High altitude seemed to agree with Reds hitters. 17 hits by 10 different batters.

Cincinnati 11 • Colorado 8  |  FanGraphs  | High Altitude and Junk Food

Not-so-Great Expectations Dan Straily gave up five runs in six innings. Normally, we’d agree that was a terrible start. Especially when it’s the pitcher on the staff who has been the best for the club, as Straily has been. He surrendered a home run on the second pitch of the game. Straily walked three and struck out only four, which is bleh. And, of course, if the offense hadn’t provided a load of runs, we’d look at the start completely different. But low expectations are powerful. We’ve become conditioned. Leading the league in walks and home runs surrendered, double-digit ERAs, one bad start followed by the next have left us numb to accurate evaluation. Left us believing the mirage that a start of five runs in six innings might have been good. Drink up, Nation.

Wallet Found? Joey Votto smashed a bases-loaded double to centerfield with the score tied 5-5. If the ball hadn’t bounced over the fence, it would have cleared the bases. If the wind hadn’t been blowing directly in from center, it would have been a grand slam. A couple innings later, Votto pulled an inside pitch over the right field fence for his 200th home run as a Cincinnati Red.

Other Offense Votto wasn’t the only Reds player with a productive day at the plate. Zack Cozart hit the first pitch of the game for his sixth home run of the year. He added two more hits. Adam Duvall hit two more home runs and Eugenio Suarez added one of his own. Billy Hamilton had three hits.

Bullpen Artists Blake Wood pitched the seventh inning. He walked the first batter he faced, of course. He also gave up a hit and another walk. But in the end he worked out of the jam without giving up a run. Dan Ohlendorf retired the side in order in the eighth. Tony Cingrani, asked to protect a six-run lead in the ninth, he of course, walked the first batter. Then he gave up a home run to Carlos Gonzalez. Then he walked another batter. Cingrani got a couple outs then gave up another run-scoring hit. Just terrible. J.C. Ramirez came in to get the final out.

DeSclafani Update Jason Linden watched Anthony DeSclafani start for Louisville today and got to talk to the pitcher after the game. We would again like to thank the Louisville Bats (and Dayton Dragons) for treating our writers well. Read Jason’s scouting report here. Warning: Prepare for good news.

54 Responses

  1. seat101

    Reading between the lines, of several interviews with Joey Vato, I’ve come to the opinion that one of the reasons he watches tapes is to see how the umpires call the strike zone. And when the Ump calls a pitch a strike a strike that he usually calls a ball, Joey is not amused.

  2. Scott E. Disney

    One good thing about Strailey, although he did give up 5 runs he held the lead once the Reds got ahead and kept the Reds in it. I did not see the early innings but it was nice to see the Reds hold a lead.

    • pinson343

      Yes and I had confidence Strailey would pitch a couple of shutout innings after the Reds took the lead, which he did. And that’s no small thing when pitching at Coors.

      I like Strailey. I look forward to when he’s the number 5 starter. At that point, the Reds have a strong rotation.

  3. cfd3000

    Nice day for the offense, especially… Hamilton. I like the slow improvement by Votto but that weak strikeout in the 8th tells me it’s a baby steps deal. Chris Welch noted that with a 2 strike count just before Votto doubled that he was less crouched down than he has been this year with 2 strikes, and ready to hit more aggressively instead of defensively. Then he got his pitch and crushed it. Baby steps, but it is encouraging. I’ll expect to see that double when the next updated list of 25 hardest hit balls comes out. More Denver air please.

    • Patrick Jeter

      I’ve been skimping. One was due out last Sunday. Next Sunday I’ll get an updated one out.

  4. james garrett

    Any win is a good win.We have a chance when we hit homers.Our pitchers still walk way way to many hitters which always comes back to haunt you.I was glad Price came and got Cingrani but realy surprised that he did to be honest.

    • pinson343

      Cingrani struggling and at 35 pitches, Arenado the tying run on deck. I was glad Price took out Cingrani. 6 run leads disappear quickly at Coors.

    • pinson343

      I mean I was also glad but not surprised. Price has been forced to be flexible in his thinking about how to close out a game. J. C. Ramirez is OK when he mixes in a sliders that are strikes, which he did.

  5. cfd3000

    I also liked the move of using Finnegan for the sacrifice. No need to burn a bench player for that, but no reason to mess around with a pitcher who doesn’t bunt well. A little surprised that Price figured all that out.

  6. Redsfan48

    “Dan Ohlendorf retired the side in order in the eighth.”

    • Redsfan48

      Perhaps he will be a better pitcher than his twin brother Ross.

