Final R H E
San Diego Padres (31-43) 7 8 2
Cincinnati Reds (28-45) 4 7 1
W: Friedrich (4-2) L: Ramirez (1-3) S: Rodney (16)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score

The Good
–Adam Duvall continues to murder baseballs on a regular basis. Tonight, Duvall was 2-4 with his 21st homer and two RBI. Those 21 home runs are tied with Nolan Arenado, Todd Frazier (remember him?), and Mark Trumbo for the major league lead, and he’s hitting .263/.297/.600. It’s Adam Duvall’s world, we’re just living in it.

–First time in his career that Eugenio Suarez collected three walks in a single game.

–Josh Smith pitched two scoreless innings of relief. That’s a rare commodity with this bullpen.

–Brandon Phillips had two hits and an RBI.

The Bad
–With the Reds clinging to a 4-3 lead, Bryan Price removed John Lamb from the game and brought in the vaunted Reds bullpen, in the form of JC Ramirez. With one on, Ramirez surrendered a single to the first hitter he faced. He gave up a three-run home run to the second hitter. Within minutes, the Reds were down 6-4 and the bullpen had vomited all over the game once again.

–You know, Price is not as horrible at setting a lineup as some managers. But I’ll never understand why in the world he’d want to hit two of his worst hitters — Billy Hamilton and Brandon Phillips — second and third in the lineup. BP had a couple of hits tonight, but with the Reds down to their last two outs and a runner on base, Hamilton struck out and BP grounded out weakly to shortstop to end the game.

–Joey Votto, out of the starting lineup for the third straight day, pinch hit in the ninth. He struck out.

Not-So-Random Thoughts
–Boo.

–John Lamb was just okay: 5.1 IP, 3 earned runs, 4 hits allowed, 4 walks. But for the third time in his last four starts, the bullpen blew a save after he left the game.

–Someone’s going to have to explain to me why JC Ramirez is still in the big leagues. I mean, I know he throws hard. But his ERA is now up to 6.61. He’s not good enough right now.

I guess I can believe that there’s no one else in AAA that is better right now, but I grow weary of watching this nonsense.

As noted by our friend Wick Terrell, the last time Brandon Phillips walked three times in a game was August 14, 2012. That’s a long time ago.

Blame Chad for creating this mess.

Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

Join the conversation! 65 Comments

  1. Votto’s on base streak ended. 😟

    • Now we just have to say something like “Votto’s starting on-base streak!” Haha!

  2. I have watched every game and why in the world would you put aa pitcher at best, in the game with a 1 run lead? He’s not much more than a batting practice pitcher.I know he doesn’t have much to work with, but come on.he should be coming in when the game is lost, not when you’re ahead.

    • Part of the rebuilding process is to figure out who can pitch. …..that is more important than a meaningless game in a lost season. Price doesn’t determine who is on the roster and likely doesn’t determine the ” sequence” in which pitchers are used. The FO wants to see specific guys in specific situations more than they want to beat the Padres.

      • Price does choose the sequence in which the pitchers are used, he is the game “manager,” and thusly chooses who pitches next. The problem is that he has others available, such as Iglesias, and he still goes with Ramirez, who has consistently been Logan Ondrusek-like.

        • Iglesias pitched two innings the game before, and in a rebuilding season (really, probably any season) I don’t think the Reds should be throwing a guy, just off of the DL with shoulder issues and who has been a starter for the last several years, in back-to-back games, unless it is absolutely necessary.

          I’m really curious what sequence of pitchers others would recommend for last night? Logan Ondrusek would probably be a welcome addition to this staff.

        • We’re speculating about the decision-making process. Nothing wrong with that, but we should be clear about what we’re doing. Ramirez has been ineffective, but has good raw stuff, and, as Chuck notes, this is the season to separate the wheat from the chaff. Hate to lose any games, particularly with a few glimmers of hope making appearances, but it’s necessary to see what we’ve got.

        • CP, and GREENMTRED, thank you for your responses. I really do think that Ondrusek would potentially be one of the better bullpen options, haha. I stand corrected in that department. I just get tired of seeing the Ohlendorfs out there more than anything else. Oh well, guess it could be worse, like Kevin Gregg.

