Titanic Struggle Recap

Lamb gets hurt, Reds bullpen blows another lead

John Lamb was cruising through four innings. He allowed a home run in the first inning, but had retired 9 of the last 10 batters he had faced. Lamb however had to leave the game in the 5th inning with a sprained left thumb. It’s just another injury this season to a Reds starting pitcher.

The Reds offense got rolling in the third inning, and it came from unlikely sources. The first two runs were produced from a Ramon Cabrera walk, a Tyler Holt triple, and an Ivan De Jesus Jr. double. The Reds then got a third run on a Joey Votto single.

The Reds bullpen blew a 4-1 lead, but it wasn’t just one guy…..it was a true team effort. Three Reds relievers each gave up at least one run (Delabar, Wood, and Ohlendorf).

The Reds offense couldn’t get anything going the rest of the game. The game ended with Billy Hamilton (who pinch ran) getting thrown out trying to steal second base. The Reds challenged, but the call stood.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (13-18) 4 6 0
Milwaukee Brewers (12-18) 5 7 0
W: Capuano (1-0) L: Ohlendorf (3-3) S: Jeffress (8) 
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score | Game Thread

RedsBrewersWPA

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 to Jonathan Lucroy to lead off the 8th inning, giving the Brewers a 5-4 leadThat play decreased the Reds chances of winning by 25.0% (from 50.0% to 25.0%)

Positives

John Lamb looked very good when he was on the mound today. After he allowed a first inning home run, he was locked in. He retired 9 of the last 10 batters he faced. His line on the day: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K. Lamb has a 1.80 ERA on the season. Let’s hope that he won’t have to miss any time. The official diagnosis is a strained left thumb, and he is listed as day-to-day.

Adam Duvall hit his 6th home run of the season. After a slow start for Duvall, he is starting to look like a decent everyday player. Duvall has an .849 OPS on the season. His 5 BB to 31 K leaves some to be desired.

Ramon Cabrera had two walks and a hit this afternoon.

Negatives

Steve Delabar does have nice upside for the Reds in the pen, but he struggled in his second appearance with the Reds this afternoon. He gave up 3 hits, including a home run in 1.2 innings.

Blake Wood walked the first two batters he faced in the 7th inning, and allowed the Brewers to tie the game despite not giving up a hit in the inning. Something, something….walks will haunt.

Brandon Phillips had his 6-game hit streak snapped.

Not so random thoughts………….

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I loved the Reds Mother’s Day uniforms. The hats were especially cool. It was pointed out to me on Twitter that Joey Votto had red socks on with the pink uniforms. That was disappointing. Lamb rocked it best, as he had pink long socks with the uniform.

Cody Reed continues to absolutely dominate at AAA. Last night, Reed allowed just 1 run in 8.0 innings (8.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 8 K). He has a 1.46 ERA through 4 starts, with 25 strikeouts and just 5 walks. With the success that Finnegan and Lamb have had at the big league level so far in 2016, it’s pretty safe to say the Reds did very well when they traded two months of Cueto for these three guys.

I hope you all aren’t too disappointed in me, but today’s titanic struggle didn’t have my full attention. I also enjoyed watching my Cavaliers finish off a four game sweep of the Hawks. Things are getting pretty exciting up here in Cleveland. Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals will be next Tuesday night in Cleveland, and the Reds will be playing at the same time next door at Progressive Field.

Up Next:

Pirates at Reds
Monday, 7:10 PM
TV: FOX Sports Ohio
Dan Straily (4 GS, 3.56 ERA/5.19 FIP) vs Jonathon Niese (6 GS, 5.94 ERA/5.75 FIP)

70 thoughts on “Lamb gets hurt, Reds bullpen blows another lead

  1. Unfortunate about John Lamb. This team has been more unlucky with injuries than any team I have ever seen.

  2. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before:

    Reds starter hurt. Bullpen blows game.

  3. Didn’t see a single second. I took my kids to Captain America: Civil War. So, my Sunday was fun & entertaining! It was GREAT!!!

  4. Mothers Day unis are a disgrace. Just MLB trying to get people to buy more things.

    This team should have swept Milwaukee this weekend. In fact, if Walt and co. had done some work in the offseason (bullpen) this team could contend for the 2nd wildcard spot through August.

