems very athletic which implies being in excellent shape and there isn’t a rule that catchers must be stout.

        • Tucker has been here on the Reds Caravan East tour 3 out of the last 4 years. Very, very nice and cordial man. So glad he is seeing some early success filling in for Mesoraco. He’s more than earned his chance.

        • He has been a more than capable replacement for Hannigan. For all the discussion here about the Reds overvaluing veterns. This is one they got right. Let Ryan walk/traded (cant remember) and basically went with Devin and Tucker (with a little Dioner thrown in as well).

  4. Ross Ohlendorf has 5 decisions. That is hilarious.

    Also hilarious is that Ross Ohlendorf leads (tied) the NL in wins. I wonder if Thom is aware of this fact.

    • Ollie actually still throws hard atleast….its not like trying to make a cake out of McDonalds grease like Gregg and Marquis.

    • Most of his runs allowed are due to JJ and Jumbo – he looked very good Monday until Story took him deep.

    • BP still hacks at anything coming at him, but at least he’s been running into a few of them recently. He still has ABSOLUTELY no business sniffing the clean-up position, but with the way Votto and Meso are hitting…. I somewhat get it.

  5. CTrent quotes Price as saying after the game that JJ Hoover is no longer the closer. Shocker there. Going with the “closer by committee.” Situational closers.

    • Its a great plan for this year. get a good look at all the bullpen arms and see who can get outs when they are needed most.

      Not a fan of closer or saves, but having one or two guys who can be leaned on heavily ala Goose Gossage, is a good thing to know.

    • No ones going to know their roles or when they can take a nap, cats and dogs will be living together, next thing you know someone will be going for 3 inning save

      • The new system…….

        At the start of each inning, Price walks on the field, hat in hand, and consults with the umpire. Umpire draws name from hat, determining pitcher for the next inning. Repeat as required. Advantage of this system is that opposing managers cannot know withy certainty -who- will be pitching and construct a lineup against it.

        With at least 12-13 pitchers on the manifest, there will always be 4-5 with a full day’s rest, and the others will all only have been taxed by one inning (20-30-40-??) pitches of effort……….

        • So, under this new system, the Reds have to stick with a pitcher for an entire inning? I think that’s where the system falls apart. It would be great if they had enough pitchers available to switch in mid-count. Maybe that way they wouldn’t walk so many hitters.

  6. Just curious to what the Reds bullpen records is with inherited runners and how it stacks up? I am thinking just let a guy get out of his own mess as it rarely seems the switches work

    • There’s a classification called first batter(rp) at mlb.com. When you filter by that the Reds’s ERA is 8.49 with 4 HRs, 10 walks and 10 strikeouts. The Reds have had 23 inherited runners and 13 of them have scored as of yesterday.

      • So is it 25 and 15 scored after today or does Wood’s count when he came in?

  7. Not sure I am looking at the correct standings, but the Reds have the 3rd highest win total in the NL and 5th highest in MLB, lots of parity right now with a few teams looking elite

  8. Apparently it was Suarez who noticed the runner missing third base, by the way. Thought maybe it was a replay guy or something, but Price said it was Suarez.

  9. I like Duvall in LF. I think the job is his now. What’s he done wrong? Ummm…nothing. He can also hit HR’s in bunches so nice to see he finally got his first of the year.

    • I like him too! He’s been hitting the ball hard….just not much lift on the ball yet but I bet he hits 20+ HRs and his defense is actually pretty good!

  10. Votto needs to get going. He is getting smoked on hard inside pitches. Hamilton needs to find a seat on the bench. Bullpen help is coming soon as our pitchers come off the DL.

  11. Winker 3-4 (.350) tonite with 2 walks in a 16-5 laugher
    Peraza 4-6 (.326)
    Somsen 1 ip, 1 h, 1bb, 0 runs, K’d the side. Now with 7.2 ip, 1 er on 3 hits, 3 walks, 10 Ks. He should’ve been called up over Hayes imo?

    Homer goes for the Bats tomorrow and Lamb on Friday. Help is on the way if this next tough stretch doesn’t put them in a big hole?

  12. I feel that JV is healthy and as long as he is healthy he will come around. Hitting is about making adjustments and I have NO DOUBTS about JV’s ability to adjust. Let’s say that he struggles with adjusting to that hard inside pitch he is still an elite hitter but he drops 25 points on his BA ( I don’t believe it for a minute but if he does) omg he is a 300 hitter the the world is gonna end. Sheesh

    • I agree with every word you just said. Joey has been working his but off, and people seem to forget that he “only” batted in the .270’s in the first half of the year last year, and finished with a .362 in the second half, which was highest in the MLB. So I’m not worried about Votto.