        • RE:Iglesias. He pitched 2 innings (18 pitches) on Tuesday, not Wednesday. If he wasn’t available for at least an inning Thursday, he shouldn’t be on the active list.

        • Jim’s right about Iglesias pitching Tuesday not Wednesday, I got my days mixed up. However, no one said he wasn’t available to pitch.

        • Yes, Price is the manager and officially he is the maker of in game decisions. I find it highly unlikely that the FO doesn’t lay out in advance who they want to see in any given situation in any given game-series…..to not do that is utterly illogical.

          Price’s W-L record won’t get him another job. Being seen as accommodating and on-board during a rebuilding project may. Manager money is a lot better than pitching coach money and I’m sure he wants future direct deposits to be as large as possible. Joe Torre and Bruce Bochey are HOF managers who had losing records before they found the right situation. I’m sure Prive is aware of that fact.

          A rebuild takes longer when the manager is solely focused on short term objectives…beat the Padres today…and the FO cares about being good in 2018. I’m reasonably sure one of the reasons Price was brought back was his willingness to implement what the FO wants….however destructive it may be short term.

        • I have no idea how much influence the front office has on relief pitcher selection. However, here is what I would like to see implemented instead of having “roles” for each pitcher (e.g. pitch the ninth with a three-run lead or less).

          There is a branch of mathematics called combinatorial optimization. In combinatorial optimization there is a famous “greedy” algorithm which can be proven to be an optimal algorithm in many situations. As the name implies, you rank your options and pick them in the order of highest return. Here is how I would implement a greedy algorithm in relief pitcher selection.

          On game night determine which pitchers are available to pitch. Rank order them. Next have a working definition of a “game altering situation.” For example the tying run in the on-deck circle or coming to the plate. Then, if a relief pitcher must be selected to pitch in a game altering situation, go with number one on list in the very first game altering situation. Proceed in this fashion as game altering situations arise and don’t wait for a particular scenario to arise so you can use your best pitcher.

        • K Martin….may office is next to the Gleacher Center. I’m going to find someone to explain combinatorial optimization to me at lunch.

          Great stuff as always.

        • KM, the definition of high leverage bullpen management. With the rigidity of thinking among managers and coaches and the natural inclination to manage by the book in order to avoid being singled out and ridiculed for an unusual decision that produced a bad result, such forward thinking is embraced very slowly. Many fans would welcome more risk-taking in making decisions contrary to safe protocols.

        • Chuck, I often teach at the Gleacher center. I would be happy to explain over lunch sometime while discussing the Reds and Cubs.

      • As a fan, I have a problem with completely throwing this season away. I’m not talking about winning the division, or even playing .500+ ball. But I would like to see some improvement that indicates the team is headed in the right direction. I understand the possible strategy alluded to by Chuck, that the FO is testing people (especially pitchers) in different situations. But, with Cozart and Bruce on the block and the bullpen not really showing any signs of coming together, we may have a completely different team next year with no sense of where things are headed.

        • You are exactly right,

        • WE may not see many signs just yet of the bullpen coming together but with Iglesais and now Lorenzen down there and as Bailey comes off the DL, I think we will have a much better picture as the team goes through the 2nd half of the season than we have right now. Hopefully we will get a look at how Iglesais and Lorenzen handle back of the bullpen duties in pressure (late-inning-hold or save) situations soon.

      • Curious Chuck, do you really think the front-office is exercising that much control of who plays when? I mean, it does happen to an extent but most managers are very vocal when it does or at least hint that they didn’t have the final say in the matter. This usually happens when a guy is getting starts because the front-office wants him to a lot more than the manager does. I’d be surprised if it happened as far as bullpen roles, aside from perhaps the closer. I’d like to hear more of your thoughts on this.

      • Nevermind Chuck. You expanded upon this a little further down and I hadn’t gotten that far yet.

  3. There are guys chomping at the bit to pitch in the majors.give them a chance and send this chump back to AA where he might be able to get someone out.

