2016 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: Who cares about the Ohio Cup anyway?

Final — 12 innings R H E
Cleveland Indians (20-17) 8 10 0
Cincinnati Reds (15-25) 7 10 2
W: Allen (1-3) L: Sampson (0-1) S: Otero (1)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score

The Good
–Another productive night for Zack Cozart: 3-6 with a run scored out of the leadoff spot. He continues to swing at nearly every single pitch that is thrown to him, but when you’re squaring the ball up like Cozart is, who cares? He’s hitting .320…with a .320 on-base percentage.

–How about Jay Bruce? Tonight, Bruce was 3-4 with two home runs, a walk, and three runs scored. On the season, he’s hitting .290/.347/.557 with 8 home runs and 27 RBI. Pretty, pretty, pretty good.

–Eugenio Suarez hit a three-run homer in the sixth, his ninth of the year. Yes, he made two errors, but I like that guy anyway.

–Ross Ohlendorf and Caleb Cotham pitched perfect innings. Hurrah.

–Billy Hamilton had a couple of hits. Joey Votto reached base three times.

The Bad
–Tony Cingrani, seeking his fourth save in the ninth inning, surrendered a two-run homer to Rajai Davis that turned a 7-5 Reds lead into a tie game. This bullpen, amirite?

–Brandon Phillips was 0-for-6 at the plate. Tucker Barnhart was 0-5. Tyler Holt was only 0-4.

–Keyvius Sampson gave up a homer to the first batter he faced in the 12th inning, giving Cleveland an 8-7 lead that would become the final margin.

Not-So-Random Thoughts
–Your Redlegs are now 10 games below .500.

–Reds bullpen waited until the ninth inning to blow the game, so that seems like progress.

–With his first homer tonight, Bruce broke Adam Dunn’s record for total homers at Great American Ball Park. Then he hit another one. Bruce now has 128 career home runs in his home ballpark.

–Brandon Finnegan was cruising until the sixth, when he ran into some trouble. In the end, his final line was 5.2 innings, 3 earned runs allowed on eight hits. Finnegan struck out 6 and didn’t walk a batter. Lots of positives to take away from tonight’s game, but I can’t add it to the “Good” section above.

The kid is 23. He’s going to be fine.

–Tony Cingrani has a quality beard.

Steve is right; the Reds need to start a #VoteZack campaign. I’d love to see Cozart make an All-Star team.

–I can’t believe the bullpen was unable to (a) hold a lead or (b) hold the Indians long enough for the Reds to score and win the game. No, wait, I can absolutely believe that.

95 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Who cares about the Ohio Cup anyway?

  1. There has to be someone out there, someone, who could be serviceable for the bullpen inside or outside the organization. We might be better off with a tee-ball tee as a pitcher than some of the people we run out there.

    • I don’t think mgmt WANTS bullpen help. They are happy with this course of events.

      • I doubt that this is true. Bob HATES to lose. Plus they don’t want to be an embarrassment. But, we all secretly want them to lose.

        • If Bob hates to lose, and if they don’t want to be an embarrassment, then they’d have done many, MANY things differently over the course of the past three years.

          This is historic incompetence.

        • Bob is rich for a reason, folks! Spending a dime on bullpen help this year is just tossing money into the fire.

          I am fully trusting that once the time comes, he’ll spend again.

  2. If I am going to be upset about the Reds pen tonight, it would be that Cingrani walked a man then grooved one and failed to finish the 9th inning much than Sampson getting burned in the 12th. Simpson actually looked good after the HR. Where were all the change of speed and breaking pitches versus Liondor?

    • I think the walk was a 10 pitch AB, per Gameday all 4 balls were borderline, 2 looked well in the zone, most disappointing was that Davis homered on his slider like he knew it was coming

      • Like I said if you don’t trust your breaking pitch for a waster/ bait pitch at 0-2 don’t try throwing it for an out pitch at 1-2

  3. Nice recap of the first 40 episodes of this “Wonder(awful) World of Reds Baseball” by Bryan “Walt Disney” Price. Now I can get some sleep after hearing him say “it won’t be like this all season.”

    • If any of the hurt pitchers get better this season, which they will, this pace won’t continue.