    It’s clear through their actions, that Walt, Bob and co. do not want to contend. Which is a shame, because there are at least 8 position players who look like they want to win every night.

    • They get auctioned off and the proceeds go towards breast cancer research. I’m not sure that qualifies as a “disgrace.”

      • … Do a little research on just how much money goes to the research. AND – MLB sells these on their website. Put these with the “Father’s Day” unis that are coming, along with the “Memorial Day” (what better way to honor slain soldiers than to wear camo?) unis and “4th of July” unis that desecrate the flag, and you’ve got a mess that is little more than a money grab.

          • In 2014, the Komen foundation ran a $5,434,304 deficit for the year. It’s not a highly rated charity.

        • Don’t like it… don’t buy it…this is America.

          If even $1 goes to the charity, it doesn’t qualify as a “disgrace.”

          • It’s a money grab. And the teams look ridiculous. I’m all for charity – and you’re right that any money raised is a good thing – but why not just wear a pink ribbon? This all gets done again in blue next month.

    • Jesse: Realistically, what would you have had the Reds do about their bullpen? They are rebuilding, not contending this year, so acquiring costly bullpen talent wouldn’t have made sense, particularly given how unpredictable relief pitchers are, and given the amount of developing young pitching they have in the minors and on the DL(some of whom will be assigned to the bullpen). It certainly is worse than anybody expected, though, and hard to watch.

      • Think you could have worked a little harder to find relief pitchers better than the batting practice lobbers that they have now.

        They didn’t have to spend money – but the could have looked down other avenues besides internal players they knew weren’t very good, and bargain FAs.

        The big problem has been walks. Maybe target RPs that can throw 1st pitch strikes. With the wealth of data analysis today, this shouldn’t be so hard.

        But you’re right. Bob and Walt decided the Reds wouldn’t contend, so there was no point in trying to fix the bullpen.

        Which is an indictment of both Walt and Bob. With a league average bullpen, this team could win 82 games easily. But they want to tank and get high draft picks. I can’t wait for the next Nick Howard!

        • What you say certainly has merit. They’d still be choosing from among the retreads, but maybe they could have gotten better retreads had they applied different criteria. Still, though, the pen is very likely to change this season and–dare we hope?–change for the better.

          • yes – IF people get healthy. Given the injury/treatment trend that this organization has, that’s not certain.

          • Look at the bullpens of all division leaders right now. Plenty of RPs who make less than $1MM.

      • This is for Jesse who doesn’t have reply after his hateful short sighted comments about a charity. You don’t like it… that’s fine… but a lot of [people who have been touched by breast cancer think its a good organization.
        it’s unseemly for you to say that its a money grab. really bad taste. has nothing to do with baseball and the reds. jut a bias showing through.

  5. I know fans are not supposed to be concerned with wins in this rebuild/reboot year, but these two ugly loses, when the Reds had good leads in both games, really clips your sails.

    • There is also the traditional feeling that part of rebuilding is to build a culture of winning. That means to basically build teams that know how to win. I think that’s a little cliche in MLB baseball but I think it has some value. The Cubs started building up wins as did Houston. That said, this year it appears that Houston has taken a huge step back. The Cubs are rolling though. I think the Reds can only expect a very marginal improvement in 2017 record. 2018 will be the year? I don’t think so. I’m thinking 2019 or perhaps another perpetual rebuilding cycle. I’ve just not been impressed with anything to do with this rebuild aside from the Cueto, Simon, and Latos trades. I think the Reds got fleeced big time on Frazier. The Chapman deal I can’t hold against them.

      • I would tend to disagree that they “can expect a very marginal improvement in 2017 record.” They are 2 or 3 reliable bullpen pieces away from being a good team. I can think of 7 games right now that the bullpen flat out blew for us already. That would make this team 20-12, which would be the 3rd best record in baseball behind both Chicago teams. Fix this bullpen and you fix this team almost immediately. Get healthy and get guys like Finnegan, Lorenzen, Straily, Simon, and Adelman in the pen and we would be instantly better.