  7. JB WV

    Duvall rockin the free world right now. Hamilton lookin much more confident at the plate. Blake Wood, as noted, got the job done however shakily. Saw a surprising stat on him: has not given up a HR in 55 innings, longest streak in the majors right now. A little blue sky today.

  8. Patrick Jeter

    Just got back from the game, and boy is it nice to see the Reds hit well when you spend the money and the entire day going up there. Went with Mrs Jeter, Lil Jeter, my parents, and her parents.

    Some notes and comments:

    There seemed to be TONS of balls just crushed, on both sides of the ball. Coors Field, eh? It amazes me that any of these balls get caught.

    Votto’s double looked like an easy homer off the bat, but the people talking about the wind weren’t exaggerating. It was strong during that inning. Unfortunate for Votto because the wind wasn’t really that strong during any of his other ABs.

    Billy Hamilton is a joy to watch play CF in person. Guy in front of me: “How’s he get to those?”

    Me, in a loud tone so folks around could hear, “You know, batting average really isn’t that important…” when my father-in-law noted that Votto had the lowest AVG other than Straily (.000) on the scoreboard. I was fishing to see if any Rockies fans wanted to argue. No takers. 🙁 Mrs. Jeter, after that statement, “Keep your voice down.”

    Adam Duvall has man-sized power. Neither one of his homers, to me, seemed like it was hit all that well, but hey… they both went out. He’s quickly becoming one of my favorite Reds.

    Last Red I saw hit 2HR in a game live? Wily Mo Pena on WMP Bobblehead Night.

    For those of you that haven’t been to Coors, the outfield is enormous. TV doesn’t do it justice. There’s a reason why Michael Cuddyer hit .330 there.

    I only saw 3 of the 5 HR. Votto’s and both of Duvall’s. We were talking to our seats when Cozart hit his, and I was buying a Todd Helton Burger when Suarez hit his.

    • ohiojimw

      Sounds like quite the day for you all.

      RE: Duvall… I find myself regularly counting how many batters until Duvall is up again. As best I can recall the only other current Red I’ve done that with is JV. Eric Davis is a guy who drove the ball with the type of underspin carry you described.

      Also a hint from a guy who’s been down that road, you might want to make sure it passes muster with Mrs. Jeter to be called Mrs Jeter by her husband. 🙂

    • VaRedsFan

      Congrats on witnessing a good Reds win. Visited Coors twice. It’s a beauty.

    • pinson343

      I watched a Reds night game at Coors a few years ago. Sat in the RF seats, looking toward the sunset and Rocky Mountains. The Rockies fans were very mellow, asking me friendly questions about the Reds.

      You’re right the OF is huge. Beautiful place to watch a game.

      Thanks for the account, sounds like you and family had a good time.

  9. VaRedsFan

    To be fair, 2 of Straily’s walks were pitch arounds to Cargo

  10. TR

    I took a tour of Coors Field about ten years ago and the guide, at that time, said that many people felt the outfield was too big and the stadium could have been more intimate. But the setting is incredible with the Rocky Mountains in the background.

  11. Scotlykins

    Bating average is very important. Hitting IS the game.

    • Patrick Jeter

      Very constructive post. Show me your evidence about batting average and how it correlates to winning.

      • wkuchad

        In general I agree with you regarding batting average, but surely there’s some correlation to team batting average and winning percentage, though I assume OBS is a much higher correlation.

      • Scotly50

        Really ??? Teams that hit the ball win. Teams that don’t…..lose.

        I agree, sorry, the last sentence not constructive. I meant to delete it but hit the post button.

      • Patrick Jeter

        The whole thing I wrote in the original post was meant to be a joke. That’s why I tossed in the part about how the Mrs told me to shut up, basically.

        Just to toss this out there…team with the best record in baseball, by far, is 10th in hitting this year. (Cubs)

        “Hitting” is important, sure, but its not anywhere near as important overall as simply not making an out. A guy who hits .280/.310/.400 is no where near as good as a guy who hits .270/.350/.390.

        Regardless, the original statement meant batting average isn’t a good way to evaluate player overall offensive skill. All the conversations on this site boil down to that simple statement, which remains as true now as it was at any point. Every ounce of data (stuff in the real world that happens) points towards it.

        You can’t just say “Really??? Teams that hit the ball win. Teams that don’t……lose” Not only is it completely non specific, because of course if you don’t make contact at all you’ll lose, but the implication that batting average is the main contributor to being a winning team (offensively, at least. Pitching is important to i’m sure we agree) is just plain wrong.