      • Why? SP really is not the problem outside of Simon, is Disco really going to pitch better than Alderman or Straily? Who is going to make an impact in the bullpen?, none of these guys had better stats than Cingrani’s first year so why should they better than him?
        Cozart and Duvall cannot keep up there pace and I suspect neither can Bruce and Suarez who have been hot – the offense will score in bunches but then go silent as the bullpen blows leads

        • How many times this season have they barely been able to get 4 or 5 innings out of a starter? When you already have a questionable bullpen that just makes it impossible. I also continue to be optimistic (maybe too strong a word) that if a few of the projected starters coming out of Spring Training get back, things will improve.

  4. On the bad, terrible, awful bullpen, remember that Jumbo Diaz gave up a run on two walks and a wild pitch. And then celebrated after he finished the inning.

    • I don’t blame him. I celebrated too, anticipating the full scale meltdown a couple of innings early.

    • This must have been while I was watching Steven Hawking on PBS. He was trying to explain with understandable (to him) illustrations the concept that forward time travel is possible but going back in time is not. Too bad for Reds fans we can’t buy a ticket to at least 2018.

      • Interesting. How is it possible to go forward in time but not back? Forward doesn’t exist but back does. This is probably easier to explain than the Reds bullpen.

        • I would assume it’s the “can’t go back without altering the future” argument, but then again I guess you couldn’t go forward without altering the future….

          This is what the 2016 Reds have brought us to: discussing the viability of time travel

        • you can go SO FAST, that time could speed up. But to go backwards in time can’t be explained by physics

        • I read an article about it and to be honest I am not smart enough to get the physics behind it.

        • Is this under the assumption time is linear? Otherwise, if it’s cyclical there is no forward or backwards.

        • I thought it required a flux capacitor and, since we’ve made it to 2015, a Delorean fueled by Mr. Fusion (TM).

        • Relativity. As you approach the speed of light, space-time in your local reference frame slows down while the rest of the world stays the same. So, 10 minutes for you could be 10 years for the outside world. Hence, time travel.

          This has, I believe, been proven with super accurate clocks put in orbit with astronauts for weeks or months. When they come back to earth, the clocks are behind.

        • Patrick, not quite where Hawking was at last night but of course close because it was all about relativity and time as the 4th dimension. I’ll try to tweet something at you.

      • I’d hold out for 1975, ’76 or ’90, despite Hawking’s proclamation.

  5. At least our ex-Reds are doing well. Another complete game gem tonight from Cueto and 1-2-3 save by Chapman.

    • I really don’t think they fire him this year. It’s a club-sanctioned rebuilding year.

      And to be honest, most of this mess can’t be blamed on Price. There just isn’t much talent on his pitching staff at the moment.

    • Why harp on this, it only hurts the club financially to fire him. It will do nothing more than show the fans that heads are going to roll. Just like firing Baker did nothing but appease the few. I agree Dusty was not going to progress in Cincy but they did not do anything to upgrade and they still paid him

  6. JJ Hoover marked the return of Jumbo and Sampson to the Reds by blowing a save and copping a loss in Louisville. The Bats were playing a doubleheader to make up for a rain out on Tuesday. Hoover came on to pitch the final inning (7th due to being a DH) with the Bats leading 2-0. When the smoke had cleared, the Bats were down 4-2 which is how it ended,

  7. I think at the top of all, fans deserve some respect and this front office looks to do not care about anything. I’d at least replace the manager and make some roster moves (not recycling moves) out of the 13 pitchers currently in the active roster I’d keep only 8.

    • This is just silly. While I’m not Price fan, he doesn’t have any options. Get off the guy’s back. And churning the roster in May isn’t going to do any good. The Reds are rebuilding. That isn’t a secret. It’s been clear to any Reds fan that this year, at the very least, and probably next year, is gonna be tough to watch. And yet you still have Reds “fans” that come on the interweb and call for firings of coaches and managers and the signing of mythical five star players. These are the same fans that provided the fodder for the banana phone. Please, go watch someone else and come back in 2018 and tell everyone how you supported “your” team through thick and thin.

    • If the fans aren’t smart enough to understand that the team is rebuilding then they’re not smart enough to be respected.

  8. The home runs allowed by the bullpen are frustrating, but two of the four runs they gave up reached by walk. If I’m not mistaken the only hitter that didn’t get to a three ball count off Cingrani hit a home run. Too many balls, not enough strikes. It’s really not that complicated. Throw strikes, change speeds, adjust the hitter’s eye level… Oh never mind. I liked most of what I saw from the offense. Cozart, Suarez, Bruce, Hamilton, Votto all very positive. Phillips not so much. But it would be nice if the Reds would occasionally win one of these tight games. Or better yet keep it from getting close in the first place.

