Cleveland came to bat in the bottom of the sixth inning with a 1-run lead. Rookie reliever Layne Somsen had thrown 23 pitches for the Reds in the fifth. Twenty-three. Not one of the six other members of the Reds bullpen had pitched two consecutive days. Yet Reds manager Bryan Price let Somsen start the fateful sixth.

Twelve pitches and one out later, Cleveland had two runners on. Layne Somsen had now thrown 35 pitches. Yet Bryan Price left him out there. Somsen proceeded to give up a home run and then a walk. He had now thrown 46 pitches. Incredibly, Layne Somsen was then allowed to pitch to another hitter, who of course, hit a home run.

That the game was now out of reach was important, but somehow secondary.

If asked to explain, Bryan Price will surely say the Reds had “only seven” pitchers in the bullpen. That doesn’t justify leaving a rookie on the mound to throw *51* pitches in a one-run game. With the Reds behind, they only had to cover three more innings, with six other pitchers, two of whom hadn’t pitched yesterday. Price’s handling of the situation was the opposite of deft.

I’m not a charter member of FYRE PRICE NOW! but I’ll take a temporary seat in the bandwagon tonight.

Given John Lamb’s bad start and how many innings the bullpen had to cover, the Reds were destined to lose this game by eleventy billion runs anyhow. But there was zero reason that Layne Somsen had to bear the brunt of it. The look on his face when Price took him out said it all.

IMG_1357

Cincinnati 6  Cleveland 15  |  FanGraphs  |  Somsen’s Burning

Roasted Lamb We last saw John Lamb eight days ago when he had pitched four good innings against the Brewers (1 run, 2 hits, 1 walk, 3 Ks). It was his second appearance in a row that had the feel of a major league start. Then he was gone, victim of a sprained thumb. Tonight, Lamb gave up a lot of hard hit balls and didn’t have command of his pitches. That’s how you give up 10 hits and two walks in four innings. He struck out only one.

Some Offense Brandon Phillips, playing in the 52nd game against his former team, doubled in Joey Votto in the first inning and also drew a walk. Eugenio Suarez kept up his hot hitting, with a home run and single. Adam Duvall hit another home run. Votto had a single and walk, scoring two runs. Jay Bruce had two hits as did Jose Peraza.

Tales from the Rebuild Binder The Reds have played Jose Peraza exclusively in CF during this abbreviated trip to the majors. This despite the fact that he’s played 23 out of 30 games at shortstop for Louisville. They could have used him at SS yesterday when Zack Cozart got a rest and at 2B today giving Brandon Phillips a day off. Instead, they stuck him in a relatively unfamiliar position. Oh yeah, they’re also playing Eugenio Suarez and Adam Duvall at new positions. Patience is called for. But you have to wonder what the front office is doing with the position player aspect of the Rebuild.

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 63 Comments

  1. I thought the one area Bryan Price would be competent at was pitching.

  2. Reds have given up the most runs in baseball.

    Reds best pitcher is? hope the younger pitchers develop. Not sure there is a #1 or maybe #2 in the bunch though

    • Reed and Stephenson both have at least #2 ceilings. To say you’re “not sure” is selling them WAY short

      • The projections I have reviewed do not have them that high, guess that is part of the development and we will see what happens.

        Reed has been solid since coming to the Reds organization. Walk rate has been dropping and has a good K rate.

  3. I generally agree with you, Steve…but, why wouldn’t they play the younger players in different positions? As we sit here today, Peraza, Duvall and Suarez all seem to be part of the long term plan and finding out if they can play other positions seemingly gives the Reds flexibility in adding future pieces. I’d rather see them win 72 games instead of 76 in order to determine how they can mix and match.

    • Good points. With Peraza though, what is his future position? Why are they playing him at SS if his future is in the OF? or is it in the OF.

      Seems there should be a plan, Cozart and Phillips are not part of the plan.

  4. Good grief.

    Bryan Price can’t win with the hand he’s been dealt, but you’d think he could make his stack last longer that this.

    As WildWest said, the one area we all expected Price to excel in is how he manages pitching. Well, I sure haven’t seen much in his two plus seasons at the helm.

    What a mess this is.

  5. The position player aspect of the rebuild is truly a joke.Not playing Peraza every day that he is here is just terrible and when he does play he plays a position he has played the least just reinforces what most of us think anyway.Price is clueless as is the front office.