        • If they are really “2 or 3” reliable bullpen pieces away, then we are there when we get healthy. Not so, this team has more issues than a couple of arms. We tanked last year with Chapman in the pen.This team has hitting issues being masked by a couple of hot players right now. We have way too many streaky players and not enough fundamentally sound hitters. Our starting staff is average, when it is healthy. We are supposed to be rebuilding and have nothing in the minors waiting to come up that could add anything of value. Depressing.

          • “…have nothing in the minors waiting to come up that could add anything of value…”

            More trolling.

  6. No big deal, but didn’t Lamb leave with a 2-2 count on the guy that hit the HR? That would count as an earned run against him, wouldn’t it?

  7. The Reds young starting & relief pitchers from AAA, will either improve (not sure to what degree?), or stay the same, which means some then will be sent back down to AAA for more work, and “Hoping” to be called back up to the Reds to try again. The Reds relief pitchers that were waived by other teams, that the Reds acquired, that are struggling probably will keep struggling. Hello…that is why the other teams waived them! Just like if you hire a new employee, that was fired by other companies for bad work and not getting the job done, chances are this employee will do the same exact thing for your company, produce bad work and not get the job done, thus you will fire them asap! Its like the Reds are telling these pictures when they try out and interview with the Reds, “I know you were waived or fired by other teams, but we will employ you to pitch for us, but you will have to do it for minimum wage and possibly less, as we are trying to rebuild and save as much money as we can!

  8. Votto’s strikeouts are extremely worrying to me. We are past the point where K% begins to stabilize… what we have to conclude is that whatever Votto’s approach is this year, it is causing him to strikeout far more than at any point in his career.

    If Votto is a 25% strikeout guy going forward, rather than an 18-19% guy… he’s like a .260-.265 hitter max.

    • Maybe nothing has changed in his approach. Maybe age has caught up to him enough that he can’t read and spoil pitches late in the count until he walks or gets a hitter’s pitch as effectively as he used to.

      • I have no idea what Votto’s issues at the plate are so far this season. After having an MVP-type season last year, and playing well in Spring Training this year I don’t think age just all of a sudden caught up to him.

        Also, just for comparison sake:
        Votto has played in 32 games (132 plate appearances) so far this season with a 25.8% strikeout rate. Last September and October he played in 30 games (131 plate appearances) with a 26% strikeout rate. (All per Fangraphs)

        Patrick, I’ve seen you and others say that K% stabilizes relatively quickly. Looking at Votto’s splits from last season though, they seem to vary quite a bit month to month. A low of 14% in July to a high of 26% in Sept & Oct.

        If I look at full season stats, Joey since 2009 has been very consistent with a K% between 17.9% and 19.5%.

        • It’s important to keep in mind the difference between a statistic “stabilizing” and one that finds the true talent of a player. A stat stabilizes when the true talent elements outweigh pure chance. And that’s an important concept to grasp. A player who goes 5 for 10 at the start of the season isn’t going to hit .500. But it’s wrong to think that any month represents the true talent of a player because players change during the year. Now, that one month of data is more relevant than random noise, but as PDunc points out, there is huge variation from month-to-month for hitters and pitchers.

        • ive never seen Votto question so many strike calls that really look to be strikes. Seems like hes not seeing the zone sharply

        • Could be any number of things, but what I meant to convey is that without another change, Votto is showing us that his current approach is one that will likely cause his to strike out more than normal. This is probably due to him trying to find a way to combat being busted inside far more often than normal.

          As Steve mentions, things like this bounce around all the time during seasons and from season-to-season, but that’s because people change their approach all the time.

          Basically, I’m trying to say it’s very unlikely Votto’s current K-rate is due to variance. Something has changed for the worse (could be age, approach, etc). Either way, I’m worried about he K-rate until he puts together a month that shows it in a normal range.

      • Votto is wanting to walk first and foremost. He getting smoked inside and he is still trying to do that chicken wing thing because he knows he cant hit it and tries fouling it off. He looks at borderline strikes hoping they will be called balls so he can walk. Our, supposed, best player looking to walk.

        • Some first-class trolling right here. Votto has the lowest BB% of his career this year.

