Titanic Struggle Recap

Reds losing streak reaches double digits.

With tonight’s loss, the Reds are owners (proud?) of a 10-game losing streak.  Veteran lefty Scott Kazmir out-pitched (?) Dan Straily to the tune of 1 ER and 12 K in 6.0 IP.  Straily wasn’t bad himself, going 7 innings and striking out a season-high 11 while only issuing 1 walk.  The two teams combined to record 27 of the 51 outs via strike out.

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BOX SCORE | FANGRAPHS WINNING PERCENTAGE

THE GOOD
-Dan Straily had his best outing as a Red, striking out 11 and walking only 1 in 7 IP.  This is the 2nd time in his career he’s reached double-digit Ks, the other time being in 2013 with Oakland when he also struck out 11. Straily got into trouble in the 4th, loading the bases with 1 out on a single, HBP, and walk.  A 2-run single from Joc Pederson was the damage.  The next inning he gave up a solo jack to Yasmani Grandal.

-Brandon Phillips had a pair of hits and a walk in front of his son.  I’m sure his son has watched him play before, but it was neat to see the family connection on the TV.

THE BAD
-The Reds offense.  They have scored a run in only 2 of their last 32 innings played.

-Reds third base coach Billy Hatcher exhorted Jay Bruce to try for an inside-the-park home run on a triple in the 4th inning.  Bruce was thrown out because of course he was.  So instead of two chances to get a runner home from 3rd, the Reds got zero chances.  The play scored Phillips, and with the offense struggling so mightily, maybe a 2nd run on the board was a carrot too sweet for Hatcher to ignore.

-Eugenio Suarez. He’s playing very poorly in the field, which has been par-for-the-course so far in his Reds career.  After a decent start to the season at the plate, he’s hasn’t been hitting at all lately.  If he can’t produce around a 110 wRC+ level, he’s likely not the Reds answer at 3rd base long-term.   All hope isn’t lost, though, as Suarez still has decent batted ball peripherals and a BABIP that should come up a bit.  Below is an illustration of what’s been happening to Suarez lately…

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VIN SCULLY QUOTES
“At least somebody hit something!” -In reference to BP giving his son a high five

“Eugenio Suarez, who has the bad habit of striking out a lot.” -As Suarez comes to bat

“Puig swings at the first pitch.  Stop the presses.”

TWEET OF THE GAME
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COMPLETELY RANDOM THOUGHTS
-On June 22nd, you can get a Dusty Baker bobblehead at Dodger Stadium.

-With Scully retiring at the end of the year and not traveling with the team, this was the last game he’ll ever call against the Reds.  Hope you guys all got a chance to listen.

-With the way this season is going, the Reds need to start trying things that might help out in the future.  Foremost among these things would be attempting to see what Adam Duvall looks like at third base.

-Straily has gone at least 6 innings in 5 of his last 6 starts.  This was the first game he’d gone 7.0 IP since April 10th, 2014.

-I’m going to the game in Colorado on Memorial Day.  I hope the losing streak is over by that time.

THE NEXT GAME
The Reds have an off-day on Thursday before starting a 3-game series in Milwaukee. They always seem to hit well in Milwaukee, so maybe the bats will wake up under the vigilant gaze of Bernie Brewer.

68 thoughts on “Reds losing streak reaches double digits.

  1. Watching tonight, it was pretty hard to believe that four of the Reds starters tonite were regulars on two 90 win or more Reds teams and that three of those four were regulars on a third 90+ win Reds team.

    Supply your own snappy conclusion if you wish. I’ve been sitting here pondering for 10 minutes and one hasn’t come to me.

      • I’d say part of that is they have a lot of poor quality extra pieces now (especially in the bullpen), and the other part is a leadership void both on the field and in the dugout.

        Say what you will about Dusty Baker, but every season he was here except one, his teams outperformed their pythagorean expectected wins, You can call it “luck”, but here’s a tidbit about Baker I always found interesting: In 20 seasons he’s only had one season where his team finished five games under their pythag (2004, with the Cubs), and he’s had four seasons where his team was five games or more above – three where the team was six games or more above (most recently in 2012, +6). For every season except one with the Reds, his teams performed above their expected win output.

        For comparison, every season Price has been here, his teams have underperformed when compared to their expected pythagorean wins.

        Draw your own conclusions.

  2. the biggest disappointment so far this season is the disappearance of Joey Votto. There was an article written not to long ago about him being unlucky. Do we really buy into him being unlucky or is something else going on? I don’t think he is injured either. Just throwing it out there. Here we are nearly to the end of May and 2 full months into the season and the Vman is barely batting over .200. I don’t care how good his OBP with the walks but that is terrible. Maybe Duvall or Suarez can move around a bit and start covering first and let Joey take some more days off.