  13. The next 13 games are a challenge. Just need to hang in there somehow over the next two weeks.

    • 5-8 or 4-9 is about it unless the bats really come alive because they just don’t have the pitching yet? Guys like Straily against Jon Lester or something….that’s just too much to overcome on most nights….esp with our pen

  14. A “what if” moment:

    At the break, the Reds are not hopelessy buried in the division; one of the “big 3” teams in the division has fallen off a cliff; pitching has returned to be a strenghth of this club; the injury worm has turned againts our division mates
    ….do we continue to try to stockpile talent for the future or make a deal for a missing piece to win now?

    • ….as a follow up, what conditions would be necessary to make you pull the trigger on win now deals?

    • The only way they can consistently compete in the future is to continue to stock pile cost controlled talent. Given up anyone for a “missing piece”, at this point, would be idiotic and incredibly short sighted.

      Until they show otherwise, the Cardinals are the best organization in baseball and the Cubs are more talented and can spend 2-3 times what the Reds can spend. That gap will continue to grow as the Wrigley renovations continue and the Cubs cable deal expires in 2019…..especially if they partner with the Blackhawks for their own network.

      The Cardinals, if they feel the need, can also spend the Reds into the ground. In a nutshell, the Reds path to success is to stockpile young talent and develop a great minor league system. They cannot allow some unexpected early success to derail their long term plan.

      • Chuck, I both agree and disagree with you on this. On the one hand an organization cannot let a long term operational plan go down the tubes in a fit of frenzied spending in pursuit of fools’ gold.

        On the other, recent years have shown that teams need to be flexible and constantly reinventing themselves within the parameters of their plans in reaction to events around them. Simply put, orgs often don’t choose when they will best compete for titles; instead they compete by getting and staying in position to grab and maximize opportunities which happen, often unpredictably and regardless their own planning or doing.

        Do I think the Reds will be in a position where it makes sense to chase a possible opportunity this year? No, however I think they could be as soon as 2017. They need to be ready to evaluate whether and how to pursue within the framework of their overall operational plan and not simply stand on the sidelines because it may be a year or two “too early”.

      • You said the same thing about Dexter Fowler too though! Not that you’re the only one because he didn’t gather much interest in free agency? Cubs didn’t even know what they had and were lucky he came back for less. If (big if) the Reds are still .500ish down the road and they can get a guy like that that fills a huge need and is still young enough and cheap enough to contribute in 2018 then they owe the fans that much!

        • Yes, agree. They should be looking for control and viability through ’18 or ’19 in acquisitions of established MLB talent. That timeframe matches well with the current crop of pitchers coming of age.

          They already have a “stockpile” of young pitching talent at the MLB level and on the cusp of being there plus a second wave a year or two behind at AAA. To me it is not realistic to think they can start stockpiling position prospects who will be MLB ready by even the mid point of the arb years of the pitchers now at AA.

          Thus at some point they have to take the leap going after a free agent or two and also probably trade some pitching for talent at the MLB level. However they need to try to do this in a way that avoids a boom and bust cycle like they’ve fallen into over the last 3 years.

        • I will maintain that spending 13 million per year on Dexter Fowler would’ve been a huge mistake.

          The season is 17 days old and they’re 8-7……the 98 loss Reds of 2015 were 18-17 on May 14th. From August 31-September 14th…..in the midst of one of the worst stretches in team history……the Reds went 8-7. There is a 90% probability that the Reds are a sub 81 win team this year and Fowler would’ve simply allowed them to finish 25 games out instead of 30……while eating up millions of dollars that could be better spent on development, analytics, nutritionist etc. Investments that will have an impact long after Dexter Fowler is no longer in uniform.

          A rebuilding team, with limited resources, can’t spend 15% of their payroll on Dexter Fowler. I’m sorry that you can’t understand why that would be a bad move. I’m just happy the Reds felt it would be a bad move.

          Dexter Fowler is off to a very nice start….albeit, an incredibly small sample size. Do you think he’s a better player than Joey Votto? The past 15 days says he’s better than Votto. Do you think the Angels would trade the .220 hitting Mike Trout for the .375 hitting Fowler? Why not?The Big 162 will show he’s a good player…..who would’ve made the Reds slightly less bad.

          Lastly, the Reds can’t make moves because they “owe the fans.” In general, fans are dumb. Trying to please them is one of the reasons they’ve been mostly bad for the past 20 years. From 2012-2014, the Cubs did not care what their fans thought…at all. Many Cardinal fans criticize De Witt for not spending as much as they can…..and he doesn’t care. The Reds need to coldly,rationally and logically rebuild their organization….and not care what the fans think.