  9. Second game in a row that the bullpen gave way as if by slow water torture.

    Seems to me that the Reds front office has a festering problem that may be starting to come to head. The team aside from the bullpen is playing just well enough to frequently put the team into what looks like they should be winning situations only to have the pen fritter it away. How do they continue to sell a rebuild when except for the Cubs, the team appears it could hold its own (or better) right now with just a league average pen, especially when nobody else competes with the Cubs currently either?

    • Price said in the Sunday post game that the org was not spending to bring in players; so, players already in the org would have to step up if the pitching woes were to be solved. While a statement of truth, to have said it so bluntly could be seen as stopping just short of calling out his bosses.

      So, here’s a way to get some help from inside the org…..

      Amir Garrett appears to be toying with hitters at AA. He’s 24 years old, on the 40 man roster, and on his second option year. Why not bring him up and put him in the pen? When guys fill in from the DL, he could be sent back down and with proper management next season, the “extra” year of player control and avoidance of Super2 could be maintained for him.

      Rookie Davis is also killing at AA and on the 40, man roster. Do the same with him.

  10. Nope, we need to learn to not care about this year. Let them continue to develop in minors, lose a lot and get more quality picks hopefully in a stronger topside draft, and compete in 2017. Expect to win in 2018 and beyond.

    • Your strategy ignores the human dimension, though: If watching the bullpen’s ongoing debacle is dispiriting for fans, what do you suppose it’s like for the starters and position players? I’m not in favor of spending spree to shore up the ‘pen, but OhioJim’s suggestion seems to me to have merit. The Reds are playing nearly .500 ball against everyone but the Cubs. Maintaining some sort of winning attitude and verging on respectability in a rebuilding year would be good for everyone.

      • Exactly. Developing a winning culture and learning how to close out games is a big part of building and sustaining a winner, if players who’ve been on big time winning teams know what they are talking about.

        I’m all for stretching service time and avoiding Super2 status when it serves the org well. However if this behavior becomes an ends as well as a means, it can cross the line of being penny wise but pound foolish.

        60% of the projected starting rotation is on DL but expected to return in the short run. The AAA team is 11-3 over their last 14 games. Winker, Peraza, Stephenson and Reed are coming up big. They may all be “ready”, if not after the Super2 zone this season certainly in 2017. The AA rotation is looking like a group of world beaters.

        Even if the Reds were to go on and cut the cord on Cozart and Bruce for what they could get (and the money it would save), there is reason to believe, they could still end up winning too many games for a top 5 pick in June of 2017; and, almost certainly they aren’t going to be in the running for a top another 5 pick for several years beyond

      • I remember the Cubs bullpen blowing a ton of games when they were rebuilding. It doesn’t seem like that “losing culture” has had too big of an impact when they were ready to compete again.

        • The Cubs may be an exception Nick. I look at Houston though and they are starting to look like one-year wonders. Rebuilds don’t always work, especially with years of being dreadful.

        • Ah, the Astros still have Carlos Correa. They only have him because they tanked. I’d certainly take where the Astros are right now over where the Reds are.

        • Nick: I certainly wasn’t saying that a losing culture is the only concern. A team can overcome a lot of peripheral problems if its roster is loaded and the bank account as well. But as OhioJim points out, former players often support the idea that such intangibles matter. Pete Rose did during the rain delay, most recently.

      • I often agree with Jim, but history is filled with teams that took their lumps while rebuilding and they ultimately were fine. Developing a winning culture is great….but developing players is essential. The 2012-14 Cubs were a dumpster fire and yet Anthony Rizzo seems to have turned out ok.

        • See what I said in reply to Nick. Look at Houston? Look at all long it took the Royals to be good. Their rebuild was 7 years?? Atlanta is looking like they are in some sort of perpetual rebuild cycle as they were trading away guys who were supposed to be part of the future. I’m not talking about the Miller trade. I mean they almost had to do that one!

  11. We could compete with everyone in our division, except the Cubs, if we had just a couple of arms in the pen. It is frustrating for me as fan. Hope our players dont lay down and say what is the point.

