Entering tonight’s game, 25-year-old Daniel Wright had only pitched 14 innings above the AA level. He has now pitched 19.1 innings above the AA level. Wright’s first inning as a major leaguer didn’t start quite as planned.  Solid hits by Chase Utley and Corey Seager were followed by a lucky bloop by Justin Turner, scoring Utley. Wright had given up a run before he recorded an out.  He then struck out Adrian Gonzalez and induced Trayce Thompson and Joc Pederson into fly balls to end the inning.

Wright’s final line in his major league debut will go down as 4 R (3 ER) over 5.1 IP, giving up 7 hits while striking out 4 and walking 1.  To me, he seemed a bit sharper than this.

linescore
BOX SCORE | FANGRAPHS WINNING PERCENTAGE

THE GOOD
Bryan Price shook up the lineup for the first time tonight, essentially dropping Billy Hamilton to 7th (?) and moving everyone else up a slot.  At this point, I’m happy to see any signs that the wheels are turning.

Somebody named Mike Bolsinger started the game for the Dodgers.  That isn’t Clayton Kershaw. (Didn’t matter)

Adam Duvall’s 4th inning 2-run homer snapped a skid where he’d struck out in 6 consecutive plate appearances.  The home run also ended a 17-inning scoreless streak for the Redlegs. I guess that is good, right?

THE BAD
In the 4th inning, Tucker Barnhart threw the ball into left field on a Pederson stolen base attempt that put the Dodgers up 3-2. This was his 3rd throwing error this series. He is also hitting .240/.282/.346 on the season and has drawn only 1 walk in his last 19 games. For a guy hitting primarily in front of the pitcher, you expect a few more walks.

To jab at Tucker for not hitting isn’t really fair, though.  No one on this team is hitting well at the moment.

Joey Votto joined the error party tonight in the 6th inning on a ground ball, allowing Yasiel Puig to score from 2nd.  He was partially shielded by the base runner at first, but Joey will tell you he should have made that play. It was his first error of the season.

In the last 2 games, the Reds have committed 6 errors and amassed 5 base hits. You won’t win many baseball games with numbers like that.

The Reds have only scored in 1 of their last 23 innings played.

Career minor leaguer AJ Morris was bad in his major league debut, earning 3 runs in 0.2 IP. The last earned run was courtesy of Josh Smith. That is unfortunate for him.

 

VIN SCULLY QUOTES
“Joey Votto is from Toronto, Canada…at least that’s where he was born.”

“So for Hamilton to hit a fly ball is a complete waste of time.”

“Barnhart is 5-11, 190 lbs. (pause)  He played some football. (pause) Offensive tackle.”

“That doesn’t look like Jumbo.”  (In reference to Dayan Diaz)

TWEET OF THE GAME
After a hard come-backer to Daniel Wright…
tweet1

ADVENTURES IN MANAGEMENT
In the top of the 6th inning, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts removed starter Mike Bolsinger at 85 pitches. To that point, Bolsinger had looked sharp. Roberts summoned lefty Luis Avilan to face Bruce, who grounded out to first.  I don’t know if this is a “good” move or not, but it worked this time and it shows that Roberts was very serious about preserving the 3-2 lead. At least that’s how I interpreted the move.

SOMEWHAT RANDOM-ISH THOUGHTS
Watching Wright tonight made me realize there is a shot someone off-the-radar will be part of the rotation for the next Reds contender. It’s very likely that at least one or two of Robert Stephenson, Cody Reed, Nick Travieso, Amir Garrett, etc. will be busts.  It’s also possible that someone like Wright might make a name for himself.

The defensive metrics have Jay Bruce as one of the worst defensive outfielders in baseball so far this year.  It seems odd at first thought, but the play he made in the 6th that turned Trayce Thompson’s double into a ersatz triple was a good example of what I’ve been seeing with Bruce in right field and why he entered the game with -0.5 WAR despite a 116 wRC+.

Puig (who I generally like, for some reason) turned a double into a single in the 6th by standing at home plate to admire his “home run.”  For a guy who has been hitting terribly of late, I’d like to see some hustle out of the box.

Votto’s throws this year seem a lot more crisp and accurate than the last few seasons. I no longer expect him to throw the ball away every time he winds up.

This team is just a mess right now.  Last night was understandable, because Kershaw happens, but tonight was a disheartening game to watch.

TOMORROW’S GAME
Tomorrow’s game pits Dan Straily against Scott Kazmir.  Enjoy this game, folks, as it is likely the last Reds game Vin Scully will ever call.

