2016 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: Winning is Fun

Final R H E
Milwaukee Brewers (11-17) 5 10 1
Cincinnati Reds (12-17) 9 9 0
W: Simon (1-3) L: Anderson (1-4)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score

The Good
–Cincinnati batted around and piled on five runs in the bottom of the first, and even with their shaky bullpen, this game was a foregone conclusion early.* The big blast in the initial frame was Jay Bruce’s three-run bomb, his fifth of the season.

*Okay, you’re right, with this bullpen, it’s never a foregone conclusion.

–Brandon Phillips homered for the second consecutive game, but he was outdone by Adam Duvall, who now has three home runs in his last three contests. Phillips was 2-3 with 3 RBI and a run scored.

–Zack Cozart continued to produce from the leadoff position, going 2-5 with a run scored. He also made a couple of nice defensive plays, as usual. Cozart is now hitting .345/.348/.560 on the season, and has a great argument for Reds MVP through the first month. Unfortunately, he’s only taken two bases on balls, which doesn’t bode well, but let’s enjoy it while we can, shall we? He’s been fantastic so far.

–Joey Votto scored two runs, despite going 0-1 on the day. That’s because he walked three times. Yes, he walked more tonight than Cincinnati’s leadoff hitter has walked all season.

–I know that no one likes Alfredo Simon, but tonight he became the first Reds pitcher of the season to pitch into the eighth inning. He kinda hit the wall in that eighth, but his final line was more than acceptable: 7.2 innings, 3 runs on 7 hits and 1 walk, five strikeouts. He lowered his ERA to 9.86!

–The Reds’ defense helped Simon, turning three double plays.

–The bullpen surrendered a run in their 23rd consecutive game. Hooray for extending a major league record!

The Bad
–JJ Hoover gave up another home run. In his only inning of work, the ninth, he allowed two runs on two hits. I have long been a champion of Hoover, but it’s probably time to send him to AAA so that he might be able to get things worked out.

Unfortunately, there is likely no one at AAA who is any better than Hoover.

–Reds relievers have surrendered 23 home runs in 29 games. It’s almost laughable.

Not-So-Random Thoughts
–The Reds are not in last place! And they’re only four games out of the second wild-card spot. #believe

–Adam Duvall has crazy power. Very impressive. But let’s admit that he’s only the second-best Reds slugger of all time whose name begins “A-D-A-M D-U.”

–Speaking of which, Bruce’s homer brings him to within one HR of equaling Adam Dunn’s record for homers hit at Great American Ballpark. In addition, that home run tonight was the 34th of his career against Milwaukee, the most he’s hit against any individual club.

–Go Reds.

58 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Winning is Fun

  1. “The Streak” is alive!!

    If you’re going to be good at something – be the best – and our bullpen is the best at being the worst of all time!

    Who knew scraping up one’s bullpen off of other losing teams castoffs wouldn’t work out?

    • If we could win every game the rest of the year while also giving up a run by the bullpen, I’d be a happy camper.

  2. If this is to be the year of finding out who can play, why not try some new bullpen arms? Do we assume that those who are eventually beaten out of the rotation during the year become the bullpen in 2017?

    • We actually assume that they become bullpen pieces in 2016. Once the rotation becomes Iglesias, DeSclafani, Bailey, Stephenson, Reed I expect that Lamb, Lorenzen, Moscot, Finnegan, and anyone else I missed, will be in the bullpen most likely. If Reed isn’t up this year, then replace him in the rotation with your choice of Lamb or Finnegan.

      • There is no reason to even bring Reed up this year, I see Lamb as more likley of a starter than Iglesias, DeSclafani & Bailey are not locks to even be counted on, I suspect there will be further set backs.
        Strailey should remain in the rotation- not sure about Siomon, I like a bullpen of Iglesias, Lorenzen, & Finnegan, Hopefully they will get to pitch in some high level situations this summer

        • Interesting thought about Reed. Whether or not they bring him up this year probably depends on whether they seem themselves as a legit wild card contender in 2017 and want him ready from the git go then.

          They could bring Reed up in September and still save the of control next year by keeping him down long enough to also miss Super2.

          Amir Garrett, the other big LH starting pitcher prospect is a year older than Reed and already on the 40 man in second year of option status even though he is at AA versus AAA. Since Garrett has to stick in MLB in 2018, they might also take a look at him in September.