    • The question is whether the main goal is to win as many games as possible or start to get an idea of what the next crop of players can do. Ideally, you’d do both, but you won’t know what Peraza can do in the outfield if you don’t play him there. Last night’s use of the pitchers, however…

  6. More of the same, clearly front office does not have a clue about a rebuild process. I’d recommend them to go outsourcing with, for example, the Cubs front office.

    • We’ll see more about the cluelessness once players lose their Super 2 eligibility. FO seems to be a lot about pinching pennies theses days. Where did all the money go?

    • Cubs fans said the same thing about Theo in 2012,13,14.

      They were wrong.

      I have no idea how you could make such a proclamation this early in the process.

      • Theo has a proven track record of building a winner….hard to compare to him. We have no idea if WJ and Williams will be successful at pulling this off.

        • So, since we have no idea, it can’t be clear that they have no clue as the original poster stated. I think that was what Chuck S is getting at.

  7. Price has to go! Lamb had to have thrown 80%+ fastballs tonite….does he think he’s Ron Guidry Part Deux? I saw maybe 3 slow curves and 2 changeups? Its 4-1 with 1 out…..runners 2nd/3rd and he has Lindor down 0-2! If you K him then you have a chance to keep it at a 3 run game but Lamb doesn’t even attempt a waste pitch? Some kind of a 86 mph belt high cutter right over the plate and Peraza misplays it into a 2 run double. This happens night after night on 0-2 and you can tell they’re not trying to get the guy to chase because the catcher doesn’t move an inch? Does Price not understand that the hitter has the pressure on him in that situation? Ramirez got beat on the game losing HR (0-2 or 1-2?) on a breaking ball in Philly after K’ng the previous guy with 99 mph heat? Whats wrong with just showing the guy a secondary pitch but then trying to finish him with your bread and butter? This is pitching 101 and it goes beyond lack of talent. Even a stupid dog knows what the water dish is for on a hot day. Look at Mackanin w/Philly….much younger team in many spots but playing smart. They had Neil Walker down 0-2 earlier in NY….same thing Barnhart sets up for an inside breaking ball and Walker hits it about 420 ft. Everyone else would setup outside corner and try to paint it w/98 but not the Reds! We have our own special scouting report and Walker hits about .380 off of it

    • Is Price calling the pitches from the dugout? I saw on another board last night that Lamb was shaking of Cabrera regularly. Maybe a bit of this is on Lamb. That’s not to excuse Price for other things as noted by Steve in the recap above.

      • Price actually does call some pitches from the dugout. I’ve seen it. It’s not all the time though. If Lamb was shaking off, he may have been doing it for a couple reasons, one of them just to change location on a fastball. I wasn’t watching closely enough last night to tell you. I think that Lamb was wanting to go with fastballs because of his thumb. I don’t think he has a feel for his off-speed offerings at all right now.

        • I don’t have cable TV so I only listen on the radio, when I can even bear it.

  8. Good point on Somsen as well….getting out of his first inning took everything he had and that wasn’t hard to see. Between the lack of talent and experience and Price they will prob set more record for futility. It hasn’t even got hot in GABP yet….plenty more 0-2 meatballs from AAAA pitchers to go around

    • But we’ve seen this before too when Finnegan drained his tank getting out of a huge mess in the 6th inning versus the Metz a couple of weeks back yet was left to twist in the wind in the 7th before the pen finished the blow up job.

  9. Votto’s hit was actually a double. It may be a little obnoxious to correct such a trivial and clearly irrelevant inaccuracy Steve and if so I apologize. But I’ve been looking for any signs of better offense from Votto. That was the only at bat of his I saw (when I tuned in again later the score was so ugly I couldn’t watch). But a double high off the left center field wall is exactly the kind of at bat that I think of as classic Votto, hence it was memorable. That and recent positive trends with Bruce, Duvall and Suarez are the positive takeaways from tonight and recent games. Anything floating to cling to in this ship wreck of a season…

    • Bruce did have a really nice atbat when he got that 2 run single to left off a lefty…..kind of atbat he’s whiffed on repeatedly in the last few years! I guess he’ll go somewhere but not sure who we have to replace him or who we can get?

  10. To add to the bad news, Winker was 0-4 tonight and is 1 for his last 20 with 2 walks. The good news is he’s walked 22 times this year and only struck out 17. That’s still a good thing.