    • Brantley said the problem in the ninth wasn’t the home run, it was the walk to a left-handed hitter.

    • Are the HR given up by the starters any less irritating? Finnegan, Lamb, and Iglesias are very HR prone (obviously I don’t mention Simon).

      • And to a degree Cueto was HR prone at one time and still can be. The difference is he has learned how to minimize the damage by keeping most of them solo shots.

        Last night, with a two run lead, 1 out, and nobody on base, Cingrani has to force Chisenhall to put the ball in play or strike out trying because the next hitter, Davis. has been hotter than a firecracker; instead he walks him after an extended AB. After Chisenhall walked, Cingrani proceeds to go up 0-2 on Davis before allowing a 1-2 HR, getting beat on an 83MPH slider after throwing 3 consecutive 93/94MPH fastballs. If he didn’t trust the slider enough to use it as a waste/ bait pitch at 0-2, he certainly shouldn’t have been trying to use it as his out pitch at 1-2.

    • It’s not complicated when typing, but pitching is very hard. These pitchers aren’t very good pitchers. That’s why they do poorly. It has nothing to do with mentality or game plan or anything. They just aren’t very good major league pitchers.

      • For the most part I concur. However, if a guy understands his limitations and works around them he can often succeed. Two examples from the Reds would be Stormy Weathers as a reliever and Arroyo as a starter. What I see from this current crop is guys going out there and doing the same thing every time with the same results with no indication of attempting to adjust or change.

        • Agreed, but we can only base their intent on the result we observe. For example, several times we’ve seen 0-2 pitches in the heart of the plate hit for homers. Why are they doing that, since they know it’s not right? I tend to think it’s because they can’t control where the ball goes.

          Perhaps they are intensely trying to adjust and change, they just aren’t able to.

        • They didn’t have raw stuff and they were smart but they did have the ability to throw the ball very close to where they wanted it. It really comes down to command. You can get by on stuff and being halfway smart. You can get by on command and being very smart. You can’t get by on just being smart without stuff or command. If you have stuff, command, and smarts, you’re a Cy Young candidate.

      • We all concur that these guys are not good pitchers however no reason whatsoever that Price can’t have Barnhart setup on the corner on an 0-2 and try to tease the hitter so he can possibly get himself out! Instead these guys throw the 0-2 like its a 3-1 pitch and its batting practice. That’s on Price! Getting beat by Neil #$*($’n Walker in NY (0-2 pitch of course) when Price didn’t turn him around righthanded is inexecusable…..every manager does simple things like that. Cingrani was rested and came into the game after we were behind if I’m not mistaken? Price with Finnegan…Price with Somsen the other night….he can’t see the simple stuff that a halfway knowledgeable fan can see? He’s a big part of the problem and he needs to go!! As Bobby Knight used to say “He couldn’t lead a lady of the night to bed”

        • You agree they probably aren’t good pitchers but then go on to expect them to be able to hit a target?

          The more likely scenario is that they were trying to paint a corner and they missed.

        • Certainly don’t know the inner workings of baseball management decisions, but I would suspect that one gate pitchers must pass to make the MLB level is the ability to throw a strike and hit a spot. Failure to do that a reasonable % of the time would seem to mark a pitcher for AAA…or below.

          That said, assuming pitchers have the skills to hit their spot when they make it to the MLB level, what can then create barriers to consistent performance:

          1. No Moxie or Attitude — fear of failure seems to outweigh all else with this staff. I believe this is related to management, beginning with Price. Can you be too cerebral…waiting to absorb and process each and every bit of pitcher data instead of reacting to events on the field with more emotion. Do players on the field defer too much to management during games. CORRECTION: Find a player on the team with attitude and put them in charge of motivating the players on game day.

          2. Decisiveness — strong performers are decisive. They don’t sit back and wait to be told what to do. I get the sense that our pitchers enter the game with not much of a clue…almost like they’re in a holding pattern waiting for the brilliance to emanate from the dugout. Once again, the manager sets the tone here. CORRECTION: Trust the players to do their job and use their skills, but hold them accountable for performing with energy and enthusiasm…also, refer back to #1 above.