        • I like Iglesias but there are things with his delivery and injury history that not only may he be better suited to the pen but he may not be able to stay healthy enough to pitch much at all. I love his stuff and I am hoping that what I see from him mechanically doesn’t keep him on the shelf for long stretches of time. He’s got 2 very good pitches, one more solid one, and another that needs some work. He is also young enough to improve. He has #2 (on a playoff caliber club) kind of stuff. I hope that he can be that guy and stay healthy in the process.

    • Bailey, Iglesias, DeSclafani, Lamb, Finnegan, Reed, Lorenzen, Stephenson, Moscot. Those 9 pitchers are our primary candidates for the 2017 rotation, with the group off pitchers currently in Pensacola waiting right behind this group.
      https://redlegnation.com/2016/04/27/bayfront-ball-reds-pipeline-runs-through-pensacola/
      The most important job for the Reds management this season is to figure out which of those 9 pitchers are starters, which are better suited for the bullpen and which 1 or 2 could be traded for position players.

  3. Just looked at AAA stats and there seem to be plenty of relievers deserving of a chance.

    AJ Morris – 2.63 ERA in 13.2 innings
    Steve Delabar – 2.19 ERA in 12.1
    Chad Rogers – 0.00 in 12.0
    Layne Somsen – 1.59 in 11.1
    Dayan Diaz – 1.93 in 9.1
    Jumbo Diaz – 0.00 in 5.2 (I know, he just got sent down and it’s a small sample but perhaps he has resolved the issue already)

      • Agreed. Sam LeCure was right in that the Reds haven’t been consistent with giving pitchers a chance. Jumbo and LeCure given really short leashes, Hoover’s leash seems to be unreasonably long.

  4. Duvall improving on his .922 ops in GABP!! Unfortunately they have to play 81 on the road too.

    • Right now he is basically a mirror image of Bruce. Same stats, similar defense, but LH/RH and LF/RF.

      • Is there any reason he slugs better against RHP splits are pretty far off for career
        against RHP .815 against LHP .553

  5. If the Giants thought Peavy was bad yesterday….Matt Cain 4ip and 8er….Rockies 12-3 in the 5th! The White Sox released John Danks. There are contenders out there that need help in the rotation. We got Duvall for Leake so flip another pitcher or 2 and see what kind of offense we can get in here!

    • I don’t know if the Giants have much more to give up in their system as far as hitting. Also, I kind of have a feeling that Tim Lincecum may end up back in a Giants’ uniform when it’s all said and done.

      The Giants’ 1-3 starters are great. If they can get #4 and #5 sorted, or even one of them sorted really, they are my NLCS pick.

  6. “Joey Votto scored two runs, despite going 0-1 on the day. That’s because he walked three times. Yes, he walked more tonight than Cincinnati’s leadoff hitter has walked all season.” Yes this is true but who is more productive right now overall? Our leadoff hitters OBP is 15 points higher than Votto. I’ll take that any day so who cares about walks when your OBP is cooking at .345 Not great but it is great for a Red these days.

    • Not sure what your point is. Votto is off his coldest start and Cozart is off to his highest, do you actually believe their BA’s will be anywhere close by seasons end? Are you saying Cozart is better at hitting? OBP is not important?
      I guess it is like saying BP had a more productive game than Cozart, hard to argue with but other than to downgrade another players performance there is not much substance.

    • Saying Cozart only walked three times all year is a good thing not bad. Maybe not the best stat for our leadoff position, maybe Price should be batting him 3rd until he cools down. A walk to your best hitter has less value to the team as a walk to your weakest hitter. I have always contended Votto walking benefitted the opposing team more because he was our best hitter. But this year he is not hitting so Votto walking provides more value to our team.

      • That is simply ridiculous, you must be saying that to get a rise out of Mancuso.

        • 🙂 No, a lot of people feel that way. If you read other boards or listen to talk radio, there are a bunch of people that hate how much Votto walks. Heck, the Reds own broadcast team do!

          I like what I’m seeing out of Votto the last couple weeks though. He is seeing the ball better. He’s making hard contact. He’s getting some hits. And he just seems to look better at the plate.

        • In general, I think people never think about the opportunity cost of hitting.

