Titanic Struggle Recap

Report: Innings Eater Not Hungry

Let us begin with a tweet…

tweet

They held it. Every game of this series was a blow out, with the Cubs on the right side in three of four.

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| Box Score | FanGraphs Winning Percentage |

The Good

-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.

The Bad

-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

Tomorrow’s Game

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.

54 thoughts on “Report: Innings Eater Not Hungry

  1. +250 for the title and recap. +50 for Lil’ Jeter just because I can.

    Simon started badly and it just didn’t let up. I can accept a 4+ ERA pitcher who eats innings on the back-end of the rotation and actually … well … eats innings. At this point, I’m not even sure he is going to help as a long reliever.

    Good recap. Let’s go to NYC and get our @$$es kicked by the Mets!

  2. Melville was DFA’d and went unclaimed (WHAT?! No one wanted him at a discount price? I’m stunned!) so the Reds assigned him back to the AAA roster. Great, just great! Now that the Reds know they can ‘sneak’ him through waivers, maybe we can look forward to the Reds adding back to the 40-man roster so they can promote him for more chances at the major league level.

    The Reds released Mattheus from his minor league contract. That’s a positive move. Get the prospects to AAA and lose the retreads.

    I was actually hoping that Simon would prove me wrong and demonstrate that his prior pitiful efforts were due to physical problems related to rushing him to the starting rotation after trying to get him extended after only 3 outings in spring training. Simon proclaimed himself healthy and ready to go today after admitting he was not ready in any of his prior outings. The result: 8-R, 9-H, 1-BB, 2-SO, 2-2b, 2-hr & 1-E for good measure. It’s time to take off the blinders and move on.

    • Garret has only one option year remaining after this season. If he continues his strong start, I’d think he would be ideal for fast tracking on up to AAA.

      • That’s my thought too, as the 1st move, but getting one of the LH relievers up to AAA is also a consideration.

    • Honestly? I think Simon is still hurt. I would be surprised if he didn’t go on the DL.

      • His fastball velocity isn’t any lower than you would expect from typical aging decline. He might be hurt, but he’s definitely leaving too many balls up in the strike zone.

        • Yeah, I saw that too. An injury or pain can interfere with command too however. I’m not trying to make excuses for him though and if he is trying to pitch through pain he’s doing it at the expense of his team.

  3. “Since snapping the hitless streak, he’s [Joey Votto] hitting .364/.417/.636 over his last 3 games.”

    That’s a big ol’ SSS Alert, but I’m with you 100% Patrick. I’ll grasp at any positive to indicate Votto and Mesoraco are things together and will become a force in the middle of the lineup.

    • Absolutely. Three games is the fewest I’ll even mention. Just wanted to illustrate that he’s helped out his numbers over the last 3 games. If he can just add 20 points to his line per week, he’ll be at a decent spot by the start of June.

      • I’m really being a devil’s advocate (who is he, and does he need an advocate?), but 3 games are what Simon has had, too. I know, I know…

        • I’m not saying we should think Votto is “better” because of 3 games. I’m saying he’s had a good 3 game stretch, which is a fact and not subject to small sample size.

  4. The good news is that with the day off in NY, they don’t need this rotation spot again until May 4 or there abouts. By then both Bailey and Disco will be due for their 3rd rehab start. Maybe they just drop one of them, most likely Disco, into the rotation at that point. That would mean they could also have Simon ready for his last stand, the pen by Thursday.

    • Lamb already pitched his 2nd rehab start on the 22nd, throwing 78 pitches. His 3rd rehab start would be on the 27th (the Bats are on the road but the Dragons are playing at home if that’s a consideration). He could also be a consideration to activate for a start on the 3rd or 4th. There are certainly other options available for consideration, but starting Simon again should not be one of them.