Join the conversation! 59 Comments

  1. The game was bad, but the paper plane incident in the bottom of the 7th was pretty good! http://wp.me/p7z2ET-2K

  2. Games like tonight’s make the Reds almost completely unwatchable…and it’s only May. Lack of hitting, errors, and a dumpster fire bullpen all contributed to yet another Reds loss. The only positive out of a game like this is seeing a pitcher like Wright make his MLB debut and pitch halfway-decent baseball. (At least he wasn’t David Holmberg. I still can’t believe the Reds gave away Ryan Hanigan for that return, though in fairness Hanigan was coming off of an injury-filled season.)

    The bright side is that in two or three weeks, we will most likely finally get to see Stephenson, Reed, and possibly Winker called up to join the roster. Peraza will likely join once Cozart is traded by the end of July. Until then, there is not much on this current Reds team worth watching, especially as the nine-game losing streak continues.

  3. First step: Change the Manager

  4. I think the best way to evaluate Price is based upon whether the developing players develop, like the Cubs with Sveum. But most of those players aren’t even in MLB yet.

    • Good analogy….though Sveum was fired because he kept butting heads with Epstein around “Trying to win” vs “Trying to build”.
      Ultimately, except Rizzo, everyone else he managed were just band aids as league rules require that you actually put 9 players on the field.

  5. I can live with it not getting better as long as we get to see some different players on the field such as Peraza,Winker and others in a few weeks.To continue to play the same people over and over that were a part of the 98 losses last year doesn’t make any sense.Let Holt play some more in the outfield,bench BP and put Peraza at second.Get Winker or Rodriquez up here and let them play.Losing is losing period.

    • As long as Phillips is on the Reds making the money he makes he will play unless hurt. That is not going to change.

      • If that philosophy is not going to change, then this team is never going to change. Just because they paid him that amount of money when they were a contender, shouldn’t mean that he is prone from being sat down. Something needs to change this team to get them to respond. We have talked about for years now how bad our bench is and has been. Wouldn’t adding Phillips to it instantly upgrade the bench? Just frustrated by this team like everyone else and searching for answers/reasons to watch this train wreck each night……

  6. I think wee are seeing why Barnhart has a ceiling as a platoon or backup catcher. I may be wrong (and I really like Barnhard as a player and catcher), but I just don’t think he can physically hold up to the rigors of catching 120 games or catching the vast majority of games over an extended period. He simply needs more regular rest.

    And the Reds still do not have a leaoff hitter after all these years, with no leadoff hitter prospect (maybe Peraza?) anywhere on the horizon. I like Cozart’s approach at the plate, but his 2.7% BB% simply won’t work in the leadoff position. His .800 OPS and .320 OBP plays nicely anywhere from the #3 hole to the #6 hole, along with Bruce and Duvall right now.

    • Reluctantly agree on the Barnhart comments. As I watched the game last night (this AM?) I found myself thinking that Barnhart is looking overextended. Cabrera needs to be catching more, probably 3 times in a 7 game week, 2 in a 6 games week. If they don’t have the confidence in Cabrera to do that, then start looking around to for somebody else to help provide the bridge to (hopefully) T.Stephenson.

      • And yes since I already said it by inference; with Mesoraco missing back to back seasons at what should have been the prime time of his career, I don’t think he should be counted on for any significant contribution until he has demonstrated he is capable of staying on the field and producing.

    • Here is the problem with the Reds. Most all of their minor league position players have a ceiling as a platoon or backup. There just aren’t any real prospects in the minors for the Reds outside of Winker. Unlike many on this blog, I do not consider Peraza a sure fire, can’t miss Major League starter. Winker looks to be a solid starter, but not necessarily an All-star caliber player. But that is it. The farm system is desperately void of talent at the position spots. I have watched the Reds for 55 years as an ardent fan and the farm system has never been this bad before. (Yes, I know it was rated #12 by some people primarily on the strength of the pitchers, but there just aren’t many bats). Things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. Jocketty is just a failure in the farm system department. His track record in that area everywhere he has been has been a failure.

      • To be fair, I don’t think many on this blog think Peraza is a sure-fire, can’t miss guy. At least I’ve never seen anyone say that.

        My personal view is that he has certain skills (making contact, playing decent defense at an up-the-middle position, and speed) that are much less likely to be busts than, say, home run power. Just look at a guy like Schebler. Much, much higher ceiling than Peraza, but he couldn’t make contact (at least in his first stint with the Reds) which makes him much more risky. Peraza is very low risk, but could certainly still be a bust.