    • His power isn’t there though. That has me concerned. Doug knows more than I do and he says it will come. I hope he’s right because Winker looks like he might be Sean Casey or Hal Morris with better plate discipline. That’s not a bad thing but if it’s a bopper the Reds are looking for, that isn’t it.

  11. Poor Layne.

    If he were to retire today he’d have a career line of 19.29 ERA / 16.36 FIP / 7.91 xFIP.

    Hope he gets the chance to bring that down.

  12. Based on the type of pitches Lamb threw tonight and how he threw them, there can be little doubt he was less than 100% following the sprained thumb and probably should not have been in the game at all.

    As others have noted Lamb was throwing a very high rate of fastballs compared to his other starts this season. His breaking pitches and mixing of greatly divergent speeds was largely missing.

    It appeared to me he was throwing harder (90ishMPH) with his regular fastball then trying to play his cutter off of it at around 85-86MPH but not using his slow curve in concert with those two pitches like he normally does.. My guess would be that either he did not have the proper use of his thumb to be able employ his breaking stuff effectively or at the least lacked confidence in attempting to throw his regular breaking stuff.

    • I was listening to the last game against Philly and they talked ahead of Lamb’s start about how he had been struggling to snap of curves because of this thumb, which is why they held him back… seems plausible he still didn’t have a good feel for his breaking stuff.

    • This is disturbing if true. If true, a clear example of how the Reds training staff is mismanaging players’ health.

      • I believe that Price has already acknowledged rushing players back. YA THINK?!

    • Exactly!

  13. pitching wise there is nothing of worth from todays game. This game was so bad I am willing to bet that within the week we see yet another article praising the Chicago Cubs. I think Redlegnation is leading the march to bandwagon jumping.
    I’m about ready to jump myself but I think I’ll pick an American League team.

  14. Couple comments that were made in the game thread, but please forgive me for repeating here:
    1. Reds fan in Cleveland so I do not get to see a lot of games with the blackout rules.
    2. had tickets to the game through work. My dad was a stay all 9 innings guy no matter what. I confess I do not always stick to that rule, but I only made it 5 through this one. Frankly, in a work environment I was getting too frustrated to stay.
    3. To Ohiojim’s point Lamb never looked comfortable. I cannot say rust versus injury, but people at Jacob’s (it will never be Progressive to me) were wondering if he was ok.
    4. We think TOS. The Indians had just come off losing a series to the Twins, who are awful. Indians could not score a run against them. To give up this many runs to the Indians’ offense….
    5. I understand the idea behind a “rebuild.” I do not disagree in concept, although if I could find the link to to the Fangraphs post, I would second the notion that it becomes more difficult to implemen a total tear down strategy as more people copy the idea. There are a number of teams (ATL, PHI, MINN) aiming to hit rock bottom in hopes of bouncing back up
    6. I would hope everyone agrees the ultimate goal is to win the Series. We should be willing to take a lot of pain along that way.
    7. However, baseball is still at some level entertinment. Letting kids get pounded like veal is not entertaining to watch. It is the opposite. That is that is what happened today.
    8. Obviously bad games will happen, especially as you try and break in new talent. I am trying hard not to overreact to one game. But I honestly feel I it is not just one game . I am struggling with the feeling this season is just being mailed in. And while I never expected us to make the playoffs, I am having trouble translating what is happening on the field to future hope.

    Talk me off the ledge….

    • Grew up in the “Mistake on the Lake” area, but a Reds’ fan since a little boy. (And Tigers in the A.L. Thanks to Ernie Harwell and the Reds’ radio announcers of the 60’s & 70’s, I found life much better elsewhere than the awful Featherheads’ teams of the time.) Watched last night, but when the bad guys started tattooing Lamb and the Annoying Drum Guy (TM) got going incessantly, it was time to exit the broadcast. And it will ALWAYS be Jacobs Field for me as well, that creepy company with its awful CEO and bizarro TV spokescreep BimFlo will never get a dime of biz from me, and their ads are an instant reason to reach for the clicker.

      Price seems like a nice enough guy, I keep hoping he will surprise me and show me a reason to let him stay through the painful rebuild…but his daily managerial decisions baffle me. And I agree with all who have posted similarly, it’s especially true with his cluelessness on managing a pitching staff. Apparently, the Peter Principle at work, alas. Summers without meaningful baseball lose one of the best things summer offers, and it appears I’m about to experience one.