          If they’re bad they draw 2 million….if they’re good, they draw 2.3 million….the tepid fan support gives the Reds very limited financial upside to be good. When you’re consistently outdrawn by the Milwaukee Brewers, you owe your fans very little.

        • Honestly I think the Fowler argument is moot. The O’s wanted him pretty badly and offered him more money and years than the Cubs. Fowler still chose the Cubs. I don’t think he would have come to the Reds, perhaps even if the Reds seriously overpaid. He wanted to return to Wrigley.

      • I’m not going to keep arguing with you but the Reds have needed a good leadoff man for 20 years and Fowler is Robert Clemente out there defensively compared to Choo! Plus the key is the guy is only 30 years old! No I don’t think Fowler will hit .375 but he’ll get on base at a .350+ clip….like he always does!!! They’ll have BP off the books pretty soon. The only guys making any money will be Votto and Bailey….and Bruce if he’s still around! Plus it would’ve subtracted substantially from the Cubs!

        • I’m also aware this team is most likely going to lose 85+ games. A guy that is a little older like Zobrist wouldn’t help us in the least going forward but Fowler just turned 30! Are we waiting til 2020 to be competitive? They already cut their payroll down a ton….is Bob C. an owner or a bean counter just looking at the bottom line? 2018-19 is long term to me and odds are Fowler will still be a productive player then!

        • Indy….I genuinely respect your passion and desire to see the Reds improve sooner rather than later. Reasonable people can disagree and it doesn’t make them any less reasonable.

      • That is true! Too many teams make ridiculous moves thinking about the short term (Suarez for an aging Simon?) so stockpiling as much talent as you can and looking forward should be the move!

    • I’ve had the same thought, Preacher. It’s certainly too early to take seriously, but the Reds are not dead, even with Votto and Mes underperforming and the bullpen being worse than feared. I’d suppose that such a scenario might affect the decisions on trading veterans (Bruce, Phillips and Cozart),because the bird in the hand is worth more, etc., but I’d hope that the future isn’t forgotten, either, and that a hard-nosed analysis of the team’s realistic chances in the playoffs would be part of the process,

      • Whether or not the “vets” are traded probably depends on whether the Reds think they are in a position to legitimately contend for a playoff spot in 2017 since that will be the end of their window of control over Bruce and Cozart. If they determine to do another round of house cleaning, I would not be surprised to see Meso (under control through 2018) and possibly even Bailey (controlled thru 2020 thus salary dump) also added to the departees

      • It would be very situational on the what if?

        What is the needed piece? What is available? What is the cost?

        If the young talent really starts to gel on this team, then you take a look at where you are at and decide. Waiting on 2017 sounds great on paper, but as a wise little green guy once said, ‘Always in motion is the future.’

  15. Scoring runs is not going to be an issue for this team that is good. The bad is quite obvious and though it is a glaring issue with our bullpen I don’t think that it is going to be solved over night. With Finnegan looking so good I think that makes Lorenzen expendable either as a trade piece or as part of the organizations best attempt at fixing our bullpen with internal pieces. Lorenzen replacing Hoover would be a huge up with very little downside.

  16. Fascinated with Ohlendorf’s windup…forget the foot movement…the fact that the ball stays in the mitt during the initial phases is really amazing…He obviously does not find the need to put a bunch of fancy holds on the ball…must also have big hands and a loose mitt.

    Votto concerns? None…dude is obviously pressing…He is showing more and more emotions as the average plummets. He’ll figure it out.

    I have hope with some of these young pitchers. Less pleased with the relief corp. Simply put…they suck !!!

    • Agree 100%. We were at the games last weekend and I was blown away by him keeping the ball in the glove!

      I still don’t like the new hitch in Votto’s swing, but I am hoping he comes around quick. The club needs him.

  17. Lorenzen closed in College for Cal State Fullerton. He throws hard. I know they want to make him a starter, but because of all the injuries, you might have to have him as the closer for now. I can’t believe the Reds Do Not Have a left handed reliever in the minors, or at least AAA. I think I read this right. What are they thinking? For the Right Handed Relievers, why not bring up pitchers from the AAA Minors. What have they got to lose? Can’t be worse then JJ right now?