    • ohiojimw

      What’s to choose between a two run double followed by a later solo HR (JV) versus two run HR followed by a later solo shot (AD)? Given Votto’s recent struggles, what he did was probably the bigger “story”. That said, I do see your point regarding the headline.

      • pinson343

        Yes Votto was a big story today because of his struggles, the huge expectations we have for him, and his bases loaded double was the hardest hit ball in a game of hard hit balls.

        Duvall was a big story too of course, he’s also the Reds biggest story for the month of May, and one of the biggest stories in baseball for the month of May.

      • Scotly50

        The best story of the game, in my opinion, was in fact Votto. He pulled an inside pitch for a home run. He has been choking up and pulling his elbows in an attempt to slap them to right. If he gets that mastered we will see the Votto of old again.

    • greenmtred

      Hitting is an important part of the game, sure, and batting average is not the best way of measuring the overall contribution of a hitter.

  12. ohiojimw

    B.Phllips had to come out of the game today because of the ankle injury he suffered on Sunday. This article from the Enquirer seems to say that the Reds training staff “suggested” it was time for him to sit down but that Phillips hopes to play on Tuesday.


    This begs the question for me. If the training staff thinks somebody should not play, do they unambiguously inform the manager of their opinion? How does the opinion of the training staff weigh with the manager in comparison to the opinion of the player???

    • pinson343

      Where BP is concerned, his opinion should not matter at all. He’s hurt himself and the Reds time after time by playing hurt. If the medical staff says he’s hurt, put him on the DL and bring up Peraza.

      • ohiojimw

        My feelings too except they are probably not going to do this because they are still burning off service time on Peraza due to his 40+ days of MLB time coming into 2016. I believe they have the “extra” year of service covered but need most all of June to keep him out of Super2.

      • Patrick Jeter

        I don’t think they have hit Peraza’s extra year yet, due to the fact that he spent some time up with the Dodgers last year. Can’t recall when exactly, though, would be safe for him.

      • ohiojimw

        BBRef has Peraza at 42 days MLB time to start the season. Add 3 for his brief call up.
        He either has the year covered or right on it now. Thus he needs 127 days to make 172 (= 1yr service time) by the end of the season. With then last day of the season being 2 Oct, I put his cover date at 28-29 May.

      • Patrick Jeter

        Aha! I stand corrected! I thought his day was sometime in June. Good work!

  13. pinson343

    I have gingerly, cautiously suggested that Hamilton is making progress in his approach to hitting. Now I’ll assert it – as others have – as it’s more evident. Over the last 30 games: .271/.293/354. Not great numbers, but progress.

    For this year I’d settle for a .300 OBP. When he’s running the bases well (not always the case this year) a .300 OBP for him has more value than for others because of the higher likelihood that he’ll score.

    His defense means so much, I really want to see him progress at the plate.

    • cfd3000

      Pinson I do agree (hence my post above). If he hits .250 or more he’ll have a pile of extra bases on hits that would be singles for anyone else. We saw that twice in the last two games. And he can score when others can’t so an OBP of .300 is worth more than normal, especially when no one is on in front of him. But at least for now it’s his defense that makes it easy to keep playing him. He covers a ton of ground and makes the plays when he gets to the ball. Gold glove defense at a key position right now. I’m liking what I’ve been seeing. A great game for Hamilton yesterday.

      • jimmaloney46

        You just described Drew Stubbs, except Stubbsy had way more power, and maybe a little less range and speed in CF. His numbers never got where they needed to be, even with the HR power, despite everybody waiting for him to rise to some fantasy potential. Don’t make that same mistake with Hamilton, whose fielding is slightly better than Stubbs, and hitting far worse. Stubbs was equally dangerous on base. I don’t get this dream-like status Hamilton gets. He sucks as a hitter. Getting enamored with “potential” guys sets teams back. Hamilton is a horrible hitter, and he’s been at it almost 3 years. Get used to it.

      • ohiojimw

        Stubbs was equally dangerous on base……

        To his own team or the opposition? Hamilton is getting caught stealing/ picked off at a rate approaching 25% of his attempts this season which is almost double last year and even slightly worse than his rookie season. Every time he is CS, it depreciates the real net value of his already low OBP just as surely as successful steals increase his supposed value.

      • VaRedsFan

        Hamilton’s defense is light years better than Stubbs. Drew could neither come in nor go back on balls like Billy. He could cover the gaps about half as well.

    • GreatRedLegsFan

      He’s currently hitting at 241/284/353 line, with that level of speed & defense a 300 OBP will make him the right stuff.