      And the recent telecasts without “Big Horseshoe Thommy” behind the mike were so much nicer, even on the bad nights. (Even though not everything was quite as “Great” as advertised by Georgie during his stint. Too much gush, but sure seems like of the most likable people one could meet in sport.) Sure looking like a pathway to 100 of ’em in the L Column.

      • I haven’t thought price was a nice guy since he threw that tantrum last year.

  15. Add in the number of throws Somsen threw to 1st and he was probably at 60 pitches before the implosion. About four of us on Twitter we’re all saying the same: take Somsen out, he’s up to nearly 50 pitches. It’s only a matter of time/losses before Price is fired so he can go anytime as far as I’m concerned.

    • Fire Jocketty and Williams before Price. Trading Chapman for nothing was a travesty. Not trading Phillips before he hit the no-trade option. Bruce should have already been gone. Frazier was a good trade as well as Cueto and Leake in the long term.

      My thoughts are: Spend some money on a couple of arms, then bring up Reed, Stephenson and Winker and see what we have.

      • Chapman is a 60 inning pitcher in the last year of his contract. There was a very limited market so I don’t understand the travesty remark.

        What arms are out there that they could ” spend some money on” in mid May? Is there a pitcher farm someplace that no one knows about? Wouldn’t it make sense to let the injured guys recover and see exactly what the Reds have before adding more pitchers?

        Wasting service time and enabling super 2 is what dumb teams do.

        • Maybe trade Chappy in July of 2015. Not doing so was a classic blunder.

      • Chapman apparently beat his partner and shot a gun 8 times. Yeah… he was really going to bring in a haul. If Davis pans out…it was a good trade. Don’t know what the Dodgers were giving up but a moot point.

  16. Hope he is wrong, but this writer does not think the Royals gave up much in trading Finnegan, Lamb and Reed:
    http://www.royalsreview.com/2016/5/16/11679222/former-royals-prospects-brandon-finnegan-sean-manaea-john-lamb-johnny-cueto-trade

    • The Royals were not going to give the Reds ANY first-rate prospects for a half-year rental of Johnny Beisbol. Maybe for multiple-year control, but most certainly not for a trade deadline second-half pick-up. That said, Finnegan still might be a very good piece in a bullpen, but with all the Reds’ starters hurt, he is thrust in the role of starter where I am not sure, despite his wishes to be a starter, that he’s capable of 7 quality innings. This Reds team is bad, but let’s give them a break. Who knows where they would be if Disco, Inglesias, Lorenzen, etc. were in the rotation and the other arms were in the bullpen. We would not have to see a steady diet of AAA guys who are not ready, or retreads like Ross O.

    • 3 young pitchers… probably 2 starters and a reliever for 2 months of Cueto pitching for a team fighting to stay out of last place. Good to see Dayton Moore has a pen name.

    • I haven’t seen Reed yet but I like Lamb and Finnegan. They’re raw and need coaching but Price has shown that he’s incapable to this point? Price looked good when he had Cueto, Arroyo, Latos, etc but they had already carved out a career for themselves. Price doesn’t even have the feel for when a pitcher is in trouble that a halfway seasoned Reds fan would have? How many times has he screwed up with Finnegan alone? If Price makes the move and the young guys blow it or Hoover grooves one then atleast Price did his job but he can’t even cover his own backside?

  17. Again Price and this front office are clueless.I can live with losing but letting guys get slaughtered on the mound or playing guys out of position is foolish.Peraza playing centerfield is dumb and leaving the kid in to get hammered is just a bad bad move.His job is to find who can or can’t but not to destroy them while doing it.Neither situation tells us anything about these guys because they were put in a bad situation to begin with.Set-up to fail is probably a better way to put it.

    • why don’t we see if Peraza can play more than one position. Hamilton frail. We know he can play short…. and probably second.
      Knowing Kris Bryant can move to anotherr position a plus for the Cubs.
      Beating on Price like he is a pinata at a birthday party is one thing… but blindly criticizing a tactic that a superior manager does often and well…. does not make much sense.

  18. While eating breakfast and cruising around the NL leaderboards, I found an unfortunate thing….

    If you look at the list of worst FIP for relievers (min 1.0 IP) in the NL (turns out to be a sample of 170 pitchers), SEVEN of the 19 worst are Reds. That’s right. Reds have 7 in bottom 19… rest of the NL has 12 combined.