      • I’ve been around about as long as you; and, I tend to agree with your assessment of the position talent situation. I’m trying not to be as pessimistic as I believe there is enough pitching talent in hand that they have a limited opportunity trade their way out of the imbalance if they act decisively and effectively in evaluating the pitching talent and turning some of it into positional talent.

        If they go down this road, it will not be an easy ride. I question at times whether the current management is up to the task. I do not look forward to seeing probably at least 2 and maybe 3 of the top pitching candidates from AA north being shipped out in the process leaving perhaps a young man like Daniel Wright or John Lamb behind to fill the back of the rotation. However it is the way I see for them to move forward along with getting a couple of prize picks in the draft who can come thru quickly enough to fill into this rebuild cycle.

  7. I’m not sure what you guys expect. This team is doing EXACTLY what the front office constructed it to do—LOSE GAMES. I know for a fact the front office is not interested in competing this season and wants a shot at the top draft pick. Sure that is a tough sell to the fans but it isn’t going change the long term goals. I doubt Price is going to be fired. No way they are going to pay 2 managers to lose 100 plus games

    • Your statement seems partially correct. The team is not competing, by design, but the front office did not injure all of their starting pitchers. If they were healthy, they’d be pitching and the Reds wouldn’t be this bad. It was never the plan to aim for the first overall draft pick.

      It might be the plan now… but I sincerely doubt it was from the beginning.

  8. The cake…er… the cavalry is a lie.

  9. Was anybody else getting into watching the Jocketty contingent in the field boxes right behind home plate? It was Jocketty, Kevin Towers, and another guy I didn’t recognize other than he wasn’t Dick Williams. Along with them was a guy in a proper business suit I took to be a Dodger liaison guy as I had seen him Monday night hanging out in the area wearing what looked to be the same suit.

    I couldn’t help but wonder just how things really are operating in this FO transition year if WJ and Towers are out on the road with the team schmoozing while Williams is no where to be seen.

    I thought the only time they looked truly focused on the game was when the lefty Liberatore came out to pitch the 9th for LA. So, I won’t be caught unawares if Liberatore finds his way into a Reds uniform, especially since he does fit the apparent Reds profile for bullpen guys, being a 29 year old 4A guy.

    • Yes, as a matter of fact the Old Cossack found that trio and the obvious ommission of the GM from the group…uh…interesting.

      • I wish I could find the fact that Kevin Towers is even employed by the Reds interesting but I find it just frightening. And why Jocketty and Towers are in LA at this point is a mystery to me. Hope they aren’t talking to the Dodgers about Carl Crrawford.

  10. Disco is about to take the mound for a rehab start in one of those crazy mid morning AAA starting times. You can follow the action on Twitter via @louisvillebats. The radio is 790AM. I have no idea if that streams for free over the web.

  11. Carl Crawford $20 mil pinch hitter last night. Hopefully the Reds were paying attention….that’s what BP needs to be doing! He wouldn’t look so bad if he was batting 6th-7th where he’s supposed to be? Duvall is hitting .320 w/risp with 9 HRs and 12 doubles and yet only 19 rbis? He should be hitting 3rd or 4th. I will admit Bruce suckered me again when he got his average up to .290 a few weeks ago. I think he’s 1-17 since? They need to move him! I argued against the defensive metrics on him just the other day but he is sort of chunky and slowing down! He hit 2 HRs the other day but the first one was a GABP special that went about 360 feet. Suarez might hit 25+ because of GABP and he never had much power in the minors? Duvall in RF and Winker in LF and we can find someone else if Winker isn’t ready.

    • Not sure I agree with you on BP pinch hitting. I do agree he should hit in the 6-7 hole though. I would like to see Duvall up higher but keep in mind that he had just K’ed in 6 straight ABs before his HR. He was also mired in a slump of his own, like Bruce. Votto is the one that has me really concerned. He isn’t movable so the Reds need him to hit. I guess this is a good season for him to struggle though as they would stink about as much if he was hitting.

      Not sure how you can tell that Bruce is chunky. With his uniform on, it’s really hard to tell and there doesn’t seem to be an obvious weight problem.

      • RE:Votto… To a large degree doesn’t something have to be going on with him as opposed to the idea the shift technology and metric indicators of how to pitch him have somehow gone to critical mass and turned the tables?

        I haven’t researched this but my mind’s eye memory is that the reason he had become an opposite field hitter to the degree he had was because he had feasted on middle in pitching and “the book” became to pitch him away and take your licks as the lesser of the evils.