  14. jimmaloney46

    Disagree. I think your standards are too low for what a CF needs to be on a winning team. Heck, he’s still hasn’t reached Stubb’s center of the bell curve, even with those numbers. Hitting .241 means riding wood on a team with halfway decent depth. Plus, he’s a lousy bunter. Don’t understand the fascination with oddities like Chapman, Dunn, and Hamilton.

    • Chuck Schick

      They’re not a winning team and they have no depth. At this point, Hamilton is the best they have so they might as well see if he can hit. The Outfield Ferry isn’t going to send a Unicorn with a new CFer anytime soon.

    • Patrick Jeter

      Dunn as an “oddity?” Interesting. A good hitter than was a bad defender is an extremely common thing in baseball.

      Maybe you aren’t a fan of Wins Above Replacement, I don’t know, but it is the best way to measure overall player contribution to a team winning via hitting (the largest part, by far), fielding (a distant 2nd), and base running (a far distant 3rd).

      Billy Hamilton was an above-average player in both 2014 and 2015, despite his hitting.

      Wouldn’t you agree making a catch that no one else can make that saves a run is the same as driving in a run? After all, a 5-4 win doesn’t count more than a 4-3 win.

      I don’t think anyone is espousing the point that Hamilton will be a star at this point. But, he’s still a useful player. And he’s cheap and will always be cheap because he can’t hit. Maybe he’s not part of the next Reds contender, maybe he is, but he certainly warrants a spot in the lineup for this team, preferably batting 9th.

      • ohiojimw

        Maybe Tyler Holt gives them not quite as much on defense but more overall on offense. In a year about discovery, it might be worth looking into this at length and considering the balance.

        Hamilton is on line to become arb eligible this off season. If an arbiter buys into the defensive component of WAR, Hamilton might not stay nearly as cheap.

      • Patrick Jeter

        Thankfully, it seems like those arbiters haven’t bought in yet!

        Have a long-term project i’m working on regarding how much stats cost in arbitration. Lots of leg work, but hopefully i find something useful.

      • lwblogger2

        I’m hoping in Hamilton’s case that the arbitrators are still well behind the curve as far as player evaluation as they are currently. Of course, they are fully on board with OBP now so perhaps they aren’t as far behind the times as our front-office.

      • VaRedsFan

        33-104 when bunting. (.317) And that’s with the defense basically playing him for the bunt.

      • Patrick Jeter

        I think the fact that the defense plays him the way they do means he needs to be much more sneaky and selective with his bunts. A lot of time we see him attempt a bunt multiple times in an AB. As soon as you square around the first time, the defense is even more on guard.

        I just pulled all guys with at least 20 bunt hits over the last 3 seasons, and to my surprise, there were only 5 such guys. Here are their hits and success rate.

        Carlos Gomez – 21 – .600
        Leonys Martin – 28 – .475
        Dee Gordon – 37 – .420
        Erick Aybar – 25 – .403
        Billy Hamilton – 32 – .314

        It would seem like Gomez is the king of the surprise bunt. And defenses would never play him in since he can hit the snot out of the ball. Martin is a speedy guy who probably just picks his spots well, same with Erick Aybar.

        Dee Gordon is really the only good comp to Billy, but I don’t think defenses play Gordon in nearly as far as they play Billy.

        Even batting .314, since they are all singles, that’s a .628 OPS. Given that his career OPS is .620 at the moment, bunting hasn’t really “helped” Billy (nor hurt him) to this point.

        He’s probably not as terrible as we let on around here, but it’s certainly not a part of him game to hang his hat on.

      • lwblogger2

        Actually, that’s much better than I thought.

  15. james garrett

    I agree with OHIOJIMW in that Holt needs to play more.I would start him for a couple of weeks and see what he does.He does work the count and on a team that only has one other player that does that you have to like it.

    • lwblogger2

      I like Holt but I don’t think you can bench Hamilton when he’s been rather productive over the last 30-days. I’ll add that Holt is a very nice defender in CF but Hamilton is one of the most special CF I’ve seen in a long, long time. If his arm was better, he’d be a GG lock and that’s with some other really good CFs in the game today.

  16. james garrett

    Play them both by setting Bruce some and Suarez some while moving Duval to third.Holt isn’t as good a fielder as Billy but he does work the count and gets on base.Really need a bigger sample size to determine his true value.Right now in my mind I feel its audition time for everybody just to see if they are a part of the future.

  17. ohiojimw

    To make room for Moscot, Caleb Cotham draws the short straw and takes one for the team; Cotham goes on DL with right shoulder inflammation. Seems I heard Creeper orm Cowboy opine once that any MLB pitcher who had recently thrown a pitch had at least some degree of “shoulder inflammation” afterwards.