      • I didn’t mention Lamb because apparently he is in Price’s doghouse. It was reported Sunday on the Beat Reporters’ segment on the Reds radio that Price had expressed clear and rather strong displeasure with Lamb because he believed Lamb had not given a full honest effort in his rehab Saturday, the one where he gave up 11 runs in 2+ innings or whatever it exactly was.

    • At one point, Price had said Disco and Lamb might only need 2 rehab starts each, and Homer would need 3. … Now given how dissatisfied the Reds were with Lamb’s most recent start, maybe he will have more than 2.

  5. Meanwhile in Norfolk, Stephenson has pitched through the 4th on 70, pitches and not allowed a run.

    Not advocating for his recall, just pointing out that better days are not that far away.

  6. In the “it came out nowhere” category: Matt Latos is now 4-0 with a 0.74 ERA, and a 0.84 WHIP…..WOW

  7. Word was the Reds were looking into Kyle Lohse a week or so ago.

    He started his career in Cincinnati, so he’s got that requirement covered, and he can’t be worse than Simon. I would be ok seeing the Reds dump Simon and trying with him

    • I recall Lohse being awesome from the wind-up, not so great from the stretch, and having a beautiful wife. That’s got to count for something.

      Also, I think his career actually started with the Twins.

      • You’re correct.

        Edit: *has previously played for the Reds AND the cardinals. He’s perfect.

        • Kyle Lohse, another guy who has lost his fastball. Yes, by all means, lets waste some more money on a guy who is finished.

  8. As bad as the Reds pitching has been, I got to think this Cubs lineup is going to make a bunch of staffs look stupid. Chicago is loaded for bear, it’s a stout lineup top to bottom and deep on the bench.

    • Excellent point. This lineup will do some work this year against just about anyone.

  9. In 42 games against the Dodgers, Pirates and Phillies, the 1975 Reds went 21-21 …In 60 games against the Cubs, Braves, Mets and Expos, they went 48-12.

    Good teams often break even against other good teams and absolutely beat the living crap out of bad teams……that is what we just saw over the past 4 days.

    • The Dodgers beat the crap out of the 1975 Reds. I think they were 14 -4 against the Reds, and finished 20 games behind them in the NL West. Baseball is a weird game.

        • Because of the Reds/ Dodgers rivalry, I hated SoCal for a couple of decades. Then I met my wife who was transplanted from SoCal. Now every time we visit her family there, she has to drag me back east and remind me of all the reasons not to live there. However if I am ever at a Reds v. Dodgers game at Dodger Stadium, I will most assuredly be rooting for the Reds. regardless of where I might be calling home 🙂

        • OHIOJIMW — I really identify with what you are saying. I now live in Chicago and proudly wear my Redleg Nation hat to every Cubs game that I attend at Wrigley.

    • So far, in addition to being cannon fooder for the Cubs, the Reds have held their own against 3 decent to good teams (Pirates, Cards, and Rocks) and cleaned up on the back bencher Phillies.

      It will be interesting to see what goes down versus the Metz as that might provide an early reference point of how the Cubs and Metz may stack up versus each other. It might also help us figure out how much of what happens in Reds v. Cubs is the Reds ineptness and how much is the Cubs playing really well.

      • OHIOJIMW — A tough series. We have to face Syndergaard and Harvey, but at least we get Colon versus Finnegan.

        • The Metz pitching is as good as and probably better than the Cubs on the whole.

          I think what I’ll be looking at more than if the Reds manage to get a W in NYC is whether the Metz offense is able to light up the Reds and take them out of the game like the Cubs did.

          Taking nothing away from the Cubs pitching, especially Arietta, but for veterans at least, it is so much easier to pitch with a multi run lead. The one game where the Cubs did not have that advantage going to the middle innings is the game where the Reds caught up to a tiring Cubs starter then lit up the first man out of the pen to finish the job. So, it cuts both ways. The trick is to have the pitching and offense to make it work.