  18. Crazy times for the Reds… Tuesday Stephenson pitched a gem at the MLB level, now is (understandably) back at AAA; but, he will be back in Cincy Sunday if Simon is a scratch. Meanwhile, Bailey starts Thursday at AAA; Lamb follows him there on Friday; and somewhere in the middle of all of this Disco will make a start for the AA team. And come late July, these four could well comprise four of the five guys in the MLB starting rotation (though I’m holding my breath that to date there doesn’t seem to have been a single significant setback for either of the two coming off of major surgical procedures).

  19. My thought on Iggy’s effort Wednesday is that still has a ways to go on pitch efficiency. He’s going to throw “extra” pitches regardless because he misses so many bats or catches guys looking; but, he needs to cut down on called balls. I would have liked to have seen him have enough left in the tank to have closed out the 7th without the help of the missed base call; and that’s where pitch efficiency comes into play.

    • Overall, I understand your point. Yesterday, he only had one walk. There is a ton of value when you miss bats as much as he does.
      Here was his pitch count per inning: 6, 14, 14, 27, 17, 15, 10.
      I don’t see that as being that bad, as he got the benefit of no ball being put in play 8 times! (strikeouts).
      So, IMO he just needs to keep building his stamina. Obviously, he will be shut down later in the year per his innings limit. So going deeper in games this early in the season probably isn’t his biggest priority.

      • Cueto found a way to be more pitch efficient; and, that’s what got him to the next level. If Iggy wants to follow in his footsteps (and I see lots of signs that he is similarly intelligent and driven), that’s the task in front of him.

  20. The game was a lot of fun. A brilliant day at GABP, short-sleeve weather with no humidity. Bruce and Duvall back-to-back homers. CarGo shows how to hit against the shift–straight down the open third-base line. Tension and the usual scare factor induced by the Reds bullpen. Ohlendorf enters and does well. Bruce and DeJesus do their jobs with great plate appearances in the 9th. And Barnhart gets the walk-off. Oh, did I forget the Colorado antics: missing third and having the tyrng run pulled off the board, and losing (and I mean losing) a high fly ball in the sun in LF? All in all, a great day to be a Reds fan!

  21. Interesting note about Bruce’s accomplishments in RBIs and HRs…perhaps our frustration with him makes him under appreciated… imagine what he could be achieving if he were hitting at a career .280 clip

    Heard announcer a couple games ago saying that Hamilton, when bunting, especially from the left side, should be bunting to the first base side…I noticed that too, the 3Bs play him in and are just waiting. Not even he is fast enough ot leg that out.

    Shift and inside pitching thwarting Joey at the moment. High Ks and low BBs … pitchers must be pounding the strike zone inside or flumoxing him. Look forward to Patrick’s analysis.

    Schebler got off to a good start and is now K-ing alot. Duvall may have won LF spot…for now.

    • It has been running through my mind that Schebler could be on the bubble for YRod’s return, presuming he ever gets healthy. However Schebler is the only LH bench bat which could save him from the trip to AAA

      • Schebler will go to AAA as will YorRod. Though YorRod will have to be outrighted off the 40-man roster and go through waivers to do it. That probably won’t be hard to do after his non-performance. If they lose him on waivers, so be it. They may and could draft an OF with the #2 pick in the draft.
        Between May 15 and May 31, Winker and Peraza will be on the Reds 25-man roster. Holt or Pacheco will go to AAA then too, probably Pacheco.

        • I think Winker does not arrive in Cincy until they are certain they don’t create a super 2 situation with him. That’s a moving target; but figures to be 2 weeks into June.

        • You may be right about that. But it will all depend on how each player is playing at the time. If Schebler, BHam and Holt all continue to struggle at the plate as they have, then they probably bring Winker up regardless. But if 2 of those 3 can turn it around, then they probably can wait until mid-June, or later.
          And on Winker’s end, he has to continue his good play too. I wouldn’t worry as much about the Super 2 with Winker as the Reds should be with Stephenson and Reed. If Winker had Duvall’s power to go with his batting eye and discipline, I would hold Winker back. There is also the chance that Winker wouldn’t qualify for Super 2 status. The Reds would have some control over that.

  22. Though I like the Reds, I live in Colorado. The only team I do not get to see on Apple TV is the Colorado Rockies. The games, home and away, are blacked out to force us to high-end cable to pick them up on ROOT TV, not worth it – 150 channels of nothing to watch. So I guess I’ll never become a Rockies fan thanks to the Rockies’ policy of blacking me out.

  23. Fay (@johnfayman) has tweeted that Hamilton has a thumb contusion (from the wall climbing catch in StL) and will be “out a few days”.

    • Too bad Winker isn’t a CF. He’s been at AAA long enough to save the service year. They could send him back down later to save the Super 2.

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