Let us begin with a tweet…
They held it. Every game of this series was a blow out, with the Cubs on the right side in three of four.
-Joey Votto reached base twice today on a single and a walk. Since snapping the hitless streak, he’s hitting .364/.417/.636 over his last 3 games.
-JJ Hoover pitched a clean 7th inning. Hoover said he made some changes to try and right the ship. In the 8th, Hoover got two outs and then surrendered a double to Jason Heyward before walking Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo to load the bases. He was lifted in favor of Ross Ohlendorf who retired Jorge Soler to end the threat to Hoover’s ERA.
-Alfredo Simon. I wrote that before the game started. I didn’t have to delete it. He gave up his first run on 7 pitches and needed only 6 more pitches to give up 2 more runs. Also, he needed only 65 pitches to give up 8 runs. If you say anything about Simon, say he’s efficient.
Simon was lifted after pitching 2.2 innings. Remember he was signed to be an “innings eater.” His 3 starts have gone 5.0 innings, 0.2 innings, and 2.2 innings. Perhaps he lost his appetite.
There was a lot of discussion on Twitter about the Reds releasing Simon. The counter-argument seemed to be about his salary. Given the economic principle of sunk cost, Simon’s salary should not be used as a factor in future decision making. If you think he’ll get better and actually average 5+ IP per start, fine. But keeping him on the logic of his salary is illogical. Yes, I get you have to pay someone at least league-minimum for those innings, so the argument is a bit more nuanced than just screaming “sunk cost!”
The only reason Simon has a roster spot is familiarity. As Steve Mancuso and others have pointed out time and time again, the Reds are willing to overlook quite a bit to sign guys they are familiar with. It hasn’t gotten them anywhere over the last few seasons, as every familiarity signing has ended up negative.
-The Reds offense managed only 3 hits and 0 runs. That’s bad. The Reds offense was non-existent in 3 of the 4 games this series.
Some Very Random Thoughts
-Coming into the game, Scott Schebler was making contact on only 64.4% of his swings. Last year, the bottom 3 qualified hitters in MLB had contact rates of 66.3%, 66.8%, and 67.0%. They were Bryant, Joc Pederson, and Chris Davis.
In order to maintain a sub-70% contact rate and still be a useful player, you need supreme on-contact power. Schebler has certainly shown he can hit the ball hard, as he owns the hardest hit ball of the year for the team, but if he doesn’t do it enough, he won’t be anything more than a backup or a AAA guy until he learns to make more contact.
-The Cubs offense is explosive. Every player 1-8 is a legitimate home run threat and they can all work a walk, with perhaps the exception of Javier Baez (when he plays) and Jorge Soler (when he plays).
-The call in the 9th of “Ohlendorf delivers. A grounder to Pacheco who throws on to Duvall for the out at 1st” made me feel like I was watching a spring training game.
Adventures with StatCast
Cubs Hard Hit Balls
Kris Bryant, 103 mph fly-out to LF in 1st
Anthony Rizzo, 100 mph homer to RF in 1st
Anthony Rizzo, 109 mph homer to CF in 3rd
Jorge Soler, 111 mph single to CF in 3rd
Tommy LaStella, 102 mph homer to RF in 6th
Jason Heyward, 101 mph double to LCF in 8th
Reds Hard Hit Balls
Eugenio Suarez, 98 mph line-out in 1st
Joey Votto, 95 mph single in 4th
The Reds hop on a plane today and fly to the Big Apple to take on the Metropolitans. The scheduled starter for the Mets tomorrow is Noah Syndergaard. He started throwing his slider a bit harder this year. He throws it now between 93 and 95 mph with his fastball sitting 97-100 mph. This is what it looks like for Aroldis Chapman to start. As a baseball fan, don’t miss this game. Syndergaard might be something special.