    • There are guys on the roster that are better. They’ve activated Iglesias and Lorenzen yet Price thinks Ramirez and Ohlendorf are better options. Makes you scratch your head or in some cases bang it against a wall.

  4. Peraza might have the most unimpressive 6-game hitting streak of all time. I think it’s five 1-4s and a 1-5. All singles. Mixed a walk in, also.

  5. I haven’t seen or read anything about Iglesias not being available Thursday, If indeed he was available, it would seem the situation in the 6th was tailor made to drop him into.

  6. I haven’t been around much recently, but can anyone tell me why Votto isn’t playing?

    • very ill, apparently–only eating crackers (if that’s what canadians call them).

  7. I assume Price is giving BHam every opportunity this year, particularly with Votto out the last few days.. Lets just all agree. Bat BHam 9th and let him play his CF defense. BP is not dropping in the order, statistics be damned. BP would throw a temper tantrum if he got dropped to 7th and then Price would have clubhouse issues and a distraction, and a story that would not go away. That’s what happens on last place teams. His GDP could set a career high this year, tied for 2nd worst in NL. Interesting to juxtapose Yadier Molina with BP stats- Both are fading into the sunset fast, at least offensively for YM.

  8. So the Reds extend their lead in the category of “most games lost after being ahead”. I suppose it’s not any worse than just never having a lead, but its a lot more discouraging. On a related note, I’m really starting to wonder if Lamb has a long term role in the rotation. He is really struggling with the first batter of the inning and that’s one of those predictive problems – you can’t sustain success for long if the lead off batter is always on base. I suspect Finnegan and Reed will fill the rotation from the left side with Garrett a possible third in a year or two. Add DeSclafani, Bailey, Stephenson and even Straily and there’s no room at all for Lamb. This is his shot and so far I don’t see him capitalizing on the opportunity.

    • Agreed. This is Lamb’s moment to seize a spot in the rotation and so far he isn’t getting it done. I’ve always thought of him as a good AAA insurance policy or long man on a good team.

      • …or as a left-handed Bronson Arroyo in the making. He’s young. He can learn. The first batter stuff is remarkable but I don’t know why it wouldn’t be correctable.

        • I tend to agree. I don’t know if I’m ready to compare him to Arroyo but I still think he may be a serviceable MLB starting pitcher for someone. I see him as a potential #3 but more likely a #4 for a good team.

        • I certainly think he can be a MLB starting pitcher. He brings a good amount of swing and miss stuff and high K numbers. Those are foundational elements to being a successful big league pitcher. He may get pushed out by a numbers game if Reed/Stephenson/Garrett all transition into the rotation in a year or so with Bailey and Disco/Finnegan. I think he’d make a good bullpen addition, but if he can come around a bit, he may be bring something intriguing in a trade as well.

    • It’s still way too early to write off John Lamb. Although Lamb is playing in his age 26 season, he lost virtually 2 seasons of development (2011 & 2012) due to injury, then Lamb spent the 2013 & 2014 seasons recovering from injury and reestablishing himself as a starting pitcher at the upper levels of MiBL. Lamb has just 20 games at the major league level (10 in 2015 & 10 in 2016). While Lamb certainly hasn’t demonstrated the capability to start or relieve at the major league level, he also hasn’t had sufficient opportunity to demonstrate he doesn’t have the capability to start at the major league level. He may not prove that this season, but he has options available and time to complete his development before the Reds shoudl even think about writing him off.

      I think Brandon Finnegan falls into the same general category of lacking full development, but he is playing only his age 23 season with only 20 starts in MiBL. Finnegan has lots of time to complete his development and demonstrate his capability to pitch in the starting rotation at the major league level.

      I think there is a strong likelyhood that Lamb begins the 2017 season in the Bats starting rotation, awaiting his opportunity to stick at the major league level. I think Finnegan may also start the 2017 season in the Bats starting rotation, but he could find himself on the back end of the Reds starting rotation to begin the 2017 season.

      Dan Straily differs from both Lamb and Finnegan. Straily is playing in his age 27 season. Certainly not ancient, but his opportunity as a starting pitcher for the Reds may be short-lived. In 2017, Straily will find himself competing for the starting rotation with another organization after being traded later this season or will be pitching out of the bullpen for the Reds.