    • If you’re referring to the one I wrote called “Neutralizing Joey Votto,” the takeaway shouldn’t have been “he’s getting unlucky.” There is a lot more going on that that.

    • Yes, the article had some strong points but nobody denied that he was striking out too much. The article simply said that he had some bad luck in his BABIP but didn’t go as far as to say that there couldn’t be anything wrong. I’ve been worried about Votto since opening day. His first 3 plate appearances didn’t look like Joey Votto. I’ve never seen him take look so bad at the plate. I think he’s trying to make some adjustments but it hasn’t been working. Assuming nothing is physically wrong with him, I have to think that he’ll be more productive going forward. He’s too talented a hitter not to be and players don’t fall off the table that hard due to aging. The positive side of this is that with the horrible season the Reds are having, he picked a good year to stink.

      • I agree, he’ll be more productive going forward… he almost has to be, right?

        Unfortunately, based on the fact that he already has a large part of the season under his belt, he’s had trouble adjusting, and that he’s simply getting older, I think his final season line will be something like .240/.390/.430 good for around a 2 WAR season. Very un-Vottoian. Of course, he could always go on a crazy streak like he did in the 2nd half last year, but that’s certainly more unlikely than likely.

        • I fully agree… I think your slash line looks possible. His OBP may slip a little, perhaps to the 360-375 range but 390 is only a few more times on base. I hope he gets sorted. The Reds don’t need him this year (or perhaps even the next 2) but they need him going forward.

        • Maybe we’re seeing the start of Votto morphing from the slugger we knew to a more Tony Gwynn/Wade Boggs type of guy.

          I’ve always thought Votto would age very well, but part of that will likely be changing his swing to be more “slappy” and less “drivey.” Going forward, I can easily see Votto being able to maintain .350 to .370 OBPs into his 40s, but I don’t think he can do it with his current swing.

      • Also, since that article I found something else that is hurting Votto which I’ve hinted at a few times. The frequency that high-and-away pitches are being called strikes against Votto is significantly higher this year than in the 2013-2015 period. High-and-away is a zone that Votto has, historically, not been good in. Therefore, he rarely swings at those pitches.

        If he’s not swinging and they’re being called strikes more often, that seems like one of the contributors of his increased K-rate. Chief among reasons, though, seems to have to do with his middle-middle contact rates being much lower this year as well. He’s simply swinging through hittable pitches. I don’t know what the cause of that could be, but it’s likely either swing mechanics (such as choking up more in 0 and 1 strike counts) or decreased physical skill (probably not this since he’s running career high hard-hit %)

        • I looked at the FG game chart after the game last night. While the live Fox graphic said Votto got a bad call on the up and away strike, the FG chart liked the pitch for a strike all the way, entirely inside both the vertical and horizontal axises.

          As a bit of an aside, for all pitches to all hitters, the FG chart showed no called strikes not at least touching the zone and several called balls inside the zone. I did not expect this given 27Ks with a number of called 3rd strikes.

        • I think it could be physical with JV on a number of the swing thru strikes. His reaction and look is often one that infers he can’t believe he missed the pitch. Based on his history, if it were merely bat/ swing mechanics, he’d have it figured out now. Thus, he is thinking is seeing the pitch but it isn’t where he sees it as being.

        • Joey Votto is my favorite baseball player, has been for in a long time. When I watch the Reds on TV or at the ballpark I usually throw on his jersey. I have however been concerned about his behavior this season. It started with the fun and games in spring training with the LeBron chalk dust in the air thing and jumping on the tarp during player introductions…all fine and good in spring training. It changed for me when he didn’t show up for player introductions on opening day…and then said he did it intentionally. There was no medical emergency or clear reason. The manager dismissed it and laughed it off…said he wasn’t sure what was going on. This was grossly disrespectful to his teammates, the organization and the fans. Especially as a member of the opening day lineup on opening day in Cincinnati. He should have been fined, disciplined and suspended for this behavior. Surprisingly I did not hear a lot of criticism for this behavior from the media or the Reds; maybe I missed some of it. He has always been a bit of a different guy but I’m just not sure he is fully engaged in the process right now; perhaps that is affecting his on-field performance. Perhaps also, Matt Latos was right about the lack of leadership in the Reds clubhouse and organization in either recognizing that actions such as these are inappropriate or in correcting this type of behavior by others; where there is some smoke, there is usually also some fire. It looks to me like some of what he said was probably right.

        • I don’t think you’re able to be objective about this situation.

          He didn’t come out for introductions. Either he told the truth and it was a joke, or he had to take a #2 bathroom break and doesn’t want to be talking about BMs with the media and fans.

          Either way, I don’t know why some folks feel like they were personally wronged. I couldn’t care less. Doesn’t bother me one bit.

          And making the jump from that single instance to saying he seems not fully engaged this year I think is just silly.

          I guarantee you he’s working harder than anyone on the team trying to fix what is wrong.