          3. Failure to learn and grow — without a doubt, getting into a batter’s count frequently and consistently is a recipe for disaster. Can we never have another four straight walks in my lifetime?! The whole staff could benefit from Adleman’s approach. Relief pitchers MUST get the hitter to make contact until he strikes out or puts the ball in play. CORRECTION: Make throwing strikes the Prime Directive…attach consequences to poor ratios of batter-vs.pitcher counts…also, refer back to #1 above.

          4. Lost interest/not enjoying the job or having any FUN — hard to have fun when losing; refer back to #1-3 above.

  9. Jay Bruce and the boys deserved better tonight. That has to be so frustrating.

    • I like Bruce and Cozart, hopefully for them they are traded to contending teams this summer who actually have a shot at winning it all while they are still in the prime of their careers.

  10. Forty games in the books, that makes for 1/4 of the season now. Game #54 will be the 1/3 mark.
    Jumbo walks the first 2 batters he faces and manufactures the opponents a run. Cingrani walks a batter and then gives up a home run. Sampson gives up a go-ahead and game winning home run to the first batter he sees. Send all 3 back to Louisville.
    The sad thing is, you can’t overhaul the bullpen with faulty spare parts at AAA and the other spare parts on the DL. The Reds front office is refusing to look for outside solutions and has decided they will wait this thing out.
    This whole bullpen debacle is squarely on the front office. Where is the accountability?? Heads should be rolling out of Bob Castellini’s office. It is time for the fans to start to be very vocal in demanding some front office accountability.

    • I pointed out last week they have internal options which do not need to negatively impact the “rebuild” that they are not willing to try and this is what frustrates me.

    • The Reds all but ran TV commercials that said
      ” We will suck this year” so it’s safe to say that Bob signed off on the rebuild. Do you think he’s going to fire people for implementing a plan that he approved?

      Yes, the bullpen is atrocious. Injuries have contributed to that situation. Do you think they should trade people to help the bullpen? Wouldn’t that weaken them in other areas? Doesn’t it make sense to let guys get healthy in order to see exactly what they have?

      Would you have been calling for Theo Epstein’s dismissal in 2012? After all, the Cubs had the financial firepower to ” speed things up” but they chose a more deliberate method. You do understand that these things take time and there is a huge element of trial and error?

  11. Zack Cozart should not and will not make the All Star Team, if only because there have been other more spectacular shortstops in the NL this season (Aledmys Diaz, Trevor Story and Corey Seager have all been better than Cozart, and I can’t see them being snubbed, or the team carrying 4 SS). Only way I see Cozart getting in is through the Final Vote. Duvall and/or SuΓ‘rez will likely get the All Star selection(s) from the Reds.

    • I think Cozart will only make it if there is an organized push to get him voted as the starter. If the Reds don’t do this, shame on them and poor Zack. It would be a fitting tribute for a guy who has been a productive, if misunderstood, player for the Reds for several years. Especially if they have plans of moving him.

      You might be right about Duvall and/or Suarez… it all depends on how the month of June plays out, I guess.

      • If they picked all-stars based on defense Suarez would never get picked but I could see it since he does have a decent bat, and someone from the team needs to represent them. I would pick Duvall at this point over Suarez but really would like to see Cozart make it. He had to have worked his tail off to have been ready to play on opening day after the injury he had.

        • Suarez is also unlikely because there are two superstars ahead of him in Nolan Arenado and Kris Bryant who would never be left off a team in favor of Eugenio Suarez. Then the next tier of guys are the David Wright/Matt Carpenter guys. Suarez will need to pick it up a lot of he’s going to go over any of those 4 guys.

          Duvall, now that I think about it, is also very unlikely since they just pick outfielders, not “left fielders.” You’ve got 2 shoe-ins already, in Harper and Fowler, then you’ve got a BUNCH of guys hitting better than Duvall, including teammate Jay Bruce.

          A lot can change, but I’d put the odds of either Suarez or Duvall making the all-star team at less than 2%.

  12. The bullpen has been the problem since after the 1st week of the season. There is no prospect of it getting better. This team will easily lose 100 games because of this. Pretty soon, everybody in the clubhouse gets discouraged.
    There are some pretty negative things I could say about management and ownership, but that is frowned upon on this blog. I frankly can’t blame Bryan Price too much, because he can only play the cards he was dealt.

  13. I think everyone needs to settle down and realize the bullpen is like this because all of the Reds starters are hurt.