      • Not writing him off at all Dr. Cossack, but just disappointed that he does not seem to be learning from his mistakes. Small sample size to be sure and there is both time for him to develop based on his age, and time for the Reds to let him develop based on their expectations. But I see him getting passed by if he doesn’t start showing improvement. He made a nice step forward a couple of weeks ago but seems to be regressing since. No write offs yet, just concern. I’d love to see him thrive whether it’s to land in the Reds rotation or to bring a bigger return in trade. We’ll be watching closely.

        • Lamb has a 3.10 era & 1.24 whip for June….that’s showing progress? I read where earlier in the year they were trying to get him away from the slider/cutter and use more slow curves/changeups and he’s been doing much better since May!

        • CFD: I also think the sample size is too small and I want to see what Lamb can do at least for the rest of this season. The Reds aren’t going anywhere anyway so let’s find out what we have.

        • Lamb’s curve, I think, is a potential game changing pitch when he commands it well. If he can develop that consistency, he can be a #5 starter I think.

          These days, a #5 starter really doesn’t have to be all that good. Just needs to give you 6 innings most nights. Doesn’t matter if he gives up 2, 3, 4, or 5 runs. In my opinion, of course.

  9. John Lamb is a starting pitcher. I just think it’ll be with the Cincinnati Reds. I think he’d be wasted in the bullpen. He’d make an ideal trade candidate in a package to get a quality bat.

    • Correction: I just DON’T think it’ll be with the Cincinnati Reds.

      • I would not be surprised if you turn out to be correct on this. However the Reds will get better return in trade if they settle on someone like Lamb for their bottom of the rotation starter and deal a more highly projected pitcher. I believe they find themselves walking a real tightrope in regard to who to trade. who to keep and the balance between how much to give up for greater return.

        Nonetheless whoever they keep needs to be able to take the ball every five days and on average give them hopefully 7 innings, not between 5 and 6

        • I like Lamb a lot. I just think when the dust settles on the selection process for the 5 man rotation, Lamb could be on the outside looking in. While I think that Lamb in the Reds bullpen would be nice, I think him throwing 1 inning every 2-3 games would be a waste of his talents. Same with having him at AAA. If I have to choose between Finnegan and Lamb for the rotation and that final #5 spot, I go with Finnegan. He is younger and I like his bulldog attitude. If Lamb can step up and beat out Finnegan, all the better. Either way, one of these guys should be very attractive on the trade market for a bat.

        • I think by the end of 2017, barring injury, the Reds back end bullpen “A” team is Finnegan, Lorenzen, and Iglesias.

  10. I don’t see much difference among Lamb, Straily, and Finnegan in terms of results. All three of them run I high pitch counts which create leverage situations and ultimately end up out of games early because of it. Their BB/9 rates are closely grouped between 3.9 (Straily) and 4.2 (Lamb) with Finnegan in the middle at 4.1.

    Interesting to compare the 6th inning Thursday at GABP (Lamb) with the 6th inning Wednesday at Louisville (Garrett). Lamb exited after throwing 102 pitches (55 strikes) having allowed 2 run priors and responsible for 2 men on base. On Wednesday Garrett retired one more batter Lamb and exited the game at 98 pitches (45 strikes) with no runs across in the game but the bases loaded (he had walked them loaded). In both cases the bullpen could not clean up and the starter ended up charged with the runs for the people he had left on base for the reliever. The difference is of course that Garrett is at the highest developmental level while Lamb is at the ultimate performance level.

    • Garrett only threw 45 strikes in 98 pitches? ouch!!

      • Garrett has 3 months to right that ship after his 1st start in AAA. It wasn’t an impressive performance by any measure, but my money is on Garrett to crack the Reds starting rotation by opening day 2017 or at least make an impression that forces a difficult decision.

        • I’m actually very excited about Garrett’s prospects as a future big leaguer and think he has the potential to be a very fine addition to the starting rotation. I don’t know what his ball/strike ratio was in AA this year but the less than 50% strikes just jumped out at me. I’m assuming that will only improve going forward.