          It’s fine that you’re offended that he didn’t stand on a line one time this season, but don’t equate that to him not trying.

    • I think it’s both. I think that he has been unlucky with regard to his batted balls, that a lot more of them should have gone for hits, with more doubles included in that.

      But that doesn’t even come close to telling the whole story. Joey is striking out way too much, and that makes you wonder what has happened. I just don’t remember seeing him swing and miss this much.

      Bottom line is that to me, part of Votto’s poor start can be attributed to bad luck, and part to not making enough contact. He hasn’t played very well so far, but he’s played better than his traditional stats would imply.

      • 1) Bad batted ball luck
        2) Less contact in the zone
        3) More called strikes in places he normally doens’t swing
        4) He has less power on inside pitches than pitches middle-away.
        5) He’s getting pitched inside more

        That’s pretty much it.

  3. I must admire the effort beat writers of Redleg Nation are doing to post these articles…

      • Agreed here too. It has to be hard to get motivated to write about our favorite team when things are so bad. Thanks RLN staff!

  4. Steve, you will be lucky if you watch the Reds on July 4th and the losing streak is over.

    • Or even Patrick.

      I knew the staff would struggle. I didn’t consider the possibility that Joey Votto would collapse. He woke up one morning, and had forgotten how to play baseball.

      • Funny how Joey forgot how to play baseball but he still makes fewer outs than every other Cincinnati Red.

        • That’s not exactly saying much, though. That’s like a high school kid claiming to be the best player on a Pee-Wee football team.

        • True enough, CBJ, but the whole Joey Votto has forgotten how to play baseball narrative is a little tired.

          He’s not playing like one of the 20 best hitters in history (which is what his career has been to this point), no one can argue that.

  5. I think the target date for a better set of game will be June 13. Playing the braves. They are struggling with a very young team — so that team might be one we can compete with a good chance of winning a game. It is a shame for the players who are playing hard (i.e. – Cozart) that this season is one that seems to be lost. If this season we’re resigned to the fact that we can’t be competitive – perhaps look at the good AAA players that might be ready for next year and see how they can be groomed or brought up to see how they handle the majors? I know we are waiting on baited breath for the return of the starters — but if they are truly injured — why not just let them fully recover and NOT rush them back at this point – and instead look at Stephenson, Reed and others where plans can get started on… May also try to look at our rehab process – it seems we have SO many players that get hurt – perhaps that;s another area that should be improved or new processes looked at…
    Its never too early to start strategizing for next season…

    • That’s exactly what they’re doing. They’ve stayed on multiple occasions recently that they aren’t going to rush DeSclafani and Bailey. Stephenson has already been up, as has Peraza. Price has articulated that he expects Reed to be there by the end of the season as well. It’s just an arbitration clock waiting game at this point for all the prospects

  6. The Reds can’t hit.The game plan for every pitcher is the same because they all other then Votto are the same type of hitter.Holt needs to play more because he does take pitches.His last start I believe he walked twice in the two hole.There are no secrets in this game and every hitter must make adjustments and ours don’t do it often enough.Winker,Peraza and others need to be here after the break and lets see what they can do.Can’t be any worse then what we are seeing on the field.Pitching will not be an issue going forward and more then likely we will have to trade some of it to get some hitting.It will get better and I can see us being much better after the break.

  7. Reds can make any scrub look like Cy Young on a nightly basis. Send them to the plate with tennis rackets, maybe they could hit something then

    • While I agree with this, and it sure seems like it happens a lot, Scott Kazmir isn’t really a “scrub.” Earlier in his career before his weird journey took him elsewhere, he was a Cy Young caliber pitcher.

    • What Patrick said… Kazmir has a career ERA a little better than league average and his FIP is in line with that as well over his career. He had a nice 3.10 ERA last year in over 30 starts, although his FIP was higher at a little under 4.00… Kazmir is a solid #3 kind of starter when healthy. He’s struggled with command this year but I expect he’ll be around his career average by the time the season is over.

    • Not entirely directed at Kazmir, although his performance as of late has been far from his career norm.

      More of a “teams don’t need their ace to shut down the Reds” statement. Anyone will do

  8. Votto struggling is the outlier of the offense. The rest of players are pretty much at their expected level. Duvall and Cozart are probably better than expected.

    Suarez has a 36% K rate over his last 100 PA
    Hamilton cannot hit, yet he hits in the 2 spot with a stellar .266 OBP

    Interesting that Price is talking about a low OBP, yet, Hamilton is at the top of the order

    The two to hope for is Winker and Peraza, not sure they will produce much more than the current players in their positions

    Pitching will get better, which will help, considering the large number of runs given up to this point

    • RE: Hamilton….

      Yeah given BHam is a passable RH batter, it really made a lot of sense to keep the RH batting Tyler Holt (who was/ is optionable) over LH batting Rule V guy Jake Cave.