        • Eye test again…. For all the hard contact Votto is making, he is also missing a lot of pitches he spoil and I suspect perhaps some of his weaker efforts on balls in play are also pitches he used to foul off.

  12. Bruce is still producing on a 2 week cycle: 2 weeks on then 2 weeks off then 2 weeks on…

    12 games => .304/.327/.565/.892
    12 games => .178/.283/.375/.658
    12 games => .378/.429/.711/1.140
    05 games => .059/.105/.118/.223

    This is still a SSS to derive any legitimate pattern of performance, but the 5 game trend certainly isn’t something to develop any long-term conclusions regarding future performance. Right now, Bruce looks like the .800 OPS hitter he was from 2010 to 2013 when he began playing full time at the major league level and before injuring his knee. Now his defense in RF has looked every bit as bad as the metrics are saying and that is a problem, but a trade to the AL would provide some counterbalance to that issue.

    • He’s worth a lot less as a DH than as a RF. The Reds have to hope that he hits and his defense improves if they want anything for him.

  13. Chris Welsh was bemoaning how the Reds hitters are by far the worst in the league at hacking at the first pitch. Are there any metrics to confirm this? If true, it represents an organizational philosophy that is wildly out of step with modern baseball. There aren’t too many things you can hang on a hitting coach, but this would be one of them.

    Positives–Cozart with a couple more stellar defensive plays.

    • I was thinking that Cozart might have done better by Wright than he did on the ball Seager hit in the first then he more than made up for that one a couple of innings later.

    • By “worst” do you mean they swing the most? Or they have the worst results when swinging at the first pitch?

    • The Reds swing at 33.4 percent of first pitches. One-third. Only two teams (ATL, TBR) swing at more. MLB average is 28.2 percent.

    • So without doing a ton of manual work, we can get pretty close to an answer.

      As a team, the Reds are 2nd in MLB “first pitch strike rate,” behind only the Padres. And only by one-tenth-of-one-percent; 63.4% to 63.5%.

      You can get a recorded first pitch strike in 4 ways.

      1) Swing and miss
      2) Swing and foul the ball off
      3) Take the pitch for a called strike
      4) Put the pitch in play (I believe balls in play are counted as strikes for this purpose)

      So, over a large enough sample, teams should generally all be equal on how often their non-swings are called for strikes, since umpires and opposing pitchers will even out. So the differentiator would be how often the team swings at the first pitch.

      If this methodology is close, we could probably safely say that the Reds are either 1st, 2nd, or 3rd at swinging at first pitches.

      • And all Steve had to do was go to baseball-reference.com … 😉 I’m kidding Patrick. Nice quick work!!

  14. To change the Reds at the plate you must change the players.They all are veterans other then Suarez and Duvall.To expect them to change is not going to happen and if it is an organizational philosophy then that has to change.High OBP players work the count and make the pitcher throw strikes to get them out.We have one player that does that and that’s the way its been.I believe Choo was the last one we had other then Votto.Pitchers know this and don’t even throw strikes to our team.Why would they?

    • If the first pitch is a good pitch to hit then by all means swing. Where they get in trouble is they seem to swing at a lot of pitcher’s pitches on the first pitch. You also hear/read a lot of opposing pitchers say “Well, they’re an aggressive team and we wanted to take advantage of that.” in their post-game interviews. It’s been that way a long time too. Annoying.

      • I watched the 1st inning last night between the Cubs/Cards and watched Jorge Soler foul off several pitches and take some close pitches & drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch. Of course they went on to score 6 in the inning and basically ice the game. The guys riding the Votto line at .204 but still works the pitchers and lays off close pitches out of the strike zone. Zobrist, Fowler, Bryant, etc are rubbing off on him. If the Reds can get 2-3 more guys like that along w/Votto and weed out the BP and Cozart hackers then they might get somewhere offensively? That’s the longterm issue with this team….its not the pitching so much.

  15. INDY I agree 100% with you.We have the same guys doing the same thing and even when we were good we couldn’t get past the first round of the playoffs.We have to develop or trade for players that work the count and get on base.I think I read where we are hitting .192 during this losing streak and we can and do talk about are injuries and our pen but we can’t hit.It would be one thing if this team was concerned about striking out but it is obvious they are not and last night Votto had an 8 pitch at bat then we went down in the second inning on 7 pitches.What really baffles me is that everybody knows this and nothing is being done about it.Videos are everywhere on every hitter and I assume players watch it on both teams so its no secret what’s going on so as I said before why would anybody throw us a strike.Nobody could walk Cosart or BP even if they tried

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