          A walk has been worth around 0.7 runs while a single has been worth around 0.9 runs.

          So, if you are giving up a disproportionate amount of outs to get more singles at the expense of walks, you need to give up fewer than 1.29 walks per single (.9/.7=1.29) in order to maintain the same overall value.

          An example of this could be swinging at a pitch that isn’t middle-middle on a 3-0 count. A lot of people say that’s a “hitter’s count.” Well, if you make contact you’re rolling the dice on a 30-35% chance of getting a hit. Whereas if you try to work a walk and succeed, you’re 100% on base.

          Everyone agrees hits are better than walks, but giving up too many walks for a few more hits is bad.

      • Cozart only walking 3 times is a bad thing, ESPECIALLY because he bats leadoff- he will cool off to ,270 or less and then he will have a sub standard OBP unless the walks improve. Votto walked 143 times last year, are you really saying it would have improved the Reds if he walked only 100 times and tried to hit in 43 AB against balls out of the strike zone?

        • I agree Cozart should not be leading off. Votto should be leading off. Cozart or Phillips should bat second or third. Then either Bruce, Duvall, or Suarez.

          I am not getting this fascination this community has with walks. I realize the propensity for a run is close between a walk and hit statistically, (.7 to .9). But hitting is what scores runs. And when our best hitter walks it lessons our chances of scoring because whoever is coming up is weaker. Holy Cow, it is just common sense.

          • If Votto were to swing at pitches outside the strike zone, he wouldn’t be much better than whoever comes up next. Even for a hitter as good as Votto, balls put in play are outs 65% of the time, plus double plays. Votto hits into his share of those. So the right frame isn’t between Votto walking and Votto getting a hit. It’s between Votto taking pitches outside the strike zone vs. swinging at pitches outside the strike zone (or pitches in the zone he feels he can’t handle).

      • Steve, If balls put in play are outs 65% of the time then 35% are hits!! Those lessening Cozarts achievements by walking only three times are….well, they just don’t truly know this game. Cozart is seeing the ball better than most in baseball right now. He is not walking because pitchers cant get a ball by him in the strike zone. Votto looks at allot strikes and fouls off strikes, (thus prolonging his chances of a walk), that Cozart hitiing. On a side note, I read somewhere that the chances for a walk increases by 4 to 5 percent by fouling off a pitch.

  7. You failed to mention the fangraph play of the day was when Hoover came in and the chance of winning dropped 14%. Just like his ERA 😉

  8. “Learning History…with J.J. Hoover!” With 2 ER/1 IP last night and a bump in that impressive ERA to 14.34, J.J. continues to help us explore history. We have come all the way through the Renaissance into the Era of Discovery. Another game or two and we may have the opportunity for that historic moment of “J.J. meets Christopher Columbus.” American Colonial Era may be necessary for a trip to Indy or a DFA.

  9. It seems to me that things have reached the point with Hoover that he has to be optioned or take a break on the DL, as much for his own good and sanity as for the team’s.

  10. “–The bullpen surrendered a run in their 23rd consecutive game. Hooray for extending a major league record!”

    If you are going to be this bad at something, you might as well be good at it. Go bullpen.

  11. I really feel bad for Hoover. His peripherals have always suggested that he wasn’t particularly good but even his peripherals showed a serviceable pitcher. He’s also pretty much always out-pitched his peripherals. This season though, he’s been so horrendous. The poor guy’s line:

    IP-10.2, H-19, R-18, ER-17, BB-6, K-7, HR-7 .. His ERA has been mentioned several times and his FIP is over 10.00 so that doesn’t look good either. Out of a RP, generally one or two bad outings can kill your numbers but Hoover has given up runs pretty much every time out. It’s painful to watch. I really feel for him.

  12. Jay Bruce may owe the Rawlings Company reparations for how hard he hit that ball in the first. Good heavens that was a moon shot!

  13. It was said (very) tongue in cheek that the Reds are “only” 4 games (and 5 teams) back of the 2nd WC spot. Along the same line, there are a lot of losses being taken by every team the NL West Division. With the high number of intradivisional games, it might be difficult for a team in that division to be a contender for a WC spot when all is said and done unless a couple of the teams in the division fall clear off the edge of the earth.

    Unless one believes the Phils or Marlins are for real, the two teams to beat are the Cards and Pirates.