      From the spilled milk file….
      Cave started the season at the Yanks AA club and after putting up .288/.353/.510 slash line was promoted to AAA in early May. So far in 13 games at AAA his slash is .353/.365/.686.
      Don’t suppose some folks might have pushed to send him back to the Yanks to protect Hamilton and thus their own reputations???

  9. They’re so bad and the hitting prospects are so barren that 2018 isn’t workable either? Their best best is prob 2020 and hopefully Votto will be a man of is word and pull a Adam LaRoche and just walk away and free the money up! That’s the best thing that could’ve happened to the White Sox!

    • Nobody recognizes outstanding pitching better than outstanding hitters. If the pitching falls into place and the Reds have money for an FA hitter or two, they will be willing to come play on a team with pitching like the Reds seem to project to have over the next several years.

    • Since you asked… It’s around 2500-degrees Fahrenheit, assuming they are made of steel 🙂

  10. I watch the Cubs a lot since I have Zobrist, Bryant, and Fowler on my 2 fbb teams. Just the way their hitters foul off pitches and basically control the strike zone and make the pitchers come to them makes them so vastly different then watching the Reds go down 1-2-3 on 7 pitches. Its like the Polish calvary matching horses up against German tanks? It goes beyond picking up prospects! They need to blow up the entire organization from top to bottom

    • There were also 13 Dodger K’s on the evening, Part of it may have been it was a getaway night all around (Reds to Milwaukee; Dodgers to NYC) even though both teams were sleeping over before actually leaving.

      • The Dodgers suck too….obviously! All that money just to get held to the silver medal in their own state

        • They’ve won their division 3 years in a row… not sure what else you expect! 😉

    • The approach is suspect for the Reds. Not sure if teams pound the zone since the Reds hitters are poor, or, if the Reds hitters just have no patience or command of the zone.

      Whatever it is, the current process and players is clearly not working

      • I think hit it with your 2nd word. Approach. That’s the crux of the issue.

  11. I bet any other manager had alraedy sat Hamilton, Votto and Suarez, but not our guy. Time to give more playing time to other players, makes no sense to keep the struggling ones on the field, as much as old Bob & Co. regret. Have Holt to play CF and promote Allen and Curtis to take over 1B and 3B, respectevely.

  12. This season is like deja vu all over again. This is a repeat of August-September of 2015. No offense, no starting pitching, and no bullpen. The names have changed, but the product being put out on the field is still the same.

    • This wasn’t the planned product, though. That’s important to remember. If all our major-league caliber pitchers weren’t injured, we’d have a few more Ws.

      • Yeah, you are correct. When DeSclafani and Iglesias went down, it scuttled the first half of the season.
        But the offense is still as stale as week old bread. The Reds have no solutions for that in their minors coffers. Winker will be a good addition, but probably at the cost of losing Bruce in a trade. In that case it would be a wash.

  13. I do not think that Votto is done although I posted previously that I thought his practice swing has a distinct uppercut which I never remember him using. I think his vision is off because of this uppercut, that he is pulling his head from what he used to do leading a more strikeouts than we are used to.

    I used to think that Joey would be the captain of this team but he is not a captain, he is just a great player. They guy who could have been captain was Super Todd but he was traded for a bowl of crunch.

    Jay does not have that “it.” Cozart might, but he might be traded soon also.

    Along with the baseball skills they are trying to collect, they do need that leadership quotient to make it go. It is not on this team

    • The issue here is Votto and his +$200MM contract, as worse as he’d turn to be, he won’t be taken off the field. In some way I was expecting his decline to start any time soon, but certainly not so fast.

      • He will be on the field for the Reds the next ten years.

        Why the Reds signed him to that contract is criminal for this organization. Maybe for a large market team but not the Reds.

  14. The one thing I want to see after the break is the front office auditioning as many position players as possible from our minor leagues.We have to find out who can or can’t play at this level.Wins/losses are secondary.If we do then you can say we have a plan.Its all about stats and I realize this how players earn their promotions to the big leagues but we can’t just go on stats right now.We should bring up players that are ready now and also bring up guys that may not be ready for a couple of years.

      • “At this level.”

        Spring training is against a lot of minor league pitching in lower pressure situations.

    • I suspect we’ll see Peraza and Winker at some point this season when they are assured playing time. Maybe Yorman if they ever take him off the DL/extended spring training. Schebler is still the mix as well.

      Other players might have made sense back in the ol’ days when the GM, manager, and player development folks didn’t see the young players until the next spring training, and didn’t have access to hard drives worth of video/data. It simply doesn’t make sense anymore.

      It’s not like they have a wealth of position talent sitting their in the high minors either. Their non-pitching prospects haven’t exactly set the world on fire (this includes Peraza and Winker).

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