        • Amir Garrett 2016 in AA:

          82.2 IP; 1.75 ERA; 1.026 WHIP; 9.1 SO/9; 3.3 BB/9; 2.79 SO/BB

          Garrett needs to reduce his BB, but he has made some remarkable, steady progress since dropping basketball and concentrating on baseball year-round. His SO/9 and SO/BB have improved year to year while his BB/9 have remained statistically consistent. Next season will be Garrett’s make or break season since I believe 2017 will be his last option if he is not added to the 25-man roster and sticks at the major league level all season.

    • I think in terms of immediate results, you’re right. I have some hope that of those 3, the one to continue to climb and improve will be Finnegan. Certainly he’ll have to clean up those peripherals, but I think the Reds have something there.

  11. As was the case with Ryan Ludwick, is there any evidence with Duval simply feasting on mediocre pitching?

    • Any hitter that doesn’t feast on mediocre pitching in MLB doesn’t (or at least shouldn’t) stay in MLB long. Hitters that even hold their own versus outstanding pitching end up in the HoF or at least serious conversation for it.

      • Yeah, pretty much this.

        No one hits well against Ace/#1-type pitchers consistently. If they do, they are likely HOF candidates.

  12. I thought Lamb pitched pretty well! I thought he got squeezed on the leadoff walk to Myers and the RBI single that drove him out was just a little looper? Our sparkling pen usually allows inherited runners to score so it didn’t look too hot for Lamb in the paper this morning if you didn’t watch the game! Not too many pitchers can hold the Rockies to 1 run thru 7 ip at their place! I thought he looked great in Houston and pumped in alot of strikes but they fouled off a ton? Guys not getting thru 6 is pretty common now with all the foul balls and everyone has 12 men pitching staffs! Bottom line he changes speeds really well and could be kind of difficult to deal with in a series if the hitters saw guys like Reed and Homer throwing 95. I like him better then Finnegan, Straily, etc but I could be wrong? Finnegan is younger but they both need more experience.

  13. Duvall is dialed in right now at the plate. There is no question about that. I’d like to see the Reds keep a Duvall-Bruce combination for the next few years in the middle of the lineup. Having BP bat anywhere in the 1-6 spots is ludicrous and sheer lunacy. Having BP start almost every game is maddening.
    It has come to the point where the Reds have to emphasize the fact that BP is taking away AB’s and development time from either Suarez or Peraza at 2B. The second half of 2016 should be all about getting as many of the 8 position spots settled (2B, SS, 3B, RF and LF) and getting the lineup to gel going into 2017. I add LF in case Duvall is moved in to 3B, but I’d just as soon see him stay in LF. And RF is in flux until they decide on Bruce’s fate. Hopefully Mesoraco’s return re-solidifies the C spot.
    I’d hate to see the Reds go into spring training next year with this many lineup questions.

    • I agree BP is going south fast. What I took issue with (above) is the presumption of several folks that he is going to be some sort of clubhouse problem over it.

      Watching his body language during the games, I think nobody is more aware of his decline than BP himself.

      • It would be interesting to see how he would react. He had two chances to go elsewhere to teams that really wanted him, and he said no. … Do what’s best for the rebuild, and if he were to sulk, gently remind him that he chose to be there.

        • Frankly, I’d love to see the Reds try to move BP down in the order to see how he’d reactβ€”for purely scientific reasons of course.

        • This is just a guess but I’m betting he won’t be happy about it. I don’t think he’d throw a tantrum however. If the guys at the top of the order struggle though and he starts hitting, he’ll make his unhappiness heard however.

  14. lamb vs finnegan going to be a moot point soon. finnegan at 87 innings so far this year. threw 105 last year. only has 50 at most left in the tank. going to the pen soon.
    lamb threw 164 last year. at 65 now. plenty left. 125 or so left.
    stephenson 134 last year 81 this year. has 80 or so left.
    bullpen will soon have lorenzen, iglesias and finnegan.

  15. At least the BP didn’t give a homer up to the first batter this time. They waited until the second. Baby steps.

Comments are closed.

About Chad Dotson

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

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