  12. We usually make a trip every season from Upper Michigan to GABP to take in a Reds’ series and enjoy the terrific ambiance of a wonderful city and one of our favorite ballparks. Not this year. As a long-time Reds’ fan, I just can’t financially support a team whose management has effectively said it won’t give them a chance of winning on the days when the starting pitching and/or hitting have earned them that opportunity. It’s reached the point where we know the bullpen gag is coming…we just don’t know if it’s going to be a massive one-inning implosion, or as described by a poster above, the water torture treatment. But it’s coming. I’ll be a fan from afar, watching the development of the young SP, watch the games on the Extra Innings package…but any baseball trip this year will be someplace else. No respect for we fans with an effort to compete…no derriere in the seats…for now.

    And even though Price was an exceptional pitching coach, his decision-making as a manager has been beyond awful. How many games already this season has he left a floundering pitcher (occasionally starters, but especially relievers) in just one batter, one pitch too long? I’ve sure seen a pathway worn to the mound one hitter after a long game-losing bomb or bases-clearing hit. Everything about him to me makes him sound like a good person and knowledgeable baseball guy, but spur-of-the-moment decision making has been horrific. Wish he’d except a demotion with same pay back to pitching coach and a sharper field manager would be brought in.

    • I think I heard yesterday that 9 times this season a relief pitcher has given up a home run to the first batter he faced. What is Price supposed to do about that? I don’t know if he is a good manager or a horrible manager but given what he has to work with I think it is impossible to really tell.

    • I disagree with this first premise completely. Management has nothing to do with the fact that 60% of our starting rotation in on the DL. They cannot be blamed for the far too many injuries and DL stints that this team has suffered already 32 games into a season. They are obviously rebuilding for the future so why spend $15MM+ on a bullpen to win 75 games? The only reason players like Winker, Stephenson, and Reed are not up on the big league club yet is this whole super 2 status. I am not a management advocate at all, even though this post sounds like I am. They seem to have their hands tied between injuries and service time plain and simple. They have definitely mismanaged players and injuries in the past, see Devin Mesoraco for one. Once again, when all pitchers are healthy this is a pretty good baseball team.

      • Once again, when all pitchers are healthy this is a pretty good baseball team.

        Which is why I suggested filling the gap in the pen with a couple of guys who are blowing away AA but figure to be in AAA next year when the service time and Super 2 issues could be mitigated.

        They didn’t need to spend $15M or even $10M probably not even $5M additional to have a league average pen.

  13. While most of us knew this was coming… even I am kind of surprised by the total dumpster fire which the bullpen has become.
    lambs injury is tough to swallow. he has pitched well and made me think we really got the best results of the trade for 2 months of cueto.\before we can plan at all… we have to see bailey and deslafini on the mound. has anyone read or heard anything from how bailey responded to playing catch last thursday?
    shoulders are worrisome and they are going to be very careful with iglesias. when super 2 status is cleared i would like to see stephenson and reed up here starting. i am noit sure they have much left to prove in louisville.
    move garrett and rookie davis to louisville. davis doesnt strike out many guys and we have to see how he fares up a level.
    i am also wondering if you are not going to bring back jumbo who seems to have found his stride… and somsen…. why not bring up daniel wright or chacin from pensacola.
    looking for input here.

    • I purposely stuck to guys on the 40 man roster because their option clock is already started; that’s 3 years and done. I did not want to open the door on the long range implications of putting folks onto the 40 man before it was required to protect them from Rule 5.

      In the case of the two guys I cited, Garrett and Davis, which is going to develop them better at this point, facing MLB batters out of the pen or continuing to dominate AA batters? They can always be moved by to starting next year at AAA (or MLB if good enough); and a positive side effect of using them in then MLB pen is that it saves on overall innings.

      • i don’t really want then facing batters out of the pen. i think their development is better served by moving up a step once you bring up stephenson and reed.
        i don’t think the 40 matters that much. not really worried that someone going to pick up the bottom guys on our 40.
        if chacin and wright are not ready… so be it. neither are hayes and ramirez. keep looking for the guys who turn the light on.