    If we switch to starting pitchers, we find only 13 guys have a FIP of 5.00 or worse (min 20 IP), only 5 guys have a FIP of 6.00 or worse. Alfredo Simon’s FIP is 7.02.

  19. Sweet Lou deserves one big Attaboy.
    Apparently Lou flew into Philly Saturday and watched the Reds game. He had a meeting and tutorial session with Suarez on Sunday morning, and with a couple of other players, too. The TV crew mentioned this during Sunday’s game. Suarez has responded with two mash HR’s to centerfield in his last two games. The offense has responded well the last two games too.
    The pitching, eewwww. Nobody flying in to help with that.

  20. I don’t think it is wrong to find out if a player can play other positions but I rather it not be at the big league level.Price could have played Peraza at short or second as Steve suggested but he chose centerfield.If they want Peraza to play centerfield then that’s where he should be playing in the minors.I can even live with him playing the rest of year in centerfield for the big league club if he is up to stay but you can bet he returns to the minors and goes right back to playing shortstop.Dumb move by Price especially when Peraza will replace either Cosart or Phillips as soon as one is traded at the deadline.

  21. Some brief thoughts:
    – The more I see Price manage, the more I agree with the vast majority that views him as a baffoon. His ‘work’ with Somsen last night was borderline criminal.
    – Lamb’s thumb is still ‘on the mend’. His thumb seemed to be barking at him. He was all over the place, having no command at all. That sure sounds like a problem with pitch feel to me.
    – The rebuild plans are in a binder. Do we really need to say anything else about that?

  22. Unless the Reds finish this year with a winning record, I cannot fathom a way that Price is brought back. Last year, Price deserved to be fired. He did. He did a bad job, he lost the team, he lost his composure, and he deserved to be fired.

    The argument, here and elsewhere, was that there was no point in firing him because the Reds still would have had to pay him for the last year of his contract, they’d then have to pay someone else too, and since the Reds were going to be bad in 2016 no matter what, why pay two managers to oversee a losing season?

    I can see the logic of that from a financial standpoint, but it’s still hard to watch bad managing. I think there would have also been a different logic to finding a good manager and having them implement some new priorities and procedures so that when young guys come up they would have been coming into better run system.

    • So, assuming that Price is fired either during or after this season, do you see the Reds going with an external candidate or once again hiring internally? I’m assuming that internally Riggleman and DeShields would be interested. I would prefer they look outside the organization but (looking at the GM hiring), I’m not sure this ownership will do that.

      • I think I’m basically right where you are. I would hope that the Reds would clearly identify the strengths needed in the next manager, and then conduct a thorough search and interview process to identify the person that best embodies those strengths.

        However, I would expect that the Reds will pick someone already in the organization. It’s hard to call loyalty a fault, but this Reds ownership and front office group seems to be loyal to a fault. They routinely side with “their guys,” people they are familiar with, rather than use a systematic decision making processes to bring in the best guys.

        In friends and family, you can’t really have too much loyalty. In management however, this kind of loyalty really speaks to a lack of confidence in their own ability to evaluate players and coaches.

  23. I have a hard time imaging any manager that doesn’t have enough sense to leave a rookie pitcher out there that long, just as to what it would do to his confidence. A veteran OK save the rest of the bullpen, but not a rookie. Also no excuse to play Peraza in centerfield with Billy in dugout. They could have DH’d him, that would have been better than what they had or sat Cosart and used him as a DH. It makes me wonder, and I hate to think this, that the Reds front office is dictating these moves so that the Reds will lose to get another top draft pick. Again I hate to even think that but I am beginning to wonder.

  24. Well the Braves started the manager turnover ball rolling today…

    David O’Brien via twitter, The #Braves have fired manager Fredi Gonzalez.

    Both the Braves and the Reds are in the midst of a rebuild/reboot. Should the Reds cut ties with Price, Riggleman or DeShields will almost certainly take over in an interim basis. Who knows what direction Williams will go for hiring the next manager?

  25. For the most part, it is hard to for me to consider that any rebuild is seriously underway until the manager is a person the org really believes can lead them to the promised land.

    Williams danced around the question of Price’s future last week during that question and answer session he did. The quotes I saw did indicate however that Price likely isn’t the man Williams sees as being at the helm with the Reds in the thick of a playoff position battle.

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About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

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