    If they weren’t, you’d have your Straileys, Melvilles, and perhaps Finnegans in the ‘pen and it would probably look a lot different.

    • Yes, but 80 MPH pitches in the middle of the plate on a 1-2 count from arguably your best reliever suggest that the problems run deeper than just injuries. How often do we have to see spectacularly unintelligent pitching before we start to wonder what the heck is going on?

      • Bad pitchers throw pitches in places they shouldn’t. A coach can’t make a pitcher hit the black.

        • Watch Tucker. He called for that pitch, in the center of the plate, although he obviously wanted it lower. It was a terrible idea, executed terribly. We seem to have a lot of terrible ideas about what to do on 0-2, 1-2, etc. That’s coaching.

      • Heh. I meant Adleman. All these guys are the same in my brain. πŸ˜‰

      • That makes sense, they do run together, I wonder how many reds fans could identify pictures of all the guys that started in AAA this year and have pitched at one point or the other.

        • Not many I’d bet! I don’t think I could identify many, even in Reds’ caps, and I follow closely.

  14. One thing I was thinking about that might actually work is Homer Bailey as the closer. Getting 200 innings out of him has been a problem with him since the start….he’s only done it twice. John Smoltz was obv much better than Homer but he was able to extend his career as a closer for many years!

    Homer (2013-15) 1st-15th pitch batting avg allowed .209
    16th-30th pitch = .238

    This season and this team is filled with questions moving forward so they need to just try to answer one at a time. Fixing the back end of the bullpen would be a big step forward….maybe blowing 15% of save opportunities instead of 75% might help? Wood and maybe Ramirez are about the only guys I’d like to see next year and they’re shaky half the time too? Its pretty bad when you don’t even have a left loogy guy in the organization? They need a total rebuild with a new manager!

      • Cmon? It was 20x better than this? Hoover was solid and Parra was an adequate lefty. Jumbo even had his moments.

  15. Cingrani was aiming the ball last night. Instead of waiting till spring training next year, why doesn’t the pitching coach or Bryan walk to the mound warn him his next aimed ball is his last for the day. Cingrani pitches better when he pitches with emotion. It matters little whether he gets mad or a euphoria light ignites in his brain throw the ball like a seasoned veteran not a wilting flower.

    • They need to cut bait w/Cingrani. Straily can get thru more innings as a long man and Cingrani is not a lefty on lefty guy either? Walks and high fastballs aren’t going to work in GABP in particular which Finnegan is finding out….difference is Finnegan is 23! Cingrani has one pitch and little to no command with that?

      • Cingrani is the last guy to cut bait with, he would be fine as the 3rd or 4th option

        • I agree. Cingrani is a servicable arm down there but not a back of the bullpen guy. He’s fine somewhere in the pen, just not really high leverage. He also is still young enough to have some upside. He also can stand more experience as he’s been injured a lot his first seasons.

  16. Until the cavalry arrives in July, if it does, we’ll just take the bullpen as it is in this rebuild year or two.

  17. Did anyone notice the Indians almost never swung at a ball? Maybe I was imagining things, but it seemed Phillips alone swung at more balls out of the strike zone than the Indians did the whole game. They swung and missed at a few balls in the zone, but they seemed to have an almost superhuman ability to take pitches out of the zone. Sigh.

    • And the Cubs won a game in extra innings by taking a walk… by a pitcher! (former Red, Travis Wood). I would like Marty to contemplate that for awhile.

      • I’d like Marty to contemplate that Votto is on pace for more RBI this year than last. Not sure his head wouldn’t explode from that.

  18. Has a team ever had 3 guys hit 30 HRs and lose 95-100 games? I seriously doubt it? Of course Bruce may be gone?

      • I don’t see Votto hitting 30 again. Not unless the adjustment he decides to make is to try to cheat on those inside pitches for cheap HR. He tried that with little success but could conceivably figure something he was doing wrong then. He still doesn’t ever hit those rocket foul balls to the pull side. Not out of the question if he changes his whole approach but realistically, I see him hitting 20-25. Perhaps a few less this year.

  19. Here’s something that seem to make no sense… Jay Bruce is the worst defensive outfielder in baseball by DRAA at 10.6 runs below average. Bruce hasn’t looked great out there, but I have a hard time believing he’s been the absolute worst.

    • I saw that too. Defensive metrics are pretty worthless in a sample size less than a full season. I would expect that things get better as the year goes on.

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