    Just saying……

    • It’s still very early. I still think that either the Nats, Mets, Giants, or Dodgers beat out either the Cards or Pirates.

      • Nats and Mets in the East (one is wild card), Cubs and Pirates in Central (Pirates wild card) and either the Giants or Dodgers in the West (no wild card).
        There are four solid teams in the East and Central (Cards will fall away this year, because frankly they aren’t that good), and one good team emerges out West (someday).

  14. I see the Nats and Metz as in, one obviously a WC; the Marlins and Phils fall out. I think the Dodgers eventually win the West with a mediocre record with one other West team being in the WC hunt with Cards and Pirates.

  15. The Brewers are calling up a pitcher from AAA tonight to start. Usually when the Reds have done that, the opposing team feasts. Tonight is time to reverse that and the Reds hitters can feast on a newbie. Reds hitters to have a side of gravy while they feast on Cravy tonight.

      • We did the same with Adleman. Stephenson shouldn’t really surprise anyone but bringing Adleman up and the solid effort he gave reminded me of what those guys usually do to us.

        The reason that teams often don’t feast on those guys is not a ton of scouting info on them and the hitters having never faced them. The pitcher in that case has the upper hand with exceptionally detailed game plan against each hitter. At least the first time through the lineup, I’d say advantage pitcher.

  16. Cozart doesn’t need to walk as long as he is spraying the ball to all fields, hitting the ball on the nose and making good contact. His OBP is at least .345. How can we curse the light, OBP, when he is performing so well in the lead-off position?

    • Higher OBP is ALWAYS good. Still, just very happy Cozart is healthy and playing well and hitting like he never has before for this long a period. Don’t know if it will last.
      And frankly, something is wrong with Joey Votto. He has never hit this bad for this length of time (when healthy) in his ML career. Maybe re-check his contact lens perscription?

      • He’s running career-best hard-hit-percentages (44.6%) and career-low soft-hit-percentages (6.8%).

        His Hard% is currently 10th in MLB. His Soft% is currently FIRST in MLB. He’s hit more 100+ mph balls than any other Red.

        He’s hitting the ball with more authority than ever, he’s just hitting a few too many grounders and getting a bit of bad luck. He’s missed two doubles so far this year by a few feet. He’s missed a homer by a few feet. He’s hit several screaming liners that the 1st/2nd baseman have caught.

        Votto’s fine, in general, just needs some time to dial in and get rid of those ground balls.

        • He’s also posted a much better line over his last 10 games. He’s coming out of it. From an eye-test standpoint, he seems to have looked better at the plate the last couple weeks as well.

        • I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer here, and I am not “mad” at Votto. But unless the change in pattern of pitching to Votto is adjusted to (is this the reason?), then I honestly believe something is not right with him.
          There was also an insistence that there was just something wrong with Mesoraco’s swing, and then he finds he has a torn labrum.
          I appreciate and respect what Joey does and how he goes about it. And that’s why I think something is not right with him

        • Indeed so, LW. Since breaking out of his career-worst hitless streak, he’s hitting .300/.460/.475 over his last 13 games. (12 hits in 40 ab, 23 times on base in 50 PA, 2 HR, 1 2B)

  17. The under-achieving Twins are cleaning house in their pitching ranks. They waived two veteran pitchers yesterday and today DFA’d two younger ones. One of these might be of some benefit to the Reds and their bullpen woes.
    RHRP JR Graham was DFA’d. He is just 26. He averages 95.2 on his fastball. He was a Rule V pickup by the Twins from the Braves before last year. So he had to be on the Twins roster all last year. He didn’t do all that bad. Twins used him in long relief. But some new scenery might change things for him. Only in one game did he have a bad one inning of relief where he pitched only one inning. When he ran into trouble it was usually in his 3rd or 4th inning of relief, but a couple of times in his 2nd inning. But with that fastball, Price would most likely use him in a one inning only role. And hopefully Graham could flourish in this type of role. Definitely might be worth a looksey. They can always stash him at AAA and let him work on some things if need be.

    • Graham couldn’t be any worse although Wood throws 96 and Ramirez throws 97 and they’re not the answer. When you’re always behind in the count then it doesn’t matter.

      • You’re right. If they can’t keep the ball down over the plate, it doesn’t matter if it comes in at 98 or 88.

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