      • I think the Mets will be Kryptonite for the Cubs if they meet again in the playoffs. the Cubs go deep into counts and dare the other team to throw strikes by them. The Mets have 3 monsters they can run out every night in a short series that will get the Cubs hitters in 0-2 counts really quick.

  10. Fortunately the Reds saved up all of their scoring for one game in this series, otherwise they would have been swept.

    I really thought Simon was a decent signing for bottom of the rotation innings eater. It don’t look so good now.

    • All of us armchair GM’s probably thought this was a shrewd move. In hindsight, it was a terrible move. The Reds are now on the hook for $2Mill for Simon, who appears to have a dead arm.

      • I don’t know if anyone thought signing a guy who was watching Judge Judy all day in late March was shrewd. The Reds needed a body..he was available and the price was right.

        Guys sitting on the scrap heap in late March aren’t generally projected to be good. The Reds rolled the dice and he’s sucked. They had few other options and he was never more than a short term band aid. It was a necessity driven move that has had a bad outcome thus far.

      • Actually…upon further review…the Simon signing was tremendous. It bought them time with Stephenson and allowed them to maintain the extra year of control. The 2 million spent on Simon, may save them 20 million in 6 years.

        • They needed to get an arm. It didn’t need to be Alfredo Simon. There are plenty of pitchers in similar situation out there still.

      • I’m going to get a name for defending Simon, but my eye tells me his arm isn’t dead, at least as measured by velocity. He was often at 93mph, sometimes at 94. Pretty much what Cingrani does. Location matters, evidently.

        • I’d like to think that Simon could still help stabilize the Reds pen; but, he’s been so destabilizing as a starter I am really doubting that now.

          93MPH is pretty ordinary anymore at the MLB level. He’s got to have location, location, location and a little bit of movement too to be effective ben that from the rotation or in the pen. Tom Seaver, even at his prime, would talk about how location was the key element over velocity. Seaver actually also rated movement ahead of velocity.]

    • It was really not a great signing at any point. Simon is just not a good pitcher. At this point he is hurting the team much more than any potential innings eating. Burning through the bullpen in his starts

      • No starters are giving them good innings.I am pretty sure they are averaging under 5 innings per start. Iglesias I think is the only one to get at least 5 innings per start.
        Hopefully Simon can get it going and be an effective reliever like in 2101/2013 as they will need someone to step up as I cannot imagine Cotham and Wood can be expected to keep up their good numbers.

      • Scouting pitching is always tricky, especially with marginal Major League arms.

        Tim Melville didn’t have it. Dan Strailly looks like a good pick-up. Alfredo Simon has lost it.
        One in three. Not very good odds.
        You could toss in Ross Ohlendorf, who has been alright, but just a reliever.

        Put Simon on the DL to rest his arm and get the tendonitis out, then give him some rehab time in AAA. If he still stinks, bring him up and then release him. The Reds treated Sam LeCure a lot worse last year.

        • Clearly, Simon and Hoover (and others) are not fooling anyone given the speed of the balls off the bats. That is a really revealing stat. They may throw in the 90s but so what if the hitter always has a 2-0 count and its down the middle. Losing velocity can be a sign of injury but there are tons of unemployed pitchers who throw 93 mph. Maybe try getting guys who have some ability to control the strike zone (or throw inside ever).

        • I agree, Gaffer, but I’ll register one last defense of Simon, even though I’m not defending him. He hasn’t even pitched 9 innings this season. He didn’t, as I recall, have a full spring training. He is evidently dealing with an injury. There may be other similar pitchers out there, but it seems possible that we haven’t seen what Simon is yet. The Reds, because of rebuilding, service time considerations and the youth of their pitching staff, are going to need a pitcher or two to hold the fort in what all concede to be a non-competitive season. The Reds’ familiarity with him rings alarm bells around here, but he was reasonably effective for them–unexpectedly so. It seems possible, given a little time, that he might be as good as or better than the options available to the Reds, and what does it matter, anyway?

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