        • The thing that stands out to me about Garrett is that he is a older (24) and on his 2nd option year. He has to be in the majors by 2018 regardless. Thus I would suspect he will be first man up to Louisville; and, depending what transpires there may actually see the Bigs ahead of Reed who is not yet on the 40 man. Hence, it wouldn’t be rushing Garrett that much.

          I do think it makes no sense to bring up just one guy so I included Davis as the logical 2nd man up.

  14. Its hard to be a fan when the year is going to be a bad one.We must stay the course but to be competitive in this division is not in the cards for us.Our pen is bad right now and the starters are not the starters we had hoped to see due to injuries but my beef is with the position players.Its the same guys doing the same things they have always done.Of course we could argue the point as to where we find others that will perform as well as Bruce,BP and Cosart have performed but the bigger question is are they a part of the future.I think we can say they aren’t due to age or salary or both so lets move on from them and see what we have in the minors.Out of necessity we have audtioned a bunch of pitchers and we have a good idea who is or who isn’t part of the future so lets do the same with the position players.Who knows somebody may step up such as Duvall has done so far this year when given a chance.At least we can get a sample size on some guys.

    • Well they’re prob stuck with BP? I think they have to try to move Cozart and Bruce although if you think about 2017 and all the strong arms Price would have available then it would sure be nice to have that defense up the middle of Cozart, BP, and Hamilton! Cozart isn’t even that expensive either? They could still trade him next year? Duvall to RF and move Bruce….hopefully he’ll go on one of his heaters before the trade deadline?

  15. This is just a lost season and as much as we’d like to blame the Reds brass or Price…..not much can be done? Nobody could anticipate that they’d have a grand total of 10 innings combined at this point between Disco, Lorenzen, and Lamb. Inglesias is on the DL and Bailey is still out. Hoover has never been this bad….Jumbo lost velocity, etc.
    They knew the bullpen wouldn’t be good but I think it was reasonable to expect the starters to get thru 6-7 innings on most nights and that Hoover and Cingrani were somewhat dependable and maybe 1-2 other guys might step up? Of course whats actually happening is a perfect storm of young and/or retread starters that can’t even get thru 6 innings on most nights which is obv overworking their castaway/retread/AAAA bullpen that they’ve cobbled together. I hope they don’t write off next year because the NL is turning into the Eastern Conference of the NBA where its the Cubs and everyone else? The pitching should become a strength if the offense can add a piece or 2 and become more consistent.

  16. Here’s something to chew on when thinking about the bullpen. They supposedly had no money but yet there is ~$3M sunk in Hoover ($1.4M), Wood (600K), and, Ohlendorf (800K).

    Yes, they fell into Olendorf late; but, still the $800K laying around all along. So, that ~$3M could have been put into a decent reliever with the other 2 spots filled by the fodder type guys filling the pen now; or, in a real rebuild it could have been pocketed for the future.

    • Honestly, I don’t think anyone could have predicted that Hoover would flat out stink. Sure, his peripherals have always suggested that he’s borderline and 1.4M is about right for the kind of pitcher he was expected to be. I also wasn’t too upset about Olendorf. I thought he was a good rebound candidate and at under 1M, the Reds could take that risk. There’s no way I would have given Wood a MLB deal but hey, apparently the Reds see something none of us do and it’s less than 100K above the minimum salary. 3 million for 3 arms, one of them you’d have to expect to be at least decent, isn’t that much of an overpay. This is especially true when the 3 arms at MLB minimum would cost over half that.

  17. I used to be highly against the NL going to the DH.
    I’m now fully on board with the move.

    Now, when Lamb comes back, how is he going to have to adjust his swing?

    • I’ve been following the Louisville (Reds AAA) box scores to keep track of Winker et al. It appears to me they are using DH whenever they play an affiliate of an AL team regardless of the location of the game. That’s 9 out of 14 teams overall in their league and 2/2 split within their division. Two thoughts, 1) it is no wonder the pitchers coming up look lost at the plate and 2) this just about has to be the writing on the wall that full DH is just a matter of time,

      • i noticed that also. wish they would reconsider but probably being fair to the fans in kentucky who are so supportive of the bats.
        i understand working on the offense but we seem pretty helpless in getting a bunt down.

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